“O Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas song as well as one of my all-time favorites. The stanzas create a tender setting of Christ’s birth. With all that Mary endured while traveling and being in an unfamiliar place, “… Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, KJV). Mary received a true blessing that night-
The Nativity scene is the star of the season and the focal point of this home’s decorations. Our Nativities are displayed in the main living area.
No matter how many Nativities are exhibited, the Nativity’s true meaning resides within my heart. The Nativity story is found in Luke 2: 1-20.
“7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
“16 And they [Shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”
Remember that Jesus is the reason of the season.
May you find comfort in this Christmas season as I have in placing my faith in His holy birth.
Yes, the struggle is real and doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. I am talking about the middle age weight, yet the middle apple shape. More medicine, excessive sedentary, ongoing pain, and binge eating to satisfy the never ending hunger feeling.
I never struggled with weight when I was younger. I even lost the weight after the fourth child within a few months. My metabolism allowed me to out eat anyone at the table. I could eat sweets and bread all day long without worrying about packing on the pounds. But things changed in 2010. My body went wonky, literally!
I lost control of everything. Another -ology added to the list of specialists. Since 2010, I have counseled with rheumatology, orthopedics, pulmonology, immunology, endocrinology, oncology, cardiology, neurology, allergist, gastroenterology, ear-nose-throat, counselor, and others. I counted 18 different medications that I take daily. These do not include the “take as needed” such as the EpiPen, Zofran, Klonopin, Levisen, Rescue Inhaler, Nebulizer. You get the picture.
You ask why am I disclosing personal information for the world to read. This is part of the autoimmune disease Mast Cell Activation Syndrome that no one seems to understand or better yet recognize in some cases.
Mast Cell Activation Syndrome has become more accepted among the medical field in recent years. However, some medical professionals do not acknowledge or have the understanding on how to manage this newly identified term. How do I know this? Experience through medical emergencies and hearing one doctor state this fact.
The doctor went on to ensure what I am experiencing is real and not in my head. I am not crazy nor am I making up these symptoms. It is not anxiety as some ER doctors or medical personnel claim.
It is hard for people to see what is going on inside of my body when the flares hit. The mast cells go berserk. My stomach turns causing nausea and vomiting, the face flushes and begins to itch, oh the head pounds while the sinuses congest and make it difficult to breath. My throat feels as if it is closing and the tongue is swelling. I gasp for air as I cough and my voice becomes hoarse unable to speak in a normal tone. [My voice is naturally soft and makes a struggling sound the longer I talk.] Tremors and joint pain set in causing discomfort. Sometimes the outcome actually produces anaphylaxis, but other times the stinging and tingling gives a false sensation. My family has become hypersensitive to my changes. They recognize the symptoms before I do, which I am very grateful for their persistence to get the ball rolling in following our emergency protocol that allows the episode to be handled without medical personnel.
What causes this reaction? Who knows? It can be from a scent, pollen, food, stress, exercise, walking, etc. This list can continue without any absolute findings.
What is my strategy to avoid a reaction? I am home most days. The great outdoors are viewed from the sunroom and windows. When the pollen count is down or smoke is not filling the air, I sit on my front porch with my friend the “Mask.” My friend goes with me everywhere even in the house. I wear it while cleaning, cooking, baking, opening mail (boxes), sewing, cutting fabric, crocheting–anytime to keep the dust, scents, irritants away.
Do I miss visiting with people, attending church, shopping without fear, working outside the home? Yes, I miss the good ol’ days. Due to the ongoing struggles, I medically retired in December 2019. It was a hard adjustment. But I felt I was not giving my 100% to the students, peers and school. My family was suffering. Weekends were spent in bed. The bed called me by 7 o’clock every evening for restless nights. Doctors and hospitals bills were outstanding in amounts. Something had to give- it was work or it was me. So after having experiencing an embarrassing episode in a public setting, I sought assistance and was granted medical retirement.
I do not know of anyone else that is experiencing MCAS. I have researched, read blogs and watched YouTube for gaining understanding and how to cope with my new lifestyle.
But as I reflect while typing, I think it could be worse. I have managed and continue to strive to be a good wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. I may not be my best on some days, but I am here and with my family.
I have a purpose- God’s purpose for writing this post. It will be published without editing/revising. The title has been on my heart for many days to write my thoughts. There are others who suffer with conditions worse than mine but continue to give each day their best. They are my heroes, my role models.
May you find comfort in today’s post knowing that you can overcome any struggles you are facing as I have in accepting and writing this post.
Did we forget that there is still Thanksgiving to be shared with family and friends?
Grant it this home is now free of fragile items that were easily assessible to our 22 month old Grand-son. He is no longer enticed to caress all the beseeching FALL decorations. I think he will be more appreciative of this in order not to hear the “NO!” recorder.
But Tom the Turkey continues to welcome everyone to the dinner table. The China cabinet, butler’s buffet and coffee station display an array of pumpkins, Pilgrims, and florals. The red Memory Lane plates decorate half of the dining room wall.
These main cupboards will scream Thanksgiving till Black Friday. Afterwards, I will gladly pull out the Christmas boxes. Until then, I will focus on the turkey, dressing and all other dishes that my family enjoys.
ON a serious note, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who takes the time to read this small blog. It is humbling to look at the statistics and seeing the blog reaching an audience beyond the United States. I have a small number of followers and for that I am very grateful for them and YOU, the reader. It is difficult for me to sit and read blogs that I follow, so for the audience to take time to read my meager words is an honor.
Not only am I thankful for this blog and audience, I am thankful first and foremost for a God who has forgiven and accepted me as His child. I believe in Jesus as my personal Savior and am looking forward to the day I can sit beside Him and rejoice with my family and friends who have gone on before me.
Secondly, I am thankful for my husband, four children and daughter-in-love, grandchildren, mother, siblings and their families, in-laws, extended family and friends. My husband and I live a simple life in an antiquated log home. Words cannot express the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me over these 49 years. Yes, I have or experienced struggles- financially, emotionally, physically- like anyone else, but God has never forsaken me when I have been in the valley.
This song says it all. I had the opportunity to hear the Gaithers in concert 16 years ago. What a blessing!
Disclaimer: Video has been monitored but ads have not due to the constant changes.
May November 25th bring a grateful heart as it will mine. This will be the first Thanksgiving without my mother-in-love and the sixth without my father. For those who celebrate- have a safe Happy Thanksgiving. To others, take time to thank someone in your life and your maker. We all have something to be thankful for. The past several years have been a valley, but let’s climb the mountain together and be grateful for what we have.
Did you thank a First Responder on October 28th? EMTs, Paramedics, Police, and Fire Fighters and any First Responder certified contribute to our communities as he or she responds to a call whether the call is small or full emergency. They are here to assist us in our need.
Our daughter decided to follow in her father’s footsteps as an EMT and is currently attending paramedic school. Not only is she devoted to being an EMT, she is also a volunteer fire fighter. She desires to help those in need while asking for little in return. She has seen and been engaged in the profoundly worst traumas yet continues to get up each day to see the best in people at their darkest time. Her face bears a gentle smile when she leaves the house in the early morning hours or attending to a 911 call. The same is observable as she returns the following day after completing a 24 or 48 hour shift. J carries a lot of weight figuratively and literally with her job specifications. She has gone beyond the call of duty to serve our community and others. She is my hero! Daughter- Give God the glory for your success and in His timing you will be where He wants you.
Our son decided to follow in his father’s footsteps as a volunteer fire fighter. He is currently in the training stage at the local fire station and attends the weekly meetings. J has one of the most arduous jobs during the day. He works at a funeral home keeping the memorial grounds and laying loved ones in their final resting places. J has formed a deep respect for these sacred grounds. His personal goal is ensuring the grounds have what is needed in their proper places. J works to pay for his schooling at the local technical college and the expected date of graduation in engineering is this spring. He has gone further than we ever expected. J has a success story of his own to tell. He is my hero! Son- I am proud of you and lean on God’s guidance seeking His direction for what will come next.
The man who has influenced our children is my husband; Joe wears many hats: former technology teacher, volunteer fire fighter, and an EMT. His first love was being a first responder. I knew this when we met twenty-nine years ago. Joe thrives on a scene. His wealth of knowledge enthralls me as he has a scientific mind and is able to cypher the different medical subjects. When Joe was working full-time, he would be out all hours of the night assisting on a call. One night in particular, Joe responded to our city’s fire. This fire totaled several businesses and homes. I arrived on the scene around four in the morning searching for Joe to come home in order to prepare for the school day. Joe was released from the scene as well as many other city and county volunteers to attend to their full-time employments. As I waited, I heard the responders conversing over the grueling fire and its containment due to the team work of the multiple city and county stations.
First responders are on call 24/7. Their dedication is admirable. They are here for you and me and I am not ashamed to call on them if needed.
I am honored to be a wife and mother to first responders. As always- come home safely to me.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
First and foremost- thank you for your service and sacrifice to and for our country. Without your presence, this country would not be standing today. There are no words that can deeply express my gratitude and appreciation.
To all others- let’s put aside our differences and celebrate the one day that values and recognizes our VETERANS.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
My family believes in the past, present, and future of our service men and women as seen in the quote, “WE stand for the flag and kneel at the cross.”
To the service men and women- Even though we have not met, know that you are being uplifted in prayer. May God’s hands bring comfort and peace as you stand grounded for the United States wherever you are or have served. Let your character shine in wisdom, humbleness, and faith for which this country was founded. Guard your character from those who seek to break your spirit and constitution. God knows your heart and your purpose in completing His will. Your family also shares this same character. You are never alone.
And he said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, Thou dost save me from violence. “I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; And I am saved from my enemies.” 2 Samuel 22: 2-4
To my son- You have made us proud of your duty to God and our country. We will always stand behind you in your decision to serve in an unpopular employment. God has a plan for you as you dedicate yourself to and for others. Never think you are alone as so many people are personally uplifting your name to our Heavenly Father. Go out and accomplish what you have set forth and be proud of who you are and will become in your division. As always, come home safely to us. Love, Mom
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Disclaimer: I have watched and monitored the videos. The ads are difficult to monitor. I hope you enjoy the quotes as much as I have, for they touch the soul.
May you thank a veteran or pay tribute to those that have gone on before us as our family has and will do so this Thursday, November 11th, Veterans Day.
The principal use of Grandma’s apron was to protect the dress she wore underneath. Because she only had a few. It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material. But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children’s tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.
And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that ‘old-time apron’ that served so many purposes.
REMEMBER: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool. Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw. They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron…
I don’t think I ever caught anything from an apron… but love!
This reverence to a simple staple in the homes of years past magnifies the grandmothers’ love to her family and homeplace.
I sewed my first apron when I was in sixth grade, and it rests among my other apron assortment. The apron demonstrates a beginner’s trial yet carries the burgeoning enjoyment of many sewn projects hence.
Different themed tablecloths: 1) rooster [late mother-in-law’s] 2) apple 3) harvest [table runner sewn by my mother]
Tablecloths always welcomed visitors to my grandmothers’ tables. The worn cloths were always clean and free of wrinkles. One grandmother would place another cloth over the dinner meal for any newcomers to partake if wanted. This method also saved the leftovers for the supper meal. At the day’s end, she would fold the precious cover and set aside on her buffet to be used again the following day.
These antiquated staples are observable in my home. I wear an apron to cook and wash dishes while the tablecloth protects what’s underneath from unintentional scratches and the many touching hands.
I found “The Tablecloth” story in many forms on the internet. I felt it would be easier to listen to the precious story instead of copying and pasting the long narration.
Disclaimer: The video repeats itself after 5:30. Please note that the remaining footage was skimmed and appeared to be of repetition. I did not monitor the ads.
May you find joy in these simple staples as I have over the years. May they tell your story- Jan
How do you describe fall? Would you use descriptive words that entails the senses? Are traditions included in the narration?
When does fall commence in your household: calendar year or back to school season?
I slowly begin in August with apple decorations to kick off the fall season and conclude with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving must not be forgotten! Remember, Tom the Turkey must make his presence known before Santa.
Small touches of Halloween were scattered throughout the fall novelties. However, our Halloween decor was centered around our young grandchildren. Since we are now the J’Pa and J’Ma daycare, we focused on “The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” with Dollar General jack-o-lanterns and Dollar Tree pumpkins. Additional items were included to incorporate the Peanuts theme: ghosts, character throws and tea towels. The family carved a pumpkin on Friday before the seasonal Halloween elements were packed on Saturday, October 30th.
Most of the items are from years past consisting of thrifted finds or inheritances from family members. I love displaying dinnerware as seasonal decor. Coffee cups filled with an array of florals or stems, plates used as risers, and trinkets contain the season’s main colors. Joe created several 3-D acorns and squirrels using his personal printer.
The placements changed over the weekend in order for me to dust and put away the plethora of decor. I will be toning down the colors and designing spaces for the Thanksgiving pieces.
May the wavering season bring reflection to your lives as it has mine. Fall has a purpose and fulfills the beautiful scenery created by God. May you, too, fulfill His beautiful purpose created for you- Jan.
The B-I-B-L-E Yes, that’s the book for me I stand alone on the Word of God The B-I-B-L-E
My Bible has seen its days. It carries the same marks as me: worn, torn, spine falling apart, added marginal notes dating independent studies, sermons, and memories.
Even though my Bible is half my age, it remains a staple in my life. Admittingly, I have gone months without touching it- collecting dust as a decor fixture. Then I feel led to open it and study particular books and chapters leaving dates and words of learnings.
My church gifted me this precious Bible when I graduated with my master’s in 2001. The Bible is secured in a cloth cover with extra paper and pens. A clean Kleenex can be found between pages. However, many pages remain untouched by a pen.
I do not know all the books of the Bible in order. I struggle with memorization and being able to recall verses. This is the reason I write verses on note cards and post-it notes to remind me of His words.
I may not understand all of its words, but I know they are written with a purpose.
Psalm 27:14 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
This verse serves as a reminder to “Trust & Obey”- wait on the Lord for in His timing I will grow as He wants.
1 King 3: 11-12 “…but hast asked thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart….”
discern- knowing when to speak and act upon as King Solomon’s wisdom is shown in later verses
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD….” Psalm 127:3
Grand-son holding Pa-Pa’s hand.
We have entered a new season of caring for our grandchildren while their parents work and attend post-secondary school. J’Pa’s face lights up every time he is with a grandchild. He reverts back to his childhood as he builds and creates with the variety of blocks. If only I was that imaginative!
A big shout-out to the older generations: I know many grandparents assist with the responsibility of raising their grandchildren due to a variety of reasons. These grandparents need to be applauded for their efforts of caring for the younger generation. Every grandparent has something to offer whether it is reminiscing about history, giving wisdom of problem solving or blessing one with that needed hug of encouragement. **********
I ordered two car seats to keep in our vehicle. This makes it easier on everyone as the grandbabies go to their respective places. Before the grandbabies moved here, we prepared ourselves and the home by purchasing books and age-appropriate manipulatives/toys that will engage their growing minds. J’Pa and our younger two children had to try out each playful item to see how it worked. Oh my! It was inexpensive entertainment watching the three figure out the purpose of each object or reading with inflecting voices from the board or cloth books. Of course, the items received approval from all.
We have a set space in the sunroom with little odds and ends of thrifted toys, books, blocks, etc. A small patio table and stepping stools serve as Grand-son’s work place for eating or building. Princess does not need much since she is only five months. We also have J’Pa’s chairs from when he was little. These keepsakes were made from his grandfather.
Each grandchild has his or her own pack and play for naps. Furthermore, Grand-son has his own dinning room chair next to Pa-Pa. The booster seat allows him to join the family at the table and to swipe goodies from Pa-Pa’s plate.
I get excited talking about the littles. They are precious and will not be with us for long due to their father’s enlistment. I will miss them when it is time for them to move on to their next placement, but for now, this is the season to treasure precious memories with the littles.
May a child’s smile or memory bring happiness to your day even for a short moment for they are not little for long. Jan
Matthew 19:14 … Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” .
Oh, how I love apples! My sense of smell is lost in the aroma of cooking apples. Not only does the aroma tickles my nose, but the savoring juices are a relish to my mouth.
I have fond memories of picking apples and then creating delicacies from this sweet fruit. Days would be spent making jelly, jams, applesauce, apple butter, and the ever so delicious baked goods. Overtime, I learned to substitute recipe ingredients with applesauce.
In answer to the question: does making pies make one happy and contented with the home? I concur with Austen’s quote. I acquire gratification in making pies and other goodies for others’ enjoyment. A small treat soothes the soul and the weary. Tranquility is found in that moment of eating a warm slice as the worries melt away.
Does your body relax while eating a pleasurable delight? My answer is a BIG yes.
The following is a grated apple pie recipe from my late mother-in-law.
frozen pie crust or homemade, (I always make mine.)
2 cups grated apples
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 egg (beaten well)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grate apples and drain off juice to avoid over bubbling. Set aside. Mix sugar and cinnamon. Add butter and egg. Slowly mix in grated apple.
Pour onto pie crust. Bake till the crust is bubbly and brown. I usually allow mine to bake for at least 50 to 60 minutes.
If you choose to make the pie crust, the ingredients are also listed.
2 cups of all purpose flour
extra flour for rolling dough
2/3 cups of shortening
1 tsp of salt
cold water with added ice cubes to keep water cold as the dough is being made
Having difficulty loading any videos that I made in making the crust and apple filling. I am going to publish this post so everyone can enjoy the pie during the fall season.