Monday, December 29, 2008

Psalm 63


O God, You are my God; earnestly will I seek You: My soul thirsts for You, my flesh longs for You, in a dry and weary land, where no water is. 2 So have I looked upon You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and glory.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 So will I bless You while I live: I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with good food; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips; 6 when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night-watches.

7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. 8 My soul follows hard after You: Your right hand upholds me. 9 But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall be given over to the power of the sword: They shall be a portion for foxes. 11 But the king shall rejoice in God: Every one that swears by him shall glory; the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Help wanted

We had a really tasty ham for Christmas dinner yesterday.
Never made one myself, but would like to try.
Any chef-ly advice for me?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fourth and Final Village

I promised four villages for you to see, and I am delivering. My love for a pretty scene sticks with me over the years. I will still take a moment to admire a firey sunset, or to watch waves splash against the rocks. A few years ago, I was looking for a nice card to get for my honey and this one stopped me dead in my tracks...it was definately overpriced, but it was perfect -


We put it out somewhere in our house every year. I was smart and put the date on the back of it. How many decorations do we have that haven't been date commemorated? (Did I spell that right?) A few too many in my house!

Well, that was a fun rabbit trail to wander down, wasn't it? I have refocused onto the purpose of this post! Back to the fourth and final village. I suppose if you are looking at the proper definition of the word, "village" isn't exactly what this final collection would be called. I have heard it called a scene, though. It comes in all shapes and sizes. You probably even have one in your home. Have you guessed what I am talking about?

In my opinion, my final "village" is the most important of them all. It is the visual expression of what we have read about in the Gospels. It is a reminder of Hope for people in the world to be able to finally find peace and goodwill. It honors a moment captured and called a season. It is the picture of Christmas - the Manger Scene. Immanuel - God taking the form of a man and being with us - the birth of the One who's life changed the way we record time.


Silent Night. Holy Night.
Son of God. Love's pure Light.
Radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth. Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

From our house to yours - Merry Christmas and God's highest good to you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pretty Paper

There is a song that Ray Orbison did on one of his Christmas albums way back in the day that was called Pretty Paper. It dares to make us think about the person who is without during the season. Not a big hit. Not covered by many artists. And certainly not given much air play. Here are the words:


Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write “I love you”
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue

Crowded street, busy feet hustle by him
Downtown shoppers, Christmas is nigh
There he sits all alone on the sidewalk
Hoping that you won’t pass him by

Should you stop?, better not, much too busy
You’re in a hurry, my how time does fly
In the distance the ringing of laughter
And in the midst of the laughter he cries

Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue
Wrap your presents to your darling from you
Pretty pencils to write “I love you”
Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue


Who is in need? What can I do about it? Ask God to open my eyes and see what He sees. Pray. Then, act. The pretty paper that wraps our gifts isn't all there is to any season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree?

I proudly stated to some people that we were going to put up three Christmas trees this year. Then we got our music schedule and everything was put on hold. The beautiful 1958 shiney aluminum Christmas tree and color wheel that we have is sitting neatly in its box, right now as I am typing, in the back room. The other two green trees are safe and sound in their places of storage. All the ornaments and lights are still in the basement. There is no garland, no tinsel and no star up in our house as of today.

The only tree I managed to put up is hanging in the window of my french door in the kitchen. At least it does have lights on it, so it doubles as a festive night light. We have put our presents under it and everything. I will leave it up to you as far as whether or not it can be called a Christmas tree.


So what do you think?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Putz Paper Village

I said I have 4 Christmas villages set up in my house this year. In my efforts to spread Christmas joy, I am sharing village number three today!

Back in the 30's and 40's, sturdy paper houses made by Putz were sold as Christmas village decorations. My honey and I were at a flea market a few years ago and found a bag with six of these "pre-war" houses. Someone gave me the Noel Church as a gift, and I found some new replica type houses in a store a few years ago. The old together with the new, my Putz village was complete! Take a look-


Shiney Brite makes lots of Christmas ornaments. They started selling the replicas of the Putz houses as tree ornaments. Here is the church and house in their version, which is pretty close to the original look. The angel is a candle and the caroler is one of a pair that my mom always put out on the bathroom sink counter at Christmas time.


The white house and the pink house are original Putz houses. There is a hole in the back wall to place a light inside if you want to. The Noel Church is a newer decoration. I don't know what company made it but it fits into the Putz village quite nicely.


The green house is another Shiney Brite decoration. The bottle brush tree is a nice touch! The brick house is obviously pre-war. It's tree is in pretty rough shape. Notice the silver paint on the roof line to give a sparkly snow effect.



This pink house and church are also original Putz houses. I love the way they used glitter dust in the paint of the church in order to give it something special. This was the perfect place to set the angel and other caroler, don't you think so?


The Putz paper village invokes such a different feeling than the others. Just the fact that most of these houses are 70 years old makes it special. The warped bases, the torn roof lines, the broken cellophane windows...these decorations have been through alot. They are a piece of the great depression. Pretty paper houses to bring a smile on the faces of those who gazed on them during hard, lean times. Whether this year has been fat or lean for you, I wish that you have a very joyous Christmas season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas services

So, my honey and I are playing music in the bands of Northway Church (as you probably already know...) and this is a rundown of the scheduled service times for Christmas week:

Pamelyn will be in the Colonie team on
Sunday the 21st at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Tuesday the 23rd at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Wednesday the 24th at 7 p.m.

Vince will be in the Clifton Park team on
Saturday the 20th at 6 p.m.
Sunday the 21st at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday the 24th at 4 p.m. 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Come on out, hear some amazing music, and celebrate the season with us!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

We all look up to someone

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL???

Try it without looking at the answers......

1) Pick your favorite number between 1-9
2) Multiply by 3 then
3) Add 3, then again Multiply by 3 (I'll wait while you get the calculator....)
4) You'll get a 2 or 3 digit number.
5) Add the digits together

Now Scroll down ..............













Now with that number see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below:

1. Einstein

2. Nelson Mandela

3. Abraham Lincoln

4. Helen Keller

5. Bill Gates

6. Gandhi

7. George Clooney

8. Thomas Edison

9. Pamelyn

10. Abraham Lincoln


I know....I just have that effect on people....

P.S.: Stop picking different numbers. I am your role model, just accept it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Reflections

Now that the Ice Storm of 2008 is over, here are some of my reflections:

~Dawn's sun on the ice covered earth is stunning.
~The meteorologists got it right this time for once.
~All the reasons to own a generator.
~Thankful that we own a generator.
~You can never have enough extension cords.

~Whoever invented the home furnace was a genius.
~Battery powered radios are cool, especially retro ones.
~I felt like I was in a 3rd world country when the generator was turned off for the night.
~It gave a new meaning to the words "lights out".
~It's no wonder pre-electricity people went to bed so early and got up at dawn.
~That ice can be so beautiful and so dangerous at the same time.
~If this didn't phase it, then nothing is going to kill my catalpa tree.
~Is this a glimpse of what the crystal clear streets of gold in Heaven look like?
~How some people want to help each other during times of crisis.
~How some people put demands on others during times of crisis.
~That we are such creatures of habit when we turn on the light switch even though the power is out...we are so dependant on the outlet.
~Loosing power was big fun when you were 10!
~You have things to do when you have power-free hobbies like stamping and knitting.
~No time like the present to replace your smoke/co2 detector batteries.
~Candles smell nice but not for super long periods of time.
~How bright and fabulous the moon and stars are when all the lights in town are out.

There are probably more things I pondered, but I forgot them already. Life is back to "normal" again. Will we remember lessons from this? I hope we are all more ready for the big storm next time, whenever that will be.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm Mr White Christmas

The other day, A Year Without A Santa Claus was on TV. Who hasn't seen Tanta Kringle sing about being the king's #1 toy maker or felt kinda bad for the kids in Sombertown because it was illegal to play with toys? The kid in me rose up and I kept the show on. There are two big battles in the show. The battle between the evil Burgermeister against the good-hearted Kringles, and the battle between the sons of Mother Nature, Heat Meiser and Cold Meiser. These two duke it out over who gets a white Christmas and who gets rain. These guys are funny and imaginative characters with catchy little life-jingles.

If Snowy was really out there, we got a blast of his cold breath last Thursday and Friday.

The weather forecasters were saying a big, bad ice/snow storm was on it's way. After lots of less than accurate predictions from them, I pretty much take what they say with a grain of salt. Did I grocery shop? Nope. Did I expect the power to go out? Maybe, but not for very long. Did I cover my car with a shower curtain so I wouldn't have to scrape ice off the windshield? Yes, I did do that. Were the weathermen right this time? For the most part, they were. We lost power for a whopping 25 hours, and that was pretty good, compared to so many other people. That is the advantage to living so close to Route 9 where all the businesses are. They have a higher importance-level priority and get their power back on right away and as a result, so do we. Here's some shots of our National Grid-free day.

My cats have the ability to find the warmest places to hang out. Mouse has so much hair, she can sprawl, but Tiki wanted more help from the hanging coats.....



There is a huge Maple tree in front of our house. The ice caused lots of trees to snap branches, including that one. The limbs that broke fell right onto my driveway and missed my car by mere inches. The picture shows only half of what fell and they were alot bigger (and heavier) than how they look in the pic. If either of us had parked in front of the garage, it would have been time to call the insurance company......




When we bought our house, I was thrilled that we had a gas stove/oven so I could still cook when the power was out. Come to find out, our model has a safety feature in it to shut off the gas supply to the burners when a power failure occurs. That made us have to pull out the good ol' Coleman camping stove in order to make a hot meal....




A few days after buying our house, we had an ice storm that knocked the power out. This was a bitter sweet event for us. The bad thing was it made the sump pump stop so our basement begin to back up with water, and it got cold quick without the furnace doing it's job. Welcome to homeownership! My father brought over a small generator so we could keep those things running. The good thing about it was it made us realize right away that we needed a generator of our own, so we did buy one way back then. It was there for us when we needed it this time! We were able to keep the furnace on, the sump pump kept going, our fridge got plugged in, and one light.

So, we survived what has been dubbed on the radio as the "Ice Storm of 2008". When a quarter of a million people loose power, I guess it is an event worthy of a title. When I look out my window, there is no dreaming of a white Christmas.....



...unless Mr White Christmas retreats again for a while...which would be ok with me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Never to late to be thankful

Even though Thanksgiving is behind us and we are all Christmas minded, the question was posed by my Pastor as to what relationships and people you are thankful for. One thing we don't do enough is let people know our thoughts of love and appreciation we have for them. It makes us feel funny or could cause an awkward, uncomfortable moment to arise. I heard it said on a TV show once that "things like that (they were referring to saying I love you) don't need to be said - it's a given" but I cannot agree with that statement.

So here is what I wrote in response to that question:

I am ever grateful for my husband. There are too many reasons to list on that, but I especially cherish is his desire seek out and find truth. He loves me so much and encourages me to be a person of honor. Thank you!

I appreciate the musicians and the growing relationships with them. They love Vince and I like we are family. Thank you!

I am thankful for NC and for my Pastor. He has been given such a great gift to communicate. I can remember so many messages from the last two years and can find new ways to apply Godly principles in my life. I have become more thirsty for the Word. Thank you!

Lastly, I am grateful for my parents. They started this journey to follow Christ when no one else wanted to hear about it and chalked them up as crazy. Their 180 degree turn in life to follow Jesus spoke mountains to me. They planted good seeds in my young heart and trusted the water from the Word to bring them to life. Well, Mom and Dad, it worked. Thank you!

This is a wonderful twist to add to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Who are you thankful for? How can you/what can you do to share your appreciation with them?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Music of the season

I heard about the radio stations that began to play 24-hour Christmas music before Thanksgiving hit the calendar. As much as I love the sounds of the season, I could not bear the thought of filling the air with jingling bells or ho-ho-ho's . . . until this week.

One of the local Christian radio stations has finally jumped on the Christmas music bandwagon. 94.9 FM - the Sound of Life. I have been listening to this station as of yesterday and have to say that they are playing stuff that you will not hear on any of the "secular" stations. This is rather refreshing, if you ask me.

The first thing that hit me was alot of their songs are actual Christmas carols. You know, the songs that celebrate His birth, the ones that you heard all your life in church, or what you would sing with the group of people who went door to door, caroling in wonderful four part harmonies. Respectful Christmas songs by artists from all genre of music. Tony Bennett and Nat King Cole to Third Day and Tonic SoL FA. Amy Grant and Celine Dion to Andy Williams and Bing Crosby.

Another thing that is fabulous is I have yet to hear a song about anyone getting run over by reindeer, or about killer fruitcake, or about kids wanting hippopotamuses as gifts. Good gracious, what on earth does any of that stuff have to do with anything? Once in a while you will hear a tune about the guy with the belly like a bowl full of jelly, but I guess you can't fully get away from him in December.

The nicest thing about the station is you do not have to be constantly interrupted and bombarded by annoying commercials. This is a listener-funded station. And you will even hear some teaching programs or be read a verse or two from the Word of God from time to time. That alone is reason enough to stick with this station.

So if 94.9 FM - The Sound of Life winds up being a station that you dial into more days than not, maybe they can be considered a worthy recipient of a Christmas donation. That is up to you. But at least there is one place to tune in and hear the music of the season from a station who honors and loves the One who Christmas is all about.

Monday, December 8, 2008

FB Savvy

So, I was at a recording session at my church recently, and one of the guys there was snapping pictures throughout the night. I heard that they were posted on his facebook page the next day, so I tried to go look at them. Well, this guy has his pages hidden unless you are an FB-er and ask him for permission to view his pages.

When I saw that I had to sign up to view them, I said, "no thanks" to myself and went about my business. More days went by and I started to think that I was warming up to the idea of becoming a Facebooker.

As I was so excited about blogging about Retroville the other day, I took my digital camera, told it to take a video and made my little movie reminiscing Christmas in the 50's, blinking and beaming brightly for the camera there on my kitchen shelf.

The excitement came to a screeching halt as I tried twice to upload my film masterpiece to my blog, but was failed to process both times. This was a disappointment since seeing Retroville in film form is so much better than seeing it in still shot form. So my post, as you probably already saw, was motion-picture-less and those flat photos lifelessly represented my most interesting village.

Last night, FB got the best of me and I bit the bullet and signed up. I searched for the name of the roving photographer and found the pics I had been waiting to see for what seemed like so long, an entire 6 days. Facebook looks like a place that I can get used to. And they even posted my movie of Retroville, which gave them kudos in my book! It is much more interactive than I realized, and there are alot of people in there who I know. I even have friends already!

So, if you are interested in checking it out and seeing Retroville come to life, here is my Facebook page

If you cannot get into my page, I guess you will have to bite the bullet and sign in yourself! Please be patient with me as I am still trying to figure out how to be FB savvy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Crowd pleaser

With the holidays here and partys being hosted, there will probably be a need to cook up something for a crowd. I have made this for family and friends and have had alot of requests for the recipe (GF, of course). Not only will it please your many guests, it will be a fabulous leftover for later, hot or cold...if there is any left over!

So here is my version of
Crowd Pleasing Meaty Baked Beans

-Get out the largest baking pan you own. Have enough cans of plain baked beans to fill it up about 1/2 full. You can eyeball this by laying the cans in the bottom of the pan before you open them.

-Take (at least) 90% ground beef and cook enough that will equal about half of the amount of beans in a really large pot.

-After the beef is cooked through and broken up into moderately small pieces, drain off the fat. Pour the beans in with the hot meat in the pot and set aside.

-Take slices of bacon and cut them in fourths. Cook them until they are well heated through but not crispy. Make enough to cover the top of the beans and meat mixture.

-Pour the bean mixture in the baking pan. Cover the top with the bacon pieces.

-Sprinkle brown sugar (I use light) over the top. The more sugar on top, the sweeter your beans will be and there will be more of a crusty top. You can omit or modify this to your taste or dietary needs.

-Bake at 350 degrees for at least an hour or until bubbly.

Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, but the cooler it gets, the thicker it becomes. Yum!

You can add just about any kind of meat to this - chicken, pork, ham, leftover spare rib meat, or a mixture of all of them. Anything that you eat with baked beans will go great in it. If you want an interesting flavor to add, try a dash of liquid smoke to it when you mix the beans and meat together.

Got a crowd to please? Let me know if you try it!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Retroville

The next Christmas village I have to show you is based on 1950's America. As I have shared with you before, I really like some of the looks from the 50's. Think of all the colors that were paired up with chrome. Everything had boomerangs, diamonds, or stars printed on it. The music oozed with the flair for life. They just don't make things like they did in the 50's. Cheesy or not, I like it!

So here is my favorite Christmas Village memorializing the Doo Wop days: Retroville - An All American Town

The bowling alley and coffee shop was the place for the adults to go. Leagues and competition galore! Who didn't own a vinyl zippered bag to protect their custom drilled bowling ball and multi-colored leather shoes?



If you were under the age of 21, you would be found at the Doo Wop Diner. Go inside for juke box dances. Remaining in your car was ok too since the skating waitresses gave car side service. Get out your dimes so you can call all of your friends to join you from the telephone booth.



Gotta travel? Then travel in style with your tow behind camper. This is actually a salt and pepper shaker set but they are a perfect addition to Retroville! In the background, you see a concession stand offering tasty refreshments which brings us to the final place to see...



Although the idea of drive in movies was conceived many years earlier, they really boomed during the mid-century. In Retroville, the Moonlight Drive-In Theater is a popular place. From love struck teens to entire families going out for dinner and a movie. Many drive-ins offered playgrounds for the little ones to burn off their endless energy. There isn't a better place to get a whole night's entertainment than that!

Merry Christmas from Retroville.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What you can get for under two dollars

1 - a big pack of gum
2 - most canned soups
3 - bagel with cream cheese
4 - anything in the dollar store
5 - a gallon of gasoline

That's right - the Country Farms at Rte 9 and Grooms Road has lowered their price to $1.99 a gallon! Time to fill 'er up!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Matters of the Heart - The Book of Mark

The book of Mark has alot of reference about the condition of the heart. Jesus wasn't kidding around when He spoke to people. He had plenty to say about the heart.

Chapter one: we find Him starting His ministry, picking out his team, performing miraculous acts. Touching people's hearts.

Chapter two: It didn't take long for the religious leaders of the day to take notice of Him. They began to constantly question Jesus in order to trap Him in His words. When He answered them, He challenged the condition of their hearts.

Chapter three: Jesus goes to the temple where a man with a paralyzed hand was being shunned. There is pressure for him to be healed on the Sabbath, but Jesus saw through their plot and addressed the hardness of their hearts.

Chapter four: The familiar story of the seed being sown. It may not say it directly, but we do understand that the seed of the Word will grow in a tender heart.

Chapter six: The disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea during a storm. He calmes the waves and gets on the ship with them. They were astonished but "their hearts had become dull and lost the power to understand".

Chapter seven: There were strict rules about what you could and could not eat. Traditions of religion did not determine who was unclean. He addressed the condition of the heart.

Chapter eight: Jesus and His team were travelling by boat. There wasn't enough food brought along for them to eat. Even though He had fed multitudes with little, they had already forgotten about it. Jesus addressed the hardness of their hearts.

Chapter nine: A boy is possessed and his dad cries out to Jesus for help. He also admits that his faith is there but unbelief also exists. These things are seated in your heart.

Chapter ten: Jesus was asked about divorce. There were laws in place that would give permission to divorce over a burnt dinner. Putting away a partner over petty matters is wrong. Instead, He addressed the issue of their hearts.

Chapter ten: The rich, young ruler asked Jesus about getting into the Kingdom. When he admitted to keeping the law of the prophets, Jesus asked him to reflect on his heart. Could he give up all his wealth and not rely on the things of this world to save him? It is a reflection of the heart...an analyzation of where his true dependance was.

Chapter eleven: Most importantly, forgiveness is the topic of the moment. If we cannot forgive, then the matter of our spiritual forgiveness is in danger. This is a matter of the heart's condition.

Do you believe in Jesus? You are no better than the demons who believe in Him and tremble. Have you reflected on your heart's condition? Have you forgiven others? What do you rely on for your salvation? In these times, we are concerned about the prices of things, the status of our jobs, the sources of our incomes, the future of our finances. If this is the focus of the heart, where does our love for our God fit in that? We are to examine the reflections of our heart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Village -pt 3

The center of town is such an interesting place. The street is busy with horse and sleigh, and the hotel has visitors checking in. The bell hop's cart is full of their luggage! Next door the fruit stand has plenty of choices and the gazebo is the perfect place to go for a stroll.






What old fashioned town doesn't have a church? This one does! It is tall and sturdy with a clock tower and a bell to ring out the hour. The carolers sing along with the fiddler while people pass by, "Come and worship...come and worship...worship Christ the newborn King".





There is one more building that I got with this set but I didn't have room for it. The school house got the cut. The kids are on vacation, right? Maybe I have a crazy imagination, but my paper Christmas village always comes to life when I set it up on my kitchen shelf. This is only one of the sets I have displayed. There is more to see...so come back again!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Village - pt 2

It wouldn't be a village if there wasn't a store in town. The fence is sturdy and straight, made of rock, and the little girl needs a boost by her mom to be able to see the wonderful things through the window. Too bad the store is closed, so there will be no toys going home with her tonight. A happy lady has a basket full of goodies for her family.


Every town has a house where the super wealthy family lives. Here is the rich lady with her little one bundled up in a carraige, ready for a stroll to town. The shop keeper walks by with her scarf wrapped tight to keep the chilly breezes away.


I think these villages are really fun. It is not over yet! There is more to see....

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas village -pt 1

I have to admit, I am one of those people who like to set up the miniature villages at this time of year. I remember going to visit a family who were friends of my parents, and they had a table dedicated to one of the most wonderful Christmas villages I have ever seen. I would stand there and look at it for what seemed to be the entire time we were there. When you are 10 years old, everything at Christmastime is most wonderful, but that really made an impression on my young mind. Over the last several years, I have put together some wonderful scenes of my own.

I can't resist checking out the village stuff in the stores. The prices usually surprised me and I would walk away from it all empty handed. It is hard to start up with just one house, you know what I mean? I also want different village things... not the usual scenery. So, when I found a box of paper houses, I could not resist them. They were made and sold in Canada and I think I found them on eBay. It came on flat sheets and you punch them out of the perforation, fold the pieces into 3D forms, and then fit them all together. Viola - a village house is born! This is what kicked off my miniature Victorian world. Finding the people and accessories was a piece by piece hunt. What fun!

There were six buildings in the box and this is the farm house. Click on the pic for a bigger view. There are deer behind the house, and horses. Simple fences, a boy bringing in the tree, and another bringing in firewood. Kids building a snowman, and you can't see her, but a girl feeding a duck...she is behind the horse and sleigh.

Many more scenes of my village to come......

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy - happy - happy


Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Proverbs verse for today

I received an e-mail from a man who was a teacher in the Christian high school I went to. It has been alot of years since I heard from him. He mentioned how he has been guest preaching since his last mission trip, and had just received a double Masters Degree from Seminary. He and his beautiful bride will be leaving on a missions trip with Wycliffe Bible Translators in January. It was a blessing to hear from him!

Thus, bringing life to my Proverbs verse for today:
"Like cold water to a thristy soul, so is good news from a far home country." Prov 25:25 - Amplified Version

Monday, November 24, 2008

The shortened days of winter - pt 2

Since the days are getting shorter and there is less light for our senses to take in, we are more prone to feel it's effects emotionally. Some people feel it enough to be diagnosed with "seasonal affective disorder" (S.A.D.) or also known as the winter blues. We wanted to take a bit of an active approach to this phenomenon and decided to make a small investment on our interior lighting. Sounds good...

I know that I had asked you all out there about your thoughts and experiences with the energy saver light bulbs. We did not choose this option! The way we decided to go is with Enhanced Spectrum and Full Spectrum bulbs. This is the bulb of choice when it comes to marine fishtanks and plant-growing lights. Obviously, these bulbs better mimic the range of colors in natural sunlight which makes your brain think that it is light out longer. Still sounds good.....

Nothing out there is going to perfectly replace our closest cosmic star, and there are plenty of marketing geniuses who will attempt to persuade you otherwise. Some products will demand wads of cash for their latest man-made miracle light. I didn't want to fall into that sort of trap. The small investment we spent really wasn't that significant. I saw the light bulbs in Target and decided to give them a try. GE has their "Reveal" bulbs with both enhanced and full spectrum options. I think I had to fork over just under $20 and got a variety of both types. We decided to replace the bulbs that we have on the most and didn't bother with the ones in the bedroom or in the ceiling lights that were only used occasionally. Still sounding good.....

There is a noticeable difference when they light up a room. Gone are the yellowed hues from the 99-cents-for-a-four-pack bulbs. A crisp, clean, bright light shines out from our lamps now. I have to admit that I like them! We will see what we think of them in February and whether or not we are S.A.D.'ed. Sound good?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The shortened days of winter - pt 1


The days are definately getting shorter. The tilt of the earth has almost reached its peak but the ever increasing absensce of light presents its own set of consequences.

Yesterday, I flew home after work in order to finish up the front yard raking job before it got dark and before it starts getting snowy. This always winds up having to be done twice at my house because our annoying catalpa tree looses all it's leaves as soon as the temperature dips below 45 degrees and it's leaves are about a big as dinner plates, so they need to be removed reasonably quickly from my already suffering grass in the front yard. When those humungous leaves get wet, they are like sponges and become super heavy which equivalates to maximum raking un-fun-ness. Have I ever mentioned that I really hate that tree? I think I have, so I won't go on about that.

Anyways, I raked my front yard about a month ago and drug all those leaves on the biggest tarp I own, which is about 10'x15' (we used to cover a pop up camper with it) into the corner of our back yard. I made 5 trips with all the leaves (from just one side of the front yard) and piled them up pretty high. This makes sense since I am contributing to nature by feeding my compost pile (that sounds pretty good, doesn't it?) and providing a shelter for a stray mouse or chipmunk or something like that (so compassionate to wild animal welfare). I would have filled at least 40 leaf bags (I kid you not) if I chose to bag them, and after bagging the first year we lived there, I have vowed to not do that ever again.

The people across the street from me fill about 6 bags and they are happy as clams together raking their leaves up. Making a fun dad-son-daughter event out of it. I, on the other hand, am miserable and blistered and aching from my unforgiving yard, wondering why I decided to not have sons who would eventually take this task over for me. Sparkie is not allowed to be around for this sort of thing, since it would be a Wood-tick-stock event, and he would be the campground and concession stand. It seems like most of the trees growing on my street are on my lot and only one of those trees is a pine tree which presents it's own unique pine-needley mess in the back yard. That is another story in itself.

"Why do you have to do the yard twice?", you ask? Because the tree in the other side of the front yard hung onto it's leaves until about a week ago and, I kid you not, my front yard looked like it had never been raked at all. There were so many leaves on the driveway that you couldn't even see the asphalt. Have you tried to shovel snow that is over a leaf covered driveway? Take my word for it, you don't want to let that happen. And after the leaves were getting mashed into bits from being driven over and parked on so much, I had to face the fact that enough was enough. *Sigh* Back to square one. So out I went with the rake and the gardening gloves and the gigantic tarp to clean it up again.

Although the job was much faster and I didn't get any blisters this time, my mind couldn't help but think about how we never raked when I was growing up and yet our yard always grew just fine. Then I reminisced about how my brother and I used to do chores together and he would manage to have to go to the house to get something and then not show up for an hour and a half while I did all the work by myself. For a minute I remembered I had a leaf blower in the garage, but since I was almost done at that point, I just made my thoughts go elsewhere. I also tried to figure out how I might get my hands on one of those leaf sweeper/catcher contraptions that I could hook up to the back of the lawn mower so I'd have an excuse to ride around on that thing one last time before winter hits. But mostly, I thought about how I was only cleaning up the front yard of my lot and how the back yard was just going to have to fend for itself this year. After all, the days have become too short to do that much raking after a day at work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Embossing queens

We had our Stampin' Up Christmas card class last night. A nice group of ladies came out in the 25 degree weather and we heated things up with embossing! When I think of a classy looking card, it has raised metallic embossing on it. There isn't anything that screams Christmas better than silver and gold, is there?

The fancy technique we did was cracked glass and you can see my example here
After several layers of embossing, you chill the paper and then bend it to get it to crack, just like a broken mirror. How fun! Controlled disasters for Christmas!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Consistency

There is one thing that I have noticed over the years with Sparkie. He is a puppy of routine. Here's what I mean.
- As soon as he is let out of his crate in the morning, it's time to go outside
- Shortly after that, it's time for breakfast
- If the keys are jingling and we are leaving the house and he wasn't invited to go, it's time to go back in his crate
- If he is outside and comes as soon as I call for him, it's time for a treat
- When he arrives at "grandma's house", it's time for her to give him cheese
- As I stand in the kitchen to iron dress clothes, it's time to chew on rawhide
- When a sweater is put on, it's time to go outside or even better, for a car ride
- When people eat, it's time to sit and watch
- When dinner is over, it is time to jump all over the cats and play with toys
- When the tv is shut off for the night, it's time to go outside
- After that, it's time to go back in his crate
- While in the crate, it's time to get a bedtime snack

There are more acts of consistency he has but I can't think of them right now. He is so fun to have around but sometimes I don't want to have to be so consistent. I guess it's a good thing I don't have kids!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Turkey deal


I needed to stop a Hannaford today and saw they have a really good selection of turkeys for $.49 a pound. You are probably thinking, "Are you kidding me?" and to that I have to answer, "No, I never kid about something as good as this."

Every year, since Vince and I have been together, we have Thanksgiving with his parents. My MIL doesn't ask for many visits, but she does ask for this one. So we go there, eat until we are about to drop, and then come home to no leftovers. A house without the lucious aromas of turkey and stuffing, no pumpkin pie to have for breakfast the next morning, not a dripping that can be made into gravy. That is just not Thanksgiving goodness. So, every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving, I do the whole she-bang for the two of us. Needless to say, I really prefer a smaller sized bird and was able to find a 14-pounder today! I picked out my Thanksgiving turkey and paid a whopping $7.19. I still can't believe turkey day is only a week and a half away!

Go to Shop 'N Save...er, I mean Hannaford, and get yours before they are gone. The sale price is on until the 27th. Or did you get your bird already?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Too cute


How fun is this thing? I found the pattern for this pumpkin here and just had to try to make one. It was pretty easy. For you knitters, it is a quick project, and it is felted which makes it even more entertaining!
Let me know if you make one!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November Stampin' Up Class

Hey Creative Ones! Join me on November 18th at 7 p.m. for the Stampin' Up class! We will be making two Christmas cards, swapping cards with each other, learning a new technique, and just having fun with each other. Hope you can make it!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The mystery of chocolate

I don't know why, but this works. Get out your calculator and try it!

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once but less than 10)

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)

3. Add 5

4. Multiply it by 50 -- I'll wait while you get the calculator

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1758 .....
If you haven't, add 1757.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

You should have a three digit number

The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate each week).

The next two numbers are YOUR AGE! (Oh YES, it is!!!!!)

THIS IS THE ONLY YEAR (2008) THAT THIS WILL WORK. Now go have some Chocolate!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's over

Finally, election day is over. I have been looking forward to this day ever since the media asked Hillary if she was going to run for president...and that was quite a while ago! I've never been a fan of politics or debates. Promises spoken but not made good. Financial maneuvers or corporate agendas. It's just not me.

I wonder how long before the election signs will be removed from the roadsides. How long before people will stop boasting about their man's "victory". How long before the focus of the country will be for the common interests instead of the divided ones.

The reality is, it isn't over. This election result didn't rattle me, as they have done to me in the past. My confidence is not placed in a man who will soon take a position in a governmental office. Instead, I can find peace in the fact that this election didn't rattle God. It is just another step towards His perfect agenda for mankind.

To Him be the glory, yesterday today and forever!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do you care enough?

Does your right matter?
Making the time to get to your polling place.
Do you care enough to vote today?

Does your voice matter?
The freedom to speak through a ballot cast.
Do you care enough to vote today?

Does your country matter?
Of the people, by the people, for the people.
Do you care enough to vote today?

Does your future matter?
Shaken but more determined than ever.
Do you care enough to vote today?

We all matter.
Our right, our voice, our country, and our future.
Do you care enough? Then vote today.

~P. Baim 11/4/08~

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun Personality Test

I received this in an e-mail and thought it would be fun to share.

If you are honest with the questions, the answers can be pretty interesting. Write your answers on a piece of paper, and NO cheating!! The answers are at the bottom.

Colors and your Birthday
Questions


1. Which is your favorite color out of: red , black , blue , green , or yellow?
2. Your first initial?
3. Which color do you like more, black or white?
4. Name of a person of the same gender as yours.
5. Your favorite number?
6. Do you like Flying or Driving more?
7. Do you like a lake or the ocean more?
8. Write down a wish (a realistic one).

When you're done, check out your answers. (Don't cheat!)


Answers

1. If you choose:
Red - You are alert and your life is full of love.
Black - You are conservative and aggressive.
green - Your soul is relaxed and you are laid back.
blue - You are spontaneous and love kisses and affection from the ones you love.
yellow - You are a very happy person and give good advice to those who are down.

2. If your initial is:
A-K You have a lot of love and friendships in your life.
L-R You try to enjoy your life to the maximum & your love life is soon to blossom.
S-Z You like to help others and your future love life looks very good..

3. If you chose:
Black: Your life will take on a different direction, it will seem hard at the time but will be the best thing for you, and you will be glad for the change.
White: You will have a friend who completely confides in you and would do anything for you, but you may not realize it.

4. This person is your best friend.

5. This is how many close friends you have in your lifetime.

6. If you chose:
Flying: You like adventure.
Driving: You are a laid back person.

7. If you chose:
Lake : You are loyal to your friends and your lover and are very reserved.
Ocean: You are spontaneous and like to please people.

8. This wish will come true.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Willingness - Pt 1

We all know people who are willing to jump in and participate in things. Sometimes the purpose is quite casual and other times it is for a very important cause. Being willing can be an admirable trait. This does mean you are setting yourself up for the opportunity to succeed, to fumble through, or even, but hopefully not, to fail in what you are doing. When we say "I'm in on this", we ultimately don't know what the path will bring.

There were many who said "I'm in on this" throughout the Bible. Read this passage - Mark 1:1-9

You gotta love the Book of Mark. It is from a regular man's view. The shortest gospel book is straight up. Real talk for real people. We are going to look at John the Baptist for this post.

You don't find it here, but in Luke 1, John's parents, Elizabeth and Zacharias, were described as childless and past their time of being able to conceive. They were God fearing people - rock solid believers of their day - Zacharias was a priest in the Temple. They had told God "I'm in on this". John was miraculously conceived and born into this Godly home. His parents were full of the Spirit of God and prophesied. John grew up a PK.

At some point in his life, John decided to say "I'm in on this" to God. It had to come to that - no one could decide it for him. It was prophesied of John that he was to be a prophet of the Highest, preparing His way, imparting the knowledge of Salvation... Wow! What an honor! What a calling! What a ministry!

Dare I say that I think that John's "ministry" did not go the way he imagined it would. Yes, he was willing, but did he envision life in the desert, eating bugs and bee jelly, wearing camel hair clothing and looking like a wild man? His spirit grew strong and he cried out for people to repent and be baptised, but many thought he was kind of scary, or maybe on the nutty side. This was not how the religion of the day looked or acted.

How long was this to go on? When would the time come for him to proclaim the way of the Lord? Well, it did come...and it is covered in Mark 1:1-9. All that preparation in his life leading up to such a brief moment in time - the water baptism of the Christ. How long did that take? Maybe 5 minutes? The next time you hear about John is in Mark 6 which recounts how he had been taken prisoner and killed at King Herod's command.

I see several important lessons in John's life and in his example of his willingness. These are soul-searching, motive-analyzing questions:
1 - Time is needed to prepare for service to God. What's my priority - am I still willing?
2 - It doesn't matter how much time a work lasts. Each is an integral position that someone must fill. Few missions will cover a lifetime, most of them are for short seasons. Is my pride in the way - am I still willing?
3 - It won't always make sense how God is going to accomplish His purpose through you but He sees the big picture and you can trust Him. Where's my faith - am I still willing?
4 - There will be people who won't understand what you do for Him. They may make fun of you or even hate you for what you are doing. What do I believe - am I still willing?
5 - The ultimate sacrifice may be in your future. You could die because of your commitment to your God. Do I desire God's truth and righteousness to prevail - am I still willing?

There will be more posts on this topic. Maybe the next one will be about Ruth.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Glorious carrots

I finally harvested my carrots. That sounds impressive, doesn't it? It's just the opposite, really. I mean, it's not like I had a successful garden this year. Everything I planted in the ground petered out on me. No onions, no peppers, no tomatoes. My lettuce grew in a planter, but is was not that tasty. The beets did nothing but grow big greens - eeuw - not a beet green fan. So my last hope for home grown produce were my carrots.

You probably remember seeing ones that were picked a few weeks ago. They tasted fabulous! I cut them up and put them in our big dinner-sized salads. No store bought carrot ever tasted so good.

My dad said that carrots take a long time to grow. I wanted to wait as long as possible before I picked them. Now that we're getting frosty at night, I thought it was time. Here's the rest of what I wound up with...


Container gardening is an interesting concept. It definately has it's drawbacks. Seed gets planted in a small area so it gets packed in tightly. I have rabbits in my yard, so I wanted to keep the leafy greens up on the porch. The containers seemed like the perfect solution. I think I have to continue to experiment with this before I get it right!

Regardless, I was so excited to pull my carrots out of the dirt and see what was there. I had 28 carrots remaining. They are of varying sizes but they all smelled so carroty-good! After washing them up and lining them up in a camera-ready row, here's what I harvested...


Aren't they awesome!?!?!? The smallest one doesn't even really qualify as a bite of food! But it is a carrot! And that one looks like a headless, legless body... a carrot! There's one that is kinda spiraled and most of them are pretty normal looking. All carrots! My carrots!! Have I said it enough times before? I'll say it again - It doesn't take much to make me happy!

I'm not sure there are even enough here to make a carrot cake! That was alot of work and growing time for a couple dozen carrots. They will taste awesome in a couple of dinners, though. If it was the year 1820 and I were trying to stock my root cellar for the winter, my family would definately not make it til Spring. I will try gardening again next year. Maybe I can grow enough for a main course and a dessert!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Legal Lingo


Scofflaw

scoff-law [skawf-law]
–noun
1. a person who flouts the law, esp. one who fails to pay fines owed.
2. a person who flouts rules, conventions, or accepted practices.

This is mostly identified with people who get traffic tickets and don't plead, or go to traffic court and get their infraction resolved. The DMV then flags your license with Scofflaw, so the cops can take appropriate action if they find you.

Why does the legal world always have to be so ominous? Because it is constantly dealing with right and wrong. Mostly convincing people who are wrong, although they think they are right, that they are actually wrong.

If you need a lawyer, then seek one out. But if it is in your control, it is better to keep your nose clean, and do not be a scofflaw!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The best (blanks) ever...were made by (blank)

Let me fill in this for you before the imaginations run wild. "The best pies ever...were made by my grandmother." We can all fill in accordingly. We all have our cooking heroes that we adore. But, it is a no-contest answer for me...and everyone in my family who ate them would agree... Grandma's pies were it.

She could cook great meals, but her baking was amazing. I never saw her use a recipe. She just threw in some of this and that, and then added enough liquid until it felt right. Rolled it, pricked it, baked it in her anciently old oven. It's unbelievable really, since baking is so fiddley and exact. Her crust was flaky and tender and whatever she chose to put inside was always perfectly spiced. Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

I don't know if anyone learned the pie secrets from her. There were no special ingredients, no family recipe handed down from generation to generation. I seem to remember flour, lard, salt, and water. The measurements? Your guess is as good as mine. She only had a son and a daughter and I know my Dad didn't learn how to make her pies! Did my aunt? I don't know. She never seemed like a baker type; I don't remember ever eating a pie made by her. I made an apple pie today (GF of course) and couldn't help but reminisce about Grandma.

Somehow, she knew how to make things special. The pie is in the oven...what do we do with that leftover dough? Make cinnamon sticks with it, of course! These were way better than cinnamon toast or cinnamon rolls. They were made with her crust, afterall! I attempted to make some with my leftover pie crust.



I know, they don't look like much, but they are really good! Here's what to do.
Take your leftover crust, shape it into a rectangle. Dot butter along the center out towards the edge, but not all the way to the edge. Top with sugar and cinnamon. Roll into a tube. Pinch ends closed. Place on baking sheet and cook until golden brown. When you take it out, you can cut it into circles (like cookies) or leave as a log. Eat it nice and warm with a big glass of cold milk.

Try it - You won't be disappointed! Maybe you will become the one who makes the best (blank) ever.

Birthdays and anniversaries


Today is the big day! The family's October events celebration. We have SEVEN birthdays or anniversaries to party over. Yes, SEVEN. That's the equivalent of someone being born or married every 4.3 days during the month! But next year it will be EIGHT events, since one baby was just born this year, but he will have to wait to join in on this party.

So here is my post of joy to all you October people..........
Mar. Happy birthday! Sorry my present was so late!
Norm. Happy birthday, BIL!
Renee. Happy birthday! Half way there to baby time!
Laura & Nick. Happy anniversary! I still have to get over to see your house!
Dad. Happy birthday! You are the best; I love you so much!
Bob & Melissa. Happy anniversary! Love you guys!
Bob. Happy birthday, my brother!
and last, but not least.......
Ethan. Welcome to this world! See you at Christmas.

Now it's time to make a pie for the party. ttfn

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

50's Pink

I don't know exactly why, but the era from 1955 to 1964 seems to be the perfect time in history. Maybe because people had more dignity and respect. Could be the last ten years that the nation was actually God-fearing as a whole. Or the incredible cars that were made. Innocence and doing right was good. Pink and turquoise were the "in-colors". You have to admit, they just don't make stuff like that anymore.

My love of the 50's mostly stays in the kitchen. Take a look at these babies:



I found them at an antique store in Vermont. They weren't too expensive because they had a little bit of rust on the base of one of the canisters, so I snatched 'em up. Once they were in my house, I cleaned them (don't have a cow, they aren't valuable) and started using them in my cupboard to hold stuff like boxes of Jello and tea bags and egg noodles. Well, that's not what they house now. I actually have flour (GF of course) in the flour tin, white sugar in the sugar tin, brown sugar in the coffee tin and baking soda in the tea tin. OK, I know, it's not exactly right, but it's the way I like it!

Now, check out this stuff:



These came along after I started picking up various 50's kitchen items. It all started with the Kitchenaid 325 watt stand mixer. My wonderful boss found it and got it for me for my birthday one year. I almost passed out when I saw it! What a gift! It has proudly stayed on my counter ever since. When I saw the blender for sale at Kohls, it was a must-get. Every Kitchenaid appliance needs a friend! The yellow timer and the turquoise toothpick holder came out of storage and made their homes next to the big boys.

The latest find at Target:



Can you believe they were selling pink pots and pans? I couldn't, until I bought them! Now that the inside of my cabinets looks like a 50's cadillac with all that pink and chrome in there, I just can't help but smile when I cook. It doesn't take much to make me happy!

There is more nostalgia to share with you, but it will be another post. I have to remove my ham steak from my pink pan and drain my peas from my chrome pot. Ta ta for now!

Stampin Up party

If you missed the party last night, you missed a whole lotta fun. We had eight ladies all stamping and talking and just having a fun & creative night out!

At the next party in November, we will be making Christmas cards. It's going to be another great night. More details to come soon!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Little Eliana

Do you want someone to pray for? Some friends of ours had a baby girl early Sunday morning, and today she's having open heart surgery. See her beautiful pictures and read about her story here: http://chadclem.com/

We are all praying for her to get through this surgery, and be a testimony for God throughout her life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Alias names

I thought this was really fun! We can make up alias names. Try it!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car)

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fav ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put “The” in front)

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)

9. SWEETIE-PIE NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne, favorite candy)

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names)

What's your alias?

Color


Color is everywhere. We perceive it easiest with our eyes, but color is in sound, it is in an emotion, it is in our very being. We take color for granted...it surrounds us constantly. If you are sighted, you have a perception of what color is.

How can you hear a color? I'm not really sure how it happenes, but it does, or else we would never have heard of an entire music genre called "The Blues". A happy sounding song might be perceived as yellow. We also know what it means if someone describes a band, or music, as being "dark".

Marketers are experts on using color to get you to do what they want. Fast food restaurants are full of brightly colored decor, like red and yellow. These colors excite your emotions and cause you to eat faster and open up the tables for more diners. Blue has been proven to be calming, and orange (blue's compliment) is not.

I have been thinking about this concept for some time. I think it warrants more study. My favorite color is dark purple. That color means something to my being. What is your favorite color?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Artistic Frenzy

I have been in a card making frenzy lately. Maybe it's my new stamp sets, or the change of the season, or the fact I need to give away a bunch of them real soon so the need for them is great. Yesterday, my desk was chaotic but I managed to squeeze out 20 cards out of the mess. Yes, that's right, tuh-whun-tee.

One thing I like to do is make one design in a whole bunch of different colors. It amazes me to see the same layout and design with each one, technically the same, yet saying something unique. A red card is going to invoke a different reaction than a green one or a purple one. Some people like yellow, but others are drawn to blue.

A fun thing about creating is being able to give the finished piece to someone. I already know who will get the green card, and who will flip over the turquoise one.

When a card is finished and I am satisfied enough with the results to pass it on to a recipient, the creative cycle is complete. Artists have a need to create, but what good is it if you cannot pass it on? Passion drives you to develop your skills, but we eventually have to have purpose.

The incredible painter, Helen Van Wyk, would say on her teaching programs, "No one will ever appreciate the labor intensity behind your work. Once you can accept that, being an artist is tolerable. I will take hours to complete your piece, but that will never be realized by anyone except you. Your work will speak for itself." Even as accomplished as she was, she spoke from experience. There's alot to learn from her words. She created with passion and with purpose.

What is your frenzy? Where is your passion? Is it in music, dance, cooking, design, crafts, painting, writing? Have you found a purpose?

Now I have to start thinking about battening down for the night. My alarm will be set for get-up-when-it's-still-dark obnoxiously early tomorrow so I can get to church an hour before the doors open for the C3 conference. Why? All I can say is "choir practice". So much for sleeping in on a day off from work. At least there is a purpose involved! Ta-ta.....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Creative chaos

I love creativity. It is so much a part of who I am that I don't realize how much it shows. The upside of it is having something come from it. When the creative sparks fly, you gotta start the fire! Sometimes that fire will make chaos. Take a look at my workspace to see what I mean (click on the picture for a bigger view):


I have to admit, there's not a lot of wiggle room on it right now. There are a whole lot of sparks flying, though!

At the end, when you wind up with something like this coming out of all that chaos,

it is all worth it.

The next Stampin' Up party is on October 21st at 7 p.m. If you want more information, leave me a message. We'd love to have you there!
Let's be creative together. . . but with less chaos.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Calling all creative Christ-followers

If you are interested in creative ministry, this is the conference you need to get to: http://creativepastors.com/c3upstate.php

My church is holding an incredible conference on Monday, and you can read what Pastor Buddy has to say about it here: http://www.buddycremeans.com/

We have amazing opportunities in the age of communication. Consider attending C3. Come out and be charged up. I will be there!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why....

...is gasoline $3.39 in Clifton Park and $3.61 in Latham?
...when we would get the reports of the price of oil going up and see it reflected at the pump, sometimes more than once a day, but we do not see the same process as the price goes down?
...does Sparkie not care about any of his toys until you pick one up and say it's yours?
...is it so hard to get up on on a work day and so hard to sleep in on a day off?
...do the papers you need to get your hands on seem to magically disappear and then show up again when you don't need them anymore?
...does every incoming line of the phone ring at the same time?
...are "green" shopping totes made out of not-"green" plastic?
Why?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Dear Beloved one...

Did you ever get those e-mails where someone from a far away place tells you that if you can help them release eight hundred million pounds, they will share it with you? Come on, honestly! Those spams are getting REALLY old. And why are you calling me a beloved one? Is it because you have no idea what my name is? And if you are some hot shot banking professional in London, why in the world do you think I can be of any assistance to you? They are crazy bits of bait, aren't they?

I am wondering how similiar those spams are with our prayers. Hey God, I got this really incredible thing in mind, but I can't pull it off unless you pull some strings for me. I will call you by the cookie cutter name that everyone else calls you, if you don't mind. Hey, I'll even share my good fortunes with you if you come through. He's not impressed with any of that. God isn't a genie in a bottle. His Word never promised instant blessing or an easy path.

He did say that He would be with us always, and that His word would give us wisdom and understanding to get through this life. Sometimes it doesn't take much wisdom to figure out what is true and what is bait.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mouse damage

This is a deceptive title, actually. We do not have mice in the house. The only one we did have was promptly zero-ed in on by our trio of cats (when we still had a trio). They were acting all attentive in the back room, looking behind a little stand in the corner. When I went to investigate, sure enough, there was a teeny grey house mouse under the tv stand. Well, Tiki wound up with the prize and did not want to let that little thing go. But in favor of him not eating it and leaving bloody guts on the floor as a provisionary act of love so we too could have a snack later, we pryed his mouth open enough to get the scared little creature out of his mouth, and set him free in the forever wild area behind our house. He was probably the same mouse that made nests in the motor of our riding lawn mower and set up his winter penthouse suite in the box that stores the plastic holy family lawn figurines that I set up in the front yard at Christmas time. That's what you get when you try to be nice to rodents.

I am talking about our cat. She has some weird ideas about how her daily life is supposed to pan out. When I found her, she was a wee little kitten up for adoption by a shelter. We have been pretty good at finding decent, homeless pets from shelters, Mouse included. She was so small and cute and I couldn't go home without her, which was ok because I was looking for a kitten that day. She really bonded with Vince. He would pick her up and let her sprawl out on his desk while he talked to her and pet her. Since she liked being on the desk so much, we decided to call her Mouse because she would lay on the keyboard of the computer and be right at home. As she grew bigger, this was no longer possible. I think this will explain why...

She is a big girl! Can you imagine that laying across your keyboard? And she always thinks about how she will get on one of the desks to hang out. Only this time, it was my desk she jumped onto when it was covered with craft stuff, and in a panic she peeled out across my keyboard and popped the letter "C" key off of my keyboard. Vince was able to get it back on, crookedly. Have you ever played Scrabble? Do you have trouble finding a way to get rid of the letter "C"? You don't realize how many times you use it until you are typing something. So far, in this post, I had to use that one little cock-eyed key 30 something times.

Nevertheless, Mouse is a loving and sweet kitty. If you pet her, she'll be your friend for life. She is fluffy and soft and has the biggest, whitest wiskers on her pretty little face. This is the only Mouse damage I can put up with in my house.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Memorization -pt 3

As you have read in previous posts, I have been wanting to memorize verses. The best book to do that out of is the Book of Proverbs! So for the last week, I have been reading the Proverb that falls on the day's date, and have been taking note of the one verse (or the few verses) that pops off the page at me as the one I want to remember.

The interesting thing is I don't seem to remember them very well, if at all. Another interesting thing is I find myself thinking about these popping verses while I am ready to drift off to sleep and can come up with what they are, only not perfectly yet. Is there something to that? Is the quietness of the evening a help to be able to process the Word better? There is a definate advantage in being quiet and getting still when focusing on God. "Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." -Psalm 46:10

Well, today there were about four verses that popped at me so my brain will have to work overtime on remembering them all. I will share the one that sums them up:
"For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge and understanding" -Prov 2:6
In days like these, how can we not look to Him for wisdom, knowledge and understanding? It is so important to remember that He is our Source.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Tree

This isn't about the beautiful colors of fall, or about a Stampin' Up stamp set, or about my dead maple with the mushrooms growing on it in my back yard. It is about a verse that has been kicking around in my mind for the last few months.

"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." ~Psalm 1:3

I foresee a study on The Tree in my future! What are these words telling you?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yummm

Pumpkin nut muffins with a buttery struesel topping. Gluten free, of course.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Memorization -pt 2

I was thinking about this a little more. There's alot of methods to help with memorization. Here's a few:
* You can write it down and look at it over and over. I've tried that.
* Read it and then close your eyes and say it, then look again, and say it.
* There is the association method to assist rememberance.
* In order to not flunk out of physics class, I even tried tape recording the stuff and playing the recording while I slept to sink it in subconsciously. This method does not work. I dropped physics in the first semester after getting a 32% on a test!

Nothing is a perfect formula, in my opinion.

I don't know if memorization is as simple as some may say it can be. There must be more to it. How do you memorize something?

Oh, my verse that popped today is "A house is built on wisdom, and is established on understanding". Prov. 24:3

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Garden goods

In May, I got all ambitious and planted, if that is what you want to call it, a garden. I put in peppers, tomatoes, onions, and some herbs in the ground. I figured I would probably be able to make a pot or two of sauce with the pickings. The plants had other plans, though. Nothing grew for me...except the weeds, of course.

Since there wasn't a huge plot of earth to plant stuff in, I gathered together my biggest, deepest containers and planted stuff in them too. In a long one I put lettuce seeds and I did have lettuce grow in it. The seedlings came up like there was no tomorrow but there were way too many of them competing for space so a bunch of them died out and I got enough lettuce for two bowls of dinner salads. *sigh*

A few years ago, I purchased a fica tree for our living room. When I got it home and hundreds of teeny ants started coming out of the huge pot it was planted in, the whole thing went outside. Then the tree died and the pot has been sitting plantfree in the shed. As I was planting, I had a great idea for that pot.

Since the pot was big, round and deep, I put carrot and beet seeds in it. The beets didn't do anything except make big greens, so I pulled them all out. The carrots have been growing! Every time I look at them and see their little orange tops in the dirt, I get so excited. My dad told me that carrots take a long time to grow. Well, the anticipation got the best of me today and I pulled one. Isn't it the cutest thing you ever saw? It smells so good too. I can't quite get myself to cut it yet. It is in the fridge staying cool. After all, I grew it from a little seed and look at it now! I will be patient, and leave the others in place to continue to grow and will pick them when they are more mature.

Although most of my gardening efforts failed, I still have hope for my pot full of carrots. This story kind of reminds me of a parable of Jesus. Know which one?

Check it out

My niece, Laura, has just started up her own blog. Fun! She claims that reading my blog had something to do with her wanting to start one. Wow!

So, check it out. Her blog is in my list of favorites as Laura's Thoughts. Let's welcome Laura to blog-land!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A new favorite

I was driving home from rehearsal tonight and heard a spectacular song on the radio. You can hear it here. The band's name is Tait and the name of the song is Lose This Life. I'm thinking I'm gonna have to download some of their stuff!
We all feel lost in the dead of night, drifting like a satellite spinning out of control sometimes and need to lose our life so we can find it again.
Anyone ever hear them before?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Five years ago

In 2003, there were some memorable events in our lives. Here they are.....
I was working for one year at my current job, and learning alot being in a law office.
On April 1st, we purchased our house! Yes, it was April fools day and I hoped that meant that it was a joke that we had to pay our mortgage, but the bank didn't see the humor in that idea.
Vince and I had our 7th anniversary a month later.
It was also the year that we got Mouse.

Get a load of those wiskers! She has the longest, whitest wiskers I have ever seen on a kitty. Give her some attention and she'll be your best friend for life.
What did 2003 hold for you?

Monday, September 15, 2008

One year ago

One year ago, my hubby and I were just starting out with the worship group at our church. I will never forget how tremendously nervous we were. As a matter of fact, we could hardly sleep at night waiting for what was to come.

Our first "gig" was in our home location in Clifton Park. Kevin led, and we were just kinda frozen up there, deer-in-the-headlights, on stage doing our thing. After way too many years of not playing for services, it was a little bit scary to dive back in again.

What a difference from then to now! We have met tremendous people and have had the opportunity to play in front of hundreds for each service. Our set lists have covered everything from the old hymns of the faith to heavy metal. Who would have ever guessed?

None of this would matter at all if it weren't for the higher purpose. We have also been a witness to hundreds of people choosing Christ and getting baptized. We were there when a new location opened bring the campuses from two to three, and when the original campus closed (awaiting constuction) bringing the campuses back down to two. We have been able to serve the lost and encourage the found.

We just want more of God, more fellowship with the believers, more souls saved. The awesome thing is: there is more of God to have, and more friendships to develop, and certainly more seed to be sown and more harvest to reap. God is just so good... all the time!

What was happening in your life a year ago?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Creativity

I was talking to some ladies the other day. The subject of creativity came up. One of them said she thinks of me when she thinks about being creative, which sort of surprised me. I don't think of myself as that creative, I guess. After all, I know people who are more creative than I am. I shared how my mother taught me many outlets creativity. She is an artist herself and we still share our crafts with each other. (I love you Mom!)

It got me thinking about what it is about making things that I enjoy so much. Is it the process? Not necessarily. There are enough PFO's in my house that I am embarassed to even divulge how many there truly are. And, yes, there are more than the three I shared with you in my post about it in July. Is it the fact that I have time on my hands to do the things I do? No. I know of people with plenty of time on their hands and absolutely no interest in making anything, ever!

Then I started to come up with it. We are created beings. We have been fearfully and wonderfully made. Our Creator made all things out of the darkness and the deep. There was a whole lotta nothing sitting out there. With His vision, and through His words, all things were made! The finished results of His six days of creation had meaning and purpose and beauty. Doesn't that get you excited? It gets me excited!

So when I look at my pattern, my pile of yarn and my knitting implements (needles or machine), I see a whole lot of nothing sitting there as they are on their own. They are useless when left alone. When I start making the knots and putting the individual pieces together, I come up with a finished product that has purpose and meaning and beauty. This same result is true when someone plays music, or bakes a cake, or writes a story, or plants a garden or paints a room. It's awesome! Everyone is creative in some way. It is a reflection of our Father's character. The created one creating.

That being said, here's a project in the works. My honey has asked me to make him a really long blanket. The ones in the stores are too short to tuck over his shoulders and under his feet at the same time. A job like this calls for the knitting machine!











As you can see, I am about half done with it. This blanket is about 9 feet long and is coming out great! It'll be a nice birthday present!

So that's my take on being creative. It is something I will always embrace. Let me encourage you to embrace it as well, creative ones.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chilly night

As I opened the side door last night to let Sparkie out to "do his business" for the last time before bedtime, I was very surprised to feel how much chill was in the air. I know that it is September, and that the first day of autumn is coming quick, and that the darkness of night is upon us before 8:00 p.m., but it still took me by surprise.

We have been debating as to whether or not the air conditioners should be put away yet. I think the probability of a hot and humid streak is pretty much over, but my better half is thinking there is a chance we might need them one more time. With a window unit in the bedroom, that chilly air was able to creep in and reminded us of the nip in the night.

Nights like that make me want to bake muffins or buy apple cider. It reminds me that the leaves will be showing off their wonderful colors of fall, but afterwards they WILL fall . . . all over my yard! It gets me thinking about how I am going to dress Sparkie up for Halloween this year. It gets me to bring out my favorite sweaters and toasty warm clothes.

No matter how much it doesn't seem like summer should be over, or that we will be changing our clocks back in less than two months, or that we will be seeing Christmas stuff in the stores soon, time marches on. It's time to face it - summer's over. There will be many more chilly nights to come.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Shore thoughts


For two summers, I had the opportunity to live by the Jersey shore. For good reasons, I think about being there at this time of the year.

In the summer, the shore is a very busy place, as you can imagine. Scads of people go there to vacation at the ocean. The locals accept this since it is a wondrous treasure that the state can offer. Business is good. It's kinda like the Christmas shopping season for the department stores.

But from Labor day to Memorial day, it is a different story. The streets get back to normal, the lifeguards are gone, the boardwalk is still, except the occasional jogger or lady walking her dog. The beach looks so beautiful, so natural. It's no longer overrun with bikini-clad girls or body-boarding guys. Now you can actually walk quietly on the sand, pick up shells, listen to the never ending sound of the waves and the call of the gulls. It's priceless.

Living at the shore for two summers was a season in my life so long ago, but it deposited a song in me. A song that I can hear as the days grow shorter and the air gets chilled. The song of the sea. I love the ocean!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hot September

The summer might be technically over, but it is going to be a HOT month! The temperatures are summer like, the Stampin' Up class is going to be amazing, there are fabulous people in my life who I will be celebrating their birthday with. Hot stuff!

Labor day (and I still can't figure out why it's called that since there are so many who work on that holiday) is over, the Schaghticoke Fair has closed up for another year, we can't figure out how to get a Tilt A Whirl (since they are going for a cool $350,000) to keep that fair-feeling in our yard. At least Sparkie has not found any ticks or face worms this year, although he has been known to have a flea from time to time. My honey has the worst allergies right now than I've seen in a long time. Can you say "face mask"?

Regardless of all that, I still love the month of September. There's something clean and fresh about it. A time to get back into routine. A time to focus on the last few months of the year. A time to embrace the cool nights and start to prepare for the winter. Good bye summer - hello hot September.