Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Whole Bunch of Stuff...

Yikes. This is a messy post with too many topics!

Operation Christmas Child...

If you do this, or want to start, it's time to get those
Operation Christmas Child boxes filled! National Collection Week is November 17-24 (next week). I love that Samaritan's Purse has made it possible to give to children around the world in this way, and I try to fill at least a couple of boxes with gifts for children (at least one box for a boy and one for a girl) every year. You can use either a shoebox or a Rubbermaid bin to hold your gifts, which is nice because the bin is useful for other things, too. If you haven't done this before, the link I gave provides everything you need to know to do this, even where to take your box when it's ready to go.

Last year about this time I received an exuberant phone call from my mom. She said, "Guess what we're doing?!" I have no idea, I replied. And she responded with something like, "We're in the car, listening to Christmas music (and, here, she turns up the music so I can hear, too), on our way to town to buy presents for the Operation Christmas Child project. And we're having so much fun! I just love doing this!" And that was the end of the phone call. My mom is like a child in her hopeful, joyful way, and that is a very good thing.

I have a friend (who reads here sometimes) whose family used to be missionaries in Botswana. She mentioned once that she was present when children received these Operation Christmas Child boxes and that their sheer joy and excitement was precious to behold... and this was before these children even knew there was anything in their boxes! Joyful over getting an empty box.

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A big thank you to two ladies with lovely blogs for each offering me an award. It's almost embarrassing to accept them and to post them here, but the thought was so nice, and I appreciate it so much, that I'll go ahead. (Early on in my blog, I tried to gracefully back out of an award, but I'm afraid I hurt someone's feelings. Yikes. I didn't mean to do that at all.) I am honored that both of these ladies thought of me when handing out these awards. But do I have to choose someone to give them to? I don't think I can. And it's my blog, and I can do what I want, so I won't. :-) Honestly, I've been a bit stunned by all of the wonderful blogs out that I'm seeing out there as I click on the links of the ones who comment here, and that's just a tiny portion of the blogging world. There are so many creative blogs, wise blogs, beautiful blogs, funny blogs, informative and stimulating blogs. Blogs by young ladies with a depth and wisdom beyond their years. Blogs by older women who have great experience, insight, and wisdom. I honestly wouldn't know where to start in handing out awards.

But thank you to Prairie Chick (a kindred spirit for sure!) at
Prairie Prologue-- a blog with wonderful photos and inspiring, hopeful thoughts-- for this:


And to Hill Upon Hill-- such a simple, restful, pretty blog-- for this:

I appreciate your thoughtfulness very much!

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Susan R's questions about cookbooks and Shannon's tag for Seven Things I Love About My Kitchen...

In the comments box,
Susan R asked me the following questions, which I am quite happy to answer:

Susan, do you take questions from your readers? I am wondering about two things:

1) What style, size, brand of journal do you like best and why?

For a while I've been using the plain, brown, thin Moleskine journals. The aesthetic would not appeal to someone who wants a certain kind of beautiful journal, but I actually like the plain, simple aesthetic. I love that this journal lies flat. I love the feel of the paper and the way my pen writes on it. I love the thin rule. They fill up fast, but that doesn't matter to me! One could certainly artfully doctor these journals, but I haven't done that. Plain and simple and straightforward. That's what I like!

2) What are your top five favorite cookbooks? (The one you turn to time and again, the one you turn to for inspiration, the one that surprised you with recipes that have become part of your standard repertoire, the one that is so beautiful you can't resist looking through it often,..Okay, that's four, for the fifth cookbook, you tell me why it's among your favorites :-)

Oh, boy, I love this kind of question, but I'm going to add it to the response I give to
Shannon when I respond to her "tag" of My Seven Favorite Things About My Kitchen. Normally, I wouldn't want to do much in the way of tag posts, but I really like this one (and Shannon knew I would!). Michelle (my daughter) said I could take some photos with her camera, and if I can get that done on the weekend, I'll post those photos, Shannon, and if I can't get new photos, I'll just use what I have in my picture files. And I'll answer Susan's cookbook questions then, too.

And at the same time I post about my kitchen and the cookbooks, I'll respond to the requests for recipes (I've kept a list so as not to forget).

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Michele asked me some questions about journaling...

"You were very instrumental in starting me on the road of journaling. I've noticed that you say you journal first thing in the morning. I guess I'm a bit confused because you have shared that you journal about the weather and things that you did that day. How do you do that at the beginning of the day? Or is the early morning journaling different and more personal or something?"

Oops. Sorry to be confusing, Michele! That seems to be one of my stronger traits! :-) Let me see if I can straighten this out a bit. In this post, as you know, I wrote about journaling:

High Desert Home: Journaling an Ordinary Life...

I said:

Every single day, when I write in my journal, I have a routine. Across the top line, I write the date, the exact time to the minute, and the precise morning low temperature, along with a description of the current weather. And then I proceed to tell where I'm sitting, what I'm wearing, what I have around me, and usually what I'm seeing or hearing. I'll usually comment about what I've already done that morning, and I'll probably make note of the day's plan.

I mentioned here that I usually write what I've already done that morning. That's how I do it. And, at the same time, I'll often include some of what I did the day before (if I've not already added it). Because occasionally, I will add more to my journal as the day goes on. Like this, for instance (taken from that journaling post, too):

This Instant. August 10, 2007. 2:24 p.m.: Melissa showering. Water rumbling in the teakettle as it heats for coffee. Freshly ground coffee bean scent wafting on the soft breeze coming through the open kitchen window. Aaron sitting at his computer. Bright blue sky with a few, small, fluffy white clouds. Pleasant temperature. Screen door open. Two sandhill cranes ambling around out in the meadow. Me at the counter reading Ranch Under the Rimrock (fun book). Georgie (dog) staring out the sliding door.

I often add more (about my day, my reading, my thoughts, stories of things that happened...) to my journal in the evening, but I definitely do not document everything I do in my journal.

Am I making any sense? Because I think I've only made things more confusing!

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Some questions from Hill Upon Hill about living in a cold, snowy place...

I gather then you all travel around with chains in the car? Other emerg items? How do you ensure pipes don't freeze etc?

Yes, we always travel with chains in the car. Law here requires carrying them in the mountain passes. And in 12 years of living in this area, I've never once put on the chains. And we live along notoriously bad roads for sliding and getting stuck. Oh, the stories I could tell of my snowy weather driving experiences, but so far, thank the Lord, I've managed to get through some pretty crazy experiences without having to deal with the chains. We do keep good tires for winter driving on the car. When I'm traveling in the winter, I try to keep bottled water, boots, blankets, hats and gloves, paper towels, and other things in the car. It's not smart not to. Our house is well-insulated and suited to the kind of weather we have here, so our pipes have never frozen. There was one year when something happened in our well-house, and for a short time, the pipes in there would freeze when temperatures dropped below 17 degrees (and that's not very cold). But the neighbor who shares our well (who happens to be a mechanical engineer) rigged something up to keep that from happening again.

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And, thanks, KSHmom for mentioning the bread today. I cannot find a recipe online, and I really don't think it would be helpful for me to try to type out and explain the pages of instructions in Rheinhart's book. It's really quite a process. Not a lot of work, but there's a bit to understand, and several essential steps to grasp. Do you think your library has the book? Or is there a bookstore where you could find it and have a look to see if it's even something you're interested in doing? Thanks for being understanding.

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I do have more questions to answer. I will get to them soon.