Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas To All My Friends!

Merry Christmas dear friends!! May the Lord bless you richly and my your day be full of joy!

Let me just leave you with one last quote from By The Shores of Silver Lake...

' "Well," Pa said. "It's the first Christmas dinner anybody ever ate in this part of the country. I'm glad it was a good one. In time to come, no doubt a good many folks will celebrate Christmas around here, and I expect they'll have fancier fixings in some ways, but I don't know how they can have more solid comfort than we've got, for a fact." '

' "Every Christmas is better than the Christmas before," Laura thought. "I guess it must be because I'm growing up." '

Lots of love,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas on Plum Creek

On the Banks of Plum Creek has three different Christmases in it. Each are wonderful.

I love the selflessness of Laura and Mary in putting aside their own desires for Christmas and coming together to wish for horses for Pa. They knew the horses would be useful and in the end it gave Laura happiness to wish that for Pa.

Later we see the family joining others from town at the church for Christmas festivities. What a special treat that night was. And the surprise of the Christmas tree and all the gifts on and under it had to have been amazing.

"Laura was too excited to speak. She squeezed Mary's hand tighter and tighter, and she looked up at Ma, wanting so much to know what that was. Ma smiled down at her and answered, "That is a Christmas tree, girls. Do you think it pretty?"

They could not answer. They nodded while they kept on looking at that wonderful tree."

But my favorite Christmas in the book is the one that happens just after the Long Blizzard. For days they are not sure where Pa is. He could have stayed in town, but perhaps he is lost in the blizzard! Those days were long and difficult. But then, Pa came home! He was safe and all of a sudden they realized it was going to be Christmas.

"Laura patted Jack's furry smooth forehead and scratched his ears for him, and then with both hands she gave his head a quick, happy squeeze. Everything was so good. Grasshoppers were gone, and next year Pa could harvest wheat. Tomorrow was Christmas with oyster stew for dinner. There would be no presents and no candy, but Laura could not think of anything she wanted and she was so glad that the Christmas candy had helped to bring Pa safe home again.

"Supper is ready," Ma said in her gentle voice.

Pa laid the fiddle in its box. He stood up and looked around at them all. His blue eyes shone at them. "Look, Caroline," he said, "how Laura's eyes
are shining." "

What finer gift could they have, but to have Pa home and to know that they are all together, safe and sound.

I look forward to this Saturday, as my parents, my brother, and his fiancee come up to spend Christmas with us. It has been a while since we were all able to spend Christmas together. It will be special because we will all be together under one roof again...celebrating and reminiscing :-)

Lots of love,

A Few Current Pictures...

My dear friend, Pat, asked that I share some recent pictures of the kids :-)

I am happy to oblige! I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but my sweet little man, Liam, looks even more so like a little man! The day before Thanksgiving I decided it was time to cut his amazing curly hair. It had gotten very long and, a little man cut was needed.

I think he looks quite dashing :-)

(Liam with his newly built cathedral.)

Here is Miss Brenna. My lovely, compassionate and very passionate 8 year old! She is now reading...though she is still uncertain of her skills. Mama is very proud though :-)

And here are my youngest and eldest...Rowan is now 20months and a beautiful, vibrant little girl. She has a limited vocabulary, but she most definitely lets us know if she wants something or if she is not a happy camper ;-)
Fiona will be 11 next can that be!? She is a wonderful helper...loving, friendly and outgoing. I have been able to more and more rely upon her for aide(even Brenna is a big help to me now!) and know that in most things I can trust her to do what I need.

These children are a bright light in my life. I am so grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless us with such dear children. Each day is interesting, and to be true, can be challenging as well. But I wouldn't trade a day with my children for anything. The fact that I have been a Mama for almost 11 years kind of startles me. Can it be so? And can I really be so impatient? Ha! I strive to be a good example to them and know that I fail regularly, but I hope that when I don't fail they are soaking it in. I hope to some day let fly these little arrows, so that they can make their mark to glorify God and shine His Light throughout our world! May each day bring me closer to the mother they need and may each day bring them closer to the man or woman God would have them be!

Lots of love,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas in Indian Territory

This is the first Christmas where we see Laura's family wondering how they will have a happy Christmas. The despair we see in Laura knowing that there is no way Christmas can happen is heartbreaking, but more so is the helplessness that Ma and Pa seem to have.

"After supper that night they washed their hands and faces, buttoned their red-flannel nightgowns, tied their night-cap strings, and soberly said their prayers. They lay down in bed and pulled the covers up. It did not seem at all like Christmas time.

Pa and Ma sat silent by the fire. After a while Ma asked why Pa didn't play the fiddle, and he said, "I don't seem to have the heart to, Caroline." "

"After a longer while, Ma suddenly stood up. "I'm going to hang up your stockings, girls, " she said. "Maybe something will happen."
Laura's heart jumped. But then she thought again of the creek and she knew nothing could happen."


As a child, I never understood this despair. We never had much, but if my parents ever felt this helplessness, they did not show it. But, now as an adult and most especially as a parent...I have felt this helplessness. I know Christmas isn't about the gifts under the tree or in the stockings...but it is such a horrible feeling knowing that you can't afford even a few gifts or maybe not even the tree! We have had several Christmases recently where we could not afford a tree and we could not really buy much of anything(including what would be used for mama-made gifts). So, as I read this section or other sections in later Little House books now, I can sit in Ma and Pa's seat and KNOW what they felt that night.

But...there is always a way :-)


"She sat down again by the fire and Laura almost went to sleep. She woke up a little when she heard Pa say, "You've only made it worse, Caroline." And she thought she heard Ma say: "No, Charles. There's the white sugar."


And then there is the love shown by neighbors and family. Just when one thinks there is no way and that things will be depressingly meager...He provides! How many parents have been blessed by an unknown giver? Someone decides to send a card with money for food, or gifts or they find a bag/box of presents for the children, left anonymously on their porch? This is such a beautiful gift from our Lord. And I think I learn to love Mr. Edwards in this particular section simply for his selfless giving. He is a true neighbor!


"It was too big a risk, Edwards," Pa said. "We're glad you're here, but that was too big a risk for a Christmas dinner."
"Your little ones had to have a Christmas," Mr. Edwards replied. "No creek could stop me, after I fetched them their gifts from Independence."


The most beautiful, scraggly ol' wild cat :-)

"That was a happy Christmas."

And I don't think it was because they got so very much...but the selfless love shown by one man...makes me think of the selfless love shown by our beautiful Lord.

Lots of love,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Big Woods Christmas

For my first little sharing of favorite Little House Christmases, I am sharing one from Little House in the Big Woods. One of the biggest differences about this particular Christmas (from what I see)is that the Ingalls family is at its most well-off. They have an established home with plenty, both from garden and woods. They are not lacking anything. They are surrounded by family...their immediate and extended family. All are well and really, I'm sure they felt very happy that Christmas.

Despite their plenty...they still had a simple Christmas. The food and love was the most abundant.

This Christmas is one that I've always used to compare the later Christmases recorded by Laura to. So many other Christmases were during very difficult times...and yet, there was still such joy.

So, let me share:

"In each stocking there was a pair of bright red mittens, and there was a long, flat stick of red-and-white-striped peppermint candy, all beautifully notched along each side.

They were all so happy they could hardly speak at first. They just looked with shining eyes at those lovely Christmas presents. But Laura was happiest of all. Laura had a rag doll."

"She was so beautiful that Laura could not say a word. She just held her tight and forgot everything else. She did not know that everyone was looking at her, till Aunt Eliza said: "Did you ever see such big eyes!""

"Laura sat down on the edge of the bed and held her doll. She loved her red mittens and she loved the candy, but she loved her doll best of all. She named her Charlotte."

"In just a little while the merry sound of the bells was gone, and Christmas was over. But what a happy Christmas it had been!"
Lots of love,

Christmas Corners

It's Christmas time! What a wonderful time of year! I hope all of my friends are having a blessed and joy filled holiday season.

Obviously we've been quite busy here...or I would no doubt have posted sooner than almost two months since the last post! As usual, I am sorry for the long absence.

With a new home and town, we are having to find new traditions and ways to celebrate the birth of our Lord. It has been a little tough dropping old traditions, but fun too, to see what is here.

Mostly, we've stuck to the home. This year we haven't gone to any local things, but I hope to next year. We did enjoy making candy with our new homeschooling friends and of course have had fun making our traditional Sugar Cookies :-) Christmas music has been playing in the background and decorations have gone up.

One of the newest things for us has been lights on the house! Dan and I have lived in apartments all our married life until this we've never put lights up on the outside..well, not even on the inside for that matter ;-) But we both felt the desire to have them on the last Thursday(I know, late...) my dear, sweet, darling of a hubby set them up. We only did the front of the house and they are just a simple strand of white lights...but I LOVE them! I love the simplicity of them...just right :-) I just realized that this shot is a tad blurry..but I still think it gives the feel of the house at night :-)

Of course, it just wouldn't feel like home if we weren't able to put out the little decorations. I've gone about it slowly, but I finally finished putting everything out last week. We are still surrounded by moving boxes and haven't finalized where everything will end up in the future...but I like how most things turned out.

This is our front entry way...we have a large wreath outside on our door, but this little one graces our inside. You can also see a few of our snowflakes hanging from the entry that we made and our stockings(these are the ones that I made a year or so ago) and our advent calendar.

The other thing we enjoyed doing this year(something we have wanted to do since having children) is to take a trip to a Christmas Tree farm and we cut down our own tree. What fun...though it decided to start pouring while we were out there. It is the biggest tree we've ever had and a lovely(though crooked) one!

It was such a blessing to put out all of our ornaments this year. The last two or three Christmases we could not afford a tree or didn't have the this was just sweet!

As you can see, Rowan is loving this. She has been such a good girl about not touching the tree since after the second day of having it. But she likes to look at the ornaments and point them out...especially the Winnie the Pooh ones :-)

The funny thing about this doesn't matter how much you have or don't have, as long as you remember the great gift we received so many years ago and that we never deserved it. And that the love we show, friends, or but a shadow of the love God has for us, His children. Too often I feel lost in the busyness of the season...and then one of my sweet children run off with scissors and lovingly hide one more gift...and it just slows down and the simplicity I love so much is once again seen. The simplicity of love and grace and mercy.

I desire this week to share each day a snippet from my favorite Little House on the Prairie Christmases. These books have always clearly shown me a view of Christmas...well, life really...that I wish to have for my family. Contentment with little, joy in the difficult and love of family...beautiful to me every time I read these books. So I hope you will enjoy my little sharings as we head towards Christmas.

Lots of love,

*edited to add: I just changed the poem in my Poetry Corner on the right to suit the season :-)