Monday, December 29, 2008

I See What You're Saying - Christmas Edition

This is the second edition of "I See What You're Saying", a vlog carnival hosted by Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee. The idea is to enhance blog friendships by letting you see and hear your bloggy friends. I'm not sure if the cheesiness of making a video of yourself accomplishes that - but it's good clean fun. Thanks for stopping by.

P.S. My technical difficulties on the pre-lit Christmas tree are quite obvious here. I decided next year is the best time to fix the issue.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Friday - Quick Takes

1. We get to have 2 Christmas celebrations this year (a new phenomenon for us). The first was special and wonderful. Our son and daughter-in-love will arrive tonight and tomorrow we’ll do ham instaed of turkey and have another memorable day. I am thankful for my family.

2. I bought “Dicecapades” that Sara had recommended as a family gift and we opened it on Christmas Eve. We spent the next several hours playing the game and laughing. Everyone enjoyed it. Good call, Sara!

3. I had been a little sad leading up to Christmas that we were scaling back and spending less in tune with the times. It actually didn’t even dent our joy in being together at Christmas. Perhaps we need to embrace this as a lasting lesson. (Remind me next Christmas!!)

4. I’ve said it before and I’ll live by it… the best things life aren’t things.

5. We’ll be busy on Monday moving Cupcake from the unsatisfactory apartment complex to a much safer place. That’s a post in itself – real testimony to answered prayer. You’ll hear more about.

6. I made the most beautiful pecan pie I’ve sever seen on Wednesday. I believe in miracles.

7. There’s a skinny girl who lives inside of me that’s trying to get out, but I can usually shut her up with cookies.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All is Well

Merry Christmas! I had the opportunity to sing this song in a trio the Christmas after my Dad died and it touched my heart in deep ways. It still does.

May you know the joy of His presence in your heart today.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas the Night Before...

My husband is pretty much my total opposite in personality. I am a fountain, he is a quiet river with strong and deep currents. I have noticed that since he doesn't talk much, people listen carefully when he does have something to say. He has carried this poem in his wallet since he met Jesus about 14 years ago and read it to many people. Thus it has become even more special to me.
Merry Christmas to you!

'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

1993 Bethany Farms, Carrollton, IL

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm in - what about you?

One week from today is 2nd Cup of Coffee's "I See What You're Saying". I have always loved the show "Funniest Home Videos" and this could turn into the blog version of that. There will be plenty of video opportunities in the next week so keep the camera rolling. I want to see you next Tuesday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

7 Quick Takes on the Friday before Christmas

I have enjoyed meeting some new women through participating in Jennifer's 7 Quick Takes. I like this way to summarize the week as well:

1. I attended a lovely Christmas party last night for the local Aglow women. It was amazing on a lot of levels. The presence of God, the love and unity, the amazing home we were in…. my heart is full.

2. After some really cold weeks, this week has been really warm and humid. The home I was in last night is right on St. Andrew’s Bay and has a glass wall that can be rolled open to the beautiful deck by the pool. There’s even a gas fireplace on the deck which they lit to take the slight chill off the night air. People commented, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas with this heat.” Yes it does.. it’s Christmas in Florida and that’s why people move here!

3. I was looking in my Bulk mail folder at yahoo for some mail I was expecting that may have been sorted to teh junk box. There were several “future” emails that had just come in dated Tuesday Dec. 23. Made me feel like I was in a time warp for a minute. Today is Friday Dec. 19th. How can I already have next Tuesday’s mail?? Weird.

4. I have gifts to wrap and even a few yet to buy but I am not at all stressed by that fact. It’s fun to be out at this time of year.

5. Our daughters are coming in tonight! I am so excited. Our son and daughter-in-law are going to be with her family on this first Christmas as a married couple, but they will be here on the 26th so I am thankful.

6. The spirit of love and unity at this time of year is a noticeable improvement over ordinary days. I was touched by Jennifer’s post titled What Child Is This? She writes from her perspective as a former atheist:

What child is this?

When I thought of the implications of the answer, I was stunned to see that it was not only the most important question I could be asking right now, but the most important question I could ever ask. I came to see that if this child was who the Christians said he was, the question of his identity was the only question that really matters.

And even though I've now found the answer, the song haunts me still, because the question it states leaves another one unspoken:

Am I living like I really believe the answer?

7. Speaking of children… I have an announcement!! I am going to be a grandmother!! How can this be at my young age? Ahem. My oldest daughter and her husband are expecting in July. Joy unspeakable, that’s what it is.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Best of Things and the Worst of Things

I just read Uncommon Blonde’s blog and was prompted to take a picture of this hideous item found on Builderman’s desk. What’s the story? What is this? It’s her story so you can read it there. She’s also giving away a $15 iTunes Gift Card so your visit can reap rewards beyond satisfying your curiosity.

I can’t believe I posted this picture of Uncommon Blonde’s worst Christmas present ever. Eeewwww and double Eeewwww! Builderman’s comments on this post were: “Hey, it works really well. Notice the workmanship! Do I get a commission for you using the photo on your blog?

Umm – a firm NO to all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Squall Line Vol. 3 - Safety Check Point

I experienced my first “Safety Check Point” on Friday night, courtesy of the Florida Highway Patrol.

I was on my way home from Christmas shopping and saw the flashing sign warning me to prepare to stop on the 4-lane highway. I had no idea what to expect, so I dug out my driver’s license, insurance card and registration, which were all quite handy from my recent blue light experience. I had plenty of time to locate all of that, as it took me about 25 minutes to travel about 2 miles. I wasn’t stopped by officers, (thankfully I had gotten my expired decal renewed a week ago) but it was a bit disconcerting to drive through at least 50 officers who were staring at me and my vehicle. I noticed there was a large “staging area” set up with stadium lights where they were directing some drivers to pull in who failed the scrutiny that we all got. I read in the paper the next day that the main focus of this particular checkpoint was sobriety.

I am all in favor of safety and sobriety. But the way this operation was set up really made me uncomfortable. It made me think of Big Brother. Max Bellamy writes in an ezine article: “Sobriety checkpoints hover on a fragile precipice between legitimate public safety and encroachment upon a citizen's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.”

I find it interesting that though I had nothing to hide, I was very nervous. I just wanted to get home, but the only way was to endure the checkpoint. Maybe this was just too reminiscent of my visit to Czechlosovokia in the 1970’s when border guards entered our tour bus armed with machine guns. We were just high school kids on a music tour but we were totally intimidated. I actually remember feeling pretty terrified.

I am thankful for law enforcement that protects us from the many lunatics who roam our roads.
However, I question whether the best way to arrest people who are driving while intoxicated is to detain everyone on the road. I recall that the homeland security procedures created unease about the invasion of personal privacy. Is it okay to monitor everyone for the sake of identifying the few who are violating the law?

I think we have to be mindful that there is such a thing as too much government power. The whole checkpoint experience disturbed me on a lot of levels. Maybe its just another warning sign of the times.

In the meantime, if you’ve posted about something that’s on your mind and want to link up to the Squall Line, please do so below.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We're all a Bunch of Winners

Sara won the book give-away. I'll be sending her Theresa Garnero's Your First Year With Diabetes Thanks for your comments!

In other breaking news of the hour, I received a package today with the Christmas crafts I won in Greg's give-away. How fun!! I won't tell all because I know he is sending goodies to others and I don't want to spoil any surprises. But I'm sure I'm the only one who got a really cute Rudolph! And a Christmas banner/flag. I can't wait to hang it. The other things are for my tree and Iove a tree full of special ornaments. Thanks, Greg!

Christmas Tour - Techincal Difficulties and All

I'm having issues with lights this year so I wasn’t going to participate in BooMama’s tour of homes. But then it occurred to me that surely someone who stops by will have the answer to my pre-lit tree dilemma.

It was only about or 4 years ago I gave into buying an artificial tree. My primary reasons were that I could have it up longer and put it by the fireplace, where I had always wanted to place the tree. This year, AFTER the tree was decorated, the lights started going out. One. Strand. At . A. Time. The first strand, I simply bought some more lights and put them in place. Then the second strand went out. When I got home from the store with that replacement strand and plugged in the tree, there was a THIRD strand of lights out. Have you ever tried to put lights on a tree that is already decorated? I’m sure that I share this quandary with others, so if you have a solution, I’m all ears. Here’s the tree:

How about this needlepoint nativity set my Mom made??!! I love it. (She loves Christmas decorations but likes to collect them for ME! How convenient is that?) No lights involved here. I like that.

And this one is just waiting for little hands to play with it when I have grandchildren one day.

I love the North Pole Village that my mom collected for me over the years. It’s not all out and it’s in 2 places!

I have lighting issues on my front porch too this year… I’ll spare you the details.

I was asked to provide food (a recipe!) for your visit but I've been too busy going back and forth to the store buying lights to cook. If you go tour some other homes, I'm sure you'll be full when you're finished!

From my less-than perfect home that is filled with love, I wish you a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I Will Remember

I have years worth of warm and wonderful Christmas memories. But one particular Christmas stands in my heart as when the true meaning of the season shone the brightest.

I was a Daddy’s girl. I never doubted my father’s love for me. His patience and quiet confidence were a constant presence in our home. His deep love of music was just one of the many gifts he gave me.

As Christmas approached in 1990, we knew that the cancer Dad had fought so valiantly was soon going to take his life. I was brokenhearted. I argued with God saying, “But he’s MY DAD!” And the Lord quietly spoke, “Yes, and he’s my son.” I would say to Dad, “It’s not time – I need you! Our children need to know you!” And Dad would patiently ask, “When do you think a good time will be? Will you ever be ready?”

When the phone call came that that is was time to come without delay, I wasn’t ready. The heavy weight of grief had slowed me as I tried to prepare a special Christmas for our 3 young children. It was Dec. 15th and we dropped everything and went to my Dad’s side.

Dad wanted to be home for his last days. He wanted to hear our preparations for Christmas and hear the children playing. He was in a lot of pain, so the hospice nurse taught me how to give him shots of morphine. One long night, he seemed to only find rest when I sang to him. I sang my way through the entire hymn book that night and was hoarse when morning dawned.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned…
For unto us a child is born, to us a child is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9: 2 &6

Emmanuel, God With Us. The truth of that was a blanket of comfort through the sorrow and the weariness of that Christmas.

My daddy slipped from this earth into the brilliance of heaven on the day after Christmas, 1990. I knew that the gift of his love would always live within me. I don’t miss him any less with the passage of time.

Dad’s last gift to me was the lesson that even if the shopping and baking and wrapping and festivities of Christmas are muted, Jesus will still come. That’s the heart of the matter. Everything else is just details.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Health is Wealth

My personal experience and observations:
1. Overwhelmed people STOP. Shut down. Put on the brakes.
2. Stress causes us to develop “tunnel vision”; we lose our ability to see options and become ineffective at implementing change.

These reactions can affect each of us in a myriad of circumstances, but can certainly affect those that have been diagnosed with a scary medical condition.

I was honored to be invited to review Theresa Garnero’s new book, Your First Year With Diabetes.

I had high expectations for this book because I understood that as a nurse and diabetes educator, she has knowledge of this subject; as a person who loves people, she desires to inject humor into a weighty topic.

I am happy to highly recommend this book. I have a checklist that I think good health books must adhere to:
1. Easy to read; successfully translating “medicalese” into plain English.
2. Combine personal stories with referenced resources; a professional & credible presentation with a human touch.
3. Practical for repeated referencing.
4. Make the complicated simple.

This book meets those criteria and does an admirable job of helping people get a handle on what has become an epidemic disease. I would dare to say that all of us know someone with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Of great concern are all the people who have the disease and don’t know it.

I have been networking with diabetics for several years now and I am passionate about people understanding that there is a pathway to wellness. Diabetes IS a manageable condition and diabetics can now live full, healthy, productive lives! Knowledge is power in the war against diabetes and Ms. Garnero has given diabetics a powerful weapon in the arsenal against the debilitating effects of uncontrolled diabetes.

I am giving away a copy of this book. If you know someone with diabetes, this would be a perfect gift! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me you know someone with diabetes (you don’t have to say who and it can be you) and I’ll use the random number generator on Monday morning at 9 AM CT to determine the winner. I’ll mail it immediately so if it’s a gift, you’ll have it on time.

If you just want to buy the book, or anything at all from Amazon, pretty please click through the Amazon search bar on the right of this site and I'll get some credit. Now I just need to remember to shop through that link myself!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cheerful Givers

I know I tell you about a lot of give-aways in the blogosphere. Before I tell you about another one, I have to comment on the joy of giving. I have won several things this year and it’s amazing how a small unexpected thing can make a big difference in your day.

This week, when I gave the angel table runners, I was so blessed by the email from the winner. It really gave her a lift to win. It literally brought tears to my eyes to realize that this simple thing had touched someone. I know we are more focused on giving at this time of year and that’s a good thing. If you want to read a story that will really touch your heart, see Lysa’s post today about her mission trip to the laundromat.

Now I want to introduce you to the seven chicks who host one of the very first blogs I ever read. I’ve known several of these girls since they were teens and now they are all mothers. They are a special bunch and are doing daily give-aways right now called the 25 days of Chickmas.

May the eyes of your heart be open today to give small gifts – a smile, a word of encouragement or letting someone go in front of you in a line. It’s the little things can make a big difference. And be sure to come back tomorrow- I’ll be giving away a book!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Angels All Around Us

I started this post with the idea to title it "The Angels Have Found a Home." The purpose being to announce the winner of the angel table runners.
Then I started thinking about angels again. And of course their home is heaven. But they come to us on assigments of all sorts. Fascinating. Scriptural references most often depict them as messengers. I digress.

Today's message is ...
The winner of the angel table runners is Heather! The Random Number Generator picked number 3 and she's the one! She doesn't have a blog but I've emailed her and am waiting for her to contact me. Heather, if you're reading this, please email me your mailing address!

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and commenting. When I joked about someone giving away a free trip to Houston for Girls Night Out, I had no idea that Paula at Wrinkled Shirts actually did that for her give-away. Amazing. She's going to start an every Friday give-away because of the wonderful experience of giving. Wow.
The blogging community is pretty wonderful!

Monday, December 8, 2008

You're a Snickerdoodle

I find testing new recipes to be like many artistic endeavors; you just have to be in the mood. Yesterday, I was cold when I got home from church (temperature-wise!) and decided it was a good time to make cookies. My plan was to make something that Builderman would like and I could resist, so I pulled out a recipe that Carol over at I Throw Like a Girl had posted on Saturday Stirrings months ago. Snickerdoodles looked to me to be a variation on sugar cookies, which aren’t my favorite (since they don’t have chocolate in them). Plus, I needed a new cookie recipe for Fuschia's First Ever Virtual Cookie Swap.

The good news is that these are delicious. The bad news is that I can’t resist them. They remind me of hot buttered toast with lots of butter and cinnamon sugar sprinkled in just the right amount. I will be kicked out of Weight Watcher’s forever and I’m blaming it on… who can I blame?? Oh – I guess that would be that lady in the mirror.

These are soft and pretty so you can take them to a holiday gathering and be assured of an empty plate at the end. The name makes me smile – Snickerdoodles. Sounds like a good nickname for someone sweet. Okay- that can be you. Enjoy, my snickerdoodles!

Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl

3. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl

4. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture

5. Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge

6. Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.

7. Scoop a walnut sized amount of dough and shape into a ball

8. Roll dough in the cinnamon sugar to coat

9. Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes

10. Remove from cookie sheet immediately

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good News of Great Joy!

I’m back. The grinch that kidnapped Bevie Lou Who (better known as Beverlydru) had to release his captive. (Have I mentioned that I must intentionally choose to not live by my feelings? What a roller coaster that can be. Whew.)

There’s nothing like a give-away to cheer me right up. When I visited Lysa’s blog this morning, I was delighted by her Cool Christmas Give-Away carnival. If only she were giving away a free trip to Houston to attend her Girls Night Out with guest speaker Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate plus 8. How fun would that be? Reality check – that’s not the give-away. (Hey any give-away is good. HELLLLOOO- free gifts!)

I have some really good news:
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10,11 KJV

To celebrate this good news, I am giving away two Angel Table Runners. They are new and haven’t even had the tags cut off because I don’t have a dark tablecloth to set off these lovely Heritage Lace Runners. Thus, I took this photo on the dark green rug. If your home would like to have these angels, just leave a comment (be sure I can find your email address) and I’ll use the Random Generator on Monday after 6 PM to find the winner.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I’m Grumpy, which is somewhat uncommon for me. Remember that money I told you I saved in the last week with coupon codes? It’s all gone. Plus some. Poof. For a traffic ticket. Grrrr.

Did I exceed the speed limit? Nope.
Did I do something to compromise my safety or endanger others? Nope.
Did I fail to wear by seat belt? Nope.
By golly, I had an expired tag. By 4 days, no less.
When I saw the blue lights behind me this afternoon, I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong. I was informed that it’s that little yellow one inch decal with the date on it that had captured this bored officer’s attention.

I don’t know how much the ticket is going to cost yet. I came home and searched for the notification to renew that I must have overlooked and it was not to be found. I’m just frustrated.

I hoped if I blogged it out I would feel better. Can’t say that it worked, because I think I should have just gotten a warning. I did happen to see no less than 3 vehicles with expired yellow decals on my way home when I started really looking. I apparently have lots of company, but it just wasn’t my day for grace.

The only good thing I can come up with is that there have been other days when I most likely deserved a ticket and didn’t get one. Still don’t feel better.

Stay tuned for the return of Bevie Lou Who. She has been kidnapped by the Grinch.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Frugality is In

Everyone is interested in saving money… especially in these times we live in. I am trying to get better about clipping coupons. They had become a source of frustration for me as it always seemed that when I tried to redeem them, they were either expired or required purchasing 4 of something I only wanted 1 of.

I do a bit of shopping online and I am slow to discover what may be old news to some of you.
I have saved about $40 in the last week with coupon codes!! Now, before I purchase anything online, I Google the site I am buying from. For example, I searched “Kodak Gallery Coupon Codes” for my Christmas Cards. I needed to reorder some skin care so searched “Mario Badescu Coupon Codes” before I ordered and saved $4.50! This is a simple tool that is perfectly legal and a real money saver. How many times have you seen that little box for PROMO CODE at checkout and wished you had one? Just stop and search and voila, one of the many sites that collect these codes will be glad to help you.

I 'm so pleased with my savings that I decided to post this over at Works for Me Wednesday. You can go there for all kinds of helpful tips.

You’re welcome. : )

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Squall Line Vol. 2

I know I don’t often write about economics and such, but I have an opinion on the mess we’re in and how to get out of it.

My mama always said, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Okay, I’ll blog it. Sugar-coating or silence is not going to get us anywhere.

Wasn’t America founded on the free enterprise system? Is the entrepreneurial spirit alive and well or are we on a fast slide into socialism?

I am not an economist or a politician, but I’m a business owner with a good measure of common sense. I know that regardless of who’s in office or in control of Congress, I am ultimately responsible for my health care, my income and my well-being. I do NOT want the government managing those things for me.

Have the people of America forgotten that all government spending is rooted in taxation? It’s not like the government runs a profitable business to fund their ideas!! (In fact, quite the opposite!)

I received the following email and couldn’t say it better, though I don’t know who wrote it:

Does anybody out there have any memory of the reason given for the establishment of the Department of Energy during the Carter Administration?
Anybody? Anything? No?
Didn't think so.
Bottom line . . we've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember.
It was very simple, and at the time everybody thought it very appropriate.
The Department of Energy was instituted 8-04-1977 to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. And now it’s 2008, 31 years later and the budget for this necessary department is at $24.2 billion a year. They have 16,000 federal employees and approximately 100,000 contract employees and look at what has been accomplished.

This is where you slap your forehead and say “What were we thinking?”Ah yes, good ole bureaucracy. And now we are going to turn the Banking
System over to the government? God Help us.

So what do we do? Stick our heads in the sand? Mullygrub with the best of ‘em?
Or do we fight?

David Wilkerson’s recent newsletter, titled "A Time to Weep and A Time to Fight", he exhorts us to “get back our fight.”
To quote Hebrews 12:12,13 from The Message:
“So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!”

Get back your fight!

I'm going to fight evil with good. I am going to fight depression with joy. I am going to fight down-sizing with praise. I am going to fight the good fight of faith.

Now it’s your turn. If something’s on your mind and you post in the next day or three about it, link back below using Squall Line’s Mr. Linky. Please be sure to put the direct link to that post.

NOTE: At 6:00 AM CT, Mr Linky is experiencing technical difficulties. Please leave your link in the comment section and I'll hook you up as soon as the issue is fixed. Thanks!

Monday, December 1, 2008

NaBloPoMo Success!

I learned how to say NaBloPoMo in the process of blogging every single day in November. Whew! Some days it was hard and some days I was bubbling with words & ideas. Thanks for sticking with me through it all! Tomorrow (Tuesday) I'm going to do the Squall Line again. So if you have something to say, feel free to link up tomorrow.
(In case you didn't recognize Martin Luther - that's him on the photo - tacking up his thesis.)