christmas

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Heart.  Soul.  Mind.

For the busy mama, these important parts of our selves can be run down and dried up over the Happy Holiday season.  This is how it has been for me the last few weeks or more.  I’m so caught up in the doing, doing, doing, that within me is withered and waiting.

Oh how I yearn and crave a deeper life.  Jesus is in my heart and my soul is beautiful because of His saving grace, I know this.  I have everything working for me in my innermost being…everything but some free space to breathe.

Even attending church leaves me hungry for “more” because I have children doing strange things next to me every time.  I can’t settle down and soak it in like I want to.  I’m thankful for a Father God who understands the Mothers He made.

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I was reading Les Mis last night.  I’m on page 615.  And I thought to myself….what a life…..in the time I DO have to breathe, to refresh, what do I do?  I read a book.  Dusty, musty, silence and stillness.  Reading is the place to relax, to gather up the blanket, feel the purring cat at my feet, shut the door in order to silence “Top Gear” from the other room, and read until my eyes are tired.

But reading isn’t CREATING.  Reading is taking in and admiring someone else’s creation.

I do love to blog and blogging is creating.   Journalling is creating– but I don’t do as much of that.  Sewing, baking (but I do too much of that), drawing, what else?  (thinking out loud here) Photography…. yes…… I want to do these and more.

Now that Christmas is over I feel myself resolving to do more artistic work, by the grace of God, in order to bring down some water for my thirsty heart, soul, and mind.

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cookie-art (tired of it)

Don’t laugh.  (I’m talking to myself, because I’m laughing)…..because part of me feels silly as I express this need.  Will I make the most of the opportunities that come my way?  Or will I read a few more pages of my latest book, too tired to do much else?

A little less sleep, a little less slumber, a little less reading, and little more soul FUN~(I did calligraphy on some of my Christmas cards…which was wonderfully satisfying!)

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Creating with the children.  They know how to be artistic and inspiring without second guessing.  I admire that.  Perhaps I should draw on the walls like they do?

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Christmas was nice.  Certainly it is more work than magic for the parents, but it is a rewarding work.  All the shopping, lists, and making sure everything gets done by December 24 can be rather tiresome.  (At least there is a deadline.)  I love the photo of the stockings; starting with Rich’s, then the children from oldest to youngest, with mine at the end.  The tree lights reflecting in the stove look like there is a fire is going.  A sweet friend who owns a greenhouse gave us the gorgeous poinsettias, which I keep faithfully watering.  Seth made the red handprint green construction paper wreath and the paper chain.

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Rich got up out of bed on Christmas morning at 5:30, I asked him why, “I have to go do your stocking.”  I gave him enough time and then got up to find that the three littlest ones were also awake.  Grace soon followed and tucked herself into her favorite corner of the couch.  We sat and waited, the kids tested their limits in exploring the gifts as Rich and I drank coffee with our feet up on the coffee table.  Jacob and Ethan woke up next.  Our David is the late sleeper and Rich made his yearly torturous joke about how because it’s Christmas we weren’t going to wake him up, “let the poor boy sleep in.”  He has been known to sleep all the way until lunchtime so it was a relief when Seth went down to wake him up at 6:30.

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We began with the stockings.  Rich thought it would be funny to put a pack of rawhide bones in my stocking.  At least Parker the dog ended up with something special and it was good to laugh.

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Sarah is behind the box.  Happiness is being small enough to get lost behind your gifts.

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We had the gifts all opened by 7:30 am, but it was done with minimum stress because we tried to do things orderly as possible.  David passed out the gifts and we watched the person open it before going on to the next one.

Rich and I went shopping together to get my gifts and I love the two pairs of Swarovski crystal earrings he gave me; one pair also came with a darling ear cuff.  I received two books.

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Here I am reading the books; one is about playful photography, the other is a photo book of French cats, both books are so so inspiring, which is contributing to my determination to ENJOY life by not only doing my duties, but having creative fun, too.  I want to be wild and free at times….I miss that part of my personality….(tips?ideas?anyone feeling the same?)

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David loved his soda maker, set of Calvin and Hobbes books, legos, books, and Nerf gun.

Seth’s lego set was somewhat challenging so I was called upon to help him.  He was SO SO CUTE.

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Frankly, I was surprised by our Caleb, who put “Star Wars lego set” on his list three times (so he got three small sets).  What surprised me was that he did not rest until he had put them all together.

Ethan put his box of GAP clothes on right away, with his cross necklace and cologne.  Only then did he break open his lego set of the Eiffel tower.  I texted brother Dave a picture of it when it was done and he texted back; “I was at the top of it!”  Jacob’s set was of the United Nations building.  Anyway, the older boys didn’t even ask for legos for the first time in approximately 10 years so I bought them each one set because I was sooooooo sad.

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Christmas cat #1, can I just say I am in love with cats again?  So many things need to be put on hold when you having the darling BABIES……baby season is over for me so I can think about my kitty cats again.   This is Snickers, our oldest, he is probably about 4 years old.

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Parker the Dog was exhausted by the time everyone opened their gifts, with so much fuss first thing in the morning.  He was glad to have the couch to himself.

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I asked Caleb for a picture.  (By the way, when the boys do lego sets they keep all the bags organized using my fiesta bowls.)

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Christmas cat #2.  Sarah, which was a shock to me, hated her feather boa that I gave her.  I thought my girly-girl would adore feathers and silver sparkle– but no.  She won’t let it touch her.  However, Billy Cat loves it.  We found him curled up sleeping on it, with a few wet feathers torn off.  Evidently he “killed” it before he fell asleep on it.

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Rich bought me the softest feeling sweater of my life.  This is the only gift which was a surprise.  My little Seth received a light saber (another item which we have gifted for years and years to all of our sons).  I love this “baby” boy (five years old) and still make him take a nap with me whenever possible.  He even has a term of endearment for me.  In loving moments he calls me “moo-moo”.

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A sight to stop me in my tracks.  Caleb snacked on all his stocking candy during his lego-building-time.  (pictured next to Grace’s little stack of gifts.)  Grace has already completely read the Patricia MacLachlan book, White Fur Flying, which she said was really deep for a little kid’s book.  Patricia MacLachlan wrote the beloved Sarah, Plain and Tall and I’ve been buying her books for Grace since she could read.  Again, with her at 15 years old, I still couldn’t quite stop buying yet another this year (like the boys and their lego sets).

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Happy Dave, busy working on a Transformer.

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For my artist son, the dot to dot book was a big hit, along with new Sharpies.  The dot to dot is of portraits, with about 1000 dots per picture.  He practically needed a magnifying glass to complete them.  He loved it.

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Ethan was thrilled by his PS3, our family’s very first gaming system.  It only came with one controller which was hard for him.  He wanted so much for Jacob to be able to play with him.  He even went online to see if Target was open on Christmas day so he could go buy one. (it wasn’t, thankfully)

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It took Caleb for.ev.er. to figure out his transformer, again; I was impressed by his endurance and the robot finally turned into a hippo.

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Christmas cat #3;  Snickers again, sleeping under the piano bench.  I love how cats can sleep anywhere.

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David loves his soda machine.  It is perfect present for a young scientist/inventor.

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You twist the bottle three times to carbonate the wate, until it makes a funny sound (each time).

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Then you add the soda syrup.

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Let us talk about the weather in these parts.  There was no snow on Christmas Day but……we saw rare sunshine and it was mild enough outside to be welcoming.  We all went out for some fresh air.

DSC_0280S U N S H I N E ! ! ! ! ! !

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Grace went right into the woods.  She’s here someplace, you can’t see her, but she was there, walking quickly like she had a place to go and things to see.

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The sparkling ribbon of stream……

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Then, I went to say hello to my hens.

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They gave their acknowledgments in return, the best they could.

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iridescent feathers!

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selfie with a (distressed) hen.  They tolerate hellos but draw the line at hugs.

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Then, Jacob’s Emily came for a quick visit.  She came bearing gifts and sparkling good spirit.  What a joy she is to us all.

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She gave Parker a frosted candy-cane shaped dog treat.  She spoils him.  Consequently he doesn’t leave her side.  (see?)  She and Jacob exchanged gifts.  Jacob laughed to see the candle because she was with him when he saw it at the store and admired it (it has a wick that sizzles as it burns).  She had gone back to buy it for him.  She also gave him a handsome black shirt.  He gave her a locket.

There were two gifts labeled “To:  Jacob and Emily”.  The most darling thing was that they opened them at the same time together. Jacob’s hands unwrapped one end, while Emily’s hands opened the other end, perfectly fair like it was the natural thing to do.  Their togetherness is so sweet.

Rich gave them books and I gave them matching shirts and socks.

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The socks and shirts were from American Eagle men’s department.  The socks were men’s *one size fits all* but Jacob could barely get his on and Emily’s were too big and the heels to the socks were about five inches up the backs of her legs.  It was quite funny.

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Well, I had to get the Christmas Ham into the oven and while I did so, people started falling asleep.

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Christmas cat #4;  Sherlock the orange cat slept by Rich’s legs.

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I did the ham in an oven bag with sweet liquid poured over (ginger ale, maple syrup, honey, etc) pineapple and cherries pinned on with toothpicks.

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Well.  Over the last week I tried making candied clementines.  The recipe said to boil the fruit every day for six days in a sugar syrup (20 minutes each time) and also let sit at room temp.  You see the results.  Not like the picture in the cookbook.  MUCH uglier, like huge orange raisins.  They taste okay but only in very small bites.  I put them into a container and popped them in the fridge to use for scones, or muffins.  It was a fun experiment and I may try again to see if I can do better.

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Emily went to her Dad’s house for the rest of the day and at 4 we ate our Christmas feast; ham, homemade rolls, buttered corn, cottage cheese, and scalloped potatoes.

Rich had objected earlier to me doing so much work on Christmas day for our meal but I noticed he asked for “more ham” quite a few times, until as a joke Jacob used the meat fork to put the entire ham on his plate.

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“What the Room Looked like Before Throwing Away the Wrapping Paper”

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David’s new shirt; “designed to fly”.

(One time he “flew” off the porch with an umbrella!)

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Ethan’s new clothes.

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He is sixteen and one of the best boys in the world.

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Christmas cat picture #5; a nap companion

 Thus ends another photo-blog of Christmastime.  What a blessing this year has been and how thankful we are for family and friends.

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I was able to write this downtown at the coffeeshop with Rich this afternoon.  Truth be told, I was irritated by him being gone all morning for wrestling practice and then planning on taking the teens to the movies.  The movie was sold out so they had to go to a later showing, which meant I got some HUSBAND TIME!  He read his book while I typed, with no distractions, with coffee and chocolate.  God knows what we need and will provide, Amen!  Thus, my thirsty soul was refreshed and I realized it is MUCH easier to write when I’m not tempted to throw the next load in the washing machine or empty the dishwasher or vacuum or ………….

2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self his being renewed day by day.

Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Psalms 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

………….

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

8 thoughts on “christmas

  1. Such a wonderful family Christmas. I like seeing everything and everybody! I thought of your boys when I walked by the Lego store today 🙂 I would guess that my big 31 yr. old would still love to get a Lego set, we are usually just busy buying him other things he needs.
    I think God put that yearning for creativity in us. It is a blessing that even in the midst of busy family time, we can use part of that creativity to enhance family. I think you do that in your baking, homemaking, and blogging. I often yearned for more in drawing, etc. I hope I can make use of some of the time now, I have found I wear out from even everyday things. Love you my friend. Merry Christmas to all the family.

  2. You are one of the most creative people I know! I remember the first blog post I ever read of yours when I stumbled upon your blog, and I was blown away by all of the creative things you did to throw a Valentine’s party for your friends. I recall baby houseshoes and dresses you sewed up in an afternoon out of scrap material; pixie houses in the forest made of leaves, twigs and acorns; beautiful projects made from antique store finds, etc. I’m always in awe. I do so love those breezes of inspiration that come, though…and I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    The ham looks like something out of a magazine; Emily and Jacob are so sweet together it makes me want to cry; all of your children are happy and beautiful (and I love Caleb’s pose in the dinner picture)…love all of your kitty pictures. I wish so badly I could hug my chickens, too, but they never want to be hugged either. :-/

    I loved sharing your Christmas. 🙂 I loved this post!

  3. I enjoyed reading the story of your Christmas. I too feel the urge to create. Sometimes I do that in home decor, crocheting a blanket, or trying a new recipe. I love to write, and haven’t done that in quite awhile so I may get back to that in the new year. So cute with the matching socks and shirts:) Thankyou for sharing part of your life with us. HAPPY NEW YEAR! !!
    CHRISTINA
    PS.you are extremely creative and inspire me:)

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