I finished the last of my sewing for Christmas last night (finally). I've already wrapped it all and I'll post photos once Christmas is through.
Our church participated in a Christmas parade last Saturday. Here are a few pictures from the event. We all had so much fun! I counted 37 people from the church that were either on the float, driving it, or walking beside it. The teenagers and some of the adults walked beside the float and handed out gospel tracts. Pastor estimates that we gave out 1000 tracts! What a privilege to share the gospel with so many people. Another highlight was that our float won first prize! Not too bad since it was our first time doing a parade. The theme for the parade was "Christmas through the years." Our float said on the side, "Through the years, the true story remains the same." It started with the nativity scene, had the children in the middle throwing candy and in the back had a family by the fireside reading the Bible...sharing the same story through the years. Here are a few pictures.
Putting on the finishing touches...
Two of our teens playing Mary and Joseph (well, "Mary" will be a youth in April)
A few of the teenagers getting their tracts ready.
I love this...Bro. Ricky looking so contemplative. Is he up to something?
Almost time to go!
John getting ready for the parade to start...with candy in hand.
Ethan tossing candy with Mrs. Judy.
Lydia standing on the roadside with her Nana and Aunt. I'm sure she thought it was really weird seeing all those people on that float that she knew.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I finished the last of my sewing for Christmas last night (finally). I've already wrapped it all and I'll post photos once Christmas is through.
The last Christmas hymn I want to share is We Three Kings. I love the gifts of the wise men. What wisdom they had indeed in the selection of their gifts! Even as a toddler-boy, the magi acknowledge the Christ child as King, Priest and that Offering for Sin as Isaiah describes. I can't fully imagine the scene there. Surely Joseph, being a simple carpenter, would have had a very humble home. The entourage that came with men must have been a sight. I can see the beautiful clothes the Magi must have worn. For them to come and first bow before this little boy, living in all simplicity, must have been truly a sight. Then to present such lavish gifts, the sum of which could have been worth more than Joesph would have earned in his entire life.
We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
Refrain O star of wonder, star of light, Star with royal beauty bright, Westward leading, still proceeding, Guide us to thy perfect light.
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
Over us all to reign.
Frankincense to offer have I;
Incense owns a Deity nigh;
Prayer and praising, voices raising,
Worshiping God on high.
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom;
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
Sealed in the stone cold tomb.
Glorious now behold Him arise;
King and God and sacrifice;
Sounds through the earth and skies.
My little precious ones, taken just this morning.
Monday, December 22, 2008
A very very old hymn, some verses were possibly written as early as the 12th century. It's certainly one of my big favorites! Notice how many names of Christ are given throughout the song.
"O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
A picture of my little John in 2005 (I think). This was the first play where he had some sort of lines. He was playing the part of Joesph.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Not exactly a joyous Christmas song, but Christ didn't mean for Himself to be lauded and exalted at His birth. Later is when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.
"No Room in the Inn"
No beautiful chamber, no soft cradle bed,
No place but a manger, nowhere for His head;
No praises of gladness, no thought of their sin,
No glory but sadness, no room in the inn.
No room, no room, for Jesus, O give Him welcome free, Lest you should hear at Heaven’s gate, “There is no room for thee.”
No sweet consecration, no seeking His part,
No humiliation, no place in the heart;
No thought of the Savior, no sorrow for sin,
No prayer for His favor, no room in the inn.
No one to receive Him, no welcome while here,
No balm to relieve Him, no staff but a spear;
No seeking His treasure, no weeping for sin,
No doing His pleasure, no room in the inn.
Lydia's first Christmas. The first Christmas with our children always comes with many, many Christmas tree training sessions. She's plucked a star off our tree in this picture. I snapped the shot before we started "training."
Saturday, December 20, 2008
One simple thing that gives a great deal of clarity to this hymn is the comma. The song does not refer to "merry gentlemen." Instead, the term "rest ye merry" in this day was used the same way we use "rest assured." You could say the the first line more colloquially this way: "With certainty, men, do not dismay, remember Christ our Savior..."
"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"
God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.
In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessèd Babe was born,
And laid within a manger upon this blessèd morn;
The which His mother Mary did nothing take in scorn.
From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came;
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.
“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “Let nothing you afright
This day is born a Savior of a pure virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”
The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethl’em straightaway this blessèd Babe to find.
But when to Bethlehem they came where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray.
Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.
God bless the ruler of this house, and send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas may live to see again;
Among your friends and kindred that live both far and near—
That God send you a happy new year, happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year.
This photo is from 2006. This was the last year that the man on the right is our former pastor, Bro. Gene Stokes. He founded our church in 1976 (I think, haha). Due to health reasons, Bro. Gene retired from the pastorate shortly after this Christmas. He is pastor emeritus of our church and now lives in Georgia. He loved Christmas and started a tradition at our church of everyone getting an apple and orange at Christmastime. Christmas always makes me think of Bro. Gene. Here he is pictured handing out the fruit with our current pastor (who then was serving as assistant pastor), Bro. Robert Barrow.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Today's song is not really a Christmas song with a Christ-centered message, but grace can be seen if you apply a bit of typology.
"Good King Wenceslas"
Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel,
When a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fuel.
“Hither, page, and stand by me, if you know it, telling,
Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain,
Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
“Bring me food and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither,
You and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.”
Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together,
Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.
“Sire, the night is darker now, and the wind blows stronger,
Fails my heart, I know not how; I can go no longer.”
“Mark my footsteps, my good page, tread now in them boldly,
You shall find the winter’s rage freeze your blood less coldly.”
In his master’s steps he trod, where the snow lay dinted;
Heat was in the very sod which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
You who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.
My third Christmas photo is of my boys at church. John is 2 months from his 3rd birthday and Ethan is a little over 1.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
I'm not a poet, though I would love to be.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was shiv'ring, not even my spouse
The stockings we hung on the wall with much care
A fireplace burning? No one would dare.
The children were laying on top of their bed
Ne'er a blanket was needed, as cheeks were quite red.
And Dad in his shorts, and I in my summer gown
A cold glass of ice water would nicely go down.
When off in the distance there arose such a clatter,
I lifted an eyebrow to see what was the matter.
Amidst this heat wave the temperature had risen
To temps so high that turned on the air conditionin'
What else could there be to baffle my reason?
Sultry weather dampens the Christmas season!
When, what to my wondering eyes do I see.
Hark! 'Tis our family Christmas tree!
The fan and air had stirred up the tinsel
No longer was it hanging, straight as a pencil.
Hoping and praying for winter's cool chill
Florida's left out of the freezing feel!
But now I exclaim, without even a slight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a COLD night!"
at 2:43 PM
This classic is surely one that everyone knows. It's another one that sings of doctrine after doctrine after doctrine. So many times we sing and we don't think about what's being said. There is enough Bible in this song to be able to lead someone to salvation. My favorite verse, I think, is the fifth.
"Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
I had to search for this one. Today's picture comes from Christmas 2004. Here John is 22 months old and Ethan is about 7 weeks old.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I thought it would be fun to spend a week sharing a favorite Christmas song of mine along with a favorite Christmas picture. If I do a week's worth, it will take us up to Christmas Eve!
The first Christmas hymn I wanted to share was the one that the youth group sang this year. You'll notice there are 21 verses and we did not sing all of them! But we did sing eight of them. I had not heard this song until I found it in a Christmas songbook in early December. I love songs that don't stop with the birth of Christ, but go on to tell why He was born. You can catch the tune at Cyberhymnal by clicking the title.
"A Child This Day Is Born"
A Child this day is born,
A Child of high renown.
Most worthy of a scepter,
A scepter and a crown.
Noëls, noëls, noëls,
Noëls sing all we may,
Because the King of all kings
Was born this blessèd day.
The which the holy prophets
Spoke of long time before,
That from the fall of Adam
He should us all restore.
This Child both God and Man
From Heaven down to us came,
He is the King of all Kings,
And Jesus is His Name.
These tidings shepherds heard
In their field watching their fold,
Was by an angel unto them
That night revealed and told.
Who standing near by them
To them shinèd so bright,
That they amazèd were
At that most glorious sight.
To whom the angel spoke,
Saying, “Be not afraid;
Be glad, poor silly shepherds;
Why are you so dismayed?”
“For lo, I bring you tidings
Of gladness and of mirth,
Which cometh to all people by
This holy Infant’s birth.”
“Him hath God lifted up
As light and shepherd’s horn,
Which in the city of David
This present time was born.”
“The only Son of God was He
The Lord and God most highest;
And He is the true Shepherd,
The young Child Jesus Christ.”
Then there was with the angel
A host incontinent
Of heavenly bright soldiers,
Which from the Highest was sent.
Lauding the Lord our God,
And His celestial King;
“All glory be in paradise,”
This heavenly host did sing.
“Glory be unto our God,
That sitteth still on high,
With praises and with triumph great,
And joyful melody.”
But when this holy army
Of heavenly soldiers bright
Was unto God returnèd
And vanished out of sight;
The shepherds hearts joyful
At this great glorious news
That the King of all kings
Was risen amongst the Jews.
Without the least of hindrance
Anon they went in then,
And found the young Child Jesus Christ
Thus born in Bethlehem.
And as the angel told them,
So to them did appear;
They found the young Child Jesus Christ
With Mary his mother dear.
Now such a place it was
Where this was come to pass
For want of room this Child was laid
Betwixt an ox and ass.
Not sumptuously, but simply
Was this young King arrayed,
A manger was the cradle
Where this young Child was laid.
No pride at all was found
In this most holy Child,
But He being void of all sin
The Lamb of God most mild.
His body unto bitter pains
He gave to set us free:
He is our Savior Jesus Christ
And none but only He.
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost
All glory be therefore,
To Whom be all dominion
Both now and evermore.
For my photo, here is one of our family taken Sunday morning after church.
Lydia had just woken up from her typical nursery nap, which explains her frown.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Outside my window...overcast skies and rather chilly and windy. It seems to me a dreary day.
I am thinking...about the children's Christmas play tonight. I'm nervous as can be and I don't think that the children are one bit!
From the learning rooms...we are working on memorizing John 3:16-21. Also, we are studying the birth of Christ. John is working on addition. Ethan is starting to read sentences.
I am thankful for...tonight. My mom, dad, and father-in-law are coming to church tonight. (I didn't list my mother-in-law because she always comes with us...not hard feelings!)
I am wearing...from the waist, down I'm wearing what I wore to church: a dressy cream skirt, and brown boots that go just above my ankles. Now I'm wearing a red, long-sleeved t-shirt.
From the kitchen...)today? Absolutely nothing. We had leftovers for lunch and we'll be eating at church tonight.
I am reading...)I'm still working on finished Unafraid, but not making much progress on it. Of course, I'm reading the Bible.
I am hoping...that the children's Christmas play goes well!
I am creating...a skirt for Lydia and "superhero" capes for the boys, all Christmas gifts. For today, I am adding songs to the youth group's song folders.
I am hearing...Lydia fuss. She just got up from a nap. John is talking to me. I am streaming FBN radio. I hear Jeremy snoring. Ethan is still napping.
Around the house...Thanks are sort of out of sorts from such a busy few weeks. There are signs that the teenagers have been here. Our Christmas party was last night.
One of my favorite things...I love the Christmas season and what its TRUE meaning is. Not just that Christ was born, but why He was born.
A few plans for the rest of the week...)Monday we have dentist appointments, Tuesday Ethan sees his allergy specialist. I hope to working on the church's float for the Christmas parade. I want to finish Christmas sewing. I disparately need to pick the garden.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Sorry, no time for a picture today! :)
Thursday, December 11, 2008
What a busy week! It seems like the Christmas season is whirling right by us at record speed! Our "family revival" was a huge blessing. I thank the Lord for Bro. Ballew and for the insight the Lord gave him. One thing that the Lord pressed upon my heart was praying for my children, and for their protection from Satan and strength to control their flesh. Yes, these things are already a matter of prayer, but how much more in these latter days are our children attacked from every side?
I also wanted to share my feelings on the homeschool fellowship I attended last week. I know that I can't base a final opinion on a sole visit. From that single visit, I could not have been more pleased with it. I really enjoyed it. It was not a very big group, yet not a very small group. There were students from high school seniors all the way down to cradle babies. The mothers who were there were so friendly, as were the ladies who were working with the students. I am looking forward to our next fellowship.
Some fantastically cold weather has descended upon northwest Florida. Here are my little snow bunnies all bundled up...well, minus the snow.
Ethan with his extremely oversized gloves. Warm gloves isn't something we exactly keep around.
John, who lately, never thinks he's cold.
The only gloves I could find for Lydia were baby mittens that didn't even have thumbs in them. It was very difficult to get them on her, trust me.
This photo is from November. As we were decorating the tree, Lydia would just hold up a strand of beads or garland and seem to expect it to stick as if it were magnetic! haha!
Friday, December 5, 2008
In case you are seeking something to cook for the holidays, maybe you could consider the following holidays occurring from this Friday to the next:
- December 5 National Sacher Torte Day (doesn't this look wonderful?)
- December 6 National Gazpacho Day (why they made Gazpacho day in winter is beyond me!)
- December 7 National Cotton Candy Day (maybe you could rent a cotton candy machine for Christmas?)
- December 8 National Brownie Day (I picked the chocolate mint brownie recipe because I looove mint! Oh, and I would certainly buy the alcohol-free creme de menthe.)
- December 9 National Pastry Day (a recipe for baklava by my culinary favorite, featuring phyllo starring in the role of pastry)
- December 11 National Noodle-Ring Day (I found this image after searching Google images for noodle ring. It looks like congealed noodles! Bla! The recipe doesn't call for gelatin. Guess it's stabilized by the fat in the butter, egg yolk and chicken stock. Think I'll pass on this one.)
- December 12 National Ambrosia Day (I never touch the stuff)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
This week (Wednesday through Saturday) we are having a special treat at church. Bro. Stinnett Ballew is preaching a series on the home. Last night's sermon was such a blessing. He preached "Ten Big Guns of the Devil." Bro. Ballew brought up 10 different vices used by Satan to attack the home. I personally was challenged and the Lord spoke to me about guarding against those "big guns." I may be quite out-of-pocket this week, as I am very busy with my home and children.
I was also invited by a lady who has recently joined our church, to attend with her a homeschool group. I'm very excited about going today. This is our second year in homeschooling and I have wanted to join a group since day one. I'll let y'all know how it goes, that is, once this week is finished.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
(You can click for larger)
Well, the pink is actually for church, not play. I still have lots to do, including some material that is intended for Christmas gifts. I think it will be done in plenty of time. The pink and camouflage are a cotton, more intended for summer wear. The blue jumper with the flower is, I'd guess you'd call it a low-pile corduroy. The blue skirt is a heavy denim and the brown is a medium weight double knit. There will be a denim jumper and a blue corduroy skirt that I've almost completed.
I'm not a fantastic seamstress yet, but practice makes perfect!