Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: A Wreath of Snow

A Wreath of Snow
Liz Curtis Higgs
201 pages
2012

First of all, let me tell you the story of how I came to pick up this book, because it is quite convoluted.  I recently read An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, in which she mentioned the book The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot, which I decided to pick up also.  Well, the latter mentioned is about 500 pages long.  Sometimes I need a shorter book to just sort of keep me going and make me feel like I'm acutally accomplishing something.  : )  So, I happened to spot this shorter book at the library, and upon thumbing through it, I noticed an epigraph (small verse or quote at the beginning of a chapter) by George Eliot, and that is how this little Christmas delight landed in my curious paws.  
I know that I'm a good reader, but I don't have a very good attention span these days.  Shorter books are just so much more enjoyable!  It is hard to get bogged down with a longer book.  I find myself not wanting to go back to them when I do take breaks.  So, this one was a real delight!  I read it in just two days. 
The plot consists of two train passengers (adult male and female) who have a chance meeting on an English country train, only to later discover that their paths have crossed  before.....twelve years before, to be exact.  The story takes place in 1894 when male and female train passengers were not supposed to openly address eachother if they were not married.  However, a snow storm seems to shatter any shot at pretensiousness.  Later on in the story, pain, resentment, and embarrasement quickly come to the surface when they do exchange their stories and the truth finally comes out.  Will there be hope of forgiveness during the Christmas season of hope?
There weren't any specific lines from Higgs that I took note of, but the story did flow well and it was a good story to tell.  Higgs really kept my attention, and as a Christian woman, I appreciated her references to scripture that she has woven into her tale. 
At the end of the book when I thought my little heart couldn't hold any more blessing, I read the Author's Note in which she references Christina Rossetti.  Higgs had done a surprising amount of research for the 1894 Victorian Novella, and had noted that Rossetti had passed away that year.  I'll leave you with the quote she uses for her:
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
~Christina Rossetti



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Christmas Craft Project

Hey everyone!  Are we all going to make it through the Holidays without Wellbrutrin?  Ha, ha, ha.  

Here's a easy little project that is sure to bring a little Christmas cheer...

You will need some cardboard, scissors, tape, and wrapping paper...

Cut the cardboard and then put the wrapping paper around it...just keep cutting and taping...just remember, they don't have to be perfect.  The more "imperfect" they look, the more "crafty" they will look...

I set mine on the living room mantel in front of electric candles, and just to show you how "imperfect" they are, I'll just tell you that one is standing on it's own and the other one is leaning against the candle....not sure how that happened... 


You can add little cardboard reinforcements to the stem with an extra piece of cardboard if you want, but I couldn't get mine to work very well.

They turned out cute, and I might even add little bows to the tops....Happy Crafting!  : )

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book Review: An American Childhood

An American Childhood
Annie Dillard
1987
255 pages

This is the sort of book you want to hold up to your chest and carry around with you.  If I had my own copy, I would set it on the book shelf next to comforting authors such as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton.  I would certainly keep it away from Stephen King and Thomas Harris. Some books just seem to have a personality all thier own, and this one certainly does.  

In the beginning of the book she is describing her parents in very thoughtful details.  She goes to the beach with them, and while sitting on the beach, she takes note of their bumpy shin bones and dry heels.  She later watches her mother getting dressed for a party and writes, "She was wearing a black dress.  The smooth skin on her breastbone rent my heart, it was so familiar and beloved...." pg 27




Wow, you just don't see that very often.  The ability to transport a reader back to a childhood time of watching their mother dress for a party.  It just brought back so many memories for me.  I remember my mom and my step-dad getting all fixed up and occasionally going out on a Saturday night.  Even though those memories are special, they aren't really the ones you think back on very often....until a book like this comes along.

This book also brought back detailed memories that I had long forgotten such as, examining the ground, having to touch everything, having a rock collection, and drawing pictures of still life objects.  Children just have such wonder and imagination....almost to the point of being heavenly.  

Of course you can't get far on the converstion of childhood without conjuring up a lot of silly memories too!  When a group of ten year old girls are running back and forth from the kitchen to the bathroom and then proceeding to lock the bathroom door, you KNOW they are up to no good!  That wasn't from the book either, that is one of my memories and I am much too shy to admit what we were doing specifically.

Some of the things that children cherish, adults tend to take for granted.  Another one of my favorite passages is, "Privately I thought the reference librarian at the Homewood Library was soft in the head.  The week before, she had handed me, in broad daylight, the book that contained the key to Morse code.  Without a word, she watched me copy it, pocket the paper, and leave.  I knew how to keep a code secret, [even] if she didn't." pg 128

The book had short chapters which I like, and I do admit that I did end up skimming over a few that didn't really interest me.  Overall though, it was a treasure, and well worth my time.   Let me know if you are able to check it out.  : )  Dillard also wrote a more well known book titled, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek which I might check out soon too!

  



 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey there, I hope everyone is doing well.  We're pretty good.  This is how our week has been going... 

Lance's "new thing" this week is opening the door to the pantry, not being able to find what he wants, and bursting out crying....

 Trying to lift him up to grab stuff or giving him a stool to stand on does not help either....I'm marking it up to a "two-year-old-thing."  (at this point I wouldn't even care if he got out the chocolate chips and started eating them by the fist-full)  OK, are y'all laughing yet?  At least a smile?

Anyway, I'm really enjoying my new hair-do...


We already have up our yard-sale-pre-lit-Christmas tree....I know....I KNOW....it is a little early, but that's just how I roll....


There are a surprising amount of needles on the floor for it to be an artifical tree....hrmmmm.....

I have been really, really busy this week making my very first video.  I figured out that we have a "Movie Maker" program on our computer.  This video was very time-consuming and challenging to put together, but I am really happy with the final product.  
Click here for the link. 

Lastly, I'm going to go take a rest and sit by this...

 and roast some marshmellows.  Yum!  I hope you all have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving!  God bless you.  : )

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faith Friday: 11

How is your Friday going?  Do you need to be lifted up?  Encouraged?  Well, you came to the right blog post then!  

My favorite church EVER is Mount Paran Church of God in Marietta, Ga.  It is an amazing place of worship and encouragement.  It is also about an hour and fifteen minutes from my house, so I don't get to go very often.  I try to make it at least once a year though...sometimes twice.  

I first heard about Mount Paran when I was a teenager.  I would listen to Dr. Paul Walker on the Christian radio station The Joy FM 93.3.  Then, one Sunday morning my mom and I decided to make the long drive and go hear him in person.  We were not disappointed.  The worship music was great, and the preaching was just wonderful.  

Dr. Walker later retired and in his place stepped Dr. David Cooper.  He also is a wonderful preacher.  When I see him in person, I always wonder if he has an ear piece or if he just has THAT MUCH scripture memorized.  I'm thinking he has it memorized though, because you can just tell that it spills out of him so naturally.  

The Lord has really blessed this church and they have grown over the years.  They have a beautiful new sanctuary that seats thousands.  Their weekly attendance is four to five thousand, and they have a three hundred person choir and orchestra.  

 courtesy of cdhpartners.com

 OK, are y'all ready for some really good news?  Mount Paran is now online!  You can go to their website and watch sermons and/or praise and worship videos.  It is so great!  The only bad part is that the videos take a while to load and they kept saying "buffering" when I was trying to watch it.  I put my settings on "low quality" which did speed it up a little bit.  So, here are some links if you want to check it out....

Homepage:
here 

Praise and Worship Videos:
here 

Sermons:
here 

Sermon notes:
here 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  : )

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Happy Sunday y'all! 

Lance has had a stomach bug the past few days, so we opted for staying in today instead of going to church.  We had a rather relaxing morning snuggling and watching Veggie Tales videos.  Then, I wanted to make something for brunch for Matt and I.  Making regular French Toast is pretty simple, but today I wanted to make French Toast Sticks.  They were really fun and easy!

 
I basically just cut up the bread first, made the French Toast, and then put them in the oven for about ten minutes (on a buttered cookie sheet). 
 Thanks for letting me share this with you.  Hope y'all have a great week.  : )

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's All About Me...

Hey there folks, this is Lance.  Mommy seemed like she was having an "off week" as they say, so I thought I would give her a break and do a blog post myself.  

I've been looking through some of these pictures, and I must say, there are some pretty darn cute ones that she just hasn't gotten around to posting yet.  Here is one of me rummaging through the refrigerator...
 helping out with the trash....trash bags that is....
 this is me still in "wake up mode"...I'm so cute!
 OK, I might have some explaining to do on this one.  Mommy had seen way too many cute pictures of babies sleeping in laundry baskets, so she thought she would try it out on me.  It's just not my thing, m-kay?
 does anyone need a kleenex?....actually, mommy probably did after she saw all this....he, he : )
 I like to help out where I can, such as cleaning the bathroom...
 Alright, I'm bored with the blog thing now.  One thing I haven't tried is swinging from the dinning room chandelier...not yet anyway....
 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Campfire

The other night I decided to set up a little campfire in the backyard.  Getting those rocks proved to be difficult, but I made it happen.  Lance wanted to play in the truck the whole time, but he was a little intrigued by the fire.  Don't worry, I kept a very close eye on him!

 Hope you all enjoy the pictures, and have a great week!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All Saints Day

Greetings friends!  Hope everyone is having a happy and blessed Sunday afternoon.  

The other day was All Saints Day on November 1st.  The Lutheran church that we go to celebrates it.  They had people write down the names of passed loved ones on luminary bags to be on display for all to see.  Our church had so many bags that they lined the sidewalk and parking lot.  



I wrote down the name of my grandfather who passed away a few years ago.  There was a song that we always sang together called, "We'll take Manhattan," so I couldn't resist writing that on there too.  


OK, I'll try to get through this without crying....he, he.  : )  He was a very unique individual.  He was the kind of person who could make going to the hardware store fun, and he could be there for hours!  

He was a true servant.  He wanted to bring smiles and giggles to those around him.  One of my favorite memories was of him tucking me into bed at night.  He would have a hand full of jelly beans, and he would put one into my mouth and have me guess what flavor it was.  He was just so much fun!  

So much for not crying...oh well.  Thank you for letting me share my special saint story with you.  I hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Re-Cap...

Here is how our Halloween went...
Lance was the cutest little pumpkin ever...

When I picked him up from daycare, I made sure I had his apple juice ready along with a special treat...a McDonald's chocolate chip cookie...
 
We went to the library and walked around for a while.  Lance always likes to see the stuffed teddy bears...
(believe it or not, it was hard to get a two year old to stand still for the picture)

he likes to play on the computers too
 (and of course I'm the "bad mom" who just stands there taking pictures of him while he is doing all this)

Then we had a lot of fun walking around the local square area that was having a festival and passing out candy.  They even had hay rides!

The event was put on by the local police and fire departments...
 
Lance was so worn out that he fell asleep on the way home!  Then, Matt and I had a minute to take a few pictures of our own costumes.
 I dressed up as a Go-Go Girl...

And finally, Matt was a cool 80's dude....can someone say Miami Vice?

So, it was a really good day....so thankful for my little family!

Hope everyone has a great day!

our trip to Athens...Georgia part 2

As the previous post stated, we were having lots of fun exploring Athens, Georgia.  Although we had quite a ways to walk, we finally made ...