Friday, December 28, 2012

This is Test...

...in which I attempt to embed an mp3...

...in a blog post...

Since this is a test...

...I'm just doing an old composition of Ben's....

 But if you want to know why I'm giving this a trial....

...you should check out Papa's Blog within the next day or two.

Definitely. Worth. It.

Ciao!




Always There

This is not my writing, but Wednesday's daily devotional from Truth for Life. (You can sign up to get the emails here - I highly recommend them.) It was such an encouragement to me, and so beautiful, I wanted to share it with you:

Always There
 
I am with you always.
Matthew 28:20
 


The Lord Jesus is among His people; He walks between the golden candlesticks; His promise is, "I am with you always." He is as surely with us now as He was with the disciples at the lake when they saw coals of fire and fish being prepared for breakfast. Not physically, but still in reality, Jesus is with us. And an important truth this is, for where Jesus is, love becomes passionate. Of all the things in the world that can set the heart burning, there is nothing like the presence of Jesus! A glimpse of Him is so overwhelming that we are ready to say, "Turn away Your eyes from me, for they have overcome me." Even the fragrance of the aloes and the myrrh and the cinnamon, which linger on His perfumed garments, causes the sick and the faint to grow strong.
A moment's leaning of the head upon that gracious chest, welcoming His divine love into our poor cold hearts, and suddenly we are no longer cold but shine like seraphs, equal to every task and capable of bearing every suffering. If we know that Jesus is with us, every power will be heightened, and every grace will be strengthened, and we will cast ourselves into the Lord's service with heart and soul and strength; therefore the presence of Christ is to be desired above all things. His presence will be realized most by those who are most like Him.
If you desire to see Christ, you must grow in conformity to Him. Bring yourself, by the power of the Spirit, into union with Christ's desires and motives and plans of action, and you are likely to be favored with His company.
Remember, His presence may be enjoyed. His promise is as true as ever. He delights to be with us. If He does not come, it is because we hinder Him by our indifference. He will reveal Himself to our sincere prayers and graciously allow Himself to be detained by our cries and by our tears, for these are the golden chains that bind Jesus to His people.

The passion of His love and daily joy of His presence - these are the two things I want more than anything else in the world! Pray that all we His "chosen people" (I Peter 2:9) around the world would open our hearts to Him and serve Him with total abandon of everything else. He will fill us to overflowing.

Praise to the King!
 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas Letter


My family is not the most renowned for consistent Christmas letters. In the past, a good year consisted in taking a family picture. Some letters were so late that we had to re-title them as "Easter Updates." For several years, we sent nothing. Sometimes it just happens that way.

Finally, two years ago, we decided it was time we re-connected with the Christmas Card World and wrote a letter. One, double-sided, size-10-font, quarter-inch-margins, sheet-of-paper letter. Success! Sadly, it was not to last. 2011 was another year of silence from the Coder household. Let's just say, living in a family with ten kids, Christmas updates are difficult. Last year's condensed version:

Dear friends and family,
We are well. Sarah is still teaching piano and violin. Ben is still at school as a mechanical engineer. Emily and younger are all still being home schooled. Some kids are in orchestra (still). Daddy still has a job, Mommy is still teaching the Littles.
Love,
the Coders.

OR, one can go into greater detail, granting each person a paragraph, and end up with a book instead of a letter. Which consequently no one will read. Which ironically results in family and friends knowing as little about our goings-on as if we'd sent nothing. Which, we did.

So maybe I have finally discovered a "con" to living in a big family.

Anyway, this year, (no one desirous of the job of detailing the doings of each and every one of us) mama opted to simply make three lists: favorite books, favorite hikes, and favorite "happenings." Rachel sent out an email requesting everyone to send in his/her "favorite of the year" in each of these categories, and then compiled the lists. Mama printed out a picture (sadly NOT of the family, but of just "us kids" on our all-time favorite hike this year), and...that was our letter?

We thought and brainstormed and pondered and considered - for several days. Our three sad lists sat lonely on the computer, immovable until someone came up with a mode of presentation. And then, poof! one Saturday morning, an idea came!

This will make varying levels of sense to you, depending on whether you've read Dickens, Lousia May Alcott, or just watched "Little Women." And so, without further ado, our Christmas letter!


Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful day celebrating the truest Gift, and that it encouraged you to keep Christmas in your hearts all year 'round!
 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Two Lists

Photo Credit

If, today, time set me free,
Released me to Eternity,
Loos'd my body-bound, cramped soul,
To wing toward home - Oh blessed pull!
If forewarned, I knew the day,
The time, the place, the means, the way,
Then, I know, two lists I'd find
Engraved, heart-deep, within my mind.
Two lists - one silent plea.
 
First for "had" my heart would yearn
As untouched aspirations burn
Hot, with shame for goals unreached
Which should and could have been achieved.
"Had" I only tithed my time,
A tenth from friends to those in crime.
Broken hearts, lives grasped by sin,
And I not there to speak of Him!
"Had, had" - it haunts each turn.
 
"Had" - the thoughts crowd, choking air -
Had I the fortitude to dare
Love to speak, its truth, its pow'r.
God's love to all, through me, each hour.
Spoken, such a word does sway
All focus from life's whir'ling fray.
When upon great Love one rests
All hateful things (greed, selfishness)
Grow useless, dull, and rare.
 
No reprieve from piercing thoughts
Is granted me in the "had-nots".
Knowing, watching today's sun
I'd wish I "had not" this race run
Prayerless - or so nearly so
That I did only half-way grow.
Quiv'ring birch 'mongst ancient oaks
With tremb'ling faith that often chokes
And, but for Grace, would rot.
 
Oh, I wish in patience I
"Had not" refused again to try
Books unread and songs unplayed
With Little, learning fingers' aid.
And I wish I had not giv'n
Study of the One, the Ris'n
For a few more moments' rest.
What thankless trade of laziness
For spirit, parched and dry!
 
If, today, time set me free,
Released me to Eternity,
Throwing off sin's weight I'd soar
To live with Glory, evermore.
Joy consumes one, waiting thus,
But while my spirit's bound by dust,
Lists upon my heart I'll keep
Lest in the end I fall asleep.
For thieves come quietly.
 
 
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." - Psalm 90:12
 
 



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Watch-It Wednesday: Christmas Craziness

*Sigh*
 
Yep.
 
Another video.
 
I had just about decided not to post another "Watch-It Wednesday" until I had a good number of "normal" posts up, but then...this happened.
 
The Goofs
It was a lovely evening, Sunday night. Daddy had set up the tree a few days before, and it stood in the great room, bare, waiting to be dressed in the safely-stowed ornaments and lights by its side. Hot apple cider scented the house, Rescue's First Christmas (an all-time family favorite) set the mood, and the Littles were positively giggling (as we did when we were little) at the prospect of hanging the ornaments. 
 
Daddy & I with our cider
Mama handed out each of our personal family ornaments - each child has a small red heart with his/her full name and birth date, written in mama's lovely hand, inscribed upon it. These are the first to go on the tree each year, but the rest quickly followed: sparkling glass balls, two thick, clumsy-looking iron nails (to remind us of the reason for Christ's birth), the cheap beaded star I got at an ornament exchange as a girl that made me think of Narnia, and many, many more.
 
Gracie, waiting to decorate
And then it happened. The Littles were rushing around, hanging up the stockings, and setting up the Nativity Scene. Maddy made a point (after a talk we had several days ago) to place the three wise men in a different part of the room (each day they will move a little closer to the scene, until they finally arrive on January 6). Someone acting as DJ had, upon the conclusion of our original CD, turned on Strait No Chaser's Christmas Album, and Ben and Josh were hanging our Great Room indoor lights (a tradition since we added on to the house 5 years ago), when "the song" hit. The song our family was in stitches over when we first discovered it years ago. The song that takes full credit for Daddy introducing me to Toto's "Africa". The song which gave us our only reason for purchasing this CD. And Josh stopped working. And Ben stopped working. And I had to grab our bleh-quality point-and-shoot camera to capture the moment before it slipped away.
 
hanging stockings

Because the wee camera is so "bleh", I had to redo the audio, but as you can tell, their timing was pretty impeccable...At least, I hope you can tell ~ I'll try to remember to grab the better-quality camera next time! :)
 
video
 
So that is why I had to post a "Watch-It Wednesday" today...You know what? Starting tomorrow, there are only twelve days 'til Christmas. Crazy, huh?
 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Watch-It Wednesday: 'First Olympics'

Hello, lovelies! Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth last week. Our internet dropped us like a bad habit, and we were in the dark ages for about three days.! Finally back and catching up on stuff... So here's a laugh for your Wednesday!


Have an Olympics-Worthy Week!