Sunday, December 26, 2010

Joy's Gift

The last time I saw Dr. Watson was December 10th. He walked into the exam room long enough to tell me I didn't need Physical Therapy anymore. The x-rays looked good, healing was complete and anything I would need to do at PT I could do at home. Well, that's mostly true, I guess, minus the massage of my neck, but people cannot be replaced. Physical therapists become friends. They are genuinely interested in your welfare and as they give of themselves to bless your life, they become dear.
I have such mixed emotions about this portion of my life coming to an end. There is no way to properly repay... I know I've said this before, but I am profoundly grateful and my simple thanks seem so lacking, but it's all I've got. I know they get paid for their work but there is no price for a person's quality of life being restored to them. Thank you Joy, and Michelle and everyone at Pro PT!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This year Christmas has been busy, busy busy! I don't know if it was because of planning too many activities and too much shopping, or if it was because I'm a bit slower these days, or a combination of the two... I actually vowed to give gift cards or money next year! I don't wish to have a "bah, humbug" attitude, but I didn't get to do many of the usual homey holiday things that I've always loved to do.
Take decorating, for example. I did a pretty skimpy job there, leaving many traditional items in their box. I didn't get all of my baking done or my house sparkling clean, or watch Christmas movies with the fireplace crackling and a warm cup of cider. But I did get presents bought, wrapped, delivered and/or mailed. We went to Utah and visited friends and family, which was very important, too.
So today, I treated myself to wearing purple snowflake pajama pants and a nice, loose-fitting pink top, and cozy socks all day long. I stayed at home, made my Jewish dinner and allowed for some less important things to go undone rather than push myself into a panic attack. It was lovely, even rather restful.
After dinner we talked about the significance of some of the foods served, and then we watched the church DVD "Joy To The World".
Now, with all the loose ends tied and the gifts and food ready, I am about to head off for a not-long-enough-but-typical-Christmas-Eve Winter's nap, wishing every one of my friends and family the Merriest Christmas EVER!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

What Would Jesus Eat?

On Christmas Eve we had Suzanne's family come over for a little Family Home Evening. We watched the video of the birth of Jesus and then we had a meal prepared as authentically as we could, of foods that were eaten at the time Jesus lived on the earth.
Our menu included English cucumber, tomatoes, olives, chick peas, green onions, grapes and applesauce. We had potato latkas, or, fried potato cakes, beef brisket and flat bread, or, lavash. We finished our meal with fry bread filled with fruit filling (doughnuts). Very Tasty!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

To Warm The Heart

We may not have snow here but it still gets cold. And I love how singing can warm the heart and cheer the soul, especially when it's Christmas music! We started a tradition of going caroling for several years in a row, but then travel plans have, from time to time, kept us from it. This year we were able to go again and I'm so glad we did!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Perhaps A New Tradition!

This year I am trying something new. As a lover of the Old Testament and in memory of Jewish tradition, which is the only tribe to have kept it's Israelite identity throughout history, I want to prepare a Christmas Eve dinner of foods Jesus would have eaten. I have done a bit of research about Jewish foods and I think I have come up with an acceptable menu with the understanding that with our different cooking methods and the passing of time it may not be entirely authentic.
Slow cooked Beef Brisket, Potato Latkas (or pancakes), Tomato-Cucumber-Chickpea Salad, Flatbread (Lavash), Grapes, Applesauce, and Sufganiot, or Doughnuts for dessert.
I hope this will set a perfect tone for reading about the Savior's birth or having the kids act out the nativity.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Book And A Hat

We simply cannot pass up an opportunity to share Grandpa's professional reading talents, good books and a few props with our Grandchildren!

Another Reason For The Season

I love Christmas. My house keeps some of it all year. But putting up a tree and doing all the work of decorating with only two of us here and no little ones, well, it's just not the same.
What really keeps me going and doing is our children. From the shopping and wrapping and mailing to the cleaning and cooking, the other reason for doing what I do at Christmas is them. I'm sure I'm not too different from anyone else here, I am just extra thankful to be able to spend time with Suzanne and her kids!
Mark is coming, too, and then Shannon and maybe Dawn! And we're going to see Sam and Dawn and Celeste! I look forward to going and doing or just staying in and hanging out. Happy times!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Christmas Candlelight Concert

Tonight David and I had the opportunity to attend the annual Tulare High School Choirs' Candlelight Concert. There were 9 of our LDS youth in the choir and it was beautiful! Three of these young people are my former Seminary students and it was such a pleasure to hear them sing in praise of the season.
I love how Carrie Bryant, their director, doesn't worry about "political correctness" and selects songs that truly celebrate the reason for the season.
The morning radio team at 98.9 asked today how listeners would fill in the blank: "It isn't Christmas until __________." People were supposed to call in with their answers and I thought, "It isn't Christmas until we've had the chance to properly celebrate Thanksgiving!", but after tonight I realize that it's not Christmas for me until I've experienced a Christmas Concert.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Spice Of Life

In answer to, where was the favorite place he'd ever traveled, Gus Pike said, the Spice Island". He said you could "smell 'er on the sea".
Well, I may not be into really spicy food but the spices of the holidays are true favorites of mine, so much so that they aren't limited by season at our house. My Grandma Shipp traditionally made my Grandpa his favorite spice cake for his birthday in February, and I share his passion!
Cinnamon is among our most adored and beloved spices. For me, it's even a necessity. I love to make a Cinnamon Bundt Cake and top it with apple filling and whipped cream ~ a cold weather version of strawberry shortcake ~ Winter Apple Shortcake! (But I make it in the summer as well).
Another favorite is Spiced Caramel Popcorn, with Cinnamon, Allspice and Nutmeg (or mace). YUM! Those spice brothers create a delicious family of flavor!
And last night we made Cinnamon Ornaments with Suzanne and her great kids! They are drying at her house right now and I can hardly wait to bring some home and fill up my house with that tantalizing aroma!
P.S. The Spice Island is Zanzibar which is in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of southeastern Africa.
~ Cinnamon is found in Sri Lanka, an island just south of India, between the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
~ Nutmeg grows on the Banda Islands, in Indonesia, also in the Indian Ocean.
~ Allspice is almost a local. It's South American, or Caribbean.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Quiet Sabbath Morning

It's been such a very busy week there's hardly been a moment to breathe. It's been a good week, just busy. We've shopped, written and mailed letters, prepared for and held our Primary activity, taken pictures of the activity which are now printed and ready to go on our bulletin board, spent some time doing a temple session, attended and spoke at a baptism, and took Chandler and Jacob to a High School play, which was quite fun.
So I let myself sleep in this morning and now, as I sit here at this computer in blissful silence, I am allowing myself to do abolutely nothing for about an hour before I need to get ready for church. I love the many and varried opportunities this life brings. I'm truly thankful to be able to be busy much of the time, but I'm also thankful for this quiet Sabbath morning.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More Than Dreaming Of A White Christmas

Today I get to spend some time with Pam Machado getting ready for our Primary Christmas Service Activity this Saturday. It's called, "Feed My Sheep". We will have the opportunity to begin a canned food drive and we'll be decorating the boxes for the food. We are also making greeting cards for soldiers to send home, cleaning chairs and toys in the nursery, and then practicing for the presentation of the birth of Jesus as part of the program for the Ward Christmas Party.
I am excited at the chance to involve our young ones in giving and doing for others. And as a reminder of the importance of service and kindness we are ending with a poem written by Kelly Reagan, attached to a hand made white felt stocking for each child to take home:

"Our stockings are hung by the chimney with care
In hopes of the presents Santa will bear.
But let's not forget it's the Savior's birthday
And we, too, have gifts for Him on this day!

'This stocking of white, let it hang next to mine
To remind me to give at this Christmas time.
For the Savior taught this truth plainly,
'If you do it for these, you do it for me.'

'So let me write down the gift I can give
To help another, or even forgive.
As I follow His steps, and do as He does
My gift will be accepted by the Savior above."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Frost Is On The Punkin

When The Frost Is On The Punkin

"When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock.
When the frost is on the punkin' and the fodder's in the shock.

'They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here -
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock -
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

'The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries - kindo lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they grow to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below - the clover overhead! -
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the stock.

'Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it - but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they's call around on me -
I'd want to 'commodate "em - all the whole-indurin' flock -
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock."

James Whitcomb Riley pegged just how I feel today!