Dwelling in the Land, Family Life

Reflections & Resolutions

I’m living out a little fantasy of mine today and for the next two days called Being Alone In My House.

It’s so amazing.

You know I still love having a full house, lots of people around my table, and the sounds of laughter and lively conversations, but this is such a nice reprieve.

Robert has finished up his tour of Texas and Oklahoma, but is still in Texas for a mission trip to Houston with a team from our church here in MA.  Kayla left with the rest of the team on Tuesday, and today is their first day of service and relief work with Generation One. They’ll get to work with a few different churches and organizations while they are there.

Cooper is off to visit his girlfriend and other college friends in New Hampshire, and Kory resides in Austin, TX now, so he’s back to work at Oracle after a week off at Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I never really reported on our holiday, which was super full and fun and fast-paced, of course. It’s part of why I have been longing for these days of silence. Here are a few photos (21 to be exact) from the week: (photo credit for the darker, artsy ones goes to Kayla)

I took this pic of my mudroom door because of the frost and ice making pretty designs on the glass. It was SO cold for such a long stretch.

Christmas Eve! Lois and the Speight family joined us for the afternoon and evening. We had snacks before the candlelight worship service at 6pm and then a Mexican feast afterward.

That laundry basket and card table in the background was my gift-wrapping station for a week or so.
Christmas morning breakfast: Egg, Bacon, Sausage & Tater Tot Casserole, Coffee Cake, and Fruit. My dad heartily approved.
Stocking Time!

Face-timing with my brother and his family in California. (Actually, they were in Arizona NOT having a white Christmas like we were!)
It was so much fun to have a white Christmas! The whole fam went for a two mile trek on the rail trail just across the street from our house.
My dad had never experienced that much snow.
We skied at Mt. Snow the day after Christmas due to a Cyber Monday deal we found.
Don’t let that sunshine fool you. The high was 10 degrees that day at the base and much colder at the summit. We planned to ski on Wednesday, not Tuesday, but Wednesday’s high was 3. 10 degrees and sunshine feels A LOT different than cloudy and 3.
Shopping a the fancy mall on Wednesday – West Farms in West Hartford. Gift cards were burning holes in pockets! The men didn’t last too long. Hanging out at the Nordstrom’s Cafe was fine with them.
Kayla was still recovering from a yucky cold, cough, and sore throat, so she took advantage of the comfy beds at Pottery Barn for short breaks from shopping.
Lots of Snap Chatting…
I drove these three and my dad to Boston the Thursday after Christmas to catch their flights. We went early in order to see a little bit of Boston via the Prudential Center. Lunch at Legal Sea Foods was first on our list. Then we tried to walk a little on Boylston and Newbury Streets. It was FREEZING, and we had to take refuge in the Nike store and Anthropologie in order to avoid frostbite! Seriously. None of us had ever been that painfully cold, and we were glad that Grandad chose to hang out in the Westin/Starbucks while we ventured out onto the city streets!
Onion Rings! I love them, and couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten them. Legal Sea Foods uses a gluten free batter on ALL of their menu items (well, almost all…) and so we all had a fried food feast! Onion Rings to start. Fish and Chips and more onion rings to finish. YUM.



My birthday breakfast by Cooper and Kayla this week: eggs, bacon, and paleo pancakes!
Robert’s notes of encouragement and reflection prompts for the new year. One for each of the 12 days of Christmas.

I made three airport trips in three days at the end of that week. Then Kayla had several friends here for a sleepover on Friday. Then Cooper’s girlfriend and friends from New Hampshire drove up to surprise him on New Year’s Eve (he was sick on the couch with no clue), so Kayla and I spent the day cooking and cleaning for those overnight guests. Then I made a hospital visit to see the friend who had the twins the next evening. (They are tiny and precious!) Then it was that fateful ski day and bomb cyclone. Then it was church and getting Kayla ready for her mission trip (though I was able to stay at home in pjs for two days prior) and making a meal for the new mama. And now I’m sitting here telling you all about it (which I love) and enjoying the down time and the quiet. Ahhhh…

I promised to share the list of reflection questions that Robert gave me, so here they are. I plan to look through them and consider my responses one more time in the next couple of days. You should know that the first six questions are prompted by Psalm 34 and the last six by Hebrews 11 and 13.

  1. Take some time to join with the angels in praising God today.
  2. List some times in 2017 when you sought the Lord and He answered you.
  3. Thank God for his many blessings in 2017.
  4. What evil do you need to depart from? (Psalm 34:11-14)
  5. Where are you brokenhearted? Ask God for healing in those places. (Psalm 34: 15-18)
  6. What afflictions has the Lord delivered you out of in 2017? (Psalm 34: 19-22)
  7. What situation in 2017 required more faith than any other? (Hebrews 11: 1,2,8)
  8. Looking ahead to 2018, what is going to require more faith than anything else? (same)
  9. What situations are causing you to lose heart? Ask God to strengthen your heart. (Heb. 13:9)
  10. Take some time to receive God’s “atta girl” for your service to His people, including your own family. (Hebrews 6:10; Hebrews 13:1-3)
  11. What promises from God are cause for some laughing? What promises from God are hard to believe right now? (Hebrews 11:8; Hebrews 11:11)
  12. How is God giving grace to you today? Where are you needing encouragement to believe that grace is “with you” today? (Hebrews 13:25)

As far as resolutions, which I never really make, I’m planning to read C.S. Lewis this year. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’ve only read The Screwtape Letters and Out of the Silent Planet which were both required reading when I taught high school freshmen and sophomores with Classical Conversations in recent years. Robert read The Chronicles of Narnia to our kids back in the day, and I’ve seen the movies, but I’ve never read the books for myself.

I’m on chapter five of The Magician’s Nephew right now, and while I’m not much of a fantasy/fairy tale/sci-fi lover (the only exception being A Wrinkle in Time!), I’m really enjoying it so far.

I’m also planning to read the book of Acts this month (since Robert is preaching through it this semester) and focus on the New Testament letters/epistles for the rest of the year.  Last year, I read only the four gospels. I tried to read all four gospels every month (one a week), but I didn’t quite meet that goal. Still, I read them over and over, and should probably write soon about what I learned in doing so.

New Testament I is my seminary class this semester, which would have probably coincided better with my gospel-reading of last year, but oh well. I’m sure it was good preparation of some sort. My textbooks just came in the mail, and now I’m wondering how much of Lewis will actually get read in the next few months. I’d REALLY like to read all of Narnia and Mere Christianity by the end of the year. We’ll see how it goes.

Tonight does bring with it a few out-of-the-house excursions, but then it’s back to the solitude of my empty home for a couple of days. My only calendar item between tonight and Saturday morning is a haircut and I wouldn’t have scheduled even that, but the next two weeks are pretty crazy-dazy, so I suppose I will make the great sacrifice of breaking the silence for a trim.

Thanks for sharing the holidays and the quiet time with me.