Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 50th!

On the 27th Kyle's folks celebrated Fifty years of marriage! The kids held a beautiful surprise party for them. (The girls in particular did a lot of work - everything was stunning, ladies!)

Eating the cake, made to look just like the original! I didn't get to attend :-( , as I'm not supposed to travel far this close to the due date, but the videos were wonderful!

A Peaceful Little Christmas . . .

. . . is what we had this first year! Highlights:

  • Sleeping in (as much as excitement allows!)
  • Feeding Kitty lots of yummy scraps!
  • Reading the Christmas Story

  • Mixing up some gingerbread
  • Opening stockings
  • Watching a 1930s Christmas Carol

  • His excitement in giving (my favorite of his gifts: a pink i-pod nano)
  • My excitement to give (the bulbs for forcing)
  • Sharing this beautiful day together!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tonight, tonight . . .

I'm looking forward to seeing:

and maybe even


I will miss getting to see

but hopefully it won't be too long before another visit happens!

I also plan to do some shopping, and might pick up a

If there's time, I may also get my last two

gifts. Should be fun!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quote of the Week: Faith

We will one day be delivered from the blindness that separates us from the real world. But we must recognize our blindness. The blind must take by faith that there are stars in the sky. If they depend on their abilities . . . they will conclude there are no stars. - Randy Alcorn

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Of Dresses and Dates

Hi everyone! It's been a while since I posted last, simply because I've been home a lot (yea!) working on Christmas preparations and getting the house in order (at least trying to!). We don't have internet access at home, so at this point I have to be out and about to put up posts.

Even though we've kept our schedule pretty clear, we did have a very fun evening out recently. My hubby took me on a last-without-baby-sitter date to a wonderful restaurant! My, my, my, was the food good! I wasn't the only person waddling out to the parking lot that evening. ;-)

The restaurant was located in a remodeled barn, which gave things a delightful ambiance! There were so many little areas and rooms that even though it was packed, you didn't feel like there were a lot of people around you. The Christmas decorations were lovely too!

We meandered home, slowing to look at lighted neighborhoods and taking a slight detour over a covered bridge. It was SUCH fun to dress up, go out and just be together - thank you Honey for the lovely surprise!

One last picture. I can't resist showing off my $13 maternity dress. Everything online and in stores are SO expensive and way too short for nearly six foot me. So I got some sale fabric and lengthened a maternity tunic pattern, and I'm rather pleased with the results!

Should have gotten a side picture though - this outfit makes me look all of my nine months! :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meditations: God in the Less-Than-Ideal

Well, we're now at 9 months. Baby could make her appearance anytime in the next two to six weeks. We've gained 30 pounds and I'm starting to feel crowded. Any action that has to do with bending (picking something off the floor, plugging things in, using a dustpan, unloading the dryer) has suddenly become a major project! Sunday morning found me singing and, for the first time, short of breath.

While my to do list is getting shorter, my prayer list is getting longer. "Please Lord, keep us safe from any complications or emergencies. Let the baby stay in the right position. Please give me energy and the ability to relax and handle things well. Help Kyle to know how to help me. And please (as I picture our car creeping towards the hospital at 10 miles per hour) don't let the baby come in an ice storm!"

In short, after a remarkably easy pregnancy, I'd like the ideal birthing experience! I don't ask for much, do I?

With my friend's son William

This Christmas season, I've been thinking a lot about Mary. You're surprised, I know. ;-) But as another first time mother facing the same wondering and uncertainty, I've been thinking more about her than anyone else. Certainly, if anyone would be guaranteed the ideal birth experience, you would think it would be Mary. Talk about being "in" with the right people! It would be no problem for the God who created the universe to arrange for a nice, easy delivery experience.

Besides, Mary had earned it. The Bible doesn't say what her pregnancy was like physically, but emotionally it had to be a roller coaster. By agreeing to God's plan, she gave up her own reputation (Immaculate conception? Come on Mary, that is really lame!), endangered her marriage prospects, disgraced her future husband and shamed her family. Surely it wouldn't be too much to ask for a nice delivery in the comforts of home, with the help of her mom or the village midwife, with plenty of time to clean and plan and settle in.

As we all know, it didn't happen that way. Instead, she got a long, difficult journey and a last minute delivery in a barn, surrounded by complete strangers, except for the husband that she hadn't even known physically yet. That doesn't sound like much fun to me, and I'm sure it wasn't what Mary had in mind either.

But aside from fulfilling prophesy, look what that birth experience said about God! It clearly demonstrated His humility, His love, and the great lengths that He would go to make himself accessible to lost, rebellious people. Look at it from the shepherd's view. As social outcasts (like homeless people nowadays), they would never have been comfortable visiting the Messiah in a palace, or even a fine house. But it's hard to be intimidated by a barn. The birth in the stable loudly proclaimed that God's love would stoop as low as our need required.

So, while I'd still like for everything to go smoothly, I'm reminded (once again) that my life is not about my plans, my comfort or my desires. Those less-than-ideal things in our lives may be to bring us closer to God, to open a door for ministry to others, to prepare us for His future plans, or simply to bring Him more glory. It may not even be about us at all, but part of a bigger picture of what God is doing and saying to His lost creation. So Lord, while my requests still stand, if you want to do something else for Your glory and my ultimate good, You may.

Let's just hope I can remember that if I'm stuck in a difficult labor!

Tree's Up!

Well, here it is, all lit and decorated! Not bad for a newly-wed tree, huh?

When my parent's got married, they didn't have anything to put on their tree, so they made it a tradition to give each of us kids a special ornament that represented something unique about that particular year. That way when we moved out, we would have our own collection of ornaments, and lots of memories!

I have a barn ornament for the year our barn burned down, a Silver Lake ornament from acting in Milwaukee, and Eyore ornament for storytelling in '97, and lots of ornaments with girls or angels reading books! Kyle brought a number of ornaments to the tree too, some from his grandmother, others (like the angel we're using as a tree topper) made by his Mom. We even have some wedding bells for this year!

Does your family have any Christmas tree traditions? - GJ

Friday, December 5, 2008

Quote of the Week: Gratitude

Thou that hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more - a grateful heart.
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.
- George Herbert

1940s Seamstress

I'm so proud of how Haley has done with her latest history/sewing project! She has made an entire suit from a vintage 1940s pattern as part of her Home and Consumer Science and World War II history studies.

It's turned out to be really cute, and let me tell you, this was no easy sewing job! That jacket's construction involved some advanced sewing techniques and tailoring. She also altered her skirt pattern and put in an invisible zipper!

Her hair isn't right in these pictures, but with hat, gloves, shoes (and a certain blue scarf with I need to send her) her World War II look is coming together. Fabulous job Haley! I'm so proud of your persistence and initiative.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Looking like Christmas!

Snow came to our area just as December started! We were inspired to get our tree going - sorry, no pictures yet, we're not done due to light issues. ;-)

I love snow! It's made everything in town look so pretty, especially with all the festive decorations. I love the old fashioned looking lamp posts.

The beauty of it all makes it worth the cold. At least in my humble opinion. :-)

Many of the local businesses have put up trees. Here is our little guy!

Everything looks so pretty, especially at night! I love December. - GJ

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm grateful for:

Kind friends
God's guidence
Victories in daily life

. . . not to mention all the wonderful family members I've been given! It's been a delight to be with you - we love you guys. - GJ & KP

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give Thanks

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . .
Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.

- George Washington, first federal Thanksgiving proclamation

May your heart be encouraged and strengthened as you give thanks to God for His provision and providence!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cookie Day

A warm kitchen, the same dishes washed twenty times, luscious smells, clouds of flour, Christmas music, sugar overload, butter softening on the counter, goofy laughter and utter exhaustion are all signs of a particular tradition that I started about seven years ago.

Inspired by the tempting cookie magazines Mom gets for us every year, I enlisted Haley's help for a yearly Cookie Day, when double or triple batches of five varieties of cookies are baked and frozen to have on hand for the Christmas season.

In the past we've had Cookie Day early in December. Since this year's Cookie Day was a little early, Haley and I wore red and green, and turned on some favorite Christmas CDs to get into the spirit of things.

Some cookies are favorites that are made for mutiple years, like the Cream Cheese Drops I'm working on. We also try a few new recipies, just for fun.

Just some of the ingredients. Five kinds of cookies make for a nice looking cookie tray. Usually we go for a good visual mix: a dark cookie, a light cookie, something with red, something with green, and something that's really easy to make so we can grab some lunch!

Traditionally our day's work starts about 7am cooking a refrigerated cookie that was mixed up the night before, and winds up around 10 pm putting the last batch in the freezer.This year we made it a little easier on ourselves. We got the White Chocolate Cherry cookies in the freezer a few days ahead, so we only had four kinds to make. It worked really well!

We try not to sample too many cookies, but we are invariably sick of sugar by the end of the day. :-) Let me eat steak!

I love Christmas, and Cookie Day is a great way to get ready. Haley, working with you always makes it fun! Next year, let's just die some cookie green. ;-) - GJ

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quote of the Week: Sin's Power

The power of sin is the false promise that it will bring more happiness than holiness will bring. Nobody sins out of duty. Therefore, what breaks the power of sin is faith in the true promise that the pleasures of sin are passing and poisonous, but at God's right hand there are pleasures for evermore. - John Piper

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby Shower!

A few Sundays ago I was given a wonderful baby shower hosted by my friend Megan. It was a delightful afternoon, filled with conversation, delicious treats, and lots of sweet baby stuff to "Oo" and "Ah" over!

Brenda H, Kathy P. and Pam B. as the littlest lady hands around one of the gifts.

It was so much fun to simply think and talk baby for a whole afternoon! We didn't get a whole lot of pictures. We were having too much fun visiting!

Mary and Therese M. - there in spite of being sick during the week. What troopers!

Baby stuff is SO CUTE. I loved all the darling little outfits: notice the little "booties" on these two!

Bobbie M. and our hostess Megan. She served us all fall appropriate goodies: Hot apple cider, spice cake and gingersnaps! It certainly hit the spot on such a chilly day.

My thanks to all you ladies for making it such a lovely day and for sharing in our great joy over this new life! We are so blessed by your caring friendship.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Update: 33 weeks

Well, things are moving along! All you prayer-supporters will be glad to know that I had an appointment today, and things are looking great! Weight gain, blood pressure, growth, all just as they should be.

I've been feeling great, just a little tired like in the first trimester. The baby is behaving nicely, with her head down just like it's supposed to be. All the bumping I'm feeling is probably her feet. She seems to like to push against my lowest right rib (not exactly comfortable) but usually stops if I sit up straighter.

While Haley was down here, she got a bunch of nice baby-bump pictures. Here are some of my favorites. Thanks Haley!

I had thought I was looking pretty big - until I went to a class at the hospital about a week ago. Actually, I look fairly small! However, I was at least a head taller than most of the other ladies, which might have had something to do with it. ;-) I don't feel like I've expanded much lately, which probably means I have some good growth ahead as Baby starts to put on some rolls.

We are more and more excited to meet our little girl!

. . . unless of course, it turns out to be a little boy after all! - GJ