Saturday, December 31, 2011

 I love to travel.  I really don't do that much of it but I hope to do more someday.  I really like the idea of seeing exotic places.  I was thinking about that recently when we were driving home from my Mom's house.  Our travel covered about 120 miles of the middle of Wyoming.  It is a drive I really enjoy but I have heard others who comment that it is a boring drive with nothing to see.

What I love about the middle of Wyoming is all the wide open spaces.  I find it to be prettiest in the warmer months but the winter scene is fascinating to me as well.  For one thing, it is so very barren.  My great grandparents homesteaded in this area.  I think that must have been pretty scary!  They came there from North Carolina where it is warmer and a LOT greener.  There must have been some trial and error as they learned what they could grow in Wyoming.  They had children; my own Grandma Rose was an infant.  I am sure that there was fear.  Apparently I come from some hearty stock!

Anyway, as I was looking out the window, thinking about exotic places I'd like to see, I realized that there are a lot of people in this world who never will see the expansive views of Wyoming.  There are people who would be so excited to see a herd of antelope or a golden eagle sitting on the fence post.  There are people who live surrounded by so many buildings or trees that they never get to have their eyes stretch over a view miles away.  It occurred to me that THIS is an exotic place to some folks.  So, I started snapping some photos from the car window.  I hope you enjoy this little exotic trip through the center of Wyoming.

For my readers who don't live where there is a lot of snow, this is a snow fence.  It helps catch blowing snow, placing the drifts on the prairie rather than across the road.  It helps some anyway.

If you look carefully, you can see the snow-capped mountains in the background.  We weren't travelling through the mountains that day but they were visible.

I love this scruffy tree.  When trees are sparse, you really notice their character as individual trees.

Wyoming is known for its cowboys.  Where there are cowboys, there are often (not always) cows.  This is their pantry.

It looks like nothing could live out there but it supports lots of animals, including antelope, deer, fox, gophers, sheep, birds and much more.  I didn't get any pictures of buffalo that day but there are some buffalo herds in that area.

This bridge is rather curious to me.  It didn't seem to have a road that goes to it.

There are lots of weird roch formations in this part of the country.

They drill for oil all over Wyoming.

This is a small version but that is an oil pump.  This area is the teapot dome.  Have you ever heard of the Teapot Dome Scandal? 

Thanks for coming along!

Friday, December 30, 2011

How to Wear a Scarf

 I really love scarves.  I love to make them and I love to wear them.  However, I only knew a few ways to wear them....that is, until now!

I don't follow fashion blogs but somehow I ran across a blog by a young woman named Wendy.    She also does videos for YouTube and one of them shows some really fun and EASY ways to wear a scarf.  Interested?  Well, check this out!  Even if you never plan to wear a scarf, it is still a charming video.

Also, I just want to say that I am pretty impressed with myself for figuring out how to imbed this video.   I'm just sayin'......

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shopping Takes a Lot out of a Girl!

I'm not really very fond of shopping but I have to say that shopping with Cordelia is a very fun adventure.

She is interested in EVERYTHING and discusses it all as we stroll around the store.  Her cuteness is dazzling.

Apparently, though, it is exhausting to be so dazzling.

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Looking at this Life from an Eternal Perspective

I have been having a joyfully busy life lately.  I am especially grateful for the time spent with family.  I am so appreciative that our son and daughter-in-law, Ben and Sara, were able to come for a visit!  The day after they left, I got to have a Christmas meal with my Mom and my sister and her family.  That hasn't happened since the 1980's!

During these busy times, though, I've not made time to check in on some of my blog friends.  This morning I checked in on Janine's blog, Love in Action.  Janine's baby son died 3 months ago.  She and her family are living with the pain of that loss.  On her blog today, as she shares her journey of mourning, she wrote this, "The only thing that brings my heart peace is looking at this life from an eternal perspective."

Isn't that so very true?  From an eternal perspective, this life is just a blip on a vast timeline, a timeline that stretches so far to the right there is no end.  This knowledge brings peace to me during times of stress or sorrow.  I know the miserable times won't last forever.  It is also welcome knowledge during times of joy as I know that after this life, joyful times will be unending!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Bassoon Concert

Have you ever heard a Bassoon?  They are beautiful instruments!  They are beautiful to look at and really cool to hear.  My niece is an amazing musician and plays many different instruments.  I think the bassoon is her favorite, though, and we convinced her last night to lets us hear her play.  I wish I would have recorded it but you can hear someone else play a bassoon if you click here.

We also just learned that Stephanie has been chosen to be the concert contralto bassoonist for a symphony.  Congratulations to Stephanie!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Did you all have a lovely Christmas Day?  Do you open presents on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve?  

Mike's family was a Christmas Eve kind of family.  My family was a Christmas morning kind of family.  We've done it both ways over the years but since Mike became a pastor and was always busy with Christmas Eve Services we pretty much stuck with Christmas morning for a more relaxed time to open them.  This year, with Christmas being on a Sunday morning, we probably should have rethought that but we didn't.

Yesterday morning we got up early.  I made some Christmas cinnamon rolls that seem to have become part of our tradition.  I just use regular bread dough.  I made it in my bread machine Saturday night but you could even use frozen bread dough from the store.  I roll it out, spread butter on it and sprinkle a lot of brown sugar and cinnamon on it.  I roll it up, slice it and place the rolls into a buttered pan.  That is when the best part comes into play.  In a small pan I boil a stick of butter, a cup of brown sugar and a cup of vanilla ice cream... yes, I said ice cream.  Boil it awhile and then pour it over the top of the rolls.  Cover the rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap or whatever and put it in the fridge.  In the morning, bake it at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so, until the center ones look done.  I flip it out onto a cookie sheet and let the goo pour down all over it again.  It is sooooooo good!  I have made up a vegan version of them now.  Instead of butter I use Smart Balance Light.  I substituted coconut ice cream but soy is fine.  Either way, it is yummy!

We went over to Maria and Eric's house to open presents.  That was a first for us.  I love having traditions but I also think it is important to do things differently from time to time.  My theory is that if our children see that the world doesn't end if Christmas has to be done a bit differently, it will make their first Christmas away from us easier.  I have lots of theories on lots of things and will be happy to share more if you wish.

After opening stockings, gifts and eating our cinnamon roll breakfast Sam went home as he was starting to feel ill.  We've had a nasty cold circulating through the family.  The rest of us went to church and by the time that was over, Cordelia was running a fever.    

Mike and I headed a few hours out of town.  It has been years and years since I had spent Christmas Day with my Mom and that was my wish for yesterday.  My sister, Tina, and her kids, Stephanie and Steven, were there as well.  They had to hold dinner for us quite awhile as we stopped along the way to help a family who's vehicle had broken down out in the middle of poor-to-no-cell-service Wyoming.  They had 4 little kids under the age of 5!  I don't think they were having their favorite Christmas Day but they were holding up impressively well.  Luckily the day was pretty warm and eventually a tow truck was finally summoned.

Anyway, we had a very busy but lovely Christmas Day.  Here's the photographic proof...

Thank-you for stopping by. Feel free to use my photos but please link them back to my blog. I am honored if you wish to share content of any of my posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. as long as it is linked back to my blog.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Love Worth Giving

The following is taken from A Love worth Giving to You at Christmas by Max Lucado...

"My prayer for you this season of giving is that you will receive God's love and accept your place as a dearly loved child in his heavenly family.  Accept the love that came in the form of a newborn baby.  Accept the forgiveness and grace bought for you through the cruel, nail-piercing reality of the Cross.  Accept his love won for you through the victory of his resurrection.  Let his love worth giving fill you, flood you, and change you forever.  Live in the knowledge and acceptance of this love.  Live loved.

Remember, God loves you simply because he has chosen to do so.

He loves you when you don't feel lovely.

He loves you when no one else loves you.  Others may abandon you, divorce you, and ignore you, but God will love you.  Always.  No matter what.
It is love worth giving.  To you."

Merry Christmas to you.  May you feel totally and completely loved this day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday Fun

Friday was probably the best day of the visit this week with Ben and Sara as both were feeling better.  They'd both had sore throats and head colds.  Yesterday afternoon I went to a wildlife museum with them, which I quite enjoyed.  Ben grew antlers and was snatched up by an eagle.  Thanks to Sara, I have the photos to prove it!

We had a nice time.   It was good to be together!

From there we went over to play with Maria and Cordelia.  Ben wanted to make a snowman with Cordy.  Unfortunately, the snow was so powdery it was like trying to make a snowman out of sand.  Ben showed some heroic perseverence, though.

While Ben worked on the little snowman, Sara drew one for Cordy...

Cordelia appreciated both versions of a snowman.  I think she loved having her aunt and uncle there to play with her.  She may not always remember this day but somewhere in her mind I like to think she will always have the knowledge of how much they care for her.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lessons in the Storage Room

Last Sunday the children in our church put on a delightful Christmas Program.  I took photos but I did not get permission from parents to put the cute faces of their offspring online so I will just tell you about it.  There were cute little angels, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus and all the others.  We had child musicians on drums, clarinet and even a soloist singing "Let There Be Peace on Earth".  It was just adorable.  I love it when little people get a hold of a microphone!

After the program we had a birthday party for Jesus.  The children had games, treats and crafts.  My personal favorite of the games was Pin the Hay on the Manger!

After the party, of course, was the clean-up.   I was helping put away the costumes.  Since moving into our new church building a few years ago we have a wonderful storage area.  Putting away the costumes used to involve packing too many storage containers into too small of a storage shed.  Now, we have ample storage places and we can even hang up all the costumes so that next year no one has to iron them.  We are grateful for this! 

It was up in that storage area that I found the best lesson of the day.

We have bare crosses up through Lent and then the white flowers beautifully decorating this one for Easter Day.  Right now, they are just stored out of sight.  It isn't time to put the emphasis on the cross; it's time to put the emphasis on the joy of the manger.  In the midst of that joy, though, I can't help but think of what was waiting for that cute baby in the manger.  The birth story is lovely and miraculous, but we already know that the baby lying there has a rough road ahead.  While we are celebrating Christmas, maybe it is ok to keep that in the back of our minds.

He was sent for a very specific purpose. 

He was sent as a sacrifice.

He was sent out of love for us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas List

Mike's family tradition for Christmas gifts involved making lists of what you wanted for Christmas so the purchaser of the gift just had to go shopping from that list.   Do any of you do that?  That makes sense for the  kids, I think, as they always had a certain toy or something that was filling their dreams.  It was fun to get them exactly what they were wanting.

For me, though, I have always found it difficult to cooperate with his request for a list from me.  It takes away that element of surprise I guess.  I love getting gifts that are totally unexpected, something that says the purchaser saw something cool and thought of me.  However, that is hard to do, especially when rushed.  I know that feeling of panic when nothing seems like just the right gift so I can see that a list can be helpful.

I tried to think of something I could use.  I thought about my closet.  It is FULL.  Sure, I have many times when I don't see just what I want to wear but I definitely have more clothes than I need.

I looked around the rest of the house and what I saw was a house full of stuff.  I have too much stuff!  I have to organize stuff, clean stuff, dust around stuff, put away stuff and find stuff among the stuff.  Sometimes I feel burdened by my stuff.  Do any of you ever feel that way?

That's when it came to me! 

For Christmas, I asked Mike to take away stuff from me!

I was proud of myself but for some reason that didn't go over with Mike.  That's just as well.  He might take away the wrong stuff.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Decorating the Tree

It has been a long time since all of our kids were home to decorate the Christmas tree.  The first year Maria went to college I was excited as the time approached for her to come home for the holidays.  My plan was to have the house all Christmasy when she walked in but the boys were adamant that I wait for Maria to help with the decorating.  I thought it was so sweet.

Mike got "John Denver and the Muppets" going with the volume at an exuberant level.  I'd set the tree up the night before, with help from Bode.  The lights were on and it was time to go through the ornaments. 

We have some really lovely ornaments, but you've all seen lovely ornaments before.  I want to show you our most interesting ornament...

This is a guy on a camel made out of pipecleaners.  I don't remember the whole story but our son-in-law, Eric, made this years ago.  I remember that he was new to the family and was noticing we had a lot of handmade ornaments.  He was goofing around and came up with this lovely deal.  I am certain he did not realize we'd think it was so funny we'd use it until the end of time!  The camel doesn't look too camelish anymore, but it makes me smile.  It makes our tree different from that of any other family! 

Does you family have any weird (sorry Eric) ornaments?
...or weird traditions?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today I am thinking especially about my Grandma Rose.  I got to have my grandma in my life for almost 53 years.  I am so grateful for that fact.  Still, I selfishly wanted more.

Last year on this day my Mom called me to tell me Grandma Rose was dying.  I got in the car and drove up to the town where she lives.  When I arrived my Mom, my aunt and my cousin were with her.  I couldn't find a way to be close to her so I just climbed up on her bed and lay near her on top of the blankets.  Grandma fussed because she thought I would be cold on top of the covers.  I assured her I was fine but in true Grandma Rose fashion she needed to be the hostess.  She couldn't get up but she showed me where there was an extra blanket so I cuddled up under it and she relaxed.  I will always treasure that memory of Grandma taking care of me like that just an hour or so before she died.  She was a remarkable woman.

Grandma Rose loved babies.  She loved her garden.  She loved hand crafts; our shop, Wyoming Rose, is named after her.  She loved reading.  She loved following the political scene.  She loved reading her Bible.  Most importantly, Grandma Rose loved God.  She passed that on to her children and to her grandkids.  For that, I am most grateful.

There are a lot of us descendents of this beautiful woman.
She had a big impact on our lives.
We miss her.
I miss her.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cupcake Water

Our son, Ben, and his wife, Sara, are here.  They live a VERY long ways away so this is a big, big deal.  Saturday they rather spontaneously decided to buy airline tickets and left that same day!  Ben has always kind of rolled that way.  It's nice that Sara can handle that as well!

Ben and Sara are also known for bringing interesting gifts.  Yesterday they arrived loaded with fun and exciting gifts for us all.  One of the cutest was this dress-up hat for Cordelia.  She LOVED it.  It looked lovely matched with the Wonder Pets Cape she was wearing.

Cordy also loved the gift I received...

I think Cordy and I now have a new fun thing to do together.  We spent quite a lot of time drinking water out of these cute cups (the tops come off).  Cordy called it "cupcake water".  She said that cupcake water is delicious!

We're just so happy to have our entire family together again for a few days.  What an unexpected joy! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011


John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just a LITTLE Lunch

I picked up Maria and Cordelia Thursday.  Cordy's energy has improved and so we took a sack lunch and went to join Grandpa at church for lunch.  We went into the fellowship hall and Cordy saw the preschool chairs and tables set up.  She was quite intrigued by the furniture that was just her size!  So, we had a little lunch.  Get it?  LITTLE lunch...

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Look and the 1-2-3

 OK, this is what I want you to do.  First, click on The Inspired Housewife's blog so you know what I am talking about, then come right back.....

......back already?

So, Diane asks if you use "The Look".  I think most of us, mothers or not, have a look we give to our children or spouses.  Am I right?

The reason I wanted to discuss this is because when I read her blog it reminded me of a parenting nugget I have to share.  It's not original but I used it so consistently that the results were nothing short of amazing.

Young parents, listen up.  Once you have perfected the look, a good one that gets your child's attention, you need to get your fingers in on the action.  You should probably practice this technique in private first, when you are not under stress.  That way it will come quite naturally as a follow-up to your "look" in an actual live-action situation.  In fact, I'd suggest you practice the "look" in front of the mirror in case you are a bit unsure of yourself.

Here's how it goes.  You do something stern with your mouth.  I think I kind of tighten my lips, raise my eyebrows and then pull them together.  It's good if you can refrain from blinking but if not, just be sure it is a long and slow blink that is loaded with disappointment.  Then make very, very direct eye contact with your offspring.  You say something like, "You'd better get down from there before I count to 3."  That's when the fingers jump in.  It is important that this begins at home when you are able to sternly count out loud, 1-2-3, as you pop the appropriate number of fingers to correlate with your count.  Don't count too fast.  At "3", a consequence must take place.  I usually put the child in time-out, or at least that was my plan.  This process began when our kids were really little and by the time they were 4 or 5 I don't think they even remembered what happened at "3".  They knew it was something they wanted to avoid and they corrected their behavior by "2".

The beauty of this simple technique was that I could do it in public with no one being aware except my child.  In church I could just catch their eye and raise 1 finger, 2 at the most.  Noise stopped.  It was like magic.

Here's the funniest part of it.  I still use it on Sam!

Sam is about 6'4" tall.  He still hates to see the fingers!  It's really rather funny to me.  I've no idea what I'd do now if I ever got to "3", but it doesn't really matter.

Now, if only I could get it to work on Bode...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Awake Too Early

I confess.  I have been awake since 4:00 a.m. today.  I went to sleep easily and slept well until then.  However, at that time I let worry creep in.  I know better.  Does that happen to any of you?  I laid there and kept telling myself that all the worries flitting through my mind could be handled during the day, yet, I kept worrying.

So, this post is really for me.  If you are a worrier as well, though, this might be for you also.  It is from Matthew 6:25-27.

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifeb?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I 'm So Excited to Miss You!

We love this little girl so much!  Even when she was feeling her worst, she was still polite to the hospital staff.  She was brave and sweet.  We told her the doctors and nurses were trying to make her better so she thanked them, even when they were doing some pretty awful things to her. 

When she got home yesterday I went over to take their dog home.  Bumblebee had been hanging out at our house throughout Cordelia's hospitalization.  Cordy was so happy to see Bumblebee!  She made a funny little voice that sounded like she'd swallowed a big bubble and over and over she said, "I'm so excited to miss you!  I'm so excited to miss you!" as she hugged and hugged her "sister".

I am happy to report that Cordelia is recovering very well and we are all breathing a bit more easily. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Powerful Force

Watching our children suffer through illness and injury was one of the worst things we've endured in our lives.  Now, though, I've discovered that watching a grandchild suffer is even worse.  It is a double whammy because you love them and want to ease their suffering and then you look at your own adult child and see pain and worry and fear and tears and you want to ease that as well.

Cordelia has spent the last two nights in the hospital.  She's endured a lot of miserable testing on top of her illness.  The good news is she is improving and should be discharged this morning.  Her parents can love her up in their own home and slowly return to normal.  

Cordy's daddy was out of town so I spent the first night at the hospital with Maria and Cordy until he could get to them the next morning.  That wasn't a sacrifice for me.  I NEEDED to be there.  What was hard for me was to not take over and try to be the mom.  I really wanted that little girl in my arms the entire time.  I wanted to hold her while she cried, hold her while she vomited and hold her while she slept.  I don't know if it is the nurse in me or the mom in me, but it was a powerful force. 

The only thing that kept me under control at all was watching my daughter with that same powerful force, that same need to hold and protect and comfort her child.  I knew that my main job was to support my own daughter, to be there for her but to not be in the way of her need to mother.  It was difficult to see her worry but it was also quite beautiful.  She is such a gentle and loving Momma.  She'd never been  in such a situation as this but her instincts are good and she knew just how to comfort her baby.  I am very proud of her.

Cordy is a lucky little girl because she is blessed with a great daddy as well.

...and soon she will be back to her usual healthy self.

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