Monday, November 30, 2009

The Christmas Pickle

We had a Christmas dinner for the Girl's Ministry workers this evening; part of our program was a Christmas trivia contest. One of the questions was about a tradition of finding a particular ornament in order to get to open the first package on Christmas morning.

No one else there had heard of the Christmas Pickle.
Our Christmas Pickle ornament was a gift from friends several years ago; this one is a ceramic ornament. My In-laws have had larger, blown-glass pickle ornament on their tree about as long as I've known them, I believe.

The label on my ornament jar says, "In Old World Germany, the last decoration placed on the Christmas Tree was always a pickle...carefully hidden deep in the boughs. Legend has it that the observant child who found it on Christmas day was blessed with a year of good fortune...and a special gift."

We adapted it in our house...the one who finds the pickle on Christmas morning at our house gets a Wonka bar (or other fancy chocolate bar if I can't find a Wonka bar) and opens the first present.

But at dinner tonight, no one had heard of this and everyone generally thought it humorously absurd. So I promised I'd blog about it and, just for grins, did a google search.

Turns out the 'old German custom' really isn't! No one seems to know exactly where it *did* start...but it's all over the web (especially on retail sites that sell the pickle ornaments).

Too funny!!!!

Oh...and I had another long-held Christmas notion debunked; I thought Johnny Marks invented the character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when he wrote the song; turns out he got the character from a poem written by his brother-in-law, Robert May. So I concede that the trivia quiz was right and I was wrong on that one... ;)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Using the Good China

I didn't register for china back when we got married; by and large, that wasn't part of the culture in the rural area in which I grew up. My Sweet Baboo already had a goodly assortment of Old Town Blue Corelle, and I figured that was good enough.

But my DMIL had a bit of Royal Albert Christmas china that she pulled out at the added to the festivity and the honor of the season. And I thought that was neat. So I began to watch for something I could use like that.

And, just about that time, Lenox introduced a holly pattern named, appropriately enough, 'Holiday' that was both very pretty and very pricey. There were a couple of other manufacturers that began producing holiday-themed dishes right around then, too...but most of them looked kind of cartoonish and just didn't appeal much to me like the elegance of the Lenox dishes.

So, little by very little, I began accumulating pieces of 'Holiday' china.

A place setting here, a serving piece there. It went into boxes for 'someday.'

I used a couple of the serving pieces for a Christmas party years ago, but mostly it stays in the boxes.

About a week ago, I thought about my Holiday china and about my kids who are now teenagers and young adults.

I decided it was high time I pulled out the dishes for the holidays; I was pretty sure we had enough for everyone.

So The Princess got the job of pulling out plates and a couple of serving pieces and cleaning them up so we could use them today. She didn't know we had them. I'd actually forgotten *what* I had...if I'd've been more on the ball, we could've used the salt/pepper shakers and sugar bowl/creamer, too, but I wasn't thinking that far ahead.

I know I have 'save it for good' drilled into my head like just about everyone else. And there is a little wisdom in that; there needs to be some special things that are 'for good'...because that adds to the specialness of the event. But sometimes we don't pay enough attention to realize what 'good' is.

Thanksgiving dinner, with everyone home and healthy (even if The Artist is on crutches), is definitely 'good.'

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why Me?

It hit me again as I was showering this lovely hot water.

Why did I end up here? Where I have so much compared to so many others? Things I take for granted...lights, hot water, the grocery store a mile up the road...are unbelievable, unimaginable luxuries for so many.

Why would I ever complain about anything? When my basic life is so...comfortable?

I certainly am no more deserving of these blessings than anyone else. But I have them.

And I am very grateful.

There is much to be thankful for.

Lord, make me a good steward of all Your blessings....

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Different Perspective

We had a guest speaker at church today; Paul Wilbur stopped by literally on his way out of the country and spoke in all three services this morning.

I'm tellin' ya, when the Word is presented through the eyes of a Messianic Jew, it takes on shades of color and depths that us regular ol' Gentile believers do not readily perceive. Paul has been to our church before, although it's been a while, and I'd forgotten how fascinating it is to be shown what is in the text that my eyes are not trained to see.

The first time I heard him teach, he presented the Passover supper and went into details on what each element represented; it rocked my world.

The video from at least one of today's services (I hope they post all three; they were all different) will be up on the church website tomorrow. If you get a chance, check it out. You'll be stretched and blessed...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crawling out of a hole

What a week.

Monday I got hit with some digestive upset -- could've been food poisoning -- that jerked not only the rug but the whole floor right out from under my feet. I'm just now beginning to be functional again.

Today The Artist had surgery to reconstruct his ACL. And the show costuming continues...(talkin' about that on the other blog).

So, have I had any time...or mental write any posts? Let alone thoughtful, intelligent posts that actually make stopping by BLH worthwhile.


So, I'm going to post a little meme. I actually got tagged w/this one over on Facebook, but I'm reposting it here, just so y'all can see that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

I'm supposed to tag more folks, but since I may only have my mother still hanging with me at this point, I'll just say that anyone who's in a bind for blog material is free to help themselves and leave a link. I promise I'll come read it...eventually ;)

The Threes of Me
I go by:
1. Lisa
2. Mrs Lisa
3.Tigger or Tig (that's ancient history)

Three Jobs I have had in my life:
1. Cone filler, shake maker/banana splitter at the Dairy Bar
2. Billing Clerk
3. Computer Systems Support Assistant

Three Favorite drinks:
1. Milk
2. Coke
3. Coffee w/lotsa cream and sugar ;)

Three favorite foods:
1.Fresh bread
2. Crab legs
3. Anything in Alfredo sauce

Three favorite hobbies:
1. Sewing
2. Reading
3. Wishing I had more time...

Three TV shows that I watch:
1. The TV just doesn't go on at our house....

Three Places I Have Been:
1. The Viet Nam Veterans Memorial
2.Yosemite National Park
3.The Kennedy Space Flight Center

People that e-mail/facebook me regularly:
1 People who have a new job for me, want me to meet singles, think I need Acai cleansing, are distressed because we aren't on the DISH Network....
2.My mother
3.Lands' End, Staples, JCPenny, Fabricdotcom, Flylady, Daytimer, Fashion Fabrics Club, Nancy Zieman....

Three of my favorite restaurants:
1. Mikado
2. Red Lobster
3.Macaroni Grill

Three friends I think will respond:
1. ?

Three things I'm looking forward to:
1. A multiple-days trip away with My Sweet Baboo...someday....
2. time to sew
3. a much -needed personal breakthrough

Three favorite movies:
1. Singin' in the Rain
2. The *original* Star Wars
3 The Muppet Christmas Carol

Three favorite places to go:
2. Textile Fabrics, during the Annual Big Sale
3. The Beach...

Three people who make you laugh:
1. The Actor
2. Chuck Jones
3. Jim Henson

Three favorite songs at the moment:
1.Bless the Lord (Son of Man) (Ty Trybett)
2.Tomorrow (not the one from Annie! Lyrics: And tomorrow the sun will rise and the moon will shine and the stars will fill the sky/And tomorrow Your Majesty will fill my heart again/And tomorrow will have its share of troubles, but this one thing I know/That tomorrow will hold another chance to give You praise)
3.It is Well ... ;)

Three places you'd like to go:
1. any beach in the Gulf of Mexico....
2. Mackinac Island
3. NYC Garment district

Three wishes: be more self-disciplilned spend time w/my hubby
3. to slow things down and enjoy the moments more

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Say What?

I guess I should be surprised I had a year and a half before it happened.

Someone left a totally irrelevant and extremely judgmental comment on one of my recent posts. If it had made any sense, I possibly might have answered it.

But I went back and reread the post...I couldn't see any connection at all between what the post said and what seemed to have offended the commenter...unless it was the quote from 'The Message' translation I included (I know some folks totally trip out over modern translations). But even that was a stretch. I just couldn't see what provoked that response.

So I deleted the comment.

I'd ask my fellow faith bloggers how they deal with such things, only I don't think any of my fellow faith bloggers drop by here. Honest questions and disagreements do not bother me; but stuff that seems accusatory and inflammatory without a cause smacks of a personal agenda. And one should not post one's personal agenda on another person's blog, IMHO.

So, to avoid further flame throwing, I'm going to enable comment moderation, at least for a while, just in case the commenter comes back soon looking for a fight. I'm not going there.

I apologize for the hassle; hopefully this was a random event and I can go back to business-as-usual soon...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Dozen...just for fun...

I haven't done a meme in, like, ages. Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee posts some very interesting questions on her weekly Random Dozen list and I've wanted to play along but...doggone it, I can't figure out how to put that cool button on my post! So, well, I just decided to play this week anyway. I've been SO focused on sewing for the past month that I haven't been able to post my deeper thoughts (those have been there, believe me, and I hope to get some posted sometime soon), but I'm frustrated w/my lack of posting so I thought I'd just take an easy post and answer the questions... ;) Anyway, here goes (and I didn't read them before deciding to play!)

1. What was the last song you listened to?
Um, actively listened to? Or just had playing in the background? I think the last song I actively listened to was playing during staff prayer today. Typically, I can't tell anyone the name, but it was Rita Springer singing it and the chorus has the words 'All I need to do is worship; all I need to do is say Your name out loud'...or something like that...

2. Have you ever had “buyer’s remorse” over anything?
Yup. Most recently over a wallet that I mail ordered from the check printing company in March that developed zipper issues about a month later. The slider would go but nothing connected. Usually a good yank on the zipper would line things back up, but it was very frustrating. Today the zipper tab came off entirely. $34 plus shipping and it's now held together with a rubber band...

3. What is something in your life that you are thankful for now that you didn’t think you would be at the time of the event? (Something that seemed ill-timed, inconvenient or hurtful which turned out to be a good thing)
This will get deep quickly. In 1995 I had a miscarriage; we weren't planning any more kids. In fact, we were probably just on the edge of doing something permanent about no more kids. But we didn't just then, and all my hormones were thrown out of whack so three months later I got pregnant when, according to all calendars and such, I shouldn't have. Now I look at my 13-year old daughter and can't imagine life without her. But without the miscarriage to throw the delay into our plans, she likely wouldn't be here...

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade every year? If so, do you have a favorite float or balloon?
That's the One Thing we watch without fail on TV. No sitcoms, reality shows, talk shows or sporting events...just the parade. I can see/hear the TV from the kitchen; it's the soundtrack for the cooking. And I choke up when it starts and when it ends. Gotta say that my favorite parts are the high school bands; I was a clarinet player and *so* identify, even though the farthest we ever went was to a concert band contest in Vincinnes.

5. Share a quote, scripture, poem or lyric which has been an inspiration to you lately.
'Do all things without murmuring or complaining.' That one's still plowing the fallow ground...

6. This is meant to be a fun question, and this is a G-rated blog, but please share a “guilty pleasure,” something that you enjoy that’s probably not the most edifying, time-worthy or healthy thing you could be indulging in. Did I mention this blog is rated G?
I stink at video games. I play Mario party w/the kids, and, um, there's one game that's so bad it's funny, but I can do it. It's a really bad knock off of the Lord of the Rings...a turn based game that doesn't involve any coordination. I keep playing it to see how much higher I can rank the characters so they can cream the bad guys...

7. What Thanksgiving food are you looking forward to?
Turkey and dressing!!!

8. What is your favorite book to read to children, or what was your favorite childhood book?
I love to read aloud any books that need different voices (The Lord of the Rings was great fun), but my favorite childhood book was Heidi. It was the first 'chapter book' I read and I cried when I finished because I didn't want the story to be over.

9. Do you collect anything? (Feel free to post a photo.)
Um, fabric? 'Collection' sounds so much better than 'out of control stash'

10. Gift bags or wrapping paper?
Wrapping paper. Unless the gift is so oddly shaped that wrapping paper is just not feasible and there is no box available to make wrapping paper feasible.

11. Share an after-school memory from when you were younger. What was your routine like on an average day?
Isn't this two questions? I rode the bus for about an hour after school; as soon as we got home we'd get a snack and do homework. At some point I'd have to do my farm chore...making sure all the hog watering troughs were filled. We'd eat dinner and clean it up, then burn the trash. Grab a bath and go to bed.

One after school memory is from about junior high...just when the recipe for hot chocolate mix began to be circulated (Nestle's quick...powdered coffee creamer...I don't remember what else was in it). Swiss Miss hadn't even come out with their product yet...but Mom made up a batch and all we had to do was run the tap till the water got hot, put half a cup of the mix in a mug and add the hot water to get hot chocolate. It was an amazing thing...we had a long walk up the farm lane (really...the lane is over a quarter mile) and on cold days it was a huge treat.

12. True story: Once, in a job interview, I was asked this question and told there would be no clarifying; I simply had to answer the question: “When you’re fishing, do you feel for the fish?” So what about you? Do you feel for the fish??
I've never been fishing. I don't know if I'd feel for the fish or not.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Only ONE Thing...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

It is a fight, isn't it? To remember that One Thing that Mary forget all the other demands on her and to sit at Jesus' feet.

I was brought back to this passage again today, as I struggled to just sit and be still for even a few minutes.

Why can't I focus? I asked, trying to make headway in my reading through the middle of Isaiah.

The answer was in my spirit almost before I'd finished forming the question.
You are bothered by many things...only one thing is needful.

So I turned to Luke 10 and reread the little vignette of Mary and Martha. In the NIV, the tail end of verse 41 going into 42 reads this way:
You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.

I looked up the Greek words for 'worried' (Strong's 3309 - merimao: anxious care) and 'upset' (Strong's 5182 - turbazo: disturbed in the mind, anxious, stirred up) then realized the contrast Jesus was making wasn't in Martha's mind set or was in the numbers: 'Many things' vs. 'One thing'.

Jesus wasn't talking about Martha's fluster, He was talking about her focus. Martha was trying to focus on many things...Mary was focused on one. The Good part.

Over and over again, God teaches me through these sisters...

Lord, you know my heart. The part that really, really wants to please You and that part that really, really wants to please people. And the part that wants to represent You by being a servant that somehow blends the two. But I don't have enough wisdom to balance it all myself. I need your help. Because this battle isn't with any one or any thing or any's in my own head, choosing to stop and focus on You when everything else...many things...are demanding my attention. Resensitize my ears, Lord, that I may hear Your voice amid the clamor, and strengthen my will to turn aside at that moment and focus on You alone.