Showing posts from December, 2018

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

On Instagram, I've seen #bestnine posts where posters feature a collection of their most popular posts for the year. Instead, I chose one photo from each month and made a #favouritetwelve of my own. It was hard to choose - do I feature travel locations, local events, garden, food, flowers, or what? I guess I'm a rather scattered blogger, with little theme here. In the end, I restricted myself to photos taken here at home or in our garden. 

Like most years, 2018 has had its ups and downs. Mostly ups, with lots of level plateaus. I'm thankful for God's faithfulness and presence in my life. I don't write much about my faith, but it is very precious to me. Believing is not always easy, as some might assume. I've learned to embrace uncertainty in this life, thinking deeply about what I know to be true, and about the many questions I have about life and God. I've learned that I don't need to know everything or to have all the answers, and my faith continues to…

Celebrating here and there

There were presents. Wonderful handmade and thoughtful gifts. Woodworking, embroidery, sewing, cooking, crocheting were all represented. 

There was food. Lots and lots of delicious things to eat. Our dinner culminated in an eggnog cheesecake with a raspberry sauce and whipped cream. Oh, so delectable. 

There was a lot of fun. The marshmallow shooters were a hit with young and not-so-young folks. Tim and I were last home from church on Christmas Eve because we stayed to talk to out-of-town friends for a bit. When we opened the door to the house, we were bombarded with mini marshmallows shooting at us from every angle. So much fun! We're still finding those little white balls in the oddest spots. 

There was a trip on the ferry to the mainland to see my parents and siblings. Rain fell, coming and going. It didn't stop the merriment.

Everything appeared rather ghostly through the rain. We were glad to arrive home last night. 

I determined to do very little today, and I met my goal. Whe…

Friday Five: Almost Christmas

I confess that I lost all of my sparkle this week. On Tuesday I wanted nothing more than to pull a blanket over myself and lose myself in a book. My back hurt from top to bottom, my list seemed endless, and I did not want to go to work. All I wanted was one full day at home, and that wasn't going to happen.  

However, my sparkle is back. Two nights of wonderful sleep and lots of ticks on my list have me once again eagerly anticipating Christmas. Tomorrow is a half day of school. My Spanish 12 class is doing a rendition of Feliz Navidad for the school assembly that should be fun. 

The paper whites wanted a closer look at the Advent calendar and leaned right in, as if to speak to the angel. 

Now, about Christmas gifts. If ANYONE who will be at our house on December 24th is reading this post (I don't think they will, but just in case...) GO AWAY. You don't want to spoil any surprises, now do you? 

Friends of ours do handmade gifts for each other and last Christmas I thought it wo…

Christmas Traditions: Decorating

Christmas decorating begins slowly here. The nativity set and Advent calendar appear first, followed by a wreath on the door, and bits and pieces here and there. I'm fond of bringing nature indoors and that means, for us, a real tree. Sometimes we go to a pop-up Christmas tree shop a little ways out of town, but this year, time being short, we found fresh-smelling, narrow tree at our local grocery store. 

Tim stood the tree in its stand as soon as we got home, first cutting off an inch or two of the trunk and giving it a good drink. After some minor rearranging of furniture the tree stands in front of the window. Lights first, never my task. I shudder to think of doing that. 

We've collected and received ornaments over the years and there is little theme to our tree. It's fun to reminisce about ornaments as we hang them on the tree. Today we were at our son's home and on the tree there I recognized many ornaments I'd made over the years, or purchased. We gave one to …

Christmas Tradition: Baking

Is baking a Christmas tradition for you? Baking Christmas cookies is a big part of my childhood Christmas memories. Crisp sugar cookies, buttery almond crescents, hearty oatmeal date cookies, and more are some of my mom's baking staples for this season. 

Baking began towards the middle of December in the evenings and on Saturdays. Often the sugar cookies were cut and baked, then frozen until we could spend time decorating them. Bells, camels, and trees are the shapes I remember most. When we go to my parents' place over Christmas, we're almost certain to be served a plate of beautiful sugar cookies. 

My mom and her sister Marty used to try new recipes, as well as the old favourites. One year they made tiny fruits from almond paste mixed with jello powder, I think. The jello provided both colour and flavour to the marzipan. They were pretty, but fiddly, and I don't think they were ever made again. 

Today I made Rugelach, a recipe given to me by my sister. I prepared the do…

December Morning

This morning, as the day lightened just before sunrise, pale violet flooded the eastern sky where the slimmest pale crescent of moon hung by a thread. These days are cold and clear, with temperatures hovering around 0 Celsius overnight. Just cold enough to cover rooftops and foliage with a thin layer of white frost. 

We're having such mild weather (unlike those east of the Rocky Mountains) that the chance of snow this year is highly improbable. Too bad. I do love it.

Thank you for your supportive comments on my simple story. Writing something and publishing it to this blog was a goal I'd set myself earlier this autumn. Creativity flourishes with time to practice and there has been little of that lately. However, with the big push at school done now, my mind is clearer. 

We hosted Tim's work party here last Friday night. There were 24 of us, a very convivial bunch. After they left Tim and I cleaned up all the dishes and tidied up so that we wouldn't have to face it in the …

Finding Lost Things: Part Three

For this week's Mosaic Monday, I'm posting the third, and final part of a little piece of fiction I wrote. There are links to the previous parts below. 

This is the conclusion of a three-part story. You can find Part One here, and Part Two here.

         The days of December ticked by. Every few days her family had something special for her to do – a bubble bath with candles mid-week or a new magazine to read. Although it was difficult in the beginning, Alicia worked at letting go and each day became easier and easier. She began to realize that it wasn't the results that were so important; it was the relationships built into the process. For so many years she was the one who led the charge for Christmas, ensuring that what was done fit her expectations. Moving to the sidelines allowed her to cheer on her family, even when their efforts weren't quite as she would have chosen. 

           The children decided to bake just three kinds of cookies, their favourites, and make …

Finding Lost Things: Part Two

This is the second part of a 3-part story. You can find Part One by clicking here

         In the evening, after dinner was completed, Alicia sat in the living room, her hands loose in her lap, thinking about how she should be making lists and getting started on Christmas once again. Jill and Ben were upstairs, presumably doing homework, but possibly texting with friends. 
Kevin came into the room. “What’s up, Alicia? Something’s been bothering you – you’ve been so quiet for the past couple of days.” He sat down as she began talking.
Tears pricked Alicia’s eyes. “It’s Christmas – I feel so overwhelmed by all I have to do.” She started talking and it all spilled out – the loss of hope and joy, the feeling of too much to do, the inadequacy she felt and the way anticipation had turned to dread. “I don’t want to feel this way. I want to feel the way I did when I was younger.”
Kevin said nothing for a minute. She was thankful that he didn't rush in and console her with platitudes. 
“I kn…