PSALM 104:34

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Weird Christmas :)

Weird Christmas, that's all that can be said.  1.  We were in Indiana.  Enough said.   2.  It was warm outside, warm enough that I didn't even need a jacket, no snow,  not even a cool breeze!  3.  Allen was VERY sick.

Christmas was weird, but wonderful in its own special way.

First, Christmas started on Christmas Eve when Josh and Annabeth (our niece and nephew in Arkansas woke up and Skyped with us to open their presents.  For them, Santa came on Christmas Eve, Eve.  (Sorry David ;)  It was really fun and they were really excited about their Arkansas Razorback stuff, make-up vanity, and Angry Birds gear.  We can't wait to really be with them next week!

On Christmas Day:

 Allen was sick with the stomach flu from Tuesday through Christmas and after waking up at 7:30 to open presents with my family in Arkansas over Skype,  Allen dragged his sick self to church and sat in the very back corner pew in case of emergencies.  Ironically, the pastor's 8 year old daughter soon joined us.  Apparently the stomach flu is rampant around here right now. We were the sick Christmas church circle.  Merry Christmas...blagh!  ;)  After the service we were thinking of just going home to wallow in Allen's sick misery, but Jackie and Len McDonald had invited us to their Christmas celebration and didn't care if we came sick because Calvin already had the same thing.

While everyone else enjoyed lasagna and alfredo, these two nibbled crackers and sipped Sprite.  It look very pretty and Christmas-y though, right?
Darrel, Len, and Ollie read the Christmas story, reminding us of the reason for the season.  I think this is the sweetest picture of three generations of family love.

Next came the wild child excitement of opening gifts.  These children are not related to us in any way besides love.  Their families have "love adopted" us as their own, and we love these kids like real nieces an nephews.  We were just so glad to watch any kids enjoy the crazy excitement of Christmas day gift opening.  

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day."  -Andy Rooney

These kids also made for me one of my favorite gifts so far this Christmas:

Mine is the purple cow.  Caitlin's was an angel.  Are they not adorable???   Pepsi even loved it.  She thinks its a dog toy because of the bell. ;)

After leaving the excitement and love of the McDonald family Christmas, Allen and I headed home to relax for a while.  We called our families and enjoyed talking with each of them.  My family was at my Gramma Lynch's house in Berryville and there was much creativity going on.  They made their own rendition of "Deck The Halls."  You HAVE to check it out on my Facebook page.  Its HILARIOUS!!!  David, Cheryll, Ben, Nate, and Grampa all participate!  I love it!

Allen also participated in a rendition of Jingle Bells which is now memorialized on YouTube: 

The night ended with a trip to Caitlin and Darrel McDonald's house.  We exchanged gifts, drank cocoa, Caitlin was awarded her "Chili badge" for a chili rating #1 in Allen's book, and we watched Mickey Christmas cartoons on YouTube.  Obviously, Allen was feeling better at this point to try Caitlin's chili.  It really is a great achievement to make something rating a 10 with him.  He'll eat anything, but he gives out high complements sparingly.  And she told me she couldn't cook 2 years ago.  Silly girl.

Today, Allen is feeling much better.  We still have Christmas in Arkansas later this week.  We are just celebrating a little late because that's when we get to do it. :)

Merry "weird" Christmas everybody.  It was awesome!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Away in a Manger

Today Allen and I were driving around, doing some last minute Christmas shopping, but really just taking it slow and enjoying each other.  You may not believe that we were really taking it slow 2 days before Christmas, but its true.  We really went to "Little" Nashville, parked the car, and just walked through the shops, taking in the sights and enjoying ourselves.  One of the first things I saw after getting out of the car was this beautiful manger scene.  I have no idea how old it is, but its a little banged up, so I'm assuming its been around through at least a few Christmas's.  I thought it was quite beautiful.  And right then and there, Allen and I decided that this would be our goal of the day.  We were looking for Nativity scenes among the quaint shops of Nashville.

It was a beautiful reminder of the reason that anyone ever even began to celebrate Christmas.  It is the celebration of our Lord, Jesus' birth.  No wonder, to us it seems joyous and happy.  All of Heaven must join in our celebration.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Memories and Presents

As a matter of principle, Christmas really must include Christmas movies.  Charlie Brown, Rudolph, The original Grinch, the list goes on and on...but White Christmas is something special.  There is something so nostalgic about the 1950's movie with its dresses, and its songs, the train...

I love it! Quintessential Christmas.

But, my favorite part of the movie really has nothing to do with Christmas.  It is the song that is sung a couple of times, both by Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen as well as by Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye: The Sisters Song.  Its silly, but I love it because I can remember singing and dancing to it so many times with my own sisters.  

My gorgeous ballerina


my beautiful sweet baby whose favorite color was the same as mine and favorite animal was a snake.

Isn't it funny, and kind of sad, how we enjoy, but don't really appreciate the time that we have with the people that we love?  I babysat a family of 6 kids a couple of nights ago.  The oldest three are boys and the youngest are girls.  I was there for about 7 hours and the whole time, I couldn't help but keep thinking how recent it was that I was at home hanging out with my 5 younger siblings.

Christmas really always was a huge deal at our house.  We were excited for a month, eating cookies, pumpkin bread and fudge and decorating.  The house would be beautiful with a snow village, lights, and of course our Christmas tree...decorated from the middle up with mom's old glass ornaments and from the middle down with our childish handcrafted additions.  But, there were NEVER any presents under the tree...I never remember literally believe that a man named Santa came down our chimney and delivered the gifts.  But, we new that on Christmas Eve there was not a thing under our tree, not a scrap.  Our annual trip to church for a candle lit service was delicately exquisite, then our annual drive to look at lights in our pajamas usually included at least a little bickering, but mostly awe and amazement.  Coming home, excitement built and no one wanted to go to bed, but to bed we must go, because Christmas couldn't come till the morning.  My mother has since revealed the amount of work she put in every Christmas Eve.  Most of the presents were never wrapped until then, and even if we each only got three, that is three times six, thirty-six presents to wrap!  She also always made sure to stuff our stockings with essentials.  Candy, socks, make-up, whatever little thing would make us happy.    In the morning, Anna and I knew we were not allowed to leave our room till 6 AM, we just didn't know that it was because our poor mother had been up till 3.  Still, we snuck out and peaked at the tree!  Beauty at its finest!  Presents were heaped (36 makes a lot of heaping) and stockings were waiting.  We would usually wake up around 4:30 or 5 and entertain ourselves excitedly until 6 on the dot.  Then we would fly through the house waking the boys and Rache and running to mom and dad's room at the other end of the house.  There was always an excited cuddle involved with 8 people in their full sized bed and excited requests for them to PLEASE get up and start Christmas!

I really don't remember a lot of specific gifts that I got during my early Christmas years.  But I do distinctly remember the excitement and the love.  We loved Christmas.

So, if every story has to have a moral, I suppose this one's is to enjoy what you have when you have it.  Someday I believe I will look back on my life as it is right now with the same fondness and sadness at its passing.  I have beautiful friends and an easy, happy life...I am thankful at this Christmas season.  Thankful for my memories and thankful for the the present.  

Monday, December 12, 2011

December music

I have been a little sad today because Allen and I are having a difficult time working out our schedules to go home.  We're both homesick and desperately want to see our families for the most beautiful and wonderful time of the year.  But, I started listening to the music of Christmas fills my heart with joy and contentment.

When we were little, my mom still had an original record player.  We began decorating and listening the weekend after Thanksgiving and enjoyed the beautiful songs in their scratchy originality until at least a week post December.  Anna and I would lock ourselves in our parents room for hours creating the most beautiful and elaborate decorations for the Christmas gifts we bought everyone with the "love bucks" we earned for learning memory verses at church.  

This song reminds me of my dad, who loves it and listened to it with me.

And of course, we all adored the movie White Christmas and watched with rapt attention as Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye charmed the ladies with songs about snow.

It wouldn't be possible to miss the wonderful memories that I have if I had never experienced them.  So even though it sometimes makes me sad and homesick, I'm glad that I had a beautiful childhood filled with songs and love at Christmas time.

Friday, December 9, 2011

First Christmas Post

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum. 

-One of my favorite Christmas Carols, The Little Drummer Boy