Thursday, December 23, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Packages from Amazon show up on the doorstep. (I have Miss E read who they are for so that I don't ruin my own surprises.) Bags of goodies keep coming home from the store. Cards have started trickling in. And even I don't know what is in half the packages. I had to wrap the Professor's gift so that I would stop being tempted to give it to him early. I'm getting excited!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what can I give him: give my heart.
The words stream from the speakers, and I am reminded of another year. Suddenly I'm back in a cozy living room where a fire crackles and two friendly dogs rest in front of it. Outside is cold and winter. Inside is filled with the warmth and friendship the Midwest does so well. My children play with a pirate ship on the hardwood floor at our feet. We are gathered around the piano practicing for the Christmas program at church.
I first learned this song while the Professor was in school. The family that introduced me to it also lived it so well. I don't remember any physical gifts they gave, but the rich variety of their service touched my heart as they shared theirs. More than once they fed us. They regularly bounced my babies during church while I listened. They shared thoughts and ideas freely. They showed us how to raise delightful, interesting children while nurturing a deep marriage. They focused on what matters most rather than what is easily seen. The husband taught my toddlers. His class helped them love going to church. And he appreciated their unique personalities. (When we moved, Young A went through withdrawal.) He helped me fix my broken mixer, all the while treating me like an equal and letting me help. How grateful I am for the beautiful way they live! When I was poor in so many ways, they taught me to give what matters most: my heart. Each time I hear this song, I am reminded.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
While we were living in apartments, the only nativity set I had was a little wooden one appropriate for children that the Professor's mother so kindly provided. The last few years, the Professor has decided to remedy that. And so he has inundated me with them. I now have a beautiful collection that helps us feel the Christmas spirit in our home. And each year as I carefully unwrap my treasures, I'm reminded that the Professor loves me. He doesn't just want me to have beauty and joy in my life, he wants me to have an abundance of both.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The last year of the Professor's graduate schooling, we were expecting Miss E. At a department Christmas party I met one of the retired faculty. She is a prominent woman in a field that hasn't had many until recently. Her husband wrote one of the books I studied during graduate school. When she noticed our impending arrival, she offered the use of their cradle. We gratefully accepted. And so Miss E napped in an antique cradle that not only held Mary Ellen and her children as infants, but also many other math babies. I am grateful to be a part of such a caring community.
I recently ran across a beautiful post about the sweet things people do. In the comments section, people share stories of times they were blessed by others. I loved the perspective it gave me. And I'm realizing how seldomly I share the times that I have been blessed. So I'm going to start sharing some of my stories, big and small.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Can you tell?
We've kept most of our decorating up high this year. Our horizontal, high surfaces are covered. Miss M has donated two of her prized pictures to adorn the living room walls for the season. I've also decided that trying to keep a tree beautiful that gets knocked over and redecorated regularly is not worth my time.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Recently, I heard a radio segment that I really enjoyed. John Welch talks about an allegorical reading of the parable of the good Samaritan. In it, the traveler is like us. We leave Jerusalem, the one city with a temple, (God's presence) and start traveling toward Jericho, (the world). The robbery and assault is like our own fall and disobedience, and we are left for dead. Along comes the priest (Law of Moses) and the Levite (the prophets) but they cannot help us. Then comes the Samaritan, Christ. And he binds our wounds and carries us to the inn (church) where we can heal. Most of all, he pays for everything. Then he promises to return later.
I've always liked the good Samaritan and the lesson of love we learn from it. But the day I heard it, I especially loved the idea that we have such a loving reminder of the care Christ takes with us. It is so easy to feel the weight of my struggles, the impossibility of all I want to become and do, for it is truly impossible. While I can't do it, someone else can. Being reminded of this brings peace and faith. And the image of having the Lord heal my wounds, carry me when I can't walk, and pay my debts that I can't afford brings a secure comfort I've seldom felt since I was a child.
I later found a more in-depth article here (which I probably read three years ago and promptly forgot. Thankfully, I was reminded when I was ready.)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
The last few weeks have been busy. Some days have been good, some harder. I've been learning again to make choices that make a difference. I'm still trying to find words for the lessons I'm learning. When I figure it out, I'll share. In the meantime, I found the camera, and the pincurls worked even better the second time. Did I mention how fast kids grow?