Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

Here we are halfway through the first month of the year (and the decade, depending on how you count it). I love these weekly stops to reflect on what’s gone before. Here are some of my favorite things from the last week:

1. More light. I usually walk my youngest son to the door as he leaves for work to say goodbye and lock the door behind him. It has still been dark when he leaves, until this week. Or at least this is the first week I noticed the light shining that time of morning. I know the days have been getting longer since the winter solstice, but this is the first time it has been noticeable.

2. Mending done. I order almost all my clothes online, and when you use the same companies, you get used to their sizing. Until they change. Somehow the last few dresses I’ve bought have been baggy, and not because I have lost weight (because I haven’t). I felt I could just take them in a little on the sides and they’d be ok, but hadn’t gotten to it in … months. I finally made time to do that this week.

3. Organizational ideas. I love when some better way to do or arrange things just comes to me out of the blue. I had received some Instant Pot accessories as gifts last year. As I hunted for one of them this week, I thought, you know, it would be a good idea to keep all of them together in a box. Then at a store other than the one I planned to go to for said box, I found one just the right size, saving me another stop.

4. Recipe book update. A few years ago I made a scrapbooked notebook of recipes I’d torn out of magazines or had recipes cards for, etc. It was nothing fancy or decorative—just the scraps of paper or card stock glued to pages and divided into categories. My “main dish” notebook was breaking up, so I got another. Instead of just transferring everything over, I thought it would be a good time to weed out those recipes I didn’t think I’d ever really use and add in a few I had printed from the Internet. For instance, I had three chicken and stuffing casserole recipes, and the one I use wasn’t even in there. It got a little more involved than I had anticipated: after pulling some recipes out, then I had to rearrange what was left. I’m not entirely done yet, but it feels good to have them in a fresh new notebook and arranged more efficiently.

5. Kindle deals. I follow a couple of sites that share Christian books on sale for the Kindle app for 99 cents to a dollar or so. I love trying out new authors that way or finding other books by authors I already love. Both of these have a broad umbrella—I wouldn’t endorse everything they share. Discern is always needed. But I appreciate their services combing through Amazon deals for those labeled Christian.

What’s one good thing from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

How can we be a third of the way through January already? I’m pausing to reflect on some of the best parts of the week.

1. New Year’s Eve. I forgot to mention this last week. We had a Hickory Farms box of sausages and cheese we hadn’t opened yet, and I decided to use that and build around it for a smorgasbord-type easy dinner. I got some frozen potato skins and meatballs and such at the store, and Mittu made a chocolate-peanut butter tart and a few other things. Jim made ham salad. We ended up having quite the spread. Then we filled our plates and watched the old animated version of 101 Dalmatians. Jason and Mittu have been trying out the Disney Plus service, and it’s been fun to have access to all the Disney movies.

2. A belated anniversary get-away. Jim and I took a couple of days to go to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area to celebrate our 40th anniversary a couple of weeks late. He had all last week off while the kids had all gone back to work. We stayed in a lovely lodge, had some great meals, and visited the Titanic Museum. And he had dug out some of our notes from dating days to read again. I wrote all about it here.

3. Getting my hair cut. I had been meaning to since before Christmas, but hadn’t had a chance.

4. Jeopardy’s “Greatest of All Time” tournament. We don’t watch Jeopardy every night, but catch it sometimes when I’ve finished cleaning the kitchen after dinner. We watched several months ago when James Holzhauer took the program by storm and broke all kinds of records. Now he, Ken Jennings (who had a 72-game winning streak) and Brad Rutter (who has won the most money of any game show contestant) are back for a “Greatest of All Time” tournament among the three of them. I always wonder how Jeopardy contestants can know (and remember!) all that they do, but these guys take it to another whole level. I’ve also love the banter between them on the show and on Twitter.

5. Affirmation. My youngest son has been at his job about six weeks now. He received some good comments about his performance from a couple of people this week, and that’s always encouraging. He told us last night that even though this wasn’t exactly the type of job he was looking for originally, he’s enjoying it.

Those are highlights of my week. What’s a highlight from your January so far?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

There wasn’t an official Fave Five last week, but I didn’t know that until after I had already posted. But I don’t think I could have held in all the blessings from that week, anyway, with Christmas, our 40th anniversary, and some fund outings.

Happy 2020 to you! Already there are blessings to be counted! Here are some of mine:

1. Family time. We continued our Christmas break over last weekend, went bowling, hung out at the mall for a bit, played more games at home. It’s always hard to say good-bye, but we’ll all be together again in April, Lord willing.

2. A day of rest. Usually when we’re all together, we have a day or two of just hanging around the house. But we didn’t have that this time. We had something going every day. We realized that this break ended up being a little shorter—Jeremy’s flight was delayed a day, plus the calendar didn’t work out to incorporate his New Year’s Day off into the Christmas visit as we’ve done before. So while I loved the time together, I also loved crashing the rest of Sunday after church.

3. Getting the house back in order. It’s a mixture of sadness and satisfaction to put the Christmas decorations away. But it’s one more step in turning from the old year to the new.

4. New calendars. I love setting them up for the new year, jotting down everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries.

5. A son getting through a problem. Jesse’s car battery died while Jim and I were away on a belated anniversary get-away (more on that next week!) I felt for him, having to find someone to jump his car at work in the pouring rain. He got it going, took it somewhere to be tested, and bought a new battery. Such are the challenges of adulting. He handled it well.

Happy 2020 to you! One verse that always comes to mind in a new year:

Deuteronomy 11:11-12: But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

Some weeks it takes searching and thought to come up with five good things. Other weeks are overflowing. This one is the latter!

1. Our 40th anniversary. We didn’t celebrate on the exact day (except exchanging cards) because that was the day Jeremy came in, and we had a family outing that had to happen that day due to the venue closing. But we went out for a nice dinner the night before. Then the next day we thought we were just going to lunch at Jason and Mittu’s, but they had made an anniversary dinner. Mittu made this wonderful cake. We have a couple of things planned for next week: Jim has the whole next week off, but the kids will all be back at work.

They decorated with doily hearts all over.

2. The family all together. Jeremy’s flight was delayed a day, but we were thankful that occurred before the first flight rather than during a layover. We’re enjoying lots of talking, eating, playing games, watching movies and videos, and togetherness.

3. Christmas in the cavern. The Historic Cherokee Caverns dress up for Christmas with lots of lights, music, and a few characters. We picked up Jeremy at the airport, had a nice dinner out, then went to the caverns. Because it was the last night, it was sooooo crowded. They don’t sell out or sell tickets ahead of time. Eventually we found a parking space not too far away and got through the lines to get tickets. In one sense, the lights, music, and crowds were all a little too much. But it was a fun evening overall, and it made us want to go back and explore during regular hours.

4. Christmas Day. Lots of good food for breakfast, lunch, and dessert, gifts lovingly given and received, the remembrance of our Savior who left heaven’s glories for such a lowly birth, to live and die and be raised again for us.

5. An enjoyable and productive short road trip. Jeremy just bought a new condo with hardwood floors. One of Jim’s customer’s has a rug outlet about 3 1/2 hours away. Jim gets a discount there, so he planned to drive down with Jeremy to see if he could find anything for his new place. I was conflicted about going: my body just doesn’t handle even short road trips well, and spending the day in the car didn’t appeal to me. But I also didn’t want to give up a day with Jeremy while he was here. So I decided to go at last, and I’m so glad I did. We enjoyed talking together, or sometimes I listened while they talked. Eventually on the way back we all got quiet, with me reading, Jeremy on his device, and Jim driving. We had a nice lunch at Subway. Jeremy found all the rugs he needed, I think. We enjoyed a beauitful sunset on the way home then got pizza delivered for dinner. Not only did I enjoy the time together, but I read almost all of one book. It was bliss to have nothing I had to do after one of the busiest days (weeks, months) of the year for me.

Bonus: While at Jason and Mittu’s house, I admired these new decorations. When I asked Mittu where she got them, she said her mom had sent them and had sent a set for me, too. It might sound silly, but it was a special moment for me—one of those times God gives you something you want before you even ask.

I hope you’ve had a good week as well!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

During the busiest weeks, it’s still important to stop and count our blessings—maybe even more important then since they can so easily be forgotten in the rush of activities. But since we are busy, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

1. Christmas cards and newsletters. We get fewer every year, but I love sending and receiving them.

2. Christmas lights. They provide such cheer, I always hate to take them down after Christmas. I know we don’t know for sure exactly when Christ was born, but I love that we celebrate His birth in the darkest part of the year. That makes all the verses about light seem even more meaningful.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone (Isaiah 9:2).

My eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:30-32).

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”  (John 8:12).

3. Packages arriving from all the online ordering. Fun! One even went to the wrong place, but the recipient graciously brought it to us.

4. Tylenol and Icy Hot spray. My back has been giving me a hard time this week.

5. Central heat. I know I say this every year. But it’s been cold this week, and I am so thankful all I have to do is push a button to turn the heat up.

I hope your Christmas preparations are going well, and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

Does time speed up in December? Sure seems like it! Here are some highlights from this busy week.

1. A pretty snowfall that didn’t impact roads much and was mostly gone in a day. Snow is not my favorite thing, but I couldn’t deny this was pretty.

2. Christmas decorations for the porch. I’ve long wanted something Christmasy on the table of our front porch. I had a couple of gift cards for Hobby Lobby, so I wandered around there for a while and came up with this:

I originally wanted one cardinal, but couldn’t find any in the Christmas section. I found a pack of three in the floral area, and now I am glad to have more than one.

3. Feeling better. I woke up Thursday morning feeling pretty awful and thinking I would probably have to go in to see the doctor. I spent most of the morning resting, and by lunchtime was pretty much back to normal. Such a relief on a busy week.

4. Lunch with a friend at Cracker Barrel. One of my favorite people and one of my favorite places!

5. Harvest Loaf Cake. I think I mention this every December, but it’s a favorite every year!

What’s a highlight from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

Well, I didn’t get as much done as I had wanted to this first week of December. But I did make a dent in Christmas shopping and wrapping and hope to start my Christmas letter and cards soon! Meanwhile, here are some highlights of the last week.

1. Christmas decorating. I love that the whole family pitches in to help, even those who don’t live at home. Timothy came equipped to help us with our tree. 🙂

Mittu made soup and sandwiches for lunch. It makes for a busy few hours, but it’s nice to get it all done at once. Plus I love the comments and reminiscences about the decorations, ornaments, etc.

2. Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals. I don’t like going out into the fray, but we found some nice online sales for some items from our list. Plus, I did some of my own shopping when I discovered some deals on personal items plus a dress I’d had my eye on reduced to half-price.

3. Jesse’s first week at work. I mentioned before that he was hired, but they said the background check would take a couple of weeks. He started on Tuesday and so far, so good. The first few weeks are just training, the very first one just shadowing and observing. But it looks manageable and seems like a good place. The company sponsored a bowling event that he enjoyed going to, a nice way to get to know people right off the bat.

4. Turkey leftovers. Turkey Bone Soup is a tradition, and I made Turkey Pot Pie for the first time this year (I don’t know why I had never thought of that before!) I used vegetables I had on hand rather than the frozen ones called for.

5. The Man Who Invented Christmas is an creative retelling of Charles Dickens’ writing of A Christmas Carol. Jim indulged me in watching last weekend, and we both really enjoyed it.

It does have a couple of places that were uncomfortable for me (the nanny’s ghost story, for one). This review goes into more detail. But overall it was a good movie.

Happy Friday!

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

I’m full this week—with good food from Thanksgiving and with the riches of a great week. Here are a few:

1. Thanksgiving. All the special foods, time with family, FaceTiming with my oldest son, playing games, eating again. This year we added something new. I’ve wanted to set up a Thanksgiving tree for ages but just never got to it. I cut out a rough tree, bought some leaf shapes, then had them sitting on the counter through the week for people to write what they are thankful for on a leaf and put it on the tree.

2. Take-out is one of my favorite things, as I have mentioned. 🙂  We’ll often get something out on the weekend. But the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was catching a little nap in the afternoon after a very busy day. I’d had to make another run to the store for things the first store was out of, my laundry got pushed back because I was out most of the day I usually do it, plus I had a pie to bake and Thanksgiving dinner to prepare for. When I woke up, Jim mentioned getting dinner from a new Asian place he wanted to try. Not only did I appreciate not having to make or clean up dinner, but my heart was warmed by his thoughtfulness.

3. A breakfast date. Jim was off all this week, so one morning we went to Shoney’s breakfast bar. We spent almost two hours just talking after we ate.

4. Playing with Timothy. Mittu had suggested we might come by some morning this week since Jim was off work and Timothy didn’t have school this week. So we brought lunch and talked and played a while. While we were making shapes with kinetic sand (something like Play-dough, but a different texture), Timothy said, “Grandma, I love you.” Then later in the week at our house, he played chef and server with some amusing outcomes.

5. An early anniversary gift. Because our anniversary is right in the middle of Christmas season, we usually just exchange cards and go out for a nice dinner. But since this year is our 40th, we’ve been talking about doing something different. The kids got together and got an early anniversary card and Visa gift card to contribute to anniversary plans.

Bonus: Jim’s mom’s main bath aide from hospice stopped by to drop off something for us. The hospice group had had a memorial for the families they had worked with who had lost loved ones this year. We did not go: we had had two memorials already, and didn’t want to attend this one with mostly strangers. They had ornaments for each family engraved with our loved one’s name, and this lady brought ours to the house. It was good to chat with her again and catch up with what she had been doing.

What’s one special thing from your week?

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

Here we are near the end of November already, and Thanksgiving next week. But we don’t have to wait til Thursday to be thankful! Here are a few things I’ve appreciated the last few days:

1. My youngest son got a job! He has been working on it for a long time, and finally got a “yes!” He has to wait for results from a background check and drug test, but those shouldn’t be problems.

2. Dinner and a movie at home. Jason and Mittu brought over dinner last Friday and then we all watched Klaus together. It was a pretty cute movie.

3. Ladies Bible study group met last Saturday. Always a joy.

4. Sweaters and throw blankets. This time of year, they add just the right layer of warmth.

5. Sleep. For some reason, I woke up in the middle of the night and then couldn’t get back to sleep for 2-3 hours. :/ I went back to bed this morning after Jim left, so I don’t feel quite as much like a zombie as I did at first. I’m thankful I have the kind of schedule that allows me to go back to bed, but I regret losing daytime hours to sleep that should have come during the night.

Bonus: A text from Jason about my grandson, Timothy. Looks like someone is eager for Christmas. 🙂

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s Friday, time to count the blessings of the week
with Susanne and other friends at Living to Tell the Story.

I don’t know how we’re halfway through November already, but let’s stop a moment and think about some highlights of the week.

1. My oldest son becoming a homeowner. After about the longest journey to buying a house that I have ever known (trying to qualify for first-time homeowner’s assistance, multiple inspections and repairs, only not to qualify in the end due a requirement that was out of the previous homeowner’s hands), my son was finally able to close on his condo.

2. Figuring out my bicycle seat pads. This is one of those kind of dumb little things that did make a big difference. I had bought a pad for my exercise bicycle’s uncomfortable seat. It had a way to attach it, but since it was a different shape and size, I figured it wouldn’t work. So I just plopped the pad on top. But that meant adjusting it every single time I rode the bike, sometimes having to stop and adjust it in the middle of my exercise. I finally decided to see if the attachment would work, and it did! It’s nice to to start the day without that minor frustration.

3. A mild first snowfall. I know some of you have had major winter storms already. Our first snowfall was a bit early, but not bad. Since we don’t have all the equipment here for roads that those north of us do, I’m grateful when snowfall is minor and fades away quickly.

4. Texts from Timothy. My five-year-old grandson gets hold of his mom’s phone sometimes and sends me messages. 🙂

5. The 5 Below store. My son and daughter-in-law had told me about this store, but they only recently built one near us. It’s like a dollar store, but items can be anywhere from $1-5. I had just come from the dollar store when I went to this shop, and it was so much nicer in its contents and atmosphere.

Bonus: Operation Christmas Child. This is only my second time to participate, and this was the cause of my shopping yesterday. So fun! I really enjoyed reading about Susanne’s experience as a distributor. That helps me picture how these boxes are received.

What’s something special from your week?