Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Long Journey and a Waiting Wife

I have to confess that I have been on the internet a LOT during this Christmas season. My step-son Joshua decided he wants to live out here for awhile and so my hubby flew back to see his family for Christmas and drive back across the country with his son. I didn't go with my husband because A. Couldn't afford it. B. The car would have been too crowded. So, I have excessively been on the internet (except with family at Christmas). When I am not reading certain blogs a couple of times a day, I am checking on the weather across the country. Yesterday (Friday), the boys drove from New Hampshire to Indiana. Today they hope to make Des Moines Iowa. Hopefully they will just miss the snowstorm that is passing through the plains, and tomorrow they will drive through half of Iowa, Nebraska, and southern Wyoming. The next day, if they push it they can make it to Nevada to spend a total of about 13 hours driving through Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. We have a big state. I sure am hoping they push it. I really miss hubby. I know what it is like to do that drive. I did it four years ago. Anyways, hopefully they can get here the first day of the new year. I would like to pray in the new year with my best friend and husband and our new roommate, Joshua. You all have a blessed New Year.

Update: The boys made it to Cheyenne Wyoming after seeing a Nebraska worth of overturned and stranded vehicles in ditches. Meanwhile I am viewing second season 24 episodes on New Years Eve.

Friday, December 29, 2006

A Moth to the Flame

My mother possessed a book called archy and mehitabel, written by Don Marquis about a cockroach who jumped on the keys of a typewriter in order to write stories and poems. He can't reach the Caps button of course, so he only writes in lower case letters. He has a friendship with Mehitabel, his cat friend. You can see him typing in the cartoon to the left. The book was illustrated by George Herriman, who also illustrated a cartoon called Krazy Kat. I gave the book to my daughter after my mother passed away recently, but just looking through it brought back memories of looking at the pictures when I was a young child. I was reading a few of the poems from the book and came across this poem about a moth. I got to thinking about how this poem illustrates our own propensity to be drawn to the flame. It is a good illustration of the sin nature within us. This poem also is an ode to much of the bent of American society. Call it the anthem for People Magazine or something. I was struck by the ending... I wish there was something I wanted as badly as he wanted to fry himself. I know what I want. I want my desire to be towards God rather than be drawn like a moth to the flame of temptations, wrong desires, and wrong pursuits. Do I want it badly enough? Therein is the rub.

i was talking to a moth
the other evening
he was trying to break into
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him
because it is the conventional
thing for moths or why
if that had been an uncovered
candle instead of an electric
light bulb you would
now be a small unsightly cinder
have you no sense

plenty of it he answered
but at times we get tired
of using it
we get bored with the routine
and crave beauty
and excitement
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get
too close it will kill us
but what does that matter
it is better to be happy
for a moment
and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time
and be bored all the while
so we wad all our life up
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll
that is what life is for
it is better to be a part of beauty
for one instant and then cease to
exist than to exist forever
and never be a part of beauty
our attitude toward life
is come easy go easy
we are like human beings
used to be before they became
too civilized to enjoy themselves

and before i could argue him
out of his philosophy
he went and immolated himself
on a patent cigar lighter
i do not agree with him
myself i would rather have
half the happiness and twice
the longevity

but at the same time i wish
there was something i wanted
as badly as he wanted to fry himself


Monday, December 25, 2006

After the Festivities: Word from Spurgeon

Job 1:5

What Job did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be good for the believer to do for himself before he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful frivolity and to forget our declared character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but sadly it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment but too frequently degenerate into unholy amusement. It is possible to experience joy as pure and sanctifying as a dip in the rivers of Eden: Holy gratitude should be just as purifying an element as grief. Sadly for our poor hearts, facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, how have you sinned today? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been like others in using empty words and unguarded speech? Then confess the sin, and flee to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb removes the guilt and purges the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas day-to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it is good tonight, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, bad as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near once more to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.
Gladly I close this festive day,
Grasping the altar's hallow'd horn;
My slips and faults are washed away,
The Lamb has all my trespass borne.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Ramblings

Christmas decorations on my mother's old desk

Our Christmas Tree

I know most of you are scrambling to do those last minute touches that make your Christmas special. We have already celebrated our Christmas because my husband is flying home to meet our new grandson and see his family. We couldn't afford for both of us to go, so he is making the trek. He is driving back here with his oldest son, so that is his very best Christmas present. His son wants to live out here for awhile. I pray they have a safe drive back after the holidays.

We opened our presents last night. I got Bruce nice warm stuff to take with him to New Hampshire. Gloves, thick socks, etc. He got me a pair of binoculars. I am so excited about bird watching and checking out nature without squinting since I have poor vision (even with glasses). The other present I am excited about is the Christmas CD by Sufjan Stevens that my daughter is sending me. The next two weeks will be hard because I will miss Bruce while he is gone. I plan to hunker down Christmas day and read a good book and then go to my sister's for Christmas dinner.

Best ever Christmas gift from my husband: Three years ago on Christmas, my husband proposed to me on the banks of Lake Massabesic in New Hampshire. He got on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage. We prayed together while the mist rose from the lake on a beautiful Christmas morning. It was one of the best days ever.

This Christmas is the first without my mother. She used to cut chokecherry bushes or sagebrush when we were too poor to afford a Christmas tree. We decorated the bush with ornaments handed down from her mother, and ones she made herself, along with the usual school made ornaments. I hated the fact when I was young that we had sagebrush instead of a REAL Christmas tree, but my sister and I have created a tradition this year. We drove out to the Veteran's Cemetery and decorated a cut sagebrush with my mother's old ornaments. We left some flowers also and a homemade card. My sister played a song for me on the drive out. It was a country song that won best song I guess, and it was about an old man who shared with a boy how the Bible had become important to him, and how he was looking forward to seeing his wife in heaven. My sister is not a Christian, but she said she cries every time she hears that song. I know God is working in her heart.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a very blessed New Year too.

Strike a Chord

This is a very interesting visual. Whitney's Music Box

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A 24 Christmas

For all you 24 fans

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Gift of Gifts

O Source of all good,
What shall I render to thee for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-empyting incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart's grasp.
Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.
Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.
Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreate and the created.
Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satifying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.
O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, and
enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my redeemer's face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mine and I am his.
In him thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

from the Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Wreaths

This will be my first Christmas without my mother, who was a veteran. I saw a piece on the news the other night about a wreath company in Maine that places wreaths on all headstones at Arlington Cemetery each Christmas. Such a daunting task to place wreaths on the thousands and thousands of headstones, but what a wonderful gesture of rememberance for those who sacrificed their lives. So, this Christmas, remember your loved ones and be thankful for family and friends. Find a live veteran who feels alone this Christmas and bless him or her.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Message

Nativity by John Donne

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-belov'd imprisonment,
There He hath made Himself to His intent
Weak enough, now into the world to come;
But O, for thee, for Him, hath the inn no room?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from the Orient,
Stars and wise men will travel to prevent
The effect of Herod's jealous general doom.
Seest thou, my soul, with thy faith's eyes, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Crafts

We had the grandkids over for printmaking, Christmas tree decorating, and looking at Christmas lights around town.

Taven's print

Jake's print

Jeslyn's print

Jeslyn's Printmaking


NOT Tiny Tim. This is Xander who missed Printmaking because he was asleep. Yay. He is really three year old.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holy, Holy, Holy by Sufjan Stevens

A song to bless your day. I keep playing it over and over.

Holy, Holy, Holy

The Inevitable Christmas Snack

Everybody has a standard snack or treat that they present for Christmas. I usually make a salsa cheese spread among other treats. Join Rebecca as she posts favorite Christmas treats for our enjoyment.

Salsa Cheese Spread

One softened package of cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
one half cup or more of salsa
two teaspoons or so of lemon juice to taste
a few shakes of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt
chopped green onions
chopped walnuts (optional)

Mash it all together until well blended. Serve with crackers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Embrace at Christmas

Children's Christmas Pageants

Christmas Services and Christian fellowship

The smell of evergreens


Celebration and Feasts with family and friends

Christmas Trees, candles, and twinkling lights

What To Avoid at Christmas

Kitschy Nativity Scene

Bad Opening Paragraph of a Christmas Novel

"Christmas Eve fell upon the piazza, and the pealing, the tintinnabulous pealing, (perhaps not a pealing but an incessant tinkling, albeit an appealing incessant tinkling) of the street performers reached my ears, masking the shot, which would have rung out had not the tintinnabulations raised such an incessant tinkling that the sound died as dead as the musician who fell like Christmas Eve at my feet - his bell having been rung." Ben Ross Lexington, NC
Bulwar-Lytton Contest

Avoid at ALL times, not just Christmas, but certainly avoid just for the title and cover alone.

I don't know about you, but Jello slathered with mayonnaise is just wrong!

Jello Salad with Mayo

* 2 cups boiling water
* 2 6 ounce packages lime Jello
* 2 cups sugar
* 5 or 6 celery sticks
* Can of mandarin oranges
* 5 bananas, the browner the better
* 1/2 bag of mini-marshmallows
* Mayonnaise

Pour boiling water over the lime Jello and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and fruits. Pour into greased Jello mold and chill until set.
When ready to serve, invert and slather with mayo. Serves 30

We love to sing Christmas songs, but try your best not to sing this song...or any of the "Redneck Christmas Songs"

I know this is potentially blasphemous, but try, really try to have a Christmas without Thomas Kincaid.
At this point, some of you are thinking...Now she has stepped over the line!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A Christmas Carol by G.K. Chesterton

Makoto Fujimura

A Christmas Carol
by G.K. Chesterton

The Christ-child lay on Mary's lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary's heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world's desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary's knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

Getting in the Spirit of Christmas

I love Christmas. I love the pungent smell of evergreens. I love candles lit softly throughout the house. I love collecting wonderful ornaments. I love the fact that even though there are pagan roots to Christmas, we still can take a stand and declare that, YES!, Christ came to earth, born in a humble manger, grew up to declare the unwavering truth of God's grace, went on to die upon a cross, but still, yep! We actually have a wonderful celebration to declare to the world that Christ is real. So...while you are cleaning the house, or checking out blogs, or shopping via online, here is some Christmas music to cheer you.

Check out the streaming audio of Christmas music
Sufjan Stevens:Christmas