Monday, December 31, 2012

ENDING OF DAYS ~ BEGINNING OF DAYS


That was the title of the message my dearest preached yesterday at the Church we attend.  Pastor Jon took the last Sunday of the year off, and ask Don to preach for him.  It was a powerful message about the transition from Moses (ending of days) to Joshua (beginning of days).  That is one of the things I miss most in retirement, is hearing my dearest preach week after week, but very thankful that Pastor Jon has him fill in from time to time.

For me, every end and beginning of a new years finds me deciding how I will read through the Bible again in a year.  The One Year Bible was my choice for 2012, and that is the Ending of Days and it's been a wonderful read.  If you are not familiar with it, each day you read a portion of the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.  At the end of the year, you have completed the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. My One Year Bible is the New Living Translation.  I'm loaning it to a friend to use for 2013.

This year I will be reading through the Bible with the Life Walk Guide, that starts in Genesis and works it way through Revelation with a daily reading schedule, a  little cometary and timeline.  Along  with my Prayer Journal, my 1000 Gift Journal.  I will be using my good old NIV that been my faithful companion for many years.

My verse for 2013 will be:

 "Look carefully then how you walk!  Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as unwise and witless, but as wise, sensible, intelligent people.  Make the very most of the time, buying up each opportunity . . . Therefore, do not be vague and thioughless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is"  Ephesians 5:15-17 (Amplified Bible)

Do you have any plans for your Spiritual Journey in 2013.  I would love to hear what yours is.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

THE STORY OF MY LIFE ~

 
 

"That's what I thought he said too. HaHa."   Wearing hearing aids for the past 15 years, do I ever relate to this.  It's the story of my life but the best way to deal with it is to laugh.  And I wanted us to end this year with a chuckle. 

This was a card my daughter Julie sent me last year for my birthday.   I was cleaning out my desk to start the year with all the drawers organized, and found the card, and just starting laughing, and said "This I have to share with all my Blog Girlfriends"
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR ~
ENJOY ACCESSORIZING AND NICE SHOES....BUT A LITTLE EXERCISE AND THE RIGHT FOODS WON'T HURT EITHER!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

~ETCHED IN EVERY LINE ~

Tom and Don at Solvang several years ago.
 
Several times I've share a story or something our dear friend Tom in Texas has sent us.  He's a gifted writer and has such a way of expressing his feelings.  The following is another of his reflections on life and himself.   I'm encouraging him to open a blog, but until that happens from time to time I will share what touches me deeply from his heart and pen.
 
The older I get the more I find myself reflecting on my own life and mortality.  Here's what Tom has to say about it.
 
REFLECTION FROM TOM
Earlier today, I saw on my coffee table an assortment of coins.  A typical handful of change from my jean pocket.  One particularly caught my eye.  Since a child coins held a fascination to me.  Often, flipping through the cable channels, I pause to see what the coin channel has to offer.
 
Today's coin, though a familiar design, looked old.  It was worn, discolored, and pitted.  Closer inspection showed the date to be 1991.  I was surprised.  First by how recent the mintage was, and then after a quick calculation, how long ago 21 years was.
 
I was 41 years old.  Oh to have the luster of that coin.  It had seen some rough days, but so have I.  The deep lines in my face, the receding hairline, the almost entirely white mane, shows the age to the most casual observer.  Closer inspection demonstrates the effect of 3 strokes, the loss of 150 lbs. and a least a heartbreak or two.
 
Like the coin, I remain.  My value, I would like to think, is greater.  The history of my life is etched in every line.  I am grateful to be an old man.
 
I will share with Tom any comments you leave.
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

NEW CHRISTMAS MEMORIES MADE

New Christmas memories as our great grandsons are getting so big and it's so fun watching them enjoy the sparkle of Christmas Day.
They made me and grandpa a glass Christmas Ornament with their pictures inside, and a card with each of their hand prints.  I think this was my favorite gift.

This is our oldest grandson, Michael and his lovely wife Candice.  She is so creative and the best mom, doing all kinds of crafts with the boys.  They are the newest family in the clan now, and got their first "Christmas Basket" from Grandma's Kitchen. 

How I remember sneaking into the Hospital (after closing) so see this grandson over 25 years ago.  We are so blessed with our family, but somehow Christmas time just makes us love and appreciate them more and more.

More pictures of the rest of the grandchildren coming soon~

I hope your Christmas was full of family, blessings and love.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

CHRISTMAS WRAPPED UP WITH RIBBON AND LOVE

 
This morning my dearest brought in the folding table so I would have a place for my "Assembly Line" to make the Christmas Baskets for our adult children's families.

 
 With all the baking from the last 3 weeks, filler for the baskets, Christmas items and ribbon, I was ready to fill each basket with love, personal items, love, homemade baked goods, love, and tie it all up with Ribbon and LOVE!


Thank goodness I have neighbors with a big freezer, as my little freezer would only hold a few of these goodies.

This has been the best Christmas for me.  Listening to beautiful Christmas Carols sharing the Birth of our Savior as I baked, wrapped and got ready for tonight and tomorrow.
 
Tonight we will spend Christmas Eve with our daughter Julie and her family and tomorrow the whole "clan" will be together at our oldest daughter, Michel's home.  There will be about 20 of us and looking forward to loving on all of them big time.
 
My New Header, is all the finished Christmas Baskets.  I'm really pleased with the way the turned out.  Since none of my kids are bloggers..I won't spoil the surprise.
 
What are you doing Christmas Day?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

THE WINDOWS OF HEAVEN ARE OPEN ~

 
The Windows of Heaven opened up in Church this morning and Blessing after Blessing came down.  The first was our children putting on the Christmas Story.  Would you look at this row of Angels ~~ Just waiting to fill the sky with glorious music.

 
And since everyone in Dante's class are girls and angels...we needed a Shepherd so they would have someone to sing too..HaHa  BTW Dante is my next door neighbor and a delightful young man who loves playing with Nick and Jon when they come to Grandmas.


Then after Church, the Blessings kept falling as several others did Christmas baking and shared it with me and my dearest.  Homemade sugar cookies our Pastor's wife is famous for.  Yummy.

 
And then there's Jessica.  She just is Miss Experiment in the kitchen and tries all kinds of things for the first time.  This year one of them was a pumpkin roll, which was delicious and now homemade taffy!  You Rock Jessica.
 

 
Saving one of the best for last, I was overjoyed at the gift from Barbara and Marlin.  Her homemade scones.  Apricot, white chocolate, nut is my favorite, and she added some English Clotted Cream and Raspberry preserves and on that scone...to die for...May I say one bite, and I was floating right up to heaven!
 
 
And she added enough to last me several mornings, if Don will stay out of them. TeeHee.  No, I'll share!!!
 
I'm singing that song..."The windows of heaven are open, the blessings are falling tonight...."
 
Merry Christmas to my blog friends...you are all blessing falling into my life.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?




 
 It was cold and I was on my way into the bank to get some cash. Four young people sat huddled by the door waiting for a bus that comes just down the street. As I was getting my cash out, it seemed to me I was being prompted to give them some money. I sent up a little prayer and said Lord, am I hearing you? The prompting was even stronger so I took an extra $20 out.
 
As I stepped out the door of the bank, I stopped and ask them if they could tell me the true meaning of Christmas. One young man, thought a minute, and said Family..being with your family??   I said that's a good answer, but not the right one.
 
 I'll give you a hint. It's in the word CHRISTMAS".  His eyes lit up, and he said... Oh yeah. The night Christ was born.  I said YES, that's the right answer.  The most important birth of all time.  Now here's $20 go next door to Starbucks and get all of you a nice hot drink before the bus comes and don't forget to share what the true meaning of Christmas is..
 
What smiles and thanks you I got as they headed to Starbucks......I glad I listened to the prompting of the Lord and planted a few seeds.  Who knows who might come along in each of their lives and water, and somewhere down the road...someone just might reap a harvest.
 
Picture from googleimages.com
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Friday, December 21, 2012

BUSY FRIDAY

What was your Friday like?  Mine was quite busy.  I ran errands, picked up some last minutes items  and. . . 
 
  • Filled a Mega big Stocking for our two little great grandsons.  That was so much fun.  Can't wait to see them dig in and find the surprises.
  • Sent out another batch of Christmas Cards.  This takes me time, as I just can't sign our names...it's time for a personal note to each family.
  • Today was cold, so a bowl of hot chili beans, onions, cheese and cornbread was a good way to finish off the day.
  • Tonight, I will take a little time to visit my blogging friends, maybe watch another Christmas movie and crawl into a warm bed.  We put the electric blanket on the bed today. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SNOWING IN MY SUNNY KITCHEN

I can't stop baking!!  It's Martha's fault.  She posted making her powdered sugar cookies, and having an accident with the sugar and ending up with a powered sugar black blouse.  HaHa.  After a chuckle, I decided I would make "Sandies" and see if it would snow in my kitchen.
 
Betsy ask for the recipe so here it is!
 
SANDIES
 
1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
(I used walnuts since I have a large supply)
 
Cream butter and sugar; add 2 tsp. water and 2 tsp vanilla; mix well.  Blend in flour and nuts.  Chill 4 hours.  Shape into balls with fingers.  Bake on ungreased or parchment lined cookie sheet at  325 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove from pan; cool slightly; roll in powered sugar.  (I use a large zip top plastic bag to coat mine.)  Luckily it didn't break like Martha's and my red top is till red!! HaHa.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

When I was shaking my bag, one of the cookies broke... Oh dang, I guess I've got to eat that one!!! Mmmmm.  Yeah, it was good.  Melts in your mouth.
 
Today I'm visiting Elizabeth, so I'll take her some "snow balls"
 
What will come out of the kitchen tomorrow...stay tuned in..same time, same station.  Sending love and good smells from my kitchen to yours!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

SHEPHERD'S PIE


Last night we watched the movie "The Nativity".  It's our favorite movie on the Birth of Christ.  I love the old Shepherd in the movie, and his joy at seeing his Messiah.  In fact, thinking of shepherds, it seemed only right to make "Shepherd's Pie" for dinner tonight.

On a chilly evening it was the perfect meal before we go out carolling with our Church tonight.  I haven't been carolling since we retired, and I'm excited to visit some Rest Homes near the Church and sing those special Carols.

Keep an ear open, we'll be singing real loud ~ maybe you can catch the refrain...."Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. . . . . "

CHRISTMAS SHADOWS

The Shadow
Do you remember a few weeks ago, I showed you a shadow on my living room wall of a bird house hanging on my front porch that came through the porthole window in the front door.
 

The Door

This morning to my amazement, reindeer were prancing across my wall.  How can that be?  Yesterday while doing my roaming through the Thrift Store I saw this green metal wreath of reindeer.  I immediately thought of the port hole and thought it would fit perfectly which it did..so now I can see "Dancing Reindeer" each morning on the wall.  

It doesn't take much to amuse me or make me happy.  A $1.49 wreath at 30% off for Senior Day.  If you look, you can see joy everywhere.  Look for Joy in your Shadows today! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

YMCA CHRISTMAS POTLUCK

 
Today was the YMCA "Silver Sneakers" Christmas Potluck. I think we all enjoyed eating more than the workouts we are usually doing at this time.  A nice break, delicious food (these folks really know how to do a potluck) and joining together to sing Christmas Carols.
 
There was a drawing for two Christmas Baskets, and I bought 6 raffle tickets for $5.00 and lo and behold...one of my tickets was pulled from the bag, and I brought home this lovely Christmas Basket in the bottom picture.  It's just full of cookies, candies, crackers, candles and a bottle of wine!!  Pretty good for $5.00.
 
Got two boxes mailed off to our daughter and SIL in Oregon today, so all I have left is putting together my goodies baskets for the family.  What did you do today?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

PASTOR JON'S CHRISTMAS BASKET

 
When I saw this basket wearing a red sweater, I knew this was the basket I wanted to use for our Pastor and his family for Christmas.  It's been my tradition for years to give Goodie Baskets for gifts for Birthday, Special Events, and Christmas.


Since I gave him the basket this morning at Church, I can post a picture and not spoil the surprise.  (He checks out my blog from time to time. HaHa)

The bottom is filled with three kinds of cookies, and the little snowman has a zipper compartment, and it's filled with a bag of my English Toffee.  I added a loaf of Pumpkin-date-nut bread and a loaf of Banana chocolate chip bread.  A few gold wrapped coffee candies and a bag of Almonds.

Making Christmas Baskets is so much fun.  This week I'll be putting together the Baskets for our Adult children and their families and some close friends.

We had a wonderful Worship Service this morning and a great message of Hope from Pastor Jon at this time of darkness for so many.  Light over Darkness...For unto us a CHILD is born!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

SOMEONE REALLY LOVES CHRISTMAS

 
Making a trip to Trader Joe's today, I passed this house.  I did a double take, and said I would stop on my way home and get some pictures.


 
It's a small house but the yard is completely filled with Christmas Characters.  Some are the blow up type, other's huge stuffed animals.  Candy canes and Disney friends.
 
 
A manger scene in on the roof, and a sign that tells us "JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON"  Ice Igloo and slides.  It sure looks like a fun place for all these toys.   

 
With all the grief I've been feeling with the horrible tragedy at the Elementary School, I needed to see something happy, and take a deep breath, and say another prayer for families that won't feel happy for a long time to come and have to cope with this at Christmas Time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

WHAT A SAD, SAD DAY


How can I celebrate Christmas on my blog when so many small children have been murdered in Connecticut.  This is the worst kind of crime, and my heart is breaking for these families who have lost precious children.

 I will take a break from blogging, to join thousands who will be thinking and praying for these families.  Will you join me in prayer.


GLENDALE GALLERIA AND CHEESECAKE FACTORY


 Sometime you just need to get out of the kitchen and see some sights and lights and visit with dear friends.  That just what we did Thursday afternoon.
Time for a ride on the tram around the village square and see Santa's House.

My dearest just keeps celebrating his Birthday...Will it ever end.  We had his Party back in November so it wouldn't be in the middle of December and all the Christmas rush.  But the 14th is his Birthday, and he celebrated at the Cheesecake Factory.  They gave him a "little" Sundae with a candle, but it was the White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake that tickled my fancy.  Yummm.  Thanks for sharing dear and Happy Official Birthday.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

LOVE OUR CHRISTMAS VISITORS


Our friends from Santa Barbara are coming to visit today and go with us to the Glendale Galleria and Cheesecake Factory.

We have known Tom since college days, and they both Don and Tom celebrate 75 this year.  This picture was taken at Tom's Birthday Party.  His wife Juliana is from Holland, and I just love that she still has her accent!  This should be another delightful day!  Pictures to follow.

BTW ~ the painting on my header was a Christmas Card I designed from the Cradle to the Cross! 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

MY DEAREST IS BLOGGING AGAIN


For many years after I started blogging I encouraged my dearest to open a blog because I think he has much to offer after 50 years Ministry in Churches.  He opened one, but shortly lost interest and didn't post for a long time.

Lately he's been sharing some thoughts with me, and I say "That would be a good article, why don't you  blog again.  Well, tonight he surprised me and put a new post on his blog "From My Recliner".  So stop by and welcome him back to Blog Land.

Hope you're having a good day...Raining here, staying inside with a cup of coffee and slice of fruitcake.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Grandma Floy's English Toffee


One of our Christmas Traditions is my mom's English Toffee.  As long as I can remember, it was a favorite during the Christmas Season and was also given away to friends and family.


 
This year with the weather so cooperative, I made two batches.  She always said it wouldn't set up in cloudy or rainy weather.  She was right, my batch last year was a flop..and as Betsy reminded me, I crumbled it up and put it in a coffee cake.

 
You can see the recipe is old and stained, but it's just delicious toffee.  The most time consuming is grating the block chocolate, but the rest goes really fast.
 

I have purchased some Christmas Tins to fill for my family and friends.  Isn't that a cute basket..wearing a sweater.  That will be filled with goodies for a gift too.
 
My baking is DONE..all packaged, labeled and in the freezer.  Feels so good.  In fact, my dearest and I are going to see the movie "Lincoln" this afternoon to celebrate!

Monday, December 10, 2012

FRIENDS FROM UP NORTH AND PRESENTS GALORE


We had a wonderful Sunday.  Our long time friends (that we call family) were enjoying the sights and sounds of Disneyland for Christmas with their daughter and grandson.  They stopped by on their way home Sunday afternoon and we laughed, cried, shared a bucket of KC Chicken and opened wonderful presents they brought for us.

They were in our Church for the 27 years we were there.  We were by Karen's bedside when Dani was born.  We were at Dani bedside when Levi was born.  That's why we call them family.  Levi calls me Grandma GG.  A treasured memory for Christmas 2012.

They know us well, and we had so much fun opening the gifts they brought.  The top picture shows a Christmas Hat Box for me, also a beautiful white and gold stole.   Three jars of homemade jam, and a bag of this years almonds from there orchard.  The left picture is the fabulous quilt Karen made me with "hats".  How special and I love the colors. 

You probably guessed the "Fartless Chili Makins" was for my dearest.  What a "hoot".  Think we'll use this at the next
Chili Cook off at Church.  He also go a "Grumpy" coffee mug that didn't get in the picture.


I love the picture of Don with this family he had so much love and ministry in their lives.  One of the treasure of ministry are people like this.  Karen played the piano at the Church the entire 27 years we were there, and many times when she was battling many health issues.

Thanks for taking the time to share my post and our friends.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

A VEIL OF SILENCE


While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7)

"I am always struck by the simplicity of that description. This remarkable event is so understated, so matter-of-fact, that you could almost miss it if you blinked. So much is left unsaid that you are compelled to read it again ...and again.

A veil of silence is pulled over the young woman as she agonizes through childbirth. The shouts of joy are left unrecorded as Joseph, apparently serving as Mary's midwife, delivers the baby and hands Him to His mother."

(Above excerpt taken from Windows on Christmas by Bill Crowder)

Dear Lord, we will never be able to fully understand the miracle that happened that night...we don't need to know the details in that stable...what is so remarkable, is your gift of salvation on the cross was not veiled in silence but cries out numerous details, and that detail of Your cry IT IS FINISHED accomplished the purpose of the night in the stable. Thanks you Jesus...for Your Birth, for Your Life, for Your Death, for Your Resurrection....for MY salvation. I love you. Amen

Praying you have a blessed Sunday!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

SHADOWS IN THE MORNING SUN


This was the interesting shadow I had on my living room wall this morning.  I have a small bird house hanging from a hook on the front porch.
 
Our front door has a port hole window and that's how I got the bird house on my wall.  I sat with a cup of coffee and just enjoyed the view for a while.  Shadows have always fascinated me.

 
Back to the kitchen, the fruit cake turned out very nicely, and these larger loaves are ready to wrap and freeze.  I did have a slice from one of the small ones with my coffee and I'm totally satisfied with the outcome.
 


After taking out 10 little loaves of Banana Chocolate Chip Bread from the oven, I told my dearest as the apron came off...."I'm giving myself an early Christmas present. I'm off to get a pedicure and some pretty red Christmas toes."  Merry Christmas, Wanda!! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

TREE TRIMMING (Not Christmas) and FRUITCAKE

 
My dearest decided to enjoy the lovely sunshine and trim some limbs that were hanging down lower that he liked.  I am really nervous when he gets on a ladder.  I'm sure he didn't like my observation as I told him I really didn't want to spend Christmas in the hospital visit him from falling off a ladder.  He did a great job, and the tree does look a lot better.
 

Molly doesn't get to visit the front yard, since it's not fenced, but I put her on a long leash and let her supervise Don's tree trimming!  She was groomed this week, and looks so snowy white.


Meanwhile in the Kitchen, Ms. Santa was busy making Fruitcake.  The recipe said two loaves.  They didn't say the size of boxcars!!

 
I had to use the biggest bowl I had to accommodate all the ingredients!  Talk about a ton of fruit and nuts!  I couldn't help licking my fingers from time to time. Yummy!

 
My little Gingerbread Man sat quietly laughing from the shelf as I scurry around looking for more loaf pans.  It must have been a sight!


Can you believe I ended up with seven loaves of fruitcake.  Three medium and four small.  I will be eating fruitcake for many month to come.  I think some will be gifts whether they like it or not . HaHa.  They are baking in the oven as I type, and I'll let you know it they taste as good as they look!

What was your day like?