December 31, 2009


Do you know how long it takes giant Chinese bamboo to grow as tall as a building? Some might answer it takes six weeks for bamboo to grow 90 feet, which is true. But they would be forgetting something.

Bamboo spends four years as a tiny plant, being watered and fertilized as its enormous root system is developing under the ground. Then in the fifth year, it shoots up to the sky, growing 90 feet in just six weeks. The plant must survive four years before it can grow at that rate.

On the other hand, do you know how long it takes an alfalfa seed to sprout and grow into one of the few known complete foods? About four days.

I can't really tie those two illustrations together except to say, I think I've been bamboo, but now I want to be a sprout.

The last two years for me have largely been about surviving. Not the cut-off-my-own-arm-with-a-pocket-knife kind of survival, but the survival of my spirit, the survival of my self, the survival of my soul. It hasn't been easy. Sometimes I felt like cutting off my own arm would have been easier, but I think we're finally coming to the other side of it, new and stronger and hopefully brighter.

{But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4:7-9}

Funny thing, though, in all the surviving, there was a lot of dying. So many things I had to come to terms with and let die, many things I had to completely surrender, many sacrifices (luckily, no appendages).

{Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18}

When you're in survival mode, you learn a lot about who you are and who you want to be, what you're made of, what you believe in and what is important to you. There's a stripping down of things to bare bones, to the very core, to the vulnerability of nakedness.

I've also witnessed miracles in a new way, both great and small, most all of them beyond my comprehension.

I experienced grace and mercy and heartache and joy, all in waves that brought me to my knees.

For all of this, I am thankful for my time of surviving.

{“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17}

I don't think I fully realized that I've been just surviving until recently. But I hope that seeing things from this perspective means I have, in fact, survived. I feel like I have. And so have decided the new year will be one of thriving.

{For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6}

Things may not go my way. I may not get what I want. I'm certain I will continue to struggle and face trials, learn and grow. And that's all okay.

I believe my life will have seasons of quiet ripening and seasons of surviving. But this January we are entering a season of thriving!

Will I look back on this post in a year, six months, even two weeks and think "good grief, that was that day I drank four cups of hot chocolate and got kind of crazy"? Ehn, maybe.

But for now, today, I'm going to be a little crazy and know God is faithful beyond my wildest imagination. I'm going to be brave, believe big and expect great things!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD... Jeremiah 29:11

Happy New Year, dear friends. Believe big. Be well.

December 22, 2009


Only four days until THE actual for-real Christmas Day!

Here's how I've been decking the halls.

first, gather supplies:

next, get a snack:

then, get warmed up by making this Jolly pillow:

after that, test your sewing skillz and patience by making this poinsettia pillow:

take a step back and think that poinsettia pillow turned out not half-bad

move on to making THESE:

THESE may be my favorite thing. They are so merry and bright. I couldn't stop making them (just ask Aaron) so I gave some to a few friends at work too. So fun to spread the Christmas Cheer!

Then move on to growing this little Christmas Tree forest for Santa:

I love that this little Santa statue is feeding an apple to a deer:

finally, ask ATB to hang the JOY plates Momma made for me:

Ummm, I might leave things looking like this until July.

December 21, 2009


Happy Winter Solstice!

On this shortest day of the year, the sun is at its lowest and weakest, a pivot point from which the light will grow stronger and brighter.

Following the time of dormancy, darkness and cold, the coming of lighter days is a time to rejoice.

Silent night, holy night. All was calm, all was bright around the virgin mother and her child, the Holy infant, so tender and mild, sleeping in Heavenly Peace.

Shepherds quaked at the sight of glories streaming from heaven above as Heavenly hosts sung Alleluia! Christ, the Saviour is born!

For He was the Son of God, and love's pure light shone radiant beams from His holy face, as the sun rose on the dawn of redeeming grace. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

So I cried in the car on Saturday as Aaron and I were headed to Houston. I was serenading Aaron with Christmas songs... Jingle Bells was great, Joy the World was inspiring (I put my own little twist on it, if you can imagine) but I choked when I got to Drummer Boy... then totally lost it when I tried Silent Night.

It's said to be the most famous Christmas song. Isn't it beautiful?

I can picture that night... imagine, the entire world quiet, not even the hours-old infant is crying. Mary holding her child close, pondering His sweet face. Do the animals know they share their stable with a King?

And somewhere in a field, Shepherds are tending their flock, heavily cloaked against the cold, staff in hand quietly moving among their sheep, their breath showing warm in the night air. Maybe they've been wondering at the stillness of this particular night. Maybe even commented to one another that it seemed peculiar.

Then an Angel appears! It is good news, a child has been born, Immanuel, who would change the world.

For you see, until then, God had been in Heaven and we on Earth, separated by our inevitable sin. {Long lay the world in sin and error pining.}

But God didn't want to be separate from us.

So He sent his Son to walk among us, to live on Earth as we live, to teach us how to love, and ultimately die as we die. And for the ransom of Jesus' life, if we believe in Him, we are redeemed of our sin and no longer separated from God.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

December 20, 2009


So I was making Peppermint Bark this afternoon, and we had to call the fire department.

What?! Peppermint bark does not require fire!

I know, I know. It's the craziest thing! Let's just say it was a weed-eating mishap that caused the line on our propane tank to pop off and HISS propane into the air at an alarmingly loud decibel. Really loud. Like so loud our not-very-nearby neighbors could hear it. So loud I was pretty sure the air was going to explode or something.

And apparently, our propane company doesn't have an after-hours or emergency call number, so Aaron called 311, and they sent the fire department.

We heard the sirens headed our way... then they the wrong house. So Aaron got in the car and backed down our driveway at approximately 50 miles per hour. If you didn't already know, Aaron really likes to drive in reverse. And our driveway is really long, so there's room to get up to top speeds. I didn't see the need to fetch the fire truck at that speed in reverse, but, whatever.

So the firemen finally arrive, check it out, show us where the shut-off valve is (good to know), and all is well. Except we can't use the oven or stove and won't have hot water or heat until tomorrow when we can get the tank repaired.

All in all it was kind of fun. Our two-year-old neighbor Ethan had a blast walking around and around and around the firetruck. Then they came over after the hub-bub and Ethan helped me finish making the peppermint bark while we played his new favorite game.
Ethan: What's this?
Angela: Candy canes
Ethan:What's this?
Angela: Spatula
Ethan:What's this?
Angela: Light bulbs

I had grand plans tonight to make a lovely dinner, bake cookies and finish some gifts. Instead we made a fire in the fireplace, ordered a pizza and snuggled down on the couch under some warm blankets.

December 14, 2009


"Not now Arctic Puffin!" - Buddy the Elf

"If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now." - Clark Griswold

Aaron and I watched Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation last weekend. I think I could spend a whole day with my vocabulary consisting solely of lines from those movies. That would be one hilarious day!

I also watched an old Christmas movie from 1947 called It Happened on 5th Avenue. It was pretty great. One of the main characters is the actor Charles Ruggles. He played the grandfather in the original Parent Trap. It made me think of this scene.

Grandfather: My dear, what are you doing?
Susan: Making a memory.
Grandfather: Making a memory?
Susan: All my life, when I'm quite grown-up I will always remember my grandfather and how he smelled of tobacco and peppermint.
Grandfather: Smelled of tobacco and peppermint. [starts chuckling] Well, I'll tell you what. I take the peppermint for my indigestion and as for the tobacco [looks around] that's to make your grandmother mad.
{Grandfather knew from the moment he saw her that Susan wasn't Sharon.}
{Grandads always know.}

In other news...

I enjoyed lunch yesterday with two Lovelies at Magnolia and I had blueberry pancakes... You like sugar, huh? Is there sugar in syrup? Yes. Then YES!

We've been decorating the house... Lotta sap in here! Mmmm... Looks great! Little full, lotta sap.

Enjoying non-stop Christmas music... The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

A few Christmas parties...It's just like Santa's workshop! Except it smells like mushrooms.

Some Christmas shopping...And make sure you get yourself something real nice.

Some cooking... Save the neck for me, Clark.... Oh it's just a little dry, it's fine...Here's the heart. oh oh and and I have to eat! So I can take my back pill.

Hope you're enjoying the Holidays!

"I just like to smile! Smiling's my favorite." - Buddy

December 10, 2009


The Generosity Experiment and Day 10 of The Generosity Experiment

One Family's Giving Tradition from Ann Voskamp @ a Holy Experience
"In our home, the gift-giving is solely for the Child on His birthday. And in giving to the least of these, we humbly give gifts to the Christ Child.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

December 07, 2009


And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
Christmas came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

This Christmas I'm trying:
Less money, more time.
Less stressing, more blessing.
Less wishing, more thanking.

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
1 Timothy 1:15-17

December 02, 2009


This post has no point, other than to tell you I love Heat Miser and think he is one of the most hilarious Christmas movie characters; a close, close second to Clark Griswold. Sometimes Aaron reminds me of Heat Miser - stubborn and hot-headed, but ultimately harmless. And I mean that in the nicest way.

And also to tell you I've decided that if I could have one super-power it would be that of Snow Miser, which is the ability to cause objects to burst into snowflakes with a touch.

See them in action in their movie, The Year Without a Santa Claus. It comes on t.v. next Tuesday, Dec. 8 on ABC Family as part of their 25-Days-of-Christmas.


Aaron discovered this chili while on a camping trip a few weeks ago and liked it so much he asked for the recipe. He had a pot ready for dinner when I got home one day last week, so I have no idea what all goes in it, but the main ingredients are baked beans and ground meat of your choice (Aaron used venison), and some honey. It was delicious and made me want to go outside and sit in a folding chair in the woods behind our house while I ate. The baked bean and honey flavors were so subtly sweet and smokey and yummy. And the heavy spoonfuls filled my belly good. Also, can I just say Ritz crackers are the bomb. I had forgotten how delectable their buttery flakiness is. I had a second bowl of Camp Chili just so I could eat more Ritzs.

We brought a cooler of leftovers home from Thanksgiving in Longview. Turkey...sweet potatoes...corn beans...dressing...and this Chicken Veggie soup. My mom packed it for us in case we got burned out on feast food. It's a simple soup, just chicken, broth and lots of earth grown goodness. I had a bowl for lunch two days in a row. It's been raining and cold here the past two days, so having this soup has been nice. Plus, my Momma made it, which is really the best part because it feels like getting a hug from her with every warm spoonful.

December 01, 2009


Check out my friends' (writing as Biscuit Lover and Noe) lovely blog Big Love in a Little Kitchen.

It's all about love in, around and coming out of their small kitchen.

*click*Big Love in a Little Kitchen*click*

There's a link in my sidebar too.