Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: The Man Cold

Several of us girls are battling colds after the crazy Christmas preparation week (and the crazy week of preparation that's going on right now...but you'll have to wait to find out about that!). Fortunately, none of the guys have caught it, or we might have this scene on our hands:

Pull out the chicken soup and tea, and have a healthy Wednesday! :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Best-Most-Biggest-Favorite Parts of Christmas

1. The gift that made me smile the biggest:

Mama gave all of us Kelly dolls! Originally, just the Twinkles were going to get them, but mama told me that she soon realized we all would want one "And no one gives them to you any more!" So...I got the "Princess" Kelly doll. And, *grins* I LOVE it!! Isn't she a sweetie?

2. The note (given to me by a student who claims to despise the piano) that gave me the biggest grin:

"Thank you for teaching piano to me. Even though I really don't like piano it has been rather fun learning new songs. Merry Christmas."

3. The gift that I (and a few others) have already gained the most weight from:

The note with this delectable gift read "This could be a year's supply...but it doesn't have to be!" Haha, Josh. :)

4. The most hilarious duo in the kitchen from the day:

5. The absotively-posolutely favorite gift we, the children, gave our parents:

A weekend at the Portland White House bed-and-breakfast. Yup, they were suprised! :)

6. The most-wrapped-items-for-one-ultimate-gift present we gave daddy:

6. The gift I've already enjoyed the most (again, thanks to Joshua!) :

Chris Rice Hymn Arrangement Book Lovely, beautiful arrangements.

7. The gift that got the most screams:

To "the Coder Ladies" from "their gentleman friend." Mmm-hmmm. Think Ben has good taste? :)

We had a lovely Christmas. I so enjoyed the focus that going to church in the morning gave. In fact, a couple friends and I are scheming to organize something for our church to do on Christmas next year. We'll see if we succeed, but it is a testimony to how much we like celebrating as a church family! Praises to our King for His unfathomable, incomprehensible, selfless, mind-boggling gift. He is so good to us.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Runner's Thoughts

Photo Credit

When the rain is pounding on the roof so hard it pounds your head,
When the cold and wet and dark have no appeal for you (in bed),
When the wind is howling up a storm,
When this is now the weather's norm,
Then you'll find that, as you sit up, your limbs are made of lead.

When you show great strength by swinging out your weight-feet to the floor,
When you overcome great distances from bed's edge to the door,
When you've put an end to brother's sleep,
And borrowed sweats that stop rain's seep,
Then you'll find that this delay has just encouraged rain's downpour.

When you persevere and don the sweats, and tie on running shoes,
When you tell yourself that going out does not mean that you lose,
When you, sighing, leave the quiet house,
With the rain's one mission: you to douse,
Then you'll find your comfort thinking that the right thing you did choose.

In no time you're a-running 'round and 'round the sopping track,
While the wind is pushing ever, try'ng to blow you sliding back,
And with little droplets, pointed shards,
It cuts you face with every yard...
And you find the wind a-soaking, pulling, like a stubb'rn pack.

But you run your miles, pressing on, contin'ing to the end,
Expertly dodging puddles as you round the final bend,
To finish fin'ly, gasping air,
And head toward warmth with fix-ed stare,
The while saying "I'm crazy - this habit I must end!"


"What's the definition of insanity?" Ben asked the other morning, zipping up his top-most layer of protection again the torrential rain and driving wind. I was shivering too hard to answer at first, but finally managed, in a small voice, "Doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting different results?" "Yeah, well," he replied as, with hoods already dripping we reached the track, "Something just got added to the list."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: The Three Little Pigs

Do you know how dangerous it is to just assume things?

Wishing you a tasty Wednesday! :p

Monday, December 12, 2011

And the Answer Is...


You guys are all obviously much better at the picture game than I am, or ever was.

A LOT better.

Because ya'll guessed it - no big deal.

I'm just going to take one moment to feel embarrassed for announcing my apparently-unique incompetence at this game to the entire blogging world.


Ok, moment's over. Yes! We got an organ!! We still have to figure out exactly where it's going, but we are already having so much fun playing with it!

Here's the beauty (full pic) *grins* :

Now, does anyone have any suggestions for good curriculum with which to teach oneself the organ?? I'd love to hear them! :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My New Toy!

Did you ever play that game where you have to look at a close-up picture, and then determine what the actual object being photographed was? I loved those games, but I was terrible at them. However (or maybe consequently?), I have decided, for your viewing pleasure, to post just such a picture. And because I always struggled so with this game, I decided to give a hint, and post two. *crowd goes wild*

This is "my" newest toy, which some friends just dropped off this evening. I'm so excited! Can you guess what it is??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Weekend of the Apples

We in the Coder household have just lived through a momentous time. Not the Year of the Scorpion, not the Month of the Dandelion (you like that? No, it's not a real thing, I just made it up. But, yeah, it's good enough to have been a real thing. Maybe. Well, you may thing this is just another totally random and non-essential parenthetical rabbit trail. But I don't want to put thoughts in your head) - oh no. Our past few days have been prodigiously dubbed the "Weekend of the Apples" *queue dramatic music*. Yep. A week or so ago, a crazy trip to Hood River resulted in this: 
(In case you're wondering, the smell is heavenly)

Namely, twenty-seven hundred pounds of apples taking up residence in our garage. (Actually, originally there were forty-five hundred, then some friends came and picked up their two bins, leaving us with three, two of which were ours, the third belonging to a soon-to-be-named, family of friends who, upon taking their aforementioned third left us with two, the weight of which was approximately eighteen hundred pounds - but I'm getting to that.)

What does one do with hundreds of pounds of apples, you ask? Allow me to inform you: "One" makes apple cider! 

Soo yum!
Where was I? Oh yes, the Weekend of the Apples *queue dramatic music*. With hundreds of pounds of apples, and mouths watering for a sip of freshly-pressed cider, we invited our awesome friends the Spaffords over for a little cider-pressing fun...


...which soon turned in to some friendly-competition-cider-pressing-fun...

The Little Girls' Team (Megan, Madeline, and Ania)

They were a wee bit short for the wheel, so their
heroes (the big bros) had to help
Then The 14-Year-Old Team (JT and Kayleen)

(In case you're wondering why Ben and Jonathan are in almost every shot and seem to be doing...something...with every team: they were necessary to stabilize the press because of the great speed as which the teams were cranking out the cider!)

The Mama Team!!!

Aren't they great? :)

The Awesome-ness Team (haha - that'd be me with, and
Charae with the beautiful smile!)
This is "The Boys Team" and - though I know this breaks your heart - it is my unpleasant duty to inform you that they beat the stellar, unbeatable time Charae and I set. But, rest assured, if we were them, we could have beaten us, too. :D

In the end though, the ultimate, Cider-Pressing Champion was (drum roll, please), Daddy! Single-handedly, he schooled "The Boys" by having the the best time by 30 whopping seconds! Sadly, the only picture I have of this strapping specimen of a man is at the beginning of the post, pouring cider for the taste-testing! We made over 15 gallons Saturday, followed up by another 10 or so Sunday afternoon. It was truly a crazy, yummy, full-of-fun, Weekend of the Apples *queue dramatic closing music*. Now we only have about 500 pounds left to process! I feel a "Weekdays of the Apples" coming on.

*queue dramatic music*

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: A Series of Uneventful Episodes

We've done it now. Made it public. What really goes on when parents double-date and leave 19 kids at home? Absolutely nothing worth mentioning, of course...just a bunch of uneventful episodes.

Wishing you an uneventful Wednesday!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: 12 Days of Christmas

With Thanksgiving well behind us, it's time to break out the Christmas music! Here's a song we heard as a family a couple years ago...and it never fails to bring a smile to our faces. Ladies and Gentlemen, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - with a twist!

Merry Christmas (at last we get to say it)!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Finished!

Hooray! Today I finished my "gift" for the Craft Exchange. I tried something I'd never done before: designed a pillow! I was happy with how it turned out - especially considering it was made entirely out of a couple scraps (some from Joann's, some I already had, and an old skirt! :)

Bonus for happiness: It was dazzlingly sunny today! :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Gratefulness List ([VERY] Shortnened)

Photo Credit

Blessings. They're overwhelming, aren't they? And when you take time to list them...a bubbly joy just fills your heart and brightens your disposition! In honor of Thanksgiving, here's a list of things that I've found to be grateful for in this last week alone:

~Skype and Vacation so I can stay up until 2am talking face-to-face with my dear friend in Africa

~The Bible God's side of our never-ending conversation with Him.

~Family Time like when we stay up late planning our crazy futures...if all ten kids have ten kids, mom and dad will have 100 grandkids. That's about one birthday every three days. We think we have their gifting game plan detailed down to the last birthday card, but I can't share it with you because we've copyrighted the procedure.

~Chocolate a girl's magic potion

~Music, Video Cameras, and Certain Special Friends can anyone spell "In the Hall of the Mountain King"? Whoops! Maybe I've said too much...

~Good Books the kind you could curl up and read over and over again

~Cozy Pillows 'cause I like to burrow down in a pile of cushy softness before drifting off to sleep

~Hot Mugs of Tea warm the fingers, warm the bones, warm the soul

~Good Friends who get up at 3:30 in the morning with Emmy and I to go Black Friday shopping

~Christmas Shopping doesn't hunting for and finding the perfect gifts for people just make your day?

~The People at the Lord's Gym Trevor, 'Grandma' Vi, Kelly, Patty, Tammy, Tara, Candelaria, Ken, Ona, Taylor, Gary, and several other dear ones... (including Baby Ruby, who we met tonight!)

~Telescope Eyes which help us keep our eyes on Eternity, even when everything about life "stranded in time" is going wrong

~C.S. Lewis Quotes need I say more?

~Red Robin's where Rachel and I enjoyed a fun "just-the-two-of-us" lunch this week

~Grandparents having them at our home, talking with them, laughing with them...

There now. That list makes me happy-skippy just to read through again. How very blessed I am!

Thanksgiving Traditions (Food)

At Bible study Sunday night, Mr. C asked everyone what he/she was most looking forward to about Thanksgiving. A great question but...the answer wasn't allowed to have anything to do with food.


Yes. You read that right.

The best thing about Thanksgiving, minus the food.


I mean, obviously my favorite thing about Thanksgiving isn't the food. Right?

But my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the traditions we have...and it just so happens that these traditions mostly revolve around...


You get my drift? Excellent. Moving on.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving! First on the to-do list was the decoration of gingerbread houses!

When we were younger, everyone got his own house. Now we're older - and we split 'em. Each "child" decorates one side - and we have heaps of fun! This is the one Meg and I made (my side, but the decor on the tippy-top is Megan's :) :

After the candy and "glue" is cleared away, it's time for the Middles and Littles to set the table while the food preparations take place. Don't forget Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim (our salt and pepper shakers)!

A few evenings ago, the family conversation was disturbed by some sort of argument taking place between James and Zachary. Due to some stellar interrogation skills (honed and perfected by mama), we discovered the cause: Zach was trying to make "Mr. and Mrs. Pepper" kiss. "But mom," Zach explained with giggles, "They're both too fat - it doesn't work!" (For those of you now concerned for poor Mr. and Mrs. P's relationship, mama discreetly investigated this report after the matter was calmed, and found that it was actually quite possible for the two to kiss, despite their stoutness).

Dinner was delicious, the main course being, of course, Bob the Turkey:

Why is his name Bob? you ask,

Well, it all began many years ago...

..but that's a story for another post. For the past two years, mama has brined the turkey two days before Thanksgiving in an Apple Cider Brine. The result is the most savory, juicy, flavorful turkey you've ever eaten. Practically melts in your mouth. "I am never cooking another turkey ever again!" Grandma exclaimed, as she sampled mama's masterpiece, "Why not?" we all asked, rather dismayed. "Because if I ever want turkey, I'm just going to have you make it for me!"

Other "traditions" in the meal department included mashed potatoes:

This year, on a whim, I added lemon juice and rosemary to the potatoes. I really like having the extra bit of tangy-ness...and I didn't hear any complaints! :)

And sparkling apple cider is a must-have at our holiday meals!

In addition, there was an ah-maz-ing artichoke dish and jello that Grandma made, "Felicity" green beans (cooked in butter, milk, and salt), Maple-Glazed Parsnips and Carrots, homemade whole wheat rolls, and two other dishes I don't particularly care for (dressing and cranberry sauce). Actually, I do like dressings, so long as you hold the croutons. (Mama informs me that it isn't really dressing without the croutons, but...)

The spread:

The gang (no one pays attention to cameras anymore! :)

After dinner, Grandpa pulled out his computer and showed us pictures of his and Grandma's recent European Tour (visit Papa's blog to see some of them!). Then, it was time for pie and coffee!

Emily made Nantucket Cranberry Pie, (left), Papa made an apple pie (center), and I made our "we-have-it-every-Thanksgiving" Peanut Butter Silk Cream Pie (hmm...could you have guessed which was mine by the "decorating"? :)

A slice of each, if you please! :)

It was a good Thanksgiving. I love that, as a nation, we have a day set aside each year to count our blessings. How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: The Power of Words

What do you say?
What do you write?
Do you words change the world?
Do they change it for Christ?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Right Now...

...It's dark outside...

...And cold....

...I'm sipping a delicious mug of "Constant Comment" tea...

...And munching a homemade, delightful fluffy, oatmeal-molasses roll, appropriately slathered in butter...

...Ben is playing Keith Green ("Josiah's Song" - one of my favorites) on his laptop...

...Mama's cutting paper for the Littles' Thanksgiving Party on Wednesday...

...Rachel is keeping us cheery with her chatter on a variety of subjects...

...I'm musing on designs for the pillow I'm making for the craft exchange...

...The world, and most of this household, is already asleep, and my eyelids have that lazy feeling which tells me I'm soon to follow...

...Fall is really here - and we might even get snow this week (not that it will stick, but at least we'll catch a glimpse of it!)...

I feel perfectly content, and thankful to my oh-so-kind Father who has so mind-bogglingly blessed me!

What is making you happy today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: Stethoscope

If every-day things, without mouths, had a song...

...which one would your heart hold?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Joy-Thief

glass of water, bw edition
photo credit
She is beautiful. Clothed with impeccable taste and fashion, the deep purples and scarlets of her gown simply add to the allure of her tall, slim figure and flowing, dark hair. Tenderly, delicately, she glides amidst the assembly, turning the heads of all by whom she passes. Pearls adorn her neck; diamonds, her wrists. Gems dance through her tresses, and gold sparkles on her fingers. All press near to her, desiring nothing more than to be in her presence. But their infatuation with the Lady of Kingdoms is not held by her person or adornment alone – oh no! – there is yet another fascination which holds them spellbound: in her graceful, dainty hand, there shines a golden chalice.

Eyes flicker from face to the goblet, hungry with expectation. Finally, with a light, musical laugh, the lady turns towards the crowd and, lifting high her gleaming glass, speaks:

“My kings! My princes! Dear nobles and ladies! I have brought here for you tonight my happiness, my life. This I willingly share with you. Taste my power! You will find within all that you desire. Beauty and knowledge, riches and youth – all can and shall be yours this day. Do you see me here before you? Is there any here my equal? Does anyone pretend to know more than I? I am she who holds the secrets, who grants to you the knowledge of what your life was meant to be. Taste my cup!”
Both those who have already savored, and those who wish to learn the taste – the crowd swells forward with one accord toward the polished, sparkling glass held forth. As it passes from one guest to the next, a sort of craze comes upon the sippers. Their eyes are only for the cup; no desperate, grasping brain spares even a thought for its dazzling, magnanimous hostess. The one consideration is for another drop. More. Just one more sip is all that is needed. Just one more. The lady knows she is forgotten, and so her evening masquerade has ceased. Gone now is her kind and gentle smile, her loving, sympathetic eyes. A cruel hatred in her demeanor pierces those around her, and contemptuous, sardonic sneers fall upon one and all as she looks down from her throne.
All night the guests continue in their mindless gluttony. More. More. More. Is the endless chant.
Gladly, the Lady of Kingdoms refills their glasses.
More. More. More.
 Overwhelmed in their thirst for further fulfillment, the kings and noblemen, ladies and princes, do not realize the changes that have come upon them. They have grown taller, their robes have changed to colors of greater and more brilliant hues, the reflection of diamonds flash in every direction, and yet, their faces grow more distressed, more frantic with every sip.
More. More. More.
The lady promised them this cup held their desires. Surely, one more taste would quench the thirst, would end the suffering, would fill the hole they feel more keenly with every disappointed hope.
More. More. More.
At last, in desperate exhaustion, one by one, they fall. In delighted scorn, only one remains. The Lady of Kingdoms stands tall and vengeful in the center of a dead room. A slight murmur attracts her attention and her cold eyes narrow in deepest hatred when they light upon the One. Gently, He approaches the death-like forms. Silently, He pulls from His satchel a different glass: clear, cool, and translucent. Tenderly, He offers the drink of Light to those who have despaired in the darkness, and, lovingly, He lifts them to their feet. Once again, the lady’s guests have changed. The diamonds disappear and the robes fade, yet on the faces of those who felt His breath, the truest beauty dawns. A beauty so deep, so brilliant, and so complete, no one questions what it is.

Joy. At last.

Never again will they believe that the lady’s cup holds their answers. They have finally received what it was they sought.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”*

What steals your joy? Learn to flee its glittering gold, and to rather drink deeply from the clear waters of the Word. The thief and her cup will ever fail to satisfy.

* Psalm 34:8, emphasis mine

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Day I Celebrate

Photo Credit
 The early Celts called it "Samhain". Marking their New Year as beginning on November 1st, the various clans also celebrated the eve of their "end of summer and beginning of fall", much like we do for our New Year's Eve. But as is to be expected in a culture that knows not the true God, the eve was marked with deep superstitions; fear of spirits and magic lay thickly in the air, spurring the the ungodly ones to build great bonfires, wear hideous costumes, and perform mass sacrifices in hopes of securing protection from their gods against the ghosts who were believed to roam the earth that night.

Why would I celebrate that?

Later, the Romans came, and with them, eventually, Christianity. Christianity which was soon defined and dictated to by Catholicism. In an effort to maintain the celebration while dispelling the superstitions, the Catholic church moved the observation of "All Saints Day" - in which all religious people were to pray to the saints and martyrs of old, as well as pray for the souls of those still tormented in purgatory - from May 13th to November 1st. However, as often happened when the church attempted to overcome the pagan with the "good" (though I hardly classify praying to and for dead people as "good"), the superstitions of the old were combined with the rituals of the new. Add in a dose of the Roman "feast of the dead," and you have "All Hallow's Eve". Or, "Halloween".

Why would I celebrate that?

Fast-forward 750 years. The Catholic church is in the midst of a money-hungry, power-grasping craze. Those at the top rule the masses by suppression of the truth - by fear. They bully the nobility and puppet rulers with decrees, threats, and the blind support of their ignorant, Kool Aid followers. Like a lone candle in a moldering basement, one monk stands; not to defy his authorities - though in the end he is forced to -, not to overthrow the church - though his goal of purifying was distorted to appear so -, but to assure and make clear the road of salvation to a people who had hitherto lived in deep fear and darkness. On the 31st of October, 1517, Marin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of his church, protesting the clerical abuses and the Pope-sanctioned preaching that indulgences were equal or superior to genuine repentance. A small sampling:

36. Any Christian whatsoever, who is truly repentant, enjoys plenary remission from penalty and guilt, and this is given him without letters of indulgence.

52. It is vain to rely on salvation by letters of indulgence, even if the commissary, or indeed the pope himself, were to pledge his own soul for their validity.

53. Those are enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid the word of God to be preached at all in some churches, in order that indulgences may be preached in others.

54. The word of God suffers injury if, in the same sermon, an equal or longer time is devoted to indulgences than to that word.

55. The pope cannot help taking the view that if indulgences (very small matters) are celebrated by one bell, one pageant, or one ceremony, the gospel (a very great matter) should be preached to the accompaniment of a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

94. Christians should be exhorted to be zealous to follow Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hells.

95.And let them thus be more confident of entering heaven through many tribulations rather than through a false assurance of peace.
The true treasure of the church is the Holy gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

If you've ever read all of the 95 Theses (and I hope you have!) you know that Martin was still very Catholic, and supported certain doctrines which one would be hard-pressed to find in Scripture. Yet, in his valuing of God's opinion above man's, in his willingness and diligence to search out the Scriptures and know truly the assurance of salvation, in his bravery to stand tall and declare truths to those who did not - who could not - know, Martin Luther was used of God to plant a seed which soon sprouted and grew to be called "The Reformation".

And that, my dear friends, is something to celebrate. Happy Reformation Day!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Peep Outside...

I look outside, and what do I see? 

Colorful leaves,


a rustic, broken, rake

ripening sugar pumpkins, 

and grape vines perfect for making wreaths!

I look outside, and I see fall. What beautiful colors our King has made! As Maddy said the other evening, "God is the best painter EVER!"