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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's Time Again for Christmas Baking!

I had an exquisitely LOVELY birthday despite having a worsening head cold! Was absolutely showered with love and prayers and gifts, and most of all, the Holy Spirit just loved on me so much that day. I turned half a century old last week! My dad turned three-quarters of a century old in August. God is good to let us live so long!!

Have been put out of commission by a series of severe migraines since the weekend due to some really intense weather. One morning, we were below Zero degrees F. and had substantial snow on the ground. The next day, we had London fog like something out of an old, old Sherlock Holmes movie and 50 degrees F. And hurricane levels of low, low, low barometric pressure for a couple of days. And then a cold front which ushered in a good, decent, measurable snowfall and cold temps. I feel sane and happy again. I only mention the weather because a lot of my readers are CFS and fibromyalgia patients with migraine problems. You all know "what I mean is". :)

ANYWHO, tonight I got my test batch of All Butter Spritz Christmas Cookies baked, to test the butter and to test the oven. My dad pronounced them absolutely delectable and delicious, and I have found my adjustments to make on the oven temperature and the timing. I think we are due for a new oven element in the not too distant future. I pray it behaveth itself with proper decorum until I have baked seven more batches of Spritz. *grin*

Here is a night time shot of the test batch of Spritz, circa Tuesday, November 25, 2014:




My mom started taking Lipitor recently, so that means not as many baked cookies for her this year. I am being spared baking the evil, wicked, and nefarious "paper thin" Cut Out Cookies!!!! *Praises to the Lord!!!!* Just a ton of Spritz, and a couple of tons of Rum Balls. The recipes for both are Top Secret. I may have shared the ersatz versions of them on a blog or MyFamily.com website some years ago, but I assure you, my prize recipes are  Top Secret. I will keep a couple of copies in the safe deposit box, though, in case menopause makes me lose my memory completely! *tongue planted firmly in cheek*

***
I am behind on reviewing books, so, I'm going to don a fresh pair of pajamas, pamper my feet with a warm bubble, scented foot bath, put on some home crocheted wool socks (my own creation; I could crochet these forever, as they make my feet deliriously happy), curl up in my bedroom Lazy Boy recliner, and finish reading what I promised I would read and review. When I had enterovirus, I could not read even children's lit, just much too ill.

I won't promise more pictures of cookies. Once I get into cookie baking mode, I find I just don't have time to tidy the kitchen enough to make the cookie photographs presentable. Yeah, I know, do Photoshop Elements, but that gets to be too much like work!

Will see if I can hunt down some pictures of the Rum Ball making process from a few years ago another time. For now, this is more than enough out of me!

Please be assured that EVERY SINGLE ONE of my blog readers - past, present, and to come, are in my daily prayers. Thank you so very much for keeping on coming back to visit with me. We will be neighbors in our Heavenly Homeland. Don't give up hope of things working out! There is someone out there reading this blog post who has a serious, serious family and marriage situation going on and is on the verge of despair.  Please don't give up hope! Our Heavenly Daddy Father is on the side of marriage and families! He WILL rescue! Just surrender to Jesus and ask for the grace to pray, "Thy will, Thy way, in Thy timing!" Pray to St. Joseph and to St. Teresa of Avila. I wish I could sit down with you and pray the Rosary with you, or go to Mass with you. I have the solution! I will send my Guardian Angel to pray with you! I promise! And I will pray, too! God bless you! God's Help IS ON THE WAY!!!

Much love in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

- Christine


PS: The First Sunday of Advent is coming up on November 30th - a brand new liturgical year! Consider picking a particular Saint to focus on their example and writings and intercessory prayers in a special way for the coming new Church year. And... what are you going to give Jesus for His birthday? This year, I am asking Him to help me to fall madly, passionately in love with Him forever. He is the One Pure Prince, the Redeemer, the Ransomer, the Beloved of my heart. Here is a little quote from St. Therese of Lisieux:



Monday, November 10, 2014

Thankful Thoughts: Monday, November 12, 2014

'Tis the season to be thankful! The national American holiday of Thanksgiving is on Thursday, November 27th this year. Of course, it's always the season to be thankful! Even when we're suffering, there is always something to thank God for! As numerous Saints have said over the past many, many centuries, we need to thank God when we're suffering or undergoing tribulation. And let's not forget about St. Paul the Apostle's words on "giving thanks in all circumstances". By doing so, we not only exercise our faith muscles, we also disarm the power of the devil in our lives. Thanking God in trials and pain not only confounds the enemy, it also draws down the power of the Lord's love to help us through it all. It takes time to get to the point of even beginning to thank the Lord for trials, but He wants to give us that grace.

Today, I want to thank the Lord Jesus here instead of just in my private journal.

I am thankful for...

* my dear little pet cat with multitudinous, beautiful, long whiskers who wants to play boisterously with all of her cat toys in the middle of the night. She belongs in this house with my dad and myself; we are each Night Purrsons. *big smile*

Seriously, I am so grateful that the allergy season is so thoroughly over so that Maggie the Kitty is back to being VBT - Very Bouncy Tigger (for you Winnie-ther-Pooh fans!). Poor little kitty had a nasty, hard time with the allergies since spring. She's having a blast feeling like a kitten again. 

* our furnace, which makes such a comforting sound when it starts to heat up and gets ready to blow delightful, deliciously warm air throughout the entire house. I love our furnace! Furnaces are like snowflakes; no two are alike, and ours makes simply the most splendidly comforting sounds. Sometimes, when I'm drifting off to sleep, I imagine that our house is some kind of time travel chamber, and when the furnace kicks in, we take off for destinations and times from history. Wouldn't that be wonderful?! At least it would be wonderful to me.

* the satisfaction of having the house and yard ready for winter. It's a good thing we are ready, because we are under a Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service now through Tuesday afternoon. Six to twelve inches of snow (at least) and blustery winds. This is my kind of November! Whee!!! *giggles*

* the memories of a glorious, beautiful childhood in a safe, good suburban neighborhood, where we kids had simply the most wonderful, perfect hills to sled, saucer, and toboggan down all winter, every winter except for the nefarious "Brown Winter" back in the early 1970's - yek! But the hills around the school were simply perfect and glorious for winter fun! And the snow forts we built during recesses and after school - what happy fun! And the snowball fights, too. Then coming home to homemade hot cocoa and to play piano and read books like Snowbound with Betsy. My parents gave me a splendid childhood.

* dear little pet cats who are part Domestic Shorthair/Tiger/Siamese, who love to "talk" and to "sing" dramatic, passionate opera arias - especially when they are feeling neglected. Maggie has not forgotten that her ancestors were once worshiped... ha ha ha! Truly, if you can stand all the communication noises a Siamese/part-Siamese kitty makes, then get one. They love to talk and to be talked to intelligently *and* in "baby talk". If you like a kitty that plays practically non-stop, then get a Domestic Shorthair. I'm so grateful for my little Siamese Tiger! I've got the best of both kind with her!

* the thrill of the excitement which comes with a nearing major snowstorm! Did I mention that our nighttime low temperatures will soon be in the single digits Fahrenheit for at least a week, with daytime highs only in the 20's?! What a glorious way to celebrate my birthday month! Thank You, Heavenly Father!! I feel energized even though I'm still struggling with wicked tummy bug.

* for classic children's literature, such as things written by Louisa May Alcott. Am currently rereading her book Jack and Jill and loving/enjoying it immensely. It little lessons on suffering patiently are not lost on me. What a merry little book! 

* for sales on baking goods for Christmas 2014 baking! The fridge is full of butter for Spritz cookies, and I've got a very, very large apple box filled with all of the other things I need - except for pecans for Rum Balls, and various colored sugars to adorn the Spritz cookies.

* for the Amish men who put a new roof on our neighbors' house right before it turned wintry. The spoke English and German, but their German was a different dialect than that to which my dad and I are accustomed. I am almost always edified by the presence of the  Amish and Mennonites around here.

* speaking of German: Some wonderfully talented German speaking LibriVox.org volunteer recorded the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol and it's MARVELOUS! It's Version 2 of the German edition on LibriVox, done by a woman whose surname is Schnabel! Danke, Fraulein Schnabel!

* lastly for today (I think!), I am thankful for my decision to take "Cyber Sabbaths" and to spend less time on the Internet. After nearly fifteen years online, I need a break from "cyberness". I am handwriting greeting cards and letters again, and I am listening to music CDs (and even a few cassettes!!!) and to local radio on my new Sony boombox. I'm watching antenna TV and DVDs instead of watching as much on the Roku, and came across some terrific Bob Ross painting courses on Public TV, and a perfectly hilarious episode of the George Burns & Gracie Allen TV program on one of the retro TV stations. Talk about Time Travel Tripping! As Joe Gargerry said to Pip in Dickens' Great Expectations, "What larks!" (So much fun!!)

OKAY! Enough of me already!

Please know that I (and my dad with me) pray every day for each one of you, whether you're a regular reader here, or whether you happened upon my blogs by accident. I am so overwhelmed with joy by how many of you come from all over the world! I had always wanted to travel when I was young before I became disabled, and now I get to visit wonderful sisters and brothers in the Lord via the 'net! God bless each one of you. I promise you my daily prayers - God knows you as a unique individual, and He knows and wants to provide for your particular needs. May Jesus console you and heal your hearts with love this week!

Much love in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

- Christine




Monday, October 20, 2014

Thankful Thoughts, Monday October 20, 2014

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! In fact, I sometimes wonder if it's God's favorite holiday as well. We owe our all wise and all loving God our thanks even in seasons of pain - be it physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. Look it up in Psalm 50! :-) It's called a "sacrifice" of thanksgiving, so it means we can (and should!) give thanks to our Heavenly Father at all times, and not because He's some kind of egomaniac, but rather because He knows we are happier (and healthier, too) in spirit, mind, and body when we take time to count our blessings and experience true joy in Him, rather than thinking we need more, more, more stuff of this world.

I love Autumn! Even when I'm too ill for car rides through Wildwood Park or the gracious, glorious, gorgeous west side of our city, all I need to do is take a few steps out the back or front doors to take in the warm, golden view on our lovely street filled with grand and stately maple trees. I can breathe in the scent of autumn leaves which evokes the nostalgia of a thousand happy childhood memories, listen to the leaves crunch beneath my Woolrich slippers as I traipse from the garage to the front yard bird feeding stations. When my current "contagious illness du jour" (I have a mild to moderate case of enterovirus these past weeks) leaves me unable to go no further from my cozy bedroom/office/library/entertainment room than to the living room, I still get to celebrate the fall season. The birds at the three bird/squirrel/chipmunk feeders are fantastic entertainment, while the maple leaves sail gracefully down.

Yesterday, I felt well enough to be messing about in the kitchen for a couple of hours and baked Nani's gingersnap cookies with a recipe that I think goes back to my Italian great-grandmother Caeserina/Chezarina - however it's spelled (she changed it to "Mary" when she went through Ellis Island, while great-grandpa changed his from "Giuseppe" to "Joseph" when they immigrated to the United States from Northern Italian (15k from the Swiss border - Great Grandma from the village of Livigno, and Great Grandpa from a very, very, very tiny village of Isolachia,  close to a hundred years ago. I think some of Nani's recipes date back to Great Grandma's first American recipes. My great-grandparents tried very hard to be good Americans. They spoke English, ran their own small business, joined the Republican Party, and learned American ways, while quietly hanging on to some of the Italian ways. I use the AccuWeather app on my Kindle Fire HD to track the weather in Livigno (ski country) each year, and I sometimes think that our Wisconsin weather must have seemed nearly tropical to Great Grandma and Great Grandpa after living in the Alps!

Speaking of cookie baking: I am making my Christmas 2014 Cookie Baking List out and checking it twice. I also scouted out the kitchen (which has mostly been my dad's domain over the past year) and found what needs to be replenished, organized, and washed. Several years ago, I had both knit and crocheted a multitude of hot pads and pot holders - and it looks like they'll all need to go through the washer. I'm also hunting up a few new  Christmas cookie recipes.

Anyway, I will let everyone rest their eyes now. I think I'll listen to some more Abbott & Costello Old Time Radio programs - great laughs and merry medicine to boost the immune spirits and lift the spirits!

Thank you for reading! I continue to pray for all readers of my blogs - past, present, and future! May the dear Lord bless you!

I have a long and growing list of "Thankful Thoughts" items to share, but with my neurological problems it is difficult to type very often. I hope and pray that, Lord willing, I'll be back again soon!

Much love in Jesus,
Christine


September 30, 2014


My maternal grandparents' house. The lady who lives there spotted my mom and I looking and taking photos of the exterior and invited us in for a leisurely tour (very kind of her!) Many happy memories there!

 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Normal Days, Tears, Thankfulness, and the Love of God

Ha! Last time I blogged, I was crowing about how wonderful I was expecting to feel physically from the onset of meteorological autumn. What a laugh! *insert merrily sarcastic sounds of derision* It's been a migraine marathon of the worst sort combined with the mother of all fibromyalgia flareups for over a week. Guess it shows a body to not count their pain-free days before they're hatched. LOL It could be worse. I'm making the best of it, as best as I can, and I'm trying to "dedicate myself to thankfulness", as St. Paul says in Colossians.

I guess it also reminds me of something Joni Eareckson Tada mentions in one of her books: being thankful for "normal" days before something happens to make things worse. I think of this especially as I watch and hear of the plight of the Iraqi and Syrian Christians and other minorities in their time of severe tribulation.

I am indeed thanking Jesus for my normal days, even though they include pain, because, as I've oft written over the years: God never allows crosses without the potential for consolations - IF we don't wallow in the pig manure of self-pity, and IF we turn to Him with our hearts, no matter how feeble our prayers seem or how faithless our faith seems to us. Y'all don't have to rattle off a long prayer to Jesus; just humbly point your heart toward Him. Offer Him your pain. Give Him your tears. Do you know that He knows exactly how many tears you've shed, and that He cares about you, dearest one? Do you know that He keeps a record of each of those tears in His book? Well, He does. He is not heartless or uncaring. He is right there beside you, holding you and pressing you close to His Heart, weeping with you and passing you the Kleenex box.

Hang in there, Baby: the Lord is in control and He cares about you. HE cares about you. He CARES about you. He cares about YOU! You don't have to compete with anyone else for the love of your Heavenly Father. He loves you just as much as if you were the only one in the entire universe. He loves you personally, intimately, tenderly, compassionately, knowing and understanding everything about you and loving you to the Nth degree. Please don't give up hope! Jesus knows you are suffering! He knows YOU are suffering. And He's been there on the Cross, and HE KNOWS. He knows what you're going through, and He is going to bring great and fantastic, amazing, wondrous joy and tremendous VICTORY to you out of ALL of the crosses of your life. 

Point your heart toward Him! I promise that the Holy Spirit will bring joy to you right when it seems impossible to have joy.

God bless you, dear one. I have been praying for you. You know who you are. And most of all, God the Father knows who you are. He has a plan for your life. Don't give up. Not now, especially since you're so close to the victory the Father has planned for you. He knew this plan even before the world began, and He knew you, and chose to give you life, and there is nothing and no one that can separate you from His love which comes to you in Christ Jesus!

Love and holy hugs in Jesus, and I will keep you in my prayers...
Christine



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Meteorological Autumn Begins Very Soon!

I am SO EXCITED that I can barely type!!

Meteorological autumn begins here in the United States on Monday, September 1st, 2014, and lasts through November 30th. Hallelujah! I know some of my friends think I'm a nutty nut and a kooky kook, but I actually thrive on the shorter daylight hours and the cooler temperatures which will soon be headed our way. Conversely, my fellow migraineurs and some of my fellow CFS/CFIDS/ME patients will join me in the rejoicing. Summer is wicked for migraines - too much heat, too much humidity, too much daylight, and way too many allergens. I loved having my petunias this summer, and I loved time out in the yard enjoying our beautiful and majestic glowingly green maples and stately spruces, watching the birds and other wildlife this summer. But I am breathing a sublime sigh of relief that the "baddies" - the allergens are going sooner to their graves, to leave me and the other summer allergy sufferers to recover and bounce back to vitality.

Fall is one of my two favorite times of the year, the other being the season of winter (even when winter is one long Polar Vortex such as last year!). My hometown has many, many, many lovely maples which turn gorgeous shades of orange, red, and gold in September. I haven't been out on a leaf peeping photo shoot walk in a few years, so I think I'd better get my cameras and batteries all gussied up to take a local tour. My mom will be here from Florida during the fall colors this year, so we are certain to get some pictures.

Spring was cruel to our little back yard "orchard", and froze a good number of blossoms of the apple trees. So, there aren't as many apples to pick this year. However, we will have enough McIntosh apples for noshing, and for baking pies and crisps (heavy on the cinnamon!), as well as turning into apple butter (a good low/no fat alternative to butter or olive oil on home baked breads).

Just over one month and we'll be taking the window air conditioner units out! It seems like it wasn't that long ago that we had them put in. Last year, our friend Al from church took them out for us on St. Francis Day (October 4th). This means that I had better begin the work of organizing and cleaning my room already! Baskets of sewing and crafts, books, books, and more books all in the way. Dust, and dust bunnies rearing their vicious heads. Errant missing socks and Isotoner slippers given up for lost, shall be found, and rejoiced over more than the ones that didn't stray! I could write volumes about "Prodigal Socks and Slippers", which is part of why I have acquired so many new socks and pairs of slippers!

I have been doing a lot of reading, and have decided to do more in the realm of book reviewing. Am currently in the process of reading four different books to review, three for Ave Maria Press, and one for Revell. I am thoroughly enjoying this, and hope to be able to provide some good reviews. The reviews will indeed be here on my blog in the next month to two months, as well as on Goodreads.com. Will need to brush up on review writing basics. Basically, my plan is to not run off at the keyboard. In short, to keep things simple, and to provide information in a somewhat brief and to the point fashion. Unlike how I blog, ha ha ha. :-)

It's a very rainy Labor Day holiday weekend, perfect for reading. Did you all see that Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird was released for Kindle in July? It was about time!

I've got other not-to-be-reviewed books on my bedside table and on my Kindle. I'll post about those this coming week. In the meantime, 'tis behooving me to draw this post to a close and then to set up my new/old custom domain for the Saintly Quotations blog. It's going back to Saintly Quotations (saintlyquotations.com) by Monday, September 1st. Just waiting for my domain server to be set up tonight before I redirect the blogspot url for it to its custom domain. I'll edit this post later once the deed is done!

PLEASE KNOW THAT I CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR ***EVERYONE*** WHO VISITS MY BLOGS - those past, present, and future. May the peace of Christ be with you in a tangible way; may it be "Shalom" peace: Peace of spirit, peace of mind, peace of body. God bless you, sisters and brothers in Jesus. Know and fix in your heart that He who created all things is watching over you with the tender care of a loving parent doting over His beloved child, as if you were the only one to love. You don't have to compete with anyone for His love. You get it ALL! May He enable you to receive and experience more and more of His deep, tender, intimate, personal love for you with each new day... even each new hour!

Holy Hugs in the Lord to you! 

Much love in Jesus!

- Christine






Saturday, August 09, 2014

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Today is Saturday, August 9, 2014. On the Church calendar, it is the Memorial of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a martyr for the Faith in the Nazi death camps. She was born Edith Stein. I will try to post a quotation or two from her on the saintlyquotations.blogspot.com blog; there is already one there somewhere. I have sadly neglected that blog. Since I let the custom domain expire, its once thriving readership from around the globe has gone down to the single digits per day, as it is no longer listed in the search engines. I can do two things to boost traffic again: (1) post more posts/quotations on a regular basis, and (2) buy back my custom domain when it's available again.

Speaking of custom domains, I had let lifeisapolka.net expire this summer. I just bought lifeisapolka.com this morning, and am waiting for the company to set up the info so I can set up the redirect from blogspot to lifeisapolka.com . The lifeisapolka.com URL had been my main domain since going back to, let's see, 2005 when I had it with Xanga. I still have friends ask what happened to the blog. So, it will be back.

It's August. The days are getting shorter (hooray!), and we are progressing toward autumn. It's been a fruitful and satisfying summer, but I am looking forward to fall, to changing leaves, to crisp, cool, clear blue skied days, and to cooler, crisper nights. Not that we've had off the chart heat to deal with here in central Wisconsin this year - not by any means. But I do not enjoy summer, and while trying to live gracefully in the present moment, I still anticipate autumn and winter, too, with glee!

I could go for my Great Aunt Margaret's carrot cake. No one - absolutely NO ONE could make carrot cake like Auntie Margaret. 

My dad is at the mid-point of a trial gluten free diet to see if that will cure him of excessive bloating. It's not easy, and it's expensive. It also doesn't seem to be helping, even after four weeks of him being gluten free. He's got four more weeks to go. I've still been baking wheat bread for myself in the bread machine, but I've not eaten pasta in over four weeks. Note: I am 1/4 Italian, and that 1/4 of me loves pasta passionately. I think Fettuccine Alfredo is going to be on the menu for me this weekend - with Italian meatballs! :)

I've been reading a good deal this summer (Wisconsin stuff, mysteries, Christian literature), and I've also been enjoying a moderate amount of really good comedy. Prayer and daily chores are my priorities, but when I get into a bad fibromyalgia flare or get the perimenopause blues and angst, I need to watch something which will make me laugh - and laugh hard. My programs of choice the past few months are the British show from the 1990's Keeping Up Appearances, staring Patricia Routledge, The Andy Griffith Show, and Blandings, the British program based on P.G. Wodehouse's series of books about Blandings Castle. Lord willing, tonight I will watch some Monk and I Love Lucy on DVD.

I've been exercising on the Schwinn Air-Dyne in our nice, cool, dehumidified basement - usually in the middle of the night on a fairly regular basis. With CFS it's a dicey thing knowing when to stop so that I don't get post exertional exhaustion for two days afterward, but with hot flashes and perimenopausal anxiety and such abounding as I approach my 50th birthday in November, it is a necessary evil to exercise enough to calm down those hot flashes and especially to get those lovely, pain killing endorphins coursing through my veins to put the kibosh on pain and the blues.

If I ever get significantly healthier - such as through a medical cure(s) or a miracle of God, I would love to work at the city library at the circulation desk. My grandmother was the cataloger for the library for many years prior to her retirement in the mid 1980's. That's not something I would necessarily enjoy. However, as my academic interest veer toward library science and such, I have found a number of free courses available online. And that's what I'm going to buckle down and focus on this fall.

Well, this hasn't been the most lively or mirthful blog entry. I'm in the midst of a narsty fibromyalgia flare. Back to my bed, to my electric blankets, to my eight - count 'em - eight! fluffy down pillows, and to listen to some Old Time Radio Comedy. Am currently enamored of Fibber McGee and Molly, and an offshoot of the Jack Benny Program featuring Dennis Day. Laughter is indeed very, very, very good medicine.

I continue to pray for all of you.  Much love in Jesus to you!

Blessings,
Miss Chris









Saturday, July 12, 2014

Quick Hello

I am going through a season of "He must increase, and I must decrease" (may St. John pray for me!), hence the dearth of personal blogging. However, I did want to check in briefly and say a quick "Hello! God bless you! I'm praying for each of you each day, every day!", and also to share a picture or two of my dear little kitty, Maggie.

I hope and pray everyone's summer is going well! We are enjoying cooler than normal summer temperatures, which agrees with me! We've had several tastes of autumn-like weather, which I feel are kisses to me from God the Father, the One who knows how much hot weather makes me so ill. My petunias are thriving, the deer aren't eating them, nor are the yard bunnies snarfing them up, and the chipmunks have been rebuked in their tastebuds by the cayenne red pepper in the petunia containers and flowerbed!

That's all for now! Here's Maggie, a/k/a "Maglet", a/k/a "Miss Whiskers", a/k/a "Dr. 
Fuzzylove"!







Much love in Jesus to each individual precious one of you! God knows who you are and what you are crying out to Him for. May He kiss you, foster you, and hold you up to His cheek as a beloved infant! May the Holy Spirit love on you and be a balm to your aching hearts. I love you, my sisters and brothers in Christ. May you know ever more and more how much the Father delights in having created you and in your love for Him.

Prayers going up for you!

Love,
Christine



Saturday, May 31, 2014

Summer Is Here

... and I'm not so certain that I'm happy about it, thus it behooves me to begin some Gratitude Muscles Exercises, a/k/a "Counting My Blessings Therapy".

* God blessed my dad and I with a friend from church to put in our window air conditioners two weeks ago today. Now, to most of you, I'm practically certain that window AC installation is no big deal, but for us it is. We are two chronically ill, in acute pain and major fatigue grown ups and a cat in a three bedroom Cape Cod, with more furniture, stuff, and need I mention dust? dust bunnies? cat hair, etcetera, than you can shake a stick at. We spent a lot of time (and precious energy) getting ready for The Big Event. Furniture had to be moved, piles of books relocated, baskets of craft items, and so on. But thank the Lord, the back breaking part of carrying the ACs and the frustration of getting them balanced just right was in Al's realm of expertise and generosity, and we were spared that! Thank You, Lord!

* God also blessed us with a friend from church to fix our new, expensive, (installed in the midst of a Polar vortex on New Year's Eve day) garage door opener. The safety features were being hyper vigilant and the door wouldn't come down. As per usual, the garage door wouldn't come down on the weekend. So Stan, a good friend from church and Bible Study, was kind enough to fix the alignment as best he could. Voila! It worked! But we are are still having Overhead Doors come to align and calibrate everything properly on Monday. Thank You, Jesus!

* My dad will turn 75 years old in a few months, and has health problems. He has finally conceded that it is best that someone else mow the lawn. We have a large yard. I am severely allergic to grass pollen, and as much as I enjoy cutting grass, it's not possible for me to do these past twenty years. Soooooooo.... God blessed us with a very reliable, polite, mature, conscientious, and friendly 14 year old young man from church to do the lawn for us! What a blessing Luke is! God provides!

* Last year sometime, I was able to get three Jill Phillips and three Andy Gullahorn (they are a married couple) music albums. I never really listened to them too much until this week. They are Christian folk/pop songwriters/singers and not your run of the mill ones, either. If you like Andrew Peterson, you'll like Jill and Andy. It's like comparing apples and oranges. There's a lot of honesty and encouragement, mature and healthy Christianity in their songs. They sound very authentic, and I suspect that they are living what they sing about, for real. I had a Jill Phillips album many years ago, but it got waylaid in a pile of Third Day CDs in my stereo. I guess maybe I am growing up enough to listen to these two fine Christians. They seem like the kind of people I would like for friends. If you're not acquainted with Jill and Andy's music, I encourage you to look/listen into it!

* Well, the Infamous Windows Live Writer Experiment was an epic fail! Will not be using that anymore! Please excuse the mess of my previous WLW driven blog entry!

* I am not going to pay for a custom domain on my blogs any longer. I will post the blogspot addies for my blogs soon. 

* I grow to miss Xanga less and less every month. The log in page was simply full of the worst filth. It was oppressive. Blek. Do people really live like that? I do, however, miss some of my old Christian blog friends. It does seem like people continue to spend more and more time on Facebook. It's just not for me. I would rather have a few close friends than have a million Facebook BS buddies. I deliberately have my privacy settings locked down tight, and over the years have consistently refused friends requests. I don't even log in any more, and only keep my account open so I will at least be able to contact some people in "emergencies" (extended family). MySpace bit the dust, and Facebook will also some day. I'm working with some short story plans, and hope to get outside this summer to take pictures.

* By my above comments, I do not mean to imply that I wish to be an ostrich, misanthrope, or misfit. Mostly, I don't have health and mostly don't have physical and mental energy to spend on a lot of things. Day to day basic tasks are all I can deal with most of the time. And now, with it being summer weather, my three and a half of "hell months" have begun. I am way, way, way behind on planting flowers and other things. My house is a mess. I do not have it all together. I have been struggling with control freakism.

* But you know what? I am learning that control freakness is a detriment to growing in holiness. So, my dear ragamuffinish friends across the globe: be of good cheer if your house and some parts of your life are a mess. God is getting us where He wants us - depending upon Him for everything! Letting Him be in the driver's seat! Looking to Him to help us through, and thereby teaching us what a loving Daddy He is and wants to be to us!

OUR ONLY HOPE IS IN JESUS!

*Dr. Ralph Martin, and Catholic layman, professor, and missionary made a profound statement twenty or so years ago. I wrote it up in calligraphy. It hangs on the bathroom wall where it gets a lot of notice. It goes:

"ONLY ONE THING IS NECESSARY!
ONLY ONE THING DETERMINES WHETHER OUR LIFE IS A SUCCESS OR A FAILURE:
THE CHOICE TO FOLLOW JESUS AND BE FAITHFUL TO HIS WORD OR NOT.
OUR ONLY HOPE IS IN JESUS!"

And so, with tired eyes, I am going to sign off for tonight, and get in my prayer chair. Each of you are in my prayers. You are precious, unrepeatable, irreplaceable. I don't know  many of you, but the Lord God does. Before the world began, He thought of all the possible people He could create, and some He chose to create and breathe life into, and others He didn't. The fact that you are alive means that your Heavenly Father loves you, delights in your you-ness, and has a special mission and plan for your life that ONLY YOU can fulfill. ONLY YOU can love Jesus just the way you do. He is the Almighty King and Creator of all that is, all that ever was, and all that ever will be. He doesn't need anyone! Yet, He has chosen to thirst for YOUR LOVE. On the Cross, Jesus said: "I thirst." It was and is YOUR LOVE He thirsted and thirsts for still. Only you can love Him. He has humbled Himself to need you and your love. You make Him happy.

Good Night, everyone. I will pray a Rosary for you tonight. The Holy Spirit knows who you are and for what your heart and soul are crying out to Him for.

With much love in Jesus,

Miss Chris



Monday, May 26, 2014

On My Bookshelf–May & June 2014


So, my clever ruse to get my bibliophile and bibliomaniac ‘net friends to check my blog worked! Muahahahahahaha! But this is only a test blog entry. I am, with much fear and trepidation, trying to learn how to use Windows Live Writer. I downloaded WLW a couple of months ago, but it scares me! So, rather than blogging as I’ve craved to do, I’ve sat here twiddling my typing fingers wistfully, in procrastination mode (as befits a TBDP – True Blue Discouraged Perfectionist).

Well, I’ve got to try SOMETIME, so, excuse me while I put my blogging big girl pants on and try to act like a grown up and at least TRY!

So, here is my current list of TBRs (To Be Reads), checked out from the Wisconsin Digital Library/Wisconsin Public Library Consortium:
  •  Rococo: A Novel, by Adriana Trigiani (audiobook)
  •  Devil’s Food Cake Murder, by Joanne Fluke (Kindle)
  •  Germans in Wisconsin, by Robert H. Zeitlin (Kindle)
  •  Birthday Party Murder, by Leslie Meier (Kindle)
  •  Knit Together:  Discovering God’s Pattern for Your Life, by Debbie Macomber (Kindle)
  •  Tough Cookie, by Diane Mott Davidson (Kindle *and* audiobook)
  •  Red Velvet Cupcake Murder, by Joanne Fluke (Kindle)
  • Living a Country Year, by Jerry Apps (Kindle)
  •  The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith (Kindle)
  • Dewey, by Vicki Myron (Kindle)
… and last be not least is Simon Prebble’s performance of the Charles Dickens classic Pickwick Papers, which I save for a special treat when I need some serious mirthfulness, coupled with watching I Love Lucy, Season One. Makes for General Insanity (salute!) and Major Mirth. 
  •  
  • ***

    In other news, I am sad to report the untimely retirement of the erstwhile (in retirement) Birthday Bandit’s NINE PINK FLAMINGOS. I have a neighbor who simply deplores, loathes, and abominates pink flamingos, and well, she’s old and I humor her. And frankly, as I’ve not had the health or wherewithal to get back in the Birthday Bandit saddle for a long, long, LONG time, it was only appropriate to pension off the pink ones for years of service.
If the Birthday Bandit ever does feel well enough to come out of retirement, she will be accompanied by POLAR BEARS, as the Birthday Bandit has run into an uncommonly ferocious problem with hot flashes (ahem!) and plans on spending her senior discount years (coming up in five years, five months, and some odd days) at the North Pole, working in conjunction with Santa Claus and Father Christmas.

Well, now ‘tis time to see if posting this works okay. Please know that all of you – from the USA (Happy and Safe Memorial Weekend to you all), to the far ends of the earth via the wonders of the web, wacky and weird though that web may be… I digress! Each of you are in my prayers.

Much love in Jesus, the Risen and Victorious Lord of Glory!

- Miss Chris
 PS: GAH! I don’t know how to turn off the paragraph bullets. Enjoy laughing at my ineptness! The smile is on me! Smile  Woot! I figured it out! Hoorah!

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure, here is my darling little fur child, Miss Maggie. Isn’t she sweet?!


100_2561


Don’t tell anyone, but my Christmas tree is still up and decorated (and dusted, for the File of Obscure Information), and I plan on turning on the Christmas lights during a thunderstorm this evening whilst listening to Gene Autry’s Cowboy Christmas. Smile with tongue out


Signed,
Major Mirth, er, Miss Chris, Officer in Charge of Books and Vitamin L (Laughter).

Truly, I am praying for you all. God bless you!

AD251Chris-vi

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

News from Planet Chris

Hello, out there in Blog Land!

I have a new computer! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Ariba! Ariba! Ariba!!!

It came last week and deposed my seven and a half year old Dell Windows XP, which served me well and is still usable for my dad's purposes for awhile.

Seized Hewlett-Packard's return to offering Windows 7. I did NOT want to do Windows 8. After twelve plus years of XP and after fifteen years of Outlook Express, I've been busy learning all of the intricate delicacies of Windows 7 and Mozilla Thunderbird email client (says she of the epic, gigantous email archives).

Anyway, I've also been ill. Nothing life threatening, just the same old-same old. As cold as this winter has been (twenty below yesterday morning here in Marshfield again!), I'm not really that sick of it. Still, when Spring "springs" and the birds return, it will be a good thing, even though the infernal, evil, dastardly, villainous, nasty, and nefarious bad actors (various tree pollens) will return with it.

In fact, I have purchases numerous hour long nature MP3s from Amazon to listen to - birdsong, autumn in the forest, summer rain, thunderstorms. Makes for prodigiously marvelous and relaxing sleep. My kitty (Maggie McGee, the Still Wild Celtic Kitty) absolutely LOVES listening to these tracks. We play them on the computer and on Amazon Cloud Player on the Roku on TVs.

In the meantime, my dad continues to brave the elements on the most frigid mornings to fill up the bird feeders so our local feathered flock residing in the two stately spruces in our front and back yards can warm up a bit and get a bite to eat. I really and truly hope that this Siberian-esque winter hasn't killed any of them off.

Well, that's all for now. Time for morning prayer. You are in my prayers, one and all. Will write again and visit blogs as soon as I can.

Love in Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,

- Chris
xoxoxoxoxoxo


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Consolations on Planet Migraine

I am on another long trip to Planet Migraine and need to exercise me wee, puny, little gratitude muscles while I summon my energy and physical muscles for making my bed before I try to get some sleep again. 

I must have 39 pounds of blankets and comforter (some mine, some the kitty's), 23 pounds of pillows, 17 pounds of magazines, and 12 pounds of technology (CD player/radio, Kindle Reader, Kindle Fire) on my bed. Yes! I hibernated last week when the North Pole moved south and now it's time to "dehibernate". Speaking of geography and weather: St. Petersburg, Russia has been quite a bit warmer than Wisconsin this winter! I keep on checking on my Accuweather app. File that under "Obscure Information". Fortunately, we do the budget plan on our natural gas heating. I guess the gas bill is no biggie this year; it's more Wisconsin "normal". We won't have to pay that much to reconcile the balance in spring.

The past couple of days have been a real struggle, and "I'm on the canvas sometimes, but not without a fight!" (to quote an old, old, OLD Geoff Moore and the Distance tune from way back 'round 1988 or 1989). This here girl is a Type A personality trapped in a tired, ill, Type B body. Some days I deal with it more gracefully than others. And some days I so much do NOT deal with it gracefully.

Ahem! There were bright spots in my day on Monday. They were:

* Listening to a few hours of the Charles Dickens classic Pickwick Papers as wonderfully narrated by Simon Prebble. Laughter and tears galore! Thirty plus hours left to go, and I'm looking forward to every single minute. I find it a good deal easier listening to Audible books on the Kindle Fire than I do on MP3 players. Charles Dickens will always, always, ALWAYS be my favorite author.

* Listening to several hours of Chopin. I have to be in certain moods to listen to Chopin for that long. Today was a Nocturnes mood. I grew up listening to Arthur Rubinstein playing Chopin. My mom gave me the Lang Lang Chopin CD and DVD for Christmas... I'm still getting used to Lang Lang. So far it sounds like he's really banging the piano keys more than I like and sounds too technically proficient and "modern" for my taste, but I hear that on certain pieces he is "poetic" and "lyrical", so we shall see - or do I mean hear?! Anyhow, I enjoyed the Rubinstein interpretations, and I also enjoyed the Abbey Simon interpretations of the Nocturnes. Rubinstein had more polish and style and verve, and Abbey Simon played things a bit more delicately though still with style. I like both. 

If I survive making my bed (wan smile), I would like to listen to Rubinstein play Chopin's Mazurkas. Or, I might listen to some Grieg. Ah, ixnay on the Grieg (that keeps on coming out "grieF"...). I don't feel Norwegian enough tonight to listen to Grieg (ha! it typed out "grieF" again the first time!)

I digress! I am also grateful tonight for:

* Taylors Earl Grey tea. (Can't drink coffee with a migraine, so at least with black tea, I get SOME caffeine.) Delicate Bergamot flavoring, doesn't hit your taste buds over the head like Bigelow.

* Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer Tea. Tastes positively "yuk-barf" (to quote Calvin and Hobbes), but sometimes I swear it works better than Xanax and chocolate. (Hmmm... anyone for chocolate covered Xanax?! *giggle*)

* The color BLUE. If I bought all of my own clothes/pajamas/whatnot, my wardrobe/pajamadrobe would be 98% blue. 

* My mom, who has fashion sense and gets me to try new colors. (I have just learned that I look great in L.L. Bean's "Elderberry" color for comfort fleece (my mom gave that to me a few winters ago, and it's taken me this long to "get" the fact that I look good in it.

* Honest people in the forums on SparkPeople.com. Got a mailer the other day from someone wanting to know what to do when she "feels like eating the entire house". I much prefer the honesty to the super saccharine sappy sweet perky cheerleader perfect type people. The sappy sweet people make me want to... commit cyber flaming.

* Honest people with CFIDS/CFS/Myalgic Encephelomyelitis/Fibromyalgia in the forums. (Don't look for my user name in any of 'em, you'd never guess it).

* The fact that God healed my broken wrist six years ago without my needing the orthopedic surgery which the orthopedic surgeon swore I needed to function, which would have included a hardware store's worth of metal being put in my arm. After the cast came off at the end of the healing time, he was amazed and said that my wrist healed just as well if not better than if he had done surgery.

* For all the men whom God has told me "NO! NO! NOOOOOOO!!!" about, I am forever grateful. I am too ill to be married. My parents' marriage didn't survive my dad's CFS, and I have more strikes against me than that, so there! Thank You, Abba Father for putting so many roadblocks in the way to certain relationships, even though some of those roadblocks felt like they were going to kill me. My vocation is single Christian womanhood, and trying to be a good daughter to my parents - and I'm truly happy and proud about that calling!

And now 'tis time to face the battle of deconstructing the Abominable Snow Bed by several pounds, make some more tea, watch some British TV, and hopefully get some sleep.

Happy Tuesday! Now that the worst of the holidays (WE here at Chez Mademoiselle Chris are STILL celebrating Christmas until Candlemas on February 2nd), I am more focused on praying for yall again. And, I have certain peeps from the old Tatterdemalion list which I pray for every single day.

Blessings to one and all!

- Miss Chris