Thursday, December 29, 2011

Norwegian kjøttkaker

Yesterday we enjoyed Norwegian holiday dinning with Esther's cousins from Tacoma and Norway. Anna and Touren put on a scandinavian feast with kjøttkaker (meat cakes) as the main dish. Uncle George and Aunt Kirstin were also there along with Mike and Marti's family. It was good to catch up with the Norwegian family news. Esther has two uncles and an aunt still living in Norway, all in their nineties. (and with sharp minds :)) Anna gave me some tips and encouragement for my upcoming marathon as she ran the Seattle Rock-n-Roll this summer.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

After listening to Esther lament the school district's schedule for this year's late vacation dismissal, the holiday burst upon us with Bjorn. Jenny and the girls coming to Southworth Wednesday night. We enjoyed a couple of days with our granddaughters (and their parents) until Markus and Steph joined us for a gift exchange Friday night. Ada loved helping everyone open their gifts. Bjorn and Jenny left Saturday morning for Oregon and we enjoyed a relatively quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with Markus and Steph. A couple of trips to the church helped give the sacred feel. We ate at a Thai restaurant in Gig Harbor on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, Ellen joined us and we made the trek up to Lynden. We met Jack, Sue and Rebecca at the Courtyard to visit Mom. It was a bit shocking as we had not seen her since she started her violent coughing. Whenever she tries to talk, she explodes with a forced cough. It is very hard to watch, but it was good to be there with my sisters as we sang carols to her. Christmas dinner was excellent as usual at Mike and Marti's. On Monday we enjoyed the reception for Brian and Kate and the Bulthuis gathering at Aaron and Jenn's. We are back in Southworth for a few days with Ellen before another trip to Lynden for the New Year.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Calvinistic Christmas Lights?

Over the years I have taken a lot of teasing about my roofline Christmas lights. Some have dubbed my straight white lights, ‘the Dutchman lights.’ But this week I heard a new one. A friend came over for our weekly small group, and called them ‘the Calvinistic Lights.’ He proceeded to say they were straight and predictable. You can analyze them any way you want, but that’s the way I like them. And since I am the one bundled up battling the freezing north breeze, pounding in my reused galvanized nails, I’ll put them up the way I like them.
Speaking of Calvinistic, we have been making a big deal about our Jesse Tree tradition this year. Bjorn and Jenny took up the practice using our family set of ornaments. This past week Esther shared the tradition at a ladies meeting, and we indulged a little Jesse sprouting in small group. For those of you unfamiliar with the Jesse Tree, it is much the same as an Advent calendar. Daily Bible readings trace the promise and foreshadowing of the coming of Christ. An ornament corresponds to the daily reading and it is added to the branch each day. We find that it is a wonderful way to remind ourselves of the amazing plan that God has to save the world, and how it all culminates with the coming Messiah. If you are interested in more resources about the Jesse Tree, Ann Voskamp has a nice download on her blog. Another site that has good children devotionals and provocative parent devotions is here.