Thursday, December 31, 2009

Get your game on

So here's our daughter after singing the National Anthem (with her school choir) at the Cleveland Caviliers pro basketball game last night. (Our seats were in the nosebleed section so these shots are from our old camera with the big zoom.) We also have pictures of Shaq and LeBron James!

Flanking the choir were both basketball teams. "Giants" is how our daughter described the players. During timeouts and half-time, a dozen police officers stationed themselves at various places on the court to protect the players. (This surprised, saddened, and fascinated me.)

Our good friends (orange shirts) had seats directly across from us -- too far to find them without the zoom, but easy with it. Angela and I texted throughout the game (which resembled a circus atmosphere with all the loud music, jumbo-tron games, and fire shooting out from the ceiling. Yep. Real fire. Towards the end of the game, my husband was rolling with laughter when he caught sight of me with my fingers in my ears).

Proud mama and the singer (and random happy boy).
Hey, Ruth -- that's my "Beautiful Life" necklace peeking out from behind my vest!

Lastly, I made a wonderful gentleman employee laugh himself silly when he realized the cotton candy I was desperate to find was for ME and not my kids. He was so suprised, his eyes got huge and he high-fived me. When I finally found the pink fluffs of heaven, I bumped into him again and held it up so he could see it. He grinned and told me he knew I'd find it because I had "a determined look" on my face. I love when God intersects our lives with fun people!

Be safe this eve, peeps. One of the reasons 2009 rocked was because of new blogging friends. And at odd times I find myself praying for you, being inspired by you, and smiling thinking about you!
I am grateful for your unique presence in my life.

See you on the flipside in 2010.
(I think "flipside" is trucker language from the days my parents had a CB radio.)
by the way...our trip to Cleveland is a hint to my WORD for the year (instead of resolutions).
Go ahead, guess!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I bought our family a new game for Christmas. The Settlers of Catan! Rave reviews from all over the world-wide web!

My family groaned. "Is this a school game?" they asked. My husband reminded me we're not really game people...or when we are, we like roll-the-dice-and-move kind of games.

We were more like Nomads Around Catan!...wandering aimlessly while our fearless leader tried to decipher the directions in this strange, new land.

At one point our daughter held up her cell phone and declared "we've got a signal in Catan!"

Turns out that Catan is one intimidating place.

Notice someone spelled out HELP with their game pieces... and I just noticed there's a Bible on the table. We certainly needed divine intervention.

Our leader. Who donned a doo-rag and a walking stick when I announced we would be playing Settlers of Catan! (His get-up didn't help us one bit.)

After about 20 minutes of trying to settle the new land, we gave our daughter cash to go buy us all ice cream.

I'm glad we didn't settle Catan. Because our new game "Laughing Nomads of Catan" was way more fun.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bird Paparazzi

I'm playing with my new camera.
And Picasa.
I had to start shooting birds since my kids are getting tired of my paparazzi antics.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Trashman Cometh

Avert your gaze from the tree on its side, the tubs brought up from the basement, the magical lights unplugged.

It's the day after. Time for clutter-free and clear. Simple and snappy. Resting places about the house for the eye. Breathing space. (A minature kitchen tree fell down 2 days ago and it took everything I had not to banish it to the basement right then and there.)

Goodbye Christmas 2009. You were as meaningful as always. Truly.

Time to apologize to the neighbors who hate to look out their front windows today...because their eyes can't help but see our much loved evergreen laying helplessly at the curb. (We've cared for it since Thanksgiving weekend, for heaven's sake!)

I'm sorry it has to be like this. Every year.

But I need my sanity. I need clean, crisp and bright in our home to battle the grays of all the days ahead. No more dark reds and greens. In with the creams and whites!

Bows in their boxes and memories tucked away in my heart. And when I see tulips at the grocery store, they're going in my cart, lickety split!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

All is Calm

google image

Merry, merry Christmas to you, my friends!

And thank you, God, for Christmas.

I switched on my computer this morning and Microsoft Windows flashed the date, implicitly acknowledging what the Gospels and the history book both affirm: whatever you may believe about it, the birth of Jesus was so important that it split history into two parts. Everything that has ever happened on this planet falls into a category of before Christ or after Christ.

In the cold, in the dark, among the wrinkled hills of Bethlehem, God who knows no before or after entered time and space. One who knows no boundaries at all took them on: the shocking confines of a baby's skin, the ominous restraints of mortality. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation," an apostle would later say; "he is before all things, and in him all things hold together." But the few eyewitnesses on Christmas night saw none of that. They saw an infant struggling to work never-before-used lungs.

-- Philip Yancy, Finding God in Unexpected Places

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Time In Between

*please slip over to the right (and down) to turn off my music before playing

You were there when your Father said,
Let there be light.
You obeyed when He whispered,
Son, You have to leave tonight
to spend nine months in a mothers womb;
Three days in a borrowed tomb.

But it's the time in between,
That brings me to my knees,
Knowing You came for me,
And all that I can be.
I'm amazed... so amazed...
And I thank You for the time in between.

Don't take much for this crazy world
To rob me of my peace.
And the enemy of my soul
Says You're holding out on me.
So I stand here lifting empty hands,
For You to fill me up again.

But it's the time in between,
That I fall down to my knees,
Waiting on what You'll bring,
and the things that I can't see.
I know my song's incomplete...
Still, I'll sing in the time in between.

So many ways...
Your love has saved the day.
And I'm grateful for them all.

But it's the time in between
The middle of two thieves
That says everything.
It's the reason I believe.
I'm amazed, so amazed.
And I thank You for the time in between.
Oh, Lord,
I thank You for the time in between.

In Jesus, something new happened: God became one of the planet's creatures, an event unparalleled, unheard-of, unique in the fullest sense of the word...because of Jesus we need never question God's desire for intimacy. Does God really want close contact with us? Jesus gave up Heaven for it. In person he reestablished the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds. Philip Yancey, Grace Notes

Sunday, December 20, 2009


My friend Angela thought it would be fun to have a Progressive Dinner. None of us had ever done one, but last night was so fun we've decided it will be an annual Christmas tradition.

We provided dessert...ta-da!

We had no lights on other than
Christmas lights and candles, so when you walked into our home it was pretty magical looking.

I stood on a step so I could wrap my arms around Steve.
At 6'5 and 5"4 I rarely get to do that.
Great food, beautifully decorated homes, kids talking and horsing around, laughter, and new Christmas memories.
A perfect December evening.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Of Friends and Tokens

So, I thought I would try out my new camera (a Canon Rebel T1i) on some loverly, perfection-in-a-box Christmas gifts I have received from two dear friends. I know this season is not about presents, but the thoughtfulness and beauty behind these gifts just make me smile from ear to ear.

Pool balls from Mary Beth. Little did she know I had them in my cart TWICE at Marshalls and put them back!

Paper Whites nestled in river pebbles nestled in distressed bird vase.

Be still my beating heart. As my new friendship with Julie blossoms and blooms this Christmas, so will the Paper Whites!


Mary Beth was thinking of me months ago when she picked up this 1934 copy of Sister Sally at a tag sale.

Speechless. Stunned. Blessed!

Whhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? An Anthro dish towel from Julie. I want to WEAR it!

Angel ornament given to me by my very first & bestest friend, my Mom.

"Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God's best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one's self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.” -Thomas Huges

*The angel ornament was a gift from my parents' landlord the first year they were married. Too poor to afford a tree or ornaments, their landlady snuck into their apartment while they were at work and placed a tiny tree on their kitchen table. She proceeded to decorate the piney gift with beautiful ornaments. You can imagine their surprise and delight when they returned home from a long day at work to find...Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009


In my study stands this beauty.

An old set of post office boxes.

Yellowed slips of paper with faded names line the open-ended rows on the other side.

I used to sort mail into those slots as a young girl.

And as I gaze at them today I remember....

Mr. Overby, whose grandparents were real slaves.

Mr. Pierson who brought me back orange gumballs from Florida every year.

Betty, who stuck grey Teaberry gum into her mouth to mimic teeth. (And who we had to remind not to steal when she came through the line..."Betty, you need to pay for that ham inside your coat.")

Tex, the town bum whose hands shook so badly we had to help him steady his change. Putting our hands into his...steady now, it's alright...I've got it.

Rich, poor, white, black, young, old.

The Grocer and his Wife treated them all with dignity and respect.

As the Grocer's Daughter, I never thought about the legacy being built by my parents with each passing gallon of milk, loaf of bread, or (almost stolen) ham.

But when I walk by my post office boxes, I am reminded.

Don't judge.

Don't try to save.

With love in your heart, simply serve.

May it be so with me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We've Got a Rebel In Our Hands

We've got a rebel in our family.

I picked up my husband at lunch and we headed to the camera store, careful not to tilt our heads in case all the research and information we've gathered would slide right out of our noggins.

Since we got home, I've only had time to read a little (these camera books need a little more action...zzzzzzz) and snap a picture of these beautiful bottles.

So until I can take some more pictures...

Go here and here (and here) for incredible photography while you wait.

And here for amazing photographs of little ones!

Thanks Carissa, Patty, and Irene for all your help.

And my generous husband for thinking I would like a new camera...I love it!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Given to Hospitality

typewriter greeting to my in-laws and their friends last night who came here for a preconcert, fireside dinner

If I speak about entertaining, but my house stays dark, I am only trying to sound good for others. If I have the gift of hospitality, but keep it hidden, I miss out on the plans that God created me to carry out when He equipped me with those gifts.

If I cut out wonderful recipes and buy beautiful tableware, but never cook for others or set a beautiful table, it profitith me nothing.

If I say that “faith, family, and friends” are the 3 most important things in life, but I don’t live it, I set a poor example for those closest to me. Actions speak louder than words.

But, if I open my home and my hearth and beckon people come in!...I imitate the welcoming nature of God. If I stand at the stove and mix and stir to nourish stomachs, I imitate the true nourisher of souls who never tires of feeding us.*

So as I clean from last night's feast...

...and begin preparations for family company tomorrow (the kind who live so close you never invite them over!)...

...and recall fondly inviting someone over to simple lunch on the spur of the moment earlier this week...

I remember how good it feels to open my home and shower people with love.

When we use our gifts (whatever they are!),

it makes the Gift-giver grin.

And when the King smiles, there is life; His favor refreshes like a spring rain. (Proverbs 16:15)

*a play on words...1 Corinthians 13

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

True Love Is...

photo: Country Living

...lifting the large, fully decorated, light-laden, full-of-water, Christmas tree out of its current container and maneuvering it into the antique zinc tub because your wife didn't get the idea from her Country Living magazine until after everything was completely done.
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