Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking for the Lovely--

It's kind of ironic to me that we intentionally "took off" the months of November and December from our structured schooling in order to have "more" time to work on holiday projects--making paper things, sewing, pursuing new crafty interests, baking, blogging . . .and I did LESS this year than in other years. For some reason I just wasn't into it so much, and that has been frustrating.

The housekeeping never goes away--even in Ornament-Land!
I love this solemn little gal with her broom. She has RESOLVE.
Add to that frustration the wild side of children with no structure to their days; the normal holiday stress of shopping and shopping and running out for last-minute craft supplies, and shopping online and preparing dinner ten times a week(sometimes it seems like this!)PLUS lunches, breakfast and snacks, and grocery shopping; add the sibling bickering and general craziness of kids so excited that they cannot-- LITERALLY CANNOT-- sit still OR quit "bothering" each other . . . . I was more ready than ever for that Christmas cruise that I threaten every year about two weeks before Christmas. . . .it will never happen, of course!
I guess it's all kind of sad, really. Why is it so hard to slow down and BREATHE during December? I honestly think I enjoyed thinking about and planning for, making things and preparing my SOUL for Christmas MORE in September this year than I have in the last eight weeks--which have flown by as quickly as those snowflakes MELTED in the Louisiana humidity a few weeks ago . . . .

Yet Christmas, by its very nature, should be a time of great joy. We are not celebrating beautiful baked goods or hot-cocoa parties, picture-perfectly-wrapped gifts or sleepovers with friends; we are celebrating the birth of the baby who grew into the man who sacrificed Himself for the dead-in-our-sins rest of us who couldn't be helped any other way--even if we had WANTED to be helped. Aren't the best gifts the ones you couldn't possibly expect OR attain on your own? Wow.

So in light of that eternal-best Gift, I am trying not to let the frustration set in. Realizing that the kids' need of structure is MY problem. Reconciling myself to the lack of PLANNED "fun" activities we managed and seeking to enjoy the spontaneous times more--never DID get those little strips of paper in the countdown calendar! Enjoying answering the questions my 6-year-old is asking about Jesus being born "the first time"--though my brain is TIRED. . .trying to give up the hopes of beautiful moments in a freshly-cleaned kitchen baking cookies peacefully with my never-cross-or-know-it-all three daughters. Relishing the glimpses of the favorite decorations amongst the STUFF of everyday life--one day the counter will again be clean and the toys will be all put away. Not now. They are IN USE. Perspective is good.

And hey, my brother was home with his beautiful wife and their yet-unmet but already much-loved baby boy . . . we haven't had Coleman home in two years thanks to the Army. We got to see them on Christmas day, to walk in the woods and play with their puppies. We even had a game of Scrabble--turns out Katy is a pro(she was MEANT for this family!). We will treasure the moments because we KNOW they're precious, and they are all the more because of the time of year. Somehow the celebration of that marvelous birth gives its light to everything else that surrounds this time of year--isn't that why Jesus came? To light the darkness.

Thought I would share a few pics of some of our decor this year. My fave thing I decorate every year is my chandelier--I hang my grandmother's Shiny Brite ornaments and sparkly snowflakes on it. It looks like an over-decorated winter wedding cake with all the ribbons and beads, but I just love it.

One of my favorite Christmas memories is going down to Mawmaw's house one Sunday during December(every year) with my Mom and watching the OLD "A Christmas Carol" on TV while we decorated Mawmaw's little tree with all those old Woolworth's ornaments and the big, chunky lights. Usually the tree was a small cedar Dad and I had tromped through the woods to find, and I always thought those little pinecone Santas and Mrs. Santas were a bit odd, but the few I own now are treasures. I have a little gold lamb ornament that was hers, and then of course the wintry blue and pink, red and silver single-color Shiny Brites. I love those, never even now being able to pass up a cheap box of them at a garage sale or Goodwill--but I keep Mawmaw's separate. THEY are special, even if less embellished than some of my independent finds.


A tiny gold lamb that was my Mawmaw's, and a cute postcard from
a local shop. I just loved that all the girls were holding their dolls--
I have kind of a special place in my heart for girls and dolls! Imagine that!
Speaking of girls and dolls--The Redhead took Kit with her on the carousel
at the Mall of Louisiana on their picture night a few weeks ago. We did
portraits for grandparent gifts this year. We hadn't had portraits in four years!


J and the Boy had fun on the carousel too. I was glad J would ride.
She will be "too big" in her opinion, like her big sister, before too long.
They grow up too quickly!

Our Christmas tree is COVERED this year, being smaller than usual. I didn't get out anything close to all of the ornaments. We had to pick and choose, but the kids hang all of theirs every year. I keep threatening to put up two big trees, but I am afraid that my husband would kill me if the "taking down" in January DIDN'T. haha. He puts up with my decorating/rearranging/daydreaming . . . remarkably well.
So I settle for a few other "not so big"(and not so little, either!)trees, Like the white tree, decorated with vintage glass and my tiny teapot collection. I like it as much as the big tree, for sure.


Or this little "feather" tree for the kitchen--it is decorated with the little vintage wooden ornaments. They are so whimsical.
I am truly blessed.
I hope you all had a very wonderful Christmas celebration.

May your new year be blessed, too! 2010 is on its way!
~april

1 comment:

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Because my own college classes didn't end until the 18th I felt a bit cheated on Christmas. So I just decided that I wouldn't let the calender determine my joy.

I delivered my cookies to the neighbors today and they were so happy and as they said most of their cookies were gone over a week ago.

Hmmm. We may be on to something.

Here's to keeping Christmas in our hearts 365 days a year.