Saturday, December 26, 2009

This Child is Born

Christmas has come and gone, but still I reflect on the birth of Christ. Many of the cards hanging from strings in our red kitchen depict a peaceful scene of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and some sheep. Everything is clean and peaceful. But the birth of our Saviour was neither clean nor peaceful.

After a long journey through the dust of the Middle East, Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, only to be turned away from inn after inn. Finally they were given lodging in a stable, amongst the stench of cow manure, sheep urine, and rotten straw. Soon after, Mary gave birth to God, the King of Kings. Yet he, in his mind-blowing humility, was born just as any other child: in blood and pain and screams. His birth was only a shadow of what was to come--his death.

In blood he was born and in blood he died. For us. It was all for us. God, the King of the Universe, the Mighty Lord, suffered the humiliation, pain, and brokenness of humanity so that he could save us. This is Christmas. This is the Gospel. Let us rejoice!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We Are Seven

--A Simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
--Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be."

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

"You run above, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little Maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

"And often after sun-set, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

"So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

"And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply,
"O Master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

By: William Wordsworth

I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus

On our way to Park Ave last night, Drew, Macy, Tori, Chris, and I sang Christmas carols. After singing "I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus," it came up that "Mama" was actually kissing her husband, who was only dressed up as Santa. For some reason that makes me exceedingly happy. Many songs I think are really sweet I find out are actually dirty. This song, which I always thought was a wee bit on the raunchy side, is actually very sweet. It's nice to learn good things in this world of bad news.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Catsup Cures and Tea Kettles

On Tuesday evening I babysat my M boys. Since I brought them along to Caroline's piano recital (which was WONDERFUL!), they got to bed pretty late. So you'd think they'd be konked out in moments, right? Think again. About 20 minutes after being put to bed, Adi came pounding down the stairs.
"Tali, I can't sleep," he moaned. "There was this scratchy black hair on my leg, so I had to pull it out, and now it stings, and my bed is uncomfortable, and I can't sleep, and my leg really hurts."
"Okay," I replied, "let's go into the kitchen." I sat him down in Kai's chair and opened the fridge. Pulling the ketchup out, I told him this was a really cool little trick that takes the sting right out. I squirted ketchup on his (stinging) leg, and told him to count to 60. Then I wiped the ketchup off.
"Um, it doesn't really feel much different," said Adi.
"Oh," I answered quickly, "that's because you have to be horizontal before it can work. Hurry, run back upstairs and lie flat in bed."
As he pounded up the wooden steps, I chuckled to myself. I love babysitting.

I also love tea, and now [thanks to my bestiest friend Jessie] I have a tea kettle! While sitting on the couch watching "Paris When It Sizzles" (a totally bizarre, surprisingly edgy Audrey Hepburn film), Jessie pointed out my Christmas present under the tree. Of course I wanted to open it immediately. She wouldn't let me. I badgered. She was firm. I pestered. She was strong. I begged. She refused. But by Midnight, when I carried the oh-so-curious-looking box to bed with me, she broke. I opened the present and now I have a beautiful tea kettle sitting on my stove. Thanks, Jess. Yours is comin' soon. <3

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Elevators and Bicycles

Today is my very last day of community college! To celebrate, I rode the elevator. This may sound like an ordinary thing to do, but it was actually quite thrilling. When I first started classes in Building 11, this elevator was being constructed. Although it was soon finished, I spent the semester trekking up and down three flights of stairs (because "skinny people always take the stairs!").

But today, today, I took the elevator. It's not just any elevator. It's glass. And you can kind of see the levers and pulleys as you ride. It was so fun that I went down, then back up, then back down. When the doors opened a cleaning lady shuffled in. I stayed on. We rode up to the top floor, and she said, "You go ahead." I answered, "Oh, that's ok; I'm staying on." She look at me like I was a lunatic, gave this very long "ohhhhh" and shuffled off the elevator, pulling her cart behind her. I rode back down. A very flustered girl got on. She told me she was late for her final. We rode up together. She ran off. I rode back down. Then I walked off that elevator, slid into my car, and drove away--to return to that place nevermore and nevermore.

And now I'm going to go for a long bikeride in spandex I stole from my mother (they most assuredly DID NOT come from the 80s. At least that's what she says...) and a tie-dyed man's undershirt. I look great. Don't leave your houses.
Life could only get better if my spandex look like this....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Magic

When I flipped my calendar to December, I turned my radio dial to Magic 107.7. As the Christmas music streams from my stereo, I've been thinking about the true magic of Christmas. Even though this is a completely secular station, they cannot help but declare Christ as they air Christmas carols. "Christ is LORD" I heard on the radio today. And that really is magic.

Monday, December 7, 2009



An Act of Worship?

Advent has come.
Two candles are lit.
My church is wreathed in garlands and shining with twinkle lights.
Sitting in church this Sunday, I remembered how I used to think it was a little silly for the church to spend all this time and money decorating the church for Christmas. Now I realize I was the silly one. By making something beautiful, we reflect the image of God, who makes all things beautiful. This is a time of year when it is especially meaningful to beautify. Each red bow and white light and green tree reminds that Jesus was born into the ugliness of this world to make it beautiful. Decorating is an act of worship, a proclamation of the glory of that humiliating birth.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Andrew David

It's the big 2-0! Amazingly enough, Drew has made it through many wild adventures and is still going strong in this his twentieth birthday. Since I gave a post to Macy, I figured I'd better give one to Drew, too. ;)

I love Drew because...

He's so very handsome.

He has a princess-like quality about him.

He looks nice in incredibly short shorts.

He attracts small reptilian creatures.

He saves people's lives. Literally.
(Insert picture of Drew decked out in full Boy Scout attire. I was having computer issues, so this post is missing pictures that I would have included if I could have.)
He's sweet.

He loves his sisters.

And, of course, he's part of this great family!
These few pictures don't even begin to describe the fun, funny, fishing, reading, hiking, climbing, guitar-playing, spontaneous, wacky, smart, good-natured, beastly strong man Drew is. I'm so glad you're my brother, Drewby! Love you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back to the Grind

What exactly does that statement mean? I'm really not quite sure, but it does conjure up vague images of coffee filters and Indian squaws smashing corn kernels.

Before I got "back to the grind," however, I had a stellar Thanksgiving weekend.

It began with HAIR! I decided to straighten my hair for the occasion, but had to blow-dry it first. Above was the result. After over an hour of Macy and Tori pulling at my head with flat irons, I ended up with stick-straight hair.

We went to the F's for the Thanksgiving feast, and had a wonderful time with them. After dinner, we children put on Little Red Riding Hoods for the parents, which was loads of fun.

Later in the evening we went to the park. (Note the straight hair.)

Once at the park we had lots of fun with the camera.

And jumping off picnic tables...

Tori and I spent the night so that we could wake up at 5:00 the next morning to go Black Friday shopping with Mrs F, Gabriela, and Renata. I get up at 5:30 every morning, but somehow the fact that we were at Old Navy at that hour made it seem a lot crazier. (Can you pick out the real people from amongst the mannequins?)

Best picture of Renata. Ever.

Later that same Friday, I drove Macy, Tori, Gabriela and Renata to go ice-skating outdoors along with a bunch of other people (like Emma :) from youth group.

As if the weekend hadn't been enough fun already, Macy had her Candy Land Sweet 16 Party on Saturday night.

The bathroom was a whirlwind of make-up brushes and bobby pins as we got ready for the evening and finally stepped out--the final product--into the night.

Christopher and Drew DJed the party.

If you hadn't guessed, it was a dance party.

A pretty "wild" one at that!

While the rap blared and the hips swayed in the studio, I chatted in the front room with these lovely ladies.

During the party we discovered that Caroline is a pretty impressive comedic dancer. Watching her prance around the floor was very entertaining, to say the least.

Best of all, Macy had a fabulous evening!

And the fun didn't end with the close of the party. After all the guests had left, we cleaned up the dance studio and headed home. Chris, Mollie, Andrew, and Calvin came along with us and we crowded into the living room to watch Macy open her boatload of presents. Once she'd unwrapped a vast array of lip gloss and nail polish, we just sat around and chatted--until 2:30 in the morning!

Still the party weekend continued. Since we didn't have youth group on Sunday evening, my sisters and I invited the youth over to our house for a bonfire in lieu of our usual meeting. Quite a few people came and we passed a very enjoyable evening roasting marshmallows, riding the zip-line, and passing Willanona from person to person.

Yet again I am reminded of how much I love my family ("adopted" siblings included). Although the Thanksgiving holiday has come to a close, I continue to give thanks for my crazy, spontaneous, open, wild, loving, beautiful family.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Macy Michelle

Today is my sister's 16th birthday. Since it's such a very special day, I thought I'd take a moment to celebrate the life of Macy!

I love Macy because....

She's really beautiful.

She was top of her Kindergarten class.

She has a really bendy back.

She had seriously cool bangs for about one week.

She goes for younger men.

She has friends with really great style.

She's not afraid to fight for what she believes in.

She's a hard-core exerciser.

She has mad peanut "unshelling" skills.

She's a star.

She's my sister.

But seriously....
Macy really is beautiful.

She's fun and she's funny.

She loves without judgment and she's [almost] always cheerful toward everyone.

And she's part of this family, which is really the coolest thing a person can be. ;)

I love you, sister! Keep those birthdays coming.