Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
We were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Monday, December 14, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
- rainy days
- art classes with friends. learning a new technique and studying a old artist
- watercolors and little hands
- little boy dressing himself. wearing his undies backwards so HE can enjoy the elmo on his frontside!
- the smell of our Noble Fir tree twinkling in the corner
- browsing the Christmas albums. seeing how the faces have changed and families have grown since their first Christmas photo was mailed.
- checking the mail. i LOVE getting Christmas wishes, letters, cards, and photos from our family and friends. have you mailed YOURS yet? hint hint
- children who sing while they tidy. so cheerful! so rare.
- Aidan's artistic decoration ideas--the places that boy puts wreaths and bulbs!
- nativity scenes surrounding our home--we don't have as many as grandma but we are racing to catch up!
- morning "touchbase" call with my mom. planning our day together.
- having friends over for tea and treats
- cuddling with oldest while she nurses her sniffles. fighting over the same homeschooling magazines!
- little "David" shouting. "I will fight you in the Name of the Lord!" as weilds his sling and stones--INSIDE! Peter's absolute FAVORITE story is David and Goliath. he loves to boss his older brothers around, directing them in his version of the tale
- chinese takeout brought home unexpectedly by thoughtful hubby. no prep, no dishes, no clean-up. what a treat! and egg rolls with spicy mustard are yummy!
- kleenex with lotion added--amazing! where were they when i had the sniffles as a child? seriously. blow it out loud. blow it out proud. into a soft tissue with lotion added.
- Truth spoken with love and tenderness. thanks Margi. and for the pumpkin seeds. you knew i was missing them.
- baby (or adopted child) showers
- re-reading our year's past Christmas letters. voting on which one is the best. maybe this year's?
- racing off to get the day started after stolen moments on the computer! bye!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
246. cloudy days
247. the cover of darkness while i exercise in the pre-dawn hour.
248. hand knit hat and scarf (thanks Aunt Barbara!)
249. Boy's Book Club--Daddy's reading aloud to sons and discussing fine books
250. Large pots of spaghetti shared with good friends
251. sleepy drives
252. twinkly lights adorning homes at Christmas
253. shortbread, cocoa, and singing Christmas carols
254. snowflakes--the child made, paper and scissor and glitter kind
255. lighting the first candle of advent, the beginning of our Christ-exalting, Christ-focus, Christ-celebrating season
256. taking down the box of Christmas books
257. watching my girls dance, Clara in the Nutcracker and her Frolicking Sister at the ball
258. listening to my girl play carols on the piano
259. clean room, made bed--a rare and happy treat
260. dusting off the Christmas movies, getting ready for the marathon
261. praying and praising in my husband's arms
262. 12 hours of sleep--uninterrupted
263. a soldier in a crisp uniform, standing tall and proud
264. brainstorming for the 17th Annual Christmas Letter
266. choosing shirts and location for Christmas Family Photo--sheesh! that is a LOT of work
267. flannel jammies, cozy faux-fur lined slippers
268. pictures made with love to mom from sweet boy
Choosing joy today.
"A thankful heart is a happy heart." ~Madame Blueberry
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Our family has always lived in Southern California. It has never snowed here. I only dream of a white christmas. I am not certain why Bryan's favorite Christmas movie was Irving Berlin's musical White Christmas. I think it had to do with the whole tribute to a noble-military-general thing. Or maybe he really liked listening to Bing Crosby sing?
Forget Advent candles, Sunday School Christmas choir, acting out the story of Joseph and Mary dressed in our bathrobes, or reading the Nativity story nightly--not the Klungreseter family growing up! We went to the movies every Christmas Eve. We ate at Bamboo House for Chinese food. We counted each other's gifts under the tree to make sure they were equitable. And we watched every Christmas movie ever made. Bryan owns them ALL. I am not exaggerating. I can not remember a Christmas of of my youth when we did not watch It's A Wonderful Life, or A Charlie Brown's Christmas, or Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer on TV. Not one single year.
Bryan carried on our movie watching tradition as an adult. The kids just dusted off his collection in preparation for our annual movie watching fun. It is so handy to have the DVDs. No more wading through lame commercials. Bryan memorized the lines of most of his favorites. I am not exaggerating. I'm not. Ask my mom. She'll back me up. It was one of his more useful talents.
This year we will watch each one without his genius for editing out the "inappropriate" parts. We will watch them without his exuberant acting along with his favorite characters. He won't be there to make gingerbread houses or drink coco. He won't be there in the flesh. But Bryan's memory will be a part of every one of our holiday traditions this year. I miss my brother. I am so glad he left so much of himself for us to remember him by.
Gotta go light the advent candle and read the story and watch our kids act out the scene. Again. But we won't forget my childhood habits--we will watch White Christmas, just like I did as a kid. With my brother.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Squeezed like sardines in the TV room
Enjoy the bleach blond Chad and Casey!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
For my record here, Bldg 429 gets it name from Ephesians 4:29:
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. But only what is helpful for BUILDING others up according to their needs, that is may benefit those who listen."
I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the concert of these four younger guys. They were encouraging! Their rendition of "O Happy Day!" was terrific. Too bad they didn't include it on their new album. I wasn't prepared for the wallop from their song, "Always". I have the song playing now on my playlist if you want to check it out. It isn't the same as listening to it with just piano accompaniment and a room full of other people--but it'll do. At least if you sob, no one will see you! Here are the lyrics that moved me:
Friend I don't know where you are
And I don't know where you've been
Maybe you're fighting for your life
Or just about to throw the towel in
But if you're crying out for mercy
If there's no hope left at all
If you've given everything you've got
And you're still about to fall
Well hold on, hold on, hold on
'Cuz I believe always always
Our Savior never fails
Even when all faith is gone
God knows our pain and
His promise will remain
He will be with you always
He will be with you always
As I was listening to the lyrics, I was telling God in my heart, "I am holding on to You, God. I am!" And I sensed His reply (not in words--how could I hear it over the sound of those speakers!) was, "No, I am holding on to you!" God spoke to my heart last night. Has He been speaking to yours?
I sometimes wonder what He was saying to my brother in the last days or hours of his life. This time last year, Bryan was on the fast track to physical peril, and ultimately death. It was a scary thing to witness; athough he did not allow us much opportunity to see him. But I cling to the belief that Bryan was His, and He was with him. Even at the end.
Since the gal who inspired this newly formed habit of mine--to list what I am thankful for on Mondays, to count my blessings, to be mindful of His movement in my life--I have had no trouble adding to my list the easy stuff, the good stuff, the fun stuff, the yummy stuff. But I have yet to include the ugly stuff, the hard stuff, the painful stuff, the confusing stuff, the inexplicable stuff. If you read here, you remember that our family has been reading Pilgrim's Progress, an old tale written centuries ago but still so relevant, so true to the path He has me on this year. I said I couldn't wait to read what John Bunyan's solution was for Christian being entrapped in Despair's Dungeon.
Well, the answer, the key, the way out was to REJOICE! In ALL things, despite our temporal, this-side-of-heaven view of our circumstances. To thank Him and sing His praise. Even when we don't feel like it. And with that obedience, Christian remembered the key of Promise, which opens any door in Doubting Castle! And he was free. Since I want to be free, and I want to obey, I will add some ugly things to my list today:191. missing brother
192. no pumpkin seeds
193. one less person who will STAND with me here in the battle
194. crying momma
195. crying daddy
196. aching heart
197. missing piece of long-practiced traditions
198. songs that make me sob
199. missing socks
200. quarreling siblings
201. failing again
202. missing the mark, again
203. crushed little heart by my less-than-gentle response
204. mounds of laundry
205. piles of dishes
206. lost history book
207. lost notes with important numbers
208. lost shoe
209. lost library book
210. lost mind
211. lost moments
212. lost family
213. lost friends
214. lost neighbors
215. missing bear hug
216. hungry children in faraway places
217. little girl paralyzed
218. friend losing home
219. husbands struggling to provide for their families
220. lonely, hurting, despairing people alone at Christmas time
221. family celebrating their first Christmas without their beloved Marilyn
222. one woman, the weight of the world--so many burdens for Suzie, all at one time
223. little boy who tries so hard but just can't
"Lord, bring beauty out of these ugly things, somehow. Give me eyes to see Your beauty in them. If not here and now, then someday when Your "I'll Explain Later" becomes NOW. "