Thursday, December 29, 2011

December morning

The weather in my neck of the woods:
We had a beautiful snowfall on Christmas Eve, just enough to cover the ground nicely for a White Christmas. The the last couple of days we've had warm Chinook winds which melted all the snow and even dried up a lot of the resulting melting mess. We didn't especially enjoy the noise of the wind howling through in the middle of the night, but I sure do like how it feels like spring! The sun is even peeking out a bit this morning. It would suit me if the weather stays like this until it actually is spring. But I'm sure it won't.

Things that make me happy:
Having daughters who are old enough and responsible enough to take over so much of the housekeeping, especially during the busy-ness of holiday entertaining.

Books I'm reading:
I'm caught up on review books for the time being. I have several that I'm dabbling in on my Kindle just for fun. Nothing very serious right now.

On the menu for dinner:
I guess I oughta be thinking about that, huh?

On my To Do List:
Decide what to have for dinner.
Work on a writing project.
Look over lesson plans for starting back to school next week.

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
I haven't done much cooking myself lately... or maybe I should say, I haven't tried any new recipes lately. Just made old faithful stand-bys. Laura tried a new recipe for spinach quiche with a hash-brown crust yesterday that was very delicious. She also made some yummy mint-chocolate bars for a get-together we hosted last night.

In the craft basket:
Oh! The craft basket! I got three new crochet books for Christmas... and I'm having a lovely time hooking away in snatched moments here and there, and in the evenings. I'll have to show you later, but right now I'm working on a regency-style wool hat, and a "mantelet" (I think it's called)-- kind of a cross between a shawl and a shrug, also in wool.

Looking forward to this week:
A New Year's Eve ice-skating party. I'm hoping to have my hat finished. I hadn't intended to go skating myself, but since it turns out that I "accidentally" bought myself a pair of ice-skates, somehow I suspect I'll have to at least try it. (How does someone "accidentally" by a pair of ice-skates? That's another funny story I'll have to tell you later.)

No words needed:
Lesson learned the past few days:
Simple things make the best memories.

On my mind:
Plans, goals, and dreams for 2012.

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. --Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Plans for the New Year

My family is enjoying our Christmas break from school... but my thoughts are already turning towards the upcoming New Year. I'm blogging about that today on the Sonlight Blog... Please visit me there and feel free to leave your thoughts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I Heard the Bells...

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
with peace on earth, good will to men."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

 The winter solstice has finally arrived. I am looking forward to the daylight hours gradually getting longer again, rather than getting progressively shorter and shorter.

While I haven't researched the topic thoroughly, it seems that I read somewhere that Christmas was first celebrated as an alternative to a pagan holiday. From what I understand, it's more than likely that Jesus wasn't born on December 25 at all... but that some pagan religion celebrated the birth of their god around the time of the winter solstice, so the Christians in the area revised the celebration to recognize Jesus as the true God. I've heard of Christians who don't celebrate Christmas at all because of that... but I kinda like the notion myself.

The main thing is that we are celebrating the coming of the Christ-child, who came to dispel the darkness. The date isn't important to me. But the Light is!

Whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 
to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
--Luke 1:78-79

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pre-Christmas Excitement

Today I'm blogging for Sonlight about how to keep your kids occupied for these last few exciting days before Christmas. I'd love to hear your ideas! Pop over and leave me a comment.

Hope you're having a wonderful week!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Caroling

 On Friday evening we invited a group of young people (along with their young-at-heart parents) over for an old-fashioned Christmas caroling party. It was a frosty evening, but what else would you expect for December? We bundled up, and with song-sheets and flashlights in hand, headed down the street singing merrily! We even got brave enough to ring a few doorbells if it looked like people were home. The ones who came to the door seemed to enjoy our singing. Most of us hadn't gone caroling quite like that before, so we learned a few things. Mainly that we should stop to sing, not try to sing while walking. Next time we'll know!

I don't know how long we were out-- maybe 30 or 45 minutes--but long enough to get thoroughly chilled. We came back home for hot cocoa and coffee, a nice spread of yummy snacks, and spent the rest of the evening playing games and laughing.

Spending time with friends is one of the Joys of the Season!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lights on the Boardwalk

I love the lights of Christmas! One of our favorite traditions is to go for a Christmas Eve drive, sipping hot cocoa, listening to carols, and enjoying the lights. In the meantime, we enjoy seeing the lights as we go about our business on these dark evenings.

One evening the girls talked us into going over to Coeur d'Alene and walking on the boardwalk to see the light display on and around the Coeur d'Alene Resort.
Granted, I'm not a professional photographer, nor do I have an amazing camera... but I was pleased with how well my phone camera captured the lights. Better than my regular camera, I think.
My favorite display was at the end of the boardwalk... the nativity scene... the Reason for the Season.
Many of the light displays tied in with the secular aspect of Christmas, of course. There were even a few that didn't tie in with Christmas at all-- a hot air balloon, a green sea dragon... and Noah's Ark?? That reminded me that I had seen a Noah's Ark figure in with the Christmas decorations at one store (I don't remember where) and it was labeled "nativity scene"! Um... somebody have their Bible stories mixed up, perhaps? Or, let's see... maybe the animals came two-by-two in a boat to visit the Baby Jesus?
There are also nightly cruises to the "North Pole" which I think is a little island in the middle of the lake where Santa sits. We didn't want to pay to take the cruise, but we had fun waving at the boats. Or at least, some of us did. Others of us were embarrassed at the ones who did the waving.
It was a fun evening... making memories!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Drive

 Daylight hours are short and sunny days are rare this time of year, so when this past Sunday turned out to be sunny Lyle invited me to go for a drive with him on some of the back roads around Coeur d'Alene Lake. We stopped to enjoy the view several times. The above picture was taken at 3:40 p.m. as the sun was beginning to set.
 Miss Cookie enjoyed herself in the backseat and kept a sharp eye out for wildlife. The most interesting "critters" we saw in the wild that day were magpies and turkeys. However, we stopped to watch awhile when we came upon a farm with a flock of sheep being herded by a border collie on signals from the farmer. Cookie (being half border-collie herself) thought that looked like lots of fun!
At 4:00 we stopped to take a picture of the gorgeous sunset. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my phone camera actually does a pretty decent job in low-light settings. It was full dark by the time we got home.

Just a little over 2 weeks until the days start getting longer again!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dad!

As I was looking through some old pictures, I came across this one of my dad when he was a teenager. He was probably 17 or 18 in this picture, and it was obviously taken in December. It was probably not too long before he went away to Bible college. (Or maybe he was home from college for Christmas break.)
What I love about this picture is how young he was, yet he was already committed to following God's will for his life. It took a lot of courage for him to leave his home in Louisiana at age 17 and travel by train to Illinois to put himself through Bible college. But he did it because he felt that's what God wanted him to do. It was after he had been at college for a year or two that he received God's call on his life to become a pastor.

Through the years Dad has never wavered from that early commitment to stay in the center of God's will. There have been hard times, but there have been many blessings, too. As his daughter, I am so appreciative of the Godly heritage he and Mother have given me. I am trying my best to pass that heritage to my own children.

Happy birthday, Daddy! I love you!