Saturday, December 27, 2008

Aunt and Knees

The other day, the two little girls were playing with Papa/Abba, and he asked "Rosalind, where's your aunt Kathryn?"

With a grin she pointed to Kathryn, "Da da."

"Kathryn, where is your niece?" he the asked.

Promptly, she reached down and pointed to her knees.

Dynamics certainly change when an aunt and her niece are just five months apart, but they sure love playing together.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grimy little fingers

"Here mommy, just for you. I love you," her little eyes seemed to say.

Though taken months ago, for some reason I simply cannot forget this picture. Her smudged face and grimy little hands lifted up to me are etched upon my memory. Looking into her deep blue eyes as she tries to please, makes me want to pick her up, clean her off and just smother her in kisses.

But looking again, it has even deeper meaning for me. For, in many ways, I am the one with the grimy hands. My hands are soiled time and again with worry, anger, disrespect, apathy, laziness... and my attempts to love and please my Father fall so miserably short. Coming before Him, there is no work of my own that could ever merit His favor.

In her book Mimosa, Amy Carmichael shared how the young believing Indian mothers would pray, lifting up their empty shawls and asking simply, "My hands are empty, fill them." And that is the place where I too must come. Emptied of reliance on myself, realizing that my feeble attempts to please, my works, my mothering... are nothing, no, worse than nothing. But believing that "as a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him." (Ps. 103:13 ESV)

Looking up at my Father, He sees past the failures to the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Beyond me, to the beauty of His Son. As I wait for Him, He will cleanse my hands and fill them with His love and mercy and joy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A bad idea

Yesterday, after a leisurely morning, we sat down in the living room for a late brunch. While Joshua and I talked and laughed, Rosalind wiggled her way off the couch and spied the espresso. Before I noticed, she was chugging it down.

I didn't think that much of it and we finished eating and got ready to go to Missouri for Christmas. It was three before we finally headed out and I thought she'd be sound asleep by the time we reached the outskirts of town.

But no, she was still munching on crackers as we left it behind. Half an hour later she began the sock game: Pull off your socks, hand them to Mama and innocently say "sawk?" while pointing to your wiggling toes.

I put them back on, gave her a drink and told her it was time to take a nap.

"Ni- night," she said, nodding her head sagaciously and clasping her dolly. I turned around and settled back in. A minute later a little voice said "sawk?"

Thus continued the afternoon. It wasn't until almost 5:00 that I remembered, "She had COFFEE!"

By 9:00, when she finally succumbed to sleep, I had learned a valuable lesson: long car rides, babies and coffee do not mix well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

St. Bartholomew's Eve

Life has been pretty crazy around here the last week or so. During Joshua's late nights of studying, I've been busy recording, finishing Christmas crafts, writing (though not for the blog, as you may have noticed) and intensely longing for Wednesday to pass and usher in the Christmas break.

After a desperate battle with the trains and planes and passing traffic for a little bit of quiet, I finally finished recording Henty's St. Bartholomew's Eve for Librivox.

Though Henty is hailed as "the boy's own storyteller", I loved his stories growing up. I vividly remember doing a paper route with my siblings one summer years ago and pooling our earnings to buy a set of G. A. Henty’s adventure stories. When the box arrived, we gathered gleefully around and spent hours brainstorming and trading, trying to divvy them up evenly. This memory made me want to record one of his books.

As long as you don't expect anything spectacular, here's a link. And if you're not in the mood for a "predicatable historical boy's adventure story" ;), Librivox has a huge selection of other recordings here.

photo by Claudia

Monday, December 8, 2008

Study partners

Now that she's figured out how to remove the lid, maybe highlighters aren't such a great toy. How about reading a book together instead?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Carmel corn

Christmas is full of memories. Huge family get-togethers with cousins and aunts and uncles. Singing Christmas carols then coming home for hot chocolate. Getting up and running to look out the window to see if it was white outside. Taking turns reading the story of Christ's birth. Opening presents together... and the list just goes on and one.

But the memory from childhood that is etched most tenderly in my mind was simply spending Christmas Eve together. As the Christmas tree lights shown brightly in the dimmed room we'd sit around and sing and talk and crack nuts. And as we kids persuaded Mama to let us open just one gift pleeeeeaaaase, we'd munch on delicious caramel corn. Now the smell of caramel corn baking is forever linked to many fun memories from Christmases gone by.

Carmel Corn

15-20 cups popcorn
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda (wait)
1 tsp vanilla

Heat sugar, butter, syrup and salt until bubbly. Meanwhile, combing soda and vanilla. Cook sugar mixture over medium heat for 5 min stirring just enough to keep from burning. Remove from heat and add soda/vanilla. Coat corn. Place in greased pan and bake at 200 for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


A New Year. So often begun with new resolutions, new goals, new books and ideas to explore. Yet more often than not, by the end of the year, these goals have fallen to the back of our mind, perhaps to be dug up again at the beginning of another year.

As we've taken the first few steps into December, I've been pondering the goals we had for this year. Some, like law school, have been an overarching theme of the entire year. And as I type, Joshua is in the midst of his first final.

Other goals are in the works, and much as I'd like them to be over with, there's no way they'll be done before the New Year. That's when Joshua will gently remind me "honey, chill." Life is not about the list. These things will still be here in the January, and pale in comparison with my duties as wife and mother and homemaker.

But that leaves those smaller desires, like finishing my recording of St. Bartholomew's Eve. With the many late nights Joshua will spend studying over the next two weeks, I know that there will be time, if I work diligently, to complete this goal without compromising more important matters, and be able to start the year afresh.

So if you have time in the midst of the Christmas busyness, I'd encourage you to pick up that book or project you've meaning to finish all year, and enjoy it! :)

photo by Mia

Mouthwash recipe

While reading a recent post, some of you may have been wondering why I was so desperate for the Vodka. And so here is the recipe for the nastiest mouthwash you'll ever taste. But, it really works.

In a quart jar combine:

1 1/2 cups vodka
1/2 oz. of sanguinara (blood root), crushed
1 T myrrh
3 T dried spear mint

Let sit for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain and add enough water to make a quart. Use a teaspoon to a tablespoon daily.

I'm afraid the purpose is to cleanse the teeth/gums and not the breath, so I certainly wouldn't recommend using it before having company over. But the terrible toothache I had when hunting for the Vodka is all but gone, and I'm not quite so nervous about visiting the dentist now. ;)

The recipe is from this handy little book which, along with many other recipes, explains the benefits of each of these ingredients. One thing I know, myrrh was not precious because of it's nice sweet flavor.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey and more turkey :)

A couple weeks ago I was at a friend's home for a play day. While the children covered themselves in (edible) finger paints, my eyes kept getting drawn to her fridge. Or rather, the menu planner hanging on the fridge.

It was so cute, so simple and so tidy. I'd been wanting to get a dry erase board to hang on the fridge for a while and kept putting it off. But really, this was just too cute and I found myself really wanting one.

"I just love your menu planner Shawanna," I finally said, "Where did you get it?"

"Oh, it was a dollar at Wal-mart..."

So guess what's hanging on my fridge now. ;)

Last Wednesday I finally went in to the store to pick up the turkey. The sale turkeys were all gone and the only ones left at a reasonable price per pound were massive--like 30 to 40 pounds each. Besides the fact that it wouldn't have even fit in our oven, can you imagine how long we'd be eating turkey?

But Rosalind had made friends with one of the stockers (shopping with a baby really does have it's advantages) and he had pity on our family of three. After a few minutes talking to the butcher, he emerged with the smallest turkey they could find... and gave it to us at the sales price. :)

But it was still fifteen pounds... so I think we'll be eating a lot of turkey from now 'til Christmas. Anyone have any great recipes for using up leftover turkey?

check out more menu plans here.