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