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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

In honour of my former home,

and on this Monday after the first Advent Sunday,

I bring you a little taste of a Scottish Christmas past . . .

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Heap on more wood!–the wind is chill;

But let it whistle as it will,

We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.

~ Sir Walter Scott

 

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This was the Sunday to light the Advent candle of HOPE.

Hope because of that child.

The One the world heard about,

the One promised,

long, long before He was born.

Wonderful,

Counselor,

The Mighty God,

The Everlasting Father,

The Prince of Peace.

Unto US

He was given!

He was given

unto US!

Hope.

Hope for everyone.

Everyone

who drops whatever else they’re holding onto

to take this gift.

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7

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It’s not too late to re-focus your Christmas

for yourself

for your family.

Not too late

to bring others

reason to HOPE . . .

 

Avonlea xo

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Join me on Facebook & Instagram @avonleaqkrueger

See you there?

happylittlesigh.com

Finding beauty in the every day ❤ 

 

 

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 I sit and hold him,

cradled warm and snug against my chest.

Trace with my eyes the curve of his ear.

Run my finger along the plump softness of his cheek.

My son. My baby. My last.

A smile tugs at his lips.

“He’s dreaming of angels,” they say here in Scotland,

of fluttery newborn smiles.

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In the background the voices of the boys choir of Kings College Cambridge

pour out The Holly and the Ivy,

one of my favourites, though I never knew it till I came here.

And I thought I’d have girls. Lots of them, born in the summer.

And yet this is the third Christmas I’ve sat with a newborn, a son,

(the Professor came in the spring)

wondering at this new life given to my care,

as I also wonder about the other baby,

whose birth we celebrate this time of year.

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What brings more wonder than a baby,

a new life?

Nothing.

Nothing at all, I would say,

except the life of that baby,

the one born in a stable,

who lived not only his life,

but because of his God and man-ness

is able to know intimately the minute details of the lives of each one of us.

A baby. A man. But also God.

A God who sees.

A God who knows.

A God who cares.

Cares enough to live among his creation,

and here face death

to give each of us the chance

to live again.

Imagine!

A new world, a new life,

through him.

Imagine.

Your life,

mine,

made new through him.

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I’ll have plenty of time to drink it all in tomorrow.

The carols, the mince pies, the sweetness of my newborn’s breath,

and the wonder of the birth of my Saviour.

But you’ve been kept waiting,

and so let me introduce him to you,

my newest wee manie.

We’ve called him Charles.

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Wishing a merry,

the VERY merriest,

of Christmases to you.

And enjoy this gift of music from The Piano Guys.

If you haven’t ever heard them then you really, truly must.

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The darkest day.

I always remember.

The least sunshine. The least light.

Winter solstice.

December 21st.

And after this, I’m counting minutes–approximately two each day–until the hours stretch to bring the golden light of the summer sun. But for now, when I feel more than a little sorry for those Narnians and their ever winter never Christmas. When even the icicles hanging outside the kitchen window, and the layer of ice coating everything else, when even they can’t shine, my brain can feel as cloudy as this murky winter light.

Because it’s been a year since I slept right through the night. An entire year of being just a bit too tired. The Admiral is a happy baby, but teething didn’t suit him well, and his habits are bad. Waking every few hours. A snack and cuddle, and if I’m lucky, a sleepy smile for my troubles. And so mornings start later than I’d like.  A little voice, a little cry, The General’s black olive eyes blinking into mine from the side of my bed, and the day begins.

Still, sometimes I see it–the beauty of eternity that begins today. These little souls, my little men, and the treasure that they are.

Other days I hit the floor running,

some crazy dance from room to room,

glancing occasionally at the clock,

and imaging the utter shock

my friends would feel if they ever stopped

and saw the state of this house.

On those days I find myself, at least once,

pausing,

the whirlwind of Cheerios and bibs and Lego and foam swords  and three little men swirling all around me, a now cold cup of tea in my hand,

wondering,

what oh, what is going on?

There must be something, something I’m missing,

or it wouldn’t be

like this.

But what?

A little sleep, to be sure.

An intentional effort to count blessings

and sing praise

and speak truth.

Yes.

All that.

All that, and just a little more time

with Jesus.

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Because though I have 2 million distractions, though the crumbs, and the laundry, and the children cry out to my clouded, foggy, weary brain, though the weather is bleak, and though I carry sorrows and disappointments in the deepest chambers of my heart,

none of it

none of it

should be an excuse.

An excuse to raise my voice or declare my dissatisfaction or remain in a dark, murky mood.

Because eternity begins today.

Our eternity began the day we were born.

And for those of us who love Jesus

that means counting those blessings,

speaking those truths,

and no matter how we’re feeling,

choosing to live like Christ.

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The new year is coming.

Isn’t that a shock?

And what sort of year, I wonder, is it going to be?

I have my hopes and have my dreams,

but I realize that what I need

more than anything

is to spend more time with The Word.

With Jesus.

Pouring over His commands,

reading and re-reading his life

until His words and His ways and His will,

which are all Him,

become more of who I am, too.

For there is no better to know what we’re missing.

There is no better way to bring into the darkness of our lives and minds

His perfect light

than to live and love like Jesus.

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As you light this final candle for Advent, remember not just the manger but the cross. The purpose of Christ’s arrival on our planet. The depth of His LOVE.

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For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.   ~ John3:16

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Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Happy Little Sigh is now on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Join me there?

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We arrived late morning, just in time to see the tail end of the die-hard Black Friday shoppers toss another piece of plastic in their over-laden carts before struggling to maneuver them to the check-out.

I couldn’t help but wonder,

did they even like that stuff?

Did they need it?

Or had they been tricked?

But I was there, too, of course.

I was there, or I wouldn’t have seen it.

I was there, and armed with the page from the paper that showed the great deal on the bathroom set I was after. Bathrobe hook, hand towel loop, toilet paper holder, plus a few more.

And wasn’t I excited to keep the hand towel off the floor, where the children always leave it, and keep the toilet paper roll out of the toilet (or so I hoped).

But of course those items were just one of many on the long, long mental list of things I’d like for the house.

And of course once we’d stopped at the mall to let the children burn off some energy at the play area, and I took a stroll past H&M, I began think about my other list. The list of things I’d like for my wardrobe.

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It’s intoxicating, you know, the mall is.

Every sense assaulted from every side.

Starbucks coffee, cinnamon rolls, perfume drifting from the department stores. The feel of silk, and faux fur, and leather. Nat King Cole crooning, and the Salvation Army bell jingling. The displays of clothes and furniture all looking so perfect, so much better than anything we have at home.

Couldn’t a person just get lost in it?

Caught up in the frenzy of buying

and trying

to fill the hole inside.

And while I went home looking forward to the giving

of the few gifts I picked up,

I also went home aching,

asking,

feeling anything but PEACE.

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Because I know, though I never quite believe it,

that I am blessed beyond measure,

and that the more I have, the more I will want.

And though I tell it to my children,

what Christmas is all about,

and though we’re finding more ways of giving,

more ways of loving this year,

I find it’s still easy

to miss the point.

To miss the heart.

To miss PEACE.

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I love the Christmas season.

Love it more each year.

Love the baking,

and the making

of sugar cookies,

paper snowflakes,

a wreath for the door.

Love candles glowing bright,

and singing Silent Night.

Love spotting a red cardinal

perched on a branch of lacy snow.

Or holly berries, and their leaves of thorns.

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But what I needed on that day,

and what I need on this,

and what I desperately want my children to see,

is that the point of Christmas,

the heart of it all,

is found in His heart.

In the heart of Jesus,

and His love for us.

In His love we can let go of all the trappings,

all our unwritten lists,

all that haunts us in the wee hours of the night,

and we can simply rest.

Cling to Him, and be at peace.

“For He Himself is our peace.”

~Ephesians 2:14

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As you light your second Advent candle this Sunday, remember the PEACE we have through Jesus. Hear Him whisper, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.”

Avonlea xo

happylittlesigh.com

Finding beauty in the everyday ❤

“The Holly and the Ivy,” King’s College Choir, Cambridge University, England

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Find me on Facebook & Instagram @avonleaqkrueger  See you there?

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You blinked and it happened, didn’t it?

Summer flew by.

All those lazy days you planned and enjoyed are gone . . . or never seemed to come about at all.

And you’re not sure how it happened because, why, yesterday was just the fourth of July, and the time was meant to go slower, and the days were meant to be longer, and you’re just not ready to put your child into the next grade up, or go into the next grade yourself.

And you can already feel yourself drooling over tropical islands and craving some vitamin D.

And please don’t anyone mention that C word.

Christmas?

Mmmm . . . that’s right.

But aren’t we all happy when it comes?

I mean, imagine that it didn’t.

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Imagine no family, no friends, no gifting, no baking, no singing, no decorations, no lights.

No light.

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But there is, and we do.

Have Christmas. Have Light.

Even in winter.

6759890bb24056f0e86bc5f3570130efAnd Light has a name.

“At the name of Aslan each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer.”

~ C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

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And Light’s other name is Love.

Love that can get you through the winter.

Or a winter of your soul.

Love that comes after you, with a deafening roar and a mighty leap.

Even if you don’t know it, or you know it and you’re running away.

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Winter.

It will come, no matter how we dig in our heals and will summer to stay.

But lighting our path through to next spring will be the celebration of the birth of a King.

A King who will, one day, make an end to

darkness

of

every

kind.

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Journey with me? Into autumn, through the winter, as we look for Love, look for Light?

Avonlea x

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Psalm 139:7-12, James 1:17

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The Thaw Begins

The Thaw Begins – photo by crunklygill

“‘Yes,’ said Queen Lucy. ‘In our world too, a Stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.'”

—The Last Battle, C. S. Lewis

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John, The Captain, and The General, and I had a delightful 24 hours in Chicago this week, relaxing in our hotel, peering through shop windows at the lovely, twinkly holiday displays, and sharing a deep dish Chicago style pizza at the famous Pizzeria Due. But those delightful activies were not the real reason for our trip. The real, really exciting reason was that I had an appointment at the British Embassy, where I took an oath and became a British Citizen. That’s right–me, Avonlea Q. Krueger, an honest to goodness British Citizen, subject of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

Now let me ask my American friends not to panic–I still am and always will be an American. But for entirely practical reasons, John and I would like the entire family to have dual citizenship . . .

Okay, okay, those of you who know me well are probably sitting with raised eyebrows, saying to yourselves that there are probably one or two other reasons that have nothing to do with practicality which probably induced me to become a British citizen. And while I could begin to argue the benefits of all of us having passports from the same country, I must admit that you’re right. Some of my reasons are entirely fanciful and sentimental. Short of being adopted by a member of the royal family, or travelling through time and book-world to become one of Jane Austen’s characters, living in the UK and becoming a British citizen is the next best thing.

While other teenage girls daydreamed about New Kids on the Block or the captain of their high school football team, I was pouring over Victorian  homemakers’ guides, decorating my room with lace, and telling anyone who would listen that I really was born in the wrong century. Nineteenth century Britain seemed to me the most beautiful, romantic, and inspiring places to live, and I knew that much of the history and culture had extended into the next century. And so in the background of all my dreams was the hope that one day I would step foot on the mistiest, the greenest of all isles, home to Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Shakespeare, Eric Liddell, Helena Bonham Carter, George MacDonald, the Wesley brothers, and a host of other authors, poets, actors, scientists, and hymn writers on my list of people I’d like to meet.

The teenage years can be difficult ones, and I wish that I could go back and tell myself some of the blessings that would come to me in my grown up years. Knowing that I would not only visit the UK, but spend eight years of my life there and eventually become a citizen certainly would have put a sparkle in my moody teenage eyes!

John and I have had so many challenges and uncertainties over the past few months, and I keep thinking that I wouldn’t mind having a bit more certainty about my future life back here in America. But I know that we aren’t meant to know too much of our future before it happens. God’s strength is enough for today, and it’s good to reflect on His blessings, which are new every morning.

What would you like to whisper to the teenage you to give yourself a little giggle? What positive blessings and suprises have happened in your life? If you are feeling a bit discouraged or anxious right now, make a list of some of the surprise blessings that have come to your life over the past 10 or so years. They may have been the harderst 10 years of your life, or they may have been the best, but I know that you will find some blessings if you look hard enough. The birth of a child? The purchase of a home? The introduction to a dear friend? An unexpected trip? A new pet? Time spent on a favourite hobby? The aquiring of a new skill? A new business started? Provision in time of need?

I’d love to hear about some of your most blessed blessings if you’d like to share them with me!

I know it’s been a looong time since you’ve heard from me, but moving continent and starting up a new business have kept us more than a little busy. But I’m hoping that beginning with the new year I’ll be able to post more often, for I have so many reflections, ideas, and inspirations to share with you all.

Till then, let me wish you all a very cosy, sparkly, Merry Christmas and a very, very happy New Year.

Avonlea x

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