Friday, December 28, 2012


December has flown by! Here are just a few, random highlights of the past few weeks. . .

1. Spending two weeks with my mother on the coast. More every year, my mother is my silent mentor. She doesn’t preach or dispense unsolicited advice, but I watch her, and I want to be more like her. She is an amazing, praying, loving, vibrant, Godly woman. And she’s so just dang adorable! I went to a Bible study with Mom, led by a longtime family friend who is now 86-years-old but is very young in spirit and appearance. She inspires me, too. I was blessed to grow up around some pretty amazing people.

2. Trips to the beach with my mom and my sisters. Because of very heavy, gusty rains, sometimes we simply looked out at the waves from the protection of our car at an overlook beside the jetty. Sometimes, in moments of mild weather, we walked along the sand at the ocean’s edge. And at times, we stood on the cliffs to watch the crashing waves after a storm. No matter how or from where we gazed at the ocean, it had the same affect on us that it always has—it brought a sense of awe and wonder, of God’s power and control, and of peace. My mom took us to the beach often when we were children, and we all love to go there still.

Roman made that look in about half of the photos.
On purpose. He thinks he's funny.
(That's my mother on the left.)

3. The Christmas lights at Shore Acres State Park with my family. The lights are artistically strung throughout the botanical gardens on the grounds of an old “mansion” that once stood on the adjacent seaside cliff. The Shore Acres Christmas lights have been featured in national magazines, and they get more plentiful and colorful—even gaudy—every year. It’s always fun to walk along the paths of the park; to discover new displays of lights; to step into the old, decorated gardener’s cottage for hot chocolate, cider, and cookies; all while carolers sing out news of Jesus’ love and birth from the gazebo. Before we drive away from the lights, there’s a walk to the oceanside cliffs to peer at the surf and crashing waves in the black night. The stormy sea never seems so fierce, ominous, and scary as in the dark.

4. A whole day with my good friends Laurie and Dave. There was, as always, really good coffee, great food, and spiritual encouragement. Laurie and I went for a walk in a nearby park then made a short trip to the beach to check on the waves after the previous night’s storm. The beach wind was icy, and the surf was wild.  After dinner and a bit more visiting, Laurie and Dave drove me home in a rare coastal snowfall. Laurie can’t seem to leave me empty-handed, this time sending me home with a box containing her famous applesauce; homemade raspberry jam and fudge sauce; some magazines and a wonderful, old book of stories to read; and some of the hard Christmas candy she’s been making for longer than I’ve known her. It was a great day with truly special friends.

Liya's spontaneous Christmas cheer!

The boys wanted bow ties, so Aimee made the green ones out of felt!
They wore them all evening long.

5. Christmas with my whole family at Michelle’s apartment. Michelle made the holidays very sweet and wonderful for us all: her decorations and the welcoming, festive ambience in her home; the delicious treats and food prepared for us; the pretty, well-stocked tea and hot drink tray; the generous hospitality; and so much more, added up to a wonderful time for our family. As always, I had a blast with my four grandkids. As they grow older, they get ever-smarter, funnier, and more creative. Being around them means endless stories, fun conversations, pretending (I was assigned the role of lion and monkey and a whole lot more), laughter, and hugs. And I love seeing the wonderful mothers my girls have become!

And now I am home for the first time in weeks. Aaron, Aimee, and Avery are here with me, and we have had a very nice, relaxing last two days together. Aimee and I have a lot of fun together in the kitchen, and Aaron likes benefitting from our fun! Avery (who will be two in January) is extremely verbal and very sweet and hilarious. She loves to take part in everything. Aimee brews Avery a light mug of herbal tea for babies, and she loves it. When she finishes, she holds out her cup: "More coffee please, Aimee!" Josiah will join us on New Year's Eve, so we are planning food and a little party.

I feel extremely blessed and grateful for God's gifts. The birth of Jesus, our Saviour. The sweetness and joy of a loving family. The peace of knowing that He holds us in His hands.

I hope your days have been lovely.


  1. Ah~ sweet times with family! And a *happy* holiday season to you, Susan.

    I peeked in here a few times and it was quiet, so I figured you must be celebrating with family and it sounds like you had some wonderful times.

    Blessings to you and yours,
    ps: I LOVE the ocean! Mark and I celebrated our 15th anniversary in June, and while we discussed Hawaii, we (happily) descended upon the Oregon Coast, instead, where we were for our honeymoon, and several anniversaries since. It just suits us. I love standing in front of the crashing waves and feeling so small in light of God's creative force in the form of the ocean, and it makes me marvel at God's bigness and goodness. There's something about the sound of the ocean, too- that nurtures my soul. I'm so happy you were there and thank you for the photos!

  2. Ditto to the above post! (Except for the P.S., where the dates for the anniversaries are different...14th, 20th, pre-30th--how's that for an excuse to go to the Oregon coast! haha!)

  3. I enjoyed reading all of this, Susan, but a few things really stood out to me.

    First this...."my mother is my silent mentor. She doesn’t preach or dispense unsolicited advice, but I watch her, and I want to be more like her. She is an amazing, praying, loving, vibrant, Godly woman." Sounds like she (like you) is an amazing person, full of wisdom and beauty!

    Secondly, your pictures of the ocean are SO beautiful!

    And finally, I adore the pictures of your sweet grandkids. I'm glad that you are getting to spend time with them and your kids. Looks like so much fun!

    Thanks for sharing!