Category Archives: Events

Valentine Tree

There is no question that my favorite season of the year is Christmas time. Summer is delightful (especially here in the Pacific Northwest, where summer is never too hot) and I do enjoy Thanksgiving as much as the next guy (unless the next guy is Joshua, who REALLY loves Thanksgiving). I always enjoy my birthday, although the last few have been a bit lonely, with Kathy out of town.

But there is something really unique about the anticipation, the wonder; the nearly-universal joy that is Christmas. Sure, people get stressed about the season – buying too much and trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, but even so, there is something quite special about focusing on the Advent of the Savior of the World, and seeking to show love as much as possible to others.

Round up the usual Christmas suspects!

Round up the usual Christmas suspects!

When I was a little boy, my Dad used to tell a story about a Christmas gathering he had attended (or maybe only imagined) in which a bratty child feverishly unwrapped a generous pile of presents on Christmas morning. When there was nothing left under the tree, the boy looked around angrily. “Is that ALL?” he whined. (My Dad can imitate a really impressive whine.)

This boy was held up as the pinnacle of the height of ingratitude – we all knew that we didn’t want to be identified with that child in any way. I can only hope he never existed, and was only a product of my Dad’s inventive mind.

And yet.

Truth be told, there is a part of all of us that is just the tiniest bit disappointed when Christmas is ‘over’. When the last presents have been opened, and the visiting relatives have gone home, and the leftovers have become passe’ – when all is said and done, there is a sense of a bit of a let-down.

January is a cold and rainy month in Western Washington – usually too cold and damp for comfort and too warm for snow. The contrast between the warmth and color and joy of the Christmas season is rather stark, and I find myself unwilling to venture out into the relative ‘cold’ of the New Year.

So I don’t. I keep listening to Christmas Carols and I refuse to even consider taking down the Christmas tree. I leave the lights on the outside of my house burning each night, taking a defiant (and I dare say, heroic) stand against the turning of the seasons. “What does January have to offer, that I should take down the lights?” I ask anyone who questions my unflagging Christmas Spirit.

But my wife likes variety, and is a bit more forward-looking than I am. Even though our tree is fake, she begins to pine (pun intended) for change, and to reclaim the space lost when the Christmas decorations descend upon the house. Even my children (who ought to be on my side) begin to raise an eyebrow when they hear me relentlessly playing Christmas music on my computer.

This year, my wife was very crafty. She slowly (and rather sneakily) put away the decorations, bit by bit, until only the tree and the outside lights remained as a bastion against the tide of progress. Waiting until I was out of town for a Men’s Retreat, she whisked away the tree and the outside lights. When I came home, it was a ‘fait accompli’, with only the ‘extra’ tree in our bedroom still remaining.

My Valentine Tree keeps the season alive, even at the end of February.

My Valentine Tree keeps the season alive, even at the end of February.

Even that tree was subjected to a transformation, of sorts.


“It’s a Valentine’s Tree,” she told me, smugly.

Share or follow

Related posts:

A Golden Birthday

According to the interweb, a ‘Golden Anniversary’ is when a couple celebrates their 50th wedding anniversary. My parents celebrated theirs five years ago, to much fanfare and family enjoyment.

But according to my beloved wife, a ‘Golden Birthday’ occurs when your age in years coincides with the day of the month you were born. So, for example, my ‘Golden Birthday’ was the year I turned 8, since my birthday is on the 8th of the month.

Parenthetically, it really was a ‘Golden’ day. It happened to fall on Columbus Day, which (at the time) was celebrated as a holiday in the city where I lived. School was cancelled, and we spent the day touring the many attractions of the city. Although I knew, intellectually, that it was the holiday that gave everyone an excuse to celebrate, I couldn’t help feel that, if they really knew, the people of New York City were celebrating my birthday.

So, if you were so fortunate as to be born on the same day as the number of your month, then I imagine you could have a ‘Platinum Birthday’. For example: someone who turned 11 on the 11th of November.

And I suppose if the years and the time of your birth lined up such that you turned 9 on September 9, 2009, then you’d really have it made. Maybe you’d call that your ‘Californium 252 Birthday’, since that is the rarest and most valuable metal?

Fascinating as this study of precious metals may be, today we studied (and enjoyed) a very precious person, more valuable to God and to us than his weight in Californium 252. Today, my youngest son David turned 16.

It was a pretty good day. Due to some late-night work last night, I was able to work from home (usually I am in the office on this particular weekday) and so I was able to take David to take his ‘Road Test’ at the 911 driving school. Passing with flying colors, David and I celebrated with a tasty lunch at Subway. We ordered his driver’s license online, opened presents, and celebrated David as much as we could, considering he has a cold and a difficult Algebra II exam that he had to take and submit today.

Scoring an impressive 96%, David may have outdone us all in driving prowess.

Scoring an impressive 96%, David may have outdone us all in driving prowess.

This evening, Sarah and David drove to Albertson’s to buy Kathy some grocery items. To some parents, such an errand may not seem to have any significance, but Kathy and I have been through this a few times already — we know what happens when a teenager gets their driver’s license. Suddenly, the world is their oyster, and they find many opportunities to enjoy the freedom of the road. It can be a very poignant time for a parent who is already reeling from the abrupt departure of three older children.

But who knows? David is, in many ways, a very unique young man — he makes his own way and doesn’t follow the usual rules of being a teenager. Maybe he’ll drive when he needs to, but will still find ways to hang out with Kathy and me and Sarah. Time will tell.

Tim

Share or follow

Related posts:

Christmas 2016

We had such a lovely Christmas this year – very relaxed and full of family and friends. Our only sadness was not having Joshua and Kelsie here for any of the holidays. This post if especially for them – so they can see some of our Christmas pictures and feel a part of our December 2016.

Tradition - Christmas Eve picture at church.

Tradition – Christmas Eve picture at church.

I sent several boxes of Advent goodies to Tennessee in November and couldn’t resist hanging Joshua and Kelsie’s stockings on the mantle. They were with us in spirit!!

Stocking hung by the fire with care.

Stocking hung by the fire with care.

Daniel spent part of December working for family friends in Idaho. Upon returning home, he quickly resumed his job at Chick-Fil-A. We’re proud of him for working hard to earn tuition money for another semester at Calvary Chapel Bible College. Rachel’s roommate got married on the 17th (Hooray Kaylee and Matthew!!!) and another friend on the 18th, so Rachel wasn’t able to fly home from Tennessee until the 19th of December. So late!!! Thankfully we have her for almost the entire month of January as she’s not taking any classes during Jan Term this year.

Christmas breakfast

Christmas breakfast

Christmas fell on a Sunday this year. We celebrated with our church family on Christmas Eve and hosted Tim’s parents as well as his nephew (and family) on Christmas Day. Such a sweet time. Of course, as always, our favorite start to the holiday season is when Tim is off work and declares Holiday Hours!! Time to watch movies, sleep in, open presents, relax, and play games!!!

Family Time!!

Christmas Day Dinner with the Edgrens!!

On the Monday after Christmas, we were able to celebrate with more of Tim’s family. His favorite (okay, only) brother came to town with his beautiful wife and two children (visiting from Tennessee). We missed Joshua and Kelsie keenly but were thrilled to have some time with the PMGE’s.

Quick family photo

Quick family photo

And we all loved having Tim P join us for some of our family time. He and Rachel spend as much time together as they can. Long distance (from Union University in Tennessee to University of Washington in Seattle) relationships are hard.

We had 3 Tims together for lunch.

We had 3 Tims together for lunch.

Right in between Christmas and New Year’s we hosted a lovely dinner with the Pancho family. We have known and loved the Panchos for 11 years. Holly is one of my dearest friends and Tim P was one of Joshua’s Best Men in his wedding last year. I wanted to do something special for our two families in the midst of the busy holidays and to celebrate TimP and Rachel’s relationship. We had a gorgeous meal, lots of laughter and games and a surprise visitor (aka baby Asher)!!

DSC_9431 (Large)

DSC_9402 (Large)

Code Names was one of the popular games this year. Jenny, TimP and I are constantly begging the rest of the group to play with us.

DSC_9426 (Large)

DSC_9429 (Large)

So thankful for the time to take a little break from school and work and enjoy this marvelous time of year when we recognize the blessing of Immanuel, God With Us.

Kathy

Share or follow

Related posts:

Pinterest Class, Starbucks, and Thrifty Chic

This year I think we acquired new Christmas decor from three different places – Sarah’s homeschool co-op Pinterest class, Starbucks, and a local Facebook “for sale” page.

Sarah is so talented!

Sarah is so talented!

I love that our co-op offers such a diverse collection of classes. I am NOT artistic, so it’s a treat when Sarah or David can benefit from the other talented moms. Sarah made several beautiful things this past semester in her Pinterest class.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

For some reason, I decided to splurge and treat myself to several mini Starbucks ornaments this year. I had a few from previous years, and couldn’t resist buying one or two throughout the month of December. I kept them in their little box until late December – still not sure if I was keeping them for myself or giving them as gifts. Heh heh. Then I stumbled on a small golden ornament tree for sale on our local Facebook page.

Filled with ornaments!

Filled with ornaments!

There’s room for a few more ornaments. Next year??

A tree in front of a tree.

A tree in front of a tree.

I even hung them on this little tree IN their boxes. Toward the end of the month a sweet friend gave me two more ornaments I was missing, and Sarah looked at me knowingly.

“Mom, you’re not going to give these away. You think they’re too much fun. Just take them out of their boxes and enjoy the coffee tree.”

Sigh, when your kids know you so well, what can you do??

My artist - working on our chalkboard pantry door.

My artist – working on our chalkboard pantry door.

Over the month I did quite a bit of odds and ends shopping on the FB site. I picked up a tree, some garland, several ornaments, fleece pj’s, decorated mason jars for candles, and so on.

This garland was perfect over.  Took down the curtains, wound lights into the greenery and hung them in the living room.

This garland was perfect over. Took down the curtains, wound lights into the greenery and hung them in the living room.

Our master bedroom is big enough for it’s own tree. I hung all the ornaments on it that I haven’t used in years – memory ones from our first year of marriage, themed ornaments that just didn’t fit on the main tree, childhood creations. I even put lights over the window and around the room. Tim works from home several days a week. Our room became one of our favorite Christmas spots of the season.

Christmas tree decorating in process.

Christmas tree decorating in process.

Of course, putting Christmas decorations AWAY is never as much fun as taking them out – the END of the season is always bitter sweet (kids going back to college, Tim off to work, homeschooling and ministry responsibilities returning). Going through our Project 365 pictures, blogging about the big and small moments of our days, and smiling over it all, helps to keep me thankful and aware of all our abundant blessings.

Project 365 Days 341, 342 and 344 (Dec 7, 8 and 10)
Kathy

Share or follow

Related posts:

Wedding Feast Rehearsal

On Thursday I had the opportunity to attend the rehearsal dinner for my oldest son’s wedding. Joshua and Kelsie were married on Friday evening, to the general delight and satisfaction of their assembled friends and family. We greatly enjoyed witnessing this momentous occasion as the newlyweds embark on the adventure of their marriage.

It was such fun to celebrate with Joshua and Kelsie.

It was such fun to celebrate with Joshua and Kelsie.

Being the father of the groom is a pretty good gig. Kelsie’s family took care of the reception and nearly all of the details of the wedding itself — all I had to do was show up, wear a suit, and pay for the rehearsal dinner. But I must admit, I had some misgivings a few weeks ago, when Kathy told me that I’d be providing a blessing at the end of the dinner.

Getting the room ready for the rehearsal dinner ...

Getting the room ready for the rehearsal dinner …

“A blessing?” I pictured some saint of old like Jacob or Isaac, blessing his sons on his deathbed. “I’m not sure I can pull off the whole patriarch thing,” I told Kathy (although I do have a beard). Later, on the phone, Joshua assured me that I was expected to make some final remarks at the Rehearsal Dinner. I decided I would put some thought into what I would say, rather than trusting entirely in my ability to extemporize. “You might want to make a few notes,” Kathy wisely counseled.

Little did I know that the testimonies and speeches during this event would be one of the highlights of my life.

It began with some of Kelsie’s family reflecting on her character and their relationship with her. Several had notes to which they frequently referred as they related various amusing anecdotes — I began to wish I had followed Kathy’s advice.

Michelle's idea to put up Christmas lights was excellent -- it really transformed the room.

Michelle’s idea to put up Christmas lights was excellent — it really transformed the room.

But then several of the groomsmen stood to speak about Joshua, and several of the bridesmaids spoke about Kelsie, and I began to realize that this was much more than a rehearsal dinner. This was a sacred celebration of the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the students of Union University, and I was privileged with a front-row seat to the Christian community which had been built during the years that Joshua and Kelsie were in Tennessee.

We were blithe enough when we sent Joshua off to school at Union University. He had received a full tuition scholarship, and we really liked what we heard about the school from his cousin, Rebecca. Joshua’s faith in God was solid — we had little fear that he would fall away from the Lord as so many do, when they begin re-inventing themselves in college.

Rehearsal dinner preparation is always better with a coffee from Starbucks.

Rehearsal dinner preparation is always better with a coffee from Starbucks.

But I guess we didn’t really think through what would happen when Joshua got to school — how he would begin to intentionally surround himself with a cohort of other like-minded men of God, and what they would build through purposeful, obedient conviction, walking in faith together. As each of the young men and women stood and spoke about godliness, faithfulness and purity, I felt as though I was attending a rehearsal for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”

– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” — Revelation 19:6-9

We walked through the ceremony twice, and then settled into a back room of the church, crammed wall-to-wall with tables and chairs. With a wedding party of two-dozen, plus family members, we were a snug group of fifty or so.

I was worried about how tight the seating was, but it actually turned out very well -- it gave the meal a very intimate feel.

I was worried about how tight the seating was, but it actually turned out very well — it gave the meal a very intimate feel.

It was my role to conclude the time with my blessing — so as people were finishing the meal, I stood and warned the assembled wedding party and families that when I next stood up, their opportunity to speak would end. Then I sat back and enjoyed the show.

Two hours later, I leaned over to Kathy. “Should I put an end to this? Surely people have sat in these chairs long enough?”

It took some effort to fit the wedding party across the front of the church, but we eventually managed.

It took some effort to fit the wedding party across the front of the church, but we eventually managed.

Kathy encouraged me to sit tight, and I settled back into my chair as two or three more people stood to testify. Each story contributed to the central theme: that Christ is glorified in Joshua and Kelsie, but also among the other students of that college in a rare and deeply-satisfying way.

What a lovely group of bridesmaids!  Kelsie is very blessed to have so many dear sisters and friends.

What a lovely group of bridesmaids! Kelsie is very blessed to have so many dear sisters and friends.

I realized that I wanted my younger sons and the other young men present to hear these testimonies — to catch a vision for what God can do when a few young people stand together in obedience to His Word and the Holy Spirit. As I later commented in my blessing, we were witnessing the joining of three families — Joshua and Kelsie’s natural families, plus the family of faith that they had built at Union.

If ever a father could have his dearest wish, it was granted to me, as I sat in that back room of the church: heart full of joy, tears brimming in my eyes, listening to the closest friends and relatives of my son and soon-to-be daugther-in-law speak of the work of Jesus in their lives. Truly John wrote: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” — 3 John 1:4

Thank you, Joshua and Kelsie, and thank you to all of your friends and relatives for so many kind and Christ-honoring words. Thank you, Debbie Le, Michelle Kuhlmann and Beckie Madson for slaving behind the scenes to make the rehearsal dinner a success. And thank you, Lord Jesus, for granting us new life and joy and making all this possible!

Project 365, Day 351
Tim

Share or follow

Related posts: