Wednesday, December 21, 2016


 Back-to-back guests for dinner this past weekend 
brought a festive warmth to our house.
Old friends. We spoke of the blessing of friendship over many years.
 It was easy to use the same table setting. 
Dishes out of the dishwasher and back on the table.
The second night was a more casual meal but required 
64 items on the table not including serving things,
or dessert dishes and coffee cups.
 A very fun cookie decorating and ornament painting party took place
another day.  My DIL is a brave one to host 16 2nd grade girls
with a few young siblings tossed in the mix and
more toppings than at least I could have imagined.
The annual school Christmas concert. 
I loved their costumes.
 The grandees enjoy special Christmas things at Grandma's house.
And how I love having them come over.
Things will be less busy the rest of the week and we enjoy quiet nights at home.
The anticipation we feel in the culmination of all these 
festivities, lights, food, music …
is the coming of the Christ child, the Savior.
That's what we celebrate in our family.

Monday, December 19, 2016

this is your life

 We celebrated the Gardener's birthday soon after Thanksgiving.
Anticipating our small family gathered around the table I came up with what I
think is one of my better ideas for a sort of game to play while we ate.

As a child, I learned a lot about my parents' lives through stories they told 
around our dinner table. I thought maybe it was time for our grandchildren 
to learn more about their grandpa's interesting life.
I formulated questions about his life and wrote them on small pieces of paper,
folded them up and put them in a bowl.
For the little non-readers, I printed small photos
for them to ask Grandpa about and put a smiley face on the outside
so they would know which ones to pick.
During dinner we passed the bowl of questions around, 
and enjoyed listening to the answers.
One question was about ice skates. In college the Gardener was
skating with a girl (not me) and showed off by jumping over a pile of brush.
The crack as his ankle broke echoed over the ice and he ended up in 
the hospital for four days and missed the rest of basketball season.
Littlest one, now 3 1/2, insightfully commented,
"I guess it's not so good to show off."

Thursday, December 15, 2016

a tale of two stables

When the boys were teeny and we were preparing to move to Africa,
I bought a stable-less, plastic nativity set to take along with us. Even though
cheap, the details were lovely, and we have continued to use it
now more than 30 years. We've added a wooden donkey and camel.
Over the years I've made stables out of bits of wood but none of them survived,
or they were cast off in moves.

The gardener keeps a running list in the "back of his mind" of things he may
like to purchase if he ever saw them and the "price was right." 
Likewise I've had "stable" in the back of my mind because the grands, 
who love to play with it, always ask why there is no stable.
Eventually I found a basket that would work, but it was awkward at best.
I dropped off things at a local thrift shop the other day. It's very 
popular, tucked into a little house, and on this day it was crowded. One almost has to 
wait in line to move to a different section. I was drawn to a set of blue
willow dishes, but of course didn't need them. As I was about to turn away, my eyes
rested on the shelf above and there it was. The perfect size-to-scale stable.
Mary and Joseph were missing but there were two kings, 
a shepherd and two animals, and they do look "vintage."
The vintage? 1930s. Perfect.
For, my grandchildren love to say, "Everything is old in your house, Grandma."
Mary and Joseph seem a bit more comfortable here.

With my five photos. I'm joining Amy's Five on Friday.

Monday, December 12, 2016

a Christmas week

 There are times weeks are so jammed full I can barely remember all that took place.
I'm always thankful when I've remembered to take a photo or two.
This week: an early Christmas with family visiting, a birthday celebration,
a visit to a beloved old friend who read me some of her poetry,
recovering from minor plastic surgery on my face (!! yes, rid of more of those atypical cells),
a birthday celebration of the life of a babe taken to heaven,
time with grandchildren, and ending the week 
with an amazing concert by Kristyn and Keith Getty. 
If you like Irish music, look them up! 
It's been wonderfully cold and rainy. 
About the best winter-like weather we get in this part of the country.

In the bleak mid-winter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone …
(Christian Rossetti)

Joining with Mosiac Monday.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Friday, December 02, 2016

Five nuggets from an old photo

I have a nifty iphone scanner that works quickly and adequately. I've been scanning 
our mom's photo albums from the years we were growing up. 
Even though many were taken with her Brownie camera, the quality isn't too bad. 
Some are a bit blurry, but the memories are as clear as looking 
through a freshly polished windshield.

One advantage to putting old photos on a computer is the ability to zoom in. 
This was my brother's 4th birthday. Oh the things I see that 
pour memories back into my heart and mind:

1. It's after dinner, and the Bible is at my dad's place. He always read Scripture to us after dinner.

2. The brown radio…our only media in the house. (My parents chose not to have a TV when we were growing up; we read instead I guess.)  The radio came to a chair by our beds when we were home from school sick so we could listen to "Beulah" or "One Man's Family" stories on the radio (precursor to soap operas I suppose). But every night, at 5:45 we were quiet while our parents listened to Lowell Thomas and his 15 minute news broadcast. I don't know if it was before we ate, during, or after.

3. The corner of the kitchen counter where the radio sits … twirling before school (KG) in my new red corduroy jumper, I slammed into that corner and punched a triangle into my eyebrow, just missing my eye.  

4. My grandmother, mother, and I all have shelves to the right of our kitchen sinks. But what on earth does my mother have on her shelf? It looks like a bunch of bottles. I can't imagine what they are. 

5. Lastly, a sink full of pots, pans and dishes. My mother taught me to CAYG--"Clean As You Go" when cooking dinner. But I'm guessing back then, with four kids, a dog and a husband to deal with, her kitchen probably wasn't as tidy as I remember it being as she got older.
                                                                The following year's birthday.

As always a bonus after the five: the Angel Soft clean-x box is in a lot of the photos, as is Buffie, our collie dog. Mom's  Kitchen Aid with that ugly plastic cover on it, made of the same stuff as brother's bib, and her wedgewood-looking blue and white cookie container on top of it. Did we have cookies around all the time? No, but this is two days after Christmas so most likely it's full of sweet things.

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