December 24

r_24_liv_bear

December 23

r_23_rebecca_elf

This is my beloved friend Rebecca and she’s my absolute favorite Christmas elf. Every year she comes over to help me wrap all our Christmas presents. It’s tradition that we watch Elf—with Livia lounging on the couches in front of us so she can’t see the gifts—and that we drink Diet Mountain Dew.

I’m so grateful for Rebecca’s help when my own joints get cranky after hours of repetitive tasks. This girl is a joy and a blessing to us!

December 22

r_22_emily

It’s this beautiful woman’s birthday today! (It’s also my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!) It’s a sign of true adulthood when it’s your birthday and you go to a friend’s house to celebrate her 5 year old instead.

December 21

r_21_hamster

We’re hamster-sitting and Livia is in heaven. Our mouse—Dash—isn’t allowed out after the Escaping Act of 2016, so Liv is super happy to be a hands-on rodent sitter for our friends. Shiloh seems utterly perplexed why we’d keep more delightfully stinky vermin in cages instead of letting him chase them. I, too, am stymied by what our lives have become.

Just another day in the life of Dr. Dolittle’s Mama. Note: Dr. Dolittle also likes chocolate chip cookies. Can ya tell?

December 20

r_20_firesky

Earlier today I was ready for the DPP to be over. Like… Okay, we’ve had twenty days and I am done. There are no more things to shoot. If I have to shoot a closeup of my toaster then I am beyond all saving. I saw the light vanishing on the western horizon and went to grab my camera thinking I could salvage something from the Christmas lights hanging in the dining room. I took my shots and moved on to another task. And then the sun began to set. And crazy vibrant colors filled the sky. I caught it, and my heart just filled with the beauty from my back deck.

I’m finding that our march towards December 25 feels just like the DPP. I’m kind of slogging towards it. My semester ended last week and I feel fairly worn out in body and spirit. I want to rally but my pep is low. Still, there are these moments of amazing glory like what I experienced in the sunset tonight. I found such a moment reading the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke this morning. After a semester of studying the world of the New Testament, Luke’s words jumped at me from the page.

We read about shepherds so often at Christmastime, but this morning I tried to imagine the scene in more detail. First one angel visits the shepherds and the glory of the Lord was intense! The humble shepherds were afraid, as is frequently noted in the Bible when a human comes face to face with these supernatural beings. What happened next must have absolutely shattered their minds. A whole host of angels lights up the sky and praises God with these words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). Angels are made to praise God, and for a brief moment those shepherds are privy to what hardly any human has seen. They witness the worship of the Almighty God by the ones who are allowed to worship Him day and night, always. No wonder the shepherds then head over to Bethlehem fast to see this Savior! What a sight to witness.

We’re made to worship. Sometimes we get a little drum of worship in our hearts, a little stirring that makes us feel small. For me, it’s the Tunnel Walk just before a Husker game—there’s nothing like seeing that in person and feeling the amazing excitement from the crowd. It’s overwhelming. At other times I feel that sense of worship during a really good concert. My heart and mind both swell with joy. I can sense that same joy, only a thousand times greater and more powerful, when the shepherds personally witness all those angels worshipping God in the skies that day. Every week when we sing songs of worship to our Creator at church, we join with those angels, and all the saints that come before us and behind us, in worship of the One most deserving it.

Today I get a small glimpse of glory in a sunset, but one day I’m gonna get the real deal and I’ll be joining those angels for all eternity. Slogging through the present, even as I move towards something as great at Christmas Day, I’m reminded that I’m made for something much greater.

December 19

r_19_mytwo

Showing Dad *exactly* what she wants for Christmas. Which is only six days away. And I’m pretty sure we’re celebrating it a day early. But whatevs.

Sometimes I marvel at the way God gifts us differently. Looking at a million pictures of longed-for presents would not be my cup of tea, and yet my husband stands there patiently, listening to his daughter’s interests and kindly scrolls backwards and forwards at her whim. When I want to speed up, he is fine with slowing down. Thank the Lord for this man! And this girl. I’m blessed with these two!

December 18

r_18_bakingextras

Leftovers from baking cookies.

December 17

r_17_cat

When you’re doing the December Photo Project and you’ve been home all day, you just might haul a camera out in 6 degree weather and photograph a [clearly starving] cat eating his food. He’ll stop and look at you, perturbed that you’d be so bold as to document him slurping down his kibbles. And then you won’t use the shot of his face because it isn’t flattering. Nor will you use the images of your husband diligently salting the driveway while holding today’s mail with his teeth because the shot turned out too blurry. (You didn’t grab the good camera, knowing you’d be skating on ice and might fall on your way to shoot cats eating food.) Such is the life in the day of a DPP participant. December 17 in a frozen tundra equals dragging a camera to the home where you’re cat-sitting.

December 16

r_16_coffee

As I was brewing coffee this afternoon all I could think was, It’s five o’clock somewhere. And then I laughed because I’m ridiculous and it was 5 o’clock here in Lincoln and I was making a fresh pot of coffee. Oh these days of short sunshine and lots on my to-do list require coffee to make it to bedtime. Well, coffee or a nap. So today it was coffee right before my self-designated caffeine cut-off. And—right on cue—I’m now fading at 10:00pm.

Goodnight, friends. Happy Friday to you all!

December 15

r_15_pears

Funny how a bowl of pears can delight me so much. There’s something about the glass, the fruit, the light that captures my attention over and over.