Starting Fresh with Hodgepodge…

1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday.
 15747502_10211510518384524_8505381520756214670_nOur Nutcracker Christmas Crackers had little whistle/flutes in them and instructions to toot some Christmas songs together. It was so much fun with us laughing so much we snorted and maybe drooled a bit while trying to toot our whistles upon demand. Each whistle was numbered to created the right tone/note. Oye…it was fun!
2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store bought? If it was homemade did you make it?
swedishSwedish pancakes on Christmas morning are the best. 1st because Dear cooks them. 2nd because we all love them. A tradition that will not be broken.

3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

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People, people, people are the most beautiful things we saw over the holidays. A very beautiful thing was that our oldest flew to eastern Washington to help his brother and sister in law move into their new home in frigid temperatures. Our boys have a way of being able to motivate and help each other in good and tough times and it’s a beautiful thing to see and hear about.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

Fresh Start was the name of my home cleaning business that I started in the late 80’s and early 90’s and that’s the first thing that came to mind with this question. Dear was in Pharmacy School for a mid-life change in his profession and I cleaned toilets to make money in several homes and at a medical and dental clinic. Of course I cleaned more than toilets but you get the idea. The work was so aerobic and I was so skinny.

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well being? Explain.

If I take my fluff out of the equation I’d give myself an 8!

van 2 035I’m still fluffy but besides that my health and outlook are good. I am not taking any medications. An IT Band Syndrome is still plaguing me even though I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination. Exercises to strengthen my core and take the strain off my IT band are helping. It generally takes a lot to get me down and I’m thankful for that. So…I’ll stick with an 8!

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they’d like to see banished from the Queen’s English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you’re like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it’s used. There were quite a few on this year’s list I’d never heard before. Here’s the 2017 list of banished words-You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption. Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

I’m tired of hearing about Town Hall Meetings. Another one I’d like to not hear again is “Gun Control”.

7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year.
misc-stuff-028I got this fitbit for Christmas and I’d like to add the light goal of moving more.
My deep goal is to pray more.
 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18:
Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I’ve got a recipe for Crock Pot Potato soup inspired from bj’s blog and Paula Deen up on the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog. It was easy and satisfying. Click on over to see it.
The illustration at the top of this post is Russian and the words translate Happy New Year. I wish you all a very Happy New Year!
Linking up with Joyce at From This Side of the Pond. She provides the questions and we provide the answers.

Standing at the Portal ~ Hymn

Standing At the Portal

Standing at the portal
Of the opening year,
Words of comfort meet us,
Hushing every fear;
Spoken thru the silence
By our Savior’s voice,
Tender, strong and faithful,
Making us rejoice.

Refrain

Onward, then, and fear not,
Children of the day;
For His Word shall never,
Never pass away.

I, the Lord, am with thee,
Be thou not afraid;
I will help and strengthen
Be thou not dismayed.
Yea, I will uphold thee
With My own right hand;
Thou art called and chosen
In My sight to stand.

Refrain

For the year before us,
O what rich supplies!
For the poor and needy
Living streams shall rise;
For the sad and sinful
Shall His grace abound;
For the faint and feeble
Perfect strength be found.

Refrain

He will never fail us,
He will not forsake;
His eternal covenant
He will never break.
Resting on the promise,
What have we to fear?
God is all sufficient
For the coming year.

Onward, then, and fear not,
Children of the day;
For His Word shall never,
Never pass away.

 Words: Francis R. Havergal, January 4, 1873.

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Happy New Year everyone. Here’s a antique post card from one hundred seven years ago.

 Glory to God in highest heaven,

Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.
~Martin Luther

С новым годом!

Happy 2017 dear readers!

Super Lunar New Year!

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We had a fun celebration on Super Sunday starting with a exhilarating church service. Two of our pastors squared off with a sermon duel with the theme of finishing strong. Quarter one was about Solomon and his varied appetites that kept him from finishing strong. Quarter two was about Moses and his anger that kept him from finishing strong. Quarter three was about Judas and his greed that kept him from finishing strong. Quarter four was about Jesus and although it seemed that He wouldn’t finish strong because of his crucifixion he rose again to victory over death and sin. In order for us to finish strong we need to follow Him. There were penalties thrown and commercials in between quarters, a half time show, and Bibles with football binding given out to kids in the end zone after touchdowns!  In the end and maybe a bit prophetic Pastor Alexander with the help of his stand in after his injury on the field (sprained tonsils), pastor Goetze, edged out Pastor Wolfgang for the win.

We came home pumped up and started a few preparations for our Super Lunar New Year Bowl party.

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It was fun to gather up goods to set a Chinese New Year themed table for our party. This inspiration started in January while I visited San Francisco’s Chinatown with an old friend of mine.

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2016-02-05 Chinese New Year

These three wine covers were the instigators for the table. A large variety of these were offered for sale in every shop Alice and I went into on our visit to Chinatown. I kept handling them but walking away. Finally in the last shop we visited my resistance was depleted and I bought these three. Look at those little hats with the braid attached! They were only $1.99 each!

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Now I was in search of more items to complete my table and room decor. There are several large Asian stores around our area and I went to one where I found the Lucky pockets, candy, almond cookies and fortune cookies.

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The lanterns, dragons, plates and napkins came from a party store.

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Before hand I queried each of our guests for the party about their favorite Chinese take out dish. We ordered each of these dishes and picked them up just before our planned start time. This take out idea really made hosting the party easy peasy. We heated up the Panko shrimp from the frozen section at Costco that went real well with sweet chili sauce. We would recommend it if you ever need an appetizer for a party.

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The one thing I prepared from scratch for our party was this Egg Flower Soup. You can click over to Mennonite Girls Can Cook to get the easy recipe today!

Happy New Year to all our Asian friends who are celebrating today!

Prepare

I was thinking about the idea of choosing a word for the new year instead of making resolutions. My friend Willow at Willow’s Cottage chose Simple. Jerrelea at Jerrelea’s Journey chose Rest. I decided on the word Prepare.

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: to make (someone or something) ready for some activity, purpose, use, etc.

: to make yourself ready for something that you will be doing, something that you expect to happen, etc.

: to make or create (something) so that it is ready for use

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One challenge we heard at the first worship service of this year was not to focus on ourselves but to ask the question, How can I make the world a better place? Now I wonder what will help to prepare my heart for this challenge? Time will tell.

This year there are new things that I need to prepare for, too.

Medicare, banking online, a home office space for Dear, to name a few.

Some other things I’d like to continue to prepare for through the year are hospitality, good meals, organized spaces.

Way back in elementary school I memorized the following verses that have been favorites and a comfort through the years.

John 14: 1-3 (ESV)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

I memorized these verses in the King James Version below.

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

It’s amazing to think that the God of the universe is preparing a place for me!

Do you make New Year Resolutions or do you pick a word or verse for the year? Let me know if you do/did.

The photos that I included in this post are from a week ago when we got a little dusting of snow that came and went during the course of one day.

Out the Old, Ring in the New! Hello 2016!

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Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New
~Alfred Tennyson 1850

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife,
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweet manners, purer laws.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

~

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.
~Martin Luther

С новым годом!

Hoping that 2016 is a year with new things that draw us closer to each other and to our Lord! Happy New Year everyone!

Looking Back…

Another year has come and gone and it was fun to look back and see the highlights of 2014.

This collage is not in order of some of the events of our year. I realize that this post is mostly for my benefit to keep the events of the year from getting lost in my mind.

January ~ Both our sons have birthdays and we celebrated in person with Josh. The excitement of the Seahawks getting to the super bowl was brewing. Katie was still living with us while Andrew was serving in Afghanistan.

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February ~ Super Bowl hysteria and fun in the Seattle Area. We had snow. A trip to B.C. to visit Matthew’s House with the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. New Dishwasher.

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March ~ Sounders Soccer Season opens. Weekend trip to Eastern Washington to visit Dan. We celebrated my birthday there. Attacked by tumble weeds! Celebrated my birthday again with Josh and Laura at the Wild Ginger. Katie and I traveled to Abbotsford for the Mennonite Girls Can Cook Paska class at Lepp Farm Market.

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April ~ Got my first “Smart” phone that made me feel less than smart. I was able to set a table for 10 at our Friendship Tea at church which was such a fun and well planned out event.Katie and I visited the tulip fields in the Skagit Valley. We celebrated Easter with Josh, Laura, Katie, Steve and Lana. Katie and I packed her and Andrew’s car up and headed out on our road trip from Seattle to North Carolina. I named our trip Sea-Jack since our destination was in Jacksonville. We met up with Dan and Jamie on the first day of our journey for breakfast in Spokane. The last few days of April we hit some wild weather in Montana, South Dakota and then we got weather relief in Nebraska and Illinois. We met up with my bloggy friend Pam and her daughter for lunch in Kansas City on the last day of April. Happy meeting and time together.

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May ~ We traveled through Kentucky and into Tennessee making a two night stop in Asheville North Carolina where we enjoyed a wonderful meal on the Sunset Terrace at the Grove Hotel and the next day we toured the Biltmore Estate and Gardens. We reached our destination on Sunday May 3rd and began the search for an apartment for Katie and Andrew. We didn’t search long and signed a lease and moved in within two days! Katie and I celebrated Mother’s Day at brunch and the next day treated me to a massage that was real nice after our road trip and moving everything into the apartment on the 3rd floor with no elevator. I flew out from Jacksonville to meet Greg at his conference in Orlando on the 15th of May. Andrew returned home from Afghanistan on the 17th of May safe and sound for which we are so grateful.

Pictures18June ~ Started the process for our bathroom renovation. Had a large pine tree cut down. World Cup began. My niece Debbee and her husband Lenny came to visit. The “Girls” from B.C. road the train to Edmonds and we had a fun day together eating and shopping. We traveled to Portland to attend Nate and Abbys wedding.

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2014-06-25 The GirlsJuly ~ We traveled to Jolly Old England to celebrate our 40th Anniversary early. We enjoyed a week in the Cotswolds and time in South Wales and Henley on Thames and finished off our trip in Windsor. Our bathroom renovation began. My niece Michelle, Ryan, Jackson and Avery came for a visit.

To Windsor 123August ~ My brother Leonard and Mandy returned to Kiev to finalize adoption proceedings for our new nephew Andrew. Katie and Andrew packed up all their belongings in North Carolina into a pod and their car and started their roadtrip across the country to settle here in the Seattle area. Andrew’s terminal leave was final the end of August. Almost as fast as Katie and I found an apartment in Jacksonville Andrew and Katie found an apartment about 10 minutes from us and had possession of it in time for their pod to arrive from North Carolina. Their apartment is withing walking distance to the college Andrew is now attending. We celebrated Josh and Laura’s anniversary together the end of August.

10291122_10152701970813919_9195842261775056651_nSeptember ~ Our bathroom still wasn’t done. Ugh. I had two fun reunions with friends of our family growing up in September. Katie and I were able to meet Timi and her daughter Tamara here in Washington and then in the middle of the month I saw Timi again with her sister Milla in California at an open house on the anniversary of my mom’s death. It was good to see my pop and most of my family while I was in California. It was fun to see Terry (Dear’s brother) and Christina along with Kacie and her guy. The heat wave that was happening while I was there was epic. We terminated the bathroom contractors time at this old house and did the finishing touches ourselves. I joined the Senior Center and started in an exercise class there and joined a walking group, too.

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bathroom 005October ~ Katie and I met up with some old friends for a tea expo in Seattle. We sold a couple vehicles and purchased another one. We got a new fireplace insert. We attended a Dave Ramsey seminar with the kids. On October 30th we all traveled (except Andrew) to Dan’s place for a fun weekend of hiking, eating and shooting. This was Laura’s first time in Dan’s neck of the woods.

November ~ We enjoyed an early Thanksgiving meal on November 22nd when Dan and Jamie traveled across the harrowing pass to spend the weekend with us. On Thanksgiving we went to Dave and Jody’s for good food and good company. Thanksgiving came late this year and we went right into Christmas preparations. We attended our last Sounders game of the season missing out on the MLS cup final game to the L.A. Galaxy. Boohoo.

December ~ We celebrated Laura’s birthday at a new restaurant in Bothell and enjoyed cake and gift opening at Katie and Andrew’s. On December 14th we had the B.C. Mennonite Girls and their husbands here for a dinner party. On the same day as the party we got the exciting news that our son Dan had asked Jamie to marry him and she said yes! We were able to celebrate with them in person when they traveled here on Christmas Day from Eastern Washington. Christmas was an all day fun time enjoying each other, gifts, and good food. The day after Christmas we celebrated again with my sister Lana and Steve and Dave and Beth. We had Dear’s famous tomato rice soup. We toasted Dan and Jamie and then later in the evening we sang Happy Birthday to Katie and enjoyed cake. Dan and Jamie made it back to Eastern Washington safely.

We are going to enjoy a quiet last day of 2014 here at this old house!

Blessings to all in the New Year!

 

2013 Recap…the Joys, the Sorrows…

Here are my collages from January to December of 2013. I had to make 2 collages for September and 3 collages for December. September had our high and our low of the year. December starts with Laura’s birthday, our anniversary, Christmas and then Katie’s birthday. Too many events for one collage…

pancakes1-001We had a quiet start to the year with our first ever experience with Hoar Frost. Our sons both had birthdays in January turning 32 and 34.

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In February Katie came to stay with us for a month while Andrew had cold weather training in California. My cousin and his wife came for a visit, too. After 38 years we finally had our dining chairs recovered in leather. We are very happy with them. We also took a drive to see the Skagit Eagles.

2013-03-025March was filled with wonderful experiences. We took Katie to see her brother’s property in Eastern Washington. The beginning of the Sounders soccer season. Katie, Laura and I flew to Southern California for my niece Debbee’s bridal shower. Such a good time with my sisters, nieces, and cousins. Katie returned to North Carolina to reunite with Andrew as he arrived back from training just as Dear and I flew to Milan, Italy. This was my first time in Europe and we arrived in Milan on my birthday. I went to my first international soccer game and enjoyed traveling to Lake Como to experience a more quaint side of Italy.

90th-001The night we all arrived in Orange County for my niece’s wedding we got together with Dear’s side of the family for a meal at our hotel. Debbee and Lenny’s wedding was at the end of April in Huntington Beach, California on a Friday night. Another wonderful gathering with my extended family. On Saturday of this same weekend we planned a 90th birthday/ 70th wedding anniversary celebration for my mom and pop. Little did we know my mom only had 4-1/2 more months on this earth.  On Sunday we had brunch together at my sister’s in Huntington Beach and then we all walked to the beach to enjoy the surf and sand.

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May brought our Celebrations book launch in British Columbia. Such a good time for the 10 of us to be together. Mother’s Day is of course in May, too and I was treated to 2 beautiful Mother’s Day bouquets from my children.

USA-Panama2-001In June I traveled with the Mennonite Girls to Manitoba for several book events in Steinbach and Winnipeg. Josh treated me to a club box soccer experience for the Panama/USA soccer game. We also were happy to attend Marie’s bridal shower here in Washington and be representatives for our nephew Caleb’s side of the family.

Pictures14-001In July we finally began work on replacing all our old floors in this old house. July also brought the news that my mom had flat-lined and was in the hospital. Those of us from out of state flew to Southern California to be with my mom and pop and face the news of my mom’s future on this earth. My mom was released from the hospital to Hospice care at her and my pop’s apartment.

Hatzic-001August brought more home improvements with the carpeting going in and new closet organization. We flew to Southern California again for our nephew Caleb’s wedding and while we were there we were all able to say our in person final farewells to my mom. We came home knowing that her time was short. Dear, Josh, Laura and I were leaving for England on September 12th and my family decided that if my mom died we would postpone the funeral till our return from England. Just before we left for England Dear and I were able to drive to British Columbia for a celebration meal with some of the “girls” and their husbands at Anneliese’s parents cabin at Hatzic.

London-Jamie Oliver2-001From September 12th until September 23rd we enjoyed a wonderful trip in England with Josh and Laura. We received the news that my mom had passed away just as we arrived in England. We were sorry we could not communicate right away and get details until we reached our first destination with wifi. We stayed calm and carried on knowing that there was nothing we could do. Our trip was filled with many great events and destinations. We went to a Manchester United Soccer game (epic experience for our son Josh) We enjoyed hedgerows, villages, canals, ancient churches and lands. We stayed in the Cotswolds, Wells, Cornwall, and London.

2013-09-029We got home from England and made plans immediately to fly to Southern California for my mom’s services. We all flew in to Orange County airport from different parts of Washington. Katie was staying with us during this time (she arrived the end of August with Andrew and he left back to N.C. on Labor Day)  Andrew deployed to Afghanistan the week of my mom’s funeral. We also celebrated Dear’s 60th birthday in September.

2013-10-31 Faerie - banner-001In October Marg and John joined us for a soccer game between our team and their team. Their team won. Some of my nieces from Southern California came up for a girls weekend and we had a great time trying to get through all of Downton Abby seasons 1-3. Katie and I traveled to British Columbia again to join the “girls” at the West Coast Women’s show where we had cooking demonstrations on the cooking stage.

2013-11-29 T-Day at Spiros1-001In November we had our brilliant Pub night to thank our friend who made arrangements for us to use his parents home in Cornwall on our England trip. We had an early Thanksgiving celebration and met Dan’s girlfriend, Jaimie. Besides a traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings we managed to get together at Palisade for brunch the next day.

Sounders mtg1-001December was packed full of good times and celebrations. We celebrated Laura’s birthday at Neville’s a British restaurant. Katie and I traveled to Abbotsford, B.C. for the Cookie class that the Mennonite Girls Can Cook put on at Lepp Farm Market. Dear and I celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary at Semiahmoo Resort in Blaine, Washington.  Josh and I also went to a board meeting for the Sounders soccer team where we got to meet some of the players. And all of this happened the first 10 days of December!

2013-12-021Katie and I took a train trip up to Vancouver, Washington before Christmas and the day after we had snow at our house! Christmas Eve we helped usher at one of the services at church and then came home for a non traditional meal of hand made tamales. Later that evening Dan arrived from Eastern Washington and Josh and Laura arrived after celebrating with Laura’s family. We all woke up together on Christmas morning except for Andrew. We missed having Andrew here. Christmas was relaxing and fun. The English Cracker tradition will now become our tradition as well. It was so much fun to see what popped out of our crackers and then to read the cheesy jokes and wear the tissue crowns. Fun times.

2013-12-28 KT b-day dinner-001Katie’s birthday is December 27th so we had a day of destinations that were all enjoyable ending with dinner at this old house with Josh, Laura, my sister Lana and BIL Steve, our nephew Caleb and his wife Marie and of course the master of this old house and his wife…me.

I talked to my pop today who is struggling with pain in his shoulder and is probably facing some surgery to help with the debilitating pain. He misses my mom but still he thanks God for all that God brings his way. He told me he has asked God to shorten his days on this earth. He is weary. We thank God, too, for all He brought our way in 2013. Time will tell what 2014 holds.

We had a very quiet New Year’s Eve until the fireworks started going off at 11:30 P.M. I was in bed by 9:00 and woke up to hear others blasting in the New Year. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Today we are having another quiet day. We watched the Rose Parade and watched a couple New Year’s day soccer games from England and now we are watching the Rose Bowl Game.