Saturday, December 31, 2005

Bible reading

The new year is a great time to begin reading the Bible through. I have looked at several Bible reading charts online and the one I like best is at:

http://www.journal33.org/bible/pdf/biblread.pdf

It is basically a check-off chart listing all the chapters of the Bible, which gives me the flexibility of reading in any order I choose.

Another one I found that I may follow this year assigns portions from both the Old Testament and the New Testament each day. That way I might not get so bogged down in the OT prophets!

http://www.wholesomewords.org/family/bibleread/truth.pdf

Another choice is to read a passage from a different section of the Bible (History, Law, Prophets, Poetry, etc.) each day of the week. The chart for that is at:

http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.pdf

These are all printer-friendly PDF files which you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas report

This seems to be the time for giving Christmas reports, so here's mine...

We had a wonderful QUIET weekend! We decided to bump Christmas up a day at our house, because our church had regular services Christmas morning. So Friday night we had a very special devotional time with "Daddy" reading and commenting on the Christmas story from both Matthew and Luke. We had a fire in the fireplace and the kids opened their traditional Christmas Eve presents... something to sleep in (in this case jersey-weight bathrobes with zipper fronts) and something "spiritual" to take to bed. Sometimes that's been Bible story books, but this year it was Sugar Creek Gang audio books. (Wonderful life lessons in the Sugar Creek Gang stories!) We didn't have a tree this year, for several reasons, so we just piled the gifts on the dining room table after the children went to bed. The pile was not large... Seems like every year I worry at the last minute that it's not enough... Of course, it always is!

I planned several finger-food type meals to have on hand over the weekend... cheese-log and crackers, meatballs in barbecue sauce, artichoke dip and bagel chips, summer sausage, fresh veggies and ranch dip, etc. We enjoyed the variety, and I didn't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking fancy meals for just the 4 of us.

The kids got up early to open presents on Saturday morning. They were thrilled with their gifts. I knew I didn't need to worry! Their main gift was a set of walkie talkies, so they had a good time seeing how far the range was and learning how to use them. (We think they will come in handy for hiking and camping.) Besides that, they got tennis shoes and books and just a couple smaller things. What seemed a little strange to me was that we didn't buy them any toys! But they honestly don't need more than what they have, and I just couldn't see adding to the clutter just for the sake of them having toys to open on Christmas.

We spent Saturday mostly just relaxing around the house. DH and the kids did go to Wal Mart. One pair of the tennis shoes were too small, so I suggested they go exchange them that day rather than waiting till the day after Christmas. I knew the exchange lines would be really bad then.

Our pastor and his wife invited us over for tacos that night. They live "next door". Christmas Eve was their 52nd anniversary. They had gone out to eat on Friday night, but they always have tacos at home on Saturday night.

Sunday morning was church. More relaxing that afternoon. We were to go to my brother-in-law's house that evening at 6:00 for snacks and games. We left about 5:00 to have time to drive around and look at lights.

We enjoyed a third day of just kickin' back around the house on Monday. We worked on a project of transferring home movies to DVDs. Also, a similar project of transferring 40-year-old family reel-to-reel tapes to CDs. The reel-to-reel equipment is very old and not in the best condition, as you can imagine. DH was checking on eBay to see about getting another machine. He found one that would transfer reel-to-reel to 8-track! Maybe that would be just as good? LOL!

We are planning a Family Game Night for our "youth group" for Saturday night, New Year's Eve. We won't go till midnight, though, because of church Sunday morning. We have a family-based youth group, which includes parents... and we also invite any of the older people from church who are interested. So our "youth group" is really only about half "youth" but that's the way we like it! I am planning to serve sloppy joes and tater tots for our party.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Update

Whew! Time for an update, I guess. I think I've forgotten what "normal" is... because I keep thinking life will get back to "normal" and it never does. In any case, we're home now, so I guess this is as normal as it gets.

We left home a week before Thanksgiving. Traveled 3 days (from Idaho) to Arkansas where we spent the night with my folks. The kids stayed with them then while DH and I had a 3-day get-away to Branson in celebration of our 20th anniversary and my 40th birthday, both of which were in November. We're not really into the Branson scene, so we didn't go to a single show or do anything more touristy than go in a few shops. Mostly we just hung out in the condo enjoying each other's company, the fireplace, and a view of Tablerock Lake. It was so relaxing! We went back to Arkansas the day before Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my parents and sisters and their families, and then we headed home on Friday.

By Saturday noon we had gotten as far as Denver. In talking to my mother on the phone we realized that she had not been able to find aides to hire to help care for my 90-year-old grandfather who would be arriving on Tuesday. This was a major concern because while my mother loves to care for her dad, she is just physically not able to do it on her own. So my DH and I decided we better turn around and go back. The kids and I stayed 2 more weeks, while DH went home to work.

We were happy to have the opportunity to help take care of our precious grandfather, but it was not convenient... nor was it easy. It is such a sad stage of life.

We also enjoyed spending time with my parents at the "home place". They live in the home my granddad built for his family in the 1960s, so it was always "Grandmother and Granddaddy's House" when I was growing up. How we loved to "go down to the creek" to play when we lived there, and later when we would visit. This time my children discovered the creek, and went down there to play just about every day. It's a wonderful rocky, very shallow creek, perfect for building dams and "waterfalls" and things like that. (Other years we have been there in the summer, and the concern about snakes and ticks has prohibited them from being able to play down there. Granddaddy kept goats when I was a child, so the snakes weren't so bad, I guess. I think we just dealt with ticks.)

One day my mother expressed concern that we weren't getting school done every day, with all that was going on. I said, "You know what, though? The kids are getting to play at the creek. We live in town at home, so they don't get to do things like this very often. Some things are just as important as school... and besides... this is P.E. (think of the hill they were climbing up and down to get to the creek)... and nature study, geology, physics... okay, Science! Time enough for academics later." She agreed with me.

I had to cancel several appointments and commitments in order to be gone, so this week has been very full playing catch-up. Tomorrow night is our church's Christmas program. I'm the director, so that was a major concern that the "show would have to go on" without me. (DH was having to take over, and it just is not his forte so he was very uncomfortable with it.) I spent most of the day yesterday and today getting details finished up for that. I'll be glad when it's over. It's not anything elaborate, but just one more thing to have to think about.

We are keeping Christmas very simply this year. We decided to decorate the mantle, but not put up a tree. The children are satisfied with that. With Christmas being on Sunday I am not planning a big dinner either. (Unless DH asks me to.) For the last 2 or 3 years I have been trying to simplify and managing to do a little less each year. If we hadn't had to be gone unexpectedly, I really think our December would have turned out to be a very relaxing, rather than hectic, month. Isn't that the way it should be? I feel very Scroogish thinking of a big, showy, commercialized Christmas season. Bah! Humbug! But just a quiet time at home with my DH and kids, exchanging a few simple gifts... now that's my idea of a holiday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Aging

Aging is such a very sad process. Not so much the general "We're all getting older" thing. Wrinkles and gray hair simply designate experience and (hopefully) wisdom to me. But at the very end of life when a person's strength and ability to tend for himself is gone, stripped of all dignity and interest in living... Heaven just seems that much more glorious! How do people deal with issues like this without the hope of Heaven?

It's such a hard thing to witness, but "this too shall pass"...

Friday, December 2, 2005

Life on Hold

Vacation has come and gone... but I am still not home. My schedule and activities have been put on hold... and the kids and I are visiting my parents for an indefinite time, and helping care for my 90-year-old grandfather. It is not an easy time for anyone.