I'm just a wife and mother who earnestly desires to grow in my faith and it's demonstration. DISCLAIMER! I have absolutely no problem with women in the clergy. As a matter of fact, I have several female pastors who I consider friends. In my home, the pastor is a male so the pronouns I use to refer to a pastor tend to be male. This is not a statement of any kind. Just a reflection of my every day life!

Archive for November, 2011

Battles

I’m really struggling to keep my attitude in check.   Have been for the last couple of days.  December is right around the corner and I stopped to think about all of the demands on my schedule during that month.  It looks a little crazy – college finals to administer and final grades to turn in; college band/choir concert to attend where my second born will be performing (and I will have the privilege of sitting in with the concert band!); Senior High concert to attend so I can see my two youngest share their talents; a concert with a community-wide ensemble I’m a part of; my two youngest are in a Christmas play at a local theater; I have an elementary program to direct less than a week before Christmas; hubby and I are hosting an open house for our church family. Whew!!  If you take into consideration that at least four of those events will require at least two after school or evening rehearsals, the schedule gets even nuttier!  I love music performances at Christmas – really, I do!


But my attitude has been a battle nevertheless.  At least one of those items I listed above is an unpleasant obligation.  I won’t mention which one specifically but it is attached to one of my jobs.  Dealing with some of the last minute details and extra rehearsals of that particular item has sent me into a bit of a funk and I’m fighting to get out but not finding much success just yet.  Not ready to give up the fight – just wish I was making more progress in a positive direction.


And of course the enemy latches onto my “funk” and takes it for a joy ride, reminding me of the frustration of my job situation and the irritations I must deal with in at least one circumstance.  Not exactly the types of thoughts one wants to be having on the heels of a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend!!  So I continue to fight to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Easier said than done but I’m not giving up!

Watching What I Say!

Over Thanksgiving weekend, hubby and I were at the mall.  While I am attempting to hand make most of the Christmas gifts we give this year, there are a few things that must be purchased!  After all, I don’t know how to make fragrances, teddy bears, etc.  so we found ourselves braving the crowds on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. Much to my delighted surprise, hubby suggested we just “wander the mall” once our purchases were made.  It gave us some much needed time to hang out and catch up during what will inevitably a busy season for us since he’s a Pastor and I’m a music teacher and Advent has officially started!!

We were wandering through a Hallmark store when I saw a recipe box that had a recipe card rest on the lid.  It was sort of an insert that popped up for the cook to rest a recipe card on.  Since my girls and I had done some baking together over the holiday weekend, we discovered that the one cookbook I have with all the family favorite recipes in it really isn’t convenient when more than one of us is baking so a recipe card box seemed like a great way to have a second set of recipes.  And the card rest was pretty clever!  I pointed it out to hubby and said, “That’s cute!”  Apparently, he heard “I really like that and want to own one but would prefer that it be made out of wood and not the heavy duty cardboard that was used to make the one I pointed out to you.”  How do I know that’s what he heard?!  Because I now own a handmade original recipe box with a piece that slides out of the lid so you can prop up a recipe card!  Guess I have to be careful when I say “That’s cute” about items that I see because he may take that as a personal challenge to make them himself!

I’ve included pictures of his handiwork.  The first shows the box closed.  The second is the card rest set up and ready for action (it simply slides in and out of the lid!) and the third is the box itself open.  It’s been stained a beautiful golden oak and has gold hardware (hinges and latch).  Now I just have to fill it!

Thanksgiving and Nostalgia

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of moments to express gratitude and chances to relax and enjoy family!  Some of you may have even been able to get some Christmas shopping done this weekend, courtesy of the sales that always show up Thanksgiving weekend.

Much of my Thanksgiving weekend was spent reliving memories of Thanksgivings past.

A little bit of background – we lost my Grandma Redfield (my mom’s mom) this September.  She was my last surviving grandparent and her house was the scene of numerous family holiday get-togethers.  Her health had been failing for some time so her passing wasn’t entirely unexpected; doesn’t make me miss her any less and this was especially pronounced over the holiday weekend.

Earlier this year, my mom and her brother began sorting through Grandma’s things and giving much of it away to family for the purpose of renting out her house and providing funds to help provide for her care (she was living in a nursing home).  As a part of this process, my sisters, cousins, and I were given chances to request certain items from the house that we would like to have.  Thankfully, there didn’t seem to be any conflict over any of the requests – Praise God for small favors! – and one of the things I received was a set of dishes.  No big deal, right?  You set the table with them and you eat off of them.  But these dishes are so much more than that to me.

Grandma purchased these dishes from a neighbor.  This neighbor and her husband had actually bought the farmhouse my Grandparents lived in for quite some time.  When Grandpa stopped farming, they moved to the house my uncle had built right next door.  The new residents of the farmhouse turned the old milk barn into a cute little store that sold stoneware dish sets.  Grandma took me over there with her one day and asked me to help her pick out a set.  I happily agreed and she bought a set of dinner plates.  Over time she added some pitchers, bowls, dessert plates, a meat platter, serving dishes . . . you get the idea!  She didn’t use those dishes all the time but they definitely came out at the holidays.  Every time I saw that familiar pattern on the table at Thanksgiving or Christmas I felt just a little bit special.  After all, I had helped pick out those dishes and they were considered special enough to be used on special occasions!  Do you understand now why I requested those dishes when I was given the opportunity to do so?!

And can you guess which dishes graced my table this Thanksgiving?  When it came time to clean up from the meal I shooed the entire family away and told them I would handle the clean up myself (with the one exception of allowing hubby to help put away the leftovers!).  I needed some time alone with the memories.  As I carefully washed each of those precious pieces, I flashed back to a kitchen crowded with Grandma, my mom, my aunt and all six of the cousins as we were all called upon, after each holiday meal, to help clear the table, take care of leftovers and see that the dishes got washed, dried, and put away.  As a teenager, that kitchen was uncomfortably crowded and I really didn’t want to spend my holiday doing dishes.  Now I would give anything for one more chance to stand in a kitchen with those women and share the responsibility of cleaning up as well as share the stories of our lives.

As an extra-added little touch of nostalgia, I found out on Thanksgiving that my mom and dad had headed to Ludington, MI – about four hours from where they live in Battle Creek – because my aunt and uncle were going to be celebrating Thanksgiving at their oldest daughter’s home.  It was the first time in 12 years that my mom got to spend a holiday with her brother!!

My extended family was much on my mind this weekend.  My sisters, cousins, and I have moved to various places across the country – Michigan, Iowa, Texas, and Pennsylvania to be specific!  – so face to face get-togethers are rare.  But I’ve been able to keep track of what’s going on with all of them at least a little bit and our chance to chat at Grandma’s funeral was precious to me.  I love hearing what is going on in their lives and love them all dearly.  What I wouldn’t give to do just one more puzzle with my aunt, my cousins, my mom and my sisters.  It was a holiday tradition that we rarely missed.  We almost always finished the puzzle but that wasn’t the really important part.  It was always the time that we “women” caught up with each other. When we were kids, my cousins and I would use the great desk Grandma and Grandpa had to play “office”.  We always made the two youngest be the receptionists.  We told them it was their job to answer the phone and that we would let them know when it rang.  It never did but it took the two of them quite some time to figure out that we were tricking them!

I’m proud of the heritage I’ve been given by my parents and grandparents.  Are they perfect?  No.  Which basically makes them normal!  But I’ve learned about the importance of being involved in my community, the value of investing in young people and my local church and so many other things.  My grandparents were a small town couple who raised two kids, had six grand-daughters and, at current count, have 13 great-grandchildren.  They never made headlines or changed the world.  But they made sure that their extended family had a place to gather and stay in touch.  They opened their hearts (and their home!) to their family, their community, and their church and I’m a better person for having known them so well.

So close!

It’s hard for me to comprehend that today is November 1st!!  Thanksgiving is just around the corner and then Christmas!!  My favorite holiday season of the year – Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s – is nearly upon us!  I feel pretty good about where I am with the homemade gifts for the extended family (siblings, parents, etc) but there are a few things I’m feeling pressured to make progress on for my kids!  Hubby is in the process of getting some projects made for them that I am SUPER excited about.  Mostly because they are items I was going to buy and decorate but he wants to make them himself!!  I love that he has gotten into the whole Homemade thing!!

In the course of shopping around for cross-stitch ideas and projects, I found a MUCH better option for my dad’s gift than what I had originally chosen.  So excited to see the final product there!  Now to get busy on some homemade jewelry items for my girls and come up with something comparable for my son.  Oh!  And the crayon totes that were mentioned in one of my first posts are nearly done!  Yay! 

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