Friday, November 30, 2007
On Tuesday, Lois set her Christmas Tea table for a single moms group--most are divorced with small children. One of the young moms asked me about their table verse and I pointed out that it was on the apron on the chair. Margaret read the verse and then hooted with laughter and said, “That’s a great verse for us. Listen to this women—the Bible says that we don’t have to serve men. What a great verse for us!” Woops! Maybe we chose the wrong verse for that group!
I took a few last pictures tonight and tried to focus on where and how people display their verses and on some particularly creative tables.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
The real killer came in taking the tables down. My fault entirely--I sent my guests home amid pleas and offers of help. What was I thinking? A huge mistake! As soon as I hugged those neighbors and sent them on their way, I hurried east. One woman had bought the whole Table #29 for her guests. She kindly thanked me for setting the table, and for the hostess gifts. She even said that the table was beautiful but then she said, “good by”. Hmm. . . I had been prepared to accept her offer of help immediately as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Something like, “Oh that would be great! Thanks for offering. How about putting the cardinals in here. . .” But I never got the opportunity to use the gracious acceptance speech that I had rehearsed in my mind. It was simply, “good-by.” As I began cleaning up, I remembered that my husband does call me a bull in a china shop so I tried to take a bit of extra care not to break any of the borrowed items on the table. Finally packed, I hurried down to the other end just in case any of those guests wanted to help take down a table. I did not expect much clean-up effort on that table because we will use the table again tomorrow night. I just needed to clear plates, cups, and goblets. I had not planned on a mother with a darling but messy 10 month old child sitting at the table. Realizing that I would need to wash the tablecloth, I began the whole process of taking everything off of the table and packing it all for home to see what was salvageable.
After completing the third table, I was the last WBC person to leave the Abbington. Oh well, somebody has to be last. However, if there is another WBC Christmas Tea. . .I will have this blog to help jog my memory. Because you see, it is morning now, and even though there are three sets of dishes to do and three sets of napkins to wash and iron, it all seems quite doable.
My wonderful neighbors!
Bob's ServiceMaster Coworkers and Jan who graciously offered to set a table for them.
My west end table with an angel theme.
Below are lots of gorgeous Christmas theme tables:
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I know, I do tend to photograph the tables without Christmas themes. I totally, totally love Christmas! I am so glad that most people decorate their tables with Christmas themes! I must admit though, the tables that tend to catch my eye are the ones that are not particularly Christmas. Also, the tables that Lois and I have been asked to help brainstorm or tweak mostly did not have a Christmas theme. I feel a special pride in seeing how those women (who sought our humble opinion) completed their tables. I never used to take pictures at all—whatever do you do with them. Now, that I am blogging, however, I can post the pictures. Whether anyone sees them is irrelevant. I still get to show them. It is a great system.
Penny, Cathy, Joanne, Me, Peggy, Nancy
So, here are the few tables that I photographed last night. There were others, that I tried to take a picture of also but for one reason or another, I decided that they were not posting quality. (I know you are now doubting my posting quality standards which I do agree are not particularly exigent—whew, I need a double parentheses on that one so my conscious can admit I got that word from the Thesaurus. I am trying to increase my vocabulary.) All that is to say the pictures are not Christmasy and do not do the tables justice. I wish you could have been there.Pam's Gladly Feminine table
Monday, November 26, 2007
Other favorite tables:
- Tonight is the beginning of four nights of the WBC Christmas Tea.
- My sister, Lou, is here.
- All the lights on my Christmas tree are working.
Ain't life grand!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Just look at these beautiful creations!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Today we had a party with the grandchildren of Tim and Nancy Botts. Nine of the eleven children decorated gingerbread houses between bites of candy. The youngest two took naps and had no idea the fun that they were missing. For a few brief moments it got very quiet as everyone was working so dilegently. Ezra's enthusiasm was sweet and diplomatic. “Look at my pretty house! My house is pretty and your house is pretty and your house and more and more pretty houses!” I think this was a first time experience for all of the kids—maybe not decorating houses but having all of that candy within reach and being encouraged to “play” with it. It must have seemed like a child’s peek at heaven.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Whether to sign up for a Turkey Trot is not nearly such a big decision as which Trot to join. We opted for the closer, and earlier start time, in Naperville so I could get home to prepare the Thanksgiving Day meal. I like it alot that race is not in the name. It is a Trot. Surely anyone can do a trot—even if they are a bit overweight and have not trained regularly, right? After all—it is a trot—for turkeys—like me.
My walking partner, Lois and her sister, Nancy decided to coach me through the Trot. Lois is much younger than I and her sister is even younger. It is a bit humbling to be in the company of these girls that are pure, lean muscle for something resembling a race. I am not sure why they took me on. . . I hope that I make them feel exceptionally fit and strong by comparison.
I panted and answered questions in an average of four word sentences (up one word since two weeks ago) and went my good old steady trotting pace.
Here is what Lois and Nancy did:
- They laughed lots!
- They commented on weather, homes, thanksgiving, relatives, and costumes.
- They got tickled at themselves.
- They sang their whole repertoire of Christmas songs—even a few notes in harmony.
- They talked on their cell phones—several times. “What did we ever do before cell phones!”
- Nancy’s husband, Pat, called after finishing the race (for him it was a race vs. a trot) in 22 minutes. Nancy responded, “No, no, we are only about to the 2nd mile marker. Well, we are going pretty slow—” then glancing at me and seeing that I was still able to hear above my pants, corrected herself by saying, “Moderate. Yes, really moderate.”
- They removed their sweatshirts without ever skipping a beat.
- They took pictures.
- They did an add-on story about three sisters: LuLu, MuMu and Sissy.
- They laughed lots!
- They each told a scary story stretching it into the long version about not being able to find their kids for a few brief moments yesterday.
- They talked about weekend plans.
We all smelled the pancakes and knew we were close to the post race breakfast. And then we were at the finish line. How quickly the time passed! This was definitely my most amusing 5K! Sadly, I set a new record for my slowest 5K. In addition this was a very flat course with not even one bump. So next year, I will weigh 20 pounds less. I will train religiously. I will be able to laugh and sing and go faster. I will. . . Whew. . .I have at least 6 weeks until New Year’s resolutions come due.
Okay, for right now I will be glad. Of the trotters in my age bracket, I am in the middle 31/68. For today, I can celebrate that I did the Trot! I will give thanks for all of my body parts that still work. I will give thanks for friends that sacrifice their own run times to keep me entertained. Life is good—very good!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Last year I saw an idea in the Family Fun magazine (Family Traditions: F is for Family, by Amy Candland, Nov. 2006, p. 46). I talked about it with David (one of our grandkids) when he was at my house for Grandma Day and he suggested it at Thanksgiving. It may be because it came from a child instead of Grandma, but it worked! It was simple and I am going to use it again. You just go around the table with the ABC's. The first person has to come up with something they are thankful for that starts with A, the next with B, etc. and keep going around the table until you complete the alphabet at least one time. A Candland rule is : No using proper nouns. (Nearly every letter begins someone's first or middle name.) You would think that it could turn into all silliness and there was some of that which was fun but there were also some sweet and serious responses plus we all got two turns. I was happy that as a family we could acknowledge that we had many blessings and the family was happy because it was more gamelike than putting people on the spot. It is worth a try.
Lois reminded me that we walk less often than we used to walk. She is homeschooling and takes Daniel early in the morning, several times per week to the Sports Center. Therefore we walk less. And when we do get together, we are trying to prepare for the Turkey Trot so I cannot talk.
Lois said, “You blog to vent. Those are all of the things that you used to talk about when we walked. Now we are walking less, so you blog for your therapy.” The lightbulb went on. She is right!
I can blame homeschooling on my recent blogging. As soon as Lois and I are able to start walking again regularly, I won’t need to blog. So there’s your answer. I blog for therapy.
The tree, the tree, the tree
Keep going, keep going, keep going
The marker, the marker, the marker
Almost there, almost there, almost there
Other days I tried to pray. About all I could do was say “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you Jesus,” which is sincere and heartfelt and three words but I’d like to do better.
I tried other things. Ellen tells me to listen to books on CD. I tried it. I bounce too much. The CD skips. I have to stop and fix it. Then I have to start over. When I am pushing myself to make it to the next tree, I miss a whole chapter. (I am listing an iPod on my Christmas list.)
I have been practicing when I “jog” with Lois. I have been answering her in 4 or 5 word sentences when she talks. (i.e. We ate at Chili’s.) I have been asking questions with as many as 7 words to keep her talking (i.e. What did you do on sister weekend? What Christmas presents have you bought?) I mentioned to her yesterday that I was talking more. She noted that was true and also noticed that I am panting a little less.
But today, I turned a corner. Twice while “jogging” on the south side of the park by myself, I surprised myself by getting to the east side without thinking of my usually marker. I realized that I had been thinking of something other than just jogging.
I hope it happens again! I hope I wasn’t walking.
Monday, November 19, 2007
1 pound jars are $5.00
2 pound jars are $9.00
We have some little 2 oz. jars that make nice favors. We sell those for $2.50 each.
Labels can be customized to fit your event.
Our honey is from West Chicago and Glen Ellyn, IL.
We also have some honey from Archbold, OH.
The honey is straight from the hive. It has not been processed or heated. It has only been filtered three times. Nothing is ever added to our honey.
All honey will crystallize at some point. It is important when bringing honey back to liquid state that it not be heated over 140 degrees. Sometimes we put our honey on a cookie sheet in the oven at 135 degrees for about ½ hour or simply put it in a warm oven after we have turned the oven off. We do not use the microwave and seldom use hot water on the stove as it is too hard to regulate the temperature and keep it from getting too hot. Excess heat alters honey and lowers its quality.
It is expensive to mail honey because it is heavy and it is in glass jars. Postage is generally around $5.00 for a 5 pound jar—the same as the cost of the honey. If you live in DuPage County, it would be better to arrange to pick up the honey.
To buy honey contact Brenda at email@example.com or 630-668-6687.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Why in Microsoft Word 2007 can I not group pictures with textboxes or shapes? (I can group pictures or textboxes or shapes but I cannot group different kinds of elements. I was able to do that in 2003. Why would that be changed? I cannot even select different kinds of elements so that I can move them all at one time. Why is that?)
Here is an answer from Floyd of the College of DuPage Teacher's Learning Center.
It can be done. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s not anywhere as easy as it used to be.
You start by inserting a Drawing Canvas into your document. Copy/cut and paste the picture onto the canvas. Cut/copy and paste the text box onto the canvas. Position and format them as desired. Use the Ctrl key to select the two objects. Go to one of the format tabs and select Group. Move the newly grouped object off of the canvas and delete the canvas.
A royal pain – Microsoft would label this as a feature.
Thanks, Floyd, that does answer part of my question. The "why" part is still unanswered. I would love an answer for that from the developers of Microsoft 2007. What I would love even better was a free download to fix that problem so that it worked easily like in 2003.
Tracy's baby is due on December 25, 2007. At her baby shower today, I wanted to remind her that a Christmas baby is a blessing. In a new unique way, she can relate to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Here is my outline and introduction for the devotional.
Tracy, you are blessed. You will have a baby around the time that we celebrate the birth of Jesus. This special time of year will always be even more special now. You can relate to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
You are chosen.
(Luke 2:28 and 1 Thessalonians 1:4)
You may be afraid. (Luke 1:29 & 30)
You are with child and will give birth to a son. (Unfortunately, the comparison between your son and the Son of Mary ends here. Your son will not be sinless although it will seem that way at first.)
You will have support. (Luke 1:39-45, 56)
You won’t get all of the answers. (Luke 2:50)
You are equipped.
(Luke 2:7, 2 Timothy 3: 14-17)
You will love your baby.
You will treasure special moments. (Luke 2:19)
Sometimes you will be proud.
Sometimes you will be disappointed.
Sometimes you will make mistakes.
Sometimes you will feel inadequate.
(Luke 2: 41-52 and Matthew 12:46-50)
Your Lord will provide for you.
(John 19:26, Philippians 4:19, James 1:5)
God be with you, Tracy (and Gus).
A Christmas baby is a blessing!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Bob has offered repeatedly to order and pick up a fully cooked turkey at Honeybaked Ham. He said that he would even be glad to stand in line. Somehow even I don’t want to admit that I bought a fully cooked turkey so I turn him down.
Patti called me this morning at 7:30 a.m. to ask if I had planned the menu yet. I had not spent any time planning a menu but Thanksgiving dinner is very predictable so I was not worried. I have Kathi’s menu and grocery list from several years ago when she and Lenny prepared the whole meal but I bought the groceries.
Patti is making the sweet potatoes because her family will not eat them the way I prepare them without much brown sugar and without marshmallows. She is also bringing two pumpkin pies because I told her that I thought I would just go to Costco and get two pies.
Kathi is very helpful and I will depend on her for several key parts of the meal. She is definitely making the stuffing. She says, “I always like making stuffing because it reminds me of what Mom and I used to do together first thing on Thanksgiving morning. I can still smell the butter and onions sautéing in the pan, and I still have her recipe, in her handwriting on a little scrap of paper, complete with spots where butter or chicken broth dripped onto it.” Now I smile as I think about what she must have thought when I made Stovetop stuffing at least a couple of years. I thought it was good.
I asked Kathi if she thought I could get by with just cooking a couple of turkey breasts instead of a whole turkey. She gently responded, “I don't need a whole turkey to make stuffing, although if you get a whole turkey, I will use the giblets. Turkey breasts are fine with me, but I know Patti (and maybe a couple of the boys in her family) prefers dark meat to white meat. Maybe you could find some turkey drumsticks or thighs, too. Or, I'd be happy to help with cooking the turkey if you decide to get a whole one. I usually plan for about 2 lbs. per person (e.g., a 12 lb. turkey for 6 people). Not that each person eats 2 lbs. of turkey, but by the time you take out the innards and the bones, and plan for leftovers, that has seemed to work well for me.” I decided to get a whole turkey.
I tell Lois that I am a bit nervous about it. She says, “Whatever for? It is the easiest thing in the world to do. All you have to do is put in the oven. Only don’t cook it for as long as it says because it will turn out dry.” Did you ever notice how people that cook think that it is easy? I am quite proud that I do know you have to take the bag with the giblets out first. Still, I forgot to ask her whether I should put it in a bag or in the roaster or how it works best. I will need to check that out with Kathi.
Even though I have a ton of other things that I would rather do today, I go and buy a turkey. Bob is quite convinced that I need to do that today. I stand by the turkeys and ask two people if I should get a fresh turkey or frozen turkey. One is getting a frozen turkey because they cost less and it still has plenty of time to thaw. The other is buying a fresh turkey because she says it takes a long time for a frozen turkey to thaw and she doesn’t like worrying about that. I am convinced and go to look at the fresh turkeys. Then I get a new worry. Will it spoil before I cook it on Thanksgiving? Common sense tells me that it will not or why would all of these people be buying fresh turkeys today. I like hearing the grocer say that I can keep it in the coldest part of my refrigerator for a week before I need to cook it. Then my next job is to find a fresh turkey with a pop-up timer. I don’t trust myself to look and see if it is “beginning to pull away from the wing.” In the garage, I proudly announce to Bob that we are the owners of a 21 pound fresh turkey.
I am proud of the progress today on the Thanksgiving meal and I still have four days to go. Family, I think we will be okay.
Addendum 1: If any of you doubt why I should feel insecure about my cooking at Thanksgiving, read my daughter-in-law's first blog entry on Thanksgiving: Whatever The Thanksgiving Equivalent of Ho-Ho-Ho Is. I think more entries on Thanksgiving will follow.
Addendum 2: At the bridal shower today, I decided to use Janet's foolproof brine for our turkey. I will let you know how it works for me.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Dad, Lou, Kay, Me, Donna,and Lowell
(You can doubleclick for a larger picture.)
At Dad's request, my two sisters and my brother and I spent yesterday in Archbold, Ohio looking at old photos. (My stepmom, Kay, and niece, Katie--the photographer, joined us as well for this historic event.) My Dad wanted to supervise this gathering because he wanted us all to look at his pictures at the same time and decide which of us would get to keep each picture so that there would be no arguing over photos (presumably at his death—which does not seem imminent but could happen—to any of us—at any time). I personally could not believe that any of us would go to combat over old photos but nonetheless, Dad was concerned and so we wanted to respect his wishes. I can't say that I was overjoyed at the prospect of looking at photos for a whole day. Before the digital picture revolution, our family like most families believed every picture was an heirloom photograph and should never be desecrated or destroyed—(except of course, my mother thought it was totally permissible to cut herself out of pictures. To this day, I also feel entitled to that matriarchal editing although now I tend to slightly alter the picture in Photoshop rather than take the scissors to the photos.) I was concerned that the task before us could take days if not weeks. However, I was excited at the thought of us spending time together—just the siblings and Dad—something that perhaps we had not done since about 1961.
After input and suggestions from all of us but Lou—who says she is not technical—as if the rest of us are—on how to run a slide projector, we got off to a worrisome slow start. First were slides of Mom and Dad's Hawaii vacation with a random smattering of slides shuffled in of various weddings and Mom and Dad's trip to Haiti to visit Donna when she was a missionary. We stared at blurry pictures trying to recognize relatives by the shapes of legs or other body parts or who would wear that kind of outfit. We guessed at what island they were on and what volcano was in the picture. We studied the backs of people's heads to see who was watching the fire dancers in Hawaii in 1970. We looked at slides of people that we did not know and wondered if we should know them or if there was any good reason that we should keep their photo slide and then made logical guesses of who they could possibly be. I began a list with each of our four names and wrote slide numbers that Lowell called out for who would receive each slide. We recognized my mother in many pictures by the checkered dress that she was wearing and soon realized we could each have as many mementos of her in that dress as we liked. Having Lowell control the clicker soon proved brilliant from my perspective because his attention span is as limited as mine. It did not take us long to change the plan to who would get each carousel slide tray rather than who would get each individual slide. We also lamented that most of us no longer own a slide projector so weren't sure how we would look at the carousels that we kept but agreed to pass around and share the projectors that were available. Hmmm. . . right.
By the time our delicious lunch was consumed (prepared by Lowell and Kay with input from Lou and Donna—sadly I had nothing to contribute again. I could have stopped and picked something up to go with their homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts but I just didn't get the memo in time.) — anyhow as I was saying, after lunch we were ready to move on to photo books and envelopes. And something happened. I got into it. I guess I was overcome by the spirit of the day! I started thinking, "What a hoot! (That is my friend Ellie’s term.) These pictures are priceless. The rest of the family has to see this one and this one and this one." Before I could control myself, I was snarfing up pictures with the promise of scanning them and returning them to the rightful families later. I came home with a carful of photos and a big scanning project that I promised to finish before Christmas. Wow, Dad, you were right again. Why do I ever doubt you! Thanks for a great day!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Not everything in Donna’s life has been sadness and pain. On November 5, 2005, Donna married Lynn Becker. He is a good man and loves Donna. Donna’s family, praises God for the happiness that Lynn has brought to Donna and her family.
However, Donna has experienced more pain than most of us. And it goes on and on.
- When her son, Tim, was in high school, he developed sugar diabetes. Donna was burdened for Tim and his restrictions. She faithfully continues to comfort and encourage Tim. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; Isaiah 66:13
- In 1999, John, her husband of 27 years, died of a heart attack. Donna survived by putting one foot in front of the other. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12: 9
- About 4 years ago, shortly after his college graduation, Tim was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. Tim is on disability and Donna is his only caretaker.Donna identified with David’s prayer in Psalm 4:1. Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
- On August 2, 2006, her 27 year old daughter— Sarah, the one that could make Donna laugh, the one that could have given Donna grandchildren, died. Donna identified with Paul. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. 2 Corinthians 1:8 & 9
- A little over a year ago, Donna was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration. (Donna recently wrote a blog updating her treatment.) Again what Paul says resonates with her. . .For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened. . . 2 Corinthians 5:4
These are the main hurdles but there have been others, also. About three years ago, Donna broke her leg and could not drive or work for 6 months. There have been financial concerns as well. When you meet Donna, you won’t be aware of the pain that she bears. She has a ready laugh. She works as a nurse and volunteers with a kids’ after school club. She has inner peace and faith in God and generally a smile on her face. When Sarah died, Donna said, “This was not a surprise to God. The hairs on our head our numbered and so are our days on earth.”
Please pray for Donna that she will not lose her eyesight. Pray that God will continue to encourage her and that she will not lose heart as she continues to work with Tim on his struggle with life.
Donna is courageous as she faces pain. I know this firsthand because Donna is my sister.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Here are a few of the illustrations that Lon used. I know, I know the illustrations are not the important part of the sermon but I just liked these and thought I would pass them on. . .
Lon Allison was talking about afflictions. He told us that recently he was with Cliff Barrows who is 90 gazillion years old now. Cliff said, “You know I still feel young.” (Cliff is blind now—he can tell some colors but everything is blurry and he cannot tell who people are when they come in the room.) “I do have one problem though, I cry,” he said. “However, my first wife told me that we need to leak from our eyes or if we don’t our brain will swell up.”
Lon said that as he was preparing his sermon, he asked his wife if she had ever been persecuted for her faith. She said, “No, I haven’t and neither has almost anyone at Wheaton Bible Church so don’t you suggest that they have been.” She is right. If a few people are offended here and there about our faith or think we are strange, that is not persecution. There are people all over the globe though who are persecuted daily for their faith. In fact, three times as many people die every year for their faith as died in the Vietnam War.
At the Hoover Dam there is a plaque commemorating the 96 men who officially died during the construction of Hoover Dam. The plaque says, “They died to make the desert bloom.”
Then on the way home, I listened to WMBI on the radio and I heard Tony Dungy talking about the death of his son, James. I thought this concurred with the message that I had just heard. This is not an exact quote but it is how I remember it. Tony Dungy said, “If God had talked to me before James’ death and said his death would help many people, it would save them and heal their sins, but I have to take your son, I would have said 'no, I can’t do that.' But God had the same choice 2,000 years ago with His Son, Jesus Christ, and He said, “yes,” and it paved the way for you and me to have eternal life. That is the God that I want to serve—the God that said “yes” for me and for you.”
Last night the Community for Christ Sunday School Class had a post wedding shower for Mawi and Erin Asgedom at our home. Tsege had prayed for years that Mawi would find a good wife and her prayers were answered. It was a delight to visit with Mawi and Erin. Of course we (the women, for sure) wanted to hear about how they met (Erin emailed Mawi after hearing him speak and resonating with what he said), their first kiss (after watching an improv night Mawi suggested the word “kiss”), and Mawi’s proposal (he chickened out the first time after particularly inviting his family and her family to witness his proposal—confusing her father). It was fun, also to reminisce together and hear Mawi talk about some of our children. Most of us at the shower fondly remember Mawi’s father, Hilaab, and his brother, Twolde so we shared stories about them as well. After dinner, the interviews, and class sharing, we gathered around Mawi and Erin and prayed for blessings for them in their marriage. They opened their gifts and then our guests stayed and visited for a long time afterwards. That made us glad because we took it to mean that everyone had a nice time.
The evening was particularly happy for me because Kathi and Patti came to help serve the meal and do the dishes. They were absolutely the best! They totally took care of everyone’s needs. By the time the last guest departed, every dish was washed (or in the dishwasher) and put away. I am grateful for my in-law family!