Friday, December 23, 2011

A cup of coffee and thou

This week was a bad one and amidst all the frustrations and sorrows and negative vibes being sent out from a variety of sources, I thought I might well give up and stay in bed for the rest of the week.

Then lo and behold, a gift came in the mail.

A present from a dear friend who wanted to cheer me up.

I won't name names, but this dear woman is not without problems and sorrows of her own and yet she took out the time to think of me. And boy - did she think of me!!!

What was in the box?

My very own Keurig Coffeemaker. Wahoo!! I've wanted one for a long, long time and if you have one you'll know what I mean.

Now I have a reason to get up. :D Just kidding, although making coffee with my new machine is great fun.

Oh and since I love to share information with you - let me share this little gem of knowledge.

Most Americans pronounce the company name as “cure-ig” However, Keurig is a Dutch word which means "neat" or "arranged". The Keurig coffee company was founded in 1992 by Olaf Keurig, a Dutchman. The proper Dutch pronunciation actually sounds more like “keer-ech”.

Isn't that neat?

Now I'm off to make a cup of coffee and to think of how blessed I am to have good friends like you and like the elf who sent my Keurig.

Merriest of Christmases to all of you and may God bless you in the year to come. Next week and for about 3 weeks total - Steph Whitson will be filling in for me - while I am busy...making coffee. :)

PS - the painting above is from Victor Gabriel Gilbert and titled A Cup of Coffee Painting

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ice Harvesting

I've been doing research again for a new book. This time the setting is Minnesota and ice harvesting is a part of my storyline. I love when God sends me wonderful gems from the past, and I just have to share this one with you.

If you have time, I want to encourage you to watch this wonderful movie that was made in 1919 and shows ice harvesting. It's wonderful - not only the actual work on the ice, but they show the men taking the ice for storage and how they utilized horsepower to create an elevator to lift the ice into the icehouse. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

If nothing else, this video makes me very happy that it's much easier to get ice today.

God Bless You!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Way We Do It In Montana

Do what? Keep warm.
We all have our ways of keeping warm over the winter, but I thought I'd share a few of the ones we have here in Montana.

First of all - I know you've probably heard of the "3 Dog Night" when it's necessary to have at least 3 dogs surrounding you to keep you warm. Well, this is a "1 Cat Day".

We are also heavy into thermal products.
I have thermal curtains at the windows, thermal underwear for really cold outside days, thermal gloves and hats, thermal sleeping bags and comforters and of course thermal dog wear - including boots.

We love our fireplaces and heating stoves. We love to crowd around them and keep warm.

We have chemical packets for warming hands and feet. We have car survival kits
with all sorts of items to keep you from freezing to death if you are trapped up in the mountains - say when you go searching for your Christmas tree.

We get active and have all sorts of cold weather sports.

Probably the best way to keep warm during the winter is the company of good friends. No, not so we can huddle together, but when we get together all that hot air we have going in conversation keeps us pretty toasty. No, not toasted, although I understand Judy and Tammy have great eggnog and hot buttered rum recipes. At least I suppose they do - since they always seem to have a recipe for something outrageously delicious that I can't afford the calories of and yet really really want to try.

So if you are cold - I'm sending you warm thoughts and suggesting you find someone to hug. If you're in a warmer place or even one that's still hot - well, you don't need to worry about such things so you can probably just skip this blog and wait for Judy or Tammy to post a recipe for something delicious and cold.

God Bless You!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Starting a New Tradition

As I was thinking about how I wanted to decorate for Christmas the other day, I was actually wondering if I could postpone until maybe next May. With all the issues of illness and complications to life, I really haven't been in a Christmassy mood. Despite the fact that Montana is definitely looking a lot like Christmas.

Then as I started thinking about the things that I like to do as tradition, I realized that some of these have gone out the door because the kids are no longer small children.

We used to go together and get a Christmas tree and then we'd set aside a night to decorate it. We'd have hot cocoa and music and laughter and sometimes arguments (not always perfect moments I guess), but it was a tradition I loved. Then as the children left home, it didn't seem the same.

We used to take long drives and look at Christmas lights or the snowy countryside.

Another tradition I liked was baking with my kids. We didn't get to do this every year as they got older, but I tried hard to keep it yearly when the girls were little. Especially to make sugar cookies and decorate them.

We had years when we went caroling at nursing homes and sledding as a family. All wonderful memories.

Did we have a perfect "Leave it to Beaver" "Ozzie and Harriet", "Walton's Mountain" family? No. We were never even a close contender. Our family was attacked by sickness and discouragement, financial woes and sinful mistakes. We had a great many problems and I could choose to dwell on that, but I'm not going to. It's easy to focus on the bad. The bad has a way of demanding to be recognized, while the good stands quietly to the side and waits to be acknowledged.

So this year, I'm starting a new tradition. It came to me as I was thinking about how I wanted to spend Christmas this year. I knew I wouldn't get to be surrounded by family, but then I rethought it. I can be surrounded by family in prayer for them.

So I decided to have a Prayer Tree.

On the center of our dining room table where we will see it day in and day out, I placed a little bright purple (just for Kim) metallic tree as a centerpiece. Next I bought ribboned tags that have wonderful words on them like - PEACE - JOY - CHEERY - GREETINGS - LOVE and as a name of a loved one comes to mind, we will write it on one of the tags and decorate the tree. Then when we see the tags, and the names, we will pray for those loved ones. Everyday we can add new folks as problems and praises arise, we can even add additional notes to the tags. I hope this tradition will take off across the country. We need to be a nation of prayer - a mighty praying people who stand in the gap for one another.

God Bless You!
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