Saturday, December 29, 2007


I love this tree. I've passed it on many drives from Denver to Durango.
It appears as though it was hit by lightening and though much of it died, it was not entirely killed.
Out of the dead growth appears new life.
Life that rises up and proclaims, "I am still here, standing tall!".
May we each approach our lives as this tree, though wounded, growing and providing shelter for those who may come across our path.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


Luke 2

About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. Thiwas the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told!
by Lu Lan, China
Decorative Painting, 1993

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Last weekend we celebrated Sweetheart's company's Christmas Party at The Briarwood Inn. It was wonderful! We had heard about what an incredible place the Briarwood is, but had never been. He recommended it and it all worked out to go there. What an amazing place! I hope we can go again sometime just us. I've heard that their Afternoon Teas are terrific and now, having dined there, I believe it would be.

Many thanks to Aunt Linda for her assistance in Photoshopping our pictures. Here is what we sent out for our Christmas cards.

Not exactly what I had envisioned it would be originally, but I love what she did. Who knew Pumpkin and Dumpling would meltdown EVERY time we would try to get pictures? Oh well, it is what it is and will probably create a few laughs for folks as they open their cards. Of course, they just managed to go out today, even though I'd addressed them all in November. *sigh* In fact, I still have five to get addresses for and send out tomorrow. Better late than never!

Here's the recipe I made up for my Christmas Tea. It's on the top tier.

Peppermint Mocha Shortbread


1 cup of powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt

Cut in:

1 stick of butter

Blend it all together well and press it into a greased 13x9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about twenty minutes. Meanwhile...

Melt and Mix:

1/2 package of chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 tsp instant espresso powder

Spread the chocolate mixture onto the shortbread after it's baked. Then top with about a 1/4 cup of smashed candy canes. Let cool and slice into pieces.

*Note- I was out of espresso powder today, so I just skipped it. Also, I switched to milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. It's a different taste from the original shortbread, but still delicious!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Don't Miss It

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging
a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen,
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love does not envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love does not yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
Love does not give only to those who are able
to give in return; but rejoices in giving
to those who cannot.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
and endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust,
but giving the gift of love will endure.

--Author Unknown

Poem found over at Ann's place. Take a moment to stop by and refresh your soul.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Everything Books

I currently am using two spiral journals for what I refer to as my Everything Books. One is small enough that I can tuck it in my purse/diaper bag to take with me when I'm out and about. The other is larger and usually stays at home. These are just blank books that I've added pictures into to basically make them more fun to write in and use. I was inspired by Jewels' entries on her books.

I fill the books not only with beautiful pictures and collages, but with everything else I want to write down to remember. So, one page may be Scriptures I'm trying to memorize, the next may be my big, on-going To Do List. I have pages for Prayer Requests and pages of quotes I like. I've even started a page to list the books I'm reading. Some pages are just journaling, others are for planning events like the Christmas Tea, or Thanksgiving. I've got a Christmas section in the large book right now that has Advent Ideas, Wish Lists and Meal Planning.

The pictures may be just of images that catch my eye, or ideas for future craft projects. Some pages have one big picture, some collages, some no pictures, or just one little picture. Sometimes the pictures inspire me to journal on a specific topic, or give me just a quick chance to dream. I've even used the pictures to cover pages that looked too messy to me.

I'll put in post-its for the more mundane To Do Lists that will be completed in a day. I also put in photos, or a pressed flower. I've even had Pumpkin color in them so that I can keep those drawings as well. I've included little pictures from my neice, and may even throw in a sketch or two of my own. One really helpful thing is a list for Thank Yous that I need to write. I keep the list in one place and check them off as they are written. This was really helpful after Dumpling's birth!

The covers are collaged with all sorts of things. I included ribbon, buttons, and a vintage calling card on my little book. The larger book contains pictures from old Victoria magazines. It's helped to reduce the clutter of old magazines, as well as freed me in many ways.

I enjoy writing down my thoughts, but find that I am intimidated by a full blank sheet of paper. Lined paper drives me nuts as well. This way, there is already something there, I just get to fill in the blanks with my (random) thoughts. The pictures often make me smile and clear my thoughts.

It's also wonderful to use for taking notes on Bible studies, speakers, as well as having a place to keep Prayer Requests for family and friends. I can then go back and write down updates and other answers to prayer. Plus, I'm less likely to say I'll pray for someone and forget, since I have it written down.

I love my books. For a visual person like myself, it's wonderful! I like having all the little details of life in one place. This helps.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


O the joy of a quiet morning before everyone else is up. A cup of Earl Grey, a slice of pumpkin bread, snuggleling down next to the Christmas tree with my Everything Book and taking a few moments to greet the day with His Words and some prayer requests resting on my heart.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Memories-The First Year

As I look at out tree this year I've been thinking back to all the different types of trees and Christmases we've had over the years.

The first year we were married we lived in a little apartment. We had no extra money, as I was back in school to get my teaching certificate and Sweetheart was working at Enterprise Rent a Car. Looking back, it's only by the grace of God we made it through with so little.

We did not plan on getting a tree that year at all, not having either the money nor the space for one. My friend Kathy though, said we had to have a tree and couldn't see how we could not have one. I didn't give it any further thought as other events soon distracted me.

My Grandmother, Effie, died the week before Christmas that year. I was busy with school and a new husband, but still visited her as I could. She had just had a pacemaker put in and then contracted pneumonia, probably from the hospital stay.

I was with her the evening before she died. I thought she was getting better and left her to enjoy her chocolate Hagen Daz ice cream and head home to do my schoolwork. I was at school the next morning when the call came to get to the hospital as quickly as possible. It was just a few miles away, but I did not make it in time. I am glad that I had taken the time to be with her the night before, though I don't think anyone can ever feel as though they have spent enough time with someone.

That week was a whirlwind of activity as we went from Durango to Phoenix for the funeral. It was a sad time. Sweetheart could not leave work and so I went with my Dad, Stepmom, and Great Aunt to Arizona. My sister flew in greatly pregnant with the first grandchild, a son who would be born the next month. We all wished Grandma would have been able to meet him. He is a joy.

We were in Phoenix for several days arriving home to Durango just before the holiday. Imagine my surprise to see a little tree waiting for me. My friend Kathy had dropped it off in my absence. It was just about a foot high.

Having no decorations, or Christmas lights, I improvised. I had one string of lights that were in the shape of roses that I had used to decorate a window before. I put those on. Then I got creative. I tied on little silver and gold teaspoons with ribbons. I raided my collection of dried flowers and tied those on as well. I even put on a few demitasse tea cups that I had. It was a Christmas Tea Tree! And it turned out quite lovely.

On Christmas morning, before heading over to my Father's, Sweetheart and I made our tea and sat in front of our little tree. We took a few pictures and just spent some time together. That sweet gesture of a true friend sticks with me and was able to brighten a Christmas that had been dimmed with the grief of loss. Thank you, Kathy.

Take Two

Umm...This isn't working out quite how I envisioned it. But the again, isn't that true of life in general? I may print this one out anyway and use it. The cards are all done and just awaiting the picture. Besides, it's honest. It wouldn't be the picture-perfect ideal, but it would probably give a few laughs.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Christmas Pictures

We'd like to get a picture of the boys together for Christmas cards. I attempted this at the portrait studio last week. Not great. So, Sweetheart and I decided to see what we could do at home.

Not bad.

Still doing ok...

Umm...really, they love each other! This is as good as it got with them together. We were laughing at them which really set them off. Oh well, maybe next year?

First, Pumpkin starts up .

Notice Dumpling's bottom lip...

Now it's all over.

Actually, I think we'll try again tomorrow, but earlier in the day!

Christmas in the Big Woods

This is Pumpkin's new favorite story to have read to him. It's a picture book adapted from a chapter of Laura Ingalls' Little House in the Big Woods. He loves it. He is able to "read" along with you and knows quite a lot of the story already. He is so fun to read to!

I've also been reading Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby to him. The illustrations are, of course, incredible. What makes it even more fun is that I have it in big book form. The book is about two feet by three feet. It's something I bought with my book order points when I was a teacher. I'll try to get some pictures of that with him soon.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Tea

My not-so-annual Christmas Tea was today. Such a nice group of ladies were able to attend. I've been baking up a storm to get ready this week. Yesterday my Mom came over to help entertain boys, and helped with the cleaning as well.

She was also quite a helper in being my taste tester. Quality control is important! I'd hate to serve something that wasn't delicious. I made a completely new dessert and needed her imput. I'd been thinking about how delicious the Peppermint Mocha was that I got last week and began to ponder how I could turn that taste into a dessert. Hence, the Peppermint Mocha Shortbread was born. I'll try to remember what all I did and post the recipe this week. It was easy and really good, if I do say so myself.

I made a couple of quiches, a bunch of tea sandwiches, scones, pumpkin bread, lemon clove shortbread, lemon bars, chocolate pecan toffee bars, ginger cookies, and the peppermint mocha shortbread. I tried to make spiced apple cider, but the percolator just kept running and boiled out all the juice. Oops! Good thing Sweetheart smelled it and took care of it. There was coffee and punch still to drink as well as teas. Lots of teas. I just put a bunch of choices out and then brewed four pots of the flavors people wanted to try. Harney and Sons Valentine Blend, which is a chocolate and rose flavored black tea, was a hit though probably not too Christmasy! The scent is so delightful.

It was so nice to visit with everyone, plus most everyone took home goodie bags for their families. No one will ever starve around here! The only thing I wish I could do different would be to have each one of you here. Wouldn't it be fun to gather together all of us that "visit" one anothers' virtual homes regularly for a tea? I am blessed that I can get together with Joanne for tea since she lives her in town, but there are so many others of you I'd like to sit down with and really get to know. Alas.

I'm glad I did it and yet, I am glad it is done. Now, everything is ready around here for Christmas and I can just relax and enjoy it all. Thanks Mom for all your help!!!!

I'm tired now and headed off to a bubble bath.


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