"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Friday, January 25, 2013

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Holiday season has passed but left some great memories in its wake.
Our church's Bethlehem Village was terrific.
Main Street off the town square had gates to enter into Bethlehem and all those who ventured in stepped back in time over 2,000 years.

Once inside the ancient city, visitors interacted:
The bakery offered fresh home made breads,
pottery shop created Roman coins,
natural vegetables dyed linens,
wooden toys were hand carved,
perfume made by grinding flowers,
nuts and berries given out to all the weary travelers
who came into Bethlehem for the census.

Natural dyen toys were hand 
I was part of the Messianic dancers who spun in our circle to the tune of praise music to our God.  Our tambourines drew the attention of many children.

During brief breaks for the dancing segments, we visited the other tents or talked among the visitors.  We heard tell of a baby due to be born in a barn nearby.

Roman soldiers fiercely wandered around the crowded marketplace,
reminding the Hebrews that they were an occupied country
and under Roman rule. 
(This particular soldier was not very mean to the smiling lady at his side, however...)

The temple with the high priests offered solace and prayers, away from the politics of the day.
Some of the priests were our special friends.

We blended centuries and joined Georgetown's visitors
to view the tender scene at the stable where baby Jesus was in his mother's arms.

We shared pats with a gentle lamb and donkey from that same barn.

She was a peaceful donkey amongst the crowded streets of Bethlehem.  I could easily imagine that she was the one who carried poor, weary Mary all the way to Bethlehem from Nazareth, so large with child.
(What a difficult journey on rough roads for that young mother.)

It was truly a step away from the 21st century's idea of Christmas--
sheep bleating rather than Santa's ho-ho-ho's,
Jewish music rather than Christmas carols,
and clothing we don't recognize today.
A reminder to the thousands who walked through our gates
of what Christmas is all about.
And truly a joy to be part of this message.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Can't Deny the Gene Pool

We have all laughed at Abigail's unique and consistent "smile".

No matter what she is doing, 
when the camera comes out she twists her face into this cockeyed,
one-eyed winking grimace.

I call it her pirate smile---ARRRRRRRR!
I keep hoping she'll outgrow it.

I don't find it particularly attractive, by the way. 
But don't tell HER that!

Today, as I was sorting through mountains of old photos,
I discovered this one.  
Here is Abigail's mother many years ago on a chilly, leafless Easter morning.
She is just a few months younger than Abigail is now.
And--just look at this SMILE!!!!!
See any resemblance?????? 

And then, to prove the strength of genetics, 
I caught sight of a touch of the pirate in baby Ethan.
Try as we might to deny them, our genes are mighty powerful, aren't they?

For the record, I can't even wink with my right eye, never mind make the pirate face...
guess the genes are from the OTHER side of the family!  ;-)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
What's that, you say--
that I am several days late in my heartfelt wishes?
True about the lateness, but most sincere in my sentiments.
It's just that this holiday season was so overfilled with joyous times
that I couldn't keep up with blogging.

I tend to think that many of you have already stripped the house of all the little candles, trimmings and ribbons that help to make the season festive.
In my true fashion, all still remain in place here in our home.
That sweet spirit of Christmas lingers though the days flew by at record speed.

We've had a number of holidays with empty places at the table,
but not this year! :-) 
This year  4 generations gathered around the table, 
even loved ones from Washington and New Jersey.
New York style conversations spouted loudly with interruptions and everyone talking at the same time--invigorating to me, boggling to our puzzled in-laws.
Distant family were included via the computer and phone, still remarkable.

Days have been filled with baking then eating, wrapping then opening,
trips to Austin to join family and then more trips to the airport,
picking up (YAY!) and then dropping off (BOO!)
A lot of coming and going, sharing and loving.
Concerts, church services, gym workouts, sightseeing, card games, walks, music, movies...
(Speaking of movies, how could I be the only one weeping at Les Mis???  Now, really!).

 Yesterday the last of our our-of-towners was taken to the airport.  (Tissues, please...)
Today the house is empty.  EVER. SO. QUIET.
Bed linens lather in the washer and I am free to ponder.
Our little grand-dog is still with us while her family enjoys a vacation.
I think she, too, is wondering about the changes in the house.


I have a little spiral notebook on my shelf.
When I read something that especially speaks to my heart or mind,
I write it down on those pages.  I wish I had thought of the words first,
but since my creativity is limited, I benefit from keeping inspirational words in this little book. 

 I may just share some of them with you sometime.

I'll end today with this quote from Charles M. Schulz of "Peanuts" fame:
"Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together?  I guess that wouldn't work.  Someone would leave.  Someone always leaves.  Then we would have to say good-bye.  I hate good-byes.  I know what I need.  I need more hellos."
Hello, 2013!