30 Days of Gratitude

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Hello Friends– It’s November 1st.  When our kids were small, it was the day we posted “The Thankful Heart Chart” on the fridge so they could draw pictures (donuts and dads, dancing and dogs…)  all month to show how they were thankful. I have well over 20 of those precious charts folded and tucked away in a file.  Love them.

But now our kids are grown and out, I need to continue daily thanks this month of Thanksgiving.  So I have a little list.  My plan is to answer one of these questions a day– just writing a word or two on my calendar until I have a whole month of thankfulness accrued.  I thought you might like the list too…

So here’s a list of 30 questions, one a day, to urge our hearts to be a little more grateful.

#1. What made you smile today?
#2. What is the thing you love the most about the person closest you?
#3. What is some comfort at home you are grateful for?
#4. What accomplishments in your life have brought you the most happiness?
#5. What has changed in the last year, that you are grateful for?
#6. What is the best part of autumn for you?
#7. What is something a family member did this week that gave you joy?
#8. What is something beautiful you saw today?
#9. What is something that was hard for you, but you did it anyway?
#10. What made you laugh today?
#11. What was your favorite family outing you went on this past year?
#12. What is your biggest talent?
#13. What gift did you love receiving this year?
#14. What is something that you love in nature?
#15. What is the sweetest thing that happened today?
#16. What is your favorite family tradition?
#17. What is one kindness someone did for you this week?
#18. What do you love about your parents/grandparents?
#19. What do you enjoy about the place that you live?
#20. What do you love about one (or more) of your friends?
#21. What trial or challenge has strengthened you?
#22. What is a dear memory from your childhood?
#23. What is the best part of your job?
#24. What freedoms are you grateful for?
#25. What occasion have you enjoyed with friends this month?
#26. What thing in your life gives you strength?
#27. What have you read/heard this year that made a difference in your life?
#28. What things in your days give you quiet and peace?
#29. What day in the last year brought you pure joy?
#30. What can I do to express your thanks for all these things?

All this thankfulness from my heart goes to the God is good and merciful and faithful in his immense love for us.

“Many, O Lord my god, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”
Psalm 40:5

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thank you margeretbergart.com for the graphic.

Raspberry Scones

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Hello Friends– Hope you had a marvelous 4th of July.  Happily we had Ani & Brian down from San Francisco for the weekend.  We spent one good long morning in the huge M&L Fabric store rustling up ingredients for a new baby quilt (loved that!)  and yelped up a new favorite mom & pop Mexican place for lunch. We sat over long breakfasts and cups of coffee and on the 4th we all made the trek up to Ojai for the local Independence Day parade with Micah, Jodi and the grand-girls.  It was just great.

Sunday morning breakfast included hot raspberry scones.  I think you’d like them too…

RASPBERRY SCONES
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tab. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup (about 6 oz.) raspberries

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tab. cream

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In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or with 2 forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then mix in the eggs and whipping cream.  Finally carefully fold in the raspberries (they will break up a bit).

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and shape it into a disc about 2″ thick.  Cut about 20 small circles with a cookie cutter and set them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the scones at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until they are nicely browned around the edges. While they are baking, whisk together the powered sugar & 2 tablespoons of the cream to make the glaze. If it seems a little dry, add the 3rd tablespoon of cream.  When the scones are all baked,drizzle on the glaze and they are ready to eat still warm from the oven!!

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Parade watchers in Ojai, our post parade picnic– and 3 enthusiastic flag wavers!
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Strawberry Easter Cake

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Hi all– Easter’s come and gone, but I do have one more little recipe from our Easter this year.  It’s really not much of a recipe– just cake and lots of strawberries.  But the creamy filling that “glues” it all together is the secret of this sweet fruity cake.

STRAWBERRY EASTER CAKE
1 white cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
3 eggs
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. instant vanilla pudding mix*
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2  16. oz. packages of beautiful strawberries (about 4 cups)

garnish: tiny flowers/mint leaves

Make the cake according to the directions on the package. My mix called for water, 1/4 cup canola oil and 3 eggs.  Spoon it into 2 standard 9″ round cake pans.  Bake it up and let it cool in the pans.  Cut each of the 2 layers in half horizontally to have 4 thin layers.

Beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mix with an electric mixer until it is stiff.  Then cut up the cream cheese into 20 or so small bits and drop it into the whipped cream. Beat it again until the cream cheese is blended with the whipped cream.  That should make it nice and sturdy to spread on the cake.

Pick out 6 or 7 of the prettiest strawberries and set the aside to decorate the top of the cake.  Cut the other berries into slices, removing the leaves.

Then set one layer of the cake onto a plate and spread 1/4 of the whipped cream mixture over it.  Cover with a layer of  sliced berries.  Do the same for the 2nd and 3rd layers.  On the 4 layer, mound up all the remaining whipped cream and put it all into the fridge until dessert time.

Just before serving, decorate the top of the cake with the reserved strawberries, flowers, mint.  Dig in!

*The instant pudding mix is a favorite trick I learned from my Sis– use it every time I whip cream to stabilize it and to give a whisper of vanilla.

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And the best part of after Easter lunch– hunting eggs with those grand-girls!!
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Asparagus & Sweet Pea Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

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Hello– hope you had the sweetest kind of Easter with family and friends there.  We had the grand-girls and their equally grand great-grandparents.  And it involved lunch and a not so tranquil Easter egg hunt in the backyard.

Lunch included a salty ham, whipped sweet potatoes, hot biscuits and this salad.  It reminds me of a better version of all those “peas & carrots” we ate going up.  But it’s bright and fresh and tastes like springtime.  Wish I could say the grand-girls loved it!  But truth be told their favorites were the chocolate eggs.  Though if you’re over 10 years old, I think you would like this spring time salad just fine!

ASPARAGUS & SWEET PEA SALAD WITH CITRUS VINAIGRETTE
2 bunches asparagus (about 1 pound each)
2 cups sweet baby peas (frozen)*
1 orange
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar**
4 tab. of fresh orange juice
1 tab. grated orange zest
1 tsp. sugar or honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Crack off he woody stems of the asparagus and drop it into a baking dish of slightly salted water.  Pop it into the microwave for 3 or 4 minutes, until the asparagus is tender enough to eat but still crispy.

Defrost the peas in the microwave for just 1 to minutes, so they are tender, but still firm (no mushy peas!!)

Layer the asparagus and then the peas onto a pretty platter.

To make the dressing, grate the zest off of the orange and then juice it to produce 4 tab. orange juice.  Mix that with the olive oil, vinegar and sugar (or honey).  Shake it all up in a closed container with a tight fitting lid.  Then salt & pepper just enough to wake up the flavors.

Drizzle the dressing over the veggies when you are ready to set it all on the table.  Served at room temperature.  Makes about 8 big servings.

*If you can find fresh baby peas, all the better.  My grocery is not fancy enough for that.
**Whatever your favorite vinegar is fine– I would also use every day cider vinegar.

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Easter Hope

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“Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
John 13:1

Hello friends– This year for Lent I determined to pull out my little concordance and track down scripture that tells of the love of God for us– his abounding faithful love.  I wanted it to wash over me for these 40 days.

And in these weeks, three heartfelt prayers answered, brought a joy of feeling loved and held in his hand.  It was glorious.

But in this last couple days, I’ve had to trust in God’s love in different ways as unexpected troubles have clouded life and obscured that joy.

That’s where Easter is our hope, our stay.  Jesus came to show the “full extent of his love.”  Loving enough to die for us– loving us through every bit of life, in joys and when things look grim.  I am thankful.

Hoping you have a wonderful, worshipful time with friends and family on this Easter.  Blessings.  xox

A Walk in the Woods

IMG_2995Hey there– While the kids were here, we had a chilly picnic out at Carbon Canyon Park. We wandered along the lake and hiked back to the Redwood Grove on he edge of the park. It’s the largest transplanted stand of redwoods in California.  Felt great to get out and ramble after all those big meals and Christmas cookies.

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It was a fine day, good to get out of the neighborhood and take a little mini-vacation with Micah, Jodi and the grand-girls.  Thanks for the hike time together M&J!

Thanksgiving Together

IMG_2107Hello friends– I have to say I’m happily thankful for the wild and wacky week with our kids for Thanksgiving.  It’s not always easy getting 15 people organized for meals and outings  (thanks Ani!!), but we had some sweet times, good conversations, and grand food.

Thanks Aaron and Jessica for a Thanksgiving Day that was simply beautiful:

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And the rest of the week?  We just hung out, took some walks, found some playgrounds and fun things to eat:

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Photos around town: 5 wacky girls hanging out, Stop at Andytown for a cuppa,  View across the Sunset neighborhood with Harry the dog down to Ocean Beach,  Laurel gives a group tour at Photojojo,  Hugs all around at the Delores Park playground,  3 girls on the playground bench, Stroll through the Athenian school grounds with Ian and Alexa, Ani at the counter at “Vive la Tart” (scrumptious!), Girls brunch out with our Jodi,  Morning walk across Golden Gate Park.

Thanks kids– for coming from far and wide to share Thanksgiving in SF.  Love you all!!

 

Resolving

DSC00344Hello friends–  By now I’ve made my full share of unkept New Year’s resolutions. You too?  You’d think it’s time to give up on them.  But maybe it’s packing up the Christmas tree and setting the house back to rights, or having a couple restorative weeks away from school, or maybe just opening a new pristinely blank calendar– but this time of year still feels fresh and open…

So I’m taking a deep breath and setting down my hopes, my goals for this year– keeping it simple.  That’s an advantage of being 63– there’s a little perspective what whittles it down to what is truly important in my life– and what is happily optional.

I resolve just two things– to love God more, to stop to adore and worship him through my days ahead.  And to show love to the people I care for, my family far and wide, friends I share life with, students in my class every day.  If I can do that, it will be a worthwhile year.

“May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.”    –Psalm 33:22

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P.S.– photo is from a Crystal Cove beach walk last week with Ani, Brian & Larry.

Joy To The World

1645c45b75dcc1d0c9817ea4daba4cdeHi all– When I was growing up, each Christmas my Dad would rent a flat bed truck.  We’d throw the Sunday School benches and an old pump organ onto the back– and all the young church families would pile in, bundled against the not so cold California winter night.

We’d drive from house to house of the older people in the church, stopping to carol to them and wish them  Merry Christmas! It’s one of my fondest memories.

So tonight we gathered with dear friends, singing those same timeless carols.  It was pure joy, adding harmonies to the voices of people we’ve known and loved for 30 or 40 years.  And the words of the songs touch deep into my heart — “Joy to the World, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King.”  Those old true songs draw me deep into the center of Christmas and the marvel of Jesus come to earth.  So thankful.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Bread

IMG_2926Hi friends–  When we were newlyweds back in seminary housing, I got a version of this yummcious cranberry bread from my Canadian neighbor.  I’m sure I’ve made it every Christmas time since.  So I decided to go “wild” this year and sweeten it up a bit with mini chocolate chips–plus all those cranberries, orange peel and nuts– I think it turned the corner from breakfast food to dessert!

CHOCOLATE CHIP CRANBERRY BREAD
2 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup of orange juice*
the grated peel of one orange
1 1/3 cup cranberries, cut in half
1 cup of walnuts, chopped coarsely (or pecans)
1 cup mini chocolate chips**

IMG_2921First cup those cranberries in half –not as easy at it sounds– they are roll-y little things.  And chop the nuts.  Grate the orange peel off the orange and then juice it.

Then in a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Next mix in the eggs and orange juice.  Finally, fold in the  cranberries, walnuts, orange peel and chocolate chips.

Spoon the stiff batter into one standard loaf pan (or two smaller pans) that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes until it’s golden on top and cooked through if you test it by poking in a sharp knife.

Love this stuff– So good toasted up for breakfast (with our without the chocolate!).

*I just juice the orange I’ve used to grate the peel off.  If there’s not quite enough juice, just fill out the cup with water.
**Use those mini chocolate chips– the large ones will sink to the bottom of the loaf as it bakes.

San Francisco Thanksgiving

LYCfGTOTWWB7-3oMm_qV9D62pCUlgSsIzE-v7eLkr6UHi friends– Just home from a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with all of our kids– the first time we’ve all been together like this since 2009!  You know that warms an old mother’s heart!!  Here’s the “great eight” of our rollicking sweet time together:

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IMG_3051     Kt0k5JOUeYnAA6pTthAiqSt4MKLPGUrwZaUqMwahauc     #1. Our Thanksgiving Dinner– Jessica set the prettiest table and piled our plates with all those Thanksgiving dishes that make it feel like a day to give thanks.

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ogiMK2J8RGR8LV36Wqb8QMrHASFttPXdMaQQeSDrRLo     BHgox5b68o9G0q3uqBywAHZgEJMprzAK6P63NGgypH8#2.  Thanksgiving morning most of the family hiked off to Land’s end in view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the ocean beyond.

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IMG_3090     IMG_3088     #3.  Ani & Brian invited us all in for a post Thanksgiving Brunch– serving up Chinese “jook” laced with turkey—supplied by Brian’s mom, along with her amazing pecan pie!!

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#4.  Our most elegant meal was hosted by Aaron & Jessica at Spruce– all dressed up in our best, sitting by the fireplace, a beautifully served meal   –even the grand-girls were impressed!  And I loved the time at the end of the meal to share around the table why we were thankful.

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IMG_3095     IMG_3164#5.  And you know we loved, loved having those grand-girls at arms length!

IMG_3213     IMG_3220#6.  Saturday morning Jessica brought us all to her favorite florist for a wreath making class– clipping and wiring and arranging. Oh, and snacking on tea goodies and mimosas.   It couldn’t have been more fun!!

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IMG_3243     IMG_3246#7.  And I learned how to make the Best Pizza from Jessica and her pizza steel!  It was grand — from rounding up pizza supplies at Bi Rite to the chopping, sprinkling and pulling those piping hot pizzas from the oven.

aHqxUJxo_ceSM0AIZZBrSPNQTqdqPDaks_0Txpdd36E#8.  And of course, the very best, was all just being together.  So thankful for the time with those kids.

Falling into Fall

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“Fall has always been my favorite season,the time when everything bursts with it’s last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for it’s grand finale.” –Lauren DeStefano

Hi friends– It’s here.  My favorite season.  Fall.  Or call it Autumn if you’re feeling fancy.  Cooler days, cozy sweaters, fires burning in the hearth, mugs of tea and all that apple-y baking!  I’m happily anticipating the next few months.

So I’m making plans.  Or hopes or even happy dreams.  And writing them down to step into all the fall days that lie ahead…

Here’s thea list:

#1.  Carve some silly pumpkin faces with the grand-girls
#2.  Spend an evening over mulled wine with old friends
#3.  Take long walks through the leaves at Craig Park
#4.  Mail off Halloween treats and pumpkin notes to our kids far from home.
#5.  Bake a Dutch apple pie
#6.  Go to a Cal football game against UCLA with Ani & Brian (Go Bears!!)
#7.  Have friends in for soup by the fire place
#8.  Pick that Laurel up at the airport and bring her home to celebrate her BIG birthday!!
(the pumpkin dessert will be ready in the kitchen when you get here girl!)
#9.  Go for a Big Bear weekend of reading under pine trees rustling in the wind
#10. Make a cake to celebrate with Micah for his birthday!!
#11.  Bake a loaf of that crusty Dutch oven bread
#12.  Make a visit to play & read with baby Mae in SF
#13. Eat corn candy
#14. Decorate the house with leaves from the maples in the yard
#15.  Find an occasion to make that Pumpkin Tiramisu
#16.  Sit with a book on the sofa the first time it rains
#17. Send notes to dear friends to say how thankful I am for them
#18. Make Thanksgiving dinner place cards with the grand-girls
#19.Make a November Thankful Heart Chart– filled with blessings
#20. Gather as many family and friends as I can manage around our Thanksgiving table

So enormously thankful for this fresh new season and the particular joys it brings… God is good.

P.S.  The photo is thanks to Fox archives and looks nothing like fall here in southern California!  (But I’d like to be wherever it is!)

This Glorious Day

1440FraAngelicoFrescoResurrectionofChristandWomenattheTombfrescoConventofSanMarcoFlorenceFresco by Fra Angelico–Resurrection of Christ and the women at the tomb.  1440 from the convent of San Marco, Florence.

Hello Friends– Hoping this finds you truly celebrating a glorious Easter and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  So thankful for the day we can realize all over again the joy and hope, real hope our faith brings.

“This is love; not that we loved God, but that she loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins,”   –I John 4:10

“Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
(from the hymn–And Can It Be)

 

 

Thanksgiving 2013

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Hello friends– I love this cheery book about a family all arriving at Grandma’s house for a rollicking Thanksgiving day.  And I have a thankful heart for this very first Thanksgiving that we’ll have a grand-girl, Baby Mae,  sitting at our turkey laden grandma table–along with our parents and our own kids.  So glad.

Looking back on the year, there’s plenty of motives to give thanks–time with our family and dear friends, a cozy home and small daily joys.   But when it comes down to my most profound heartfelt thankfulness, it would have to be that our God is the holy eternal God, the “same yesterday, today and forever.”

PALM 100
“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful singing.  Know that the Lord Himself is God;”
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are his people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;  His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And his faithfulness to all generations.”

Thankful.

10 Ways to have a More Thankful Thanksgiving

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.Hello friends– Here we are on the verge of another Thanksgiving.  I would love to tell you that I’ve been blessedly thankful all through the month… But it’s easy for me to spend more time on my Thanksgiving grocery shopping list than on reflecting on all I have to be thankful for.  So here’s different list, a list of ways to help me to turn my heart to thankfulness in the days ahead…
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IMG_5927#1.   Read Thanksgiving at the Tappleton’s with your kids or grandkids.  When the Tappleton’s Thanksgiving dinner goes awry, and they end up with liverwurst sandwiches instead of turkey and trimmings, Grandma Tappleton offers the blessing:  “Turkeys come and turkeys go and trimmings can be lost we know.  But we’re together, that’s what matters–not what’s served upon the platters. Amen.”

#2.  Bake a couple loaves of cranberry bread* for neighbors or co-workers and hand it to them with a few words of thankfulness for their help and friendship.

#3. Write short thank you notes to everyone in your family and leave them on pillows to be discovered as they turn in to bed on Thanksgiving night.

#4.  Serve at a Thanksgiving public dinner.  It’s hard not to be thankful when you’re serving up meals for other people to share what you have.

IMG_5926#5.  Put up a Thankful Heart Chart.  It’s our old favorite around here, a large sheet of paper on the fridge with a mug of markers for everyone to chart out their blessings of this year.  (Here’s an old one I drug out of my files from 2007).

#6.  When you shop for your Thanksgiving meal, buy a second round of everything and take it to a food bank or a family you know who would love to receive it.

#7.  Take a time away by yourself to sit and think on all your blessings of the year.  Make a list and thank God for his mercies, one by one.  Reading Psalm 100 could get you started.

#8.  Make Thanksgiving placemats with brown butcher paper that include a spot for people to jot down their blessings after the food has been cleared away and just before all that pumpkin pie!  (see the photo at top) Around the table, it would engender a whole lot of thankfulness to read those lists together.

IMG_5923#9.  Make Thanksgiving cards (or stop in at Hallmark) and mail a stack of thankfulness to the people you love most.  This card is one our Laurel made– cobbling a turkey out of bits of old photos and then photocopying him to glue on to her Thanksgiving cards.

#10. Spend an hour in church thanking God surrounded by other people who love and thank him too.

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*Cranberry bread recipe is at https://thethankfulheart.wordpress.com/?s=cranberry+bread   I will say it is yummy.

P.S.  Thanks to Modvintiagelife.com for the photo at the top of the post.

Thanksgiving Books for Kids

Hello friends– Do you love Thanksgiving as much we do around here?  In my third-fourth grade class at school, we’re filling in those “Thankful Heart Charts” and making plans with the cafeteria lady to use her ovens to bake 30 little pumpkin breads!  And we start off every day of November with a Thanksgiving picture book– I’m hoping to drum up a whole lot of thankfulness in room #2.

Here’s some of our favorite books:

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Pilgrims of Plymouth is one of those beautifully photographed National Geographic books.  It’s a slice of history for young readers, detailing a child’s life almost 400 years ago.  There were games of marbles and meals cooked over open fires, no school, but plenty chores to help the family.  It’s simple, but engaging, a great first introduction to colonial America.

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This rollicking book of Thanksgiving poetry can keep you amused for days–starting with the school Thanksgiving pageant and moving on through visiting relatives, the lively feast and even the post Thanksgiving dinner nap.  The illustrations add to the fun with loads of colorful detail.  It’s a books kids from 5 to 55 can enjoy.

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This Thanksgiving story is a tender tale for older readers with a decidedly southern flavor from Truman Capote.  Twelve year old Buddy and his best friend, his elderly cousin Miss Sook prepare the country house for Thanksgiving. The holiday is populated with a houseful of colorful characters, and Buddy is dismayed when the school bully, Odd Henderson is invited.  A crisis occurs in the middle of feast, but Miss Sook makes things right and consoles Buddy through it all.

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These two books make quite a pair.  The text is the same– the classic lyric, “Over the River and Through the Woods” by Lydia Maria Child.  Both books follow a family on their way to the grandparents homes, but that is where the similarity ends!  My old trusty-rusty version pictures an old time family on an idyllic sleigh ride through the woods.  It’s all “Currier & Ives-ish.”  The newer version features a wacky New York City family and includes a NYC traffic jam, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, balloons and all and a death defying arrival for the youngest member of the clan.  It’s pure fun.  They belong side by side on your Thanksgiving bookshelf.  Happy reading!

Father

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Here’s my Father with grandson Mark.  I love this picture of him.

Happy Fathers’ Day!-  I’m pretty sure there are plenty of you out there who are confident you had the best father on record.  I feel the same.  Who wouldn’t adore a father who would had a list of vacation rules including–“At least one ice cream a day!” or who built a fancy bright red play house in the backyard for his kids.

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Dad between his brother Jim and sister Mary Ann.  My parents, Lorraine and Carl on their wedding day in 1949.

My father passed on to heaven 13 years ago, but I still miss him all the time.  When he died, I sat down with a journal and began writing and writing all the best memories of my Dad– so I wouldn’t forget a thing.  Here’s twelve of my favorites:

#1.  Every single Sunday morning by Dad put on his Tennesee Ernie gospel songs and made French toast for us all before church while mom got 4 kids ready to go.

#2.  When our girls got 100% on their spelling tests they would call Grandpa Carl and he would drop them a note in the mail with a dollar bill –it would say someting like, “Gud werk on ur spilling!”

#3.  He planned the best vacations!  In the summer of 1964 we drove a circle around the U.S.A. in our trusty station wagon– For weeks ahead of time he’d sit on the side of our beds at night and we’d talk over the trip plans–all that fun anticipation!

#4.  He called me his “Rhonda-Bonga.”

#5.  All the years Larry & I lived in Spain, he mailed a weekly package with candy and magazines and secret code letters for our boys to figure out before the answer arrived in the next package.

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Dad–always willing to drive the church bus for any group who needed him– and on a trip he planned for our kids to San Diego.

#6. On my wedding day, when we woke up to rain, he promised it would be fair by the 4:00 wedding– and it was!

#7.  He took us all camping in Sequoia every summer and set his watch to “Pacific Sequoia Time”, so we’d all be in bed an hour earlier!

#8.  Once when I was in college and coming home late from work one night to retype a term paper, I found he had gotten my rough draft and typed it all up for me.

#9.  There would always be prayers and talks with Dad at bedtime.  Once after a tearful breakup with a boyfriend, he promised me ten new boys would ask me out by June!  (of course, that didn’t happen, but it made me feel much better).

#10.  He always called the grandkids to come over for a dinner of “dog food sandwiches.” One time visiting us, he even packed a dog food sandwich for Aaron’s lunch bag!

#11.  When I smashed the family car, 3 weeks after I got my license, he didn’t get angry– just said, “Well, everyone has to have their first car crash and now you’re done with yours!”

#12.  My Dad served other people in our church in so many ways– and had a deep love for God and his people that he passed on to his children.  That was the most precious gift he gave us.

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There was never a dad more full of fun and tenderness than our father.  He was the most selfless person I’ve known– visiting the sick, helping the older people in the church, walking the nursery kids out for ice cream, taking dozens of junior highers camping, teaching from the Bible…  At his funeral a blind friend told me my Dad would take him to the Dodger game and sit and explain what was happening play by play…  Through 25 years of cancer treatments, he kept on caring for people.  God used him to bless so many, especially his grateful kids.

Remembering my beloved Father today.

“…as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God”                    —I Thessalonians 2:11&12

Easter

Resurrection-Of-Christ

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“Good Friday and Easter frees us to think of other things far beyond our own personal fate, about the ultimate meaning of all life, suffering and events; and we lay hold of a great hope.”  —Deitrich Bonhoeffer (German, 1906-1945)

Hello all– Hoping you have a beautiful Easter day ahead– with people you love around you.  He is risen. He is risen indeed.  Just as he said.

Engraving by Carl Bloch (Danish, 1834-1890)

Easter Week

601243_10151393472684807_467856040_nChrist’s Entry into Jerusalem —by Hippolyte Flandrin c. 1842

Hello all–  It’s Easter week.  You’d hardly know it, unless you’ve wandered by those aisles of cheerful Easter candy at Target.  It’s not a huge commercial holiday, say, like Christmas or even Halloween.  But to the believer it’s the holiest week of the year.  In Spain we called it “Semana Santa”– holy week.  Days to remember the sacrifice and resurrection of   our Lord Jesus.  A time to reflect upon the great gifts of our faith.

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

“What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee dearest friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Out live my love to Thee.”

Text based on Latin poem ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux  (French abbot, 1190 to 1153).

And this morning I read:
“It was just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to go the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of this love.”         John 13:1

The full extent of this love– dying to make us his children and coming to life again.
I remain eternally thankful.

A Little Valentine Love

IMG_9054Hi friends– Happy Valentines Day! (well, almost).  I can’t help but love a holiday that involves chocolate and saying nice things to people I love.  And I can tell you, it’s also a big time favorite of third graders.  So here’s a couple valentine ideas, if you’re trying to rustle up a card to send your special someone.

IMG_9057These are the oversized, but simple valentines, my 3rd graders put together.  I just gave them a template to trace for the head and heart (heart about 14″ across, the head an 8″ circle) and granted them access to the tub of scrap construction paper.  Throw in some wiggly eyes and those candy conversation hearts for fun.  They made these self portraits in about 30 minutes, ready to take home to Mom on Valentines Day. And the messages to mom that .they type up to glue on the back are usually pretty darn heartwarming. (The black dots on the valentines are magnets holding them up on the board til Valentines Day)

IMG_9016And sitting through the Super Bowl on Sunday, I got out the scissors, glue, ribbon… to make these fan fold valentines to mail off to my own kids, taped atop a nutty bar of chocolate.  Cut a 5″x18″ strip of white construction paper and glue it (white glue diluted with an equal amount of water) to the same size piece of your most valentine-ish gift wrapping paper.  Write a lovely-dovey message inside, slap on a paper heart and tie it up with ribbon.

“I claim there ain’t
Another Saint
As great as Valentine.”
Ogden Nash

Hoping you have a lovely chocolate-filled Valentines Day sending love to the people you care about most!!