I haven’t posted many recipes lately and there’s a reason for that. Namely, I haven’t been cooking much right now. It’s been the holidays which means if it wasn’t a cookie or chocolate, I’m not bothering with it.
(Except for potato chips- I love potato chips. Eating gluten free with lots of traveling, holiday parties, and staying at other people’s homes, I end up eating lots of potato chips. But I don’t mind. Because I love them.)
But…now the holidays are over. I’m not big into resolutions, but I’m definitely into easing out of the craziness of holiday eating.
Well, Christmas is over. It’s almost Epiphany. It’s time for the decorations to come down. Sigh…
It’s time to get all this extra stuff out of my living space, but it’s also a bit depressing when my house is plain and boring. The outside is bleak and gray, we can’t spend much time outside because of the cold, and I just can’t stand the thought of my house being bleak, too!
I love decorating for Christmas. I hate removing decorations that I just put up a month earlier.
It’s a tension every year. Is it worth all the trouble to decorate if I’m just going to take it all down again?
(Understand—I despise wasted effort. As in, I feel like the shower should stay clean for six months after I clean it and resent the fact that it doesn’t. So, pointless, short-lived decorations, however adorable they may be, are not my favorite thing.)
That’s part of the reason I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these pinecone ornaments! Judge me if you will, but I’m leaving these babies up all winter long. They’re “winter” decorations, not just for Christmas.
These can be made as ornaments to hang (or give as gifts!) or they can just be pretty baubles to fill a vase or a bowl. They’re easy to make, hard to mess up, and super inexpensive!*
Each season brings its own unique beauty and delights, especially all the subtle changes in the in between. (I’ll be honest—the season of February through March in this region holds the fewest delights; if any of you have discovered those, let me in on the secret. Besides telling me to move to Texas. I already know that one.)
But this tail end of autumn has its own enchantments. I was back at my childhood home over Thanksgiving and got to tromp around the cold, muddy backyard, field, and woods around there with my girls. I love showing them all the little details of nature (and I’m glad that, at least so far, they enjoy it!).
My three-year-old daughter, Peanut, thinks that a Cold Draft is a scary monster. A few weeks ago, she asked me why I had closed my closet door. I explained that there was a cold draft coming from the closet and I needed to keep the door closed so the draft didn’t come in the room and make my bedroom cold. She stared hard at the closet.
My childhood memories of Christmas revolve around the decorations. Our family had many traditions and fun activities we did, but they all take place in my mind against the backdrop of the decorations and ornaments we would pull out every year after Thanksgiving. My mom made our house magical and beautiful at Christmas.
I know it’s not necessary, but I love using decorations to mark this time of year as something special. I don’t want to make too much of it—after all, it’s the event that we celebrate, not the decorations, that make it special. But nonetheless, they have their place and I love how Peanut is already starting to remember particular ornaments, books, and toys, and take note of the changing seasons and holidays.
With the birth of my first child, the heaviness of God’s sorrow over the sin and brokenness of our world came sharply into focus for me.
There was only a faint light through the window of the dark nursery, but I could still clearly see each tiny curve and chubby wrinkle of my infant daughter’s hand. I gently rocked back and forth as I held her warm little body against my chest. But, as I sat there—the perfect image of maternal contentment—I was overwhelmed by a recognition of the tender fragility of life and the tremendous magnitude of evil.
I was delighted with my daughter, and marveled at every little wonderful thing about her, but the beauty and wonder and joy and glories of life stood in heart wrenching contrast to how far short our world falls from God’s good plan.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I know people serving as missionaries on distant islands. I have acquaintances teaching in inner city schools. My friends volunteer at an at-risk youth center in the city. I know people opening halfway houses, teaching in prisons, fostering children, and on and on and on.
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Do you ever get this vision in your head for just how you want something to look, but you can’t really put your finger on why? That’s how this project started out for me. I wanted BEAUTIFUL BRIGHT RED chairs for our kitchen table.
Oh, I had reasons, I suppose—I thought it would look nice, be fun and colorful, etc. But then an old memory came back to me and I realized that the rustic red look was more than just a fashion statement.