Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cabin Fever

In case you were wondering what cabin fever looks like!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Ain't Christmas...

... till somebody cries.

That's my favorite new Christmas quote, from Shrek the Halls.

Thing is, despite being snowed in together for over a month (okay, okay, it was only a week), the only one who cried was the 5 month old. And that's allowed.

Christmas cookies baking (7 kinds in under 2 hours), ornament decorating, family talent show, lots and lots of games (favorites were Farkle and Time's Up!), sleeping on the floor, snowball fights, fondue night, and more. It was a Christmas to remember.

I hope yours was as happy as mine.

God bless us all.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family OD, Blog Withdrawal

The promised snowstorm finally arrived after a week of promises and threats. We decided to hunker down with the whole family... and I mean the WHOLE family. My parents, siblings, and all the spouses and kids, in one house.

Thing is, with so many of us under one roof, no one has time to blog. And with no one blogging, we're all going into blog withdrawal.

So, this is for you, family. The title about family OD is not true. (Yet.) It's fun hanging out together, staying up too late, and seeing the appreciation we all share for the next generation. There's some pretty special kids in this house.

No one's starving. No one's cranky. And no one smells too bad.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Hope 2 Others

Back in May, our family attended the Rebelution where teens challenged teens to do hard things, to stop living up to the low expectations our society puts on them.

Our kids took up the challenge. They ran with an idea to make H2O bags, a project originally started by some other teens in a nearby city.

These bags are just lunch sacks filled with a nutritious lunch- tuna, peanut butter crackers, fruit leather, a bottle of water, a mint, some tissues and hand wipes, a Bible verse, and a pair of socks.

The kids distribute them at church to adults who are willing to pass the bags out to panhandlers who frequent major intersections. For $3 a bag, it's a way to give a little help, both physically and spiritually, without handing money to someone who might not use it wisely.

Since May, the kids have made and distributed about 250 bags. Yesterday, they were invited to share their project with our local Council for the Homeless. They made enough bags for the whole council and prepared what they wanted to say, then were greatly relieved when our preacher, who is on the council, did all the talking for them.
Their project was well-received and the council members spontaneously gave them enough money to make another 25 bags.

I hope the project has been a blessing to others. I know it has been to us.

Monday, December 15, 2008

s'no snow day

Won't my kids be disappointed this morning to wake up and find it is not a snow day? Despite grand predictions of inches of snow, the streets are dry and bare. The icy winds did, however, arrive and are seeping into the house under and around doors.

In all my years of schooling, I remember two snow days. But that was up north where drivers and road crews are accustomed to dealing with winter.

Here, it always seems to come as a surprise. The news crews come on and tell us how cold it's going to be, how much snow we're going to have, and how to prepare ourselves. Then they come on telling us how surprised they are that we didn't get snow, how much warmer (or colder) it is than they expected, and how we shouldn't stop worrying. Something's bound to go wrong. Just wait and see.

Hope y'all have a great day. And remember - don't stick your tongue to the flagpole. Then we'd really have something to report.

Friday, December 12, 2008


There are some things that are best done with someone who appreciates them. I'm thinking Uwajimaya is one of them. This giant oriental grocery store is full of delightful (and not so delightful) foods and other products.

I'm sure that if I'd taken my kids with me, they would have been begging to leave after 10 minutes. So I didn't take my kids, I took my dad.

The two of us spent 3 hours walking up and down the aisles, looking at packaging and trying to guess what was inside. Dad is curious about everything and knows a little about most things, so the slow trips up and down the aisles came with much discussion. I bought a few things, but I'm wishing now I'd picked up a package of umeboshi plums.

Oh, well. I'll just have to go back.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Lot of Hot Air

Our government has had some stupid ideas over the years, but this one might top them all.

The EPA has proposed a cow tax on the notoriously flatulent beasts because of their carbon emissions. Are they kidding?

Are cows causing global warming?

I can just imagine where this could lead. You start taxing cows and you kills the dairy industry and the beef industry. Those food production projects go overseas, like to China, where safety regulations are much less strict.

If all the cows go to China, do they emit less carbon? Do Chinese cows have fewer digestive problems?

Is it just me, or would said cows still be emitting carbon into the air, only on the other side of the world? And what of the fossil fuels we'd be burning to import our beef and milk and cheese?

I know we have a lot of things to worry about, but I honestly don't see how taxing cow farts and burps makes us better off as a country or as a global society.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Jesse Tree Instructions

I've had a couple requests for info on how we do our Jesse Tree. There are many ways to do it, but here's the adaptation we've come up with through the years. We've borrowed heavily from The Voice.

December 1 - Set up the tree. We use a small one with tiny ornaments we've crafted out of Sculpey clay. You could use paper ornaments or have your kids make their own each day.
1 Sam 16:1-13
Isa 11:1-10

2 - Creation
ornament - the earth
Gen 1:1-2:3

3 - The first sin (man separated from God, God promises that Eve's offspring will truimph)
ornament - apple
Gen 2:4-3:24

4 - The Flood (God redeems mankind and makes a promise)
ornament - rainbow
Gen 6-9 (or just tell the story)

5 - God's promise to Abraham
ornament - stars
Gen 12:1-7

6 - God saves Isaac
ornament - ram
Gen 22

7 - Jacob receives the promise
ornament - ladder
Gen 27:41-28:22

8 - Joseph 
ornament - colored coat
Gen 27-50 (paraphrase this one. It's long!)

9 - Passover
ornament - lamb
Ex 12-14

10 - God gives the law
ornament - 10 commandments
Ex 19-20

11 - The fall of Jericho
ornament - trumpet
Josh 6:1-20

12 - Samuel crowns Saul King
Ornament - crown
1 Sam 3:1-21, 7:1-8:22, 9:15-10:9

13 - David
ornament - shepherd's hook
I Sam 16-17

14 - God proves his power to Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
ornament - stone altar
I Kings 17-18

15 - God delivers the Faithful
ornament - a tent
2 Kng 18:1-19:19, 32-37

16 - Isaiah's call to Holiness
ornament - tongs with coal
Isa 1:10-20

17 - The Exile
ornament - a tear
Jer 1:4-10, 2:4-13, 7:1-15, 8:22-9:1-11

18 - Waiting
ornament - watchtower
Hab 1:1-2:1, 3:16-19

19 - Return to Israel
ornament - city wall
Neh 1:1-2:8, 6:15-16, 13:10-22

20 - Mary
ornament - white lily
Luke 1:26-38

21 - Zechariah and Elizabeth await their child
ornament - tablet with "John" written on it
Luke 1:57-80

22 - Joseph trusts God
ornament - hammer
Matt 1:19-25

23 - The Wise Men come to worship
ornament - star
Matt 2:1-12

24 - The birth of Jesus
ornament - manger
Luke 2:1-20

We top off the month with another reading of the complete Christmas story. You can have another devotional on Christ using John 1:1-14 to wrap things up, if you choose.

Monday, December 01, 2008


We have many Christmas traditions at our house, some from my childhood and some we've introduced as our kids have grown. One of my favorites is one that is new to this generation - the Jesse tree.

The Jesse tree starts out the month of December bare, but each day it gets an ornament and each ornament has a story. We'll start today by hanging the tiny ornament representing light. We'll talk about God speaking light into existence and we'll talk about how this points to Jesus, the Light of the World.

The Jesse Tree takes us through the entire Old Testament as God weaves his prophecies through the fabric of his people's history. Just as the Israelites had a sense of expectation for the coming Messiah, our family builds a sense of expectation for the memory of his birth.

This little tree gets its name from Isaiah 11:1. "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a branch will bear fruit."

Jesse, father of King David, ancestor to the long-awaited promise.
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