Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bringing home the tree

Ryan is really getting into Christmas this year. He was quite excited about getting our first tree. I very much wanted to get a cute little one that could sit on top of our piano, not taking up much space. We had smallish trees every year till I was about 11. Small didn't take away from the Christmasy feel of things to me. We never really had gifts waiting under the tree either. There was  too many little siblings running about, and too many gifts to wrap. Even if they had been wrapped pre Christmas Eve, they would not have survived so many little people. Ryan, however, grew up with big trees. The bigger the better, and gifts were always prettily wrapped under the tree, helping to build excitement. So there was much debate this year. We have a teeny livingroom, and a huge couch and a piano already in it. It made sense to me to have a small tree. Go big or go home was his philosophy. I caved. And I am glad I did! After a lot of research and note taking for the best kind of tree to get and where to go... We ended up at Home Depot. Yep. Probably not the best place for a quality tree, but it was close to Target, which is where we got all of our ornaments and lights.

We managed to smoosh our huge feeling Balsam Fir into the corner of our livingroom. And somehow, it fit! Quite cozily in fact.

We didn't decorate that night, as it was super late, but before Leilani went to bed, I strung up some lights around the livingroom and dining room. I love me some twinkle lights. Please enjoy a very small picture of me loving some twinkle lights. Attractive, right?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving and my first and last Black Friday

Thanksgiving was delicious. Really, really yummy. I helped my cousin (my husband's cousin, but I claim her as mine, cause she is that awesome) make the turkey this year. We got together on the 23rd and cooked all day. We attempted to bake an amazing pull-apart pumpkin bread. I decided to be brave and follow that darn complicated recipe... and it tasted awful. Really bad. I am sure it was the recipe's fault. 

The turkey turned out ever so much better. Shirlyn read about soaking the turkey in a brine overnight. It. Was. Amazing. Hands down best turkey I have ever had. And, it was pretty. Observe:


 You are drooling aren't you? Mhm. Me too. The worst thing about holiday turkeys with families as big as ours, is that there is never leftovers. Always a bummer. 

Here we all are, gathered about the table, waiting to give thanks for the food. Also, I must mention that my mother in law made mutton curry. Oh my goodness. There was too much incredible on that table at one time. I would love to be a vegetarian one day, I really would. But wow, that turkey and curry really set me back a few years in arriving at that place.

 I think we need to look at this guy again. Just too yummy.

Pardon the blur. These are the summation of my photography that day.  I didn't get any pictures of the lovely sari that my mother in law stuck me in I, or of the dinner at my parent's house either. Know that both were great.

That evening, I brought my sister home with me, to go on our very first Black Friday adventure ever the next morning. She is ridiculously adorable. I sort of hate her sometimes.

She slept in our bathtub. I am a great sister. It was much cozier than the couch. Right Abi? We filled it up with pillows and couch cushions and shut her in for the evening. She lit a candle and read, and in the morning I gave her a banana. It was like a B&B.

We have never gone before. For several years when I was a teen, we were not allowed to go because of "the danger." Hearing about someone who got trampled to death at WalMart didn't help us out. For the years after that when I could drive myself I was "not allowed to take a family car out on the roads on This Day." People get in major accidents you know. I am now an "adult" with my own car. So this year, we were determined to brave the danger and venture forth. Mom good naturedly made sure to remind us that we had better be careful, and that I had to take my own car, because hers were not allowed to head near certain death fender-benders in the parking lot.

We got up at 4:30 and got to the mall at 4:40. Unbeknownst to me, some of the stores in the mall opened at midnight. So much to our amazement, it was already majorly crowded. We came for the express purpose of getting a scratch off card from H&M at 5. After being smashed by strangers against the glass walls for a good half hour while mall security made angsty people form a single line, we got one. We each got $10. The dude in front of me got $25, and the three people behind us (all of whom were obnoxious) got $75, and farther down the line I heard a voice shout "$300! OH MY GOSH!"  I am not bitter. I was thankful for the $10... So we shoved into the store, found a deal or two, zipped over to American Eagle (where I got a pencil case and a tank top) and left. I had Abi dropped off at home, unscathed mind you, and was back in bed by 6:50. The car was fine. I was fine. Abi was fine. We even found a deal or two.While I love a good sale and am a morning person extrovert, I have decided that it isn't worth it every year.

Thanksgiving is over! On to... Spring? Really craft stores? I thought Christmas was next?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving is here already. Even on Monday of this week my brain was still in denial over the nearness of the holiday season, but it has indeed arrived!

We are still at home in Maryland. Looking ahead to now, from the last few days of September, I imagined a far different day than the one we woke up to this morning. So much was uncertain and everything seemed to be in a state of great upheaval and change. I felt that thrill of excitement, but a pang of sadness, as I thought that I had unknowingly already spent my last holiday celebrations with my family a year ago. Not so! The Lord has given us this time together, and I am so thankful for it.

We are at Ryan's parents house this morning, purposely arriving a few hours ahead of the rest of the crew. It is mostly quiet, aside from the conversations between Leilani and her grandparents and the faint sound of a leaf-blower. The sun is shining brightly on all the mostly naked trees, all their lovely autumn foliage rests discarded at their feet in piles of brown, reds, golds and yellows. It is brisk outside, I love the freshness of this season. Mom is making mutton curry in the kitchen downstairs, the savory aroma drifts about in delicious wafts, making me feel far too hungry for this hour in the morning.

This full, happy day still lies ahead of us. The rest of the family arrives in a little over an hour, and the three of us will head to my family's house in the early evening for part two of the festivities. I want to savor it all this year, and not miss any of it, even (and especially) the loud chaos that surrounds all the little people everywhere they go. The smells, the sounds, every dear face... a happy potpourri of utter blessedness.

This year, more than ever before, I am thankful for the faithfulness of the Lord. Every year looking back, it seems that the whirlwind of life continues to outdo itself, ever growing, never loosing speed. But the Lord has ever led us on with His gentle hand. The path is slippery, but by His grace, we have not fallen. It may feel a bit dark along the way, but He has not let us loose sight of His light. He has been so kind and so very, very good.

I don't want to be merely observant and grateful. I want to be changed. I want to be utterly filled with an overwhelming tide of  deep thankfulness that permeates everything I do and am. This is my prayer this year. That the Lord would move our hearts, that we would see Him more clearly with every passing day, and that we would be changed.

That's all I have this morning.

Thank You Lord. You are so very Good.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today was a very full day. We gathered with family and friends at my in-laws house for some delicious food, and lots of loud, enthusiastic conversation. Laughter, good natured arguments and screaming children abounded. And Leilani, who is fighting her third little cold in a row, skipped her nap. Beautiful, exhausting chaotic fun.

On the car ride home, we did bedtime. Reviewing her day, we retouched on all the highlights, and she enthusiastically babbled about all of her favorite people. "Thatha! babblesomething Athai uh UncleKenny!! Chithi! Grama!" And on. Then came time for prayer. We told her to fold her hands, and then she exclaimed "MONKEY pray!" And she folded the hands of the monkey on her lap. Usually, we help her pray word by word, but tonight we told her to help her monkey pray. There was a pause, and then

"Dear Hethenly FADDAH! Thankyoo for thisday... mumble... Thankyoofor thisDAY! In Yeesus nam, AMEN!"

And she prayed her first prayer, all by herself. A few minutes later there was some more "hethenlyfaddah!" (Heavenly Father)s thrown in with a lot of babbling about her "Chithi and uncle Kenny and Athai" and a few quiet amens.

Ryan and I are so proud, of our little lady who is learning to love prayer. I am thankful for the examples that my mother and father were to me growing up. Their intimate and meaningful way of talking to the Lord have been an extraordinary blessing. I pray that through Ryan and I, the Lord will allow this blessing to pass to Leilani as well.

Every day she learns something new that we have taught her. Sometimes those lessons are intentional, sometimes they are not. It is sobering to realize how much she picks up everyday. What a responsibility it is to be a little person's parents. But on nights like tonight, what a blessing it is to see a happy lesson being learned!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I am learning that some times the journey to get to one place, often involves a lot of waiting and seemingly standing still in another.

I am learning that often times the Lord says "Go" but that He does not always mean "Go right now." I am learning that having faith is as much about the waiting and stillness, as it is about the leaping and freefalling. Following often involves as much standing still as it does forward movement.

When David was anointed king, he did not suddenly begin to lead Israel the next day. He woke up like he always did and probably went back to caring for sheep. It took years of waiting and growth before the Lord established him as the leader of his people.

When God told Abraham that he would be the father of nations, Abraham did not come down the mountain to find a house full of children and grandchildren. In fact, he died without ever seeing the complete fulfillment of the Lord's promise.

We are waiting. The Lord has said to us that He will lead us to a city in which to dwell. We believe that He has shown us that He is going to move our family to Colorado Springs, despite the fact that all the doors in that direction are closed at this time. He has told us to wait.

He has not told us how long we are to wait, but He has not left us to fend for ourselves while we do. Over and over again, He has shown us that He is our Provider and the He is the one who is going to accomplish all things for us, in His time.

So we are waiting! We have no "plan" and there is no leave date. But God has a plan. As my dad put it, "You can look at this stillness and think to yourself  'Wow, God is not doing anything, or you can look at it and go 'Wow, God is really about to do Something."

Guys, He is Faithful. And so, we wait!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Untitled Poem by Amy Carmichael

Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow
Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea,
What matter beating wind and tossing billow
If only we are in the boat with Thee?

Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute
While Thou art silent and the wind is shrill:
Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?
Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?