Hail, January

I love January. I know it’s cold and dark and everyone’s miserable, but I’m not. I like the excuse to stay in, huddle under a lamppostblanket, and make soup. This is probably the month when I like homeschooling the most, because while the rest of the world is outside waiting for buses and warming up the car, we’re still inside sipping hot drinks by the space heater.

Other months are showy, demanding us to celebrate holidays, decorate loudly, and fill our calendars. January is quiet, slowly allowing the light to grow longer and easing the daffodils up from their sleep. January coos to us, “Free up some space now. Slow down a bit. You need to rest.” If we are wise, we oblige.

January is full of hope. She hands us a clean calendar and encourages us to dream. She reminds us that we are mortal, hemmed in by hours, days, and weeks, and light and dark. Still, she urges us to rise above and make this year something unique and wonderful.

January is the clearing-out time. Christmas comes with all its joyful trappings and threatens to take over the place; January is our sister in solidarity saying, “here you may come, and no further.”  We overwhelm donation centers with those things we thought we needed until just now.

January is kind to us in making us reevaluate. The loud voices in our heads tell us to achieve more! Do more! Go further! January quietly suggests that it might be better to do well at those things we’ve already undertaken — for the glory of God and not ourselves, for the benefit of others.

We’ll be distracted soon enough by other months. Hail, January. I love you. Do your good work while you’re here.

When It’s Dark

candleThis week is predicted to be one of the coldest this year. The meteorologists are calling for caution, and social media is beginning to be flooded with screenshots of people’s weather apps. “Look!” we say. “It is nine degrees here. I can prove it to you with my screenshot.” Someone answers with the inevitable “five-day forecast” screenshot, displaying the projected high of minus ten.

This morning I came downstairs into the dark to find that we’d left a candle burning all night.

Yesterday I was fighting with this candle. It seemed useless to me. I had to dump out wax a few times to get it to stay lit, and I was about to throw it in the trash. But at last it had submitted to its purpose, begrudgingly holding onto a flame for a few hours last evening as we settled in for the night. But the flame was small enough that my husband didn’t notice it burning as he closed up the house late last night.

So it was the smallness and stubbornness of this flame that preserved it, and that preserved us. As people. As homeowners.

I left it burning as I began my day. It is small and steady enough; it poses no danger. For now.

Over the Holidays…

We puzzled…

The advanced group (David and his parents) in the back, intermediate up front
and grinned.
My pretty sister-in-law and newest nephew, Xavier
We trimmed…
I love Maddie in this picture

Maddie admiring her ornament from Gramma

one of my favorites
 and decorated.
My mom helps the kids make gingerbread houses every Christmas.

We wrapped….
This is what happens when you hand wrapping paper, scissors, and tape to a six year old and tell him to wrap something.  In case you were wondering.
 and kept secrets.
We baked…
Jonathan mixing up the puppy chow.
and ate. 
We smiled our best…

 and then didn’t.
 And everyone got something they wanted.

Thank you Grandma K for my polar bear, who is now named Jaime.
We shocked Ben by getting an Xbox, which he has been requesting for over a year.

How were your holidays?

One Thousand Gifts 1.3.12

175. early morning quiet
176. fireplace on a cold day
177. chance meetings at the grocery store (thanks for chatting, Stacey)
178. lunch with three of my favorite ladies after being cooped up in my house for ten days
179. returning home to a home mostly un-decorated.  I love to decorate for Christmas.  My husband loves to put it away.  Or maybe he just loves me that much.  Anyway, he always leads the charge in getting stuff put away and I love it.
180. reading aloud:  him to me, me to him

Christmas pictures to come. 🙂

Winter Beauty

The neighborhood is still coated today, but the sun came peeking out this morning to play off the glassy branches.
The birds came out this morning, too.  The following pictures were all taken in the span of five minutes….
you can see the sad state of our birdfeeder after the ice storm.  I went out and set it to rights this morning.
You can see Mrs. Bluebird in the shadow here.  This was the first morning I’d seen the pair.  I hope they stay and raise their kids here.

School Days Coat

The recent snowstorm here in Charlotte gives me the perfect opportunity to show you what I spent many a late night in December making:  The Oliver & S Schooldays Coat.

After reading Amy’s post on how she sews a coat for her daughters each fall, I decided that a coat would be a better investment of my time instead of making a Christmas dress that might see one or two days’ use.

I wanted to do wool, so off to Mary Jo’s I went one Saturday to fall in love with this plaid.  PLAID.  It must be matched.  I temporarily lost my mind in choosing this for the most complex sewing project I’ve ever attempted.  But now that it’s done, I love it!  It is fully lined and has a detachable insulated jacket inside for extra warmth.

The goal of keeping this little girl warm made me press on and get it done in good time.

This was my first time working with an Oliver & S pattern and I highly recommend them.  The pieces came together beautifully and the directions were wonderfully specific.

Christmas Week Pictures