Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you, family and friends. Sending extra special wishes and prayers for love, joy, and peace. And if you are missing a loved one and having a tough holiday season, may the comfort of the Lord surround you and your family.

Joy and peace.


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Christmas Card Ideas: Stamping with Friends Doubles Ideas AND Resources!

Here are some Christmas card ideas to help you get started. I suggest creating together with at least 1 other friend, possibly 2 or 12. Share resources (stamps, inks, papers, ribbons, etc.) as you chit-chat, and those ideas will just fly off your stamp pads!

Plus, it’s great fun to visit as you labor away on your cutting, coloring, and works of art.

Stumped? Just glance at what’s on the table or in the hands of your co-conspirators. Or scroll Pinterest or stamping-related websites. Stamping magazines are also full of completed cards for inspiration.

Stamp, cut, color, glue, and glitter. Add embellishments. Ta-dah!

Christmas greetings are ready to go.

The hardest part is trying to figure who gets which card. Or, in our case, how can we give up our FAVORITES? That is always a challenge.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas season!

P.S. Thanks for the inspiration, Alyson and Renee!


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The Gingerbread Tradition

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Or I could say, “Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Nan (a)!” They try, but Nana captures them all for hugs.

This was the first year everyone tried icing bags. Some successes, lots of messes, plenty of fun.

It’s easier to eat icing straight from the bag.

The grands are growing up fast, and they tried to run, but Nana and plenty of sugar captured their taste buds and creative imaginations.

Welcome to our annual Gingerbread House decorating tradition. The designs are getting a little bit more sophisticated, but I noticed decorations disappear just as quickly as in previous years . . .

Mullet Man. Yep.

Nana is getting shorter . . .

Must remember to put toothbrushes and toothpaste in with Christmas gifts.

See? There are some decorations left!

Curly-locks twins!

Jamie claimed the extra house! Whew.

Getting shorter . . .

I’m still taller than a few of them!

Here’s to gingerbread, sugar, and sweet grands!


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Tree Hunting: Part 1

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the pasture.

Due to needing my Christmas photo background early, we went tree hunting this month-November. With indoor trees, this is a big no-no, but since we will keep this tree outside of the RV, it will be perfectly fine and not pose a fire risk as it dries out.

My honey drove us up along Oak Creek Road in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Ready with our tree tag and saw in hand and mud boots on feet, we settled in to search for the perfect tree.

Before we hit the area where we could cut a tree, I noticed two big red blobs out in a meadow. Judging by the size, deer. Skinless and headless, left to rot. Ugh. Poachers. While I don’t personally hunt for meat, I understand some people enjoy the outdoor activity. In our state, hunters draw tags and their hunting helps control the numbers of herds roaming the forests. But to leave two carcasses and not use the meat was totally irresponsible. Grrrr.

On the way up the mostly deserted road, we saw a trail of smoke. From an untended campfire. Hoping that hunters or hikers were just out of view, we continued on our way, though I was fuming, because despite drenching rain, the fire was still smoldering. And we are just out of a horrific forest fire disaster of a summer. Even with the rain, fire is still a problem!

After 8.5 miles of rutted dirt roads and several “That one’s pretty good,” we finally found our tree. Though I tried to get Kevin to cut me a HUGE tree (heh-heh, wouldn’t that be funny, trying to drive down the road with a tree hanging off both ends of the truck?), we had to settle for a much shorter one. Cue the Christmas Vacation music.

We secured the sweet-smelling tree and headed back down the road. The fire was still going! Mr. Firefighter to the rescue. He literally got his hands dirty (the shovel was buried beneath the tree) to make sure it was dead. Good job, honey!

And much further down the road, we drove around a bend and startled a huge gathering of carrion birds! At least three bald eagles, numerous turkey buzzards, and magpies. All of them were enjoying the feast of deer meat. Whew. Nothing goes to waste in the wild, right? They were quite happy to take care of the deer carcasses. I imagine at night other predators would be drawn in-coyotes or wild cats.

A forest full of adventures. Here she is, our beautiful tree!


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Gingerbread and Pillowcases

Not much was the same in 2020.

We became creative, inventive, technologically gifted, resourceful-all in the effort to live life and connect with fellow humans. Plans were ditched or tossed aside, trips canceled, 35th anniversary trips to magical locations did not occur. Birthday parties became drive-by’s. Travel screeched to a standstill as nature locations filled to overflowing with folks desperate to get outside. To get OUT. Childcare and transfer between shared-custody parents became fraught with contact points and who was sick and who was with whom when they got sick. Schooling reached new heights of teamwork between parents, teachers, and Nana’s. Vocabulary increased to include 2020-specific words like virtual learning, hybrid learning, Google Classroom, Zoom, Loom, Chrome Book, internet capabilities, mute yourself. DIY projects blossomed and not once was Lowe’s closed. I suspect they, and other home improvement stores, had a banner year of profits due to the frenzy of home projects. That, along with shortages of flour, yeast, sugar, and toilet paper gave insight to what most of us were doing. Staying home, fixing up, and baking.

The traditions were the hardest to “fix.” Outdoor gatherings, socially distant of course, and much fuss over wearing masks (cute, cotton, and washable) has become so normal, I fear for our social skills and facial expressions once the pandemic settles down.

And then Christmas. How to do gingerbread houses? Carefully. In a huge area. With only healthy grands.

And Christmas gifts? Christmas pillowcases became my idea of the year. Totally reusable gift bags, tied with jump ropes. Open your gifts, put your gift bag, er, pillowcase, on your pillow for a good, snowy night’s sleep. Why didn’t I think of this before? Sure, sewing them on Christmas Eve Day is not advisable, but it did allow me to work my way through several Hallmark Christmas Movies as I cut, pinned, sewed, and ironed. And I’ve already purchased my fabric for next year to avoid the same rush. (We might check back on that one, because having purchased fabric is not the same as having sewn the pillowcases. . ..)

Gingerbread cookies were baked yesterday. December 30. They taste just as good, no matter the date, especially plain, with coffee.

Are things looking up for 2021? I certainly hope so. But even if the recovery is slow, I know we can do it. We’ve had all of 2020 to figure out how to make things work. Like in the days of the Depression, our ancestors made do, made it work, or made do without it. We are ready.

May the Lord go before us, bless us, and keep us as we journey into the new year! See you next year!


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The Season of Hope: Advent 5 Celebrating the Visit of Christ

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Luke 1:67-69 NIV

67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:

68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us
    in the house of his servant David

Joy to the world, the LORD is come! Merry Christmas!


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear ones!

May peace and joy fill your hearts and homes.

Thinking of you and praying for a new year overflowing with God’s blessings.

xo


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The Season of Hope: Advent 4 The Visit of the Magi

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Matthew 2:1-12 NIV

2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

I would have loved to see the star that shone so bright, leading wise men to find the Christ child. Later we read that they visited the family in a house, so Jesus was between baby and young child, possibly around two years of age. Unexpected but bearing precious gifts, the Magi provided worship and the means for survival for this young family. Praise be to God for the way He works through a rich tapestry of events!


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The Season of Hope: Advent 2 The Birth of Christ

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Text taken from Matthew 1:18-25 NIV

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[a]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet[b] did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[c] because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”[d] (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

The Bible is filled with miracles. But the greatest Christmas gift for all mankind is the miracle of the virgin birth-Jesus, both God and man, who came to deliver all people from their failures. Believe in miracles. Especially believe in the miracle of Jesus.