Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas-16 Years in the Making

It's tradition. Growing up, we would decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. My mom would bring all the boxes out of the garage. We would turn on Canadian Brass Christmas music. And we would decorate the tree and house all day. Then, we could enjoy the season for a month or more. It's tradition.

Well, tradition sort of goes out the window when you turn 18 and move to college. It's hard enough to fit two girls and their wardrobes into a college dorm room, let alone a Christmas tree. But that's ok. I would go home for Christmas. When I finally moved up in the world (i.e., rented a room instead of living on campus), again, my bed barely fit in that room. No Christmas tree that year. Oh well, I would go home for Christmas. When I moved to Yosemite, I lived in a dorm room again, with a roommate again. Although we couldn't fit a Christmas tree in our dorm room, we only had to look outside our window to see thousands of trees. It was alright, because I might be able to go home for Christmas. When Joe and I got married, we lived in a cabin-ette (named so because it was all of 125 square feet) to save money to buy a house. Let's just say that although I was very creative on my use of space, I couldn't get a tree in there. But again, we were surrounded by thousands of trees. And, we would go home for Christmas.

The first year we were in our own house, we started our own traditions. We had a huge Thanksgiving meal with 8 visitors. We hiked after the feast (to make room for pie), which is a tradition we have kept to this day. The day after, I just assumed that I would decorate for Christmas. Turns out that Joe had never grown up with Christmas. Never. Never had a Christmas tree. Never had a nativity scene. Money was very tight that first year in our own house, so we didn't have money for a tree anyway. Oh well, I would go home for Christmas and see mom's tree. The next year, I bought three little decorative trees and used those for our Christmas tree. The following year, I was 9 months pregnant (Jack was born on Christmas Eve) and even I didn't feel like decorating that year. The following year found us in our second home, with a one-year old, and me 7 months pregnant (again). To say that I was exhausted would be an understatement. And even if I had wanted to decorate, our kitchen was demolished, awaiting remodeling. It was alright, because we were going home for Christmas.

The following year, we had a one-year old and a two-year old. Boys. Do I dare decorate? Would everything we broken in a week? I used the little decorative trees and kept all ornaments to cloth. Repeat the following year. Now the boys are 3 and 4. They are a little calmer now. Little bit. Do I dare dream to decorate?

I looked at tree prices. Have you bought a tree lately? Christmas tree sales alone could be enough to stimulate our economy. $70 for real?! $150 for fake?! I won't be spending that much on presents, let alone a tree! Many of our friends and neighbors had been telling us how they got their own trees. I thought that was something people did in movies. You know, like Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation. The more we talked to our friends, the more it sounded do-able.

The permit was only $15 and basically the whole mountain is in-bounds. We drove up Porter Mountain road to the same spot where we collected our firewood. We got out of the van a couple of times, thinking we had seen the perfect tree. We fanned out and searched each time. Once, we did have a Chevy Chase, Christmas Vacation moment. We found the perfect tree. The light shone down upon it. The angels were singing. was behind a barbed wire fence. Back in the van. Keep looking. Jump out of van. Fan out. Search. On our last search, we came to a berm. I noticed that the small (10 footers) grow near the edges of the forest, near the clearings. So, I walked to the berm. On the other side, was a frozen pond. We had so much fun throwing rocks and logs onto the pond. Turns out there was a perfect tree there.

We walked back to the van to get the chainsaw. The boys rode their bikes around the forest. We thanked God for the tree and then........TIMBER! We made it home just fine, as were only 15 minutes away, in the forest. In the forest, it looked small. When we got it into the living room, however, it was scraping the ceiling (and we have tall ceilings). Out to the backyard to chop off 2 feet. She now stands tall and pretty in our living room. The product of a new tradition. I am home for Christmas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our Podcast

Many of you have been asking what it is that I spoke about at church. This is a perfect opportunity for me to share our podcast site with you.

For those of you who don't know, our church took a new direction a little over a year ago. Many churches meet Sunday morning, people sit in rows, and sing hymns. God spoke to our pastor about a new venue to attract the crowd that doesn't feel comfortable with the typical Sunday service. We meet on Saturday nights. We sit at round tables and drink coffee and eat sweets. We worship to Christian rock music. God has continued to draw people in and we run out of seats continually.

We have tried to communicate with others through alternative means. We are on Facebook. We have a podcast. Hence this post.

Pastor Ernie just finished up a series on be(ing) His. In the final "episode", he asked a few of us to share how God has changed our lives. I was shocked to hear him ask me to share.

I won't spoil the surprise. I'll let you hear it for yourself. Click on our podbean to hear the week I spoke.

If you look on the right side, you will see recent weeks and sermons. Enjoy. Pass this on to others you think may like to hear it. If you are local, come and join us on Saturday Nights at Seven.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"Let's go to Globe."
"Globe?! What's in Globe?"
Turns out, there are memories in Globe. And we went to get some.

I had mentioned previously that we often like to just jump in the car and drive. This time, we knew we were heading to Globe, but we didn't really know what we were going to see, do, or find there. I love those days.

When we pulled into town, we saw a green sign. I have come to love green signs (brown signs too). Green and brown signs are usually Park Service or State signs. The sign said, "Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Site". Coolness! This is where the teacher comes out in me. Archaeology. History. Memories!

It's amazing to me how you can drive through a town a dozen times and never notice certain things. Take the Indian Ruins at Besh Ba Gowah. I had never noticed the sign before. So glad we did this time.

You can click on the link for Besh Ba Gowah for more info, but basically, it is the ruins of a Native American pueblo from 700 years ago! It has a museum with artifacts found at the site. The museum has a 15 minute video teaching you about the tribe (the Salado) and their ways. Then, you can go on a walk through the pueblo.

You can see the remains of a 160-room pueblo. Some rooms have been recreated for you to see how the Salado lived 700 years ago. Some rooms have been left as they were found, just half-walls. Joshua, my adventurer, thought it would be fun to climb onto the walls and jump off. Did I mention these walls were 700 years old? This is the boy who thinks the fastest way from the living room to the den is to climb over the sofa and jump off the back. He also climbs into his car seat by going to the third row and attacking his seat from behind. Joshua. Sweetheart, those walls are 700 years old. You can't climb or jump on them. Memories.

As we were leaving the ruins, we found a gate to a secret garden. In the garden, the museum workers are recreating the crops and gardens of the Salado, from 700 years ago. We found corn, beans, and squash. We were the only ones in the garden. Then, in the corner, is another gate to a more secret, secluded garden. Larger. More lush. Beautiful.

We walked down the secret path and were amazed by the variety of plants and trees. Joe and I played Hide and Seek from the boys among the plants. Memories.

On the way back up the hill, we heard the distant rumble of a train. We sat in the shade of a pine tree and watched the little blue engine chug it's way up the hill. It's a good thing that my boys are young enough to be delighted at just the sight of a train, instead of the $68 it would have cost us to ride the train up the hill. Besides, it felt so good to just hold them and snuggle in that secret garden and talk about the "Little Engine That Could". Memories.

We drove around Globe some more in search of Spike, the steam engine. Found him. Once again, I was amazed that we had driven past that spot a dozen times and had never seen the train. Unfortunately, the boys couldn't play on him. Oh well.

For lunch, we went to Jack in the Box. It was far cry from the Mexican Restaurant we had our hearts and taste buds set on. But, they were closed. Jack in the Box it was. Once again, I thought, "what's so great about Jack in the Box?" Turns out, they have memories there too.

Jack discovered his shadow on the table. He kept trying to shake it off. He was telling his shadow to just leave him alone. Funny. Joe started to make animal-shadows. Joshua provided the sound effects. These pics are his horse face and his pig face. Memories.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wood Update

I know that you are dying to see our wood pile. I know. I can sense it. Everyone is as excited as I am about our wood. (click here to read about our wood collecting) Let me just say that I am so proud of my husband who has collected every single piece of it. This from a man who was so sick last year that we only got 1/2 cord.

This is the pile that he has split already. You can't tell from the pic, but it is 4 rows deep. He still has more to split.

And yes, he cuts down the tree, cuts it into rounds, splits it, and stacks it. And he will stack it again and again about 6 times over the winter, every time adjusting it just so. Sorted by type. Sorted by size. Sorted by .... actually I don't even know of other ways to sort it, but he is very particular about his wood.

Here is a picture of the pile Joshie stacked. Just like Dad.

where Glory meets my suffering