Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a social media christmas

i was reading a friend of mine's blog (she has a great sense of humor, so i love to frequently read her little stories about life for a good laugh) and she had a link to a really cool video ignitermedia.com created about the christmas story of Jesus' birth as if it was during the social media era we live in.  i decided to put the video below so all of you could enjoy what my husband and i enjoyed watching last night.  at first i thought, oh how cute.  by the end i had tears in my eyes.  it was just one more reminder to me that this isn't just a story.  this is real and Jesus really came as a baby to be Emmanuel - God with us.

merry christmas!  may the truth of the story of christmas hit your heart in a new way as well!

have you had a renewed revelation of the reality of the christmas story this year?  what has gripped your heart in a new way this year while celebrating the christmas season? 

please share in the comments below.


Monday, December 6, 2010

a few of my favorite things

 christmas... ah... christmas.

contrary to the commercial concept of this time of year of spending money, going further in debt, stressing about the crowds and busyness and keeping up with the jones's... christmas is to me is a time of traditions, family, and most of all Christ. christmas is my favorite time of year.

sights and smells and sounds create a warmth inside and a remembrance of happy times past as well as reflection of the declaration in the skies many years ago of tidings of great joy!  peace on earth!  goodwill towards men!

i can fall into the same temptation as everyone else of being so busy and consumed with the ever-growing checklist of all that december can bring, that i can lose sight of what this is my favorite time of year.  

and so, i want to share with all my readers, ... a few of my favorite things. 


snowy evergreens.  there is something enchanting about evergreens kissed with sparkling snow even for someone like me who dislikes being cold.  my sibling and i started a new tradition for this next generation of our family of going up to the very close snow capped mountains to cut down a christmas tree and play in the snow (since it doesn't snow where we live much more than once every couple years and it is even more rare for any of that to stick!).  even though i am too much of a wimp to live in it, it is nice to live surrounded on 3 sides by snow covered mountains so we can take a short drive to enjoy the snow, but come back to a warm snow-free house. 

silent night.  every year, and i mean every year, my grandma (who is the most amazing pianist i know) plays a version of silent night on the piano that she has had memorized since she was 8.  this in not one of the simple silent night sing-a-long arrangements, but a beautiful classical style, using the entire keyboard length, with running scales, delicate treble clef bells sounds, and deep resounding bass notes version of silent night.  and equally enjoyable to listening to her play is to watch her beautiful piano hands dance on the ivory keys.

decorations.  my grandma made us a christmas dome adorned with almost 100 small ornaments around wooden blocks custom to our individual family.  she made these for all her kids and grandkids as they had families of their own.  on mine is a grand piano, a guitar, a jeep, a toy train, and other things specific to our little family.  on the top of each one she always puts the nativity scene because, after all, Jesus is the center of christmas.  this nativity scene is one of many that adorn my house as our main decoration of choice to remind us wherever we look what this season is really about: Jesus, God eternal and yet Emmanuel, God with us, dwelling with us to bridge the gap between a Holy God and sinful humanity and becoming both the ultimate miracle and sacrifice that we may know God.

lefse. a traditional norwegian flat bread called lefse made from potatoes, cream, butter, flour, and salt, adorns our tables at christmas time.  it is tradition for generations in my family in addition to many butter based norwegian cookies.  we norwegians love us some butter!  special foods are one of my favorite things about this time of year.

a look of wonder.  i love the priceless looks of children who are full of wonder and excitement during christmas.  the best part of giving gifts is to see them filled with delight and giggles.  sparkling shiny eyes fill a parent's heart with joy.  i am reminded that God is our Father and He too delights in giving good gifts to His children!

the music of laughter.  i love all the sounds of delight and joy during family gatherings.  i especially enjoy the laughter of my husband.  my mom once said when we were newly married that she especially enjoyed watching bill watch tv because of how heartily he would laugh.  (not having a tv any of our married life, we only watch it over at their house.)  and laughter is contagious!  i once told bill that my dad is the one who makes the hard things of life better, and that he is the one that makes me laugh in the thick of it all.  christmas and time with family can especially be a time of laughter and joy, no matter what hard circumstances of life may surround us.

love.  what a time to remember God's love for us, our love to Him in return, and the overflow to love for others.  i love my family.  i love my children.  i am thankful that God gave me a family who have never neglected to show, live, and tell me i love you.  others may not have had the same experience growing up in an obviously affectionate family, but now is always a perfect time to start with the next generation!

snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes.  i cannot resist the sweet faces of my children.  i cannot resist the love and joy and thankfulness that wells up inside when i watch them experience the sights and sounds and smells with the newness of being a child.  it reminds me to slow down, to reflect, to come as a child, that i too may experience the majesty of His creation.

life.  one of my favorite things is this little guy will get to experience Christmas for the first time.  being surrounded this year by so many trials, i do not take for granted this new little life that the Lord entrusted to us at a time such as this.  i found out i was pregnant with him in the midst of one of the hardest assaults on hope i have ever had in my life.  just a couple weeks before the Lord gave me a word for the new year that centered on the word life.  it was cool to me at the time but took on a whole new level of meaning when in the days following i found out about some serious health battles my dad was facing.  i clung to the word of life God spoke to me, Him not being surprised like i was at the health battle we as a family would have to walk through.   i also clung to the positive pregnancy test i took a few weeks later, the day before my dad had to have surgery, just a small testimony that He would bring life out of all these trials.  hope.  and hope that does not disappoint us.  that doesn't mean that everything in life just gets magically better and nothing bad or faith-trying ever happens.  people get sick.  loved ones die.  relationships have strains.  resources dry up.  hope flickers even in the best of us.  and yet, He promises to bring life, and life more abundantly to all who believe on His name.

...and this promise of life is definitely my favorite thing.

what are some of your favorites things about christmas?


Saturday, December 4, 2010

simple woman's daybook 12.4.10

for today:

outside my window...there are leaves all over the ground and still falling off the trees.  we have great big shade trees that help with our energy costs in the summer, but are a bear to clean up after in the fall!

i am thinking...about how much i have to be thankful for.  God is always faithful, even when i am lacking in faith. 

i am thankful for... the peace that passes understanding.  i was struggling with anxiety the past couple months and i asked a group of ladies i meet with for prayer.  i have felt their prayers because circumstances haven't changed all that much, but i can feel the peace of God instead of being overwhelmed with the circumstances that are staring in my face.

remembering... to be thankful.  there is always something i can be thankful for.  God is so good to me.  He has never failed me.  i will be able to look back when i am very very old and have lived a long full life and say, He was always faithful.  He never failed me.  He is always good. 

from the learning rooms... i got to chaperon a field trip for asher's class at school this week.  it was so good to be with him all day and get to be a part of his school day.  i felt like we were needing a connecting time and we definitely got a good one this week.  i enjoy my oldest son so much.  

from the kitchen... i have been in full on fall comfort food cooking/baking mood!  we have had soups galore and i made the yummiest mushroom risotto with homemade turkey stock!  yum!  i have been in the apple crisp, blackberry crisp, and snickerdoodle mood... and yummy warm starbucks espresso roast with half and half or rooibos tea with local organic honey... well let's just say that we are keeping warm with what we are eating and drinking!

i am wearing... jammies right now.  that is right.  comfort is the key.

i am creating... christmas presents!  i am trying to do a large part homemade this year... partly for budget, partly for creativity, and partly because i want to be thoughtful and not just buy the same old things i have in the past.  no, it will not be an all homemade christmas, but moreso than i have ever done in the past.  it is really fun!

i am going... to my sweet niece havyn's 3rd birthday.  i love that quirky cutie!  can't believe she is getting so old. 

i am reading...2nd samuel in my Bible reading challenge!  it has been a while since i updated you all and i am still sticking with it, though i had a very sick spell recently that put me about 10 days behind again!  i am slowing catching up and am currently about 7 days behind where i would like to be.  but, i am loving it!  how are you doing in your Bible reading?  i am sure enjoying reading about the life of king david again.  oh, how i should write a post about all the fun stuff i am learning and enjoying in this read through of the Bible.  soon, i hope i will soon!

i am hoping... that my kiddos are totally well soon!  they got hit this week with feverish sickness and i am ready for this thing to get out of our house!

i am hearing... christmas music.  oh, how i love christmas music.  i am not talking santa songs, though they are alright, but i am talking songs like coventry carol, hark the herald angels sing, o holy night, ave maria, and songs like that!  oh, how it moves my heart!  i just feel like the power of Jesus actually coming to bring us salvation and God becoming man... wow.  there is so much gospel message in these songs sung every year. 

around the house... we are fully decorated!  we got everything done the two days after thanksgiving.  so, i am blogging while i am looking at a lit tree, we have our lights on the house outside, and nativities adorning our piano, mantle, and any flat surface in our living room.  i am loving it.  
one of my favorite things... is just realizing that this is a time of year that i am to take time from the busyness and to really meditate on the incarnation of Christ.  i mean, yes, i want to get all my gifts finished, wrapped, and i still need to figure out how we are going to make ends meet this month because we live completely on cash and we had some unexpected expenses come up recently in addition to regular bills and christmas expenses.  but... what is this time of year for?  stress over money?  no.   i think it is for reflection on the amazing gift that God gave us in becoming one of us so that He could be the perfect mediator between God and man.  in paying the price for our sin, He came to do it and Jesus forever will be in the form of a human... "only God could do it, and only man should do it," is a quote from allen hood (from the kansas city international house of prayer) in talking about the mediation in Christ between God and man and paying the price for sin.  i agree with c. s. lewis in his book miracles that God becoming a man is the greatest miracle that ever was and ever will be.  the incarnation is absolutely one of my favorite things.

pondering... philippians 4:6-7:  be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

a few plans for the rest of the week: since it is the weekend, those of us in my house who are well will be celebrating my niece's birthday, then hanging out just as a family for the weekend.  hopefully going to church with a healthy family of kids is in store for sunday and time over with my parents and my siblings and their families seems to be something we really enjoy... so may we all be well enough to do it!  no matter what, we will all be together.

picture for the day:

me and my thumb sucker up getting our christmas tree.  picture is compliments of my great sister who always documents me being at events.  i try to return the favor. 

more of the simple woman's daybook.  

please feel free to add a link in the comments below to your own simple woman's (or man's) daybook as well as link up at the link above.  i would love to read yours as well! 

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