Sunday, December 20, 2009

Food for Christmas Thought

I read a book several years ago called Beyond Survival: Building on Hard Times by Captain Gerald Coffee. The book is Coffee's story of his seven-year captivity in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp. One part has stayed with me through the past five or so years and I wanted to share it with you this week. Coffee writes about being alone in his prison cell on Christmas Eve, making little Christmas ornaments from small pieces of candy foil:

In the yellow light my little ornaments glowed and twinkled softly as they bobbed and rotated slowly in the chilly air. And I was immedieately struck by the satisfying simplicity of my Christmas.
I thought more about the birth of the Christ Child and the simplicity of the Nativity. There was nothing to distract me from the pure awesomeness of the story of Chirst's birth--no materialism, commercialism, no food, presents, or glitz. Just me and that little baby....
Everything by which I had measured my identity was denied: my rank, my title, uniform, clothes, money, car, the trappings of my religion. It was just me left--my flesh, bones, intellect, and soul....
I realized that although I was hurting and lonely and scared, this might be the most significant Christmas Eve of my life. The circumstances of this night were helping me to crystallize my understanding of my journey within to find God there, and thereby to see Him everywhere.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas from head to TOES!!!

Today my dad paid for mom, Whitney, and I to get our toes done for Christmas! We all got variations of canycane stripes. These are mine!

For those in the Abilene area, go to Shannon Leija at Vendetta's Salon...she's the best!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No Fear of Gravity

He tries to crawl off the end of the bed. He tries to jump from our arms to the floor. He tries to climb things that are very unstable. My son has no fear of gravity. Today I caught him just inches from the floor as he dove headfirst from my lap. For a moment, there was a breathless silence in the living room as Jon and I tried to still our racing hearts. In another moment the silence was broken by Benjamin's laughter. Evidently, he enjoyed his lap bungie jumping experience. Oh, dear. I just keep thinking of all the things that could happen--cuncussion, broken neck, broken nose. I have an extreme fear of gravity.

I wonder: is this what we do with God the Father? Sit calmly and safely in His lap and then just decide on a whim to dive recklessly toward the ground? How many times has God just caught me by my ankles? And, on the other hand, is there something I can learn from Benjamin? He has total faith in his own safety when in our arms, even though he is really not all that secure (I almost dropped him today when he dove from my lap). Shouldn't I have that much more confidence in the One who has never dropped one of His children and never will. Nothing can snatch us from His hand, not even gravity.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thomas Nelson Book Review of Called To Worship by Vernon M. Whaley

Called To Worship by Vernon M. Whaley

Called To Worship tells the story of worship from Genesis through Revelation and highlights principles of worship throughout Scripture. Each chapter begins by telling the story of worship in a particular portion of Scripture in a storytelling format and ends by offering practical guidelines in a section called "Principles of Worship."

This is the kind of book that I call a "start and stop" book because I put it down and mull it over for a while before moving on to a new chapter. It had so many things to consider and offered many opportunities to reflect, pray, and consider worship in my own life. I feel like the author's heart for leading people in a lifestyle of worship really comes through as well as his obvious passion for just praising God in many ways.

My only complaint is that it feels long and sometimes repetitive. It was a hard book to just sit down and read straight through. I think it would be a good study to work through with a group at a slow pace. The only people I will be likely to recommend it to are worship leaders or people who are deeply interested in the subject.

Monday, December 7, 2009

These Days

Benjamin takes a bath in the big bathtub.

I am baking cakes, pies, and breads to earn extra money for the holidays. This one was a sunflower birthday cake for a friend's sister.
We are celebrating the season with our traditional tree (last year we did the tree as an "It's A Boy!" theme all in blue).

And our favorite ornaments.

(The ones I made for our very first tree our first

year married)

(The moose and goose ornaments, of which there

are several, which represent our pet names for one


(The one we found in our front porch planter one
day last year to celebrate finding out. Thanks, Meg!)

Actually, I love most of my Christmas ornaments. I didn't hang some of my favorites up this year because of the nine-almost-ten-month-old crawling around my house. But I did get them out and look at each of them before packing them back up for next year.

We did find a new place for our creche.

(The whole reason we celebrate this wonderful season!)

Things not pictured:

I am writing. Working hard on a couple of children's book manuscripts and looking for parents/teachers who would be willing to read them and give me some feedback. Let me know if you are interested.

And, at a time of year that is so joyful for us we are praying for the grace to be mindful of those for whom this holiday brings sadness. For those who have lost so much that is so precious, we are truly sorry and our hearts are tender toward you. Most of our prayers are for you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Watched Pot

It is deliciously cold out. Benjamin and I took a two and a half hour snuggle nap on the couch in front of the lit Christmas tree. When we woke up, I turned on the little gas heater in the bathroom (God bless old houses that still have these!) and gave Benjamin a bubble bath. Then I powdered and lotioned and dressed him in a little sweatsuit. We headed to the kitchen. He banged on a little stainless steel mixing bowl with a little wooden spoon while I mixed up hot chocolate mix.

1 8qt. box of dry milk
6oz Hazelnut flavored powdered coffee creamer
1 16oz. box of Nestles Quik
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
(you will never use instant hot chocolate packets from the store again!)

When it was all mixed up, I poured the powdery goodness into a large tupperware and stuck a 1/4 cup measuring cup in the top to serve as our hot chocolate scoop for the season. What's missing? I thought. The Doris Day Christmas Album. What a delightful day!

Later in the afternoon, while Benjamin napped, I heated up the tea kettle for my third (you read that right) cup of hot chocolate. I didn't want the whistling tea kettle to wake the baby, so I watched it. I was just starting to squirm, wondering why it was taking so long for the water to boil when I remembered what they say about a "watched pot."

Suddenly I felt the Holy Spirit say to me: Kristi, you are a watched pot. When people are watching you, you have it all together. You are organized, calm, serene, and quiet. But sometimes, when no one is looking, you start to bubble and boil with the emotions you keep just beneath the surface.

At first I thought it was unfair of God to give me a rebuke like that on a day when I was doing just great without anyone watching. But then I realized, He needed to find me in a quiet place to give me this message. May be He needed me in a good mood so I could recieve it without whining. I need to give my emotional life into God's keeping, to allow Him to finally heal the wounds created years ago by the death of a ministry, to trust Him to take me anywhere He desires despite the pain of the past.

It hurts my pride to share this post with you. I don't know why God seems to encourage me again and again to share the worst parts of myself on this public blog. I would so much rather have ended this post with Doris Day singing and hot chocolate bubbling, but I felt compelled to tell the rest of the story for some reason.