Saturday, December 24, 2011

Poem of the Month: December 2011

"The Nativity" by Brian Kershisnik. I have this painting above my piano right now for the month of December. It's long been one of my favorites.
Today has been both a peaceful and a busy Christmas Eve. I want to leave it with the poem of the month, "Love Came Down at Christmas" by Christina Rossetti. This poem doesn't need much explication, which works well for me tonight. In fact, you've probably heard it before because it's been put to music countless times by a number of different groups and in a number of variations, from gospel to the Jars of Clay's album. As for me, I love the sound of this poem. I also love that Rossetti uses "Love" instead of one of Christ's many other names. It emphasizes for me what Christmas really is--not all those presents I finished wrapping--but love, the love of a divine father and mother for their children, the love of an older brother, a Savior. And so, on Christmas, we celebrate the sacred sign, the token, the plea, the gift:  Love for all. What could be better? Absolutely nothing.

Love Came Down at Christmas
~Christina Rossetti

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,
Love shall be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and to all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Twenty-one down

and not many left to go.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Tradition, Tradition!"

(Please sing the title to this post in your best Tevye voice.)

I decided this year that, although traditions are well and good, it seems like we have too many Christmas traditions. It's no good when your traditions stress you out. I think the Disneyland trip made us try to squash the rest of the traditions into too short of a time span. But anyway, we still had fun with them.

Every year we go up to Williams, Arizona, which is by the Grand Canyon, and ride the Polar Express and spend the night in a hotel. I love this tradition. But this year, it was marred by H's TERRIBLE cold. The child could not breathe and therefore, he could not sleep, and therefore, I could not sleep and J could not sleep, and therefore, we were a bit grumpy. But the train ride itself was really fun:


Okay, I can't figure out blogger's new interface and what it's doing to my pictures (which I keep trying to tile), but oh, well. Next tradition: Sweet and I went to the Nutcracker. We sat on the front row of the balcony this year so she could see better. It was really relaxing and fun and once again, she spent the majority of the performance planning which role she would take next year. 

And we made our annual gingerbread house. We tried not to let H touch too many pieces of the candy since his cold was till going full force.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Disneyland Delight

The week after Thanksgiving, we took a kind-of, spur-of-the-moment trip to Disneyland with grandparents and cousins. Initially, I wondered if it would be worth spending the money to go when we'd just gone in the spring and I worried about the weather holding up (last December it rained the ENTIRE time we were in southern California). But I'm so glad we went. Spending 3 days there instead of 1 was so relaxing, and the Christmas decorations and parade were spectacular. Plus, spending time with family can't be beat. So get ready for a mother-load of pics:

This series of pics were taken after we got stuck on Splash Mountain and were escorted off through the ride. It was actually really fun.

Wiped out at Grandma and Grandpa's house:

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Good thing, since it's NINE days away. (How did that happen?!) Anyway, we have been decked out for the holidays for a couple of weeks now. I just haven't made the time to blog about it. But Christmas-y we are, from our nails to our halls.
I thought H would dig decorating the tree, but he didn't have a lot of interest. Most of the time he did this:
I did still get a few pics of him learning how to hang the ornaments (even though taking them off is what he does best). And as the family lightweight, he was the official Star Placer this year.
No pics of the tree lot this year--we tried a Costco tree, and you don't get to see it unfurled until you bring it home, so it's kind of a gamble. But I'm happy with it. I'm not picky, as long as it smells nice and fresh. I LOVE the Christmas tree.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving and November poem of the month

I'm ending this week of Thanksgiving full--full of food, full of thanks. We kind of had a low-key Thanksgiving this year, which was relaxing and nice. Louie and Kathy came from California for the feast, the bulk of which was provided by Ron and Vickie and was delish.

We started Thanksgiving day off with the 10K Turkey Trot. It was such a beautiful morning--overcast and cool, perfect for running. I kept my eyes glued to the crazy lines and movements of the clouds over the desert butte in the distance and dreamed up a new painting, to be titled, "Anticipation." But back to the race. According to my watch, I ran it in 53 minutes, which beats my old time of 56 minutes, so I was excited about that. I wish it was an "official" time, though, but I was in line for the porta-a-potty (only THREE for a race of almost 3,000 people!!) and thought that since I had a timing chip, it wouldn't matter that I started late. Guess it did. My chip didn't register.

Then, we feasted. I made my usual: sweet potatoes, green slush, creamed corn, bacon-stuffed mushrooms.
Please feast your eyes on this beauty (the pies, not Ron, although is lookin' good with the whipped cream!). Ron made all 14 pies, as usual. He is the pie master. We had 6 adults and 6 children, so that's pretty good pie-to-person ratio--more than 1 pie per person, just like I like it. My fav was the strawberry rhubarb. Thanks, Ron!
After eating leftovers Friday and Sat night, we hung out in the backyard with the outdoor heater and talked and played with this big elastic piece of fabric that would slingshot people back and forth. The video is better, but I'm too lazy to upload it tonight:
So, I'll end with the poem of the month, called "Father, We Thank You," has been attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, even though The Ralph Waldo Emerson Society swears it's not by him. I found it in one of our picture books that I love to read during November. It's very simple and straightforward and doesn't need any explication, which is sometimes nice in poetry:

Father, We Thank You

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank You.
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
Father, we thank You.
For song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank You.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank You.
For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank You.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank You.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank You.

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank You.
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Your goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank You.