Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Night Before Christmas

What does it look like at your place before Christmas?
 You are welcome!
Step inside and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
It's Christmas Eve and we're as ready as ever.
 Big children and little children,
 with faces pressed against the glass,
standing in awe and wonder with mystery filled eyes.
What's hiding behind those closed doors?

"Marg, can you quickly make me 12 mince pies?"
I promptly said, that I did not have time to make 12 pies.
Only to find out that 12 mince pies meant 12 pie tarts.
Of course I can make those!

The table is set...

Thank you Suzanne for the lovely stocking holders.
Another Christmas addition to our table scape given from the heart.  

The four candles have been lit.
Waiting, Mystery, Joy, Peace

Now it's time to Celebrate life with family and friends.
Celebrate the coming of a new born babe.
Celebrate the coming of a King.

"Things will never look just right or feel just right.
If they did someone would be lying...
But it is in this broken world that a child is born who is called
Son of the Most High,
Prince of Peace
Henri Nouwen

May you all experience a blessed Christmas knowing that
regardless of your thoughts and feelings,
that Jesus came for YOU!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Came Early!

 My favorite childhood memories are fondly remembered.
We all waited eagerly for that first snowfall in winter.
The first snowfall gave all of us kids a break from regular chores.
We would deck ourselves in warm clothes. 
Style was of no importance..but warmth, yes.
My father would pull out the old tractor,
tie up the toboggans,
and away we'd go....flying through the fields.
That was Christmas for me.

And guess what this Opa is preparing outside today....

Here we are years later,
texting the boys...
letting them know that the tractor is ready to go.

Tubes and bodies tumbling  through the air.
A small dirt hill becomes the thrill of their lives. 

A big smile with a  freckled face spotted with mud.

The evening lights are turned on...for just one more ride.
We ended off the day with a Christmas concert with the  
We'll all be "Home for Christmas'
And that's enough reason for me to feel that Christmas came early.
Oh, for a white Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back to Calgary!

Who would of thought that we'd be back so soon?
It was at Ten Thousand Villages where the Calgary Cousins came to support our book signing.
During this time...the phone rang...
sure enough, it was Kurt.
Kurt was phoning to congratulate our team on the success of our book.
We chatted back and forth like we always do.
He asked if I had his favorite apple pie in my freezer.
Meanwhile his wife, Ruth and daughter Margaret were milling around and chatting in the store.
We were all going to have lunch at the Edelweiss Village.
And so it was...two weeks later, we all bundled up and ventured out to cut
down our Christmas trees; some chose the chain saw...
others preferred the romantic style with a hand saw.
At the end of the day...we gathered together at Suzanne's and Christopher's,
for  quick hot apple ciders and a few appies.
The second reading of advent took place and the candles were lit,
when the phone rang.....only to hear sad news.

Our dearly beloved Uncle Kurt passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
What was expected to be a simple routine hernia surgery, resulted in complications.
Kurt could not live his life with out people and in that way he connected with young and old.
His charisma inspired and motivated us to live life to it's fullest.
He walked the talk.
We will miss you Uncle Kurt!
  We lit the candles and spent some time reflecting about his legacy. 
I still find it interesting how one week ago...when we lit the first candle...
I had written a devotional about the Advent Waiting period.
This week we were discussing the 'Mystery of Advent'.
How children gather together with their eyes wide open
surrounded by the mystery of Christmas.
Bonhoeffer goes on to explain how living without mystery means not seeing
 the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them.
Little did we know that we would be discussing the mystery of death that particular day.
Kurt knew his Lord and Savior and he had waited his whole life
for this special last Advent season, that ushered him into the new heavens.

So this week...my heart has been feeling heavy as we prepare to spend time
with the Calgary Cousins grieving the loss of a loved one.
And so the season of Advent continues as we wait,
and try to understand the mystery of that baby in a manger.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Preparing for Advent

I love this time of year.
And what better time of year to have the boys prepare with us.
This year, Levi added the colors of his choice to the stringed lights.

Silas had to pick up all the old discarded lights.
And of course he loved counting the lights.
Two hundred and sixty two lights!

When there job was completed I called out for hot chocolate.
No, they wanted roasted marshmallows.
I scratched my head for a minute.
They showed me how..
Just add a marshmallow to a fork and warm it up by the fireplace.
"And don't forget to take a picture, Oma!"

Preparing for advent means making Pfeffernusse.
They rolled out their snakes and tried to cut them accurately.
We smiled as we noticed all sizes and shapes and finally called them Sydney Snakes, with reference to their Calgary Cousins.

At the end of the day, just prior to dusk...the boys called me.

"Take a picture Oma, look at the colors in the sunset."

On Sunday, the family came over for an advent evening,
where we all took part in a simple Faspa style supper, serving hot apple cider.
I tried to incorporate a few traditions handed down from many years ago.
The excitement is in the air as we chatted about how hard it is to 'wait'.
It has been a tradition that each place setting includes an orange and candle.
This year I only placed oranges for the young ones.
I'll let you know...some children did not approve of my way of changing things up.

The first candle was lit, we read the BFTJ and now they know,
there are only three more Sundays till Christmas.
This week we will all go together and find the perfect tree.

What are some special things you do to prepare for the advent season?