...all things pertaining to the warmth and coziness of home

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Grateful and Expectant

Saying Good Bye to 2013

The years are going by oh so quickly! We're saying good-bye to another one.
For some, that may be a good thing. It may be a year that they would rather not remember.
Maybe the loss of someone so dear.
The disappointment of not having the child so desired.
The loss of a job.
A broken heart.
For others, it was a great year. A year to always remember.
 Perhaps finding someone to love.
A new baby.
A dream job.
Starting a new chapter in life.
However 2013 was for you, it is coming to a close and in some countries it is already closed.
A new year always has a sense of excitement to it.
And that is how we should enter it.
Grateful for God's blessings in 2013 and expectant at what God has in store in 2014.

Time goes on. There are the same minutes in the day for all of us.
This picture is free from The Graphics Fairy
I am so grateful for God's forgiveness and everlasting mercy.
 Maybe there are some things that you would like to see changed in your life.
Whatever you may be going through, there is always beauty that can come out of it.
A lot of people were without power for days over Christmas.
We drove up on Christmas evening and this is what we saw the next morning.
Such beauty!
There were a lot of branches on the ground and slumped over trees from the weight of the ice and snow.
But it was lovely to look at. When the sun shone and the trees were glistening it was almost unbelievable how beautiful the landscapes were.
“Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19
I am entering 2014 with expectancy! I hope you are too.
Blessings, Diane

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 24

Embracing the Unexpected

This is my family in October 2010 when my parents celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
Me, Mom, my husband Doug, Dad, Bruce (brother), Renita (sister) and  Paul (brother-in-law), Kristine (sister-in-law) and  Harry (brother).
We live three hours away from family and every year we travel on Christmas Eve day to spend a few days on our old "home turf" and visit with various family members.
This past weekend there was an ice storm that caused power to be disrupted to many homes in Southern Ontario. We got rain, they got freezing rain, and people north of them got lots of snow.
My parents still have no power so we are waiting.

I didn't buy anything in the way of groceries because we wouldn't be here, so we stopped and bought some steak and had a lovely steak dinner.
After dinner, hubby and I went and saw The Hobbit.
In the grand scheme of things, this little bump is just that...a little bump.
It's just another day, really.
December 25 was a day picked by someone to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I'm just happy to spend any day with my family. My parents are still here and I am very grateful.
If we don't get together tomorrow, then hopefully the next day.
It's all OK and God knows all.
There was a lot of "unexpected" occurrences surrounding the birth of Jesus.
A young virgin is called to be his mother, to be conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Her cousin Elizabeth who is much older and had never had children was pregnant.
Elizabeth's husband John had a visitation of an angel but because he didn't believe what he was told he became mute.
The place of  Christ's birth was not where a King should be born.
A star unlike any other shone so bright that night.
A heavenly host of angels appeared to shepherds with a message.
Those are a few. I'm sure we could list many more.
How do you handle the "unexpected"?
Do you embrace the "unexpected"?
Because if you are able to embrace the unexpected, expect God show up.
Blessings, Diane


Monday, 23 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 23

Snow-Covered Almond Crescents
If you like almond desserts, you will love these cookies. They're like a shortbread. And they look so pretty covered in snow! I forgot to take pictures until I was almost done, but I don't think you need pictures if you know how to bake. I found this recipe from Kraft Canada
1 pkg Cream Cheese
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup ground almonds
3/4 cup icing sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add flour and baking soda; mix well.
Stir in ground almonds.  Cover (I put the batter in a large ball and wrap it with saran wrap.)
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Shape dough into one inch balls then form each ball into crescent shape. I roll them between both hands a bit and then shape them. Place two inches apart on greased baking sheets. Flatten slightly.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. (I don't like to brown mine)
Cool slightly on baking sheets.
You can see a tad bit of brown on some of the ends. I pack my cookie sheets. I use the air bake cookie sheets and never have a problem burning my cookies. I also always under bake.
Sprinkle with icing sugar. Cool completely.
These are delicious and very easy to make. They would make a nice gift as well.

We always travel three hours to visit family for Christmas. They were hit with an ice storm over the weekend and still have no power. We won't be able to go until they have their power restored, so it's  a "wait and see" for now.
Very thankful for the blessings that I have.
So thankful for the goodness and protection of God.
Blessings, Diane

Sunday, 22 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 22

The Pondering Heart
I was reading about the birth of Jesus in Luke 2 recently and realized that I had made an assumption about Mary.
I don't know if it was made because of movies, or plays that I saw,
 but I had always thought that when Mary had "pondered these things in her heart",
 that she was pondering them after the angel came and told her that she would give birth to a Son whose name would be called Jesus.
It's funny how you can read something over and over and then all of a sudden you read it like you've read it for the first time.
I believe that is called revelation. It becomes a "wow" moment. I like those.

Luke 2:15-20

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[a] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Google actually has images for "pondering".
Merriam Webster defines ponder as:
1:  to weigh in the mind :  appraise <pondered their chances of success>
2:  to think about :  reflect on <pondered the events of the day>
 The shepherds had just been visited by a sky full of angels while they were doing their usual task of caring for the sheep.
I've often wondered why God chose to tell these guys.
I think, as usual, God knows the heart.
Jesus was never accepted by the leaders of the synagogues, and wasn't even accepted in his own hometown.
These shepherds were so excited! And they told everyone!
Mary and Joseph must have been surprised when all of a sudden the stable was full of people wanting to see the baby.
Up until now her news of having a baby was not good news.
She was a young girl engaged to Joseph. Today we would call her an "unwed mother". She was a shame to her family. We would have thought the same thing of her had we known her. 
But now so much excitement!!
I think maybe this was when Mary realized the magnitude of the gift in her arms.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
God had chosen her to mother and nurture the Son of God. She would have been experiencing a lot of different emotions all at the same time.
For now, there was joy everywhere.
There would be many more days of joy and of sorrow.
In this busy season, may you take some time to ponder the gift that God is to you and how He would like you to share that Gift with others.
Blessings, Diane
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Saturday, 21 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 21

First Day of Winter
Today is the first day of winter and it has been raining for the last two days.
Most of our snow is gone.
I just got some skates given to me and now I don't think I'll be able to use them.
 Go figure.
I stayed home all day.
Did some baking, laundry, dishes, and clean up.
There are four more days till Christmas.
Every year it jumps out at me and yells "I'm here"!
I tend to make myself too busy and I never allow myself to relax and enjoy the season.
I baked a cinnamon streusel cake for friends who hosted my son's 18th birthday because our home is too small for all of his friends.
You can find the recipe here at Picture Perfect Cooking.
I baked it last week and brought it to work and everyone loved it. (I increased the amount of streusel because it seemed like it wouldn't be enough)
 We're having some friends for lunch after church tomorrow, so I worked on some goodies for them too which I'll show later.
Blessings, Diane

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Shabby Art Boutique

Friday, 20 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 20

Last Minute Touches
Christmas is five days away and I'm still adding some touches.
 I've been wanting to get this done, but just haven't had the time...or energy. We're having friends over on Sunday so it's the umph I need to get it done.
 I have enjoyed looking at how other bloggers are decorating and I really like the "snow globe" touches I've seen so I thought I'd try my own the best I could 
I took the lid off to get a better look at this little Christmas scene. 
I love this vintage Christmas card and it looks nice against the ironstone plate. 
 Vintage Christmas cards...I love them!
I recently acquired my paternal grandmother's silver spoons. The Bible is in Dutch and is/was my Father's.
 This is a young picture of her on a tag that I made. 

 Rusty graters with tea lights in them add a nice warm glow.
Love this silver platter. 
It's sad to think this will all have to be put away soon. We'll be leaving on the 24th for five days to be with family. We have never been home on Christmas but I still like to decorate.
I enjoy the warmth and coziness that it brings.
It is soothing to look at and brings my heart joy. 
Blessings, Diane

Thursday, 19 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 19

Free Printables for your Christmas Projects
I thought I would share some clipart for you to download to use for any project you may think up.
I purchased a CD of primitive clipart awhile ago and the company is now out of business.
Blessings, Diane

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 18

Christmas Moon
It's a full moon tonight. It beautiful. It's hanging amongst the clouds and looks so pretty.
I was driving home from an appointment and had to force myself to keep my eyes on the road.
When I got home I asked my son to go out to take pictures of the moon for me.
The moon doesn't look too round does it? (smile)
I don't have a fancy camera so this isn't the greatest shot but you get the idea.
It reminded me of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life out with his girl Alice.
He says, "“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary. ”
This is one of my favourite Christmas movies. It reminds me of how in life we sometimes have to set aside our own desires for the benefit of others. Sacrifices to make. But in that act of giving and sacrificing there is something spiritual that happens. It affects the atmosphere in ways we can't understand.
In the end George Bailey discovers that spiritual realization and that what he has is far greater than the sacrifices he made.
Love came down from heaven and sacrificed Himself.
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2
Jesus was our sacrifice lamb. But we were the joy that was set before Him and that far outweighed the pain and suffering He endured on the cross.
Such wonderful love!
Is there a sacrifice you have to make this Christmas season? The blessing of it will far outweigh the sacrifice made. Let love reign in your heart.
Blessings, Diane

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

25 Days of Christmas Day 17

Better Homes and Gardens December 1961
I was four months old when this was out. 
I purchased this magazine a few years ago at the Southworks Antiques mall in Cambridge ON. I wanted to browse through a magazine in my birth year to see what the magazine world was like when I entered this world.
Lots of good recipes.
An article about how the different faiths celebrate Christmas.
Advertising for a game as a gift. I recognize most of these!
An advertisement for a refrigerator. This is the new line for 1962!
Notice how this is a large family. Five children. When is the last time you saw this size of family in advertising?
A beautiful arrangement of Christmas goodies with lots of red! 
This is a Christmas play.
Some of the characters. 
An article on taking family pictures at Christmas.
Advertisement for books.
I love the vintage drawings!
A couple of cartoons at the back of the magazine.
In this cartoon Santa gets a gift. He doesn't look too happy!
A full page ad with a message from President John F. Kennedy about the importance of magazines.
There is 104 pages in this magazine.
There is a lot that is so much the same and yet a lot that is so much different.
That was 52 years ago.
Hope you enjoyed browsing.
Blessings, Diane