Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks giving

Thanksgiving... it seems that it would be more appropriate if that were two words instead of one.

The family that could, met in Indiana and we used every possible excuse to celebrate something.



Shopping... in the middle of the night!

It was fun... we should do it again next year!

At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgements. Psalm 119:62

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Learning a new language

It's that time of year again. You know, the time when the search is on for the perfect stocking stuffer.

Unlike the stocking stuffer suggestions from most jewelry stores, I seize upon useful, little, homemade items that help fill the stockings right to the brim. (Yes... we still fill Christmas stockings for our kids, kids-in-law, and their kids. It's too much fun to give it up.)

This year, I stumbled upon tawashi. I am so excited! It fills every requirement:
1) practical
2) compact
3) handmade
4) sooo cute!

However, when I started my quest for patterns, I discovered this...

...the best patterns are in Japanese! Thank goodness for Al Gore... the "World Wide Web" provided a way to interpret this gibberish without enrolling in a crash course in Japanese.

What? You don't know what tawashi is? You think I'm going to spill the beans when my recipients just might read this? Ha!

You'll have to search on your own... and my girls are not allowed to look. It doesn't matter how old you are... stockings should be full of surprises!

Give me understanding,and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Psalm 119:34

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm not ashamed

This has been going around facebook lately.
let's see how many people on fb aren't ashamed to show their love for God and admit that Jesus is their Savior. We need to get God back in America. If you're not ashamed, copy and paste this in your status! I am not ashamed!!!!

I have been slow in joining this wave. Maybe it's the writer in me... but if you ask me to proclaim something this personal - I won't want to do it with a copy-and-paste. So, here's my personal declaration -

When I was very young, every night at bedtime, my family gathered in the living room. Dad read from the Bible and then talked to us about what he read. We finished the time together on our knees, each of us praying our "Now I lay me"s and then off to bed we went.

I remember one particular night like it was yesterday. Dad read John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He explained that our sins separated us from God, but that Jesus died to take our punishment. If we believed this in our hearts and asked Him to forgive us, then the sin would be forgiven, the separation removed.

I don't know how much of this my 4 year-old brain understood, but my heart was convicted. I went up the stairs that night thinking, I need to do this. I got ready for bed thinking, I need to do this. I laid in my bed, waiting for Mom to come in and kiss me goodnight, thinking, I need to do this. When she arrived in the doorway of my darkened room, I said, "I need to do this. I need to ask Jesus in my heart."

That night, on my knees beside my bed, I asked God to forgive my sins. Although I didn't understand the theology of the moment, I knew from that moment on, that I was a child of God, forgiven, soooo loved that He would give His Son to save me. I have been blessed to have known such grace for so many years.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth... Romans 1:16

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Will you just look at this?

It is interesting to see what the changing seasons reveal in the yard.

The delicate pink Lily of the Valley turns into red berries.

This fungus appears on an old tree trunk. I'm sure it wouldn't qualify as edible, but it is an interesting combination of color and texture.

This miniature rose is just plain beautiful. It shows off when I least expect a spot of "pretty".

For anyone that lives in an area that only has two seasons - nice and nicer - I suggest to you that you really are missing something wonderful... autumn.

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 145:10

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A birthday remembered

I have six brothers. Fortunately, I am older than most of them... survival might not have been possible if I had been around for too many years of their... ummm... wit?

Only one brother was older. The first-born. Named for our father.

I adored him when we were kids. His love of reading kindled curiosity in me, and because of his example, I learned the joy of losing myself in a book.

But life marches on. He went to college, then to Viet Nam. I moved away, married and had a houseful of kids.

Distance settled between us... until the last year of his life. We ended up living in the same town, and when cancer took its toll on his independence, I became his ever present helper. Fifteen years ago today, we gathered around my dining room table and celebrated his final birthday.

I'm thankful for those last months, weeks, days. I regained the brother that I knew as a child. Precious times indeed.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. I John 4:11

Sunday, November 15, 2009

That was last week...

Have you ever had one of those weeks where, it's over, but you can't figure out what you did with all 7 of those days? That was not me last week. I got so much done that I'll probably have to take this week off to recover!

The most surprising day was the one that found me in the kitchen. By late afternoon, the counters were lined with 4 big loaves of bread, 2 mini-loaves, 1 dozen dinner rolls, a batch of oatmeal-cranberry bars, and a big pot of homemade tomato soup.

I think I'm OK... no H1N1 or flour addictions. However, if you hear a news alert regarding a mysterious earthquake in the Midwest, don't worry. It's not 2012. I probably just polished off the last piece of bread and waddled off to the kitchen in search of cookies.

Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Raking leaves

On Saturday, I really missed my grandkids.

It was a day for raking... and raking... and then some more raking.

After clearing leaves from the north and east sides of the house, I started on the courtyard that faces south. This little area is home to 2 ancient maples, 40' of privet hedge, and countless scruffy trees. Apparently, all the inhabitants of this little courtyard speak the same language... they interpret the current season as a command and they let their leaves fall.

Was I missing my grandkids because I needed help raking? No.

It's because of this... (Normally, the back of the camera is where I like to be... but there was no way to show the true scope of my leaf pile without sitting down in front of it to give some perspective.)

Do you see my problem with this picture?

There is none of the glee that a huge pile of leaves brings to little bodies. There's no running and jumping and squeals of crunchy delight... no freshly raked leaves flying through the air, messing up the clean green grass.

For a moment it was too quiet.... then I remembered that I still have the other half of the yard to clean up.

Maybe next year. I'll have them bring extra rakes from home.

The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes. Psalm 119:64

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fireside beauty

So, I sat on the ground during the bonfire and found a little friend - this oak leaf. She was so beautiful in the light of the bonfire that I took pictures from every angle.

This is one of my favorites.

Oh, to be that photogenic.

Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Long lost recipe

My 70's-orange plastic recipe box was the perfect size for halting the sag in a wooden closet pole. It was only supposed to be a temporary prop, but after a few weeks it became part of the landscape... a few more months passed and it was a fixture.

Long periods of time can pass before a closet needs a fresh coat of paint, so when I finally attacked those walls a few months ago, I rediscovered my little orange box full of old recipes.

There is one that I have to share. It's quick, super easy, and reminds me of crunchy, oaty, granola bars. Yummy!

Chewy Oat Bars

4 cups oats (quick or old fashioned) uncooked
1 1/2 cups chopped peanuts, walnuts or pecans
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup honey or corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Line a 15"x10" jelly roll pan with foil and grease well. Press oat mixture into the pan and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or till golden brown. (Mixture will be golden brown and bubbly.) Cool thoroughly and cut into 1 1/2"x2" bars.
Makes approx. 5 dozen bars.

I tell my self they're good for me with all those oats and nuts. Yep, that's what I say. Enjoy.

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste. Proverbs 24:13

Sunday, November 1, 2009

364 days to go...

Last night was the night my "pyro-honey" waits for all year long.... the annual CBC Hayride/Potluck/Bonfire.

His duty? To gather materials and mastermind the shape, height and core of the fire. Fortunately, this all happens out in the country, in an open field where nothing dangerous can happen.

I took pictures. It's impossible to capture the true size of this inferno in a picture, so just understand that we all went home with cricks in our necks (from looking up) and with a renewed appreciation for the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Unlike any other modern day people, we understand a fire that is seven times hotter than normal. (See Daniel 3)

You can stand 35' from this fire and keep perfectly warm.

Approximate number of pallets consumed? 115

Winding down.

... Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. Daniel 3:28