Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Slice of Life: Kitchen Memories

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Sears Cooky Press box
Memories fill my kitchen
As Spritz cookies bake



Decked in reindeer red
Our musician in training,
Jack, shakes jingle bells

The Sears cooky press box in the picture is the original box of my mother's cooky press (more than 50 years old). And inside the box is the Spritz recipe from my mother's Betty Crocker cookbook. My sister has the cookbook, but I convinced her that this page (loose, like many in the cookbook) belonged with the cookie press. Each year when I open the box and pull out the recipe for holiday baking, I feel the presence of those whose hands have touched this press and those whose fingers followed the lines of this recipe.

My daughter and I enjoy baking together.  The cookies go into the freezer in holiday tins ready for assembling into trays and plates to share with friends.  This year the addition of a certain young man sweetened our time together.  Sara let him have his first bite of cookie, a buttery Spritz cookie made from great-grandma's cooky press.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Celebrate This Week: A post of a significant number!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.


Moments of joy in a busy week:
Monday's volunteer shift at the Bellevue Festival of the Nativity

Enjoying the end of the year book lists and checking to see which books I've read and which ones I want to add to my list

An afternoon with family and friends to see the musical version of "Elf" & enjoying Ryan's delicious cookies
at intermission while we chatted
Gotta love a friend who bakes and shares!

Finally putting up the Christmas lights on the deck this afternoon 

Pics of my grand boys!
Jack cruises around the kitchen by pushing a chair.
This is how you carry a toy when you
need both hands for crawling.
Video of Teddy's newest phrase "I don't know." 
and this pic I captured from the video.
And I saved the best celebration for last - 
This celebration marks my 800th blog post!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Time to Reflect!

This is a tough post to write because it's December. Who has time to be reflective in December? But when I read the beautiful words from my fellow bloggers about their OLW for 2017,  I decided that I must make time to join this community for a bit of reflection.  

When I look back over the year, it's easy to feel that I missed the mark. However, I'm choosing to follow the advice from a blog post I recently read, Five Reasons to Reflect on Your Year.  But because it's late, I'm only doing reason #1 - celebrate your accomplishments... But check out the link later for the rest of the reasons.


My OLW for 2017 was nourish. Here are the ways I wanted to experience being nourished (with my celebratory accomplishments posted in green):

Nourished by immersing myself in the good word of God - have managed recently to read scripture more days than not!
Nourished by extending love to family and friends - my two grandsons keep me happy and provide lots of laughter. The three retirees try to get together weekly. I visited my sister in CA and have a trip planned to OK to see my brother this spring. I'm trying to write more notes and letters to friends and family
Nourished by choosing to exercise - recently got the okay to work out at the gym after an injury sidelined me from exercise classes. I met with a trainer this week! (Why does everyone at the gym look like they don't need to be there? And where are the folks who look like me?)
Nourished by making healthy food choicesHave managed to maintain a small weight loss through Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Nourished by observing beauty in the world (Blogger refuses to make this phrase black, so I surrender.  You win, blogger!) - I excel in this particular area. My phone and blog are filled with pics of beauty I stop to capture. I'm loving the bare trees of almost winter and hoping for snow sometime this winter. 
Nourished by embracing quiet time - I created a cozy nook for myself in a spare bedroom this year and I love spending time there reading and writing and thinking and praying. 
Nourished by sharing my writing - I'm still writing each week at TWT's Slice of Life and with Ruth Ayres and friends for Celebrate This Week (retirees are supposed to have more time, but we don't have the advantage of stories from the classroom, hence I often write about my grandsons and share their pictures).
Nourished by reading the words of favorite writers - It's been a fun reading year.  I've focused on light reads and middle grade reads recently because (given the climate we're currently in), my life needs light. And favorite writers include my blogger friends whose words bring smiles, laughter, and sometimes tears as we share our lives together.   I love my online community.
Nourished by stilling the demands that crowd my heart ... I've actually said no to a few folks recently, so that I can:
listen to the stillness, 
savor the present moment, 
stretch to grow, and always 
abide in His love to  
nourish my soul and reach out in love. 
(bolded words indicate my chosen OLWs)

And as a nod to a bit of humor that we so need in today's world, I'll share my motivation for getting this post written. 
Time to head downstairs and celebrate! (Can eating only two pieces of a four piece box count as a healthy choice?)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Slice of Life: The Fruits of our Labors!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

This past week was our winter book sale fundraiser for Friends of the Library.  Shelly and I showed up on Wednesday evening to help organize the children's books.  And as anyone knows who loves books, if you're organizing books, you're bound to walk away with a few. Shh! Don't tell my husband since I'm at that stage in life when I'm supposed to be getting rid of stuff instead of acquiring more.  Some of my bounty will be given away, so it won't all be adding to our already overstuffed bookshelves.  Here's a peek at my finds!
 Hello Baby! by Mem Fox
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
Peter Spier's wordless picture book Christmas!
Biscuit's Christmas Eve (with flaps to open) by Alyssa Capucilli
Oh Holy Night (a die-cut board book) by Tracy Harrast
Watercolor Box (I probably would have bought it just for the delightful illustration on the front, but look inside . . . never used, complete with the tissue paper and brushes still wrapped in plastic.)
Marvel, Ultimate Sticker Collection with all the stickers intact
Robert Sabuda & Matthew Reinhart pop-up book, Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs 
And the yellow book with no dust jacket? An autographed copy of Tambourines! Tambourines to Glory! Prayers and Poems, selected by Nancy Larrick. Here's the Langston Huges poem that inspired the title of the book:
And the total cost of 8 books and one box of watercolors?  $12.50! (Book sale volunteers get their purchases for half price.) You can see why I always manage to squeeze in time to volunteer at each of our library book sales. And I love visiting with neighbors, former students and their parents, and fellow book lovers who shop our sales.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Celebrate This Week

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Party Time!
We kicked off the Christmas season on November 30 with an evening of fun at Mallory's house with the ladies in our congregation.  Unfortunately, we were having so much fun that this pic of Mallory and Bobbi just before the festivities began is the only one I have. Our drive for Teen Feed to benefit homeless teens netted 6 jackets, 2 sleeping bags, hand warmers, rain ponchos, oatmeal packs, granola bars, fruit leather, jerky, $120 in gift cards, 17 hats/beanies, 16 pairs of gloves,
and 51 pairs of socks.
So grateful that Mallory is organized enough to have her home totally decorated before December 1 (and she does this with three young children)! We shared the Light the World calendar with everyone at the party.  If you celebrate Christmas, the bloggers at The Small Seed have additional ideas and visuals to help you use this calendar with your family as you seek to focus your activities on 
Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Headstand Efforts!
Stefi showed her nieces how do do a headstand using a pillow and the wall.  I wish I could show you the entire video, but you can see Teddy was trying his best to do a headstand this week.

Twinning with Grandpa!
I couldn't resist buying an outfit with a red and black plaid jacket to match Grandpa's jacket. I'm not sure who's having more fun - 
Jack or Grandpa!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Slice of Life: We shopped. We lunched. We debriefed.

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

What do three retired friends do on the day after Thanksgiving break? We shopped, we lunched, we debriefed.

My new favorite stops at the outlet mall are the kid stores - Carter's, Osh Kosh B'Gosh, and Kid Gap. I took advantage of great sales to pick up some gifts for my grand boys. I also picked up a stocking stuffer and a new purse for myself. After traipsing all over the outdoor outlet mall, we headed to a cafe for lunch. I was surprised when the taste of my navy bean and ham cup of soup transported me right back to being a kid and Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup. And lastly, we debriefed our latest PBS shows. We're not always able to talk about them because a certain party (who shall remain unnamed) still hasn't watched them.  But yesterday, everyone had finished "Poldark" and "The Collection." We enjoyed discussing the cliffhangers, favorite characters, and the choices we wish they had made.  Now it's time to wait for a new season.  

The three of us are definitely enjoying this new season of our lives. We've learned that we have to plan the next time we'll get together or it doesn't happen (especially since Karen has moved out of our community).  Next week, we're headed to the movies to see "Wonder."

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Gratitude

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

On the way to the play . . .
A lovely man asked to share our table at The Armory.
We chatted a bit with his friend 
and the two young ladies with them.
Of course, I couldn't resist asking
the fourth grader if she liked to read. 
Her eyes danced with pleasure as she replied, "Yes,"
and shared a recent favorite, "Holes."
I encouraged her to read "Wishtree,"
my recent favorite, and I think she will!

A random link from a magazine read . . .
led to reflecting on ritual thank-yous
that can still feel heartfelt and be sincere.
Examples of fellow riders have led me to
thank the bus driver each time I exit
and I want to thank the post lady who brings our daily mail
and the kind person who brings the newspaper to our front porch.
 I still joyfully recall the students who would
exit my classroom with a "thank you" each day,
such evidence of parents who taught gratitude.

Strolling over the river and through the woods
and wandering down memory lane and through the years . . .
Thanksgivings of years past come to mind.
Grateful for the large family gatherings 
at Granny's house just down the street,
and for the years when Little Tommy
couldn't wait for Grandma to show him 
the giant turkey in the oven,
and for a mother who always had
room at the table for one more
and pie enough for everyone who dropped by.

Gratitude fills this Grandma's heart
for family who pitch in and love being together,
for moments shared via technology
that bring us together to share our love
via FaceTime or the telephone,
and for grandboys who fill my days with laughter and joy!
 Love seeing Jack hang out with Grandpa
and interact with his books!

 Grateful that Teddy is already learning how
to make rolls from his grandma in Utah!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Slice of Life: Laughter Guaranteed!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

One of the side benefits of watching my grandson, Jack, is more laughter in my life. You can't hang out with an almost ten month old without enjoying giggles every day. His latest laughter- provoking escapade occurred last Friday. We'd had a rough morning with lots of clinging (he's working on some new teeth), but after lunch he was happy to play independently. I took advantage of the time to hop on my computer to take care of some emails.  While I was working away, a hand appeared on top of the table.  This young man's head still fits under the table, so it was cute to see that hand reach up to snatch a favorite book.  As it came crashing to the floor, so did Grandma's keys. He grabbed the keys and made off like a bandit with them. I always tell him that Grandma can't let him play with her keys because she already loses them too easily. I laughed and laughed at his exuberance (and even let him enjoy the keys for a bit)! The book he wanted?  Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes (great taste in books already).

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Celebrate This Week: A Smorgasbord of Joy!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Friends
I suffer from decision paralysis.  I've been trying to decide on a new artificial Christmas tree and ended up with two in my trunk.  Monday, I met Karen and Shelly for shopping and lunch.  Our first stops were to show them the two trees.  They immediately decided on the tree at our second stop (how can some people be so decisive?). I was able to return the other tree that same day. We have another outing planned for next week.  

Generator
It's a given that high winds mean that we will lose power.  Some years ago my husband decided that we needed a generator that hooked up to the house and would kick in when we lost power. At the time, I thought it was a huge extravagance. But each time we have stormy weather and lose power, I'm grateful for this generator. I was even able to dry some clothes for a friend who still did not have power 24 hours later.

Tweets from NCTE
I love reading tweets and seeing pics from NCTE. I'm looking forward to blog posts that recap the learning from my blogger friends!

Busy Boys
Jack loves playing with these farm animals, a shower gift from a good friend who knows about toys that matter.  
Teddy's been busy the past two weeks with his three cousins in Utah who just welcomed baby girl #4 into their family.  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and celebrate the moments and stories you will share with family and friends!