around the world

December 11, 2019

The temperatures dropped significantly yesterday, and we’ve moved into that season of frigid winter air. I made everyone, myself included, go outside to get some sunshine. Everyone’s been looking a little sickly around here, and the kids have been taking turns with a course, hacking cough. The smaller they are the more worried I tend to get about coughs. The daytime can trick you. They might be coughing, and pale, and have that sicklier look that comes with the light gray bags under their eyes, but they’re walking around and playing fine until nighttime. That’s when the coughs often tend to get worse.

I got a package shipped off to my grandparents today. While the sick kids rested, the healthy kids worked on school and helped me wrap the presents now headed for Florida.  It wasn’t much, but hopefully something to say we miss you, we love you, and we’re thinking about you. They live with my aunt and uncle in what is now their retirement home, and we made sure we included a set of Disney puzzles that the two of them could hopefully enjoy. My uncle is a retired pharmacist and hospital head, and my aunt is a retired registered nurse. They’re retired but still have plenty of work right now.


December 12, 2019

Two of the kids had piano lessons today. The past month or so it seems someone has missed because of being sick. I like them to be able to rest when they can and I’m thankful the piano teacher has been so flexible and understanding. While I’m not completely ready to leave all of the kids home alone together without us, they’re old enough to stay home with dad in his office. One has pretty much been horizontal on the couch, falling asleep off and on throughout the morning. The other one is coughing much more productively, thankfully, instead of with that stuck and tight wheezing sound.

We’ve got our Christmas gathering for co-op tomorrow. Back in the later summer when we planned this, I had the feeling that realistically it’s better just not to schedule things in December. Kids get sick and December days just seem to fill up without you trying. I didn’t want to be a total killjoy though. So here we are supposed to do Matins, have a one-hour session about Christmas Around the World, and then go caroling at the nursing home. I’m presenting on the USA, Greenland, and maybe Denmark or Finland. I’m also bringing my nativity set from Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.




the divine scent

Advent comes slowly, and I’m suddenly filled with the desire to say, that if it takes one lone jam-packed month of December to get people finally talking about the darkness, the light, the coming and return of Jesus, then we’ve kind of already missed the point.

I read a blog post by Winn Collier in which he says:

“Advent provides a stretch of days where we catch the divine scent. Advent’s promise is not that we see God, in this precise moment, exactly as we wish. Rather, in Advent we hear that ancient-yet-always-new promise of God’s sure action, God’s cosmic healing. And then with eyes (and maybe the nose) of faith and wonder, we brush against that awakening scent of hope and generosity and righteousness.”

He goes on:

“Advent reminds us that we’re waiting for God. The holy ache in our soul is for God. Our broken heart, our forlorn future, our fears and anxieties and shattered stories and those cannibalistic lies that play in our head day after weary day–these are all signals of how desperate we are for the Adventing One to come and save us. Even our Advent practices, our good attempts (and they are-mostly-good), are not the point. God is the point. After all, my true cry is not for a religious regimen but for the Voice of Love. My fierce need is not for a spiritual discipline but for God.”

I like what he says about catching “the divine scent”.

What, in all this crazy world, did God smell like?

My fierce need is for God, and the need is fierce.

We are waiting for God and then He comes to our senses.

God is with us each and every day of the year, my friends.




times we share

The presents are stored in the back of my closet, covered by a red and green tablecloth from grandma’s. I’m probably two-thirds of the way done with my shopping and the ones I have are already wrapped. The decorations, however, are taking longer to come out. December is such a busy-bee home time, it’s easy to have several projects going at once.

The kids have kind of taken the lead this year.  They put the lights on the tree and hung the ornaments themselves. We had our annual go find a Christmas tree night, along with the usual appetizers and music. My mother-in-law gave us a bag full of Christmas crafts, which kept them all busy in the early afternoons. This might have been the first week ever we did an entire week of school in our pajamas, and you know what, it worked.

Life is messy, they say. And it is, and it is. The meal plan last week was “leftovers” from Thanksgiving. The meal plan for this week is “leftovers” from our Christmas tree appetizer night.  I want too bad to have concrete answers, to know when I’m supposed to try hard or let it go. Having now supposedly learned, we change our expectations from wanting everything to be perfect, to finally arriving at some exotic middle ground.


One day at a time is what we have and what we’re given.


Each day is a gift all its own, my friends.

(getting) ready for thanksgiving

My husband and I, along with the four youngest, made our monstrous Aldi and Sam’s trip this morning. We dropped our oldest off at school at 7:40, then headed into town to shop. Sams is open early, so we did that first. It was only 8:20 by the time we were done there, and since Aldi doesn’t open til 9AM, everyone except me went into Walmart to look for cream of tartar. We use it every year to make play doh for the littles.

While they were in Walmart, I made the grocery list for Aldi. Walmart didn’t end up having cream of tartar, and since we still had about twenty minutes before Aldi opened, I hopped out of the car and ran into Target.  I’d already been in there earlier this month looking at their pajama collection. It’s a family tradition for the kids to get a new pair of jammies for Advent, and I hadn’t yet found any that I liked for them.  They’ve mostly outgrown the sweet baby footies, and as they get older it’s harder to find the “perfect”ones.  They must’ve had a shipment since the last time I was in there because this time I found matching Avengers pajamas for the three smaller boys. For my oldest two I bought a pair of Avengers pajama pants and a fuzzy grey teddy bear pajama set.

(I would’ve bought this shirt weeks ago but they didn’t have my size)

When we got home from Aldi we took the food over to the camp building where all my family will be staying. The kids helped unload and then helped my husband set up tables and chairs. I cleaned out the old food and then put the weekend food into the fridge. When we all got home and after we’d unloaded the rest of the food there, I gave my husband a hug and a kiss. I didn’t express it in words, but I was feeling very thankful for his help and patience through the morning, and for all the money he’d just spent on food.

I’ve been feeling pretty emotional the past several days. The kids recently pulled up a home video I’d recorded when we first moved here. The purpose of the video was to give my grandma a tour of our house since they were pretty sure they wouldn’t ever be able to travel here to see it. I was struck by how much my kids have changed, in their looks and in their voices, even in the short time since we’ve moved here almost four years ago now. They smiled and laughed at seeing themselves, and were absolutely shocked at how messy the house was. I watched and couldn’t believe the hours upon hours upon hours I have spent trying to decorate, purge, clean, and finally make this house a home. Repeat.

My kids are slowly growing up and it’s happening daily before my eyes.

Every year the holidays feel more and more fragile. Everybody’s smaller and individual families are growing and changing. Life seems to be a process of learning more and more how to hold the things and ones we love closely, but loosely.  If you squeeze those shiny round Christmas tree bulbs too hard, they break. And your hand bleeds.

All the other blood is worth it, friends.

A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.