Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gratitude creates an energy of goodwill, joy and peace.
Be grateful!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


has indeed, begun.
Yesterday, I had a funeral. What a great family. The husband was ever so caring and visited her nearly every day in the nursing home - at least the one she moved to which was closer to where he was living with his one son. It all went very well. This was the first funeral where the deceased looked less like she did the past year. I was also compensated more than any other funeral from the funeral home. I had no idea what the compensation was - usually it's around $75.00 to, when you're fortunate, $100.00.
The ladies provided a luncheon for more than actually came. All was good.
The funeral took up most of the day and by the time the last lady left, who I helped with getting stuff in her car, I was exhausted. I left about 20 minutes early since I knew I wasn't going to get much more done or out of me at that point. It was a good tired though.
Mostly I feel blessed that the family felt ministered to, and were good with all I did and the church did. That is always the most important.
Today, I went to grocery store, gas station, bank and dry cleaners. I started the turkey stock when I arrived home and the wild rice is cooking. Next will come the regular rice. I have put the stock through the blender and made a mess like always. I still have some clean up to do.
I polished the silver and washed and dried the crystal. Put the tablecloth on the table and the cloths on the side tables. This will save me some work on Thursday.
Tomorrow evening I will make the stuffing, dessert, and the cheeseball and perhaps, if I'm not too tuckered out, wipe down the china and pull out all the bowls, serving utensils, etc. needed. Leaving Thursday morning with cleaning the guest and half bath once more, sanitizing everything, and setting the table while the turkey is roasting. I think things are fairly together this year even with the additional company of my sister and BIL. Can't wait to see them again.
I pray the snow won't be too much, they're predicting around 3 inches.
I pray my commute into church won't be totally horrendous since it's close to the PA border and they are the ones that will have the most snow. Will see how it goes.
The sermon is written for Sunday and I will have Sat. afternoon to go over everything, get the diaper pins ready (in a cradle like wooden crate lined with a cloth diaper) so that we can pin our hopes on Jesus. (from Wild Goose Worship, Cloth for the Cradle.
Now if only I could get Christmas Eve together!!!
First things first. The turkey and then the other will follow.
I have peace today and that is worth all my thanks.

Friday, November 22, 2013


1. Turkey: love it? hate it? self-basted? fry it or roast it? Tofu-turkey? Tell me more. (I’ve only had one roasted turkey come out totally delish so I’m fishing for your tips!)
I wait all year to roast a turkey. First I wash it thoroughly inside, (giblets & neck removed on Tuesday for cooking stock)then I pat it dry. I season with seasoned salt, pepper, chicken rub, and dried sage from my garden. Then I stuff it with my homemade stuffing. LH then sews the turkey shut - with a big needle and cooking twine. We stick in the oven at 400 degrees for the first 20 minutes and then down the roasting temp of 350 or 325 for the remaining time. After the skin begins browning, LH tents the turkey and bastes it, several times with the turkey drippings. Usually comes out wonderful. One year we got stuck with a tough, old bird. Boy was that the toughest turkey we've ever had! I am looking forward to this year's turkey. Last year's was really good. And this year, I have to impress my sister and BIL who'll be joining us!

2. Stuffing: bagged? homemade? sage? sausage? cornbread? oysters? nuts? Got any inspiration for me?
Homemade of course. The stuffing is one small package of wild rice cooked, 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or reg. rice, cook according to directions, 2 big loaves of cheap white bread torn into pieces and then soaked with 1 cup water and 1 cup warm milk, 3-4 strips of cooked bacon, 1 lb of sweet Italian sausage (out of the casing) and cooked with sage, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, 1 lb sliced mushrooms, celery and some diced green pepper. When the sausage mixture is cooled, I mix it together with the cooked rice, and soaked bread. I add salt, pepper, sage, marjoram, etc. to taste. I add some homemade stock and white wine. Stuffing shouldn't be too dry or too wet. Refrigerate until used. Whatever doesn't fit in the turkey I bake in a covered casserole dish for about 45 min. on Thanksgiving Day while we are enjoying our turkey and stuffing! Warning: it takes a strong arm to mix the stuffing once everything is in the bowl!
I freeze all the leftover cooked stuffing in sherbet bowls and we enjoy it later with turkey leftovers or grilled chicken.

3. Cranberries: When we celebrated Thanksgiving in Europe one year, our French friends thought we were nuts to choose a very sour berry and then load it with sugar. (Let alone the stuff that comes out of a can in a blob of gelatinous ooze!) What do you do with cranberries?
Not too much. We usually just use the whole cranberry sauce from a can. At this point, I have made so much, it's a relief to just open the can and serve the chilled sauce. I have used cranberry mustard though after Thanksgiving on turkey sandwiches it makes the
turkey zingy!

4. Potatoes: (Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…) What’s your pleasure?
Mashed with butter, some 1/2 and 1/2, salt, pepper, a hint of nutmeg and a bit of sour cream. Goes good with gravy!

5. Pie: I’m married to the Pie Man. Anything but coconut pie floats his boat. What do you make? (or buy?) Pumpkin? Pecan? Apple?
I don't make pies. I make a Pumpkin Mousse Dessert. It's lighter and fluffier after a big dinner. Pumpkin pie is so dense and heavy. But the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert still has that pumpkin taste and flavor.

BONUS: A recipe that you’ve tried out and will make it to your table this year.
This is my make the night before dessert and just stick in the fridge.
Pumpkin Mousse Dessert
2 cups graham cracker, vanilla wafer or gingersnap crumbs - I use the graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup each: sugar & softened butter
Combine crumbs, sugar and butter, until thoroughly combined. Press into a 13 x 9 pan.

1 lb small marshmallows
1/3 cup milk
1 can pumpkin (1lb) but use only two-thirds of the can
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ginger & salt
1 tub Cool Whip (or 2 cups whipping cream, whipped)
Combine pumpkin, sugar, salt & spices in a large mixing bowl.
Melt marshmallow in milk in a double boiler (I use my dutch oven pot with a 2-3 quart pot resting in the dutch oven pot that
has water in it because of the large amount of marshmallows).
Blend in melted marshmallow mixture until thoroughly combined. (It's kind of a sticky thing). Cool well.
When cooled, fold in the Cool Whip, until fully incorporated together. Turn mixture onto crumb crust. Chill until firm.
Serve with a dollop of whipping cream on pieces, if desired.

So that's our Thanksgiving. And it will all begin next Tuesday with getting the fresh turkey, cooking the stock and rice. It will continue on Wednesday with making the stuffing, the Pumpkin Mousse Dessert, and the cheese ball. It further continues on Thanksgiving with stuffing and roasting the turkey, making mashed potatoes, slipping the frozen sweet potatoes into the microwave, setting the table with china, crystal (that has to be handwashed before and after dinner) and silverware (which I'll polish Thursday morning). It's a lot of work but everything is so wonderful and a blessing to be able to gather with family and enjoy it together.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


now that I have Advent planned out. Still working on Christmas Eve. I have even finished the newsletter article for December. Just need to write a prayer for the congregational meeting this coming Sunday.
I believe that this will be an insanely busy Advent what with Thanksgiving coming so late. I pray to be able to complete all in a timely manner and not rip all my hair out!!!
The next challenge is the annual Christmas letter reflecting a rather ordinary year. As if that isn't challenging enough, I have to write the same letter in German for several of my family in Switzerland. That one always takes a whole afternoon and the grammar hasn't gotten any better over the years! At least my relatives get the gist of what I mean!
Well, off to fill my gas tank for my commute into church tomorrow and council meeting. It's been snowing overnight and off and on this morning. Fortunately, there is only a slight accumulation and the roads seem clear.
It would be a blessing to have a slow Advent, time to savor and reflect more, but God has other plans this year!!! I shall work on keeping myself grounded in the midst of swirling activity and Christmas which will arrive only all too soon, but welcomed in spirit and heart all the same.

Monday, November 11, 2013


The weekend was a wonderfully fun unfolding. My SILs arrived just after lunch on Friday and we, LH and I, took them to the First Ladies Museum and saw some interesting china pieces from various administrations, some replicas of dresses worn by several first ladies and a couple of real ones. They even had a pair of Martha Washington's shoes! The second half of the display was on Ida McKinley and was in the Saxon House that had been restored with period pieces and reproduction wall paper ( Wm Morris and others). Really quite interesting. There is much to learn about the First Ladies because most of the focus is, of course, on the Presidents!
The tour took a bit longer than anticipated and we had to book to get home and change for dinner at the nicest restaurant in town. There was enough time for a champagne (OK it was prosecco) toast and some brie and crackers.
We enjoyed a marvelous dinner and the time flew by. We had to hurry once again to get home, in order to Skype with older BIL & SIL in Canada. Turned on my laptop just in time for the call to come in. A box arrived earlier that day from them and the SILs were able to open their gift in front of the senders! I had ordered a triple chocolate tort from a local grocery store and lit the candles and we all were able to serenade them with "Happy Birthday". After the Skype session, it was on to enjoy the cake with coffee! Then came the gift bags and all the little goodies - mismatched socks to stay a bit crazy, cute nighty to stay womanly, and all kinds of lotions, nail files, etc. as a bit of pampering, some Pirouline wafers, because let's face it, after we're 50 we still need some chocolate and tasty treats!!!
Saturday, we were up early and the pancake breakfast was served by 8:30 am. Manicures were scheduled for 9:30 am and we should have been done by 10:45 am the latest, but the salon overbooked and it also took longer. We rushed home and changed into dresses and hats and off we went to the county seat for a lovely ladies tea at a Tea Room. A friend of my SILs also came in for the tea. We had High Tea for lunch - appetizers, finger sandwiches of chicken salad and pimento cheese, and of course, the sweet treats of all kinds. The tea list was as extensive as wine lists at fine restaurants. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch and a stroll through the gift shop.
I took a different way home and spied a banner by the environmental center/park and sure enough it was the annual art fest. I had forgotten it was this weekend. So with a hard right turn that nearly sent my one SIL sliding across the back bench of the van (thank goodness for seat belts!!) we turned in and walked around the little art fest that featured woodworker, a couple painters, photographer or two, some over priced jewelry displays, a fashioner of gourds, and others.
We got home for a little time of putting up our feet!!
Then it was time for me to make dinner and there was some left over birthday cake. We relaxed the rest of the evening.
On Sunday, the SILs slept in and I eventually made eggs and bacon and toasted English muffins for breakfast. LH returned home from worship and we enjoyed smoked chicken salad that I made earlier that morning. And then the SILs had to leave for home and LH to the old folks home for worship.
I did take my Sunday afternoon nap.
I hadn't meant to wear everybody out!! But it sure was fun to spend some time with the SILs, get tutored on my smartphone, and to be able to do something special for them and pamper them a bit. They certainly deserved to have a very memorable 50th Birthday celebration!!! It is afterall, a once in a life-time birthday!!!
Now my focus will return to more spiritual things - Advent/Christmas and to the upcoming Thanksgiving. I'm just so glad everything went so well and that they seemed to enjoy it all. Blessings abound.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


a little bit crazy and rather hectic lately.
Had a wedding last weekend - rehearsal on Fri evening and wedding on Saturday, all of which entailed an hour commute each way.
Sunday I led worship, adult Sunday School, made a visit that turned into a trip to the ER, calling the woman's husband and friend and daughter. Going to the ER where the husband and friend were there by the time I arrived. I stayed for awhile and had another prayer with the parishioner. I got home around 4 pm.
I've been working on my mid-week Advent services liturgy which I just finished up on Wednesday, between meetings and a deathbed visit. She is still alive and I don't believe the funeral will be until Monday the earliest. Thanks be to God. I am on vacation at the moment.
On Tuesday I cleaned house and the guest bedroom.
Today I readied the guest bedroom and bath, went to the store, vacuumed the van, cleaned the windows (it's been way too long since the last cleaning!), and am de-cluttering.
I have been hard at work organizing a 50th birthday celebration for my sisters-in-law who will arrive here tomorrow. The entire weekend is booked with things I can not share until the weekend is over in case prying eyes will read this!!! The gifts are wrapped and the cake ordered to be picked up tomorrow morning.
I had hoped to have Monday free to do laundry and some Advent/Christmas planning and prep. I also am teaching the cooperative confirmation class on Holy Communion and have most of the lesson done. Still at work on the liturgy for devotions which is a service of communion. Since it is Advent I will have the manger holding a bread wrapped in white linen - God come to us, Christ born to give himself to us - the imagery is very meaningful. There will be newsprint with various colored markers for the kids to draw a symbol, image or word of what they experience in communion.
And I still have order the turkey for Thanksgiving and start making a shopping list of all items needed.
While I wait to hear word about the dying parishioner.
Like I said, it's been kind of crazy busy recently.
I am hoping for a fun girly weekend, but the reality of a pending funeral does hover over me. I will do my best to keep all lighthearted for the weekend.
I think things will just be this squirrely until the end of the year!