2013: One Word

Sunday, December 30, 2012

As I prepare to look back on 2012, I am excited to look ahead to 2013! 

I really don't have any specific reason to be excited for this year, but for some reason, I am really looking forward to it. 

The last few years have been difficult years for me. There have been HUGE high lights and I have definitely enjoyed them. Still, I have had some things to deal with and face and decide. Things that I didn't see coming.

Nevertheless, God has seen me through. I have wrestled and struggled. I have been extremely happy and extremely sad. 

I feel ready to move on.

I feel ready for something new.

Maybe that's what makes 2013 different. It is one big empty slate. An empty slate, I am trusting God to fill.

He has been there in times that I have called "good" and called them good. He has been there in times that I have called "bad" and called them good. Maybe now, more than ever, I know that He is always at work. 

For 2013, I have decided to dwell on one word. In dwelling on that word, I will make it my goal to pursue it and look for it throughout the year. The word I will try to live out is this: DRINK. 

" Jeremiah 2:13, 'Be appalled, oh heavens, at this. Be shocked. Be utterly dismayed. For My people have committed two great evils. They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water and have hewn out for themsleves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.' 

Go to the fountain, go to the fountain. The opposite of coming to the fountain is evil, the essence of coming to the fountain is drinking and drinking and drinking until it satisfies your soul and you say, 'Ahhhh...'" 
John Piper

WHATEVER 2013 holds, the ONE thing that I MUST do is DRINK. More even than my body needs water, my soul needs water. I do not feed my body just any water. Neither can I feed my soul just any water.

God has given me an unlimited supply of the water my soul needs. Yet, over the last few years, through everything that has happened, I haven't given my soul the water. I have held my breath. I have grown weary and anxious. At points, I was even ill.

In 2013 I am sure there will be cooking and traveling and time with friends and pictures and writing and shopping. The day to day events of 2013 will probably look a lot like the events of the past 22 years. There may be death and sickness and tragedy or birth and life and health. Since I have no expectations, there will be things that I don't even expect.

WHATEVER 2013 holds, I will set my mind to going to the fountain to DRINK. 

It's simple, it will give me life, and it will make 2013 a year to remember. I hope you'll join me!

What's your focus for 2013?

Frankly Friday

Friday, December 21, 2012

Good morning, ladies!!! Yesterday I decided that after today's post I'll be checking out until next week sometime. I could be wrong, but I'm thinking that's true of so many of us that most of you won't even notice!

Enjoy your "week of Christmas"! Log off. Shut down. Be with the ones you love.
What Christmas 2012 has taught me so far....

1) If we take the time to study them, old familiar truths can mean so much more! I've talked about advent and I've loved slowing down to think about what it means to SEE and SAVOR Christ. RICH. 

 2) Gingerbread Hot Chocolate is the best. Maybe I'll break a rule and share my creation with you! It's new to me and inspired by ginger cookies. Recipes are probably out there. 

3) Speaking of recipe sharing....Christmas is a time we get bombarded with recipe requests. It makes my little "rule" very hard to stand by. 

4) Even the best laid plans can fall through. Two weeks ago, I attempted to start something new. Yeah...Right before, Christmas isn't the best time to start a new habit. 

5) I really don't like change...Even the idea of change scares me. TRADITION! 

6) We have SO MUCH to be grateful for. The ordinary moments of life are beautiful. God has given them to us that we might see more of Him. What is good, has us thanking Him. What seems bad, has us leaning on Him. 

7) Thinking about truth isn't enough, we've got to WALK in it. This Christmas, evil has sought to put a damper on things. The violence around our country, conflict in our own hearts, and of course, the struggles of people we know. 

8) Christmas shopping is still FUN. I love picking out gifts and going to get them. This year was no different. Wrapping gifts...That's another story.

9) I am TERRIBLE at wrapping gifts. I won't give you any examples. Just trust me. Measuring, cutting, folding, and taping, I'm worse than a kindergartener! 

10) Jesus is the reason for the season. Cliche as it has become. We love because He loved. We give because He gave. We live because He lived and died and rose again. THANK YOU, JESUS!
Merry Christmas to you all! 

I'm looking forward to hearing about YOUR holiday. 

Me Myself and I December

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What was your favorite gift given to you as a child?

This is so hard because there were so many awesome ones...I will go with my first digital camera. I got it the year I was 16 and it was a game changer. Having used a film camera, I was always careful not to take too many pictures. Once I got the digital, I wasn't so afraid. I would try new things and take several pictures of the same thing. You can always delete them! 

Christmas is almost here, what is that one Christmas song you could listen to on repeat?

Okay, in case you didn't know, I LOVE Christmas music! I never get tired of it. I'm going to go with Burl Ives singing "Holly Jolly Christmas". Anything Burl Ives really...I love his voice.

What are a few of the items on your Christmas list this year?

This book

This DVD series

Sho Baraka's "Talented Xth" cd...It was set to drop Jan. 1 but now I'm hearing Jan. 15. 

Do you and your family have any special holiday traditions? Explain.

I did a series of posts about this once... Pt. 1   Pt. 2  Pt. 3  Pt. 6  Pt. 7 
(pt. 4 and 5 don't really apply anymore) 

Basically, we open presents from each other and extended family and "stockings" (we actually use shoe boxes instead these days) on Christmas morning. This is followed by breakfast, relaxing, and some kind of food. 

Then, on Jan. 6 we celebrate Epiphany by getting together with our surrogate Grandparents and opening presents from our parents. 

Our traditions have changed over the years. That's the latest and greatest. I'm not big on change, but then, I'm not in charge. 

Which do you prefer: wrapping paper or gift bags? Why?

Definitely wrapping paper! I just think it looks better than gift bags. Gift bags are sometimes necessary, but if it can go in a box, it can be wrapped! And topped with a bow and piled up nicely. 

While you all are here, I'd love to invite you to take part in a new link up I'm trying to host! Shameless plug....Check it out HERE. Basically, it's a chance to share photos on Mondays and link up while you're at it. 

All Wrapped Up

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This month, every Tuesday, we've been UNwrapping ordinary moments in life to think about just how special they really are. 

Today, I'm thinking about something different. Many have decided to keep their blogs quiet today in honor of the recent events at Sandy Hook Elementary. A school most of us hadn't even heard of until last Friday. Money is being raised, prayers are beings said, and there was even an attempt to show support by wearing the school's colors. 

I still haven't wrapped the Christmas presents yet. With that on my mind and these things going on in our country, I've thought about today's Tuesday being WRAPPED.

We wrap gifts with pretty paper and bows and tags. 

We wrap the ones we love with hugs and care.  

We wrap our homes in beautiful paint and furniture and smells.

We wrap ourselves in clothes that we find comfortable and attractive. 

In this life, we do a lot of wrapping. And for the most part, we enjoy it. We're all looking to be happy and to feel at home.
That's the thing...This life is not meant to be wrapped. We are not meant to finally feel at home here. 

Look to Jesus.

Jesus set the example. His life was unwrapped. His life was given. For my sin, for your sin....His life was given that we may be with Him and see His glory. 

Jesus means for us to give our lives for our lives to be unwrapped. Our lives are to be given that as we see His glory, we share it with others. 

Yes, we must take care of ourselves and our children. We ought to make our homes places where people feel welcome and loved. 

Like the gifts we wrap up so nicely, our lives and everything we "wrap" in them are meant to be unwrapped. The pretty things are meant to be torn off so we can get to the bottom of things.

So, wrap it up. But, be ready! Encourage people around you to keep digging...To look and see and know and savor the Jesus that is behind all things. 

Look to Jesus. 

On the good days, the scary days, the ordinary, and the exciting....Look to Jesus. 

Today may be it. Christmas 2012 may be it. You may not live to see another new year. Someone who is in your life now, may not have much time left. 

Help them look to Jesus while there is time! 

And when you think you've seen all you can see, just keep looking! 

The Scenic Route

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Scenic Route is an effort to document our weekends, favorite things of the season, or whatever we happen to have a bunch of PICTURES of at the moment.

Every Monday pop over here, grab the button, and write a post with PLENTY of pictures. Pop back over here and link-up the direct link to your post so that other
bloggers can see it too!

So, last week I didn't something I've never done before...I went to a midnight movie premiere. I have to say it was A LOT of fun and I would definitely do it again.

I went to The Hobbit with my Mom, brother, and sister. My brother dressed up and it was fun to see so many people having such a good time. 

I have never read any of Tolkien's books and I haven't seen any of the other movies since they were in theaters. So, there I sat in a room full of people who were VERY excited to see something they'd been waiting for.

Did anyone else see this movie yet? 

Did you check out Denny's hobbit menu? We opted for Applebee's, but a certain someone was hoping to see what it was all about. 


I think I had just as much fun watching the people watching the movie as I did watching the movie. We got there several hours early in order to make sure that we got decent seats. So, we took turns getting up, looking around, and getting snacks, we got some pictures, played cards, and just sat. 

 I am convinced that you put a bunch of people in a line or a dark room and they forget that they have people around them. Some of the conversations people were having blew me away.  I wanted to say, "Ummm, just so you know, I can totally hear you! And, really, you sound pretty pathetic...." 

Other conversations were simply FUNNY! Give a listen to what's going on around you...Especially in theaters. 

There was also present wrapping...Not enough present wrapping, but a start anyway. All of my Christmas shopping is officially DONE. Now, I just need to hurry up and get all of the wrapping done so that the pretty packages can be enjoyed before DEMOLITION day. 

Company came! I fixed a big pot of spaghetti and tried out a new recipe for cranberry bliss bars. Turns out, they were a hit! I've never had them at starbucks, but I've seen the recipe floating around online and they looked super yummy.

And...It snowed again. A winter storm blew through here this weekend. The snow came and started to go, but then it started right back up again. I know at least two people who were beside themselves with JOY. 

As a result of snow...There was bundling up and snowman (and snowbear) building. I only went out long enough to take some pictures of the progress. 

What a week....And here we go, the countdown has begun. CHRISTMAS is 8 days away! And the 2013 will be right behind it. 

I'm still thinking about all of the people whose Christmas will be different this year. So many of those people never expected Christmas 2011 to be their last "normal" Christmas....Christmas 2012 may hit them a little harder.

So it is with us...This Christmas 2012 may be more special than we think. Use it wisely! Spread the love and joy and peace of God to those around you...You don't know how long you will have the opportunity! 

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Good Tidings of Great Joy

Friday, December 14, 2012

I don't know about you, but tonight my FB feed is FULL of updates related to the shootings that happened in Connecticut today.

Some people are just SAD about it. 

Others are ANGRY.

Some are looking to Jesus.

Others are looking to more guns to be able to put a stop to such terrors.

The thing is...Every single person is shocked. Every single person was caught off guard. 

School shootings are not new and yet no one ever expects to wake up and hear that another one happened. 


We all have the same initial reaction. And frankly, I'm glad. 

We all respond to such terrifying things with a bit of fear and yet the urge to overcome the evil involved in some way or another. 

We want our children to be safe. We want dangerous people to be kept from doing dangerous things. 

So, what is the answer

In this world, our children (and ourselves) will never be completely safe. WE cannot put an end to evil. 

What we can do is remind ourselves and those around us that we are all SINNERS. 

It's not the evil or the guns faults...It's the sin in the hearts of men

What happened in Connecticut today, happens DAILY in our own hearts. 

When things like this happen, they just serve as another piece of proof that we all NEED Jesus. 

Jesus is the answer. And this CHRISTMAS season, there isn't anything else better to be dwelling on. 

It is my prayer that people in Connecticut, people in the US, and people around the world will hear the news of this shooting and realize that even now, God is working. 

God is working to show the sin in the hearts of men.

God is working to show the finiteness of men and the infiniteness of Himself.

Jesus came to live and die and rise again. In so doing, He was conquering sin and death. As we celebrate Christmas, many of us are taking time to look forward to the day when Jesus will come again. When He comes, He will be the final answer to the wickedness that goes on around us. 

He will put an end to ALL sin and death. He will judge the hearts of men. He will redeem His own and take them to be with Him forever where they can see His glory.

Tonight, read John 17. There you will find Jesus' prayer for His people. At the center of Jesus' prayer are these words:

"Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world."
(John 17:24 ESV)

Oh, that we would all come to see and savor Jesus Christ. Oh, that the evils of this world would humble us so that we might SEE our own sin, our great need for Him, and the total AWESOMENESS of what we have in Him. 

People were killed today...Sin was on display. But, in our hearts, on our FB walls, and wherever we have the chance to share it, the love and work and glory of God can be on display too.

That's why evil happens...That's how the glory of God and the good of His people can come out of such terrible things. 

That's the good news, the tidings of great joy brought to all people. 

Guess What...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ever since I picked this blog back up earlier this year, I've been doing posts called "THE SCENIC ROUTE".

These posts have been an effort to document my weekends, favorite things of the season, or whatever I happen to have a bunch of PICTURES of at the moment.

As a blog reader, I love looking at the pictures people post. As a blogger, I make it my goal to share words that are meaningful as well as pictures that are beautiful.

We can all agree on one thing, we LOVE pictures.

"The Scenic Route" started as a challenge to myself to get me TAKING and POSTING more pictures. Now that I've kept it up, this picture taking and posting keeps OVERFLOWING right into most of the posts that I write.

If you're a blogger and you take pictures, I would love for you to JOIN me as I host my very first link-up!

It's simple....Every Monday pop over here, grab the button, and write a post with PLENTY of pictures. Pop back over here and link-up the direct link to your post so that other bloggers can see it too!

Write about your weekend.

Write about a special day or trip.

Write about some things you've been enjoying lately.

Take pictures with your phone, your point and shoot, or your fancy DSLR.

Whatever you do, join me as I leave behind pieces of "The Scenic Route"!

Can't wait to see you Monday!

Add the button to your post:

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A Man Named Eddie and An Unexpected Christmas Party

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Last Friday I wrote about whatever was on my mind. It was kind of a downer....It included the statement about getting old being good and stinky. (I only use that line because it was in a favorite movie of mine...."High Society".) 

I find old people very cute. Yes, I know life at their age is full of sooo  much pain and difficulty, but so many of them are just so cute. 

I am sure they appreciate that. Right? Every man dreams of growing old and being considered cute. Okay, so maybe not...But still, I like old people better than babies. 

Anyway....There was one particular man at the party. His name is Eddie. He is old and tall and skinny as a rail and smiley and crookedy and going deaf and loud and cute and hilarious. 

He still drives even though he's seriously OLD. I have "known" him for years. And he really hasn't changed much. He loves people, his old cars, playing the accordion, and apparently, food. 

Eddie in a parade...
I wasn't sitting with Eddie, but I couldn't help over hearing just about every word he said at the party. 

Here are some of my favorite conversations. I hope they aren't all "had to be there" stories....

Eddie to the three others at his table, "Well, I think I'm going to see about DESSERT!" 

Nobody moves or even acknowledges that he said that....He jumps up and looks around. No dessert has been placed out yet so he sits down. 

One of the ladies who just figured out what he was doing and saying, "Are you going to eat more????" 

Eddie, "Hmmm...Guess I'm done. That ham sure was good! I could eat another piece, but I'm not going to! Those deviled eggs sure were good! I could eat some more, but I'm not going to!"

Finally, dessert was served. There's Eddie eating his pie and talking to the one lady at his table who is now acknowledging that he's talking and attempting to visit.

Eddie, "Raspberry!"

Eddie, "Good!"

Lady, something I couldn't quite make out.

Eddie, "You know, I better eat the crust too! I guess I have to! If I don't, she'll think the crust wasn't any good. I'm eating it all! It's good." 

Lady, "Oh?"

Eddie, "I want her to know the crust is good! I don't want her to think it's bad! It's not."


The pastor brought along a guitar and sang some Christmas songs. 

Some people sang. Some people left. Some people just sat there. And others....Yep, they just kept talking! 

Eddie, "Oooh, I like this song!" 

Lady, "What?!?!?"

Eddie, "This song, I like it, I like playing it. I once played it on....." 

It's like none of them can hear or understand what the others are saying. So they say whatever is on their minds. Or just whatever they think they should say in return to what they think the others have said. 

The table of four:

There's Eddie, shuffling around. Living and talking and eating like one giant exclamation point. 

There's the lady who can't seem to hear him but is attempting to enjoy conversation.

There's the other old man (Curtis) who cracks himself up and is always talking. I couldn't understand him from where I was sitting but I kept laughing because he was just one big cut up. 
Folding napkins, belting out "Blue Christmas" even though the pastor never played or sang a single note of it.

And then the other man who seemed oblivious to it all. 

Kitchen Privileges

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It is no secret that I love to cook and bake. I can't say that I can hardly remember not knowing my way around the kitchen. 

I started by watching the clock while my Ghiddu fixed farina.

I joined my Grandma in rolling her famous meatballs. 

I stood on a stool stirring good old Campbell's tomato soup with my Mom. (To be made with MILK!!! Just sayin...)

I donned  a hospital hair thingy to make biscuits with my other Grandma.

No dates on this...I'm thinking somewhere between 1994-1996

I added 1/4 c. of baking soda to peanut butter cookies with my best friend and raided her Mom's kitchen for butter because we had used the rest of my Mom's with batch number one...We were also famous for our macaroni and cheese from the blue box and grilled cheese and tomato soup in years to come.

Slowly but surely, the stools were put away and the stupid mistakes stopped. Slowly but surely, I wasn't the kitchen help any more. 

Coming up behind me were three others...Three others who wanted to help. Three others who loved the kitchen almost as much as I did. 

Dec. 2008

To be fair, one of those was only two years behind me. He was not so much my "help" as my competition!

The other two though...They were my help. They took turns dumping the ingredients in when we made cookies. There were always two beaters to lick...The more that was left in the bowl and on the spoon, the better! They took turns adding the cheese to the macaroni. 

Sept. 26, 2008 and Feb. 28, 2012

They stood on the stool. 

They had little aprons and a chef hat. 

They were always there ready to taste test anything they could get their hands on.

Dec. 3, 2012

At 14 and 12 (nearly 15 and 13) they are a different kind of help. In reality, they don't actually need me anymore. 

Still, they humor me. They often join me in the kitchen even though they could just as easily do whatever I'm doing all on their own. 

Dec. 3, 2012

I love it when they put on on apron. When they get all excited about a beater. When they snitch dough while I'm making biscuits. I love it when they put up with the million pictures that go along with joining me in the kitchen. 

I loved helping. 

I loved being helped. 

Now, I love knowing that they loved it too. 

Memories...Make them. Cherish them. Sometimes, they're all you're left with. 

I look forward to making many more! For now, I've got millions to enjoy. For that, I am grateful. 

Dec. 2008

The Scenic Route

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good morning, ladies! How was your weekend? 

My weekend was full of reading, baking, SNOW, cleaning, and a little cooking. I went to bed last night SORE from being hunched over way too much. 

I'm going to be one crookedy old lady if I make it that long! Whatever I do, I ALWAYS end up hunched over. Can you relate? Or...Is it just me? 

Forgive me for this...I put them all together in one frame, but this would be the progress of yesterday's snow. I was in the kitchen the whole time making some progress on ginger cookies. 

I had fun watching it "accumulate" even though it was barely snowing. Every time I looked out the window, I was surprised that so much was sticking. 

(In reality this is NOTHING...But when it's been nearly 70 degrees, it's something!) 

In between breaks, I spent all of yesterday in the kitchen. 

I'm going to a cookie swap today and I needed to have something to be able to have at home too. I made a couple batches of ginger cookies, egg nog, and some of these "Gooey Chocolate Crinkle Cookies". 

I have never eaten or prepared chocolate crinkles before. I have seen them but was never sure what they were so I stuck to what I knew! Now I know what I have been MISSING OUT on all of these years. YUM! 

Lovely meringue is the secret to fluffy eggnog. Aside from biscuits, chocolate chip cookies, and meatloaf, I have to say, meringue is one of my FAVORITE things to whip up.

Exhibit B up there would be the beginning of the chocolate crinkle dough. Yes, it looks like some kind of coffee grounds or soil. At that point I was WORRIED. It did come together. I am now a believer in these YUMMY cookies.

After Friday, I was still feeling a bit off. That may or may not have been the reason I kept to myself and got some serious kitchen therapy in. Either way, I finished the day off right with a big batch of enchiladas.

Like eggnog, I don't really think enchiladas ever photograph well. So, you get to look at another picture of SNOW coming down (this was when it started) and imagine the rest of my day for yourself!

Advent is still going well! Here is a picture I snapped last week after some of the daily cards were hanging up in the living room.

I went to a Lutheran Advent midweek service last week. Anyone here Lutheran? My best friend growing up was (is) Lutheran and I went to church with her plenty of times...This church was much different than hers. Lots of reading and reading back and bowing (the pastor, not us). I think he even read every prayer. Any way, it was interesting.

And finally, the chocolate crinkles! (See, another Christmas confection dipped in powdered sugar.) 

I mentioned reading...I finished one book, started and finished another, and started a third. WOAH! When I set my mind to it I can get through books. That's what Saturdays are for sometimes. 

How was your weekend? 
What have you been reading?
 I'd love to hear about Advent in your life!
Also, am I the only one that hadn't had one of those cookies before this year?