Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Father Bill's Final Newsletter Farewell... *made me cry*...

Finishing up the December Goodnewsletter for Christ Church ... and Father Bill finished his article for it ... yep, this definitely had me crying!!

Our long time (15 years) parish priest is retiring at the end of this year. With each holy day, event, baptism, service, bible study, book club, etc., the last few months, we have all looked, with different eyes at them, knowing the time together is shortening.

For they are some of Father Bill's "lasts" in what is the beginning of some new things and "firsts" for him as he retires. It is a bitt...ersweet time in the life of our parish (and in his life too), yet a time that we know can be filled with excitement in the midst of a lot of work as we go thru the process of finding a new priest. This is Father Bill's last newsletter article, it is a love letter, of sorts, to those he has pastored, lived with, struggled with, grown in Christ with, and become good friends and an everlasting part of the Body of Christ with.... So, I am sharing his words, because I believe they are good words, not just for THIS parish family of Christ Church, Delavan, WI, but for our extended family in Christ all over...


From Our Rector, Father Bill Myrick:

Every month I have heard Roberta say, “I need your newsletter article by Monday.” She said it like clockwork. And each month I struggled to get it done on time. We teased each other about who would be late. Well this month it’s me. I have started writing this article half a dozen times. It just didn’t come together…it just wasn’t easy.

This is my last newsletter, in my last month, of my last year of parochial priesthood. This will be the last chance I have to say whatever I have been trying to say to you for fifteen years. You would think that with all that time, I would have said it by now, wouldn’t you? And maybe I have. But some things have to be said more than once. Some things need to be said over and over again, like the mother who ushers her children off to school with the interminable words, “Have a good day…be careful crossing the streets…I love you.”

Well, not to sound too maternalistic, let me say, “Have a good day…be careful crossing streets…I love you.” Although this time it isn’t you leaving, it’s me.

This day comes for all of us at some point and I can only say that, at least for me, the time we have shared together has been wonderful. We have done lots of things together, some bigger, some fun, and others more work. But the only things that really matter are the relationships we have with each other.

Buildings crumble, books turn to dust, and ideas are replaced by yet newer ideas; only our relationships last. Our relationships are the wings that carry us off to heaven to the One who came so that He might have a relationship with those He loves.

This is the month we celebrate Jesus coming…coming like we came, to live as we live, to show us that there is more to this relationship thing than meets the eye. In fact it’s everything. How we love and care for those around us, remembering that Jesus is closest of all, is the premise that the Gospel is built on. Had Adam never met Eve there would never have been a need for a book to tell us how to love, how to build and maintain our relationships.

Thank you for all the wonderful relationships we have built.
So CELEBRATE. Put up the tree, hang some garland, sing a song and light a candle and remember, “Have a good day…be careful crossing the streets…I love you.”

I will miss you.

Merry Christ-mas,

~ Father Bill ~

The Neighborhood Turkey Survived Thanksgiving...

Outside our front window
Looks like our maurading turkey survived the holiday without getting eaten ... he is getting bigger and bigger...someone must be fattening him up for a Christmas feast?! *lol*

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Hunter Husband Had a Successful Deer Hunt...

Looks like we'll be having venison in the freezer for the winter!  John sent this photo via phone tonight... after staying in for the morning due to snow storm and high winds, he went out later and shot this eight point buck.

Thanksgiving Overnight Fun....

Jorden dressing her "doll" in
her Cinderella dress

Josh with multiple arms
Jeff and Josh came over on Thanksgiving evening to spend an overnight with Jorden who was home with Kaine ... the kids had fun playing with the "big dolls" I had gotten at Goodwill a few days earlier on my roadtrip, making slides out of mattresses and furniture, trying on the stretchy "body bags" and visiting my Mom (Great Nana) at the nursing home with their body bags on.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow... Thanksgiving Blessings...

This Thanksgiving I am giving thanks for many things ...  for family, both my own immediate family, my extended family - those who are present, and those far away, for my church family and dear friends and for the many other blessings I have.  Thank you Lord for all!

The Service of Thanksgiving on Wed. night at Church was a great way to start off the days of Thanksgiving, sharing with some of the family and friends in the Chapel Service. ... and then it was home to finish making stuffing and start to roast the two turkeys I had .. one 22 lb., one 23 lbs... I took one to our Gifford Family celebration at my sister and brother-in-law's house, and the other kept at home for yummy leftovers!

Carved turkey & stuffing in the Nesco
ready to take for the family dinner.

Kaine and Jorden arrived home late on Wed. night, and after playing for awhile, Jorden was fast asleep and we were all enjoying the smell of turkeys roasting through the night.

Although it does get a bit too much after 7 hours... even Jorden said so... when she woke up early in the AM, as the turkeys were still roasting, she said, "Gramma, I don't like turkey, it makes my nose smell funny!"  *lol*

Dad was glad to have Mom
with us all too!
We were all thankful to have Mom be able to come for the day as well, from the nursing care facility where she is now as she recovers from her surgery last month, and where she will be for a few more weeks as she starts chemo treatments on Monday for 4 months, and hopefully will be able to come home before Christmas even though chemo will continue for a few months.

Brother-in-law love..*lol*

Men talk!

Family of all ages ...

One of many tables set up to eat at.
There were over 63 of us here for Thanksgiving ... missed the hunters and others who couldn't make it today!

Here are a few photos from the day....
Jorden's favorite part was the pie!

Beautiful day too, nice enough for all
to be outside as well as inside.

Nieces and friend and nephew

Food line in the kitchen...


Sister Harriett and family.. Alyssa, Zach
and Mark.
Great time with the family!!    More fun with grandkids who stayed overnight tonight too.... those photos are coming later.....  I need a looooong night nap!

Happy Thanksgiving to all... and to all a good night!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Indiana wants me, Lord I CAN go back there..."

Our annual mother / daughter road trip couldn't be set this year due to conflicting schedules, but we DID make a fast overnight roadtrip to Indianapolis together yesterday and today ... and to where else but... GOODWILL!    I had bid on several items from shopgoodwill.com at the Indianapolis store, unfortunately I won the bid on only one of the items, but it was a good excuse for the roadtrip..*lol*

The office where I went to pick up my
treasured items...
My "one" item actually consisted of many items, as you can see....

Fortunately for me, I found out I had a taillight out on my van BEFORE I picked up my body parts, we went to the Auto Zone store to get a new bulb, and if they had opened the back of the van and seen the body parts, I'm sure they would have been thinking we were some kind of freaks... hahaa!!

After a few fast trips to a few of the many Goodwill stores in Indy, and a couple of other stores to get a few early Christmas gifts, we had to head back home ...  it was a fun, and way too short roadtrip!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Heh-Heh! What are these, you may ask?

 Today I had the Sunday School kids, and my adult model here at home, trying out the drama body bags I made for an upcoming skit the kids will be doing for Father Bill's Rector Roast and Retirement Party on Dec. 9th. 

This is going to be SOOOO much fun!! 
*heh heh* - beware Father Bill!! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"PRESSURED" - found object art assemblage installation


This found object art assemblage installation can mean differing things to various people and circumstances they are in.

What's this piece saying to you?

Odds (oddities) and Ends While Cleaning ....

So, as I was cleaning and dusting this morning, I was looking around at some of the odd things and treasures here, and decided to add a few things to one wall, and arrange some of my homemade "Apothecary Containers" as a table decoration too.... 

unfilled apothecarys

...and play around with making some with various glass containers and toppers... still need to find some small objects to put in some of them.

Also decided to use up things in the refrigerator while cleaning it out...

....egg muffins, with bread crusts, bacon slices, chopped up chicken, eggs, cheese and "tahhh dahhh".. yummy brunch for me!

So much for staying on task with my cleaning... *lol*

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Making Brussel Sprouts Even Better....

Making brussel sprouts even better... slices of baby carrots added with pieces of bacon, maple smokehouse seasonings, olive oil ... and then drizzle a little honey over it while roasting (400 degrees for about 40 minutes, single layer, stir a few times while roasting, turning up to broiler mode for a couple of minutes at the end.)..mmmm, mmmm, it was what was for dinner tonite!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Guard Your Heart....

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."    Proverbs 4:23

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Shelly Mornard Benefit - All are Welcome!

This afternoon and tonite is the Benefit for Shelly Mornard.  A friend from Church who was hit by a car about 3 months ago and is still recovering.

Shelly, and her husband, Chip, have been going through a very rough time.  Shelly is finally home, but still has a long recovery ahead of her.

This benefit will help them with excess medical bills and more.


 John and I donated one of the door / bench hall trees we had made and I finally finished.   Here are photos of it, from the beginning stages to the final stage that will be in the silent auction tonight at the benefit.

Stop on in, have fun, and support a great cause and
some great people!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gingerbread Nativity Creche / Manger Decorated

I've been experimenting with making this for the last week ... we are having an event for kids at our Church the middle of December, where they can decorate one of these and hear the story of Jesus' birth, while their parents can take some time to finish Christmas shopping, or stay and help them decorate too.

So, here are the photos of the process that led up to this decorated prototype I made.... feel free to copy and share it too!

Here is how I started... with a cardboard one I cut from old box pieces.

I then made the gingerbread and frosting using this recipe...

Gingerbread House Dough

2-3 dozen cookies, or one gingerbread house / manger and accouterments

3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
½ cup molasses - not black strap, and preferably "golden", "mild" or "sorghum" molasses
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in another large bowl at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat 1 minute. Add molasses; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend.

2. Gather dough into ball; divide in half. Form each half into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic; chill until firm, at least 4 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

3. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper to ¼-inch thickness. Use gingerbread house templates or decorative cookie cutters to cut-out shapes and transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Gather scraps, roll out dough, and cut more shapes/cookies, repeating until all dough is used. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are firm on top and slightly darker around edges, about 8 minutes for smaller shapes and up to 15 minutes for larger shapes.

4. Cool completely on rack. Line baking sheets with fresh parchment as needed.

Note: Cookies will not spread much during baking, but for precise gingerbread house construction, cookies can be perfectly re-cut while still hot. Place the paper templates on top of the hot cookies, and quickly cut with a plain-edge knife - but be careful not to burn yourself!

Royal Icing
Yield: 2 1/2 -3 cups

3-4 Tbsp meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon extract

1. Whisk together meringue powder and powdered sugar. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.

2. Add warm water and mix on high speed for about 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks are achieved. Transfer to a piping bag and use to adhere gingerbread house pieces.

Notes: Not all meringue powder is created equal. Be sure to check the recipe on the container before you begin. I usually use 3 Tbsp. meringue powder, but if you don't have a powerful stand mixer in which to whip the icing, you may use an additional tablespoon. It will come together more quickly.


Using my cardboard shapes I cut out the dough (after refrigerating it overnight), and baked it, and put it together.

I had made cutout gingerbread people to use, but then when I was at the store, I found the gingerbread man PEEPS... and since we'll be making 30 of these, I decided to use those and save time, and have something different as well for the kids to enjoy eating later.

So I added a candy cane for a staff for Joseph, a scarf made from Fruit by the Foot for Mary.  I snipped off the arms and legs of one PEEP to use for baby Jesus and swaddled him in Fruit by the Foot too.

The bed for baby Jesus is made from graham crackers split in half and using the frosting put together in a V shape, then after it set, added pretzels at both ends and underneath to balance it more.

I also added a snowman made out of mini marshmallows on a toothpick, and anchored the cutout tree in a larger marshmallow so it would stand up.
And then it was time to add the candies and other embellishments.....
A fun project.... I think I'll use white sugar cookie cutouts for the trees for a little more variety too.  When we do it for the kids event, I'll have some round cardboard cake bases for these to sit on for each one.  That way the kids can add snow or a path or whatever to the base too.

And if you wanted to get more elaborate, color some shredded coconut yellow for hay or straw and add to the floor of the manger.

All these things in it are entirely edible, and according to my daughter, pretty tasty too! (She ate the gingerbread cutouts (with a bit of the frosting) that I didn't use in these photos.
This is just an example of one way to decorate the creche ... looking forward to seeing how each of the kids decide to do it!

Now all I have to do is get some volunteers to help bake enough for 30 of these in the next month!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Attempting a Gingerbread Creche/Manger for a Youth Event in December...

Cardboard template, with possible
cookie cutters to use.
Here is the continuing saga of my attempt to design and make a gingerbread creche/manger to be used for a Kid's Event on December 15th... a free parents time out to do their Christmas shopping, or they can also stay and help their child make this pretty cool gingerbread creche.

I have been waking up at night because of this, and not having a template or idea on how to make 30+ of these for this event.  When I looked online, there were none I found to send off for... and a couple I did find were over $10 each, plus shipping and handling for over 30 would have cost us over $120+!!

So, I found a great site online for gingerbread, and tried it out with a template I made from cardboard pieces.

Gingerbread Manger made from the cardboard prototypes.

Check out the photos... I am excited to get on with these... and will be asking other women in the church to help in baking and assembling them before the big event!

Found some gingerbread people PEEPS
that will be much easier to use, and
the kids will like to eat them too!

I will be getting Fruit by the Foot, to make a head covering/scarf for the Mary Peep, and to swaddle the baby Jesus Peep in (horrors! I had to cut off the Peeps arms and legs to use for the baby Jesus...*lol*   I also made the "crib" (feeding trough) for baby Jesus from graham crackers and pretzels put together with the icing that was used in putting together the manger/creche... it worked!  

Photos... more to come... with more fun ideas .........  can't wait for the kids to decorate this with frosting, candies, pretzels and more!


UPDATED PHOTO ... Still not finished, but added some things to Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus ... swaddled baby Jesus with fruit by the foot, and Mary's scarf over her head is also fruit by the foot ...

More to come later....