Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

What I’ve Been Up To This Christmas

What I’ve Been Up To This Christmas

I can hardly believe that my son, Matthew, will be home in a few days for Christmas vacation. The anticipation of the season has been sweet. We’ve purposefully marked our calendar to include times of rest and solitude which has made this Christmas the most peaceful I can recall in years.

Though I don’t have many thoughts to share today, I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing on the home front.

This season we made lots and lots of these Scandinavian Stars.

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I made batches and batches of my Chai Tea Mix for friends. (It makes a great Ball Jar Christmas gift if you need a quick idea.)

We also did some needle felting and made a little mouse using wool roving and bendable pipe cleaner. It was inspired by the book The Mouse Mansion. I made a make-shift house out of an old, wooden Coke carrier.IMG_7440

IMG_7420I made the cowl-neck sweater on the child-mouse from a sweater my daughter, Rebekah, wore in her senior pictures. This winter, I plan to make a few more baby mice. Our little guy has really enjoyed playing with “my” toys.

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We’ve been “greening” the house with fresh greens, a yearly tradition. There’s nothing like the smell of pine freshly clipped and arranged in a vase or basket. When it’s dry, you don’t feel badly tossing it because it was free.

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Reading-wise, I am really enjoying the ESV Psalter that Peter surprised me with a few months back.

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The verse I’ve been mulling over a lot lately is Isaiah 26:3:

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because He trusteth in Thee.”

It’s such a comfort to know that God is in control and we don’t have to fear because He’s capable and wise and good and can handle our lives and all the details better than we can.

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I’ve been reading the letters of Eugene Peterson to his friend, Gunnar, in the book The Wisdom of Each Other, and while I wouldn’t recommend the book for several reasons, I really appreciated this long excerpt.

Backdrop: Mr. Peterson is writing to a friend who is a new follower of Christ, and who is trying to begin to walk in love towards a long estranged sister.  I thought Mr. Peterson’s advice was sound and it may help you as you seek to display the agape love of Christ to others.

“And going over your letters that describe the difficulties that began as early as adolescence, it seems to me that your goal at this time in your life is simply this: to except her just the way she is without the expectation that she will ever change. Period. That is the genius of mature love, that is capable of excepting and embracing without conditions.

To  think that you have to first establish a certain level of understanding or to clear up past differences or develop some strategies so that you can have a “relationship” is going at it from the wrong end of the horse. It means, of course, that you start out in admitting limitations, and accepting the fact that you may never get anything out of it, that is, never get anything that might pass for a brother/sister relationship.

But if you don’t begin by sacrificing all those dreams and delusions, legitimate as they are in motivation, your sister will never have a chance to experience your love. As for your experience in her love, that’s her deal, and there’s nothing you can do to make that happen.

If you take this approach, the first thing that happens is that the focus leaves your sister. You are now working out of the context of prayer, God’s love, your own obedience. Nothing she does or doesn’t do is any longer critical to the way you conduct your life and love. That, as I see it, is the goal. Easy enough for me to say, but how can you pull it off? Not easily. Perhaps not satisfactorily. But if you aren’t clear on the go, you’ll spend the rest of your life oscillating between frustration and bitterness. And what’s the alternative? If you are committed, because of Jesus, to living a life of reconciliation with your estranged family, then it only makes sense to do it in Jesus’ way. You have sufficient evidence by now but there is no penetrating that ideological/emotional fortress in which she has taken up residence. There is simply no “reaching” her. But it is possible to love her. Reaching her, anyway, is not the biblical imperative – love is.”

The older I get the more I realize that God’s command to love has few exceptions. Obedience means I don’t get to pick and choose who gets His love through me.

I’ve been baking for the holidays and freezing. Tonight I made this Simple Almond Cake from Baking Chez Moi  by Dorie Greenspan. It calls for only four ingredients: almond flour, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Simple and delicious.  Food and Wine’s Spiced Gingerbread Cookies is my favorite gingerbread cookie recipe by far.

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I’m making iced cookies with the same recipe later this week, but using this Gingerbread Cookie Snowglobe Idea from Better Homes and Garden’s because isn’t this the cutest!?

Photo by Better Homes and Garden. Link here.
Photo by Better Homes and Garden. Details and template here.

I’ve also made a respectable supply of Orange-Almond Biscotti and  Southern Living Million Dollar Pound Cake.

That’s pretty much what I’ve been up to. What have you been baking, reading, crafting, and meditating on? Let me know in the comments.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Sarah

 

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