Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Love Christmas

There are only a few days left until it is Christmas Eve, that holy night, that most holy of all nights. In a few days we will celebrate the night long long ago when the stars were brightly shining.  It was the night of our dear Savior’s birth.  Long had lain the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.  A thrill of hope, and the weary world rejoiced! For yonder broke a new and glorious morn.  Fall on your knees, and hear the angel voices! It was a night divine, when Christ was borne.  Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, let all within us praise his holy name! Christ is the Lord, let ever, ever praise we. (1)
Our Christmas story started with the trumpeting of angels.  “Glory to the newborn king!” They proclaimed. “Peace on earth, and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled.  Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies with angelic hosts proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (2)
Their audience was a group of lowly shepherds, guarding their flock of sheep in a field.  While they watched their flock by night, far far away on Judea’s plains, those shepherds of old heard the joyous strains, “Glory to God! Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth good will toward men!”  Those shepherds followed the star and it led them to the newborn babe.  (3)
The shepherds found that precious newborn babe in the town of Bethlehem because of a requirement to pay a tax in the city of Joseph's lineage.  O that dear little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie, above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light! The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.  For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above, while mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love.  O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth!  And praises sing to God the king and peace to men on earth! (4)
Those seeking Him found the precious baby in that city of Bethlehem where he lie in a manger, with no crib for his bed.  The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head. The stars in the heavens look down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.  The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes. But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes. (5)
When the shepherds entered the manger, they found Joseph watching steadfastly over his wife Mary, and her newborn son.  The shepherds and Joseph watched Mary lovingly care for her newborn son, singing him sweet lullabies to soothe him back to sleep.  Silent night, holy night, all is calm. All is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace. (6)
And as she lulled her baby back to sleep, the earth itself rejoiced.  Joy to the world! The Lord is come, let earth receive her king! Let every heart prepare him room, while saints and angels sing.  Rejoice rejoice, when Jesus reigns, and Saints their songs employ! While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy! (7)
There was another group of righteous men who saw the star shining in the midnight sky, and understanding its meaning set out to seek the Christ child.  With wondering awe the wise men saw the star in heaven springing, and with delight in peaceful night they heard the angels singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna to his name!” By light of star they travelled far to seek the lowly manger, a humble bed wherein was laid the humble little Stranger.  And still is found the world around the old and hallowed story, and still is sung in every tongue the angels’ song of glory! (8)
And that is our miraculous, beautiful story, of once upon a time in Royal David’s city when there stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed.  Mary was that mother mild, and Jesus Christ her little child.  It is our job to come all ye faithful!  Let us be joyful and triumphant!  O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem! Come and behold him, born the king of angels!  Let us sing with choirs of angels and let us sing in exultation!  Sing all ye citizens of heaven above,  “Glory to God, glory to God in the highest” - o come let us adore Him!  (9) (10)

... to be continued.
 
1. O Holy Night
2. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
3. Far Far Away on Judea's Plains
4. O Little Town of Bethlehem
5. Away in a Manger copyright 1980 Rosalee Elser
6. Silent Night
7. Joy to the World
8. With Wondering Awe
9. Once In Royal David's City
10. O Come All Ye Faithful   
 
   (reposted from last year, from my talk in church on Christmas Day, with a few changes)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Traditions

My family never really had traditions for the holidays when I was growing up.  (I am not complaining, Mom and Dad, you know we didn't.)  I sort of had the impression that traditions were too hard to keep up in this fast paced, chaotic world.  Who had time to remember what they did last year, and how can you know what your schedule will be like this year and does anyone really want to do the same things every year, year after year?  I mean, that's soooooo predictable, you know?

Devin on the other hand, is like Mr. Tradition.  He talks about our traditions and you can always hear the word forming, shaping itself into all capitol letters because THAT'S HOW IMPORTANT IT IS.  The idea of tradition, to Devin, is beautiful.

Still, we don't have a lot of traditions, I think we have just enough. Just enough that they don't become overwhelming, exhausting, and overshadow the actual event they are supposedly celebrating.

We do the family run the day of Thanksgiving, we do gingerbread houses the first weekend (or thereabouts) in December, and we make candy - fudge, caramel, taffy, etc.  Also, we never, ever, ever, ever, ever open presents before Christmas morning.  No matter what it is, or who it is from.

Side Note < I did cheat this year. Devin's mom sent a package with some presents, and she always sends socks.  Not just socks, we're talking the macdaddy, the whopper, the socks that should be talked about and written with respect, Socks.  She didn't really wrap the socks though, they just had a ribbon tied around them with a tag for who they were for.  And did I mention these were really nice socks?  And Devin was at work, hardly the place to be if he wants to actually enforce his "don't open presents" agenda.  I've totally already worn those socks.  I love them. > End Side Note

I have traditions now! And they're fun! And it is fun to look back and see how the family has changed, and grown, each year that we've done them.  Which yes, means that we actually take pictures! That's how sacred the tradition is in our home - for Tradition we will actually get out the camera, check to see it is charged, charge it if need be, and then use it!  So much effort!

Here you go! Pictures of our 5th Annual Rose Family and Friends Thanksgiving Day Turkey Run.

 I jog with Hanna.  I like her pace.


 Hallie ran 2 MILES.  My four year old.  2 Miles.  And I am not kidding, she's faster than me.


 Devin jogs with Hanna, pushes Heather in the jogging stroller.


 Heather gets a pass this year, but watch out next year, we'll lace up her shoes and off she'll go!


 Thanks for coming to run with us, Erin (and Craig)! You guys are so great.


How cute is she in her little running shorts and running shoes?
Admit it, she's super cute.
Devin keeps going on and on about her "running form"
I think it's becoming clear our girls got more than just their eyes from Daddy.

Altogether we did 17 miles.  Obviously that's when you add up all of our collective mileage.  Not bad though, not bad.  That's guilt-free pie eating, that is.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let Us Be Fair

I, like just about everyone else on this planet, have at times bemoaned that life isn't fair.  To which I've been told, "life isn't fair."

And you can do either of two things with that statement, you can shrug your shoulders and say, "Yeah, I guess not.  Too bad."  Or you can rise up in righteous indignation and try to take on every case, and shoulder the burdens of every injustice.  I think one is exhausting in its absolute apathy, and one is exhausting in its entirety.

When I was in school, studying to be an elementary school teacher, I had a class where we discussed the "fair" issue.  My teacher made a point that I will never forget.  He said we had to stop thinking about "fairness" as a substitute word for "equal".  Fair could not mean equal, he taught us, but we had to look at it as "giving to a person what they need."  To illustrate, if I were to think of "fair" as making sure that every person got the same thing, then if I were giving Hallie (4 yrs old) a bike for Christmas, I would then get a bike for Hanna (2 yrs old) and a bike for Heather (9 mos old).  Which seems sort of ridiculous, doesn't it?  But let's say I started my Christmas shopping with Heather, and I got her stacking cups.  Ooooh, stacking cups!  So now I have to buy stacking cups for Hanna, and a set for Hallie.  My four year old is going to think Santa hates her.

If one of my children loves chocolate, and the other hates chocolate, it would not be "fair" to give all of my children chocolate in their stockings.  It would make more sense, and be more fair to the child who hates chocolate, if I only gave chocolates to the one who likes that, and I gave, say, Skittles or Swedish Fish or Reeses Pieces or all three to the other child.  Now that seems fair.

Now I know that it is a much larger world than just my children and their presents and stockings on Christmas morning.  I know that out in that big world there are people with real inequalities, and real injustices.  But I still hold to my definition of fair.  And I believe that it is the responsibility of every person on this earth to look around, and to not say, "Let's give every person the exact same equal thing, because that would be fair."  Because on a grander scale, chocolate and stacking cups aren't going to work for every person.  And even if they did work, it would not be what every person wants, or needs.  I believe it is our responsibility to look around and say, "What do you need?"  and then do the best we can in getting that person what they need, or better yet helping them get it for themselves.


An angry cynic might say that this solution is too small, that you can't possibly discover the wants and needs of every person who has wants and needs, and so the task becomes impossible.  When you look at it like that, it really is impossible.  But if you make this truly personal, and looked at a person face to face, talking to them, getting to know them, loving them, then the game changes.  If every one of us looked at the one person next to us,  and did for that person, and they in turn did what they could for the person next to them, and so on and so on, and if every person in the world did that, things would really start to happen.  You know what they say, the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

Look around.  Who can you do for today?

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What I Wore Today

Some people have really cool blogs, like my friend Alyx.  I've read through her archives, because, well when I don't get to the library often enough that's what I do.  I read alllllllllll the posts on people's blogs. Yeah.

Sometimes she does posts where she takes a picture of what she is wearing, and it is always really, really cute.  Like, she just wears nice clothes, you know?

I have other friends that do this as well.  And they always look just so good.

You all know, I never really look that good. I mean, sometimes I pull it together and I look decent enough, but I never look "trendy" or "like I belong in a fashion magazine".  Because I don't.  And I could say that I don't have the time, or the money, but really it's just the effort I don't want to put in.

Because I could make the time, and I could save the money, but I just don't have what it takes within to me to care that much.  I wish I did.  When I see pictures of them and how cute they look, and how they just really pull it all together to look stylish and sharp, I wish I did.

But, I am me and I have always been me and I'm very satisfied with that.  In high school I frequently borrowed clothing from my brother's closet.  Yes, my brother.  He's a cool dude, and he dressed pretty sharp, but well, I'm a girl.

I've since learned a few things about clothes, and I think I dress like a girl now, but wow, I've been through some awkward times.

This morning when I was getting dressed I was at an all time low of "I JUST DON'T CARE" so long as it covers my body from the wind, you know?  And when I was done and saw what I was wearing I couldn't help but laugh at myself a little.

In case you wanted to laugh at me, too.

A gray t-shirt.  On top of a pink long sleeve shirt.  With another grey t-shirt on top.

Represent.

I'm totally going out like this, too.  To stores. With people.  Also, that first gray shirt I'm wearing? That's the one I slept in.  Don't care.

My favorite part of the above picture. Hi Baby!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Homework

I was thinking about different posts I want to write for my blog, writing them in my head, then rewriting them, as we all do, but then I never sat down and actually wrote them.

For over a week now, no posts.  Usually when I go this long without posting something, it is because I am pregnant.  Everyone knows that.

I am not pregnant.

The only other reason for not posting is because I'm on vacation or have family in town, and even then sometimes I like to have posts scheduled, or I just write up a quick, silly one.

Because my blog is one of my favorite things about my life.  I was contemplating why, what is it that I love so much?  Why does it give me such a sense of satisfaction? Of accomplishment?  I mean, what have I really achieved here to feel proud about?

My working theory right now is that it is because I don't have school to go to anymore.  I miss the teachers with their plans and expectations, and I miss thinking and struggling, working creatively, feeling my own intelligence solving puzzles.  Quite frankly, I miss homework.

Now, sure, I was a nerd in high school but I was not the kid that sat in their room Friday night doing extra math homework because what else was there to do on a Friday night?  (Don't get me wrong, those are good kids.  And I will hope and pray that my daughters are like that.  In their rooms.  All weekend. With nothing but their textbooks and calculators.)

But really, anyone who knew me while I was in school is having a good chuckle right now.   I was the kid that ignored everything possibly related to school until the very tippy top last minute.  And I loved it.

Now this laid back attitude about school didn't always work for me.  There were some classes that were in subjects in that I really should have worked harder on, if I wanted to actually understand the material and get good grades.  Physics.  Geography.  But everything else pretty much just came to me.

I created challenges for myself.  I loved the rush, the feeling of exhilaration, knowing that I only had so many hours, minutes, seconds left until the teacher would come to collect, and it was my racing thoughts and furiously scribbling fingers against the demands of the clock.  Did you know homework could give you a wicked adrenaline rush?  Oh, I did. I did.

In high school I used to do my homework for afternoon classes in the cafeteria at lunchtime, probably irritating all my friends with "silicon and carbon, plus or minus four." I know at least two people reading this blog will know what I am talking about with that one.

In college I used to stay up until all hours of the crazy night finishing projects, or getting up at wicked early hours to work on them again.  And maybe sometimes I complained about it then.  So yeah, probably all the time I complained about it then.

That doesn't mean I don't miss it now.  And I think that that feeling is what I have attached to my blog.  Sure, there is no more sense of a deadline, and there is no teacher giving me a grade.  So now for a little honesty?  I think I give myself a grade on each post based on how many comments you leave.  The more comments, the better grade I give myself.  Or, sometimes, when I feel that it was a really great post, but it only gets a comment from my sister, I will look at my pageviews and see that it got 90 pageviews in a day, and I'll think, "Well, that's not too shabby". (For me, you know.)

Thus it goes.  My rush now is waking up in the morning to see if there are any comments.  Then to check my page views.  This blog gives me a feeling of accomplishment, that I am doing something that people see, and I have devised a way of grading myself on it.  Call me crazy.  Go ahead, in the comments.  Call me crazy.

Thanks.

Monday, December 3, 2012

WINNERS!

Basically, you are a winner.  Every single person who entered the ThanksGIVEaway won something.  YAY! 

Kristen won the Velocity perfume
Nicole won the acorn magnets
Stacy won the Thinking Of You perfume
Courtney won the Journey perfume
My mother won the Snow White watercolor
Alison won the Cinderella With Mice watercolor
Angela won the Cinderella Scrubbing watercolor
Heather won the Ariel with Green Legs watercolor
Lindsey won the chocolates
Kaylin won the Blue Bird Pillow
Alyx won the Green Bird Pillow
Angela won the Hair Bows
Michelle won the Three Black Mice on Rainbow Spool of Thread watercolor
Alison won the Cinderella and the Rainbow Dress watercolor

Congratulations!  If you don't think I have your address, send me an email or a facebook message.

Thanks for playing!

He Has Fans

I got this email today.

Dear Innovative Chef,
First, can I just start off by saying how excited I am to write you a letter?! I have watched every single one of your shows, and I am so inspired by how you always figure out a way to get the food made regardless of what ingredient or cookery item is missing. Amazing!!

I would be honored if you could take the time to help me with my dilemma. And I'm practically hyperventilating with the thought that perhaps my problem recipe might be featured on your show one day!

Okay, so I would like to make Tomato, Beef, and Barley Soup. The recipe calls for quick-cooking barley and tomato soup.

I have old fashioned barley and home canned tomato juice.

In the recipe, I combine the cooked beef, soup, water, celery, and barley. I heat it to boiling, let it simmer for 15 minutes until the barley is tender, add frozen vegetables, and then cook for additional 6 to 7 minutes, and then the soup is ready to eat.

I assume it will take a lot longer with old fashioned barley, and I am not completely sure what I need to do to get the consistency of soup from my tomato juice. And can this be turned into a crock pot soup, or is that a bad idea?

Thank you, Innovative Chef! You're my only hope!!

Your number two fan.



How awesome is that?  I hope the innovative chef (and here) has time to respond to his number two fan's query, but if not I'll do my best to help out.  I really like that they recognized that I am clearly the number one fan.  Clearly.

Also, perhaps this post is bringing to your mind the promise I made of pictures of his turkey baking masterpiece.  Well, I think we all know by now that the camera and I are not always the best of friends. But really, his creation this year looked a lot like his creation from this year, so just pretend.  He used different materials, but it pretty much came out the same. 

I DID however, get a picture of my pie.  Shoofly pie, that is.  It was delicious.  I was really disappointed in the one I made a few days later for some friends, but they were sweet and ate it anyway.




Sunday, December 2, 2012

I've Got Work To Do

A couple of days ago the family went on an outing to Menards.  Yes, it was about as fun as you're imagining.  Devin agonized for long minutes over every item in the electrical department, trying to figure out if it was what he needed.  Or not.  Or was it?

And finally the girls just couldn't take it any more, and they had been begging me and begging me to go see the Christmas trees.  Menards is a magical place, full of tools and pieces of pipe and lumber, but it also has clothes, and books, and some groceries!  AND in the very center of the store at Christmas time, they set up a huge Christmas display with all the trees and decorations you could ever want for your whole house for your whole life.

And so we went and spent our time there while Daddy scratched his head in electrical.  There was a nativity scene set up, and I said, "Oh look girls! See who is over here!"

They came over and Hanna said, "Oh mommy! It's Mary and Jesus and their baby!!"

Huh.  I guess we have some work to do about that.

Then yesterday I needed to distract them just for two more minutes.  I found this picture and gave it to them and asked them who was on it.  "Mary."  Good, good. "Baby Jesus." Ah, yes. Good. "And the wicked kings."

I looked closer at the picture. "Don't you mean the wise men or the shepherds?" 



"Nope, those are the wicked kings."

In her defense, we've been reading the Old Testament, in the part after Abraham dies when all the kings of the Israelites are wicked.  So...

Yeah, we've got some work to do on clearing up this whole Christmas story for them.