"He never did any of those things that usually accompany greatness."

my grandmother raised her children to the Christmas singing king of their day: andy williams. of course, my mother then raised us on him as well. i have listened to his Christmas albums countless times, but one part of a live recording has stood my neck hairs on end without fail this year. he quotes a poem attributed to jim bishop called "one solitary man." i prefer andy's reading of it but couldn't find it on the internet, so here is the next best substitute, and the author of my grandpa's favorite carol, bing crosby. you're gonna love this:

if i had a mind of steel i would memorize this poem. i suppose there may still be time before the holidays. since we've only heard a fistful of holiday tunes played on the radio, seen a handful of lights on homes or trees, and have yet to sing a single Christmas carol in church and it is already the tenth of december!, i am grateful for people, how ever old, who took their time to share their love for Christ's story. i hope to better do the same.


finds on rue antoine dansaert, brussels

found a beautiful rue our last trip. amazing shopping. lovely apartments. great neighborhood.

get a load of this, if you can. i walked up to this window and said to devin, "if i had that gold skirt in the back i'd be in heaven." we stared at the window for a while when the epiphany came. "those are PAPER! the dresses and skirts are made out of PAPER!" they were gathered, pintucked, pleated, pressed, seamed, and hemmed all out of the stuff we write on everyday. all my patternmaking days resurfaced and i was left fantasizing. I DIED, then made devin take a picture.
if you can enlarge please do. you'll die too. 

nothing can top the above story. but someday i'd like to make a sofa thingy like this. i am in love with excess tufting.

the inspiring end.


noel in brussels

the christmas market in brussels held a candle to paris. i'm learning that french markets are famous, but belgian's are cheaper and just as grand. 

this is the snow that cancelled church. amazing.

our neighbors own a merry-go-round. i hope it's this one. it's ingenious.

place sainte catherine, the very first place we went in brussels. reminiscent. now covered in lights and stalls.

 something fried and covered in sugar. something very good.

it was painfully cold, high up on pain scale cold.

we went outdoor ice skating on our honeymoon here. we could barely move in the cold, let alone skate this past weekend. hopefully next weekend, and maybe make a yearly tradition. found a few christmas presents, but still need a few more. besides taking a few hours to dethaw, it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a saturday.


quatrieme mois

blurry devin keeping warm by a warming station in france

snow cancelled our church meetings today. we slept in. made american pancakes. got on our comfy church clothes. you know the ones, the comfy dress your mom would wear after church. i now have one, it's the kind that you can nap in-and we did that: napped. we caught a few snowflakes out our windows:) i only remember church being cancelled once  while growing up because it snowed about three feet in utah. here in beligum we only have 3 inches. sadly, instead of being with saints we watched this and this. great feasting anyway.

we've made it through our most comfortable month overseas yet. it's heartening to know we are 2/3 of the way done-less than two months left:)

-festively decorating our apartment in scads of white paper.
-watching the belgians react to what utahns consider a little snow.
-the same old meals we make are getting old. i'm really ready for my kitchen again.
-slacked in my letter writing, but not journaling. selfish i know.
-haven't started on my christmas cards yet.
-wished they had black friday over here.
-caving-we got a dryer. i think i miss line drying. wondering if i'll be loco to try it in ut.
-trying to figure out my plans for post-europe. decisions are not my forte.
-bought a french plate for my mother in law for her very own plate collection.
-blamed things on the weather, like less weekend day trips, loss of exercise motivation, and now no church.
-our first handmade thanksgiving. homemade pumpkin puree and all.
-seeing christmas from a different culture's perspective.
-tried the most famous super ultra dark belgian chocolate. no wonder they don't eat chocolate like it's is a food group. if i only had that stuff, i too would eat a teaspoon about every other full moon.
-counting down the days to our european yuletide. we are planning that this fifth month will be the best of all: scourging for our last needed gifts in our favorite antique flooded antwerp, taking our first holiday for our anniversary in bruges, ornament buying in brussels at their famous flea markets, and christmas celebrating with foreign friends.