Thursday, December 31, 2009
Year in Review, 2009
I didn't start my blog until July so this is just part of the year. It really makes me see
how fast the year just flew by.
It was fun learning to do a blog. I am still learning.
So thank you so much to my daughter,
for taking the time to sit through it day by day doing the pictures,
and setting it to music.
It is fun and I look forward to 2010 having more to post.
I also wanted to say thank you to whom ever else reads my posts. It
really means so much to me, because each day, I get to live a
dream. I am writing something that someone reads. :)
I am always wanted to be a writer.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Yesterday I had to run errands, you know grocery store, Wal Mart, all the places that seem to take a long time. It was drizzling before I left so I didn't put the dogs outside. I was thinking that the kids would be out of bed a long time before I got back. That is my thinking as I leave the house.
I go run all of the errands and since I have a fridge in the garage and my freezer in the garage, I just went through the groceries out there and put them in all of the assigned places. Now Sasha is at this stage right now that when I am gone she tears up rugs. But silly me, thought it was different rug so I took that rug and put it out in the garage bathroom and brought that one in to put in front of the fireplace. In my mind, the problem was solved.
I walk in the back door with bags of groceries and as I look across the room, I see all of this red stuff on the carpet. Now my first thought is Sasha went crazy and killed one of the cats and that is cat innards all over the carpet. You know how that panic thing hits first and then reason follows.
I walk over and see that it is just my red rug that has been killed. I had lots of errands to run yesterday, so after I get stuff put away I have to go to the feed store to get chicken feed and the library, because I am starting my New Year goal of reading all of Charles Dickens this year, so I needed to pick them up. I get back and Sasha is mining in the back yard and she has thrown dirt all of the way across the patio up to the french doors. So now I realize she is throwing fits every time I leave the house.
She is sitting at my feet as I write this being a very good dog, so I guess I will have to start really working on her training if I am ever to have a decent rug in the house.
I still really, really like animals.
It is raining and raining today. Oh happy day!!!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Standing on Edge of a New Year
I think this is how a new year looks. Lots of hills and valleys but it is not until we have walked through them do we understand what it really looks like. We have lovely 12 new months of living to live and all of them are a gift. I forget this quite often and moan and groan to much.
Today my prayer is this:
I stand on the threshold of a new year. I do not know what to ask for, yet I am content to wait for you to show me the way. So Lord I ask that this year, " you would take my life and let it be ever consecrated all for thee." That hymn goes through my mind and I find it as my prayer so often as I sit and pray.
The things I read this morning are these:
The measure of self-giving is the measure of fulfillment.
"Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."
(1 Corinthians 10:24)
Nothing is meaningless. Nothing, for the Christian, is a dead end. All our endings are beginnings.
"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
I am so thankful to be reminded that being a Christan gives me such hope. The message of Jesus is a message of hope. The world wants to show you how in all the ways we fail, yet Jesus says," I am right here, didn't I tell you I will never leave thee nor forsake thee? So many times as I have held on to that verse, it has become my light in a dark place.
So today, I look boldly at the new year knowing I am walking towards it with Jesus at my side.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Since I will never live in a place like this, I just found a picture. It is foggy here this morning. When I woke up this morning to have coffee, we sat and watched as the fog rolled in until I could no longer see anything but fog. Today, is a day of normal. Laundry, and because I cleaned house on Saturday as we put things away I might do something different. I just don't know what. It is my son's 24th birthday. How can he be 24 when I can see everything in my mind when he was born. He has 3 boys of he own now, so it just blows my mind how fast time goes by.
Today the thought I have is this:
Today's care, not tomorrow's, is the responsibility given to us, apportioned in the wisdom of God.
" Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Today Monday stretches out before me like a wonderful gift. I feel like a miser counting my gold.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
I got a new hard disk for my computer for Christmas and I haven't learned how to get my pictures from there to here so I just picked a random picture out of my picture places and this is what I got. It is a good reminder that spring does come and that there again will be sunny days and flowers will bloom again and all will be well.
Today my thoughts stray to a couple of different things, I always have trouble with making New Year resolutions. I mean I have one that has been on the list for 20 years and it is to loose the 30 pounds that I carry around with me. I mean, if does keep me warm in the winter. That is always at the top of the list. Just ask Weight Watchers how many times I have joined.
This year in retrospect, 2009 was a year for us of great changes.
But today as I am not in deep thinking mode I will leave you with a few thoughts from my hero Elisabeth Elliot.
" Does our faith depend on having every prayer answered as we think it should be answered, or does it rest rather on the character of a sovereign Lord?"
"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless."
(2 Samuel 22:31)
" My prayer is : Teach me to recieve thankfully those things in my life that cannot be changed."
" For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content."
No matter what you do today, be all there. Happy Sunday!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I was thinking this morning why do I always take down all of the Christmas things, put the tree away and clean and put away on December 26th. I think it is because after having 10 years of babies, I was tired of keeping them out of the tree, I am excited to get to the new year, so in a way it is a moving on gesture. I know my Mom never put anything away until after New Year and that always bugged me to death. So today, every thing is going back into its boxes and I am finished with Christmas.
Yahoo!! I made it!!
Friday, December 25, 2009
From our house to yours,
Merry Christmas, we hope your day is filled with many, many blessings.
" The Word had to be made flesh before we could truly understand what God was like."
"The Word became flesh and made his dwilling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Christmas Part 2
We had a wonderful night last night, a quiet evening with just kids and grand kids. I think by the time the boys have finished up with their other Christmases and other grandparents they are going to have this opening presents thing down really well.
Just because I need to keep my mind on the reason for this season, and not on all of the rest of the work I have left to do before the 26th, I have to put my mind back to Jesus.
"God came down and lived in this same world as a man. He showed us how to live in this world, subject to its vicissitudes and necessities, that we might be changed into saints in this world.
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances."
" Almighty God humbled Himself, coming into the world like every other baby---through a mother's womb. Think of humility! He was saying, "Everything is the reverse of what it appears. But don't be afraid. I know what I'm doing."
" But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."
Merry Christmas Eve!!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Christmas Part One
Today the girls will be here early with all of the grand babies. We will hang out and cook and eat and then after the guys get off work, we will eat some more and then we will open presents. Just the presents the kids got for each other and the ones we got for the married kids so they can spend Christmas with their families on Christmas morning. I was thinking this morning as I was planning the day, that one of the things I asked God for as a very young woman, was that my house would always be filled with laughter and it would be full of people. I think I got my wish.
Today we will have 17 here for dinner. That is just our kids, their spouses and their children and my husbands Mom and Dad.
On Christmas Eve we will have my brother and his family and that makes 20 for dinner. Christmas Day I will get to rest because it will just be 6 to 10 depending on who decides to show up.
This morning it was so easy to count blessings. My blessings are not under the tree though that is very nice, my blessings come in packages, that God gave in a answer to prayer so long ago. I am so blessed to have been given this life. Fairy Tales do really come true. :)
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
You Might Have To Many Animals When...
This is a picture of Mouse, the biggest cat ever, and should be named Cowardly Lion, this is a picture of him underneath the pillow on my bed. When people come over his level of stress are the layers on my bed he hides under, He had a very traumatic beginning to life and it has made him a very OCD cat. My son found him when he was very tiny, and it looked like someone had thrown him out of a car he had a broken leg, and was abandoned on one of the coldest days of the winter. My son brought him home now he lives with us.
Today, I am writing this on Monday because I am going to a tea party with a dear friend and won't be home to write this on Tuesday.
Today I have cleaned house, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen six times that I know of and it is barely past lunch. My niece and nephew are out of school today so upstairs is the sound of kids playing a video game with much yelling and noise.
I thought, maybe I can get a nap. I was rather proud of myself getting a nap on the 21st of December. I went into my room, laid down, telling myself, I will just stay here until the dryer buzzes. I shut my eyes, when my son's dog, comes up puts her cold nose to my nose and whines.
I go to the foot of the stairs call up to my son and tell him he needs to take his dog for a walk. Much grumbling I might add because I am breaking up the game.
I leave. I go back to my room, but a cat has taken my place, because you know how cats are about warm places on cloudy days. I tell him no way and scoot him over. I lay back down. Another cat, this one another stray who has a really loud voice comes in and wants to go out in the back yard with my chickens. The chickens who had begged to be let out of the chicken house, so I thought they needed a day before it rains, they are molting and just look so miserable I felt sorry for them. I have a flock of banny hens and they are about the size of a dove so said cat is always trying to catch them. I can't let her out in the back so I come in and check email thinking I am faking her out.
I go back in my room and shut the door keeping animals out. Sasha comes back in from her walk finding my door shut, starts whining at the door, all the while cat wanting out to eat chickens has her arms stretched under the door crying too. I lay down and then the dryer buzzes and I give up. The chickens are pecking at my door, because it is cloudy and they are ready for some snacks and they want to be put up so that is how it is when you have to many animals.
I really think kids are easier.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The First Day of Winter
Doesn't this look like a perfect start to Winter? I loved how it looked this morning. I admit to being very fond of December 21st, Don't know why, except good things always happen on December 21st. When I was a kid, I got surprise presents on the 21st, I think I like it because by the time the 21st gets here, I am finished with all the have toos and can do some things at a peaceful pace.
This is my favorite English Toffee recipe, don't make it if you have no will power. I am not a big candy eater, well you know home made candy, not the cheap kind, like M&Ms, Milky Way and of course the best of all mini Cadbury Eggs.
I sit and stare at this recipe every year and my common sense takes over and I put it away. I am having the same tussle in my mind today. It is so easy to make, so fast and so good, the flip side is I can't leave it alone and already I am making up excuses to not get on the scale. So here goes.
2 cups butter (1 pound)
2 cups of light brown sugar firmly packed
6 ounces of milk chocolate morsels
Almonds finely chopped
Melt butter in a pan. Add light brown sugar. Bring to a boil and cook to "light crack" stage on a candy thermometer, stirring constantly, Pour quickly onto a lightly-buttered 9-by-13 in pan.
(Buttered pan may be sprinkled with finely chopped almonds before pouring brown sugar and butter mixture.) While candy is still warm, sprinkle with milk chocolate morsels. Let sit for two minutes, then spread chocolate over top of candy covering entire area. Sprinkle with finely chopped almonds.
Now what I change,
I use a whole package of chocolate chips and I use what ever I have, sometimes even white. Then I make two batches with white and dark. I use what ever kind of chopped nuts I might have and if I don't I just don't use nuts. It is good no matter what. It is pretty too.
Happy Monday! Winter Solstice for those of you of pagan natures. I always wonder do they dance around out in the open naked in December? Just wondering. :)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
As we enter the last week before Christmas, my attention keeps being drawn to Christmases Past. I am thankful that for the most part I don't remember the hard parts but the parts that I think became the fabric of who and what I am. I am in a story-teller mood this morning I am going to tell as story that still haunts/affects me. Even 30 years later.
When I was a young woman, I worked as a checker in a grocery store. My favorite time to work was at Christmas time because for one thing, everyone was in a good mood, and very happy. My customers would be so funny because they were happy or because they had started early with the Christmas cheer. I loved it though. The store I worked at was at sort of a cross roads, if you went one way, you went down into some of the worst neighborhoods in our town, if you went the other way you went into the movers and shakers of our town at that time, the very old money and the very old names of people who owned businesses and were very rich. I was always seeing the contrast in the types of people.
I preferred the poor people because they were nicer and had time to invite me into their lives. The rich people even though nice too, they were to busy to see the girl behind the counter. I was not yet a Christian, and sort of wandering and taking in the sights of what was real and what was not. I found at that time there was a difference between people who loved God and those who went to church. I was still thinking about things though and not yet sure of what I wanted or who I was going to be.
I digress though and must get back to the story. It was Christmas Eve and we had been so busy all day long, the sun had went down and most of the people had bought all they needed to stay tucked in their homes for Christmas Day.
We were trying to get the store closed so we could go to our homes and to our own families and friends. I was getting my checks and money in order when up to my counter came a man and a little girl. The clothes they wore were raggedy and worn, but the little girl was dancing around her father with her doll in her arms and the look of love and trust that she showed for her Father made me catch my breath in my throat.
Way back in the 70s food was cheaper than it is now, but even then the cheapest T.V. dinner was Banquet T.V. dinners and you could buy one for 39 cents. The Dad was standing there with the cold dinners in his hands and as he sat them down on the counter, the little girl looked up with me with such pride and happiness on her little face and said, " We get to eat these for Christmas dinner tomorrow." The Father looked shyly into my eyes with almost a grimace and as I looked back I saw the world from a different vantage point for the first time in my life. The man I am sure had not always been poor, his voice was cultured and his hands were clean. He bought only two T.V. dinners so it was just them. As he struggled to count out the 78 cents to pay for their dinner, I wanted to take out the dollar in my pocket and just pay for them myself, but I knew I would have shamed that man in front of his daughter so I just stood there.
I have since looked at pictures of gypsy's and when I see the men with the dark hair and the dark eyes and the same quiet air about them, I always think of that little family. I wished them a very Merry Christmas and will always remember those two people and I still pray for them because they caused the cracking in me to begin to find out what Christmas was really about, and to be what I am now and how I made the choices I have.
And of course, never eat T.V. dinners on Christmas Day.
Have a wonderful Sunday.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Sunsets in the Fog
The one thing about fog is that it does allow for glorious sunsets. One of my prayers I prayed for 20 years, was that God would give me a place to live where I could see the sun rise and the sun set. The first year we moved here, I was astounded at how many I missed. When we lived in our old house, the kids had a sky fort in the back yard, that in desperation sometimes, I would climb to the top just to see the sunrise. Now I just look out my windows. I guess that is why I seem to take so many pictures of sunsets and sunrises, they still amaze me.
We have a week until Christmas day, today I have to sit and plan a menu for next week. Being sick to death of food and eating already, it is going to be really hard. I find all my mind wants to think about is steak and steak and more steak. I guess I am craving red meat. I am not a big red meat eater so that is weird. I am also dreaming of lots and lots of salad. Oh and I have been having thoughts of fasting. None of this works when you are going to be feeding people, they want other things that the weird things I want to eat.
So today, I have to sit and write a grocery list. So it is going to be a tough job for someone who things food sounds pretty disgusting right now. I always get this way and it takes me until February to decide food and I are friends, and then it is Katy-bar-the-door.
So off I go to do this task.
Have a great Saturday!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Yesterday, it was foggy and cold and dark. I enjoyed it so much. I made things all day until it was time to start dinner. This was one of the things I made yesterday. Ron had been making boxes for the boys and this was one of his first that he didn't like, so I asked if I could have it. I stained it and glued the star to it and sanded it and I got this great box. When one of my sons asked where I got it because it looked so old, I was thrilled.
I have to go to a Christmas party today, and I wanted a hostess gift to take. Earlier in the week I had escaped for a hour and visited my favorite antique store and found these cups.
This one too.
So I made candles out of them and they turned out very nice. I used glue that I use on jewelery and the saucers are glued on tight. I used soy wax to make the candle and cinnamon essential oil so they smell really nice. I really like working with soy wax vs paraffin. Soy wax melts so much faster and you don't have to heat it to such a high temperature.
I made some wooden stocking Christmas ornaments for our grandchildren too.
It was so nice to get to play all day. I think that is why I like working with other mediums rather than just sewing. I like to get lots accomplished in one day. Now I have to run off and get ready for a Christmas party today. December is busy, but it is also very fun.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I was running through my mind this morning, the question, " What should I post today?" and I thought well it is Thursday and I am thankful for my warm house, then my mind took off. I believe with all of my heart, this statement. " God is in charge of everything that happens to us, and never can a single thing happen without His permission. God's permission comes through His love." One of the things, that I am more thankful for than I can ever voice is the thankfulness I feel for my husband. If not for him I would never understand God's great love for me. My husband models grace to me so much more than I deserve. He sacrifices for me every single day. Starting each morning by bringing me coffee in bed and he fixes my breakfast every single day.
He never complains. Not like I complain about cooking dinner. He goes to work and never gets to do the fun things I do every day.
I have to be very careful about telling him if something is broken, or how would this look if... because no matter how tired he is or how hard of a day he might have had, he will jump up and go fix what is broken or do what ever I have come up with to feather my nest.
So my post today is about how Thankful I am that God sent him through those doors where I was working, and really, it was love at first sight, because my first thought of him was " where is that guy that is the cutest guy I have ever seen in my life." The first words out of his mouth was " can I have your phone number, and I said yes, and I never, ever gave my phone number out. It has been 29 wonderful years and I wish for 30 more, and as he wrote in the song he sang at our wedding, " Only time will tell, how deep in love we fell, if I fall for 100 years I won't know to tell..."So I am thankful for my husband and thankful God gave me what I really didn't deserve.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Odds and Ends
Cinnamon Rolls unbaked
Baked and covered in frosting.
Okay, I baked yesterday, sort of, we had to go to my husband's Christmas party and I really didn't want the kids to eat fast food for dinner so I made these things I called Chicken Pockets and with the leftover dough I made Cinnamon Rolls.
So the kids had dinner the grab and go kind, and I sort of baked.
Here is my recipe for my favorite bread recipe. Not that I follow it very closely it is just sort of like guide lines.
I first soften my yeast, in 2 1/2 cups of warm water, with about 3/4 cup of sugar. While the yeast is softening, I get out my mixer which is a Magic Mill and put in the bread hook. I put in 2 eggs, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 cup of butter, melted. I add 3 cups of flour and mix a little.
Now I stir my yeast with a wooden spoon, and let it rise and add to egg and flour mixture and mix until smooth. Then I add flour cup by cup until I have dough that can be handled with out getting gooey dough on my hands. Then let rise, as long as I have time for, sometimes it is as little as 30 minutes and as long as two hours.
I then spray my marble board with Pam and divide the dough in 3 parts and use the first two for Chicken pockets and that last third for cinnamon rolls.
The Chicken pocket recipe is as follows,
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
8 oz of cream cheese
onion powder to taste,
mix with hands and use about a heaping table spoon to each pocket. The dough being cut like you are making croissants. Put in the center and bring the corners up to meet and there you have it.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes
While my Chicken pockets are baking I roll out the dough for Cinnamon rolls and put melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and roll up and then cut into desired size for rolls and let rise. I bake them about the same 375 for 30 minutes and then spread with frosting.
Cream cheese frosting,
1 oz of cream cheese
left over butter from spreading on dough
3 cups powdered sugar and a little milk
cream and frost warm rolls
So there is this recipe
At least now my girls have it written out somewhere,
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Well, it is finally here, fog. We made it almost to Christmas without it visiting. I admit to liking it only at Christmas. I guess because we don't get snow, fog is the next best thing. Now once Christmas is over I don't like it but after working in the garden all summer I am determined to enjoy every single day I get to be in the house.
I thought today I would share one of my favorite recipes. After watching Julie/Julia this weekend I admit to be inspired. I loved all of the stuff Julie said about blogging and how it helps keep you on track, and it does. It helps keep your mind focused each day and each day you do finish a post so you have accomplished something. Now the cooking part. I feed so many people during the course of a day, I feed to fill up not to look pretty, but once along time ago I wanted to be the best cook in the whole wide world. I am going to share, one of the things I make that is pretty and it is very good.
My Favorite Clam Chowder.
3 cans minced clams
1 cup minced onion
1 cup diced celery ( I omit because we detest celery)
2 cups potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart of Half and Half
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground pepper to taste
1. Drain juice from clams into large skillet over onions, celery, potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover and cook over medium heat until tender.
2. Meanwhile in large heavy sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Wisk flour until smooth. Wisk in cream and stir constantly until smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice but do not boil.
3. Stir in clams, just before serving. When clams are heated through stir in vinegar and salt and pepper.
4. I use bread bowls to serve it and sprinkle with chopped bacon.
The vinegar is the secret ingredient. It changes the whole flavor and the texture of the soup.
I make this at Christmas Eve and I add red and green bell pepper just to make it look prettier.
One thing for the people who know me, I never can make a recipe the way it says but I am always tinkering with it but this one has stayed pretty much the same, except of course, I use fat free half and half. I still use the butter though, because I think that is the secret to making things taste wonderful is butter.
Have a Wonderful Tuesday!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Finally, I finished Something
One of the things I love about Christmas is doing crafty projects. I made these Christmas trees
and I just had to share them. I love working with wood, well, I love doing any kind of crafty thing.
I do like wood though, because it makes sense to me, you see a shape, you draw it on a piece of wood and you cut it out on a saw. Then you sand and paint it. I can do that.
This Christmas has been tougher to be creative. A week ago, last Monday, was my Mom's funeral and it was also my brothers father-in-laws funeral. I never expected them to die the same week, so it was a shock.
I feel like I have lived in a altered state of consciousness, for so long, it is hard to come back.
So this is my first step toward doing something creative. I even finished. I am not going to show the things I haven't finished, like the almost finished quilt pinned to my wall I was working on as my Mom got sicker and sicker and now I don't know if I will ever finish it.
So I just wanted to share a bit of my mental health barometer.
If feels good to be back.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Putting the Field of Dreams to Bed
Today with the storm coming in we thought it was time to put the Field of Dreams to bed for the winter. The ground was moist and one of the things we both love is the smell of freshly turned dirt. I really don't think there is a finer perfume. We moved out here because we loved our dirt and for growing things there is none finer, except in England of course, or the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The dirt here is sandy so it grows everything. It was a perfect day to work out there all the while thinking of the plans for next year.
This is how it looked when my husband was all finished plowing. I loved how it looked with the trees glowing in the background against the cloudy sky. I always think when I am out there dreaming that gardening is a holy vocation. I mean when you think about it and after God made the world and all that is in it, and it was good. He formed man out of dirt of the ground. He put Adam in the garden. So I always think it is interesting that God put Adam in a garden to tend it, not in church or a building, but a garden where God walked and talked with Adam in the cool of the evening. So I am really big on gardens. I am so glad that this is what my husband loves and together we get to tend the garden.
I wanted to show you the picture of the path with the trees and the newly plowed dirt. I love all of the contrasts in the picture. It was a good day,
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Winter is Almost Here
We just have a week left until it is officially winter. I was walking around and found that our Sugar Maple is already in her winter attire. Or maybe without winter attire and down for a long winter nap. I guess If I carry this thought out I should post a picture of her clothes/leaves on the ground.
It made me sad to think that all of the colors have faded from the leaves. I was thinking of one of my favorite poems and I thought I would share it today.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost
So have a wonderful Saturday, I am off to wrap presents.
Friday, December 11, 2009
A Beautiful Sky on Friday
I love stormy skies and this is what it looked like this morning. Life has changed so much as now for this blog, I view life from a camera lens. I have never been one who really paid attention to as much as I do now. Every thing I see has a story behind it every picture a story to tell. I remember reading about how addicting blogging was and it is true. It feeds a creative spark that was dormant for so long.
I just wanted to say, if you read what goes on in my brain and look at the pictures I post, I just wanted to say thank you and how grateful I am for that. I think really since I started this thing in July, I am the one who has changed.
Have a happy Friday!!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Living where I do this may be the only time I have snow, that is why I took the picture. These little things are on my Chinese Tallow Tree and I wonder, if you can make candles from these seed pods. It is something I will have to try sometime.
I am trying to yank my mind into Christmas so today I am going to share something I read that blessed me and gave me pause to think about why we do rejoice at this time of year.
God Came Near
We must be careful lest we romanticize the birth of Christ beyond reality. Nativity scenes have a way of making Jesus's birth unreasonably fairy-tale like. What Jesus really endured in becoming a human being was to enter this world of harsh reality. Here in the mist of an inhuman humanity,
he navigated existence to show us all the way.
She looks into the face of the baby. Her son, Her Lord, His Majesty. At this point in history, the human being who best understands who God is and what he is doing is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. She can't take her eyes off him. Somehow Mary knows she is holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel. " His kingdom will never end."
He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy,
is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby.
Majesty in the mist of the mundane. Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat. Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.
When I was four, I moved out to live on this land, with my grandparents. I was fortunate enough to live in a place where the people before us were farmers. In one of the small barns was a manger. I had heard the story about baby Jesus and when I saw that manger, all I could think of was putting my doll in it and pretending it was baby Jesus. So I cleaned it out, and put in some hay and put in my doll and wrapped her up. I remember thinking about what a cold place to put a baby and the place smelled of cows. I would sit on the fence and look down at my doll in the hay and I would think about why on earth would any parent put a baby in a manger? I still sit and ponder about God becoming a baby, and it amazes me still.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I was walking around in the cold, frost on the ground, the leaves falling from the trees and in the very back all by itself was this sunflower. It had made it through the storm and even its leaves are wrinkled and crinkled, but its face turned to the sun, the hope of a new morning. It made me so happy, because you know how much I love sunflowers. My early Christmas present.
I read this poem this morning, and even though I have read it so often and have worked on memorizing it.
There is a peace that cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled;
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on a tempest that it stilled.
A peace that lives not now in joy's excesses,
Nor in the happy life of love secure,
But in the unerring strength the heart possesses.
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
A peace there is , in sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passion free;
Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded,
But that which triumphed in Gethsemane.
Today is one of those days, this leaf was all by itself on the tree and as I took the picture I could see beyond the leaf up to the blue, blue sky. The gold on the tree next to it and all of it makes me so happy, what else makes me happy, my grand babies will all be here today and my wonderful daughters and we will have a wonderful Wednesday.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
After the Storm
This was the sky this morning, I love the sky after a storm. It always gives me hope about the coming day. I woke up this morning with the sounds of closing doors and the sounds of new ones opening. Life I have found to be so full of doors that have closed when there was no way out of the tunnel and then you see a light, and there is a brand new door, waiting to be opened. Today my life is like this sky, full of promise.
On Sunday, I knew the storm was coming and I knew I needed to get out and pick all of the gourds. This is the bunch we picked. Now all winter they must sit and dry and mold and get all yucky. The mold gives interesting designs and as they dry they will loose the green color and turn brown. Can you see the one in the front of the picture that looks like some kind of shore bird waiting to be painted next summer when they are ready. Looking at each one has such opportunity for something else. I did keep looking for one that looked like a Santa Claus.
This morning as I was walking around I found this lovely picture of the last leaves on this branch. These leaves are lovelier because they made it through the storm and though a little banged up they glowed with a inner light. I loved how the moisture from the rain was still on the leaves.
As I walked around this morning and looked at every thing with new eyes, I had that heady experience of joy. So this is what I hang onto today.
" If we aim at happiness in this world, we will probably miss the mark of holiness. But of we aim at holiness, we can't fail to be happy." (Elisabeth Elliot)
" I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. "
The way I feel this morning is that have been given a gift of all riches because God walks with us through all of our days and even when I thought I was alone, I never was. Truly, as He says, when you pass through the fires I will be with you, and guess what He was. :)
Blessings on this beautiful day!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Its raining today, I am hoping winter has finally arrived. Today I wish I could sit in front of the fire and watch the flames dancing in the stove. The sounds I hear this morning are the sounds of the washing machine filling with water, the sounds of the road noise is louder because of the rain.
I have school to teach today, and piano lessons to go to so there will be no sitting in front of the fire dreaming of dreams.
The Rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.
I thought as well today is a good day for a Christmas Story, this is one of my favorites.
PAPA PANOV'S SPECIAL CHRISTMAS
It was Christmas Eve and although it was still afternoon, lights had begun to appear in the shops and houses of the little Russian village, for the short winter day was nearly over. Excited children scurried indoors and now only muffled sounds of chatter and laughter escaped from closed shutters.
Old Papa Panov, the village shoemaker, stepped outside his shop to take one last look around. The sounds of happiness, the bright lights and the faint but delicious smells of Christmas cooking reminded him of past Christmas times when his wife had still been alive and his own children little. Now they had gone. His usually cheerful face, with the little laughter wrinkles behind the round steel spectacles, looked sad now. But he went back indoors with a firm step, put up the shutters and set a pot of coffee to heat on the charcoal stove. Then, with a sigh, he settled in his big armchair.
Papa Panov did not often read, but tonight he pulled down the big old family Bible and, slowly tracing the lines with one forefinger, he read again the Christmas story. He read how Mary and Joseph, tired by their journey to Bethlehem, found no room for them at the inn, so that Mary's little baby was born in the cowshed.
"Oh, dear, oh, dear!" exclaimed Papa Panov, "if only they had come here! I would have given them my bed and I could have covered the baby with my patchwork quilt to keep him warm."
He read on about the wise men who had come to see the baby Jesus, bringing him splendid gifts. Papa Panov's face fell. "I have no gift that I could give him," he thought sadly.
Then his face brightened. He put down the Bible, got up and stretched his long arms t the shelf high up in his little room. He took down a small, dusty box and opened it. Inside was a perfect pair of tiny leather shoes. Papa Panov smiled with satisfaction. Yes, they were as good as he had remembered- the best shoes he had ever made. "I should give him those," he decided, as he gently put them away and sat down again.
He was feeling tired now, and the further he read the sleeper he became. The print began to dance before his eyes so that he closed them, just for a minute. In no time at all Papa Panov was fast asleep.
And as he slept he dreamed. He dreamed that someone was in his room and he know at once, as one does in dreams, who the person was. It was Jesus.
"You have been wishing that you could see me, Papa Panov." he said kindly, "then look for me tomorrow. It will be Christmas Day and I will visit you. But look carefully, for I shall not tell you who I am."
When at last Papa Panov awoke, the bells were ringing out and a thin light was filtering through the shutters. "Bless my soul!" said Papa Panov. "It's Christmas Day!"
He stood up and stretched himself for he was rather stiff. Then his face filled with happiness as he remembered his dream. This would be a very special Christmas after all, for Jesus was coming to visit him. How would he look? Would he be a little baby, as at that first Christmas? Would he be a grown man, a carpenter- or the great King that he is, God's Son? He must watch carefully the whole day through so that he recognized him however he came.
Papa Panov put on a special pot of coffee for his Christmas breakfast, took down the shutters and looked out of the window. The street was deserted, no one was stirring yet. No one except the road sweeper. He looked as miserable and dirty as ever, and well he might! Whoever wanted to work on Christmas Day - and in the raw cold and bitter freezing mist of such a morning?
Papa Panov opened the shop door, letting in a thin stream of cold air. "Come in!" he shouted across the street cheerily. "Come in and have some hot coffee to keep out the cold!"
The sweeper looked up, scarcely able to believe his ears. He was only too glad to put down his broom and come into the warm room. His old clothes steamed gently in the heat of the stove and he clasped both red hands round the comforting warm mug as he drank.
Papa Panov watched him with satisfaction, but every now and them his eyes strayed to the window. It would never do to miss his special visitor.
"Expecting someone?" the sweeper asked at last. So Papa Panov told him about his dream.
"Well, I hope he comes," the sweeper said, "you've given me a bit of Christmas cheer I never expected to have. I'd say you deserve to have your dream come true." And he actually smiled.
When he had gone, Papa Panov put on cabbage soup for his dinner, then went to the door again, scanning the street. He saw no one. But he was mistaken. Someone was coming.
The girl walked so slowly and quietly, hugging the walls of shops and houses, that it was a while before he noticed her. She looked very tired and she was carrying something. As she drew nearer he could see that it was a baby, wrapped in a thin shawl. There was such sadness in her face and in the pinched little face of the baby, that Papa Panov's heart went out to them.
"Won't you come in," he called, stepping outside to meet them. "You both need a warm by the fire and a rest."
The young mother let him shepherd her indoors and to the comfort of the armchair. She gave a big sigh of relief.
"I'll warm some milk for the baby," Papa Panov said, "I've had children of my own- I can feed her for you." He took the milk from the stove and carefully fed the baby from a spoon, warming her tiny feet by the stove at the same time.
"She needs shoes," the cobbler said.
But the girl replied, "I can't afford shoes, I've got no husband to bring home money. I'm on my way to the next village to get work."
Sudden thought flashed through Papa Panov's mind. He remembered the little shoes he had looked at last night. But he had been keeping those for Jesus. He looked again at the cold little feet and made up his mind.
"Try these on her," he said, handing the baby and the shoes to the mother. The beautiful little shoes were a perfect fit. The girl smiled happily and the baby gurgled with pleasure.
"You have been so kind to us," the girl said, when she got up with her baby to go. "May all your Christmas wishes come true!"
But Papa Panov was beginning to wonder if his very special Christmas wish would come true. Perhaps he had missed his visitor? He looked anxiously up and down the street. There were plenty of people about but they were all faces that he recognized. There were neighbors going to call on their families. They nodded and smiled and wished him Happy Christmas! Or beggars- and Papa Panov hurried indoors to fetch them hot soup and a generous hunk of bread, hurrying out again in case he missed the Important Stranger.
All too soon the winter dusk fell. When Papa Panov next went to the door and strained his eyes, he could no longer make out the passers-by. most were home and indoors by now anyway. He walked slowly back into his room at last, put up the shutters, and sat down wearily in his armchair.
So it had been just a dream after all. Jesus had not come.
Then all at once he knew that he was no longer alone in the room.
This was not dream for he was wide awake. At first he seemed to see before his eyes the long stream of people who had come to him that day. He saw again the old road sweeper, the young mother and her baby and the beggars he had fed. As they passed, each whispered, "Didn't you see me, Papa Panov?"
"Who are you?" he called out, bewildered.
Then another voice answered him. It was the voice from his dream- the voice of Jesus.
"I was hungry and you fed me," he said. "I was naked and you clothed me. I was cold and you warmed me. I came to you today in everyone of those you helped and welcomed."
Then all was quiet and still. Only the sound of the big clock ticking. A great peace and happiness seemed to fill the room, overflowing Papa Panov's heart until he wanted to burst out singing and laughing and dancing with joy.
"So he did come after all!" was all that he said.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
My Son's Winter Recital
I thought I would post something different today, as I have looked around at blogs, I have noticed that they should be called blags,---they are all about bragging. So today I have something to brag about. Since the bigger part of my life, I have been raising children, instead of raising gardens.
This is my fifth child, my 3rd son. I am very proud of him today and he has worked hard and I thought I would share it with my friends.
Friday, December 4, 2009
All Things New
This is how the sun looked coming up this morning through the trees, it looks like a very nice December morning. The air is cold and the ground is frosty and my field of dreams looks beautiful in her winter clothes. Her trees are decked out in gold and there was even diamonds on the fence truly I have riches untold.
Some people have prayer closets, I guess you could call my field of dreams my very large prayer closet. I go there and it has heard many, many prayers, my only hope has been the neighbors behind don't see me as the nutty woman who walks out there.
God saw fit to take my Mom home last night. Today, I am so thankful there is no more pain and no more suffering. The weight is gone from my chest and this is the first morning in so long I could take a deep breath.
I understand the passage when David is on his knees begging for his sons life then the news comes that God has taken his son home and David gets up off of his knees and washes his face and eats and they ask him why when the child still lived he mourned, and he told them that he would see his son again when he went to him, very badly paraphrased I think.
Today is new morning, There is one more added to the "great cloud of witnesses," waiting for me in heaven, now I must be about this business of living.
Today is Friday, we have storms coming in this next week, we have Christmas before us and the trials are behind us and God is still faithful and joy did come in the morning. Have a lovely weekend.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Today is Thankful Thursday, fast becoming my favorite day of the week. Why? Well, because it is a day that I sit with my coffee, in my warm house, watching the sun come up and I reflect on the ways God has blessed me this week. I sit and praise Him because He is so great and He knows my rising up. He knows the beginning from the end and in every area of my life, He has never failed.
One of the things, today what I am thankful for is my sister is not alone. I went to bed on Tuesday night with a very heavy heart because she was taking care of my mom with no one there. I prayed for God to send some one to her, and yesterday she said, my two younger brothers "just showed up." They live in California and she is in Oklahoma, people don't just show up. I am so thankful that they are there and my Mom is not alone either.
I am thankful today that I have grandchildren to hold when I am sad, I have children still at home to make me laugh at myself, and my dear husband, who has taken such good care of me, when there have been days, I am given out and he gives to me 110 percent. My grown daughters have become my best friends and have shouldered much more of my grief than they should.
God has been there in the midst and Has walked with me through every step, I am aware of His love and His peace and I am so thankful that His word continues to bless me.
I am ever conscious that today His word tells me this, "Be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
I know that all of this will fade with time and I won't remember the things I have seen, but what I want to always remember is how Great God is in the heavens, and I am but clay.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Our Christmas Tree
I was trying to take a picture of our Christmas Tree, I just don't take very good pictures, inside, with a flash but here it is, today I was thinking about it because it is Wednesday, and it is a baby day!! I can't wait until all of the boys and babies get to see the tree and maybe even undecorate it. All of the ornaments I have are either wooden, cloth or handmade. When you are in the middle of raising children like I was with a new baby every 2 years, it didn't make sense to have a tree that couldn't be touched. I wanted the kids to interact with stuff so that is why my house is full of things that is sturdy and not fussy. I always thought I would like magazine to come and give me helpful hints on reality "House Beautiful." When you have lots of people in your house.
When I was young, I asked my Mom once, why we didn't have all kinds of glass things every where like other people's houses and and she told me that they were dust catchers and she didn't have time for them. I said," well when I grow up I am going to have lots of dust catchers." But then babies started coming and it was more important to me for the kids to feel like they lived here instead of visiting and I wanted them to love living in their house.
So today when all of the babies come over, they can play with every thing on the tree and I am so happy to let them be babies and Gma's house.
Though I do have a few dust catchers,
Like these, this is Jack and Jill and William
And this is Toby. I love them and So I did get some.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Here is my rooster that I gave away yesterday, heck, I would have paid for him to be taken away. Since my hatching chicks experiment from this summer, I had 4 roosters. ( This is the Dad) Having 4 roosters is a bit much, they also would start crowing at 3:00 AM and crow every hour, they crowed every time I went out the back door, they crowed every time I talked and they could hear me, but the final straw was on Sunday when I was walking out in the pasture and they crowed the entire time I was outside. I had this one guy who had a crow like a woman screaming.
It is the guy in the background looking at the camera. I called a Feed Store I have taken my other roosters too and they said they would take them so I caught them and put them in a box and took them for a car ride. The girl that worked there had a nice cage all ready for them and left them sitting on the counter, I guess for a quick sale. I had a few misgivings as I left, but the lure of sleep was greater than feeling bad about someones chicken soup.
I came home and shuffled chickens around in the coops and all of my hens acted like the were breathing sighs of relief. I cleaned the houses and no one was fighting or acting pompous and best of all no little rooster was flogging me every time I turned my back.
Even the Three Witches of East Wick were happy, and they are never happy. I still have 24 chickens so that is still a good number of eggs each day. Though, I did get my first seed catalog in the mail which means I am dreaming of gardens for the spring, which means I am starting to think of chicks too. I think I would like some more laying hens. Not hatched from my own chickens, but purchased so I can fool with them. I find I have this problem with worship and when you buy chicks they really like me. My hens that I bought that way, still like to come and visit and I like that so much.
I warned you this was random thoughts.
Have a good Tuesday.