So often we talk about the fears and uncertainties that Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt. I am going about it from a different perspective this year. Not saying that she didn’t feel those fears and uncertainties. I’m certain that she did. But I think there must have been quiet moments for her where everything just… felt… right. I believe God gives those moments to us. Those moments where you just feel certain that you are in the right place, doing the right thing, even though it’s not necessarily an easy thing that you are doing. Those moments are like gifts. Those little moments of assurance make all the hard, “impossible” moments bearable. I write from the perspective of Mary having one of those moments. Not disregarding reality, but reveling in the beauty of her task.

She walks.
Down the dusty, full street.
Free and quiet.
Graceful and swingy.
Loving the sounds of children shrieking, animals, the rumble of carts, the chatter of women, the laughter of men.
The sun gentle now, but promising piercing heat.
She ponders.
She is made of many things.
She is made of the firm consistency and strength of her father and the joyful peace of her mother. She is made of the life of her siblings. She is made of the teasing of friends, and of aunts who still pinched her cheeks and pronounced her beautiful. She is made of the sun high in the sky and of the stars glowing at night. She is made of rocky, dry hills and scrubby low trees. She is made of murmured prayers and careful obedience.
And now…
She has become more than just herself.
She is him too.
Him, Joseph, with the brown eyes that make her feel warm. He has shown his kindness in many, many ways. He is so good.
She feels giddy and thrilled and has to focus on keeping her steps even, instead of skipping like they want to.
She is her.
She is him.
That’s not all though.
She is more.
She is filled with Him.
The angel told her so.
Right now it is her secret.
She had always believed in Him. Had always been curious about the Messiah. But somehow had never imagined that it would be her.
That she would be chosen to be part of God’s growing, beautiful, living, painful plan.
Yes. She had always believed.
But now, it was all so real that she felt as though she tingled with God.
He is so close.
The certainty and the comfort of that chase away the fingers of trepidation that want to snake through her.
She is young.
But she is smart.
She is willing.
But she knows.
This is going to be the hardest thing.
It’s going to fulfill her and tear her apart like nothing else ever had or ever would.
She knows.
Her heart already loves this Life and depends on it.
She aches for herself.
Not everyone would be kind to the girl who claims that the Messiah is growing inside of her. How to be firm and yet gracious? Gentle and strong? To know the truth but be patient with those who don’t understand?
She aches more for Him.
Even fewer people would be kind to the one who declares himself to be the Messiah.
She knows these things.
But it’s okay.
It’s the way it is.
People wouldn’t understand.
God had come to her.
God was with her.
He had been watching her.
He still was.
He always would be.
He was… inside her? Her hand settles on her stomach in amazement.
Excitement rushes through her.
She grasps that excitement and claims it, and the fear is kept at bay.
It all is so good.
Her feet want to dance.

I Feel Sparkly Inside. (And like I have cold.)

A few random thoughts from the past week.

  1. There are sparkles everywhere in my life. It’s my own fault. Sparkly decorations, sparkly cards, sparkly art projects. My classroom has sparkles all over it. It actually started to bother me after a little while that my hands always had sparkles on them. However, I seem to have become accustomed to it because the other day, I was eating a piece of cheese at lunch. I happened to look at it and noticed that there were some sparkles on it. I inwardly shrugged and then continued eating the piece of cheese. I just ate those sparkles right up. Isn’t that gross? (There was only like two or three sparkles, okay?)
  2. Yesterday, during the afternoon program, I remembered this thing about first graders that I forgot. They love to count. I noticed this last year too. That if you sit them down on a bench for an extended period of time and groups of people come and perform on the stage, their natural inclination is to count those people. And then, unfortunately, to discuss what number they arrived at. I like that they count though.
  3. I really like how young children like to get gifts, but they also like to give gifts. It’s pretty exciting both ways for them. They are pretty much the only ones that I feel comfortable opening presents in front of. I felt very blessed last night.
  4. Christmas holidays are such a good thing. A wise friend advised me that I should do my cleaning before Ricky comes home. So, with a little bit of additional nudging from my mom, I took on the task of cleaning my room. (I am actually still in the process. I keep stopping to eat candy and blog and stuff.) Now, you have to understand that in the past week, my room just became a holding place for all of the stuff. There was a lot of stuff in this past week. So much. I even decided that it would be a good time to wash my sheets. When I was taking them off my bed, I realized how necessary it was for me to clean my room. This is what I found in my bed. IN MY BED.
    1. Three pairs of pjs.
    2. Three books, plus a Bible.
    3. One water bottle.
    4. Two black sweaters that I have been missing.
    5. One long-sleeved black shirt.
    6. One plastic bag, receipt included.
    7. One list of youth group members planning to participate in the 2014 Guatemala missions trip.

So that is why it’s good that I’m cleaning my room. I was not aware that all those things were in my bed.

  1. I am plain old going to miss my students. I told them that. One of them popped up his hand and said that maybe I might meet them in the grocery store sometime. If you can’t find me… I’m probably at the grocery store, hoping to catch a glimpse of one of my students.
  2. Ricky comes home on Christmas Eve. There’s really nothing more that needs to be said.

Home Fries

On belonging to a family.

  • Being part of a family means that sometimes, people use your favourite mug. Just to drive you nuts. Not only do they use it… they come into your room and slurp their coffee from it right in front of you. It couldn’t be like, a secret thing that they do, and feel a secret thrill. No. They are definitely doing it to make you go insane.
  • Being part of a family means that your sister has your pillowcase. Your sheet set came with all the required sheets and two matching pillow cases. For some reason, she has one of them, which leaves you with an awkwardly mismatched pillow.
  • Being part of a family means existing with a group of people of all different ages, experiences, and jobs. Conversations are interesting, and your mother might be led to say, “Jasmine, why do you bring up things like that? We do want Wendy to have some semblance of a normal childhood.”
  • Being part of a family means having people laugh at you when you are angry or grumpy, and sometimes, you realize how ridiculous you are being and laugh too, and other times, you sink deeper into your angriness or grumpiness.
  • Being part of a family means three females all wanting to use the sewing machine/serger at the same time.
  • Being part of a family means your brother having a secret recipe for peanut butter squares that he has so deeply engrained in your mind as “secret” that even when you steal the paper and could look at it, you can’t bring yourself to do it. Because it’s a secret, and you like that your brother makes peanut butter squares and even uses a double boiler to melt the chocolate. “Now this stuff- this is the stuff that really thickens it.” -Kenton
  • Being part of a family means owning scarves that you’ve never worn, but your sister has.
  • Being part of a family means people saying awesomely funny things, but then saying “You’re not allowed to put that on your blog, Jasmine.” So frustrating. If you’re not going to let me share it with the world, then you shouldn’t say anything at all.
  • Being part of a family means discussing sewing with your father: “I seem to remember that they gathered some things in and out.” –Dad
  • Being part of a family means watching movies together, and you making relationship predictions about the story line, and you say, “That guy seems nice”, and your little sister says, “Nicer than your boyfriend?????” And you say. “No. I did not say that.” Because he’s not.
  • Being part of a family means one person yelling “Don’t look!” and hearing echoes of “don’t look!” called from various family members in various parts of the house.
  • Being part of a family means that if one of them is going through a hard time… you all feel the burden. It’s just the way it is. And it’s almost worse to have them go through something tough than it is to actually go through it yourself.
  • Being part of a family means having to do your Christmas names exchange three times before everyone has a name and doesn’t know who does or does not have their name. (It reached the point where Mom made the rule that “After you check your paper, the only thing you are allowed to say is ‘It’s not me’ to let me know that you do not have your own name.” My theory is that we should probably all chew and swallow our little name slips, to ensure that no one “accidentally” sees anyone else’s paper before Christmas.)
  • Being part of a family means randomly joining your sister and mother for prayer, and reprimanding your little sister for not even praying for our family. “Oh, alright. Dear God, I pray for Jasmine and… well, I’ll just call the rest ‘home fries’.” –Wendy



I sure do like being part of this family.

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