Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Blessing

Last evening (Christmas Eve) as I rocked Zelda a short bit before bed, tears filled my eyes as I realized I would never spend another Christmas wondering when we would have our second daughter home with us. She was here, in my arms, and we will spend the rest of our lives together. Having her, and Ron and Annalee are my blessings this Christmas. The many presents under the tree and in the stockings were just tasty frosting on the cake.

We attended the 4 p.m. children's service at church yesterday. All the children were invited to sit up in front of the altar as our rector told the story of Jesus' birth. At intervals, the congregation sang Christmas songs as individual children were invited to bring different statues up to the front of the altar and create the manger. Zelda was among the first children to approach. With help from Rev. Aimee, she carried a sheep. Once baby Jesus was put in the straw, Zelda decided to pick him up, study him and carry him back to her seat. Our rector just carried on and easily transitioned Jesus back to his appointed place on the altar.

I have to say, I think Zelda looked magnificent in her little silver sparkly gown and matching sweater; and she just looked so at home wandering about on and near the altar. Annalee, too, looked gorgeous in a black velvet-topped dress with a burgundy satin skirt. (Pictures will come soon, I promise.) Truly, I reveled in having my family - and not just Ron, Annalee and Zelda but our friends who have become our family - around me to enjoy the beauty of the day and this season. And, we're blessed to have Ron's dad here with us, too, this year.

So, from our house to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and peace to you all today and throughout the coming year.

The blessing from church on this holiest of days is as follows:

May Christ, the Son of God, be manifest in you, that your lives may be a light to the world; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Picture is Worth...

I have so many different posts to write that I thought I'd just capture recent events here in one long blob (sic).

First, here is a slightly blurry, yet very good picture of our tree so that you can see all the colored - and white - lights. I admire our tree every time I walk through the living room, which is often, since we have a circular flow to our ranch house.

Last week, Annalee, Maia and I made Arabian hat cookies. Zelda was very interested in the peanut butter, so I gave her the mostly empty plastic jar of Jif. She REALLY liked it!

Last weekend, I tried so hard to get a beautiful picture of Annalee and Zelda. You know, one picture with both of them looking great - and at the camera. This was the best of them. It's not perfect, but neither is life. I think they look beautiful.

Yesterday during Zelda's nap time, I was thrilled to haul out my five cases of jams, jellies and pickles that I have made since June and actually label each one. I ordered custom labels from Label Creations, and I'm quite pleased with them. I'm happy to report, too, that only two of the jars were a mystery to me. I think they're Bumbleberry Jam, but I'm not positive. So, I labeled them Berry Surprise.

If you're on my Christmas list, you may just find one of these in your package. Even more exciting for me was actually packing up four teachers' gifts to send to school with Annalee on Monday. I feel so organized!

Our friends Dianne and Bill returned home from China today to the sheer joy of their youngest child, Maia. In addition to their family, they were greeted by four families from their first travel group to China (us included). Maddie was a year old in November.

Earlier this week, we experienced the joy of the first snowfall of the season. Annalee and I were so excited to share it and show it to Zelda. Despite the extreme cold, we bundled up and made our first snowman the first day it snowed. (I didn't realized the camera lens had fingerprints on it, hence the smudgy looking picture.)

The following day, an even colder one, Annalee came home from school and begged to go out and play in the snow. We were in the middle of a beautiful, peaceful snowfall with about two inches already on the ground. So, I bundled up her and Zelda and helped them waddle out the patio door into the yard.

It was this picture, below, that made me stop. And smile. And say to myself, "These are my children. My two beautiful daughters. I have TWO children. How cool is that!?!"

Annalee showed Zelda how to make her (presumed) first snow angel. Zelda just followed Annalee around the yard. I'm not quite sure she knew what to do in the snow. But, she made the most of that white fluffy stuff. You can believe they both slept well that night.

Lastly, I'll leave you with this picture of my family. Yesterday was Ron's birthday. When he returned home from work, the girls shouted with excitement and followed him to the bedroom while he changed into lounging clothes. Then, he carried them, laughing all the way, to the kitchen. I spotted them through the family room doorway coming toward me, which gave me time to get the camera ready to take this picture. Zelda's becoming a daddy's girl - and very quickly. Obviously, Annalee already is (most of the time, anyway).

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009

On the first Sunday of Lent, we had a guest priest give the sermon. It focused on the meaning of Lent and what this season is really about and how easy it is to lose sight of that in all the hype of Santa and gift-giving. Among her closing words were, "Stay alert, stay quiet and be aware for soon a child will be born...He will show you the glory of the world." That message has stayed with me this week as we prepare for Christmas - and all the excitement of the season.

This week's blessing:

Holy eternal Majesty, Holy incarnate Word, Holy abiding Spirit, bless you for evermore.