Saturday, January 10, 2009

Belated Christmas Tale

Our Christmas began on the 24th.  A large family gathering was scheduled for Christmas Day, including a 1 1/4 hour drive, so we decided to spend our special, close family time, on the day before.

We rose from our beds in anticipation and all nine of us tripped downstairs for a splendid game of "In Plain Sight", our idea for this year's stockings.  We hid all the presents too large to fit in stockings, "in plain sight" all over the house.  It was a boisterous, rousing, happy game, with happy laughter and happy tears.

After our traditional, and very special, Christmas breakfast of date and apricot pastries, gourmet scrambled eggs, Orange Julius, hot chocolate, and coffee, we retired to the living room for the "revealing" of the gifts.  

This year's celebration was amazingly unique.  So much was handmade, and so wonderfully so, and we had all worked very hard.  Planning had been going on since September!  I loved doing nearly all my shopping online, and nearly all of that on Ebay.  What fun it was.

Here is a peek into what transpired....


Oh!  The joy of vintage suitcases!

Then it was Matthew's turn...   Introducing...  THE MATT CASTLE    Believe it or not, this edifice is actually made from a gigantic cardboard box, the epitome of creativity that transforms.

"Run for your life!"

Here is a glimpse of Sarah Anne's tower, a lovely flowered canopy, complete with a bed for her doll and a faerie costume...

Preparing Grace's surprise...

"You made that?"  Tears fell with her words, and hardly an eye in the room was dry.

The doll armoire, a custom cabinet complete with a special shelf for her doll's piano, and with enough room for all the doll clothes we have.

Next came Mom...

Unlocking a treasure crowded with bright things.

Johanna came next...

She was greeted with this indescribable hope chest...

With her name carved inside.

Then it was my turn, and my goodness!  Was I in for a surprise!

The loveliest of antique chairs, all my own.

They said there was more, that they has something else for me, and I was led outside, rather dazed, my eyes closed, hardly able to know what to say.

I could hear Grandma gasping behind me as my feet tread familiar ground, the December air touched with a gentle warmth.  Sarah Anne was giggling.

And then my eyelids were opened, and light flooded in.

It was my graduation gift, early.  I thought I would faint.  Mom and Dad were crying.  I could feel the emotion swirling around me, unable to know what emotion to feel myself, completely surprised.

And entire set of living room furniture, 1940's reproductions of Victorian furniture, with roses carved in the wood, and marble tops for the tables, and button back upholstery, and even a dining room table and chairs.

They had run across it way back in October and gotten it for a steal of a deal, hiding it in Grandpa and Grandma's garage.

But the day was only half over.  Back to the house we went, and began again.

And for now, farewell.

Emma and Johanna

Friday, January 2, 2009

The ways He works in us

I have been working rather hard on my novel, delving deeper into understanding my characters, and I have discovered something.

You never know how God is using you.  

It's so amazing!  I'm thinking so hard about my characters and their lives, why the hero and the heroine do what they do, why the adversary hates them so much, and God shows me things, shows me how what I've written mirrors His truth, though I knew it not.

My protagonist is a black lizard, a creature seething with hate, full of a rage that gives him terrible power.  I realized, all of a sudden, that I didn't know why he was fighting this battle against the faeries anyway; what did he have against them?  Why did ruling them and overcoming them mean so much?  I have a "bad-guy", but no reason behind him.

It was when I was asking myself about this "bad-guy", that I realized, with a sudden, electrifying thought, that God was writing his own message into my writing.  I was trying to understand my character, and suddenly God showed him to me, full of new meaning.  How this works in my story I can't disclose, but I had to share this wonderfully heartening revelation.

God is working in us, and through us.  No matter how much we fail or achieve in ourselves, in the end, He is using our efforts for His glory.

Praise be to Him!