The photo uploader is still missing.....and I have some GREAT pictures to post!!!! Grrrrrrrr. I am painted almost all over & you have not been invited in or near my house for good reason -because it is a disaster. Priority #1 is to finish painting. So I have literally been stepping over laundry & praying that breakfast would magically appear at my house...and you know what? It did. Big shout out to Kimberly. You really have no idea the gift that rests in that pumpkin bread. The kids were giong to have leftover lasagna tomorrow for breakfast. So. Many thanks. From all of us.
I want to be finished with painting so that I can enjoy completely these next few days before Christmas. We still have lots to cram in! I'm tempted to move Christmas to the 26th just because I NEED AN EXTRA DAY!!!! There's baking that needs to be done & a playroom that should be in good order for the big day & boxes that should have been shipped last week but alas....they haven't. And friends I desperately want to just sit & sip a cup of coffee with..... Argh.
But as I paint I do have the joy of reading the Words of Scripture over & over again. And when I do this I am often amazed at what speaks to my heart. Mary, for instance, has been on my heart a lot. I was pregnant during a December & I clearly remember gasping at the thought of riding a donkey. I found that my honda accord sat waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too low for someone as pregnant as I was & taking cues from all around me I assumed I needed an SUV for this 7 or 8 pound person that would be riding with me soon. Turns out that all I really needed were diapers, a pack n play was sufficient, like 4 onesies, wipes, bottles, a blanket & some sleep. I didn't really need the SUV. But I digress.....
I think about the law of the day when Mary was born. An unwed woman carrying a child?? I am betting that from the outside it looked very "unwise" for Jospeh to stay with her. I wonder what her parents said. I wonder what his parents said. I wonder about the Son of God being born in a way that may have caused conflict....even scandal. I wonder about this idea that God blesses with comfort & wealth & health, & then I see the Savior of the world born in a barn.
I heard a preacher speak the other day while I was painting. Matt Chandler (thanks Jill :) ). He said something along the lines of how sometimes we can begin to think of our Bibles as God. We cling so tightly to the principles that we lose sight of the relationship.
Jesus' birth paints a sweet picture of that. According to the law & sound principle - none of this made much sense.
I was driving down the road the other day & I pulled up to an intersection where my car & I frequently travel. And the light was red. But there was a crossing guard waving me forward.
The crossing guard trumps the red light. You should always always stop at red lights. It's the law. It keeps us & others safe. Unless a policeman steps in with information that you don't have access to & tells you to drive right through it.
I am not a person who likes being indebted to people. I have a hard time receiving help because of it. I wonder 'are there strings attached?' & 'what will be expected of me if I say yes?' So, I probably say 'no' more often than 'yes'. Salvation was a tough one for me to grasp because of the feeling that I was indebted thing. I lived my life under the idea that I must perform better, serve better, do it all a little. bit. better. Trying to get it right all the time is exhausting. Trying to be understood all the time brings me to the point of crazy. Understanding that God didn't give me a set of rules to be locked in a prison with. He offered the opportunity for me to know Him. And to rest in the truth that He already knew me.......and He liked me.
He's the God who said to the men who desperately wanted to please God by observing His laws ....that healing a man on the sabbath was a good thing. That being withHim was the "why" of it all anyway. That's what He always wanted. To be with us.
Last year I let painting take the best of me & I feel like I "missed" Christmas a little bit. I definitely have been painting more than I should lately, but our nice little break is just around the corner. However, I'm not missing the fun of Christmas this year. We are baking & making ornaments & drinking hot chocolate for breakfast & it's been great!! When we pulled out the ornaments this year I was surprised at the emotion around some of them. My mind would flash back to the ones they made. Remembering the time & place. And that their hands were smaller....and how are they getting so big so fast?? And this seemed to be the 1st year that at least the big girl "got it." So.....this is one of the ornaments we have made this year. The ball. I think she did a great job with it!!! I would cover my tree with them if Icould. But I will practice self control & save room for the years to come.
Getting so big. With a personality that she barely carry all by herself. She's a mess. And we're all pretty much in love with her. She's a girl who knows what she wants & she's a big communicator because of it. It's funny the things I thought were absolutely true about her just a few months ago I am seeing differently. She's slowly showing us who she is. I can't imagine life without this baby who jumps up & down when I walk into her room to get her. Who claps & cheers for her daddy after he "prays for the day" in the car. Who will often exit a room with a turn of her head & a simple "kisses!" as she blows one away. Amazing little girl. How come I get to witness this time of her life?? A total priviledge.
Lee & I took a stroll down memory lane last night & laughed until we almost cried reliving this moment. And after we got some control over ourselves I started reading through old posts I had written. I am so glad for the memories recorded here. The funny things these kids have said along the way. And the way they said it. It has all passed & I would have forgotten without this sweet reminder. And I am actually sad that I haven't kept better records lately. The kids are still funny. And a lot is going on...... A lot of stretching & straining within my own life, which I am thankful for & even that is weird to say. It amazed me how aware I became of my words on this blog - not knowing who was reading them & if it mattered to me. So I took a break. An unplanned break. And though it has been okay to have this break....I want to get back. And so I plan to. Tomorrow sometime i'll be here...... so I'll see you then :).
Now, we are not actually doing Christmas cards this year - this season has already gotten away from us & I don't think we can add another "to do" to the list without going absolutely crazy. But we do want a picture for our books... and this isn't it.
Nor is this...poor baby. She looks as if she is being lovingly strangled in this picture.
Or this ...
But they make for good memories....and quite honestly it's much more authentic this way :).
Can't say that I particularly like this picture of myself - but the picture of that baby just makes me laugh. Perfectly captures how she is trying to smile for pictures these days. If she is being forced into a picture - this is her trying-real-hard face. And I am in love with it. She truly has a wonderful smile.....but this isn't it. More pictures to come of us all enjoying this Christmas season...I'll leave the ones out where I'm up to my eyeballs in paint.
We made it back home to see my family for Thanksgiving & without much planning it turned out that both of my sisters were there too! Would you look at all of those girls?? It was loads of fun & I may have doubled my weight in the food I ate.....and I consider it well worth it. Complete gluttony. And I do feel bad about that. A little bit. I have sisters & with girls comes drama. And the drama has made me a better person. I'm thankful for those girls standing next to me. And for all those littles standing in front of us - rotting their teeth out with those lollies. And that boy would have nothing to do with the girls' table. He sat proudly next to his daddy & his uncle & drank the 1st sprite out of a bottle ever. In fact, I'm not sure he has ever ordered a soft drink at a restaurant before. It was a big night for the kid.
So there's a little update from Thanksgiving.....I'm a little delayed on the blog updates these days. I hope i am getting better....but I can't make any promises :). Christmas has arrived! & I have joined the crazy.
I don't know about you, but I love so many things about Christmas. I love that my first baby was born around Christmas - I love hot chocolate with Christmas music playing & cookies baking & bringing treats to friends & decorating the tree & Christmas PJs & being reminded about the reason of this huge celebration. I am way more overwhelmed about the reason for Christmas with littles around wanting to know about the "why" of all the madness.
But equally on the other side of all the joy & fluttering I am balanced by the anxiety of the cost of Christmas. The cost of meeting everyone's expectations & checking things off the list.
And I know I'm not alone because I have heard more TV & radio personalities talking about how to deal with this particular issue. And if I sound really cynical there - well, maybe it's because I guess I do sound that way.
But the truth is that I LOVE giving the right gift - the one thing that will make that person so happy & feel so thought of.
I love to wrap presents.
I love all of those things.
It's the cost that drowns me in those heavy feelings.
That & the crowds.
Well. I am learning that there are ways to be doubly generous during the holidays.
This Christmas when you give a gift you can feel so good that you have been a part of big stories. I keep hearing about people who have wonderful gifts available & they are raising money for great causes - helping women & children rescued from the sex trade & people on the journey to adopt .... and more...I'll update again...but for now, check this out.Gus & Lula - has AWESOME Christmas cards & more.
I plan to buy a print or two & have them framed in my house.
There are also crazy fun silhouettes!
Another sweet adoptive momma is making Christmas cards as well. Here's a sample of her work & her contact info