Tuesday, December 15, 2009
[shouting in desperation]
Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I was pretty sure I had erred once again when my Florida vacation and another trip out of state for Thanksgiving prevented me from doing my outdoor decorating. Fortunately, the weather man gave me a couple of warm days to work with and I now have a few white lights and greenery to show for my labor.
I was afraid it was going to be a Charlie Brown Christmas. A few years ago I purchased some outdoor miniature trees to line my walkway. I was too conservative at the time and only purchased one set of three trees. Last year one of the pre-lit trees bit the dust and I was could not find another set to augment. Fast forward to Black Friday 09--I'm visiting family in Texas and I spot a set of similar trees at the chain store where I purchased the original set at. I was excited about beefing up my miniature forest but I had a dilemma--our vehicle was packed to the roof. There was NO ROOM for another suitcase or package much less a couple of boxes of miniature trees. So I left them behind in hopes that the store in my town had the same merchandise. On Monday I found and purchased the trees. It was too good to be true. They were a bargain price for a reason...they are the scrawniest miniature trees I've ever seen! I strategically placed them in front of some thicker bushes so they don't look so wimpy and at night no one is the wiser. Except for you...
Merry Christmas to you!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Day 25 A walk with The Princess around my college campus
Day 26 Thanksgiving lunch and dinner with both sides of the family
Day 27 The thrill of early morning bargains on Black Friday with The Princess
Day 28 A visit with dear friends from the past
Day 29 A hubby who willingly drives ALL the way back home, another safe day of travel...and sleeping in my own bed!
Day 30 A quiet day of catching up on 2 weeks of work!
There is so much to give thanks for. This little exercise has taught me to look each day for the blessings all around.
Monday, November 23, 2009
sunset walks on the beach...
white sandy beaches and blue water...
Benadryl for the bug bites
(I'll spare you the visual)
Key Lime Pie...
the amazing variety of shells I found...
flights that were NOT missed...
and my very own bed to sleep in!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I've lost track, gotten behind, been a little busy. So like I told the gals that attended the journaling class I led last weekend--don't beat yourself up if you have lapses, just start again.
Today I am grateful for...
and key lime pie!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Galatians 5:1
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It was 60 degrees and sunshine today which is above average for this time of year where I live. I was out running work errands and thought lunch at Sonic was in order. My last trip there (Sonic is on the other side of town from my house and too far to drive on a whim) proved to be disappointing so I was hoping for a good experience this time.
Sun roof open, combo meal delivered as ordered, lemon-berry slush with Sonic crushed ice. All was right with the world for those 20 minutes!
What do you order at Sonic?
Yesterday I was cranky, out of sorts, "ill" as my southern friends might say. A demanding (but fun) weekend coupled with some late nights preparing for a speaking engagement and a family vacation took me out of my usual "happy place".
Somehow macaroni and cheese sounded like the solution to the problem. Wisconsin white cheddar and shell macaroni courtesy of Panera Bread hit the spot and got me out of my funk or maybe it the unexpected conversation with a friend and Bible study later that night that did it.
There's no denying the power of food in my life.
These are a few of my favorite things.
What's your favorite food?
"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul"
"Music is what feelings sound like"
I have long been the only non-iPod user in my family. Until now.
I got one for my birthday. Up until now, I willingly shelled out $15 for a cd when I usually only listened to one or two tracks. Now I can pick and choose from millions of songs and make them mine for a mere .99 each. How cool is that? And podcasts- all topics will now be at my fingertips. Hubby has the fancy iTouch but I thought I should start more simply so got a new Nano. These pod making people are pretty smart and so is the Nano. It takes video and I can even listen to the radio with it. There's a tiny little speaker so I don't even have to wear the earbuds if I don't want to (although the sound is much better with them IN).
So as fond as I am of my new little toy, it's caused a dilemma. What do I put on it? I love ALL kinds of music. I like music that moves me and music that makes me want to move. I'm a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. I love the oldies but have fun finding the newbies.
It's a big, big music world out there and I've got an empty iPod waiting to be filled!
What's on your playlist?
There are the "old" friends that knew me "back when". Some of them were a part of the growing up process and all contributed in some way to making me who I am today. There are the friends that stumbled along with me through those teenage years. Thanks to Facebook, I've re-connected with them and am happy to see that we all made it out of those years mostly unscathed. There were the friends who despite being in another stage of life than me, allowed me into their lives and served as mentors through the early years of marriage and child-rearing. To this day, their advice and example do not go disregarded in my life.
Then there are the "now" friends that share with me "up close and personal" what is going on in my life. We laugh and cry together and count on each other for prayers, for recipes, and for encouragement. We help each other with mid-life issues, and teenager/letting go issues, and show each other how to Facebook and tie a scarf. A few are the ones who you let in your house when it's dirty, who will give you a honest answer regarding your hairstyle or wardrobe, and who will listen to you rant without judgement.
From a birthday card I received last week:
"Forget the calories. Forget the years. If you must count something, count your friends"
Friday, November 6, 2009
Sooooo, I'm giving you three for one...
Today I am grateful for my children (there are other days this gratefulness could be a challenging concept).
Today is #1 son's birthday. It was a sunny fall day such as the one I am experiencing today that he chose to come in to this world 25 years ago. He was a calm, scheduled baby and a compliant, easy going child through elementary school. He is the athlete of the family and we spent many memorable days and nights doing bleacher time watching him play football, basketball, and baseball. Today he is generous and fun-loving--a big man with a big heart. There have been some bumps along the way in this process of growing up but God has helped me see the prodigal tendancies in my own life and each day I have the privilege of praying for him and encouraging him as the opportunity is given.
College Boy is the middle child. He is shy but witty and smart. He likes reading the classics, listening to obscure celtic bands, and taking things apart! I've known from his earliest years that he was wired to be an engineer. He is graduating from college this May and my prayer for him is that he would be established in his career and life in a way that is honoring to God.
The Princess. When I was pregnant with #3, I wanted to know the gender and my husband did not. I was perfectly content with the idea that I might have all boys and at that time was pretty confident that I had it all together in the parenting realm (what's the verse about pride going before a fall?). But I wanted to be prepared for what #3 would be and so with hubby's approval, I found out the gender but had to keep it to myself. I soooooo get the verse where Mary, the mother of Christ, "treasured these things in her heart". It was the hardest secret to keep! My OB appointments were in another town so I would buy pink with abandon and kept it locked away for safe keeping. The Princess came into our world on Christmas eve eve and we gave her the middle name "Joy". For the most part that is what she has been to our family-pure joy. She was girlie to the boys brawn, ruffly to their rough, but not necessarily quiet to their loud. She had a way of making her presence known and used far more words in the first 3 years of life than her brothers combined! Today, she is driven and determined. She is talented and beautiful. I will miss her terribly when she graduates and goes off to college. My prayer for her is that God would protect her heart and guide her path--she is His princess as well!
I'm now a teary-eyed mess.
I would be grateful for your thoughts and prayers this weekend. I've been asked to speak at a women's retreat on the topic of journaling/blogging. Naturally, when you are talking about "using words", you want to "use your words well" so if you think of it, pray for me!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I am grateful for the continued health and life they have and regret that I do not live close enough to be there for them.
I hope that the best of what they did for me has been passed on to my children.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
- It's never the same. I get bored with routine so I love that each day brings new challenges even if there is a regular rhythm to our ministry schedule.
- There's always food. We have a fairly large staff so someone is always bringing in birthday treats, or there's leftovers from potlucks, brunches and other meetings. I count on a leftover donut each Wednesday morning from Men's Fraternity to be my breakfast.
- I work for and with GREAT people. It really is a place I enjoy coming to everyday. We work in a supportive and grace-filled environment but we also have fun. Lots of laughter and some really great staff parties!
- What I do matters. There is nothing wrong with bottom lines and soaring profits but I'm not really wired that way. I love that what I do helps facilitate ministry to PEOPLE and that lives are impacted by what we do.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
It’s November and in the United States this is the traditional month of Thanksgiving. So if you will indulge me for the next 29 days, I’d like to tell you what I am thankful for.
Since it is Sunday, I’ll start with…
Mine is not perfect and if it were, I couldn’t attend! But I am blessed to be a part of a community of committed believers who are led by servant leaders who are intentional about encouraging us to a deeper walk of faith.
I love how God’s Word is taught with clarity and relevance.
I love how there is opportunity to pursue a passion to serve whether it be across the world, across the street, or in the nursery.
I love guitar driven worship, and brass line Sundays, and orchestra weeks, and BIG BAND! I love the kids choirs and the adult choir, and my peeps on vocal teams!
From the Psalms of Ascent--
“I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” 122:1
“Blessed are the optimistic, for they will not be disappointed”
I knew we were headed for an adventure when The Princess called me at work to ask if we still had “that sewing machine”.
“Why do you ask sweetie?”
“We’re at Hancock’s buying fabric for Halloween costumes'”, she replied. “Thanks, I’ll see you later”.
I thought my Halloween costume days were over but apparently high school seniors are not too old or too cool to participate in a little Halloween fun. Bless her heart…
I’ve never been a fan of store bought costumes so through the years, I managed to create outfits out of things around the house or with very few purchased items. I also managed to put them together with pins, glue, tape and staples. I can hem but I do not really sew even though my sainted mother tried to show me how. Bless her heart…
With one quarter of a semester class called “Family Consumer Science”, my daughter has more sewing experience than I have at 50- something (I’m embarrassed to say). So with much enthusiasm and optimism, The Princess made her fabric choices and brought them home to create. Bless her heart…
I got home from work to find this:
She had no pattern. She wanted no help. Bless her heart…
She did have satin, and some kind of tulle, sequins, and…
A ZIPPER. Bless her heart…
And with great determination (and a small amount of frustration), two days later she had this…
Isn’t she the cutest Tinkerbell you’ve ever seen?
I couldn’t have done a better job myself…bless her heart!
Friday, October 30, 2009
So let me linger a little longer in the sunshine of fall.
The trees in my yard are still young. Their leaves do change color and fall but they do not produce massive amounts of leaves that require raking. Living on the open plains has it's advantages--whatever leaves that do fall from my trees are blown into the neighbors yards. So I go a little nuts when I see the leaves that fall from the mature trees outside my workplace. Some are bigger than my hands.
They are beautiful...
Do you see the cute animal print shoes? Do you see any socks or tights? No, it's an October miracle--warm enough to go bare footed!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I know I promised to post pictures when the fabulous Fall Porch Transformation was complete but there were a few hitches in my plan…lack of time, lack of talent, uncooperative weather, and high expectations to name a few. When I was unable to replicate this photo from the Pottery Barn catalog,
I resorted to what worked for me last year with a few twists.
So join me for a little Fall Transformation Tour…
Front Porch this summer…
Kept the spikes and ivy in the concrete planter but took out the dying summer flowers for some mums:
Close up of the straw bale arrangement:
The clay jack ‘o lanterns were purchased YEARS ago when we lived in Georgia where they were made. They have survived 4 moves and have graced my front porch fall decor for 20 years. After Halloween, they go back into hiding and are replaced with something else.
Here’s the moss basket out by the walkway…
First stage of transformation…
The only crafting I did was these candles that I wrapped in burlap and placed in my bargain lanterns from Walmart…
Been moving them around to decide where I like them best.
Here’s a last minute project for the back deck which I can enjoy the view more than the front porch…
I added an old grapevine wreath to the top of the clay pot that held geraniums this summer. I left the english ivy and fern but replaced the summer spikes with this fall grass. I filled the empty spaces with pumpkins and gourds to finish off the fall look.
Here’s another view
It makes me smile as I pass by the sliding doors to the deck.
Here’s something else that makes me smile. The Princess has some decorating talent of her own.
Speaking of transformations, my Creator God does some spectacular work everyday whether we recognize it or not. Sometimes it’s in the hearts of His children who allow Him to change us and then in every season He works transforming wonders in His creation.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Homecoming festivities and activities have come to an end. Now we can return to normal—whatever that is. No more tie-dying in the front yard… no more pajama days at school.
The cheer dinner is done and the pasta bar was a hit. All the moms packed a goodie bag for each girl. They also received a personalized photo frame and a crown!
The big game ended in our first loss of the season so there were a few tears--however, THE dress arrived in time and The Princess did indeed look like one.
That’s enough for one old mom to deal with in one week. I’m going to bed- wake me up when it’s May.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
No first place ribbon for the cheer moms float this year but I thought it was the best and several parade attenders all agreed! You can't see the sign in this photo but it says "You can run but you can't hide from the Lion pride". Thanks to one of the hunter dads for the duck boat. Don't we look cute in our cheer mom shirts? We took the picture before we donned our camo bandanas--we were stylin. Our float is one of the crowd favorites since we throw out little footballs like the girls do at the games. It was a fun walk and the weather turned in our favor--to bad the judges didn't do the same!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
My preoccupation with hunting canned pumpkin briefly distracted me from fall decorating. There was also a couple of days of cold and rain that delayed my outdoor work but it's all good now. A warm day and an impending event I'm hosting at my house got me motivated to decorate.
Here’s my table with the pumpkin and pine cone candles that I purchased at Pottery Barn last year. The pumpkins are in the catalog this fall as well. I can’t bring myself to actually burning them!
A little randomness on my kitchen island. There was a smaller glass pumpkin filled with tootsie rolls but The Princess got this cute bag for homecoming activities this week so we switched it out for the smaller pumpkin (not to mention that we ate all the tootsie rolls).
Here’s a ceramic bowl that I purchased way back in my Texas days on a visit to Canton. I created a pedestal for it by turning a stoneware bowl upside down and setting the Trick or Treat bowl on top.
Photos from Halloweens of Yore. I’m no seamstress but always favored imagination and using what we had around the house in favor of store bought costumes. We had some great ones throughout the years. The bottom picture is my favorite. A pirate, Robin Hood, and baby Princess as Minnie Mouse!
My porch is still in process. This picture was my inspiration but re-creating it has escaped my grasp for this year. I’ll post the porch picture when it’s done.
I’m a little late to the party, but be sure to stop by Southern Hospitality for some other fall decorating ideas. I have Rhoda to thank for clueing me into Windows Live Writer. This is my second post using it and it has made posting with pictures SOOOOO much easier. You can read her post about it here as well as other blogging tips.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
So off I go with that dark cloud hanging over my head and proceeded directly to my favorite drive-thru before work. Due to cost and calories, I usually limit myself to just one of those sweet, caffeinated concoctions per week. It's usually a good week if I can hold out to Friday but it's Tuesday, and I'm giving in.
Double shot, extra whip and make it a Grande please.
Good thing I did. Got to work and our server was down. Not great news when 90% of my job is web based.
At least I had a hot drink.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
When I was in college, my children’s literature professor could quote this poem by James Whitcomb Riley. I was reminded of the opening stanza this morning as I shuttled things out to my car in the crisp morning air. Frost warnings went out last night but a low blanket of clouds kept temperatures above the frost zone. For this I am glad because I have not yet been able to get some new Spring bulbs in the ground and also because frost is a foretaste of Winter to come (shudder).
Just in case you haven’t heard the poem, I’d like to share it with you and because I just may or may not have an obsession with all things pumpkin.
WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The cookie recipe came to me from one of my Texas friends and they were called Gladewater Gingersnaps. Truth is that they are not supposed to be crisp cookies so gingersnap is a bit deceiving. I renamed them Molasses cookies but are also known as Almost Famous Cookies because I usually get a request for the recipe whenever I serve them. It is one of my favorite Fall cookies.
Almost Famous Cookies
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup Crisco
4 TB molasses
2 cups flour
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Cream sugar and Crisco. Beat in egg and molasses.
Add dry ingredients and chill 30 minutes.
Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.
Bake for 11 minutes at 350 degrees. Cookies will "erupt" on top but should not be crisp.
2 cups powdered sugar
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 15 oz can of pure packed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Combine sugar and cream cheese. Beat until well blended.
Beat in remaining ingredients. Store in airtight container and refrigerate.
Serve dip in a small hollowed out pumpkin. Cookies can be dipped or can be "iced" with pumpkin dip.
1 recipe of dip is usually plenty for a double batch of cookies.
Happy Fall Ya'll
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
2 stores searched, resulting in only cans of organic pumpkin, $3.29 each. Carving and gutting a real pumpkin is looking more appealing to me.
One of my duties at work is scheduling child dedications and weddings. In a church the size of ours sometimes desired openings for these two events are hard to come by. Perhaps I could show favor to those who bring a can of pumpkin with their request.
Ahhh, but again, I exaggerate.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
News agencies and grocery store managers assure the public that there will be an ample supply available the first of October but that doesn't help me now. I'm not desperate enough to scrape out my own pumpkin but I will not sleep until I get my hands on a can.
See you on aisle 9.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
This is my 100th post!
One year ago I thought I'd try this new fangled thing called "blogging". It's been a creative outlet for me as well as proof positive that you can, indeed, teach an old dog a new trick. So for my 100th blog post, I wanted to share with you my favorite things of my favorite season of the year...Fall.
- Pumpkin Spiced Lattes from Starbucks
- Apple crisp, apples and caramel dip, apple cider, cream cheese stuffed apples, Fuji apple chicken salad at Panera Bread Company (it's actually offered year 'round--I was just on a roll with the apple thing)
- Mums- all colors. Decorated front porches. I'd like mine to look like this from the Pottery Barn catalog:
- Trees changing colors and falling leaves
- Fire pits and fireplaces
- Football games
- Yankee candle in Spiced Pumpkin (my standard fall fragrance; the new fall scents were great too)
- Candy corn and dry roasted peanuts
- Warm days and crisp nights
- Molasses cookies with Pumpkin dip
- Fall fabrics and colors
- Soup and chili recipes
- Start up of Women's Bible studies-- I'm doing these two:
We all have a time of year that we enjoy the most but I hope you can find wonder and beauty and joy in whatever season you are in.
So what do you love about this time of year?
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I know, it's been sometime since my last post and I'm so close to post #100!Well I've been busy and I thought I'd let some pictures tell the story...
5 year anniversary. August marked my 5th year anniversary serving on staff at New Covenant Bible Church. I love my job and the people I work with. This plaque is what every staff member receives on their 5 year anniversary. I have looked forward to receiving my own print. The artist is Timothy Botts and I have admired his calligraphy for many years and have a couple of his books. I am blessed to work in a healthy environment and know that what I do helps make a kingdom difference!
Labor Day weekend in Chicago! This was the view from our hotel room. If ever I move to Chicago and live in an apartment downtown, I want to live here.More fun- delicious steak dinner at Gibson's, nighttime view of the city from the observation floor at the John Hancock building, late night stop at Starbucks, a stroll on the Magnificent Mile, lunch at California Pizza Kitchen then a train/subway ride to the baseball game between Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.
Football season has begun. We are an SEC family living in Big 10 country. We don't have any strong allegiance to our state's college teams so we love watching high school football. Our local high school is known more for it's basketball championships than football but the year is starting out great. They are 4-0 even after facing their strongest opponents. It's been great fun to watch a winning team and there's a cheerleader on the sidelines that I could watch all day long.
Projects. I've had a few projects around the house that I've finally wrapped up.
Changing over my closet...I love Fall colors and fabrics!
Put husband's divot tool collection in a shadow box.
Wall stencil over kitchen door.
Senioritis. 4 years ago I had a great plan that we would scrapbook through The Princess's high school years as the events happened. We inherited supplies from my mom and bought a book to get us started. What we soon discovered is that neither The Princess nor I much liked scrapbooking. We only got a third of the way through her freshman year and then lapsed into just making a pile of programs and pictures and dried up corsages. Now that she's a senior and a graduation party will be here before I know it, I have tackled that pile and am resolute to get it into some form of display. It will be hard to stay motivated when the professionals are turning out great pictures like this one:
I think one picture is worth a thousand scrapbook pages, don't you?