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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Injustices in the world…I believe we are here to help others. If you knew of a needy family, would you offer aid? If a child was going hungry, would you offer him/her food? We are all humans in this world. Sometimes we are in need.

 

I remember when my youngest was born—two weeks before Christmas. My husband had just lost his job. He had been overseas for Desert Storm and was called back home because I was having such a difficult time with my pregnancy. His employer kept him the 30 days required and got rid of him so we were without insurance, food, everything but we still had a roof over our heads.

 

I remember how humiliating it was to be in need and I couldn’t do anything about it. My eldest child had just begun walking. My mom had a stroke earlier that year–it was an awful year in many ways. I was at my wit’s end and had to participate in the WIC program for my baby. Not to be critical but even my church didn’t offer any aid. I was ashamed of my situation but this isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Government programs exist because there are those in need. There is nothing wrong with participating in these and we should never shame anyone who does.

 

I doubt anyone would fault me for participating in the WIC program especially with a newborn. In fact, it was required that I do so by the hospital in order to be released. But what if it were a family who needed help? Would you grant them this same sentiment? What about refugees who come into this country? Would you turn them away? Would you refuse help after they have been settled? I hope you wouldn’t turn people away.

 

Well, my governor has just ordered all government assistance to end in giving refugees aid. There is a child about 4 years of age.

  • Is this ok with you?
  • It isn’t ok to me.
  • It breaks my heart.

 

There are many of us who welcome refugees into this country because we can empathize with their situation no matter who they are. To me, it doesn’t matter what religion, what color, what race, what anything… What matters is that we do unto others as we would want to be treated. There is no other option to me.

 

There are terrible things being said—hateful things. I have been writing about attitudes for a long time now. It is up to us to reach out and do what is right. I cannot apologize for the way I see things. I do not like politics but I am being forced to get involved though I am only one person. I encourage you to get involved and let your voice be heard. We are to love all people…not just those who we want to be here or those who look like us. Many of us in the US have some European ancestry. Might I say that Europeans are not native to this land. People have become so selfish. That is what I see.

 

Again, I encourage you to get involved…call your legislature, governor, representatives. I hope you will show love to others and not judge everyone by the actions of some. We are all connected.

 

Happy Gardening! May your gardens be filled with an abundance of love. 🙂

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In a time where there is so much taking and not giving—when there seems to be so much selfishness and greed, there are still some who care—who love—who are so compassionate…

May we all aim to be

  • just a little more joyful
  • more cheerful
  • and maybe just a little more caring

 

This is my very favorite Mannheim Steamroller song…

 

 

Have a very Merry Christmas!

😀

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“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’  (Matthew 25:44-45 NIV)

 

The parable of the sheep and the goats… It’s the theme to one of the beautiful stained glass windows in my church depicting Jesus being fed and clothed as one of the people around us. Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him not because we fear punishment for our inactions but because we love one another. Is there a greater love? To give all for someone you may not even know or rather to give and to know and to keep giving… 🙂

 

Merry Christmas! 😀

May your day be so very blessed as well as all of the days for the coming year!

Happy Gardening! 😀

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Enjoy!

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I have so many great memories of Christmas on the farm. We were simple and celebrated very simply. Christmas was a cedar tree cut and dragged home from somewhere on the farm, old electric lights added, precious hand-blown ornaments that had been passed down through generations, even icicles that were reused each year… Christmas was also the best food I think existed, even Black Fruitcake—YUM! 😀 , and family that would gather around the big farm table.

 

MadonnaChristmas has always been very special to me and I have tried to pass that on. My paternal grandmother who died when I was 3 was the real lover of Christmas. It was her passion that was passed on to me through my dad, my mom, and great aunt. One year when I was a young teenager, I received the precious Madonna that belonged to my grandmother. Each year, I received something of hers for Christmas but this gift has been the most special. For years, I unwrapped her along with the carolers and cherubs to display on the Welsh Dresser my dad made years ago. When Christmas was over she went back into the box…that was until I decided that she should not be hidden 330 days of the year and is now enjoyed every day.

 

Christmas is lots of things to lots of people but to me it is the memories of Christmas past coupled with the memories of Christmas present that makes it so special. My passion for Christmas is not much different than that of my paternal grandmother. And, I hope that I have passed on much of her love of Christmas and what is truly important.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

😀

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The Best Christmas Ever!

 

Christmas is coming—the day—25 DEC 2012. It has yet to arrive but it is the best Christmas ever! It is not filled with packages under the tree. My tree was just put up today. There are no ornaments but it is filled with love. I don’t have many things to give but there is so much. So, how can this Christmas that has yet to come be the best?

 

For years, I believed that Christmas was a feeling I would get in honor of the real meaning of Christmas. With the hustle and bustle and so much merchandising, that feeling was pushed to the back of my mind like a foreign memory. I was dreading this Christmas more than ever and people who have been reading my blog know exactly why, but guess what. This ONE is the best.

 

I cannot explain really. Something has happened. It is more than me giving of myself. It is more than knowing I have friends across the globe. It is more than I have ever had. I finally feel that I belong again—that I am worthy. I have been blessed not with just blessings but blessed with the gift of sharing God’s love. I can’t explain. It is in my infectious smile again—something that has been missing for a long time. It is in my touch. It is the way I see things.

 

For many friends and people who know me and who have been so worried about me, I give them the gift of answered prayer. I am ok. I really am ok!!! 😀 I still have problems and will have chasms to get through but I am ok. Christmas hasn’t arrived as far as the day, but Christmas has arrived in my heart! After all, I am a believer in celebrating Christmas every day of the year!

 

So, Merry Christmas today and every day!

 

May your day be blessed with love and your gardens with eternal goodness! Happy Gardening! 😀

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Banana Rum Cake

I usually start cooking this recipe in the fall and continue through New Year’s because I love the smell not to mention the fact that I think the cake tastes good. I sometimes give these cakes as Christmas gifts or take them for get-togethers during the holidays. My oldest daughter helped make these. Aren’t they beautiful? I have been making this cake recipe for 30 years now. Has it really been that long? The pan on the right is over 30 years old and is looking its age.

The recipe begins with a boxed pound cake mix (oh, horrors 🙂). Betty Crocker’s Pound Cake mix is what I start with. Besides an egg, I add rum, sour cream, a well-ripened banana, and nutmeg (freshly grated). If I don’t have a well-ripened banana, I have been known to ‘squish’ a banana before peeling and add to mix, but it doesn’t have the same exact flavor. Here are the ingredients if you would like to make this cake-ignore the ones on the box.

Banana Rum Cake

  • 1 1-lb box of pound cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ c dark rum
  • ½ c sour cream
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I use freshly grated)

I first grease a loaf pan. Then I pour the mix in my bowl using a fork to break up lumps and ‘sift’ through the mix. I then add the next 3 ingredients and stir vigorously. You can use a mixer, but I never do with this recipe. Lastly, I stir in the darkened banana-not rotten-followed by the freshly grated nutmeg. I make sure the large banana lumps are broken up and mixed in well. Next, I pour the mix into my greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees according to the size pan you are using and the time on the box or just a little more. You may want to decrease the temperature ever so slightly if using a dark pan. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove cake from pan. This is where I take a big sniff. It should smell absolutely delightful.

You can try a piece while the cake is still warm and then compare it to one from the next day to see how you like it. I like it both ways. This recipe came from a college friend’s grandmother many years ago. It was a simple way to make an enhanced pound cake that I still enjoy making. The fresh nutmeg is so aromatic and really makes the cake come alive, so to say.

Happy Gardening and may your kitchen yield many lovely baked goods this winter!

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Continuing with some more of my Christmas projects…

We used the small tabletop tree this past year hoping Simon would not attack it or kill it, and we waited until the last minute to put it up. It was a good thing we waited because he tried to climb it; he chewed the lights; he chewed the cords; he chewed the tree; he chewed the ornaments; he batted at the ornaments… I guess he did pretty well meaning this was his first Christmas with us.

I wanted something different to put on the top of the tree this year and found a Finnish star project online here. Mine is plain and white, but hey, I like it.

Funny thing about the tree… We were having to defend it from Simon and were scared to leave him home alone with it, but when we got up the next morning after we had it up and decorated, the top string of lights was not working. Naturally, I thought Simon was to blame, but after much searching we found a loose bulb. Simon wasn’t to blame after all. I apologized to him, but I don’t think he understood. Remember, he IS a cat… 🙂

Happy Gardening and may our pets always know how much we love them!

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Ok, I enjoy making Christmas stockings, too. I have a favorite I made a few years ago. This Santa material is beautiful and the lining and cuff are made from velveteen.

I like to line the stockings and add a hanger so they can be hung from a mantle or other location. If needed, I will add some type of padding to give it support but I left Simon’s without. This stocking is a little smaller than I prefer Christmas stockings to be, but it is just the right size for Simon.

Simon's Stocking

We bought some kitty fabric (fabric with kitties on it) a few months back to make a human quilt and a kitty cat bed. It would have been perfect, but I wanted to save it for the quilt. I had also gotten a Christmas design with toy blocks and bears. I chose it and some of the coordinating fabric for the quilt to use on the toe and heel (you would not know it was kitty fabric if I didn’t tell you). I lined it with white cotton and used the soft, cream colored, furry stuff (think really, REALLY, soft) for the cuff.

I think it turned out well. Simon thought it was ok but did not get very excited. 😦 Oh, well. What can I expect? It does not do anything. And, he is a cat after all (shhh—don’t tell him).

Happy Gardening in all of your creations this year!

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Now that Christmas is over for 2011, I will share some things I was busy with before Christmas. With all of my postings so far this year it seems that I may have signed up for the 365 366 post challenge, but I haven’t. I am trying to catch up on some things I wanted to post last year—it seems that I am always playing catch up.

I love to make and decorate Christmas ornaments ever since I was a little girl and would receive ornament kits-the kind that came with 100s of sequins and beads. Over the years, I have dabbled in different types of ornaments, but in the fall of 2010, I saw a project using paint pens on colored ornaments in a craft magazine. I loved the way the designs looked. Well, I bought some solid colored ornaments and two paint pens-at different stores and at different times in 2010. Of course I misplaced the pens and could not seem to get all of the items for this project together (there are only 2 items needed—pens and ornaments :)). When I was getting things out for Christmas 2011, I found the pens (I was so excited) and decorated a complete box of ornaments before I thought twice about it.

This is not the best one I did but I love the way the gold stands out. The tip of the pen is too wide for my taste. A smaller tip would work better but the smaller ones tend to clog quicker from my experience. I made two ornaments for the girls with their names on them and the rest are painted with flowers and leaves. It was so much fun.

These are some favorites made in more recent years… I love how the lights make the ornament glow.

Happy Gardening and may your life always be filled with beautiful surroundings!

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