Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: 12 Days of Christmas

With Thanksgiving well behind us, it's time to break out the Christmas music! Here's a song we heard as a family a couple years ago...and it never fails to bring a smile to our faces. Ladies and Gentlemen, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" - with a twist!

Merry Christmas (at last we get to say it)!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Finished!

Hooray! Today I finished my "gift" for the Craft Exchange. I tried something I'd never done before: designed a pillow! I was happy with how it turned out - especially considering it was made entirely out of a couple scraps (some from Joann's, some I already had, and an old skirt! :)

Bonus for happiness: It was dazzlingly sunny today! :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Gratefulness List ([VERY] Shortnened)

Photo Credit

Blessings. They're overwhelming, aren't they? And when you take time to list them...a bubbly joy just fills your heart and brightens your disposition! In honor of Thanksgiving, here's a list of things that I've found to be grateful for in this last week alone:

~Skype and Vacation so I can stay up until 2am talking face-to-face with my dear friend in Africa

~The Bible God's side of our never-ending conversation with Him.

~Family Time like when we stay up late planning our crazy futures...if all ten kids have ten kids, mom and dad will have 100 grandkids. That's about one birthday every three days. We think we have their gifting game plan detailed down to the last birthday card, but I can't share it with you because we've copyrighted the procedure.

~Chocolate a girl's magic potion

~Music, Video Cameras, and Certain Special Friends can anyone spell "In the Hall of the Mountain King"? Whoops! Maybe I've said too much...

~Good Books the kind you could curl up and read over and over again

~Cozy Pillows 'cause I like to burrow down in a pile of cushy softness before drifting off to sleep

~Hot Mugs of Tea warm the fingers, warm the bones, warm the soul

~Good Friends who get up at 3:30 in the morning with Emmy and I to go Black Friday shopping

~Christmas Shopping doesn't hunting for and finding the perfect gifts for people just make your day?

~The People at the Lord's Gym Trevor, 'Grandma' Vi, Kelly, Patty, Tammy, Tara, Candelaria, Ken, Ona, Taylor, Gary, and several other dear ones... (including Baby Ruby, who we met tonight!)

~Telescope Eyes which help us keep our eyes on Eternity, even when everything about life "stranded in time" is going wrong

~C.S. Lewis Quotes need I say more?

~Red Robin's where Rachel and I enjoyed a fun "just-the-two-of-us" lunch this week

~Grandparents having them at our home, talking with them, laughing with them...

There now. That list makes me happy-skippy just to read through again. How very blessed I am!

Thanksgiving Traditions (Food)

At Bible study Sunday night, Mr. C asked everyone what he/she was most looking forward to about Thanksgiving. A great question but...the answer wasn't allowed to have anything to do with food.


Yes. You read that right.

The best thing about Thanksgiving, minus the food.


I mean, obviously my favorite thing about Thanksgiving isn't the food. Right?

But my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the traditions we have...and it just so happens that these traditions mostly revolve around...


You get my drift? Excellent. Moving on.

We had a lovely Thanksgiving! First on the to-do list was the decoration of gingerbread houses!

When we were younger, everyone got his own house. Now we're older - and we split 'em. Each "child" decorates one side - and we have heaps of fun! This is the one Meg and I made (my side, but the decor on the tippy-top is Megan's :) :

After the candy and "glue" is cleared away, it's time for the Middles and Littles to set the table while the food preparations take place. Don't forget Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim (our salt and pepper shakers)!

A few evenings ago, the family conversation was disturbed by some sort of argument taking place between James and Zachary. Due to some stellar interrogation skills (honed and perfected by mama), we discovered the cause: Zach was trying to make "Mr. and Mrs. Pepper" kiss. "But mom," Zach explained with giggles, "They're both too fat - it doesn't work!" (For those of you now concerned for poor Mr. and Mrs. P's relationship, mama discreetly investigated this report after the matter was calmed, and found that it was actually quite possible for the two to kiss, despite their stoutness).

Dinner was delicious, the main course being, of course, Bob the Turkey:

Why is his name Bob? you ask,

Well, it all began many years ago...

..but that's a story for another post. For the past two years, mama has brined the turkey two days before Thanksgiving in an Apple Cider Brine. The result is the most savory, juicy, flavorful turkey you've ever eaten. Practically melts in your mouth. "I am never cooking another turkey ever again!" Grandma exclaimed, as she sampled mama's masterpiece, "Why not?" we all asked, rather dismayed. "Because if I ever want turkey, I'm just going to have you make it for me!"

Other "traditions" in the meal department included mashed potatoes:

This year, on a whim, I added lemon juice and rosemary to the potatoes. I really like having the extra bit of tangy-ness...and I didn't hear any complaints! :)

And sparkling apple cider is a must-have at our holiday meals!

In addition, there was an ah-maz-ing artichoke dish and jello that Grandma made, "Felicity" green beans (cooked in butter, milk, and salt), Maple-Glazed Parsnips and Carrots, homemade whole wheat rolls, and two other dishes I don't particularly care for (dressing and cranberry sauce). Actually, I do like dressings, so long as you hold the croutons. (Mama informs me that it isn't really dressing without the croutons, but...)

The spread:

The gang (no one pays attention to cameras anymore! :)

After dinner, Grandpa pulled out his computer and showed us pictures of his and Grandma's recent European Tour (visit Papa's blog to see some of them!). Then, it was time for pie and coffee!

Emily made Nantucket Cranberry Pie, (left), Papa made an apple pie (center), and I made our "we-have-it-every-Thanksgiving" Peanut Butter Silk Cream Pie (hmm...could you have guessed which was mine by the "decorating"? :)

A slice of each, if you please! :)

It was a good Thanksgiving. I love that, as a nation, we have a day set aside each year to count our blessings. How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: The Power of Words

What do you say?
What do you write?
Do you words change the world?
Do they change it for Christ?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Right Now...

...It's dark outside...

...And cold....

...I'm sipping a delicious mug of "Constant Comment" tea...

...And munching a homemade, delightful fluffy, oatmeal-molasses roll, appropriately slathered in butter...

...Ben is playing Keith Green ("Josiah's Song" - one of my favorites) on his laptop...

...Mama's cutting paper for the Littles' Thanksgiving Party on Wednesday...

...Rachel is keeping us cheery with her chatter on a variety of subjects...

...I'm musing on designs for the pillow I'm making for the craft exchange...

...The world, and most of this household, is already asleep, and my eyelids have that lazy feeling which tells me I'm soon to follow...

...Fall is really here - and we might even get snow this week (not that it will stick, but at least we'll catch a glimpse of it!)...

I feel perfectly content, and thankful to my oh-so-kind Father who has so mind-bogglingly blessed me!

What is making you happy today?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Watch-It Wednesday: Stethoscope

If every-day things, without mouths, had a song...

...which one would your heart hold?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Joy-Thief

glass of water, bw edition
photo credit
She is beautiful. Clothed with impeccable taste and fashion, the deep purples and scarlets of her gown simply add to the allure of her tall, slim figure and flowing, dark hair. Tenderly, delicately, she glides amidst the assembly, turning the heads of all by whom she passes. Pearls adorn her neck; diamonds, her wrists. Gems dance through her tresses, and gold sparkles on her fingers. All press near to her, desiring nothing more than to be in her presence. But their infatuation with the Lady of Kingdoms is not held by her person or adornment alone – oh no! – there is yet another fascination which holds them spellbound: in her graceful, dainty hand, there shines a golden chalice.

Eyes flicker from face to the goblet, hungry with expectation. Finally, with a light, musical laugh, the lady turns towards the crowd and, lifting high her gleaming glass, speaks:

“My kings! My princes! Dear nobles and ladies! I have brought here for you tonight my happiness, my life. This I willingly share with you. Taste my power! You will find within all that you desire. Beauty and knowledge, riches and youth – all can and shall be yours this day. Do you see me here before you? Is there any here my equal? Does anyone pretend to know more than I? I am she who holds the secrets, who grants to you the knowledge of what your life was meant to be. Taste my cup!”
Both those who have already savored, and those who wish to learn the taste – the crowd swells forward with one accord toward the polished, sparkling glass held forth. As it passes from one guest to the next, a sort of craze comes upon the sippers. Their eyes are only for the cup; no desperate, grasping brain spares even a thought for its dazzling, magnanimous hostess. The one consideration is for another drop. More. Just one more sip is all that is needed. Just one more. The lady knows she is forgotten, and so her evening masquerade has ceased. Gone now is her kind and gentle smile, her loving, sympathetic eyes. A cruel hatred in her demeanor pierces those around her, and contemptuous, sardonic sneers fall upon one and all as she looks down from her throne.
All night the guests continue in their mindless gluttony. More. More. More. Is the endless chant.
Gladly, the Lady of Kingdoms refills their glasses.
More. More. More.
 Overwhelmed in their thirst for further fulfillment, the kings and noblemen, ladies and princes, do not realize the changes that have come upon them. They have grown taller, their robes have changed to colors of greater and more brilliant hues, the reflection of diamonds flash in every direction, and yet, their faces grow more distressed, more frantic with every sip.
More. More. More.
The lady promised them this cup held their desires. Surely, one more taste would quench the thirst, would end the suffering, would fill the hole they feel more keenly with every disappointed hope.
More. More. More.
At last, in desperate exhaustion, one by one, they fall. In delighted scorn, only one remains. The Lady of Kingdoms stands tall and vengeful in the center of a dead room. A slight murmur attracts her attention and her cold eyes narrow in deepest hatred when they light upon the One. Gently, He approaches the death-like forms. Silently, He pulls from His satchel a different glass: clear, cool, and translucent. Tenderly, He offers the drink of Light to those who have despaired in the darkness, and, lovingly, He lifts them to their feet. Once again, the lady’s guests have changed. The diamonds disappear and the robes fade, yet on the faces of those who felt His breath, the truest beauty dawns. A beauty so deep, so brilliant, and so complete, no one questions what it is.

Joy. At last.

Never again will they believe that the lady’s cup holds their answers. They have finally received what it was they sought.

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”*

What steals your joy? Learn to flee its glittering gold, and to rather drink deeply from the clear waters of the Word. The thief and her cup will ever fail to satisfy.

* Psalm 34:8, emphasis mine