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31 December 2009

Afternoon in Santa Fe

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.”
Georgia O'Keefe
We also spent an afternoon in Santa Fe.
Tasty lunch with family and friends.
Tour of the Georgia O'Keefe Musuem with a terrific guide.
Unique views.

at the zoo

We had an amazing behind-the-scenes tour of the Rio Grande Zoo in Albuquerque last week.
First stop was to meet Rozie and 4 month old baby Daizy. Precious!

The kids fed the giraffes.

We brushed the rhinos. Amazing! Their skin is truly like leather. Thick! And yet, when you scratch them behind the ear, they will lift a leg, just like my dog does when you scratch behind his ear.

We visited the crocs, too.
A very good afternoon at the zoo.

25 December 2009

DPP- December 25- Mii esposo

December Photo Project- Day 25

Wii think this is an amazing likeness...  :-)

Light of the Stable

Hail, hail to the newborn king
Let our voices sing him our praises
Hail, hail to the guiding light
That brought us tonight to our savior

Ale, alleluia, alle, alleluia
Ale, alleluia, alle, alleluia

Come now, there it shines so bright
To the knowing light of the stable
Lean close to the child so dear
Cast aside your fear and the thankful

Ale, alleluia, alle, alleluia
Ale, alleluia, alle, alleluia

Light of the Stable, lyrics written by Steve and Elizabeth Rhymer
Listen to Emmylou Harris sing it here.

A great light

Those walking in darkness have seen a great light, said the prophet Isaiah of Jesus’ triumphant arrival. Here is a great mystery: that very light lives in us. In the streets of our Bethlehem, a child has been born. On the hill of our sin a man has been crucified. In the garden tomb of our hearts that man has risen and proved that he was also God all along. What have we to fear? Nothing.
Andrew Peterson, Fearless Faith, The Rabbit Room blog

Throughout the Advent season, over and over, seemingly everywhere I listen, everywhere I read, I am challenged by that idea of light and darkness, and the coming of Light. 
That would be a wonderful study...
Do read the entire Peterson post. 
Good news!  Great joy!
Rejoice in the birth of the Savior!

24 December 2009

DPP- December 24- 'Twas the night before Christmas...

December photo project- day 24-

... while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads...

The door of freedom

A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes ... and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
German theologian and pastor (1906-1945)

DPP- December 23- Not invited to the party

December Photo Project- day 23

"A gang of terriers," says the son.

22 December 2009

DPP- December 22- Road trip

December Photo Project- day 22-

if it's a road trip, then it must be Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

21 December 2009

DPP- December 21- Ornament exchange

I attended an annual Christmas party tonight, just as I've been doing for MANY years...
(how many years have we been doing the exchange, girls?  10?)
It's a virtual ornament exchange.  Well, we really exchange ornaments, but we're not really together.  We "meet" in an chat room and type as fast as the computer will allow.

I've been corresponding with this group of moms since 1995.  We met on the brand new world wide web, all with babies born in the summer of 1995.  It's a sweet sisterhood.  These ladies cause me to ponder things in ways I might not otherwise be prompted.  They are quick to encourage.  And they never cease to make me laugh.

The beautiful angel was my gift this year, and a perfect choice, as I have a collection of angel ornaments.  Thanks Janet!
And thanks, friends! 

20 December 2009

DPP- December 20- ahhhh...

December Photo Project- day 20-

I only meant to take a picture of my mug and my french press
It was just what I needed today. 
I love my french press.

But then, after I took the picture, I noticed...
you can also see our espresso machine. 
and where we store our beans.
and the regular ol' coffee maker.

really.  Coffee isn't THAT important in our house.

19 December 2009

DPP- December 19- Foggy O

O! on a foggy night downtown...

18 December 2009

DPP- December 18- Spumoni

When I was growing up, we frequently celebrated birthdays and other special occassions at Mama Mia's restaurant.  I probably learned about Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers, the drinks- not the actors..., at Mama Mia's.  Mama Mia's had great salads, with peppers and olives and curls of parmesean cheese, and great spaghetti. (some ordered it with meatballs or saussage.  My cousin Sherry always had shrimp on top.)  And for dessert, Mama Mia's served a little frosted silver cup of spumoni ice cream.

And ever since, I love Spumoni.  Spumoni- the Italian version of Neopolitan, with chocolate, pistachio and cherry ice cream, with bits of fruits and nuts too.  It's not easy to find- except at Christmas time.  Thanks Blue Bunny, for a tasty scoop of Spumoni!

And hey- I'm not the only one that likes it!  This comic was in the paper a few weeks back...


17 December 2009

DPP- December 17- when you lose track of your camera...

... because you are responsible for the choir reception and are trying to get a kitchen clean and go home...

... you get 80+ pictures from when certain twin girls put the camera on the continuous shot mode and shoot one walking toward the other.  And back again. 
(me while downloading- "WHAT?!  I didn't take 109 pictures...")

Very amusing actually, especially the fact that in the majority of the photos, I'm in the background, completely oblivious to what is going on around me (and moving much slower than the walking girl is!!).

So the photo of the day is of walking girl, VERY CLOSE to the camera.

I'm thankful for digital!
December Photo Project, day 17.

16 December 2009

DPP- December 16- "The Perfect Gift..."

"The Perfect Gift for the Modern Homemaker"

That's what the side of the box for the handmixer says.
Almost every week I work with a neat, and rather not what you would expect of the kitchen church ladies, group of ladies to cook Wednesday night dinner at church.
The mixer came with the church.  (the church building and how we ended up in it, that's another great story for another day)  The church is old, and so is that mixer.  We figure it's from the 60's.  Or so.

We use that mixer almost every week, and almost every week we laugh.
"Where's the Perfect Gift for the Modern Homemaker?," we ask.
Kitchen worker humor! 
When you cook dinner for 100, you need humor!

So, for today's picture o' the day, I got my dear friend to pose with the mixer.  And the box, of course.

I'd be amiss if I didn't also mention that my friend (who I promised would remain nameless!) is one who every woman would do well to model, modern homemaker or not. 
She's an amazing cook.  (ask my kids about her meatballs.  or her potato soup.  or her fresh bread...) 
She's crafty, and I mean that in a nice mitten making way, not a "using cunning or trickery" kind of way. 
But more than that, she's a trusted friend and confidant, who sharpens me and others, and for that I'm blessed and thankful.

And remember, if you are still looking for that Perfect Gift for your sweetie...

15 December 2009

DPP- December 15- Christmas Program

December Photo Project- day 15.

Tonight the girls and I went to watch friends at their school Christmas program. 

Amazingly, we ended up with 1st row seats!  (thanks, Les!)

Great job 3rd-5th graders! 

14 December 2009

DPP- December 14- Shovelling

More snow this morning.
On top of ice.

Ice on the windshield.
FRIGID cold!
and getting colder.

But at least I have this guy to shovel for me!  :-)
Thanks J!

13 December 2009

DPP- December 13- Hats

December Photo Project, day 13.

"Do you like my hat?"
"I do! What a hat! I like that party hat!"
Go, Dog. Go! by PD Eastman

Ok, I know, they aren't really party hats!  But in my mind, "hat" and Go, Dog. Go! are synonymous.  I could read, uh, recite, that book in my sleep (& I probably did!) for many, many years! 

I do! I do like those hats!  And so do my girls.

12 December 2009

DPP- December 12- Cookies

Soup and sandwiches followed by
carolling in the neighborhood, cocoa and cookies
at church
tomorrow night.

Come join us.  :-)

11 December 2009

DPP- December 11- Pasta lunch

My oldest daughter made me lunch today, so she earned the privilege of choosing the picture of the day...

This meal is a staple in our house.  Tomatoes, onion, garlic and bacon over pasta.  Any pasta.  Bonus if we have parmesean cheese for the top. 
Thanks k.

10 December 2009

DPP- December 10- but shadows

December Photo Project, day 10.

“Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are! Alas! it is the nature of their kind to be so. The loveliest things in life, Tom, are but shadows; and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these!”
Charles Dickens

09 December 2009


Need a Snow Day?Well, we don't really need a snow day around here!  But even those of you digging out and thawing out will have fun "cutting" out these snowflakes.

DPP- December 9- If life gives you snow...

... make snowcones!

December Photo Project, day 9

08 December 2009

DPP- December 8- SnOmaha

December Photo Project- December 8
Snow.  Snow.
Snow all the day long.

07 December 2009

DPP- December 7- Ornament

I don't remember not having this ornament.  I've hung her on the Christmas tree since I was old enough to hang ornaments on the Christmas tree.  I like that Navajo girl.  She reminds me of growing up in New Mexico.  I think she was a gift when I was only a tot.

they spelled my name wrong...  :-)

06 December 2009

DPP- December 6- Winter Storm Warning

December Photo Project- Day 6

Our family travelled out west Saturday, to worship with these folks today.  They shared with us gracious hospitality, incredibly comfortable accomodations, delicious food and sweet fellowship.  And when we walked out of church, we were greeted with...

Rapidly dropping temperature.  Blowing snow. 

This is the few from the front passenger seat.
(and we made it home before it started to stick... )

DPP- December 5- Poster Child

December Photo Project- Day 5

If it's December, we're on to a new sports season... basketball! 

Our junior high hoopster played in her first game of the season on Saturday & the entire family was out to cheer her on.  My girls play volleyball and basketball with the Warriors, a team for homeschool girls.  What a blessing the Warriors have been to my family over the last five (six?) years!  We love to cheer for the girls, but to tell the truth, sitting with the other families is just as a much a part of the fun.

So, indeed, go Warriors!

05 December 2009

Rich and Multi-faceted

God's people are delighted to be asked to partner. They are generous - sacrificially so. They are creative. They are committed and excited and prayerful. They long for workers for the harvest and they have confidence in a big God. They want to serve.

My friend Julie has written so very well about this work of itinerating, going about the business of raising the support to go into full-time missions.  Her first hand thoughts mirror my own.  We are exceedingly blessed by those who are sacrificially generous, and creative, and praying, and looking expectantly to what the Lord will do.

The Gentino family is being called to south Asia.  My family has eyes fixed south, to the US/Mexico border.  But no matter where in Kingdom, the partnership is the same. 

It is rich and multi-faceted. It is sharing life and not looking inward to ourselves but together looking outward to what God is doing somewhere else in the world.

Some of us are called to go.  Others are called to partner.  And you?

04 December 2009


Farewell Mr. Monk!

We were latecomers.  But oh we've enjoyed the last few months. 

Yes, we confess, there are some of us here that understand your habits, some of us more than others.  (uh, not that I have ever tried to vacuum the dog.  no... not me...)

And all of us are impressed by your ability to figure out the mystery. 

You gave us family laughs, and lots of quotes.

Good work, Monk!
See you on DVD!

DPP- December 4- Douglas County Courthouse Rotunda

December Photo Project- day 4.

Today I took a friend to the courthouse to pay some fees.  We had to stand in the cashier's line. 
I looked around.
I looked up.

My little camera doesn't show the story well enough.  The rotunda shows a series of paintings from the history of Omaha, and a beautiful stained glass dome center.

But even more beautiful was the surprise my friend received.  Very unexpectedly, quite inexplicably, her fees had been waived.  She owed nothing.  Her slate is clean.  She doesn't know who to thank, but she is grateful.

But we both remember, that's not the first time that has happened.

Colossians 2:13-14-
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Thank you Jesus.  We're grateful.

03 December 2009

DPP- December 3- Old Market Passageway

December Photo Project- Day 3

Today, in search of The Perfect Christmas Ornament Exchange ornament, we went down to the Old Market...

the view from the entryway of the Old Market Passageway.

02 December 2009

DPP- December 2

December Photo Project- Day 2. 

Cranberry Nut Bars.
They are the speciality of my friend Jill.  She is FAMOUS, in the homeschool volleyball world and probably beyond!, for these Cranberry Nut Bars. 
I'm telling you, they taste even better than they look.
And they look good!

(and thanks to my friend Kim, I can give you the recipe to serve 100, too.  Just in case.  :-)  )

01 December 2009

December Photo Project- December 1

December Photo Project, day 1.
There are several photos I could post from today. 
I helped to decorate the church for Christmas, and I took photos.
My family decorated our Christmas tree, and I took photos.

But I asked a daughter to help me decide which photo to use and this is what she chose.
Our dog, Dillon, the Welsh Terrier.
His schnoz is pretty much that big.

(note to self- if  you don't want an opinion, don't ask for it...  :-)

30 November 2009

... because of the things I do...

But for myself, I trust in the Lord in spite of the things I don’t understand about Him—because of the things I do understand about Him. And one of those things is that He looks at the heart of a matter and not just external appearances. Every one of us knows what it’s like to be in a situation that looks really, really bad, but onlookers are unaware of a few facts that would unfurl their eyebrows if they knew. What about the poor guy who walks into church on Sunday morning filthy because he stopped to help someone one the way who had a flat tire? I have been so sleep-deprived that I have nodded visibly through very good sermons.

- Andree Seu, Just One Thing: Chapter 20,, 30Nov2009

In the morning

Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to Thee do I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.
Psalm 5:1-5

I sing this Psalm in my head; I cannot simply recite it.  It is one of those Psalms that is familiar and comforting; one that I fall back on, time and time again.

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my meditation.
I do, this morning, consider Him- His goodness, His sovereignty, His provision, His faithfulness, His providence.
My meditation, my thoughts, many and scattered- the day ahead, the week, the month.  Things undone, big and small.  Relationships that need tending.  What is ahead, and what is behind.

Harken unto the voice of my cry,
my King and my God.
My insufficiency.  My dependence.  My inability to go this road alone.  My sin.  My need for a Savior.

For unto Thee will I pray,
My voice Thou shalt hear in the morning.
More so in the quiet and still of morning than any other time.  Waking even without an alarm.  Stumbling down to the table and the Word.  Watching dawn break and darkness turn to shadows as daylight rises. Images slowly become clear, and visible, and real. 
Speak, O Lord, for Your servant is listening. 

O Lord, in the morning, will I direct my prayer
Unto Thee, and will look up.

(photo credit to BBC News.  I suppose it is from England, but it looks like a scene from Nebraska, I think...)

29 November 2009

Behold, days are coming

'Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
'In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth.
'In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness.'
Jeremiah 33:14-16

"Advent is a period of preparation for Christmas but, unlike Lent, it is not a period of penance.  It is a period that focuses on joy...  We come to realize more each year how great our blessings, how beautiful is a life lived in concert with the Jesus who came to show us the way.  We learn the joy of anticipation, the joy of delighting in a sense of the presence of God all around us, the joy of looking for the second coming of Christ, the joy of living in the surety of even more life in the future."
Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year

27 November 2009

December '09 Photo Project

December Photo ProjectLook!
A new photo assignment for December.
I'm participating in the December Photo Project, hosted by Rebecca @View from the Prairie Box. A photo for each day of December. Could be a challenge for this amateur, but a lot of fun as well.
Want to join in?

26 November 2009


As part of our Thanksgiving festivities yesterday (we feasted a day early this year), we stuck post-it notes, one for each letter of the alphabet, down our stairway, and everyone in the family noted what they were thankful for, A to Z. (We like A to Z around here! Annual Christmas letter coming soon!)

The "rules" were that you had to REALLY be thankful for it, not just write a word because it had the right letter. Then at dinner, we passed around the letters and read them out loud. There were a few questionable items (Underdog? The University of Washington football coach?), but we'll let them stay...

Here's the final results:
Ashley, animals, art, accordions, aunts, apples, air conditioning.
Babies, blessings, benefits, bananas, band-aids, Bible, blankets, baseball, Ben, Bob, bed, books, brothers, beds, boots.
Coffee, church, cake, cats, curry, chocolate, cousins, cute babies, carpet, clothes, Converse sneakers.
Dark chocolate, Dad, Dillon, dolls, dresses, doctors.
Eternity, educators, earth, elders, eggs, ears.
Faithfulness, freedom, friends, food, family, fall, fun, forgiveness, Floyds.
Grace, God, games, girls, grandparents.
Husband, Harper, home, hotels, hugs, heat, health, Hollidays, hope.
Ice cream, information, icees, Ichiro.
James (Jamie, Jimmigan), a job, juice, Jesus.
Keilah, kindness, kisses, kites, kit-kats.
Lydia, light, love, laughter, light bulbs, Life Is Good shirt, lattes.
Mercy, Mom, medicine, missionaries, marriage, morning, mashed potatoes, music.
Names, naps, night, Nanny, Nancy Drew computer games, Nintendo DS, Nebraska football, nighttime, Nebraska.
Ocean, oceanside living, outside, oranges, onion roll ups.
Peace, pie, people, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, parents, pens, pencils, Pastors.
Quiet, questions, quesadillas, Quick-Trip.
Relatives, a room, rain, rainboots, rice, rain forests.
Susannah, Sarah, Simply Limeade, spring, safe travel, siblings, sun, sewing stuff, sisters, Steve Sarkishian, S-girls, summer.
Tom, tylenol, tissues, turkey, trains, tv, teachers.
Underwear, Underdog, uncles, undersea animals, umbrellas.
Vaseline, Valentines Day, vacuum, volleyball.
Water, waffles, watermelon, Warriors, winter.
eXpressways, X-Games, X-rays.
Yummy food, youth, yellow, yams.
Zeal! Zotz, zoo, zebras, ZacAttack.

But mostly, we echo the song of Psalm 100, as we give thanks to the Lord for all of His blessings to us:
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Happy Thanksgiving to your home, too.

25 November 2009

"to our beneficent Father"

...No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people; I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him that, for such singular deliverances and blessings; they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

- President Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation of Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863

(photo credit: Matthew Brady, ca. 1863, from the George Eastman House Collection, found on Flickr)

Simple. And profound.

It came as I was thinking about what it might look like for me to remember Christ in the moments when I am tempted to hold a grudge or be ungrateful, critical, graceless, or just plain ol' mean. I thought to myself, "What does mercy look like in this moment? What would it mean to actually breathe grace / live the gospel / be a Christian in this moment?"

- Tara Barthel, from her blog, Considerable Grace, November 25, 2009

24 November 2009

Lovely beyond any singing of it

There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it. The road climbs seven miles into them, to Carisbrooke; and from there, if there is no mist, you look down on one of the fairest valleys of Africa. About you there is grass and bracken and you may hear the forlorn crying of the titihoya, one of the birds of the veld. Below you is the valley of the Umzimkulu, on its journey from the Drackensberg to the sea; and beyond and behind the river, great hill after great hill; and beyond and behind them, the mountains of Ingeli and East Griqualand.
-Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country (1948)

That is, I think, one of the finest opening paragraphs in literature. Oh the picture it paints in my mind!

(photo credit of the Ixopo valley to riesergal on Flickr)

22 November 2009

Pie Day!

70 pies in one afternoon!
Apple, Cherry-Cherry, Pecan and Pumpkin.
Homemade crust and homemade filling.
And a LOT of love.

Oh how I was blessed!
These special ladies gathered together to make Holliday Pies. They sold them to benefit the funds my family is gathering to get to work in missions at the eastern end of the US/Mexico border. That they would give up time on a Saturday to do that for us, I am humbled!

And the pies looked amazing! And smelled amazing!

You ladies are our heroes. A million and one thanks!