Sunday, December 31, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Family Time & Christmas Pics!

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.


I've never missed a Celebrate This week post until last week when Ruth didn't have a post. I was worried when I saw her Blogging Past & Future post and read her words about saying goodbye and pulling the shades on Ruth Ayres Writes. But I was elated when I read, "I just can't make Ruth Ayres Writes go dark." I'm celebrating Ruth's decision and looking forward to another year of celebrations with this community!

The past two weeks have been filled with the fun of having two grand boys in our home. Grandparents and grand boys shared a cold, but even that couldn't keep us down for long. Two boys under the age of two managed to keep six adults busy. Seattle's first white Christmas in nine years was an added bonus. Enjoy some of our pics from this joyful time together!




Saturday, December 16, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Friends, Movies, Authors, & Family

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.

1.  Dinner with friends!
This is a tradition that began when I was teaching. We still enjoy this gathering of soup and sassy conversation. About half of us are retired and the other half are still working (which may account for the fact that we rarely get beyond an early dinner).
I'm planning our next get together for a Friday evening game night.

2.  Hallmark movies!
A couple of tutoring sessions from hubby on how to use Apple TV and the Sling app allowed me to watch Hallmark movies while doing Christmas cards.  It's the perfect combo, only not at 5 am on Saturday (according to hubby).

Don't miss this segment (under four minutes) on how poetry can entice young readers and create a culture of avid readers. Check out 
 this blog post which includes some of my favorite verse novels.

4. Imminent arrival of family for the holidays!
My grand boys are under the weather, but hopefully both will feel better by Wednesday when Teddy and Stefi arrive. Blake can work from the Seattle office for a few days, and so he arrives today. 

5.  Jack's tricks!
 Box standing
Feeding himself 
 Sweeping floors
ww
Emptying drawers

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.
I loved the video of Teddy's newest phrase "I don't know." 
I captured this pic 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!