Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Give Thanks

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . .
Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.

- George Washington, first federal Thanksgiving proclamation

May your heart be encouraged and strengthened as you give thanks to God for His provision and providence!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cookie Day

A warm kitchen, the same dishes washed twenty times, luscious smells, clouds of flour, Christmas music, sugar overload, butter softening on the counter, goofy laughter and utter exhaustion are all signs of a particular tradition that I started about seven years ago.

Inspired by the tempting cookie magazines Mom gets for us every year, I enlisted Haley's help for a yearly Cookie Day, when double or triple batches of five varieties of cookies are baked and frozen to have on hand for the Christmas season.

In the past we've had Cookie Day early in December. Since this year's Cookie Day was a little early, Haley and I wore red and green, and turned on some favorite Christmas CDs to get into the spirit of things.

Some cookies are favorites that are made for mutiple years, like the Cream Cheese Drops I'm working on. We also try a few new recipies, just for fun.

Just some of the ingredients. Five kinds of cookies make for a nice looking cookie tray. Usually we go for a good visual mix: a dark cookie, a light cookie, something with red, something with green, and something that's really easy to make so we can grab some lunch!

Traditionally our day's work starts about 7am cooking a refrigerated cookie that was mixed up the night before, and winds up around 10 pm putting the last batch in the freezer.This year we made it a little easier on ourselves. We got the White Chocolate Cherry cookies in the freezer a few days ahead, so we only had four kinds to make. It worked really well!

We try not to sample too many cookies, but we are invariably sick of sugar by the end of the day. :-) Let me eat steak!

I love Christmas, and Cookie Day is a great way to get ready. Haley, working with you always makes it fun! Next year, let's just die some cookie green. ;-) - GJ

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quote of the Week: Sin's Power

The power of sin is the false promise that it will bring more happiness than holiness will bring. Nobody sins out of duty. Therefore, what breaks the power of sin is faith in the true promise that the pleasures of sin are passing and poisonous, but at God's right hand there are pleasures for evermore. - John Piper

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby Shower!

A few Sundays ago I was given a wonderful baby shower hosted by my friend Megan. It was a delightful afternoon, filled with conversation, delicious treats, and lots of sweet baby stuff to "Oo" and "Ah" over!

Brenda H, Kathy P. and Pam B. as the littlest lady hands around one of the gifts.

It was so much fun to simply think and talk baby for a whole afternoon! We didn't get a whole lot of pictures. We were having too much fun visiting!

Mary and Therese M. - there in spite of being sick during the week. What troopers!

Baby stuff is SO CUTE. I loved all the darling little outfits: notice the little "booties" on these two!

Bobbie M. and our hostess Megan. She served us all fall appropriate goodies: Hot apple cider, spice cake and gingersnaps! It certainly hit the spot on such a chilly day.

My thanks to all you ladies for making it such a lovely day and for sharing in our great joy over this new life! We are so blessed by your caring friendship.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Update: 33 weeks

Well, things are moving along! All you prayer-supporters will be glad to know that I had an appointment today, and things are looking great! Weight gain, blood pressure, growth, all just as they should be.

I've been feeling great, just a little tired like in the first trimester. The baby is behaving nicely, with her head down just like it's supposed to be. All the bumping I'm feeling is probably her feet. She seems to like to push against my lowest right rib (not exactly comfortable) but usually stops if I sit up straighter.

While Haley was down here, she got a bunch of nice baby-bump pictures. Here are some of my favorites. Thanks Haley!

I had thought I was looking pretty big - until I went to a class at the hospital about a week ago. Actually, I look fairly small! However, I was at least a head taller than most of the other ladies, which might have had something to do with it. ;-) I don't feel like I've expanded much lately, which probably means I have some good growth ahead as Baby starts to put on some rolls.

We are more and more excited to meet our little girl!

. . . unless of course, it turns out to be a little boy after all! - GJ

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pie Auction

Kyle and I recently got to attend a Pie Auction Benefit for a brother in Christ who has cancer. Jason and Melody H. did a great job as the auctioneers.

There were tons of desserts: berry pies, german chocolate cake, home-made peanut butter cups, cinnamon rolls and so many other creative and delicious things to buy. We ended up with some scrumptious Greek Baklava.

At the end, a bunch of different people pooled the money they still wanted to contribute and drove the prices up really high! This cake (the last to be auctioned off) went for just over $1,000.

There were also silent action items to bid on. They had soap baskets, scrapbooking baskets, hand-made ornaments, wreaths, crocheted baby clothes and woodwork items.

After buying all those goodies, they made sure everyone got some exercise with country dances!

There was also a Virginia Reel dance-off where you got to vote for your favorite couple.

Me an' my Bird. I got to take Haley home for a week after the auction - yea!

Greg W. shared with us some of the things he has learned during his battle with cancer. Please keep him in your prayers.

Well no wonder Melody won the raffled-off violin!

Nate prepares for the Pie Eating contest. You got to vote for who you thought would win - with doller bills, of course. It was so much fun!

Heated competition!

Jason H. digs in.

Nate came in a very close second!

Whew, done with the pumpkin pies! The winner's comment was that he had just ruined his Thanksgiving! He'll have to stick to pecan. ;-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quote of the Week: Good Books

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. - Mark Twain

Read anything good lately?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Father/Son Camp

We had some guests camp out at Nitchfield during this year's Father/Son Camp. We had so much fun hosting friends, working at camp, and listening to the excellent teachings!

Friends from up North: Jeremy S, Dad, Jacob B and Mr. B.

The boys playing with fire!
Michael, Matthew, Tom and James.

Kyle made his famous Biscuits & Gravy
for breakfast - yummy!

We ladies had fun preparing food, chatting and watching all the cute little ones!

Kyle spent most of his afternoons helping out at the rifle range, instructing and keeping everything safe.

Jojo shows off his marksmanship.

Each boy or father had his own instructor there keeping an eye on things. This instructor came in authentic World War II garb!

The weather was unbelievable!
It got up to 75 everyday.

Matthew at one of my favorite activities - archery.

While we ladies were serving food in the evenings, Kyle was usually wrapping things up at the kayak races.

The R. and D. men.

The highlight of every evening was the encouragement from Norm Wakefield on selfless living, Jeff Strucker's testimony of what he experienced during Black Hawk Down, and a visit from Teddy Roosevelt! What a wonderful weekend. We were blessed to be involved!