Friday, January 23, 2015

Achoo!



Achoo is the word for the sound made when we sneeze.  The past two weeks have been filled with this sound in my home.  In fact I am still sneezing.  When we hear that all too familiar sound most of us say God bless you or gesundheit.  It makes us feel better to know someone cares or we may feel embarrassed that someone heard us.  I remember that my son had a real problem with sneezing when he was young.  He had allergies and once he started sneezing he could not stop.  This frequently happened in church.  I always felt so sorry for him and people who were sitting around us felt bad for him too.  He was just embarrassed.  :-)   I later found out that my Uncle Ralph did the same thing.  Perhaps it wasn't allergies after all....a family trait??  Tissues were always in my purse and ready for the "sneezing episode".  Too bad I didn't have a cute little holder for my tissues! :-)


If we must have colds, and it seems like that is the case, then we should have a pretty way to carry tissues!  Several years ago my sewing group learned to make tissue pack holders.  It is a simple project that makes a cute little gift.  A great way to use up fabric scraps and brighten someones day at the same time.  The instructions are easily found on the internet.  I used this video to make some this week. 


Why did I suddenly start making tissue pack holders?  A friend of mine in my sewing group sent out a request for 250 tissue holders.  It was for a Girl Scout group in Virginia.  They were sponsoring a 5K race and wanted to add these to the goody bags.  I was doubtful that she would make the goal of 250.  We only had 4 days to get them done.  In the spirit of true friendship and sewing teamwork the goal was not only met but exceeded.  On Tuesday night little by little the holders came in and by the end of our meeting 378 holders were stacked on the table!  Certainly shows what teamwork can do!  I feel fortunate to have such compassionate and talented friends!


This would make a great little gift for Valentine's Day.  I feel certain that there will still be plenty of us making that sound...Achoo....for a while longer.  :-(   Try making a few of these holders.  Quick and easy.... my two favorite words when it comes to sewing!   Blessings!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Music Touches The Soul



Sunday morning there was an audible gasp at church when the music director informed us all of the death of Andrea Crouch.  He died on January 8th after suffering a heart attack at the age of 72.  He wrote his first gospel song at the age of 14 and never stopped.  He was able to combine contemporary secular music with the gospel music he knew from his childhood.  A talented individual who not only was a composer but also a singer, arranger, producer and pastor.  His awards were numerous: Four Gospel Music Association Awards, seven Grammys, induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


I stood with the rest of the congregation on Sunday and sang his music.  A tribute to a man who had truly touched us all.  I have several favorites but if I had to pick one it would be My Tribute.  I sang it many times as a solo. The words had such meaning for me and still do.  My daughter played an arrangement of it on piano.  She often played it as a special in church and it always gave me chills.  My Dad loves Through It All.  He has been through a lot in his 84 years and this song truly reflects his feelings.  God was always there in control taking him through the trials and the triumphs.  The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power is also a familiar favorite.  Soon and Very Soon had us all swaying and almost dancing to the beat.  You can watch Andrea Crouch  performing this song  here.

Music touches the soul.  My Mother told me that I actually sang my first word.  The song was The Old Cotton Fields Back Home.  I still know every word.  Apparently it was on the radio a lot when I was born.  I started singing along with the radio in the car.  I think my Dad almost wrecked! :-)  I like all music.  Well not all. I have a hard time with rap music and hard rock.  LOL  I was blessed that my parents nourished this love of music by being sure that I was able to participate in numerous choirs, paying for many years of piano lessons, voice lessons, flute lessons, listening to hours of practice, and attending all of my performances.

I remember my very first piano lesson.  Mrs. Merrell was our church choir directors wife, mother of 6 children, and a great pianist.  I was 8 years old and scared to death.  She gave lessons in her home.  A large house right behind my church.  She had a large old upright piano that sat right by the front door.  Her first words to me were that I was about to learn something that would comfort me in times of sorrow,  relieve my anxiety in times of stress, and give me an outlet to express happiness.  She explained that the day her mother died she played the piano all day long.  It was the only thing that could bring her peace and comfort.  You may think that these words would have been too complicated for an 8 year old to understand but I did and I have thought of them often in my life.  When Mrs. Merrell died I wrote her husband a note of sympathy and told him how much she had influenced my life.  She was the first of four piano teachers I would have.  They all nourished my love of music.

Music touches the soul.  It nourishes the soul.  My son is a Music Therapist.  He has some amazing stories of how music can reach the unreachable.  It can give a voice to those who can't speak.  It gives us peace and causes our spirits to soar!  Both of my children were blessed with the gift of musicality and thankfully they have developed that gift.  So music also gives me joy because I can see them using the gifts that God has given them.
 

Thank you to Andrae Crouch for using his gifts and touching my soul.  Since church yesterday I have sat at the piano and attempted to play some of his music.  The time flew by and I realized that my stress disappeared and my attitude improved.  Perhaps I need to return to the music.....the music that touches my soul!  Blessings!



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Downton Abbey Time!




Downton Abbey Season 5 premiered Sunday night.  Like millions of others I had anxiously anticipated the new season for months.  I was ready hours before the actual event.  Special china, homemade scones, hot tea, and my special pillow all ready!  My Hubby knows that during this time I am not to be interrupted. It is my time to escape to another era.  It's Downton Abbey time!

This season promises to have lots of surprises!  Twists and turns abound!  I am always amazed when someone admits to not knowing what all the fuss is about.  Some of my close friends don't watch.  I have tried to gently ;-) encourage them to tune in but to no avail.  That's OK I have lots of friends in TV land who are addicted just like me!


I love the fashions, the decor, the food, and the manners portrayed in the series.  Sometimes I think I just might have been born in the wrong era.  Problem is I would want to live upstairs and I am sure I would live downstairs.  A kitchen maid is probably what I would be! :-)


How about you?  Are you hooked?  If you are know that on Sunday night we are both enjoying another episode.  Drinking tea, eating a special treat, sitting in our special chair....a blog party so to speak.  Join me and lets retreat to another era...just for a little while.  It's Downton Abbey time and I couldn't be more excited!  Blessings!




Sunday, January 4, 2015

Word Of The Year




It is that time of year again.  A time for looking back at what was and looking forward to what can be.  I began this blog over six years ago and my life has changed dramatically since then.  I have experienced things that I would have never imagined.  These experiences have forced me to grow and become so much stronger.  I have had extreme highs and extreme lows.  Looking back, I now know without a doubt that God has used them all to make me a better person. 

I always try to set goals at the start of a new year.  Do I always met them?  No, but I usually manage to reach a few!  :-)  The past several years I have tried to come up with a word of the year.  Something that encompasses the goals I have set.  This year my word is potential.  Webster's defines potential as capable of becoming real or existing in possibility.  Capable of development into actuality.  Ironically the other word I considered was possible.  Seems to me that it all flows together.  My list of goals is written.  It is realistic and it is possible.  I have the potential to reach them all if I can stay motivated.  I also feel like new things await that will stretch my potential.  I have some new art classes that I really want to take.  Question is do I have the guts to risk failure in hopes of taping into an unknown talent!?  I sure hope that I do!

One of my favorite movies as a child was Cinderella.  The original production from 1965 is still my favorite.  If you are of a "certain age" you know that it was only on television once a year.  Usually in the Fall I think.  It was always a magical experience.  One of my favorite songs was Impossible!: It's Possible!   I just listened to it again with my childlike heart.  No matter how old you are that song makes the impossible seem possible!


My first year in college we had a Secret Santa.  Everyday was filled with anticipation as to what would be in our stocking.  My Santa put a bible verse in my stocking that I recited every single day of Nursing School.  Hebrews 11:1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (NIV)  This seems to go along with my goals for the new year.  We never know what lies ahead but we can be assured that God will take us through it  with grace and strength.  We have the potential that is often untapped until we stretch ourselves out of the comfort zone.  Wow how exciting it can be to see the result!

Quotes always help me to get motivated.  I found two that really sum up my hopes for 2015.

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.   Pope John XXIII

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.  Winston Churchill

How about you?  What are your dreams for 2015?  Have you picked a word or made resolutions?  Join me and maybe we can turn 2015 into the best year yet!  Blessings!









Thursday, January 1, 2015

Season of Blessings

The last several months have truly been a season of blessings for my family and I.  Because my husband and I are in the medical field holidays don't always happen on a set day.   We also have family members who live a great distance from home.  Our holidays are often celebrated at what others would consider odd times.  A holiday is when we are all together celebrating our love for one another.

Fall was a whirlwind for me.  It started with several trips for my hubby and I.  We had such fun!  You know that I am a college football fan and weekends were full of cheering for all of my favorite teams!  In fact today as I write this post I am watching the Rose Bowl cheering Oregon on to victory!  Fortunately all of my teams have done well this year!





My son and his fiance came home for a visit the first week in November so Thanksgiving was celebrated then.  I even had the Christmas tree up and ready for my son's inspection.  All of the ornaments were there....even the handmade kindergarten treasures. :-)  My daughter and her husband were able to be there.  We all had a great time.  We felt blessed that my Dad and my in-laws were there and in good health.  On Thanksgiving Day we opted for a 5K in the morning with my brother and his family.  In the afternoon IHOP and breakfast with our parents hit the spot.  Not traditional but still a blessing for us all!

Since I had such an early start with my Christmas decorating, I was able to enjoy it all for two months.  I also found myself adding to my usual fare.  I ended up with four Christmas trees and I enjoyed them all.  I didn't even mind when the time came to take them down.

My daughter beat me in the decorating department this year.  She and her husband were one  of the homes featured on the Christmas tour of homes in their community.  They both worked hard and their home was just beautiful!  The best home in my humble opinion!  We actually had my husband's family Christmas there.  It was a lot of fun and I didn't have to cook anything!  Cooper (their dog) certainly made us feel welcome!


As usual I had to decorate my tables.  The kitchen turned into a what everyone called a winter wonderland.


The dining room table had a more traditional theme.  My family all came for brunch on Christmas Day.  We had such a good time!  It was a first for our family but I think it may be something we try to do every year!  My son and his fiance couldn't be home for Christmas but because of skype we were able to open gifts and visit with them.  The world is such a small place now because of technology.


My Mom always made a coconut cake for our family Christmas celebration.  I have attempted to continue this tradition.  This year I made everyone a coconut cupcake as a small favor.  My tradition is to always give my nieces and nephew a candycane so I added that to the gift.  They seemed to be a hit!  My hot cocoa station was also a favorite! :-)


We played games that my daughter had planned.  Laughter filled the air!  We all enjoyed popping the Christmas crackers that I had added to the tablesetting.  Everyone wore their tissue paper crowns with pride.  Hubby looked especially regal! :-)

New Year's Eve was spent watching football. (of course)  It was nice to enjoy the evening with my dear hubby.  We had some sparkling cider in our favorite glasses. The glasses express a thankfulness that there is a pill for everything.  My husband is a pharmacist....that is why we own glasses like this! LOL  My daughter and her husband are in London and my son and his fiance are in Oregon.  We are all healthy and happy!  My family and I are looking forward to 2015!  A wedding is coming in May and we are certainly excited about that!


Happy New Year to each of you from my family to yours!  It has been a true "season of blessings"!  My hope and prayer is that it will be a year of blessings for us all! 








Monday, September 29, 2014

Coffee Shop Treats At Home


Today is National Coffee Day.  I am a late bloomer as far as coffee is concerned.  I really only started drinking it about three years ago.  I attribute this to working and smelling that yummy aroma in the morning coming from  the break room.  Everyone else seemed to really enjoy the brew so I jumped in and haven't looked back.  I learned that I certainly enjoy it more with cream although black with just a touch of vanilla is good too.


I have a coffee cup that is one of my favorites.  It is from Ashley Brooke Designs.  My daughter sent it to me as a surprise!  When I was working they always called me "fancy pants".  To be honest I have been called that in lots of settings.  I do like bling!  The saying on the cup fit not only me but also my daughter.  "Let's always be fancy" is the perfect mantra to start my day! :-)

In honor of the "holiday" I tried a new drink.  One that I had spotted and marked from the October 2014 Good Housekeeping magazine.  Pumpkin Spice Latte sounded so good and the idea of making it at home was very appealing!  It is super simple and sooooo good!  I am sipping a cup as I am writing and loving every drop!


I am sure they would not mind me sharing the directions with you.  I changed it up a bit to make mine more calorie conscious. In a saucepan, simmer 2 cups each of water and sugar, 1/4 cup pure pumpkin, 2 cinnamon sticks, and 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Whisk it continuously for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture twice.  Chill (up to 1 month).  Mix 1 to 2 tbsp. syrup with coffee and warm milk to taste. Top with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.  My changes were using Truvia in place of sugar and I used fat free milk.  I didn't top it with whipped cream only because I didn't have any! :-)  I will buy some low fat whipped topping tomorrow and then will love the drink even more!  This recipe makes one pint of the flavoring. The calories are minimal (at least in my version) and it is certainly so much cheaper to enjoy a coffee shop treat at home! 

The only addition I would make to my celebration of National Coffee Day would be a loaf of pumpkin bread to go along with my latte.  Tomorrow baking is on my list!  I have some leftover pure pumpkin in the refrigerator just waiting to be added to my pumpkin bread ingredients.  So Good and perfect for the Fall days we are enjoying now!

I hope you will try creating a coffee shop feeling in your home.  It is sure to be a success!  If word gets out you just may draw a crowd!
Enjoy and once again Happy National Coffee Day!  Blessings!








Friday, September 26, 2014

Shopping For Chickens



The popularity of chickens in an urban environment is something that I would have never dreamed of as a child.   I was  fortunate that I grew up living right next door to my Grandparents.   One of the many benefits of this was helping my MawMaw care for her chickens.  She had four hens and one very obnoxious rooster.   MawMaw would let me feed the chickens and gather eggs.  I didn't do this everyday but often enough that I learned how to care for the flock. In the Fall we would clean out the chicken coup.  Not a fun job but very necessary.  My grandparents also had a large chicken house and raised chickens commercially for many years.  They worked so hard and were keenly aware of the needs of the chicks and of how weather, disease, and predators could effect their livelihood. 

My Dear Hubby has decided that we should have chickens.  I have reluctantly agreed.  He has never been involved in the day to day care of chickens so this could be interesting.  The plans for the housing are in place.  Materials have been purchased and construction should begin tomorrow.  The lot is ready.  Fencing is in place and the area is cleared.  Today we went chicken shopping.  I made one thing very clear.  No baby chicks!  I want fully grown chickens.  I have raised two children and one dog.....no more babies in Mrs. DD land. :-)  To say that the adventure was an eye opener would be an understatement.  The feed store had many hens of all shapes and sizes.  Some laid brown eggs, others white, and my favorite the hens that laid blue eggs. One hen even had a purple bow in her feathers.  No I am not kidding! There were of course roosters as well but I have also been clear that no roosters will live in Mrs. DD land.  Yes I am mean and just to be clear it is an ordinance that we can not have a rooster.  Thank goodness because as I mentioned before they are temperamental and loud.

We were just looking today but had discussions on the way home about which hens we would eventually buy.  I want "pretty" full grown hens that lay "pretty" eggs.  My hubby has consented to my requests.  I have also chosen names for the hens but I will reveal those once the hens have arrived.  Like any new Mom I don't want others stealing my names! :-)


I did make friends with the store mascot.  A very large turkey was roaming the sidewalk in front of the store.  He was quite friendly and allowed me to take his picture.  I am sure as Thanksgiving approaches he may become more scarce and may disappear completely....who knows?  If this is actually a she not a he I am sorry.  My MawMaw didn't have turkeys and to be honest I don't know how to tell the difference. LOL


My hubby and I are anticipating lots of eggs by Thanksgiving at the latest.  If you see this sign outside my house feel free to stop by.  My new occupation may be the neighborhood egg supplier. 

Do you have hens?  If so any advice would be welcomed!  I will keep you updated on the progress of the adventure and of course will introduce you to the new family members just as soon as they arrive.  Stay tuned this promises to be quite a journey!  Blessings!






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