Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I feel like cleaning

Said my 12 year daughter.
Was that music ? Yes, indeed.
We can make such a mess at
Christmas and it seems like
Spring cleaning is needed to
get the house back into shape.
The tide came in and just went
out again ( my sons) ~~~
I love thinking about
the ocean in the middle of winter.
It is more about the
liturgy of the tide. ....coming in at
a certain time and going out at a
certain time. I just have to have
food IN the house for when it comes
in. Ham bone is in the stockpot
simmering this afternoon.

BLUE MOON tomorrow night.

The Moon is Blue

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Ebbs and flows

Low tide went out today as the driveway
emptied out of sons...and girlfriends and
a wife with a son. We'll flow back in later
in the week. Empty nest? Not yet.....
I think those with empty nests love it
when the baby birds come home.

I took a nap.
So did Ken.
So did Oreo......!
She took it in the laundry basket.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

26 Years Ago...........

Early, very early,
on December 24, 1983,
I gave birth to the first
of 5 children.
I labored most of the
23rd. He came right
after midnight.

Just in time for Christmas. He's very , very , very,
happy in the photo. His bride to be is right beside

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Six years ago....

I arrived at my mother's house after
being called back because she was
not well. I got there in the morning,
read the beginning of Revelation and
thought WHERE is her pastor going to
be during Christmas. The Spirit filled
the room.......her pastor came, prayed
with her, and all of her main care givers
in the family were there when she went
to be in her Saviour's presence in the early
afternoon. One of my brother's had made
a Christmas card for's now
on You Tube. My oldest brother was here
from Texas on Monday and we talked about
how this mom of 8 was a super manager ,
an awesome listener, gave wisdom to each
of her children and whomever, and loved the
Lord. Imagine a whole kitchen table of socks.
Dark socks. You could sit with her and help sort.
She knew each of her 6 boys sizes and which was
whose and maybe those orphan socks got
paired up! I marvel.

I miss her.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever....EVENING READ

When the boys were young but able to read,
we did an Evening Read of this book at dinner:
a special dinner. They all remembered
the laughter and Mom crying at the end. We
dropped doing that at least 12 years ago
because Emma doesn't remember doing that.

Saturday we did it again but now with a new
daughter-in-law and girlfriends. None had
ever read it. One is an 8th grade English teacher.
We kept passing the book and took turns
reading out loud. Here's the first line:

"The Herdmans were absolutely the worst
kids in the world."

By the time we got to the second line, my
teacher daughter-in-law was laughing.
Maybe she knows kids like the Herdmans.
By the time we finished , I did cry.
And now a memory for each
of those girls...and my sons and my daughter.

Today one of my students told me THEY
did the same thing Sunday evening ....because
of me telling them how fun it is. How fun the
book is.
They may do it again with more family
during Christmas so they took my copy home
to have another to read from.
Why? Because the true meaning of Christmas
comes through by the end amidst the laughter
and the crazy things those kids did.

"Hey, Unto to Us a Child is born!"

Reread it . It only takes about an hour and a half
to 45 minutes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Duke Chapel

There was some snow on the
ground as we got closer to Duke
University yesterday morning .
I heard The Messiah here during
college ( not Duke but UNCG)
and haven't been back since then.
So on the way to the Dean Dome
at UNC Chapel Hill for my nephew's
graduation , we went to worship here.
When you walk in you look up:

It felt like the cathedrals of Europe.

I imagined a time when the church bells rang on Sunday
morning when the church bells rang to call the students
to worship.

The Duke Family put this church right in the middle of
campus to do that. Imagine.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Beautiful Giveaway at this blog

Amidst the hustle and bustle , several
wonderful things have popped up on the
Internet as I sit and read. This is one:

I got to this blog today via Sweet Pea,

Sassafras Stuff

Just in time for Christmas!

More things I found soon..........

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brussel Sprouts Stalk

I had gotten a stalk of brussel sprouts at
Trader Joe's and had it on the counter yesterday
as my high school tutorial took a midterm.
I wasn't in the kitchen when
that was asked by all.
"OH...I didn't know it grew
like that."
That was me in the store in November.

Quite a conversation piece if you need one for
the holidays! Then I found out who likes them,
what they taste like and how to cook them.

Here is a friend's recipe I am making tonight for
the choir dinner:

2 tbsp of olive oil
6 ounces pancetta or bacon 1/4 inch diced. I used bacon
1 1/2 lbs brussel sprouts trimmed and cut in half
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup golden raisins
1 3/4 cup chicken stock ( I used water and added base or boullion)

Heat the olive oil in a large (12 inch) saute' pan and add the bacon. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel. Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper to the fat in the pan and saute' over med. heat for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the raisins and chicken stock. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. If the skillet becomes too dry, add a little chicken stock or water. Return the bacon to the pan, heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Yo Yo Ma's CD on in the background:

It is up for a Grammy.
Excellent album. It is an invitation
to his friends for a party. Here's a
look inside to see who is there.

Renee Fleming sings Touch the Hand
of Love.

Allison Kraus sings The Wexford Carol.

James Taylor and Here comes the Sun..
now associated with Christmas for me!
Seems like there is snow outside in this
Beatles version.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Miss Oreo and the Christmas Tree

This is what Oreo looks like ...and she did
almost do that. THIS is not Oreo but a photo
from our local animal shelter's site. A great
likeness to our kitten. She sort of sparkles
when she looks at the tree! She got out on a
limb this morning! I guess I could count it
all joy.

Counting it joy for the AMEN ( 7 pages of Amens)
at the end of The Messiah this past weekend.
My daughter said she has sung it 7 times in the
past two weeks! She is only 12. She probably was
the youngest in the 150+ choir. My eyes welled
up as I thought of Revelation and the Amens in

Counting it all joy for beauty. Beauty of the
season. It's all around us. I was struck by the
beauty of the atmosphere in our church for
The Messiah and a drama of his life. Beauty
nourishes. Beauty brings us to worship.

Counting it joy to pray. Many with health issues,
job loss, and joys too ~~ new jobs, houses sold.
From one extreme to the other that we ask of
our Lord to answer with His mercy.

holy experience

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

There is singing in our home as
3 of the family are in The Messiah
this weekend. Sure puts a smile on
my face to watch two dressed in tuxes
and one in a long flowing black dress
leave to the Dress Rehearal tonight.
Second dress rehearsal. We have our
tree to put up tomorrow, cookies to
bake for after the performance on
Sunday and cards, wrapping paper,
and a kitty all curled up under an
afghan. We have Gingerbread Air
Spray by Mrs. Meyers~! SO if there
are not cookies baking, you can put
the scent in the air. You can find it
on sale in certain stores.

Those rock sort of things in the
Anthropologie catalog are felted
soaps!!!! Smile at that beauty.

We are thankful for God's hearing
pleas of help when a water pipe
burst in our front yard yesterday.
The City was out from 9 until mid-
night with a backhoe and trucks and
lights at the top of the driveway. I was
out for my 3rd time at Julie and Julia ,
which has left the cheap movie theater.
It just makes me laugh and cry and feel
good. Her cookbook goes back to the
library on Tuesday along with Traveling
with Pomegranates. You know my reading
this weekend!

Messiah:  Calligraphic Word Pictures Inspired by the Music and Text of George Frederick Handel's Messiah, With Notes by the Artist

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Came in the Mail

December 09
December 09

This is the second Anthropologie
Catalog that has arrived in my mailbox
recently. November's is stunning.
I sighed. They are works of art.
That's why I had a loud OH sort of
sigh. Beauty does that. Then I thought
who takes the photos. hmmmm.....

The store is also if you want to step into
another place, sort of like Cape Cod
at certain times of the year. I don't know
why I always want to knit after being in
there. Best deal: the back SALE ROOM.
Request it to come to your mailbox!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Armchair Travel

I was just in the car for about 20
minutes picking up a son from his
classes.Just in time to hear Fresh Air
on NPR and a literature college
professor and that term "armchair
travel" that she used made me smile
and nod my head! Get your cup of tea,
sit in that armchair , pull out a book
and go somewhere ~~ here is her list.
She made me want to look for some of the
books. I've read Laurie Colwin's book
and highly recommend them.

Here's a bit from the short article on
Florence, where Maureen does her
arm chair travel: (James is P.D., new
book on dectective mysteries by this

James, of course, lives in England, which would be my #1 fantasy choice for where to spend the holidays. Not going to happen anytime soon, but armchair travel is cheap and profoundly pleasurable. I received lots of intriguing suggestions for good books about place — Pico Iyer on Japan; Ishmael Reed on Oakland — but the one recommendation I found irresistible was Mary McCarthy on Florence — because I find any occasion to read Mary McCarthy in all her tart brilliance irresistible. The book is called The Stones of Florence and, in it, McCarthy unveils what was then, in 1956, one of Italy's lesser tourist cities. She loves the handmade shoes, puts up with the then mediocre food, and winces at the "sugary" vision of the city crafted by Victorians like the Brownings.

Maureen Corrigan's complete list:

1. Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, paperback, 208 pages, Harper Perennial, list price: $12
2. More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen by Laurie Colwin, paperback, 240 pages, Harper Perennial, list price: $12.99
3. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith, hardcover, 320 pages, Penguin Press, list price: $26.95
4. Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James, hardcover, 208 pages, Knopf, list price: $22
5. The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy, paperback, 252 pages, Harvest Books, list price: $14
6. Why Architecture Matters by Paul Goldberger, Yale U. Press, list price: $26
7. Here is New York by E.B. White, hardcover, 58 pages, The Little Bookroom, list price: $16.95

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

That is what my son up in school
up in the mountains texted by
a photo of SNOW covering the ground.
Just wet here and cold. 26 DEGREES~

I started Traveling with Pomegranates
by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd
Taylor: a mother daughter memoir.
Beautifully written and fascinating.
It reveals a story about their lack of
intimacy ~~~ I haven't read The Secret
of the Bees or others by the South
Carolina writer. I will . She crafts her
sentences and metaphors and images
beautifully. It has brought the wind
of the Spirit to my heart to pray for those
mother daughters who struggle.

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Irish Country Christmas

An Irish Country Christmas

Great book suggestion by
Sara at Much Ado about Some-
thing ~~ I fell into another time
with this. Great longings come
when I read of little villages where
we are known. I only read a few pages
tonight so here goes. See if you want
to be this Irishman's friend in his

" When they came to buy their cards,
he went through the selection with
them. He had red robins for Mrs. Casey,
who like her cards to be full of festive
cheer, and other ones with long
verses for my mother, because she
was very particular about the verses
in her cards. He consulted and deliberated
with them and sometimes consoled them
about the loss of a relative in foreign
parts who that year no longer had an
earthly address.

Every customer got a present. It was
a token of appreciation for their patronage
throughout the year. Big round barm
bracks and seed loaves were all sorted out
and allocated to different homes. He even
gave presents to people who owed him
money, because those were the days of
little red notebooks and people did not
always pay on the dot. But Ned was
kindhearted and maybe their grandmother
had been a customer in her day; perhaps this
generation was not as good to manage,
so they needed a bit of help; another family
might be going through a bad patch,
and anyways Christmas was not time to
be thinking of thrifty details."

Two loaves of barmbrack

Usually sold in flattened rounds, it is often served toasted with butter along with a cup of tea in the afternoon.