Happy New Year!

Here we are. The end of 2008 and looking toward a great new year. What a whirlwind! As I woke up with the sunshine beaming through our bedroom window ~ hitting me right there in the eyes as if it was a puppy pulling on my robe to get up, I began thinking of how great life is here in Sunny.

Imagine. We can go to our dear Big Box store and find leg of lamb direct from New Zealand in the best of condition. Or we can choose the rotisserie chicken already cooked for $4.99 any day of the week. And eggs! Although the prices keep going up, when you think about it...wow, what a deal. Gas is going down. Pizza's still cheap in most Italian restaurants. What a hometown.

And then my thoughts drifted to Israel. And I began to cry. God forgive me for ever complaining about anything here in Sunny. Regardless of the stock market situation or not being able to find the right sweater to wear when we go out for dinner tonight, God has blessed us so greatly. Please God ~ forgive us and be with our brothers and sisters who are hurting. Help us to help them more. Help us to care. And thank you for Sunny.


Wear a Crown, Wear a Crown...

I used to know the lyrics to that hymn in Spanish too, but it's been a long time since Sunday School. We didn't really have many Hispanic kids, but learning songs in another language was always cool, wasn't it! There was "Deep and Wide, Deep and Wide" with the fountain flowing deep and wide ~ along with the one about Jesus wanting me as His sunbeam and then of course, we all played "Shoot the Artillery" not comprehending the war in Vietnam, I'm sure... Those were interesting days and the songs in Sunday School were a part of our week that we all loved.

I received word today that dear Sis. Shell (see previous post for clarification as to her title) is in the process of getting her crown fitted today. She passed into Glory yesterday. Can you imagine? Going to sleep as a old woman and waking up in Glory! The crown she will have will be so full of rewards I can't comprehend it. Imagine ~

You see, it was her calling to lead our children's church, her life's calling. We didn't have "Family Sundays" once a month so she could sit in big church. We didn't have alternative services with bands and low lighting on Saturday night. There was just Sunday School and Children's Church. I don't remember other adults as part of her 'ministry team' but I sure remember Sis. Shell. She loved us. She taught us Scripture. She showed us the motions. She asked us if we were sure we had Jesus in our hearts... and now...she's there - in that New Jerusalem.


Christmas Treats

I'd gathered my apron, the new baking pans and loaded the counter with powdered sugar, softened butter and the lot... The only decision to make was picking out my favorite recipe with which to begin. I found these two and simply could not decide. They are from my home church's cookbook printed around 1975 and these recipes are from pages 138 and 139. Both were submitted by "Sis. Phillips." (We never dared call anyone by their given name. It was always "Sister or Brother" and in print...always "Sis." or "Bro." I guess it seemed more like a title when it was abbreviated.)

Here we go:

1 cup margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour

Cream oleo & sugar. Work in flour, vanilla, & nuts. Shape into small balls about the size of small walnuts. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. When cool, roll in powdered sugar. Makes about 5 dozen.

And recipe #2:

1 cup margarine
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream margarine and powdered sugar. Work in vanilla, flour and nuts. Shape into small balls about size of walnut. Place on unoiled baking sheet. Bake at 350* 20 minutes. Cool. Roll in powdered sugar. Makes 5 dozen.

They really were wonderful. When DJ came into the kitchen he picked one up and asked, "What do you call these?" Priceless.


Great Plans

We'd been learning about God and his great plans for us all as referenced in Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11. The children had paid close attention and were ready to complete their papers at the end of Sunday School. One assignment was to fill in the blank: God plans to ___________.

Cameron is sure that God plans to give her a DS for Christmas.


Counting Calories

Yes, I felt a little silly at the checkout counter at our nearby grocery store. My cart was full of baking supplies for Christmas cookies. $92.03 to be precise. However - there were two items thrown in as well.... two large 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke...

In the Midst of Arising Clatter

That is the line, eh ~ "There arose such a clatter..." We're all so busy this week and the season is zooming by as quickly as Rudolph's team in training. In the midst of it all, I saw this fabulous new video from an organization that is near and dear to my heart. I hope you'll take the 2:04 to check it out. Oh yes ~ it's about kids, hope, love, kids eating...adult heroes... good stuff.


Simple Beauty

There may be a personality test with these questions on the internet somewhere. It seems they have one for every persuasion possible these days... But I've been wondering ~

Please pick your favorite Christmas event:
  • The Rockettes in concert
  • A big boat parade with Santas on each vessel
  • Dancing the night away to big band music
  • Pondering the birth of Christ to a single guitar playing "Silent Night" in a candle-lit sanctuary

For me - it's the last one, hand's down. I love parades of most any sort. I enjoy the Rockettes and amazed at how they do what they do. I don't really dance (except for that number in "Two From Galilee), but simple beauty at Christmas ~ well, it just can't be topped in my book.

So what does that reveal about me? My Starbucks quiz says I'm easy to please although somewhat particular. My art style quiz says I like to dream up my own civilization or such... I honestly can't recall what either summary of my psyche 'truly' revealed. But this I know ~ To think of the King of Heaven coming to earth to rescue folk like me, as a little baby... wonder and awe seem to be the celebration of choice this year. God becoming man. Watching movies like "Elf" doesn't seem to quite to cut it.


Thanks Martha!

This year is adding up to be an odd one on the holiday-cheer-meter. Maybe it's our unending sunshine combined with no pressure of involvement with a Christmas musical or such... I'm not sure why but it has felt like it should still be August since, well, August. Sunny never becomes a Winter Wonderland, but this year has been full of more than the normal amount of warm days.
Suffice it to say (I'm honestly not sure what that means but I grew up hearing the phrase used by highly intelligent guests in our home) I've been struggling to find the necessary oomph needed to decorate our home, shop for gifts and start baking for Christmas Eve, Day and the week following. Which brings me to expressing joy to that one and only "Miss Martha Stewart." I caught five minutes of her program today and I am ready. Ready to mix up the pecans in spices and fill the teensy-tiny glass jars with them. Ready to go online and download her entire assortment of stencils. Ready to buy the fabric paint to adorn the linen tea towels and create ever-so-simple holly and ivy on the border. I may actually ~ tackle the fleece scarves.

Just you wait ~ if we're friends and we exchange real gifts in the real world...Just you wait. Who wants their pecans "Hot & Spicy" and who wants them "Cinnamon-Sugary" or dare I even suggest it ~ a sinful combination of the two... oh my!

Thanks Martha. I'm not sure what happened in your life before, but I'm really glad you're out of jail now and we're on the same team.

A glimpse at part of my very own tree.


Door #1

I'd rather have made a nice espresso. It's just been that sort of a day. Rush here, rush there, and rush some more. Poor Max had met me at the door and was so excited to go "check those coyotes" (our new term for, you know...). Unfortunately, Mama had to leave right again to make a quick trip to the Post Office.

I'd gathered my forty-two cents from the change holder in the car's console and rushed inside to buy the single stamp needed to mail the important document off to Central Central. Spinning around to drop the letter in the mail drop ~ I stopped. A very distinguished looking lady was putting her Christmas cards in the top slot. Two by Two. One - Two. One - Two. And so on...

As soon as she walked away I opened the large door right there underneath the teensy slot and dropped in my one lone envelope. Just because. And I smiled at no one in particular.

Max has been by my side since the moment I walked back in the door. We're going to have a good night of snuggle-time. It's just been that sort of a day...


Herd ~ We're Part of the Herd

Here's the proposal: When you find yourself leaving the Big Box store or perhaps in line at Target, K-Mart or Walmart....just start a gentle "Moo" and see who joins in with you.

I look forward to some interesting "Thoughtful Remarks."

Happy Holidays!


Just Two Pages

This morning I found myself adjusting the radio dial ~ or the cd track, I'm not quite sure which, as I waited for the red light to change. I glanced to my left... The woman driving the car next to me was entranced with a novel in front of the steering wheel. When the light turned green, she put the bookmark in place and sat it down before speeding up and entering the freeway.

Don't you find yourself wondering what was so interesting? It was only a block after the last light...


Warp Speed

Does life seem to be chugging along at warp speed out there? zoom-zoom-zoom as the commercial says....

With a few days off this week, it's been wonderful to take time to chat with a friend, pet our dog a bit more and ponder things. I realize this doesn't sound like an amazing way to spend Thanksgiving ~ but it's been good. A laugh here and there with my laughter support group, time to check in with the family, etc... Good times.

As we muddle through this busy time with all the festivities, I hope we can all find time to check in here and there. You're loved ~ Amy, Christelle, Elaine, Faith (of Faith, Hope & Love), Sheri, Beth, Liz, Joy, Cindy Lou, our miracle Elizabeth, and oh dear, I'm sure to leave someone out.... please forgive me if I do and leave me a comment. I'll add your name, because that's what friends do. They just do it. Isn't that "Edit Post" fabulous??