Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

Folks everywhere are talking about their resolutions for the New Year, and I must admit that such thoughts for myself are running round in circles in my brain this week. I tend to look at the New Year as a time for new beginnings, time to take stock in how I lived my life in the past year and make corrections in the places where I seemed to get off course, be it spiritually, physically, nutrition wise or in accomplishing things I had set out to. I seem to take a more serious inventory of my spiritual direction in the fall.... Yom Kippur is my day of reflection, however January 1, is a time for new direction in many ways.
So many folks over indulge during the Christmas season. Eat too much, spend too much, and end up with lots of remorse for letting loose of the reins. It seems a bit strange as I write this, that Christmas, the very day we celebrate the extremely humble birth of a very humble Savior that we take that as a time to over indulge. The connection to the two seems so far off the mark.
I do wonder so often how it is that we who call ourselves Christians have managed to put humble living so low on the scale of how to live. We even find ways to justify our need for "high end" living. What ever happened to living Christ like ? Hard to find that sort of mentality in a church that feels the need to cater to our senses and seeking to entertain us as if we were at the theater.
It is hard to hear that small still voice when the music is blaring and the lights are flashing.
This new year, I am going to seek first to love one another more, to live life with a purpose far beyond gaining material wealth. To continue on this path of simple living, not because its cool or the thing to do, but re-commit to the reasons we chose this path in the first place. To live humbly, seeking first the Kingdom of God and letting God give us what He sees we need or should have.
I know the story of a young man, who thought wealth was the thing to make him important, yet in the process, lost his soul. Oh he said the right things in church etc but his family knew the truth of his walk. His children grew and had anger in their hearts for the hypocrisy of it all. They saw his need to impress as a huge joke. His children resented him, grew cold and just as you might expect they married poorly in rebellion to their father. The father and the mother grew old and lonely. As the years had passed, the father realized he had sown amid the weeds and the harvest was poor. Seeking out material gain had little reward in the end. His final years were spent in loneliness surrounded by things that had little importance in the end.
Soon the seed catalogs will be arriving in the mail. Too early to plant, but time to plan.
Just as it is for us now to prepare for sowing the seeds of life. We need to plan our gardens well.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Winter Greens

Last night the temperature dipped low in the 20's F. The house was a chilly 59 when we woke up this morning, making it difficult to climb out of a toasty warm bed. In no time, we had a fire blazing in the stove. How good it felt.
Doing chores just now reminded me that I need to have winter gloves in my coat pocket from now on. Cold fingers are not much fun. I gathered eggs, took time to look around and then headed to the garden to pick winter greens for supper. It is a blessing to be able to eat from the garden most of the winter.
Once again, its time to get the fire blazing as the evening draws close.

After Christmas

The house is quiet and I am feeling the need to put the holiday away and create a bit of starkness in the house. I suspect the weather greatly influences my mood. The bare trees, the shades of gray, contrasted by a red cardinal, bright berries on a bush, a sturdy rose that refuses to admit the season. This is a time for me to sit in reflection, ponder the great mysteries of life while looking out the window, gray clouds hanging low in the late December sky. Ice on fence posts and wood smoke circling and dancing in the winter winds. It is a time of the year I love, its moody, artistic in nature.

I am reading once again the book by the Dalai Lama titled, "Becoming Enlightened". It makes you think deeply about your own spiritual walk. In the 4th chapter there is a paragraph that I cannot get out of my mind...."In Tibetan the word for "religion" is cho, which means to adjust, to improve, to change for the better. The basic idea is to transform that which produces pain, to overcome our unruly attitudes.." Apply that concept to Christianity and you would have a major revival. Far less judging others and far more deeply and profoundly content people. Imagine if we honestly believed that God gave us the Bible as a gift to help us live a life with less pain and suffering here and now. We would live in far less fear, far less worry over meeting some standard. We would understand that Jesus spoke each and every word to help us live in greater harmony and overcome the thoughts and actions that cause us pain. We would see the love in the words, not have to sit through sermons of hell fire and brimstone, or jump up and down in some frenzied state. We would, with a deep and abiding peace work with joy to overcome our angry thoughts, our grudges towards others, our nasty attitudes about waiting 2o minutes in line. Our resentments would melt away when we realized they do not serve us in any way. If I thought about the words of God in such a way, as guides to transform the very things that eat at me and the relationships in my life, I would begin to live in such a way that the present, the very moment I am in would be the most important thing. Redemption would be at hand as Jesus said. We would judge one another so much less since we would be working on our own unruly attitudes. We would live happier lives and those around us would be happier too.

Much to think about.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas day, filled with the blessings of love, peace and deep and abiding joy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dolls for the girls are done !

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

This is wonderful and reminds me of my childhood, it was this very Golden book that I read so many times that I have the entire poem memorized. What memories have been stirred by seeing these illustrations ! Happy Christmas to all !

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One More Cookie Baking Day

After heading out this morning for a breakfast date with Melanie and the children, we came home and decided to have one more cookie baking day. What fun we had. We let Mei-Ling do all the decorating of the gingerbread bears and people by herself and she did a great job. She has enough baking with Grammie experience to know how to roll out the dough and cut the cookies out without any help. How I love to see her eyes light up with joy as she works in the kitchen. I know, that the long tradition of bakers in the family will be continued.
Yen was more than happy to sit in his chair and watch us. Smiling and laughing the whole time.
Melanie made some cute reindeer cookies using red hearts for mouths, pretzels for antlers, and mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Shall We Give The Children ?

What shall we give the children ?
Christmas is almost here.
Toys and games and playthings,
As we do every year ?
Yes, for the magic of toyland
Is part of the Yuletide lore
To gladden the hearts of childhood,
But I shall give something more.
I shall give them patience,
A more sympathetic ear,
A little more time for laughter,
Or tenderly dry a tear.
I shall take time to teach them
The joy of doing some task,
I'll try to find more time to answer
More of the questions they ask.
Time to read books together,
And take long walks in the sun,
Time for a bedtime story,
After the day is done,
I shall give these to my children,
Weaving a closer tie,
Knitting our lives together
With gifts that money can't buy.

~Source unknown~

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Busy Season

Papa was outside working on a little gnome home for the grand-children to play with. We had recently cut some large branches off of the apricot trees and had to cut down a mulberry tree, so what better to do with the wood than to make a little house. There is still a hammock and swing to be hung and fences to be put around one level, but I wanted to share how it was coming along.
I just love this time of the year, when we make gifts from our hearts and hands. There may even be a bridge added by the time we finish this little gnome home.

Two Waldorf Babies Done

The little ones are done and ready to be wrapped and put under the tree

Yen's Waldorf Doll

I finished Yen's little doll for Christmas, he is a roly poly doll, which makes it easy of for little hands to grab hold of. I have Victoria's baby about 3/4 done and then on to finish the big girls dolls. Nothing better for a child's toy than a warm doll to snuggle up with.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Simplicity 8916

Here is the pattern number for those that wanted it. I think you can still get it but it has a different number than the one I have. Here is the Simplicity link for it

Aprons Are Done

Now just to wrap them and put them under the tree !
The photo shows the front of one apron and the back of the other. I really enjoyed making them except sewing tiny black bias tape is not my favorite color to work with late at night : )

Friday, December 17, 2010

Little Girl Aprons

When my girls were little, my mothers best friend made them aprons using the same pattern. The girls loved them and so didn't I. Kept their dresses clean when they were helping me in the kitchen, when they were painting or eating at a fellowship dinner at church.
So now, I make the very same aprons for my little grand-treasures. I found the cutest busy bee fabric which just seemed perfect for two little busy bee's that love to help their mommies in the kitchen.

Looks like they will be done in plenty of time for Christmas, wrapped up under the tree, made with love by Grammie.

December Weather

Deep in my veins runs Yankee blood, and that blood loves to feel cold air. My senses love winter. To smell the smoke coming from a chimney, mixed with how mittens smell when drying on the radiator after a long afternoon playing in the snow. I love the sound your footsteps make when you walk down a snow packed pathway. And nothing...nothing at all tastes as good to me as hot chocolate with a spoonful of Fluff on top after shovelling snow. Yet, with all this love of snow, I am living in a state that has very little snow in winter, some years none at all.
I come alive in cold weather as if the summer heat had cast a sleepy spell on me, with the first cold north wind waking me.
This morning as I took my little walk, I watched three squirrels playing chase around the trunk of the big old pecan tree next door, and watched the December sky change by the moment as the upper winds tossed and turned the clouds. My eyes dictating my next step. Mistletoe in two trees, too high up to pick...a sigh. How pretty it would look hung up with a bright red ribbon in the doorway of the dinning room. Emery steps out the back door to see what I am looking at, of course I tell him that the tree has mistletoe in it and how pretty it is. He smiles, takes me in his arms and kisses me. It is mistletoe ! We smile, mine that contented, "aren't I lucky" sort of smile, but his smile is all boy, the smile you might find on the face of a 13 year old boy that stole his first Christmas kiss. I love it. Our bodies seem to be growing older but our hearts are ever so young, at times feeling uncomfortable with how our minds and joints do not seem to be in one accord. We don't leap fearlessly from rock to rock when we are hiking now a days, but show caution. I haven't skipped across the yard laughing loudly as often, not because I can't, but because I think about that bursitis I had in my knee a while back. Just writing that makes me want to head outside and skip anyway. Why not !
This December weather, cold this morning, makes me want to make snow angels and skate on a pond, but alas there is no snow and the only ice I know close by, is in my freezer.
I am thankful for a life that is uncomplicated, free to dream, to think, to be myself. To be able to have the time to watch squirrels and kiss under the mistletoe with the man of my dreams. To let the wind carry my laugh and to head out the back door and skip across the yard, forgetting altogether that most 56 year old women don't do such things.
Life is abundantly wonderful !

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Poem..."This Christmas Season Let Us Try"

just click the link above to read a wonderful poem by a dear Amish woman by the name of Emma Lapp, found in her book, "Getting Ready For Christmas.

Saint Lucia in Sweden

So many wonderful memories of Melissa and Melanie waking us before the sun was up on the morning of the 13th of December with a tray of hot chocolate and fresh Lussekatter. Melissa with her shining crown on her head, white gown, red bow, and Melanie as the little star child. We never remembered to have the camera ready on these occasions, but we have the memories etched in our hearts, pictures we carry with us.

Time To Make Peppermint Stick Sauce

This is a family favorite around holiday time. Easy to make and so good on a brownie sundae !

Pictures From My Morning Walk

Without ever leaving our property ~

Much To Catch Up....

In mid January, we saw the passing of my father and after nearly two years of caring for him, it was so hard to see him leave u...