Five Minute Friday: Adore

Adore.  Reading Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post on “Adore,” the last line really hit home with me, “‘Come, let us adore Him.'”  I love hearing this song sung in church with perhaps less than ideal pitch (on my part), but much passion behind the words.  This is a definite goosebump-worthy song.

Recently, my girls, hub, and I decided to write down all of the Christmas songs we could think of from memory alone.  We were gathering these titles in order to play a game, found in Lynn Gordon’s 52 Christmas Activities, where one player draws a scene depicting the title of a Christmas carol.

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Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
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Dashing through the Snow on a One-Horse Open Sleigh

We had the best time trying to come up with song titles.  All of a sudden someone would belt out the first line of a song, “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly!” and then not much else.  We had the tune down, but more often than not, a loss for complete lyrics.

When one of our girls was unfamiliar with a song title, we would search Pandora on our television so that they could hear the song in its entirety.  So, our evening was spent in near dark with only their Christmas scenes lighting the room and the sound of Christmas filling the air.  Adore.

Can you guess the title of the song depicted in the picture at the top?

This Is Why People Don’t Volunteer

. . . or at least one of the reasons.*  When people volunteer, instead of thanking these volunteers, people complain.  This Christmas season I was sure to thank my volleyball co-coach, Girl Scout co-leader, my girls’ teachers, and the school security team (especially in this day and age).  When my best friend and I facilitated various children’s religious classes, we were sure to thank parents for being so supportive and for making sure their kiddos attended the classes.  When  a friend stepped up at a recent Girl Scout meeting and showed close to 30 girls how to bake stuffed croissants, I thanked her.  I wanted her to know her value to my co-leader and myself as well as our appreciation.  When a woman blessing at our church took on the task of organizing a women’s conference, not once, but twice, I thanked her.  She did not have to partake in such an endeavor, but she did this out of her kindness for others and her willingness to create memorable experiences for others.

My point here is that there are endless chances to thank others, others who may never have been thanked before for their service, time, and effort.  Think about this, never been thanked before, not ever.  So, if you are bored, thank someone.  If you are depressed, thank someone.  If you are feeling lonely, thank someone.  If you are on Cloud 9, thank someone.  If you are frustrated, find someone . . . anyone to thank.  Have you thanked your postwoman or postman?  Have you thanked those who haul away your garbage?  Have you thanked the pediatrician who heals your kiddos?  Have you thanked the rescue where you found the latest member of your family (no matter how many pillows your new pet has destroyed)?  Have you thanked the faithful readers of your blog?  The friends you consider family?  The neighbor who gifts you with her coupons every week?  The people who feed your children day after day in school?  The children who allow you to experience childhood the way it should be experienced?

You could change another human being’s outlook if only for an instant, and this person may then decide to pay it forward.  Wouldn’t this world be a much better place if everyone took the time to thank AT LEAST one individual a day?

Who is that one person you are going to thank today?  C’mon, you can do it!

*This post is dedicated to my WalMart cashier who said she sends in cookies instead of cupcakes for her daughter’s school parties so that her daughter can manage the cookies on the bus.  She said she’s afraid if she sent cupcakes she would have to walk them into the school and stay and volunteer.

The Cake Mix Bible

If you are like me, a passion of mine is baking.  Now, I can make a mean chocolate chip cookie when I focus and fail to rush the process, taking time to chill the dough and soften the butter organically [not via Chef Mic(rowave)].  If I don’t take the proper steps, I end up with flat-as-pancake cookies burnt on the edges and stuck to the pan.

I am also a wanna-be extreme couponer.  So, I purchase cake mixes at Schnucks when they have the 10/10 sale with the 11th being FREE.  I like FREE.  Thus, I have a fairly decent stockpile of cake mixes in my pantry.

So, when I came across The Cake Mix Bible, I knew I needed to add this to my cookbook collection.

Last night I attempted the Cookies ‘n’ Cream Cake with much success.  I substituted mini Oreos for whole chocolate sandwich cookies cut into quarters because that is what I had on hand.  Also, I did reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes because I like my cakes nice and moist.  Yet, my final product nearly mirrors the picture in the book if wearing in-need-of-cleaning glasses as I was last night.  The recipe was easy, the batter was yummy, and the family chowed the cake in one sitting.

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Besides the ease of the recipes, I like the beautiful pictures throughout so that I can keep an end goal in “sight.”

My next attempt will be the Easy Lemon Cookies (hello?  who doesn’t like easy?) so that I can gift them to my BFF.

Sunday/Monday Thanks: Cards

One of my sweet Daisies, Miss Hailey, from my Girl Scout troop surprised me with the most beautiful box of cards for Christmas. I do not know how she knew, but this is one of my favorite ways to spend my downtime, writing cards and sending them to others.

To me (and my squirts), opening this box is like opening a box of possibilities.  My oldest daughter has created a book out of the beautiful cards.  My youngest squirt created surprise notes of love hidden beneath my hub’s pillow and my own pillow.

I have used the cards to thank the Daisy, thank some teachers, thank a Girl Scout leader, surprise my hub with a love letter, thank my friend who controls the bush growing on my head, thank a woman blessing who listened when I needed someone to listen, thank a woman blessing who offered to take my youngest squirt to school when my oldest was sick, and send to the women blessings on my #fmfpartysnailmail list.

I also plan to visit The Word Needs More Love Letters to see who else I can send a  card.

So, grab that box of cards gathering dust in the back of your drawer, and use your words to change a person’s life if only for the time it takes for him/her to read the card.  Every minute counts . . .

Who do you plan on sending a card to today?

52 Christmas Activities: Cookie Paint

While shopping in my favorite INDEPENDENT bookstore, Afterwords Books, located in Edwardsville, IL, I came across a small deck of cards created by Lynn Gordon entitled, 52 Christmas Activities, and my squirts and I are so glad I did.  With one daughter home with Type A flu, this deck of cards has been a blessing.

Together THE PATIENT (green denotes illness) and I sorted through the cards and picked our favorites based on what supplies we had available in the house.  We decided to begin with the Cookie Paint card.  An activity which combines baking and painting, oh yeah, this was definitely deemed high priority.

First, I sifted through my cookbooks and found a simple but delicious sugar cookie recipe in Mrs. Fields Cookie Book:  100 Recipes from the Kitchen of Mrs. Fields, which required only six ingredients, my kind of recipe.

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I mixed, and then my sick squirt flattened the dough onto a cookie sheet.  While the dough was chilling in the refrigerator, we mixed the paints using egg yolks, water, and food coloring.  My oldest opted for pink, red, and green.  We then removed the chilled dough from the fridge, and painting began.

The final product is cooling now, but we are anxiously looking forward to eating our edible art.

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Five Minute Friday: Prepare

Prepare.  There doesn’t seem to be any way to prepare for all life has to offer:  the gruesome death of a parent, the loss of breasts to cancer, the sudden onset of illness of your child.  Just when one occurrence has been worked through and there seems to be a calm in the storm, another uninvited life event seems to rear its ugly head right around the corner.  Some days it just seems like too much, and one may ask, “Why so much?”  I know I do and have asked that same question over and over again.

Recently my hub’s coworker was killed when a semi tractor trailer driver while driving under the influence fell asleep at the wheel and barrelled into the back of his car.  He was twenty-two-years-young and newly married.  My heart bleeds for his young wife, his family, and friends.  This is a life event which was unavoidable, did not have to happen.  So, this begs the question, “Why did it happen?”  I think of how his wife must be feeling;  suddenly, a future with someone you love destroyed in an instant.

To be honest, I in no way want to prepare for the worst.  Instead, I am a glass-half-filled kind of girl.  I want to prepare for the best, everlasting Life, by thanking the Lord often for healing, forgiveness, and blessings.

Writing Workshop Wednesdays (19)

A good friend of mine used to play Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time” before our volleyball games in order to help put us in the zone and capture that moment of focused play.

If you could, which one moment in your life would you relive?  Would you make any changes to this moment the second time around?

Sunday Thanks: Creating Mini Christmas Scenes

With our newest family member being a puppy, we have had to think outside the box in terms of decorating for Christmas.  Miss Daisy Duke loves to chew on hands, stinky feet, fluffy sweaters, and Little People.  So, in order to find safety for our wee playthings, the girls and I created mini scenes with what we had on hand.

We collected empty vases, jars, and storage containers.  Then, as a substitute for snow, we started with the glitter we had on hand.  When the glitter ran out, we moved on to powdered sugar, but we didn’t like that material as well.  So, we decided to make use of granulated sugar.  Oh yeah;  now we were making [snow] bacon.

Then, with what Little People, miniature trees, glass beads, and whatnot we could find around the house, we designed our mini scenes.  I plan to save glass jars this year so that we can use them next Christmas for more mini scenes.

Cost: $0

Time spent together:  Priceless

Please enjoy our gallery of mini scenes and lose yourself in them as we do.

For what or whom are you thankful this Sunday?

Five Minute Friday: Dear

Dear.  I use the word dear a lot when I refer to my friends:  loyal, honest, and ever present.  This term may sound a bit dated to some, but this adjective works for me.  I cherish these friends and love them with deep affection, and according to Dictionary.com, this defines “dear,” so I must be on the right track.  A self-described old soul in an aging body, I embrace the word dear.

Currently participating in Kaitlyn Bouchillon’s #fmfpartysnailmail, I wrote my first letter to a woman blessing on my list and gladly began with a salutation of “Dear.”

And, without a doubt, I think the most important time to use dear is in prayer with the Big One above.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for all of the blessings in my life even if it takes me a while to discover them.  Thank you for all of the friends who have become family.  Thank you for guiding me to Kaitlyn Bouchillon’s #fmfpartysnailmail so that I may encourage others through the written word.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of an incredible man’s life.  Thank you for giving a dear friend the strength to do what is right for her and her children.

In Your Name I Pray,

Amen