Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas in Review, Part 2

And Christmas may officially be over now.

1.  Because Maggie, Alex's sister, and her husband Tim had their little baby!  On the 26th, little Max was born.  The perfect Christmas gift.  It sounds like everything went according to plan and little Max, Mom, and Dad are all well.  Resting at home.  The little Christmas miracle.

2.  The last of the celebrations ended yesterday with my family.  Cousin time, yummy food (Texas sheet cake and Irish coffee...yes please!), and of course, of course more presents.  Yee Haw.

3.  We are headed to the mall today to pick-up the clearance specials.  It's over, people.  And we hope to find lots of cute cheap things.

4.  Everyone is sick.  My sister has strep throat.  My niece has no voice.  The Large clan all have colds.  This always happens.  So much fun, so much exhaustion, so much sickness.

And we've got the photos to prove it.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Imperfect #1

From the Wall Street Journal.  Monday, December 27, 2010.  Page B8.  The Sports Section.  Written by Jason Gay.

The top 10 sporting moments of the year.

1.  The Perfect Near Perfect Game.

Sure, it seems cuckoo to declare a midseason start by a Detroit Tiger pitcher who finished the season 4-9 the Sports Moment of 2010.  But Armando Galarraga's June 2 performance against Cleveland was exceptional not just for what he did- throwing 8 and 2/3 perfect innings until umpired Jim Joyce wrongly ruled that Mr. Galarraga failed to touch first and record the final out-but for his dignity and perspective in the aftermath.  As an emotional Mr. Joyce excoriated himself ("I just cost that kid a perfect game") the hurler declined to roast the umpire, transforming a potentially anarchic moment into the feel-good sport story of the year.  "Nobody's perfect," he said.

He's not kidding.  If 2010 taught us anything, it's that no one's even close to perfect.

Cheers to Armando Galarraga and his grace to Jim Joyce.  Because Galarraga is in touch with his imperfections, he is able to forgive someone else for their's.  And that's a remarkably difficult thing to do.

And cheers to Jason Gay for recognizing the beauty of this moment to mark it as #1.  It's so beautiful because it was such an unnatural move.  Jim Joyce recognized his fault.  And Galarraga forgave him.  No one would have blamed Galarraga for being angry or lashing out, but instead, we were all surprised to see his grace.

The grace is touching because it's undeserved.  And that's the kind of grace that changes people's lives.  I bet Jim Joyce's life will forever be blessed by the kindness shown to him.

Reading that made my Monday.  I hope you're having a surprisingly good Monda too.  Am I the only one still recovering from the holiday?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas in Review

Elation was mixed with pure exhaustion and we enjoyed a wonderfully lazy day.

We started the day with sweet rolls from a can, bacon, and coffee.  Lunch was peanut butter sandwiches and dinner was frozen pizza with a chocolate birthday cake for Jesus.  Needless to say, I am finished with the kitchen.  We are on the outs.  Only leftovers or frozen, thank you very much.

We watched the snow and Swan Lake.

We talked with the family online.  4 Large families in 4 cities all talking in pajamas together.  I love technology.  Napoleon Dynomite, anyone?

We bundled up and scootered outside but didn't stay long.

We went to bed at 9pm.  Merry Christmas to me, right?

Today is Sunday so we are up and at 'em again.  Alex left the house hours ago.  Christmas on Saturday is killer for clergy.  Christmas on Wednesdays are the best!

It's been an abundant week.  And God's presence has been very real to us.  And for that, we are thankful.  

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It's been a full week.  I'm treating myself to a seat on the couch and a blog post to share because I just cut my 10 pound pork tenderloin and it is marinading for the day.  Protein accomplished.  Time for a break.

My friend wrote a short blog post on the importance of community (click here to see it) and it really rang true for me.  This week has been all about community.

I wrote earlier about 3 friends who need our prayers.  I'm pleased to say all 3 are moving in positive directions and there's no doubt in my mind that the Lord is blessing them with peace and healing.  And I also know they have been blessed by a great community of loving people.  We are the hands and feet of Jesus and a lot of people are coming out of the woodwork to help.

It's incredibly touching.

Our friend E was in a car accident.  So a mom in our mother's Bible study quickly devised a plan to bless her with food and cards and well wishes.  She designated her house as a drop off point and arranged for delivery.  And she told me that women she had never met were bringing meals to her house for E.  This community of women went above and beyond the call of duty to help and it undoubtedly reflected the lavish love that God has for us.

The spirit of giving this season has been very real.

And I think giving is beautiful just like this little girl's smile.  :-)

My friend Dorry wrote blog post this week on Christmas shopping (click here to see it) and it reminded me how much I dislike shopping.  It's just not very fun for me.  But, on the other hand, I love the grocery store.  I love feeding people and entertaining and giving to friends in that way.  And this Christmas week, I've had ample opportunity to do so.

We had a fabulous time Tuesday with our college friends.  Lots of razzing each other.  Lots of merriment.  And lots of laughs.  When we're together, we (for better or for worse) revert right back to our college days.

Wednesday, we hosted our Colorado friends for supper.  Exhausted and drained, they are pleased to be safe in town and are eagerly awaiting their son and brother who should be meeting them here shortly from Germany (and previously from Afghanistan).  It was a warm evening of community.  And tomorrow, we'll do it again with church friends and staff resting between our 3 Christmas Eve services.

It's been a blessing for me to host so much this season.  A yummy meal and a cozy home is such a gift to share.  It's doesn't have to be the most creative food or have lavish  place settings or be perfectly coordinated.  It just has be authentic and people feel loved.

And now my break is coming to an end.  Dora's Christmas show is over.  Eloise is headed my way and I think we're going to knock out some brownies before Cordelia awakes.  

(And don't tell anyone.  Our pie for Christmas Eve is Sara Lee's frozen apple dutch pie.  It's going to be awesome.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Snow Fairy

Our beautiful Snow Fairy is showing us the beauty of this week.

Thank you, Snow Fairy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Comfort, Healing, Strength

Even though this week is supposed to be full of hopeful expectation, baking, parties, last minute gift shopping, and late night toy assembly, it's already been full with a lot more.

A lot more disappointing things than holiday stress.

I ask for your prayers for our friend D. who has been wounded in Afghanistan.  For comfort in his soul, healing in his body, and strength on his journey ahead.

I ask for your prayers for our friend E. who was in a car accident last night on the way home from our church pageant.  Please pray for comfort in her soul, healing in her body, and strength in her journey ahead.

And, I ask for your prayers for our friend S. who is suffering from a brain tumor.  Pray for comfort in her soul, healing in her body, and strength for her journey head.

I've been burdened all day with the troubling conditions of these three friends.  They've been heavy on my heart and mind as I've stepped through each part of my day.  And I wondered to myself, why Lord?  this is Christmas.  why so much sadness right now?

The answer came to me in my next thought.

This is why I came.

This is our Christmas celebration.  Jesus came to comfort, heal, and strengthen us.

Our hope arrived in a manger, endured great suffering, knows us intimately, and because of this, we can all have a merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Disordered Life


For the next year my life is going to be disordered, unruly, and flat out dirty.

I've been spinning around the kitchen for the past hour trying to clean-up breakfast, prepare lunch for the girls and me, clean-up lunch, and get some meatballs in the crock pot of this afternoon's church pageant and birthday party for Jesus.   Phew!

And I've been trying not to slip and fall on this thing that is right in my path.  But typical me, I haven't bothered to bend over and pick it up.  Instead I just avoid and get more and more annoyed each time.

Ugh!  This house.  No order!  I really can't live like this.

Then I looked down to see what it was that I was actually cursing...

Do you know what that is?

That's a toilet paper roller.  

The culprit--Cordelia.  She absolutely loves to unroll all the toilet paper and pull out the roller and spread the love all over the house.  And no, I don't let her just play by herself in the bathroom.  There's usually a sister involved.  A sister that is using the bathroom and a younger sister that is very curious and watches and then helps and . . . 

Don't worry.  Please don't be afraid to come to my house.  I've put the bathroom back in order and I'm now, after looking at this photo, I think I'm going to mop too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Yes she did!

I'm sorry for my brief blogging delay.  I know you are so eager to know the outcome of Friday's pageant, Mom.  (-:

It was exhausting and wonderful.  Eloise was blue dynamite.  She wore her costume so proudly.  Walked down the aisle hand in hand with Joseph.  Cordelia let our friend hold her during the big show, and Alex cracked some great jokes which added some much needed levity.  Preschool pageants should be fun and relaxed, definitely not to be taken too seriously.

Hopefully I'll have a photo to share soon.

But my biggest brag is that Eloise is now the proud owner of a new watch.

"Ask me what time it is, Mom."

"What time is it, Eloise?"

"It's four and two minutes."

"Thanks, sweetie."

Eloise bought her new watch with her paci.  Alex and Eloise went to the toy store.  We told her she could pick any toy in exchange for the pacifier.  She handed the watch and the paci to the clerk, who was a little confused and not humored.  Alex whispered, "just take it and throw it away."  And Eloise was so proud!

Her pacifier is gone and she hasn't looked back once.  We couldn't be more proud of our big little girl.

Like I said, hopefully some photos coming your way soon.

Oh, and if you can't find us in the next few days, we'll be at church.  :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pink Snow Grace

Today it snowed.

It was beautiful, calm, and quiet.  I think that's what I love most about the snow.  It absorbs the outside world.

There's a magical stillness that comes with snow.

And I like that for a while.  But I also love the fun that it brings.  Being outside when it's cold stinks.  It's just cold.  But being outside when it's cold and snowy is fun.  

So we suited up and headed out to play.

Eloise worked hard.  She tugged and pulled and really leaned into the hill.  And I just sat there taking photographs.  

It was worth it though, because when we hit the downhill, both girls laughed hysterically.

Have you ever seen so much pink in the snow?  I mean really.  I think all this pink is making me sick.  I wish I had taken a photo of myself.  I was wearing my black ski pants and my black coat with a blue/green hat.  I'm cool and hip like that.  

Eloise gave us some early Christmas gifts.

They are pink too.

I am still worried that Eloise won't put on her blue Mary costume tomorrow morning because it's blue AND if anyone calls it a robe instead of "a dress" I know she won't put it on.  She informed me today that Mary wears "a dress not a rope."

"You mean a roBe, sweetie."

"No Mom, Mary wears a Dress!"

"Yes, sweetie, a dress."

The pageant is going to be adorable and I won't take a single photo at it.  I'll be kneeling at the front of the aisle coaxing the cows, sheep, stars, shepherds, etc to come down the aisle.  Alex will be narrating.  And Cordelia, well, she'll be giving my left bicep a workout as I try to hold her and kneel and coax the children down the aisle.  I don't think she'll sit with anyone else while she watches her mom, dad, and sister up in front of the church.

Oh, yes, we'll all be in front of the church tomorrow.  We better get used to it, I guess, because this is the way it's going to be, for a while at least, until the girls are teenagers and refuse to enter the church building at all.  

Anyway, this post was really about snow and pink and playing.  And by the grace of God, my girls will love coming to church when they are teenagers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I love my girls

I don't have much to say in this post.  I think all I have to say is that I love my girlies.  

And these photos melt my heart and tickle my soul.

And I'm officially very cold sitting in my own house right now and that makes me want to go to bed immediately.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why do I blog when there is laundry to fold?

Why do I blog when there is laundry to fold and a dishwasher to empty and 1,000 toys to pick-up and 2 sweaters that need to be hand washed that have been sitting on the laundry machine for 4 weeks?

That's a very good question!

My neighbor is a physician's assistant.  And so she cares for lots of patients everyday.  Her boss gave her an unusual assignment for tomorrow, though.  She is to do a webinar (which is a new word for me) about de-stressing during the holidays.

I laughed out loud when she told me this today.

1.  I love the term webinar.
2.  She's never used power point and is now clicking away to figure the program out.
3.  De-stress during the holidays?  That's a joke, right?  I mean, come on, what would the holidays be if there was no stress.  Stress is what makes the holidays happen.  We all know that if I didn't run around making gifts and cookies and decorating and touring the neighborhood lights and attending parties and chairing the pageant, it wouldn't be very fun....I know, I know, we could sit around and ponder the meaning of Christmas...but that wouldn't be very festive, would it?  (I'm party kidding, I'm partly serious.)

So I laughed at her.  And like any good leader, she enlisted my help.  (When someone is against you, bring them on your team.  Great leadership idea.)  So I'm supplying her with some photos of Christmas and stress and my limited power point knowledge  This is what I came up with.

So why do I blog when I have a billion chores to do?  Because blogging is fun to me.  And blogging is a de-stress for me.  And I don't have to blog so it's naturally so much more enjoyable.  Doing things that I have to do is really no fun at all.

I hope your holidays are stressful/not stressful/stressful enough to be full/stressless enough to contemplate the reason for the season.

And I hope my photos of my everyday life--chaos and beauty/stress and fun-- can reach some of the attendees of my neighbor's webinar.  If nothing else, it's sure to make a few people smile, right?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Little Nicholas

Today I had a blast!  

I had the opportunity to take photos of my friend's little boy Nicholas.  An adorable little 1 year old who posed and smiled and made photographing him so very easy.

And now, instead of typing the preschool pageant programs that are due tomorrow, I'm editing his sweet photos.  And it's such a blast!

I feel like a college senior playing solitaire instead of writing a term paper.  Those were the days, weren't they?

So here's a few of my favorites.  Enjoy!

And my absolutely favorite.