Our hidden angel peeks out from deep inside the Christmas tree, reminding me that I have much more to look forward to...
This is a male dominated home. As the only female, it is my job to attempt to rep for the entire female population of my sons' future. I'm doin' my best, girls! This is no small task, as you can imagine. I try to give them the flavor of dealing with all sorts of women, all within the convenient setting of their own home. It's not that hard, actually, since I'm at that part of my life when all manner of female moods struggle for dominance inside me, anyway. Can I say that without sounding like an unmedicated schizophrenic, as most slightly pre-PMS women actually are? At any point in the day, God bless my poor sons, they might find me being meek and mild,hahaha, serving without complaint in any capacity within my little home. OR they might find a snappish and cranky female who demands that they take on every chore in the home and perform to perfection. And these roles can mix and/or match, BTW - I'll leave that to your imagination. This sort of unpredictable atmosphere, while not healthy to live in ALL the time, is a good learning environment for my almost-men. Men must learn to be adaptable - this is in the top five of the Good Husband Characteristics List, yes? So far they're dealing with it - and pretty well, I'd say. No one has exhibited any nervous hives, hair-twisting, or nail biting...yet.
In line with this sort of "training", there are a few tasks from which I have been exempt - I mean that we follow the very firm and high tradition of "man jobs" in this home. Say what you will, this is just realistic, and I think good preparation for the possibility of a future wife who might believe that she, like me, is not fit for any household task having to do with garbage. In our humble home, men are exclusively in charge of tub-bottoms, snakes emergencies, car maintenance, snow shoveling and lawn mowing, rogue creatures inside the house, and garbage, of course. However, one privilege, among many, that the men have staked out for themselves and I have surrendered to them, is the care and handling of Christmas lights. Lights on the house and on the Christmas tree are solely the domain of males, and I am not involved in any way in the storage or use of holiday lights of any kind. I'm good with that!
My Wonderful Husband leading my youngest in the Honor Of The Lights - it's a rite of passage!
This year we focused much of our holidays study on A Christmas Carol. At the library, it was a bit of a chore to get a copy of the story in Mr. Dicken's actual 1843 text. It's been retold, interpreted, and translated so many times, and there are so many versions out there! Our wonderful library ladies did their magic, though, and found not one, but TWO copies of the original story, one of them a beautifully illustrated copy.
We found that the 1843 version definitely has its surprises! For example, when the Ghost of Christmas Future takes Scrooge to visit the Crachit's house, Tiny Tim is actually upstairs, having recently passed away. Bob goes and sits by the bedside of his deceased little boy. The original text also has many references to Christ that have been taken out to make the story more comfortable for post-modern readers. Like this one, below...
Just before he leaves through the window, Jacob Marley's ghost mourns to Scrooge:
"Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me!"
What a great discussion we had over this quote from ol' Jacob!
This is the year! I got the tree of my Christmas dreams - a Douglas Fir. Homeschoolers that we are, we did a complete history on the Douglas Fir. I know you're fascinated, too, so click here to become more educated about fir trees. Isn't that dorky, MFSIL? Our Christmas tree farm adventures of the past several years were waylaid as the farm was not open for business this season after many years serving the local area. Our kids practically grew up going there, so we were disappointed not to make that annual pilgrimage. Not me, since I don't really enjoy the tramping up and down Kentucky hills, having discussions (arguments) over skinny vs. fat trees. I vote skinny, of course, but they all want fat, enormous trees. With our tree farm not available for visiting, the men set off to find another. No such luck, and so they went to Lowe's, where they have wonderful skinny Douglas Firs every year, which I long for. Yippee! All the men returned in semi-defeat, having not SAWN something down, only having checked through a cashier's line. It was hard for me not to clap my hands and hoot with glee!
It's the only time of year that I rig a double boiler ---
just one more reason that
Because when the double boiler comes out...
...great things happen!
(Buckeyes or Peanut Butter Balls, depends on who you're talking to...)
We're enjoying listening to some Christmas classics on audio as we drive (anddriveanddriveanddrive). The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry, which we've heard twice so far, has the more difficult vocabulary my 5th grader needs to work on: appertaining thereunto, silent imputation of parsimony, the mendicancy squad, and meretricious ornamentation. Whew!
These two quotes from the story are worth sharing as pondering material, here
in the beginning of December-
(bolding added as my own emphasis)
"When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task."
I think this is a passage mothers can identify with, especially. Really.
But this is my favorite -
"The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi."
I would say that giving gifts in the way Della and Jim did is rarely done these days. How often do we really sacrifice something of our own (sacrifice not meaning debt) to give someone a gift that they've greatly desired? Giving up something personally precious, to bring joy to another?
Something to think about as we check off our Christmas shopping lists.
Della and Jim gave their gifts in the same spirit as that of Christ Jesus as he laid aside His heavenly kingdom to step into our world as a human child. Make a Bible study of it and check these scriptures out I found:
2 Corinthians 8:9, Matthew 20:28, and Philippians 2:6-8
I'll bet more scriptures come to mind as you read these! Add them in the comments section, and I'll be able to check those out, too.
(Come on C-with-an-E, I know you're brimming verses out there in the Midwest!)
Just in the last moment of fall, I pinned a bunch of Nikko Blue Hydrangea canes --- to make some babies! In the spring, these will have (should have) all rooted and ready to be planted in their own space.
First nick the cane. Some say this is not necessary, but since I was so late getting this done, I went ahead and tried to hurry nature along.
Clear the grass/weeds away and press the nicked part of the cane into the loosened dirt. Set your long-legged stake over it.
Having tamped the stake all the way into the soil, cover over the cane just a little bit, with some of the loose dirt.
Cover all of it with plenty of dead leaves and mulch-y material.
Hope for baby hydrangeas in the spring!
I should put this swing away for the winter. But it will stay out through the snow, ice, sleet and cold. That's just the way it goes around here. It might not be the sky-blue swing anymore when the warm weather returns, after enduring its second winter unprotected. Repainting the swing sounds like a good boy job to me, how about you?
I like how the light falls in this part of my house in the morning.
Almost all these things have memories attached to them, or reasons for being. Stacks of old books - we home educate after all, so what else? The cabinet was bought with friends in a little old town from one of the cutest antique junk places I've ever been in. I crackled it - the first thing I've ever finished with crackle paint. It didn't turn out as subtle as I wanted it to, but it will have to stay like that, at least until spring. I like to remember that trip when I walk by. The dove candle rest and the glass cloche were found on a birthday outing - I love the cloche especially! Inside it is a small Baby's Tears plant found on an couple's outing with other dear friends - one of them from Babylon (hahahahaha). It's dying inside there, of course, since I kill all houseplants eventually. That's why it's crying? The picture book is called A Book of Narnians, illustrated by C. S. Lewis, which is accruing overdue fines, since I can't give it up yet. Yes, I'm a public library abuser, currently refusing treatment of any kind. It is probably my fault that the book you've been waiting for is no back yet. Narnia stories make me choke up and cry every time. Good thing it's on audiobook, so I can cry while driving - not facing My Youngest who is traumatized by my tears. Analyze that --- no don't. The cream colored canister actually says "Flour" on it, but holds napkins, which I think is a funny joke. Nobody else does though, so it gets turned to the blank side mostly.
The morning light shines on reminders of happy times - what a blessing!