Friday, December 28, 2012

Lots went on...

First there was my birthday way back in which time I had the most delicious, most beautifully decorated...and just plain most beautiful cake that I have ever had in my entire life, made by Shannon!  I guess she figured turning into a senior citizen warranted something extra-special!

Then there was Matt's birthday...but I already showed pictures of that in my last post:)

After that was Christmas Eve where we talked and had a lot of fun around the Christmas tree!  We mentioned that we never know if we will all be together next year or not, so we tried to make the most of it!

Then the unwrapping of gifts on late Christmas morning.  First time we didn't need the lights on!

The Christmas meal followed a few hours later.

The 007 Bond twins showed up, complete with after-dinner paper crown!

Then some good old fashioned portraits.

 I even had my picture taken with Matt, after the meal, when my lips and tongue were swollen from something I ate or drank!!!!  Pretty funny:)

And finally, yesterday, we celebrated Ken's birthday with Matt's leftover birthday cake!  Still fresh from the 23rd!

There was an original hand-crafted birthday card for Ken, too:)

So, that's my busy December.  Time to relax now.  On the 26th Matt left for Arizona on retreat for ten days then back to Massachusetts to continue his work with EnlightenNext. The apartment is quiet other than the coming and going of Brittney and Shannon at times.  It is good that they do that...keeps everything lively!!!  But in contrast, Matt has left his quiet, calm presence here with us and we are glad about that too.

A New Year approaches.  I happily anticipate it!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I must improve...

It's been over two weeks since I last posted!  Good grief!  Life seems to be getting way ahead of me in some crazy way.  And tomorrow is Christmas Eve...

Today, we celebrated Matthew's 29th birthday.  It was a good day.  We all watched "Brave" the animated Disney movie while we attempted to stuff Shannon-made birthday carrot cake and ice cream cake down our already full-from-home-made-pizza-made-by-Shannon throats!  Then there was one of Matt's presents we all shared...the Irish Cream....yum!

A former co-worker of mine, Dave Dorosh, was asked to see if he could use his intarsia woodworking skills to make a man sitting in a state of meditation.  He did that and Matt was pleased with the results.

It doesn't seem like twenty-nine years that he was born.  In those 29 years, we have been blessed by his life and his constant ability to strive for God in new and exciting ways.  Meditation has become one of those ways and he is the better for it.

Yes, we are fortunate to have good children.  What greater gift could parents receive?

So, Happy Birthday to you, Matt.  We are proud of who you are and are becoming.

Nite all...hope you're all settled down for a long winter's nap.  I trust you don't hear anything prancing on your rooftop tomorrow night!...then again.....

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Twenty-five pounds would do it...

That's what husband said to me (I think mimicking me saying that to him) after I was up and down the step ladder a dozen or more times decorating the house, trimming the tree and readying the house for the festive Christmas season.  And he was right.  Twenty-five pounds or more would certainly add to the ease of manner in which much energy is used...I'm sure I sweat off several pounds in the middle of it all...well, perhaps a pound anyway.

We then sat and looked at the tree, wondering how many more Christmases we would have with our children actually present.  We are spoiled, I know.  We have never, ever spent a Christmas alone.  I wonder what it would be like?  Perhaps we would be more inclined to do a bit more reaching out to others in their aloneness too.  Not sure.  It will happen though...I'm just not quite ready for it.  So we shall enjoy this Christmas together as it may be one of the last...who's to know.  Life is full of surprises.

It's difficult taking a picture of the tree as it twinkles...but here's a glimpse of what she looks like...Miss Fancy Fraser all her splendor!

Perhaps next year's Christmas decorating frenzy will be had without losing an ounce!  Cheers!

Friday, December 7, 2012

I am proud...

Early tomorrow morning our son will begin his 48hour Meditation Marathon - reaching into himself, into where God dwells, where spirit dwells.  I cannot imagine the amount of commitment he has made to this.  He has come very far in his walk with the Spirit and has learned new and exciting ways to experience God. 

He enjoys entering into dialogue about all of this too, so if you get the chance over Christmas (December 16-25), I would encourage you to have a chat with him, to ask him about his experiences, to find out more about where God has taken him.  It would be well worth the conversation!  Besides, P.A. is still his 'home' and it would be of great encouragement to him to know his friends back home understand a bit about what he's been doing these past many months. 

Over our lifetime, all of us experience things of great value, things that change us into different people.  I can think of many instances myself!  I know you can too.  And it's not only the 'experiences' that change us, but the people around us at the time are also part of that process.  Whoever we meet and wherever we meet them, there is a dimension, an unseen dimension, that allows a part of that person to be a part of us.  It changes who we are for the better or worse.

So, even when we don't quite understand another, their story or their experience, it's up to us to choose to take whatever positive things we can from that and make it good for ourselves.  In doing that we make it good for those around us too.

Having said all of that, and just coming from a quick phone conversation with Matt, he really IS encouraged by his response from folks like you!  And some made real sacrifices too, to give to his cause.  Be sure that he is greatly appreciative...he told me. 

As his sleep was very short, if not non-existent last night as he worked on his video presentation, he finds himself already tired before this 48 hours of meditation.  But he will do this and he will be better for it...for himself, for you and for the world as a whole!  His total intention in this is great!

I'll be asking God to uphold him!  Perhaps I will join him for a few hours too, as I sit and attempt to get well.

Hope you all sleep well...and that Matt will also.  He's out to change the world (as all of us should be, I suppose)!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's all changed..

And since I've been shouting to the rooftops about change, embracing it and enjoying it, I had better eat my words!

My world has changed so much that I sometimes don't recognize it.  For instance, around this time of year, every morning before I had my cup of coffee at work, I would change my "Countdown to Christmas" sign that hung by my desk.  Now, I don't have it to change...although I do have a Teddy Bear at home that has a box of interchangeable numbers on his lap.  And so I do that instead.  It was fun though at work when people would pass by and say, "O my goodness...only that many days 'til Christmas???!!!!"  And then we'd have a little chat.

Often by this time in December when at work, I would have sent out several non-descript emails by now to my co-workers about Christmas...various thoughts I have regarding giving and loving and caring....which most people know about anyway.  It was fun doing that nevertheless!  It tended to get ME in the spirit!  I miss that too!

Not that husband and I don't have these conversations, mind you.  We speak quite a bit about the spirit of generosity...of Christmas... that we need to instill within us, to not hold on to 'possessions' as one day they will all be gone, to give where's only money!!! We laughingly said that quite a bit this week!

Yes, my world has changed to a great degree but I have great memories of wonderful folks that I shared a good many years with and Christmas brings those memories to the fore.

Yes, they were quite a bunch to work with and I miss their presence and their team spirit! (Of course, they're not all in the pictures here but those are the pics I could find off-hand:)

Nineteen days 'til Christmas.  Guess I should re-read that....19 days 'til Christmas.  I shall do a little gift buying one day soon perhaps:)  But first it's husband's cataract surgery next Wednesday...the five hours in hospital until he can come home...then drops in the eye every two hours, then three times a day for three weeks...etc. etc.

And the countdown continues until Matthew and Brittney come home...can't forget that!!!

P.S.  Sure hope someone is keeping tabs on the tape gun at work or it may be grounds for an email to be sent!:)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not sure which is most exciting...

Being able to blow through half a box of tissue in one day....or knowing our family will be together in a few short weeks...I think the latter...although the former was quite a sight!!!

Before that, I must decorate a bit, clean a whole lot, put up the tree, make my holiday apple muffins....all the while getting rid of this nasty head cold.

There is something about anticipation though, right?  It's half the fun...with everything.  Kids coming home, Christmas, vacations, births, birthdays, concerts, buying your first car....lots of anticipating!

So, while I implode with this head cold, I shall anticipate the day when I may sleep well again:)

These are what I anticipate, Christmas tree and's never too early to think spring!

Nite all....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Old fashioned...

Some old fashioned things are good and I think they're good because they often bring back memories of times when various people were still alive.  At least, that what is is to me.

Sunday evening we held an old fashioned Advent Celebration.  Some of the women of the church hosted it.  We sang the old favorite carols with just the organ playing, read the Christmas story and ate Christmas goodies afterward.  Brought back memories of when the children were small, of former pastors that had ministered at Gateway, of men and women and young people who are no longer here but left a part of them with us even after death.

Yes, I love old fashioned things.  They make me thankful and appreciative.

I like new things also.  It shows me that not everything stays the same...customs change, music changes, people themselves change over time.  Even our thoughts and opinions on various things change over time. 

Yes, we change.

Now, on any given Sunday morning at church we have some folks playing guitars or drums.  The piano has become the main instrument for worship leading, as opposed to only the organ (although we are fortunate enough to have both!!!) and we now have others leading the singing also...not to mention an actual person who runs the sound system.  I never would have imagined such things twenty years ago!!!

Other things though stay the same...we celebrate Advent...we light purple and pink candles, we talk about the birth of Jesus, we remember his example left to love our neighbor as ourselves, to seek justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

So, as we go through life, we find that things do change.  We must humbly accept that fact or cling greedily to our own ways.  Some changes are difficult for me to accept but I suppose I need to ask myself the question..."How does this affect me and my friends and what kind of attitude will I have if this change comes into effect?"  I think that sometimes we feel our whole world will be turned upside down if we don't get our way!  Ego.  It can so possess us!!!

I trust that this Christmas season will find me with a sense of hope...that I can be everything that Jesus was..which of course is a pretty tall order.  But I want to try.

 I will first need to change my own ways......

Tracy had the sanctuary decked out for Advent...lovely!

Clara led the evening Advent Celebration.

Birdie played the organ for the carol singing.

Melody led the evening singing.

And one thing that doesn't change is the appetite of the Blue Jay!