Monday, December 13, 2010

if i had the time...

...i would make these.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Mary's Prayer

I've never read something that says what I have felt (in a millionth of a fraction)as a mother quite like this. Like I said, Isaac was born about a week before Christmas, so there was no way not to think of Mary and how she must've felt about her new baby. And on top of that, add the humiliation, fear, embarassment & sea of unanswered questions she still had.

Mary’s Prayer

God. O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child. Conceived by the union of divine grace with our disgrace. Sleep well.

Sleep well. Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds. Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby. Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future. Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

Rest well, tiny hands. For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold. You will grasp no pen, guide no brush. No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:
to touch a leper’s open wound,
to wipe a widow’s weary tear,
to claw the ground of Gethsemane.

Your hands, so tiny, so white—clutched tonight in an infant’s fist. They aren’t destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony. They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.

Sleep deeply, tiny eyes. Sleep while you can. For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.

You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.

You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.

You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.

O eyes that will see hell’s darkest pit and witness her ugly prince . . . sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

Lie still, tiny mouth. Lie still, mouth from which eternity will speak.

Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.

Rosebud lips—upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you—lie still.

And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest. For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.

Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?

Do you feel the cold seawater upon which you will walk?

Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?

Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase into Satan’s domain?

Rest, tiny feet. Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power. Rest. For millions will follow in your steps.

And little heart . . . holy heart . . . pumping the blood of life through the universe: How many times will we break you?

You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.

You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.

You’ll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.

And you’ll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.

Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest. Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

And there you’ll rest again this time in the embrace of your Father.

an excerpt from Max Lucado's God Came Near

suggestions welcome

Ok, I need some help with this "closet". I have no idea what to do with it. It's not really a closet, but more shelves and storage in a doorway...yes, weird. we walk through it to go from our hallway by the bedrooms through to the kitchen/office area. the closest thing to it are the desk & pantry.

i'd love to use it practically, for storage maybe, but what does one store in a pass through closet on the way to the bedrooms?

i wanna hear what you think! do i make it decorative or functional? really, i'd love both. the opposite wall from the 2 shelves has nothing, but not really any room for coat hooks since we walk through it.


in the spirit of christmas...

What are 7 areas where you can be happier with LESS??

Thursday, December 02, 2010

advent calendar tutorial

I have to give credit to my friend Jennifer of Laineybug Creations for the inspiration of this calendar. The above picture is the banner she made for the hospital door when Isaac was born last year. It reads "Baby Isaac" and has a blank tag in the middle where we filled in all of his stats. It made it easy for visitors to find our hospital room, and we now have it hanging in his room. So when I wanted to make a simple advent calendar, I used this banner as a jumping off point.

Here are the supplies you'll need:

-Scrapbook paper (I used 4 different coordinating colors. You can use more or less, depending on how uniform you want your calendar to be)
-9 feet of 1/4" ribbon (I found mine in the scrapbooking section at JoAnn's for $1 a spool)
-Glue stick
-Hole punch
-Ruler & pencil
-Letter stamps & coordinating color ink pad (optional)
-Craft punch (optional)

1. Choose 3 coordinating colors (optional if you want all one color) for the tags themselves and 2 colors for the numbers & background.

2. Fold the paper in half, and then in half again.

3. Cut the piece of folded paper in equal parts. You should get four in each piece.

I glued the insides of the paper to itself (glue white to white) to make it a little sturdier.

4. Cut 25 rectangles of coordinating colors to use as the backgrounds for the numbers. You will also need circles for each numerical digit (one circle for the 2 and 5 in "25"). I used a craft punch, but you could use scissors if you wanted.

5. Assemble the pieces in the pattern that you choose.

6. Use stamps, markers, or whatever you choose to number each dot on the cards. Then put the Scriptures in each card. There are several books and online resources for finding Advent Scriptures.

7. Using a hole punch, make holes in the corners of each card. Use the ribbon to tie each tag together, making sure to tie a ribbon on each end for hanging.

Hang it somewhere you'll see every day. We have ours in the kitchen doorway where we can see it while we eat breakfast. I even considered wrapping it around our Christmas tree like a garland. Either way, enjoy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

starting advent

my mom always had an advent wreath on our table growing up. the one with three red candles and one white, for the last Sunday or Christmas. we jumped around several different denominations and churches when we were young, finally finding a home in a Christian church in Virginia. so needless to say, i've had a lot of experience dabbling in other church Christmas traditions. my paternal grandfather was a clergyman in the Episcopal church and i think we, at one point or another, have attended Presbyterian, Nazerene, United Methodist, Church of Christ, and Christian church. whew. i'm pretty sure all we've concluded from our "church shopping" as we always called it whenever we moved somewhere new, was that if a church honors the Lord, follows Jesus as Savior, and believes the Bible is God's inspired word and LIVES IT, then they're ok with us. or me. i guess i shouldn't speak for the rest of my family.

not to get into unnecessary discussions about denominations, blah blah crappity crap.

my POINT is... i've been aware of the celebration of advent since i was a kid. (sorry it took me so long to get there).

now that tim and i are parents, we have been forced to step back and really evaluate how our life looks to others. we realize that our children can be told what's important a bazillion times, but i'd rather them KNOW what's important because they see us making priorities. one thing that tim will "soapbox" about is the hype and ridiculousness that is Christmas gifts. how is our celebration of Christmas really any different than someone who doesn't follow Christ? oh, er...*awkward silence. i guess it's not.

enter, advent calendar. not the cardboard calendar where you get a piece of chocolate when you open each numbered door (which i loved dearly as a kid), but one that really hits home with the anticipation of Christmas. that's what we all love about the holiday anyway. so, instead of anticipating gifts and Santa and getting, getting, getting we hope to create a season of celebration and wonder and excitement for celebrating the coming of a baby named Jesus. we're still decorating like crazy, playing Jingle Bells, and buying gifts but the excitement will hopefully come from a different perspective.

it's only the first day, but already, i love it. we worked on our homemade advent calendar together (that's a first!) and i think it turned out pretty good. each day has a Scripture to read. we've decided to get up early (ok earlier than isaac), eat breakfast together (meaning i need to actually make it) and read that day's verse as a family. whoa. that's high expectations for us. today's verse was Romans 13:11-14.

this time of year brings back strong memories for us, since our isaac was born about a week before Christmas. we had the anticipation of a baby in real life. i never payed attention to the words of songs like "Mary Did You Know" and "What Child is This?" like i did last year. the wonder and anticipation of a baby is pretty amazing any month of the year, but near Christmas it just seemed escalated. i would wonder if what i felt was just a smidgen of how Mary did when we was too swollen and tired to put up her Christmas tree. or ride on a donkey. whatever.

i'd love for you to follow along with us as we go on our advent journey as a family. i'm not even going to dare to say that i will blog about each day, but maybe in the next 24 days i will have a few to highlight. this has also inspired me to change up the breakfast menu a bit. i have several omelettes, fruit & oat scones, and an apple & sausage breakfast casserole (interesting) planned to get us away from the pancakes/waffles i usually depend on.

happy december, everyone! may you see Christ this Christmas.