If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Packing Away

For me, part of the fun of having company and celebrating is the time spent cleaning and putting things away.

Don't get me wrong, it is always nice to have help when we are doing the dishes or packing away the Christmas decorations.

It is also wonderful to just take time and reflect.

As I packed away the Christmas trees and ornaments and garland and lights today, I thought of all the memories these items held for me and my family.

I know that Christmas brings stress and hustle and bustle and work.  Christmas also brings love and a strengthening of the love we already share.

I so enjoyed reading a recent post called Love, Work, and Christmas at Clover Lane.  She so artfully expresses what a mother feels about Christmas.

I, too, am tired.

Yet, I also recognize that work is love made visible.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be this kind of tired.  The love we shared this Christmas is a promise that God's love will continue and be perpetuated by the next generations.

I hope you are tired and I hope you look forward to the next year's work like I do.

I look forward to being tired all over again.

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary.  I just looked it up and found out that Hallmark's traditional gift for the fifth wedding anniversary is wood and the modern adaptation is for silverware.  So, what on earth should I give Mike to commemorate our anniversary?

I'd love to give him a new recliner like this one:

Do you think those wood legs would count?

Then, I think, is that a gift for him or is it a gift for me?

How lucky am I to spend my life with such a wonderful man?  
Happy Anniversary, honey!

Christmas is for Children

Mike says it every year.  Christmas is for the children.  He wants me to only focus on the children and ignore all the adults.  I just have a hard time doing that because I am really a giver at heart.

We don't give a lot to the children throughout the year.  So I don't feel guilty about giving to them on their birthdays and at Christmas.

When I look at the photos we made (with my new camera that Santa brought me), I see that Mike is exactly right.  Christmas is for the children.
How sweet are these two boys?
After all, looking at the photos we made and thinking back, I see each of the grown children taking time to enjoy one another's offspring...like the photo above...Happy little Levi was glad to share a little time with almost everybody.  (Jessica said that Bryan admitted later that it was nice to have a sweet little one to cuddle again.)
Who is teaching?
The big children seem to be teaching the little children at the same time they are learning from them.  Don't we all love it when little children open our eyes by showing us the world as they see it?  As we grow older, we tend to forget the mystery and magic of life around us until a little child points it out.  We forget what we have learned and the process of learning it until we are in the throes of sharing with little children.

I love how this series of three photos shows how sweet Luci has something to say to Jessica and Jessica is so willing to listen and take in her little words of wisdom.  Isn't that what children do best?  Don't they open our eyes with amazement?  Don't they warm our hearts and put a smile on our face?
Harris showing off a trick
What you see in this picture is an adorable little bundle of energy showing several of us a new trick he has learned...just how interesting the world is when we look at it from different angles.  What you don't see is that Harris's aunt is across the room showing him that she knows the same trick.  Showing that no matter how old we grow, we still have fun tricks and can see things with new perspective...and a little giggle.

Controlled Chaos...well, sort of...
At times the children seemed to be everywhere and into everything.  They were enjoying the moments together and the time of sharing and the excitement.  None of them seemed to need guidelines or rules or laws.  They just worked things out and made things happen in their own way and everybody was happy with it.

I love how this series of pictures shows each of the little ones taking time to focus and concentrate on one thing.  They can stop right in the middle of whatever is going on and take the time for close inspection.  We all should do that more often, don't you think?  I think we might appreciate more if we did.

Corey and Luci

Stephen, Bonnie, and Levi

Mike and Levi

Jessica and Levi

Lillie and Luci

With little children there is always time for interaction.  I love how everybody seems to interact with whoever the child is at hand.  They were seamless in sharing time and attention.


Harris and Lydia







Stephen and Bonnie



Children always find ways to be silly and enjoy laughter and lots of both took place at our Christmas celebration.  At any given moment one child or another was  being silly or in an uproar of laughter.

Grand B and Harris

Bay and Levi

Bridgette and Luci

Grand B and Levi

Bonnie and Levi

Bryan and Levi

Children constantly remind us that there is never enough time to share some love...and after all, isn't that really what Christmas is all about?  The first Christmas brought a child to share His love and each Christmas we celebrate we are sharing love all over again.  The season seems to bring out the child,,,and the love in all of us.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas With A New Camera

Ever since Santa Came, I have been playing with my new toy working with my new tool.  I didn't have my camera for the first big celebration and didn't have a memory card for it for the second big one one mentioned in Christmas Snapshot.  Then, I became armed and dangerous...

We converged on my parents and every body became a target...
The In-Laws
and The Out-Laws!
Seriously, we tried all sorts of angles...

...and shots...
Lillie and Lydia making photos with their devices

 ...and subjects...
...and actions.
Wonder what Lillie, Harris, and Lydia were getting into here?

And who provides better opportunities for learning and options for teaching than family?

While we were together, we shared family fellowship over a feast fit for any king.  There was probably enough food there to feed fifty but our crowd of almost twenty did our best to consume it all.  We still eat like the farm hands the folks raised, I guess.

Then, the wrapping paper was sent flying...
Lydia and Harris
Harris and Lydia
Megan and her boyfriend, Adam

...as we discovered gifts of stitchery...
Brenda with hers
and Madalyn with hers

...clothing and accessories...
Adam with his
Daddy with his
Lillie with hers

Lydia with hers
Lillie sharing hers
Harris checking out his
...things to read...
Becca and her husband, Nathan
...and cards with treasure...

There was a lot of talking...
Brenda, Jessica, Harris, and Madalyn
Jessica and Harris
Bridgette and Luci
(Can you tell who did the most talking in the family?)

There was a lot of collaborating...
Dwayne and Brenda
Corey and Lillie
Brenda and Harris
...some simple chillin'...
Bryan and Dwayne 
...a good bit of silliness...
Mama and Dwayne
Megan and Harris
...and a lot of laughter...
Becca and Nathan 
Megan and Harris
Then everybody pitched in to help clean up...
Megan and Mike 
Daddy, Mama, and Becca 
and Brenda

This new camera seems to capture everything...and what a good job it does!  
I cannot wait till I learn to use a setting besides AUTO for everything!