Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Joy!

There's something about Christmas that makes everyone a little better. A little happier. A little more alert. And yes, a "little" more stressed. But, as Bill Murray so eloquently put it, "It's the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, .... we smile a little easier, .... we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we'd be!" (Scrooged, 1988)

How was your Christmas? This year, I have to say, was probably the absolute best Christmas we've ever had, and here's why: we cut back. Due to the economy, I wasn't comfortable at ALL spending the kind of money we have in the past. Thanks to nudging from God, I have money automatically drafted out of our bank account into a locked-up Christmas account, so the money for presents was there.

But, but, BUT, first we sustained a lightning strike to the house, which totally killed our main television. Cha ching. Then, older daughter (PWTH) was driving home for Thanksgiving, and her car's flywheel... how can I say it... it FLEW! Cha ching cha ching. Then there's her upcoming wedding (forget the cha chings, just throw money at it!).

SO, right about the time we decided to spend about one half as much on Christmas, the other half went to the car, to the new television, to the wedding dress. But the joy is, we could pay CASH for it all! No indebtedness.

Because we were cutting back, I decided to give each person one "large" present (in dollar amts.), two smaller presents, and one homemade present. These ranged from a tray with a map of London decoupaged in it, to a homemade apron (Who DAT!), to a photo book. Plus, everyone got their stockings from Santa with the assorted tiny gifts and the requisite candy.

Thus, Christmas morning, we were not snowed under opening gift after gift, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. We still took our time, and still were so blessed.

But the all-time, BEST present arrived that morning, at about 6:30 am. Our soon-to-be-married daughter had spent two days earlier that week "doing Christmas" with us, then left the 23rd to spend the big day with her fiance' and his family. He & his family gave her back to us for Christmas! They left their college town Christmas Eve, drove 200 miles, and got here in time to be our presents (presence). Who needs packages under the tree when others are so sacrificial!

Enjoy your season of Joy. Remember the Reason for this season. And have a Happy New Year, y'all!

P. S. I have to share this with you! A church friend, whose name truly is Joy, sent us this Christmas card, and it's so absolutely perfect! It comes from Dayspring, and all their Christmas cards are on serious sale right now. This card is here.
P. P. S. Thanks, Sarah, for prompting us all to find Christmas joy this year - it made a huge difference!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Once upon a time, God created the turkey. And it was good. Very, VERY good. And then He rested. And that was good, also.

So, thank you, God, for the turkey. And for the rest. And for the grace and love You've shown us. Amen

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


OK, so it's Fall. FINALLY, here in northwest Louisiana, Fall has fell. Fallen. Whatever. All I know is that I can't get enough of things made with pumpkin pie spices. You know, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger. Put all those together & it spells (smells) FALL!

This weekend, I made Pumpkin Cakes. It's a super easy recipe, with four ingredients, plus a glaze. Here's how it went:

Break 2 eggs into a bowl and add an entire can of pureed pumpkin - NOT pumpkin pie filling. Whisk together until blended. Take a box of Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix (it's the only brand I've found) and put it into the bowl & mix again. This will be very thick, so add 1 - 2 tablespoons of milk. You can use evaporated milk, regular milk, fat free half & half, whatever you have. I had the FF half & half. Add just enough to make the mixture workable - it doesn't need to be pourable, but be able to level itself out in the baking pan. If you REALLY like pumpkin pie spices, add more to your taste - I used a lot more & it was wonderful.

Take your muffin pans & spray with nonstick spray. I used mini muffins, and the muffin top pans I had, for fun. Fill the cups with the dough, and pat them a little level - don't worry about perfection.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes - the tops will be very lightly browned, as will the bottoms. Immediately glaze with this: Combine 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 cups of confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar). Add enough cream/milk/evap. milk to make it barely pourable. Add food coloring (I used gel coloring) to make them pumpkin colored: about 2 parts yellow to 1 part red to a teeny smidge of blue. Add at least 1 teaspoon cinnamon to taste. As the glaze hits the cakes, it gets melty and runny, and darkens, and the glorious cinnamon flavor comes.

Let cool as little as possible and fight off your kids! Enjoy these - they're wonderful and easy!

I'm linking to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday - go visit Jen & see all the wonderful recipes people are sharing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

National Day of Encouragement, part deux

Don't faint, guys - I know this is twice in one week to post! I had to share the disposition of my penultimate (it's a good word - look it up) encouraging card from DaySpring. Most of the cards found their perfect home with people at church, but there was one.... hmm.... it was SPECIAL. It details how life is hard, how the recepient is handling it, then it opens up & BAM! Encouragement! This may not be the best description, so you can see it here.

Today, I left this card, along with a handwritten line about how she's STILL doing a great job, for my boss to find in her mailbox at work. Sucking up, you say? Not in the least. School started almost a month ago, and in that time, she has lost ten employees, out of 55, to either retirement, long-term bereavement leave, promotion, or just plain "I'm mad about my assignments, so I'm going home for a semester." Kinda makes her job hard to do, you know?

So, I left her the card. Just so she knows that SOMEone out there cares, and knows she's trying as hard as she can. If you want to call that sucking up, OK. I call it encouragement.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

National Day of Encouragement

(Note: (in)courage is having a MONTH of encouragement this June, 2011. I wrote this post back in September, using the cards I received free from them. Go to this post to read about what I did with the last card in the set)

Two weeks ago, one of my favorite websites, (in)courage, began talking about the National Day of Encouragement. This just happens to be today! Because of their grace and generosity, I was one of the lucky ones to receive a packet of encouraging cards from DaySpring to share with others. I receive them on Friday, just in the nick of time, and started looking at all of them. I had several people in mind who needed encouraging, and this packet nailed all their needs. So here's what I did this morning:

There was a card about having a bad day; or a bad week; or a bad YEAR - this one went to our church's Worship Minister, who is going through some really trying personal stuff right now (like all year he's been going through it!) Card: perfect!

There was a card about someone having the courage to speak, show, and live the Scripture - this one went to our Pastor, who has been preaching through Revelation since February. Card: perfect!

There was a card about meeting for coffee and sharing your lives (it's on the (in)courage site today) - this one went to a church friend who has BEEN a friend to me. Card: perfect!

There was a card about friendship - along with a loaf of fresh-baked wheat bread, this one went to a newer friend at church who has been befriending me, and encouraging ME. Card: perfect (and the bread didn't suck, either)!

There were other cards which were generically encouraging; those went to our Youth Minister, our Children's Director, and our Preschool Director.

There was one more card, and it just stood out from the rest; it speaks of having a big yellow umbrella to walk through the rain with someone to shield them. Inside the card, it says (in so many words) "but I don't have a big yellow umbrella, so I'll just walk through the rain with you." Oh, man. THIS one went to a younger lady at church whose family is having a TIME with her rebellious stepson. This one card went way beyond perfect - it could not have been more encouraging.

So let me encourage you on this National Day: life's hard, yes. Sometimes it sucks, yes. Usually we feel alone, yes. We're not alone - NONE of us. God is always with us - Matthew 28:20. And He is faithful to us - Philippians 1:6.

This is the best one: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

(in)courage each other. Always.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random Dozen

Today is the day you link your blog post where you answered these questions to the Mr. Linky below so that people can come and read your answers. Please be sure to visit a few and leave nice comments; it's the nice thing to do!

1. What is your favorite fair/carnival food? Corndogs! Gotta love 'em!
2. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Dresses I've "outgrown." ahem
3. What is your favorite gift to receive? Chocolate! Always!
4. When was the last time you tried something new? Just finished "The Started Wife" and "Under the Tuscan Sun." Both only so-so.
5. What is your favorite and least favorite book genre?Memoir, Mystery, Political Intrigue, Romance, Humor, Historical Fiction, Historical nonfiction, Chick Lit, Self-Help, Other6.Silver or Gold? Favorite is adventure, like Clive Cussler. Least favorite would have to be Chick Lit - I just don't get it.
7. What makes you sigh? Classical music
8. If you didn't know how old you are, how old would you claim you are? 35 (may God forgive me!)
9. Would you break a law to save a loved one? To protect a loved one? To SAVE one, like a life, sure. To proctect one - yes, unless it was just bailing them out from trouble of their own making
10. If you had to teach something, what would it be? Science - love it.
11. You're having lunch with 3 people whom you respect and admire. They begin to criticize a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. What do you do? Rather than embarass them, I'd change the subject. STRONGLY.
12. Which of the 5 Love Languages is your prominent means of experiencing love?Quality TimePhysical TouchActs of ServiceGiftsWords of AffirmationNot sure which is your most prominent love language? Take the quiz! Quality time. Always.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Online contest

Yes, I know. It's been over three months since my last post, and here I am asking for something. But this is such a cool thing! Several months ago, I entered an online contest at Bausch & Lomb, where I wrote a small bit about switching to multi-focal contacts. Hey, I'm over 50 here - just you wait!

So, anyway, I got an email today informing me that I was a finalist. NO JOKE - I'm one of five finalists! Go here and read my post, then vote for me. Please. Don't vote for any of the others. I'd really like a trip out west - plus, I'd get a makeover, and Heaven knows I need one!

Go to Bausch & Lomb & vote for me. I'd really appreciate it. Plus, you can share it on your own personal blog, if you'd be so kind, and really get the word out. (considering the fact that I have all of five followers!)

Happy Summer Solstice & have a great week! Oh, and vote for me. (I know, I'm shameless) Vote for Elaine Pool, by the way!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

Lauren at The Little Things We Do is hosting this blog hop - and I'm more than thrilled to join in! Visit her site to read other fill in the blanks as well as participate in this fun tradition!

1. The best day ever was my wedding day - There we were on a small river boat (NOT to be confused with a gambling casino boat!!), saying our vows in front of family and a few friends. It was pouring down rain, and was TONS of fun!

2. My favorite meal of the day is dinner, because I've started off with a glass of wine or Scotch, spent an hour or so cooking, and now we get to eat!

3. This weekend has been long-awaited. It begins our Spring Break - not that we have any fun trips planned, but my house desperately needs a good scrubbing; I've got some window "treatments" to put up; and a lot of sewing to catch up on. Plus sleeping late & drinking tea in bed while I read the paper.

4. Never in my life have I hang-glided. I used to want to, but since having kids, it's not worth the risk. Plus, there's my fear of heights.....

5. The only thing better than dark chocolate, is dark chocolate with a really good glass of single-malt Scotch! There's something about that combo...

6. I could really do with some naps in my future - I've been working WAY too hard lately.

7. The most recent thing I bought myself was this dress. It's cute & sassy, & I can't wait to throw a jacket over it & wear it to work!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Brief History Lesson, with Pictures!

Fifty-two years ago today, this little baby with a ton of black hair came into the world. She was the third of what turned out to be nine kids. Here she is at 3, getting her picture made of her "all by herself."
After a while, she met a certain someone & finally decided that he was the man of her dreams...
They married, had FOUR KIDS, and lived to tell about it. And to be happy about it.(objects in the camera are older than they appear)

This little baby celebrated her 20th wedding anniversary with her one and only, by flying across the country to San Francisco for a long weekend, a trip to the wine country, a rented Jaguar that broke at THE worst possible moment, and a sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

(We kept wondering why so many people on that beach were building fires, until the sun went down. It was COLD! In June!!!)
More time passing, and there's a milestone birthday that arrives (think semi-centurian), which was celebrated with another milestone/first:
Yes, I cried. It was one of the prettiest things I'd ever seen. I cried when I saw the Pacific, too. I cry. Adjust. But I didn't cry too much - we did enjoy the weather a lot:
Then we had to come back home :(
But life goes on, & it's good We have a new puppy (55 pounds & growing)
to fill the void left by our 14-year old dog's leaving us right before Christmas
Gracie, we'll love you forever.
And, now, we're all getting fat, we're all happy, and God has blessed us beyond measure. All I need now is a little snow (school closing tomorrow wouldn't hurt) and this will be the best birthday ever!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Rest of My Story

Yes, I've neglected my blog. Yes, it's been a month since my last post. Yes, I still love you. Forgive me & let's move on. There's a blog by Holley, and she's getting us all to focus on the rest of our stories. The point being, so far, to turn over control to God, & accept who we are.

Problem #1: I can't. I can't "let go & let God" right now. Things STILL aren't going well in several areas of my life (yes, still very married w/ 4 kids & staying that way), and I'm finding myself unable to turn loose of the control of those "issues."

Problem #2: I'm a destination person. Holley says to start with one step - nope, doesn't work for me. I want to BE THERE! NOW!!!!

So, I can clearly see that there's a lot of work left to be done on me - and I'm in my 50's. EEEK! I need help!