Thursday, December 13, 2018

Currently ...

Reading ... I finished the New Testament last week, and decided to read the Psalms again. They're probably my favorite part of the Old Testament, and I'm taking my time with it, savoring each little morsel.
In fiction I have started the book I Capture the Castle. I haven't read much of it yet, but so far it has not disappointed.
In other books I'm loving the stack of Christmas cookbooks I borrowed from the library. I've found a number of recipes I'm looking forward to trying soon.
Then there's the stack of library books that Steven and I enjoy in our daily story time. Last week I picked up one of his favorites The Diary of a Wombat. He was excited to see it, but after reading it last night he announced sadly, "This book isn't as interesting as it used to be."
I almost felt sad as well. The book hasn't changed, but my little man is growing up and his interests are growing and changing with him.

Writing ... I wrote our Christmas letter, and completely bored myself with it. I usually write them in my style of chattering away, but this year I just did a quick "this is what happened this year to each of the children" type of letter.

Watching ... I went and deleted all the recorded Hallmark Christmas movies. There's only so much of them I can handle until it's too much for me. So instead of anything Christmas-y, last evening our family enjoyed a documentary type episode about abandoned places.

Listening ... to a play list YouTube created for me. It includes my favorite songs and songs they think I'll like. Because of that I've found some new to me songs I really like, and also some I don't care if I never hear again.

Cooking ... there's steak, fried potatoes, salad, and then Oatmeal Cake and peaches on the menu for tonight, because of a birthday and it's what the one celebrating has requested.

Wearing ... a brown and turquoise outfit. It's comfortable, which is one of the most important things when I choose what to wear.

Drinking ... mostly water, though this past week LV finally used his Starbucks gift card and we each got something to drink. It was our first time to ever visit a Starbucks. We enjoyed our drinks, but not enough that we're planning to go back.

Loving ... the glow of the lights on our Christmas tree when I plug it in after I get up in the morning.

Disliking ... when a mouse decides to move into the house. There's one that feels comfortable enough to run slowly through the house in broad daylight. We've seen it so often that the girls have named it Bella. They chose a girl name because it seems to have an affinity for chocolate and some other foods they love. We tried different kinds of traps, but nothing worked, so we finally put out some D-Con. Half of it has been eaten, and we haven't seen the mouse for several days. Surprisingly enough I feel bad about that.
Word of advice ... never name a rodent you're trying to eliminate.

Playing ... not exactly playing, but Steven absolutely loves science experiments which means I get to experience them as well. They're messy, and not my favorite thing, but the enthusiasm he has for it and getting to spend time together makes it worth it.

Yesterday ... we made our weekly library run and did a few other things out and about, which included stopping at a gas station to fuel up. I shared my experience on Facebook last evening ... I'll copy and paste it here.

    I have never liked getting gas for our vehicle. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but today I had to do it once again.
    I pulled into a dinky little gas station with a total of four pumps. After pumping gas I stood there waiting for my receipt to be printed. It didn't happen. Instead these words flashed across the screen. "Get receipt inside."
    I headed inside where two guys were visiting, one propped up against his broom handle and the other leaning comfortably against t...he counter. It took them a minute or so before they acknowledged me. "What can I do to help you?" the counter leaner asked.
    "I'd like a receipt for the gas I got," I told him.
    "What's your pump number?" he wanted to know.
    "I don't know," I said and gestured out the window where my vehicle and a blue pickup were at the pumps. "I'm the yellow car."
    Yellow car??!!!! Yellow car?!! I wanted to shrink out of sight as the words that apparently exited my lips reached my ears. "The silver vehicle," I corrected myself quickly.
    The guy gave me my receipt and I fled the building.
    This Mom brain … grief fog … is doing weird things.
    But really … yellow car???? Where did that even come from?

I post little blurbs on Facebook more frequently than I've been doing blog updates. If you'd like to see them feel free to send me a friend request here.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Christmas Cookie

I was five or six years old the year our neighbor lady asked our family to join them at their school for their children's annual Christmas program.

I didn't know what to expect, but with a name like Crystal Valley School, I knew it had to be very special.

That evening Rachel came by and we got into her big station wagon, and we were off. The program held my attention the entire time. The singing was lovely and I couldn't take my eyes off all those girls in their pretty red dresses. They all looked so happy as they sang in beautiful harmony. Later when others came on stage dressed as angels, complete with halos, my eyes started to hurt because I forgot to blink, not wanting to miss a single second of this wonderful evening.

When the program was over we were invited to stay and enjoy the refreshments. As we approached the tables laden with festive treats, I was sure I had never seen anything prettier. And then I saw it. A platter filled with beautifully decorated bell shaped cookies. Everything else on the table kind of vanished from my sight as I zeroed in on those. I wanted one, so badly. I might never be able to have a pretty red dress, or be an angel with a halo in a play, but I could have one of those beautiful cookies.

Mom got a little paper plate for me and offered to give me various treats, but I shook my head no to all of them. I was thrilled that there were still plenty of the bell shaped cookies left by the time the line had advanced far enough and they were right there in front of me.

"Are you sure you want one of these?" Mom asked as I made my request known.

I had never been more sure of anything, and soon one of those beautiful cookies was on my plate. I didn't take anything else, and carefully carried my plate as we made our way over to a table to sit and visit as we ate.

I admired the cookie for a little while and then I took a bite. I was bitterly disappointed. It was dry, hard, and almost flavorless.

To this day I avoid pretty cutout Christmas cookies, and I always, always remember that night. The wonder of the program, and the disappointment of how a cookie so beautiful could be so ugly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Seasons Feelings

I love winter and Christmas. There's something about this time of year that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Somehow it awakens my creative side and makes me want to craft, sew, and bake.

The snow while lovely to play in or look at from the warmth of our home is a little different when I have to be out and about.

I just got home from running some errands. It started snowing earlier today and the roads were getting decidedly more adventuresome by the time I got back home. There was a moment when I thought I'm going to head for the ditch, but somehow I was able to avoid that unwanted visit. It did get my heart rate up quite a bit though.

Hank the snowman is still standing guard in our yard, though he has become quite a bit shorter.

Being able to see the delight and wonder of the season through a child's eyes has been extra special to me this year.

The season feels different though. On one hand I'm enjoying getting all those fun season-y feelings, and on the other hand I almost feel guilty for feeling those Christmas-y wintery feelings.

Grief is such a … weird?? … (don't know what word I'm looking for here) thing.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Green Gables

The Anne of Green Gables series has been a favorite of mine since the first time I read them some twenty plus years ago. When I heard that someone wrote a book about Marilla's life before Anne, I knew I wanted to read it.

I put a request in at the library in hopes I can get it soon after it's released, and before long I was notified it was ready for me to pick up. I liked the cover, which made me feel hopeful that I will indeed, enjoy the book.

Settling in to read, it soon became apparent the author was no L. M. Montgomery. My first cringe happened at only page 16 where Marilla met her mother's twin sister for the first time. This was her reaction …

Marilla shrieked and jumped back, clutching her chest and accidently knocking over the box of yarn.

  ….. the sisters looked at each other, scowling  the same scowl, which made Marilla want to cry for terror.

I tried to ignore the unrealistic reaction and continued reading and enjoying the book. I found it oddly weird though when Marilla fell in love with John Blythe. Not because there was anything wrong with the story or the way it was written, but in that I was unable to fully connect or allow myself to fall with her, because I already knew (thanks to the Anne books) that the relationship would not lead to Marilla's happily ever after.

There was a scene that happened between Marilla and John, that made me feel uncomfortable. I read it with one eye squeezed shut and only peeked out of my other one as I hurried over that part.

There was quite a bit of political chatter happening in the latter half of the book which I didn't care for.

On the plus side, we finally find out what the fight was that caused them to go their separate ways, and Marilla's reaction when John married someone else.

I wasn't sure how there could possibly be a good end to the book, but the author pulled it off, and I actually really liked the ending.

Overall it was a good book. I didn't love it, but I did like it. I don't think I'll be buying my own copy though.

On the other hand, Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson was an excellent addition to my Green Gables collection. I really enjoyed reading about Anne's life before she was adopted, and knowing that she will have a happily ever after when she was sent to the orphanage gave the book an entirely different feel than the Marilla book.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Moving On

Life goes on ... just how it does that is hard to explain, but somehow the sun continues to come up every morning and sets again every evening. People keep rushing hither and yon seemingly oblivious to the fact that my world has come to a halt. Which is as it should be, but it feels weird being stuck apart from the rest of the world almost as if I were in a different dimension where things don't feel right or normal. A dimension where a day can feel like a week, and a month like years, and yet the weekly grocery run feels as if it happens every other day.

Music ... even though I have always loved it, has become an almost constant.

My Bible and prayer times have become more precious as I draw strength, hope, and courage from our very source of life.

The phone can ring or a message alert on Facebook can pop up and for an instant I think it's Mahlon and then it hits me all over that will never happen again. I wipe my tears and reach out to others. I can no longer talk with Mahlon or do things for him, but I can pour time and love into the lives of others.

And so I keep doing the next thing. I keep focusing on the little things, cherishing those who I am blessed to still have in my life. And keep rejoicing that we serve a God who has conquered death and though it is painful right now, it's not the end of the story.