Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Thrifty Transformation

Times are tight as the hubs looks for another j.o.b. In the meantime, we're trying to make end's meat and sadly decided to forego the wonderful-fill-the-whole-house-up-with-the-smell-of-Christmas-live-tree. When I pulled this bargain bin artificial tree out of the attic and opened the box, I nearly cried. It's puny and pitiful. I think even Charlie Brown's tree was better.

So, here's the 'before' shot of the pitiful tree with the star frowning:

Here's a trick I learned a few years ago at my brother in law's Christmas wedding watching the florist at work. I simply walked out to the back yard, clipped some cedar branches as my daughter gathered pine needle bundles that had fallen and brought them in to stuff into the bare spots. A few minutes and ornaments later and wallah:

A not so pathetic tree!

[the minus-one arm] nutcracker [whose missing arm is floating around in a toy bin somewhere] in the artificial greenery that I also jazzed up with some pine

I kept it simple, and while it may not be catalog worthy, it made our home cozy and warm and ready to welcome Christmas into our needy souls.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In the Sunshine, the Rain....and Even in the Snow

(inspired by Monet, these are my photos taken this morning at different hours from our friends' bedroom window)

I am in Prague, Czech Republic! After a heartbreaking, spiritually oppressed season, I feel God lifting us out of the ashes of brokenness and hurt. What a glorious gift for God to send us here for a respite, fellowship with friends, being reminded of what it means to work for His kingdom-not trying to build our own.

Talking with church staff here about joining them in Prague is good- whether we're called here with them or just called for inspiration- it is good. Feeling the snow on my face and inches, several inches, underfoot FEELS good. Even hearing birds native to the Czech Republic who have different sounds than the ones at home reminds me to breathe, to feel, to listen.... My spirit and my senses are awakened to the possibilities of God, the One who made all this, the One who entered me (and you) into His plan.

Being a foreigner for the first time, helped in the airport by a kind French worker, being asked if I'd ordered a gingerbread latte in the Czech language at Starbucks and blankly staring at the barista, not understanding a word, made me feel a good way. Being so out of the realm of all that I know is helping me to see how big our God is and most importantly how personal He is in light of that bigness.

Through so many circumstances leading up to coming here I was reminded- I could almost hear His whisper - "I am in control of it all, even and especially the details." From the speed of cheerful givers purchasing the plane tickets, the smooth expedition of my passport, and most significantly how we-being the last to board the flight out of Paris because our plane from Cincinnati was landing while the next was boarding- actually making it onto the flight, He lined up every detail from the first to the last.

He is telling me to remember that I am His and though, yes, it was He too who brought me through the this very difficult year (and most likely will again), He is ever present. Christ is my hope, my future. He is King Jesus, the God of the Sunshine and the Rain (and in Praha - the Snow).