Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Everlasting Arms

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Deuteronomy 33:27 -
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:.."
To me, it seems that life is pretty much made up of mountain peaks and valleys...a series of ups and downs. I love the thought that God walks with me whether I'm on top of a mountain or down in a valley. Sometimes He walks beside me, sometimes I run ahead and forget Him and yet when I return, He's always there waiting for me with open arms. And then there are the times (more often than not) when He has to pick me up and carry me because the valley that I'm going through is a hard one. The thought of those nail-scarred hands reaching out for me and those everlasting arms embracing me fills me with peace and comfort beyond anything human that touches my life.
I've reached a place in my life where I'm so thankful for the valleys. Its where I learn the most valuable, life-changing lessons and its where God really shows me who He is. Its a hard place but a good place.
We are currently in another valley. Cliff has lost his job. We don't know what tomorrow may bring but we know who holds tomorrow and we know who holds us.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Josh will start heading back to KS on Wednesday. They spent this past weekend and will leave from Amsterdam. I can't wait to see those pictures!

Looks like he's bought himself something special at a Swiss bakery! This is what this boy loves to do....wander through these European towns and absorb the culture. He told me how he walked through a little village in a French courtryside and shopped in a few little bakeries and stores. I can't even imagine it. He also said the Swiss countryside is exactly what you'd imagine it to be. I can't wait to talk to him!!
If you think of it, they will be traveling back on Wednesday...please pray for travel safety!

Final Days in Europe

Cologne & Krefeld, Germany:


Friday, January 22, 2010

Berlin, Germany

I would love to tour Berlin, myself. So much history!

Remaining section of the Berlin Wall

Leipzig, Germany

Bach Museum:

Josh's European Trip

As some of you know, my oldest son had the awesome opportunity to travel to Europe with his college Concert choir. They left January 4 and will return on the 27th. He will have traveled to parts of Poland, Germany, France, and Switzerland. At some point, he had some access to the internet and posted these pictures.

Gdansk, Poland:

Giving a concert in Gdansk.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unique Snowflakes

We have had our fair share of snow already this winter. This past week, we had two days of flurries and the snowflakes were so opposite! The first flurries came down in beautiful, perfect, crystal snowflakes. I managed to photograph them using dark fabric and a super macro setting on the camera.
The second day of flurries brought this spike shaped snowflakes. I've never seen anything like them before. I think they are attributed to the fact that we had freezing weather and extremely dense fog. They settled on the trees and everything looks frosty. Up close, they were amazing how they formed.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It Snuck Up On Me

I was sitting at the computer today, playing a quick game of spider solitaire and listening to music on my mp3 player. No, I don't have an kids have Ipods...I have my daughter's hand-me-down mp3 and I'm very glad to have it. Anyways, I was listening to some ABBA songs, singing along when all of a sudden it hit me. The music changed and I began to get very, very nostalgic, wondering where the years have gone. While I wasn't looking, they stole quietly by. I was remembering good times with my little children and thinking how some days I really miss those kids. I was glad I was kind of alone, facing the computer because the tears were streaming. I'm afraid my husband nor either of my kids would have understood. I remember older women telling me that the days would pass too quickly and to enjoy my children when they were young. I did. But in the middle of chaotic dinners, homework, seemingly endless amounts of laundry, and sleepless nights you kind of find that hard to believe. And while I knew it was true, I thought I had lots of time. Don't get me wrong....I enjoy the phase of life we are in these days. Life is a whole lot less chaotic. I miss having a baby to hold sometimes or a little kid around but I look forward to grandchildren.
And I say to those of you with young children, really do enjoy these days while your children are young. Treasure them. It's true...they do pass far too fast!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Holidays 2009: Part 3: The SNOW

We had some snow storm here on Christmas Eve. It was swirling and blowing and drifting...blizzard-like conditions. I wondered for a few minutes if my parents and sister's family would be able to drive the one mile from their house to mine for the party. It would have been kind of bad for them since I had all the food!! But they made it and we had a great time!!
In case you haven't seen enough snow pictures by now, here's a few more.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holiday 2009: Part 2: The Decor

I LOVE decorating for Christmas.
I try to have a little "Christmas Magic" in every room.

A beginning collection of Christmas snowglobes displayed behind the couch.

A happy snow family on a window sill.

Wreaths are hung in the large dining room windows.

Snowmen fill a shelf on the hutch in the kitchen.

In a sunny corner of the dining room, I tucked my "jewel" tree. Many of the ornaments are a collection of acrylic that Josh & Amy gave me. The other ornaments have to have some sort of sparkle to them. I try to add at least one ornament to this tree each year.

The big tree houses my 25-year collection of ornaments. Many are one-of-a-kind. I've been giving the kids ornaments for Christmas for the past several years and they along with all the little ornaments they made when they were little children and I made when I was a kid are on this tree.

LOVE the glow of Christmas lights.

Amy has built up quite a collection of Disney-themed ornaments. They have had to find their way to their own separate tree. Amy bought a white tree this year to display them all.

Holidays 2009 Part 1: The Treats

When I was a kid, I remember my mom baking and making all kind of special holiday treats. Most of these we only saw at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I still use the same sugar cookie recipe she used. I have tried others but always came back to this one, found in an old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I "stole" the cutters we used as kids and making these brings back so many, many memories of making these with my mom and brother and sister. Each year I crank out dozens of these cookies, top them with buttercream frosting I put some in the mail, give some away, and the rest get put on our Christmas Eve table for us to enjoy.

Ready for the oven

All Decorated

Saw these mice on a Christmas cake I bought and Amy made rows of them. chocolate-dipped marachino cherry bodies, Hershey kiss heads and slivered almond ears. They were so cute!!
Brother-in-law Bill's favorites....Haystacks! A delicious combination of butterscotch chips, peanut butter, mini-marshmallows, and chow mein noodles.

Butter Spritz cookies

Mom's Cream cheese version of spritz cookies. They literally melt in your mouth. I've never been able to make these!

Made these for New Years. Peanut Butter blossoms. Haven't made them in years and I'm not sure why. They are so good!!

Mom's new Peanut Butter Fudge recipe. Can we say Incredible?!?!?!

I didn't get pictures of the dozens of no-bake cookies, peanut butter balls, cookie dough truffles, and saltine toffee.