Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

Homespun Holiday January 12, 2012

What a wonderful, blessed Christmas we had!  Here are some of the highlights:

I scored this beautiful tree on black friday- next best thing to a real one, most people couldn’t tell it was fake!

The REAL garland to give the home a piney smell.  Also scored on black friday!

Ara and James loved the tree this year.  The ornaments were never in the same place and we had quite a few bite the dust, unfortunately.

Our first fire in the fireplace 🙂

Ara and I strung cranberries to make garland and then juiced the rest.

This year we did quite a bit of holiday baking!

Peppermint Bark chilling in the fridge

Baking Maple Granola for gifts…

Along with 6 dozen cookies: 3 dozen chocolate chip and 3 dozen toffee crunch

Packaged and ready to go and one left for Paul and I to munch on…

We took the kids to see the Christmas train display

Made gifts for our family…

…started to knit the kids stockings… and then decided to let that go this year, maybe next.

What a sweet Christmas it was!  Quiet, no places to rush off to, celebrating with family and friends the birth of our Lord.

So grateful for the blessing of God’s Son sent to earth and the blessings He continues to send everyday.

I hope you and your family had a very blessed Christmas as well!

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My Ugly Heart December 6, 2011

  • (DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea how those bullets down the side got there or how to remove them.  SORRY!)
  • photo found at rachelgoode.blogspot.com

  • The Christmas season has a way of revealing to me what a sinner I am.  Fitting, since the holiday is a celebration of my Savior’s birth, but humbling none the less.
  • Every year around this time I get bit by the bug.  A bug so rampant, I’m thinking it needs to be added to the strains of illnesses included in the flu season records.  As a helpful guide, I am including a list of symptoms.  You may have the Christmas bug if:
  • 1. As you are shopping through Target, every toy you pass you imagine being opened Christmas morning by your child with a huge smile on their face, accompanied by the exclamation, “I love it!  You are the best Mother in the whole world!”
  • 2. The words “Honey, we bought each other a house (or insert needed appliance, car repair, or plumbing job here) for Christmas, let’s not exchange gifts this year” make your heart drop with sadness no matter how right they are.
  • 3. Your store daydreams change from #1 symptom to imagining your child unwrapping the boring things like underwear that they really need but don’t want with a disappointed look on their face, accompanied by the proclamation, “This is the WORST Christmas ever!”  (you only think that’s an exaggeration- I have a very dramatic little 5 year old.)
  • 4.  You start wondering how kids during the great depression didn’t break their parent’s hearts after opening their one and only gift- an orange which was a rare treat to them.
  • 5.  You realize now, more than ever, you are much more materialistic then you ever imagined…
  • Treatment for the Christmas bug includes a hefty dosage of reality:
  • 1. Your child doesn’t need every toy in the store, in fact they are undoubtedly better off without it and so are you.  Not to mention, as the years pass, their enthusiasm for gifts drastically reduces and last year we were horrified to hear the dreaded phrase, “what else did you get me?” escape our child’s lips more than once.  “Where did we go wrong?”, we asked ourselves.  After all, we had been careful not to make Christmas about the presents…or so we thought.  We didn’t “do” Santa, we limit our gift giving to a few special items per child, we read “The Three Gifts of Christmas”  leading up to the holiday, we even tried no gifts on Christmas day one year opening them on Christmas Eve instead so all of Christmas day could be focused on Christ’s birth.  How did we end up with such greediness coming from our children? Perhaps the first dose of medicine I needed to swallow was the reality that my children get the Christmas bug too.  Whats worse?  They caught it from me.  MODEL CONTENTMENT!
  • 2.The house, furnace. dishwasher, new axles for the car, toilet repair, you name it was a BLESSING!  And despite the little pang in your heart that tells you otherwise, it is enough.  Gather friends and family in that gift of a home.  Warm bodies from that furnace mean warm hearts snuggled in their beds on Christmas Eve.  Dishes covered in food being loaded in the dishwasher make me grateful when I think back on six years without one and thankful that food was on those dishes around the table where my family joins together to eat.  Whatever you may have inserted in that blank, whether a car repair which enables you to travel and see loved ones or even the fixed toilet that saves your ears from the constant sound of it running-  GIVE THANKS!

  • 3. When needs are met, whether through Christmas or any other time of the year, teach your children to praise God!  “Kids you know you needed new underwear, don’t tell me you didn’t notice the holes in yours and no- holiness isn’t a good thing when it comes to underwear.  Praise God!  He provided you with new underwear this Christmas!”  CHOOSE JOY!

  • 4. Oranges DO make great stocking-stuffers.  Throw in a ziplock baggie of cloves and let your kids decorate them to make pomanders for your Christmas table centerpiece.  BE CREATIVE!

  • 5. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change your heart about Christmas.  Pray that He would take your greed, selfishness, and desire to please anyone but our Savior.  Pray that He would transform your family through the power of His love and that we would all be awestruck by the wonder of His glory!  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Ara and James at the Christmas Tree

My dear friends, that truly is “All I Want For Christmas”…  for God to take my ugly heart and give me one washed clean by His blood.  Hallelujah, HE DID!  And that is the reason for the season!
 

Blog Meme? ::right now:: May 30, 2011

Filed under: Family,Home,Seasons — Jen @ 4:56 pm
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DISCLAIMER- I might be stealing, if I am, I am ever so sorry.  In my blog surfing, several times I have come across what I believe is a blog meme called “::right now::”  It is a simple structured blog post to give readers a peek into your day using action words to describe “right now”.  Because I am not sure what blog it originated with, I am most likely not giving adequate “hosting credit” to it and so I apologize for the lack of online etiquette.  I believe it is a Monday Meme and today I found it on SouleMama.

::right now::

My Nature Girl

right now I am…

::wondering if taking a family hike today was such a good idea at 27 weeks pregnant with twins.  (going into the trail downhill, was much easier than coming out uphill and my balance was, lets just say, not so good)

::marveling at how much older my little girl seems everyday and the paradox that is her selective gift of being aware of details.  (how is the same girl who spies a camouflaged snail under a log on the side of a hiking trail not able to find her bright magenta flowered play boots daily when they are in the same place every time?)

::feeling large 🙂

::smelling the lingering smell of turkey bacon coming from the kitchen which reminds me of Grandma H’s house.

::thanking my parents for a very generous babies gift in the form of a new dryer that won’t take three cycles to dry clothes (going to be a life saver with three little ones in cloth diapers!)

::enjoying having spent the weekend with family and friends and having my sister home for summer break.

::looking forward to celebrating 6 years of marriage with my love this week!

::wishing you a blessed Memorial day with loved ones!

 

Creek Explorers May 27, 2011

Filed under: Family,Seasons — Jen @ 3:15 pm
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Big Sugar Creek, Cuivre River State Park

Today we took the kids to the creek at Cuivre River State Park.  What a blessing to watch the delight on my children’s faces as they discovered sparkly rocks, the grainy texture of mud and sand between their toes and the blissful child-like ability they have to forge right into freezing creek waters giggling and squealing with joy as their not so child-like parents gingerly dip one toe in and recoil at the icy temperature.  My husband was all consumed by the fossils he was finding, mostly plant fossils.  Aralyn was “watering the rock bank with liquid gold” which she dispensed from her pink flowered watering can, red cowboy hat placed jauntily on top of her head to protect it from ticks and James was content to sit right on a pile of rocks putting one after another into a big yellow sand pail, announcing each time, “here-go!”.  After quite some time was spent pouring gold over the rocks, Ara and I hunted for smooth ones that would make good rock pets to paint and a few for our nature scape centerpiece (which probably means I should clear off the kitchen table to properly display it 🙂 ) We ended our adventure by exploring a fallen, hollowed out tree trunk as wide as the play tubes at McDonald’s but with much less ugly bright plastic and absolutely no static electricity!  It was exciting to come across the rock nest some other explorer’s had left behind inside the trunk for us to find!

As for now, we are all back home, stripped of wet muddy clothes and cuddled into fresh dry ones.  Exhausted, happy and carrying the faint scent of outdoors mixed with sunscreen as we crash into beds for naps.  I may just take one too- the sun has a way of making me happily tired like Thanksgiving turkey.

*NOTE- a quick house update: I hadn’t posted in a while as thing have been a little crazy here navigating the loss of a house we were under contract and supposed to close on, finding a new house we are currently under contract for and living out of boxes.  I’ll try to keep you posted!

*NOTE- a quick twin update:  The girls are 27 weeks along and doing great!   We had an ultrasound last week and they are growing right on target and kicking me up (and each other) in the process.

 

Happy Good Friday April 10, 2009

Filed under: Seasons — Jen @ 3:25 pm
Tags:

and have a very happy Easter!

Check my other blog this Monday for a belated Easter Dress/Bonnet Parade of cute kiddos in cute dresses or pictures of the dresses that were hand sewn by their Mama’s.
NOTE: If you have a picture to contribute of your child in their Easter Array or a picture of the dress (or suit for boys) that you made that you want included in the virtual parade- send the pics to me at weepingcherries@live.com by midnight Sunday evening.

 

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! March 17, 2009

Filed under: Seasons — Jen @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,

st-patricks-day-card-28Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Here is a brief history of the holiday found at Christianity Today with vintage St. Patrick’s Day Postcards that I love intermixed. For the full write up go here.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Saint Patrick’s Day!

Christian History of St. Patrick’s Day

Patricius, better known as Patrick, is remembered today as the saint who drove the snakes out of Ireland, the teacher who used the shamrock to explain the Trinity, and the namesake of annual parades in New York and Boston. What is less well-known is that Patrick was a humble missionary (this saint regularly referred to himself as “a sinner”) of enormous courage. When he evangelized Ireland, he set in motion a series of events that impacted all of Europe. It all started when he was carried off into slavery around 430.

childrens-st-patricks-day

Escape from sin and slavery

Patrick was sold to a cruel warrior chief, whose opponents’ heads sat atop sharp poles around his palisade in Northern Ireland. While Patrick minded his master’s pigs in the nearby hills, he lived like an animal himself, enduring long bouts of hunger and thirst. Worst of all, he was isolated from other human beings for months at a time. Early missionaries to Britain had left a legacy of Christianity that young Patrick was exposed to and took with him into captivity. He had been a nominal Christian to this point; he now turned to the Christian God of his fathers for comfort.

“I would pray constantly during the daylight hours,” he later recalled. “The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more. And faith grew. And the spirit roused so that in one day I would say as many as a hundred prayers, and at night only slightly less.”

After six years of slavery, Patrick received a supernatural message. “You do well to fast,” a mysterious voice said to him. “Soon you will return to your homeland.”

Before long, the voice spoke again: “Come and see, your ship is waiting for you.” So Patrick fled and ran 200 miles to a southeastern harbor. There he boarded a ship of traders, probably carrying Irish wolfhounds to the European continent.

After a three-day journey, the men landed in Gaul (modern France), where they found only devastation. Goths or Vandals had so decimated the land that no food was to be found in the once fertile area.

“What have you to say for yourself, Christian?” the ship’s captain taunted. “You boast that your God is all powerful. We’re starving to death, and we may not survive to see another soul.”

Patrick answered confidently. “Nothing is impossible to God. Turn to him and he will send us food for our journey.”

At that moment, a herd of pigs appeared, “seeming to block our path.” Though Patrick instantly became “well regarded in their eyes,” his companions offered their new-found food in sacrifice to their pagan gods.

Patrick did not partake.

happy-st-patricks-day

The prodigious son returns

Many scholars believe Patrick then spent a period training for ministry in Lerins, an island off the south of France near Cannes. But his autobiographical Confession includes a huge gap after his escape from Ireland. When it picks up again “after a few years,” he is back in Britain with his family.

It was there that Patrick received his call to evangelize Ireland—a vision like the apostle Paul’s at Troas, when a Macedonian man pleaded, “Help us!”

“I had a vision in my dreams of a man who seemed to come from Ireland,” Patrick wrote. “His name was Victoricius, and he carried countless letters, one of which he handed over to me. I read aloud where it began: ‘The Voice of the Irish.’ And as I began to read these words, I seemed to hear the voice of the same men who lived beside the forest of Foclut … and they cried out as with one voice, ‘We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.’ I was deeply moved in heart and I could read no further, so I awoke.”

Despite his reputation, Patrick wasn’t really the first to bring Christianity to Ireland. Pope Celestine I sent a bishop named Palladius to the island in 431 (about the time Patrick was captured as a slave). Some scholars believe that Palladius and Patrick are one and the same individual, but most believe Palladius was unsuccessful (possibly martyred) and Patrick was sent in his place.

In any event, paganism was still dominant when Patrick arrived on the other side of the Irish Sea. “I dwell among gentiles,” he wrote, “in the midst of pagan barbarians, worshipers of idols, and of unclean things.”

st-patricks-day

Royal missionary

Patrick concentrated the bulk of his missionary efforts on the country’s one hundred or so tribal kings. If the king became a Christian, he reasoned, the people would too. This strategy was a success.

As kings converted, they gave their sons to Patrick in an old Irish custom for educating and “fostering” (Patrick, for his part, held up his end by distributing gifts to these kings). Eventually, the sons and daughters of the Irish were persuaded to become monks and nuns.

From kingdom to kingdom (Ireland did not yet have towns), Patrick worked much the same way. Once he converted a number of pagans, he built a church. One of his new disciples would be ordained as a deacon, priest, or bishop, and left in charge. If the chieftain had been gracious enough to grant a site for a monastery as well as a church, it was built too and functioned as a missionary station.

Before departing, Patrick gave the new converts (or their pastors) a compendium of Christian doctrine and the canons (rules).

st-patricks-day

Self doubt

Despite his success as a missionary, Patrick was self-conscious, especially about his educational background. “I still blush and fear more than anything to have my lack of learning brought out into the open,” he wrote in his Confession. “For I am unable to explain my mind to learned people.”

Nevertheless, he gives thanks to God, “who stirred up me, a fool, from the midst of those who are considered wise and learned in the practice of the law as well as persuasive in their speech and in every other way and ahead of these others, inspired me who is so despised by the world.”

Over and over again, Patrick wrote that he was not worthy to be a bishop. He wasn’t the only one with doubts. At one point, his ecclesiastical elders in Britain sent a deputation to investigate his mission. A number of concerns were brought up, including a rash moment of (unspecified) sin from his youth.

His Confession, in fact, was written in response to this investigation. Reeling from accusations, Patrick drew strength from God: “Indeed he bore me up, though I was trampled underfoot in such a way. For although I was put down and shamed, not too much harm came to me.”

If Patrick was not confident about his own shortcomings, he held a deep sense of God’s intimate involvement in his life. “I have known God as my authority, for he knows all things even before they are done,” he wrote. “He would frequently forewarn me of many things by his divine response.”

Indeed, Patrick recorded eight dreams he regarded as personal messages from God. And scattered throughout his Confession are tributes to God’s goodness to him: “Tirelessly, I thank my God, who kept me faithful on the day I was tried, so that today I might offer to him, the Lord Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of my soul. He saved me in all dangers and perils . …So, whatever may come my way, good or bad, I equally tackle it, always giving thanks to God.”

According to the Irish annals, Patrick died in 493, when he would have been in his seventies. But we do not know for sure when, where, or how he died. Monasteries at Armagh, Downpatrick, and Saul have all claimed his remains. His feast day is recorded as early as March 17, 797, with the annotation; “The flame of a splendid sun, the apostle of virginal Erin [Ireland], may Patrick with many thousands be the shelter of our wickedness.”

saint-patricks-day

Ultimate model

It is difficult to separate fact from fiction in the stories of Patrick’s biographers. It is historically clear, however, that Patrick was one of the first great missionaries who brought the gospel beyond the boundaries of Roman civilization. According to tradition, he had established bishops throughout northern, central, and eastern Ireland. Only Munster, in the south, was to remain pagan until a century after Patrick’s death.

Patrick was the ultimate model for Celtic Christians. He engaged in continuous prayer. He was enraptured by God and loved sacred Scripture. He also had a rich poetic imagination with the openness to hear God in dreams and visions and a love of nature and the created.

He is, then, most worthy of the appellation saint, as one “set apart” for a divine mission. As such, he became an inspiring example. Hundreds of Celtic monks, in emulation of Patrick, left their homeland to spread the gospel to Scotland, England, and continental Europe.

For FREE vintage St. Patrick’s Day tags go HERE.

 

I Am About Ready For This: January 18, 2009

Filed under: Seasons — Jen @ 6:51 pm
Tags: , ,

spring4

and this…

spring

and this…

spring2

and this…

winterspring

and this..

spring3

January kind of does that to me.

I have this same problem every year, around this time I start to feel restless.  I think I made it until February last year before feeling this way.  Let me check the archives.   Yep, see here?  and here? and here?  February.

When does Spring Fever hit your family?