It's been a month since I last posted. No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth. This season is always a busy one, and this year I'm making a real effort to keep things simple and try to focus on Jesus and the wonderful reason we celebrate. I've often thought of things to write, but have been occupying myself with all sorts of other things. Here, in no particular order, are a few photos of some of what's been going on around here.
Erik making muffins with the kids.
We have snow! A rare treat in our neck of the woods, the kids are really enjoying this. Peregrine was trying to convince me that I wouldn't believe how deep it was. I guess he's probably never seen more than this, about 5 or 6 inches. Do you think he believes my stories (which are true) of the snow drifts of my childhood in Alberta, drifts high enough to build tunnels in?
This is one of the more candid shots that Erik took of the kids for our Christmas card. I'm so blessed by these three.
This one really captures the kids' personalities. Peregrine, precariously perched, pushing things as far as he can, and Poppy, looking on in safety!
I've long wanted to do our stockings on St. Nicholas Day, December 6, and this year I actually got it together in time. We had fun learning about St. Nicholas, whose life was characterized by his love for God and generosity to the poor. We filled the stockings with little things that were symbolic of stories from his life. I think the focus on him, early in the Christmas season, is timely, as he teaches us that is is better to give than to receive, and helps us to remember to care for the poor.
Alethea, a happy little baker, helping make gingerbread muffins for St. Nicholas Day.
Raphael is eight months old. No longer a little baby, he is sweet, happy and on the move!
My heart is so full! Five stockings this year. We are blessed. As we sat around the breakfast table on St. Nicholas Day my eyes filled with tears of joy and gratitude for this sweet family God has given to us.
A few creations, a wee felt angel, and a little St. Nicholas below. I've been enjoying making some small gifts this year for the kids and others. I love crafting, and need to make more time for it.
A few thoughts, since I'm here.... I went out grocery shopping the Sunday after Thanksgiving and was really struck with the craziness and stress in the air. It was a good motivator and reminder to me that it is not what I want to characterize this time! I want our preparation for and celebration of Christ's birth to be full of joy and peace, and honoring to Him. It takes a real effort not to get caught up in all the madness, the greed, the commercialism, that can easily eclipse the true meaning of Christmas, and I don't always succeed.
A few tangible things we're doing this year to try to keep things less stressful are planning simpler meals and trying to eat a lot of meals from the freezer. Also, among my extended family we decided that instead of buying gifts for each other we will send money to some friends who work among the poorest of the poor in Haiti. As much as I love buying gifts, I'm really enjoying having fewer things to think about, and the joy of knowing that a family will eat for another month, or a child will go to school or an orphan will be cared for is truly more satisfying than more stuff.
When we went to get our Christmas tree this year Erik and I talked about how it's fun that we've been a family long enough to have established some of our own traditions. I know this whole process is just that, a process, but I'm excited about finding new ways of rediscovering the joy and meaning in celebrating the incarnation of our Lord. Next year I want to get it together in time to do a Jesse Tree with the kids, and would also like to participate more in alternative giving, as well as more handmade and practical gifts.
Well, I think that about wraps up my rambling thoughts for the day. I hope you are all having much joy and peace as you prepare your hearts and homes for Christ's birth!