Home » December 2016
For most people Christmas ended the evening of the 25th and now they are biding time to ring in the new year. For some of us though, the seasons of Advent and Christmas are the beginning of our year not the end of it. The 25th was the beginning of twelve days of joyfully celebrating, in big and small ways, the birth of our King. It will culminate in a great big ol' Epiphany feast with roasted pig, copious amounts of delicious foods, libations, laughter and cheer.
But it really is much more than that. It's not just a beginning of a new church year it also points us to something bigger, something more, something to come.
Have you ever considered the baby Jesus being laid in a manger...a feeding trough?
"For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world..."
It wasn't just a miraculous birth. It was a miraculous birth that pointed to a miraculous death and resurrection.
"The world is not as just, not as loving, not as whole as we know it can and should be. But the coming of Christ and His presence among us ~ as one of us ~ give us reason to live in hope: that light will shatter darkness."
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were both full of worship and love and laughter and so many more words to share but for now here are the last two pictures for this year's DPP. It was another fun filled adventure and a big thank you to the community that participates and makes it so much fun.
Day 24 ~
Day 25 ~
Seriously, I took the picture on the right day but for some reason my phone and email were not playing nicely and even though I sent it multiple times from both my phone and my husband's it just actually sent this evening.
The delay in posting the following days was by choice. I took pictures but just figured I would do a catch up post and share the whole last week all at once. So, why am I sharing them now with two official days to go, you ask?
I have no idea except that I am sort of procrastinating other activities like more gift wrapping and Christmas card writing. I will get to all that later, pinky promise! But for now enjoy some DPP eye candy.
Day 20 ~ Date night sushi with friends. That stuff in the middle? So good!
Day 21 ~ I've been so busy. With five kids and 12 days of gift giving, even though not every day is an unwrap kind of gift day, plus wrapping for grandparents it's a lot of wrapping.
Day 22 ~ Right in the midst of all the holiday hoopla and festivities quiet beauty can be found.
Day 23 ~ Claire and I made homemade lemon curd today. Tangy, tart, creamy and smooth...practically perfect.
And the sun set on the fifteenth of December.
On Friday the sixteenth a sigh of relief echoed across the land as school dismissed early and Christmas break began. My oldest daughter had the bright idea (ha, I love puns!) to take a Christmas photo of the Hadding Five all wrapped in lights. It was somewhat successful but Sam quickly lost interest in trying to get it just right and abandoned our project. The cats were not anymore enthusiastic to take his place but us girls enjoyed plenty of laughs.
As the sun rose this morning I enjoyed my cup of tea in the glow of the twinkle lights on the tree. The day is full of feasting and fun as most of my family gathers for an early Christmas celebration. We started the tradition years ago when all of our kids were little so that the ones who have to travel could still enjoy Christmas morning at their own house. We're hosting this year so there has been a flurry of cooking and cleaning and I am so looking forward to the chaos and noise that is us when we're together.
Well, it was bound to happen. I missed posting yesterday's DPP. I took the picture but with the kids holiday school program I just didn't do anything else other than snap the shutter. The shot is currently uploading to my computer as we speak along with the gazillion other pictures I took last night and it will eventually make it's way to the blog. With an early family Christmas tomorrow there may just be a big catch up post on Sunday or Monday. As another group member commented, the DPP was made for me and not me for the DPP so it's all good.
I do, however, have a couple of Sam funnies for you. The first one has many recognizable characters and maybe a few you don't know at first glance. Think Mr. Bean, Grace Vanderwaal, Laura Bretan, and Tape Face. I'm pretty sure you will recognize Napoleon from his "Vote for Pedro" shirt.
I am always amazed at how good his drawings can be. And so expressive just like in the next one.
Y'all, it has been one of those days.
Not a bad day but a day where you can't find your phone absolutely anywhere and your phone line is down for some unknown reason so you facebook your beloved hoping that he will get the message to call you and he does and the phone you couldn't locate and looked all over the house for is actually on the counter of the bathroom you have been cleaning right in front of you face even though it was under a bag but it was a clear bag kind of day.
The kind of day where you look high and low for your glasses and they are, again, right there in front of your face in their case kind of day.
The kind of day where you go to Walmart to use one of those quick print kiosk machines only it isn't quick because there is a line so you wait and it's finally your turn and because you are printing an 8x10 you have to go to the counter to pick it up only to be told they have no idea when it will actually be ready since they are backed up and you still spend forty dollars only to get home and realize that you forgot the shower curtain liner that you went there for in the first place kind of day.
Yup, it's been that kind of day. But we will be decorating our tree tonight and despite the brief thirty minute interlude spent looking for my phone I got quite a bit of cleaning done. So, like I said, not a bad day at all.
And maybe, just maybe, I can find some time to start this book. Some of you may need to sit down for this but I am not a huge Jane Austen fan. Shocking I know, considering the reformed Christian classical education circles I move it. But there you have it. I find her a bit wordy. (Oh, irony, thou art my friend.)
However, I have a dear friend who has persuaded (Ha, see what I did there?) to read this with her in the hopes of enlightening my poor misguided self. I'm really looking forward to it.
Especially after the day I had today.
Raindrops on roses...or Christmas greenery as they case may be. The heavy fog burned off today and gray skies rolled in. Unfortunately the rain (off and on) hasn't brought any cooler temperatures with it so far.
But it does make for some excellent raindrops after you set your porch decorations out in the rain for a good watering.
Last week we had freezing temperatures. Saturday we lit a fire and we snuggled up in sweaters, boots, and scarves. It was glorious. I am a beach baby at heart by winter is my favorite season.
Today we woke to a dense heavy fog and gray skies. It took much of the morning to burn off and when it did we had some crystal clear blue skies.
And almost 80 degree weather.
I was so disappointed. And hot. I have grown up in FL and I realize winter here is different than say, winter in Minnesota but I still dislike being hot in December.
The fog did make for a good moody photo opportunity though.
"It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." ~ CS Lewis
During this third week of Advent, the week of joy, I encourage you and challenge you to pursue real joy. True joy that is more than we can imagine or conjure up on our own imagining. Because even at our best we fall woefully short of the joy that He has to offer.
Today's picture is accompanied by a link to a delicious recipe that I am too lazy to type out and make part of the Pinetrest Test Kitchen series I normally share on the blog. Lazy may not be the right word since it's not like I am opting to not do anything, I'm just opting to pull out Christmas decorations and get ready for the tree we'll get sometime in the next few days. Besides, I have a fifteen year old boy ready for his thirty minutes on the computer so there's that too :-)
I just realized that I have been calling these pecan pie bars and actually they are Pecan Cake Bars. But no matter what you choose to call them just make sure you call your family and friends because with the shortbread-esque crust they are pretty tasty!
Last week was busy. Like ridiculously busy. And as usual laundry is what fell by the wayside so this week I had plenty to do. I mean we're a family of seven so there is always laundry to do but when I don't stay on top of it for a couple of days? It multiplies exponentially. To what I am not sure but it grows in an exponential kind of way.
But yesterday, I conquered the mountains of school uniforms and jeans. I scaled the heights of towel tower and took it down. I was a lean mean washin' dryin' and folding machine.This morning I grabbed mine and Rob's towels and tossed them in. When they finished I had one more small load to do that would keep the baskets empty for the day. I grabbed ours from the dryer and went to swap the other load from the washer. When I came back to my room this is what I found.
Earlier I had seen someone post in the DPP facebook group a picture of their cat peering over the edge of the bathtub so I grabbed my camera to catch Tom all snuggled in the warm laundry. Who can blame him though, on this cloudy cool morning?
We've had Tom and his brother Milo for two years now and I just can't imagine the house without them. They're good company even if they aren't the greatest laundry helpers.
Last night I was taken ill quite suddenly and that was the reason I dropped a picture with no explanation. I didn't really think much about it more than not wanting to miss a day but my Mother took me to task (in a genteel southern lady way that was very reminiscent of my Grannie Re) about not saying anything about the picture. So, for those of you keeping up at home yesterday's photo was a Lego helicopter that my son Sam made. Oh, and MacGyver was flying it. That boy has quite the vivid imagination!
My image for this the seventh day of DPP is a quick shot I grabbed after Vesper services. The kids love blowing out the Advent candles almost as much as they enjoy rushing the communion table on Sundays after the service for any bread that is left over. We don't have an official list of who gets to do it when but we do try to keep up with who has had a turn and who hasn't. It gets easier each week with more candles being lit. Tonight my beloved had two of the cutest helpers, don't you think?
It has been a very soggy day. It's as if all of the rain we've been missing lately all came at once. With gusto. And lightening. Boy, has the light show been impressive.
My mother has come down with some sort of bug and needed to be resting today so I got to take my dad to a doctor's appointment. The days can get so busy tending my kids and all the stuff that comes with life in general that time to visit with my parents apart from the daily phone call doesn't come easily. While I am not happy my mother is sick it was nice to have to put everything else aside and go spend time with my dad.
I was left alone in the examination room for a few minutes while they took him back for an x-ray. While I was holding his things I breathed in the familiar scent that is my father. I can't describe it really. It's a mix of him, his aftershave, the laundry detergent my mother uses, and just their house, their smell. It's the smell of comfort.
My parents are getting older. They're having to adjust to a new season of life and it's one that I imagine is kind of uncomfortable. Limitations and the reality of not being able to keep doing all the things they've always done they way they've done them is not a whole lot of fun. Not wanting to be a burden on me and my sisters also weighs on them.
But as I buried my nose in my Dad's vest and smelled deeply the smell that is him, I realized what a privilege it is to care for our parents as they grow older. And, more importantly, I wish for them to see it as an honor. My Dad has earned every ache and pain he feels now because for years his body has faithfully done what he asked of it whether it was jumping 255 times out of an airplane with the 82nd airborne division during his time in Vietnam, or slinging a hammer or any of the other physical labor he did most of our lives to provide for our family. My Mother is moving slower but all of my life I have seen her go from one act of service to another, always helping wherever there was a need.
My parents are still pretty young. There is still much that God has for them to do. But they also will be learning the art of receiving gracefully that which they have always been the ones to do. And while there are some small things that are changing it's not like it's anything too drastic. But there is change happening and probably more in the years ahead.
So to my precious parents I say, you may not like this new season of life...you may find the limitations a great big pain in your backside...you may be frustrated by needing help when before you didn't. But trust me when I tell you that we, and I know I speak for all of us girls, are beyond thankful that God has given you to us and it is our great joy to love you and do things for you.
It's how you raised us. So, please don't begrudge our obedience to what you taught us as we seek to show you the honor due you as our parents. Honestly, we don't mind.
Despite the dreary weather it was a lovely day of worship and feasting with friends. After a busy busy week we sat down as a family for dinner and now on to a movie. Napoleon Dynamite. Only three of us have seen it and the others are eagerly looking forward to it. My beloved seems to be of the opinion that it will become a Hadding family classic. I am somewhat skeptical but we'll see.
A holiday family favorite is the Grinch with Jim Carrey. Sam and Sarah were looking at some kind of memes after dinner that came from the beloved movie. As you can see whatever they were it was amusing to them both.
Oh, my goodness does he make me smile. He is so full of exuberance and life. He didn't ask to be on the running team. He asked if he could retire after his first race. He tells his coach that he is going to be too busy next year to run.
But he puts in his miles faithfully each week without complaint and without being told he needs to do it. And he is quick to encourage his teammates to keep going and not give up. (Which is really funny because in the beginning right in the middle of practice he would just decide he was done and stop and walk.)
On race day he is all there. Ready to run, ready to enjoy the pre/post race party.
This morning he bounced into my room, where I was still sleeping thank you very much, and in a very Tigger-esque kind of way free styling his favorite geico commercial, "Guess what day it is, Mom? Guess what day it is?"
He was so proud of his time. His coach had given him a 23 minute goal for the USO Airport run. He came across the finish line at 21:59.
He could have come in faster and slower though as far as I am concerned. I love this boy so much just because of who he is and how he lives his life...so fully and wholeheartedly.
He looks more than just a little like his proud father standing behind him doesn't he?
For the last eight years or so I have participated in a fun photo challenge each December. I didn't label the image in yesterday's post as part of the project but it was the official start of the photo-a-day for the next 25 days.
Today, I did some work at my kid's school and then finished up by taking some fun pictures of the senior class. That means that I easily shot over a thousand pictures today. (My eyeballs are tired y'all!)
No reason in particular that I choose this one other than I liked the composition. I literally held the camera over their heads and pressed the shutter. It's of our K5 class excitedly playing a math game dreamed up and developed by their teacher. It has dice to roll and nickles, dimes, and pennies for counting. You should have heard the giggles and seen the little eyes alight with pleasure. They were enjoying their math lesson!
One would think after spending so much time thinking and talking about deep things one would have something profound and meaningful to say. But sometimes those things make us quiet and just tired after a while. So we rest from the talking and the thinking and we end up hearing.
The memorial service yesterday was as painfully beautiful as one would expect something of that sort to be. So much sorrow but at the same time so many reminders of God's faithfulness.
Thinking about it last night I was struck that this week of Advent is hope. There is your profundity and meaning.
Do you know why we grieve with hope? Do you know why we look at the news of plane crashes and wild fires and everything crazy going on in our world and still find hope?
Because over two thousand years ago a baby was born. A star glowed in the sky and angels sang.
Because over two thousand years ago a baby was born. A star glowed in the sky and angels sang.
Our hope isn't that the savior will come, we have hope because He has come.
Death isn't the end. Sad stories will get a happy ending. Every injustice will be made right and the earth is being renewed.
Take heart, Christian. Despite how things seems, how you might be tempted to think, how you might even feel, all is well.
Hope has come.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith ~ more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire ~ may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
~I Peter 1:3-7
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