Wednesday, December 31

and the finish

The last of the photo challenge pictures for December:


day 29 - early morning

A rarity....the sun coming up and peeking through the trees. Wish we would see more sunshine, but at least January seems to be much sunnier (and also much colder....what a trade-off!)


day 30 - smiles

The backside of a coffee mug that my grands made for me is worthy of a smile AND will probably put a smile on my face each time I use it!


day 31 - celebrate

The frontline of a variety of sparkling drinks for toasting in the new year.

And so ends December.  On to the new year!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Sunday, December 28

clicking six pics

Catching up AGAIN.  Actually, I've been held up because the photo of the day for the 23rd was 'baking'....and truth is, I just started my holiday baking, ummm, TODAY, ummm, which is the 28th.


day 23 - baking

As I said, I began my holiday backing today and started it with one of our favorite cookies - rainbow cookies.  They need to be chilled for a couple of hours, so I mixed them up as the first of all the chilled recipes.  That way they can chill while I'm doing other baking.



day 24 - loved ones

My youngest was honored to start the Christmas Eve worship service at church with a solo as she sang the modern version of Away in a Manger.  She was very nervous but did beautifully with many thanks to our friend who played the guitar for her.



day 25 - aftermath

A peek at part of our post-present wrapping pile.



day 26 - busy

Most of our family followed what has been a Christmas Day tradition for the past few years - a day of downhill skiing.  It tends to be a quiet day on the slopes and they have a blast.  I was one of the stay-homers and spent most of the day finishing up handmade Christmas ornaments.  (Do you see a theme here?  I was behind with EVERYTHING this year!) Here's a peek at a bunch of the ski boots drying out at the end of the day.



day 27 - relax

After much busyness, my son's dog finally settled for a nap. I'm not sure this could properly be titled 'relax' as he's only partially relaxed as he awaits someone coming toward the door to let him back out to run run run.  But at least he's trying to relax and rest.


day 28 - fresh

The coffee this morning came from freshly ground fancy coffee beans that were gently processed through the press.

And now I'm caught up again!  Whew!  It's pretty busy around here, but hopefully I'll be able to gracefully finish up the challenge for December.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 22

the flying days.....

Looks like I need to catch up on several days for my photo challenge this month!  It's been much too busy.....



day 17 - gift

Not all gifts come wrapped and ribboned, but are simple acts of service for others.  We had record inches of snow in November and my son-in-law shoveled our roof.  What a wonderful gift!


day 18 - happy

One of my sons graduated from college on Saturday and look what I received from him - a dozen beautiful roses!  Flowers - especially received in the winter - instantly make my heart happy.


day 19 - decorations

One of the fun angels that I found at a craft show many years ago.  


day 20 - mail 

The best part of this season is the mail that arrives each day - cards, letters, and photos.




day 21 - front door

Expecting wreaths and lights and pretty decorations?  Not on this front door. This is the main entry point for our woodburner, so there's always wheelbarrows full of wood ready to bring into the house.


day 22 - shopping

I simply cannot resist a good sale at this store as the scents are wonderful. Picked up two gifts here which I was tempted to keep!

Okay, I believe I'm all caught up.  Back to the busyness of the season....I'm not sure I'll ever be ready!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, December 16

warm enough


day 16 - bundled

It was very cold around Thanksgiving, so it was nice when it warmed up a little bit making it warm enough for the littles to bundle up for the outdoors and play in the snow.  

Our sledding hill has gone through a major melting spell since that time, but the snow returned last night turning everything white again.  

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 15

a bit o'cheer


The Homeschool Post


day 15 - enjoy


Okay, so this really isn't a "photo of the day", but it is a picture that brings a smile to my face as it means I have readers who enjoy my blog and were willing to nominate it in the category of "Best Encourager Blog" for the Annual Homeschool Blog Awards. Yipppeeee!

I would enjoy YOUR VOTE for my blog and it's simple to do. Just click on this link - Best Encourager Blog - scroll down to "Garden Glimpses", click in the circle, and hit the vote button on the bottom.  You can actually vote one time per day for my blog until the end of December.  

Thank you so much!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Sunday, December 14

the yearly stocking project



day 14 - handmade


Brought in my container full of Christmas fabrics as I have Christmas stockings to make.  It seems each year I'm making one or two as our family grows.  I do enjoy making them, but really should be doing this during the fall months instead of now when there's about a million other things to do at the same time. The most time consuming part is the cross-stitch design with their name, especially when it's a pet!  But it is also relaxing to sit and cross-stitch as long as I'm paying attention and not thinking about too many other things at the same time.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 13

the cutting of the tree


day 13 - tree

A family tradition that we've had for quite a few years is to travel to the closest tree farm.  It's fun to jump out of our warm vehicle and into the crisp cold air to tramp up and down the rows of Christmas trees to find the one that is perfect for our family.  The problem tends to be that everyone has a favorite tree that they think should be THE tree for the year. So, there's a lot of back and forth until we come to the conclusion of which one will the THE tree as the saw is placed at the base, the tree is cut down, and dragged out to the road.

This year's tree looked to be smaller than what we've picked before, but it's actually a perfect fit for the spot it's in. There's nothing like that fresh pine scent in the air and the glow of the tree lights in the evening.  Mmmm mmmm, good!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 12

prepare without the bah


Thought I would combine my photo-of-the-day challenge with the weekly Friday writing challenge.  Every Friday a group of bloggers from all over the place contemplate one word.  They spend five minutes writing about it without editing, post it, link it up at Kate's Five Minute Friday, then visit the link before them to leave a word or two of encouragement. Today's word is PREPARE.  Ready?  Set?  WRITE!


day 12 - stocking


::prepare::

Taking the annual trip to cut down our Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving seemed like a good way to launch some enthusiasm about Christmas.  But alas.  As I sit here with less than two weeks to go, I'm still looking for the enthusiasm I need to prepare for such a wonderful time of celebration.  Bah humbug seems to be a more fitting description of my badattitude this year.  

I dunno.  It seems to be a combination of things - too many cloudy gloomy days, too many loved ones who have passed away through the years in December, too many memories of other Christmas times that were marvelously wonderful, too many changes over the past few years.  And primarily, a very hard season of life right now.  

Yet all of that doesn't change the real reason of the season, does it?  

Sometimes we have to wade through all the bah humbug clutter to remember that we prepare not because of us, but because of Him.  Jesus.  

Born in a manger and destined to become our Savior.  THAT is worthy of a celebration of JOY!

Maybe I should take that stocking down, eh?

STOP!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, December 11

cozy blessings


day 10 - cozy

There is absolutely nothing in the world like sitting by the woodburner through the winter months. It is THE best!   The problem is, however,  that it's a little bit too cozy. My homeschoolers love to curl up in comfy chairs with their books right by the warm little fire and pretty soon I notice they are snoozing!  



day 11 - blessings

Counting my blessings and the one most dear to my heart right now happens to be the blessing of praying friends.  Is there anything more wonderful than a quick text to a friend for prayer support and knowing that they will immediately pray for you?  

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 9

call it cloudy


day 9 - weather

Outside my window at work watching the clouds pass  in various shades of gray.  Snow covered yard with icicles hanging in weather with temperatures in the upper teens. Often the sky and the ground match in color.

This weather gives me a constant longing for sunshine and warmer temperatures.  Only four or five months to go........

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 8

new tunes


day 8 - new

We seem to have started a new tradition over the last few years - finding a new Christmas CD to listen to in our kitchen. This year's winner is Michael Buble' Christmas.  Mmmm hmmm!  Smooth wonderful favorite Christmas tunes are wandering around our ears each time we walk into the room.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, December 7

#1 yum course


day 7 - dinner time

Yup.  Yum.  Number One.  

When it comes to one of our favorite homeschooling courses this semester, it's definitely Home Economics - Family Consumer Sciences.  In other words, FOOD! Tonight we enjoyed a specially prepared meal that consisted of mandarin salad, toasted parmesan bread, garlic potatoes, and slices of a wonderfully marinated broiled steak.  

Yup.  Yum.  A+ when it was all done!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 6

through the days of December


At the beginning of the month, I determined I would do a photo challenge through December again this year and found a good list over at The Idea Room - December Photo A Day. Of course, it's taken me some time to find the time to post the actual pictures.  Soooo, catching up today with multiple pictures.


day 1 - red & white
A red shovel stuck into the white snow at the top of the sledding hill



day 2 - errand
A sign of errands run around town - ugly black snow dropping off the car when you get back home



day 3 - candle
My all time favorite candle ever and always on my list as a gift idea - Old Yankee Candle Home Sweet Home



day 4 - silver
A simple handmade by a daughter loaded with silver glitter ornament made by a daughter last year


day 5 - ornament
Keeping with the daughter theme, a favorite ice skating ornament



day 6 - sparkly
A green snowflake ornament catching the sunlight coming in through the window today

Now to see if this photo challenge will put a little 'umph' into my Christmas spirit.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 5

::dear::


Have you noticed how quickly Friday comes each week?  It's once again time to gather with other writers all over the place to write for five minutes on one word.  No editing.  Post your link on this word over at Kate's Five Minute Friday and be sure to click on the link before yours to leave a word or two of encouragement.  The word for today is DEAR.  Ready?  Set? Write!

::dear::

Each time I see the word of the week and begin thinking about it, I always try to write on the first thought that comes to mind without over thinking.  First glance at today's word DEAR brought up this:

"All I once held dear, built my life upon....."

This line is the first line of a song by Graham Kendrick entitled Knowing You.

Our lives are such a journey. As I grow older and consider all I once held dear in this world I live in, I find it lacking.  It is loss, it is spent, it is worthless when compared to knowing Jesus.  Because knowing Jesus is the only thing that will truly be solid in a world of craziness.  Knowing Jesus brings you truth and love and hope.  Knowing Jesus is the only thing that will get you through the many storms of life. The bottom line is that knowing Jesus is THE most important thing to hold dear.

Here's a beautiful version (because there are so many flower pictures!) of this song:    Knowing You

STOP!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 1

from great to mega



The verse for December -  "I bring you good news of great joy for all the people." ~ Luke 2:10  

I love this passage of Scripture.  The setting is so incredible - shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their sheep at night.  My mind pictures the shepherds gathered around campfires and takes me back to memories around our own family campfires through the years.  Mesmerized by the dancing flames of the fire, giving those who constantly need to poke the fire with a stick a hard time, s'more messes on our faces and hands (probably not s'mores back then, eh?), and then, of course, the stories that are told.  

Yes, consider the setting when an angel of the Lord appeared to them with the glory of the Lord shining around them.  I know how hearing a twig in the woods behind us can cause everyone around a campfire to JUMP, so when the verse says the shepherds were filled with fear when the angel appeared, I'm tempted to guess that's an understatement.  If that weren't enough, what the angel shared must have been just as incredible.  

Good news of great joy for all people.

I have the word 'great' circled in my Bible with the word MEGA written by it.  

Good news of MEGA joy for all people. 

How about spending the month of December sharing with others about that MEGA joy?  Up for the challenge? It's good news that the entire world needs to hear about. Good news that brings hope.  Good news that came into the world wrapped in blankets.  Our Savior and Salvation. Jesus.  He's pretty mega, just sayin'.......

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, November 29

yumonions

Remember that gluten free creamy mushroom soup I posted about the other day?  Well, it went into my green bean casserole recipe for Thanksgiving dinner and tasted great!  Of course, it certainly helped to come up with an option for the French fried onions in that recipe and I can say I found a great recipe for those over at The Country Basket ---> Gluten Free Crisp French Fried Onion Topping recipe


The recipe was easy to make (I used the Bisquick gluten free baking mix and used a large red onion) and the result was yummy.  I know that I had fewer onions on the plate when it was time to put the recipe together, so there were many snick snackers in my kitchen who confessed their taste testing and gave me their opinion. Thumbs up! 

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

  

Friday, November 28

don't forget to give


The day after Thanksgiving has collided with taking  five minutes to write about one word with a community of others. Write with no editing, post it at Kate's Five Minute Friday, follow the link before yours leaving behind a word of encouragement.  The word for today is GIVE.  Ready?  Set? Write!


::give::


There's something that happens when you become a mother. You are more or less forced to learn how to give give give to your family sacrificially.  The thing is, however, that those little ones grasp your heart so tightly that it doesn't really feel sacrificial most of the time.  It feels more like "I'd go to the moon and back for you because I love you so."

In the process, you lose who you are.

In the process, you keep giving because you truly do love your family with all your heart.

Then they grow up, come back home for visits, and expect the same giving giving giving.  Their attitude collides with the process you've been traveling in recent years of finding out who the missing person of you really is.  

And with tears you wonder how you failed so miserably in modeling to them the gift of giving and serving from the heart?  To give and to serve because of love?

STOP!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, November 26

Good Food making

Sooooo, cruising through recipes to find some new gluten free ones for Thanksgiving and as always find it hard to duplicate our old favorites without a lot of extra new ingredients and time.  What a delight to find a recipe that mentioned using Progresso™ Vegetable Classics Creamy Mushroom Soup! Gluten Free!  Of course, I haven't yet used it and can't guarantee it actually tastes good (you know how that goes with GF stuff), but I'm hopeful enough to try it.  Also received a tip that the local natural foods store had a boxed GF plain stuffing mix that was selling like hotcakes, so I'm trying that, too!  (sorry, forgot to take a picture)  Picked up GF pie crusts while I was there as those worked well last year.

My break is over.......back to pie making!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, November 20

did you notice?


Sitting by the woodburner as I wait for the fire to be set for the night, I took a peek at the word for this week and decided to write it out right now.  It's the weekly challenge held on Fridays where you write for five minutes on one word.  No editing.  Post it.  Link it up at Kate's Five Minute Friday.  Then take some time to visit the link before yours — or several before yours — leaving behind a word of encouragement. The word is NOTICE.  Ready?  Set?  Write!

::notice::

Heads are always down as we connect with one another via technology in our hands.  Socially joining with anyone in an instant is the normal in today's culture.  Yet studies keep popping up about how lonely people really are.  They actually feel disconnected when it comes to real life.  

There's just something about having someone notice you.  

It's that acknowledgement that you are a real person with real feelings.

Being involved in a ministry where I do sit down one-on-one and face-to-face primarily with women, it's fascinating to watch their body language change as someone actually takes the time to notice them.  Their words come tumbling out and they don't have to question whether or not someone is actually listening because they can see that I'm engaged with their every word.  It's the eye contact.  It's the smile.  It's the pauses in the conversation during the difficult parts that don't need an instant reply.  Because someone is there to notice. Someone is there to care.

I tell ya, we need to slow this world down to stop and spend real time with one another.  We need to put down the technology, and really listen to the life stories that can't be shared in a text.  Truly be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus when we take the time to notice another person who could use His love.

STOP!

(And there's probably a whole lot more I could say on this topic because it's dear to my heart as I live in this hurting world, but I'll leave it at that!)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, November 18

the color of schooling

Since winter has decided to come early, all my outdoor work is done for awhile with the exception of shoveling which I do minimally, if at all.  Knowing how busy life gets once we get past Thanksgiving, I decided to work on a couple of indoor projects around the house.  No, not really projects, but areas that have been driving me a tad bit crazy because they are chaotic.  

Like the school cabinet in our kitchen.  It was jam packed with a variety of things such as spiral notebooks, school folders, crayons, pencils, loose papers, markers, old coloring books, textbooks, and tons of miscellaneous.  The task was one of separating, sorting, tossing, and putting away. 


This is the colorful accumulation of pencils, crayons, markers, and some of the miscellaneous that will be going back into the school cabinet. I should say, this is the collection that I kept as all the little pieces of crayons, stubby pencils, dried up markers, and broken pens were tossed into the garbage.  I'm thinking that we have enough pencils and crayons to not only last the rest of our homeschooling years, but well into eternity if we could take them with us.  

Without a doubt, it feels so much better to have that area cleaned up and organized again.  On to my next project.....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, November 15

a thunderous fall


A prayer request was shared with me today that took my breath away.  A situation that was devastating to hear about and will have far reaching ripples into the lives of many other people. I feel stunned.  Unable to focus and wavering between praying and wanting to have one of those ugly sobbing fests.

Of course, the main question is WHY, God?  How does a believer get pulled so far away from God's truth to fall so far from God?  Is it that our culture — the enemy really — has been desensitizing all of us to what sin is that it's losing its ugliness? Its darkness?   I mean really, the word SIN has become antiquated these days.  Unrecognizable.  

Yet it's ever present.  Ever waiting.  And only a breath away for anyone of us to fall into as not a single person on this planet is immune from its pull.

That's why we need to cling to the One who has conquered sin.  Jesus.  

And that's why we need to pray for those who have fallen big and for those who are feeling the ripples of pain from that fall.  

Lord, have mercy!  Give us the strength to help us stand firm in You!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, November 14

real peace? real still?


Five Minute Friday is here for all who not only love to write, but love the challenge of doing it quickly!  For five minutes write on the word of the day.  No editing.  Post it.  Link it up at Kate's Five Minute Friday.  Click on the link before yours and be sure to leave a note of encouragement behind.  In fact, click on several of the other links and leave lots of notes of encouragement behind!  The word for today is STILL. Ready?  Set?  Write!

::still::

One of my very favorite passages of Scripture is of Jesus calming the storm.  My very favorite version of it is actually found in the Jesus Storybook Bible (I love this Bible and wrote about it a long time ago right HERE).  In fact, I actually read that specific story from that specific Bible a few weeks ago in front of church as part of a testimony about God's Word.  I know, rather odd, but it worked for me.

In that Scripture passage, I love that the storm was really really raging and Jesus slept.  When he awoke, it was a simple, "Peace! Be still!" which was followed by a great calm of the wind and waves.  That was real peace.  Real still.

Are we able to do that in our quiet moments?  Find that real peace, that real still?  Because I think that a lot of times we can hunker down in the quiet to spend time with the Lord when everyone in the house is sleeping and although we are silent and undisturbed on the outside, there's a lot of restless ruffled up far from tranquil waves and wind within.  And you know what the honest truth is?  Sometimes we'd like Jesus to keep sleeping so WE can figure out the best way to calm the storm.

It's often only when the waves and wind are about to throw us totally overboard that we truly do give it all over to Jesus. We let go of us.  We hold onto Him.  And that's when we can find real peace.  Real still.

Stop! 

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, November 11

clearly in the blur


Yup, this was the view out my window early this morning. Not much of a view, eh?  Snowy, very windy, leaving the woods looking like a fuzzy blur.  I didn't need to open my window to know that the view was also cold.

"Can't see the forest for the trees" came to mind.  

"Every snowflake is unique and one-of-a-kind" also came to mind.

In other words, sometimes you can't pick out a single detail because life is such a fuzzy blur.  Other times you are so busy looking at every little detail of your life under a microscope that you miss the big picture.

As I thought about those two opposite and contrary ideas, I was startled by the thought that sometimes the two can both be happening at the same time in your life.  Really, they can.

Have you ever experienced that?

Over the past few years I've looked at a lot of details of my life up close and personal and yet that vantage point hasn't made my vision for the future any clearer.  So that takes me back to square one which is....trust God.  For every moment. For every detail.  For every step.  For my future.

Pretty simple actually, don't you think?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~




Monday, November 10

Daybooking in November


For November 10th


Outside my window.....the snow is coming down heavy.

I am thinking.....about how I may need to reschedule a few things this week because of all the snow (I've already canceled a few plans for today).

I am thankful.....for coming home a day early from a weekend of family time to get ahead of this weather.

I am wearing....my flowered denim jeans, a white top with my pink shaker sweater over it, and my fuzzy pink socks.

I am hearing.....the squeak of my youngest daughter's desk as she takes school books in and out of it.

I am wondering.....if the snow predictions are accurate for the next 36 hours and if this truly is the beginning of winter.  Could be another long one!

I am creating.....a list of Christmas ideas.

I am going.....to leave my car in the garage today and not venture out.

I am reading....."Transforming Grace" by Jerry Bridges

I am praying.....for a friend who is taking forever (much to her dismay) to recover from bronchitis.  

I am remembering.....that I haven't taken out any of my fall decorations yet.  Not sure that I should take them out anymore as I may need to instead pull out winter decorations.

I am hoping.....to "nail it" on a birthday gift I'm making for someone.

On my mind.....is how to best minister to those who have a totally different worldview than mine.

From the learning rooms.....are some writing projects for both girls.  I wish they loved to write as much as I do!

I am learning....that as believers in Jesus we often don't like to talk much about "refined sins" but instead focus on the big ones.

Noticing that.....the wind is picking up a bit and swirling the snow.

I am looking forward to.....the next time my family is all together.

Pondering these words....."Your calling is radically this: Gloriously hijack every darkness with grace." ~ Ann Voskamp

From the kitchen.....maybe I'll make some applesauce this afternoon and it'll be a pot of chili for supper.

Around the house....are the dumpings of clutter from last night as we came through the door after a weekend away.

One of my favorite things.....is watching my grandson say "no" about everything, even the things he means "yes" but refuses to say it.  He's really a little character.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include Bible study tonight, hopefully work unless we really do get snowed in, a couple of meetings, and continued cleaning projects as I determine what stays and what goes. 

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you....


Hard to catch a picture as the wind is blowing, the snow is snowing, and the chick-a-dee is flitting quickly in and out at the birdfeeder just under the porch roof.

Thank you for stopping and visiting my daybook on this day. If you'd like to visit others who are participating in the November daybook or write a journal yourself, please stop over at Peggy's at Simple Woman's Daybook

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, November 7

only place to turn

Friday is here once again, so it's time for some fast writing. Here's the deal - you write about one particular word for five minutes without editing. Post it.  Link it up over at Kate's Five Minute Friday.  Read the post before yours and leave a blessing behind.  Simple!  Here's the word for today - TURN. Ready?  Set?  GO!

::turn::

This really hasn't been an easy week for me.  In fact, it's been a miserable week.  Primarily, I'm just not a fan of November. Period.  And that is for several reasons.  The time change and the complete darkness by late afternoon.  The cold weather and the arrival of snow which is still on the ground (and we just so happen to have light snow flurries at the moment! grrrrr!) The woods which has pretty much lost all it's color and is a lot of brown and gray.  The lack of sunshine.  

Then throw in the elections of national, state, and local politicians and all the rhetoric that comes from them as well as a phone that rings constantly with all sides shouting out a message.

Then throw in having to send off a package in the mail that brought with it the renewal of heart rendering pain of an unresolved situation. 

Then throw in finding out about a little bit of undercover deception of a teenager. 

My mood went sour. My heart was done.  My own strength to deal with any of it was gone.

I knew I could only turn in one direction at this point.  To God.  My whisper was :::help me:::

And He ever so faithfully did just that.

STOP!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, November 4

it's all about the promises


People talk a lot about God's promises, but have you ever thought about this?....

"The Bible is full of God's promises to provide for us spiritually and materially, to never forsake us, to give us peace in times of difficult circumstances, to cause all circumstances to work together for our good, and finally to bring us safely home to glory.  Not one of those promises is dependent upon our performance. They are all dependent on the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ." ~ Jerry Bridges

If you believe in Jesus Christ all of these promises are yours. Free.  It doesn't matter if you messed up big time or you've obediently followed all the rules.  God doesn't operate on a rewards system;  He operates on a grace system.  

Believe in Him.  Trust in Him.  Rest in His grace.  Soak in His promises.  Be transformed by His grace!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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