Chase Fireflies

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The Castle Winter Retreat 09-10

The Castle

Bags are packed.  Kids are psyched.  Amazing husband is stressed.

Headed to our annual Castle retreat today – a gargantuan old mansion hidden up north- to hang out with a bunch of teenagers, college students, helpers.  We’ll be there through Sunday.

Would love your prayer for:

1.  Students to find Christ, community, healing, freedom.
2.  Safety travelling for all.  (I am commuting Fri/Sat due to work obligations- huge bummer.)
3.  Everyone to have a blast. 
4.  Paul to have wisdom.  Tom to clearly communicate God’s heart.   Counselors to build
      relationships, be authentic, point to Christ.  Worship to inspire, encourage, challenge, love.

My responsibilities this year include taking care of our kids, hanging out with students, praying, and getting some good air in improv sack chair flying.  I’ve got it made. 

Thanks for praying, guys. 

Much Love and Happy New Year!!!!!  Whohoo!

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Taking, Breathtaking

Its siren jolts me out of my drool and I silence it.  Just five more.

But the alarm assails again and the squirrels from my dreams get freaked up the tree.   So I add five and five to ten and ten till the numbers no longer add in my favor.

I sit up and put feet to the carpet.  I feel old today, creakier, fatigued.  I’m mad at myself for staying up late.  The circles under my eyes are like craters, deep and dark.  I am holding out hope for a shower.  There may still be time. 

I open the linen closet for a towel and it creaks loudly.  Both children hear it from their beds.  Man…  There goes the shower.  Red Sox hat will have to do, again.  Thank God for sweet husband, who prefers the natural athletic look (albeit reeky.)

Little Man cries my name in frustration already.   He’s his morning momma’s boy, grouchy and irritable – throwing out needs that I’m not ready to catch yet.   “Baseball bat is?”  “Eat.”  “Wear shirt with seven on back.”  (It’s a three.)

And then there’s Beautiful, jumping out of bed, as the sun on caffeine might.  The girl is happier than even the sun.  She pilgrimages to the potty and needs toilet paper.  

In the bathroom, I wait for her to finish.  Her eyes are bright, alive with curiosity.  “Mommy, why do you have your jammies on today?  What’s for breakfast?  Can we make French toast together?  Do you have eggs and vanilla?  We could pour the syrup we made!  What else can we do?  Is it too cold for a walk?  Maybe we can do a show!” 

Her questions make me smile.  She is vibrant and happy and awake to wonders.  There is no such thing as ordinary, drudgery.  Her morning is alive with possibility, imagination, song, questions.  Beauty finds itself in every inquiry, in every pour of syrup, in every walk in the sun or in the rain.  It is her morning to grab with anticipation.

 No, it is ours. 

This will not be a perfect day.  There will be bills and bad news and a burned casserole, a mommy who stinks and a little guy prone to disaster. 

But this is a new day.  A new day for discovering bugs under rocks and falling down makes you cry and a Daddy’s hug is the best thing coming.  This is our day for feeling life – every tear, smile, discovery, and question – the whole of it. 

Our day for the taking and the breathtaking. 

It’s a new day and I will choose not to sleep through this one.  Better go brew a coffee to keep up with the sun.


Peanut Butter Cup Secrets (Favorite Christmas Cookie Ever)

These cookies are incredible – worth every extra step on the treadmill.  They are also super easy and quick for kids to make (even really little people.)  Our kids had a blast opening the wrappers, dumping ingredients, and rolling balls with the dough.  It kept them quite busy and there were no casualties to speak of. 

The same could not be said for these no-bake Santa Cookies and these Traditional Sugar Cookies.  Both recipes were great for our 4 year old, but a nightmare for the 2 year old Little Man.  We had a burned finger in the white melted chocolate, sprinkles all over the house (oh what a 2 year old boy will do!), and crying over the length of the cookie making process. 

Peanut Butter Cup Secrets Recipe:
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
45 peanut butter cups

1 tsp shortening
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease cookie sheet.  Combine shortening, brown sugar, sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed until well blended.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Mix into creamed mixture at low speed until blended. 

Form rounded teaspoonfuls of dough around each peanut butter cup.  Enclose entirely.  Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until just browned.  Remove immediately to a wire rack.

For glaze:  Combing shortening, chocolate chips, and peanut butter in microwave.  Microwave at 50%.  Stir after 1 minute and repeat until smooth.  Dip cookie tops in glaze. 

Got any favorite Christmas Cookies of your own?  Any suggestions for Christmas Cookies that kids can make (without drama)? 

If you’re still looking for a last minute Christmas Cookie recipe, head to What Megan’s Making for her 12 Days of Christmas series.  She’s also got some great recipes up for Christmas morning breakfast, including Gingerbread pancakes.  They look so good!


I Have No Idea What Was in that Tea

Besides waging in – let’s get sick – wars:
1st Adden
then Selah
then one too many rebuttals from Adden
We had a fantastic trip to RI, complete with:
Scrod from Twin Oaks
LaSalette light displays
A 24 degree carousel ride
Talking with my Dad
Boppie’s stories
PC Basketball
Shopping with my mom at Macy’s (she gets crazy discounts being an employee!)
And an elegant Newport Tea Party
Here are some pics from that latter. (She’s her momma’s girl!)


72 Wrens and She

She was beautiful in crimson. I was transfixed for a good ten, till I realized that this was strikingly odd behavior.

I was watching a bird.

You should have seen her though. Against the bleak winter deadwood, framed against white crisply fallen snow, she cascaded around with such elegance.

A bird.

Of course, there were other birds. Wrens, I think. Maybe 72 of them, swooping from the tree branches to the bird feeder. They made enough trips to the feeder that I wondered what was in those seeds. It’s a seed for crying out loud, but they didn’t seem to care. And they were noisy.

But my eyes weren’t on the wrens. Just on the cardinal.

Where ever she flew, my eyes tracked her. Amidst the barren trees and bushes, you could find her anywhere, dressed in scarlet. She was beautiful. Quiet, graceful, seemingly purposed. Not making a million trips back to the seed, not talking over the others.

Is this what God intended for his followers?

Including myself, I’m not so sure that we’re holding up our end of the bargain.

The world has been dodging us for quite sometime now, rolling their eyes, fuming over our hypocrisies. We’re in our own little world of bashing and propagating and belittling grace, with raised eyebrows and low whispers. We’re consumed with all that is not of Christ and it shows.

Sometimes the world takes up a cause better than we do. Sometimes people who could care less about Christ sure care more for others.

Take my dad, for instance. Best guy you’ll ever meet. Kind, thoughtful, hard-working, considerate, generous.

He’ll look homeless people in the eyes and listen. He’ll buy the office donuts and coffee. He treats cats like they’re queens. And he has never, ever, ever in the history of being my dad – said one harsh word to me.

Yet he does not claim to have a relationship with God.

Do you want to hear about some Christians I know? They’ll make you sick, but you know them too. On any given day, I am one of them. We’re 72 wrens. Everyone looking like the other, consumed with seed and noisy chatter. Forgetting that we’re covered in Another’s blood.

Forgetting that we were created to bring beauty to the deadwood.

This winter, may cardinals come out in droves.  May strangers see Christ and want to know more.  A plastic yard baby isn’t going to cut it, but maybe beauty and humility and joy might. Christ caused droves to follow Him.  Grown men climbed trees, tore apart a roof, and risked their identities for a cause greater than themselves.  There’s something to be said for that. 

He’s God with us and in us. And He’s painting the world in scarlet, even still.


We Come Like a Hurricane

We arrived in RI last night – by packed out minivan – to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with the Violets.

And this is what ensued:

First snow of the season.
Selah ripped off half of her nail in a filing cabinet.
Paul flooded my parents’ toilet.
Adden threw up all night long. (First time ever, I might add:)

Is this for real?

I am laughing now. (After the cleanup, a nap, a shower, and the impression that Adden just might be okay after all.)

Too funny. Here’s hoping for less drama the rest of the week:)


The Gospel, According to Nutcracker Guy

Once upon a time, an old Nutcracker got his arm amputated under a pile of Christmas decorations. His jaw met a similar fate – except this time, by the hands of a small boy – not by the name of Fritz, but Adden.

The Nutcracker, as you can imagine, looked rather pitiful, to say the least.

So in a fit of Christmas cleaning and goodwill to match the season, Frantic Mother suggested, “I think we should finally throw Mr. Nutcracker Guy away.”

This heartless statement was met with tears from the Little Girl, who clutched Broken Nutcracker Man even more closely than before.

“But Mommy, I love him.”

Still not getting it, Evil Mom replied, “But honey, he is very broken. He doesn’t look nice as a decoration anymore and he can’t crack nuts without a jaw.”

“But Mommy, He’s my Nutcracker and I love him. Even if he is broken, He is mine.”
At this point, Frantic Evil Mom stops the flurry of decorating and cruel remarks and looks into her daughter’s eyes. “You’re right, sweetheart. Don’t ever let Mommy throw Mr Nutcracker away. He has someone who loves him very much. And that’s what makes him special.”

Little Girl beams and runs away with a treasure.

Sometimes elements of the Gospel play out for us in our very homes.

That is, if we’re not too busy and frantic to notice.

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Just The Perfect Gift

It’s about that time of year when I shift into high Christmas crazy gear and go nuts.

What could be the perfect gift for that incredible someone?

I’ve been googling, racking my brain, whipping out any crafty in me, asking friends for suggestions, and stressing – till I stumbled on these words today.

Every good and perfect gift is from above,
Coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
Who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:16-17

Relax, Kristin. Remember all that you have in Christ.
Receive from Him first. Then give that away.

Geez…. that changes everything.