Joy

Joy in all that Christmas means to humanity.

It’s a joy to hear from friends and family with cards and letters at Christmas.

Joy Bells Are Ringing

Joy bells are ringing,
Christmas is bringing
Tidings of Jesus’ birth.
Candles are gleaming,
Gladness is streaming
Out over all the earth.

Light is ascending,
Nighttime is ending,
Sunshine from God appears.
Hope of the ages,
Foretold by sages,
Comes to dispel all fears.

O what a treasure
God in His pleasure
Lovingly gives today.
Grace to the lowly,
Peace, pure and holy,
Angels to men convey.

Come to the manger,
Kindred and stranger,
Hail now the newborn King!
In adoration
With jubilation
Peoples and nations sing!

Banish all sadness,
Fill me with gladness,
Jesus, whom I adore!
All else may perish,
Thee will I cherish
Now and forevermore!

Words: Nils Frykman, 1881.

So my peppermint bark was a fail. The white layer did not adhere to the chocolate layer, oops. The Peanut Butter Balls turned out like they should but I’m not sure if I’d make them again. I’ll let the kids weigh in when they arrive later this week. We are waiting to see if we get more snow overnight.

Happy Winter everyone!

A Four Year Old and The Nativity

This was how our four year old granddaughter felt the Nativity should be staged. I love her perspective. This was the very first Nativity set we bought. We found it at Disneyland in their Christmas shop sometime in the 80’s. We wanted a set that our kids could handle without fear of breakage. After a few years there was a mishap with one of the sheep losing a leg, the simple creche was broken, too. We have also lost the Shepherd’s staff somewhere along the years.

This week I’ll be sharing snippets of Christmas at our home with less known Christmas Carols.

O Sing a Song of Bethlehem

O sing a song of Bethlehem,
Of shepherds watching there,
And of the news that came to them
From angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem
Fills all the world today;
Of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth
The angels sing alway.

O sing a song of Nazareth,
Of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers’ breath,
And of the sinless Boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth
In every heart may grow;
Now spreads the fame of His dear name
On all the winds that blow.

O sing a song of Galilee,
Of lake and woods and hill,
Of Him who walked upon the sea
And bade the waves be still.
For though like waves on Galilee,
Dark seas of trouble roll,
When faith has heard the Master’s word,
Falls peace upon the soul.

O sing a song of Calvary,
Its glory and dismay,
Of Him who hung upon the tree,
And took our sins away.
For He who died on Calvary
Is risen from the grave,
And Christ, our Lord, by Heaven adored,
Is mighty now to save.

Here was one of our beautiful views on the way to church yesterday. We had a joy filled service with the children’s choir singing and congregational Christmas carols and a sermon filled with hope. We love our church.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together,
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

We got more snow during this past week. We like to turn the deck light on so we can see the snow out our Family Room Slider. It was fun to capture the outdoor nativity and it’s shadow in the snow.

We are going to see temperatures in the teens and very few days in the next week above freezing. More snow in our 10 day forecast. The county plows our road so I am brave enough to drive into town if I need to.

The Wonder of it all…

O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

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O, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all!
Just to think that God loves me.

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Hope you are enjoying the Wonder of Christmas and the Wonder of it all…

I’m linking up to ABC Wednesday started by Mrs. Nesbitt and now her elves are working hard keeping us on track.

I’m heading to downtown Seattle today for the Seattle Sounders Victory Parade and Rally. Hope my nose doesn’t freeze and fall off. Our deck is a sheet of ice right now. No snow or rain is forecast so that is good.

Merry Christmas!

May your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day be filled with lots of love and joy and a little ho ho ho!

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This afternoon we’ll be at a Christmas Eve service and then come home and have some fresh hand made tamales for dinner.

Twinkle 003By midnight tonight or a little after all our kids except for Andrew will be under our roof. Hopefully they’ll beat Santa here. Dear and I will be fast asleep by the time they arrive but we’ll let Katie greet the late comers and welcome them here.

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IMGP1037Christmas morning we’ll open stockings first with a cup of coffee and then we’ll have our traditional Swedish pancake breakfast that Dear makes for us.

IMGP1039After breakfast we open up the gifts under the tree. This year after we read the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2 we are going to have Katie read a very interesting article on some of the Christmas story that has been ingrained into tradition that might be on the urban legend side of things and not really historically and culturally accurate. Don’t worry we don’t have our knickers in a knot. We still know the best truth of Christmas is that God came down and we can now be lifted up to Him through what Jesus did on the cross for us.

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Mystery Tree 2013 027After we open up our gifts I’ll start preparing for our Christmas dinner. We will have our traditional Prime Rib and Yorkshire Pudding with roasted root vegetables, creamed corn from scratch, and a salad. For dessert this year I’m planning on making an apple tart from apples off of Dan’s property in Eastern Washington.

IMGP1046Of course all through the day we’ll have our favorite Christmas Cd’s playing in the background. Knowing our kids while the roast is cooking there will probably be some games around the table.

Praying you know the real Joy of Christmas!

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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

God bless us everyone…

Up Close…

Xmas close up 002A Crown for my King.

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Old and Primitive.

Xmas close up 004A landmark from England.

Xmas close up 006The Amiable Guinea Pig ~ Beatrix Potter

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Hunca Munca ~ Beatrix Potter

Xmas close up 008Frosted Window Panes from Russia.

Xmas close up 010Katie, 1986

Christmas 18-55 lensOur First Nativity, small and wooden. This one has been well used and some parts have been glued together. One of the animals is missing a leg.

IMGP1024The controversial blond Mary.

IMGP1036Ded Moroz Father Frost from Russia.

Just a few of our Christmas things up close and personal. I’ll be sharing a few more in the near future.

I shared a story earlier in December about our church Toy Shop Project for needy families in our community. Our church was able to help 315 families with grocery gift cards and toys for their children. We had over 2000 new toys that we gave away. Our goal was 1800. What a wonderful experience to be able to share in this way in our own community.

I’m so thankful for a quiet week leading up to Christmas. How are your days?

O Mystery Tree, O Mystery Tree…

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Our Mystery Tree tradition is continuing this year. On Sunday we put the back seat down in the jeep and headed to the Home Depot to pick out our tree. Our round trip from home to the store and back again took a little under 45 minutes total! We arrive, we spy out the trunks of the trees in our height range in the piles where the trees are still all tied up, we pick one, buy it, throw it into the back of the jeep and head home where the stand is ready and waiting. Dear cuts off a portion of the trunk and gives it a good thrust into the stand. Tighten the screws on the trunk and get ready for the reveal…

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It’s so much fun to stand back and watch as Dear cuts the string off the branches.

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Tah Dah!

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When I got home late last night Dear had put the lights on the tree so I can now finish decorating it. We’ll see what gets done today.

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Little by little it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around this old house.

Life continues to keep us on our knees in the midst of this joyful time of Advent and more and more we look to the Hope we have in Christ. We had one of those 3 A.M. phone calls where you know the news can’t be good. A Brother in law had a heart attack that was caught in time and arteries were cleared. He’ll be home soon. We know the reality of how fragile life can be. We always wait for good news from Afghanistan. “Made it back from the Mission, I’m O.K., going to bed now, talk more later.” We rally around each other supporting each other in whatever life throws our way.

Faith

I will have faith,
However dreams are shattered;
I will have faith that righteousness can live;
I will have faith e’en when my heart is breaking,
To work and pray and give!

I will have faith
When troubled is life’s ocean,
When low-blown clouds the Pilot’s face shall hide;
I will have faith when my fair ship is battered;
I will await the turning of the tide!

I will have faith
That God is still in Heaven;
I will have faith that He is by my side;
I will have faith though every star is darkened,
That He and truth abide!

The Residence, Denver

Celebrating Sixty Two!

This year we celebrated my birthday on two different continents and 2 states! We arrived in Milan on my birthday but after being airborne for many hours and arriving in Amsterdam and then Milan, Italy I had to be reminded it was my day. After we arrived back to Seattle our oldest and our lovely DIL decided we should head out to celebrate after the fact.

Josh and Laura picked a restaurant for brunch in Seattle close to Queen Anne Hill. They offered several great dishes to choose from.

The name of the restaurant was Toulouse Petit Kitchen and Lounge. There was a long line up but it was worth the wait.

This is the front door to the restaurant. I’m not sure what the story of the cross in the door is. I like it!

We headed to Kerry Park after brunch to get a view of Seattle from above.

Someone was blowing bubbles at the park and I was happy to catch this one on the bottom of the photo!

Before my birthday we celebrated a wee bit early with my family in Southern California along with celebrating Katie and Andrew’s 2nd Anniversary at Julienne in San Marino.

This is my brother Steve with Katie and me.

My nephew Joe, nieces Michelle and Melissa, and grand nephew Jack.

Katie, niece Debbee, and Laura.

My sister Kathy. My sister in law Kelly and grand niece Avery were at breakfast, too, but I failed to capture them in a photo.

Here’s what my kids ordered for my birthday gift …

They delivered it to me on Easter. I thought that was so appropriate bringing our celebrations full circle from the birth of Christ to His death and resurrection. Now my nativity scene with Wee Forest Folk is complete except for one wise man.

We are looking forward to a weekend of celebrating with friends at a wedding on Saturday evening and a breakfast on Sunday. What do you have planned?

The Perfect Scene…

…to display beneath the star.

I bought this flag at the Evergreen Fair a couple years ago and realized that flying it wouldn’t allow anyone to really see the scene.

We decided to try it attached to the window below the star. We liked how it looked during the day and we waited to see what it would look like at night.

We were happy with the result.

 I went with decorating light with the tree this year. I pulled out very few of our collected ornaments. Since the majority of our kids aren’t arriving to celebrate till after Christmas I think light is good.

Now to the mundane…something is going on with my back which is slowing things down around here. Another good reason to go “light”. I haven’t uploaded photos from our anniversary dinner out yet so I’ll share on another day. I’ll also take some photos of our tree to show.  No baking in my kitchen yet. How are your festivities and decorating shaping up.

FFF ~ I’m in Hot Water Now…

It’s time to reflect on your past week and see the many good things that you were blessed with. Visit Susanne at Living to tell the Story to join in this worthwhile exercise.

My favorites from this past week…

 

1. A decorated Christmas tree filling the living room with a nice fragrance. Oops somethings crooked!

 

2. Nativities to remind us why we celebrate Christmas.

 

3. Hot Water! Our old water heater was giving up the ghost and we didn’t want to be surprised some morning with a cold shower so Dear with his handiness put in a new one this week. We had to live without hot water for 24 hours but we knew about it in advance and boy are we all ever thankful to have the hot water flowing again.

4. Thankful once again for a husband who can take on most any project around the house and do a good job at it!

 

5. These great words I read this morning;

2 Timothy 4:18 (ESV)~

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

and 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17 (ESV) ~

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

This weekend Dear and I are escaping to Whidbey Island for an overnight at a Bed and Breakfast Inn to celebrate our anniversary. I hope to tell you all about it next week. We have a heavy rain and flooding forecast which might make things interesting on our trip. Enjoy your day and weekend!

Photobucket replaced all my photos with ugly black and grey boxes and they are holding my photos hostage until I pay them lots of money. I’m slowly going through all my posts and trying to clean them up and replacing some photos. Such a bother.