Monday, January 10, 2011

The Snowy South

We have had more snow here in North Alabama since Christmas Day than we have had combined since I moved here from Toronto in December of 1994. It almost has me feeling Canadian again ;-) The snow we had on Christmas Day was beautiful, big fluffy flakes that started falling about 6:30am while we were opening gifts. It made the day magical. It was Wonderboy's very first white Christmas and although the snow was short lived and not ideal for snow play it was a big treat to us!

We went to bed last night with snow falling and the forecasters predicting anywhere from 6"-10" depending on who you listened to......I don't know about where you live , but here in the Tennessee Valley, I believe it has to be one of the only places in the world that the meteorologists can be continually wrong and remain employed. I was sceptical to say the least! When we got up this morning there was a thick blanket of beautiful white fluffy snow everywhere - no grass, no road, nothing but pretty white stuff all around!! I went out and filled our bird feeder and have been delighted all day today by the steady stream of visitors that we have had. I was thrilled when I sat down in the study at the front of the house with a cup of white peony tea (oh sooo good) to look out the window and see a big fat saucy Blue Jay in the birch tree in our yard and then as I was watching him jump from branch to branch a red headed woodpecker happened by for a spell - they both looked gorgeous against the backdrop of fresh snow.
The street came to life a little while later, schools were closed and most people concluded that getting out on the roads was not a good idea (except for The Principal - but I won't go there....yet), not to mention The Governors of not only Alabama, but also Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina declared state wide emergencies (did I mention that The Principal did not think staying home meant him and he went to work? Guess what? The only other guy in his office that was there walked!! Imagine that - I expect the rest of them decided to listen to The Governor and stay off the roads huh??). Most of Huntsville was closed today - no mail, no banking, however according to an anonymous source who had to drive past Wal-Mart to come home greed is alive and well in snowbound Huntsville - there were cars in the parking lot!
Kids and parents and grandparents were out on our street walking and throwing snowballs, in front yards building snowmen, chatting with neighbors where the sidewalks were buried. We have had an all day parade of four-wheelers, one even pulling a young lady about 10 years old on an inner tube who looked to be having the time of her life!
When The Principal came in from work around lunchtime and shovelled the neighbors driveway .....they are in their 70's - he really is a good guy even if he did think the road rules didn't apply to him ;-)Once the work was done it was time for some family fun. WonderBoy has never made a "Real Official Make Your Canadian Mama Proud" snowman. It took a little patient instruction on how to roll the snowball, don't include the dried up grass, try and get it rounded and before you know it - voila! A snowman in the yard!! It was fun - this is the good stuff, the good memories of childhood.....remember?? Turns out the snowman was not enough I had to heat the soup up for lunch 3 times before the 'structure' was completed enough for my budding architect to come in and eat. He was beet red from head to toe and grinning like a mule eating briers - a good day here in the snowy south!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hope Lights the Way

I want to share a word with you, a plain and simple four letter word......there are countless four letter words in the English language, very few evoke the power and healing that this one does. Every year for the last 3 or 4 years now God has given me a single word just prior to the change of the calendar which He speaks to my heart as what He has for me in the year ahead. My 'God Word' for 2011 is Hope. Merriam-Webster's Online dictionary defines hope this cherish a desire with anticipation; trust; to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence. There is most assuredly plenty resting on those four plain and simple little letters wouldn't you agree?
I would be most honored if you will consider joining me as I share my journey into Hope with you in the year that lays ahead. I plan this year to dig a little deeper than I have in past years and really focus my heart and mind on all that God offers when He whispers these things to me. At this point in the process I have no idea what this will look like, other than I will explore the scriptures as they relate to and speak of hope and see where that takes me, because as we both know - it will take me somewhere.
I have a new NJKV that I am reading through, I have purposed to read through various translations one at a time, so although it is likely that most of what I share will come from NJKV, I will also explore what the other translations have to say and offer in regards to hope. There are an abundance of study materials available today, but I have to be honest and tell you that I am a little intimidated/overwhelmed by them. I don't have a clue what a good place to start is so I am going to forged forward without much of a plan other than to listen and dig, listen and dig - perhaps that in itself is a plan after all ;-)
I would love (another wonderful plain and simple four letter word) it if you would share your thoughts and reactions. If you prefer not to leave a comment I invite you to email me anytime! It really is my heart's desire for this humble little blog to be a place of encouragement and exchange, it may be my blog, but it is not for me......ultimately it is for Him and those He draws here.
The scripture on the mug picture above reads........
And his name will be the hope of all the world.
Matthew 12:21 (NIV)
It seems so obvious to those of us who know, love and serve Him, that He is our only real hope. The sad truth is that more of the world lives in darkness than in His light. As Followers of Christ we are called to share His light and let it shine into the darkness. Where there is light darkness must flee.
There is a worship song that I love that comes to mind as I think about shining His light into darkness and being filled with His hope.......Praise Him today because you know Him, because He is The Light and The Way and because He is the source of Hope in your life!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Oranges Poranges.......

Happy New Year Dear Ones!!

We have been out of town and are getting settled back into our groove - I should have all my laundry caught up by sunset today (can I get an hallelujah?!). We spent a wonderful time of fellowship and refreshing in Buchanan, MI at a family camp retreat event called Resolution hosted by Life Action Ministries. What made our time there even more special was that WonderBoy and I were able to meet 2 of our pen pals in person!! We were so blessed to be able to spend time, share meals and fellowship with our friends - so much so that it was a very teary goodbye! It is so wonderful how God knits our hearts together in friendship - our families share a new bond and for that I am so grateful.

So.... we are home and working toward getting organized and on track for 2011. I LOVE a New Year and all the promise it holds. The Principal and I have been having some wonderful conversations over the past few days - 20 hours of driving time over 3 days makes that very possible! There are many things I will share with you as they unfold, but for now let me just say that I am so excited and anticipating all the amazing things that God has for our family for 2011!

Today what I really wanted to share with you was a fun and easy peasy craft/gift giving idea. It is frugal and natural to boot! It is orange season - we just purchased a 40 lb. box of organic Texas oranges that are so sweet and delicious we are going through them pretty rapidly. I was very pleased by an email this morning that our buying club is trying to put together a second order - count us in - all that wonderful fresh organic vitamin C is a great way to keep our family healthy and ward off the winter bugs that are rampant (if you are local and are interested let me know I would be happy to order a box on your behalf - email me for pricing and details).

On to the craft......the Principal scored another bulls eye in his Christmas gift giving with the latest Homestead Blessings DVD - The Art of Crafting. If you are not familiar with The West Ladies and their wonderful ministry Homestead Blessings I am thrilled to be the first to send you to their site and introduce you to them - you will love them - I promise. Their DVDs are a treasure trove!! Last night we watched the Art of Crafting and I was thrilled with the segment about making your own potpourri - I have at least 4 gallon sized freezer bags in the garage filled with dehydrated apple peels, cores, peach pits and orange slices that I had dehydrated for that very purpose - making potpourri...... once I figured out how. I am now one step closer ;-) I will do a separate 'how to' post when I do actually make the potpourri but for now you can get started and prepare along with me - get some oranges, eat them, enjoy them, build your family's health and save the peels!! You can do this one of 2 ways - slice the oranges in rings or quarter them, after you have eaten all their yummy goodness twist your peels and set them in something pretty, add a candle or some pine cones to jazz it up and let air dry. They look great, they smell great and once they are dry they will be beautiful in a wonderfully fragrant potpourri made by your very own hands! This would make great hostess or thank you gifts......for now get twisting sister........I have to be honest and tell you - this kind of thing makes me almost a little too happy ;-)

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