A kind friend kindly (but FIRMLY) encouraged me to write more here and to write more about my daily life . . . . I suppose after life in Bundibugyo, most of life as a mother and student in America seems far too normal to blog about but perhaps blogs can be happy friendly ways simply to share the expression of life, love, hope and light that Daddy-God gives me each day. I shall try to be less ethereal here but I can’t promise . . . 🙂
We are in the throes of Christmas joy. As is usual for us, we started Christmas preparations the day after Thanksgiving. Friday morning I promptly went into a serious funk because our single trunk of holiday things was still in Uganda and I felt so bereft without it. It took a trip up into the mountains to the forest of Mount Lassen and it’s three feet of snow to pull me out of my moaning and complaining. I came out of my angst about ten steps into the waist high snow . . . . that is when joy hit me. We brought home a little tree (well not so little but she looked like a baby amidst the giants of the Lassen forest and in her several feet of snow). I’m abashed to say that even in picking trees we tend to go for the underdog; she is slightly thin and waifish with irregular lower branches but we love her ever so much more because of it. And a few unsuspecting visiting children have felt my disdain when they dared comment on her lack of fluffiness, so please don’t any of you mention such things. She is perfect, of course.
Because of her unique and exotic features we have had some small troubles beautifying her in a satisfying way. We do not carry ornaments around on our journeys through life, instead choosing to make our own each year afresh. We choose a new theme each year too. This year our theme is paper, specifically origami, and we have been busily working on origami pieces every few days as the time allows and the mood strikes. By this of course, I mean that David has been busily working, Naomi and Quinn have made a few pieces each, and and I have enthusiastically exclaimed over all of their accomplishments. Origami requires far more direction-following than I can reasonably manage without losing my peace and joy so necessary at Christmas. Nevertheless I INSPIRE.
We have always loved the combination of bright colors and natural themes during this season so we have combined them on our tree again this year. Our origami and snowflakes are made from paper bags, lending such a beautiful brown to the tree, we have accented it with swathes of rainbow colored raffia, real candy canes, and tiny colored lights. The effect was not quite right yet and we cast our eyes around the house to look for some more color to add (our one rule being that we do not BUY things to make beauty at Christmas, generally). A big bag of oranges just brought over by a friend caught my eye and we sliced them into thin rings and dried them on low in the oven. They are now strung up individually on raffia ribbon and the tree is looking simply darling . . . . . and perhaps very nearly perfectly beautiful. Sigh.
Our evenings end with advent readings (except when they don’t; probably about half the time) and I am loving using Ann Voskamp’s free materials. We have made a little Jesse tree using tree scraps thumb-tacked into the wall. The ornaments created by Nancy Roddin perfectly fit nestled among the pine and we are learning more of how Jesus came to be a man, the great Divine plan worked out and recorded in scripture. We light our candles and the children take turns hanging a picture ornament and we read scripture and marvel (or fight sometimes because we’re overtired and should have just gone to bed.)
We are baking, slowly, the lovely christmas foods. And buying some too. I adore the beauty and wholesomeness of Trader Joe’s foods and I carry home their holiday goods shamelessly and feed them and give them away as fast as can be. And I feel surprisingly great about my store-boughten goods. There’s a cheer that a peppermint JoJo (oreo) can bring that sometimes can’t be brought any other way. And it’s good.
So that’s a glimpse of Christmas at our house . . . . we just found out our trunk WILL make it back from Uganda after all with our hand knit stockings inside and David’s nativity set from childhood and we are ecstatic with delight (THANK YOU KAREN AND JOHN AND AMINA!) My brother arrives on Friday and I can’t wait to hug him and feed him and listen to him and enjoy the delights of the season with him. And our half year at school is ending then too; it’s been a wonderful year, an amazing journey, but I am grateful for a rest, for the chance to just be mom again for a few weeks, to lay aside the great questions and the continual growth for the slow steady learning that comes from BEING.