Friday, December 31, 2010

I just heard the song "Winter Wonderland" playing softly somewhere. As happens almost always, can't hear it without singing it, so I burst out of the room dancing and crooning at the top of my lungs,

"He'll say are ya married, we'll say Noooo, mannn...... a-but yoooo can do the job while you're in towwwnnnn....."

...Only to bounce into Grandpa as we simultaneously rounded a corner. Making the split-second decision to be delighted rather than embarrassed, I grabbed his hand, placed mine on his shoulder, and began to dance with him.

"Later onnnn.... we'll conspiiiierrrr....As we dreammmmm.....mmmmby the fiiiiierrrr......"

He laughed. He's learned by now that I am downright odd, so it didn't take him by surprise. But he did query, as he eventually tried to disengage himself from my impromptu foxtrot,
"What are you so happy about...Because it's New Years??"

Note to self: "be happy" more often. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I've felt a little guilty this Christmas.
All the talk of "wonder" and "joy" and "miracles" and I didn't feel very awe-filled when I contemplated the Christmas story. It's not that I didn't want to feel the wonder of it all, it's just that I didn't... not to the extent I feel I should. And feelings like that can't just be conjured up out of thin air. I talked with my mom a little about it one morning as we were curled up on the couch talking (one of my favorite things to do... listen to my mom; to what she's gathering from her time with the Lord each morning. She expresses it so well and her excitement about the Teacher's lessons get ME excited about them!) She suggested I pray and ask Him to renew the wonder for me; to open up some kind of new insight.

Part of me was dubious because the Christmas story has seemed a little "strip mined." You know what I mean? We get spiritual applications out of everyone from the sheep that lent it's wool in the stable to the Little Drummer Boy. (Oh, well neither were actually IN the Biblical account but of course there was a drummer boy and definitely, a sheep.... right? Right?)

I realized that God's Story could NEVER be strip mined, though. The problem was with me, not Him! So I began praying--daily I think--for some kind of new revelation or insight or "wonder." Praying that God would give it to me by Christmas. Realizing that I was praying for God to give me a gift I could not give myself. Feeling a little ashamed that I didn't feel it automatically.

December 25th came and went. Lots of warm and happy times with the family! Lots of thanking God for His unspeakable gift. Lots of joy! What an amazing Christmas it was.

But no new revelation. No new wonder.

It hit me a day late. The 26th. Not a new Biblical character to be amazed at or something I'd never thought of perhaps, but a new wonder at the story itself... of the little threads that tie this story into my own story. I won't print it all out here right now, but I will say this: God made this story come alive for me again. He loves to give good gifts to us.

How ashamed I am that I don't feel an automatic sense of awe when I contemplate Christmastime. It's hard to write here and I'm only writing it in an attempt to be honest. I SHOULD feel awestruck every time I picture the God-baby in the manger. I know many people do. I guess I've just heard it so many times. But He graciously renewed some of my wonder on December 26th, and reminded me that all I have to do is ask.


Humble myself enough to say "Wow... this worshipful heart is something I should have and I don't! Oh please, Father.... would you give it to me?" I'm going to keep on asking for more and more wonder and delight in the God who I love, because I'm reminded this season that He gives freely.

Without reproach.

What grace!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

I'm relieved to be able to tell you all that, contrary to what my blog may have implied the past week, I am NOT still wandering the airport like Jacob Marley wandering the earth. I am home.

Warm, glowing, noisy, cozy, bustling, comfy, wonderful HOME!

And it is caraaaaaazy here! Besides for the usual me, mom, dad, and gramps, we have Scott, Oksana and the 5 dearies as well as Steve and Heather Holsenback and their sweet new baby Elena. Steve and Heather are living in the basement for a while (it's a nice basement; don't worry) because they've sold their house and most of their possessions and are en route to Mali, Africa as medical missionaries. We've adopted them as our own honorary Sobies and we love them so much! But yowzers all these people make for a bustling house! So different from the Cove. I'm enjoying the noise (or at least trying to) because I know that all too soon my life will be terribly quiet again.
A few days ago the kids and I decorated gingerbread cookies. So fun! They turned out absolutely adorable and not one ran away. (Not even the one whose arm I accidentally broke off, and she really would have had a valid excuse for wanting to escape.)

This is Heather with my newest "niece" Elena! We prayed for her for so long! What a little doll!

One of the best parts of being home; getting to see RuthAnn! Here we are watching a Monk episode before bed. :) Can you feel the coziness oozing out the of the picture?

The day we went Christmas tree hunting was perfectly blustery! Our tree is beautiful and was picked by a unanimous show of hands. What a delight to get to do these holiday traditions with the kids; we weren't expecting to have them home for Christmas for a few years.
Bundled up in the barn after we picked out our tree, we had hot chocolate and popcorn and sat by a fire.

What a beautiful season this is. I wrote our family Christmas letter today, and put in a few thoughts about Immanuel... God with us. Perhaps my favorite name of Christ. This song has been running through my mind as I prepare to hopefully sing it in church this week with Scott, and I thought maybe you'd enjoy pausing a moment to reflect on it. (Thought this was a really cool video, too.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'm in the airport.
I'm coming home!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Deckin' the halls!

* Thanks so much for all your comments on my last post. Wow, how encouraging that my struggles and things that God's teaching me could encourage you, who read this! That's special to me.

Well, I haven't posted in a while, and I suppose it's because I can't think of a thing to post about. There's not a lot going on here in the Cove other than the normal daily life activities. Miss Elisabeth has lost a bit of strength lately so a lot of my time is spent trying to help her get enough food and liquids. (Prayers appreciated for that.)

Yesterday I put on some Christmas music and pulled out the Christmas decorations that were in a closet. I found it rather strange that Mr. Gren said I could decorate as long as I "didn't go haywire."
Perish the thought.
Okay, in all seriousness, perhaps I have been known in the past to get a little garland-happy, but this is the most wonderful time of the year and I think when it comes to decorating, the more the merrier (as long as you don't cross the line into garishness; and here I could say a word or two about the massive blow-up snowmen and Santas with which people adorn their yards... but I realize that you, my reader, may have one and so I will refrain from divulging my true feelings about those monstrosities.)

I have been called fanatical in my annual quest to save unloved Christmas decorations from the trash can. Every year, my mom's dark side seems to emerge as we pull aged, sentimental (and usually hand-made) decorations from the Christmas bins. Several years ago it was Bowinkle the red-nosed-reindeer (oft mistaken for a moose), which was a macramé wall hanging that my mom had hand made ages ago. Bowinkle was a stalwart on our bathroom wall during the holidays for years, and then one Holiday season my mother up and decides to pitch him... simply because he was from the '70's and his antlers hung askew!
Christmas without Bowinkle on the bathroom wall...?
I saved him. He now bides his time in my own Christmas bin designated for such treasured eyesores. Some day I will hang him proudly in my house, and tell my children that their amazing Grandmother made him... and that no, he's not a moose. He's a reindeer.

The last item I saved was a tree skirt that my mom and siblings made when....well... when was it? Actually I don't think I was born yet. But it still holds sentimental value to me because it's gracefully held our family's Christmas gifts under the tree for over 20 years! Sure it might be a little ragged and outdated, but it's very special.
I saved that, too. Some day it will give me warm fuzzies when I pull it out of the bin in my own home.

But back to the Cove!
To honor Mr. Grinch--er--Gren's (I joke!) request that I not go "haywire", I quite refrained the little Martha Stewart within my soul and only scattered a few things around. Oh, how my fingers itched to put fresh pine bows on all the window sills and Christmas ornaments hanging from the fireplace mantle!
But I didn't.
I suspicioned that those touches might have qualified as "haywire."

I love the boquet of holly and pine on the dining-room table. I found a length of golden ribbon to tie around the vase and it's so simple and beautiful.
The pictures aren't very good quality because they were taken on my iPhone, but they give you an idea of some of the fun I had:
I wish Miss Elisabeth could tell me where the handmade angel and the beautiful dried arrangement that I put on the piano came from. I'm sure they each have a memory behind them.

So.... Happy 1st of December everyone! And God bless you all this Holiday season with a deepening wonder in the Christ of Christmas, who though He was rich, for our sakes became poor... that we through His poverty might become rich. Thanks, thanks be to God!

PS- I keep remembering with whom I was Christmas decorating last year... in Nome! My mind and heart are constantly reverting to last year this time when Carlee was so very sick and yet God gave us so many precious memories. How I praise the Father that Carlee is alive and healthy today! Can you look at this picture of my little man and NOT grin!? Oh what I would give to hold him and kiss those sweet cheeks right now.