Oldies But Goodies for 13 Days!

December 31, 2008

 

We are leaving this morning for a two-week vacation.  First with my sister and her family in Atlanta, then with Gunny and his family in Tulsa.  ( I envy people who have their siblings and children all in the area!)

I doubt that I’ll be able to post during that time, so I’m leaving you on your own.  But here’s the plan.  I’m going to leave an old post that I like on each of the days that I’m gone and you can read that.  But, only read the one for that day, okay?  That way you will have something to read here everrrrry day.  How hard can it be to come up with thirteen posts I like and would like for you to read from the “old days,” right?

Okay, I’ll be back to posting, hopefully, on the fourteenth.  So, here are 13 “oldies but goodies.”

Update:  I decided you need an “oldie” for today too, so go here for a post I wrote at the beginning of my fiction writing class a year ago.

Be safe  tonight, and may your new year be blessed in ways that you havn’t even thought of!  Happy 2009!

Thursday, January 1:   A lesson I learned when I was applying for a job I reallllly wanted is in here.

Friday, January 2:  The story of my arrival into a family who I’m pretty sure weren’t expecting me is here.

Saturday, January 3:   Can you be too nice?  Here’s my argument that you can!

Sunday, January 4:  When I finally found one, here’s the story of my first job.

Monday, January 5:  Would you put that label there, if you knew it was going to be permanent?  Read here.

Tuesday, January 6:  Dieting.  The best way to do it is with a sense of humor.  Read here about the differences between how I do it and how Hubby does it!

Wednesday, January 7:  A fable with a great lesson we can all profit from is here.

Thursday, January 8:  Hubby’s birthday!  Do you know who he shares it with?  Read here

Friday, January 9:  My mama was an interesting person.  Here are some of my memories of her on ironing day when I was little.

Saturday, January 10:  When we were at DD’s house last year, she and I wrote a story together.  She would write a paragraph, and then me, and then her, etc.  It was fun, and the result came out surprisingly well!  You can read it here.

Sunday, January 11:   I was having a bad morning, and it was raining too, then I had an unexpected encounter that made the whole day better!  Read it here.

Monday, January 12:  It was just a business trip to visit some truck dealers, but I had more of an adventure than I had bargained for!  Read it here.

Tuesday, January 13:  And finally, read here for my memories of sharing a hospital room with a “blonde bombshell” when I had DD.

If you paced yourself, you should be arriving here on the 13th.  If you did, here is a bonus for you.  It’s one of my favorites.  I hope it makes you laugh.

I’ll be back!  Hope you enjoy these old favorites of mine.  May God keep you safe until we meet again.

Sandra


Linda’s Cut Glass Bowl

December 30, 2008

 

This lovely cut glass dish lives at our house and is my favorite . . .

000_0023df   for a layered salad,

100_3859   or a fruit compote,

or, honestly, just about anything that I want to look pretty.  Because, well, because it’s just a pretty bowl!

But, it doesn’t belong to me.  It’s just “on loan” from my friend, Linda. 

 About a year ago,  Linda, who has been married to UD for 20 years, told me about a lovely cut glass bowl they had received as a wedding gift that they just never use.  So, because she knew I would use it, she asked me if I would like to have it!

Well, YES!  That’s a no brainer!  But, I certainly couldn’t just take it, so we agreed that it would just live at my house.  Kind of like when we had Akela — we joked that she was really their dog (because she loved them so much, and they loved her too) — she just lived at our house!

Today is Linda’s birthday, and that has made me think of all the ways she has blessed my life in the many years we have known each other.  Yes, we’ve shared things, like cut glass bowls and dogs, but the most important things we have shared are mutual love and respect, and our faith!

If you’d like to read some stories about our friendship,  involving our experiences while lunching together for many years, go to “Diary of a Lunching Professional” here.  I warn you, it’s a very long post that I wrote right after I started blogging.  Today, it would probably be four or five posts.  But, even though I may be a little prejudiced, I think you might  enjoy the three stories at the end. 

Happy Birthday, Linda!  May you have many more happy, healthy years, friend.


The Problem with Artificial Greenery . . .

December 29, 2008

 

. . . is that it gets dusty!

When we were decorating for Christmas, Hubby pointed out  a cobweb extending from the artificial greenery on  top of one of the kitchen cabinets to the top hat light above it!  I didn’t think it was very noticable even after he pointed it out, but it was definitely a signal that it was time to clean that green stuff.

Hmmm, but how to do it?  When I had washed artifical greenery in the past  it had always been in warm weather.  I would take them out on the deck, hose them down, and then let them dry in the sun. 

But I really needed to wash them now — who knew how many more cobwebs were in the making?  I was thinking maybe in the shower.  But Hubby made a better suggestion.  He thought it might work well to wash them in the bath tub, letting the jets agitate them in the soapy water a little.  Brilliant!

So, we gathered the greenery from on top of the cabinets and some from other parts of the house too, and put them all in the tub with some squirts of dishwashing soap and lots of warm water.

100_3976e11   I can just imagine all that green stuff saying, “Ahhhh, finally!”  By the way, FYI, the brown isn’t dirt (they weren’t that dirty!).  I guess designers of green stuff  do that for people like me.  No one would ever believe I would have plants in my house without some dead leaves on them.  The brown makes them much more believable!

100_3977e11    After the tub was full, I turned on the jets for about 30 seconds.  I was afraid to do it any longer than that, and I watched the jets very closely to make sure none of the vines got into them.  I think that could be bad for the jets and the vines too! 

100_3981e1   After their bath, I layed towels on the bathroom floor and spread them out to dry.

100_3990e1  When they were no longer drippy, I moved them to the edge of the tub to complete their drying time (and to get them out of the way).  I kind of liked this look, but I suppose if I left them there, it would be a little tricky to use the tub.  A leap over greenery into a bath tub isn’t a good idea even for children, much less grandmas!

100_4684   A few hours later when they were dry, we returned them to their “homes” on top of the cabinets.  I really can’t tell much difference in the way they look, but there is some satisfaction in just knowing that they are clean.  (And, while I was giving the greens their “bath,” Hubby vacuumed the tops of the cabinets and the lights.  After 43 years, we work well together.)

Mission accomplished, but also a lesson learned.  From now on, I’m really going to try to remember to wash these babies in the fall, before it gets cold, so that I can do it outside.  There was one big negative to doing it this way — a realllllly dirty bath tub that I didn’t enjoy cleaning at all!

But, if the green stuff could talk, I’m pretty sure they would say thank you.  Don’t we all feel better after a nice soak in the bathtub?

~~~~~~

p.s.  My friend, Hilary, left the following comment that I think is just too funny not to share.  It will be especially funny for those of you who remember Laurel and Hardy and Hardy’s trademark line, “Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.”

Hilary’s comment:  “So, when you were done washing the plants and noticed the tub, did you put on your very best Oliver Hardy voice, turn to your husband and say.. “Well, here’s another vine mess you’ve gotten me into!” 

Thanks, Hilary.  For a great closing line for this post!


May Today There be Peace Within You

December 28, 2008

 

door 

A sick man spoke as his doctor was preparing to leave the examination room, “Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.”

 Very quietly, the doctor said, “I don’t know.”

 “You don’t know? You, a Christian man, do not know what is on the other side?”

 The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

 Turning to the patient, the doctor said, “Did you notice my dog? He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside. He knew nothing except that his master was here, and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death, but I do know one thing… I know my Master is there and that is enough.”

 May today there be peace within you.

Author Unknown


Thank You, Friends . . .

December 26, 2008

 

 . . . for helping, encouraging and supporting  me to my 300th post!

100_4673s 

My husband says he never doubted for a minute that I had enough to say to fill 300 posts, but he’s just prejudiced.  Ha.Ha.

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Thanks to Jen for pushing me to start this, to those of you (mostly Jen’s friends and mine) who have been reading from the first, thanks to all of you who have started visiting here along the way, and to all the commenters, a special thanks for reassuring me that someone was “listening.”

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This is so much fun — and I couldn’t have done it without all of you!   Thank You!

(Am I the only one who finds the sight of butterflies in a little snow shower fascinating?)


A Fond Christmas Memory

December 24, 2008

 

mama-at-christmas2  Mama reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Mama loved to read to me when I was little, as she had to my siblings before me.  And because of that, we all grew up with a love of the written word.

So the Christmas Mama was eighty-four, and living with my sister Jean, my sister made a video of Mama sitting by the fireplace reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and sent a copy to each of us.  A wonderful, treasured Christmas gift.

May you have a blessed Christmas Eve that includes fond  memories from long ago, while making new memories for the future.

And, most importantly, may we all celebrate the “reason for the season,”  the birth of Jesus Christ!


I Went to This Blog, and Then To This Blog, and On and On . . .

December 24, 2008

 

. . . and that’s how I learned about blogs I had never heard of before!

One of the most recent I’ve found is 2nd Cup of Coffee.  The author had left an interesting comment on the Macromoments blog that is on my blog roll.  So, I then visited 2nd Cup of Coffee and found out that it was not only an interesting blog, but that she is an Indiana blogger.  I don’t “meet” many of those!  And, by the way, while I was there, I loved this post of a video of a (beautiful calico) cat “using” a printer.  It’s very  funny. 

I have read some really interesting blogs by “surfing” from blog roll to blog roll.  Sometime, if you have a little extra time, you might want to try it. 

You can start by just picking a blog from my blog roll to visit.  Then, after looking around there, pick a blog from that person’s blog roll.   And you can go on like that for as long as you have time.  It really is a little addictive. 

Two things amaze me about doing this.  First, how quickly I might end up on a blog from England, or Australia, or Finland, or India!  It’s not hard to find ones that are very unique and intriguing.

Secondly, I occasionally find my blog on the blog roll of a blog I’m not familiar with!  I know that’s not anything that would recommend a certain blog to you, but it is reallllly a nice surprise for me!  

The world of blogging and bloggers is such an interesting one.


The Ice Storm, Part 3 — Driving Through the Countryside

December 22, 2008

 

On Friday morning, after a night of freezing rain, we woke up to a beautiful, icy landscape, but also to power outages and some serious damage to trees.

Because we were without power, we went in search of a restaurant that was open where we could eat breakfast.  Our friends Linda and UD told us that a restaurant was open near them, so we set out for the little town where they live, not too far away.

100_4501t  There were many trees bent down like this one in our own neighborhood.  Luckily, we don’t have any trees in our yard big enough to cause  this to happen.

100_4504f  It’s sad that some didn’t just bend — they broke.

100_4510r   As we got out of town, everywhere we looked, the icy landscapes were beautiful.

100_4514r

100_4516r  But, much damage too.

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100_4532e  

100_4540g  

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100_4542g  Funniest thing.  When we pulled up in front of the restaurant, there were some of our neighbors, who also happen to be Hubby’s brother and sister-in-law.  That’s one trait that runs through our whole family — we are verrrry good at sniffing out food!

After a nice hot breakfast, in a warm, well-lit restaurant we started home.

100_4546d  This isn’t a great picture, but it makes me smile.  Because this young guy, who looked 12 or 13 years old, was pretending to throw snow balls at cars as they went by.  So, when we approached, I just raised the camera and took a picture of him.  THAT stopped him dead in his tracks.  It was fun to make “cool guy” maybe wonder who had taken his picture while he was “teasing” drivers, and whether a copy might get back to his mom!

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100_4565g  We were in Amish country, but we only saw a couple buggies on the road.

100_4566f  I know the Amish are used to it, but it chills me every time I see them in these open buggies in really cold weather.

100_4559s  Then we probably found out  why we hadn’t seen many buggies on the road.  We don’t happen by an Amish school too often, but I don’t remember ever seeing horses and buggies out in front.  So, I assume, most of the time, Amish children walk to school.  But, the weather must have made many Amish parents allow their children to drive the buggy to school that day.  That’s the nice thing about buggy driving — no age requirement.  And, besides “Dobbin” may know the way!

100_4560c  LOTS of buggies angle parked along the side of the road, all with their “slow-moving vehicle” orange triangle on the back.

100_4569x  A few minutes later, we passed another Amish school, and there were many buggies there too.  They may not have telephones in their homes, but word obviously travels fast in their community.

100_4573r  We came upon a young Amish couple walking along the road.  As we passed them, we could see that he was carrying a bundle that was obviously a baby!  So, we turned around and went back  to offer them a ride.  Would you believe they turned us down?  They acted very appreciative, but said they were only going “up there.”  I assume that meant that farm up on the right.  I guess they are not only much younger than me, but also of much heartier stock — “up there” would have been far enough away for me to accept a ride if it had been offered!  In fact, the last thing the young man said to us, was that the walking was good exercise for them.  That kind of cheerful humbleness, humbles me!  The Amish, like all of us, are not perfect, but there is much to admire about them.

100_4577x  Well, of course, when you’re in “Amish country” you will see horses.  Sleek ones like these, who pull the buggies.

100_4578s  And, big, powerful ones like these who pull the farming equipment.  

We came to the intersection of two roads, and this barnyard was right at the corner.  These two huge horses appeared to just be hanging around at the fence watching the world go by.  They seemed especially interested when we stopped the car to take some pictures.  It makes me wonder if there are people in the area who occasionally stop and give them an apple.   

100_4581z  That was just the look on their faces — expectant!

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100_4582axr  I know Pioneer Woman posts pictures of horses regularly, but this is the first time since I have started my photography that I’ve had the chance to get close-up pictures of horses.  Very exciting for me!

100_4582axrs  Sorry, guy.  No matter how much you try to charm me with that sweet face, I don’t HAVE an apple!

100_4583xx  It was a little harder for this smaller guy to “turn on the charm” since he was partially hidden by the icy fence, but who could resist those eyes.  I do wish the dark brown horse hadn’t been standing right behind him because this picture makes him look a little like he has four ears and a huge brown tumor on the side of his head!  So, you’ll just have to take my word for it — he was a cutey.

100_4591c  A pretty drive home.

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100_4604f  But, frequent reminders of the damage ice can do.

100_4608  When we pulled in our drive, the little reindeer in the yard next door were still peeking out at us from among the boughs of the tree bent low by ice.

And, when we went into the house, we now had power!  Hooray!  Lights and heat — things we take for granted, until something like an ice storm reminds us how much we need and appreciate them. 

And a young Amish couple who reminded us that doing without a convenience, like a ride (or electricity), might actually be good for us!


The Ice Storm, Part 2 — No Lights!

December 22, 2008

 

Friday was an interesting day.  Our friends, Bill and Pat, were having their annual Christmas party that evening and I had offered to bring a layered tex-mex dip.  So, I started making it first thing in the morning, so that it would have all day in the frig for the flavors to blend. 

100_4410x  Then the power went off at about 6:30 a.m., as I was in the middle of making the dip.  Luckily it doesn’t involve too much reading, because I know the recipe pretty well.

 100_4408sf  Hubby first helped me with my lighting dilemma with this flashlight aimed at the ceiling to diffuse the light.  It helped, but very little.

 

 100_4409d  So then, he brought in this bad boy as a reinforcement, again, aiming it at the ceiling.

100_4412g  It certainly was better than total darkness, but really not ideal conditions for “cooking.”  Luckily, the recipe didn’t require any actual “cooking” because our stove is electric.

100_4427f  Of course, when I use the flash on the camera, it gives a false impression of how much light there is.

100_4428g  So here’s a picture, without the flash, of the kitchen with only the light from the two flashlights.  It was starting to get light outside — that helped too.

100_4453d  I had the refried bean layer, the guacamole layer and the sour cream/mayo/taco seasoning layer already in the dishes.

100_4429f  Luckily, I have this nifty difty really automatic can opener that is battery powered, that my sister gave me, so no problem opening the can of black olives.

100_4442d  Now it got a little trickier.  While the black olives drained in a strainer in the sink, I began chopping the tomatoes and green onions with a knife.  Have I mentioned that Hubby keeps our kitchen knives very sharp?  Usually a blessing, but in semi-light, dull knives would have been more reassuring.

100_4452f  Fortunately there was no accidental severing of digits, and the next layers were successfully drained and chopped.

100_4457g  I added each of them in order.

 

 100_4459e  And then topped it all off with more cheese than the recipe calls for, because we really like cheese — so we assume anyone eating this will too!

I covered the dishes and put them on the counter in the very cold garage, because I didn’t want to have to open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary. 

With this little job done, we called our friends Linda and UD and asked if they wanted to go with us to try to find a restaurant that had power, so that we could have breakfast.  They live in a small town not too far away and they had power and the restaurant near them was open, so we agreed to come out there for breakfast.  And, that way, we could also see some of the results of the ice storm on the way.  I’ll do a post with pictures of that trip another day.

When we returned from breakfast, our power was back on!  Wonderful!  So, we lived the rest of our day normally, although we knew that there were still parts of the city without power.

We didn’t get a call from Bill and Pat that they were canceling the party, so we assumed they had power and we went over there at the appointed hour. 

But we had underestimated their “the party must go on” attitude, because they didn’t have power!  Luckily, their stove is gas, so they were able to cook on the stove top, and their solution to no lights was to get out every candle they owned and put them everywhere (I was impressed by how many candles they had — we’re talking hundreds)!  It was absolutely beautiful!  (Although, I quickly realized I needn’t have bothered wearing my new hot pink sweater over the black turtleneck that I had debated  with myself over — the plain black one or the one with a silver thread in it.  All for naught, because it was way too dark for anyone to notice what color sweater you were wearing, or whether the black turtleneck underneath had a silver thread in it or not!)  And, even though they didn’t have heat, the body heat of the guests made the temperature very comfortable.   So, it was a great party, and it was one of those times when I wished I had thought to bring my camera!  This is an annual party, but I’m pretty sure, this is the one hosts and guests alike will always remember — the party of a thousand candles!

p.s.  I’d normally give you the recipe for this dip, in case you don’t have it.  But I’m not going to (although you can pretty much “see” the recipe from the pictures!), because I thought it tasted too strong of the green onions this time, so I need to experiment a little and either use less green onion or change to a milder onion before recommending it.


“My Grace Is Sufficient for You . . .

December 21, 2008

 

 . . . for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians

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When something tragic happens in our life, it is always hard, but in the end, we have to make a decision if we are going to wallow in our self-pity and ask God, “Why me?”, or if we are going to rest in our faith and let God show us how we can not only live through our grief, but learn and grow from the experience.  The following letter is an example of the latter.  Our nephew David and his wife, Tiffany, lost their twin sons  in June, and their Christmas letter is a chronicle of that journey.

Dear Family and Friends,

In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground, firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My comforter, my All in All, here in the love of Christ I stand

No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny

No power in hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
 
 

This year has been the most difficult year of our lives.  However, this year we have experienced love in a way that we have never had before.  We have experienced God’s grace in unfathomable ways and have realized how precious life is.  We have realized that everything belongs to God.  The devil and this sinful world cause deep pain and anguish but, God’s peace flows through all of it.

In February we received the most amazing news that we were expecting identical twins.  For the next 18 weeks we fell even more in love with our sons.  Christopher was very energetic and loved to dance and wave anytime we had an ultrasound.  Connor was very laid back.  He often sucked his thumb and played with his ear.  Our sons were beautiful in every way.  They were small versions of their father.  They had his nose, eyebrows, lips, hands and even his legs.  The boys were head to head in the womb and often looked as if they were kissing.  They loved music and would dance and move when they heard it.

On June 1st, God took our sons home to be with Him.  It was an unexpected delivery and unfortunately the boys’ lungs were not developed enough for them to live long.  They went straight from the warmth of our arms to the loving arms of their Heavenly Father.  The first time they opened their eyes they saw Jesus in all His glory.  They were only apart from each other for two hours.  We had the boys baptized at the hospital.  We also had a beautiful funeral service, which was full of music.  The theme of the funeral was Jesus’ Little Lambs, which we put on their tombstone as well.  We grieve their deaths and the death of all our dreams as their parents.  In all the sadness we have experienced, we are also thankful that God allowed us to know them for eighteen weeks.  The imprint that they left on our hearts will last forever.  We have an eternity to know and hold them in heaven.

Thank you to everyone who sent cards.  Receiving those every day helped us get out of bed and begin each day.  Thank you to everyone who gave gifts and memorials to Central’s Pre-school Fund.  We hope that because of our sons’ short lives, hundreds of children will hear the Gospel at the age when it is most important.

We hope this Christmas season you are able to appreciate how important every moment of life is and how significant Christ’s birth was.  Because of a baby born in Bethlehem about 2,000 years ago, our babies get to spend eternity in heaven.  They have no sadness or  pain.  They never had a reason to cry.  We look forward to the day when we can hold our sons again.  It will be a wonderful reunion!

We love you and pray that God will bring joy in 2009.

Love, Tiffany and David

2 Corinthians 12:9-10,The Lord said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness… in hardships… in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong! 

May God bless you with faith in Him that is made even stronger through the hard times in your life.