Saturday, December 8, 2018

Comfort and Joy

Hi there! How's the Sparkling going? ッ

Some days are better than others, right? I am so glad that The Lord remains unchanging no matter what is going on with me.

First of all, I want to thank all those who commented and those who sent emails (without commenting on the actual post) regarding the What's the Point post. We should certainly be respectful of differing opinions and get along. I have heard of several teachers within the last few weeks who took it upon themselves to tell their classrooms of young children "the truth" as they saw it. Not good. Not at all good. 

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As I wandered over to my laptop, I thought that this might be my last post before Christmas. I'll just whisper that because I might get the inclination to post again. I never really know, but just in case, I'm wishing you the joy of a true Christmas. I hope that you celebrate, make merry, feast, and delight in the love of family and friends. Spread the joy all over the place, too, while you're at it!

I have a few links to share today and a few pics of my decorating and baking and what not...


Here's that tree I mentioned last time all decked out with every ornament I can find in the house. Most years, I don't bother to open every Christmas box; this year, I did. 

While I'm chatting about Christmas trees, my friend Mona from The Hidden Art of Homemaking blog and Instagram has the most enchanting tree. She used all her Shiny Brite collection and created a delight. You can find her post right πŸŽ„hereπŸŽ„. Think of all the hours that it took her! I love it!

More decorating in a bit... 

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I have actually been baking some in recent days. I made apple hand pies for John's sister Judy earlier in the week. I am not supposed to be eating hand pies, but they looked and smelled so good that I ate the imperfect looking one because it had no sugar and no calories. ッ



"That is a blatant lie" you say. Yes, well, I am quite capable of that. Why just today at the Transfer Station while recycling my old egg boxes, a gentleman who works there said that lots of folks who raise chickens appreciate the cartons. Yes, I said blithely, "My niece raises chickens."

"Oh, how many chickens does she have?" 

"Twenty-two," I responded. 

< insert *thud* >

I am sure that this will come as quite a shock to my niece who may not even have two. Why did I say that?! I didn't have time to think about it. Perhaps I am in need of drama. Anyway, I may have to tell that man that I am a liar, but I thought perhaps if I told you...

Okay, where was I?

Oh, yes, John's sister Mary came for lunch on Wednesday and we had a chicken casserole. I made her an acorn squash boat with butter and maple syrup. (You can't make me eat squash.) For dessert we had a molten lava chocolate cake with peppermint stick ice cream. Delicious. After all that, we went Christmas shopping. 

Yesterday, Sis arrived and we had a cookie baking day. We made many of those recipes that our mom would have made back in the day. We were hoping that they'd taste just the same; they didn't. Nevertheless, we had a fun day. If you're on Instagram, you may have seen that story.

One thing I learned all over again was that we need to read a recipe all the way through before we assume that we know what we are doing. Ahem.



So today I made sure to get reacquainted with my cookie press. I remember the first time I used this gizmo, John had to gently take it from my hands and get acquainted with it himself. Then he explained it to me. I found it that complicated. One of those discs up there is almost destroyed because of that episode. Apparently, I had put it in upside down.















I did better today even though you can tell by looking closely that things were not perfect. There are sprinkles everywhere and I do mean everywhere.

This is the recipe I used today.

Cookie Press Shortbread

1 cup butter (room temperature)
½ cup conf sugar
¼  tsp vanilla (I used an entire tsp)
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and use favorite discs to create your cookies. Bake at 275°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until edges are lightly brown.

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Have you finished your shopping? I almost have and I must say that I found my blogging friends' online shops most helpful. I can't show everything, but in a moment of weakness, I had a Merry Christmas to me moment.



This sweet camera bag was created by the incomparable 
πŸŽ„Stephanie at The Enchanting RoseπŸŽ„ and purchased through her shop, which you can find listed in her top bar at the blog. I did not order the sweet little bag filled with teas, but Stephanie was very generous. I do love that Buttermint tea from Twinings.

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So here we are back at decorating again. Mary, John's sister and not the Mary depicted, had mentioned that she needed some grass for her Nativity scene. When a package arrived with all of this straw-like packing material, I put it to good use and saved some for her, too. (It's that big ball of straw right behind the shepherd boy.)



I am using a lot of battery operated light strings with the "seed" lights. I haven't quite figured them out because the Nativity lights come on when I least expect them. I was up in the night and there they were burning in all their Shekinah glory. ☺It was rather pleasant, almost as if I had caught the animals speaking at midnight on Christmas Eve. 




I always said that I would never have curtains in this dining room window. 
 The Pella windows have inner blinds, alas, the center blind failed and Pella no longer services them. While I decide what to do about that, I ordered these lace panels. I decided that πŸŽ„Brenda's beautiful lace curtainsπŸŽ„ had influenced me.







It has been wonderful to see so many sacred classic Christmas Carol phrases being used in decor. Joanna Gaines has famously used "A Thrill of Hope." All of this caused me to ponder what I would share with folks if I were in a position to share. This is it: Comfort and Joy.* May they be yours today and every day!




*(Copied from a lovely graphic at Pinterest)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

What's the Point?!

Warning: If you still hear the bell, you might not want to read this post.

~*~

My grandson Jakob was visiting me a few weeks ago. I asked him nonchalantly what he might like for Christmas. I was not prepared for his response.

"Christmas!  What's the point?!"

There was a fair amount of heat and his hands were helping punctuate each comment with sharp gesticulations.

I was both taken aback and amused.

When I could get a word in edgewise, I asked a few more pertinent questions and discovered, beyond the obvious, the following:

*Jake had learned last year when he was ten that there is no Santa.

*He felt betrayed by his parents who had "lied" to him all these years.

*He felt like a fool for believing all these years when he knew very well that the entire story was "ridiculous." He'd known the truth since he was six.

*He was worried about what further important information his parents might be withholding.

In addition, he made insightful, pertinent comments such as that he had been thanking Santa all these years when he should have been thanking his parents.  He wondered why parents would do such a thing as lie about Santa.

Finally, when he was pretty much winded with his commentary, I suggested that perhaps parents encouraged such beliefs because they wanted their children to experience the wonder of Christmas. I told him this story of my own:

When your daddy was a little boy only about four years old, he told me that he loved Jesus all year long, but at Christmastime, he loved Santa best. I decided that that was not a good thing and so I told him and your auntie all about the real Santa, a far more fascinating story by the way. They had not reacted well. They had cried and cried. I wished that I had done what my sister did for she never mentioned Santa Claus; he was just not a part of their Christmas story. (I might have done what she did if I had had an older sister to learn by as she had. ☺)

Now you, Jake, have been taught about Santa and have learned that it is not all quite true. Which way would you have preferred? Never to believe as your cousins Kirsten and Keanne, to have been taught and learn the truth early like your dad and your aunt or as you did? I could tell that he was thinking it over, but he did not share his thoughts.

He was still worried that Christmas had lost its sparkle. (In fact, his mom decorated for Christmas just last weekend and his home looks like Better Homes and Gardens, but he is showing no interest.)

At last, I got to the crux of the matter. Christmas is about the fact that Jesus was willing to be born in human form and come to this earth as a little baby in Bethlehem.. He was the only baby born to die. Humanity desperately needed Him. We need Him today and every day. The joy of Christmas is not Santa; the joy of Christmas is Jesus Himself. I shared that I still get a special thrill at Christmas and Santa has not been a part of my life since long decades ago. I urged Jakob to think about things differently and to celebrate for all the right reasons.

Perhaps one day, I'll share with him that the economy of the entire world is literally based upon the "birthday" of Jesus Christ, which we celebrate on December 25. I find it infinitely fascinating that Jesus is holding this old world together. These are points that can not be refuted. Look it up! For that reason alone, I shall celebrate Christmas! And there's more so much more.

When my son arrived that day to fetch his son, I mentioned the conversation that Jakob and I had been having. My son grinned wryly and said, "Yes, Jake is holding a grudge." ツ

On Thanksgiving Day, Jake commented that the trees around here were getting smaller and smaller. Whatever could have given him that idea?

Jake took a look at my Tag Book...I can tell!


Yesterday, when I put up the new 7.5 foot tree, I began to wonder what in the world I had been thinking...

Now I know.



I was thinking about Jakob. It's time to ❇️sparkle❇️

P.S. For further reading on the Christmas discussion, visit Brenda *Here.* It'll be a blessing!











Friday, November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving Greetings and Tag Book

~Looks more like Christmas out there than Thanksgiving~

Hello again. It has been awhile or perhaps you were one of the four who saw my last post. I am sorry that I pulled it, but when people are suffering as they are in California and there is sorrow upon sorrow, I didn't feel that that post was in the best taste. It had some pretty pictures, though. Perhaps I'll recycle them one day. 

Today, I am chatting about my day yesterday when my sister and I met Abby of Little Birdie Blessings and her dear friend Judy up Augusta way. They were coming from the east and we were coming from the west, but up describes the destination well for all of us.

It is always a joy to meet again with friends. We tried to figure out when we had last seen one another, but couldn't. 

We ate a leisurely lunch at a local eatery and took no photos of our lunches because we are terrible bloggers. My sister took a photo of Judy, Abby, and me using Abby's iPhone. (I didn't even bring my camera. Bad, bad blogger.) Nope, I am  not sharing the photo, even if Abby gave me permission. I may do a cut and paste on it some day. Until then, it remains safely locked away in my files. ツ

We did exchange gifts. These are mine.


I have decided that there's something in the air down Abby's way that causes them all to be remarkably creative. This is a gift that I need as you can see by my legal pad list on the left. I used it for my grocery shopping this week and it was extremely unwieldy. Next time, I'll have this list maker, which can be tucked into my purse (if I remember where)...hope that it's not limited to counting blessings. One of my blessings is, after all, hosting Thanksgiving this year.
















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Thank you so much, Judy! (She may not even read here, but Abby will clue her in, I hope.)

Abby made me a sweet tag book. It has a Thanksgiving, Scripture, Friendship theme. 



Oh I can do better than this...



Maybe not.



This is how I have it displayed and I will encourage people to pick it up and look at it. There are many wonderful details to enjoy and thoughts to embrace.




I also received magazines to peruse...snow days allow a great deal of perusing. And the gift came in a sweet loon bag pictured below.




It was a fun day all around. I enjoyed time with my sister and time with my sisters in The Lord. 

Now, because it is unlikely I'll return before Thanksgiving, I want to wish all my American countrymen a blessed Thanksgiving. We are blessed in spite of everything that is going on in our country and God is good. All the time. To that truth we cling.







Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Pardon the Whiplash

(Maybe a cup of tea will help?) 

Hi there! 

You know, I've been thinking about my blogging difficulties and it comes down to this: I either have nothing left to say OR I have too much to say. Today, I have too much to say and not one bit of it amounts to a hill of beans so feel free to scoot along if you are short on time or have better things to do than listen to an old lady ramble. ツ

It certainly has been a delightful and lingering foliage season. 

Just look at the color on the old oak leaves...


 Snow? Oh that. It snowed all day Saturday last. Yes, it was a little depressing in October. I prefer snow in months where it belongs...December 24th. The end. 

Speaking of December. I have been getting ready.


This is what the tag says: 


This was such a good idea for a Christmas present that I am going to share it not that it was my idea, of course.  It is a family movie kit of sorts with a family fleece blanket for getting cozy on the sofa together. There are sodas and popcorn packets and a gift card for movie selections. The reason that I gave it so early is because the blanket is a holiday one covering all the holidays. 

Oh goodness, I have skipped right over Thanksgiving and it's my turn this year. Yoo Hoo to my future self...take note! Your turn will not come again until 2020. 

So I have a bit of Thanksgiving decor out. My home is beginning to look like an aisle at Hobby Lobby. That might not be a good thing.


I do love my Pilgrims and their colorful turkey and pumpkins. The apothecary jar holds the commemorative tea cup from Plymouth Plantation depicting John and Priscilla Alden. I found it at the flea market a few years ago.


This has been shared before, of course. Everything here has been shared before...


This colorful turkey has moved on and is living with John's sister. She is graciously allowing me to help her decorate. And, yes, he's a Hobby Lobby find.


This is an aerial view of my town. There was an awful fire several weeks ago that destroyed the paper mill that had a lot of historical significance to the community. 

My father worked there for a few years and even John worked there for a day. He was given the job of sweeping floors, which he did all day long. When he was finished, he was told to go sweep the parking lot. With that, he handed over the broom and told them that he had better things to do with his life. I have always liked that story.

Anyway, I had never seen a bird's eye view of my town. Yes, the Haven is there, but hidden behind trees. My neighbor's house can be seen. My parents' home can be seen. My kids' former home can be easily seen right at the bottom in the middle. I like seeing the White Mountains to the west there and Streaked Mtn much nearer. 

Many firefighters worked on the fire for several days and it was pretty noisy here at my wee home since it is quite close to the mill. Fortunately, though the mill, two apartments and two businesses were completely lost, there was no loss of life. God is good.

Well I guess that covers my ramblings for this time. If you have read this far, you deserve a medal!


Friday, October 12, 2018

It Was A Gift of a Day

So it was my daughter's birthday and, though the family had gathered to celebrate a few days early, she agreed to my plan for lunch on her actual day. Because she works full time and is taking three classes this semester, I wanted to keep it short and sweet so that she would have time for her schoolwork. I met her at her new home and we went out for lunch in her hometown.



At least two of the mums there were birthday gifts. And her front door swag is also a birthday gift from her friend Lindsay. I think Lindsay nailed it as far as Laurel's colors go.



The tree below is the one being reflected above.


Main Street

Just up the street from our restaurant


After our meal, I was chatting away like a magpie when Laurel took a different turn and soon we were off on a sightseeing tour. What a pleasant surprise! If you read this blog in autumn, you may remember that this is something Laurel and I have done each year for a few now.


Above us an eagle swooped and swirled on the thermals. Okay, you may have to trust me on this one.


On and on we went, one beautiful scene after the next.







Through small towns...




and back out into the countryside.


Along the river




and past the pond



until we had come full circle. 

The only picture of the birthday girl

It was her birthday and she gave me the best gift of all: Time.  Thank you, Darling Girl! What a beautiful day it was.



P.S. This will probably end my foliage reports as the rain came and has taken many of our leaves. Now I'm counting on you to share your scenery!