Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Gate of the Year




I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."


And he replied, "Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!"


So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night.


~ Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 days til Christmas: The First Annual Pre Christmas Toy Purge

I was inspired by a friend who posted on Facebook that she was having a pre christmas toy sort-through.  It's a brilliant idea really... I mean it makes total sense to sort through the boxes upon boxes of toys that occupy just about every room in the house to make way for all the new and exciting things the girls will receive in a few short weeks.  And what a brilliant motivator it is too... especially when you are 8, and the thought of new and exciting toys is enough to get you moving!

So I put my shoes on (a.k.a. FlyLady style), grabbed a handful of garbage bags and hit the rumpus room first.  I wasn't too long into my first sorting mission when our dear little play mates came for a visit, so some of my sorting became play property again!  LittleBee was a great helper in keeping them occupied with cubby houses and picnics in the yard.


lunch time!

Once our little friends went home for their naps, and LadyBug reluctantly succumbed to sleep herself, it was time to hit the BIG ONE!  LittleBee's room!  gasp!  3 hours, 2 garbage bags of rubbish and 3 garbage bags of loved yet unwanted clothes and toys, and then her room was transformed, like magic into the most immaculate state I have ever imagined!  The wardrobe is sorted, the clothes drawers are neatly containing the clothes that actually fit her, and the floor is totally visible.   I really should have taken a before and after picture, so that you can get the magnitude of what I am saying here.  More often than not you have to climb over mounds of toys, clothes, barbie shoes in order to even say goodnight to LittleBee... if you can find her underneath the pile of toys that adorn her bed every night!  Now she even has a few empty boxes in her storage unit for all those amazing new gifts!

I was very proud of LittleBee today.  It's tough for a kid to say goodbye to toys, but she was determined to work hard and make her room amazing.  And she did.

We piled all our goodies into the back of the car and made a somewhat epic trip to the local donation bins.  I think that's the hardest part, actually putting them in the containers, but it's also the most rewarding.  I can only hope that there are some little girls out there that will just be tremendously blessed by some of these fun and fabulous things!


"purge (verb)
physically remove (something) completely"
Among other definitions, the Oxford dictionary offers this as a meaning for the word purge.  And that's what we got up to today.

Friday, December 9, 2011

a week in pictures

The weeks have just melded into one huge mess recently, well that's the way it seems anyway.  Sewing projects have been laid aside, my blog has been neglected, even my poor little exercise buddy has taken to sleeping all day rather than trying to entice me to take him for a walk.  Life seems to be going a little too fast, and I am pretty sure that if it wasn't for my iPhone, I would not have a chance to capture all the fun things we have gotten up to recently.

So today, I proudly present, A Week in Pictures, as bought to you by me and the handy dandy iPhone...

LittleBee finished school for 2011...
LittleBee is so excited to be finished with school this year.  She loves that she can finish school two weeks before all her friends!  I think she has made plans already for the next two weeks, as have I... sewing machine here we come ;)



... while LadyBug spent lots of time on the phone!
LadyBug and her special nap time snuggles.
We learned that LadyBug can plank and watch tv at the same time!

Phrases for this week, out of the mouth of the Lady Bug: an enthusiastic "YESSSSSS" and a parroted "Oh Man!"  Lots of "Mumma" which means anything from 'take me to the woman' to 'pass me that remote', and "Nooo" which is being used very accurately at the moment.  "Tahdoo" for thank you and "taaadah" for give that to me!



The tree went up...

I say "the tree went up" but you don't really put "up" a tree that is smaller than the toddler!  This time last year we were packing up our house getting ready to move here.  Rather than go all out with a huge tree like I would have loved to, I purchased this quaint 90cm tree from Kmart with the intention on buying a big new tree in the new year.  Well, seeing our LadyBug is an avid climber, we decided it would be best to stick to the little tree on a table top for this year again, and then hopefully we can put up a huge new tree next year.  I have only had to save the tree (and the baby) twice since it went up, but I do hope that next year she won't be as inquisitive... wishful thinking I know!


We shared in some special thanksgiving meals, one with or family friends and a second one with our Church family.  We have certainly seen our fair share of turkey and pumpkin pie for this season!



We loved on a very special new little guy...


We also shared in some Christmas festivities at the annual RAAF Christmas Party, kick starting our Advent activities for 2011...


... and loved on a baby goat.


LittleBee was transformed into a gorgeous butterfly and shared a kiss with a flower power LadyBug....


... then snuggled up with Santa.

Day by day I see my little girls growing... and it's hard to believe that we are getting set for Christmas again (already).  I'm looking forward to seeing what this week will hold for us, and hopefully this time next week I will have a lot of finished sewing projects and a lot more happy snaps to share.

12 days til Christmas: Mary, did you know?







This is one of my favourite songs to listen to at Christmas time.  It really stirs my heart and thoughts to wonder what Mary must have pondered in her heart as the story of her first born son unfolded before her.  


Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? 

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? 
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.



She waited for His arrival, I know she greatly anticipated His birth.  It was her first child, her first pregnancy, her first very own maternal experience.  If you've had children, you will remember your "firsts".  The first pregnancy test, the first trip to the doctor, the first ultrasound, or the first time you heard it's heartbeat.  


Mary had a lot of reasons to be anticipating this little child.  But she also was an Israelite, from the tribe of Judah.  Her whole childhood would have been steeped in tradition, and teaching, and learning all about her Jehovah and how He has promised to send a Ruler to set them free from their captivity.  She was anticipating her Messiah.  


And the angel Gabriel came to this young woman, a young woman who was waiting to be married to Joseph, and told her that SHE was going to give birth to a son.  God's son.  Her Messiah.


Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? 

Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? 

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? 
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.




But Gabriel didn't say "Mary, you are going to give birth to God's son.  But don't get too attached to him, because when he is still a young man, he will become the sacrifice for the sins of all humanity."  No-one sat her down to let her know that this Child, indeed He is God's Son, but that He was going to be punished in our stead.  In her stead,  But I wonder if she knew.




The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again. 

The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.




What was Mary thinking about when that little Babe entered the world?  What was on her mind when the shepherds came to worship this little One, when she heard about the angels declaring His birth.  


"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."  Luke 2:14


What was she thinking about when she and Joseph took their precious newborn child to the temple, and Simeon proclaimed that her baby was the Salvation for the whole world.


"The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him." Luke 2:33


And then Simeon blessed her specifically, telling her that her son will bot be accepted, but He'll be opposed, and her won soul would be pierced.  Luke 2:34-35  Was she still marvelling at this moment?  Did she switch from being in awe to having concern, fear?  Did she want to just hold the baby (her baby?) closer to her chest as they travelled home?


I wonder if she knew at all what her precious, helpless, 8 day old son was going to face for the Father's purpose and His kingdom.





Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? 

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? 

Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb? 
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I am.
    



What I would do in Mary's situation?  I have given birth to a son who we knew was going to die.  He was sick, there was little hope any doctor could give us.  All we could do was to prepare ourselves and ou family for the inevitable and hang on to a tiny thread of hope, all the while trusting our Creator God for His grace and peace.  


I just wonder if Mary had a divine revelation of sorts.  If perhaps God whispered into her heart that this little Babe was God in the flesh, that His purpose was far greater than she could even imagine.  Maybe, although it's not recorded for us in scripture, but maybe God spoke His grace and peace into her soul to prepare her for Jesus' childhood, adulthood, ministry, death.  And I wonder if He comforted her as she begun to watch Him grow and then realise that He is indeed the Great I Am!

Do you think she knew?
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