Thursday, November 30, 2017

From the November archives, part 3

Okay, here is the last and relatively brief post of links from the November archives.

In the mood for some comfort food that's hearty and yet a bit unusual?  Try this delicious autumn supper  which would be good all winter long.  It's a flavorful chicken stew which I served with pumpkin biscuits.  Both recipes are included.

And then finally, this post: Preparing to prepare for Christmas describes some steps I took to get ready for Christmas preparations like crafting and baking in 2015.  Although your own details and preparations will likely be different, I think you'll find some inspiration in this post.

And so ends my browse through the November archives.  Tomorrow will be December, and I'm hoping to post daily in my Christmas blog -- and possibly do "December Daily" posts here as well.  We will see!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

End of November Hodgepodge

Nevada, October 2010
 Wednesday again, and time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over to get the questions.  Then answer them on your own blog and go back over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are the questions for this week:

1.  What's something blogging has taught you about yourself?

Blogging has reminded me of how much I love to write.  It has taught me many things about disciplined use of time and fine-tuning my writing to phrase the information I want to share in the most effective way.  It has taught me that I can be organized and plan ahead to schedule posts.  It may also have showed me that I never seem to run out of things to say (just time to say it in).  Not sure if that first part is good or bad.

(Next 2 photos also from Nevada, October 2010)

2.  Leftovers...are you in the 'reheat and eat' camp or the 'put them in the fridge until they spoil and then toss them' camp? What's your favorite thing to have leftover? What can you not abide as a leftover?

We love leftovers at our house.  We love it when we have enough leftovers for an entire meal.  My least favorite thing to have as a leftover is salad with dressing already on it.  My most favorite thing ... hmmm.  Just about any soup is better reheated.  Thanksgiving leftovers may be my very favorite.  (And this year we don't have any!)

3. 'Me time'...your thoughts?

This is a hard one to answer, but I'm glad you brought it up.  I think it's healthy for anyone to have some time they can sort of call their own.  Otherwise we can burn out very easily.  On the other hand, I think we often tend to think we "need" more time than we really do, and some people are downright selfish with it.  I have learned that if I need time, the Lord will provide it.  In looking through the archives at this blog, I re-read this post: A moment to catch my breath and was blessed all over again as I was reminded what God had done for me in that busy season.

The most important "me time" that we can possibly take is a quiet time with Him every day.  It grounds us and settles us and prepares us for whatever the day may bring.

I also feel that I need some creative minutes every day, but I don't always get them as such.  I've learned that doing something creative doesn't have to mean dedicated time to work on a needlework project or a blog post.  I can find creativity in preparing a meal or figuring out a better way to do a task.
4. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

Hmmm.... usually a recipe!  My daughters have nicknamed my phone number "Mom's cooking hotline" and even friends call occasionally for recipes or cooking advice.  I once had a missionary friend email me from Panama to ask for a recipe of mine she'd misplaced!

5. If your childhood had a smell what would it be? Tell us why.

I'm going to say wood smoke.  We had a Franklin stove when I was really young, and then later a fireplace, where we often roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.

We also had a really nifty outdoor fireplace, which we kids absolutely loved, but it got destroyed the year we tried boiling maple sap on it.  After that, my dad built a sugarhouse for boiling sap, with all of the right equipment in a smaller size.  But the outdoor fireplace was never rebuilt.

My grandmother's summer cottage where we all loved to spend time was redolent of wood smoke from the fireplace there.  To this day the place has its own unique scent -- decades of wood smoke have permeated the pine paneling.
The cottage is behind the children.  See the white steps?
6. Insert your own random thought here.

The closeness of Christmas.  I cannot get over how quickly it is coming.   I'm never ready, but this year I'm far less ready than usual.  I have, however, purchased a number of gifts already, so that's something, at least.  (The plate below was a gift from my daughter, last year.  Love it!)
So another Hodgepodge post comes to a close.  Happy Wednesday, all!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

From the November archives, part 2

Taken in Nevada, October 2010
As promised, I'm back with a second post from the November archives.  Two recipes and a more thoughtful post concerning time. 

Fiesta Sweet Potato Soup is a big favorite at our house.  Black beans, spicy sausage, tomatoes with chilies -- it's a great combination of flavors.  It's a very warming soup just perfect for winter evenings.

Best Gluten Free Pizza Crust  may not be everyone's idea of the very best, but we like it a lot.  A good gluten free pizza crust isn't easy to find.  We often make a veggie pizza with pesto sauce and it's great with this crust.  It's an adaptation of a gluten free focaccia bread recipe.

Lastly,  this post is a good reminder for me in this busy season.  I hope it encourages you, too.  A moment to catch my breath is an account of how God gave me just that, in a very unlikely place.  For tomorrow's Hodgepodge, one of the questions Joyce has posed concerns "me time."  This post sort of fits with my answer to that.
One more post from the November archives on Thursday.  Then, can you believe it, we're headed into December!  Yikes.

Monday, November 27, 2017

From the November archives, part 1

 (The gorgeous photo at top is from my 2001 Autumn in the Air booklet, a freebie from Cracker Barrel.)

November has been a busy month and I hadn't found time until today to look around in the archives for posts to share with you all.  This is the first of three posts concerning links from the archives that you might enjoy.  The posts I chose seem to be mostly recipes, so enjoy!

Green and white dishes, a post from 2008, shows some of my favorite dishes to use for Thanksgiving table settings, but they would look nice during the Christmas season, too.  If you enjoy seeing old dishes, you will like this post.

This Soup and bread post, from 2010, is billed as fall comfort food, but it would be an enjoyable menu during December or any of the winter months.  The soup is an unusual creamy lentil soup and the bread is an herbed oatmeal pan bread.  Mouth-watering!
 Lastly, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles are an interesting and different variation on traditional snickerdoodles, and are very tasty.

More from the archives tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankful Heart

Lovely image from Gooseberry Patch
This past spring, while cleaning out an old roll-top desk at my parents' home, I found a folded, yellowed page from the November 24, 1963 This Week magazine.  Some may remember when this magazine came as a supplement with the Sunday newspaper.

The entire page was taken up by a poem titled Thankful Heart, by William Fitzpatrick, a Pulitzer Prize winner for distinguished editorial writing.  He was evidently a poet, too.

Thankful Heart

We thank Thee, Lord,
This hallowed day
For these Thy gifts.
Thanks for the way

The falling leaves
Renew the earth --
Symbol and promise
of Man's rebirth.

Thanks for the fruits
Of field and plow
We planted then
And harvest now.

Thanks for the sea
And summer shade ...
Beauty of sky
And silent glade ...

Thy watchful eye,
As children played.
Thanks for Thy trials
That somehow made

Us more like men.
O Lord, for these
We thank Thee, then
On grateful knees.

By William Fitzpatrick.  Pulitzer Prize winner for distinguished editorial writing.

A beautiful, meaningful poem, I thought.  I see why my mother saved that page from This Week.

Wishing you all a blessed and meaningful Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving hodgepodge

This gorgeous graphic is from the amazingly talented and generous Abby at Little Birdie Blessings.
Wednesday again, so that means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Take a break from your Thanksgiving preparations and head on over to get the questions.  Answer them on your own blog and then go back over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are the questions for this week:

 1. tightly do you cling to tradition when it comes to holiday gatherings and celebrations? For instance do you always do the cooking, never eat at home, always go to grandma's, never miss the parade, always watch football, never change the menu, always eat at 2 PM, etc.? Have you ever celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving away from hearth, home, and family? How did that feel?

We do not cling tightly to tradition AT ALL. We have had Thanksgiving dinner here, for up to 30 people or so; sometimes with only three or four people.  We have gone elsewhere.  We don't cling to a specific time or menu.  The only thing we have never done is to eat out on Thanksgiving, but we are pretty much planning to do that this year.

We did spend Christmas away from home one year, traveling to a distant state with friends to visit at the wife's parents' home.  It was enjoyable in many ways but it felt downright odd.

2. it easy for you to ask for help or are you a do-it-yourselfer? How is that a good/bad thing?

I can -- and do -- ask for help if I need it. It's good to acknowledge that my way is not necessarily the only right way.  It's good to allow others to help, if it's a blessing for them to do so.  I think probably the best thing about being willing to ask for help is that it reminds us how insufficient we are in ourselves.  If we think we can do everything ourselves, we aren't as likely to acknowledge our need for God -- not only for salvation, but also in the needs of our everyday lives.

3. Abundance...what is there an abundance of in your kitchen?

Baking ingredients.  I've had to bake for so many funeral luncheons lately that I really stocked up.  And that's good because I can also begin my Christmas baking.
I'm going to add in a recipe here.  I baked a caramel pecan pie yesterday and mentioned it on Instagram last night.  I've already had one request for the recipe, so ... here you go.


36 caramels, unwrapped*
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Combine the caramels, butter and milk in a heavy saucepan; heat until the mixture is creamy and caramels are melted, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt with an electric mixer; gradually blend in the caramel mixture. Fold in the pecans and pour the mixture into the pie crust. Bake at 350ΒΊ for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Cool pie until firm before cutting or serving. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

* This recipe (which is from Gooseberry Patch Christmas Book 7) predates the wonderful caramel baking nuggets, which are easier to use.    If you use those you will need about 1 1/2 cups.

4. Name...the smallest thing you're thankful for? the biggest?

Hmm ... certainly the biggest thing I'm thankful for is my salvation.   To have been delivered from the power of darkness, and having been translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (as Colossians 1:13 so eloquently puts it)  -- well, I can't think of anything bigger than that.  The smallest thing I'm thankful for -- I try to be thankful for everything.  There are no small blessings, in my book.  Big or small, they are all straight from God and all undeserved.

5. Key...What do you think is the key to living a more grateful life?

Recognizing that all we have comes from God.  I can't find the quote I'm looking for, but someone has written something like this: "To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us ... and He has given us everything."

6. State your own random thought here.

I simply cannot believe how quickly this year has passed.   It's not just that I am getting older; I have actually heard my youngest daughter say the same thing -- it feels as if we had only recently started into  January.  The year has flown by and I feel as if I have very little to show for it.
Photo from Photos Public Domain

Monday, November 20, 2017

Two pies for Thanksgiving

... one new, one tried and true!

Yesterday at church we had a harvest dinner theme to our potluck.  One lady cooked a turkey and  others brought fantastic side dishes, salads, and pies.  For my pie contributions, I used one old favorite recipe and one that was brand new to me.

The old favorite was this

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Unbaked 9” pie shell
6 apples, peeled, cored, sliced
Lemon juice

Crumb topping:
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash of salt
1/2 cup butter (may try using less; I think I've used as little as 1/3 cup before)

Begin by mixing together the brown sugar and spices in a small bowl. In the pie shell, alternate layers of apples with the spice mixture. Sprinkle each layer with lemon juice before adding another layer. When all apples and spices are in pie shell, make the topping by mixing the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and dash of salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until crumbs form. Top the pie with the crumb topping.

Bake the pie at 450ΒΊ for 15 minutes; then reduce the heat to 350ΒΊ and bake 30 minutes more. Serve warm if desired with cheddar cheese or ice cream on the side.  (For the potluck, I served it at room temperature and did not serve with either ice cream or cheese.  Every scrap of this pie was eaten!)

This excellent pie comes from Jane & Michael Stern’s wonderful cookbook, Square Meals. I have made this pie so many times that its page in my handwritten cookbook is freckled with apple juice and spices!

Now don't look at the several steps and decide this is too complicated.  It's actually very easy.  The hardest part is peeling, coring, and slicing the apples.  Once you get that solved (which I sometimes do by using one of those hand-cranked peeling/slicing/coring gadgets) it is literally as easy as pie.   My only quarrel with those gadgets is that they slice the apples a bit too thin, which can make for a mushy pie.
 πŸ    πŸ‚    🍁    πŸ‚    🍁    πŸ‚    🍁    πŸ‚    🍁    πŸ‚    🍁    πŸ‚
The new recipe is Cape Cod Cranberry Pie, which I found in the Gooseberry Patch book Christmas Pantry.   This is made in a pie pan and slices fairly easily into wedges; still, I suppose it is not technically a pie for one makes no actual crust.  Still, it was delicious and I will definitely make this again for it was so easy.  I made this pie gluten-free simply by substituting the Bob's Red Mill 1-for-1 flour.    Here's the recipe:


2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 - 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour (regular, or gluten free)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Spray a 9-inch deep dish pie pan with non-stick baking spray.  Place cranberries in prepared pie pan.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup sugar and the walnuts; stir to combine.  In a bowl, mix remaining 1 cup sugar, melted butter, flour, eggs, and vanilla with a whisk (I used a hand mixer).  Pour this batter over the cranberry mixture in the pie plate.  Bake at 325ΒΊ for 45 minutes or until brown.

Another time, I may cut down on the sugar in the batter part of the recipe.  I think 3/4 cup would be plenty.  The recipe also called for 1/4 cup of oil, but I didn't use it.  I felt that oil was unnecessary since there is quite a bit of butter in the recipe already.  It turned out very well and I will make this again, likely at Christmas time.

If  you needed some fresh inspiration for Thanksgiving pies, I hope you have found some here today!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Gratitude challenge progress, part 2

This delightful graphic is by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
Just checking in today with another update on how things are going with the Gratitude Challenge over at Revive Our Hearts.  For some exciting, encouraging news, I'm happy to report that I was able to work on two days' worth of the challenges often enough so that I am now caught up.  I'm right where I should be and so thankful for that. 

Today I want to share what I learned from the Gratitude Challenge, Day 6, titled "In Fresh Wonder of God's Mercy."

I was reminded that the best thing that has ever happened in my life is being saved from the sure destruction that my sins deserved, and ushered into the family of God.  Today's devotional observed that, sadly, time seems to dull our appreciation of Christ's magnificent, sacrificial work on our behalf.  Yet, thankfully, gratitude to God can reopen that wonder to us.

One believer's paraphrase of Romans 5:8 is as follows: "God demonstrated His love toward us in this: While we were in open, hostile rebellion against Him, having no interest in Him -- not only that, but also actively despising Him and all that He stands for -- Christ died for us."

The "Gratitude in Action" assignment was to take time to wonder anew at the mercy God has had upon me, letting my gratitude swell and overwhelm me once again.  I was to read Romans 5:1-11 and to make a list of the blessings that are mine in Christ Jesus and thank Him for them.

Here is the list I came up with:
πŸ‚  Justification by faith
πŸ‚  Peace with God
πŸ‚  Access by faith into God's grace
πŸ‚  Rejoicing in hope of the glory of God
πŸ‚  The ability to glory in trials, understanding that they are working for my good
πŸ‚  God's love shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit
πŸ‚  Saved from God's wrath by Christ's sacrifice
πŸ‚  Reconciled to God
πŸ‚  Joy in God.

And this is the prayer that I wrote thanking God for these blessings:

"Lord, I am amazed as I look at and ponder the many incredible blessings in just these few short verses.  That I can be reconciled to and have an actual relationship with the God of the universe, whom I had offended -- it is just beyond comprehension.  That He is working in my life daily and that His love, joy, and peace are integral parts of my everyday life ... those truths are simply mind-boggling.  How very thankful I am for all that You have done for me and for all that You do in my life each day.  Thanks and praise seem like very small responses.  May You help me to live a life of joyful service to You!  In Jesus' name, Amen."

So thankful that I've been able to participate in this Gratitude Challenge, as I'm finding it a real blessing.  I'm continuing to thank God for one of my blessings each evening in November on Instagram as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving dinner helps and hints

Nearly every year I try to post a few recipes and helps for Thanksgiving dinner.  This is pretty much a repost of last year's post on the topic (with a few additions), but I'm sure some of my newer readers have missed the ones I've done previously.  So, if you need a little help with the Thanksgiving feast, you are invited to borrow whatever you may need from these tried-and-true ideas and recipes.

Thanksgiving is just one week away -- so if you still have some planning to do, grab a pen and paper and make some lists.  Then get to the grocery store and avoid the rush!

I posted the following in 2012, and it includes a lot of the same links I'm sharing today, but it might be helpful to someone:  A Gathering of Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes.

I'll start with some ideas for pies, which one might be baking a day or two ahead of time.  Pies are the most intimidating part of the meal for many people, so I offer you these Helpful Tips for Thanksgiving Pies.  If pie crust intimidates you (as it does many others), then don't stress about it.  I give you a recipe for an easy oil pastry, but if you don't want to go that route, then the sheets of refrigerated pie crust one can buy (I've even seen them in store brands!) work very well.  You can even buy frozen pie shells that aren't half bad.  Or if you just don't want to make pies, you can buy some very nice pies from bakeries that specialize in them.

Some of our Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes are included in this post.  Maybe you will find a new family favorite!

But what if you are avoiding wheat, or a family member who'll be at your table is eating gluten free?  No worries.  This Gluten Free Pie Crust is easy to make and very good.  It's a simple press-in-pan crust and so it really won't work for a double crust pie.  But anyone who has lived without wheat for any length of time will be so happy to have a pie they can eat that they won't care if it's just a single crust pie.  It works perfectly for pumpkin pie, for example.

Probably the next most intimidating part of the meal is the turkey itself.  
Photo from Pixabay
If you have, or are buying a frozen turkey, the rule of thumb for thawing it is to allow 24 hours in the fridge for each 5 pounds of the turkey's weight.  I find this not quite enough, so allowing an extra day would be my advice.  Invariably if I follow that rule of thumb, the giblets are still frozen in place.  Last year I bought my frozen turkey (21 pounds) on the Thursday before Thanksgiving and put it right into the fridge to start thawing.  So if you have a large turkey and it's frozen, get it out right now and put it in your fridge.

Cooking it in an oven bag is my best advice on roasting a turkey.  It shortens the time considerably and produces tender, juicy meat.

From my Autumn in the Air booklet (Cracker Barrel, 2001)
Then there is gravy, which can also be intimidating and which I stressed about for many years.  People love it and expect it, but making it at the last minute can be very stressful.  Usually there are other people in the kitchen, helping out with other things, and that complicates matters (even though they are truly trying to help when they watch over your shoulder and give advice).  So for a few years I then turned to canned or jarred gravy, transferring it to a saucepan and removing the evidence of the cans and jars well ahead of the guests' arrival.  That was great, but I found the gravy packets made even better gravy.

And then finally, I found this recipe:  Easy Turkey Gravy.  It truly is easy and it makes lots and lots of gravy.  If you are feeding people who think there is never enough gravy, try this.  For once they will be satisfied and there may even be some gravy left to serve with the leftovers or to make hot turkey sandwiches.

 So there are a number of good options for gravy: jars, packets, or the above great recipe.

Stuffing (or dressing) can also be a source of discouragement.  I usually use a bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, prepare it with celery and onion as the package instructions suggest, and also add dried cranberries.  In my tips and recipes post ( the first link at top) I detail how I cook it in a slow cooker.  Just don't leave it in there for too long, as it will burn and dry out.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes is my go-to recipe for making mashed potatoes for a lot of people.  One year I was seriously thinking of using the Idahoan instant mashed potatoes, which are actually very good and are only $1 per packet, but my hubby urged me not to because he loves the make-ahead mashed potatoes so much!

Sweet Potato Casserole is our family's festive sweet potato recipe.  I've made it with canned sweet potatoes and it comes out just fine.  I don't make it every year because personally, my husband and I prefer buttercup squash.  But if we are having a lot of people, I'll usually do the sweet potatoes as well.  (For sweet potatoes as a general rule, we prefer them roasted.)

Broccoli Casserole is another great side dish that always goes over well.  This is a recipe from my sister-in-law Dawn.

I tend to skip serving rolls when there is so much other good food on the table, but if your family won't let you, then try these: Homemade Dinner Rolls.  They're a homemade crescent roll and are really delicious.

If your family insists on creamed onions (as mine does), here's the recipe I use:  Scalloped Onions.  It uses the frozen small onions.  Life is far too short to peel those little pearl onions.  I always buy the frozen (unsauced) ones and make my own sauce.

Cranberry sauce or relish can be purchased and is just fine.  If you want to make your own, try the Taste of Home site for some good recipes, or you may be able to find one here.  Cran-Apple Sauce is one delicious option.  Some of the bags of fresh cranberries also feature a cranberry sauce recipe, and I have made those, often substituting brown sugar for white, which gives a nicer flavor in my opinion.

For a memory of my childhood Thanksgivings at my grandmother's farmhouse,  you might like to read A Thanksgiving Memory for a little nostalgia.

By the way, that's my grandmother in the photo above, and the recipe is for my great-grandmother's Date Cake, which was somewhat of a tradition at our holiday dinners.  It was served thickly frosted with white frosting and with walnut or pecan halves pressed into the frosting.  It was never a favorite of mine and I haven't made it since, but I think I may make one this year for either Thanksgiving or Christmas -- just for old time's sake!

And if you enjoy vintage things, you might like to take a peek at this Children's Book of Thanksgiving Prayers.  This was actually sold as a greeting card, I believe. 

 Setting the Thanksgiving table is always an enjoyable task, and I like to get it taken care of well ahead of time.  I've made a few Thanksgiving table toppers, hot mats, and so on over the years.  These Thanksgiving Candle Mats always make an appearance on our Thanksgiving table!
Some years I bring out the cornucopia!
 For more Thanksgiving posts, click on the "Thanksgiving" label in the word cloud of labels in the right sidebar.  You may find some surprises I've forgotten about!

I hope this oft-repeated advice is helpful to someone this holiday.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mid-November Hodgepodge

Lovely graphic from
Wednesday again, so that means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over and get the questions, answer them on your own blog and then on back over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are the questions for this week:

1. What takes you out of your comfort zone?

Lots of things!  Probably too many to count.  I tend to have a very narrow comfort zone, I guess. 

2. Your least favorite spice?

Hmmm .... we're talking spices, right?  Not herbs?  I can think of a number of herbs that aren't my favorite.  But off the top of my head, I have to say that I like most spices.

3. What's a small change you'd like to make?

I'm trying to think of a small change.  Seems like many of the changes  I have in mind (especially in regard to the house, say, or lifestyle changes) are big.

4. Do you enjoy visiting historic homes? If so, of the homes you've visited which one was your favorite? What historic home near you is open to visitors? Have you been?

I do enjoy visiting historic homes, and probably of the ones I've visited I've liked Green Gables and other L.M.Montgomery sites the best.  Another favorite was Orchard House in Concord, MA (Louisa May Alcott's childhood home).  There are a few different historic homes in our state, including a number at Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, NH (which I have visited, but it's been years).  There are many in our state that I have not visited.
 Southern Living rounded up eleven of the best in the southern part 
of the US and they're as follows-

Monticello (Jefferson's home in Virginia), Nathaniel Russel House (Charleston SC), Swan House (Atlanta), Ernest Hemingway's home (Key West), The Biltmore (Vanderbilt home in Asheville NC), Mount Vernon (Washington's home in Virgina), San Francisco Plantation (Garyville, Louisiana), Windsor Ruins (Port Gibson Mississippi), Longue Vue House and Gardens (New Orleans), Whitehall (Palm Beach FL), and Pebble Hill Plantation (Thomasville GA)

Have you been to any on the list? Of the homes listed which would you most like to visit?

Pretty sure the only one I've visited on this list is Mount Vernon.  I think of those on this list, I would most like to visit The Biltmore.  The home below is a house from my own history ... my grandmother's house. 

5. What's something you think will be obsolete in ten years? Does that make you sad or glad?

I hope this isn't something that will actually happen, but it sometimes seems that good manners and common courtesy (not to mention common sense) could become obsolete any day now.   Obviously, that makes me sad and very concerned for our society. 

6.  Insert your own random thought here. 

First real snow of the season yesterday.  I am not ready for this.  We got about an inch and it is still on the ground, but the weather is supposed to warm up, so I hope it won't stay.
Taken through my living room window during the snowstorm

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gratitude challenge progress

This November I signed up to participate in the Gratitude Challenge over at Revive Our Hearts.  For some reason --who knows why? -- I thought this would be an activity I could do while still keeping up with my regular Bible study in Colossians.  I also wanted to write a few blog posts concerning how the challenge is working in my life.

I guess I tend to be a tad unrealistic in my expectations of what I can accomplish.  A few days into the challenge, I still had not found time to work on it each day.  I came to the realization that I would have to set Colossians aside for the month of November if I truly wanted to keep up with the Gratitude Challenge.

As a result, I'm a few days behind with it, and I hope I can do two days in one a couple of times so that I don't end up taking this into December -- where it will have the domino effect of derailing any Christmas or Advent study I might wish to do.

So, I'm going to share here my study and thoughts from one of the days in the Gratitude Challenge, and hope to do more as the days go on.  For my first post on this topic, I chose Day 2, November 2, in which the theme was focusing on Christ as the Source of light, life, and all joy.

Interestingly, this day's challenge focused on the book of Colossians, so it fit in with what I was already learning in my personal Bible study.  The emphasis of  Day 2 was that as those who have a personal relationship with Christ, our faith and joy emanate only from Him -- and that He calls us to a life of faithful obedience and heartfelt gratitude.

We were instucted to read from Colossians 1:3 through Colossians 4:2, underlining or circling word of thanks.  Then we were to meditate on these verses, praying them back to God and using them as a basis for giving thanks to Him.

I won't tell you what verses I found the references to thanks and thanksgiving in.  You can do that for yourself!  I found six of them.

Here is what I prayed as a result of this day's study:

"Lord, there is so much in these passages.  Colossians is such a rich book!  I am so thankful today for Your Word and its instruction.
"I do thank you today for my fellow believers.  May I be faithful in keeping them and their spiritual growth before You in prayer.  I am so thankful that You have made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.  Truly, this is a work that only You could do.
"Help me, Lord, to be continually growing so that I will be rooted and built up in You and strongly established in my faith.  I am so thankful for the fine Bible teaching I've been privileged to enjoy over the years.
"I pray that You will help me to continue in abounding thankfulness for all that You have given me.
"I am so very thankful for Your peace and I pray that I and my fellow believers will allow it to rule in our hearts.  This is what You have called us to!
"I pray that You will help me, Lord, so that whatever I do in word or deed will be that which is done in the name of the Lord Jesus, that which will bring glory to Him.  His sacrifice on my behalf is the only reason that I can do any of this, so I am everlasting thankful to Him.  Help me to live my life as You'd have me to, as a thank-offering to You.
"Help me to continue in prayer, watchful for all that You are doing in my life and being constantly in the attitude of thanksgiving.
"I praise You for all that You have done in my life, and for Your continued working in my life.  Thank You, Lord!  In Jesus' name, Amen."

Another thing I've been doing for the month of November is a simple daily post on Instagram thanking God for a blessing that He brings to mind each day.  I'm pleased to say I've been keeping up with that much, at least!

I also wanted to note that the lovely graphic at the top of the post is from Baptist Bible Hour.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

November 8 Hodgepodge

Delightful graphic from Abby at Little Birdie Blessings
 It's Wednesday again, and that means it's time for the Hodgepodge with Joyce and friends at From This Side of the Pond.  Head on over and get the questions, answer them on your own blog and then on back over to Joyce's to link up!   Here are the questions for this week (and I warn you, they are tough ones!):

1.  In a rut, in a jam, in the groove, out of sync, off balance, out of touch...which saying best fits some area of your life currently (or recently)? Explain.
From 1953
 I guess I would pick out of sync, though what I really feel is in a time warp.  Cleaning out nearly 70 years' worth of accumulated stuff will do that to a person!  I feel as if when I get home from a cleaning/sorting stint, I need to debrief before I can get back into my everyday life.  I'm planning my days pretty carefully to help with that.

2. What is it about somebody else's style of work (coworker/employee/shared volunteer project/household chore) that makes you crazy? Why?

  Here's one that I'm encountering on nearly an everyday basis -- my mother (now in heaven so her style of work no longer matters), rather than just throwing away junk mail, old letters, etc.  kept what she called "correspondence boxes" containing such items, along with stationery, note cards, address labels, etc. to use in answering her mail.  That sounds good, but the problem came when unexpected company arrived and she would scoop all of her current correspondence into a new box.  There were many of them, scattered all over the house.  Every time I think I have come to the end of correspondence boxes, another one surfaces.

3. What's a tradition that always makes you feel at home?

Hmm .... I am racking my brain on this one.  And I am completely drawing a blank.

4. A favorite song with a girl's name in the title or lyrics? Any reason why this is a particular favorite?

I guess I would say "Mary, Did You Know?" for fairly obvious reasons.  (I wouldn't have thought of this question in a million years.)

5. Share a favorite quote, verse, or saying relating to gratitude or thanksgiving.

"Know ye that the LORD, He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name."

Wish I knew where I had found this; I don't, sadly.  If it's yours, I apologize for not giving you credit.
6. Insert your own random thought here.

Christmas is only 7 weeks away!  Not sure where this year has gone, but it has flown.   Anyone out there ready for Christmas?  I've started, but I'm far from ready.
And so ends another Hodgepodge.  Happy Wednesday, everyone!