Friday, January 29, 2010

Beautiful Snow

We are in the middle of another beautiful snowstorm here in Central Oklahoma. Someone had said, "It's going to be the worst one in 50 years!" But that hasn't been the case so far anyway. Our schools closed Thursday and Friday, probably a little precipitously (pun intended). I hail (smile) from Louisiana originally, and can count on my fingers the times it snowed in my childhood. Since being married and finding myself in Oklahoma for 25 years, I have still not experienced very many snowstorms. So I don't complain about the weather but enjoy it, and rejoice in seeing what God has in His treasuries (more on this later). I've found some beautiful scriptures about snow to share, but FIRST...I found a wonderful poem, also! This has been proven to be written by Joseph Warren Watson and published in 1870. I saw pictures from a book published in 1890, originally from the Harvard College Library. The last lines were not in the original, so I have entered them in quotation marks. Watson died at the age of 23.

Oh! The snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and the earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet.
    Dancing, Flirting, Skipping along,
Beautiful snow! It can do no wrong.
Flying to kiss a fair lady's cheek,
Clinging to lips in frolicsome freak;
Beautiful snow from the heavens above,
Pure as an angel, and fickle as love!

Oh, the snow, the beautiful snow!
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go!
Whirling about in its maddening fun,
It plays in its glee with every one.
    Chasing, Laughing, Hurrying by,
It lights on the face and it sparkles the eye;
And even the dogs, with a bark and a bound
Snap at the crystals that eddy around.
The town is alive, and its heart in a glow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow.

How the wild crowd goes swaying along,
Hailing each other with humor and song;
How the gay sledges like meteors flash by
Bright for a moment, then lost to the eye,
    Ringing, Swinging, Dashing they go,
Over the crest of the beautiful snow;
Snow so pure as it falls from the sky,
To be trampled in mud by the crowd rushing by;
To be trampled and tracked by the thousands of feet
Till it blends with the horrible filth in the street.

Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell:
Fell, like the snowflakes, from heaven- to hell;
Fell, to be tramped as the filth in the street:
Fell, to be scoffed, to be spit on and beat;
    Pleading, cursing, dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy,
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
Merciful God! Have I fallen so low?
And yet I was once like the beautiful snow!

Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like a crystal, a heart like its glow;
Once I was loved for my innocent grace -
Flattered and sought for the charms of my face.
    Father, Mother, Sisters all,
God, and myself, I have lost by my fall.
The veriest wretch that goes shivering by,
Will make a wide sweep, lest I wander too nigh.
For all that is on or about me, I know
There is nothing that's pure but the beautiful snow.

How strange it should be that this beautiful snow
Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go!
How strange it would be, when the night comes again,
If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain!
    Fainting, Freezing, Dying alone
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for my moan
To be heard in the streets of the crazy town,
To lie and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow!

"Helpless and foul as the trampled snow,
Sinner, Despair Not! Christ stoopeth low
To rescue the soul that is lost in sin
And raise it to life and enjoyment again.
    Groaning, Bleeding, Dying - for then
The Crucified hung on the cursed tree!
His accents of mercy fall soft on thine ear.
'Is there mercy for me? Will He hear my weak prayer?'
O God, in the stream that for sinners did flow,
Wash Me, And I Shall Be Whiter Than Snow."

"God thundereth marvellously with His voice; Great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.
For He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth!  By the breath of God frost is given..." Job 37:5,6,10

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved...?" Job 38:1,22,29

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. -Psalm 51:7

For I know that the Lord is great...He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He maketh lightnings for the rain; He bringeth the wind out of His treasuries. -Psalm 135:5,7

Praise the Lord from the earth! Fire, and hail; snow, and vapor; stormy wind fulfilling His word... -Psalm 148:7,8

"Come now, and let us reason together," saith the Lord; "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." -Isaiah 1:18

"For as the rain cometh down, and the SNOW from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." -Isaiah 55:10-12

Enjoy the snow!

Praise God in it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rise Up O Men Of God

Here is A Song And A Prayer for all the men of God in this new year of 2010.

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.

Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

William P. Merrill, 1911

An Empty Vessel

Behold, Lord,
An empty vessel that needs to be filled.
My Lord,
Fill it.

I am weak in faith;
Strengthen Thou me.
I am cold in love;
Warm me and make me fervent
That my love may go out to my neighbor.

I do not have
A strong and firm faith;
At times I doubt and am unable
to trust Thee altogether.
O Lord,
Help me!
Strengthen my faith and trust in Thee.
In Thee I have sealed
the treasures of all I have.

I am poor;
Thou art rich,
and didst come to be merciful to the poor.

Therefore, I will remain with Thee
-of Whom I can receive-
But to Whom I may not give.

Martin Luther 1483-1546


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Grace for the New Year

Lord, I cannot find the way alone. "As I journey through this vale of sorrow, the way seems so strange and unknown; Lord, I need a helping hand to borrow, For I cannot find the way alone."   -Albert E. Brumley

Woman grown that I am, I still am like a child. I need God to direct my steps and hold my hand. I do not want to be without His companionship and fellowship.

The Road Ahead
My Lord,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following Your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire
to please You
does in fact
Please You.
And I hope I have that desire
in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust You always
though I may seem to be lost
in the shadow of death.

I will not fear
for You are ever with me,

and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton, 1915-1968

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

National Hot Tea Month

January is "National Hot Tea Month". I can celebrate this happily! During this past year I have finally joined the tea lovers, not just for the accompanying pastries and dainty sandwiches, but for the tea itself. The feminine side of me has always liked the tea party atmosphere- dressing up, flowers, petite treats and special sweets.

Now I am a lover of hot teas, particularly the loose-leaf brews. (No tea bags, Please!) (Ok, I will take a teabag if that is all that's available) I find the tea culture and community fascinating. What fun to be able to put rose petals and other herbs in your hot drink! This summer I grew Lemon Balm in my tiny garden patch, and it was exciting to make up some hot tea with the fresh leaves mixed in with my regular loose-leaf brew. Follow this link for some great info.

My dream is to have a little larger garden spot this year, and grow herbs that I can use for my own use in teas, whether fresh picked or dried. I have several books about this and love to read and look at the beautiful pictures and get ideas of my own, or try what is presented in my books.

My little daughter and son love hot tea, also. They have been asking me to fix it since the weather is so cold now...David has his own little teapot with a carousel scene. I try not to be too nervous to let him use it- but I am afraid he will chip or break it!

Both Julia and David still enjoy using this tiny tea set that Julia got for Christmas one year...

Julia is almost too big for this set. She wanted to use one of my regular- sized teacups this weekend while she was sick with sore throat and fever. So I allowed her to use this green set, which I will probably let her call her own now.

For my children, I use Lemon Chiffon Rooibos, from a tea room in Albany, Oregon, that my sister-in-law introduced us to when they lived there. It is on the sweet side, but they always add lots of sugar anyway!  I called the owner one year and ordered quite a large amount of this loose-leaf type. For a while, this was my daughter Alison's favorite, but now she likes a Lipton tea in the little pyramid bag! White tea with blueberry and IS in a bag, but the package says "made with real blueberries" ! So I Allow it in the house...

There is a little tea room just down the road from us called The Red Raspberry Tea Room.  I have been there several times, even with my Husband! Twin sisters run it, and the cooking one loves to dream up new dishes. The food is very good, even better than another local tea room in Edmond, OK that is much more formal. Once when we were at The Red Raspberry, the "cook" brought out a new dish that she had planned out overnight and let us try it out for free. I took my mother there twice, and she pronounced the food delicious, and she is hard to please! My mother liked the atmosphere of the Edmond tea room, but the food did not come up to her expectations. BEING FROM THE SOUTH, where tea rooms abound, and good cooks, we are still partial to our favorite tea room in Shreveport, La, The Glenwood.  I have been there so many times, the owner recognizes me, although she does not know my name! They have been featured in Southern Living magazine.

I have taken my mother here many times, and my sister-in-law, daughters, friends...I have been alone also, and once I experienced an "epiphany moment", my first ever! ("a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something; a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization") My Great Realization was, that Beauty Matters! whether anyone around me appreciates it or not. It matters to ME and my personal well-being, and of course others pick up on it whether they let you know it or not. Beauty is expected of a woman; this includes many things. I've noticed that my husband and little boy, David, notice and appreciate: a clean room, a beautifully presented meal, a tidy house, etc. Big Son Ben also, when he was a little boy, one day after I had cleaned his room while he was at school (!), walked in and commented about how it made him feel good. So I encourage all women to follow beauty in their homes and personalities- It Matters!

I enjoy the food at The Glenwood so much that I bought their cookbook, A Healing Cup of Tea. There is all kinds of little tips and helps for creating their great food at your own home.

Time to Celebrate!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chocolate Memories

My husband and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on December 29, 2009. I think he would have enjoyed a formal-type reception-party, but I just wanted the two of us...We enjoyed a nice dinner out and an overnight hotel stay here in Oklahoma City, at the downtown Renaissance.

Galen's parents volunteered to keep our two youngest children out at The Farm, so Alison was glad she did not have to watch them! For dessert after our dinner, we had Cheesecake! with chocolate drizzled over. Actually, we boxed it up at the table and took it back to our room to eat later, as we were comfortably full and did not want to feel miserably stuffed.

So now for the Chocolate Memories! On our honeymoon 25 years ago, Galen presented me with a tin of chocolates by Perugina. I had never heard of this type before... the upper end of the brands. I kept the tin many years, but it finally got too battered to keep.

I could not find a picture of the tin, so I am using this gold box photo. That was my first experience with really expensive chocolate. On another anniversary, Galen got me Godiva! Right after that I signed on at NutriSystem for the weight loss leader said, "Either eat them all tonight, or store them in the freezer! because these are not allowed on the program!"

This particular anniversary we had gone back to a hotel we stayed at on our honeymoon, and I had a terrific headache. I tried to enjoy the little getaway and my chocolate, but I had to hold my head up at the dining table with my hand under my chin, elbow on table...These Godiva chocolates, in the Gold Ballotin Box, were delicious! So many flavors- you can not rush through a box like this. Each one is flavored so distinctly that you must SAVOR it and wait awhile before you experience the next taste...Actually, that's how one should behave anyway. This was quite a splurge for us, and sad to say, I have never received another Gold Ballotin Box of Godiva!  Actually, the only reason we could celebrate our anniversary this year by having our special night out was because Galen had taken a special offer last year that allowed us a free night's stay and free dessert at the hotel's restaurant, North Point Grille. All we had to pay for this year was the valet parking and our meal. The crunch is on!

Speaking of crunch! My all-time favorite chocolate candy is the lowly, everyday, REASONABLY PRICED Hershey bar with almonds!

A close runner-up, or my other "favorite", has been the Almond Joy.

Notice - both of my favorites have almonds. I am not a chocolate freak just for the chocolate- I really like it best with nuts. Not that I will turn down chocolate without nuts EVERY time...

We did have a very enjoyable 25th anniversary celebration. Several loved ones sent us checks- altogether we got $100.00 ! So we will probably get to celebrate again somehow! (OR put it on a bill? No way!) Maybe later this year we will be able to really take a vacation and call it our Silver Celebration...

In the fairy tales, they never mention that the prince keeps the princess supplied with chocolate to make her happy!  This is REAL LIFE, and my hubby does like to surprise me every now and then with a little chocolate. Thanks, Love!

Now for one last chocolatey treat! This evening is our church's special once-a-month Children's Meeting, and it is my turn to provide the snack. I made chocolate cupcakes with Cool Whip icing...They do taste good! (I sampled...)

This post created especially for Chocolate Friday! at Stop and Smell the Chocolates

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snowy "Eye Candy"

I must confess:  most of these pictures were not taken by me...I filched them off the web. If they do originate from my camera, I will certainly give myself credit. I just love beautiful photographs! I am not dreaming of springtime yet! I want to enjoy THIS season - time is rushing on so quickly...  I Bless God for His diverse ways of painting beauty at every turn of the year. Enjoy!

These are real snowflakes taken with a macro lens...

This is my only original picture in this snowy posting!
My daughter Alison, out at The Farm
maybe 5 or 6 years ago!
(maybe more!)

Hope you enjoyed the presentation!
Now it's time to warm up with