peace of my mind

peace I leave you; my peace I give you… Jn.14:27


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Traditions

The days between Christmas and the New Year hold a mixture of bitter and sweet for me.  It seems the only time of year when our family life slows to a sleepy, cozy crawl.  I love the eased tone in the house. Game playing and movie watching. Popcorn for dinner and gatherings with friends.  It’s wonderful in all of those ways.

IMGP0225But then there is the putting it all away: the decorations, the gifts, and really the entire year.  Being the reflective mom that I am, that little cacophony on the couch there had me in tears for a little spell two days after Christmas.  How do the years go so fast when the days sometimes go so slow? When we get these out next year, the kids will all be another year older.  So will I.

Traditions have a funny way–I’m finding, of both marking and speeding time.  We pass from season to season, observing the memorials we have shared with our children.  We skip along from paper love notes, to the Easter season, to baseball and fireflies, to birthdays and school.  Add Christmas, and those few things just about encompass a year.  When first forming traditions, we  ask ourselves is this plain silly or even empty to sleep under the tree like I used to do when I was little, or to keep going to the Zoo Lights as we have since they were babies.  But year upon year, these rituals become part of them.  They become their traditions…things by which they will mark their lives. We observe them to help cement the years in their memories as time will surely continue to speed by.

Of course I could make my favorite blueberry jello salad to take to my parents’, but instead, I mention to my daughter–as I make Grandma Duck’s red and green Christmas jello salad, that I’ve been eating this every Christmas since before I was her age.  And it makes my dad mighty happy to see it that day. Strangely, I introduce my history to Amelia through Jello. It makes me want to evaluate what we honor and how we go about it…especially in light of Deuteronomy 6 and how we can continue to grow in sharing the Lord with our children in every season, every day.

IMGP0232The kids each have their own box of ornaments we’ve gathered since their births. Though it looks like chaos on the couch, it really is organized chaos: I suppose not unlike our lives.  Thinking of the handprint I made with Luke when he was 1. Remembering the picture of the 3 boys eating mitfulls of snow, and how they all helped make the ornaments that year for our families…painted popsicle stick frames. How excited I was to add pink booties to the tree…once…twice…three times.  I repair the ornament graveyard: Andrew’s Italian Pinnochio gets some model glue on his waist.  Jack’s nutcracker’s legs are found and mended.  All boxed up and ready to wholly greet them next December.

Added this year are tiny sweaters: six down, two to go.  A labor of love which began in May, but ran out of steam somewhere around September. Drew and Piper’s will be done as soon as I can muster the stomach to do two more (small needles require much persistence).  Little traditions which say, I love you.  They may not remember me sitting in the van knitting these months on end, but I hope when they look at them years from now, they will know their crazy mother loved them individually and wholly–not only as a collective but wholly– as themselves!

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This song was written (and performed below) by The Good Shepherd Band.  Our church’s band, The Everlasting Word Band, has been featuring it during our worship this Advent Season. I share it here in hopes that it will touch others’ hearts as it has mine this season.  So very thankful for that baby who came to conquer death and hell–and all my sin!

Merry Christmas!IMGP0111

From Adam’s rebellion to Moses’ good Law, death reigned the master of men;

With all of creation held under its claw, awaiting redemption from sin.

But when the Law thundered in earthquake and fire, weak as it was through our flesh

It could not help conquer our sinful desires, only tightened the noose ’round our neck.

Still God remembered His mercy in wrath and promised a way of escape:

A Lamb to be killed on the people’s behalf would trample the head of the snake.

But though we would offer our best to  the fire and rivers of blood would be spilt,

This could not help with our sinful desires, nor atone for the depth of our guilt.

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When the fullness of time had come God sent us His only Son,

Born of a woman born under law, So that He might a people redeem.

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With joy set before Him and love to display, He laid aside His great crown;

To share in our nature as creatures of clay, He emptied Himself and came down;

Lived like a servant without any home, carried our sorrows and griefs,

Was spit at, rejected, despised and alone, accursed, He hung on a tree.

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When the fullness of time had come God sent us His only Son,

Born of a woman, born under law, so that He might a people reddem.

No longer slaves, we were bought with a price

Adopted, delivered we’re sons now with Christ.

We stand in His righteousness dressed to His righteousness freed!

The words are powerful enough in themself but enhanced even more by the great music. May we know how great is our salvation this season!


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Hallmarks of December

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Our little fake tree, dripping with ornaments and lots of crazy color. I love it!

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Simple door hanging this year.  Thanks to my boys who keep me supplied with choice sticks.

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Peppermint puff “crackers” hidden around the house for an advent treat.

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Candy Cane Bath Salts for Mom2Mom. Lots of crafty goodness that day!

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Cranberry topiary.  Rubies on toothpicks.

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Lots of little sewing projects in the works. Little (and quick) is the operative word this year.  New, pretty needles add to the fun.

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Rainbow of glove options.

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Keepers girls making candles. We also had a cookie exchange and went caroling to the fire department. What special memories!

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Luke reading his great rendition of The Grinch.

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Boy Scout Christmas party outfitted with onlooking  little sibs.

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Caught a glimpse of these two out of the corner of my eye and had to take a picture. Growing too fast!

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Mia making corn husk dolls for Thanksgiving.

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Britty playing with them.

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Pile on: all except for Piper.

December is a busy and sweet month.  It’s hard to savor it with all of the busy.  Hoping these picts will help me remember some of the simple things we treasure.

Hope to post again before Christmas, but if not:

Merry Christmas!!


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Happy Birthday to Pippa

Is it just me or do other people have trouble organizing their digital photos? Different SD cards, cameras and upload platforms keep much of our memories fragmented and scattered. Regardless…

Today we celebrate one little sweet P with or without all of the digital back story.
Piper, you are pure frosting on our cake. You are affectionate and precocious, quiet and perceptive. You act like you are big…rocking babies, hugging teddy bears, walking at 9 months.

Slow down little one!  Let me savor this a little longer. Don’t grow too fast.  We thank the Lord, for you, our one year old blessing!

Happy Birthday Piper Abigail ♥

First visit to Dr. Black

Baby bug

Thank you and Yum!

green grass memories

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princess piper

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Yes! to extending the table

28:31 day of Yes!
I hated this table when we first saw it. It stood for everything I did not want…utilitarianism rather than aestheticism, imposing rather than sleek. It had an ambiguity to it that I was uncomfortable with at the time. Just how many little people would eventually fit around it? Which by the way, were the same exact sentiments I held for our big, fat 15 passenger van! But it is God’s sense of  humor which lets us come to love things to which we once said “Never!”

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This custom-built conference table became ours out of need and practicality, but over time it has become much more. Yes, it is imposing and indestructible, but I suppose that really is what is needed here. This table is the central thing in our home.  It is where we gather to chat over snacks, do anything creative, play games, and most importantly where we break spiritual and literal bread.

Our new Mom’s group at church recently focused on purposing to make our dinner tables nourish our families’ bodies and souls.  Getting a hot meal on the table is one thing, but getting it there with a smile and intent to minister grace is a whole other objective.

With a bunch of littles through the years, there have been seasons where simply getting regular meals to the table was the first mountain to climb.  Getting it there with a servant’s heart was (and still is) another many days.  I am once again challenged to think about the table’s restorative and instructive nature.  How can I tap into this more?

Meals, etiquette, and fellowship around our table have been works in progress…and ones I need to be reminded to keep aspiring to.  I can remember many nights when they were all small. In trying to teach the art of conversation, we would hand a ball to the person speaking who would then hand the conversation and the ball off to the next.  I have to laugh as I think back on it. Perhaps  it was a little too much like Lord of the Flies at times: “I have the conch!”, still they were overarching goals we were trying to achieve.

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The kids have become better at conversation, though they still have a ways to go. We began to practice formal dinner on Sundays several years ago. I would have the kids set the entire place settings (as opposed to melamine plates and a fork on a typical weeknight) and we would practice passing dishes of food as the kids could manage it. Practicing the mechanics has helped them become familiar to the point that it’s not foreign when it’s actually “go time.”

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“Go time” includes times of hospitality, when we are guests at someone’s house, or… when a camera crew comes to film your family eating dinner–like we did 2 weeks ago. I still think it’s funny, but Kevin was asked to do a video interview for a software company he uses and Yes! they came to our house for some slice-of-life footage…like dinner. I was quite nervous, but also comforted by the fact that this would have not been a good option at one time, but practice makes better.  And it all went better than I had hoped for. Something to shake up life a little bit. So it’s a big Yes! to extending the purpose of the table. Something I will be thinking about more in weeks to come.

31 days of Yes! is me dedicating to post each day for the month of October (which is a Yes! in itself) and to find one meaningful Yes! in each day. Over 1200 bloggers are participating thanks to the lovely Nesting Place.

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