Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Creatures are Stirring in this House!

I am so excited! I have some more presents to wrap and the grocery shopping to do tomorrow and then everyone starts arriving tomorrow night and Thursday! The best part of all the celebrating is being with family. I am so grateful.

Cupcake came home last weekend (she had to go back to work a few more days) and she scurried around cleaning out closets and such. So funny to me... I wasn't even considering that and she quipped, "you're just out of control with saving things." Ha- she sounds like my mom. And like I do with my mom, I said "have at it, I'll provide the bags for trash and one for Goodwill." It took more than one, trust me.

I doubt if I'll make it back here before Christmas, so just want to share this favorite poem...

'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
Merry Christmas to All! Love you much.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

People are Crazy

I logged onto our local paper's website yesterday afternoon to get an email address to send a community announcement and was stunned to see breaking news that moments before, a gunman had opened fire at a school board meeting and someone was dead.

I'm watching the Today show right now and it's bizarre to see the tape of the incident. It's truly a miracle that none of the board members were shot as the cRaZy opened fire. I have tremendous respect for our superintendent (he was our son's high school principal). I'm simply appalled that it has become commonplace to see this kind of headline in the news. It's surreal for it to happen to people I know, right where I live.

I'm thankful that there's always good news. So I just clicked off the TV and turned my mind to this:

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there Your Hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast."
Psalm 139: 9,10

People are cRaZy but God is good.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cookie Recipe Exchange Party

Welcome to the Christmas Cookie Exchange... the only one you'll attend that you won't consume too many sweets...yet. Who could look at all these yummy delights in Sara's link-up and not actually make the cookies? Not me. Let me tell you, the smell of these Ginger cookies baking is almost as good as the taste.

Ginger Chewies

- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- NOTE – I take the spices as an advisement and use whatever I want and I don't like cloves so none of that for me.
- 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup molasses
- About ¼ cup granulated sugar (regular sugar)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Recipe says to sift flour, baking soda and spices into a bowl and set aside. I don't do this, I just dump them all in together later.
3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute.
4. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and an even light brown color.
5. Mix in flour mixture on low speed just to incorporate.
6. Roll ¼ cup of dough between the palms of your hands into a 2” ball then roll the ball in granulated sugar (the ones I just made I forgot to roll in sugar).
NOTE – Using ¼ cup of dough is great and gives you perfect giant cookies, but I normally use a small ice cream scoop, this makes reasonably sized cookies that still use the same baking time. They are also more uniform because the scoop is exact and makes a rounded ball with less rolling. Once you have the balls rolled in sugar, freeze them if you want to. If you want to freeze them, do it in a single layer where they aren’t touching until they are quite solid, then you can put them in a bag or Tupperware or whatever and they won’t all mush together. I use the same baking temp and time for frozen ones as for fresh.
7. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm but they are still soft in the center and there are cracks on top, about 14 minutes.
8. Devour and enjoy!

Head on over to Sara's for more recipes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Goose is Getting Fat!

No, I'm not raising geese now. The last thing I need to accompany the rooster is a bunch of honkers!

But I'm singing, "Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat... please put a penny in the old man's hat." Does the calendar really say it's the 6th, or am I imagining things? I ventured into the mall Saturday and reality hit. I had fun moseying around but it hit me when I got home that I'd better get serious about my Christmas list.

I might be overdue in ordering my cards too... thankfully Shutterfly has always impressed me with their service and quality so I'm on this today. They're having a blog promotion for 50 free cards and that floats my boat!

I was debating about sending cards this year but I love getting them. And looking at last year's card from Shutterfly makes me smile. So I'm shopping HERE for cards and also think I'll order a calendar for Jim's mom. I've already ordered a photo book for his dad. I adore photo books! I've got my lovely Christmas music on from Pandora's peaceful holiday station and I'm feeling the Christmas cheer.

This is the design I'm leaning toward. And that's FIFTY DOLLARS in free cards if you jump on this Christmas deal. Hurry...the goose is getting fat!

Thank you, Lord, for online shopping.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Smell Cookies

I love cookies. Especially fresh from the oven, gooey warm cookies. So Sara's Cookie Recipe Exchange is calling my name. I'm participating this Wednesday, Dec. 8th. Join the fun by posting your recipe with a photo on Dec. 8th and then link up at her place. I've been baking cookies this morning so I can't wait to share the deliciousness.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finely Tuned

I found a tuning fork when I was hunting through a drawer looking for something this week. I got it from my dad's stuff when we were cleaning out after he died - in December twenty years ago to be exact. My memories of the pain he suffered have faded but my memories of the smiles, glances, wisdom and words are as fresh as the frost was this morning.

I wonder how many instruments he tuned by the tone produced from this tuning fork. He could not only tune any instrument, he could play almost every instrument. But that's not what made him unique. He dedicated his gift to bringing out the talent and gifts in his students.

My sister shared an email this week that a guy wrote her... he took the time to share that dad was someone who made a lasting impression on his life. He recalled dad giving him rides home with his cello in a car that was so rusted out that you could see the pavement whizzing by beneath your feet. He recalled his fascination with that, but more important, he remembers the kindness.

Dad was the king of the land of frugal and always said a car is meant to get you from point A to point B and style wasn't a part of the equation. As I teenager, I remember being embarrassed by his cars. I also remember how hard my sister and I laughed when the "hearse" that came as we dealt with his death was an older station wagon. Obscure, unobtrusive but effective. How perfect.

His life still resounds in my heart and provides the tuning fork for so many of my decisions. The tone is true. And is unchanged by the passing of time. His love endures - what a gift.