Thursday, December 20, 2012

It Doesn't Have To be "Merry Christmas" to Mean "I Love You"

I love christmas, because it is family together time for us, and some years we travel to be with friends and family and some years we have money and some years we just make do but it is fun, and we do play a lot of games and talk a lot and watch movies and get to the snow somewhere and walk in the light displays somewhere.  I also love the solstice and a bonfire then.  My heart is more pagan than Christian, more believer than my mind is, I love holidays, none the less and firmly do believe in Santa Claus.  I love when people wish me well, however they do it, and celebrate whatever they are celebrating.

That said, I hate seeing people turn their belief into "Dogma"  I hate hearing that there is only one right way and the belief that anyone different is wrong.  i hate the being offended by "Happy Holidays" CRAP!

So when I saw this on facebook, I loved it and I'll share even though it isn't mine, but if you feel like it is me preaching at you, or offending you. Sorry.  Not meant that way at all, at all.

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking
My name out of the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I wasn’t actually born
during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who
decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival.
Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily
understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I
don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which
you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple
of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn.
If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the
town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree,
instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me
anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of
that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of
our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish
list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is
being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home.
They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all
the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally.
They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing Barack complaining about the wording on the cards his
staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be
praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice
hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they
don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I
came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I
love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life
this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who
that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the
holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a
kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that
doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If
the store didn’t make so much money on that day they’d close and let their
employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary– especially
one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town
who not only will have no “Christmas” tree, but neither will they have any
presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few
gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes
in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty
to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t
do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don’t forget – I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what
I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above
and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your
court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and
remember …



- Author Unknown

Monday, December 3, 2012

Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, or whatever melts your butter.

Shoo Fly pie and pumpkin too, no Apple Pan dowdy yet because I am the only one here who likes molasses.
 I love the fall, but I always sense my clothing getting tighter.  I don't think that they shrink in the heat. I think it is the cold that tightens the space between each thread.
Yep. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
After All I ran the weaving lab at Southern Oregon State College as an undergraduate, so you can trust me about those fiber arts.

 The Sky has been lovely here when we can see it, and obscured by (I love this term) and atmospheric river for most of the time! Flooding, mud slides, power outages. Yeah, business as usual.

And here it is time to celebrate the holidays already.  If you are one who hates being told Happy Holidays, skip this next line.

             Happy Holidays! 

  I love them, if you want to wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah Blessed Eid, Happy Kwanzaa or  Happy Winter Solstice or whatever  melts your butter. Thank You.

I love my record of my life which the much ridiculed Christmas form letter has provided along with the annual photo card. I keep them in a binder but want to make a book for me.

Today I realized it is time to write the annual Christmas Card and take the Family picture as I have done every year since 1987 when my husband and I were Students in Beijing and I wrote and doodled it by hand.

I am very thankful now for the easiest record. What Year did I get Injured, When did we go to Your Mom's house last, How old were the kids when . . .? the questions are all answered in these and if the house burned I know the record is safe at my moms and some friends who tell me they keep them and treasure them too.

BTW, I love adding people to the mailing list when I make new friends but I never take people off so every year there is the smile at remembering a friend I saw every day 30 years ago but only hear from once every couple years now.

At the Christmas Tree lot.

One branch of my maple has turned red, the rest of the tree is still mostly green.

 The perk of living with rain, is that rainbows are frequent too.
 My family uses a lot of trees each year, the woodstove keeps us warm and keeps the house dry enough to avoid the mold which permeates the Pacific Northwest
 But the Christmas Tree warms the house in a whole different way.
 Ok, maybe there is one other reason that November saw my clothes getting tighter.  I did glue myself to the computer until I managed to Write 50, 000 words for a 
National Novel Writing Month

All that glue must be hard on the cloth.

but it means that Duffy Barkley is Not a Dog
Duffy Barkley: Seek Well 
should be joined by the third book in the series by the end of summer 2013

Reason enough to challenge the end of the world theory.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Potato Casserole

My Mother-In-Law, Mimi Goode, got this recipe from Dorothy Johnson of theNewcastle, Wyoming Episcopal Church

It is a Sweet Potato casserole that is almost like a pumpkin pie with a pecan pie on top.

preheat oven to 350*

Take one large can of Canned Sweet Potato, drained (29 ounces) or use fresh cooked (2 and 1/3 cups)
mash them well
3/4 cup sugar
3/8 cup melted butter (yeah, thats the way it was written but do 6 tablespoons on the butter stick.)
2 beaten eggs
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Combine all and pour into a greased casserole dish.

Make Topping and spread on the whole thing

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/8 cup butter
3/8 cup flour
3/4 cup chopped pecans.  I always use more

bake until edges are browning and the center is set

Trust me, everyone loves this except one wonderful brother in law who only likes baked nuts in pecan pie and NO EXCEPTIONS

Family Traditions

The first Thanksgiving I can remember, when I am one of the toddlers, running underfoot in the kitchen and climbing up on the furniture and playing with cousins by the dozens and sneaking olives to stick on each fingertip and going crazy on the crowd and the steamy aromas filling the house.

Then we get old enough to help. A little, setting the table and pouring the drinks, minding the younger children. The games slow down as we learn board games and card games instead of jumping on the couch and hide and seek.

Then we go away from home and spend the first Thanksgiving making lame jokes about, "do you have any turkey pizza?" while eating in Pizza Hut and then everyone else asks the same question as they wander in through the door in lonely ones or twos, and wishing we could transport ourselves home to the festivities we hear over the phone as it gets handed around. So then we make sure to get there, somehow for the holidays that follow. 

There are always new people added in, and that is good, new spouses, new babies, new friends. But then some of the old faces disappear, divorces or deaths. And the helping becomes hosting and suddenly the whole party depends on you and your house and it is your college kids coming home to a different house, but still HOME

And the recipes have been handed down. Everything else is typed neatly, but the stained ones in Grandma's handwriting don't get switched out or updated. The pie plate that was the big sister's pride of her handmade stoneware set, now depends on you to fill it since she died on that hike in the Grand Canyon

And you realize, you are one of the grey haired, elders, keeping the tradition flowing, and that it was going on for centuries before you were born, and when you too, step out of this world, the family will still be Thankful you were in it once.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I used to hate Turkey, but I have the best Turkey recipe now.

I have so many things to be grateful for this year.  I know that there is much that is troubled and harsh going on in the world, but I also know that even in the harshest, most troubled times there is also much that is filled with love and beauty.  Thanksgiving and Harvest time is a good time to gather the ones you love close to you and celebrate the gifts of another year.

When I was growing up, we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with Ham or Beef because my Dad swore that Turkey was dry and tasteless. If we went to celebrate with cousins who cooked a turkey they would always deny the dryness and talk him into trying it, but he would enjoy the stuffing and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and later say that that turkey was just like all the others.

 You can't make a moist turkey.  Dad told me, and I believed him.  Then I married a man who loved turkey, so we made them, in a baking bag like his Mom and his sisters, but I still agreed with Dad. Without Gravy, Turkey was too dry to choke down.
 So It was more than a surprise, It felt like a miracle, when we joined my brother-in-law one year and decided to try a new recipe together.  Like always, we cooked the neck and giblets in a pan on the stove to get the broth for gravy, because the turkey in a bag method gives you very little broth.  But when we pulled out this turkey, it sat in at least a gallon of broth and the meat was so tender it melted on your tongue and no we have used the same recipe 6 times, and friends have used it.  It is not only perfect, It is easy.
 I can put the turkey in the oven and ignore it for 3 hours and play board games or work on writing my November NaNWriMo novel.
 I can celebrate the kids coming home from college and the sea and forget that I am cooking the dreaded turkey.

 So what do you do?

Grab yourself a unfrozen turkey and remember to take out the giblet bag from the neck cavity.  I usually cook about a 16 pound turkey but vary that based on the crowd you are serving of course.

Take a large washed, pear and place it into the turkey, yes, you'll have to cook dressing in a separate pan.  Then take a turkey cooking bag and shake the flour inside it like the instructions with the bag tell you to do.  Put the bag an its side in a roasting pan and put in six stalks of celery trimmed to about 6 to 9 inches, lay them parallel and just use them to rest the turkey on.  Have someone help you put the turkey in the bag.  Then take another large pear and cut it in half and place each half on the turkey, cut side down, just above each drumstick.

Use the zip tie to seal the bag and make a few 1/2 inch cuts in the bag to vent steam.  If your turkey has a pop up timer make sure the bag is loose above it or it will be held from popping up.

Stick it in the oven and cook according to the bag directions for that size, and aim for 1/2 way between the time for stuffed and unstuffed given in the directions.  Forget about it during that time and it will be great.  Of course you will think you need to be making pies and mashed potatoes and sweet yams and all that stuff, and you do, but it doesn't take the whole time, so also ENJOY YOUR FAMILY!

When you pull it out, there will be a lot of hot broth, so be careful.  Enjoy

I still use the neck to boil up a pan of broth for gravy, and that way I can add in poultry seasoning, soy sauce, garlic and pepper while it simmers.  Then I just whisk a third of a cup of corn starch into a cup of cold water, add it to the broth and stir while it comes to a boil and I get a nice, clear, lumpless gravy everyone likes.

Our must have side dish is a sweet potato casserole with a brown sugar and pecan streusel topping.  But the only real must have is the simple ability to look at the mess and the dirty dishes and the smiling faces and remember, if you're eating and you have dirty dishes and one person you love.  Life is good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


 At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. 
Albert Schweitzer 

 If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it. 
Lyndon B. Johnson 

Baked with Love  :)

Morning View

Cuddling with the family

 The debt of gratitude we owe our mother and father goes forward, not backward. What we owe our parents is the bill presented to us by our children. 
Nancy Friday 

 Sometimes I find myself feeling hollow and empty and a bit scared, but when I stop and ask myself "Why?"  I have to laugh a bit.  As I feel myself growing older I find that the blessings of my life are so abundant that my biggest cause of depression is that I am overwhelmed by good things.  My Children are grown and starting off well on the adventure that is life, and they are mostly able to have all the good things that life has to offer, if they work for them.  They have "Life, liberty and the" chance to pursue happiness.
 I have seen most of my dreams come true and get to still be here as they begin deciding what their dreams will be.  And I am still healthy and young enough to set new goals and follow new hopes into the future.
True Love!

 The scariest part of my life sometimes is that I get so busy that I forget to notice all the wonderful people in it right now.  So I love the fact that Thanksgiving, coming up in a month gives us a chance to look at the great things we normally take for granted and really see them for the wonders they are.

 Have you figured out that I am a recorder?  I love to capture the moment in words and pictures, and often that means I choose to stay on the sidelines with my camera and notebook instead of being in the game so much.  I used to fight that before I realized it is OK to not want to be center stage, and it is good to be me.

I Love You

 Now, one of my favorite places to participate is with a bunch of other visual people, who love my pictures and stories and share theirs from all over the world.  365 project is a wonderful blend of photo journal and conversation.  I have made friends as well as preserved memories and for November I have challenged them to take a picture a day of something they are Thankful4.  I'd like to invite any of you to join in the challenge if you are interested

snuggle time on the lovesack

Fisherman's memorial

Carson Mansion, Eureka CA

 Now I have one more thing to be Thankful for.  My fisherman son just called and he is pulling in to Bodega Bay after surviving his first at sea fishing job.
My son leaving on a Tuna Boat

Pelicans at Sunset

Crescent City Harbor recovering still from Tsunami

So here we go, improving my attitude by improving my ability to focus on the positives in my life and looking for what I already have.  If you have something in your life that you are thankful for, I'd love to hear about it.