Nearby, two redheads and one brunette play happily with baby dolls. The mothering they all do is so tender and it is a gift to watch each of them. Especially sweet to watch is the way the sweet brunette nurtures her baby doll, and I see great significance at this softness in spite of the hardness and suffering she has already known her her short three years. If I had more time to ponder and write, I would write more artistically. But the smile on arrival for the afternoon and the arms snaked around my neck with whispered "I love you" in my ear make my heart sing and ache at the same time. I love her too. Love begets more love. And that is my prayer for this community of White Swan and the Yakama Reservation this Christmas season - that God would work miracles through the love sent by churches around the country to our dear ones here around us.
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Sunday, December 01, 2013
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Completely unstaged. And hilarious.
I am excited to try doing the Jesse tree idea this year along with Ann Voskamp's new book, The Greatest Gift. I had never heard of this tradition but with its focus on the whole of Scripture pointing and leading to Christ during Advent, it fits perfectly with my favorite way to celebrate. In the same vein, I am also reading one story a day to the girls through The Jesus Storybook since they will understand that more. They are really too little to understand (and maybe even sit through) the devotional part of The Greatest Gift but they can participate in the Scripture verse and hanging the ornament. I do think this is one tradition I would like to intentionally put in place for our family. It has a lot of meaning (although I do have a fun activity-based Advent calendar I made last year that I am excited to get out.
This weekend was the time we had marked out to go get a tree and decorate it so we did that yesterday. With three little sets of hands to help, I mostly passed out ornaments and Jesse helped them hang. Oh goodness, I was just cracking up after everyone went to bed and I looked at the tree. It definitely looked like three little girls hung the ornaments: some branches had three or more ornaments on the ends and every time you brushed by the tree, one or two ornaments fell off. I redistributed some and they are all safely hanging in a slightly more eye-pleasing fashion. Sweet memories. (I also didn't even bother trying to figure out how to take good quality pictures during the tree decorating process... but capturing the moments was way more important to me than artistic quality at the time.)
Off to get Lyddie's favorite breakfast together... pancakes, coming right up!
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
We took the girls to the Arboretum in Yakima the other day when my parents were visiting. It is a gorgeous open space with a lot of trees. Not quite park, more like wildlife sanctuary though there isn't much in the way of wildlife beyond birds and squirrels. These pictures are from that trip.
We were back there yesterday, on a field trip with a small group of the Kingdom Kids, and the leaves had almost all browned, crisped, and fallen. Everywhere we walked, our boots crunched the remains of the summer. The little pond was crusted over with ice, geese flew by overhead, calling their farewells, and I felt a nostalgic zing as I realized that winter is really here, with temperatures barely getting above freezing even when the sun is at its peak. Now is the time that I again trek out each morning to the chicken coop with my boiling tea kettle to melt the water that is frozen solid. Cheeks sting from the cold and little girls only play outside for a few minutes before clamoring at the door that it is too cold. Snow, of course, would change all of that and make the cold outdoors into a magical fairyland, but we have yet no sign of that long-hoped-for gift.
It reminds me of the need I - we all - have for rest. In the frantic work of each day, it is easy to forget or ignore the natural rhythm of things, but God has designed us to work hard and long and then rest. To drop our leaves and curl up against the cold and sleep for a time. I think about this often as I drive by barren brown fields and dozing orchards. Seasons have greater significance when you leave the city; the entire landscape changes. Suddenly I can see miles further when the corn has been cut down and the hops vines sheared from their roped ceilings. The fields are ripe for the harvest, but the laborers are few; does that mean the laborers don't bear in mind their need for rest and replenishment in its season? Something I am trying to keep in view as we approach winter, the "quietest" time of life for us on the Rez, especially after Christmas.
Monday, November 25, 2013
We had a great Halloween but I guess that's over now by several weeks. I blinked and a few weeks went by and I have all these pictures to sift through and share but no time to do it. I haven't even been knitting that much...in part because the weather has turned so biting cold that my fingers are cold and stiff.
I have a lot of "projects" going. I invited my friend Lucy over to learn how to can applesauce so that was a busy and fun Friday last week - 25 quarts of applesauce all sealed up and waiting to accompany yummy soups in the cold of January and February. Home canned fruits, especially, add a little light to those long post-Christmas months before the growing season of sun and wind arrives. I am so thankful to my mom and her friends for teaching me over the years how to dive in and preserve foods, it's really fun. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't bother, but I really do.
I had been talking about rearranging our tiny bedroom for weeks and Jesse decided that Sunday morning was the time, so I stopped everything and made a big mess in our room, moving every single piece of furniture that we had crammed in there. Actually we eliminated one "nightstand" (a collapsible TV tray that was filling for a nightstand). I like the rearrangement, it looks much more inviting than it has for the past two years, and it is a good thing to actually like walking into one's own bedroom.
I feel behind a lot right now, and I'm not sure why, but I just know that by the time I sit down in the evenings lately, I have been on my feet nonstop for 12 hours and still have so much that needs doing, even the bare minimum of toy picking up and laundry isn't always finished by the time I collapse, so I can't even think about finding the camera cord and looking at pictures- Even though my children are such beauties that it is fun to look back over the days and remember all the things I am thankful for. I always like when I do make the effort.
My friend Heather was loaned a steam juicer and given a few 5-gallon buckets of Concord grapes, and she could only get through about half before passing them on to me, so right now there are grapes steaming away on the stove. I love the "pop!" "pop!" that rings from the kitchen as the processed jars cool and seal. There is not much in the world that sounds nicer than sealing jars of deliciousness. All the family (excepting Rosie) joined in and the girls loved pulling the grapes off the stems with me before bedtime. That will be a memory I cherish, all the smiles and the sticky grape faces and how Millie put one grape in the bowl for every three she popped in her mouth. And how the spiders that kept appearing in the buckets of grapes became beautiful friends instead of scary creatures. And how delighted my children were at the plink plink of grapes dropping in the metal bowl on the kitchen floor as they pulled them off the bunch. "Momma, I'm poppin' em in!"
But man, am I tired. It is a good tired that comes of hard work in the kitchen, of a nature walk with our Kingdom Kids through the arboretum this afternoon, of caring for house and family and animals, and of chasing my littlest munchkins around to keep them out of trouble.
I just purchased Ann Voskamp's new book of Christmas devotions for my Kindle, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. I haven't read beyond the introduction as it starts on the first of December but I am looking forward to reading through that, since her One Thousand Gifts has had a huge impact on my life in forming the habit of thankfulness. My little gratitude journal sits in the bathroom and every time I walk in there, whether to use the bathroom, pick up a towel, wipe the sink, I try to write something down that I am thankful for, even the hard things.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
I cast on my Sugared Violets wrap in Canopy Fingering from The Fibre Company. Divine. I completely love this yarn and all the variations of purple in it. The picture above represents the color well and the pattern is interesting too. I didn't realize until I was casting on that it is worked top-down, increasing outwardly with a pretty little eyelet border along the top. This is the first thing I have knit for myself in a long time! I also finished my Pansy Mitts for my friend's birthday and forgot to take a picture before giving them to her- oops! That is another great pattern that I will make again.
In other news, Christmas music is in full swing at our house which is a little anachronistic with the fall decorations everywhere. But when one's husband (who was in previous years Scroogish about the holiday hoopla) says "I think it's time to start listening to Christmas music," one loses no time! I am looking forward to seeing the ways that our community will be blessed by the Lord this Christmas as His love pours from churches and families and individuals around the whole country to this little town of White Swan and the parts of the Reservation around it. I am looking forward to the smiles of the children, some of whom have nothing to smile about except the love of Christ. I am looking forward to joyous singing and rejoicing together with our new church - Hope Fellowship - over Christ, the Messiah, Savior, Divine Baby and Righteous King. It may only be November 19, but my heart is singing a month ahead.
I am joining up with Ginny for Yarn Along! Can't wait to see what other beautiful things are cooking along on needles this week!
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Our neighbors currently have two cows in their pasture and the girls get giggly and excited when we hear the loud "moo" almost directly behind our shop. Then Lyddie dances around and says "The cow sounds like this: MAAAAOOOOOOOO" while making the funniest grimace you can imagine. It is hilarious and I need to try to capture it in a video for posterity. I can't figure out what breed of cattle these are. We went for a walk behind and around our property in the orchard to get a closer look and they came running over, and Millie promptly looked terrified and announced that she doesn't like cows and is afraid of when they moo. But Lyddie would have jumped in the pasture with them if I'd let her. And that right there is a great picture of their different personalities.
It has been windy here in the lower Yakima valley and the trees are standing out starkly against the sky again. I feel a little sad for the naked branches, disrobed and cold. The view out our windows changes much when the leaves go, and we can see further into the orchard than just the first row of two of trees.
Rosemary, my almost 7-month-old (how can it be? Oh stop, my little love!) has exciting news: the little saw-like ridges of her first tooth has cut through her bottom gums! This week she also discovered that instead of aimlessly rolling and scooting around the house, she can set her sights on something and propel herself to it. This consists of hitching both of her knees up under her tummy, staying on hands-and-knees for a few seconds and then shooting forward. Rinse, lather, repeat, until you reach that diaper bag strap, or that tiny piece of paper on the floor left by your sisters, or the piano bench leg, all of which are infinitely more interesting than the boring brightly colored rattly toys scattered on the floor for her. It really won't be long until she is pulling herself up and then my life is over. (smile)
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Our Adelaide's fourth birthday party was a smashing success, especially if you measure success in
rainbow jelly bean cake,
fancy party dresses,
a competitive game of Popsicle Memory,
piles of gifts from our generous family and friends,
a visit from Grammie,
grave pre-candle wishes and
pride at blowing them out,
and happiness basically bursting out of the birthday girl.
I do measure success that way.