Monday, December 29, 2008

Waaaaay too comfy


* Post the six to ten things that you do on a daily basis.
*Link to the person who tagged you.
*Tag five other people.
*Leave a comment on the blog of the person that tagged you letting them know you posted this on your blog.

Melanie tagged me for this one. And I'm going to tell you right off that I'm not selecting five people to tag, I'm going to leave this one open. If you stumble across this post and want to do your own tag, please do. Maybe leave me a comment to I can see your tag. :)

Six to ten things I do each day ...
  1. Wake up
  2. Get dressed
  3. Drive to work
  4. Hold M.
  5. Love my job!
  6. Come home
  7. Love my family and home!
  8. Check the blog
  9. Check other people's blogs
  10. Teach piano
So there you go! Random, I know. But still, the rules never said anything about making any kind of sense with your ten things.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas all ye peeps

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I did. We were in SD and the weather was beautiful there, compared to the weather here (negative numbers and even more negative numbered wind chills, lots of snow and such). It was a good day of just spending time with family, eating too much, enjoying time of just sitting around and not having to worry about being anywhere on time. Drinking lots of hot drinks. Spending time by the corn burner. Eating turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, etc., etc., and lots of Christmas cookies!

But even though it is fun to lazy around and do nothing, remember what Christmas is about. It's not about gifts, family, friends, food, etc. ... it's about honoring and glorifying God. And it's about God's gift to us. His Son. His sinless, perfect, precious Son. Praise the Lord for His grace and mercy in giving us a way for us to come to Him! May Christ be the center of your thoughts and conversations, not just around Christmas time, but all year 'round. Merry Christmas, God's grace and mercy be rich upon you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Christmas letter to you ...

I've seen that my father has blogged a Christmas letter and my sister has blogged a Christmas letter (check them out) so I thought, to keep it going, that I should blog a Christmas letter for all of you peeps as well. So, here goes!


Merry Christmas all ye peeps.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a cold walk

The snow crunches beneath your feet, the temperature is 7 degrees above zero. The snow falls softly and gets stuck to your hat, scarf, gloves, hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. The wind makes it even colder. Little ice crystals form on your eyelashes and in your hair as the snow melts because of your breath coming up from your scarf-covered mouth. The trees sport very few leaves but are starting to get wrapped with white beauty. Every thing is starting to get covered with inches of whiteness. All is quiet as you walk. A few tracks here and there tell you that some other brave soul ventured out in the cold weather. You curl your fingers up into the palm of your hand and are very thankful for the very warm mittens that you've borrowed from your father. Your toes, legs and nose start to get cold and you quicken your pace so that you can reach your destination quickly then turn around and go home.

When you get back to the warmth of your house your legs start to tingle because of the cold. Your first thought is of warm tea and blog hopping. You unlace your boots that faithfully kept your feet warm. As you pull them off you realize that your pants (which are roll up because they are too long) have filled with snow and it's starting to melt. You pull off your hat and the snow that collected there is cold on your hand. You unwrap your scarf which leaves coldness on your neck as the snow stuck on the scarf brushes up against your neck. You wiggle out of your coat and put it away. It's good to be home ... safe, cozy and warm.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Insight from the roses

Yes ... this post is called "Insight from the roses." Strange? You'll understand soon enough. :)

No doubt you've heard that God "prunes" those He loves. That He "clips" away things in our lives that are unnecessary, unhelpful, sinful, wrong, etc.. And, as I'm sure you know, it's painful. It hurts to watch those things being taken from our lives, and sometimes our hearts. We don't want to change, we don't want to let go. We don't want the pain and hurt. I'm also assuming that you've heard that God prunes and clips and purges in love, because He loves us, because He's growing us, because it's best for us ... even if it doesn't seem like it.

Since the weather is turning cold (the snow on the ground is a sure sign) it's time to trim back the flowers and cover the ones that need covering. If you've read my posts about my roses you know I love them. Their beauty, their smell, their everything. God makes my roses grow so wonderfully and they bring joy and happiness to my heart when I see them and tend them.

If you know anything about roses you know (at least in Minnesota) you clip them back and cover them well so they can make it through the winter.

So the other day, out I went, clippers in hand, to the roses. So tall and once beautiful, but untended, as my work schedule is busy. I realized that in order for them to have continued to bloom and grow, cutting must have been done. As I stood looking at my roses my trials came to mind. God was cutting, I need to change, I need to let go.

I knelt and started clipping the green stems. Some of them were thin and easily let go of the other part of the stem. Others were thick, and I had a hard time clipping them off, reluctant as they were to be separated from the other part of the stem. *Clip* I realized that struggles in life were kind of that way, too. Some things are easy to let go, they don't mean so much to me. I trust that God's doing what's right and I let go. And then there's the other kind ... the things that are so dear, "thick" like the rose stems, which are hard to let go of. I start to question why they must be taken. Is it really in love that He cuts away? But as I looked at my roses, I knew the answer. I loved my roses, and even though it was hard to clip the back, and see the things taken away, I knew it was best, that in order for them to grow properly they must be cut back. I didn't do it to "hurt" the roses, but I knew next year they would bloom and grow. And I also knew that next year I wouldn't be able to tell that I'd cut them back. That the cuts wouldn't show. New growth would cover what is now bare.

Today I covered my roses with leaves and rocks to keep them from growing too soon in the spring.

As I covered them, I could see where I'd cut them back just a few weeks before. I couldn't help but think that God does the same thing. When we're hurt and in pain, He covers us with His grace, His mercy, His love, His care ... His hand. To guide, direct, protect, help, comfort and sustain us.

Maybe God is taking, cutting things out of your life (maybe from your heart). I can now say, with new understanding, that it's all in love. He only purges and cuts in love, because He knows it's best and couldn't possibly be anything else! Remember, He doesn't just cut and purge and then leave, He's there, sustaining, comforting, helping ... loving.

Rose pictures found at

Friday, December 05, 2008

Decorated room

I put up the lights in my bedroom again (actually, Leah and I did ... actually, Leah did most of it :)). They make me so happy that I just had to share them with you!! Be warned, there are a lot of pictures. :) (Sorry they are rather "grainy".)

Tagged ...

Natalie tagged me. The rules are:

Go to your Picture file, go to the 5th folder, open up the 5th picture, post it, and then tag 5 people.
I tag ... Charity, Lady Heather, and Tiffany (I know it's suppose to be five, but I could only think of three people who haven't been tagged yet. :))

Thursday, December 04, 2008

*~Snowdrift beauties~*

The wind was blowing pretty hard the other day when I arrived at the J's. As their driveway area is gravel the gravel mixed with the snow as it formed the drifts. It was beautiful! Or ... at least I thought it was beautiful ... I do understand that it's dirt gravel ... on snow, yes ... but hey. :)
*~Below picture courtesy of J. Thank you J you captured it perfectly!~*
*~Below picture courtesy of J. Thank you again J for capturing it just right. :)~*

Friday, November 28, 2008

Joy and thankfulness ... right now

Do you ever have those times in life when a certain trial or hardship threatens to undo you and you feel like you just want to shut the world out? You too? *Whew* Actually, it is (I should actually say was) all to familiar in my life. Too often I give in to the flesh, thinking, "I can't do this. Oh Jesus, I can't do this! Why are You asking me to let go? Why are You asking me to give You this dear and precious thing?" Tears flow, sobs come. Sorrow is becoming a constant companion.

Now before you think I need help for depression, let me tell you what the Lord has been teaching me!

It was one of those "said times" when I didn't want to talk to anyone, I didn't want to try to explain why the tears were so near, why the ache in my heart was almost more then I could bear. So I went shopping ... or rather, just went walking around stores, I didn't really have a destination in mind. I walked around for a few hours before returning home. Once back at home mom pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong. Of course I told her ... I tell my mom everything. I told her I couldn't let go. I needed this thing which I was clinging so tightly to.

I could just imagine the pain, the sorrow, the hurt if I did let go ... forever to be single.

But Mom, in her gentle motherly way, spoke the words which God knew I needed to hear.

(I'm kind of paraphrasing because I can't remember word for word what she said. :)) "Ana, joy and happiness doesn't just come when you get married. God wants to give you joy and happiness right now, as you let go, as you give up. Giving up and letting go doesn't mean that is has to be a sad, painful thing. God gives joy ... right now, in this time of surrendering."

Of course I knew that, but I was shocked ... really?

She went on. "I know you think that you can't do this. That you can't go through this trial." (How is it that Mom's always know stuff, even if you don't tell them?) "But God never gives you anything you can't do. He'll give you the victory, He wants you to have victory. You can do this, but only with God's help and strength. And not only can you do this, but you can have joy as you do this!"

As her words sank in and I really thought them over the tears came and my heart cried out to Jesus.

Then Wednesday night Pastor went through some verses to help us with giving thanks. He took us to Ephesians 5:20 ~ "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (emphasis mine) and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~ "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (emphasis mine).

In everything give thanks? Even in trials, in pain, in hardships? Give thanks? Like to be thankful for them? ... Yes! And only through Jesus, our Lord and Savior, can I do that!

All of this ramble-i-ness to say. Don't loose heart you singles who desire beyond almost anything to be married. God will give you joy, right now ... in this time of longing and unfulfilled desire. He will give you the strength and grace to endure until the time He has planned for you. And be thankful, God always does everything for a purpose. For our good and for His glory.

So pray, dear unmarried ones, pray, ask the Lord to make you truly thankful and give you the joy and strength that only He can give! (Although this post was written to encourage the unmarried, anyone can have joy in Christ ... right now, anyone can fly to Christ for strength and grace to have victory and thankfulness in the trails and situations in your life! Praise the Lord.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope and pray that you all will have a wonderful Thanksgiving ... doing whatever you will be doing. :) I'm spending time with family. Eating turkey (and probably ham), enjoying a day of sitting and doing nothing! Hoping that there will be hot drinks after dinner sometime (preferably hot apple cider!!).

What about you? What did you do (or what will you be doing)? What are your favorite things about Thanksgiving? I've already mentioned some of my things ...

  • Turkey
  • Hot apple cider
  • Cuddling up on the couch with said drink in hand
  • Chatting with family
  • Thanking Christ for the many, many blessings that He's given that I so often overlook
  • Just being with family
  • Not working (at J.'s or teaching piano ... although I truly love both!!)
I'm sure my rather petty list could go on but it won't. :) So, here's wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving, with family, friends and in the Lord, our Salvation!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Check it out!!!

The ladies over at the IDD blog are giving away a basket of tea goodies!!! Do stop over and leave them a comment. Also, check out their old posts. They are such a wonderful encouragement to me in the Lord and I'm sure they will be to you as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Log cabin cozy

I picked up this blanket at Wal-mart the other day. It's so soft and warm and it reminds me of log cabins and Christmas time! :) I just had to share ... slightly awkward, I know, but I still had to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unexpected gift of beauty!

*~I told you the family I work for totally spoils me! Thank you, so very, very much Mrs. J.~*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In which we learn the proper process for adding large numbers

Good evening ... er ... morning ... ahhh ... very early morning (happy for me, I haven't figured out how to make the "posted at ..." clock on my blog accurate, so you don't really know what time it is). All you smart peeps out there should have been asleep awhile ago. Me, well, things happen, they run in your mind, they keep you up, you can't sleep, so what do you do ... post and tell people about it. :) So now you all get to read my late-night-should-be-sleeping-way-to-crazy-for-normal-people post. Such lucky peeps you are.

On a different subject, during church tonight a little six-year-old girl sat next to me. As she comes from an artistic family she asked if she could draw, so I handed her my notebook. She drew actual pictures of things for a little while before, when I looked down, much to my surprise, I saw this ... (note: pictures were not taken during church, but after I'd arrived home with said notebook :) )

She was, as you can tell, practicing her math. :) How cute is that!? But as I observed, I watched her try new things such as adding "large" numbers. It greatly amused me how she came up with the "hard" answers. Observe ...

In picture #1 we see the easy problems (thus the texts and lines (please click on the pictures to get a better view)) but the hard problem is what we're looking at ... 6+8=? We see in neon greenish circle the first number is 8. The next line shows that 8 can become two 4's + 6. :) Or thus ... 44 6. (I'm not quite sure what the other 6 is doing down by the ones, but it's there because it needs to be, I'm sure.) We then see that because it is still to hard to add them up that we write the correct number of ones (backward mind you) that equal the two parts of the problem. She wrote out eight ones, then she wrote out six ones and then she counted them all. :) Thus ... 6+8=14. Got that? Good, moving on ...
In picture #2 we see much the same thing, only the problem is now 7+6=? But instead of trying to figure out how to break down the different numbers as before (ex. 8 is two 4's.) we just start writing ones (also, they continue to be written backward, it's easier that way). First seven ones, then six ones. And then we add them all together. Yup, you guessed it 7 backward ones + 6 backward ones = 13 backward ones! And then we discover that if we make one number change (ex. 6 to a 7, figure it out, then change the newly changed 7 to a 8 for the next problem and figure it out) we can easily figure these problems out as well! How fancy is that?!Well, I hope you've all learned as much as I did. But, seriously, I loved watching how she figured it out. I could see her mouthing different things, see her counting, "see" the wheels in her head turning. It was great joy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

*::*A Perfect Day *::*

This morning I rolled out of bed around 7:30, jumped in the shower, dressed, gathered my things and jumped in the car. Once at work I sat, looked at some books, talked, read Winnie-the-Pooh (!!), held M., and ate dinner. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the typical things I've come to love and long for at the J. house.

However, little did I know that today God had something very different in mind. After dinner the oldest J., J. (yes, I did mean to type J twice) decided it was the perfect time for a walk in the woods next to the house, to see "the clearing" in the somewhat softly falling, somewhat large, snowflakes. (And as some of you just read, I love big, slow falling snowflakes.) J. informed me that it was beautiful when it snowed. It would be a very large, over sized understatement to say I was thrilled! Walk, in the woods, in the snow? Seriously!!?? Yes!! (Actually, as we were walking through the woods, and I was observing the barley-snow-covered ground, the not-too-close-together trees, and the lack of large obtrusive plants, I was thinking the only thing (at least that I can mention) that would have made the moment better would have been if I had been dressed in a long, maroon, velvet dress with a long, black, hooded velvet cape (like elves wear) ... simply perfect.)

So after some minutes of bundling various little ones up, waiting for various older ones to bundle up and making sure everything was ready, we headed out. They almost convinced me to wear a pair of their old boots, but they didn't have any that would fit me ... ha ... so I was able to wear my right-sized, more desirable tennies. :)

Out we went, into the snow, complete with a soft wind that blew my loose hair around (two steps out the back door I regretted not putting my hair up ... and about fifty million times of flinging it over my shoulders (which was hard to do with M. in my arms) I regretted it even more, but chose to look on the bright side, I love the wind in my hair ... just not my face). The walk was absolute bliss!! I couldn't have planned it better. Surrounded by the family I've come to love, by the snow, by the openness of the country, by the woods ... yes, pure, complete bliss. (Picture: us starting our woodland bound adventure. There is one little person you can't see, he's at the very front of the "line" but he got behind someone as I snapped the picture.)

(Below: the "woods")

(Below: "Traveling" Buddy)

We walked some time until we came to "the clearing", but as I was contentedly happy to walk in the snow and woods I didn't take much note of time. It was gorgeous! Just as J. said it would be. A beautiful clearing of trees in the trees. Snow covered the ground, snow blew gently in the air and stuck to your hair, eye lashes, face and anything else, the weather wasn't overly cold ... it was just right. (Pictures left and right: "the clearing")

Walking around to different fallen trees, observing icicles on tree branches, looking at tree trunks that had (according to J) developed a "defense mechanism" (the tree had actually grown around the barbed wire that had been put on it at sometime), leaning my head back and closing my eyes to feel little snowflake fingers on my face, I couldn't help but smile. I was thoroughly enjoying myself to say the very least! (Pictures: (left) a fallen tree ... obviously (right) eating snow? ... looking at the sky? ... enjoying snowflake "fingers" on the face? ... who can say. It just totally pictures what I felt like doing (and did do) ... notice also, little pink bundle of baby in his arms :)

(Below: same fallen tree as above)

(Below: said icicles)

(Below: "defense mechanism" tree trunk. Notice, on the left side of the trunk, the barbed wire coming out, yes, o-u-t of the tree.)

As we turned to leave "the clearing", J, who was leading us on our delightful journey, decided to take us for a longer walk in the woods ... or he had until the little ones were getting cold and ready to head for home. So home we headed.

(Below: picture of the sky, courtesy of N.)

Back in the house we unbundled little ones, and big ones :), cuddled under blankets with little ones, and sat around on the couch and love seat. To add to the wonderfulness and to my great delight, at my request we were able to listen to "A Charlie Brown Christmas". It did require some work, some messing around with cords, some changing position of speakers, some "Okay, don't move" time, but we were able to enjoy (or at least I did) a short time of Charlie Brown ... until the kids tired of it and we moved on to something more desirable. But while it played it was such a delight and added such joy to the moment (to the day really) of "thawing" after such a wonderful walk in the woods, that I couldn't help but smile and thank the one who worked so hard to make it work (even though after I found out how much work it was going to be to make it work and I insisted it wasn't necessary he was determined to make it work ... and did). Yes, you know who you are :) ... thank you ever so much!

And, if that wasn't bliss, joy and delight enough, homemade (much labored over) hot chocolate was produced ... complete with a hat of whipped cream! It was delicious!! Just the thing. You know how something just "hits the spot" ... yeah, that's what it was. (Again, you know who you are ... thank you.) (Pictures: (left and right) need I say anything ... but yum!)

As I was on a time schedule I had to drink my hot chocolate in a quick (but not too quick) manner. Upon seeing I had drained my cup L. came to inquire about my having a second cup. I responded that I would love another cup, but had not the time. She then vanished into the kitchen. On my way out of the house I walked through the kitchen and was informed that I was to take a travel mug of hot chocolate with me. :) (Sweet "kitchen help"!) It almost lasted me all the way home, but not quite. How very kind and thoughtful they are to and of me! I'm so spoiled over there!

The ride home was just as beautiful and wonderful. A soft snow fell, making things white-ish, gray and almost foggy looking. I also slowed down (actually stopped) to take some pictures of some buildings that I see every day. They are very happy with snow on them. Don't you agree? A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

But after all that, I think I've officially said all I dare say. There were many more things that made my day the most wonderful and perfect ... but they are un-shareable. So I keep them in my mind, pray over them and surrender them to Christ.

Thank you all (both bloggie peeps and J.'s) for sharing this wonderful, memorable day with me! It truly was perfect! I hope in spite of my rambling, un-logical, unintelligent, overly wordy, rather confusing way of telling you that you got most of it. :)

To see pictures better click to enlarge them.