One Down, One to Go

 

 

Hello friends!

It is the 5th day of Christmas… and there is one version of the one appropriate song for the day that trumps all others:

 

 

I miss John Denver. Don’t judge.

But anyway, it is indeed the 5th day of Christmas. We didn’t put our tree up until the 23rd, so we’re in no hurry for Christmas to come to an end. I had to run some errands this morning, and I turned on the all-Christmas-all-the-time [since All Saints Day!] radio station…. and I was taken aback to hear something not remotely Christmas-y. The stores have only picked over bins of 80% off Christmas items… picked over candy.. leftover tinsel and garland… and I walked back into the door of my house and heard the carols singing and saw the tree [aluminum] and its light [rotating disc of varying colors. Coolest. Tree. Ever.] and I was relieved to be walking back into Christmas. How has this happened? How has it come to this?? 

 

We have a big advantage at our house; Ms. A was born on Christmas morning, and Mr. A was born on Dec 28.. T-man was placed with us on Dec 28th,  and Fr. S celebrates an Epiphany birthday… so we have reasons to celebrate throughout the 12 days of Christmas. I think that helps keep the holidays front and center for us, and I’m so glad. I’m just not ready to put it all away yet, and I’m always too sheepish to embrace the Incarnation during Advent [it’s the Lutheran left in me. I can’t help it]. 

 

But what I want more than anything is for the Incarnation of this Emmanuel to be recounted, retold, relived, revealed in me all year long – more of Him and less of me. This is my prayer on this 5th day of Christmas.

And, I wouldn’t mind 5 or so new golden rings.

 

Oh! The title of this post refers to this:

 

 

Right Hand - Stitches Out!

Right Hand - Stitches Out!

 

I got my stitches out this morning. I’ve been playing piano every day – a couple of nights ago it was close to an hour’s worth of playing – my right hand could have gone on all night, while the left hand needed a shake-down break every 4 minutes to get the blood flowing again. I’d rate the right hand’s ability to play at about 80-85%. I’d never have believed it.

One week to go until the left hand begins the same process. I can’t say enough good about the healing process, my ability to play, the level of pain – it all has been FAR better than anything I expected. I am profoundly grateful, and will be all the more so when both surgeries are but a distant memory.

Christmas joy to all of you!

From Where I Sit II

…a bottomless pot of french press…
…fresh scones right out of the oven – white chocolate chip and craisin… oh my…
…wicked snowstorm out my window, but cozy inside…
…4 happy kids and a husband doing his ironing [yesss!]
…one best friend, a teacher, who came for dinner, stayed overnight, and has a snow day. How fun is that for a mommy?!?

… today, I rest beside the weary road and.. well, can you hear it? I think I just might hear the blessed angels sing. Thank you, Lord!

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The Doctor Told Me To

 

 

It’s 7.40 on Tuesday night… almost 36 hours post-op from RH carpal tunnel repair. This whole affair, once begun, has been less traumatic than I expected… less painful, less life-altering (so far, anyway)… I’m grateful.

 

So I played a little piano tonight, because the Doctor said the best therapy is exercises that mimic the muscles used in piano playing. “Why do those, when you can play instead?” he said. So I did. And in case this was The Last Hymn I’d ever play, if something dramatic had gone wrong, I wanted it to be a really good one, fitting for the day, the time. With good harmonies, to boot. So this is what I played:

In The Bleak Midwinter

Christina Rosetti, lyric, Gustav Holst, music.

In verse one, Rossetti describes the physical characteristics of the Incarnation.
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen,
Snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

In verse two, Rossetti contrasts Christ’s first and second coming.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him,
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When he comes to reign;
In the bleak midwinter
A stable place sufficed
The Lord God incarnate,
Jesus Christ.

The third verse dwells on Christ’s birth and describes the simple surroundings, in a humble stable and watched by beasts of burden.

Enough for him, whom Cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
which adore.

Rossetti achieves another contrast in the fourth verse, this time between the incorporeal angels attendant at Christ’s birth with Mary’s ability to render Jesus physical affection.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air;
But his mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

The final verse may be the most well known and loved. 

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him —
Give my heart.

Sung to the Holst tune, of course..

 

Christ’s stunning incarnation, contrasted with the bleakness of a grey winter’s day… or, perhaps, the bondage in which we all live without Jesus. Into this bleak midwinter He came. He comes still. And brings peace. I am so grateful.

Thanks Wikipedia.

Quick Advent Update

Tinsel and things

 

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee,
O Israel.

 

 

I’m feelin’ a little gloomy today, so that verse of the well-known Advent hymn ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ is doing it for me. Briefly..

…It’s wet, cloudy, gray, and generally gross outside. I’d rather have snow than this stuff. It’s not even officially winter yet. I need to get a grip.

 

…I’m t-minus- 36 hours from a trip to the hospital for my first carpal tunnel repair surgery. I’ve been wanting this surgery for 10 years.. finally found the time for it… and I go from having forgotten about it to being slightly terrified. My hands are a very significant part of the way the Lord has wired me musically. I’m totally debilitated in my piano playing without the procedure… and completely spooked at the thought of getting my hands cut open and repaired. In the grand scheme of things, people have got it a whole lot worse – of that I’m fully aware. I’ll let you all know how things are by mid-week – hopefully I’ll be typing again by then, at least a little. The doctor wants me playing piano the day after the surgery — ‘no better therapy or rehab’. I’m sure all will be well.

 

…also confronted some of the issues that one faces with aging, declining-in-health parents. Praying for lots of grace and wisdom on that front.

 

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee,
O Israel.

 

Come, Lord Jesus.

-Steph

From where I sit….

….I see a kitchen that’s suffering from the spaghetti dinner I just cooked.. I see a 6 year old boy eating ‘just one more piece of bread’… I see a poodle doing laps, finding all the treasures on the floor… I see Daddy, working hard to prepare the house for a gathering we’re having here on Monday night… I see a 9 year old, whose cheeks are just regaining the proper color after a frostbite scare this afternoon… I see a baby swing in full swing mode with no baby… hmm… oh, that’s right – the baby is laying across my arms here at the table, drinking his bottle – which i’m holding in his mouth with my face in order to free up my hands to type… and he finishes the bottle, I look down at his perfect little face, and he grins the drunken baby ‘I’m full and SOOO content.. and you’re awesome!’ grin.

When we found out we were expecting #4, one of my first thoughts that quickly turned into a matter for prayer was ‘oh dear. this one has GOT to be mellow or I’m not going to make it’. Oh, the Lord knows what a mommy heart needs! Number Four is 11 1/2 weeks old… and sleeps for an 8-hour shift every night – has been doing so for more than a week. None of my other kids did that until they were 2! [Yes. I know. I created monsters.] Number Four seriously ONLY cries when he’s hungry (except, that is, for yesterday, when he had his shots. For the record.. he doesn’t like shots.)

But, the fact of the matter is, the one who needed mellowing was… me. For a procrastinator, I sure get on my son when he’s not finishing his work. For a clutterbug, I sure get on my middle kids when their rooms are cluttery. For a woman who has wrestled with weight issues my whole life, I sure restrict treats from my kids. Sure, I want them to excel where I struggle… but I needed to ease up. And I have. And I’m learning. And I’m more aware than ever of the grace and mercy that the Lord has extended to me to cover all of my sins.

I spent a week with Anne Graham Lotz in November. She taught from Genesis on the life of Abraham. For every great, obedient choice this friend of God made, he made a stinker or two along the way as well. But oh, the way he pleaded with God for the lives of the people he loved! When did I last pray with such passion for my own children? I was so convicted of my need to make right choices, and to receive God’s free grace – lavish forgiveness – when I don’t. And, hopefully, to change the scales on those two measures as I walk with Jesus over the years of my life. The ones who are with me 24/7 take the brunt of my failures. I want them to look back on these years as magic. By God’s grace, may it be so!

So from where I sit, it looks… good. A little cluttery, overflowing… and very right. Thank You, Lord.