The Dutch Rush

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Category: Christmas (page 2 of 2)

Holiday Cheermeister

We just watched the Grinch. I am jealous of his answering machine message.

Okay, I don’t know what I just said.  I think this could be a wild post.

We had a session of baking hilariosity today.  Cause it’s critically important to make 28 kinds of christmas cookies, right?  Right.  Also, to make things even most interesting, they have to look good and taste good.  Duh.  “Christmas” is trying to kill me.  (Maybe some of you don’t know that I’m not a perfectionist, so the idea of baking things to give away is a little terrifying.)

So in order to have our bake fest, I had to ignore certain things.  Laundry, for instance. Because even though I just did it all yesterday, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT.  I’m not exactly sure where it comes from because I could swear that Josh never changes his clothes.  Yes, come to think of it, that is the same shirt he was wearing yesterday.  But hopefully not the day before yesterday.

At our house cleanliness is not next to godliness, no matter how much someone wishes it were.  It’s close, it’s in the top 10 for sure. But no…

…CHEERFULNESS is next to godliness.

And who wouldn’t be cheerful at this time of year.

Once upon a time I was so cheery at this time of year.  I think that was before life had knocked me upside the head.

But now I think too much.  I think about the hurting people and I want to help them, and there are a lot of hurting people right now.

I know too many of them.

I can really start to Grinch it up at this time of year.  I get so wrapped up in wrapping stuff, and buying stuff, and I get upset with people for being needy, because here I am busy and stressed out already because we are suppose to be doing EVERYTHING WE NORMALLY DO and ALSO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WITH CHEER!  So forget serving my family, how dare they want dinner?  Go away family, while I buy you stuff and make you stuff so we will all be so happy.  See?  Grinch.

But a few things have brought me comfort and JOY this year.  So, lucky for you, I thought I’d share them.

A verse: Be still and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth. Psalm 46:10

That verse is comfort to me, that God is not surprised by our giant mega-wheel of materialism…all in the name of celebrating Christ’s birth.  He also sees my heart and hears my prayers and knows that I want more than anything to serve Him.  So He whispers “roll up your sleeves and serve those people I gave you”.  Okie dokie.

A picture: Adoration of the Shepherds by Rembrandt.  I saw this picture for the first time this month.  It made me cry.  Pictures don’t usually do that.  This one is special.

adoration-of-the-shepherds-1646.jpg!Blog

A Song: Born in Bethlehem by Third Day.  You have to go over to youtube and listen to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyWTgdbkW2o

The words to this song are constantly in my head.  And as long as I remember them, everything seems to be worth it.

“Hallelujah, the King is here, given for all men

for today the holy Son of God is born in Bethlehem”

So just like every other month of the year, I will do my best to serve.  Gently.  Kindly.  I will not get so worked up over what to buy the person who is impossible to shop for that I can’t be nice to the person who is right next to me asking “what is a square root again, Mom?”.  I will not be so stressed out that I do not have time to be there for a friend who needs me.  Cause hard stuff still happens in December.

This year I tried something new.  I lost my marbles one week into December.  Yep, marbles rolling around all over the place.  Not a good thing, in case you were wondering.

I had to cry uncle.  It got me.  I was being suffocated via cheerful holiday ribbon.

You know it’s humbling to admit that you can’t do it all.  You kind of make a name for yourself.  “Oh, did you hear about Mary?  She can’t handle her stress”.  Yep, that’s right, I can’t…unless I can also be a total jerk to people.  There is only so much wrapping, shopping, gift planning, gift making, etc I can do before the next person to ask me a question gets clobbered.  (Don’t worry, not literally)

My family was paying the price for the fact that I was overloaded.  So I did what any sane, self respecting introvert would do.  I cried.  And then I stayed home.  And my family is starting to like me again…we are once again laughing at each other.  It’s delightful. Downright cheery.

I just know it was an extrovert who decided that christmas parties are a good idea.

And they want to know where my christmas cheer is.  Hmm.  I don’t know, maybe the White Elephant sat on it.

So just call me the Holiday Cheermeister.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, sit down and watch the Grinch. I now dance around in my santa outfit, offering cookies to people who ask me 25 questions at a time.  Okay, not really.  But it sounds good.

Now for a grand finale, I will show you pictures of Alyssa and I doing our baking extravaganza.  This is what she looks like when there are two timers going off at once and she is stirring fudge…if only you could hear the squealing associated with this picture.

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I should mention that at one point she said to me “Mom, I don’t think you should be in the kitchen today”.  Humph.  What are you talking about, child?  I TAUGHT you to bake!  I called her an evil Grinch.  She said “Grinch? That’s the best you’ve got?”.

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Maybe she was thinking my motto was a little flawed.  It goes something like this:  When in doubt, (like say you need all these cookies for tomorrow) start all 6 different kinds of cookies at THE SAME TIME.  Personally, it seems perfectly reasonable to me.  Because then you’re stuck.  Very stuck.  You have to make cookies.  It sort of breaks down when I start dumping powdered sugar where it doesn’t belong…

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Oh well.  We laughed.  See that smaller pot in back?  Well, that was the first fudge.  The one where I used condensed milk instead of evaporated milk even though the directions clearly state: “DO NOT USE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK”.

Good thing I have a daughter to read the instructions for me.

Okay, that’s it.  Enough yammering.  Have a good night!

December School

December school… as you can see, it’s cold enough to wear gloves when we are outside!  To anyone in Washington, I’m sorry.  It’s beautiful here!

This girl is lovely, and spunky, and fun.  I think you can tell 😉

We had exams last week.  In a way that maybe no one will understand, it was fun!  They are learning!  Whew.  I saw and heard things that made me happy. 🙂 These kids are just a delight to teach (most days…I mean we all have our days).  Okay, enough about that.

Now…we are doing December school. This is where we go insane, randomly stare out the window, mutter to ourselves about mailing presents and writing the Christmas letter, finish projects, books, or what have you, that I don’t want to drag into our next term.

We finished Corrie Ten Boom.  I heard this: “NO.  I can’t believe it’s over.  That is the best book I’ve ever listened to.  Can I keep this book for my own? ”  (I am not making this up, they all felt that way.)  That lady…we were amazed at the hardships she faced bravely.  I got teary every time I read the quote by her dying sister Betsie ” You must tell them (all people, not the least of all, their enemies the Nazis) ‘There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper ‘ “.   Uh huh.  My faith is wimpy.

This is what Josh does on his breaks: Bear pulley

 

Pretends to be a Star Nosed Mole, like the one he saw in the National Geographic that freaked him out and maybe gave him nightmares. Or not, I really am not allowed to say.

 

We also go on Nature walks.  And bring stuff home.  To look at, to draw, and to trip over.

 

 

This particular walk involved identifying Turkey Vultures UP CLOSE, (yikes) getting mom to break off a branch of red berries “Mom, did you bring your scissors?”  Me: “Contrary to what you might think about me, I do NOT always carry a pair of scissors.”  In breaking the branch off, I poked an impressively perfect hole in my finger.  One child kept asking to look at the hole and would then get the shivers. 🙂  I love him.

 

My hope for December school was to slow down.  To take a minute to look and think and wonder about the miracle of this time of year.  So far, not good.  The slowing down part.  Oh well, we think as we go.  We are memorizing Luke 2 right now.  It has some good lines.  “And she was GREAT with Child…” that cracks them up.

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