::Just a quick note about orienting oneself after losing the way. Someone said they were not able to comment on that post and I thought maybe there were others who would have liked to give me a bit of pushback. I may have sounded simplistic and I want to say that the wilderness can be very long and when we’re in it we don’t know if it’s 10 more miles or a hundred more miles. What we do know is we don’t have to go in circles. That’s where I find it helpful to follow David’s pattern and orient myself by what is real. Gabe and I have had many discussions about what to do with prayers that do not get answered the way we wish. Ultimately it’s a question of having faith in our faith or faith in the great faithfulness of God. One way leads to striving and despair and the other way leads to rest and confidence. It is both helpful and difficult to remember that there is always so much more going on than we can see. In the season where we celebrate God coming down to be with us, my heart burns with this reality. He is here in all our happiness and our mess and He is redeeming our lives from destruction and He is able to keep doing this till the end of time. If I ever need something strong to stand on, that is it. ::
Today was a good day of fellowship at church and the miracle of changed lives and blended hearts struck me afresh. Our congregation is made up of ordinary, prone-to-wander people but they are our people and we belong. Here I go being simplistic again, but is there a deeper desire in the human heart than to not walk alone?
We’ve been concocting good things for the freezer, and yesterday the girls mixed up gingerbread. I feel a bit of shock when these sorts of projects take off without a lot of oversight by mama. I did mix the royal icing and help Addy with her tiny house.
The girls and I just made the browned butter/nutritional yeast popcorn that says Sunday night and Gabe left for his shift.
We have had a week of glittering ice and brilliant snow with sunny days that cheered our hearts. Ski patrol started this week and Alex and Gabe came alive in their special ski-weather ways. For me this translates to gear coming and going through the living room and occasionally being propped up in corners until I put my foot down a little crossly and they get the message and stow the stuff elsewhere. All the snowboots came out too. And the gloves and the hats and the insulated pants and the puffy coats and the scarves. I am grateful for all of it because it means we have a life in wintertime. I do think every house north of the Mason Dixon line should be built with a room for housing these clothes, however.
The laundry has changed seasons too. I usually lay everyone’s piles of clean clothes on the table from oldest to youngest when I’m folding. There are lots of deductions to be made from the stacks that result, but the socks are probably the most telling. I shamelessly compartmentalize my family by their socks. My husband and Alex always have the most because they actually wear socks everyday. Gabe likes nice ones with argyle patterns or polka dots. His are easy to match and fun to sort. Gregory usually has only one pair, the one he wears for church. When he does chores, he stores his socks in his boots as soon as he comes inside and they get washed when I deem it necessary. Olivia has carefully matched sets that also coordinate with her clothes. The little girls don’t wear any unless I insist and tell them they look like snipes with bare legs sticking out of boots. When we went for piano lessons last week, I asked Rita, “Did you remember to put on socks so you can take your boots off at Amy’s house?” Oh yes, she had. One was green and the other was orange, but it was a triumph of remembering for both of us. I had mine on too because I couldn’t wear flip flops that day.
It’s the season for games. We have one called Survival where you get a card with a disaster on it and a challenge for how to survive it. The children love this game, especially some of the zanier challenges. So what do you do if you’re stuck in the wilderness without chapstick? We thought about it awhile and decided on a solution. You use bear grease on your lips, but of course if the bear eats you first you will have died of chapped lips. Gregory and I saw a Monopoly for Millennials game at Walmart. The tagline said, “Forget real estate… you can’t afford it anyhow.” Gregory figured the go-to-jail card would probably say “the Wi-Fi’s down” or maybe “coffee crop failure.” Where does he get his ideas?
This year for Christmas I bought our family the Ticket to Ride game. I’m hoping that it gives us a break from Settlers which has been our go-to for a few years running. I only ever win when I’m lucky which means everything I do prospers despite absent-minded trades and lack of ambition. This really bugs the guys who always have cutthroat competition and delve deep into each other’s motives for why they played this or that. Over Thanksgiving we spent time with Gabe’s family and the Rook games were intense indeed. I told my sister-in-law that if you only met the brothers while they’re playing a game, you wouldn’t have any idea how nice they really are. 🤣 Still, they don’t hold grudges for long, so we still like them.
We’re looking forward to a slower week with lots of family time, lots of living close together, eating up everything that’s in the house, and staying kind. It’s going to be great and I mean it. It might be a bit of a challenge, of course, as pouring ourselves into making special times is always extra, but how can I object to giving my little bit to sweeten life for others when Jesus gave everything? I’ve had to bring a few attitudes to Jesus in this past week. I mean the kind that mutter, ” I just can’t even handle all this chaos.” (See paragraph on snow clothes above.) But He is bigger then hormonal panics and He can redeem flawed little spaces if we let Him.
I’ll tell you how I would prefer to spend the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. I would like to “sit just quietly” Ferdinand-fashion and work on my backlog of reading and drink tea nonstop. I am sure there will be those moments, but what I’m asking for is Grace to give unsparing, like Jesus showed us. Tell me, please, how do you show your people love? How do you deal with the joyful chaos of holidays? (And do you ever wish you could celebrate without cooking and dishes? )