Thursday, December 28, 2006

Prayers needed

High school friends of mine and countryside neighbors of ours had a baby boy on Christmas Day. His name is Gabriel and he weighs one pound. He is at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Please pray that God's will be done and pray for a peace that passes all understanding in the hearts of Gabriel's family. Thank you.
[Photo courtesy of this site.]


How is it that children learn this mysterious and annoying language? Who taught them to say things in a nasal and disrespectful tone? Why do parents have such an averse reaction to this language? How can I erase this terrible language from my daughter's vocabulary? Oh the horror!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


If I make typos in this post, it's because I'm wearing gloves . . . because my office has not had heat for two days! I "complained" yesterday and they blew me off saying "you women are always cold." Needless to say, that did not go over well. Then today, my office mate complained and, lo and behold, the maintenance guy discovered that the blower motor was out. Jeesh! I'm not crazy or cold blooded or some looney gal with a grudge against the maintenance crew. I just want to work without gloves and coat and scarf!

DH is home on break until January 10th. He'll be busy working in the new shop. His teenage nephew is supposed to be helping today - - DH decided to put OSB (chipboard) on the wall instead of drywall (OSB will take more abuse and it's a lot cheaper). The 4 x 8 sheets of OSB are heavy and cumbersome and not a good job for one person. So, hopefully, his strapping young nephew will be a blessing.

DD desperately wants to stay home to "help" Daddy. Alas, she's going to play all day with her friends at daycare. DH picked her up early yesterday so they could spend some time together. He made the BEST scalloped potatoes & ham for supper last night. I had two helpings and took the leftovers to work today (I don't need to refrigerate them, I can just sit them in my office - - hee hee).

I made bread pudding for Christmas day brunch, but no one really wanted to try it. I even had mixed berries and homemade whip cream to go on top. So, we've been enjoying that treat for a couple days - - YUMM! I also tried a new egg casserole recipe (that calls for 18 eggs!) and it was light and fluffy; I added diced ham, shredded monterey & cheddar, and shredded smoked swiss on top. It was a hit!

Monday, December 25, 2006

On Christmas Morn'

Last night we went to G'ma K's where Santa made a special visit:
DD was thoroughly amused
She received an ornament that says: "Grace - Angel of Promise." Look at that face . . .
This morning, DH and I were up before six and sat in front of the fire sipping coffee before the chaos started. DD woke up and opened presents from Santa, Mommy & Daddy & Grammy D. Daddy made her an easel - - she loved it!
Great Gramma G joined in, too.
And my DH "enabled" my photo habit:
He also got me "Rural Renaissance" and lots of cool stuff.
This is my lil' Bro and his girlfriend, "Dubbya". She's very sweet and she has a cabin on a lake, so we'd like to keep her around for a while (hint, hint lil bro!)
Lovin' the new camera lens - - I can spot and shoot all sorts of "wild" life.
And, of course, the girls enjoyed a Christmas treat and want to wish everyone a very clucky Christmas and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


The bandana started out as a "sling" on DD's arm, which then went up on top of her head with her Swedish maiden buns and craziness ensued . . .

Olivia Newton John
Bank robber
Aunt Jemima
Girl with a tooth ache
What can you do with a red bandana?

The Hope of Christmas

[message given at Conrad UMC 12.17.06]
Illustration: “Let There Be Light” sung by Point of Grace
I compare the verses of this beautiful song to a story in Isaiah (Chapters 8 and 9): The horizon looked dark and bleak in the eyes of Isaiah, wondering if this would be the end of his people as he voiced a message of doom and destruction. Darkness as black as pitch prevailed upon the land through the sin of the people and the coming judgment by the hand of God.
Isaiah 8:21-22 They will pass through it hard pressed and hungry; and it shall happen, when they are hungry, that they will be enraged and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 Then they will look to the earth, and see trouble and darkness, gloom of anguish; and they will be driven into darkness.

Our hope at Christmas time is usually built upon the tangible things we expect or want to happen. But the Bible never allows a person of God to build their hope upon the likes of man but upon the unchanging nature of God Himself.

Where is your hope today? Is it wrapped up in the expectations of the holiday happenings or a gift under the tree? Or is it lost in the darkness that surrounds your life?

By all appearances there was no hope in the days of Isaiah. The nation was quickly coming to an end. But out of the darkness a voice was heard that spoke of the light of hope that would touch the very soul of man. It was the hope of Christmas!

Isaiah 9:2 The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

A Child would be born and given to bring hope into the hearts and lives of the hopeless. This Child was the "Light of the World" and He came to pierce the darkness that we might live. The Child of Hope is Jesus! The One whose birth, our hope, we celebrate at Christmas.

It was Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who prophesied of the light of the Christ Child.
Luke 1:79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.

The coming of Christmas is filled with the wonder, counsel and peace of hope that exceeds our expectations and lifts us from our darkness into the Light of Christ.

Christmas Hope is Wonderful
Christmas is wonderful! In other words Christmas is full of wonder. And it is more than, "Wonder what I'm getting?" It is a wonder that exceeds the minds of men and women for it is composed in the miraculous.

This wonderful hope comes to distinguish itself from the empty hope in the world.
This wonderful hope comes to accomplish in our lives what man cannot.
This wonderful hope is incomprehensible but available.

It is the psalmist who expresses to God that His works of wonder are many (Psalm 40:5). Today we have in our world and hopefully in our hearts the most wonderful work of God, salvation through Christ. This is the wonder of Christmas for Jesus came to save us.

He came to save us from . . .
The wages of sin ... death. (Romans 6:23)
Everlasting punishment ... hell. (Matthew 25:46)

He came to save us for . . .
A heavenly home ... heaven. (John 14:2-3)
A heavenly inheritance ... reserved in heaven. (1 Peter 1:4)

The apostle Paul reminds us that we were once people without hope . . . but we are people who need to know the hope of the calling of Christ to save us from our sins and know the hope of our calling to salvation. The wonderful hope of Christmas comes to accomplish what we cannot ... salvation. Christmas is wonderfully hopeful!

Christmas Hope is Counseling
It seems like never before a greater number of people are seeking out a counselor of one sort or another. You can now attend counseling sessions and self help groups for most anything that troubles you. It is all a sign of hopeless lives in need of the good Word.

Jesus as the Counselor and the Hope of Christmas comes to give . . .
Counsel that is deliberately designed to resolve our problem.
Counsel that is good advice for everyday living.
Counsel that guides and gives us purpose in life.

Jesus has the Spirit of Counsel upon him (Isaiah 11:2) and He speaks the words of eternal life. We must seek His counsel concerning the issues of life.

The hope of Christmas comes as the Counselor that speaks to us in our moments of despair to look to Jesus.

Christmas Hope is Peaceful
Fear, stress, confusion and heartache are the trademarks of our day because of an absence of peace. And they seem to be enlarged in this season of hope, love, joy and peace.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Through the wonder and counsel of Christmas Hope we find peace through the Prince of Peace.

Real peace . . .
Peace that brings healing and health to our fragmented lives. (Isaiah 53:5)
Peace that brings about a prosperity by the hand of God. (3 John 1:2)
Peace that brings the assurance of the past-present-future of life. (Hebrews 6:11)
Peace that brings restoration by making amends. (Acts 3:19-21)

When we have peace with God through Jesus Christ, we have peace with ourselves (Philippians 4:7) and others (Romans 5:1). Christmas peace is a great gift to give and receive through Christ.
This Christmas, wrap your hope in the wonderful counsel of peace that Christ brings to our lives by the hand of our Mighty God and Everlasting Father. I invite you to know the wonder, counsel, and peace that only Christ can give. Today, I want to give you the gift of Jesus Christ, the Savior. Will you invite Him into your heart and accept His gifts of mercy and salvation? Will you turn from the darkness and seek the light of Christ?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Back to school

I'm taking a week of vacation to take a 3-credit Human Growth & Development class at Marshalltown Comm College (slowly, but surely, getting a degree of one sort or another). In five days, we'll be covering 16 chapters, seven tests, and countless pages of hand-written notes (my hand is already sore from the 20 pages of notes I took today). This is quite an entre back into college life (it's been 12 years since I stepped into a classroom)! Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Catching up ... again

Sunday afternoon...finally a time to rest and reflect on the busy-ness of the past week or two. I'm tired. We have both been working lots of hours; early morning meetings, late meetings & presentations, social gatherings, etc. With the movie "Holiday Inn" in the background, Leah (the cat) and I sit in front of the computer to ponder...
Last Sunday was DD's Christmas program in church (she's on the far right in the burgundy velvet dress). She had two little verses memorized.
DH's Sunday School class (Jr. High) had a big part in the program (they were the "Weird Angels") and it was very cute.
DD's new "crush" and his wonderful parents came over for chili on Thursday. He's such a ham!
Friday was my office Christmas party - - pizza at Zeno's (the local favorite).

Yesterday, we got a wild hair to go down to the Des Moines Farmers Market since it was 56 degrees outside. It's quite a drive, but well worth it - - lots of great vendors! We purchased some locally made cheese (Maytag blue and smoked baby swiss), a new t-shirt (don't ya love it?!)We ate lots of yummy food (honey crisp apples, crab rangoons, cheddar popcorn, Dutch letters). Oh my!
We've had wonderful egg production with the warm weather of late - - our cartons overfloweth!

Last night, we had a Country Friends Holiday Progressive Dinner. Some of our town and country friends (8 couples) started with hors d'oeuvres at Linda's, then dinner at Laura's (with Ellen as co-hostess), and dessert at our home. We ended the night with 10 of us sitting in our little den around the corn stove telling crazy stories.
The "hostesses with the mostesses": l to r Linda, Laura, me & Ellen

DD went to stay with Grammy D last night - - they went to "Flushed Away" and both loved it!
Our pastor is gone this week, so I gave the message at church this morning. It was a wonderful service with many "lay leaders" involved in the worship service. To DH's mom's after church. Now, DD and DH gave me a couple hours of peace & quiet - - they went caroling with the church's praise team.
Hope you all have a wonderful week before Christmas; may the gracious spirit of Jesus be in your heart!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mission accomplished!

The video project is now complete and live here. We had a fancy soiree on Wednesday night to commemorate the occasion. Whew! Glad that's over with. Now on to the next project(s).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Advent activities

The Advent activities have been a huge hit so far. Sometimes we have to improvise - - today is day 5 and I just realized that we're the only family in the North American continent that doesn't own the "Twister" game (what the . . .?). My DH has a huge collection of board games, but not Twister? Hint, hint Grammy D!

Last night was "give each other crazy hairstyle" night and I conveniently had a late meeting in town. Here's one hairstyle:

Yes, those are pipe cleaners and jingle bells in her hair! We get quite creative with the art supply box.

I've been forbidden to reveal DH's darling 'do (he stated it was grounds for the big D) . . . I'll just let you use your imagination and tell you that I about peed my pants when I found the picture he took of himself!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Days of long shadows

Brrrrrr . . . it's cold out there. A good day to drink hot chocolate...Hook up the heated water base (duh, I have a plastic waterer and now I need to buy a metal one) And take random pictures of the dog.

(Blogger won't show the "add photo" button - - will try again later) Edited: the buttons finally mysteriously re-appeared! Woo hoo!

Happy Saturday!