Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

Here's a little peek into our Christmas in pictures.  Only three month into our new life here, all in all, it was a really sweet celebration for us this year.  We had lunch with friends on Christmas Eve, and then made it to the candlelight service at the international fellowship that evening.  Christmas Day was wonderfully low-key with no fixed plans and a few calls home to talk with family.

It was not without a few hiccups though.  I glanced at my phone around 2am on Christmas morning, because Asher had a fever that night and sleep was a bit restless.  My sister texted to let me know that my Dad, who's hardly been sick a day in his life, passed out at Christmas Eve dinner.  They had to take him to the hospital in an ambulance, the Christmas Eve dinner still warm on the table and the gifts for my nieces unopened under the tree.  It's always hard to be away at Christmas, but reading messages like that is not the moment when you particularly want to be oceans away.

Thankfully, it was the flu and dehydration, not something worse.  Hopefully, he'll be on the mend quickly. (We love you, PopPop!)

The lighter news is, the kids slept later than usual and Asher's fever disappeared when he saw the presents under the tree.  The favorite gifts this year were a big box of Legos for Jude, a Lightening McQueen remote control car for Silas and a little train set for Asher.

Here's a glimpse into the fun:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas past

I often use this blog as a sort of family scrapbook.  The other day I was scrolling through Decembers past.  I can hardly believe that this is my ninth Christmas to write in this little space! Life sure looks different these days than it did when I first started!!! 

Some truths just sink deeper as the years go by though.  These words, originally written after my parents had come for a visit in India, hit me fresh again this year.  

Originally posted on December 17, 2012

We've been in the depths around here. Watching grandparents fly away takes a little recovery time.  By Sunday, we were spent.  What on earth are we doing living on the far side of the sea? Our faith in the unseen was waning.  So we decided to forgo our weekly jaunt to the local, native speaking church and drive across town to the international one.  There's just something about singing carols in your mother tongue that does the heart good.  

In preparation for Christmas, a few brief words ran across the monitor that pointed to the incarnation of Christ.  God sent His Presence among us in Jesus. He came. Born in a lowly manger.  He lived here, in the dust and dirt.  From what we read in Scripture, there were long years of his life that were lived in ordinary, daily life.  There isn't a record of a childhood filled with healing or raising the dead.  the star in the East had come and gone.  The wise men returned to their homes.  He grew in wisdom and stature.  And yet, he was living in perfect obedience to God.  He was fulfilling every line of the law.  

There are days, and perhaps there will be long years, when things in my world seem a bit too ordinary.  The mundane creeping along jars my arrogant wish for something grander.  Christmas is a beautiful reminder to me of how God blesses the common.  Christ entered into life here, the humble and the ordinary.  He, who had seen what our minds could never even imagine, grew in the quietness of daily life until God's appointed time.  The humble acceptance of such a life by One whose very essence merits unutterable praise and glory is startling.  
God became man and dwelt among us. 

These are the words I'm treasuring up today.  May they sink into your spirit as well as you walk through this season. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tossa Del Mar

We took a road trip on Saturday to a region known as Costa Brava.  It's known for it's beautiful wild landscape of rocky cliffs meeting the Mediterranean Sea.  We were not disappointed.  The wind on the climb up was freezing, but once we made it to the little cafe on top, it was pretty pleasant.  It was worth the cold, to explore in the quietness of the winter season without a lot of other adventurers around.  Definitely a favorite day for all of us!

The Arc & Parc de la Ciutadella

My parents are gone.  This never gets easier.  It's always sad.  And I am grateful for the sadness that comes with really loving.  Gratitude is becoming my practice in these departure days.  Recounting the moments that were graciously given, and giving thanks for them.  It is the best way forward.  

Since I've been having too much fun to show you all the pics, I'll post them up today while I have a few minutes. In just one hour, I'll be back in the grip of language class and vacation will be officially over! 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Shopping

I think I may have failed to mention that the shopping in my new 'hood is out of control.  I can literally walk 10 minutes and feel like I stepped onto 5th Avenue in NYC.  I would never qualify myself as a big shopper.  In fact, I wouldn't list it in my main hobbies at all.  But, I do enjoy a good browse every now and then.  Today I hit Passeig de Gracia with my mom.

It was soooooo fun.

And just to give you a peek at the kind of creativity before my eyes every time I step out my door, this little window display is at the nearby seamstress.  Possibly my favorite of all time? I wish I could wear a tree skirt.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Sagrada Familia

We went inside Gaudi's famous Sagrada Familia today.  What an artist.  I'm still trying to take it in.  Here are just a few pictures. This is the kind of place that cannot be captured.  All, dedicated to the glory of God.  What an act of worship.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Santa NanNan

My parents are here. And we are loving it!

When Jude was little, he referred to my mom as "Santa NanNan" at Christmastime.  She lived up to her reputation on this visit for sure.  We had our family Christmas this weekend and the boys toy boxes are full. They are loving all these extra hands to hold and extra sweets to eat. (PopPop is know for his ice cream purchasing skills:)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Video Home Tour, finally

My parents flew in today! So our hearts are happy and my house is as clean it will probably be for a long while.  I thought I'd take the opportunity to give you that long promised home tour.  


Come visit!!!! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Today is a national holiday.  Between language class and an epic required driving course on the weekends, hubs has been in a work marathon for about two weeks now. We took the opportunity to head up the mountain just behind the city.  It took us about 20 minutes to get to a paved trail that was covered with locals, full of mountain bikers, hikers, runners, families and little side trails worth a ramble.

Let's stop here.

After years of living in a city where we hiked up a big rock behind a slum to give the boys a bit of "outdoor adventure," this is a dream come true. The ocean is in front of us, the mountains are behind us.  I don't think I'll stop talking about how amazing that is...ever.  This is one crazy beautiful place.  And while I do miss India.  I miss it a lot. I don't lament this change of scenery one bit.

Speaking of scenery, here you go!

Friday, December 2, 2016

merry and bright

I mean, if I had planned to put him in a Christmas sweater and find a red Vespa, my chances for this cuteness would have been like one in a million, right?

But there we were, walking down a deserted street with a bright red Vespa just beckoning to him. Of course, when I suggested he sit on down and pose for me, he was all, "The moment is over, Mom."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 1

It's December!

I tried to read the boys the Christmas story at lunch today.  Asher ripped the advent calendar down, threw all the pieces on the ground and tried to snatch the book away from me. When none of those tactics worked, he took off his freshly filled diaper in the middle of the kitchen.

Needless to say, we didn't make it past the entrance of the wise men.

I bet the candle lighting will go really smoothly tonight.

If you are looking for something to help guide you through the season, I highly recommend Ann Voskamp's The Greatest Gift.  This is my quiet moment for stepping away from all the diaper throwing and remembering the story.

With the kids, candle lighting is a favorite in our house.  (Voskamp has a beautiful children's addition, but my honest mom-opinion is that it's not really a good fit for kids under 8. Obviously, we're not yet in that category.)

We'll probably pull the Scripture readings and read a few thoughts from John Piper's Good News of Great Joy this year with the boys.  It's available as a free download here. 

You probably already know this, but in case you don't: there is a new Christy Nockels album.  The Thrill of Hope is so worth your ears if you are looking for a few new Christmas songs this year.

I love advent, the remembering of that long wait for the Messiah.  Enjoy the waiting.

The hopeful expectation of promises made by the unshakable, always faithful Promise Keeper.