December 22, 2010

God Turned Into a Baby

I'm not sure why, but I don't feel like Christmas. We've done most of the usual Christmas things. The tree is up and decorated with ornaments that all tell stories. There are lights on evergreens outside and on the deck. I've baked a little and decorated Christmas cookies. We cut out snowflakes and made homemade wrapping paper. I've sent and received Christmas cards. I've read countless Christmas stories to the kids and sang almost every Christmas carol I can think of. We've had Christmas music playing so much I can hardly stand to listen to it anymore.

But where is that "feeling?"

In my effort to live intentionally, where did I loose that Christmas "feeling?"

I know the cliches...I've heard them since I was born. And I believe them.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Let's keep Christ in Christmas.

And I'm the President of the "Merry Christmas" club who refuses to use the term "holidays." (My *favorite* Christmas card that I've seen so far says "Merry Everything!" Gag me. Being politically correct is like trying to.......never mind, I digress.)

And it hurts me to think that maybe I've known and firmly believed these things for so long that they no longer hold me in awe or inspire me.

My mind drifts back to a conversation I had with the little girl last night while making popcorn chains for the birds. We were talking about Jesus coming to earth on Christmas, and Ava says,

"God turned into a baby."

I'm struck by what she says and wonder if it's irreverent. But without getting into a theological discourse on the Trinity, I just nod...and ponder.

And then only today I read these words at one of my favorite blogs:

"I think of the Word made flesh and the God who created the universe contained in a body like this, a scrap of seven-something pounds who struggles to hold up his head and needs every need cared for, who relies entirely on others for every want."

(I strongly encourage you to read the entire post at These Three Remain by clicking HERE.)

And I really think about it. God, who knows all, sees all, is everywhere, and is all-powerful, became one of the most needy things on earth, a newborn baby, in order to save us.

He's a King, yet He humbled himself to a helpless infant with poor parents sleeping in a barn.

He's the Creator of Universe, yet He came to earth to wash feet and walk dusty roads and make friends with undesirable people.

How could this really be His plan to redeem us? Why this way? It seems so backwards.....but maybe it's just us that are backwards.

I think about those words again, words spoken only just this past Sunday.

"In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and Word was God...and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." John 1:1, 14a

And on top of coming to earth as tiny newborn, He die....the most humiliating way....on a take away my sin.

That's the wonder of Christmas. Once again, my feelings don't reflect the truth. This is all the awe I need in my Christmas.

December 16, 2010

Histograms are not like Mammograms

So even though I sorta knew what they were for, I now have a better understanding of histograms thanks to a couple of posts over at life with my 3 boybarians.

(And for those of you who aren't sure, histograms have nothing to do with your ovaries or having a hysterectomy. They are a graphical representation of the light in the pixels of a photograph....uh...I think.)

I've always stuggled with knowing if the lighting in my photos was good...or at least adequate. I knew that the histogram could tell me. After all, like Darcy said over at her blog, "Pixels don't lie." I also knew that histograms were pretty simple and that one side meant dark and one side meant light.

But.....what she didn't say was that pixels aren't very direct either.

I was really hoping that my histograms would tell me one of two things:


GOOD PHOTO: You are really good at this. This is a great shot. You should post this.


BAD PHOTO: You do not know what you are doing. Throw your camera in the garbage. Do not go past go. Do not collect $200.

But...*sigh*... this is not the case. Even though I do feel more comfortable translating a histogram, there are still so many aspects of a photograph that make it "good" or "bad", my head just spins.

And why do I even care?

I just want pics of my kids.....right?

But taking pictures makes me happy....

...except for when the pictures are truly horrible and I don't know how to make them better. Which is often. So very often.


It's okay...I'm learning....slowly.

I so wanted to join the Holiday Bokeh Party at "life with my 3 boybarians" but I just couldn't get a good bokeh shot with any of our Christmas lights around here. But if you like good photography and if you like Christmas, I encourage you to go take a look at all the pretty shots by clicking HERE.

December 13, 2010


It's cold. Highs are in the single digits. The snow in our yard is slowly growing deeper, and everything appears barren.

It almost seems impossible that just a few short months ago there was green grass beneath bare feet and lush leaves overhead providing shade.  Only a few months ago, gardening consumed much of time and I was eager for a winter break, but now I already miss my garden.

It also seems impossible to me that in a week the days will start slowly growing longer. Was the sun really up 'til past 9:00 at night in the summer? Impossible.

But most of all, it seems impossible to me that in every seemingly dead branch and in my frozen mulched blueberry cages and beneath the snow.......there is life. In fact, there are already tiny little buds on the trees. How can anything endure such cold temperatures and harsh winds and still produce life?

The Creator of all things always preserves life.  When His first 2 created humans sinned against Him, He could have destroyed them and started over, but He didn't. He preserved life.

When demons began to infiltrate the world in horrible ways, and when He wiped the world clean with the flood, He could have given up on us all, but He didn't. Through Noah, He preserved life.

No season, no sin, no harsh reality.....not even death....can stop life.

Through Jesus we have forgiveness from all sins. Despite harsh reality, we have the hope of a heavenly eternity. Through cold and barren seasons, God preserves life.....our life, our soul, our hope. Even if our life, our hope, is encapsulated in a tiny, hard bud comparatively so small against the winds and blizzards, one day God will breathe the warm breath that causes the little bud to open.

It's cold, but inside our home it's warm and there's life.....and nothing is impossible.

Staying inside today and listing my thanks with the group over at A Holy Experience.

Thank you God for:

#71. feeling better today

#72. the worst of the illness over the weekend when the husband was home

#73. a husband joyfully helping and cooking and cleaning when I felt stuck to the couch

#74. bright sun streaming through the windows

#75. a little girl already adapted to her cast - 5 weeks to go!

#76. cheery Christmas lights

#77. that there's always enough

#78. and that there's usually an abundance

#79. books to read while seemingly pinned to the couch

#80. finding joy and cooking and baking

December 11, 2010

Those November Days

{Once again finishing a post I started over a week ago...}

Sigh....another month gone. I'm really not sad; November was a bit busy for my taste. I tried to hold back all the craziness from my family...freezing meals to save for days when I knew I wouldn't be able to cook, cutting out extra activities, being intentional about planning family fun and quiet, and working hard at becoming better at what I've long known to be one of the keys to a less stressful mommy-hood - using my time purposefully instead of just reacting to life.

I'm still learning how to embrace a purposeful existence and how to develop more consistency in my life and in my children's life. Having intentional plans for laundry and cooking has definitely helped to anchor my homemaking skills and the pattern that has ensued gives our home a rhythm and leaves me less frazzled.

As I strive to develop routines that become the heartbeat of our home and the skeleton of our children's growing years, I'm seeing the variety of ways routine can be expressed. With the business leading to inconsistent (although increasingly more reliable) works hours for the husband, I struggle to balance the need, for my both my children and myself, to have daily routine and structure with the need to have family meals and togetherness. Adam is not home at the same time every day, and supper times vary so widely some days I feel I'm in a perpetual state of planning, cooking, and keeping warm the meal. But I'm seeing that the routine that brings cohesion to us as a family unit is not just daily patterns, but weekly, seasonally, and annual occurences.

I longed for more consistent traditions growing up, and as I work to chissel out and develop meaningful traditions for this little family, I'm learning more and more that even the little things we do together on a consistent basis become the pulse that steadies us and holds us together.

Now, of course I realize there is a place for flexibility, but the term flexibile implies that there is at least some structure, some core element that isn't changed despite the bending and twisting.

And maybe my head cold is just too severe for this blogging stuff because I can see that the thoughts of this past month have sort of spewed out into repetitive paragraphs that do nothing to delineate or solidify the multiple micro-topics I have just touched on.

So I will look back for a moment to see how the past month evolved into memories.

We welcomed the first snow of the year, (and captured it with a crooked, under-exposed photo)

and dug out the boxes of Christmas Ornaments to hang on the tree, telling the story that goes with each one.

The geese honked their good-byes as the days turned much colder.

And we wondered how to pass the days indoors.

Although the calender did not yet declare winter's arrival, we felt it settle upon us. Our weekend family times together grew lengthier and less harried and although my week days were busy, the quiet of the winter weekend was a comforting balm after the business of packing in summer and autumn work and fun for 6 months.

We began to dig into the produce stored up in the basement and freezer, and all those weeks of planting, weeding, and gathering in the sun were appreciated. The harvest was over, the dust had settled, and the snow lingered.

The days have grown so short, but the evenings seem so long.

The cold wind howls through all the trees around us, but our hearts embrace contentment.

The snow drifts over the road to our house, but home is where we want to be anyway.

The land rests and we rest.

December 7, 2010


Do you ever feel empty?

Like the last drop has been squeezed from you?

Like you don't have any more to give?

I know that feeling.

But I also know my feelings don't reflect the truth, and that sometimes, I simply cannot trust my feelings.

I have a Source that continually fills my cup, to overflowing in fact. The only problem is that when I fill my cup with myself, I'm gonna run out...some days more quickly than others. Then, before I know it, I'm empty.

In fact, when I fill my cup with myself, I'm not giving the best I can give. I'm only giving with my feeble, selfish, prideful maybe it's okay that I run out.

Because then I need a different Source, something other than myself. Something that lasts, something that refills, something that overflows.

When I'm filled with God, with what He gives - His grace, His Son-the only source of eternal life, His Spirit, His love - I never run out. In fact, everything I do is done out of an overflowing.........not an emptying but an overflowing.

But, here's what gets me, I've gotta choose this. So I'm forced to Face Myself and remember this:

My feelings will lead me astray.
My emotions will betray me.

Even when I feel empty, I'm not.

God has given me His grace. The same grace that allows us to breath each day is for me.
God has given me His love. The same love that sent Jesus to the cross is for me.
God has given me His power. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead is for me.

I am a branch that has been grafted into the Vine of His being (John 15:5). Everything that flows through Him, flows through me.

He has given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

So, I'm not empty. I'm full, and I've got an eternal source.


And before I actually link up, I read this at A Holy Experience,

"...we can get through today because we’ve been given every gift in Christ and today we can do the work of Christ because we’ve been given the abundance of Christ."

and this,

"In every way, every child of God has every gift from God and salvation isn’t only a free gift — it is every gift ever needed.

In Christ I need nothing – but to whisper thanks."

and I smile because God is just so good and I thank Him for:

#61. Jesus, who gave up everything to come to earth and do nothing wrong and die for me

#62. His resurrection and my new life

#63. the marvel of frosty winter trees combined with a bright sunny skies

#64. a quiet week to re-group and re-cover after yesterday's incident

#65. the husband greeting my tired self this morning, whispering, "Go back to bed. I made my own lunch."

#66. so many prayers from so many caring people for one toddler's broken arm

#67. the meal my mom put together for us last night despite her busy schedule

#68. the quiet hum of a furnace now working

#69. the friend who spent 3 evenings in our nearly 100 year old basement helping fix our furnace

#70. that Jesus is right here, right now, even when I don't feel Him

This is me, and I'm overflowing.

Facing Myself