Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas in Carlow

The following document was typed on a vintage Underwood typewriter which was set up on the Jon MacDonald family table on Christmas Day. Several times throughout the day you could find someone click-clacking away on it, giving their opinion on the myriad of activities in the home. It is a short piece of family history, typed by several family members who came to visit at Jon & Alicia's house in Carlow, New Brunswick. (I have tried to remain as close to the original as possible, e.g., 'creative spelling').

Afton and Gram Deb decided this journalistic masterpiece should be entitled:

"CHRISTMAS IN CARLOW: The Melissa & Doug Christmas"*

(typed on a vintage Underwood typewriter which was set up on the table all Christmas day).

Afton: One Christmas, mostley ever-thing was Melissa & Doug.

Gram Deb: There were way too many presents to deal with that Christmas in Carlow. With papa sleeping in the chair, his kerchief covering his eyes, and Mommy making samosas on the stove, the air was filled with snores and samosa aromas.

Afton: Jack got bilding things, I got craft things, Ivy got learning things.

Gram Deb: Everyone was busy as a beaver, creating beautiful creations. Papa was building an electric dragster out of nuts, bolts and CDs. The snow lay like a blanket outside, covering Carlow with a winter wonderland. Natalie and Alicia were sautéing, cutting, creating samosas. Will they ever get done before Nat has to go to another party?

Afton: Oliver was in the high chair, and Croy just wock up.

Gram Deb: Jack finished his racer, and was driving it everywhere, making sure he kept it away from Baby Croy. Croy opened his Tonka fire trucks, complete with neon detour signs.

Gram Deb cried when she received her son’s gift to her: a handcrafted paddle made with care out in Santa’s Workshop. She was so blessed to receive this gift from her only son.

Afton: It was a $ for too strangers to come. [Editor’s note: Afton explained that this means that if people came to the house, they had to pay a dollar to come in. Although this never happened. LOL]

Jon: The gifts are plenty and the food is grand. Monkey bread, taco salad, samosas, candy, chocolate, pop, juice, cheese, slamon [‘salmon’], and much, much more!! A grand time to be had by all. Bodies of children strewn across the room in absolute uphoria [‘euphoria’] from all the gift giving. Parents llying [lying] around the room utterly unconscious from the strenuous effort of it all. Why? Why not? Oh how far down the tube of Christmas tradition we have come.

Gram Deb: I must go stuff samosas now.

Afton: Papa and Jack are playing with yo-yos.

Grammie Nancy: It all began early Christmas morning when we arrived, first being entertained by Mr. Bean. Then we started opening so many gifts that it was over whelming. It is in the year of our Lord 2011. The inlaws and outlaws are here as witnesses to all this fuss when actually we are here to celebrate the ultimate gift of our Lord Jesus. What a beautiful day with a little snow in the air which relieves one and all from the frigid temperatures. They had samosas without telling us so we get leftovers. Actually we shouldn’t eat anything because soon we will be all competing for the Santa job at Macy’s.

Alicia: It has been a day of fun and food. For instance, Ivy is here still asking for more sweets, especially the PC brand chocolates in their shiny luring packages. We have eaten a lot of strange things this season. In fact by far the weirdest food yet for a blistery Christmas day. Samosas, pie and shrimp and Dad’s fried potatoes. I love seeing the kiddies play with their new toys, and hop up and down over the promise of what their stockings hold from St. Nick. After all this fun… I believe that we ought to give the kids a nice Christmas soaking to wash off the day’s grime. Love and peace to all and to all a wonderful night of games around the fire.

[Christmas in Carlow participants: Jon, Alicia, Afton (6), Jack (5), Ivy (3), Croy (1), Grammie Nancy, Grampie Greg, Gram Deb, Papa, Natalie, Shawn, Oliver (1)]

(Editor’s Notes: We also went to Florenceville Baptist Church on Christmas morning, went sliding outside on the Carlow hill, and played Quelf Jr. as a family. After the kids went to bed, we settled down on our couches and listened to the fire crackle and “The Shepherd” on CBC radio. A very interesting and heartwarming day with family. We wish Josh, Natalie, Aiden and Sarah could have been here with us, too. Granny and Jed, too. Boo hoo. Oh well, there's always next year, right?)


*Melissa & Doug is a top quality childrens' toy-making company

Monday, 19 December 2011

The weekend

We went to Bristol on Friday night to babysit our grandchildren. Stories and plays and apples dipped in caramel and toffee bits. They are so cute and I had a grand time. Home at 1 in the morning. Doug and I love driving late at night. How many of you love doing that? The moon was half there, the night was clear, my husband was dear. I feel like writing a song or two.

Saturday was quiet -- I'm not really getting much done, but hey, I'm in a period of rest. I did manage to shop a bit in the morning and lay all the treasures out in the living room. It's Monday morning and they are still in the same place. Perhaps I'll wrap a few presents today. Christmas is a-comin.'

Had a long conversation with Natalie this morning. I so miss her and the little ones here at the house. She's preparing for a big party on Christmas Eve at her house. Wish we could be there, too. Last week I had this vision of us arriving by surprise at their house on Christmas Eve. If only we had the money to do this; I'd fly out in a minute.

Sunday was filled with people and places. Such a wonderful day of church cafe, lunch, Fredericton Ladies' Choir at St. Paul's Cathedral (sang along with the choir at the end when the whole place stood as The Hallelujah Chorus was played). Granny so wanted to be in the choir, but alas, she had a roaring cold, so we watched from the balcony. In the evening, Doug and I went to Ann's house where she made us prime rib with all the fixin's, and we had conversation around the table about our purpose in life.

What is the purpose of life, anyway? This morning I was listening to R.C. Sproul's teaching "Dust to Glory," on this topic. Fantastic teaching series. You can listen on line at

Gen. 1:26 says, "Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life -- the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals."

Who am I?
Why am I?

Why a world?
Why people?
Why history?

We are the pinnacle of God's work of creation.

"If there is no God, there is no purpose. If there is no purpose, there is no God."

Thoughts today....should I now wrap presents?

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


You know what I have found? It is rather difficult to rest. I'm trying. Put the fire on in the office in the morning, sit there, get out my journal, Bible, etc. Then the phone rings. You know how it is. Or I need to deal with something. Like go buy a present for someone. It is the season to be jolly and buy presents, and am I running out of time? Yes. Bit by bit I'll eat the gift-buying elephant.

I have discovered this, though -- that we can rest doing all sorts of activities -- it's really our state of mind, isn't it?

Doug and I have been enjoying the time together the past couple of evenings. We watch a video and talk about it. Take a walk, a ride, watch a Christmas movie. And he has been sending me a daily email of a powerpoint presentation he has been making for me, called "The Twelve Days Before Christmas,", a love letter of sorts - one slide per day. Very unique and very touching to me. My beloved husband.

I just came home to make the supper meal and there he was at the stove, making the meal. Where did my husband go? Is this the new and improved model? I like it, whatever is going on...

Tis the season to have a new husband....

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A Season of Rest

I'm in a season of rest. Yes, believe it or not. I have deemed December a season of rest. Seasons greetings to me -- take a rest, Deb. You might be a bit weary. Yes, thank you, I believe I am a bit weary. Going like the wind since Labour Day and now I need to rest from all that labour.

I don't like to admit that I'm tired, but I guess it's OK every once in awhile. That way, one can accept it and get 'involved' in that rest, step into it so to speak and enjoy it. I give myself permission to rest.

After Natalie and the kids left, I realized this to be true. After you slow down a bit, you understand you might be tired. Know what I mean? Enjoying life, however -- just doing whatever....and seeking God in the midst of it -- reading, praying, meditating, enjoying the SEASON of Advent. Enjoying this beautiful city we live in. Enjoying my tree that has been up for two weeks, thanks to Natalie. Enjoying the fact that my shopping is almost done. Enjoying the fact that I can just BE. What a place to BE.

I know! I will just " this place." LOL


Thursday, 8 December 2011

Natalie called me at 6 pm New Brunswick time. RCMP husband Josh met her at the Winnipeg airport with two dozen roses. She said that Aiden and Sarah did great on the air flights. They had another seven hours north by car, to The Pas. She has a couple of stories to tell me but that will have to wait til tomorrow. Or should I say today, since I can't sleep?

You know, the airport is one of a few places where a grown woman can stand at a plate glass window and cry, and no one comes to her aid or asks her what is wrong.

Thanks for praying. It really does work.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Once again, Natalie, Aiden and Sarah are leaving on a jet plane -- back to Manitoba. Where did the time go? They've been here since November 5th, and time does fly when you're having fun.

Would appreciate your prayers as she travels to Toronto, changes planes and then on to Winnipeg, where RCMP husband Josh will meet his dear family and take them home another seven hours to The Pas, Manitoba. Thank you, Josh, for lending us your wife and children. We've so totally enjoyed having them here.

I'm sad. It's a normal thing when they leave -- Nat and I are both sad -- we hate to leave each other. And the babies...Oh, what could I say? I feel like I've been raising them, too...Baby Sarah stood today -- I told her when she came that she had to stand before she went home. She is 10 months old. Good job, Baby Giant (that's what we call her). She is so cute. Aiden, too....He has absolutely loved interacting with all my music students this month and has even learned half of "Jingle Bells" from Gram Deb.

I wish Canada was the size of Luxembourg sometimes -- or a small European country. Would make it so much easier to see your family, wouldn't it? Oh well, God has granted us this time together, and He will grant us another time. He always does.

Thanks for praying for our beautiful daughter and children tomorrow....

Sunday, 4 December 2011