Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year Blue Moon

Last night before I went to sleep, I cranked open the window for a little fresh air.  My eyes glimpsed the sight of the nearly full moon on the snowy white landscape and it was absolutely breathtaking!  I wish you could have seen it.  It was an eerie yet glowing, inviting light that made me want to go for a walk just then.  I should have.  I hope you saw it, but if you didn't, I hope you'll take a little time tonight to look at the New Year's Eve Blue Moon which won't happen again until 2029.  Did you know, however, that blue moons do come around more often than every 19 years?  The next blue moon happens in 2012.  A blue moon simply means that there are two full moons in one month.  The kids and I have been observing the moon and blue moons together for many years and  have always taken note of them in our nature journals.

Yesterday our pastor came by the coffee shop where my Only Daughter works and said, "Hey, did you know that there will be a blue moon on New Year's Eve?  Blue Moons only come around once in a lifetime, you know."

My smart lil girl knew better than that since her family is devoted to sky watching and nature study so she replied, "I'm sorry Pastor, but you're facts are wrong on that.  I've seen a few blue moons in my life and I'm only 23." 

To her retort the pastor remarked with a grin, "Well, you home schooled kids think you're so smart!"

Smart?  Well, let's just say... observant!

Happy New Year Blue Moon!

One in a New Year Blue Moon article

I'm going get my camera out for a NYBM picture tonight and I'll post it here if I get it.  Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

....the last of these

The New Year is almost here
and the last of these lovely hand dipped chocolates
(a gift from the Middle Child, J)
will be had with coffee this afternoon.
I don't want a bit of temptation left in January.

New Year's Eve will be spent with family, playing cards, burning the Christmas tree, eating good food, laughing and talking, and we'll  be setting off a few fireworks to celebrate another year's passing and a new year's coming.  Together, we always make a Top Ten list of events for the year which is a very good way to review and remember the old year.  The list carries the blessings and gifts, the joys and sadnesses, the people in our lives and those gone from our presence on this earth.
Every day is a gift.  Enjoy each one as He gives it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to basics: the whisk & can opener

My electric hand mixer died.  The whisk came out.  It has been awhile since I've used a hand whisk to mix heavy whipping cream..  Talk about an arm and wrist work out!  If I whisked cream every day I could use enough calories to afford to eat it.  Giada De Laurentiis admits that she had one arm, her right, that was far more muscular than her other due to the constant whisking that she was required to do in cooking school.  I believe it!

This morning the whisking job was not so hard....just waffle batter which I beat with a whisk anyway.  So far I haven't any plans for whisking a dozen egg whites for angel food cake but if I do, I'll pull out the Big Gun -- the Bosch!  He's still running like the Macho Man he is. 

I used to keep a hand-crank beater like this

for times when the electricity was out or when I wanted to beat something quickly.  I ought to look into purchasing another one.  The gears on the one I had before got messed up and I didn't think I needed a replacement.  Plastic gears just don't hold up.   I do love a whisk, but I'd like to find a stainless steel variety.  I like to throw mine in the dishwasher and that makes for a little rust on the ones I own now.  Not nice.

While I'm talking about tried-and-true basic kitchen tools, there's another Kitchen Helper I'm proud to own.  Just this month I decided it was time to retire my Swing Away hand can opener which I had been using in my kitchen for the likes of 10-15 years.  It still worked, but wasn't as sharp as it once was and tended to leave some of the lid attached to the can.  I thought surely I'd never find one like it out there with all the years that had passed by.  Isn't that the way it is?  Well, I went on the Amazon website to look at the can openers that people are using nowadays and to my surprise, I found a Swing Away just like mine!  For $8.99 I replaced Old Reliable with New Reliable.  I even bought four more for stocking stuffers for my kids!  The eyes rolled a bit, but I know one day they will appreciate their Swing Away as much as I do.

"Cut round on the top near to the outer edge with a chisel and hammer."  Directions on a can of roast veal in 1824

Winter feeding...

click photos to enlarge

Livestock gets fed every single day, especially now when there is enough snow on the ground that it doesn't allow for natural grazing.  S and I went out to feed together and so I brought along my camera to click a few wintry pictures of our critters.  Here you see the bucks (male sheep) getting a little bit of alfalfa cake.  Cake is a pressed or compacted feed of grains or in this case, alfalfa, which is high in protein and energy.  We feed alfalfa cake to all our livestock -- cows, bulls, sheep, horses.  We also feed loose grass hay through the winter months.

Ewe Sheep (females) are coming up to the truck for their share of cake.  Some of them are so gentle that they will eat from our hands.  A few of these girls are a bit "wool blind."  That means that the wool has grown over their eyes and makes it difficult for them to see.  Lucky for them, sheep are herd animals and they graze and live in a herd at all times.  They rarely venture off on their own unless they are lambing (having their baby lambs).  The wool blind sheep rely on the voice of their fellow sheep to keep them within the herd.  Sometimes we "eye" the sheep.  That means we shear the wool from their faces so they can see through the winter months since snow and ice can stick to the wool and make it even more difficult for them to see.

The sheep are all circled up eating their cake.  We feed them in a circle or in circles-within-circles depending on how much cake they need.  The circle keeps the sheep together and helps them to find their feed easily.

Here the herd bulls are nibbling on their cake in a track that S made before pouring out his bucket of feed.

I love seeing the hungry cows coming up to us for their feed.  See how perky their ears are?  All attention is on us because we have the breakfast!

 I wanted this picture to be from afar to reveal the wide-openness of our prairie.  Here the mature cows are being fed their daily  hay by tractor.   We went down to feed them cake too.  I love being a rancher's wife.  Did you know Justice Sandra Day O'Connor lived on a cattle ranch in Arizona when she was a girl?   Here's a little biography on SDO.

I wanted to be a cattle rancher when I was young, because it was what I knew and I loved it. 
~Sandra Day O'Connor

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Blizzards and peppermint candy canes....

It has been a cold, windy, blustery, blizzardy Christmas.  The storm we thought was only going to drop 1 or 2 inches of snow and pass on decided to get stuck over us and swirl around and around and dump a whole lotta snow on the plains and hills.  (It feels very North Pole-ish here)  We probably received a foot of new snow on top of what we had but it is very difficult to measure when the winds are whipping at a sustained 35 mph.  Blizzard.  The ski resort that is an hour and a half from us got a whopping 50 inches of snow.  A new record.  The kids are excited to get up there with their snowboards.

We were blessed to get out on Christmas Eve to attend Candlelight Services at our church and then gathered with our kids  at my parents' home for a nice prime rib dinner.  Oh, it was so lovely.  The night was cold, but quiet and calm, just like you would imagine  a Christmas Eve to be.  But after the drive home, the blizzard conditions descended.

Since Christmas Eve, we've been in the house playing lots of cards and cribbage.  I've been sniffling and sniveling with a little cold that just leaves me feeling tired.  Nothing serious, but today I decided I needed some soothing as well as a little decongesting.   I watched one of the boys sucking on a peppermint candy cane and thought it would be just the thing for me.  Peppermint always makes me feel better whether I'm all stuffed up in the nose or if I have a tummy ache.  I thought hot peppermint tea would be just the thing to sooth my throat and nose, but I didn't have any.  I did, however, have a bottle of peppermint oil so I put 2-3 drops in my tea mug and added a little bit of honey and water just off the boil.  It was the perfect soothing treatment I needed.  I also added a few drops of peppermint oil to the pan of water that is on the wood stove adding a little humidity to the dry air in our home.  The smell wafted through the kitchen and living room and just gave everything a fresh "flavor."  I'm feeling  much better.

The blizzard passed this evening at about supper time.  I'm looking forward to a little sunshine tomorrow.
If you have more candy canes than you can eat, check out this recipe for Candy Cane Syrup from Storybook Woods!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh Christmas tree...

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!

The Christmas tree carries reminders of loved ones and Christmases past.

The children made Baby Jesus in a walnut shell many years ago.

His name is Wonderful -- Jesus, Son of God.

It is a miracle of miracles that the Infinite
should become an infant.
~Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blue Christmas....

I sat down this morning to have my cup of coffee in my rocking chair and read from my Bible and as I glanced up to the big window, I saw blue.  I knew that the light was just right to give everything a blue glow and so I lept from my chair to immortalize the very moment and colors.  The first snapshot is with the flash.  Do you see how wonderfully the light reflected upon the falling snow?   Light glitter!

And here, I took the same picture with the flash off.  The landscape still glows with soft blues but not as deeply as the first picture  How blessed are we to see the light in so many different colors and reflections.  I'm thinking of how I should reflect the Light of Jesus who lives in me and through me.

We have been experiencing heavy frost here on the plains and for us, that often means the snapping of branches and limbs from the few trees and the snapping of power poles and lines.  As I was at the chicken coop yesterday afternoon, I walked by the Great Elm that has been providing shade for chickens for probably 100 years and I heard a startling crack and down came a limb from atop the tree.  I've been hoping that this old guardian of the chickens will not lose his great arms, but I know all things cannot live forever.

Great Elm standing over the chicken coop and granary

Last night the power dipped, dipped and dipped again as we sat eating our supper and then all went black.  Thankfully we had a candle lit on the table.  We ate by candle light only and then the men went out to start up the tractors and the generators.  I am always so grateful for Hubs who had the good wisdom to provide us with generators to keep us up and running when the power gives out. Two years ago we were without electricity for 19 days in a row and although we did have a generator, it wasn't much.  Now we are much more prepared to sustain ourselves should it happen again. 

The weatherman is predicting snow and high winds for much of the area so we are assured of a white Christmas and more possible power outages.  White Christmases often mean no travel.  We will see how it all plays out in the couple of days for children getting home and for Christmas Eve services.

Wishing you all the Love and the Light of the World for Christmas.
His name is Emmanuel, Jesus, Lord.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  ~John 1:4-5

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Crab salad in shells....

The recipe and presentation has all come about due to my sweet son-in-love.  It is his mother's crab salad recipe which she shared with me over M's graduation lunch.  Son-in-love had a crab salad appetizer served in jumbo shells that he told me about.  I thought it was a brilliant idea so I copied, and the results were scrumptious!  The recipe, which I will share, is one of those that must be tasted as you go and may also be altered according to your tastes, but I will list the ingredients for you to mix as you like.  By the way, since we are plains dwellers and our local grocery stores are geared for the ranching community, I settle for the imitation crab without reservation.

Tammy's Crab Salad

1 lb. crab meat or imitation crab
REAL mayonnaise
chopped celery
chopped black olives
chopped green onions
bacon bits
grated Monterrey Jack Cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Mix it to your liking.  The longer the salad sits in the frig, the more the flavors come through.  Serve in cooked jumbo pasta shells.  The salad is also delicious by itself, as a sandwich salad, or rolled in tortillas as a wrap.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sew Be It generosity....

I recently nominated my friend Joyce from Plain Ol’ Vanilla  to receive recognition for her giving spirit in the arts of sewing at Sew Mama Sew.  Joyce is a retired home school mom and a wonderful sewist who is constantly working to learn new sewing skills and shares her talents with others. This year she started a class for a group of area home school girls who wanted to learn the basic skills of sewing. Joyce organized a whole bevvy of projects for these girls to complete. They are enthusiastically learning and loving the art of sewing which is a gift in itself. Recently a stack of fabric was donated to them and Joyce had the brilliant idea to use the girls’ sewing skills to make pillowcases for The Sheepfold, a shelter for abused and homeless women and children in the area. Joyce, the girls, and their moms gathered for a Pillowcase Party and made 44 cases for the shelter. Not only has Joyce given of her time and her skills, but she has planted the seeds of giving in the hearts of her Sew Be It girls too. Little acorn seeds grow into Big Oaks. Thanks Joyce!  God bless the work of your hands and the gifts from your heart.
Read about the Pillowcase Party here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cones, paint and glitter...

It really takes very little to satisfy me...just a few pine cones, some paint and glitter will do the trick.  My son-in-love, Hubs, and I gathered a few pine cones from the forest on our Christmas tree cutting trip this past weekend.  It took a little doing, digging beneath the snow for them, but we came out victorious.  The cones weren't the prettiest, but I fixed that by painting the tips with white paint and then sprinkled on some clear glitter whilst they were still wet.  I scattered a few cones here and there in the house and then decided to make a simple garland with them using a hunk of twine.  I unraveled a long piece of twine and snipped it to the length I thought I wanted (and then some extra for tying).  I simply wove the twine in between the bracts of the cone and tied them on, lining them up next to each other.  I was going to use ribbon and do something like this, but decided I'd keep it simple and rustic.  I'm happy.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Homemade vanilla....

The best tasting hootch vanilla is the homemade stuff.  I've been brewing this batch for about 6 weeks or more and  bottled it up with my own label.  It will get tucked in with some Christmas gifts.  If you've never made homemade vanilla extract, it's easy.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
1 large bottle of cheap vodka
2-4 whole vanilla beans, split lengthwise

Remove the cap from the vodka bottle and slip in the split vanilla beans.  Recap and leave in a dark cupboard for 6-8 weeks.  The longer you leave it, the better.  The vodka will darken and vanilla seeds will float around.  Before bottling, you may like to strain the seeds with a coffee filter through a funnel.  I don't because I think the seeds give the extract more flavor.  You can reuse the beans in another bottle of vodka to make more extract. 

I buy beans cheap on Ebay here.  I usually share an order with my DIL.  I found the amber bottles at Specialty Bottle.  With shipping, a dozen 8 oz. bottles ends up costing about $2 each.

Here's the little "cooker" if you'd like to use the image for your own label.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Feeling owly...

Do you see him?

He was a bit frustrated with me.
I kept trying to get just a little closer
and then he would fly off.
He's giving me the evil eye here.

  Now he's posing just right for me.
Isn't the Great Horned Owl stately and majestic?
Another cold day on the prairie.  We had a high of -2 degrees and tonight we're back down to -10.  I enjoyed my romp through the trees today, but the cold penetrates more than I think and it leaves me tired and a little bit achy in the joints.  I think part of it is age.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Poinsettia stitchery....

I've got my wish.... a little time to stitch!

Here's a poinsettia dish towel I made for a friend.  I like the simplicity of white on red.  I drew the flowers with washable pens so each one is unique.  Outline stitch the flowers and French knots for the centers make this easy and pretty, I think.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Visions of sugar plums become REAL...

I've had visions of "sugar plums" dancing in my head for several weeks.  At last I got a real BITE!


A lady from one of the local livestock newspapers came to interview us today for a story on our ranching outfit and so I had the perfect reason to make the sugar cookies I've been dreaming about eating.  I was so happy -- she ate eight!  What could make a homemaker feel better than that?  (I didn't count, but Hubs did)

Later on my daughter-in-love came with the Grandangel and we had cookies and coffee together.  I love these little afternoon times we have together.

The sugar cookie recipe was my mom's and I've made it ever since I became a mom.  When the kids were little we always made cut-out cookies with this recipe, but now I'm just happy to roll the dough into balls,  roll them in sugar and then flatten with a sugared glass and sprinkle some more sugar sprinkles on top.

Mom's Sugar Cookies

1/2 c. butter, soft
1/2 c. margarine, soft
1 c. shortening
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
4 c. flour
1 t. real vanilla

Cream butter, margarine, and shortening together with sugars.  Add eggs and mix some more.  Add dry ingredients and vanilla.  Chill dough for a half hour.  Roll in 1" balls, roll in sugar and then flatten a little with a sugared glass bottom.  Add a few more sugar sprinkles.  Bake at 350* for 8-9 minutes. 
Makes about 5 dozen cookies or more. 

If you'd like to frost these, which I do often, make a glaze with powdered sugar, a little vanilla and milk.  Add more of sugar if it's too runny or more of milk if too thick.  Frost cookies and sprinkle with colored sugars immediately while glaze is wet.  It will dry hard.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Animals in winter....

Another cold, snowy day in the country.  The temperature got up to 6 degrees.  Some of the horses were standing in a row with butts to the north wind.  I think horses in winter are so gorgeous because they grow a thick, velvety coat of hair that insulates them against the cold.

Here's Pete the Paint, the horse I ride most often.  Isn't he handsome?

Laying down some straw bedding for the bull calves.

These bulls are waiting for their fresh bedding to be put out.

Sharptail Grouse
Notice the feathered feet.  I love finding their tracks in the snow.  The Sharptail Grouse always reminds me of the "Partridge in a Pear Tree" from the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  When they perch in the trees they are so large, and funny-looking, like a chicken roosting up high in the treetops. 

Sunday, December 06, 2009


These days in the North Country where I live, the focus is on warmth.  Don't you just love the word warmth?  When you say it, it causes you to speak in a low, whisperish way.  When you think about warmth, what comes to mind?  Wool-lined slippers, puffy down quilts wrapped around your shoulders, sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows, sitting by the fire with your feet up close to it, a knitted cable sweater, or being wrapped up in the arms of your Honey. 

Today it has gone from cold to colder.  The high temperature for the day was 10 degrees and it's been falling little by little this afternoon.  The weatherman says we will go sub-zero tonight.  I've lived up north my whole life and I know what sub-zero feels like and I have never gotten used to it.  It is tolerable if you have the proper clothes for it, but it is never smart to be out in it for long periods of time.  When you live on a ranch like I do, sub-zero means a lot of things that most city and town dwellers might not think about.  For one thing it means that we must  have plenty of fuel -- gasoline, diesel, and firewood.  You never know if or when the power may go out and so we need diesel for the generator and firewood to take the chill off the house; the gasoline is for the pick-up trucks which transport us out to the livestock to feed them and to check on their water. Water freezes hard when it's this cold and stock tanks have a tendency to freeze clear down to the pipes which is really troublesome in winter.  When pipes freeze, we've got a whole other outdoor problem to deal with.  Winter in the country means taking care of  livestock no matter how cold it gets or how deep the snow is.  They need us and it's our responsibility to see that they have enough feed and water to keep their body furnaces stoked and burning.  Another thing that is important when temps go sub-zero is warm clothing for us human creatures.  If you plan on being outdoors for any length of time or if you think you possibly could get stranded, you want plenty of layers of warm clothing.

This afternoon I spent some time with the men outdoors helping them to bed down the livestock pens.  We have large pens of bulls, heifers, and steers that would otherwise sleep on the frozen, hard ground if we didn't roll out some clean, dry straw for them to bed down on.  The old bedding stuff has to be cleaned away and the new straw brought in and spread about.  I don't know how warm straw can be, but it's a decent insulation against the ground.  Youngest Child's and my job today was that of "gate-getter."  Hubs and Firstborn drove tractors to clean pens and  spread straw while we opened and closed gates and kept the critters from getting out.  It's really mindless work and it's darn chilly work if you haven't got the proper clothes on.  Today I hit my base temperature for wearing brown duck overalls.  I should've known better.  Ten degrees is the cold limit for me, and that temperature I have to break out my woollies (heavy wool pants that I pull over my jeans).   I don't know if everyone calls them woollies, but I do.

Back when my cowboy and I were first married, the winter weather was horrendous.  The wind blew strong, the snow was tossed this way and that, and the temperatures were sub-zero more often than not.    Even the thick-hided Hereford cows, who are used to cold northern winters, had frostbite on their noses and ankles. Although we were out in the cold each day, we had a warm truck cab or tractor cab to climb into when it got too cold to bear.  As a 19-year-old new bride who had never lived in the country,  I had never been so cold!   I had lived in the area all my life, but I had never had to work outdoors like this new ranch life required me to do.  It was just the two of us, Hubs and me, doing all the feeding chores and water-breaking chores.  The second Christmas of our marriage,  I bought Hubs a pair of woollies and he really enjoyed them,  but the one thing that he didn't like was how the hay and straw got stuck in the fibers of the wool.  He tolerated them and appreciated their warmth, but after a couple of years, Hubs chose insulated coveralls over the woollies and so I decided to claim the trousers for myself.   After all these years, those same gray woollies with the red pin stripes have served me well and provided warmth.  I didn't put them on for my gate-getter chores today and I'm still suffering the effects of cold legs and buns.  It takes awhile for the fat parts of the body to get fully warmed, doesn't it?

This afternoon as thaw out, I'm thinking "warmth."  After taking hot water out to the chickens and gathering the eggs, I came in and took off the layers of warmth -- a sherpa-lined corduroy coat, a gray hoodie sweatshirt, the turquoise silk scarf from around my neck, the brown duck overalls, insulated mittens and stocking cap, and lastly my boots.  I don't know why somebody can't seem to make boots that can keep feet warm.  Maybe it's impossible to think that feet, the furthest extremity from the heart, standing on sub-zero ground can ever be warm in the winter, or maybe it's because my feet are naturally always cold or because I  forget to put thick socks on before I go outside, but I can't seem to find just the right boot that will keep my feet warm in the winter. Coming into the warm house means my glasses fog up and my nose runs.  I went to the garage to bring in an armload of firewood and then immediately had hot coffee on my mind so I set the electric kettle on to make a good, strong cup.  I love stoking up the fire and bringing up a bright, hot fire from the coals.  A wood fire is absolutely the best fix for warming-up the backside.  I put on my cable knit sweater and buttoned it as I fixed the mug of coffee.  The warmth of hot coffee is penetrating as well as satisfying to the senses, isn't it?  Add a slice of warm coffee cake and you've got pure comfort and warmth.

I wonder how the pioneers ever did it.  They must have always been cold.  I really can't imagine living in log cabin or a tar paper shack with one source of wood heat.  The floors must have been icy cold and the wind  must have seeped in through the cracks in the walls.  No wonder those pioneer women were constantly making quilts and knitting.  The other night when our own bedroom was so cold, I understood  where Clement Clarke Moore (author of The Night Before Christmas) came up with the line,  "Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap."  Can you imagine bundling up for bed with your stocking cap on?  I do love the old-time idea of passing a hot pan of coals over the bedsheets before turning in though!  Lucky me, I have Hubs for that.  He's such a dear and always warms up my side of the bed before I slide in.  He's always hot and I'm always cold, so he just lays on my side and get's it toasty for me.  What comfort.  What warmth.  There's that word again..... warmth.  What does warmth mean to you? What is your favorite way to warm up?  

 handwarmers from Rythm of the Home

Thanks to Storybook Woods for the link to Rhythm of the Home where I found this idea of making handwarmers under the heading of Warmth.  I sure could have used some of these this afternoon. I think handwarmers would make nice little gifts for Christmas. Stay warm.....

Friday, December 04, 2009

We've got to go through it!

We're going on a bear hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared.

Oh-oh! Grass!
Long, wavy grass.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
Oh no!
We've got to go through it!

(excerpt from We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury)

In this children's picture storybook, a family starts out on an adventure -- a bear hunt -- on a sunny, happy  day.  They have big dreams,  no fear, and they just know that they're going to catch a big one!  Again and again the family hits roadblocks like long, wavy grass and a deep, cold river, that might prevent them from their mission, but together they carry on and go through them all.

Isn't this exactly how Life is?
We plan our days.  We make our lists.  We gather our supplies.  We make the necessary arrangements, and we're off to "Catch a Bear!"  (What a beautiful day!  We're not scared.)  And what happens next?  The phone rings and there's bad news. The box on the truck is smashed by a deer running across the highway (no one is hurt).  Mold is found creeping up the walls at my daughter & son-in-love's rental home.  Some of the livestock is sick, very sick. The waterline is broken and must be dug up and replaced and the high temperature for the coming days will be just 15*.  The dollar is worth 20% less today than in March.  The war in Afghanistan is a war of beliefs -- is it winnable?  The bills come in.  The taxes will be due. Christmas is around the corner.  It's supposed to be a peaceful, joyous time. I have to keep pushing the creative things I want to do to the back burner.  On and on it goes.

Well..... we can't go over it.  We can't go under it. We've got to go through it!  All of it!  Swishy swashy, swishy swashy, swishy swashy, through the tall grass that seems so impassable.  And then there's the big, dark forest to traipse through.....stumble trip, stumble trip, stumble trip!  Once we're through that there comes a swirling, whirling snowstorm.... Hooo woooo, hooo woooo, hooo woooo!  What ever happened to our exclamation in the beginning? "What a beautiful day!"

I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks and days this little book has come to mind.  For such a simple storyline, it has a lot of wisdom packed between the pages.  The theme, "We've got to go through it," rings so true for me and my family, and I know that eventually we will come out on the other side of the trial we're in at the moment.  We may be dirty, muddy, tired and cold, but we will get through it.  In the meantime we must hang onto one another, we must help and encourage each other, we must go through the "It" together and trust God until we get to the other side.  Jesus promised us that there would be wars and rumors of war, that there would be famine and earthquakes and tribulations of all kinds (like moldy walls and spoiled Christmas presents) but He also promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and that is a promise that we can cling to.

And now for a little quiet time by the fire writing Christmas cards. 

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice!  Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel.


Medieval stained glass at Salisbury Cathedral, UK


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