Friday, December 28, 2012

Messiah Sing-Along

One of the more enjoyable things we have done this season was to attend a Messiah sing-along. We enjoy our local symphony and love that they offer free events from time to time. This has been an annual event for the last thirty years but it was the first time we had attended. I love Handel's Messiah was looking forward to it being performed by the symphony and the idea of singing the Hallelujah chorus with a concert hall full of other people sounded exciting.

As we were filing into the lobby we ran into a couple from church and decided to sit together, it's always more fun with friends, they were also new to this event. Scores were being sold for ten dollars, I thought it was a way to help cover cost of event....didn't think we really needed one....we knew the chorus, but husband bought one so he could follow along. Our young son had also asked us to bring the IPad, he would be joining us. He had been to this event before, he knew what we didn't...we were singing more than just the Hallelujah chorus

Two scores...five people we figured it out...two would share the score husband had purchased and three would share the IPad (son had pulled the score up on it) Next challenge, you had to know what part you would be singing, and you needed to be able to find your part on the score

They let us practice with the "He Shall Purify" chorus before the actual performance started to make sure everyone knew what part they were to sing. The "teacher" in my son came out, he tried to assist me, showed me where I was to sing, even hummed my part to help me find the range I was supposed to be in. ...I was all over the place. His advice after the practice session..."see those three ladies in front of you....sing when they sing"

In the end it made no difference how anyone sang or if they sung the right part, it was all beautiful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fallen Snow

There seems to be a peace when you go outside after a freshly fallen snow, the air is crisp and quiet. I enjoy the novelty of snow and the photo opportunities it gives me, but mostly I enjoy it from the window of my nice warm house.

 We don't get snow often here, and when we do it tends to shut the city down. We don't own a snow shovel and the children in the neighborhood use cardboard boxes and trash can lids for sleds, and boots....well they may be grocery bags taped around the ankles. This is the south after all.

These photos were taken the winter of 2011, hope you enjoy

                                              Linking up with Vee for her note card party

A Haven for Vee

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Comfort Those That Mourn

A Prayer in Response to the Newtown, CT Tragedy

This prayer was written yesterday by Scotty Smith after the tragic events in Newtown:

Dear Lord Jesus, we abandon ourselves to you tonight—we come running with our tears and our fears, our anger and our anguish, our lament and our longings. We collapse in your presence, with the assurance of your welcome, needing the mercies of your heart.
Some stories are just too much for us to absorb; some evil just too great to conceive; some losses  beyond all measurability. We need your tears and your strength tonight. That you wept outside the tomb of a beloved friend frees us to groan and mourn; that you conquered his death with yours, frees us to hope and wait.
But we turn our thoughts from ourselves to the families who have suffered an unconscionable violation of heart and all sensibilities. Bring your presence to bear, Lord Jesus, by your Spirit and through your people. May your servants weep with those who weep and wail with those who wail. Extend your tear wiping hand—reach into this great tragedy with an even greater grace.
We cry out on behalf of the children of Newtown, those most directly affected by this evil, and for children throughout our country and the world, whose little hearts are reeling with fear and terror. Give parents wisdom and kindness, as they seek to love their children well, this night and in the coming days. Raise up gifted counselors and care givers to serve those most traumatized.
Lastly, Lord Jesus, we cry out with a loud voice, How long, O, Lord? How long before you return to eradicate all evil, redeem all tragedies, and make all things new? How long, O, Lord, how long? Your Bride weeps and waits for you. In your merciful and mighty name we pray.

"Blessed are those that mourn, for they will be comforted"  Matthew 5:4
Comfort those that are mourning right now Lord Jesus

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Focus Needed

I have been working on Christmas gifts...but am SO easily distracted....I took a break from the projects I am SUPPOSED to be working on and created this instead....now I need to get back to the tasks at hand if they are to be ready for Christmas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Still an Influence

We had an overnight visit with the grandchildren Saturday night. The plan was for some decorating, always more fun with children, and some cookie baking.

I enjoy having my grandchildren around, I consider it a blessing that they live close and that their parents make it a priority that they have the opportunity to spend time with us. We do not take it for granted.

The three younger children are very close in age, then there is a five year gap between child number two and child number one. It wasn't a real big deal when they were younger but now that the oldest is eleven, her interests are changing. While the little ones are playing she is often just reading a book.

The "light bulb" came on a couple of weeks ago...she still wants to come over to visit.....we still have influence....we need to make the most of the time we have been given....we needed to get her engaged in activities she would enjoy. My husband took the lead in this...he used her as an "apprentice" when he helped a friend fix a dryer, she was a great help to him and she loved helping. She has also shown an interest in using my camera....I was reluctant at first....not my camera... but then realized that it could be a great opportunity...this grandma is still learning.... I don't want to miss these chances to be that influence.

The weekend was a busy one, we decorated, we baked cookies and that evening we went out in the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights, this was one tired grandma by the end of the day but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

My prayer is that I will continue to see these opportunities....that I won't be so self focused that I miss them.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Impromptu Photo Shoot

We have been trying to get a family photo done this year but hadn't been very successful. So then we thought, maybe just a photo of my son's family. We had tried  getting the four grandchildren a couple of times but it seemed each time someone wasn't cooperating. When you have three children under the age of five that shouldn't be surprising.

I asked my DIL and son this morning at church if they would be willing to give it another try...they were.... I have to give them some kudos on this one....there was no warning. After church was over we headed to a local park, we knew we were taking a chance because kids were tired and hungry but figured we could at least try.

When we pulled into the park the kids were excited, the three year old ran ahead to the playground, then they all started to scatter. We tried to gather them together for a shot, (think herding cats) but there were tears because the three year old wanted to play, so we just let them go and took candids of the kids instead....figured a group shot wasn't going to happen.

Then the oldest decided it would be a neat idea to climb up this rock, well you know what one does they all have to do....we had our chance. One by one each child either climbed up or was hoisted up by the oldest. Then mom and dad climbed up....when I think about it now it was probably pretty crazy but we got our shot! My son and DIL happy with the results.

             Missy Miss decided to climb the 8 foot rock first (notice the sign in above photo with the baby)

                                                   Everyone else was soon to follow


                                                  Getting down was a little trickier

If there is any advice I can give when it comes to photographing little ones, it's let kids be kids, follow them around and maybe you will get that shot

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's That Time Of Year

Now that Thanksgiving is over I am having a hard time proceeding with business as usual when it comes to Christmas. I have always been a bit of a Christmas curmudgeon, but this year I have felt the "Ebenezer" in me coming on even earlier. Perhaps it's because we went from being bombarded with political ads till election day to being inundated with "He went to Jared" type ads that started the day after or maybe it's because the stores here have been in full Christmas mode since before Halloween. Okay it's not Christmas that I dislike it's all the commercialism that goes along with it, and the frenzied pace our lives seem to take during this time of year... with so much is going on in our world, it all seems a little out of place.

Christmas has to be different for us this year, we have to sort through what is important and what can/should be let go. What can we add to our traditions to make it more about celebrating the birth of our Savior. What can we do to make the season more meaningful

These are some of the things I have considered... being more intentional about the music we listen to, instead of the usual secular Christmas music choose music that is more Christ centered, a great example is Chris Tomlin's  album "Glory in The Highest"...maybe doing a Christmas devotional, something that would help prepare my heart for the season....perhaps even observe Advent....something we haven't done in years. Spend less time in stores!!!

We will continue to do certain things, I want to bake with the grandchildren, attend Candle Light service at church, and care group Christmas party. We enjoy going out and looking at lights and Christmas decorations (although I will enjoy YOUR decorations more than I will enjoy dragging mine out of the attic...did I just say that?) Not to worry, we will decorate, the tree will be put up and I will enjoy it, really, I will. I just don't want to lose focus about what the season is really about....praying for a more Christ focused Christmas.

                                                       How do you keep Christ In Christmas?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankfulness Continues

Thanksgiving may be over and the Christmas season officially begun but I wanted to use this space to continue to reflect on the things I have to be thankful for

  1. For friends who were willing to brave the traffic to spend the holiday weekend with us
  2. For time spent with youngest son who was also willing to drive through terrible traffic to get home for the holiday
  3. For everyone that helped prepare the meal. It was all hands on deck Wednesday night, someone was either prepping food, cooking or doing dishes. 
  4. For the provision that God has supplied through the year
  5. For a sleepover with all four grandchildren...all slept soundly through the night
  6. For our pastors who continue to faithfully preach the gospel every week
  7. For my husband, who is a major source of support as I continue to walk through various health related issues....I get weary, I know he must as well
  8. For friends who are willing to walk along side when life gets difficult
  9. For technology, I love face time, texting and emailing. I know it's not as personal as a hand written letters  or in person visits but I have extended family that I probably would not be able to communicate with if these were not available....phones would be included in this list  
  10. God's never ending mercies, which scripture says are new every morning.
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassion's never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness  Lamentations 3:22-23

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's a Tradition

We have made this cranberry salad ever since we cooked our first Thanksgiving meal. The first time I had it was at my in-laws home...I loved it... got the recipe and it has been a holiday tradition ever since. I always make for Thanksgiving, and for Christmas. My husband and I love it.... my sons...not so much...guess this tradition is going to end here. Really makes you want to try this recipe now,  doesn't it. This salad is also great for potlucks, it has that freshness at a time when there seems to be so many sweets.

Cranberry Salad
1 large pkg jello (cherry, raspberry etc)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 cups crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 naval orange (no seeds)
1/2 cup celery
1 cup chopped fresh cranberries

 Add boiling water to the jello and sugar, stir  until spoon comes out clean with all gelatin and sugar dissolved, then add pineapple and cool. While this mixture is cooling, chop your celery and nuts (I use pecans) then grate an entire orange (rind and all) or you can put in a food processor, (easiest if you have one, I usually cut the orange into pieces before putting into processor) If you are processing you want the orange to have the consistency of the crushed pineapple. I also use the food processor for the cranberries but a coarser chop. Add all these ingredients to the cooled mixture and let set overnight

Monday, November 19, 2012


When we were first married we never had Thanksgiving at our house. We would travel to my parents home or my in-laws. We would alternate when we could, family's were in different states, it was always a bit of a challenge

As the years went by we were not able to travel as frequently to see family during Thanksgiving, husbands work schedule often did not allow the time we needed to travel and as a nurse I would generally have to work every other Thanksgiving. The visits to family for Thanksgiving became more infrequent and we began to establish our own traditions.

I enjoy Thanksgiving the most when we can share it with others. There had been years that it was just the four of us at home, and other years when friends would invite us to spend it with their family. For me it's never about the location of the meal, but the people you share it with.

The last several years we have had Thanksgiving at our home and as family changes and grows the guest list has changed. This year we will celebrate it with friends, young son who will be traveling from school, Sweet Lady who will help in the preparation. Older son and his family will come for dessert.

Husband will do the turkey and oyster dressing...dressing recipe is something that came from my  family. I will do the cranberry salad...a recipe that came from his family. Young son will be making his pumpkin pie with ginger snap crust...super yum and my friend will be making her pumpkin bread and roasted vegetable mash. Its a collaboration traditions new and old...and I just love it.

Thanksgiving is not just about the food, or the people you share it with though, it's a time for giving thanks, for counting our blessings, for giving thanks to God for his care.

Did I mention Thanksgiving was my very favorite holiday...Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving

Friday, November 16, 2012

Walk About The Neighborhood

When I was driving home today I was struck with how pretty all the trees are right now. Unfortunately I didn't have  my camera with me,  I used to carry one all the time, but have gotten out of the habit. The "Middles" were going to spend the afternoon, so I knew going back out was not going to be an option....but then I realized we didn't have to go anywhere to get some fall color photos, we could just take a walk around the neighborhood. ...so that was the plan...the three year old loved the idea of a walk
We weren't out very long and we didn't walk very far, but I was able to get a few photos of what fall looks like around here now

Monday, November 12, 2012

Celebrating Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, Colonial Williamsburg offered free admission for all active duty and retired military for the three day weekend, it was called " Celebrating Service to America" Hard to pass up free, so we decided it was the perfect weekend to go and visit.

Williamsburg is one of our favorite destinations, and fall is one of the prettiest time of year there. When we visit we seldom do anything but walk around and explore the quaint little shops, but with the Veterans Day special we were able to experience all Colonial Williamsburg had to offer.

My husband and I enjoy all things historical, so this was a lot of fun for us, but what made it even better was, friends that we don't get to see nearly enough, were able to join us.

We spent the day together going through the different trades...my favorites included the Weaver, I was fascinated by the looms and the spinning wheels, the Cobbler, and the Millinery Shop. The people that work in these shops are true craftsmen....they are skilled at what they do, many have done it for years.

Because it was Veterans Day weekend there were some special activities going on. There was a Veterans parade with Fife and Drum and a Veterans Salute attended by "George Washington" and "Patrick Henry" My friend tried to chat a little with General Washington, find out how long he had been doing this job etc....the General was having none of it....he stayed in character the entire time.

             In the photo below you can see the parade as it begins to enter the Courthouse grounds

Once the parade arrived at the Courthouse, those in the audience that were Veterans were invited to join those that had already assembled...by the time it was done, there were over three hundred men and women who are/were willing to serve standing on the other side of the field. Thank you Veterans we appreciate you.

They fired the cannons three times in salute to the Veterans

Two of my favorite veterans, my sweet husband is the one in the red.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Let Your Light Shine

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on it's stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16

                                                            Now more than ever before.

                                                             Be that light in the darkness

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Urged to Pray

We choose not to watch any election coverage last night...we were in overload.  Instead I skimmed through FB and saw this scripture posted. I think it's perfect to share this morning

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers and intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness           1 Timothy 2:1-2

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


What is it about a rainbow? When you see one you want to stop and look, is it because it's a rare occurrence or is it because of the beauty of them. This rainbow occurred in the early evening, and at one point it was a double rainbow. Can you imagine folks with cell phone cameras poking out of their car windows taking pictures of it, husband said it made the drive home a bit challenging.

Rainbows remind me of Gods promise to Noah. "And God said, this is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come. I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth" Genesis 9:13-14

When I see a rainbow I am reminded of God's goodness and the promises that he has for me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

You CAN Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

I have always wanted to REALLY learn how to use my camera. I was able to do the basics, take some pretty good photos in the preset modes, but I had never ventured into the land of manual settings. Couldn't seem to understand f/stops, ISO, shutter speed etc. The little book that came with the camera wasn't much help...too much information to digest.

My husband had been encouraging me to take a class for quite awhile but life kept getting in the way. This past summer my youngest son jumped on the band wagon and began nagging encouraging me to take a class as well. He found courses at the local colleges that he thought would be good for me to attend and even drafted a couple of emails for me to send to the professors to see if I could audit the class. Did I mention he was quite persistent? I am thankful for him, I needed that little "push"

Well it never worked out, the classes at the community college were all full except the one at 4:50pm, horrible time of day to travel here and you had to go through one of our many tunnels to get to that part of town. Second class was ruled out because of cost...any class I took had to be inexpensive.

All was not lost though, I found a basic photography class that I was able to take online and it fit my budget...cheap. It was six weeks long, with two lessons a week and included quiz's and assignments for each lesson. You had the opportunity to interact with other students, see their work and get feedback from them and your instructor on the work you submitted. Best of all....drum roll... I finally know how to use the settings on my camera....did I mention I have had this camera for over two and a half years now...better late than never.

A grace note in all of this...when I signed up to take this class I did not know I was getting ready to lose my job, it was nice to have something to focus on during those first couple of weeks. I choose to see the timing as God's kindness during my transition from work to home.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Taking Time to be Thankful

There is so much to be thankful for in my life if I just take the time to look. Why is it that complaining seems to come so easily, I do it without even thinking....(things that bring it out in me..waiting in lines, traffic, the weather, slow service of any kind, I could go on but ...I need to stop) gratitude is a much better attitude.Things I am thankful for

  1. We had minimal effect from the storm. It was wet and there was flooding but we sustained no damage. My family all safe and well (those locally and those up north) all have power.
  2. I am thankful for heat that is warming my house...it's cold outside... and electricity that is making it possible for me to wash a load of laundry this afternoon...there are many that do not have this luxury right now
  3. I am thankful that Sweet Lady lives close to us. The town that she lived in got a couple of feet of snow from this storm, she would have been stranded in that apartment that she lived in
  4. I am thankful for the gift of being able to be home...I didn't even know how much I needed this
  5. I am thankful for the health that I have....I may not be where "I" want to be, but I am so much better than I was.
I have kept a gratitude journal for a year now but to be honest it has been several weeks since I have written in it. So today I will start again, pick up where I left off, convicted that I need to be aware of the many blessings in my life.

       "Seek to cultivate a buoyant, joyous sense of the crowded kindness of God in your daily life"
                                                       Alexander MacLaren

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy Comes a Calling

Wrapped in a blanket and armed with an umbrella, I thought I would take a peak outside this morning to see what the yard looked like...it tends to flood in heavy rain and it has been raining since yesterday. Those in the know are saying the winds and rain will be worse today and it will be Tuesday before Sandy's rains are done in our area

Pretty much everything is closed up around here, so husband home. Officials encouraging people to stay off the roads....don't have to convince me...streets here flood with any kind of heavy rain...so I wouldn't even take the chance. It's a great day for soup and baking, as long as we keep power...and a good book. Praying for all those in the path of this storm that you will be safe. 

 Photo courtesy of husband who thought it was odd that wife would be out in the rain wrapped in a blanket

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Calm Before The Storm

With the storm headed our way, husband and I decided to head out to the beach to get some photos. Weather not too bad yet, husband made the usual preps today. Took the umbrellas down and stored them for the winter, took all hanging plants down, and he cleaned leaves out of the gutters in anticipation of the heavy rain we are supposed to get.

                               As you can see the surf was getting a bit rough and the
                              wind was picking up, but there wasn't too much rain yet

                                                      Boardwalk pretty deserted

                              This photo was just for fun, loved the way the lights looked on the statue

 They are saying "Sandy" should make landfall sometime on Monday night but we will begin to feel the effects by tomorrow because this is a massive, slow moving storm. Because of it's size it's going to effect a lot of people on the east coast. We have done what we can do, now we just wait.