Monday, November 30, 2015

Snow Day!

We may have slept with our pajamas inside-out and with a spoon under our pillows after flushing ice cubes down the toilet. Don't ask me why. But Dan convinces me that 50% of the time, it works every time. It seemed to work this time when the phone rang at 5:30 am giving us the tidings. Yes, it's the first snow day of the season. More ice at first than snow. But a good reason to turn Thanksgiving weekend into five days off instead off four!

See - it's really snowing!

Humphrey "needed" to see the snow

And we couldn't leave out Hickory. Notice the inside-out pajamas.
The aftermath

Christmas Music

I wish I could say we were the musical family that always gathered around and played music together. The truth is, it happens once a year. Usually late on a Saturday afternoon to prepare special Christmas music for church. Nevertheless, I'm still blessed by the fact that our family loves music and can enjoy this gift together.

The Tannenbaum of 2015

'Twas the day after Thanksgiving. A cold one at that.
The Wilsons were scrambling to find gloves and hats.

We climbed in the car with excitement and glee.
At the end of the trail would be cocoa and trees!

Each year our tree shrinks, yet we tromp through the heath
But we now have more room for the gifts underneath.

We add snowflakes, some stars and those twinkling lights
But when the last ornament's hung, our tree is just right.


It's been six years since we didn't have rehearsals and performances throughout Thanksgiving week and weekend. This year we had a quiet four (turned five) day weekend with no travel, minimal housework and great family times together. Dayna and Annie both helped with the food preparations, the house is decorated (and cleaned up!) for Christmas. Lists have been made, and we're just sitting back and enjoying the season as it starts to swing into high gear.

Turkey in the brine

Dayna LOVES cranberry sorbet - she still asks what the stuff in the can is

A perfect pumpkin pie (fresh pumpkin) that was just too irresistible for little fingers

Leftovers! Possibly the best turkey soup yet
The girls set a beautiful table

So many blessings!


I don't even know where to start. I'm not one to keep a daily list on Facebook of what makes me grateful. I'm truly trying to "be thankful in all circumstances."

  • I'm thankful for a smaller paycheck because it gives me more time with my family
  • I'm thankful for long drives into a city because we have reliable transportation AND the opportunity to live in a GREAT small town
  • I'm thankful for fighting children because it means they have a family
  • I'm thankful for conflict because it takes me out of myself and lets me see through another's eyes
  • I'm thankful for a small, crowded, dated house because it's easier for the rooms to echo with the sounds of family
  • I'm thankful God has removed me from toxic situations to make me trust Him and see who the true friends are that He's brought into my life
  • And I'll continue to try to be thankful through the hard times because I know what lies ahead.

Every Tribe

Warning: Opinions will be shared. I do this so rarely on my blog anymore, because I seem to make enemies when I do. I wish I was born with strong convictions AND a thick skin. Seems I only got the first. I'm praying about the second and I'm a work in progress.

One of the most beautiful pictures in Revelation to me is that of people from every tribe, every nation, and every tongue worshiping God together. I was asked this week what this means to me as I look forward to eternity, and my response is complete humility. That God would choose ME to be part of the kingdom of priests who will worship Him someday, knowing how unworthy I am. I just can't fathom that. And yet - even while I am chosen, I am no more or less valuable to Him because of where I live, my race or ethnicity, or even my socio-economic status.

I love being an American. But I struggle with the mentality that we're "the greatest" nation on earth. I don't for a second believe that I'm better or more worthy of freedom and safety than someone from, say, Syria.

I've seen how the world has responded to the refugee crisis, and my heart breaks when I see the fear-mongering and responses of my Christian brothers and sisters. When I repeatedly see the argument to take care of our veterans (a cause I support wholeheartedly) instead of the refugees (why does it have to be either/or?) Do I believe our leaders have a responsibility to protect those within our borders? Absolutely. Do I believe screening should be in place? Yes. Am I calling to swing open the doors of our borders without any caution? No.

But I've taught refugees. I know what their families have fled. I know a man who watched his entire family be murdered in Burundi - and traveled on foot by night to flee that country. I walked through a concentration camp, and later the Holocaust Museum. America's history is not so long, and yet have we forgotten a boat full of Jewish refugees who were turned away and back to their deaths?

Personal opinions aside, what does God have to say about refugees? Plenty. Starting with Matthew 25. He clearly talks about how we treat a stranger/foreigner is also how we treat Him. I've agonized and prayed over how God would have the Church respond. This article was particularly well written.

I've asked. I've searched. I keep hearing "take care of our own." And we should. But nowhere in the Bible do I see God's attitude that "our own" are more important or more valuable than caring for strangers. I've even had "friends" in the last two months tell me my children aren't as worthy of love and a family because they weren't born in America. Needless to say, this argument doesn't sit well with me.

I'm truly open if you can point me to passages (in context) that will further challenge me. Right now, my strong conviction takes me back to the thought that I am no more or less valuable to God because of my circumstances.

Veteran's Day

I can't say enough about how much this man means to me. Knowing what he gave up and left behind to serve his country. Knowing that he wasn't a Marine. He IS a Marine. Love you, Dad!

God's Plan for His Daughters

Dayna and I enjoyed a two-day retreat at a church in Omaha. They have a great family series that goes throughout a child's life called the "Faith Legacy." You can read a little about their event for fifth and sixth grade girls and their moms here.

This retreat involved a lot of talk with our girls about the changes they will be experiencing, including a panel with a doctor and older girls who answer anonymous questions from the younger girls. We laughed, we ate, we discovered that mom has weird stuff in her purse and her antiquated flip phone was good for some more laughs.

The highlight of the weekend was ending with a trust walk. All of the girls were blindfolded while the moms surrounded them. All at once, we started calling our daughters' names. This led to a 15-20 minute walk through the church. The girls had to shut out the other voices and listen to ours. Sometimes we were easy to hear, and sometimes much more difficult. Our girls walked in circles, ran into a few obstacles, and were quite scared at times while walking in the dark. But at the end, the moms led their daughters one by one to the foot of the cross.

I hope this lesson stays with Dayna as the voices of the world will compete with the values her dad and I are trying to teach her. That sometimes God's voice is hard to hear, but He will never leave her side. And that my job as her mom is to always lead her back to the cross.

Fifth Grade Biography

One of the fifth grade big projects is to do a biography. The students had to pick an historic person, do the research, make a poster, and present to the class. Dayna chose Jesus. We talked and struggled some with Dayna portraying herself as Jesus, so she went with portraying Him through the names He is called in the Bible. I'm so proud of her for standing strong in her faith and proclaiming her love for Jesus to her entire class.

Fall Preservation

After a long (and wonderful) six weeks of subbing full-time, November came in with a rather quiet few days. Annie and I welcomed these "lazy" days with some scrumptious smells as we made our annual batch of applesauce (20 lbs.) and pumpkin puree (14+ cups.) All of this work (and a little inspiration from my latest BBC weakness, "The Great British Baking Show") led me to tackle my first ever pumpkin roll. It was so good, I might have made two!