Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where he is there I shall be also!
— Martin Luther

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Very Simple Christmas

The Christmas season has been delightful. I tried (and very nearly succeeded) in keeping things more simple this year. I normally go crazy with the gift giving aspect of Christmas. I LOVE to go shopping in old book stores, thrift stores, and yard sales to find the perfect gift for someone. But earlier this year we decided that we should focus more on making memories and enjoying the season. And so we did.
I got nearly all my shopping and wrapping done early, and I spent the rest of my time just having fun.
We looked at Christmas lights with friends, went to Hoffman's chocolate factory on two different occasions with friends to look at their Christmas display and drink cocoa, we had people over, we went to people's houses, we exchanged gifts with friends, we watched countless Christmas movies, We baked cookies, we ate cookies, I made Christmas presents for's been wonderful!

A merry Christmas to you all!

P.S. It's 81 degrees outside and humid. I feel like I need to share that. There is nothing like Christmas in South Florida!

Friday, December 9, 2011

This week...

I made this first pumpkin pie of the year. I use the recipe on the side of the pumpkin can only I added extra spices and instead of evaporated milk, I use heavy whipping cream. It was ah-mazing.

We decorated our tree (I'll post a picture soon). It is gorgeous. Covered in red berries, ribbons, and beautiful ornaments we've collected over the years.

I finished Christmas shopping (almost). I'll be spending the weekend in my bedroom listening to classical music and getting a backache from all the wrapping.


The weather has been most un-chrsitmasy. It was very chilly yesterday morning, but for the most part it's been in the 80's with dreary skies and murky puddles. Every once in a while there is a cool breeze that catches you by surprise. I would find the weather to be pleasant any other time of the year. But right now I am wanting clear, blue skies and crisp, cool air. Oh well...


Counting my blessings...

18. Cellophane. It make me so happy. I just love the crinkly noise and shininess, and how it wraps up brightly colored candies with those cute little twists on either end.

19. The beautiful picture of Frankfurt I found at a yard sale last Saturday for $2 (picture to come)

20. Cuddling under blankets to watch old Christmas movies.

21. My coworkers, especially Annie and Liz. They are some of the sweetest people. They never let a good job go unnoticed, and always show their gratitude. I'm so glad I get to work with them.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Smart Little Sister

I came home last night to Maggie (9) feverishly taking notes while watching a nature show. I just love to see how much she loves to learn. She almost always is reading a book. She owns 50 (no joke) stuffed animals and knows them all by name, species, and breed. She can tell you anything you want to know about birds and dogs. One of her favorite books is the dog encyclopedia I gave her for Christmas last year. She has checked out the entire animal section in our library. She LOVES animals and loves learning about them.
When she was done writing this paper she handed it to Mom and said, "Here Mom, I made a list of some random facts about animals for you to read tonight."
Yeah, She's a pretty cool kid. I like her.


Friends of ours are in the process of becoming foster parents. They've asked Natalie and I to be their babysitters. I am so excited to be able to help even in such a small way. Yesterday, we all went up to Child & Family Connections to get fingerprinted.
Since we were already up in Jupiter, Nat and I met up with my Mom and sisters and went over to City Place for the evening. Everything was decorated for Christmas. There was a 30 ft. tree, poinsettias, Christmas lights, music, an "ice" skating rink, and snow!!!! Actually it was just sudsy bubbles that blew out of a machine and made our hair all sticky and frizzy, and made our eyes sting as it landed on our faces. But, if you ignored that and stared at the black sky as white flurries danced in the was rather magical. If you can't have real snow this time of year, then I guess soap is the next best thing.
Anyways, we had fun. We walked around some and then went home to chocolate snowball cookies.

Counting my blessings:

13. Crisp wind blowing through your curtains as you fall asleep.

14. The smell of pine.

15. Juicy, fresh cantaloupe.

16. Friends that are joyfully opening their home to children in need.

17. Annie Hall's butter cookies

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some snapshots of Thanksgiving weekend

Favorite Christmas decoration. Look at his adorable little face!

I can remember this music box from my earliest Christmases. It makes me giddy every time I pull it down from the attic on Thanksgiving.

It's called Happiness Hill! I found this book in a little thrift store this weekend. I know I didn't need it, but it has such a charming front cover, and is filled with the most delightful poems, pictures, and stories...I just couldn't leave it there. And it was only 50 cents. Do you see the little boy bringing his friendly pet dragon up the hill? The dragon is wearing a purple bow! How cute is that? How could I resist buying this?! Now I think that makes 332 books squashed in my tiny bedroom. I think I have a sickness, but I don't care.

"Believe". I actually have never believed in Father Christmas, but it's fun to pretend.

Oh, the beauty! The picture just doesn't do it justice. It was radiant, majestic, glorious...

The first box of Christmas goodies!

I love this teacup, and I love the huge scoop of whipped cream I dumped in it.

A fun, loud game of catchphrase at the Rosenthal's on Thanksgiving. I wish I had taken a video of Jenna--she was hysterical.

There is another one on the other door that says "giving". I just didn't feel like uploading it. So cute.

Good food and friends.

This actually wasn't taken this weekend, but it's so beautiful I had to share it. We are always seeing painted buntings in out backyard.

This is from Halloween. They are both just so darn cute!

As you can see, it was a wonderful weekend. We are getting our tree this week. I will post pictures as soon as I can.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Counting my blessings...

8. The reflection of a candle flame in my bedroom window.

9. A yummy slice of ooey, gooey, pumpkin butter cake (Paula Deen's recipe) made by a friend.

10. A cold front coming in on Thanksgiving day! Woohoo!

11. Chris Rice's "Living Room Sessions" CD.

12. Watching a cozy movie with my family last night.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving weekend!

Gobble, gobble, gobble

A very talented co-worker brought these to work today. They are so adorable. If I find the time, I think I will be making some this weekend.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movemer 12, 1998

We spent last evening looking through some of our old photos, cards, doo-dads, and stuff. I came across this. It was written in "Movemer 12, 1998". We were just the cutest things.

I have nothing much to say. I'm just trying to stay in the habit of blogging.

We sang this song at church yesterday. I love it.

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost it's sting

Oh, I'm running to your arms,
I'm running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go

Oh, I'm running to your arms
I'm running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other name
Jesus, Jesus

Oh, I'm running to your arms
I'm running to arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

I went and saw the Off Broadway Beauty & the Beast show on Saturday. It was rather disappointing. I felt like they squandered the opportunity of telling a powerful story. Instead they turned it into a slap-stick comedy (sooo not my thing). The costumes and music were beautiful, but overall I was not impressed. Oh, well. Too bad I learned it the expensive way.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I.... near the end of a very good book, Charlotte's Web. What a wonderful book about sacrifice and friendship. I love Wilbur's attitude towards life, his innocence, his kind spirit. I love Charlotte's courage and willingness to do anything and everything for someone she loves. I love Fern for finding happiness in the things that count, and investing in the things that matter. This is a must read for everyone. It doesn't matter how old you are. being trained in new areas at work. It's exciting to be trusted with more responsibilities. Plus, I get to work more with one of my favorite peoples. :)

... am looking forward to greeting all of our very-much-missed Christmas decorations next weekend. The crocheted snowflakes, the vintage & sparkly Father Christmases, the pine garlands....I'm getting giddy just thinking about it! drinking a cup of spiced, lemony tea. MmMmM! going to see the Beauty & the Beast Off-Broadway show tomorrow with Gladis and Yudy. Belle is ONE Disney princess that I think makes an excellent role model. ;)

...Love this quote I happened upon a few days ago.

"Come along inside...we'll see if tea & buns can make the world a better place."

-The Wind in the Willows

I do think that this will be my next read. thankful for the windows in front of my desk. I could be sitting in a cubicle right now surrounded by drab walls. But instead I get to look out and see gloomy clouds hanging, Trees dancing in the silent wind, and rain lightly falling. It's quite picturesque. this season of Thanksgiving. I so often forget to be thankful. But at this time of year, I am constantly being reminded to be more aware of my blessings and to be grateful.

...ate a mini twix bar just now. Should I go for another one?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Coutning My Blessings

I saw this on my new favorite blog, Curious Acorn.

Following her example, I will try to dedicate a post every few days to giving thanks.

1. Muted, warm colors.

2. A beautiful bouquet leftover from a baby shower last week.

3. A table covered in scraps of beautiful papers, buttons, stickers, and glitter.

4. Sisters. (Carley isn't in the picture, but I'm thankful for her too)

5. Autumn

6. A quiet evening spent crafting with a friend.

7. Vibrant colors.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Turkey...It's a Good Thing

We are going to Seaworld early tomorrow morning. To save some money I am packing lunch. I seared the seasoned turkey breast in butter and oil and then browned some aromatic vegetable in the turkey fat with S&P and a little sprinkle of sugar. Put it all back in the pot, threw in some fresh thyme sprigs and water and let it simmer for a while. I chopped the turkey up and put it on bread rolls with cranberry relish (Thanks to Natalie for making that). It took us only a few minutes to prepare (minus the cooking time).This should make for a tasty lunch! I put the turkey bone back into the water to let it simmer and make a stock for soup on Sunday.
I'll use the leftover turkey I didn't need and maybe I'll add dumplings.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cookie Molds

I spent a good hour on this website today drooling over these gorgeous molds, especially this one. So beautiful!

On Punctuation

One time I read this book called Commas Are Our Friends. I think I took it too literally. My blog posts are strewn with random, unnecessary commas. My punctuation is pathetic. It's really rather embarrassing. A Beka Grammar & Composition, you failed failed me most miserably.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The View from Baskerville Hall

I felt the need earlier this week to find a painting of a foggy marshland, something that reminded me of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I googled, and this is what I found. I think the only thing that would make this painting more divine would be if there was a shadow of an eery mansion in the background, cloaked in fog. I wish I could "Skadoo" into this picture like they do on "Blue's Clues". It's just so dreamy.

Two of My Favorite C.S. Lewis Quotes

“There have been times when I think we do not desire heaven; but more often I find myself wondering whether, in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else….It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds, when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work….All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it.”
~C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most….The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”
~C.S. Lewis Till We Have Faces

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

This one is.

Do you remember the first real book you ever read, oh non-existent readers? I don't mean Dick and Jane or the like. I mean the first book with a plot, characters that felt like your friends, descriptive wording that made you feel like you were living the story.

I remember being read to when I was little. I loved it. Mom would read either Mythology, The Little House books, Swiss Family Robinson, or some other delightful tale to Natalie and me. I also remember first learning to read. I hated it. My comprehension, as is the case with many children, was far more advanced than my ability to sound out words. Oh how frustrating it was to struggle over the most basic of words, when all I wanted to was to feast on a actual chapter book with a storyline! Hop on Pop and Rod & Staff readers are not exactly rich literature. It was quite discouraging. I saw how much Natalie loved to read, and I thought something was wrong with me. I wanted so badly to love it as much as she did, but I just didn't. One day, we went to the library, and Mom picked out a book for me. On the front cover was a little girl surrounded by sweet-faced little animals all staring with wide eyes at tiny spider hanging from the title, Charlotte's Web. I'll never forget opening that book for the first time. I was instantly absorbed into the story. For the first time everything made perfect sense. The letters formed into words, which formed into sentences, paragraphs, pages, chapters. I was reading with came so naturally to me. Reading is a beautiful thing. Every time I think of this book, I feel the same excitement and get goosebumps just like I did back then. This is my favorite book. It was the first taste of the bliss reading offers. Charlotte's Web taught me the word gullible, it made me cry, it made me laugh, It made my imagination blossom. I distinctly remember this portion of the book being my favorite:

“Mr. Zuckerman had the best swing in the county. It was a single long piece of heavy rope tied to the beam over the north doorway. At the bottom end of the rope was a fat knot to sit on. It was arranged so that you could swing without being pushed. you climbed a ladder to the hayloft. Then, holding the rope, you stood at the edge and looked down, and were scared and dizzy. Then you straddled the knot, so that it acted as a seat. Then you got up all your nerve, took a deep breath, and jumped. For a second you seemed to be falling to the barn floor far below, but then suddenly the rope would begin to catch you and you would sail through the barn door going a mile a minute, with the wind whistling in your eyes and ears and hair. Then you would zoom upward into the sky, and look up at the clouds, and the rope would twist and you would twist and turn with the rope. Then you would drop down, down, down, out of the sky and come sailing back into the barn almost into the hayloft, then sail out again (not quite so far this time), then in again (not quite so high), then out again, then in again, then out, then in; and then you’d jump off and fall down and let somebody else try it...When he (Avery jumped off he threw the swing up to his sister. She shut her eyes and jumped. She felt the dizzy drop, then the supporting lift of the swing. When she opened her eyes she was looking up into the blue sky and was about to fly back through the door. ”

“I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once.” --C.S. Lewis And, so I picked up one of my copies again this morning (I tend to buy multiples of my favorite books-- I have at least five Narnia series and 4 Lord of the Rings...I think it's a sickness) and began reading. It's just as good as I remember.

Umpteenth Time's the Charm.

I'm going to attempt blogging once again. I believe that this is at least my 5th blog. I've stuck with some for a few months, maybe even a year or two, and then I'll go back and read my posts only to be horrified at what a shallow person I am. I'm not exactly pleased with my writing style either. I go back and read and say to myself that If I came across this blog I would not want to be this girls friend, and then I delete the blog in a sort of ceremonious "destroying all memory of the old, inferior self to allow this new found pursuit of maturity to take wing". Anyways, I am going to make one more feeble attempt at blogging and we shall see how it goes. I think I'll keep this one private for a while, and then if I prove to be somewhat faithful in updating, then I shall reveal it the world. That way people won't find me to be quite so fickle.

I created this blog a year ago. I visited the Jakobitz family (dear friends) and during my time there I was inspired to blog once again. I remember Auntie saying that blogging can be a form of praise. It's making the conscious decision to take a moment during the day, no matter how stressful you are and notice one of God's blessings. Sometimes, or should I say most of the time I will focus on all the negatives. The truth is I spend far too much time and energy "Alas-ing" and "Woe-is-me-ing" and hardly any time noticing and thanking God for the big and small beauties surrounding me. With a blog I could train myself to have a more grateful heart. What she said made quite an impact on me. I was so convicted and upon my return home, I started "The Linden Tree Isle". I stuck with it for two posts. Impressive? Yes, I know. But, although I may have not become a blog addict, it did change my perspective. I don't post it online, but I do take more time to take little mental snapshots that bring me joy. Instead of focusing on the traffic rushing past, and smell the stink of our polluted suburban air as I walk out the library, I try and notice the little spot of grass with those braided, entangled roots that brings my imagination to the Shire. Maybe this is where Frodo would sit and read a book.
So, all this to say, thank you, Auntie M. I don't think you had any idea when you made that passing comment about blogs you made my mind go into a whirlwind of thoughts, convictions, intense self hate, and once I calmed down and talked myself through this, I had the resolve and the excitement to pursue not only contentment, but joy in my life. I still fail miserably, but I'm trying.

All that to say, I am going to try once more to not only have this mindset, but to also publish it via the blogosphere. So that if I ever lose sight and forget this importance, I can go back and be reminded. And, hopefully, since this blog is meant to have a more serious tone, I will not in a rash moment delete it.