Saturday, December 31, 2022

Aiming for spiritual growth in the New Year


Here we are on the eve of a new year.  I'm not sure how 2022 flew past as it did, but it's gone.  It's that time again when we consider goals or resolutions for the coming year.  I prefer goals, personally.  It seems to me that resolutions can easily be broken (and discarded), but a goal is something you can keep working at even if you fall a little short of it at times.  Even if you don't fully realize a goal, you make progress toward it.  When I set goals for a new year, spiritual goals are always included. 

Due to a cough and cold, I didn't make it to church on Wednesday evening, but my hubby shared with me what our pastor had taught on.  He's beginning a series on spiritual goals/resolutions and suggests things like reading through the Bible in a year; establishing a habit of Bible reading if one has never done so; beginning or continuing a Scripture memory program; nurturing one's prayer life, meditating on Scripture, and so on.  I'm so happy that he's encouraging us to do this.  

Our former pastor of many years always taught us (and very accurately, too) that there is no standing still in the Christian life.  We're either moving forward or we're moving backward.  That has always stuck with me through the years and I have seen it proved true over and over.  

So aiming for ongoing spiritual growth is very, very important and I find the start of a new year to be the perfect time to make a plan for it.  As the old saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.  So in every area of life, I try to aim at something, no matter how small it may seem.

I haven't fully formulated my spiritual goals for this year (more to come on that later), but my hubby would like for us to begin a Scripture memory program, so that would be one.  I didn't read through the Bible last year, so I'm planning to use a one-year Bible and do that this coming year.  

May I encourage you to aim for greater spiritual growth in the New Year?  You will not regret having done so.

Monday, December 26, 2022

December weekend 4

 How swiftly the weeks of December have passed!  It hardly seems possible that four weeks have passed and that Christmas Day is now behind us.  

We stayed at our camp on Thursday night, December 22 because the temperatures were conducive to it.  We knew they were projected to rise overnight.  Even though it was snowing when we went to bed, by morning it was supposed to be in the 40s and raining hard.    This held true.

We headed home around 8 am.  There was still snow on the ground at the camp, but it was raining hard.

The forecast was for heavy rain all day on Friday.  Then it was predicted to cool down very fast, leaving all sorts of ice behind.  Oh, and let's not forget the river flooding warnings for the rivers in our area. 

I had baked little apricot fruitcakes (my walking partner's favorite!) a day or two before, and so I wrapped up four of them to take to her and her hubby.  We drove there in pouring rain and had a nice, if brief visit with them.  She had baked eggnog cranberry muffins and sent us home with a couple!

Meanwhile,  unbeknownst to us, quite a lot was happening back in the woods between our little camp and our daughter's home.  At 5:06 pm I got this message via Instagram:

We were blissfully unaware of all this.  The land up behind our camp (and their house) is very steep, and apparently the warm temps and heavy rain had melted the snow so that these large amounts of water were coming down through the woods.  Enjoy the videos which Carrie sent us!  So thankful for capable, helpful neighbors!

You can glimpse our camp in the photo above.  Ari had to pick her way up the driveway around water and washouts.  

Jim and Carrie's power went out around 6 pm and was out all night, coming back around 4:30 a.m.  A lot of games, piano playing, singing and more took place by headlamp in their resourceful household.

Saturday I woke up with a scratchy throat and just wasn't able to accomplish as much as I would have liked that day.  It didn't seem like Christmas Eve; since we would be alone I didn't make our usual Christmas Eve menu.  I did make a very good low-carb creamy taco soup that we both enjoyed.  It soothed my throat quite a bit.  And after supper, between Mr. T and myself, we managed to get all of the gifts wrapped for Christmas day, and also assembled the crockpot full of Ranch House Chicken for Christmas dinner.


I've written about our lovely Christmas day over on my Christmas blog, so do head over there and read The Day After Christmas.  I didn't go to church myself due to still not feeling top-notch (I watched the livestream), but did join in on our family get-together since my scratchy throat is likely the same thing their kids have had.

But it was a lovely day, with beautiful music, thoughtful gifts, yummy food, and just precious family time.  A blessed Christmas day indeed!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Sunday Scripture


As I mentioned earlier, in December 2020 I used Peace, Be Still: A 31-Day Christmas prayer journal, from Women Living Well.  I'm using some of my simple study from this book as Scripture Sunday posts for this December, using different posts on each of my blogs to keep it interesting for all of my readers.  I've been using two from each week's study to use one each on my blogs, and I'm planning that maybe next December I'll use more of them.

Also -- note that this simple study does not use the SOAP method as my studies usually do.  This one includes a verse for the day, a thought for the day,  a reflection question for the day and space to write a prayer for each day.  I tended to look at the verse a little bit in depth, and I tended (but not always) to answer the reflection question in the prayer.  But of course you can use these any way you want to.   Here goes with the study for Week 4, Day 22!

Verses for the day:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:6-7)

My study:

C.I. Scofield notes that the peace of God here is "inward peace, the state of the soul of the Christian who, having entered into peace with God, has committed all his anxieties to God through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving; this phrase emphasizes the nature of the peace granted.

Believer's Bible Commentary explains,  "This peace surpasses all understanding.  People of the world cannot understand it at all, and even Christians possessing it find a wonderful element of mystery about it.  They are surprised at their own lack of anxiety in the face of tragedy or adverse circumstances.  This peace garrisons the heart and the thought life ...".

So --

• be anxious for nothing
• pray about everything
• God's peace will guard your heart and mind!

Reflection question:

What do you need to give over to God today? Exchange your worry for His peace and be still.  Jesus loves you!

My prayer [remember I was writing this at the end of 2020]:

Dear God, I am so thankful for Your peace which passes all understanding.  When I commit my concerns to you in prayer, including the important element of thanksgiving, You promise that Your peace will guard my heart and mind.  The wording here shows us that Your peace surrounds us like a garrison..  What a blessing it is to have peace like this!  We're living in incredibly uncertain days surrounded by illness, civil unrest, uncertainty, and even questions about our church leadership.  I'm so thankful that I can commit all of this to You in prayer -- and receive Your peace in return.  I thank You in Jesus' name, Amen.

That's our Sunday Scripture for today!  Although this is a passage I've studied in depth in the past, it was a blessing and encouragement to me to review these verses.   I hope this look at God's incredible, unexplainable peace encouraged you as well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

December weekend 3


 It was another busy weekend, though not quite as busy as the previous two.  Friday morning found us at the grocery store early, sipping a gingerbread coffee at the in-store cafe and planning our day.  (We had spent Thursday night at our little camp, amazingly!  It was a decent temperature, but was snowing when we woke up.)

Included with our groceries were a few more items for Christmas baking and for kitchen gifts.  And, not surprisingly, there were a few things we couldn't find: orange slice candies, white chocolate candy melts, caramel baking bits, and more.  A trip to a second grocery store did not yield any of these products either.

On Saturday I did a bit more baking and we took a cookie tray to an elderly neighbor.  Not the one above -- that is just a "snack plate" for us to share.  I made the peppermint chocolate trees -- well, I finished them off with the mint chocolate and the green sugar, my hubby baked them -- and he made the lemon spritz, raspberry thumbprints and the macaroon kisses.

Also on Saturday, I prepared two pans of lasagna to freeze for a friend to use with a houseful of visiting family.  I also made some gingerbread cookie dough which I still haven't found time to bake!  My hubby was busy with snow removal here and at his mother's house.  (Even though she is no longer with us, the roof still needs to be kept clear to keep it safe.)

Sunday morning before church services, he did a bit more snow removal here and at our neighbor's, as it had cooled down overnight and he felt he could safely scrape both driveways.  Then off to Sunday School and church, where we enjoyed more special Christmas music -- "O Holy Night" by a teen choir and "Sing We Now of Christmas" by violin and piano.

After church, we headed over to our friends' church in Vermont to enjoy a fellowship dinner and afternoon service with them.  Mr. T took along one of his famous cookie trays which was enjoyed by all!

When we got back to our town we made quick stops at Dollar Tree and Wal*Mart and were able to find the baking ingredients the other stores had been out of.  

And that was our weekend!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Scripture


As I mentioned last week, in December 2020 I used Peace, Be Still: A 31-Day Christmas prayer journal, from Women Living Well.  I'm using some of my simple study from this book as Scripture Sunday posts for this December, using different posts on each of my blogs to keep it interesting for all of my readers.  I will take two from each week's study to use one each on my blogs, and maybe next December use more of them.

Also -- note that this simple study does not use the SOAP method as my studies usually do.  This one includes a verse for the day, a thought for the day,  a reflection question for the day and space to write a prayer for each day.  I tended to look at the verse a little bit in depth, and I tended (but not always) to answer the reflection question in the prayer.  But of course you can use these any way you want to.   Here goes with the study for Week 3, Day 15!

Verses for the day:

"For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
"But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  (Romans 6:20, 22-23)

My study:

These verses describe an amazing transformation!  We were once the servants of sin, but since accepting God's gift of salvation, we are now:

• made free from sin
• producing fruit unto holiness
• made servants to God
• destined to everlasting life!

Reflection question:

Have you repented of your sins and placed your faith in Jesus and received the free gift of eternal life? If you haven't, do it now!  If you have, you are a child of God and He is your everlasting Father.  How has He transformed your life?

My prayer:

Dear God, I am so thankful for Your free gift of salvation: free to me, but at great cost to You.  Once the servant of sin, I accepted Your gift when I realized I was lost and unable to save myself.  

What an amazing transformation then occurred: freedom from sin, eternal life as a destination -- and even, unbelievably, the privilege of serving You and producing spiritual fruit that can show how You work in a life.  I thank and praise You for all of this.  It is such a blessing and privilege to be Your child!   In Jesus' name, Amen.

That's our Sunday Scripture for today!  It was a blessing and encouragement to me to review this passage, and I hope this look at God's amazing gift of salvation encouraged you as well.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Making Christmas ornaments through the years


I adapted this from a post I wrote for my Christmas blog back in 2009.  No one ever commented on it, so I'm not even sure if anyone even read it!  I've been thinking this season about how much joy it has always brought me to make handmade ornaments and -- as I write this post on Thursday morning -- I am looking forward to an afternoon spent crafting at my daughter's home.  I will post about the projects we did, but not today.

 I simply love crafting Christmas ornaments. I've been making them for years. One ornament particularly stands out in my mind. I crafted it from felt years ago from a pattern in, I think, a McCall's Christmas Make-It Ideas. The ornament was several circles of varying sizes and then a bell, with separate clapper, strung vertically on a thread. It was pink -- not the best color for a Christmas ornament, I'm thinking now -- but how I labored over that creation. Each piece was cut twice, and then the thread sandwiched in between the two, which were glued together. The effect was like that of a mobile, in that the circles, bell, and clapper swayed and turned on the thread in the air currents in the room. I made this project when my children were very young -- mostly sitting on the floor to work on it while they played around me -- and as I recall it took me an entire day. Another project I did back in those days was crocheted ornaments I found the pattern for in a newspaper. A Christmas tree was one of the designs I made. These were crocheted from dark green yarn and then colorful French knots were added for lights.

As my kids grew older, I was always on the lookout for ornaments they could make. For a few years I taught art at a Christian school, and made countless ornaments with the students there at the Christmas season. In later years I made many ornaments for an annual October craft fair at my daughters' school. It was always fun, as Christmas drew near, to look at my stash of Christmas magazines, as well as the new issues, to decide what ornaments I might make. Oh, the fun of sending off to Home-Sew for the makings for some of these -- Christmas ribbons, cords, laces and trims! It was truly a special and wonderful part of my Christmas season.  The paper twist angel at center below was one of those I made for the craft fair.

As the years went by and I had more time, I made more complicated ornaments.  The embroidered mouse, below, was a gift to my mother one year.

One year I made photo ornaments for extended family members using vintage photos.
For a number of years my two oldest granddaughters spent a lot of time at our home, so once again in December I pulled out the craft supplies and the Christmas ideas.  The yo-yo wreath at the top of the post was made by one of the girls.  The candy cane below was also one of their creations.

Now I often look back on ornaments I have made and wish to make more of them; few things bring me more joy than working on such projects at my little crafting desk. But there's never enough time, and my desk is piled high with other priorities. This year, I plan to work on ornaments all year round. One project I hope to do this week is to sit down and plan what ornaments I will make and to locate all the patterns and instructions. Then I will take note of any materials I might need to buy. I believe I can probably make a good many ornaments just with materials I already have on hand. How inspiring that thought is!

That was my plan in 2009.  We will see how I do in 2023!

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Happy holiday hodgepodge


 It's Wednesday again, so time for the Hodgepodge -- the linkup where Joyce, at  From This Side of the Pond, asks the questions and bloggers provide the answers on their own blogs.  This week's Hodgepodge questions revolve around Christmas and winter.   Here goes:

1. What does Christmas mean to you? 

First and foremost it is a glorious opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior!  It also means family, friends, memories, glorious carols, yummy food, beautiful decorations, nostalgia ... I could go on and on.  I love this time of year!

2. What's your favorite cozy holiday activity? 

Hmmm ....  I love a hot cocoa bar.  The lovely one below is at my daughter's home.

3. Is all your shopping-wrapping-baking done? Tell us about your holiday plans. 

The baking is nearly done.  I want to bake some gingerbread men, and I have a couple kitchen gifts yet to do.   You can see the list over on my Christmas blog.  Or I can just put it here.

The shopping is partially done.  And I do have a few handmade gifts done, and several more to go.

The wrapping is not yet started, though I have some rolls of wrapping paper accessible and I bought some rolls of tape.

You didn't ask about Christmas cards, but I've started on those.

Holiday plans: Not sure yet about Christmas Eve.  Our oldest granddaughters often join us.  Christmas Day we will have church in the morning -- a special Christmas service.  In the afternoon we will join our local daughter and her family for dinner and presents. 

4. If you were Santa what treat would you like to have left for you (it doesn't have to be milk and cookies!) What sweet or savory treat do you most look forward to indulging in around the holidays? 

I don't care for milk, but cookies would be great.  Maybe a nice gingerbread coffee with lots of cream and no sugar, and how about a plate of assorted homemade Christmas cookies?

As far as a sweet or savory treat I look forward to around the holidays,  I'd say for sweet, any of our traditional Christmas cookies or fudge.  For savory, I don't know.  Maybe the Ranch House Chicken that I often make for Christmas dinner?

5. Next Wednesday is the first official day of winter (in the northern hemisphere). How does that make you feel? Tell us what you love most about winter? 

Winter comes every year; I'm not super excited about it, but it's inevitable.  It has felt like winter for awhile, even though we've had no snow and only have a half inch or so now.  I guess there is more coming this week.

What I love most about winter is the cozy feeling that comes with being snowed in, with plenty of firewood, a full pantry and lots of craft materials and maybe a jigsaw puzzle.

This is from a previous winter.  Just look at that snow piled up in front of the window.  (This window looks out on the porch roof.)

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Looking forward to getting together with my local daughter next week for some Christmasy crafting.  I need to look over project ideas I've saved and see what we might make together.  I'm wondering about some of these:

I have tart tins that were my grandmother's.  Or maybe some of these:

We will see what ideas we come up with.  I'll be sure to post about what we do.

And that's the holiday Hodgepodge!

Monday, December 12, 2022

December weekend 2


 It was another festive weekend as we move toward Christmas!

I've already told you about the Christmas book (pictured above)  that I found at our local thrift store last week, but I will share again for any who may have missed it.  We've been enjoying it very much as it is so Christ-centered.  I paid 50¢, but Thriftbooks has it for $4.19 if you are so inclined.  You can see it here: The Heart & Home of Christmas.  I brought it along to our camp as we stayed over that night.  Mr. T enjoyed reading through it while I worked on other projects.

I guess this book came to mind because we went to the thrift store again this Friday.  It isn't usually a regular stop for us, unless we are dropping off donations.  But last week, we had bought a few Christmas plates (plastic) and we've already used several of them. It seemed a good idea to look for a few more.  These plates were 50¢, so it beats the dollar store.  We bought a half dozen in various sizes and designs.

My local daughter also suggested that I check out some special vintage Christmas books she had seen in the Christmas room at this shop.  They are subtitled An American Annual of Christmas Literature and Art.  I did buy one just for fun.  The image below is the one that I bought.  It's from 1959.  I paid $5 but have seen them online for $18 and up!  Some of the older ones at the thrift store were as high as $12.

 I hope to blog about this book later this week when I have time to look through it more.

We browsed the Christmas room a little more and I picked up a package of 3 lovely glass ornaments for only $1 (if I remember right).  The bottom part is painted gold on the inside and the rest is clear.  So pretty!

Also on Friday we did our grocery shopping and picked up a few ingredients for cookie baking. Our supermarket has rolls of really fun kraft wrapping paper for $1.99, so we got a couple rolls.  Probably some of the unused rolls we have in the attic will end up going to the thrift store.  I like these much better!

 Saturday was a festive day from beginning to end.  In the morning I was able to attend a monthly ladies' Bible study which I enjoy so much.  I've mentioned our friend Amanda Reed, who leads this study, before.  This summer, she and her family moved to a beautiful log cabin with amazing views.  It was so fun to see how Amanda had added Christmasy touches like bows and ornaments to snowshoes both on her porch and on inside walls (and I wish I'd had a means of taking photos).  She also had jars of simple greenery all around the house.  

This was the last Bible study for awhile as we finished up this study on idolatry: More Than Anything.  We will resume in the spring with a new study.

Amanda had prepared a lovely brunch for us as it was our last time together for awhile: a delicious egg bake, fruit salad, pecan coffeecake, and smoothies.  Beyond kind.  It was such a gift to all of us.  You can read Amanda's latest blog post here: Making a Big Deal of Christmas.  I'm sure you would find it a blessing!

In the afternoon, my hubby and I were embroiled in all kinds of festive pursuits as I finished some cookies and he brought in the Christmas tree.  My hubby had previously made some chocolate pressed cookies in the shape of Christmas trees and I was turning them into little cookie sandwiches with minty white chocolate.

You can find the recipe here: Chocolate Peppermint Trees.  I didn't tint the white chocolate pale green as the recipe says, but instead left it white and then sprinkled on some green sugar.  Below you see them in their freezer box.

After that, I also baked some Chocolate Orange Cookies.  I just love the festive flavors of chocolate and orange together!

All the while, as I baked and he set up the Christmas tree, we had Christmas music playing and it was just a nice time together even though in separate areas much of the time.  We finished decorating the tree together after supper.

And then Sunday was a very festive day as we enjoyed our Christmas program at church.  Lots of music, Scripture, kids playing bells, and much more.  It was a very nice program that showcased the true meaning of Christmas!

Sunday afternoon Mr. T was out of town for a few hours so I wrote some blog posts, packaged up some Etsy orders, and wrote a few Christmas cards.  Below you see what one of the Etsy orders was for -- this gorgeous unused vintage Christmas card.

And that was the second weekend in December!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday Scripture


As I mentioned last week, in December 2020 I used Peace, Be Still: A 31-Day Christmas prayer journal, from Women Living Well.  I had thought I might use some of my simple study from this book as Scripture Sunday posts for this December.  I'm doing so, using different posts on each of my blogs to keep it interesting for all of my readers.  I will take two from each week's study to use one each on my blogs, and maybe next December use more of them.

Also -- note that this simple study does not use the SOAP method as my studies usually do.  This one includes a verse for the day, a thought for the day,  a reflection question for the day and space to write a prayer for each day.  I tended to look at the verse a little bit in depth, and I tended (but not always) to answer the reflection question in the prayer.  But of course you can use these any way you want to.   Here goes with the study for Week 2, Day 8!

Verse for the day:

"God, who at sundry times and in diverse manner spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;
"Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Hebrews 1:1-3)

My study:

I wrote out verses 1 through 3, because reading back that far really helps us with context.  In time past, God spoke by His prophets.  But now He has spoken to us by His Son -- the very One whom "He hath appointed heir of all things" (verse 2) and the One "by whom also Her made the worlds", The Creator God!

Jesus is "the brightness of God's glory" (verse 3).  Jesus is "the express image of God's person."  Jesus is "upholding all things by the word of His power."  Jesus alone purged our sins and is now seated "at the right hand of the Majesty on High."

Reflection question:

How have you seen the power of Jesus revealed in your life? 

Oh my, so many ways!  Of course the very biggest is how He transformed my life when I trusted Him as Savior.  But I see His power at work every day in my life as He gives me strength, answers prayer, and works out situations for my good and for His glory.

My prayer:

Dear God, What a picture this gives us of who Jesus is!  He is the brightness of Your glory!  He is the express image of Your Person!  He is the One by whom You made all things -- and He continues to uphold all things by the word of His power!  He purged our sins and is now seated at Your right hand.  How magnificent He is!  And, since all things are being upheld by the word of Your power, I need not fear -- no matter out of control things may look.  They have never been out of Your control, and they never will be.  I praise You for this and for all things, in Jesus' name, Amen.

That's our Sunday Scripture for today!  It was a blessing and encouragement to me to review this passage, and I'm sure this look at our all-powerful Lord encouraged you as well.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

December 8


 Well, let's see where things are with our Christmas preparations.  First of all, the Gooseberry Patch Christmas wallpaper above is on my desktop.  Love it!  I very much enjoy Gooseberry Patch art work and am so tickled to be able to have it on my computer.  If you would like to check out their wallpapers, go here: Gooseberry Patch free wallpapers.  They have them for all seasons, not just Christmas.  You are sure to find something fun that you want to use.

In the illustration above, I love that gorgeous metal loaf pan.  My grandmother used to have bakeware resembling that.  I love that this illustration pictures Christmas kitchen gifts!

I've been busy trying to scan and list more vintage Christmas cards at my Etsy shop (link in sidebar).  So many cards, so little time!  Below is one of my recent listings.  This one is especially sweet.

I got a few Christmas gifts ordered and most have already arrived.  I prefer to start wrapping after the tree is up so that I can just place the gifts under the tree and not have to keep them in some "way station" (like our bedroom) until later.

The photo below is from many years ago when we actually had a small narrow tree in our bedroom.  It sparked a memory.  Maybe you would like to read about it.  Go here: "How Beautiful!"

Today my hubby is out of town for the day and I'm really hoping to get some cleaning done in our bedroom, as well as perhaps bake a variety of Christmas cookies and write a few blog posts.  We will see!

Speaking of my hubby, he has continued to be busy making fudge and baking Christmas cookies.  He made some Special Holiday Fudge which our faraway daughter particularly enjoys.  So some of that will be winging its way to her soon.  It's a chocolate fudge with raisins and nuts in it.  Tastes a little bit like a Chunky candy bar.

He's been trying out the new cookie press from Amazon and is completely unimpressed with it.  In fact, I think we will be returning it.  It was a little sturdier than he hoped, but the ratchet system for pressing out the cookie dough is terribly weak and has nearly broken after just one use.

We kept an eye on the weather forecast for a week and finally, on Tuesday night, it was warm enough to spend the night at our little camp.  It was a very rainy night, but our daughter, son-in-law, and their youngest braved the trek through the woods to visit for awhile.  I do apologize for the dark and blurry tablet photo, but it gives you an idea of my hubby's temporary system for keeping electric window candles in place.  It's a big improvement over last year's method.

 We love the idea of lighting up the night at our cabin in the woods even when we aren't there, so we have window candles and upstairs tree on a timer.  We hope it shines out a little Christmas cheer to passers-by!

A few Christmas cards have arrived, so soon we will be taping those up in our hallway. The photo below is an older one (we no longer have wallpaper in the living room, having covered it with gorgeous wide pine boards) but you get the idea of how our card display usually looks.

No definitive word yet on when we'll be setting up the tree.

Okay, I am off to accomplish something rather than just talking about it!

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

A question from the Hodgepodge


 I'm not going to find time today to link up to the Hodgepodge, so I borrowed one of the questions that interested me to answer:

3. According to Better Homes and Gardens Magazine there are seven popular color trends for the holidays this year. They are- red and white, Victorian blue, pops of pink, rich shades of green, rainbow hues, black and white, and nostalgic retro colors. Are you 'trendy' when it comes to holiday decorating in 2022? How so? Does your tree have a 'theme'?

I am not "trendy" when it comes to holiday decorating -- nor when it comes to anything else.  I don't care for trends.

If I were to pick from one of these "color trends", it would either be red and white or nostalgic retro colors.  In fact, it probably will be the latter, since most of what I'll be using is vintage ornaments.

And our tree seldom has a theme.  I was going to say "never has a theme" but for a few years I had a small tree upstairs that had a Victorian theme, with lots of mauve, ivory and pink along with lace and velvet.

Ordinarily, though, our tree is quite eclectic with a lot of different colors and styles of ornaments.  Below you see last year's tree.  I like to use white lights simply because there are so many different colors on the tree already.

 This year, I'm very sure our tree (which we have barely begun to think about bringing in) won't have any theme except the joy of Christmas itself, however we express that in our decorating.

Monday, December 05, 2022

December weekend


 We had a somewhat festive weekend, so I'll share a bit of what we did.

My hubby has been baking Christmas cookies for a few weeks now and stashing them in the freezer.  As I mentioned in Saturday's post, he became completely done with the cookie press he had been using and threw it away.  It was Friday when we took a little trip to the thrift store and found a nice vintage one to replace it.  

We also ran into his sister in the thrift store and he completely unnerved her by rattling the cookie press in its ziplock bag in front of her face.  She was browsing a china display at the time and the clinking sound caused her to think she had broken something!  But she forgave him when she learned that he has already made several batches of his famous Heavenly Delight fudge, and promised to come by for some later.

I made my way across the street to another part of the thrift store where they have a large "Christmas room".  There is so much to see!  They had an entire set of the numbered Gooseberry Patch Christmas books, in addition to many, many other Christmas things.  I spent a total of $1.50 and came away with two purchases: a set of larger Christmas cards to package Etsy card orders in, and this book by Karla Dornacher:


I've only glanced through it a little bit, but the illustrations are fun and the book approaches Christmas from a truly Christian perspective.  It is something I'd display during the season for others to browse through.

When we got home from thrifting, I worked at dusting our hutch and decorating it with some simple Christmas decor, just using things readily accessible.  No Christmas boxes have come out yet!  I also redid the table with a Christmasy look.  You can glimpse the tablecloth in the photos of the cookie and fudge trays.

Saturday my hubby did more baking and we went over to our daughter's early afternoon so our son-in-law could give Mr. T a haircut.  

Saturday evening we headed to a Christmas party for the work crew my husband was a part of for years.  We enjoyed reconnecting with old friends.  He brought along the cookie tray pictured at top and also a second tray with fudge, as you see below. 

 Yummy food and pretty Christmas decor turned even a cavernous garage into a festive venue warmed by friendship.

We are in full on Christmas mode at church these days, singing Christmas carols, practicing songs and readings for next week's program, and with poinsettias everywhere.

And yesterday afternoon we enjoyed a Christmas concert by the orchestra our granddaughter plays in.  The concert culminated in a fun performance of "Sleigh Ride" in conjunction with a local band.

 And that was our weekend!

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sunday Scripture


As I mentioned last week in my post about Advent and Christmas Bible studies,  in 2020 I used Peace, Be Still: A 31-Day Christmas prayer journal, from Women Living Well.  I had thought I might use some of my simple study from this book as Scripture Sunday posts for December.  I have decided to do so, using different posts on each of my blogs to keep it interesting for all of my readers.  I will take two from each week's study to use one each on my blogs, and maybe next December use more of them.

Also -- note that this simple study does not use the SOAP method as my studies usually do.  This one includes a verse for the day, a thought for the day,  a reflection question for the day and space to write a prayer for each day.  I tended to look at the verse a little bit in depth, and I tended to answer the reflection question in the prayer, but of course you can use these any way you want to .   Here goes with the study for Week 1, Day 1!

Verse for the day:

"Nevertheless when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things to come."  (John 16:13)

My study: 

In verses 7-11, Jesus had described the threefold work of the Holy Spirit toward the world.  In verse 12 he noted that He had much more to say, but that the Twelve could not bear those things at that time.  

After His ascension, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would be able to be taught of Him as He guided them into all truth and declared to them the things that were to come in the future. He will guide us into all truth, as well, as we look to Him to lead us.

Reflection question:

In what area of your life are you in need of guidance or counsel?  Write it out below and then be still and wait on the Lord, to show you His way.

My prayer:

"Dear God,  I need guidance and counsel in so many areas of my life.  One of the very biggest areas of need is the wise use of my time.  The need to have my priorities in right order is another.  There is no way I can sort these things out in my own wisdom; I need Your guidance and direction for each and every day.  I pray that You will help me to be sensitive to Your leading throughout each day, and I thank You for all You'll do, in Jesus' name, Amen."

That's the Sunday Scripture for the day.  Hope it was a blessing to you!

Saturday, December 03, 2022

A pressing situation


Aren't cookie presses wonderful? I love the way they produce many beautiful cookies so quickly. I don't remember ever making pressed cookies in my childhood or teen years, although I often helped my mother with baking, especially at Christmas.  I'm not sure that my mother even owned a cookie press; I certainly didn't find one when I cleaned out her house.

When I had a kitchen of my own, I did acquire a cookie press -- if I remember right, as a gift from my mother. I have been through several cookie presses -- at least four that I can recall.

This lemon spritz recipe is a favorite of mine because it is very different. It has a lovely flavor from the fresh lemon juice and rind.

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 Tblsp. lemon juice
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

Beat butter until light; beat in sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon peel and juice and egg to blend thoroughly. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture, blending well.

Fill the cookie press with one-fourth of the dough at a time. Use the plates of your choice to press out cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. (I often use the camel plate for these cookies, but they are good in any shape.)

Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light brown on edges.

Remove from baking sheets to cooling racks. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

I mentioned yesterday how much baking Mr. T has been doing.  One of the cookies he made was Christmas Tree Spritz -- and,  in doing so, he ended the life of yet another cookie press.  We went to our local thrift store that afternoon in search of another, but the store was closed.  So, we investigated Amazon that very day and ordered another, but it has yet to arrive.

Fast-forward to yesterday when we finally got to our thrift store.  We found quite a deal -- a vintage Sawa cookie press, made in Sweden, for only $4!  I have seen them on Etsy from anywhere to $20 to $75.

 Ours is missing the box, but has everything else.   (It came to us packaged in a zip-top plastic bag.)  Everything is metal, which means it is so sturdy and well-made.  My hubby is so pleased with how it works.  Yes, he has already whipped up a batch of spritz!