Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Countdown is On!

Goodness! Only three weeks until Christmas! I hear that lament everywhere I turn. People counting down the days and the fear that they won't get everything done is prominent in the panic they're expressing. How sad. The only thing that is REALLY important about this day of days, is the reason we celebrate. And that is simply-Jesus was born. Now I know it wasn't on this exact date, no one knows that day, but this is the day that was chosen in history to celebrate it. Once I got that through my little pea brained noggin years ago, Christmas became much easier for me. I choose to not bake cookies except for special events-like this Sunday evening's variety night at church. I pick up gifts throughout the year when I see something that I think will be liked by the recipient. This helps tremendously with the budget. :-) When Thanksgiving came around this year, all I had left to do was Christmas cards.

All of you with little ones out there, speaking as one who has full grown kids, I'll let you in on a little secret. They hardly ever remember one specific gift they received. What they remember was who was there, and the fun that was had. In our case, playing board games with family and friends who drop in on Christmas night. This isn't meant to be a lecture my friends, I just really hate to see everyone running hither and yon, not enjoying the season of love and hope that it truly is. And then...when it's all over, depression and the feeling of uh-oh, I spent way too much money. Christmas isn't about money and things. It's about the people in your life and the love you show them, which represents the love God showed us by sending us his Son. No matter how simple your Christmas might be, it will be filled with love when you're with family and friends.

And now another tah-dah of mittens. Six more pair completed since my last post. Mr. Reindeer has been watching me knit frantically with much interest! :-)

My lovely blog friend Shaz who lives in Australia sent me these beautiful cards that she makes by hand. Aren't they absolutely gorgeous?

They are stunning AND in my most favorite colors. She even chose the Bible verse that always speaks to my heart. All of my kids know that I claim this verse as mine. One year when they were fairly young, they put all of their money together to buy me a new Bible for Christmas as mine was completely falling apart. On the inside of the cover they wrote "my" verse.

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Shaz, they are stunning. I don't think I can actually use them as note cards. I see framing in their future. Thank you, thank you!

Monday evening my bestest friend in the entire world, Jenny, came over to make laundry soap. I know, I know. How exciting can you get? I started making my own soap a little over 2 years ago and love it. It's so cheap and works great. I make it for Mandy and her family and I've shared the "recipe" with several other people. I've only heard of one person, who after trying it, preferred the fragrance of the store detergent over this. I had a blender that I never used and was going to give to charity when I came upon the idea of using it to "blend" the ingredients together, thereby breaking down the bar soap even more. Now, instead of little flakes of soap, it's all a fine powder-exactly like store bought, for a fraction of the price. I've let all my friends know that instead of going out to buy a dedicated blender to make soap, just use mine. I don't think I would use it for food after using it to make soap!

My life has been very quiet and slow the past few days. I'm still recuperating from the shingles vaccine I got a week and a half ago. I'm much better though, just a bit of tenderness at the injection site now. I guess it's very rare to have the severe reaction from the vaccine that I did. Go figure! I've been very happy to stay home though. It's been so bitterly cold, just like everywhere else in the country it seems. I have a fire lit in the fireplace and I've been knitting away on the mittens. I wish they went faster, but my fingers only move so quickly. I had wanted to have them done by the end of Christmas break, but I don't think that's going to happen. I have 11 pair done and about 40 more to go.

Tomorrow I have an appointment/interview with the CASA coordinator at the juvenile detention facility. Sounds scary doesn't it? It's a chance for them to meet me and ask questions to see if they even want me as a volunteer and I guess it's the same for me. I'm a bit nervous as I have never liked interviews for jobs, etc. I never know what to say or not say. With me sometimes it's open mouth-insert foot! :-) Prayers would be appreciated.

I'm going to leave you with a few pictures of the table by the front door. Since we have no tree this year, I have very few decorations to show you!
The little girls in the red dresses were painted 35 years ago, at the same time as the nativity set I shared in my last post. I found the "believe" plaque at Hobby Lobby a few months ago. The statue of the Holy Family was bought at the Tillamook Cheese Factory a few years ago when we spent Christmas at the Oregon coast in a hotel room. Mandy, who is a nurse, only had Christmas day off that year. We took Christmas to her that year and since she had a little apartment, we got a room at the coast. The hotel had a little kitchenette and I made Christmas dinner in the hotel room, complete with a turkey breast and stuffing! Those are the memories I was talking about. We all stayed in one room and had a blast together. No fancy tree, no decorations and we had a wonderful time anyway. I particularly love this stature, not only for the reminder of a happy family time, but the reminder of why we are celebrating.

And now, I'm off to knit awhile. Have a lovely day my friends and I'll be back again soon!



  1. I agree with you on all counts, Betsy. But there are some things, like school events and volunteering commitments, that are impossible to let go of. Those are the things that are stressing me out but they're pretty much non-negotiable. I have let go of a lot of other stresses, of course. :)

  2. Time management is always a challenge for me, so I appreciate learning how others make choices to use the time allotted to them. Thanks for sharing some of your experiences, Betsy :-) I'm glad you had good clean fun with a special friend! The cards you received are beautiful! And I love imagining how your rainbow of mittens are warming young hands. Blessings as you go for your interview. xx

  3. Lovely post Betsy! I have to say, you made me laugh a little about your interview(hehehe) You will do just fine and they will love you!
    Homemade soap??? humm, something to think about so thanks for sharing that. I've been knitting too but on a scarf maybe I will finish before Christmas--hopefully. I've been working on it for almost a month now!!
    Happy Holidays
    xoxo Shari

  4. I also make my own laundry detergent and fabric softener. I love it and will likely not buy regular detergent anymore. I do use the Dawn recipe though.

  5. So nice to visit with you! We haven't decorated in two years - since Beloved Husband was diagnosed. Things became much simpler in the following months. We do a lot differently now, and relish each moment with people we cherish. I've found great joy in sewing quilt bindings. Learning how to piece and quilt this year was another joy. Amazing how much there is to do at home.

  6. Hi Betsy.. hubby wrote another check to send to you to buy more yarn for the mitten project. We're both very impressed with what you're doing and want to help. I sure am looking forward to our blog girls Christmas luncheon in just 12 days!

    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉
    *M*E*R*R*Y* *C*H*R*I*S*T*M*A*S*!*
    ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉ ❉

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  7. So agree with your thoughts Betsy! I was thinking, this week, that it is SO ironic that we get stressed out at this time of year when we celebrate the Prince of PEACE's birthday:)
    Just read that verse in Isaiah--I am almost done with my year's goal to read the entire Bible again. Am getting even more out of it this time.
    Advent Blessings,

  8. Great post, wonderful reminders and nice pictures....well, most of them :)

  9. Hello my dear friend great reminders.. It's easy to get cut up on all the shopping, working running around... When the most important hing is to spend time together. Thanks for remind me of what is important. Can't wait to see you :)

  10. Betsy, you are so, so wise. Thank you for the reminder of what this Season is about. Hope you are feeling better today. How horrible to have such a severe reaction to the shingles vaccine. Good luck with the mittens, you are an inspiration to us all.

  11. Hi Betsy, such wise words. We do get caught up in all the preparations and we should of course stop and think whose birth we are celebrating.
    I've wondered about shingles vaccine, but I do tend to shy away fom all things medical.hope you are well now.
    Thank you for kind birthday wishes for Ian's birthday. Carol xx