Winter Wonderland

After a few days of fog and high humidity

The moisture on the trees yielded to the freezing temperatures

and turned our little North Dakota town into a wintry wonderland
It was three days of magic for this West Texas Cowgirl
The stillness and silence drew me into my fur lined boots

and out the door to get up close and personal with this new adventure

While my Southern friends were battling sandstorms 
and dodging tumble weeds,
I walked in the park

And I walked in the dark

Then a gentle breeze blew by

and gently sent the ice crystals to join their snow cousins on the ground
and just like that...
the magic was over.
What a wonderfilled experience for me.

"He is the one who sends snow like wool and scatters frost like ashes."
(Psalm 147:16)



Christmas Cantata

When I sang in my first School Christmas Program, my Mama was relieved that I chewed gum and didn't actually sing the loudly misunderstood words on the wrong notes.  After that she gave me years of piano lessons and was probably thrilled when I made it to Acapella Choir in High School.  But that was all long ago.  A really long time ago...

Back in Texas, I have worshipped with a Non-Denominational mixed ethnic group of passionate people for 15 or 20 years.   We don't worry much about pitch and sometimes we clap to three different beats. It would drive a music teacher crazy!  But we make a joyful noise to the Lord and sing to Him with all we have.

 So now, here I am in North Dakota, singing in the Christmas Cantata. I mean - reading music and everything! Glenda, the choir director has probably hoped I'd chew gum or maybe lip sync for this majestic performance with this beautifully harmonious Lutheran choir,

 I've stretched my brain trying to remember my music theory from years past.  I've counted the half notes, and the quarter notes, and the dotted notes while I tried my best to stay on the right notes.

 And I haven't for the life of me, found those high notes.  In fact, I'm not sure I'm a soprano at all - maybe not an alto either!

But the Christmas blessing for me is that the constant practicing has made me think about what the words mean as I have gone about the rhythm of my days.  The melodies stuck in my head speak the harmony of the whole nativity story.

 Infant Holy

Infant Lowly

 For His Bed a Cattle Stall

 Angels Singing

Noels Ringing

Tidings Bringing

 Christ the Babe is Lord of All

Christ the Babe is Lord of All

The cantata is over, but I'm not ready for the music to stop swirling in my head.  I want to keep hearing Gloria Jubilante Deo and My Soul, My Soul...Magnifies the Lord.

And maybe, just maybe - it doesn't matter one little quarter note whether I'm in the key of F or C,

or whether I B flat, or lip sync, or chew gum.
As long as
My Soul Magnifies the Lord!
I pray this Christmas Season finds you
with His Song
in your heart
an His light in your eyes.
Merry Christmas!
(many thanks to Angie from Georgia for snapping away with my camera
while I was making a joyful noise!)



Today is the last triple digit date of the century.
I just can't let it get by without pondering and commenting on it,
because that may be the only significant thing
I do today!
The first thing I got when I googled (love that word) 12/12/12
was the mathematical answer of (12/12)/12
(12 divided by 12 divided by 12)
which is 0.08333333333
Then I typed in 12-12-12
and my answer was -12
(12 minus 12 minus 12)

That's about as nerdy as I get - googling math equations!
I think of things like:
12 year old grandson
Size 12 shoe
12 inches of snow
12 foot ceiling
Dining table that seats 12
12 inches in a foot
12 months in a year
12 step program
Loop 12 in Dallas
12 noon
12 midnight
12 working hours in my man's day
12 days of Christmas
12 drummers drumming
Then there's 12 in the Bible:
12 pillars erected at Mt Sinai
12 patriarchs
12 sons of Jacob
12 tribes of Israel
12 stones on the priests' breastplate
12 spies sent to Canaan
12 pillars erected in the Promised Land
12 year old Jesus questioned religious scholars
12 apostles
12 legions of angels could have been called by Jesus
12 gates of pearl in New Jerusalem
12 angels guarding the gates
12 foundations of precious stones
12 kinds of fruit on the Tree of Life
  According to some biblical scholars,
 the number 12 signifies governmental perfection.

So on this 12th day of December 2012
I pray perfect order and perfection in your life!

(and 12 drummers drumming!)



One Year

Thanksgiving Day 2011
- a Thanksgiving in North Dakota without family.
The Lovedahls, neighbors and native North Dakotans,
not wanting us to be alone, 
 invited us over for a beautiful and delicious lunch
and then we moved into this house with a lot of
The beveled leaded glass window faces the east
and gets my attention every morning.
It's been the subject of a lot of pictures in the last year.

May 2012 -
Spring had never been more welcome.
Pansies in the pots and rockers on the porch
helped me forget about the needed work out there.

July 2012
Summer was perfect, the tree stump is gone,
fern in the pots, and a lamp in the window.

October 2012
Fall - the leaves turned colors, then turned loose.
We finally have new boards inside of the porch.

November 9, 2012
Winter arrived with a foot of snow,
(and the ferns were still green.)
Thanksgiving Day 2012 -
more snow and a chance to pay it forward
by sharing our blessings, our home, and a meal
with some RV dwellers here in this oil patch town.

Our Guests:
A California commercial building contractor and his wife,
 working here and living in a small motorhome,
trying to keep from losing everything
after construction came to a halt there. 
Another young couple finally back working
 months after being in an accident-
living in a trailer and looking for a house.
A missionary couple here on a working furlough
from the mission fields of Indonesia,
and their son, working to pay off student loans 
so he can go back to Indonesia also,
 all living in a tiny used FEMA trailer.
Another man from Washington,
also here escaping the terrible economy -
sending money home to his family
Not only would a turkey not fit in their RV ovens -
but a turkey breast wouldn't even fit!
So, yes they really enjoyed a chance to be able
to be in a house for a change.
We all still missed our families and traditions from other places,
but we felt a little like family after eating together,
and sharing stories
(and I was so caught up in the moments,
that I forget to take pictures of our group
around the table).
I can hardly believe it's been a year since our neighbors
and now good friends
opened their home and holiday to us.
But we thought of them as we followed their example
this year.
It was a good day
 and we certainly have a lot to be thankful for.
Giving thanks always
and for everything,
 to God the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Ephesians 5:20)




Just like a fish - I was hooked from the first bite.
I would buy it at Farmer's Market
and finish it before I got home.
So I bought more at the next Farmer's Market
...and ate it before I got home.
Yep! - Seriously HOOKED on lefse!
Lefse is a Norwegian delicacy
and is passionately loved by the Norwegians here in North Dakota 
(30% of North Dakotans are of Norwegian ancestry
not counting us oilfield invaders)
Elaine and Glenda invited me to join them making
Lefse for the holidays!
Bless their hearts - I was so excited.
For each batch we needed
potatoes, butter, cream and flour.
The recipe was from Glenda's vintage recipe book.
First we peeled and cooked the potatoes,
added butter and cream,
then riced the potatoes.

 added flour until it was just right.

and rolled them into balls.
Here's Elaine teaching me to roll the dough
as thin as thinly possible with a rolling pin
that wears a sock.
There's a knack to it.
I didn't get it!

Glenda showed me how to cook the lefse on what else,
but a lefse grill. 

They are flipped with a special lefse
turning stick that looks like a long paint stir stick.

We tested, tasted, laughed, played with the sticks,
and solved all the ills of the world including our community.
They told me about the neighbors, the preacher, the church, their kids,
being Norwegian, making lefse and eating it.
We even had a few sword fights with those sticks -
I bet that's a Norwegian tradition, too!
At the end of the day we had a stack of about 120
- not included what we had eaten with butter and sugar-
and noses and a kitchen that were as white as the snow outside.

I'll bring some for Christmas so you can taste it...


Pressed Down, Shaken Together, & Running Over

It looks like a foot of snow outside this morning.
As a southerner, it still amazes me -
it's fresh and clean and quiet outside.
I looked out the front door and
what did I see out, but my man -
doing a drive-by with his camera phone.
Crazy man!
I was just about to go out myself
and shovel our drive.

But I ended up helping Clarice, from across the street.
She needed to get her car out of the garage,
 because she was on the schedule to work at the church bazaar.
She protested my help the whole time,
but we got it done in half the time.

I went back to work on my own drive,
and neighbor Brian came around the corner with his
big fancy snow thrower blower thingy.

Which proves the truth of Luke 6:38
 Give, and it will be given to you.
 A good measure,
pressed down,
 shaken together
 and running over...
(Red because Jesus said it)
When I came back into the house,
I heard a stanza of Amazing Grace coming through
my ipod:
...the earth will soon dissolve like snow...
and I thought to myself-
this stuff ain't dissolving for a loooong time.
Stay warm, my friends!


Election Day 2012

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, 
the people he chose for his inheritance.
(Psalm 33:12)


Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me,
bless His holy name!
(Psalm 103:1)


There's No Place Like Home!

I've been in Texas for a few weeks.
It's sure been good to be home.
I've loved on grand kids, visited and visited with daughter,
and talked non-stop over lunches with girlfriends.
Texas may be full of things that prick, stick, bite, and sting
but it's still a great place to live
and I do plan to live here again someday!
This trip back to West Texas, I found greener grass
(after a two year drought, it finally rained),
a little more water
(the water supply lakes caught good rainfall),
(Unique windmill at the end of the road)
and more hopeful folks
(there's talk of an oil boom coming to our area).
(Curious cow across the road)

All things familiar have become more precious in being away.
Someone said it another way - absence makes the heart
grow fonder.
We have considered selling the old tractor,
so I was out with the rising sun for a few last shots
and I pondered for the first time,
the part that tractor had in feeding me as I grew up.
(Overlooking my growing up place and someone else's oil well)
It kept me in the cutest homemade clothes and new shoes,
 gave me piano lessons,
sent me to college,
and bought my first car.
Of course it was my daddy that jostled up and down the cotton rows,
plowing, planting and harvesting. 
My mama sewed those dresses.
And I was the ungrateful child. 
That tractor has become a symbol of things past.
And of course, I just can't get enough of the
wonderful West Texas sunsets.
(My Back Yard)
It's front row seats in the old spring yard chair
for the daily dusk light show.
I love West Texas.
But now it's time to say goodbye again

and head back to my great North Dakota adventure
and my man.
My northern girlfriends are texting, emailing, and facebooking
wondering when I'll be back "home".
They are reminding me that we will be making lefse,
and practicing the Christmas cantata,
and going to the last Bible Study session. 
When I walk in the door, I know I'll say,
"It sure is good to be home."
Yep! There's no place like home!
so it must be true
Home is where your heart is
Home is where you hang your hat.

Thanks for stopping by!
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