Monday, February 26, 2018

On My Heart: Our Hope

The words
are slow to come,
for how do you know what to 
say, or even what to think,
when heartbreak
rises up, uninvited.
Uninvited, and unwelcome.

There's so much
heartbreak in the news,
all around the world.
We see it on our screens;
and we hear of it. Every day.

And then when
it hits close to home,
like it has for me -
with a heartbreaking diagnosis
for a dear sweet friend.
What are we to do;
what can we even say
when our worlds fall apart?

When we have no words
maybe it's okay
to just be still,
to listen closely, and listen often,
to give a hug, to share our tears,
and to help in any way that we can.
And ... to hold onto His Words.

Lord, we put our hope in You.
For You are our help and our shield.
In You our hearts can still rejoice,
for we trust in Your holy name.
Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in You alone.
(From Psalm 33:20-22 NLT)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Digital Scrapbooking in Feb. 2018

Our year 2018 so far has been a blur of activity, of grieving the loss of my father on Jan. 11th, and of caring for his business affairs and his will. It has been my privilege to be the one of his four children who lived nearby to his Assisted Living apartment, and now, to be his Personal Representative to care for his affairs after his passing. 

I've had less time for some of my own personal interests, such as writing, and also creating digital scrapbook pages. But there have been pockets of time. And, actually, it has been essential to still take some breaks, and do things that provide rest and refreshment, amidst all the busyness. 

And in February, I completed the digital scrapbooking of our Family Christmas 2017! What a joyous time it was! And it turned out to be so very memorable, for little did we know at the time that my 96 year-old father would be leaving us just two and a half weeks after we were all together as family for Christmas.

The pages above are five of the ten that I scrapbooked from our Family Christmas 2017! So many memories, and so much to thank God for! It was an unexpected treat to finish scrapbooking these memories during the month of February.

- - - - - - -

Note: Most of the page templates and digital products that I use are purchased from Digital Project Life. About six years ago I switched from paper scrapbooking, and took some online lessons from Digital Scrapper to learn how to digital scrapbook using Photoshop Elements. (You can also click here for some great tutorials on the Digital Project Life website - maybe a quicker way to learn than the site that I used six years ago.) Also, besides being able to share my completed pages online, I also print them out at home in 8x8 inch size to fit in the albums that I purchase from Michael's.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Creamy Meatballs over Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Meatballs over Mashed Potatoes ... one of my favorite menus! When I was thinking through my Christmas Dinner menu a few months ago, I had a desire to add another main dish to our traditional ham and mashed potatoes that we usually have for Christmas. Somehow, this recipe for Creamy Meatballs came to my mind. I had not made it for quite some time, and thought it would go great with the spiral-sliced ham and mashed potatoes that were already on my Christmas menu.

We all enjoyed it so much ... we may have a new tradition for Christmas Dinner! It is definitely one of my favorites.

I knew, though, that I needed to prepare this ahead of time. I tried it out ahead of time, and found out that it freezes very well. Perfect! I multiplied this recipe for our big family of 24 who would be here over the holidays, froze it after cooking, and then thawed and reheated it in my slow cooker for our dinner together. I chose to add some extra cream of mushroom soup and evaporated milk when reheating it ... making it even better than the original recipe (see my notes within the recipe directions below). This recipe works so well with my mashed potato recipe that can be made a few days ahead of serving, as well ... Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes.

Creamy Meatballs over Mashed Potatoes

Course: Main/Beef
  • 1 12 lb ground beef
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 12 cups soft bread crumbs
  • 12 onion chopped
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 12 tsp salt
  • 1 12 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  1. Mix first 7 ingredients. Fry in small balls till brown; drain off fat.
  2. Mix together 1 can of cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of evaporated milk,
  3. and add to meatballs.
  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Serve over mashed potatoes.
  6. Note: This recipe can be prepared ahead of time, and then frozen.
  7. At the time of serving, thaw ... and then heat up in slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours.
  8. For creamier meatballs, I add an extra can of cream of mushroom soup and also of evaporated milk when doubling the recipe. (You can also add half a can of each for a single recipe.) Add before heating up in slow cooker.
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Monday, February 5, 2018

Quieting My Heart: To Dwell, to Pull in Close

The cold winter continues on,
and the harsh realities
press into our daily moments.
For our actual lives are full of
the beautiful, and also the
challenging, and the unknown.

But there is a safe place;
a strong and secure place.
A place to dwell, to live,
to lodge in, to stay ...
to settle into, to reside in,
to pull in and cozy up close in.

"He who dwells in the shelter
of the Most High
will abide in the shadow
of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord
'My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'"
(Psalm 91:1-2)

What does this look like
to me? To you?
This morning, and today -
I will pull in close,
through the moments
of this week ...
I will focus my sight,
my thoughts, my heart
on Him.

(Photo from our Trip to Branson 2017)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Welcome February!

January was certainly full of the unexpected. In the midst of some slower days at the beginning of the month, while starting into the new year in slow-mode after a full and wonderful and amazing Family Christmas with our whole family home, we received a phone call that moved us very quickly onto a fast-track of emotions. Of grief, of phone calls, and then of the arrival of my brothers and sisters (in-law) from the east coast and the west coast. 

The phone call on Jan. 10th informed us that my father had fallen in his apartment in an Assisted Living facility nearby. He was taken by rescue squad later that day; it was determined that he had had a heart attack. After some precious time with him that evening, through the night, and into the next day, he passed away the evening of Jan. 11th. He was 96 years old, and had been longing for heaven, and to be reunited with his dear wife (my loving mother) ever since she passed away in 2007. So, his home-going was an answer to his prayers, and we are celebrating with him! At the same time, we are grieving our loss. It is definitely an adjustment to have lost both of my parents now. 

It has been a journey through many emotions since that day he left us. And it has been an intense journey as we have packed up his apartment, and also as we are taking care of all of his business affairs. A new experience for me, for sure ... a new journey, a new path.

And I am in need of new strength, new peace, and new wisdom. How very grateful I am that our God never changes; He always remains the same, His promises are always secure. Even though our circumstances change. I love this quote from the beginning of the new Gracelaced book, by Ruth Chou Simons ...

"Jesus' character -
as our refuge, as trustworthy,
as sufficient, as ever-present,
as wise, as merciful, as in control,
and as sovereign Lord -
breaks through the harsh cold of the season
as He steps in to carry our burdens,
reminding us that true rest comes
when we rest in Him."
(Ruth Chou Simons)

And as we step into this beautiful month of February, 
we can trust in, rest in, and expect the same ... 
His Presence with us along each path He leads us on,  
throughout each day that dawns, 
and in the midst of each moment of each day.

(free photo from pixabay)