In My Home This Week: Ending and Beginning

In my home this week:

...I  accomplished little it feels and yet it was a full week.  Busy enough to get things done, but not nearly enough time to get all I'd like to get done.  I've just finished scrubbing the oven door.  It took forever...and I've decided that some big tasks should just be broken down into do-able segments.  I might not get to the oven again until Monday but I'll hit another lick at it as soon as I can.

Christmas stuff is out on the back porch, ready to go into the shed, and just as family comes in for the weekend.  I hadn't planned on guests this weekend but it all seems to be just part and parcel of the current hospitality trend.  I need to plan meals for the weekend.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment but in the end, all that is necessary shall be done and what isn't shall wait, right?

Coffee Chat: Days and Days Ahead

Hello dears, do come in from the chilly outdoors and have a little something hot.  Shall you have tea?  It's satisfying somehow on these cold afternoons, in the same way that coffee satisfies in the mornings.  I recall reading old tea ads which all talked about the enervating effect of an afternoon cup.   It was promoted as a tonic of sorts, bound to cure the afternoon tiredness and carry one through the evening activities.  

What cup would you like to choose?  It occurred to me Christmas Eve as I sipped coffee from a pretty china cup that I have been digging through thrift stores for years looking for 'pretty' tea cups to use...and here I've got several to choose from amongst two matching sets of china!  How silly is that?  However you may take your choice this morning, as you can see.  I've a pretty thrifted pink, a pretty blue that Katie gifted me, a rose covered one and the blue and brown pattern that was my first china.

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 27

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by your prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

You hear it a lot these days.  "I'm having an anxiety attack."  "I feel panicky."  "My nerves are shot all to pieces."    These are all signs of the modern day world, in which we have piled upon ourselves too many decisions, too many problems to manage at once and too much of every thing as a general rule.  Even Christians.  Especially Christians who feel it is their sole duty to volunteer for most every ministry program and need in their church.  I remember reading something years ago about Christians who are so keen to fulfill every role that they often fail to leave room for others to do much of any thing.  And then there are pastors and leaders who urge already taxed parishioners to do a bit more 'unto the Lord....'

We do too much.

New Year Thinking: Past and Future

I am going to combine things in this post, both a sort of review of the year past and a good look ahead at what I would like to do in 2018.  I'm excited by what 2017 has been and by what 2018 might well prove to be.

Food and Pantry

I'll start with food because it's my biggest expense area and because I love to cook and I like eating better than most.  It runs in the family.  Taylor loathed Uncle Sam until he said the word 'food' recently and suddenly she popped out "I like food!" and that was the ice breaker.  From that point on she was friendly as could be with Uncle Sam.  See?  I told you it runs in the family, lol!

Christmas Time is Near: Advent Day 25 & 26

Day 25

Isaiah 26:3  You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.

This day's reading began with the story of an incredible climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park in June of 2017.  Alex Honnold  free climbed 3,000 feet without any safety ropes or gear.  It was the man with his hands and feet and an absolute fearless attitude.

Did he climb because he was without fear?  No.  He climbed because he trusted his mind to remain calm despite his circumstances.  Now that is peace!

I love the verse used

Christmas Time is Near: Advent Day 23 and 24

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

If there is one message consistent throughout the Bible it is this: "Do not be afraid," which God repeatedly says to those who are righteous and living rightly.

But the second message, the one we miss all too often, is the message of peace.  It is a gift that has been given to us and rarely do we accept it.

The Last Week of Christmas Looks Like This

The last week of Christmas looked like this in my home...

Pretty flowers for my own pleasure

and some more for a friendly hostess.

More packages went out and more cards came in...No pictures of the packages out though and you won't see which cards came in among all the ones hung on the picture frame.

And saddest of all was the card returned.  A look online presented us with an obituary for a very elderly aunt.  Rest in peace, sweet soul.

Christmas Time Is Near: Fourth Week of Advent, Day 22

This week's theme is Peace.

Isaiah 9:6  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called  Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The title of today's reading was Peace is a Person.

Peace, like joy, tends to be rather tenuous thing.  It's something we all long for but do we ever really have it?  And when we do, don't we feel it's fleeting, here now but soon to be gone?

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 21

Isaiah 55:12  You will go out in joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

I love the imagery of this verse.  I can't help it.  Every time I imagine the trees clapping their hands, I'm reminded of the scene from 'A Wizard of Oz' in which the apple trees begin to throw the apples at Dorothy and Scarecrow.  I imagine those same trees clapping their hands in joy instead of being ugly and rude.

This Week In My Home: Flash In A Pan

This week in my home:
I'll share more at another time but our family holiday was...crazy.  An unexpected guest, a change of plans for other family members, a late afternoon photo session with Santa, a little boy who felt decidedly unwell,  a car breakdown that necessitated a long drive and rescue operation, a hurried meal and gift session...I feel like I'd been in a whirlwind and I didn't get a clear vision of any one moment.   There was a lot of babble and bustle and irregular hours.  I'm not by any means saying it was a bad holiday, but it was hectic, even more so than it normally might be. It felt a bit like a flash in a pan.  And then it was done.

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Days 18, 19, 20

Well....I seriously underestimated how busy I might be after  our family party was over and done.  Two overnight guests, two days running errands (three if you count this morning's outing and it should!), busyness all around.  I'm sure it's the same at your own homes.  I hope you have time to stop for a cup of coffee or tea and catch up with Advent with me.

Day 18  Matt 2:10-11  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

One of the questions asked this day was where are you on your journey this season?  I'd just the day before been thinking on this very matter and honestly I realized I'm on a new journey, one wherein I am trying to do and not just think of what I should or could do.  I made that decision about two months ago and the openings God has brought to me to be real and prove I mean to walk the walk has been scary, funny, strange...

The Third Week of Christmas Looks Like This:

Week three of Christmas has come.  It looks like this in my home:

The week began with company, four overnight stays in the guest room in seven days, y'all.   I shall HAVE to buy a new mattress next year because this bed is starting to see as much use as ours does each week!  The guest room is looking a little worse for wear at the moment, though my last guest kindly made the bed before she left.

And there's the inevitable stack of baby laundry that gets left behind because it needs to be laundered.  Daddy Sam will pick it up when he comes in later this week to use the guest bed...Yep! more overnight company!

Christmas Time is Near: Advent Days 15, 16, 17

I did not mean to let this slide.  We've had lots of company and unexpected guests and such.  However, I hope to get caught up today and to stay caught up!

Day 15
James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish it's work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

This Week In My Home: Hurry Hurry Wait!

This week in my home...
...I am writing this early Sunday morning.  We went to the ballet yesterday afternoon and it was lovely.  Truly lovely.  It was chilly as well.  We were in the balcony section and I expected it to be warmer there than downstairs but it was not.  Our jackets were most welcome and my feet never did stop being cold...but my shoes were cute, lol.  

On the way home, John asked if I'd enjoyed myself.  I did, indeed.  I told him that when I'd first seen the ballet on television many years ago I never dreamed I'd see not one but two live productions of The Nutcracker in my lifetime.   He has plans for me to go next year, this time with Bess, Katie and Taylor.  I shall set money aside, as I know Bess would like to take the boys along as well.   

Christmas Time is Near: Day 14 Advent

I Corinthians 13:4-8  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  (5)does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; (6)does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; (7)bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (8)Love never fails...

One of today's questions was "Who do you find it hardest to love?"  An enemy?  A co-worker?  A family member?  A neighbor?

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 13 (Friday)

John 1:9-12  The true light that gives light  to everyone was coming into the world.   He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Today's title was Wide Love.  The author spoke of the lowliness of the people to whom Jesus was born, to those who received his ministry.  It's still true today.  He says that we need only come as little children to him.  A child comes trusting, with no expectation of being hurt or harmed.  Not so  does the world who attends to them.

Cofffe Chat: Next Year, Next Year...But Right Now, too.

Do come in and now's a wonderful time for a bit of coffee...There are loads of cookies to choose from and fruit cake and Banana poundcake, as well.  There are mandarins in the fruit stand and salted nuts. Oh and we can't forget that large jar of Christmas chocolates.  That all sounds right lovely for a treat with coffee, agreed?

Well here I am...Just a day or so ahead of the family party and dreading facing an unexpected visitor.  Not a 'happy to see you!' sort of guest but because of the late hour of arrival we feel compelled to offer up a bed for the night and so I've taken time on this day meant for nothing but rest to clean up the guest room a bit nicer than usual and set out water bottles and snacks and about dark I shall go turn on a light in the room so that it looks cheerful and welcoming.   Originally the hour of arrival was well within daylight hours and frankly I was hoping that the offer of a room would be bypassed and traveling would re-commence but now the hour of arrival is well after dark and the roads are long and rural and darker than dark and it seems inhuman to not ask her to stay.

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 12

Ephesians 3:17-19And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses understanding---that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

I think sometimes, I tend to take God for granted.  I mean that in a nice way, in the same way that I take John for granted.  I trust so fully in his love that I often wrap it about me like a cloak and just go through my days without really thinking about it, because it has become such a part of who I am.  I do the same with God.  I wrap His presence about me and walk through my days, assured that He is who He says He is, that I forget sometimes to take time to appreciate Him.

One night, some

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 11

1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear.

My mind went so many places with this particular verse today.  First there is the very advent reading itself which describes what a fearful time the original first Christmas was.  Mary's fear of giving birth for the first time.  Joseph's fear that he was being a foolish man even though he spoke with an angel.  Herod's fear of the King to come.  The wise men's fear as they traveled across deserts and mountains and followed a star that led to who knew where.  Shepherds who quaked at the sight of angels.

And then there are all our human fears.  Diane asked about my mixed bowl of faith with Jewish and Christian elements tossed in together.  Her question reminded me of how I literally shook with fear when we began to explore this added depth of our Christian faith.  When we left our church to begin attending a synagogue, I had no idea what to expect.  I was uncertain and scared as I was the day I got down on my knees to give my life to Christ.  

The Second Week of December Looks Like This

This week Christmas looks like this:

The tree has not fallen over again.  My obsessive need to rearrange ornaments and fill in that spot right there seems to be quieted at last.  Third time decorating, apparently, is the charm.  It leaves room for gazing at the glowing tree in the early mornings and at night.  I contemplate leaving it up longer, past January 1, but I won't.  I want to enjoy the seasonality of it, anticipate it again next year, savor it because I know it's not lasting.

Thanks to a comment by Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me, I remembered I have an Amazon Prime membership, and unlimited data and hey there's free music to listen to.  I sat here one cold evening all bundled up cozy and warm and gazed at the Christmas tree lights.  Per her recommendations I listened to On A Cold Winter Day.  The lovely old English traditional songs suited the dark room and glowing tree and the snug cocoon I'd made myself.  I enjoyed it so much I repeated one dark morning with a cup of coffee before John came in from work.   Some things are truly worth repeating.

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 10

1 John 4:9-10  This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Today's writings were about first love.  Do you remember your first love?  Can I tell you a secret?  My first crush was in first grade and I think every thing that followed was a mere crush or lust but my first love?  John.

Not 'in love' but  true love, the lasting sort of love.  Hard to tell the difference if you've never experienced it but it's amazing.  I have fallen in and out of love with him many times over.  I always LOVE him though, a love based on like, respect, admiration, trust and desire.  Love is very complex.

Christmas Time Is Near: Day 9

James 1:17  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  

Shifting shadows...That jumped out at me today because not too long ago I was working here at home and suddenly I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.  My heart pounded, I screeched, I moved away from where I was standing in a leap.  And what caused all the havoc?  A shift of shadow.  An illusion.  Something that was not real.

Christmas Time Is Near: The Week of Love: Advent Day 8

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave His only son...

This week's focus is love.  One of the questions asked in the follow up was 'How does your relationship with your parents affect your relationship with God?"

This one I've given a lot of thought to over the years.  I told John a long time ago that I couldn't see God as Father.  My own dad's input in my life left a lot to be desired, or so I felt at the time.  A lot more water under the bridge since those long ago early days of being a baby Christian.  At the time, however, I just couldn't grasp what a good father was like.  So I pretty much rejected God but accepted Christ if that makes any sense to you at all.

Christmas Time is Near: Day 7

Romans 8:25 Rejoice in hope, be patient in trouble, be constant in prayer.

Rejoice...In the midst of the storm.

Rejoice...In the day of trouble.

Rejoice...and believe.  

A savior was born.  Emmanuel.

This Week In My Home: Jingle Bells, Ho Ho Ho!

This week in my home:

....I have been busy and behind all at the same time.  Anybody else feel the same?  At this moment it is just after Shabat and here I am finishing up this post and trying to write a few words while we wait on supper which is about to come out of the oven at any moment.   There are more things I didn't do these past two days than things I did.  "Tis the season!

On top of all that, after lots of time and prayer and thinking, I decided to become a consultant with Jamberry.  I still haven't finished up that paperwork either but it will happen shortly.  I'm supposed to have a launch party, but I've decided that can wait until January when things calm down a bit.

Well, now to finish up this post and get dinner on the table.  Short and sweet tonight aren't I?

Christmas Time Is Near: Advent Day 6

Romans 8:25 - But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

What if we had to wait as long as Abraham did for hope to be realized?   Would you be able to hope even after years of waiting?  Would you give up?

It's a test of character when you answer those questions isn't it?  I've always said I'm very patient.  Give me a long line to stand in, a child who needs attention, endless interruptions and usually I am patient enough.  But when it comes to a prayer I want answered...well not so much!

But hope says that I will wait, however long it takes, for God to answer my plea.  It might mean that what I await, the dream I long for changes shape a few times as He patiently shows me how I must change in order to be ready for that much longed for prayer to be answered.  Maybe He needs to help me to alter my dream so that it's more in keeping with His plan for my life and less in keeping with what I think will make me happy.

Christmas Time is Near: Advent Day 5

Hebrews 6:19 (NIV) We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

What do we do when the storms come raging at us?  

A couple of years ago, I had a health crisis.  I had bilateral pulmonary embolisms and they were literally found just in the very nick of time.   It was a frightening and scary time with an outcome that was based on percentages relying upon how long the surgeon would be in completing the surgery he was currently conducting.    After the doctor left the room, John looked at me and asked "What do we do?''  "Let's start with calling in all the prayer warriors."   Those prayer partners instantly came to cover us in prayer.   The hope that prayers would be heard in heaven were our anchor in that moment. They sustained us through every step of that journey.

The First Week Of December Looks Like This

December 5 and I am still slowly decorating my home.  I haven't made the first batch of cookies and won't until I buy eggs and milk at the grocery tomorrow.  However, it's beginning to look like a holiday is at hand...Messes abound.

The tree is up. 

For the third time, yet.  I started setting it up on the Friday after Thanksgiving but it leaned wildly.  I located the original tree stand and got it all decorated and we decided that it looked wrong somehow.  We bought a half whisky barrel and decided it would look better at least a galvanized gray.   I painted it and set up the tree in it yesterday and the dadgum thing toppled over and the ornaments went everywhere.

Christmas Time is Nere: Day 4 Advent

Romans 5: 3-5  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given us.

What can I possibly write about today's advent?   Hope never disappoints.  That's the theme.  But how do you tell that to anyone in the middle of grief?   How do you share that with someone whose world is crumbling about them?  

In my young adult years, there was a popular book out called When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  The author was interviewed in every magazine and on every talk show.  Harold Kusher wrote the book following the death of his fourteen year old son who died from a genetic disorder.  

Christmas Time is Near: Day 3 of Advent

                         Psalm 31:24  Be strong and take heart all you who hope in the Lord.

In the KJV the same verse reads:  Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

How often the Bible tells us in scripture to 'take courage', 'do not fear'...And there's good reason for it.  Scary things happen to us in this world.  We face trials such as illness and heartbreak.  No one is so saintly they miss out on trials and tribulations.  They come to us all.  Often we cry out, "But WHY?"  We stumble.  We fail.  We weep.  We realize that we are weak in places we never suspected we might be.  We are tested and tried.   The awful things happen.   We are numb with grief.  Yet the sun still rises each morning and the stars shine out at night.   The earth continues to turn and life goes on, even if we feel surely we are dying inside.

Christmas Time is Near...The Week of Hope: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday we were out after church and we had one of those lovely moments.  We walked into Lowe's garden center which was filled with fresh spruce and fir trees for Christmas.  It smelled so good!  And what fun to watch as people chose a tree, had it cut to length and then to watch them rewrap them.   This is something I've never before seen happen and I found it all most intriguing.  Still more intriguing was the sight of a lovely handmade wreath.  I've no idea just where the young couple found it but my gracious!  I'd have loved one of those myself.  It has made me more determined than ever to get busy decorating my own home which has been rather half heartedly attended to at the moment.  I came home and sat down to make out a list...It always begins with a list for me.

I'm at that stage where things feel a bit much: too much to do, too little time to do it all in.  But I don't want to lose sight of what this season is really meant to be about.   Our church passed out books to each family this season to use for Advent.

This Week In My Home: The Next Thing

This week in my home...

...I am in recovery from the Thanksgiving holiday, lol.   For someone who hasn't had opportunity to have very many family Thanksgivings over the past 10 years or so, this one was a doozy.  We had 18 visitors and this little house rocked with noise and good cheer.   There was far too much food and far too much work.  We had guests who stayed through Friday and guests who stayed further through Sunday.  We ate leftovers, we ate out.  There was too much and it was all wonderful.

A Thanksgiving Review

Why a review?  Typically I make notes and I'd kept them in a housekeeping notebook, but since giving up the notebook and switching to a smaller one, I thought I'd keep track of my holiday reviews here on the blog.   Just maybe I'll have a tip that will help you next year, or perhaps you'll have one for me that will smooth out a problem for me.

Coffee Chat: Achoo!

Hello dears.  Do come in.  There's fruitcake today to have with our coffee.  And if you'd like we can take it out to the porch and sit.  It's quite pleasant outdoors now the sun has had a chance to warm but gracious it was cold and frosty this morning.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was super busy and super nice.  I had 3 of my 4 children at home and 6 of my 10 grandchildren.   Our dinner guests were 18 in number for dinner and 14 for supper.   Thankfully there were plenty of leftovers to serve for supper. And enough leftover  still to put dressing and sweet potato casserole into the freezer.   Taylor barely ate which is odd for her.   But Isaac...That little boy put down bite for bite every bit as much as all the other children together from start right through to dessert for a finish.  And my but he was happy over it!   It wasn't long before Gramma had him down for a nap after that big meal.  He's going to do well with Thanksgiving traditions, taking his nap after eating turkey, isn't he?

In My Home This Week: Turkey Turkey, Whose Got the Turkey?

In my home this week...


...It is early yet.  This time of year, Shabbat begins early, 5:16 this week, and therefore it ends early as well.  This is both good and bad.   It's good because I often look forward to Shabat on Fridays and the early arrival means the week is over sooner and the Sabbath is here.   As well, it ends early on Saturday, so there's time on Saturday evenings to do a little bit of work.  It's also nice because if my grandson happens to be here he can participate in candle lighting this time of year.   In summer, it's past his bedtime.  And in summer, the late start means a late ending, so Saturday pretty much is over before Shabat is over.   That means no opportunity to do any 'work' and that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

Gift Ideas I've Found This Week.

I don't think I've ever written out a list of gift ideas for a holiday and I didn't suppose you'd find me starting it now, but as I was trolling about on the other day I came across a holiday line called Luxe Lodge.  It happened I visited Target later in the week and I saw several of these items on display. In case you haven't seen them, I thought you might like to look them over, too.  Personally,  I think these are pretty items  that would make wonderful gifts for a wedding shower or a housewarming , as well as Christmas gifts.  They are under $30 for the most part, with a few under $20 and I thought I'd featurethem here just in case any of you have gift giving occasions coming up.  

Metallics are very popular just now.  Brass is enjoying a resurgence in décor favor and copper is as well.  Gold and silver tend to remain popular.  All the pieces I've featured here are gold in color and that's partly why they caught my eye, because I knew they were current.  I think the designs are nice and classic and will therefore fit with most décor styles.

Thanksgiving Count Down: Thriving Through the Chaos

It's the week of Thanksgiving as I'm sure too many of you are well aware.  I've seen Tammy's array of pies on facebook and there's not only a turkey thawing in my fridge but about 20 baked sweet potatoes waiting to be peeled and mashed for soufflé.  There's cornbread and bread cubes, diced onions and celery in the freezer and four quarts of broth thawing in the fridge.   Yes we're well under way for the holiday week...

I don't know about you but stress and tension starts to mount this time of year.  Not only must we deal with family members who may be a stressor as much as they are loved, we are trying to do too much and accomplish everything at once.  I woke in the middle of the night and began to go over our plans in my mind and at some point this sense of calm came over me.  "I got this..." I said to myself.  And went right back to sleep.  That was pretty awesome.  Awakening with a sense of purpose, I hopped to the next morning and next thing I knew I was hit out of the blue by a feeling of illness.  I was sidelined for the most part the rest of the day.  Not fun.  Not at all a happy day of cleaning and shopping and planning.  I lay about and wondered how on earth can I say "I've got this?" when I'm sidelined at the start?

In My Home This Week: Turkey Talk

In my home this week...

...I usually start these after Shabat on the weekend.  As I start this week, I am tired.  I had visitors today.   Namely two little boys.  I was so glad to see them both.  I didn't know until a chance conversation came up that they were coming to visit me today.  Mom and Dad had business to attend to and asked if they might go out to dinner after.     I haven't seen any of the grandchildren since my family day in September and I was anxious to see them.  I've been aching to see Katie and Taylor but it hasn't worked out for various reasons.  So when asked if we'd keep the boys for a couple of hours it was no hardship as far as we were concerned.   John was just in from work this morning.  I'm happy to say that all three of the 'boys' got a nap this afternoon.  And I got a couple of hours free time to read.

Coffee Chat: Are We There Yet?

Do come in and sit down.  There's coffee and hot tea if you'd rather have that.  Funny to think that as of January this year I'd never had a cup of hot tea and now I find I crave it. Come mid afternoon when I make John coffee, often as not, I put on the tea pot and heat water for tea for myself.   It puts the chills on the run on these cool days.  It's nice and autumnal out there.  At last.

Are you crazy busy yet with the Thanksgiving prep?  At this point, I just bought  a turkey and it is in the fridge preparing to thaw.  I have a list made out of things to do but the grocery part of the list isn't long.  I've delegated a few things to others.  I'm still trying to figure out how to handle all the sides and the turkey in the oven.  I bought a 20 pound bird.  And that means it will need to cook about 6 and a half hours.  With dinner at 12 or so I'm going to be getting up mighty early to put that stuffing in that bird and get the turkey in the oven.

A Few of My Favorite Things

  I didn't mean to let this posting slide in September or October but hit a busy spell of time and poof! there it went.  However, I do have a few things I'd like to share that are new to me or which are old things but favorites.

For one thing, I splurged a bit in late August and bought these from Amazon because they were pretty and I really wanted them.  There are two sizes in the set.  I absolutely love this color.  You'll find it in nearly every room in my home and often find it in my wardrobe as well!

I didn't need mixing bowls but I had need of salad bowls and since these are a little shallow in my opinion for a mixing bowl I thought they'd be nice to use at table.  I haven't regretted the expense even once.  They do very nicely for a lovely serving bowl for fruit or salad either one.

In September, when the electricity went out after Hurricane Irma's visit, I used my old thrift store purchased aluminum percolator to make coffee on the top of the stove.  One of my guests is a coffee drinker like myself and a little bit of a coffee snob.  When we took our first sips of coffee that first morning we both looked at one another and said "Ooh!  This is good!" at the same moment.   I was so impressed by the end of my four days of perking coffee that  John and I decided it would be nice to have percolated coffee on all but work mornings.  It takes a little time to come to a boil and then 9 minutes of perking before it's ready, but it's worth every minute it takes.   We find the perked coffee smooth and less acidic for whatever reason, even though we didn't change brands just at first.

This Week In My Home: Glory Days of Autumn

This week in my home....

...I  wasn't sure just how this week would go.  John said Friday afternoon, after our wonderful ride up northwest of us, that his throat felt a bit scratchy.  Allergies or cold, he was not well despite his continual upbeat attitude and words of healing accomplished.  Saturday afternoon I had a tooth start to ache and it kept it up all through the day, through the night and then suddenly went away as quickly as it had appeared  and ached all day Monday.  I had a swollen cheek to show for it.  However, between the two of us, we decided to stay home from church on Sunday and we pretty much lolled about on Monday.  It wasn't a fun way to spend the little time off he had.  Nevertheless, we had last Friday and it was a good day, a grand day.

If a week is what you make it, then I was determined to make something of this one despite not feeling well for the first few days.  In the end, I accomplished some tasks, though not all the heavy duty stuff I'd anticipated doing.  I had some leisure time.  I  made meals.  It was a week.

Coffee Chat: November Is Autumn

Hello all.  Do come in.  We've coffee and some of those wonderful German spice cookies sold at Aldi this time of year.  I hit the jackpot that shopping day.  I found the Speckulatias and Salted Caramel creamer without carrageenan and the sole container of salted caramel cream cheese spread.  It was a bonus day.  But do have a seat, have coffee, have cookies and let's talk.

It's not cool outdoors at present.  But it seems silly to have iced tea when you can see how like autumn it appears with all those lovely leaves that have changed color and which are slowly drifting to the ground.  As always November proves itself the true month of autumn in our state and I really should just adjust my mind to that fact and stop thinking it will be cool or pretty until November.  I wish the cool would come along once more!  Still it is quite pretty out there and it's kind of nice to see the green grass contrasting with the trees isn't it?

Book Review: Nourished by Lia Huber

I've made it my habit this year to opt for books that stretched me hard.  I haven't done very many reviews this year because it was sometimes a lot more stretching than I'd anticipated.  The books were difficult and sometimes took a lot of work to get through.

I expected to skim my way through Nourished by Lia Huber.  I expected to find it an easy, fast read.  Instead I found myself drawn deep into her story.   There was a familiarity about it, as she sought meaning and fulfillment in her life.   There was a sense of being part of a personal journey that kept me interested, deeply interested.  An easy book?  Yes and no.   There was a feeling of being challenged as I recognized in myself some of the compartmentalization I manage even yet in my spiritual life, carefully dividing the 'real' world from my spirit life.

Huber shares her early life of travel and of learning to appreciate beautiful, locally grown foods.  She shares her Christian walk.  She shares her physical travels.  She shares her She shares memorable meals she's made over the years.  She even shares a few recipes, though just a few at the end of the chapter, one or sometimes two, not many but enough.  The recipes are not the sole focus of the book.  They weren't meant to be.  It's about a journey, both physical and spiritual and food just plays a natural role in that journey.

I highly recommend the book if you happen to be a foodie, a Christian or someone on a spiritual journey, or if you love travel or coming of age stories.  That this book just happens to include recipes too is a bonus to all the rest.

This book was provided to me courtesy

Giving When Funds Are Tight

I think one of the most beneficial things we can do is to give to others.  Why is it beneficial?  Because it switches our focus from what we don't have to what we do have.  Often we get caught up in the feeling that we lack abundance.  Giving switches that focus of 'not enough' to 'more than enough'.    That said, I know that there have been times in our life when giving financially was asking way too much of our over stretched funds.  We never let that stop our giving.

So how did we do it?

In My Home This Week: Roller Coaster Weather

In my home this week...

...I decided the blog was due a fresh perspective.  I thought it would be a good change to bring together "This Week In My Home" with "Living Well".

One of the reasons for the change is that often I don't make the meals I share early in the week.  I thought it would be better to share what we actually eat.  Then too, there was the work.  It was great incentive to share a list of jobs I wanted to do with you all, but there were additional jobs I didn't share that were pretty big jobs.  I'd much rather tell you what I did do, especially on those weeks when I might not have accomplished my listed work.  I'd at least like for you to know why I didn't get things done!

Hard Places

I've been reading through Genesis this week.  I read about Sarai and Abram (God had not yet changed their names at this point). God had spoken to Abram and told him his descendants would be as numerous as the stars, which is pretty awesome when you consider that even at this point he and Sarai were old and had yet to have a child.

Sarai offered Abram a servant girl.  "Here take my slave girl.  Perhaps I can get a family from her."  Hagar was an Egyptian slave.

 In their culture it was common for a barren woman to offer up a slave girl to her husband but here Sarai has gone all these years and not offered one to Abram.  They've long since left Egypt and been in Canaan about ten years.   No Sarai has not offered him a servant girl  and  more importantly, Abram has not complained!   In fact, when Sarai does offer to give him Hagar, her words are selfish: "Perhaps I can get a family in this way."  She has no thought for Abram having an heir but she wants a family for her own standing as well as perhaps her personal desire.  Hagar soon became pregnant. And her behavior towards Sarah creates a problem.

Planning Ahead: Holidays

We don't do anything for Halloween in our home.  When the children were here we did try to make fun with the day even long after there were past the age of trick or treating.   Living so far off the road here in the country we don't get any trick or treaters, either.  So  Halloween  has become sort of a beacon light.  Time to flip the calendar to November...and that is a reminder that the holidays are coming up and I'd best get busy with my planning if I haven't already started!

I don't do deep cleaning this time of year, unless a job is just glaringly obvious in need of being tended to.  Deep cleaning can wait until the New Year is well started when I go on a declutter and cleaning spree.  It suits me best that time of year.  This time of year, it's enough to work on holiday stuff.

This Week in my Home: Changes

I've been thinking for some time now that I'm ready to change up the way I post.  I don't want to do away with the Living Frugally and Well posts nor the This Week In My Home post, but it seems to me I might combine them into one post simply titled "This Week In My Home" and be done with it.  So starting this Friday, November 3, I will post my first combined post.  I'll share what I did in my home, how I saved money, what meals we ate and how I spent my leisure time.  I feel these posts will combine well into one. 

Living Well: More Than Enough

Saturday:  John worked last night.  That means a big breakfast is wanted this morning.  I made breakfast sandwiches, but broke my own rule.  I know never to start breakfast until he calls.  Sure enough he was late coming in this morning.  I wrapped the sandwich with aluminum foil and left in te warm oven.  It was plenty hot when he came in.  Nice to have the extra time, two and a half hours of overtime.

While I waited on John to come in, I put all the printed material into the proper genealogy files.

Coffee Chat: Rainy Days and Mondays

Hello loves.  Hurry in out of the rain.  We'll try to time our chatter so at you can dash out when the rain lets up once again.

Stand here with me at the window for a moment.  Doesn't it look like autumn at the moment?  All those leaves that have blown off the trees, the colors of gray skies and brown and copper leaves.  Sigh.  It does make me happy to look out the window.

Have some gingerbread with your coffee.  I made it late last week when I had the oven on to bake a banana bread.  I have tried many recipes over the years for Gingerbread and I think this may be 'the' recipe.  It's such a lovely dark but moist ginger bread!  John likes it with a dollop of whipped cream.  I like it plain.  When the kids were growing up, I almost always served gingerbread with a bowl of homemade applesauce.   It was lovely on a cold night to have a piece of spicy gingerbread with warm applesauce following our meal.

This Week In My Home: Homemaking Hymn

In my home this week:

 I have once again been enjoying the bird bath that sits under the pecan tree.  The view is directly across from my chair in the living room and so I am well able to see the birds that visit that bird bath throughout the day as I am meant to be working...We won't discuss the fact that I'm truly meant to be working in the kitchen at my desk.

Here is one benefit to the lack of rain.  The birds flock to the bird bath to bath or drink.  This week it was mostly Blue Jays who visited.  I watched Friday afternoon as one turned from the bath after drinking, his beak still glistening in the sunlight before he flew off.  A few minutes later it was a Brown Thrasher which is our state bird and most aptly named as it wears a decidedly brown suit of feathers and it makes a huge noise when it's seeking food on the ground as it 'thrashes' about in the dead leaves.  On days when the windows are open and the sheers have been pulled back, I can see the birds clearly but other days I catch silhouettes more than color.

Follow the Cloud by John Stickl

I've had this book for a few months now on my reading table.  I pick it up  and put it down.  That's not because the book is boring.  It's thought provoking.  I can only take in so much of what Mr. Stickl has written and then I must digest it for a bit.

No, it's not a difficult book.  It's written clearly and feels as though I'm in a personal conversation but the content of what he's saying makes me stop and examine myself and my relationship and my ideals and adjust them as I feel led after the soul searching.

I recommend this book to anyone who is wandering why you are stuck, or who wonders if you really do have a mission in life or how you will ever hear from God.

Living Well: Autumn Breezes At Last!

Saturday:  We slept in this morning, something we seem to do more and more of lately.  It's very unusual for us to sleep beyond 7am and to make it until 8am is really something.  Kinda nice though on Saturday morning, agreed?

Watched what there was of sunrise.  It lightened up.  But sunset was worth viewing.

I didn't do any dinner prep yesterday, but dinner was easy enough.  I chopped butternut squash and onion and an apple, halved some petite potatoes and nestled these all around a whole chicken that was well seasoned.  I poured a little apple cider in the pan and then salt and peppered the vegetables.  I let it cook slow in the oven then cranked up the heat for a half hour at the end so the skin on the chicken would crisp and the edges of the vegetables would brown a bit.  Oh my!  Cider Braised Chicken is so very good.

At Last! A Lovely Gift

Not a very clear picture but there's a reason why I wanted you to see my bulletin board a little more closely...

Back in the summer, I wrote about my desire to refresh my embroidery skills.  Well I had a lovely surprise from a reader who told me she'd been decluttering her craft room and she had a 'few' embroidery items she'd love to share with me.  

She understated 'a few'!

This Week In My Home: Second Verse Same As the First

In my home this week...

...I am mostly repeating last week's plans since I was out of commission all week long and then Friday John and I took advantage of my feeling so much better to finally make a trip to the grocery and then go out to the missed but much planned for meal.  It wasn't exactly the day we'd planned originally but some things don't get repeated right away.  Ho hum.

I do feel much better and have already been hard at work this afternoon.  I'm merely sitting down to cool off at the moment. 

Living Frugally and Well: Working on a Profitable Month

Saturday:  John and I slept in a little late then lazed about the house.  This is our Shabat and we take the 'rest' part of the day as seriously as we take our daily reading and study.  I didn't prep dinner for today yesterday so I thought long and hard before committing to any plan.  In the end, I made a salad, reheated the leftover pan of Chicken Enchiladas and called that good enough for our dinner.   I offered leftovers to Bess for supper that evening.

Put all the leftover salad into a bowl for my supper tomorrow night.

Pulled chicken breasts from the freezer and thawed last night.  I wasn't sure what time to expect Bess, so I decided against making the casserole dish I'd planned.  Instead I put those on to boil with a half onion and a very big carrot.  I made sure not to salt any of this.  I wanted that carrot to blend with some of the chicken broth for Mr. Isaac who thinks food is good stuff.  He's been eating baby food packets all week and I thought he might like a 'homemade' bit of baby food.  He seemed to really enjoy it.

Iced Tea Chat: Autumn, Where Art Thou?

It's not cool outdoors, not in the least.  The gnats will drive you pure distracted as well, so you might just as well come on inside and let's have an iced tea chat.

No cookies but a chocolate cake.  I don't know why I baked a chocolate cake except suddenly I could taste chocolate cake.  I typically don't make chocolate cakes because I haven't found a good recipe for one.  I've tried a new recipe this time.  We'll see.  I'm letting the layers cool and then I'll fill them with vanilla buttercream frosting.   I've promised a baking to someone as a thank you gift for a kindness and then John has asked for his favorite cookies, as well.  His are the no baking required stove top cookies and as long as this heat is to continue I'd say his odds of having his favorite cookies are quite good!   I want to bake.  Autumn lends itself to baking I think and to slow simmering stews and pot roasts and heartier meals.  Don't you think so, too?  The trouble is the weather isn't cooperating in the least! 

Living Frugally and Well: Starting the Last Quarter of the Year

Saturday:  Prepared a nice breakfast for John's coming in from work this morning.  I'd made a breakfast casserole (savory) and fruit salad for our meal this morning.  I prepared the casserole ahead yesterday morning.

Disappointed it wasn't cooler outdoors.  Air conditioner started coming on before it was 10am this morning.  Despite this, it was cloudy and gray so I took advantage of how the day looked and made a big pan of chili to serve over yellow rice.

In My Home This Week: Fair Sailing

In my home this week...

...I am psyched for the fair this week.  This is a big deal in Middle Georgia, the Georgia National Fair and the fairgrounds will be packed for the full 10 days it's in town.  John and I are going this week.  We set a portion of our vacation funds aside just for this and planned a special dinner out at our favorite restaurant as a grand finale to the day.  I'm very much looking forward to this date which we planned months ago.

Bess was here overnight last night and then went to meet Samuel at the fairgrounds this morning.  He brought Josh up.  Bess has been tending to her mom this past week and she was quite ready to rejoin her husband and Josh.  Things worked out rather nicely for them, since Sam had some time off this past week and so he kept Josh at home while Bess took Isaac with her to her mom's. Her mom is doing much better but she was a pretty sick lady for a few days there.

John and I won't be eating any fair foods.  I've never liked funnel cakes, caramel and candy apples do nothing for me.  I've had my share of the seasonal boiled peanuts already this year, so I don't want those.  I do not care for turkey legs and we don't eat pork so none of those grilled foods for us, either.  What I'd really like is a single bite of cotton candy but you can't buy it by the bite and I'm leery of asking a stranger to let me have some, lol.   I wish I could find a guaranteed all beef corn dog, but most folks don't bother having the all beef ones so that's out, too.  I figure after all those things get crossed off the list every thing else is just ordinary stuff I could have any old day, so why bother spending the money?   I'll just wait until we get to the restaurant and then we'll have our big splurge!

...I plan my week:

First on my list this week are the few items I didn't attend to last week.
Finish cleaning the kitchen walls... just the area about the stove is it.
Hem  my pants.  I did all the other sewing but didn't even put those on to see how much I needed to hem.
Mail the package to Amie.
Spruce up the door wreaths to look more autumnal.  Especially now that so many leaves have started to turn color and fall.

Post the bills after we get check in the bank.  Banks are closed Monday.

Grocery day worked in here somewhere.

Continue work on the porches.  I got the front porch porch siding cleaned and washed windows there last week.  I ran the soapy brush over the porch and along the algae rails but they need more scrubbing.  I didn't do anything to the back porch last week at all.

Go by Kroger and see if the Ball jars are still buy one case get one case free as they were last week.  This is a clearance item.  I'd like another two cases of the wide mouth quart jars which are very handy to have for storage.  I'll pick up my two free Friday download items while I'm in there.

I have $6 in ECB for CVS that I'd like to spend but must do so before Tuesday is over.

Gather a load of stuff to take out to the shed.

Start a restock list of supplements and vitamins, so I'll know what must be ordered.  And place the order!

Make John's requested cookies.

I have a day out with Mama on the calendar

Start working on the Jamberry party I'm hosting October 23-27.  Pay attention girls who want to join in.  You can find me on Facebook.   I'm planning party games and my theme is all things Fall.  Jamberry has introduced some new products and is expanding their line to include some cosmetics I think.  They've just introduced a matte finish lipstick line.  Message me here or put in a friend request on Facebook if you'd like to join in.

While I'm out this week I hope to find some more mums to replace the two that dried up in the stupid heat last week.   I think I can deadhead and trim and then  replant them but they do not look nice enough to be there in front of the back porch.  I'll see what I can find that's suitable.  I should be able to start adding some pansies and possibly parsley to the area about now.

...I plan meals...though I don't know why I bother!

No, I haven't had good luck of late in making the planned meals.  I'm constantly failing to prep ahead, or even to thaw meat a day earlier than it's wanted.  Then John will decide he wants to go out to eat or wants a certain something that wasn't on the menu.  I know I'll be eating out at least twice this week and possibly a third time when we're out getting groceries unless I plan ahead to have something quick and easy.  I've already shared our meal for Saturday...I guess I'll plan a couple of meals just in case.

We still have a bit of egg salad and pimento cheese left for sandwiches.  I'll make some chicken salad as well since I cooked extra chicken breasts on Saturday.  We also have some Marinated Smoked Turkey and Cheese sandwiches in the freezer as well as some Chicken Noodle Soup so suppers are pretty much taken care of this week.

Chicken Pot Pie, Pear Salad, Cranberry Jelly

Fancy Pants Burgers, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Garlic Toast
I never did get to make this meal and I really was looking forward to having it.

Pan Roasted Chicken Apple Sausages and Vegetables, Green Salad, Gingerbread with Whipped Cream
I usually buy turkey sausage and they have a tendency to get very dry when pan roasting.  I expect the same of these Chicken Sausages.   For this reason I'll start the pan of vegetables with a foil cover and then just let the sausages and vegetables brown a bit under the broiler afterwards.   I'll use butternut squash, onions, apples and perhaps a potato or two.  I'll use a little apple cider in the pan to steam them.

...I plan my leisure:

And again...why bother?  Honestly last week my leisure looked like a round of 1 each on my favorite games at the end of some long days.  I didn't do any of the things I'd thought I'd might but I did enjoy a glass of iced tea on the porch after I'd finished cleaning.  Hardly felt like leisure as much as necessary so I could keep going that day.  Oh yes, I did manage to work my way through the September issue of modern day magazines I had stacked by my chair. And one vintage October issue.  I did that yesterday.

This week I hope to:
have a spa morning.  I want to do a proper mani and pedi and put some wraps on those fingers and toes!

Really.  Work on genealogy.  I'm yearning to do this.

Read the next book in my October pile.  I forgot but I did read a book last week.  When I was all done I sighed deeply and John asked me why.  I told him I'd just finished my book.  He told me he was sorry.  I told him it was the last book in that particular series and he looked concerned and said he was very sorry, lol.   About how I felt about it myself.

What have you planned for your week?

In My Home This Week: All Routine