Friday, December 31, 2010

A Two-Year Pie Out On the Deck

I betcha thought this cold and snowy weather was good for nothng, didn't you? You Were Wrong!

As you can see, the snowy deck (actually, it's a combo of sleet and snow) makes a good cooling pad for the apple pie I baked this morning. It's 13 degrees and I figure that'll cool this pie down right fast.

Oh, I could place the pie on the countertop to cool, but that would slow down consumption considerably. This late in the year it's pointless to begin practicing patience.

(Don't worry, Mom! I baked a small one for you as well.)

On the the New Year.

Last week, as I printed out my 2011 calendar, I hand-printed at the top of each monthly page the following statement. I read it on someone's blog (yours?) but I can't remember where and I liked it. Here it is, as printed in red on my calendar.

"We will prayerfully await the unfolding of God's ordained will."

The statement is a reminder that regardless of what 2011 brings, whether ease or discomfort, we are always and still and forever in the providential hands of our Lord. God is our provider, both for things physical and spiritual. He causes us to lean faithfully upon Him. And in that leaning, He gives us peace.

May your New Year be filled with the Peace that only He can provide.

Now...heading for apple pie! Even though it's early in the day I think we can extend this pie out into the next year. A two year pie! How about them apples!

P.S. Don't forget to check in on Lennie tomorrow.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Upon Which I Tell You About Lennie's Diary in Year 1898

These days nobody writes anything on paper. It's email or twitter or blogs or whatever. And little of it is printed out for posterity. (Sure, you think just because it's on the Net that it is forever! But that's what you thought about your VCR movies, too!)

We have in our possession a shoe box full of letters that Hubby's mother wrote home to her mother. A huge lot of them. But this post is not about those letters.

Instead, I am writing about Hubby's grandfather's diary. It was a simple little pocket-size book with a couple lines set apart for each day. Each day in 1898 Lennie (his name was Charles Leonard) wrote succinct notes about his day. He was seventeen. He was in high school and worked on the neighbor's farm. He played in the town band and liked girls. His transportation was either a horse or a bicycle. There were no cars yet.

I have a fondness for Lennie. My hubby very much resembles him physically, and although I never met Lennie, I'm thinking their personalities were similar as well.

I hope you will click over to Lennie's diary and follow along as I post his daily notes nearly 113 years later.

And, maybe, perhaps, it will inspire you to begin a diary of your own.

Happy New Year, Everybody! Happy New Year!

Today's Word: succinct [səkˈsɪŋkt] adjective
1. marked by brevity and clarity; concise
2. compressed into a small area

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Brother is Always Good for a Snirkle!

I make up new words. Today's word? "Snirkle!" It's sort of a cross between a giggle, a smirk, and snarky laughter. Today I snirkled!

Earlier today....a phone conversation with my brother. In regards to our family gathering for Christmas. And food thereof.

  • Me: "The fruitcake is almost gone.
  • Me again: "But I'm going to make another."
  • Brother: "Oh, No!"
  • Brother again: Oh! I mean "Wonderful!"

My brother is always good for a snirkle.

P.S. I am not always good a making up new words. I googled "snirkle" and guess what! It's already taken. It's a candy bar, of all things, that originated in 1920. Man! Am I behind the times! Snirkle, snirkle!

Monday, December 20, 2010

How Can We Not Celebrate!!!

One of the blogs that I follow is J.C. Ryle Quotes. You might ask, "Who is J.C. Ryle?"

A partial answer is that J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) was a prolific writer, preacher, pastor, husband of three wives (widowed three times) and the father to five children.

After being in Pastoral ministry in England for 38 years, in 1880 (at age 64) Ryle became the first bishop of Liverpool, England and remained there for 20 years. He retired in 1900 (at age 83) and died later that same year at age 84. (You can read a longer, albeit short, biography at this website.)

I'm appreciative of the J.C. Ryle Quotes blog because I can daily read clear, convicting words by Ryle. Today's quote is as follows (emphasis mine):

Christianity is a religion built upon facts. Let us never lose sight of this. The first preachers did not go up and down the world, proclaiming an elaborate, artificial system of abstruse doctrines and deep principles. They made it their first business to tell men great plain facts. They went about telling a sin-laden world, that the Son of God had come down to earth, and lived for us, died for us, and risen again. The Gospel, at its first publication, was far more simple than many make it now. It was neither more nor less than the history of Christ. ~ J.C. Ryle

And so it is, that at Christmastime, we are celebrating exactly that! The Son of God, has come to save us from our sins. The Jesus of history now sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes on behalf of His people.

How can we not celebrate!

Merry Christmas! And Hallelujah!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't Eat the Cookie Dough!

Just a friendly seasonal don't want to spend Christmas Eve as I did last year.

What happened last year, you ask? Well...I baked cookies the morning of Christmas Eve. And, as I always do, I ate cookie dough! Who doesn't!

At this point I want you to think "food poisoning"!

That night we had a raging blizzard. Wind and snow howled through our area. We couldn't have gotten out on the road in any kind of emergency. And I was lying awake deep into the night with a nauseous pain in my tummy...thanks to eating cookie dough. I envisioned all kinds of horrible scenarios on this Christmas of them being a trip to the emergency room a mere two blocks away in a snow plow. You can read about that evening here.

So! No more cookie dough for me! And I advise the same for you.

I wonder if the chocolate companies make a cookie dough truffle! I betcha!!!


Monday, December 13, 2010

The Beginning of the End...a Reversal

Last week I posted on what I call the "Grand Exchange". In line with that thought, today I'm encouraging you to click on over to this post to read what Tullian Tchividjian has to say about what he calls the "Great Reversal".

Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) comments on C.S.Lewis' classic tale for children, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe".

Early in the story the land of Narnia is under the spell of the White Witch so that it is "always winter and never Christmas". I was thinking yesterday about Lewis' book...about winter and snow and cold. And how, when winter hits in its full fierceness, it fills us with dread.

To live unprotected in dark dead winter is to live in danger. Sometimes I think about that...when I am lying abed in the dark of the night and the wind is howling like a freight train running down the middle of the street. Thinking about how we take for granted the blessings of central heat and insulated walls. About electricity that seldom (in our part of the country) goes out.

We get lulled into thinking we are always "safe". We forget about those who, due to time or circumstance, have no such safe place. Winter can be deadly. And in its deadliness it gives no joy. Perhaps that is why Lewis described the spell of the White Witch as leaving the land "always winter and never Christmas". Always deadly. Never joy.

Click on the link in my first paragraph to read Tullian's comments about what he calls the "Great Reversal". The beginning of the end of winter.

And count a warm home as one of your blessings today.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Breakfast After the Blizzard

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
Matthew 10:29

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's a White-Out Blizzard and We're Home Safe and Snug

It's Saturday night. And there's a blizzard. A white-out blizzard. And you thought nothing exciting was happening in America tonight! Read on!

There ain't no sunshine in Iowa today. Nor in Minnesota. As you can see by the weather map the entire State of Iowa is under a blizzard warning. And has been since early this morning.

Roads in northwest Iowa and the southern half of Minnesota are closed according to their respective highway websites. I-29 in Iowa is closed from Missouri Valley all the way north to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. That's a 162 mile stretch! Closed!

Right now the wind is whistling along at somewhere between 30 to 50 miles an hour. Our windows are covered with a fine-powdered snow that has whisked its way right through the screens to the double-pane windows inside.

And our birds! Last year the feeder hung under the tree out back. This year we moved it out front by the picture window and the little feathered critters had only just recently found it again. This mornng it was cold! Bitterly cold! The birds arrived early and stayed late. Finally, at dusk, I brought the now-snow-filled feeder inside, emptied it of its snowy birdseed and set it in the tub to let it thaw. I'll refill it in the morning with dry seed and hang it out again. I'm sure our friends will be ready for breakfast.

Meanwhile, my daughter in Minnesota spent the day baking cookies (except for the short time she tried driving to the quick shop for coffee and ended up backing all the way home in deep snow). She plans to bring cookies down for Christmas and they sound very yummy and I hope my grandson does not eat them all in the meantime, because as a friend told me, he has hollow legs and he needs lots and lotsa cookies! But I'm hoping!

And here? We're snug inside. We've no place we need to go. And I'll share a pic of our little Christmas tree.

Stay safe!

Friday, December 10, 2010

People Really Wanna Know! Now You, Too, Can Know!

Occasionally I check to see how people land on my blog. And one of the things I check are the google search phrases that sometimes cause them to find me. One of the strangest and most common searches that lands them here is "how to write a snore?"

You may wonder, "WHO wants to know how to write a snore!!??"

The answer, I suppose, is "writers". Writers write. And if their hero/heroine is sleeping I suppose they want him/her to snore as well. If he/she is snoring, he/she is definitely sound asleep. Whatever....

In October 2008 I learned how to write "snore" in snore language. Read on if you, too, need to know how to "write a snore!" Here's my post from that year.

I confess. I snore. Up until now only Hubby knows that. (Now you ALL know!!!) Snoring does not seem like something a lady should confess to, but there it is.

Recently, in the middle of the night, Hubby tapped me on the shoulder which is his signal to me to "Roll over, you're snoring." In that small moment between the "tap" and "awake", my mind had a mental picture of how "snore" would look if it were written in snore language (not to be confused with plain English).

Here's a pic of that written sound. Just in case you ever need to write it out yourself. (You never know when this bit of info will come in handy!)

I'm an inventor of a new written language. But so far it only has one word.
And now you, too, can write a "snore".

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Seasonal Word and a Grand Exchange!

It's an old word, one that comes down to us from the 14th Century but which has its meaning in an event that happened about 2000 years ago. If you are unfamiliar with the word "Nativity" as used by Christians, I hope that you will kindly read on. Take just a moment to read a very simple explanation of what Christians believe at Christmas. If nothing else, you will obtain a closer understanding of what it is that we are celebrating.

From the online Miriam-Webster dictionary we find this definition of "Nativity":

1: the process or circumstances of being born: birth; especially capitalized: the birth of Jesus
(emphasize mine)

And, then, as dictionaries do, we read the origin of the word.
Middle English nativite, from Anglo-French nativité, from Medieval Latin nativitat-, nativitas, from Late Latin, birth, from Latin nativus

Over the years (my years, that is) my Christmas decorating has varied. But regardless of what other decorations I put up, I always love setting out a Nativity scene. One set is pictured at the top of my blog. The other is a small music box that I hope little visitors will pick up, turn the handle, and listen to the simple tune as they contemplate the figures that represent Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

For us the word "Christmas" comes from Middle English Christemasse, and from Old English Cristes mæsse, literally, Christ's mass.

I suppose that is partly why non-believers sometimes prefer "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Be that as it may...Christmas is a celebration of Christ.

I want to emphasize that the celebration is not simply the birth of a new baby for this is no ordinary baby. What we are celebrating is the arrival of the promised Savior, Emmanuel (God with us). The long-awaited Promised Messiah arrived on that not-so-quiet night in Bethlehem.

Why was it a not-so-quiet night? Luke 2:13-14 tells us that after the birth there was a host, a huge number, a large crowd, a Sky Full of Holy Angels shouting the good news and proclaiming, ""Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

God Himself (John 1:1-3) had come down into mankind to take on flesh to become one of us (John 1:14) and to live the righteous and perfectly sin-free life than we cannot.

And then! At the Cross, He carried out what I call the Grand Exchange. Our sins placed on Him. All of them. Imputed to Him as if they were His own! He died our penalty as if He had committed every one of those rotten, filthy, foul sins! (2 Corinthians 5:21) (Another useful word here is "propitiation" or "sacrifice". See 1 John 4:10)

But this is only half the exchange! The other half is that His Righteousness is put on (imputed) to those who are His. His Righteousness covers us! It covers us so thoroughly that when we stand before God on Judgment Day our Heavenly Father sees us Clean! Because we are clothed with Christ's Righteousness! (Even though we still live out our natural lifetime struggling against our old sin nature.)

Therefore, if you belong to Christ, consider yourself a New Creature. Our old "self" is done away with. We are new! (2 Cor 5:17).

This Christmas, when you see a Nativity set, stop and take a look. That little baby in a manger came purposely, with a plan from Eternity Past to reconcile God's people to Himself. (2 Cor 5:18)

And That's why Christmas is Merry! We have received Life! (John 5:24 and I John 5:20)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Him and Me? He and I? It's Easy As Pie!

It's been decades since I studied grade school grammar and I'll admit that my own grammar is not always correct. However, the misuse of pronouns when talking about "him and me" is rampant. There is a simple rule that makes it easy to determine whether to use "I" or "me".

First of all, when speaking of another person and yourself always mention the other person first, i.e., "him and me", or "he and I". Never "I and he", or "me and him". It is proper (and polite) to refer to the other person first just as it is polite to allow the other person to walk through a door first. It is simple courtesy as well as grammatically correct.

Secondly, when speaking of yourself and another person, there are times to use "me" (the objective pronoun) and times to use "I" (the subjective pronoun).

Here's an easy test to determine when to use "I" and when to use "me". Simply remove "he and" or "him and" from your sentence and you will automatically know whether to use "I" or "me". It's easy as pie.

My mother gave him and me a sandwich. (My mother gave ... ... me a sandwich.) objective of the verb "gave"
He and I drove down to the beach. (... ... I drove down to the beach.) subject to the verb "drove"
Look at this photo of him and me. (Look at this photo of ... ... me.) object of the preposition "of"
We ate lunch and then he and I left. (We ate lunch and then .. ... I left.) subject to the verb "left"

Please don't get me started on the verbs "lie" and "lay". For the proper use of "lie, lay, lain" or "lay, laid, laid" go to this website. It's easier to give you a link than to try to explain it myself. (Said with a wink and a smile).

It's bedtime. My hubby and I (subject) should be in bed. He (subject) is already asleep. I'm not.

P.S. Only my most faithful followers will realize that this is a reprint from early 2008 but it is still valid today. Grammar has not changed. He and I (subject to the verb) should always recognize that it's good to know that grammar rules also apply to him and me. (object of the preposition "to")

Funny what a good high school English teacher can drum into your head. All that underlining and sentence diagramming paid off. Thank you, Mrs. Vanderlinden. You patiently put up with a lot of flack from our small class of 20.