What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, January 06, 2017

Comfort and Joy


Was your Christmas a happy one?  I hope so!

Ours was lovely.  I loved having Christmas on a Sunday and was utterly flummoxed to hear that church was cancelled for some people.  ???  Andrew woke up at 5 am to give his gift to Papa (we've properly indoctrinated him with this book through the years), doing morning chores in the barn for him.  Afterward, we all gathered for present giving.  Church.  Feasting.  Neighbors came in the evening and all was quiet and calm and peaceful with an undertone of joy and gladness.

Bigger gift exchanges followed over New Years, including us hosting my side of the family which fills the house to the brim with mostly children.  The "cousins" all draw names for a gift exchange.  Adele' stitched up a backpack which was downright adorable (I stitched around the mouse and she did all the other sewing) to go along with an Angelina Ballerina book.  Judah painted a canvas and I painted a silhouette overtop.  There was jewelry made, stationary, headbands, a cowl, some hats, canned goods, woodburned spoons and ornaments and (my personal favorites) two peg doll nativity sets.  One for my niece and nephew and one for Ineke (though Adele' enjoys playing with it as much or more.)  Matt made the mangers and I painted the dolls.  (I really love painting peg people!)  My favorites were the three kings and the camels.  I used gold nailpolish in those super skinny brushes to add gold accents which just made them, in my opinion.  The stars on the manger were made from sculpey clay.

The neighbors all got freshly made cinnamon rolls and peppermint ornaments and our church folk all got homemade cheeses.  A few gifts were scrapped at about 1 am because of too little fabric, too many failed attempts and too little gumption and a few gifts never made it from idea to reality.  Christmas seems such a wonderful time to make and do the things I wish I could do all year long that I inevitably keep adding to the list until it becomes a virtual impossibility.  My favorite gift of all the childrens' was a wooden castle cast-off that my Mom passed along to us.  I've wanted one of those for the children for a very long time but they are too costly.  I am so grateful she shared it with us! Painted castle peg people were one of those gifts that never made it to fruition.  Thankfully, we have playmobil people that work quite nicely.  We also have an Ineke who loves the castle for her very own.  She must be part princess.

Many of the children at our church took part in a little production at church and recited memory poems on Sunday.  Ours did the advent poems from here. (I, II, III, IV).  They all worked very hard on them and did very well in reciting them every day.  It was their first time performing for an audience, which is always a bit nerve-wracking and Adele' withered a bit...but she persevered until the end, even through some tears.  I was very proud of all of them.  Not just my own children but all the children who stood up there nervously and did their recitations and sang.  There is nothing sweeter.

I spent yesterday and today cleaning up all the Christmas things.  Christmas is officially packed up in boxes once again, with the exception of a few strands of Christmas lights here and there to keep some sparkle around for these dark and cold winter days ahead.  The living room is sparse and bare.  It always takes some getting used to- the plainness following Christmas.

But plainness is a good thing too.   It provides opportunity for quiet and slow and undistracted, clean and clear and uncluttered.  Space.  Focus.   All these things are things I could really, really, really use right now.  There are many plans, many hopes, many goals for this New Year all swirling about my brain right now.  Focus is definitely a good thing.

There is nothing quite so exciting as a new year stretched before you, and all the wonder of what it might hold.   Happy New Year!


Terri Cheney said...

Ours was one of the most pleasant Christmas seasons in many years. Enjoyed every minute of it all month long. I love that Judah is looking much like his Daddy these days. I saw the wood burned spoons on your pinterest and thought they were pretty. They turned out very nice! Love the Nativity as well. Happy New Year Rebecca. May the year ahead be absolutely filled with blessings.

SimpleFarmMama said...

Loved the snippets from your Christmas! I loved the nativity set most of all too, Rebecca. I have never made handmade gifts--handmade anything other than soap and lip balm but I have some goals for this year to learn more in handmade goodness. Thanks for your inspiration!

Bonnie said...

I sat down to type up some cleaning check lists and decided to catch up with you instead. By far the wiser choice : ) Sweet Ineke, well all the Newman children are far too grown up. I've missed you terribly!


Ulli said...

Rebecca, again, I love the photo tour of your holidays. Your photos are lovely and homey. You and Matt put together a warm and welcoming home, even for those of us visiting online. What a lovely family you have, and your children will hold these memories in their hearts forever!

I love the handmade nativity sets--you could sell them! (I would buy one) Start making them now for fall 2017.

Question on the candy ornaments. Do you spray the cookie cutters? How do you get the hole in the top, and when do you do it? They are so cute!

We got the best Christmas gift ever this year. We were told, in a very clever way, that we're becoming grandparents!! So excited! Our sweet granddaughter (!) will arrive in July!

Bflessings to you and yours for a healthy, prosperous New Year! ~~Ulli

Rebecca said...

It's so good to hear from all of you- so glad your holidays went well!

Ulli~ many congratulations to you on that Grand baby. ;-) You are right- that is the best gift of all! For the peppermint ornaments- you put them on parchment paper and spray the cutters with oil. You put them in the oven at 250/275 but you must watch them very closely because in a moment they melt TOO much and turn to a tray of paper thin mint glass. When the mints are *just* melting into one another, you take them out and immediately use a straw to pop out a hole at the top of each one. It doesn't take them long to cool either so you must do this right away. One note- keep them separate from baked goods as they absorb the moisture and become soggy/slimy. They can be left out in the open air (on Christmas trees) and such with no problem. Thank you for your very kind words to me. I appreciate them so much!