Sunday, November 27, 2016

Preparing Our Hearts

The First Sunday of Advent

Advent literally means "coming" and this time, these days before Christmas are days spent in preparation for the day in which we celebrate the day of Christ's birth, his first coming.  It is also time to think about and prepare for His second coming.
On this first Sunday of Advent we lit the first candle and read this meditation.

But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory...But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Keep alert; for you do not know when the time will the evening, or at midnight, or at dawn.  Keep awake.  (Mark 13:24-26, 32, 33, 35, 37, NRSV)

Such amazing things happen in the sky to herald the return of the Son of Man...
Jesus, coming in the clouds:
...the sun grows dark
  ...the moon doesn't shine
...and stars fall from the heavens

So different from the first coming more than 2000 years ago:
...with angels singing of God's glory and peace on earth
...with the single star guiding the way to the manger
...with shepherds and wise men - rich and poor - coming to worship

And so we watch, and wait, and stay alert, waiting again for the coming of Jesus.
And we light a single candle in preparation for that glorious day.

...And even if the sun should grow dark
...even if the moon refuses to shine
...even if the stars should fall from the sky
...we will have Jesus, the Light of the World, to shine brightly in our hearts, lighting our way.

So we are not just preparing our home but we are also preparing our hearts!

Lifestyle of Learning 2016 Edition: Volume Twenty-Seven

November 20 - 27

We recognized Stir Up Sunday by stirring up some hot chocolate mix, spiced tea mix and sugar cookie dough.
We watched closely our favorite football teams and our fantasy football teams.
Maceo had voice lessons.
Maceo attended preprofessional acting class.
Bishop went to his internship with a caterer/baker.  Among other things, he made compound butters and a filling for a German Chocolate Cake.
Bishop went to scouts where some basic organization of the scout closet and the next service project took place.  

The scouts also served the American Heritage Girls their snacks as a reward for having packed more OCC shoeboxes.  It was a friendly challenge that resulted in a total of 179 boxes being given to our charter church.

Maceo worked on A Christmas Story as an assistant director (3 hours)
Bishop and I had a great conversation that is hard to describe succinctly here as it covered a lot of territory but, among other things, we talked about the marginalization of other people; how the media covers or doesn't cover events both national and international and how that impacts the consciousness of the American people and how it molds the narratives, those things we spend the most time talking about; Russia's involvement in events in the Middle East presently; apartheid and the history of racism in South Africa and Australia.
Maceo attended troupe and teen players than had 2 1/2 hours of additional rehearsal in preparation for the upcoming holiday show.
Bishop went to a second day of internship.  He assembled and decorated a cake that will be donated, alongside a pie of made by the baker, to a charity.
Maceo took portions of a sample GED test learning his weaknesses and strengths.
Bishop spent the night with some friends and played some video games.
Maceo and Bishop researched vegetables and their vitamin content then walked to the store to buy some kale and such.
Bishop made a fabulous spicy spaghetti.
Maceo has been exercising in his room; I can hear the jumping jacks.
Of course we celebrated Thanksgiving.

We watched the parade and football.
Bishop prepared his Apple Hours for our Thanksgiving meal.

Maceo experienced Black Friday (actually Thanksgiving evening) with a friend.
Maceo watched Fantastic Beasts.
We learned that Fidel Castro died and took note of worldwide responses.
Bishop has been thinking and researching and thinking and developing and thinking about designing a game.
Maceo went to see the movie Moonlight.
Maceo began tech week as assistant director of A Christmas Story.

Still living and learning and loving it all!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Holiday Season Begins

The holiday season is upon us.
So my goal for this day is to begin making the transition from Autumn to Winter, from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
I have lit a fire and, probably for the final time, the Autumn candles and will incrementally remove the Thanksgiving decor while simultaneously putting up the Christmas decor in an incremental fashion.
The braided wheat piece was removed from the door and Bishop's Christmas wreath replaced it.  That wreath is traditionally the first Christmas decoration to be put into place.

We put up the Christmas tree.

We took a trip down memory lane.  We recalled all the life events that each ornament represented.  We recalled the time and place in which they were given or made.
These are some of the ornaments made throughout the years.
Bishop painted the snowman and Maceo made the little star.  My mom painted the donkey.
 Beneath the doggy ornament that commemorates Bishop getting his dog, Ladybird, is a peppermint swirl ornament that he made at a homeschool event at Wonders of Wildlife.
This one was made by a six year old Christian while he was in the first grade.
 Here is a star painted by Maceo...
and another one painted by Bishop. (This one is painted a very shiny metallic gold, so shiny you can't even tell).
 Keegan made this sweet angel in Sunday School in December 2000.  This one was gifted to a sixteen month old Maceo.  A second one was made for a baby Bishop who was still in the womb.  He didn't arrive in time for Christmas but he did arrive before Epiphany!
The red and green ornament was painted by one of the boys and the button snowflake was mede by Bishop in Sunday School.
 The bedazzled pinecone was made by Maceo at a library program.  Bishop made one as well.
Bishop created this masterpiece.
Christian made the Go Steelers ornament for Dad and the painted ornament behind it was made by Bishop.

I love our family tree, so full of memories!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

It's Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!!!
The air outside is crisp and the fireplace inside is crackling and warming up the house - it's Thanksgiving!
We sat in front of that fire and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade right to the end so that I could wave at Santa (yes, I know that he couldn't see me through the television but I can't help myself) - it's Thanksgiving!
We assembled the buffet that allows us to graze throughout the day until THE meal is ready - it's Thanksgiving!

A new recipe - brie, prosciutto, cranberry crostini with balsamic raspberry glaze.

More new recipes - pumpkin spice cream horns and ricotta and prosciutto on a sea salt cracker drizzled with honey.

And yet another new recipe - baked brie with raspberry jam.

Football was watched and cheered and booed - it's Thanksgiving!
The dessert buffet was assembled so that we could end our delicious dinner with a sweet treat - it's Thanksgiving!
Bishop's special recipe - Apple Hours.

And, of course, pumpkin pie.
The family around the table ready to talk and laugh and feast - it's Thanksgiving!
And, of course, the obligatory family photo around the table (they try to humor me, sort of) - it's Thanksgiving!

I love this day -  in case you didn't know, it's Thanksgiving, y'all!

And, because it is Thanksgiving I feel as though I need to leave you with something beautiful and thoughtful.  I have been listening to Art Garfunkel's version of Morning Has Broken lately and today it keeps playing over and over in my head.  The lyrics seem Thanksgiving - y to me.

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunglight
Mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise ev'ry morning
God's recreation of the new day

Morning has broken

It's Thanksgiving - Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!