I was so disappointed to run out of time for autumn leaf prints this year, that I had the idea to do a winter version.
We have been studying coniferous trees, so we practised using a cedar branch to make beautiful prints on white paper.
I've been somewhat intrigued by the "magic" of Christmas this year, trying to go beyond the frantic shopping, activities and trying to "get it all done." I must say, watching the Polar Express movie for the very first time brought a tear to my eye at the end when the main character says, "Though I've grown old, the bell (a bell from Santa's sleigh) still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."
What really is it that we believe? The story of Santa? In giving? In buying? Gathering? Turning to a familiar story this Christmas has inspired my faith in the true spirit of Christmas. There's Mary, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour." Luke 1:46, the shepherds, "glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen." Luke 2:20 and the magi "when they saw the star they were overjoyed." Matthew 2:10. There is something real, not just to spark the imagination, but events to ignite the heart, soul and spirit. The more I read it, the more something else jumps out at me, and the more miraculous it all seems.
Here's wishing you and yours a magical, wonderous, peaceful and most joy-filled Christmas.
Each Christmas season, I try to meditate as much as possible on the true meaning of Christmas. As I was listening to this song on the Glee Christmas album, I was struck again with the joy that the message of Jesus brings.
So many people confuse "religion" with Christianity. Religion is about rules, expectations, judgementalism and even condemnation.
I often love to photograph my children running in natural settings. It reminds me of the absolute freedom that we have when we are living in God's love.
Throughout the scriptures, God blesses his people and delivers them. Again and again, His people turn away from Him. He then gives us an unthinkable gift. He sends his own Son as a helpless infant. A most humble act for an Almighty God.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17
God sent his Son to save the world. For me, these are words of great comfort and joy.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
I will build you up again,
and you...will be rebuilt." Jeremiah 31:3-4
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory."
True love and true joy.
We are heading up to Steven's Pass with some friends for some skiing and New Year's celebration. I'll see you in 2011!!
Happy New Year!
Ah. Christmas Holidays. Freedom. Sleeping in, morning cartoons, last minute shopping, family, friends and lots of fun.
:: My uncle's annual open house, a trip in to Vancouver to see the Christmas Market (What's Christmas without a trip into Vancouver?) I remember visiting the wonderful Christmas markets in Vienna and other parts of Europe. One of my favourite parts of the market were the wonderful ornaments created by Käthe Wohlfahrt, Rothenburg o. der Tauber. This was a town that we actually visited one year near Christmas time. Extraordinary. We had a visit to Van Dusen's Festival of Lights, then more baking and crafting.
Tonight the gifts are under the tree and Santa hasn't quite arrived yet. Mark and I are (as tradition has it) watching It's a Wonderful Life and drinking Bailey's. I told Mark he's my "George" and he said I'm his "Mary" (literally).
We wish you all such a Merry Christmas!!
Well, it's been over a week for sure and lots has happened! This is the first chance I've had for an evening of relaxation. Being a teacher and a parent of school-age children, the last week or so of school before Christmas break is non-stop. This week, being an awfully busy week already, was unfortunately interupted by all of us getting the stomach flu. Mark and I were all dressed up and leaving for the girls' evening Christmas concert when Myles started to get sick. The babysitter, understandably didn't want to spend her evening contending with Myles' stomach. I cried after letting her out, cleaning up the floor and putting him to bed. Mark took the girls by himself, but then Megan got sick at the side of the road on the way out of the concert. Despite all that, there were a lot of highlights to this December week:
:: Christmas train birthday party, parent viewing week at the dance school, some quick trips to the mall, concerts both at my school and the kids' school, school wide skate (at my school), more baking, a trip to Minnekhada, then ending the week with a Muppet Christmas Carol movie night and sleep-over under the tree (unfortunately interrupted by more of the stomach flu), and of course our tradition of Advent (as many nights as possible) with readings from the Bible, singing, and treats.
Christmas is about finding those peaceful moments amid all the business, and reflecting on the gift that God has given us.
Enjoy the last week before the big day!!
Christmas is a time filled with festivities and also busyness that seems somewhat tiring. Each year I feel so inspired by Ali Edward's December Daily project. I love the idea of making Christmas peaceful and special with traditions, outings and activities.
Here are some of our December highlights so far:
:: Disney on Ice with awesome friends, decorating with red and green, our Christmas Village, baking, knit hats, selecting our tree, decorating the tree, Christmas parades, winter fires, frosty runs, and simply sitting by the tree in the evening and sipping eggnog from my favourite Christmas mug.
I'm compiling photos to create a Blurb book (which I absolutely love so far!!) about our family advent and Christmas traditions.
Hope you are enjoying the start of December!
It was back to school today for my kids and for me tomorrow. It'd been such a great vacation.
I was playing around with the camera and tripod and took this photo of our living room before we left on our trip. Now the Christmas decorations are all packed away and the tree is ready to be chipped. My daughter needed to have a "moment" with it right after it was put outside. When you cut down your own tree, you can become quite attached:) And I must sing one more praise of a fresh-cut tree: no needles!!
We spent our Christmas holidays in the best way possible. Family, friends, fondue (this is my friend's recipe made with Toblerone--Mmmm) and some good old chalet living. I was laughing so much when a friend of mine commented, "ah, chalet living" on one of my posts. There is no better way to celebrate winter than to fully enjoy it.
We haven't had much snow our way yet, so we headed off to find it ourselves. We got out skiing on the only clear day. Myles was so proud of learning to ski for the first time. "Myles, you are so good at skiing!" "Yes I am!!"
The trail that we took had a few hills and amazing vistas. We even sat and ate our lunch in the snow overlooking the distant mountains.
It was snowing on the mountain when we left and raining below. A cup of mocha and a rich brownie from the Wake 'n Bakery (I highly recommend it if you happen to be in Glacier, near Mt. Baker) hit the spot.
We actually slept in our tent trailer with the furnace blasting. It was very cozy. The kids were so excited to have "sleepovers" every night and I loved hearing the rain pelting down on the canvas at night.
Now it's back to some of the more mundane routines, but we are going to get in as much Chalet living as we can this winter. The kids just started skating lessons tonight.
I have a lot of exciting ideas for the blog ahead this year, so stay tuned and enjoy the beginning of your week!
The last week just flew by.
much much celebrating, gift exchanging, family visits etc. I even admit to a few Scrooge and Grinch-like feelings emerging inside of me...
But then it just all melts away as the Eve of Christmas approaches,
After church, and the kids excitedly put on their new Christmas pjs, we spent a bit of time outside in the crisp winter air with the stars shining clearly and brightly above us. We talked about the star of Bethlehem and how the angels appeared to the shepherds and how baby Jesus was born on such a night (perhaps not as chilly). Here's Myles running and sprinkling the reindeer food on the lawn.
We spontaneously lit candles and sang some of our favourite carols.
Amid the frenzy, the joy, the gifts, the food, pause to remember the baby. Like the tiny baby peeking over his father's shoulder at us during the church service last Sunday. A helpless, vulnerable baby. That's how God came. When man had performed his darkest deeds, God responded by sending his own Son as an infant. It really does baffle my mind when I stop to think of such grace and such a gift.
"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this."
I love that last line. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. God accomplishes with zeal. I have been trying to take time to meditate on passages from Isaiah over the Christmas season. It's amazing to think that these prophecies were made 500 years before Christ was even born.
A very and most Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. And a very Happy New year to you as well. We are heading off on a cross country ski trip to Mt. Baker and I look forward to posting about it in the New year. My theme for the up-coming year is More. Looking forward to more goodness, more adventures, more projects and learning more as well.
I may come by to visit you as I'm still giving holiday greetings to my friends on line, but until then,
Here's to 2010!!!!
I have been reading A Christmas Carol to my class at school. The movie is out right now, and I admit, I haven't seen it, but I thought it would be a great opportunity to read a classic novel to the students. They are enthralled. They are absolutely silent while I read and seem to have followed along when I ask questions. A Christmas Carol for me always brings up images of an old fashioned village all decked out for Christmas. Last year, my grandmother gave me her Christmas village that she had been collecting for many years.
The kids looked at it with great fascination, moving the figures and playing with the little battery-operated train. Have you seen the inspiring village from Posie Gets Cozy?
In our traveling days, Mark and I visited Rothenburg ob de Tauber in Germany, a preserved Middle Aged city.
We happened to be there during the Christmas Market or "Reiterlesmarkt".
It was "simply enchanting" as it says on the website and definitely had the feel of a very old-fashioned Christmas.
Last year we created this gingerbread village, and this year I made them with my class as well.
A candy village.
Christmasy villages, get me into the spirit!
Enjoy your last weekend before Christmas!!!
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory..." Ephesians 3:20
Please, I ask that you do not reproduce any of my pictures, ideas or writing without asking my permission. Thank you!