Monday, December 10, 2007


Every year since I have been a baby...ahem...43...yes, count 'em...43 years, my mom has made her infamous Santa Claus Cookies.

She made them for every one of my brother's and my element
ary school Christmas parties. She made them for family, neighbors, friends, the kids of the guy who worked on my dad's cars, co-workers of both she and my dad....and more!

She continued the tradition with my kids. They HAD to t
ake Santa cookies to their classes every year.

Mom was in the grocery store not long ago and a 20 something man with
a young family came up and said, "I don't know if you remember me...(she did)....but I just wondered ... do you still make Santa cookies? I would love to have one and give one to my kids." This is a regular occurrence for her.

When Steve and I were engaged and I first met his younger brother Chris, it
was at Christmas. So, of course, I wanted to win the love of my 12 year old brother to I took him Santas that year and many years after. Well...last year, Brianna asked him what he wanted for Christmas and his 35 year old response ... "SANTA COOKIES!" So he got a whole bag of them.

Chris was never very giving when it
came to sharing his goodies with his brothers...I wonder if he shared Santas with his 4 and 5 year old kids???

Mom sent a container full back to college with Weston. He
said he would have to hide them or this suitemates would eat them all and he wouldn't get any. I think he gets the Cookie Hoarding from his Uncle Chris!

Betsy, Steve's assistant, was the pastor's daughter of the church my parents have attended their whole life. The first Christmas she was working for Steve she said, "I LOVED your Mom's Santa cookies. I couldn't wait to get them every year. If you have an extra do you think I could have one?" So...reliving her childhood, Betsy once again gets some every Christmas.

Mom has taught many to make them...or should I say...many have ATTEMPTED to learn to make them...and we all do OK...but no one does it like MOM! I do believe Brianna will come close to having Gram's expertise. I try...and try...and try...every I year I try harder. I am holding down my minuscule skill sets until Brianna can take over.

Thousands of cookies during my lifetime.
Thanks, MOM...for 43 years of tradition, investing, and LOVE that spoke...and still speaks... volumes...

...or should I say dozens!

Thursday, December 6, 2007


I received this link for $5 magazine subscriptions.

It is a great deal if you want to send a subscription as a gift or get one for yourself.

You can choose from Good Housekeeping, O Magazine, House Beautiful, RedBook, Popular Mechanics, Smart Money, and more.

Check it out today because I don't know how long this deal will last.

Happy Shopping!

UPDATE: This offer is no longer available. I will keep you posted on other great offers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007



THE NAMES HAVE NOT BEEN CHANGED TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT ...because I didn't know her name. I will call her 'A.L.F" ..."Annoying Little Female".

As we boarded our airplane at 1:45 am...I was in the middle seat and Steve in the aisle. We were PRAYING diligently that the window seat would be miraculously left vacant. Our prayers were to no avail...the flight was full...EVERY LAST, Space deprived seat.

A petite,
40 something lady..AKA..A.L.F... smiled and stood at our row...indicating our window seat was hers. she held up traffic trying to put her luggage in the already full overhead compartment...Steve finally told her she probably had to take it further back. She did...still holding up a line of weary, irate passengers who just wanted hurry up and sit down and wait. She came back to the seat and then announced to everyone that she had to go the bathroom. (surprise...since all the restrooms in the terminal had been shut down...) She turned to go BACK to the front to use the facilities and was greeted with LOOKS from those in que ...and decided she would wait until the plane is loaded. SMART MOVE! she climbs over us to get to her seat...she settles in. Remember it is close to 2 am...Everyone is seated and trying to get some shut-eye...and A.L.F. pulls out a plastic grocery bag and begins to rattle it around while she searches for her tr
easure ...I didn't know a plastic grocery bag could be so extremely intrusive in the middle of the NIGHT... Well she pulled out her orange...proceeded to wrestle with the extra tough skin...the aroma of the orange permeated the cabin of all the passengers who received their food vouchers AFTER the restaurants closed...when the sweet smell reached their reminded them of the hunger pains rumbling around in their bellies.

After the orange...she decided it was time to go to the bathroom. We were almost ready to take-off...and here she comes...climbing over us to get out. She did it so quickly I was forced to kneel on top of the which doing so...I scraped my knee on the SEAT BELT and started BLEEDING. All I could think of was...I better get this covered or I will get MRSA!

She is 'going' for an eternity....the fight attendants are waiting to give the all clear...others who were waiting in line to relieve themselves before take-off were INVITED to go into first class and go since A.L.F. is taking SO LONG to finish her business.
She comes back...climbs over....and I am realizing this is going to be a LONNNNNGG flight!

We finally take off when Annoying Little Female is settled in.
As we are in the air and trying to sleep...A.L.F. decides to read. That is OK EXCE
PT when she began reading she leaned WAAAAYYYYY over on...I mean INVADING my already claustrophobic airplane space. Steve leaned around me and gave her that 2:30 a.m, sleep deprived, "WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM, LADY?' look. I leaned WAY over on him and she was STILL touching me. I think she got the idea and leaned toward the window...BUT NO...THAT wasn't comfortable...THE RETURN OF THE SPACE INVADER....left arm holding the book....elbow in my ribcage...the weight of her intrusive body all on my right side...she was putting so much pressure on my shoulders and arms I could hardly breathe. MORE LOOKS....NOT SO PATIENT SIGHS and MOVEMENTS....

The weariness of the hour is causing me to UNRAVEL. I prayed...breathed deeply 'in the nose and out the mout'h and finally pleaded..."GOD...if you don't move this woman OFF OF ME...I am going to smack her!" I know I should have been thinking of ways to tell her about Jesus....BUT trust was NOT the time!

SPACE INVASION WOMAN finally decides to go to sleep. THANK THE LORD! She curled up in a little ball...face towards me...I turned towards Steve. After a little while, our sleeping contortionist decides to turn the other

SO ...GET THIS....
She can't put her feet down because of all her stuff...SO...she proceeds to lift her shoeless f
eet OVER the seat in FRONT of the process she KICKED THE HEAD of the lady sitting there! I AM NOT JOKING...OR EXAGGERATING!

Cirque Du Soleil performer was oblivious...because she settled back in and snoozed until the end of the flig

You should have seen the look on the face of the lady who got whacked in the head!

When we had exited
the plane and were walking toward baggage...I saw the lady who got the foot upside her head. I asked her, "What did you think when the woman in the seat behind you KICKED you in the HEAD?" She replied, "I thought, How in the world did she get her feet up that high????"

We were praying this was not the precursor of the things to come on our long awaited vacation.
It wasn't...we had a great time...AND we were bumped up to FIRST CLASS on the flight home.

I guess the only spiritual application from patience and self pray for it...God answers!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Leavin' on a Jet Plane...or NOT

OK...To avoid my downfall of too much detail... I will try to make this as non-wordy as possible...

When we left for our cruise we were supposed to fly out at 9 pm Friday night....
Well...we were DELAYED! During the delay here is what happened.

1. The poor girls behind the counter were taking major flak from everyone...and it wasn't their fault.

2. STEVE was nice to them and we received food vouchers at 10:30...before everything closed at 11 pm. ALMOST EVERYONE ELSE got theirs at 11 pm.

3. Those girls also assured us a seat on the 9 am Sat. morning flight if we didn't get out on Friday. Right after that...they informed all the irate, belligerent passengers that the 9 am flight was full!
( it pays to be nice.)

4. While waiting in the terminal...we were people watching. We observed...
  • The big mouth, big headed 30 something man who must have really needed attention because he was talking on his phone from 8:30 pm...and was still talking as we were boarding the plane hours later...communicating in an decibel level for the whole airport to hear..."I can't believe this...blankety, blank, blank....complaining and rehearsing over and over with everyone in his phone book...our situation...for 5 HOURS...without a breath."
  • The teenage girls running through the Northwest terminal...I think one of their moms sent them on a scavenger hunt...just to get the giggling and screeching adolescent behaviors out of earshot of all the weary passengers. Of course when they returned at 1 am with their list completed...we all were ever so gently awakened from our comfortable airport terminal seats like an electroshock treatment.
  • The 50 something man who...instead of whistle while you work...He decided to "Workout while you WAIT." He proceeded to the moving walkway...(BY THIS TIME THE AIRPORT WAS DESERTED EXCEPT FOR OUR FLIGHT!) and began to walk against the flow...INSTANT TREADMILL! He started a trend...a few others joined in...then a couple ran UP the down escalator...until they shut it down...
  • You had the people much as they could...the complainers still harassing the counter agents ...the one who were laughing, telling jokes and making the most of the situation...the older gentleman traveling alone also going on a cruise...except his left on SUNDAY...he said he has learned...GO as EARLY as possible!
5. 12 am ...we were watching the big screened TV and like Cinderella...right at MIDNIGHT the TV magically DISAPPEARED!

6. We are si
tting in those chairs that have ARMS between EVERY SEAT...meaning no one can lie down....some laid on the floor but not this germ-a-phobe! NO...I will stick it out in the seat made of brick...feet propped up on my carry on.

7. Airport terminal temperature automatically plummets after 11 pm...because it was like Antarctica in there! No way to get warm...ex
cept walk on the 'treadmill.'

8. Airport Bathrooms also shut down at 12 midnight...EVEN WITH PASSENGERS AROUND!

When they tell us we will be boarding in a few minutes...we decide to use the "facilities." So, off I go t
he restroom right by our gate...I turn to walk in the door..and I am greeted by a BIG YELLOW TAPE...CLOSED FOR CLEANING! So, I briskly walk to the other end...just before it is CLOSED for cleaning...I returned and Steve went to the far restrooms...too LATE...CLOSED COME BACK he walks back to the one near us...CLOSED...DON'T COME BACK!

HELLO...there are still PEOPLE IN HERE...and we all still are subject to the CALL OF NATURE!...we can't SHUT DOWN like the rest of the airport.

SO Steve just has to hold it until the plane.

9. At 2 am...we finally took off and landed at 5:00 a.m. Got to our hotel and in bed at 6 up at 10 a.m. and left for the port.

10. Next blog...the lady who sat next to us on the plane! Whoa, Nellie! It is a must read.

( I failed in my attempt for a shorter blog...if at first you don't succeed...)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back to Reality. UGH!!!

I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks and here is the reason.

Steve and I just returned from a two week...count em....TWO WEEK CRUISE in the Caribbean...with no phones, or Internet except for emailing the kids a few times.

It was wonderful. We did have our blog-worthy moments which I will attempt to post over the next week or so...some funny...some frustrating...some romantic....AWWWW!
Picture from Formal Night
I would just like to express my love and gratitude to my hubby of 23.5 years for planning this wonderful time away.

the guy who wore my pants, wrote me a love letter for every day we were gone. It was quite a scene to be sitting at dinner reading a letter with tears streaming down my face, mixed with laughter and smiles...and my heart expanding so much, you could see it through my clothing.

What a man I married. To plan, think, write, search our 23 years together and put into words all those thoughts, feelings, and memories.(NOW...all the females reading this will forward to the men in their lives with the subject line reading...HINT! HINT! )

AND I would like to say thanks to my mom and dad for keeping Brianna for two weeks...taking her to Amish country...letting her bake and bake and cook and cook...the pumpkin pies and brownies were delicious...and keeping up with her and all of her planning and ideas...and encouraging her school work.

I was nervous about leaving her for two whole weeks but she told me, "MOM...I am going to be with Grandma and Grandpa. I will have a blast! You know they cater to me and I get whatever I ask for! I get spoiled!"

And that she did. AND that is what Grandparents are for! Thanks for being great ones.

More later...I have laundry to do!!!!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Well... it happened. I gained a pound at Weight Watchers last week. I have only lost 21.5 lbs. Before that, I had plateaued in my weight loss...but at least I wasn't gaining.

When I left WW on Friday...after I had gained... what did I do? I took Brianna and my niece and nephew to the Apple Orchard where we went through the Corn Maze, picked apples, AND THEN CELEBRATED my fall off the weight watcher wagon with Cider and a cinnamon and sugar pumpkin doughnut!

Today I continued my festivities with two bite size Almond Joys at church, Qdoba's for lunch, and Marilynn's delicious apple crisp when I went to see baby Robert...and I can feel myself slipping into the mode of...
"I JUST WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING! cream... french fries...non-baked potato chips......peach name it... I want to eat it."

I am entertaining those evil thoughts from the Weight Watcher Devil...who, by the way, looks like a devils food cake with whipped cream horns and licorice tail... "JUST GIVE UP...WHO CARES...IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU GAIN BACK ALL YOU HAVE LOST AND MORE...YOU DON'T NEED TO BE HEALTHY...OREOS ARE HEALTHY...There is milk and calcium in the cream in the middle (a Ken Martin philosophy)...yada yada yada...You really can't do it anyway! SO JUST FORGET IT!"

I KNOW what I have to do to get back on track... to push through the plateau... to take off the rest of the weight...

I have to work harder, watch what I put in my mouth....exercise in... be faithful to my WW meetings to be encouraged to stay on track...and Get my MIND SET to do it..tell the DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE TEMPTER to GET BEHIND ME...and...........DON'T GIVE UP!

So many times that is like our walk with the Lord. We plateau...we start putting back on those things we thought we had overcome "for the cause of Christ"...

Those are the times we have to press what we are feeding our minds and hearts....get our daily exercise and work out by reading the WORD and praying MORE......being faithful to the House of the LORD where you will be nourished, refreshed, and encouraged to keep on track...fasting....saying NO to the junk food in your life...whatever that is for you...

(I have decided I am going to try a technology fast once a computers or TV...etc. It can be a time waster for me. Since my work is on the computer this will be a challenge.)

...AND we have to get our MIND SET on things above...and NOT GIVE UP!"

My tendency when I feel like I have reverted backwards in an area of my life is to say, "FORGET IT! What's the use of trying again. I have wandered so far off the trail... I haven't read the WORD...I haven't spent time praying..."...AND the enemy of our souls is tempting us with thoughts of..."God doesn't really want you NOW. If you can't do the right things every day...then you may as well GIVE UP. REMEMBER you have struggled with this your WHOLE LIFE! You will NEVER overcome. You are a LOSER!"

To that, you KNOW what you have to do....put on the HELMET OF SALVATION, take up the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT...and Say to that father of lies...GET BEHIND ME!"

We are encouraged in Philippians 3:12-14...
"I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But CHRIST has taken hold of me. So I KEEP ON RUNNING and STRUGGLING to take hold of the PRIZE. My friends, I don't feel that I have already arrived. But I FORGET what is behind, and I struggle for what is AHEAD. I RUN toward the goal, so that I can WIN THE PRIZE of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what CHRIST JESUS has done."

Press on and on and on my friend. HIS MERCIES are new every morning. NO ONE is perfect except JESUS!


Thursday, October 11, 2007


Brianna and I had to go into Steve's Office one day this week to do some work. There was a large meeting going on and the girls in the office were getting lunch together for the group. Four of the Admin. Assts. were out for the day...BETSY WAS HAVING HER BABY! A BOY...Robert William...18 days early. Marilynn...aka. Grandma to Robert...was at the hospital with Betsy...and two more were out on vacation days. SO they were a little short handed.

Being the 'servants' that we are, Brianna and I jumped to task. As we were setting the food out and getting it ready the phone rang. All the 'adult women' (didn't think "older women' would be appreciated) had their hands tied up so Lisa, the office manager, said, "Brianna, get the phone and say.."Good Afternoon. Assemblies of God." She did...and was great.

A little while later it rang again. Feeling like a pro...Brianna picked up the phone, pushed the line, and answered, "Hello...this is THE OFFICE!"

Needless to say, we all laughed. The lady on the phone laughed. Brianna said she was thankful it wasn't an 'uptight old lady' who was on the other end.

I am sure there are days when EVERY office feels like "THE OFFICE" or WORSE... and could write episodes of their own.

What are the keys to our SANITY????

1. Keep everything in perspective.
Col. 3:1 states: " ...See things from His

2. Keep Laughing.
Psalm 100:1 tells us this...

"On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence"
Proverbs 17:22...
"A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired."
Proverbs 15:15...
"A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song."

And remember...3. Tomorrow is another day.
Ecc. 1:2 "...It's business as usual for the old planet earth. The sun comes UP and the sun goes DOWN, then does it AGAIN, and AGAIN..."

Break into Song..."The sun'll come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow...there'll be sun..."

Hide these WORDS from the LORD in your heart...and YOU be the one to make "THE OFFICE" a GREAT PLACE to be!

(The Message was the version of choice for above scriptures.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Weston called me the other night from North Central University, where he attends college.

Our conversation went something like this...

"MOM...were you in bed?"

" IS 10:45 here in Michigan and I AM getting older, ya know."

"Sorry....but anyway....I am sitting here with some guys and we want to have an old fashioned worship night on our floor. We were wondering if you could help us think of some the early 90's."

"EARLY 90's?!?!?!?!?...OLD FASHIONED!?!?!?!", I responded with much unbelief and laughter!

Jonathan Palmer, son of the new General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, friend of my son, is yelling into the phone,"THINK GAITHER! THINK GAITHER!"

"Jonathan...GAITHER is like the 60's and 70's! And if you want that, call your
Gram Clay. She is the Gaither Groupie."

"Well...she'd already be in bed." (HELLO....SO WAS I!)

The 'old fashioned' worship desiring boys of Phillips 2E had already come up with songs such as: 'Look What the Lord Has Done", "I Went to the Enemy's Camp", and "The Happy Song".

I suggested, "We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise"...Weston put me on speaker phone so I could sing it to the guys to see if they remembered it...Before I sang, I told them they had to do the motions to this one...I sang and Weston was laughing saying 'They're doing the motions, Mom!" (try and picture that one in your head!)

Then we went through, "In Him We Live", Alive, Alive, Alive Forevermore, What a Mighty God We Serve, This is the Day That the Lord Has Made (old ON BEAT CLAPPING version and 'old fashioned early 90's OFF BEAT clapping version...with the chorus..." the Lord.")

Weston asked, "Mom, what was that song we used to sing in Mt. Pleasant...Stand Up?"

I replied, "That is an OLD FASHIONED hymn remixed....STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS! with a new chorus thrown in."

One time I suggested, "This is My Commandment that ye Love One Another" and NONE of them had ever heard of that one.

I said, "Sorry, that must have been the 80's."

Weston yelled:..."GUYS....SHE"S GOING BACK INTO THE 80'S!!!!!!!" (background noises of moans and groans immediately followed.)

I so LOVED the fact that those boys wanted to 'bridge the generation gap' and include me in their worship planning. AND if I was in Minneapolis, I could attend because they were only inviting people that have been in the Assemblies of God 16 years or MORE! (so they would know the songs!)

Needless to say, Steve and I didn't go to sleep for a while because of all the chuckling that kept surfacing as we thought about that phone call.

And THEN we were lying there thinking of all the "old songs" we remembered from the 80's and 90's. It was fun...and FUNNY!

Worship has definitely come into a new era...but there are some "old fashioned worship songs' that are timeless and still speak to my heart. Isn't it reassuring to know that though our methods, style, rhythm, beat, etc. change over the decades that the ONE we worship and adore stays the SAME! "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

I emailed Weston a list of about 50 songs the next day. Maybe YOU can think of some, that I didn't remember...or some that just resonate in your heart of hearts...or some that just make you LAUGH and say, "We used to sing that!?!" (Like the verse of the Joy of the Lord is my Strength...HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!) If you don't know the Ha Ha are either TOO YOUNG or too young in Jesus.

So LEAVE A COMMENT with your favorite...or most memorable "old fashioned" worship song...even if you are seconding one that is already listed.

I will leave the definition of "old fashioned' up to you!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"SALSA Anyone???"

So... thanks to the mass 3 of you who emailed for this recipe! :-D

I take no claim to fame at being a domestic diva...except I DO make yummy salsa!


* 4 C. finely chopped tomatoes

* 1 C. finely chopped onion

* 1 green Bell pepper finely chopped (around 1 cup)

Place ch
opped veges in a LARGE saucepan

Combine the following ingredients in food processor or blender

* 4 – 8 Fresh Jalapenos ( ok… I use 35… count ‘em… 35 for Steve’s Salsa. It is fire hot! You just have to taste it and go by trial and error for your likes.)

* 4 cloves of Garlic

* 1 sm. Can Tomato Paste

* ½ C sugar

* 1 C. White vinegar

* ¼ t. Alum

* ½ t. Cumin

* ½ t. pepper

* 1 TB. Salt

Process until smooth.

Combine with chopped veges in large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.

Simmer for 45 minutes.

Pour into HOT sterilized jars. ( pint jars) leaving ½ inch head space.

Seal. And process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Makes appx. 3 pints.



**You can double recipe. One time I tripled it but it easily scorched.

**JalapeƱo hints… I do not de seed them because it takes away the HEAT

IF You deseed them wear gloves. I have had two friends rub their faces while deseeding and their faces get red and on fire. If this happens, bathe face and hands in milk.

** If you have never canned before, be sure to use new seal lids and read the directions.


and a few other fun things and TIPS FOR SALSA MAKING!

When we pastored in Mt. Pleasant, our dear friend, LINDA POHL, would give us some of her homemade salsa every year for Christmas. OF COURSE, with my husbands strong LOVE and DESIRE for HOT THINGS (including ME!) 12 jars didn't last very long. So he asked if I could learn how to can Salsa. I had only done freezer things and never had to CAN.
SO LINDA so PATIENTLY and graciously walked me through the process.

Last summer, at the end of August Steve was gone for about 10 days, so Brianna and I decided to go and spend time with my mom and dad. I figured it was a GREAT time to make my Salsa...especially because Mom had such a great kitchen to work in. (SHE is a domestic diva!)
There were a couple of GREAT things about that decision.

#1: My grandma's niece had a garden full of we went and picked out tomatoes, some jalapenos, and green used some Mom and Dad picked up at the Farmer's Market.

#2: Mom, Grandma (MO) and my Aunt Darlene AND Brianna all helped me...And they are all VERY GIFTED in the kitchen.

#3. I found the 2nd Best Time Saver EVER! (what is the 1st? Mom, Mo, Darlene, and Brianna!) The VIDALIA CHOP WIZARD. I saw it in Real Simple listed as a great product. It chops the vegetables so quickly and perfectly. No watery onions or peppers. And even the ripe tomatoes chopped into little perfect squares without being mushed! It usually takes me a day and half JUST to chop all my vegetables. We did all the onions and peppers in 45 MINUTES!!!!!! NOW... my mom, father- in- love, sister-in-love, aunt...have one. Whoever tries it loves it. You can get it at Walgreens, CVS for $20... or with a $5 coupon at Bed, Bath, and Beyond... it's just $15.

When you take the jars out of the water after their water bath...and set them on the counter... and you hear the lids start popping.... LINDA taught me to say "PRAISE THE LORD" every time you hear that wonderful little noise, because you KNOW it is sealed and processed correctly.

SOOOO...I said "praise the LORD" 99 TIMES! I would have said it 100 times but my parents and I ate a jar full when it was warm...right after cooking. It was SOOOO yummy. THAT is why I didn't make any for me this year. Still have some left. Made Steve's mom and dad 40 jars.

I do this for my hubby...and make his SOOOO lips and tongue burn and my lips swell up...when I taste his. He can just pour it down. I believe his lips, tongue and gut are made of iron. I use 30-35 jalapenos and pablanos for a recipe for him. I use 3-4 for MINE!

So...that is the extent of the Domestic Diva in me! If you come to my house for dinner...GUESS WHAT YOU ARE HAVING?????