Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010- My Favorite Things

The week between Christmas and New Years has always been my most favorite week of the year. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over but yet there is still a holiday feel. Not to mention after Christmas sales! I have the week off of work this year so that makes it even better!

Being on a mission to clean up all the holiday around the house (and this includes throwing away all the sugar!) I have been thinking about what 2011 holds in store. Much like a wrapped gift sitting under the tree, I like to shake it and examine it and try to figure out what could possibly be in it.

I watched The Sound of Music a couple of nights ago - how I love that movie. And I don't own it - that needs to change! There are about 5 movies that I will watch more than once and The Sound of Music is #1 on that list - I just love it! Anyway, I was enjoying the song "My Favorite Things" and I thought it would be fun to chronicle MY favorite things of 2010.

This book had been recommended to me for quite some time and I kept putting it off. It didn't seem like "my kind" of book. How wrong I was. This book captivated me and all these months later I am still thinking about it. I didn't want to give the book back to it's owner. So imagine my delight when I found it FREE for my Kindle. It took 60 seconds to download it and now it's mine!

 Speaking of my Kindle - definitely qualifies as a favorite thing. I got my daughter one for Christmas this year and she loves it as much as I do. I can't believe how many free books I have downloaded - just that aspect alone has paid for my Kindle many times over. Still, it makes me sad that I can't loan my books to friends - and there will always be some books that I must have in paper copy.

 For our anniversary this year my husband and I stayed in a condo in the mountains for a week and it was pure heaven. You can read about it here if you like. What a special treat it was to get away together and have a blank agenda. This will definitely become a habit for us.

 In May, my husband and I began walking three miles a day. How I complained and resisted at first. But it became a time of the day we began to look forward to and enjoyed watching the seasons change on our little route. Walking is so much more enjoyable when you have someone to share in the pain with you.

The Pumpkin Patch was so much fun! Can you believe this was my first trip to a Pumpkin Patch? What a fun day we had and the kids are still talking about it. On Christmas, sweet Ava Claire asked to go back to the Pumpkin Patch! This will definitely become a family tradition.

 Knitting! I really got into knitting this last year and I love, love, love it!

 Podcasts! Like this one, this one, and this one! They have added so much to my commute back and forth to work and home every day. I learn so much about yarn and technique and knitting. The Knit Wits is my favorite - I am seriously laughing out loud through each episode. This husband and wife team are hysterically funny - she is the knitter and he knows zilch about yarn or anything pertaining to it. You should try them out - you will love them!

 My third grandchild joined our family in 2010. Sweet Aiden Ryan is such a little joy. Over Christmas someone in our family mentioned he had never gotten to hold him because he was such a "hot commodity". Yep, it's true.

 I got a new cell phone this year and I love it. I had been needing to up grade for some time and I went with a smart phone. It has some really great features and a couple of my favorite are voice texting (I speak into the phone and it converts it to text), a bar code scanner (when shopping I can scan a bar code and my phone will tell me where I can find the item cheaper!), and the fact that the numbers are big enough for me to see! It also has a daily devotional app, I can read my Kindle books on my phone (not sure why I would need to) and every day I seem to learn more about it.

So that's it for today. Check back tomorrow for more of My Favorite Things from 2010.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


It is late Sunday night after Christmas. Everyone has gone to bed, the dryer is humming its cyclical tune and the Christmas lights on the tree are glowing in the background. It has been one of the busiest Decembers that I can remember and in all honesty I have to admit that this wasn't one of our best Christmases. In fact, I'm relieved that it is over. There were some real rough patches during this holiday season. Have you ever had a Christmas like that? I think everyone does once in a while. And it's weird because I was just looking at last year's Christmas post and it was so wonderful I couldn't decide what was best about it. I'm glad I blogged it because I got happy and all encouraged reading about it.

Oh, there were good parts to this year- the night my girls, all four of them, gathered in the living room for our tree decorating night was a highlight and was truly the Christmas of my heart. An unexpected afternoon visit on Christmas Eve from my mother-in-law was a special time. A slow and relaxing Christmas morning with two of our girls waking up to see what Santa had left was a sweet time together. And having three sweet grandchildren kept our eyes on the joy of the season. Two of them were old enough this year to open the gifts we gave them and that made it very wonderful. But this year it seems that more than ever I let the stress and the pressures get to me and I didn't do well in keeping my focus on Christ. For those reasons and others - well, I'm glad that it is all behind me. So very glad.

The positive thing is that I have already made up my mind about what I am going to do about it. I already have a plan in action for how it will be different next year. And not just for next year but for now. Starting right now I am choosing to make things different in my life. Here is my plan in bullet point fashion:

* I am going to make it a priority to stay focused on Jesus. He is my source of strength. When I let life get in the way of my Bible reading and prayer time I suffer personally. And even though that is not a new revelation - something that I didn't already know - I allowed it to happen and I had a difficult month because of it.

* Beth Moore has come up with the greatest idea for what she is calling 2011 Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge. I ordered her sweet little spiral note card set and have already picked out my first memory verse - Phillippians 4: 4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally *Robin, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (*slight paraphrase!)

I got such a kick out of reading how Beth was so excited to start this challenge personally and was on a search for just the right pen to begin writing her verses out! So January 1 is the day to start memorizing. Memorizing scripture is an area I always need to do more of.

* I am going to stop dwelling on the negative and difficult circumstances of life. I think that in my earlier years I was more blessed than I ever realized because life just never seemed to hand me difficult things. Perhaps it was all being stored up for these later years! Sometimes it sure seems like it. Apparently I never have had much practice at how to live victoriously through tough times but I seem to be getting a crash course now. I have a nasty habit of thinking too much about what is wrong and hard and being a "fixer" by nature I spend way too much time trying to make everybody happy. Of course, nobody ends up happy and I end up exhausted.

* I am letting go and moving on. There isn't too much I can share about this on my blog and it won't make much sense to most of my readers, but I need to write it down to imprint it on my brain. This will be big to me - personally.

* Perhaps this one will be the most difficult of all. I am going to try with everything in me to stop having such strong opinions. Or at least stop putting a voice to them. I come by it naturally - it's in my genes - and I am a first-born. Sometimes that proves to be a lethal combination!

* My friend Becky, over at Keys to the Cottage, inspired me last year to choose a word of the year. My word last year was "serenity". I can certainly see how God designed that word for me for the year. Unfortunately, I failed miserably at allowing the word to be a source of growth for me. I failed so much that I had pretty much decided to forget about this little tradition this year. But a word kept coming to my mind and as I look over my little list in this post I can see that by making these changes in my life I am putting this word into action already. So, I am going to try it again. My word for 2011 is RENEW. And in a nutshell that is what I have been talking about. I am going to allow God to RENEW my heart and my mind! That sounds so refreshing to me.

* This last year my husband and I began a walking and weight-loss regimen. I have not spoken about it on my blog because, well, so many times I have started this and failed. But we have really gotten into a routine (although we seriously slacked off this month) and now our daily three mile walk is something we look forward to doing together every day. We have both lost some weight and we are rewarding ourselves by dusting off our skis and boots and we are ready to hit the mountain again! We are choosing to make skiing our new winter hobby and even hope to get our little grandbabies involved with us. That sounds like so much fun to me. Yay! Hopefully I will have pictures from the mountain to post soon.

So, there you go. My little personal list of changes and improvements. I wrote this mostly as a form of accountability for myself but perhaps my list will encourage you to challenge yourself to make some changes in your own life.

Today, my son-in-law and daughter dedicated little Aiden Ryan to the Lord in a sweet ceremony at church. Sweet Aiden is the most adorable, good-natured baby I have ever seen. He is happy all the time and his smile absolutely melts my heart. He is a snuggle bunny and I just can't say how much I love this precious little child.

We are so excited about the arrival of our fourth grandbaby - Ryan Craig. He is scheduled to arrive the end of March and we all anticipate getting to see him. I love this moment that was captured on our tree decorating night. Two sisters and our sweet, unborn boy. Little Ryan has no idea how much he is already loved.

These sweet little lives are such an incredible blessing to their Poppa and Mia. We are so blessed and thankful that we get to be such an active part of their lives. How tenderly we guard the great responsibility we have to be such an influence in their lives. We don't take it for granted and we are blessed beyond measure to be in such close proximity to them. We keep asking ourselves if all grandparents feel this way about their grandchildren, or are ours sort of special! We never knew how awesome this grandparenting could be. I pray the Lord grants us the privilege of living close to them forever!

This wasn't the greatest picture of the kids - but it's the only one I had my eyes open in! And since it's my blog . . . . . .!

I am happy that I have this whole week off of work. I love slow starting mornings and coffee. I intend to enjoy this week to the max and look forward to catching up on all the posts I have missed this month!
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Ornament 2010

Every year, for the past 22 years we have pastored in our church, I have made our board members a Christmas ornament. It's not much, but just a small token of our appreciation to the people who have cared for us so well over the years. In the early years I used to host a dinner for them in our home. As our church has grown and our board and staff have increased I am not able to do that anymore. Now we rent a banquet room at a local restaurant and share dinner together. But I still make the ornament.

It is more challenging every year to find an ornament idea. Twenty two ornaments can practically fill a tree! I was very excited this year when I found this blog. Besides a compelling story and excellent writing that is a joy to read, Amy is a most creative person full of whimsical and sweet little handmade joys. She publishes an online magazine, Inspired Ideas, that is full of fun things. That is how I found this year's ornament.

I made these charming little churches

( I am so not a photographer - and for the record, I work with two broken cameras, one takes the pictures and the other loads them on to my computer. Sigh. I know - it's very tragic.)

I just love them! They are so clever in their construction - they are made from miniature cereal boxes

I enlisted my husband's help his year as well

After all the pieces are cut out, they are painted and assembled. I used an assembly line - I made 20 churches in all.

(By the way, in the background you can see that I was watching the BSU/Utah game. That's Kellan Moore and Jeremy Avery - two of my fave's!)

After assembling the churches, I painted them with snow and covered them in glitter. They look like little candy churches.

I also make ornaments for my daughters every year. I'm not sure why but I make them something else, something special that only they get. I will be posting about those in the next couple of weeks.

Christmas traditions -- aren't they just the best?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snow Day!!

So where I live in southwestern Idaho, we are considered a "banana belt". Our weather is fairly nice in the winter. It gets cold and we deal with nasty inversions, but overall it is dry and any bad weather we get is short-lived. We see the mountains from the valley we live in and there is lots of snow there - wonderful skiing and sledding kind of snow. But down here in the valley - not so much. So imagine the wonderment when I got up this morning and saw this:

My driveway was completely covered, the road in front of my house seemed to have disappeared and it took me exactly 2.5 seconds to decide I was not going to try the drive in to work today. I drive about 30 miles on narrow country roads that never see the blade of a snow plow. It would not be worth the risk. So I immediately heated up some water and made a cup of hot chocolate and settled down with my knitting. Pure bliss!

However, my little yorkie Willow doesn't agree:

But then she didn't just receive this delicious box of yarn in the mail: