Sunday, December 31, 2017

Celebration and Healing

The photos above are from a couple different visits to York Minster Cathedral, probably my favorite place on earth. One time, as you can see from the photos above, we were on the rooftop, taking photos of the swirling snowflakes.

Although the photos are of York Minster (because I've not yet visited Lichfield), the following excerpt is from the book, For All God's Worth, by N.T. Wright. Writing about Lichfield Cathedral, where he was dean at the time, he said,

"...let's get hold of one thing: St. Chad did not come to Lichfield to tell people that if they were already good enough God would be happy to have them on his side. The eighth-century Lichfield Gospels, which we treasure in the cathedral, were not lovingly illuminated because they said that if the people of God were without blemish then God would bring in his kingdom. No. The reason why Chad came to Lichfield, and the reason why an ancient scribe lavished such craftsmanship on those priceless pages, is quite simply that the message in those Gospels is even more priceless: the message, that is, that the true God takes our brokenness and in Christ makes us new; that he picks up the pieces of our life, yes, even of our muddled attempts to follow him, and sticks them together again in a new way; that he heals those who are broken in heart, and gives the medicine to heal their sickness; that he promises new life, resurrection life, beyond all our sickness and death. To celebrate precisely here is to celebrate not the wonderful achievements of the church but the healing power of God to build his church with battered and broken building-blocks, including people like you and me. Celebration and healing; it is all God's work.:"

Have a blessed Lord's Day.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Wrapping Up 2017

 Blowing out the Advent candles
on the First Day of Christmas

This little grandson is almost as angelic as he looks.

Joyce, our dear Hodgepodge anchor, the one who weekly gives us something to write about, is taking a wee, much-deserved break. I, on the other hand, who only seems to be able to write a blog post for Wednesdays these days anyway, decided to go ahead and put something in the Hodgepodge spot. How I'll come up with something without her clever prompts, I don't know. Just bear with me.

I've decided to post a few photos of our Christmas. Two of our sons and their sons were with us on Christmas Eve and returned for Christmas Day. We had our usual fare of New England clam chowder and popovers for dinner on Christmas Eve, followed by leftovers (of the same) on Christmas Day - along with some treats I'd made.

This is why we have a photo archives.
It has looked exactly like this, every Christmas Eve, for years!

I don't have a good photo of the popovers, but they were delicious, if I do say so myself. Actually, credit goes to Betty Crocker and her 1969 cookbook. They're incredibly easy to make, puff up nice and high in the hot oven, and everyone loves them (slathered with lots of heart-healthy butter, of course). :-) 

This is how Tommy & Smokey spent Christmas
Lazy, good-for-nothing, much-loved members of the family

Most of the family will be gathering here next weekend for New Year's, so I'll be sure to take some photos of 'the boys' playing board games at that time. I was so engrossed in watching 'The Muppets' Christmas Carol' (LOVE Rizzo the Rat - did you know he has 1,274 brothers and sisters?) and 'White Christmas' (LOVE Bing Crosby - did you notice that he has the bluest eyes!) with Oliver, that I completely forgot to take a photo of two of our sons at the kitchen table with board games surrounding them. I know, I'm a bad mom. But I do feed them pretty well.

He was a VERY good boy this year and a real charmer!

And in case I forget to mention it, the video last week and this are all the fault of Sandra (MadSnapper) who got me thinking about posting videos. Okay, I promise I won't post too many (very subjective, that). And I'm sure I'll catch one of the other grandkids or even the kittens next weekend. For now, here's the pre-reader, totally engrossed in ancient Egypt, or whatever it is he's telling Grandpa about from those pages!

It was -15 F this morning. Good thing we have a fire in the stove and are blessed with Cuddl Duds, polar fleece, and Christmas cookies.

 From the archives.
There's nothing sitting on the stove this morning
because I built a fire in it!

I don't know if I mentioned in an earlier post (probably not) that Mr. C. and I celebrated our...Forty Eighth wedding anniversary this month. I know. I know. It makes a shiver run up my spine. When I was younger, I couldn't even imagine people living as long as my parents had when they celebrated their twenty-fifth! 

 It scares me too, to see how young we were.
This was taken in early 1972
Scroll to the end to see Mr. C. today

And we're still married! Incredible, isn't it.
Only by the grace of God...

And as it happened, we were on the way to Arizona on the actual date of our anniversary, so when we got back into MSP and had returned sweet Glenn to his home (and the rest of his waiting family) west of the Twin Cities, I suggested to Mr. C. that we make our usual stops to celebrate this momentous occasion:

 Brit's Pub, Minneapolis
for, of course
Fish & Chips

Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis

Basilica, interior

 Cathedral of St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota

Cathedral, interior

Coffee and dessert at Cafe Latte, St. Paul

This photo was taken last year, but the only change was that Mr. C.'s dessert was some sort of double chocolate flourless cake. Mine was the much healthier option, fruit tart. LOL No kidding, I have to restrain myself not to order two pieces. I've thought about making one of those, but I probably should only eat it once a year anyway...

So that, along with having a nice looong trip to Arizona with our son and his son (last week's Hodgepodge), takes us to this, the THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS. Let me know if your Three French Hens don't arrive. The USPS is notoriously unreliable this time of year.

 by Warren Kimble

Have a wonderful Wednesday. See you next week with the Hodgepodge, if not before.


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( needs updating,
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Mr. Naughty

Doesn't he just look the picture of trouble??!!
(You'll find Mrs. Nice pictured above - sprouting angelic wings)
I'm sure that humor has been one of the greatest assets God has given this marriage,
besides all those gifts from God that usually come to mind.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hodgepodging for Takeoff. Please Fasten Your Seatbelts.

We took a roadtrip
1600 miles
This is a big country!

Join Joyce and the Gang

 She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in!


1. Where have you found unexpected magic or delight this holiday season?

This is an easy one:  a roadtrip with Mr. C., our oldest son, and his youngest son, traveling in an RV from Minnesota to near the Mexican border in Arizona. It was a long, long drive, about the same distance as driving from London to Moscow, just in case you were considering doing that. Be sure to take enough bottled water, pretzels, almonds, entertaining games, books, and a little chocolate.

Most of the photos in this post were taken in Bisbee, AZ.

And all of this was also possible because our middle son stayed at our house in Wisconsin and took care of Tommy and Smokey!

Tommy doesn't look like he was suffering too much, does he!
I got this reassuring photo in a text message.
But I think Rob could have turned up the heat. LOL

2. What's your favorite type of holiday gathering? Will you/have you gathered in your favorite way this month?

My favorite type of holiday gathering is when the entire family rents a [very large] holiday cottage for a week (or two or three) somewhere in northern or southern England. It wouldn't really matter which, because they're so close together! Wouldn't that be fun?!! But actually, any time the family is gathered at our home is my favorite type of gathering.

3. Time has named 'The Silence Breakers' (women who came forward with stories of harassment)  'person of the year' for 2017. Would you agree? If not, who do you think deserves the title?

I wholeheartedly agree, it's about time, and I hope it continues -  although there seems to be precious little genuine repentance among the perpetrators. It's mostly apologizing for getting caught, and I'm also a bit skeptical of those who, when the 'situation' has been consensual, now come back at a later date purporting to be a victim. I think it's high time to clean house with a major vacuum cleaner, but only God can and does change hearts, and maybe that will also happen to some of those involved as a result of introspection and genuine repentance. By God's grace, it happens many times a day in many places across the globe, with people far less interesting to the media.

Merry Christmas from Bisbee, AZ

4. How did you spend your time this year? Are you happy about that? Elaborate.

Reading, studying, thinking, praying, healing, learning, traveling, praying, visiting family, occasionally blogging, Instagramming, etc. Am I happy about that? I guess so, although it leaves me with other problems. He that hath ears to hear...

5. Bid farewell to 2017 in ten words or less.

Twenty eighteen will be seeing more and better changes, 2017.

My favorite photo from the trip to Arizona:
our son and grandson.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I had to put this video on YouTube just so I could share it with you. It was our seven year old grandson's first flight, and it was such a delight to watch his excitement! He was told to be sure to chew gum on takeoff and landing, so you can see he is really working it! I will cherish this trip and the time spent with this sweet kid. We played so many games of Rock, Paper, Scissors; Tic Tac Toe; Spot It; and read the book Babe and got about five chapters into Mr. Popper's Penguins, etc.  

Just before takeoff, I glanced over at him. He was sitting very still, his eyes closed, his hands folded. I waited a minute and then asked him if he had been praying. Yes, he said. I quietly made the sign of the Cross on his forehead, just as an Amen and a thank you to God for the faith of this little child. God bless him.

Well into the 3 hour flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis
'Bad Piggies,' pretzels, and apple juice


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 How much is that piggy in the window??

We'll be back next year, friends.
See you then!

Have a blessed and merry Christmas, 
as we celebrate the birth of
King Jesus, Lord of all.

Source: various places online.
I wanted to find a painting where Jesus and Mary and Joseph
looked slightly more Jewish, rather than Dutch or Scandinavian.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hodgepodging and Caroling in the Snow

View from the front porch
December 5, 2017

View from the end of the driveway
December 5, 2017

Join Joyce and the Gang

 She writes the questions;
we write the answers.
Plug them into your own blog post
and join in!

1. What title would you give this current chapter of your life?


 Tommy & Smokey

2. December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day. Who knew? Besides popcorn and coffee reheats, what's the most common thing you microwave? Could you get along without a microwave?

Butter. In the summertime I take it out of the refrigerator and soften it in the microwave. In the wintertime I take it out of the pantry and soften it in the microwave. And yes, I could get along without a microwave, but it's sure handy.

3. If you could insert yourself into any Christmas carol and experience the lyrics in real life, which Christmas carol lyric would you choose and why?

You didn't expect this to be a short answer, did you? First, I had to go through my entire spiral-bound '100 Carols for Choirs' by David Willcocks & John Rutter, then I had to reread the lyrics. But I'll limit it to a few:

Wexford Carol:

Why would I choose this one? Because of the lyrics, of course. Listen carefully.

Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss perform it beautifully.

Angels From the Realms of Glory:

Why would I choose this one? Because just the thought of being able to watch the angels when they appeared to the shepherds and gave them the good news 'which shall be to all people!'

Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight over all the earth.
Ye who sang creation's story now proclaim Messiah's birth.
Shepherds, in the field abiding, watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing; yonder shines the Infant Light.
Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of Nations; ye have seen his natal star.
Saints before the altar bending, watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending, In his temple shall appear.
Though an infant now we view him, He shall fill his Father's throne,
Gather all the nations to him,
Every knee shall then bow down:
Gloria in Excelsis Deo 

I'll post a YouTube clip of one of my all-time favorite Christmas carols at the end of the post.

4. Describe the most beautiful drive you've ever taken.

The most beautiful drive would probably be either in the Yorkshire Dales or in the Cotswolds. I'll let the photos describe them:

Yorkshire Dales: 


5. What's something on your Christmas list this year? (an actual list or figuratively speaking, either one)

My Christmas 'list' involves things which I must clean, tidy, organize, decorate, or food whose ingredients I need to purchase. If you're talking about what I *want* on my Christmas list, it would be an Amazon Infinity Gift Card (surely they make those?!) because there are a couple books I really would like. I think prolific authors should start putting coupons in their books to help you purchase the next book!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I've posted this in years past, but I love this carol:

The lyrics are so worth repeating:

The tree of life my soul hath seen, laden with fruit and always green;
The tree of life my soul hath seen laden with fruit and always green
The trees of nature fruitless be compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel: By faith I know, but ne'er can tell, 
His beauty doth all things excel: By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see in Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought, and pleasure dearly I have bought:
For happiness I long have sought, and pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see 'tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I'm weary with my former toil, here I will sit and rest awhile;
I'm weary with my former toil, here I will sit and rest awhile
Under the shadow I will be, of Jesus Christ the apple tree.


My frozen mailbox


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Shepherds in the Field Abiding

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