A Wedged Bear

“Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?”

So for a week Christopher Robin read that sort of book at the North end of Pooh, and Rabbit hung his washing on the South end…”   A.A.Milne

When I read that recently, I thought, “That’s it! That’s the recap of life this year.” It’s not like it has been too much, but just more like it has been plenty and the wedging into tight places is a fairly regular challenge. Something usually gives eventually and, “POP! just as if a cork were coming out of a bottle…” Meanwhile there is always the washing to hang, and that is about as far as my little parallel will take us. It really has nothing to do with too much honey, or any of the other hilarities of the story. Unlike the Bible, we are free to take Pooh out of context.

With my husband busy studying, I have been trying to pare life down to what must happen, what must be bought, where we must go, how we can thrive in the tightness, and not a lot else. I didn’t mail out Christmas letters and photos this year, and that is why. I dislike narrow spaces and claustrophobia and panicky stuff, but one day at a time, one task at a time, we get to December and the hope that springs up in the darkness at the end of the year. It’s really amazing, how the celebration of Christ’s birth coincides with long stretches of twilight, cold, and tiredness.

In my very amateur efforts at making pottery, I have learned the great importance of the first step, called centering. It’s the process of the hunk of clay being aligned, perfectly balanced on the center of the wheel, and unless it is right, the finished product will be wobbly or might even fly off the wheel altogether. At this point I cannot center clay when someone is trying to hold a conversation with me. I have to be totally focused.


This has become a loud sermon to me. There are wobbly places in my life that only dedicated focus will bring into alignment. I have decided to give the blog a rest for a few months until Gabe finishes his Bachelor’s in Nursing. I do plan to do a daily re-post in February, but I will not be putting them on my Facebook page, since that is one of the distractions that I will be giving a rest. I am going to miss the interaction, I know, but if you could pray for me? I could use some extra courage for the next year. I don’t mind being forty at all; in fact, I recommend it. It’s the season that comes with it, with so much responsibility and so little life-experience that’s wearing me down. It’s coming from all sides, and the only reasonable place to look is up.

The girls and I were listening to “Mary, Did You Know?” recently and were intrigued by the idea of “…when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.” My personal opinion is that Mary had the angel’s promise and the rest she took on faith. It may even have been a fairly ordinary-seeming life she nurtured in her home, since the townspeople were so ignorant of Jesus’ significance as a person. By the standards of the day, he was middle-aged before  his ministry began. It was 30 years for her to keep all these things and ponder them in her heart. That’s a rather long time!

I am so challenged because of my own impatience in waiting for miracles, answers to prayers, promises not yet fulfilled. But Hope rises in the darkness and we cling to that!

Have a blessed, awe-filled Christmas as you let it sink in that He is with us!



Thanksgiving in the Barn

It’s already a week late, but since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I want to share ours with you.

I impulsively suggested that we host Gabe’s family at our house this year, hoping the weather would permit us to use the top story of the barn for long tables. Every week I checked the 10 day forecast until I was reasonably sure that we could keep it warm up there, cracks and holes in the siding boards and all. I didn’t have a very good back-up plan, but as it turned out, I didn’t need one.

We haven’t done much up there except some woodworking projects. Gabe and the boys packed all their project stuff into one area that I curtained off with a big piece of muslin. Here is a pic of Wednesday night, as we tweaked this and that to try to cozy up such a huge space.



My dad went out of his way to help us scrounge up propane and kerosene heaters, four of which we borrowed from him. The kids rollerbladed gleefully around and around the cleared areas. My mom went out of her way to give me pumpkin pie lessons. Everything looked great until the cracks appeared. This has never, ever happened for her, so I tell you, it’s me. (I opened the oven door to slide in some pie shells while the pumpkin pies were baking.) Now I know exactly what to do and what not to do. I was overthinking it, apparently.


Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, dawned with brilliant sunshine. We were so grateful for a warm day that made it easy to stay comfortable with our limited heating options.

This photo of Rita, who is 8, and Chloe, who is almost 3, could be labelled “Kindred Spirits.” I never expected to meet another Rita, but there she is! When I listen to Chloe’s mother telling of her accomplishments and exploits, I simply have to grin at all the fun she has signed up for, mothering a child with such a rich inner life.





Everybody chipped in with food prep, and it was fabulous! We had the traditional North American turkey and dressing meal at lunchtime. In the evening I tried to keep the menu more authentic to the first Thanksgiving. We had crab dip (not that the Pilgrims were likely to mix their shellfish with cream cheese and mayo…) with sourdough and cheese spread, pear butter, popcorn, venison jerky, veggies, Gabe’s mom’s apple snitz moon pies, and lots of hot drinks.

My sister-in-law Ruby was determined to master the art of sourdough bread. Master it she did! Look at those beautiful loaves!




I love this photo because the evening was my favorite time, with close fellowship around the propane fireplace. Photo credits go to my husband. I was much too occupied to remember to take pictures. Top of my thankful list was the joy of having a space to entertain a lot of people! Next was having a husband who designed and built that space. And family… we are so rich with roots all the way to the twiggy newest branches, connections to the past and promise for the future!

And the evening and the morning were Thanksgiving Day, and it was a good one.