Thursday, December 24, 2015


"Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."
"Unto us a Child is born.
Unto us a Son is given.
He shall reign in all the earth;
He shall be called Emmanuel."

from George Frideric Handel's The Messiah

Monday, December 21, 2015

the weather and more

The weather outside has been strange. So warm that we've had to 
mow the grass and I picked a dandelion on the 
way to get Christmas cards out of the mailbox. 
 But a cold spell arrived suddenly and it dropped to the 20s. Delightful, but
we hear it won't last and are expecting a warm  Christmas.
I had to go outside to feel it for real
as we waited for our dinner guests to arrive. 
Loving window views as I do, I took a look inside my own windows,
and into the snowman's world as I lit the candles for dinner.
 Earlier in the week "Littlest One" came for a day
and loved exploring all of Grandma's Christmas stuff that she's too
young to remember from last year. She's so into pink right
now that before her nap we had a little pink ice-cream.
Merry Christmas!

Joining in Mosaic Monday.

Friday, December 18, 2015

something new

There's something new at my house … not the plates, nor the napkins or placements.
Not the cutlery, though I've just noticed we were using the English charity 
shop cutlery we use when our regular stuff is all in the DW.
 No, it's my place at the table. After years, and I mean years, of
looking at the wall while I eat, and the garage out the window,
I have moved to the other side of the table.
Previously I sat where I did as it was easy to jump up to the stove or sink.
Now I have to walk a few steps further, but my view of
our pretty yard and my beloved kitchen is sweeter.
 This all came about because (LOL) of the sun's reflection on the
garage which bothers my eyes because of my blossoming cataracts.
I can't get over how it feels like there is something new at our house…
It's amazing how much I am enjoying such a small change!

Monday, December 14, 2015

December views

Sort of a couple of busy weeks in review …
Joining Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

not white at all

I just noticed this is my 1502nd post. I am amazed. I can't imagine counting to 1500, let alone writing that much. It will soon be 10 years since I nervously pressed "publish" on my first post. For a time there was a blogger who had a meme for bloggers to republish favorite posts. So I admit it isn't a pure 1502 posts ---there are a few repeats among them. And now I'm repeating a favorite again for readers who didn't "read me" back then.

I am reminded often at this season that people hurt during the holidays. Not every family has a rosy time; people are lonely; families have crises.

A young woman in our mentor group delivered her long awaited baby boy two nights ago. They knew he was missing most of his brain and would not live long outside the womb but they have celebrated each hour and day that he has lived and are grateful for the time with him until God calls him home. Can you imagine her mix of joy and sorrow at a time when everything "seems" bright and merry?

Some of you may have read this before: the story of our hardest, but our sweetest Christmas.

Even though it was years ago, I remember the time as clearly as if it were taking place today. We were a young family, just settled down to life in West Africa, when our world came crashing down around us. The Gardener got very, very sick and turned yellow.

Due to a recent military coup, borders were closed and grocery store shelves were empty. The Gardener couldn’t even get a blood test to tell for sure what was wrong. We lived near the university and knew the dean of the medical school, so he made house calls to check on him though there was nothing he could do.

Those were dark days for us as Christmas approached. We tried to make the best of it with our two small boys, while we watched Papa get thinner and thinner. The bile under his skin caused severe itching and relief only came with a scalding bath followed by a cold shower and then a sit under the ceiling fan––a routine not always possible with frequent power outages and lack of water. We were about out of food.

God gave me words of comfort and peace as I'd sit alone in the evenings, often with only light from an oil lamp. He reminded me of Isaiah 40 again and again. "He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak…They will soar on wings like eagles…"

God’s grace amazed us. A knock sounded at the door one evening just before Christmas. Linda, a Peace Corps friend, greeted us with a special piece of meat wrapped in shiny tinfoil and a festive bow. Mmm, it was delicious. An adventuresome friend showed up with a cooler with meat and sack of potatoes bought in a neighboring country (he’d gotten across the border in a desolate area). What a treat. And the Gardener needed protein.

Not long after that, a friend traveling through our city walked into our house with a gunnysack over his shoulder. He dumped the contents out on our kitchen counter. My eyes opened wide when I realized they had shared with us from their “special times” stockpile. What stood out the most was a can of powdered lime drink. Now Papa could have at least a sort of fruit juice. The tiny ants marching around the glass at his bedside didn’t irritate me as they usually did––I was so thrilled to offer him such a treat.

When a truck pulled up to our door I was certain it was a mistake, especially since there were two small barrels for us on it. It didn’t make sense until we learned they had been flown in from London from friends who used to live near us. Having heard of our situation, knowing what the closed borders would mean for our food supply, they knew exactly what to send us. Imbedded in my memory is the thrill of unwrapping foods fresh off English grocery shelves––beautiful, clean packages of flour, sugar, and powdered milk with special holiday treats tucked in. We were overwhelmed at God’s tender care for us.

Before long our doctor friend told us we needed to go home to get better care. It was unsettling to abruptly leave a home and work we loved. But we had learned the valuable principle that God does not make mistakes and knew that He cares deeply for us; and so we trusted Him. We didn’t leave before celebrating Christmas the best we could. We made clothespin ornaments representing each family member to put on our little tree. They are falling apart now, but we still hang them on our tree every year. And when we do, we remember all that God taught us the year our Christmas was yellow.

Monday, December 07, 2015

hanging out at my house

simple decorations
Fun to photograph.

A quick crochet experiment that turned out as I had hoped.

At our mentor meeting this month I showed our young women
some of the ornaments I've made through the years and we
guessed the decades. This is a favorite one, back when we were
painting wood ornaments like crazy.

And we made these two easy and fun new ones.

Two favorites that hang on our tree.
Holland and the world.
Connecting with Mosaic Monday.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

a new constant

My BIL pumps up the tires, and I hop on my sister's bike for a spin around their neighborhood. The weather is changing in this muggy Florida and a cooler breeze whips through my short hair as I sail along the wonderfully flat terrain. I love bike riding but other than a recumbent at the gym, I haven't been on a bike since my knee replacement.

I feel like a kid when I ride my bike. I look down and can almost see my old green bike with fat tires. I remember enthusiastic bike rides in the past, and how I'd chug up a hill and race down the other side. As I ride this particular late afternoon, thinking about being a kid and my old green bike, the bright sun slips lower in the sky. As I turn a corner, it's fully in my eyes, blinding me in spite of sunglasses.

Reality check. It's those blooming cataracts. And with my new knee I'm not riding as fast as I used to. That young green bike girl may still live inside, but the outer body is aging.

In this season of life change seems to be the new constant. I continually seek grace to accept life now with a few limitations while at the same time using my age to good advantage, remembering amazing adventures and difficult lessons learned in these years I've been blessed with.

Adaption is something to be considered as I ride a bit more cautiously into the blazing sun. I may need to add a visor on my head. It'd be an innovation, but that might be a good change.
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