Sunday, December 30, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

The cutie little birds!!!  : )

Oh, we had such a good church service this morning.  My hope for all of you for the new year is that you would find a good, Bible-teaching church to go to every Sunday morning.  To be in the company of fellow followers of Christ and hear the Word of the Lord spoken and sing worship songs together is one of the best things to look forward to all week.  If we aren't looking forward to it, it means that there is something wrong with us, not God.  We shouldn't wake up on Sunday morning feeling like we HAVE to go to church.  It should be something we anticipate the moment Monday morning rolls around, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday....................and Saturday night we should be feeling in our hearts that we CAN go to church (unless, of course, there are circumstances in which you just physically cannot go which, in case, God already knows).

Think of the past year for you, or your loved ones, or your friends.  As I think back, I know of a lot of hurt, a lot of pain, a lot of distress, a lot of worry, a lot of fear.  But I also look back and see some good times as well.  There were still things to laugh about.  There were still things to be happy about.  There were still things to look forward to.  There is still beauty - in the sunrise and sunset, the stars at night, the flowers (even though you might need to go to the flower shop during the winter!).  God allows the pain and He allows the beauty.  So what do we do with that?  How do we respond to that?  Do we just love God and give Him our time and attention when everything is going the way we want it to go?  Or do we give up when things are tough?

It is my opinion that going to church every week strengthens us for the days to come.  If we don't go to church on Sunday, it just feels like another day - and who needs that?!  Don't we all need a day that is special and set apart?  I know I do.  I almost feel sad when worship service is over - it's like, can't we do a little more?  : )

And how about the new year to come?  My guess is that this world isn't going to automatically get better.   The Bible forewarns us about the times we are living in.  It goes so far as to say "the days are evil" - so, how do we begin a brand new year with that thought in mind?  As I posted last week - we need to put God first.  We need to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  We need to pray.  But one thing I forgot to mention - we need to get to a Bible-teaching church.  It's so sad to hear that church attendance is down everywhere.  Do we find we need more sleep on Sunday mornings?  Do we find we need more alone time on Sunday mornings?  Is it because we don't feel like it's a big deal anymore?  When is worshiping God - the God who gave us breath today - not a big deal?  

If I sound passionate about this, I am.   Let us, once again, look forward to worship on Sundays.  Let us fill the seats, sing songs of praise, listen to the teaching from the Bible, pray together as a community, have fellowship, and grow in our faith.   And watch God's blessings flow!  : )

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Saturday Morning

A tree my husband makes in our backyard.  It gives a nice glow to a dark area.  : )

Wow.   A new year coming up!  I say this all the time, but really, where did the time go?  We had that April blizzard, then it was summer, then we were having our pumpkin party, Christmas has come and gone, and now a new year again.  It seems to all run together.

I think what I'm missing is the "how" we used to do things.  We used to celebrate the seasons in a more thoughtful way - the passing of time was spent in making it mean something.  Now, it pretty much comes and goes without giving a lot of thought to it. Well, I'm hoping to change that a bit this upcoming 2019 (Lord willing).   I know that even the best made plans can go awry but we can at least try.

There are a couple of ideas for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day that I wanted to share with you so that maybe you can try one or the other or both!  The ideas are, of course, are dependent upon certain things.

New Year's Eve - this idea is one from my mother-in-law whom we miss very much because she had such good ideas for family celebrations.  It really is true that when the matriarch of the family dies, the family kind of stops doing certain things.  The idea is the Progressive Dinner.  I think this is SO fun.  You'll need to have three or four other families or friends houses to go to in order to make this work - so when I said it's dependent upon certain things, this is one of them.  Let's say you have three houses participating:

*The first house would be responsible for the appetizers.  Everyone gathers at the first house and enjoys appetizers and punch or soft drinks.  Make it casual (I love it when everyone just stands around with a plate in their hands eating finger foods).  You can enjoy conversation (it might be fun to have some conversation starters).   This could last how ever long you want, but you can kind of tell when things are slowing down (maybe an hour or so?).  The person who is responsible for the next course (the second house) will need to leave a little early so that they can get to their house and get everything ready for the "progression" of others coming over.  : )

*The second house would be responsible for the main course.  It would be wise to maybe have a crockpot meal, or a meal that can take a while in the oven, or even a great soup that can be heated up quickly and served with homemade bread and salads.  Set a fun or beautiful table depending on what your serving.  Decorate the house a bit to create a festive atmosphere and wait for everyone to come over!  This will be a sit-down meal.  Create a warm yet casual environment in which everyone can just sit and relax and enjoy a great meal.  When things are beginning to wind down, the person who is responsible for the next course (dessert) will have to slip out and get to their house to get everything ready for the next progression of others coming over.

*The third house is for the dessert part of the meal.  This can be very enjoyable because it's the end of the get-together.  A lingering and winding down of the evening.  Everyone participating will want to know what each house is serving so that the person who is doing the dessert will know whether or not the dessert can be on the heavier side or if it should be light.  If the appetizers were light and the main course was soup, the dessert can be a little more like a special cake, but if there were quite a few appetizers served and the main course was spaghetti and everyone is already groaning a bit over how full they're getting, then maybe dessert could be a wonderful sorbet or a platter of cookies.   This would also be served with a hot drink (decaf coffee, hot tea, spiced cider).  Let this be a very casual time.  Again, maybe have some more conversation starters around.  Everyone is getting tired by now so make sure you don't plan any lively games but just let it play out and relax.

This really is SO fun to do.  I know there are a few factors that go into it - it DOES need at least three other families to go in on it, it does take some planning (the houses should probably be in the same town - you don't want to drive a long distance to go from house to house), the weather is sometimes an issue (around here it's usually below zero on New Year's but it's not like we have horse and buggies anymore - cars warm up!), and sometimes people don't want to drag their children around (but I would encourage you to do this with the kids - it's fun for them and it's another teaching moment about get-together's and how to behave and act, and how to enjoy this life).

So if you can make this work I would highly suggest it as a fun way to bring in the new year!!!!!  : )

New Year's Day  -  If you've chosen to not do anything on New Year's Eve, I would suggest doing something on New Year's Day.  Again, around here the temperatures are SO very cold that the idea I'm suggesting might not happen outdoors but if you can, go for a walk somewhere.  Take the family or call up some friends and find a nice place to walk.  Take the camera.  Really take the time to look - at the trees, the birds, and whatever else is there.  Breathe in the fresh air.  Afterwards (and we've only done this once) enjoy a winter picnic!  Someone can bring a crock of hot chili, someone else can bring a pan of cornbread, and still another can bring thermos's of hot chocolate and cookies.  Or, you may be the one to bring all of the above.  But after your walk, when you get back to your car(s), pull out portable chairs and blankets and sit around enjoying a meal in the great outdoors!!!!  It's VERY memorable and it will be something that you will talk about for years.  : )  The children will think it's really fun.

And, if by chance the weather will not cooperate for this, you can set up your winter picnic in the living room.  Serve the same food, only spread a blanket on the floor.  : )

I guess the whole point I'm trying to make with these two ideas is that we all try to do something.  I've said it before, but doing something is better than nothing.  Life just passes us by and it's just so serious that we all need a bit of something different if only for an hour or two.  You can definitely tweak the above ideas to fit your time and family needs.  I hope you can give at least one of them a try!!!

That's it for today.  Thank you so much for your visit.  I hope you can enjoy this day.  God bless.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Post Christmas Do's Here At Home

Well, we woke up to a few inches of snow (HEAVY, WET, snow) and now it's been raining for several hours and since our ground is frozen around here, lakes are being formed.  The one in our backyard is getting larger and larger!'s supposed to get REALLY cold and all this rain will freeze and tomorrow will be VERY interesting as far as driving goes.  THIS is the part of winter I could do without.  Snow I like, freezing rain I do not.  : (

Since Christmas is over as far as the gifts, food, and get-togethers, my husband and I have been enjoying some of our gifts.  We both received books for Christmas (which is my favorite).  We have been watching "When Calls The Heart" by Hallmark and didn't want to wait for Netflix to put the new episodes on, so we ordered Season 5.  Anyway..........part of this show is about a Canadian Mountie and for Christmas I bought my husband a book on the history of the Canadian Mounties - so he's been reading that.  And, thanks to a couple of comments on one of my posts from a while back, on my Christmas list this year, I wrote the titles of two books from L.M. Montgomery down and I received them as gifts!!!!

I received "Story Girl" and "Christmas Stories" - I'm reading "Story Girl" at bedtime (and so far, so good!).  "The Prodigal Girl" by Grace Livingston Hill was suggested by another comment on favorite Christmas books to read and I had it already, so I took it off the shelf and I'm including it as another read since it IS still Christmas.  : )  It is not unusual for me to have about three books going at the same time.  So that's one way we've been filling our post-Christmas time.

My husband received a couple of jigsaw puzzles and he already finished one of them.  He also received a rather difficult paint-by-number kit - he took it out and looked at it, but so far that's as far as he got.  It does look a bit daunting.  : o

I have some old sweaters from my husband that I've been wanted to make things out of, and this is what I did today:

Grab an old sweater.
Cut a pattern out of your hand plus added width for sewing.
Place the pattern on the edge of the sleeve of the sweater, pin, and cut out. 
There you have it!!!!  : )  They aren't going to win any prizes, but I've always wanted to do this and it's recycling a sweater.  Now I'm hoping to cut out a hat and scarf to go with from the same sweater.  We'll see about that one.  : )

If you are wanting to do this, the one thing that bothers me about some tutorials is that they make it look so easy.  If you go by my photos, I think you would think the same thing.  But what I'm going to tell you is that after sewing them together for the first time, I had to tweak them about four times!  You have to constantly try them on and make adjustments until they feel right.  I found that my hands aren't the same (as you can see in the photo).  One hand seems to be a bit thinner - so be patient when doing this.  Keep with it because I think it's worth it.  And it's fun to do.  If you have kids or grandkids around, this would be a fun project to work on together.  You can show them how to recycle old clothes, how to make a pattern, how to sew (if you don't have a machine that's okay because these could be sewn by hand and they can learn that too), and how to fit things until it's right.

Hope you can give it a try!!!  : )

I don't know about you, but I'm already looking at the rooms with the Christmas things and am already thinking about how nice it will be to clean and have some space back!  It seems the older I get, I'm ready to get on to the next thing.  It doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the moment but when it's been over a month, I tend to want to start the New Year's cleaning and begin to go through stuff again.  I always keep my snowmen collection up until February or so (depending on what the weather is like).  And I like to hang up snowflakes for the wintery kind of decorating. about you?  How do you transition from Christmas into the New Year?

That's it for today.   Thank you SO much for dropping by for a visit - I hope you know that I appreciate it!!!  God bless.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Prayers

I am SO very thankful for all of you who read my posts.  When I began this blog I had no idea how much I would enjoy it and with a few of you commenting once in a while, it's the motivation I need to keep going.  : )

Well............we really ARE down to the wire now, aren't we?  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve already - the night of our dear Savior's birth.  If you haven't noticed, this world is in need of a Savior and aren't we blessed that God in Heaven has given Jesus to us.  God's perfect plan of salvation to a weary world.

Unfortunately, Christmas doesn't make all the worldly problems go away.   Just this past week, we went to the burial of a family member, someone we know is in the hospital and very ill, we heard about just-before-Christmas layoffs for several people, family and friends who are grieving over the loss of a loved one, loneliness for others.  Yes, this world needs a Savior.  

My Christmas prayers for you are:

*that if you haven't asked Jesus into your heart, you will this Christmas (that you will today because none of us knows that we will even make it to Christmas).
*that if you have asked Jesus into your heart and are saved, that your faith and trust will grow daily.
*that each of you will own a Bible and read it, read it again, and read it again, and never stop.
*that each of you will put God first every day.
*that you will begin (or continue) to pray - for your families, for your friends, for your co-workers, for the strangers you meet, for your neighborhoods, for your schools, for your government, for your church, for your towns or cities, for your country, for yourself.
*that you will look around and see who is in need and try to help in some way.
*to be bold and courageous to speak about The One who has redeemed you and has washed away your sins.
*to be thankful and grateful.
*to go to Jesus when you are weary and heavy laden so that He can give you rest.

May you experience a peaceful Christmas this year, knowing that God loves you SO VERY MUCH.  God gave us the ultimate Christmas gift and His Name Is Jesus.  Merry Christmas to all of you.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Christmas Meal Idea

Peace to you and yours.  : )

Our son and his wife will be with us on Christmas Day Eve and since I like Christmas to be a more relaxed time instead of formal, I thought a build-your-own-pizza bar would be fun.  Again, it kind of goes against the Christmas ham dinner with all the trimmings, I'm be more flexible. I mean, if I can serve a Thanksgiving brunch instead of a turkey dinner, then I can be different for Christmas too.  Right?  Right.   : )

Here's what I'm thinking:

*The crust - Aldi is carrying a lot of Artisan breads lately and they have Naan bread which makes an excellent pizza crust.  So I bought four Naan breads on which to "build" the pizzas.

*Next comes the sauce.  I found a jarred organic sauce that sounded good with all the spices included.

*Then comes the meat - I will provide pepperoni slices, cooked Italian sausage, and diced ham.

*Then comes the "goodies" - I'm going to fry up lots of onions along with diced red and yellow peppers; and then have sliced black and green olives and sliced mushrooms.

*Next, the topping - of course, cheese!  Shredded Cheddar and Mozzarella and then provide olive oil to drizzle over the top.

I will set all of these ingredients out and everyone can build their own.  Pop them into the oven, bake, and serve them up!  We can all try each other's out too.  I thought I'd serve them with Caesar salad on the side and have a variety of soft drinks to choose from.

For dessert:  Iced sugar cookies, peppermint ice cream with homemade fudge sauce and hot coffee/hot tea/hot cocoa.

I think that will do.  : )  What are you serving this year?  Are you going traditional?  Changing things up?  Adding anything new?  I love hearing what other families do during the holidays.

The other thing I wanted to share with you is another good bread machine recipe.  This is a very soft, moist, flavorful bread that I will make again.  Here it is:


1 cup warm water 
1/4 cup buttermilk blend powder
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

In bread machine pan, place all ingredients in order given.  Select basic bread setting.*  Choose light crust color and loaf size.  Bake according to directions given.  That's it!!!  Easy, peasy.  : )

*Like all the bread machine recipes, I select the dough cycle and when that is done I take it out and put it in a bread tin, let it rise a second time and then bake in the oven.  I just like the look of a regular loaf rather than the square-ish look of the bread machine.  The rise took about an hour and then I baked it in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes (for some reason, this bread took longer to bake than normal, so you may need to watch it and see for yourself on the doneness). 

Again, this is very good (although ALL bread, in my opinion, is very good!!!).  I hope you can try it and see.  Enjoy.

Thank you for your visit.  I wish all of you a good day of taking care of your homes and family and friends (and yourself!!).  God bless.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Last Minute Blessing of Someone

This photo is two years old - we hardly have any snow left on the ground this year - it sure does make it prettier doesn't it?

This morning my husband and I did a drive around our neighborhoods and wrote down the addresses of any houses who are displaying a manger scene this year.  Sadly, we found VERY few.  I did, however, write down six addresses.  When we got home, I wrote Christmas cards out to them (anonymously) thanking them for keeping Christ in Christmas by displaying their manger scene in their yards and sent them out by mail.

It's really a two-fold blessing.  It blesses us to see that they know the true meaning of Christmas and I would like to think it would be a blessing to them to know that someone did, indeed, notice that they believe that Christ is at the center of Christmas.

I know that the Bible tells us to keep what we do for others just between us and God so that we aren't doing something nice in order to be seen by others and get any praise for it.  But I want to share these things (because they aren't original ideas - this idea came to me through reading a book about family traditions) to encourage you to maybe try some things out for yourself and/or as a family idea.  I think it's a really good idea to have your kids or grandkids watch you do and participate in it themselves.  You could make a special outing with the kiddos and they could be on the lookout for the manger scenes and when you get home have them help you in writing the thank you notes!

Well, this is an early post as I want to get to other things today.  : )  Thank you SO much for dropping by for this short visit - I really DO appreciate it.  God bless!!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Last Minute Gift

If you sew and enjoy sewing up little last-minute gifts for under the tree or stockings, hand warmers are fast and easy to whip up.  I had my sewing machine in the shop for almost a month to get it worked on, so the hand warmer on the left I sewed by hand.  I got my machine back today, so the hand warmer on the right was sewn on the machine!  : )  That's why this project is a good one.  You don't have to own a sewing machine to make these.

Here's how:

1.  Select flannel fabric - around this time of year you can get this fabric inexpensively and you need such a small amount of fabric to make these.  Make sure the flannel you get doesn't have any metallic thread woven in because to warm these up, you need to use the microwave.

2.  Cut out 4, 4-inch square pieces of fabric (for two hands!).

3.  Put two of the 4-inch pieces together (right sides together) and sew a narrow seam all the way around - BUT! remember to keep about an inch-wide opening on one side to turn the fabric right side out.  Do the same with the other 4-inch pieces to make a set.

4.  After turning right side out, use a funnel or small spoon to put about 3/4 cup of uncooked rice in each one and then sew the opening shut either by hand or with the sewing machine.

5.  That's it!!!  For gift-giving, put the two hand warmers together, tie with pretty ribbon or string or yarn, and wrap them up.  You can either type or write the directions on how to use them and include them in the gift or you can just let them know.  Directions:  put each hand warmer in the microwave for about 10 - 20 seconds, checking occasionally for the amount of warmth wanted.  You may need less time or you may need a little more time.

So nice to slip in your mittens or gloves before going outside.  : )

That's pretty much it for today.  I baked the sugar cookie cut-outs yesterday and will make candy this weekend so we're plugging along.  At least all the gifts are bought, paid for, and wrapped!!!!  : )  How are you doing?

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

Looking back on the week, it has been an emotional week.  I found myself being very moody and quiet and tired and in need of attitude checks on a regular basis.  I don't like feeling that way but it's a way of telling me that there is something wrong in my soul and am in deep need of the Holy Spirit's guidance and teaching.  Discipline isn't easy, is it?  I want so much to think that I have everything under control and that nothing is going to rock my world and that I can face each day with a smile on my face and be optimistic about everything.  There's a little part of me who thinks that because it's Christmas everything will be okay.  

Life's problems don't go away during the Christmas season - sometimes it feels like they're magnified!  And for a woman who wants only the best feelings and attitudes and dreaming of the Currier and Ives holiday, I can tend to put the pressure on when I shouldn't.  This is the final week before Christmas and with a married son I'm finding the new normal for us is not fully knowing what's going to happen when and oh, boy, that's hard for me!  And to top it off - when I think about thinking that way I get upset with myself because if that's the only problem to be thinking of we are definitely doing better than what I think we are.  And round and round I go.  

The danger in these not-so-good feelings is that I know I'm getting away from the true meaning of Christmas.  God had a plan of salvation and that was in sending Jesus.  THAT is worthy of celebration!!!  And I blush to think that I get so unnerved so easily by the other stuff that will eventually work out (and if it doesn't.............does it matter?).  

So, I'm praying that this week will be getting the focus back on Jesus and preparing for the ultimate birthday party.  As I posted before - doing everything unto the Lord.  Being grateful and thankful.  Thinking about what really is important.  Enjoying the process.  And to remember others.

May the Lord grant you peace this week.  Let's pray for each other in this!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

We're kind of getting down to the wire now, aren't we?  At the beginning of December I feel like I have all the time in the world and then all of a sudden the final week is at hand.  I always appreciate last-minute ideas - especially stocking stuffer ideas - so I hope this will help you as well.  : )

I'm not going to go age-by-age - I think the idea alone will tell you whether or not it's for a child or adult (and sometimes it can work for both):

*A favorite magazine
*Drill bits
*Key ring
*Gift cards
*Mini flashlight
*Nails and screws
*Mini boxes of cereal
*Lip gloss/lipstick/chapstick
*Hand warmers
*New pens/pencils
*Beef jerky
*Nail polish
*Small hand lotions
*Hand sanitizers
*Knitting needles and/or crochet hooks
*Packets of seeds
*Scrapbook embellishments
*Votive candles
*Bag of chocolates or other candy
*Book light
*Pencil sharpener
*New toothbrushes
*Sudoku/Word Finds/Crossword Puzzles
*New Christmas ornament
*Hot chocolate packets/bag of coffee/packets of tea
*Crayons/Water colors
*Small diary or journal

Again, it's pretty much just thinking about the person to whom you are giving.  

Yesterday morning was a day of getting out and trying to finish up.  It's funny, because every year the same feeling comes over me when I'm out and about for the last time.  It's a feeling that says "okay, this is it, I'm done, don't do anymore."  My lists were made and we had a budget amount and when that had been satisfied, that feeling of "that's it" comes over me and I'm reminded that I don't have to use Christmas as a time to give everyone their every wish come true!  Even if I could, I'm not sure that would be the right thing to do.  So, now, this upcoming week before Christmas will be the cooking and baking.  It seems like I can't concentrate on that area until the gifts are purchased, wrapped, and under the tree. 

We kind of know what Christmas is going to look like this year so with those plans in mind I can now look through cookbooks and plan and make a couple of old familiars.

I hope you have a good weekend in getting things done and taking care of your home.  Thank you for visiting!!!!  God bless.

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Quick Dessert

This is the perfect thing to make if you've been invited last minute or need a little something in a hurry for a dessert or goodie tray.  Of course you will have to have the above two items on your pantry shelf!  A fudge brownie mix (or make your own homemade) and a bag of Andes mints.  Here's what you do:

1.  Bake the brownie mix as directed.
2.  Unwrap the Andes mints and place them on the hot, just-brought-out-of-the-oven, brownies.
3.  When melted (which happens immediately), take a knife and smooth them out (like you're frosting a cake).
4.  As the brownies cool, the Andes mints will, once again, harden and develop a wonderful minty hard layer on top of the brownies (to speed this up, putting them in the fridge does the trick).  SO yummy.  So quick.  Just cut them into small squares and away you go!  : )  Enjoy!

As you can see, the mints melt quickly.

All melted.  Yum.  When I cut and serve these for a dessert, I like to serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  (It's my husband's birthday tomorrow, and this is what he's getting for his birthday - with a candle on top.)

Just another quick idea for Christmas.  But that's all I have for now.  : )  God bless.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


I posted this before, but when I made it the other night I thought it would be a good thing to post again.  I love "shopping" my pantry and coming up with a meal that I have already spent money on, will taste good, and will be easy as well.  If you have stocked your pantry well, I'm supposing that most of you have everything you need on your shelves to get a meal together quickly.   Here's how it works:


1 cup of a main ingredient (this would include canned tuna, canned or leftover chicken or turkey, canned or leftover ham, any seafood like leftover shrimp, scallops, etc.)
1 cup of a 2nd ingredient (this would be something like celery, mushrooms, onions, peas, hard-cooked eggs - but the vegetables need to be cooked or sauteed first)
1 to 2 cups of a starchy ingredient (this would be your potatoes, noodles, or rice - but all need to be cooked)
1 1/2 cups of a binder (this would be a favorite cream sauce, sour cream, a "cream of" canned soup)
1/4 cup of a "goodie" (this would be to add a little color or texture to the casserole - pimiento, olives, water chestnuts)
Salt and Pepper
And, then, lastly, your Topping (crushed potato chips, French fried onion rings, buttered bread crumbs, crushed stuffing mix, crushed saltine crackers)

How to:  Thoroughly mix 1 cup of your main ingredient, 1 cup of your 2nd ingredient, 1-2 cups of your starchy ingredient, 1 1/2 cups of your binder, and 1/4 cup of your "goodie" ingredient together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  (If you find it a bit dry, just add a little milk or broth up to 1/2 cup.)  Pour everything into a buttered casserole dish and bake @ 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Bring it out and add your topping and bake for another 5 - 10 minutes.

There are many possibilities with this - the one I made the other evening (sorry, again I forgot to take photos!) was taking canned tuna, sauteed celery and onions, cooked rice, cream of mushroom soup, pimiento, salt and pepper, and the French fried onion rings for the topping.  It was very tasty, very satisfying, and it all went together quickly which I'm always looking for this time of year.   I hope you can give this a try and try out the different combinations that can be made from it - make sure to write down what you liked and what worked (and what didn't!).

Well, I have a few things left for Christmas shopping, I've been keeping up with the wrapping, and I haven't even begun baking!   It's sneaking up on us quickly, isn't it?  How are all of you doing?

Thank you for dropping by.  : )  God bless.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sunday Afternoon

The Bishop's Wife

As I posted on Wednesday, one of my favorite Christmas movies is "The Bishop's Wife" because of it's Christian charity message.  At the end of the movie you will see Bishop Braham (not sure of the spelling) giving his Christmas Eve sermon and I can't quote it exactly but he is eluding to the fact that we hang up our stockings and we give everyone what they want but there is one stocking we forget to hang up and that is the stocking for the Christ child - because it's HIS birthday that we're celebrating!

Isn't this true?  I know for myself, I've been busy making those gift lists and making sure to write down where they can be found and then going on-line to see if I can order anything.  I have the four stockings hung up and thinking about all the stocking stuffers I can fill them with.  So what would we do with Jesus' stocking if we hung one up for Him?  Of course we couldn't buy physical things for Him - no candy cane, no gift card, no fun socks.  But what the Bishop was trying to make everyone think about was how can we be the hands and feet of Jesus at this special time of year?

Remember the "WWJD" years and all the bracelets we wore?  Maybe we should think about that again.  For those of you who do not know - WWJD means "What Would Jesus Do"?  So, with this stocking concept in mind, what would Jesus want us to fill His stocking with?

*Pay for someone's groceries behind you?
*Take flowers to the nurses station?
*Pay for the lunch of people behind you in the drive-through lane?
*Take snacks, cookies, cupcakes, etc. to the fire department or police department, or to people waiting for the bus?
*Put change in the vending machines?
*Give extra groceries to the food shelves?
*Pick up a tab for someone at a restaurant (especially an elderly person).
*Leave a generous tip.
*Tape a gift card to a gas pump.
*Drop off "gifts" at a nursing home.
*Hand out mittens, gloves, scarves to people at the bus stops.
*Hide $ bills around the Dollar Store.
*Drop a toy or game off at a hospital.
*Leave a bottle of detergent at a laundromat.
*Buy hot drinks for the Salvation Army bell-ringers.
*Make baby blankets for the maternity ward.
*....................again, what can you think of?

If you think about it, there are many things we can do for others in the Name of Jesus.  If we're complaining about the way the world is and what it's becoming, then maybe we can start to make a difference?  Maybe this can be the norm rather than just once a year?  I've often thought of the concept of the Twelve Months of Giving idea and have often wanted to start a group for this.  Taking every month and writing down what can be done for others.  I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE the way I see people in the giving mood, but sadly after it's over the giving wanes a bit.  

Let's encourage one another to keep the giving going.  I know, for us, we're not exactly rolling in money and it almost becomes a sacrifice to give.  But isn't that exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross?  The above list is such a tiny sacrifice in comparison.  Let's hang up that stocking for Jesus in our hearts and look around and reach deep into our pockets to bring some loving-kindness to someone.  Because "that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown".  : )

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Two Baskets to Think About

The centerpiece is a handmade gift from my sister.  : )

I know I have posted before on making Advent baskets to bless someone during the 25 days of December, but during the week I was thinking about a couple more baskets and looked on-line for ideas.

The idea for the first basket came about by thinking of our son and daughter-in-law and how they really don't have time for a Christmas on their own because of the time taken between our family and hers.  It's called a 12 Days of Christmas Basket based on the song "12 Days of Christmas" (obvious, I know).  : )  I thought this would be fun for them because every day from December 25th to January 5th they can go to their own tree and enjoy opening a gift in their own home.  This really takes some thinking though.  I felt I had to take some creative license to make it seem like it made sense for every verse of the song (you will see that I'm having trouble with Day 10!):

Day 1 - Partridge in a pear tree (I'm giving either pears or pear cider)
Day 2 - Two turtle doves (how about Turtle candy and Dove candy?)
Day 3 - Three french hens (maybe Hens and Chicks succulents?)
Day 4 - Four calling birds (a bird ornament)
Day 5 - Five gold rings - ("gold" napkin rings)
Day 6 - Six geese-a-laying - (chocolate eggs)
Day 7 - Seven swans-a-swimming (my mother-in-law gave our son, when he was little, a pair of swans because of an outing we had been on so I think this would be the appropriate time to give them)
Day 8 - Eight maids-a-milking - (hot chocolate mix?)
Day 9 - Nine ladies dancing- (comfy socks with foot cream)  
Day 10 - Ten lords-a-leaping (I'm still thinking about this one - any suggestions?)
Day 11 - Eleven pipers piping - (wind chimes made out of pipe)
Day 12 - Twelve drummers drumming - (a drum of popcorn)

I think this sounds really fun.  If there is someone that came to mind while reading this, I encourage you to put something together for them.   For some, December 26th can be the big holiday let-down because it's all over and I think this is a fun way to extend it or maybe have this BE the big gift for them.  Maybe go light on the other gifts and then present this at the last minute right before they leave?

The other gift basket I was thinking about was a Hostess gift basket.  If you know of anyone who is hosting their family and/or friends this year, a hostess basket for the morning after is wonderful for when they wake up in the morning and don't feel like doing one more thing let alone get breakfast on the table:

First Basket: 

A loaf of sweet bread or muffins
Fresh fruit
A bag of freshly ground coffee beans
Assorted teas w/honey
Pretty napkins

2nd Basket:

Pancake mix (the kind you only need to add water to)
Syrup (either homemade or store-bought)
Fresh fruit
A bag of freshly ground coffee beans
Assorted teas w/honey
Pretty napkins

3rd Basket:

Small boxes of assorted cereal or granola (re-packaged)
Raisins or other dried fruit
Fresh fruit
Assorted teas w/honey
Hot chocolate mix w/marshmallows
Pretty napkins

These baskets would really be a thoughtful thing to do for that person in your life who is doing a LOT of work to make the holidays special for you and others.  Present the gift right before you leave and tell them that you appreciate them and all they do/did.  : )

That's it for today!!!  I hope this gets you to thinking about more ways of thinking of others.  Thank you for dropping by - I DO appreciate your visit.  God bless.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

All Is Calm

This evening, I'm sitting in front of the "fire" and watching one of my favorite Christmas movies (The Bishop's Wife) for the 3rd time -

and drinking a mug of homemade hot chocolate -

with a cute little friend -

times like this are precious during the Christmas season.

If you have a favorite book that you read during Christmas, I would love to hear what it is.  And I want to share what I read every year with you:

I don't know if this is in print anymore but I received this book many years ago now and it really helped to change my attitude in how to do things - so many ideas on what to do if you're weary of all the commercialism and want Christmas to be more meaningful.

And......these three books make me cry and a good cry at Christmas (like I've said before) is okay.

sorry this is SO blurry!

And if you're Grace Livingston Hill fans, these are my favorite Christmas setting books -

And, then it seems as if everyone knows about this -

Some books are like old friends.  It's also part of the traditions of Christmas that seem familiar and cozy.  It takes us away from the worries of the world for a moment, and gets us away from technology if even for an hour or two.

And, then............I splurge on a couple of nice magazines (especially those that show any kind of holiday decorating).  How did magazines get SO expensive?

even getting one or two ideas is fun for me.

and this magazine is from 2012 but I save these (one of my favorites is Capper's Farmer) -
anything to do with nostalgia and doing things the "old-fashioned" way has always been of interest to me - something that I want to emulate in our home.

Then lastly, I want to encourage you to send cards (which seems to get more old-fashioned every year).  I don't know if there is any of us who doesn't want to go to the mailbox and pull out a card or letter from someone.  I know I do.  It doesn't have to be expensive - these pretty cards were bought at the Dollar Store (a box of them).  Put a smile on someone's face.  : ) 

I will end my post for the evening so I can go back to the movie and crochet some squares for an afghan I would like to put together and sip my hot chocolate.

Thank you for dropping by and please let me know if you have a favorite Christmas book that you pull out at Christmas!  I wouldn't mind adding to my collection.  God bless.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sunday Evening

Are you ready for the upcoming week?  Maybe the list below will help:

*start every day with passionate prayer
*read your Bible every day
*look the best you can every day because it helps you to feel better
*take care of your home - every day work towards something that keeps it clean and organized
*make good, healthy food (and then a special treat every now and then for fun)
*be thankful
*be kind
*be generous
*always think of the other person
*enjoy the beauty of the season
*keep up but don't expect perfection - do what you can and leave the rest
*ask for help
*turn off your phone - you can do it - I promise you won't have a meltdown  : )
*turn off the television - there's nothing worth watching anyway - spend your time DOING something
*listen to Christmas music - it's okay if it makes you sad - cry if you need to
*read to your kids or grandkids
*make a memory
*keep a Christmas diary - write in it every day 

............and you can add to the list.  Make this week good for you, your family, and your friends.  Let the love shown to us at Christmas be our motivation.  God bless.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Now that it's December, I feel like the march towards Christmas Day is here!  Around here the decorating is done but there are gifts to be bought and wrapped yet, baking to be done, and a couple of get-together's to plan which always includes menus to think about.  Fortunately these things are satisfying and enjoyable but, for me, I need to constantly remind myself to put Christ in all of it.  

The other day I was reminded of the Bible verse "do everything as unto the Lord" (and I wish I could give you the Book and Chapter right now) and this verse came to me while ironing.  : )   So, I said out loud - "I'm doing the ironing unto the Lord".  And I think that whenever we do ANYTHING (because the verse specifically says EVERYTHING) this Christmas we should quote this verse over and over again.  Are you baking cookies right now?  Do it unto the Lord!  Are you wrapping gifts right now?  Do it unto the Lord!  Are you cleaning your house right now?  Do it unto the Lord!  Are you catching up on the piles of laundry right now?  Do it unto the Lord!  I really believe that this verse isn't just for the spiritual things in our lives like going to church, or singing in the choir, or serving on a committee - I believe this is for the daily things that nobody sees.  If you feel like you are the one that has to pull Christmas off on your own and everyone else is just kind of sitting back and enjoying the fruit of your labors, gather strength, take a deep breath, and do it ALL unto the Lord!

This doesn't mean that you can't delegate some of the work and that it all HAS to be on your shoulders, but with a good attitude and gratefulness and a gentle reminder that if it doesn't all get done and it's not the picture-postcard kind of Christmas, it's still going to be fine because the emphasis will be on Christ.  The work that you do is unto Him.  : )  

The other verse that came into my mind this week is "take every thought captive" and, again, I wish I could remember the Book and Chapter for you.  But I think this is very important too because when we get stressed and feel overwhelmed, our thoughts tend to turn to the not-so-good feelings about it all.  We can get grouchy and tired and feel like throwing in the towel sometimes, but if there are people in our lives who are looking forward to Christmas, we have to take the negative thoughts captive and move forward so that we don't ruin it for them (which, for me, I have done and deeply regret it).  

If it's strength you need, ask the Lord for it.  If it's motivation you need, ask the Lord for it.  If it's ideas you need, ask the Lord for it.  It's SO okay to pray about these things.  He is SO ready to help in what those needs are.  So, in EVERYTHING as unto the Lord, AND take every thought captive!!!!  : )

And, before I end, since it IS December (a new month) here are the December to-do's (I know, we don't need to add more to our to-do's, but this is a short list and most are what we're already doing):

*Bake, make/buy gifts, keep up with the wrapping
*Decorate your house (even if you will be the only one who sees it, I encourage you to decorate)
*Stock up on sand and/or salt for those driveways and walkways
*Have your car serviced (get a good wash, put seasonal oil in it, make sure it's in good order)
*Polish any silver you may use and wash any of your good dishes (again, if it's it just for you, treat yourself during the holidays and use the "good stuff")
*Iron any holiday tablecloths, napkins, etc. and use them!  It makes no sense to have nice things and not use them.  Bring them out and enjoy them.  : )

There.  I think that's it for today.  I encourage you to keep your head up, think of others, pray always, put the Christmas music on, do what needs to be done without complaining, be thankful and grateful, and if you are sad (because we all have sadness this time of year due to all kinds of circumstances) allow it, work through it, and then move forward.  If that's easier said than done, look to Jesus.  Like I've said before - He IS the reason for the season.  Let Him be your motivation.

God bless your day.