Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sundays (and every day) are for WORSHIP

 This is my new favorite song-  "Our God Is Greater".  You probably know it. 

The other day after purchasing the CD I played it in my car during a "down" moment I was having.  Immediately my heart was lifted.  I pressed "play" a second time after increasing the bass to the Bose sound system to the highest level. I love the sub-woofer effect when it is with my music.  I was singing with wild abandon.  If a fellow driver had been witnessing me (and they might have) they probably thought I was jamming to the "Hot Red Chili Peppers" instead of a worship song.

The whole experience of listening to it fills my soul. 

Today I play it again in my kitchen.  My heart swells and my mind zones to God's greatness.  My eight-year-old catches my fervor and excitedly starts twirling till she is dizzy. I am reminded that God inhabits the praise of His people. (Read Psalm 22:3.)

The word "Praise" in this passage means laudation or more concretely a hymn.  The kind of hymn that shines clear, boasts.  This praise is to be clamorously foolish (as quoted from Strong's concordance), to rave, to stultify, to celebrate.

And while we are praising God what is He doing?

Inhabiting- He sits down in quiet, dwells, and remains amongst us.  He is so intimately close He "marries" us; He remains, He settles down with us.

How awesome is that?  My joy in Him causes Him to stop and dwell intimately with me. 

This outrageous praise reminds me of the adulation that David gave when the ark of the covenant was finally returning to its proper place.  David was so full; he danced unabashedly and wearing only his underwear (sounds clamorously foolish!) before God in the sight of all the people

What did his wife think?   She "despised" him in her heart.  God struck Michal with bareness.  I think perhaps this story is recorded for us to show us that her heart response is diametrically opposed to His when we praise Him.  He loves it; He enjoys it- He is enjoying US enjoying HIM. 

I love that about Him.

So I listen to my new favorite song.  I listen to these words- my mind quickens, my heart swells, my body moves.

Everything in me- body, soul, and spirit rise to give praise to the ONE- the ONLY One- worthy who bears these attributes.

I feel like this-                                                                                                                                                             

and this-


and this-







worries melt, fear dies, stress fades away-

I am filled to overflowing with peace and joy.

My soul sails. My heart flies.  May be I will even be translated to Heaven like Enoch in this moment.



Visit this sound and lift you heart in worship yourself.  Maybe even turn up your sub-woofer. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I am ADDICTED!!!!!!

OK- I admit it...I will not deny it anymore.


I totally admit it.


I am completely, utterly addicted to buying books! It is a truth that I do not think that I will ever change. I love everything about them.... The beautiful pictures or illustrations, the feel of the pages (I LOVE holding and caressing a book! I do not think I will ever be a Kindle customer), even the smell of a new book or an old one.



I go into the bookstore for a Starbucks White Chocolate Latte with whipped cream. After grabbing my Joe, I decide to take the LONG way around to the book counter where my intention is to purchase a gift card for my niece. Strolling along I see their recently added "Irish" display for upcoming St. Patrick's Day. I know that it is recent not just because of the calendar because I was just in this store five days ago?



Of course the first thing that I notice- the same as everyone else- is a book's COVER. And YES; I DO judge a book by its cover...If the cover is visually beautiful or interesting I am magnetized. These books below are covers that grabbed my attention and yelled to me, "Come look at me, pick me up, stroke my pages!"



The first two are of the Irish theme. I try to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (and every holiday for that matter) with an authentic meal- last year's menu included corned beef, cabbage, and as always green mashed potatoes. "Irish Pub Cooking"- what a great book to add some more recipes to my Irish repertoire. The "Leek & Potato Soup" looks scrumptious and it is green. Maybe I will even get brave and try the Irish Soda bread recipe. My sister visited Ireland last year, too, she will enjoy my meal; another reason to buy the book!


And the "Bargain Price" is another attraction.





This next book is so visually darling and tactile! It has one of those smooth hard covers that I just so enjoying holding. Inside contains an Irish fable with a moral to "alter the perspective in our hearts and perhaps render a change in the world". Wow, that little book can do that. Another reason why I just love books. And beyond that and the dreamy photographs of the Irish country side, and the colorful illustrations, and prettily bordered pages, there are little envelopes glued to the pages containing little pieces of paper that I can extract from their mysterious folder, and lift-up flaps of die-cuts. The one I am looking at now is of a pie. When you lift up the crust the recipe for Shepherd's pie is inside. Think adult version, just right for the addicted book type woman version of a toddler's "Lift and Touch" book. I just love it! I realize that my visual and tactile senses are getting completely satisfied! And I am a visual, hands-on learner. Suddenly it is all making sense to me- this infatuation.




The next two books have such beautiful covers; I had to book them up. Historical fiction of the Regency and Victorian era! Well, I am sold. (And of course the "Bargain Price" seals the deal.


Now I said that I most certainly judge a book by its cover. At least initially. However, I have made the mistake of buying books with beautiful covers that even though the story line seemed interesting, I was disappointed. Hopefully this will not be the case.
Now remember my intention of going to the book store? Besides to get my delicious caffeine elixir? I forgot it. So excited with these new treasures. I had to back track to purchase the gift card!
Now where does the guilt come in? (Inevitably it does with any addiction, because the very definition of addiction connotes a negativity with it.) I have a shelf (maybe shelves?) of books who after my first meeting are awaiting patiently to have more connection with me.

Happily though I am engaging in the books pictured below. They are lying beside my night stand. I do not read every one every day- maybe a few pages here and there (except for the last one which I am devouring!). If you notice most of them have to do with shaping perspective. My essence for living a lovely life. This particular clump of books are a family of ideas helping me traverse my way through what I consider to be a mid-life crisis that I am experiencing. (We can talk more about THAT later.)

But each these offers a fresh sense of beauty, fun, or thought that my soul currently needs. So important to my psyche that I will no longer say that I am addicted to books, but a COLLECTOR of books.
or am I still simply in denial?
What are you passionate about? What would you use your children's milk money to purchase?




Monday, February 14, 2011

Sweet Cookies!! Yummy treats!

HAAAAPPPPPYYYY Valentine's Day!
LOVE, chocolate, and kisses and hugs!
What a GREAT day to celebrate!
My sweets are opening their sweets as I write. This is my mothery attempt at heart-shaped pancakes....with chocolate chips- yummy!


Messy cooks are the best ones, right? My little Sarah just may be a bakery chef in the making. We create these sugar cookies for almost every holiday-Christmas trees, Valentine hearts, St. Patrick shamrocks, Easter eggs, etc. ~a colorful treat to eat and it is a good time with the kids playing with the dough and decorating. I want to share the recipe with you at the end if you would like to join in the fun.








I love the colors! This time I added silvery white sprinkles (to my assortment of ephemera, remember?) that looked so pretty on the white iced cookies, like shimmering snow.


Sarah is proud of her heart.


Here is the recipe. I have tried many but I love the tasty "spark" that the lemon juice gives when combined with the sweet icing. As well, I prefer an icing that hardens, nicer for storage and these cookies remind me of Eat-N-Park's.

Mrs. Claus' Sugar Cookies

4 sticks (or 2 cups) of butter
1 cup white sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 T of vanilla
Beat and whip these ingredients together.

Combine in another bowl-
5 cups of flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder

Add slowly to wet ingredients mixing continuously.
Than add-1 T lemon juice

Chill for one hour or longer.

Roll balls of dough onto floured board and use favorite cut-outs.
Bake at 350 degrees or till very light brown.
Cool.

ICING~
Beat one egg WHITE with 1/2 t cream of tartar till VERY stiff.
Add slowly 3 and 1/2 cups of confection sugar.
Also adding about 1 T of milk,
just enough for the icing to become thick and creamy.
Add drops of food coloring for desired color.
When cookies are completely cool, use the back of a spoon
to apply about one tablespooon of icing per cookie.
Add all of the candied ephemra that you want!
This recipe makes approximately 3 dozen- 3 inch cut-out cookies.
ENJOY!!!!


"Love and you shall be loved." -Ralph Waldo Emerson



Saturday, February 12, 2011

Makin' Valentine's

Originally posted February 12, 2011.  We plan on doing the same this Saturday.

My daughters and I spent a sunny, cold afternoon creating Valentine's for our sweet ones.



This is our breakfast room. If you look closely you can see my sweet, shy daughter hiding from the lens behind a book. The table is nice and neat awaiting all of the ephemera (I am always looking for ways to use that neat word. I just "googled" it and discovered that there is actually an Ephemera Society! interesting...well, if you need a little help with its definition the dictionary says that ephemeron {the plural} is transitory written or printed material not intended for long time use such as postcards or tickets...the etymology is the Greek meaning "mayfly" {have you ever seen one of THOSE?}....interesting ...well. since we DO want our Valentine's to be preserved, remembered, and cherished may be this is not the correct context for this word. However, since little decorative things for scrapbooking like stickers are culturally described as "ephemera" {see all of the internet scrap book with "ephemra" in their name} then I will still use it. Also, ephemera such as notes and cards are now considered collectible- though completely contradictory to the very definition of being temporary- then there is another confirmation that I can indeed express that the breakfast room table was waiting to be covered with ephemera- otherwise known as colorful paper, stickers, ribbons, bobbles and such. Did I loose most of you? I am trying to write as goes the conversation in my head....may be that the general populace cannot follow my sporadic thoughts? But I DID get to use the word about 5 times!


Here the girls are creatively concentrating.
Between taking pictures I read Little Town on the Prairie. Presently we read about Laura's autograph book that she shared with her friends and the rage of calling cards. Even then pretty ephemera was exchanged and appreciated. This is a poem that Laura's friend wrote in her autograph book. We thought that it was perfect for inside a Valentine.
                                    "The rose of the valley may wither,
The pleasures of youth pass away,
But friendship will blossom forever
While all other flowers decay."

Isn't that sweet?


Here is my "little" one happy with her creation.
So if you have some ephemera lying around your house, maybe you can gather it together, sit and relax, and make some collectible ephemera for your loved ones.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Massages and Smiles


Last night as part of my husband and my Valentine celebration night out, we went to see the Chinese masseuses (is that the plural?).


Now if you have never had the pleasure of receiving a massage, I feel for you! My husband and I receive a massage regularly by the same woman. But a visit to the Chinese people, well, that is a special treat. Now if you are what I call a "martyr"Christian and do not "believe" in such "self pleasures" then please do not comment to me on the sin of self indulgence. Not only is a massage one of life's great joys but considered a commodity to physical and mental health by my husband and I.


So we walked the mall briskly with determination to find our pleasure makers. Soon we find the Chinese man (unusually large in stature for a Chinese man, thus I nick-named him the Chinese man with the big hands) smiling brightly to us. "You like a massa-?" Ireply, "Is there just one of you tonight?" See, I had envisioned my husband and I relaxing side by side. Well, table beside table. He looks at me blankly and I can tell that I am not being understood. I point to my husband and I and say, "Two of us." He looks out into the mall in search of what I understand to be his partner. "Bathroom." I continue trying to communicate about hitting certain problems areas, but pointing to the areas is enough. Past experience in my attempts to engage him in small talk proved no more fruition except toothy smiles on his part. So with the three of us understanding that the "two" of us want a 45 minute massage, my husband lies down.



I have mentioned this Chinese man with the big hands before on Facebook. I have been his visitor a few times having been left with a spectacular experience of relaxation. This time I sacrificed my own satisfaction and "let" my husband go to him. He has chronic neck and back problems and I wanted him to experience a body massage with the big strong hands making my husband's physique into pliable putty! I was in no less hands as I was lying at the table next to him getting massaged by a Chinese woman.




Situated in a small store site at our local mall the dimly lighted massage place is still enticing. Yet, one wonders at first how relaxing the experience can be with mall shoppers bustling about yards away. Kids yelling, adults yelling occasionally for that matter. But soon the soothing music being played and as the massaging strokes begin I DO relax and I think that I even enter that Alpha state of complete relaxation. Her hands work like a therapeutic machine in waves and strokes moving over every muscle, even in muscles that I did not know I had. I will not go into more of a pictured description except to say that I could almost feel liquid endorphins flowing through my body. You have to try it.



After 45 minutes my husband and I stood feeling almost as though in another world. We were completely relaxed and gave a big smile and "Thank you" to our two attendants. After all I realized they understood THAT.





So my pondering points for today?





ENJOY the good things life offers.





ENJOY them with the ONE you Love.





And always SMILE- it is the universal welcome and endorphin giver.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Journaling

What have I been up to since my last post?

taking son to get his wisdom teeth out, starting to exercise to my new Zhumba Wii, making lots of roasts with mashed potatoes and gravy, doing bookkeeping for our businesses, writing out lessons for my children, teaching them some, chauffeuring to dance and piano lessons, finishing the new book by Beverly Lewis, bought Ree Drummond's new cookbook and love story (thought that would be a great read over Valentine's Day), washing dishes, taming the never-ending laundry pile, feeding our Golden, going out to dinner with friends, making tea to stay warm, loving the bright snowy outside, doctor appointments, dentist appointments (oh I hope that I do not need a root canal!), hosting football parties, scrap booking with my daughter, visiting my aunt (who is more of a sister), preparing lessons-again, getting my son's portfolio ready for his graduation, more bookkeeping- constant bookkeeping, date with my husband tonight!


The usual daily stuff, LIFE stuff...so I have not been writing....think that I will try something new...I will try journaling something, anything to get myself to blog consistently. Only do not hold me to it! Well, your input probably would motivate me!


I think about writing...but life is happening always and I do not always stop to ponder and cement my thoughts into black-and-white. Well, feeble start this is; but I will try.


Appropriate quote from my daily calendar:
"What you will do maters. All you need is to do it." -Judy Grahn
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