Monday, November 30, 2009

Marriage Monday--Men and Christmas

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis

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This month, Marriage Monday prompted us to interview our husbands regarding their views of Christmas.  German obliged with answering the five questions.  I used four of the questions E-Mom posed to E-Dad but I changed question number four since German loves Christmas and is never "not into" the holiday ever.  So, without further adieu, here is my interview with German.

How would you describe your ideal Christmas? (we determined that this meant ideal Christmas season not just one day)
There would be plenty of time off or days with less pressure at work to get more into the mood of Christmas.  Second, there would be lots of time with family--just the four of us and with extended family too.  Third, we would be able to go out and do things like seasonal activities, movies, just walking and talking.  Really, the ideal is just being able to enjoy the whole thing and it not be a chore.

How do you think our expectations differ at Christmas?
I don't have any sense that they do.  We experience opening presents differently, but that is because of how we were brought up--and we expect the other to be different.

What are your thoughts on exchanging gifts?
I hope that this isn't read by lots of people who see all of Christmas gifts as evil! (I assured him it wasn't!)  I don't see anything wrong with giving gifts as long as the focus on the reason for the season is not lost.  Christmas is about showing love and thanks to family and that is why we exchange gifts.  If it happens to coincide with a season that the world likes to do it as well, that is great.

How does the fact that you grew up in a household with a totally secular Christmas impact how you do Christmas now?
Looking back there was no love in how we did Christmas, and there was definitely no mention of Jesus.  So I don't look back fondly at those non-Christian Christmases.  In fact, I can only remember one gift I ever received growing up and have no real Christmas memories.  We never had a real tree because it was messy.  [Christmas ended up being a hassle.]  Now that I know the reason for the season I look forward to Christmas because it is not just [hassle] but it is focusing on Jesus. 
NB:  This discussion continued for quite some time of  how to keep the focus on Jesus but also allow our girls to look back with fond memories when they are adults.

How do you focus on the deeper meaning of Christ's birth?
Christmas is a reminder that Jesus was born to save us because we are sinners.  It is good to have that reminder each year.

There you have it, a slice of Christmas thoughts from German's perspective.  If you would like to see what the other husbands are saying about Christmas, please join us at E-Mom's place.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

Although we live away from the US, Thanksgiving still remains my favourite holiday of the year. Maybe it is because it coincides with our wedding anniversary (14 years this week). Maybe it is all the family memories. Whatever the reason, this is the only time of the year I'm homesick.

We will be celebrating on Saturday, introducing British friends to the tradition. Whenever you celebrate, whomever you are with, I pray that your holiday is filled with feasting, fellowship and fun.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Other Words--Living Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words,
but to live by them.”

by ~ John F. Kennedy

Words are easy to say.  Backing up our words with our actions, now that is entirely different.  In the same way that I prefer my children not to apologize and then turn around and do the same thing again, my heavenly Father prefers that I not say one thing and then turn around and do the opposite.

Like saying I am thankful for German's job, then grumbling about the hours he has to work.
Or asserting that I am thankful for the food on the table, and being resentful that I have had to cook it and will have to clean up after the meal.
Or by paying lip service to how thankful I am for my friends, who I in turn take for granted and do not call often enough.

The New Testament story of Jesus healing the lepers reminds us that thankfulness involves action.  First the lepers had to act upon what Jesus told them to do!  But when they realized they were healed, only one took the action to go and show his gratitude in worship.  He acted on the feeling.  He didn't just wave and shout "thank you," he did something about it.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"  When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"
~Luke 17:11-18~

I need to show my gratitude more freely in my actions, not just with pretty words. I need to live out my praise!

How are you living out your gratitude today?

Tami at The Next Step is our lovely hostess this week.  Please visit her and encourage her (and see her great take on this quote).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Stitchin' Post on a Sunday--22 November 2009


It's the weekend again, and time for a Stitchin' Post.  I've been thinking Christmas around here this week.

Here is the status of my Bethlehem silhouette that I'm stitching:

I completed Bent Creek's Winter Row this week as well:
Photobucket  Photobucket

So, what are you stitching this week?  I'd love to see links in the comments.

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


The last two days of our Turkey holiday we visited the seaport of Kusadasi and the ruins of Ephesus.  The juxtoposition of the the new city with the huge cruise ships a few miles from ancient ruins was a treat.  Our hotel looked out over the sea and we could see the ships come and go.  It was lovely to wander up and down the seafront and largely experience local life after the boats pulled out for the evening.

Ephesus itself was amazing.  It takes my breath away to walk on streets that old, to see places that Paul and Timothy and John would have seen.  To stand in the amphitheater and imagine what it was like in its prime.  The girls even went down on the stage and sang "Here I am to Worship" to the crowd.  It was great!  Although the library ruins are cool, my favorite part of Ephesus were the houses on the slopes.  This was an extra charge, but I had read about them the night before and knew I wanted to see them.  Breathtaking.  This is where current excavation is taking place and we could see them piecing together marble walls, uncovering mosaic after mosaic floor and unearthing amazing frescos on the walls.  It was such a shame that the tour groups all missed it--we had the entire complex to ourselves for an hour! Our budding archaeologist was in heaven.

Here are just a few of the incredible shots we took.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Recipe for a Perfect Holiday

1. Choose the perfect villa

2. Sleep late and greet the day with a view of the Mediterranean Sea.

3. Eat breakfast by the pool.  

4. Swim (or lay by the pool and read)

5. Have Lunch by the pool.

6. Move to roof top terrace to nap/read/stitch/veg

7. If you must check your blog or work, make sure you have a view.

8. Swim

9. Shower and get ready to go to town for dinner

10. Eat dinner on a rooftop terrace whilst watching the sun set.

11. Return to villa and put girls to bed.

12. Have nightcap on terrace and stargaze. Over the two weeks watch the full moon become a sliver. Use telescope for better views of Jupiter.

13. Go to bed.

14. Lather, rinse, repeat for two weeks.

If in desperate need of variation, walk down to marina and play in the Mediterranean Sea,

do a little shopping, 

or take 30 minute dolumus ride to Patera beach for an awesome day out exploring ruins and playing in the sand and water!

If really desperate for something to do, hike up the olive grove to get great views of the sea.  Bring Mommy back pictures!

We did take a road trip to Kusadasi and Ephesus.  I'll post pictures from that leg of the trip tomorrow.  This was a magical holiday.  The first time I can ever remember that we were content to stay within 30 minutes of the place we were sleeping for days on end.  Restful, warm and perfect place to vacation.