Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and a partridge in a pear tree have to do with Christmas?
Rumor has it that from 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly so someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. I checked it out at snopes.com and this account is NOT true. However, I like the symbolism so much, I’m sharing it with you anyway.
-The partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves are the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stand for faith, hope and charity.
-The four calling birds represent the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. (actually, it’s not “calling” birds – the original song referred to “colly” birds which are blackbirds)
-The five golden rings represent the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament. (Note: the gold rings are not jewelry. In the original song they were referring to golden ringed neck birds – such as pheasants. This is in keeping with the “bird” theme).
-The six geese a-laying represents the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represents the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit… Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking stand for the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy,
Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping are the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
Despite the fact that this is all made up stuff, I like it. It’s a way to put Christ back into Christmas and it makes a song that makes no sense make sense.
(These symbols are for the Catholic faith. You can fine tune this to suit your religion. )
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Don’t forget to keep Christ in your Christmas this year. Here are some suggestions:
2. As a family, choose some charitable activities you can do together, such as volunteering at a homeless shelter or helping with a toy drive.
4. Plan times to bake Christmas goodies for special family dinners, parties, and gifts. Look for cookie cutters that are Nativity related, such as stars, angels, camels, sheep, and Nativity silhouettes.
5. Make family craft keepsakes and heirloom ornaments imprinted with the year they were made and the name of the maker. (Many craft stores sell simple ornament kits). Consider adding a Christ-centered phrase, such as "Christ, Our King, 2006" or "Jesus - the Heart of Christmas." Over the years you will build a family keepsake collection to treasure.
6. Keep a Christmas journal expressing your thoughts about what happens throughout the season with your family and friends. Include your reactions to the news, sermons, Christmas programs, parties, and gifts, as well as your meditations about Jesus.
7. Hang a large Christmas stocking, intended for a designated needy person or family, in a central location. Beginning at Thanksgiving, family members and friends can deposit small gifts and bills into the stocking. Close to Christmas, the gifts and money are wrapped and presented to the intended recipient(s). Consider doing this anonymously.
8. Invite members of your family, people from church, or neighborhood families to a potluck carol sing. Prepare copies of favorite carols, and set a loose schedule so that you have time to sing all the songs distributed.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
What's your favorite kind of holiday party? A friend of mine (who gets a lot more readers than I do) asked this question and here was the response:
- 43% Family-friendly open house
- 31% Fancy cocktail parties
- 30% Dinner parties
- 26% Gift exchanges / secret Santas
- 16% Cookie swaps
- 9% Tree-trimming parties
- 7% Office parties
- 7% Caroling
Total Votes: 926
(Yes, I know. The numbers add up to more than 100% -169% to be exact. That's because people voted for more than one kind of party - apparently that screwed things up a bit. But it still gives you an idea of what people like...in case you are thinking of having a holiday party - - which I'm not - so put your calendars away)
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Christmas always puts me in the mood for giving and sharing what I have with others. The scriptures tell us that we should give anonymously.
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them…” Matthew 6:1-4
However, I believe in letting your children see you give because they learn to give by observing you. Even better, find opportunities for THEM to give. I joined the National Charity League with my two daughters and that afforded them many opportunities over the years to serve others. Their favorite Christmas activity was participating in the Salvation Army’s “Angel Tree” drive. They would volunteer to sit at the Angel Tree table and help shoppers pick a name of a child off the tree to shop for. At the end of their allotted time, the girls would take a couple of names and do their own shopping.
Giving at Christmas is easy. There are boxes in the grocery stores where you can donate canned goods and/or toys for people who need them. When you are checking out you can donate a dollar for a turkey to be given to those in need. When you are making your Christmas cookies, make a plate for a neighbor. You can take your family to a local rest home, or hospital and sing Christmas carols as a family home evening activity.
What is YOUR favorite way to serve others at Christmas?
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless acts
they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."
Saying a prayer for our ground troops in Afghanistan , sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in is the best gift you could give our troops - at Christmas, or anytime.
Holiday Mail for Heroes
P. O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD. 20791-5456
Cards received are distributed to the troops
it's easy and it's FREE:
Friday, December 5, 2008
Maya Angelou was recently on Oprah. Oprah has a thing about asking what people know for sure. Maya said this:
'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow .'
'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'
'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'
'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'
'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'
'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back..'
'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'
'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'
'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.'
'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn.'
'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'
(Scroll down to January 13th to see MY list of what I know for sure - What do YOU know for sure?)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
STEAK WITH GORGONZOLA Makes four servings
4 beef tenderloin steaks (6-8 oz. each)
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Preheat broiler. Season steaks with salt and pepper to taste. Coat a pan with cooking spray (I don’t count salt and pepper and cooking spray as “ingredients”) and heat over medium-high heat. Sear steaks for five minutes on each side, then put them in a baking pan and top with 1 ounce cheese each. Heat in broiler about one minute. Remove from oven and let steak rest for five minutes before serving.
I would serve this with poppy seed noodles (just cook noodles and toss with butter and poppy seeds – for 1 lb noodles I’d use ½ to 1 teaspoon poppy seeds – but feel free to use more if you like) and grilled tomatoes.
1 tomato per person (cut tops off and scoop out about 1/3 of the inside - discard.) Tomatoes should be at room temp – not cold.
Fill each tomato with mixture of equal parts Mayonnaise and grated parmesan cheese. (Okay, so that’s three ingredients – big deal). Broil until puffed and brown.
If you want bread, I’d serve a French baguette: sliced and buttered.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Merry Christmas? Yes, I’m ready for Christmas. Thanksgiving has always been my deadline for Christmas gifts. All gifts must be purchased (not necessarily wrapped) by Thanksgiving. That way, I can enjoy the month of December and participate in any charitable opportunities that arise. I’m not stressed out, tired, standing in long lines,…I’m happy, excited, and enjoying the Christmas lights, decorations, and my family and friends.
I canned plums in September (when you could buy them in season and cheap at Costco) to have on hand for hostess gifts, visiting teachers, and anyone I may have forgotten.
Na na na na na.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
"May we be found among those who give our thanks to our Heavenly Father. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days—as much as we can—with those things which matter most. May we cherish those we hold dear and express our love to them in word and in deed."
--Thomas S. Monson
Monday, November 24, 2008
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the lord has done.
…Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
…When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
Count your blessings. The economy has beat us all down, but so what? The REALLY important things can’t ever be taken from us. I look at my children and my grandchildren and I’m reminded of what my grandfather used to say when he looked at me and my sisters. He’d point to each of us and say “a million bucks, a million bucks, a million bucks. I’m a very rich man indeed.” Ditto!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
1. All hold hands as someone says the blessing on the food.
2. Go around the table and have each person say something they are thankful for.
- Have place cards with a quote inside and have each guest read theirs.
- (See Thanksgiving Quotes for ideas)
- Get clip-on candles that clip to the plate – light one saying what you are thankful for
then light the next person’s candle. He says what he is thankful for then lights
the next person’s candle, etc.
- For a more amusing variation, do “I remember when...” and tell a funny story you
remember about someone at the table (each person’s name should be written on
a piece of paper and each guest draws a name and tells a story about that person).
“Thou hast given so much to us.
Give one thing more...A grateful heart.”
Sunday, November 16, 2008
My daughter, Jennifer, is a songwriter. She writes about forty or fifty songs a year. She's been having some fun performing as "Molly Jack" in Nashville and singing her songs. She and her husband Adam just bought a house there and life is good (for them - but I will miss seeing them as often as I used to).
You can download her songs for free at: http://www.myspace.com/jenniferlynnjohnson1
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I sat in a Sunday school class the week before Thanksgiving and the teacher asked each of us what we were thankful for. Each person had to respond without repeating anything that had already been said. Being the list maker that I am, I wrote down everything they said and I have carried it with me in my wallet ever since. That was over twenty years ago and I still have the list. I’d like to share it with you. Feel free to make your own additions:
Friday, November 14, 2008
Just last year WE were the ones who had to evacuate our homes. We were one of the 2 million people evacuated from San Diego last year. We got a reverse 911 call that said leave immediately. Fortunately, our son-in-law called us a half hour earlier to tell us we’d be getting a call, so we had time to collect things we wouldn’t want to lose. I’ve always had a list posted of things to take if anything like this happened. I gathered everything on the list and we left.
Having gone through that experience, and being told at one point that our house had burned to the ground (which wasn’t true), I’ve added more things to the list. I always thought money and personal possessions weren’t important (I mean, after all, we can’t take them with us – I’ve never seen a Brink’s truck following a hearse). But it is amazing how many memories are attached to some of those possessions. So when you make your list, you have to really think about what you’d miss if your house actually did burn to the ground and add some of those things to your list.
So this year, I’m adding one more thing to my list of things to be thankful for. I’m glad we still have our home. Because after 21 years, the whole house is full of memories.
Friday, November 7, 2008
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin (without spices added)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with a cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the spice cake mix and canned pumpkin until well blended (No, you don't add water, eggs or oil, just the dry cake mix). Spread evenly into the prepared pan (It is a very stiff batter - it comes out looking more like brownies, but it is moist like a cake - trust me) .
3. Put in a preheated oven (I'm impatient, so I usually put it in when the temperature reaches 250), and bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and serve, or store in the refrigerator. This tastes even better the next day.
Note: Serve with whipped cream, or, if you want to frost it, a cream cheese frosting would be delicious. Use your own favorite or use mine:
Beat 8 oz. cold cream cheese (meaning you can use it straight out of the refrigerator) with 5 Tbsp. softened butter and 2 tsp. vanilla until combined. Gradually add 2 c. powdered sugar.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Jen and Adam
Photo credit for greeting card: Dennis Mosner-card@1997 Avanti Press, Inc.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
1 (12 ounce) can (or 3/4ths of a 16 oz. can) of ready to spread chocolate frosting
1 (12 ounce) package chocolate chips*
(I like nuts, so I add chopped walnuts)
1. Melt the chips in a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave for 1 minute @ 50% power. Stir. Microwave another minute at 50% power.
2. Add frosting and stir until combined. (add nuts if desired)
3. Pour into an 8x8 pan sprayed with Pam cooking spray.
4. Chill until set, about an hour.
*You can use milk chocolate or semi sweet. Try any other flavor combo you can think of.
For Thanksgiving: I like Nestle’s butterscotch morsels and vanilla icing and I add chopped pecans.
For Christmas gifts: white chocolate chips, vanilla icing and add dried cranberries and pistachios (note to mom: you have to take the nuts out of the shell !)
Scroll down to see my 2-ingredient Macaroon Cookie Recipe
Friday, October 10, 2008
I went to the kitchen to make some toast, but remembered there was no electricity so I had a bowl of cereal. (When I opened the frig for milk, I realized that if the electricity didn’t come back on, all the food would spoil). How will I cook dinner? No stove, no oven?
I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t use the computer, I couldn’t vacuum the house, I couldn’t do the laundry. I couldn’t even make phone calls. “ I know, I’ll go shopping!”
I went out to the garage but the garage door opener wouldn’t work so I couldn’t get my car out of the garage! (Even if I disconnected it, I realized I still wouldn’t be able to get out of the yard because the electric gate wouldn’t open! )
I realized how dependent I was on electricity. It seems everything I do requires it. How can that be?
What did people do before electricity? It hasn’t been around that long – only about 100 years – but my, oh my, how it changed our lives.
I wonder what we don't have now that the next generation won't be able to live without?
Thursday, October 9, 2008
on 10/10/08 it closed at 8,451 !!!
If you don't have any money in the stock market,
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
The food is tacky (green Jell-O, macaroni and cheese, tuna casseroles, decorated cupcakes, etc.), we have a tacky auction (every one brings “white elephant” items and we have a live auction and several tables of silent auction items – the kids LOVE this part of the party) and we even have a tacky talent show (a “gong” show). It is great for the whole family. We give everyone tacky money (we put the Bishop’s face on regular money and Xerox it on green paper. They get ten tacky dollars for coming to the party, 10 tacky dollars if they are dressed tacky, 10 tacky dollars if they brought something for the auction, and 10 tacky dollars if they do a tacky talent .
I come by all this tackiness naturally. I won “Queen of Clash Day” when I was in High School. But even when I’m not trying I can get pretty tacky. Here’s a perfect example:
In the early 80’s I bought this coat for myself (what was I thinking) and liked it so much I bought one for my mother for Christmas. (I should have put it where it belongs – on the bathroom floor!). You can see how much my mother loved it, look how thrilled she was.
Is tackiness inherited? After Jennifer’s Halloween party, my mom asked what she was going to do with the skeletons. She asked if she could “store” them for her. This is what she had in mind. She put this out in front of her house in Hemet (where it is known for being very hot). Then she put four around a card table and had them playing cards. Now who’s the queen of tacky? (Looks like the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. I guess we were both in the shallow end of the gene pool).
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Don’t be the person who spends his life climbing the ladder to success, only to find when he reaches the top, that his ladder was on the wrong building.
When making your plans and dreams, run them by your Heavenly Father before pursuing them. He knows what is best for you. Ask Him to help you see the drawbacks and make a more realistic assessment of your dreams and aspirations. So when you reach your goal, you will be happy with what you got.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I never went to any of his movies after that incident. He ticked me off. But I still have a lot of respect for his body of work. He was probably one of the best actors of my time and he'll be missed.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I’m 63 and my husband is 72. We used to make it a policy not to discuss politics and religion with our friends because sometimes the discussions could get nasty. However, at our age, we’re increasingly more willing to branch out and participate in the current debates because, hey, it’s way more interesting than our usual conversations which seem to be focused on ills, wills, and pills.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
There were 23,000 people employed at the Pentagon. Only 125 lost their lives. 99.5% survived.
American Airlines Flight 77 could have carried 289 people. There were only 59 aboard.
American Airlines Flight 11 could have carried 351 people. There were only 88 aboard
United Airlines Flight 175 could have carried 351 people. There were only 59 aboard
United Airlines Flight 93 could have carried 289 people. There were only 40 aboard.
(and these passengers overtook the terrorists and prevented the flight from reaching
its target – saving untold numbers of lives.)
Two other planes were to have participated, but they were grounded after the first wave.
In other words, out of potentially 74,280 directly targeted by the terrorists, 2,974 died - more than 96% survived! Then throw in the potential targets of the last three flights that didn’t reach their destinations and you up the survival percentage to…let’s say, 98, 99%?
Make no mistake. God was there!
Monday, September 8, 2008
My grandfather used to say that after 40 we are responsible for our own face (well, actually Albert Camus said it first). He always used it in the context that we can’t blame what we’ve become on a bad childhood. But I’ve come to realize that there is a literal application. If we live an unhealthy lifestyle, we'll have bad skin and bags under our eyes. If we are a gloomy Gus all the time, our face begins to sag. If we frown all the time, we have frown lines. But if we live right and keep a smile on our face, regardless of what’s going on in our lives, those smiley muscles pull our face up and give us a more youthful look.
So, the next time you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see – smile.
Photo credit: Dennis Mosner-Thom Lang – card@2008 Avanti Press.Inc
Sunday, September 7, 2008
It is becoming increasingly evident however, that we must be the weird ones – since in forty years we haven’t met anyone else like us.
*The actual quote used the word “queer” but the quote is from the 1820’s when queer meant strange, odd, etc. It has an entirely different meaning today.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Sycophant (from the Greek sykophántēs)- which is a person who, acting in his or her own self interest, attempts to win favor by flattering one or more influential persons, with an undertone that these actions are executed at the cost of his or her own personal pride, principles, and peer respect. Such a manner is called obsequiousness (a noun), or obsequious (an adjective) which means “fawning”.
So, if you don’t mind, instead of calling people a “kiss-ass” or a “brown nose,” (which, to me are quite distasteful), call them what they truly are - a sycophant.
However, to call a person an obsequious sycophant would be redundant and pedantic (and you could even be accused of bloviating). But I wouldn’t let that stop me.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
There is an old saying: “The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” I believe that.
I’ve worked enough to know what work is and to appreciate the fact that I don’t have to anymore (Not that what I’ve been doing with the rest of my life hasn’t been work).
I started out working at my grandfather’s hot dog and chili restaurant on the corner of Slauson and Vermont in Los Angeles when I was only eleven years old (holidays and summer vacations until I was fifteen) I waited tables and had to give my tips to the other waitresses who were supporting their families.
I worked at an auto parts store while I was in high school (and sold a whole set of spark plugs to one customer for the price of one plug – who knew they could be so expensive?) I supported myself through college working part time as a “stripper.” (That got your attention!) No, not that kind of stripper. I stripped the tags off the new suits that came in at Robert Hall Clothes. “Stripper” was the actual job title. (Which led to a nickname I’ve had ever since: “Bubbles.”)
You would be surprised to know that I actually applied to work as a female deputy sheriff. I would have escorted prisoners to and from jail to the court house, etc. But I failed the physical exam (two of my lower lumbar were fused and they said I could break my back in training).
I worked for Wells Fargo Bank for six years and was one of the first three female corporate calling officers on the West Coast. (I had my own secretary, use of a bank car, expense account, yada yada yada) Six months after I quit my job (to be a stay at home wife and mother) the Bank called and offered me a position as an assistant vice president in the correspondent banking department. I declined and I’ve never regretted it.
There is only one thing worse than to live without working, and that is to work without living.
Friday, August 22, 2008
I heard this quote on the radio and I laughed. Not because I thought it was funny. I laughed because it is so true. I'd love to be that person, but I have a problem delegating. When I am in charge of something, I have a vision of how I want it done and it seems like any time I ever entrust others, they don’t perform up to my expectations. Even when I hand out the recipes, they don’t turn out the way I prepare them. Three people will make the same dessert and they all look different. I’ve learned that if I want it done a certain way, I have to do it myself – and I’m okay with that. I’m perfectly happy to spend three days running around preparing for a dinner party. I’d really rather do it myself and have control. I sound like a control freak and in some ways I am but if it is a church party, I try to be more flexible. If someone on the committee is passionate about something, I’ll let them do it their way. If they don’t like my music selections, I’ll put them in charge of the music. I know that I have to let people bring food, because that gets them to the function. I pick my battles and try to keep everyone happy. If things don’t go perfectly, I get over it. I don’t sweat the small stuff.
If I’m not in charge, I’m perfectly happy to be part of the team and do the task how the person in charge wants it. I don’t try to push my ideas on anyone – unless they ask.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I think we are all entitled to receive divine inspiration, and I think many of us have had experiences that are very sacred to us. But when someone uses, “I prayed about it and this is what I was told to do” as their reason for turning down a church calling, or anything else they just don’t want to do, I want to smack them. They know that no one is going to argue with a statement like that, so they throw it around whenever it suits them (which is anytime they want to do something that someone else will criticize them for). What they don’t realize is that, yes, we won’t argue with them, but they aren’t really getting away with it because we think less of them in the process.
We’re not jealous. We just think you’re crazy.
Monday, August 18, 2008
“If you spend the present dreaming about the future, you’ll have no past.”
“Today is the day I spend ticking off the list I made yesterday of things to do tomorrow.”
“If you want to have something tomorrow to remember about yesterday, you have to do something today.”
“If you want fond memories when you are old and gray, you must make the most of living each and every day.”
(I wrote all those the same day – obviously. I was on a roll. )
I think this one is pretty good too:
“Too many people worry about tomorrow. I say, live your life today so that if that bad tomorrow comes, you can say, at least I had yesterday.”
“Humility is one of my most outstanding characteristics. It is the thing I’m most proud of in my life.” (come on – you know this is hilarious)
“Sometimes I worry that I spend more time writing about my life than living it.”
Maybe one of these quotes will be in a book of quotations one day – but, I’ll probably never get credit for it. It will be listed as “author unknown.” … but YOU will know it was me!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
In our attempts to look and feel younger, we often go too far without realizing it. I love Juicy Couture – but I know better than to try to wear anything with writing on my butt.
Anyone over the age of forty has no business wearing Juicy clothing, leggings as pants, Croc shoes, or backpacks. There is a certain sophistication that comes with aging. That’s one thing we shouldn’t give up in our attempt to stop the clock.
And P.S. if you think you look “cool” because your teenage daughter tells you so, think again. Teenagers have no taste. If you dress like your daughter, people will think you are on your way to a Halloween party. You should be setting an example for your children and teaching them what is acceptable and what is not. You’re the mom – act like one.
Read what this hilarious blogger has to say about this topic:
As for me, I'm saving the Juicy derrière for my dreams.
I can dream can't I?