Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013!



Today,
"May God grant you:
The LIGHT in Christmas, which is faith.
The WARMTH of Christmas, which is love.
The RADIANCE of Christmas, which is purity.
The BELIEF in Christmas, which is truth.
The ALL of Christmas, which is Christ."
-Wilda English



A Very Merry Christmas
To You!
Sincerely,

Julianne

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Baking with Grandma


Saturday was a special day.
 For the last 11 years, we have celebrated Christmas without Brian's parents,
since they lived so far away.
 But, this year they moved right here ,2 miles from us, so,
with joy
we loaded up the little ones 
and went to Grandma's house to bake cookies for Christmas. 
 Grandma was very organized,
which really helped the day to go well with the little helpers.
 We had a wonderful time.  
So glad to have grandparents close!













Now, we don't generally eat much in the way of cookies and sugary stuff anymore, 
but, this is Christmas, and part of the festivities 
includes baking with Grandma 
and eating all kinds of goodies mama doesn't usually allow!
It sure was a great time.  
One I hope we can follow up year after year, 
fashioning memories for our children to last a lifetime.
 Memories of multi -generations living and loving together.




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Beauty in Daily Living




Today may seem like an ordinary day.
  We get up, we eat breakfast, we do chores, then schooling, lunch, followed by free time,
 then naps and more schooling, dinner, stories and bedtime.
 Seems normal and plain enough.
  However, one of the things I like to do the most in my homemaking 
is create something beautiful and lovely out of the mundane.

Ordinary days like today can be as meaningful and beautiful as the special occasions in our lives,
 it just takes some ingenuity (or copy-catting, *which is absolutely fine*) 
and deliberate planning. 
 The results are well worth it.

In her highly influential book, Living a Beautiful Life, Alexandra Stoddard says, 
" Making daily tasks into times of enrichment 
through planning 
and special personal details
 is a way to live a richer, more satisfying life."


I do believe that is a very Biblical principle to live by 
if it does not require self absorption or materialism to be achieved. 
 God is the designer of beauty. 
 He created this incredible world for us to enjoy, 
and though for believers, it may not be our ultimate "home"
 there is no reason we should not mimic God in his creating beauty and order,
 using great creativity cultivating a wondrous abode for our family. 
 He did, so should we.


There is great power in the little things-
joyful acts of love that enrich and ennoble our lives.  
The question is, what little things?
What little thing(s) could be done as we get up?
  As we eat breakfast?
How about chores?
  and so on. 
 Think it through. 
 I would love, love, love to hear your ideas!

Here are a few of mine:

-Snuggles and hot drinks when we get up


- Singing and sharing what we are thankful for at meals
- Playing classical music during housecleaning
- Adding an essential oil, such as lavender to the dish water


- Praying for the one whose clothes you are ironing
- Setting a beautiful table for dinner


- Light candles
- Sing to the children before naps
- Read aloud to the family before bed


Rituals such as these enable you to
 enjoy the ordinary more deeply
as you flow through the day. 


 Think then, not just of everyday, but also of the weekends. 
 Weekends too, are made extra special by adding thoughtful rituals.
  At our house, the children sleep in on Saturday.  
They get up leisurely and listen to Moody radio while mama fixes a large brunch. 
 After extended housecleaning chores are done ( O glory!)
 they are free to play/watch a movie.
 Sunday then, we take for rest. 
 Rest from our regular daily life. 
 Sunday naps for all, a day off from laundry and housework, 
 and time to fellowship with others, make it a day set apart from all others. 
The usual Sunday pot roast awaiting us when we arrive home from church is an awesome weekend marvel.  One can smell it the moment they step out of the van...
mouths are watering fiercely by the time we are in the door.


Monthly rituals are harder to plan for in our busy lives,
 but, like daily rituals, greatly enriching and worth it.
A once a month trip to the big town with my husband for groceries and such is a necessity,
 but we have made it a habit to stop by a favored coffee shop each trip
 to just sit and relax and visit over a hot drink. 
 On this trip, too, we often listen to an audio broadcast sermon of some sort, 
usually chosen by content to some personal current interest. 
 Another wonderful  ritual for me, is the once a month overnighter at nanny's,
 where all the children have a day and a half to spend with their grandma at her house...
leaving mama home...alone.  
  Mama's day off.
  Boy, this is a life saver of a day and a half for me! 
 Sunday afternoon the children leave, and I typically have a long nap, a walk, 
and read something just for fun, then close the day with dinner and a movie with my handsome husband. 
 The next day, I sleep in as late as I can, 
then go visiting or sew or some other such crafty thing. 
 By the end of the day I am refreshed and longing for my children to arrive safely home.

"In a culture that richly rewards achievements 
and accomplishment, 
it is left to us to create a balanced life, to master the art of creating a life worth living.
 -Wally Arnold, Illiminations

Managing a home and mothering is much more than surviving life in the trenches.
When we apply those nourishing touches that come
from deep within a woman's soul,
we warm not only our family's souls,
but our own as well.

Here's to drinking deeply of God's great love,
until our cup is running over,
 and living beautifully this holiday season. 



Blessings to you this day,
Julianne

Friday, December 6, 2013

What We Are Reading This Advent Season

Advent is upon us.
A season of Hope, 
Peace, 
Love
and Joy.

Christ has come!
And though we have longed for heaven,
we can not reach it, and so,
Heaven came down.
Gratitude pours forth,  Oh  how thankful I am!!  



Our family, cat included,
is relishing the time of drawing near to the Savior.

  One way our family does just that is by devoting our evening reading to that of Christ's coming.
In years past, we have loved reading and re-reading
These wonderful Books,  by Arnold Ytreeide.


but  though we love them, this year we are trying out something new, 
along with our beloved Advent book.







I found  25 readings for Advent from The Jesus Storybook Bible on Pinterest.  
This is just right for our little ones. 



click here:  advent reading plan

advent reading plan


And inspiration for the rest of us comes from a well loved author and blogger, Ann Voskamp, 
with her new book, The Greatest Gift
 Ordered on Amazon, it was delivered to our door in two days.  



 In the bittersweet cold, sub-zero weather,
 we draw near the fire, 
gathering to read about the one True Light. 
 The One who warms our hearts with his love.  
Who gives us hope.  
In whose presence is peace found,
 and joy immeasurable.

Advent is a gift to unwrap and cherish.
Come and draw near.
Come and adore him.
The gift
is His presence.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Log Cabin Christmas Decor



 The weather is very cold, 
the fire is blazing, 
Advent has begun, 
which means...
it is time to decorate the Lodge for Christmas!

We celebrate Advent, we do not have a tree, or gifts, 
and we decorate for the whole winter, 
which we think is very fun and festive.
 Keeping with a non-materialistic idea of the holidays, 
our decor is mostly the natural greens and flowers, 
candles, plaids and woolens,
and the opportunity to rearrange furniture ....
again.
(chuckle)

Ya' all asked for a peek, so here we go....
From the dining room working to the right through the living room, 
and ending in the sitting area next to the kitchen:










 Notice the little bundle napping in the window seat. 
These days of no little wee ones to rock to sleep, I count every day of littles napping a joy to behold.  Children at sleep are just so adorable.

I adore big bountiful mantle arrangements, 
but such would burn the house down over a real warming fire such as ours, so minimal it is.






A favorite reading and napping spot equipped with a pile of quilts at the foot of the cot.



Our Advent wreath this year on the piano.








The children's nativity in the window sill.



and then the kitchen-





Christmas is a great time to relish in the joy of homemaking; 
whether it be feathering our nest with seasonal beauty, 
creating delicious yummies in the kitchen, 
or inviting others in for fellowship and hospitality.
There are oh so many ways to glory in the wondrous season!