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 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


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


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


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 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 come back again!