Friday, December 26, 2008
Each Christmas season we make sure we stay focused on the reason for our celebration. Beginning the first Sunday after Thanksgiving, we set up the Advent Wreath in our tradition to retell the Christmas story. There are 5 candles on the Advent Wreath, each one representing a certain aspect of the Christ story. The Prophecy candle which tells of His coming in the Old Testament; the Shepherd Candle telling the story of the proclamation of Christ's birth, the Bethlehem Candle foretelling the place of the birth, the Angel's candle describing the angelic visit to Mary and Joseph. Each Sunday a new candle is lit in addition to the previous one(s) until all are lit. The final candle is the Christ Candle and it is lit on Christmas Eve, culminating the long awaited anticipation of Christmas Day. During the week, we try to have evening devotions with any of the children that are home, keeping the focus of Christmas on Jesus. We have carried on this tradition for many years and the kids have always enjoyed it. I have found various advent wreath candle holders at yard sales and thrift stores that I give to my kids to use with their families. We have treasured our family times around the advent candles.
This is the first fake tree I have ever had. I actually liked it. No mess and I didn't have to cut down a tree just to decorate my living room for a few weeks.
We had a full on dinner with the all of the family and some extra guests. The girls each brought home a boyfriend this year, that was different!
Darling DIL made this cute little gingerbread house for us to devour. Notice how absolutely perfect the "snow" is!! We hated to break it apart to eat it! Although the boys thought it was great fun to "bomb" it and make holes in it.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
When the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, winter arrives like a long lost friend. Just on the heels of a comfortable, gentle Fall, the rainy season has come. Various rooftops in the neighborhood sing their song of rain pattering against their shingles, each unique in their tune.
The wood shed is full, the delicate plants are put away, and the dog gets to sleep inside by the fire. The floors are continually stenciled with muddy footprints, unbeknownst to my valiant efforts to wipe them away.
'Tis the time to nestle. Time to settle into winter mode, dragging out the projects that didn't get finished last year. The knitting needles are clinking away as I try to finish up last minute gifts for my family. As you race through the day of gift giving and dining, take a few long moments to reflect on just how blessed you are and how wonderful our Heavenly Father is. Before you jump out of bed to spy the contents of your Christmas stocking, pause and give praise to the One who has given us the greatest gift of all, salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Because if it weren't for the free gift that God has given us, we would be lost in a sea of condemnation instead of sailing on an ocean of grace. Merry Christmas to all of you. Peace, good health and love are the gifts I wish for each one of you this season.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Ev's friends gave her a baby shower last weekend. She got some really cute stuff. We sat outside on the front patio in the beautiful 70 degree weather. Hard to believe it was the end of November. Little Tallulah is to arrive in just 6 weeks. We can hardly wait.
Here are the girls sampling different baby foods for a game we played.
The November sky gave us a fond farewell as we welcomed December. The fall weather has been nearly the best I have ever experienced here on the Northcoast. Warm days with just enough rainfall to freshen up the landscape.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
While reading one of my favorite blogs, I came across this story. I thought it was cute!
THE GOOD NAPKINS...ahhhhh...the joys of having girls...
My mother taught me to read when I was four years old (her first mistake)....
One day, I was in the bathroom and noticed one of the cabinet doors was ajar. I read the box in the cabinet. I then asked my mother why she was keeping 'napkins' in the bathroom. Didn't they belong in the kitchen?
Not wanting to burden me with unnecessary facts, she told me that those were for "special occasions" (her second mistake)...
Now, fast forward a few months....It's Thanksgiving Day, and my folks are leaving to pick up my uncle and his wife for dinner. Mom had assignments for all of us while they were gone. Mine was to set the table.
When they returned, my uncle came in first and immediately burst into laughter.
Next, in came his wife who gasped, then began giggling.
Next, in came my father, who roared with laughter.
Then in came Mom, who almost died of embarrassment when she saw each place setting on the table with a "special occasion" napkin at each plate, with the fork carefully arranged on top. I had even tucked the little tail in so they didn't hang off the edge!!
My mother asked me why I used these and, of course, my response sent the other adults into further fits of laughter.
"But, Mom, you SAID they were for special occasions!!!" Isn't it easier to just tell the truth and be careful who you ask to set the table for you!
Friday, November 28, 2008
I had heard that if you want to burn off your Thanksgiving meal, you would have to go out and run a marathon. Well, who wants to do that! So instead of going outside running, one of the kids put on the music and began to dance. Next thing we know, we are having a dance party! With a house full of teens and young adults, I suppose this would almost be inevitable! We spent a good hour selecting our favorite dance songs off the internet, old and new! Play the video below to check out the fun times!
The rest of the day was the wonderful traditional family get together time! We are truly thankful for such treasured memories!
Ev was the first one at the table! She was ready to eat since she is eating for two! Baby will be here in 6 weeks!!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
For just about 8 months now I have been vegetarian. I began this as an experiment to see how my health and my weight would be affected. So far I haven't really noticed much change. I have been concentrating on making sure that I take in enough protein and iron, so basically I feel the same. I didn't test my blood composition before I started, so maybe that has changed; less cholesterol, etc. So, I 'm not sure how long this experiment will last.
This marks my first Thanksgiving without eating turkey. I know it will be hard not to eat just a little, but I will give it a try! I am cooking one for the family, so they won't go without!
When I see photos of these turkeys, it reminds me that turkeys are created to be eaten. Though I understand some of you might not agree with me, I speak from a voice of experience. For 20 years we raised turkeys from day old hatchlings to Thanksgiving Day dinner. This was quite an endeavor. We would order 15 - 20 downy soft little chicks and raise them up for our food. The turkeys were not the smartest bird on the farm, let me tell you! The stories that you have heard about turkeys drowning in the rain are all true! I never really had one drown, but they do tilt their heads up towards the sky allowing the water to pour down their throats when the rain starts. It is the weirdest thing! After spending umpteen dollars on feed, they were ready to butcher. Some years I fed them better than others and they would get too big too fast. They would be ready to butcher in October! We would still have to feed them for another month. Our recorded largerst butchered out, cleaned, ready for the oven turkey was 36 lbs! No lie!! We had to cut it in half length-wise to put it in our little oven. Many times we would let several of them stay "on the hoof" so to speak, keeping them alive until Christmas dinner or New Year's. Once or twice we got lazy and didn't get around to butchering them in a timely fashion and by March or April they would be having leg and feet problems. We had one go blind once. It was hard to butcher her, but we didn't want to let the meat go to waste when she got to be 10 months old or so. We had one that we called "tweak beak" because it had a deformed upper beak that went sideways instead of straight forward over the lower beak. He had a hard time eating, so he didn't hang around until November; we ate him early!
Ok, that's enough turkey stories. I have more, but you get the idea! I encourage all of you to have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, turkey or none!
Give thanks with a grateful heart!!!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Slowly, slowly the autumn sun fades as the days become shorter and the nights become cooler.
The evening sun sinks rapidly into the depths of a misty fog as the dampness hangs thick in the air.
Winter is near, eager to step into its rightful place on the heels of fall.
I'm not ready.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Unbelievable. Sunshine and temperatures in the 70's. I don't know that I have ever seen such fantastic weather in the middle of November here in the Pacific Northwest.
We spent the entire day down at the beach with a picnic lunch and the horses in tow.
Rex and Tilly were able to romp and play together. They both love the ocean, too!
Wesmonger really likes the camera.
Here is my heart. These are the ones that I love and care for.
The day was so exquisite.
The water was even tolerable for Arbiter to go in for a quick dip!
These are definitely days to remember and treasure.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
The guys were so kind to honor us and make us feel extra special. N even gave us a solo on the toy trumpet!
Since the theme of our celebration was "Viva Mexico!" our friends M & TJ brought over this strange looking fruit. Most of us had no idea what it was as we cut it open and examined the contents. Yes, we should have realized that it was a papaya.
TJ does her best to look like she knows what she is doing with the exotic fruit. We had all kinds of candles, guacamole, chips, fajitas, and even some Mariachi music playing on the CD player. We had lots of fun. Thank you friends and family for making us feel so special.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
While touring the USS Midway last week, we came upon this lonely table in a corner 0f the mess hall. It seems that every ship had a special POW table set up in their dining room to remind them of the soldiers who remain imprisoned or missing in action. The sight gave each of us great pause in considering the price that some paid for our freedom.
Land of the free,
land that I love.
We are not perfect, but we are strong,
We are not sovereign, but we are united.
We are one, we are many,
We are Americans
And for this I am grateful,
I will never be ashamed.