Every time you feel in God's creatures something pleasing and attractive, do not let your attention be arrested by them alone, but, passing them by, transfer your thought to God and say: "O my God, if Thy creations are so full of beauty, delight and joy, how infinitely more full of beauty, delight and joy art Thou Thyself, Creator of all!
- Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain

You can’t get to joy by making everything perfect. You can only get there by seeing in every imperfection all that’s joy.
-Ann Voscamp

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy 2011 To All!

Especially for Erin, here's our Christmas tree. :) We always try to get a tree from an area where it's going to cause a problem later, so they're not always the loveliest trees. This one is a balsam fir. The kids helped Dan find it on our property in an area that would need clearing in the future. Many of the ornaments that go on the tree were made by Dan's grandmother. She made one each year for all of her grandchildren.

These are some of my favorite ornaments because all three together remind me of one of my favorite Bible verses. "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13

In other "homestead" type news, I've been hanging laundry outside! It's been a lot of fun, really. I've missed being outdoors since there's no garden to work in and my goats are STILL not here. (They've been hard to breed this fall, so I don't know when I'll be getting them.) I don't make a point of going out as much as I did before we started school this fall. Now when it's near 20 degrees or warmer, I hang the laundry outside. It is amazing to me that it really does get dry, even if it's frozen when I take it down.

This is how I make it work:
First of all, I read that if you soak the clothes pins in salt water before using them in the winter, they last longer and don't freeze to the clothes. I haven't done this yet, but I think I'll try it because if it's cold they do freeze to the clothes.
I hang them out and let them dry (or "freeze" dry). When I take them off the line, if they're frozen stiff I drape them over chairs until they thaw a bit. If they feel damp (which they usually do) I put them in the dryer for 5 minutes. If they can fit into the dryer without thawing, I skip draping them over the chairs.
Oh, and most importantly, I wear some water proof gloves when I'm working with the laundry outside. My grandmother always (and my mother for a time) hung laundry out in the winter, and never wore the waterproof gloves. I still remember my mothers hands from that time - they were so raw!

I live right off of a main highway, and in the summer people often comment on the fact that I hang my laundry out to dry. I'm not sure what they think. I wonder sometimes if they're thinking I must be trying to save money. Someone "anonymously" bought us a turkey for thanksgiving this year, so I think maybe...
...anyway, so now when I'm hanging laundry in the winter, I wonder as each car goes past, "Are we going to get a charity batch of Christmas gifts because I'm doing this?" It's kind of funny, really. I'm out there just enjoying creation and the feel and smell of the fresh air, having a great time with God and feeling so amazingly blessed, and people are potentially feeling sorry for me. Probably they're thinking my dryer is broken. Nope, but my spirit is healing a bit each load of laundry that goes up! :) Ok, that sounds strange, but for me, it's true somehow.

Happy holidays from all of us!! Hug someone you love!