Happy Valentine’s Day!

A Facebook friend recently commented that Valentine’s Day was invented by greeting card companies so they could get more money out of people. 🙄 I’m so glad I’m not married to someone who thinks like that. Maybe most holidays are over-commercialized, but so what? We can celebrate them any way we like, with lots of frills or just a simple card, store-bought or home-made, or whatever. Sure, we’re supposed to show love to our loved ones every day, but it’s nice to have a special day just for the occasion as well.

But I expounded on those thoughts in an earlier post on Spontaneity vs. Scheduling, so I won’t get into it all again now.

On the other hand, even though we like to celebrate around here, some occasions we go all-out more than others. Some years someone is sick or schedules are over-busy or we’re just not up to it for various reasons. Traditions are wonderful as long as they don’t become burdensome. But we do try to do at least a little something.

I haven’t anticipated Valentine’s Day quite as much as usual this year — maybe because of this silly cold. I’ve had worse colds as far as symptoms go, but for some reason this one just seems to be draining me of energy. But I’ve gotten cards and plan on making a Valentine-themed dinner and my usual heart-shaped cupcakes (amended plans: Jim offered to bring home take-out from our favorite Chinese place. ♥ )

Having absolutely nothing new to say about Valentine’s Day this year, I’ll point you to some previous posts related to the day if you’ve a mind to look at any. Hope you have a great day, whatever you do. 🙂

John 3:16 Valentine.
Your Divine Valentine.
Quotes about love for Valentine’s Day.
Christian quotes about love.
How to love our husbands: notes from a ladies’ meeting where we had a panel discussion on the subject. One of our best ladies’ meetings ever.
C. S. Lewis on love.
Corny Valentine Jokes.
Valentine’s favorites wherein I list some of my favorite romantic quotes, poems, and songs.
St. Valentine’s Day by Edgar Guest. An excerpt:

Romance is old, but it is lovely still.
Not he who shows his love deserves the jeer,
But he who speaks not what she longs to hear.
There is no shame in love’s devoted speech;
Man need not blush his tenderness to show.
‘Tis shame to love and never let her know.

Singleness.
Valentine’s Day single?
A Toast to the Best Valentine’s Day Yet.

Some Valentine’s Day decorations I’ve used in the past — though this year I haven’t put any of them out. (Though I did at least go and out my heart-shaped wreath out after writing that. 🙂 )

Some Valentine-themed treats I’ve made in the past:

Valentine treats

Sweetheart Jamwiches from Southern Living magazine.

Valentine treats

Peanut Butter Kiss cookies, only substituting chocolate hearts instead of Hershey’s kisses.

Heart-shaped cupcakes — just a regular cake mix and store-bought frosting and sprinkles.

Valentine casserole

Crescent Heart-Topped Lasagna Casserole.

Li’l Cheddar Meat Loaves shaped like hearts.

Have a good day!

Gingerbread Houses

I’m not good at decorating cakes, so I guess that fact plus having all guys at home never inspired me to try gingerbread houses at Christmastime. It’s funny the things you just assume boys won’t be interested in. But having a daughter-in-law with different interests and talents has expanded our horizons the last couple of years and enriched our lives.

Jason and Mittu brought over a couple of gingerbread house kits last Friday night. I liked having everything we needed in a kit, including pre-made gingerbread. I had always been afraid of making gingerbread and having it stick to the pans or fall apart.

We set everything out in the middle of the table, and there was enough for each of us to decorate our own house.

First came the “building”:

Someone said Jim looked annoyed there. No, he was just concentrating. At one point Mittu said, “Dad, your face is going to freeze that way!” 🙂 Plus he was really tired: we had moved Grandma the day before and then he’d had to go in to work about 3 a.m. that morning.

Then the decorating:

I started out trying to decorate mine just like the example on the box, but then started doing my own thing. I think the best touches were what different ones dreamed up that weren’t on the box!

Here are the results:

Jason’s:

Mittu’s:

Love the yard!

Jesse’s — he was particularly proud of the peppermint icicles:

Jim’s:

Love the peppermint chimney and stacked logs!

Mine:

And an extra one that Jim put together and I decorated:

Our gingerbread village:

Mittu remarked that it smelled a lot better than our last project, the pumpkins! And that’s certainly true! The first day or so we had them out, the smell was a little overwhelming, either seeming too sweet at times, or other times making me want to eat something. But that’s faded a little bit since the first day.

All in all it was a fun evening!

Links, a video, and a birthday

Here are a few things I found interesting the Web this week:

Quotes about sacrifice….from a surprising source, but applicable to Christian life.

The Enemy Next Door. Good thoughts on interaction with “worldly” neighbors.

Does Gender Matter? Yes! Despite one family’s attempt to keep their baby’s gender a secret for its “freedom.”

Believe It Yourself. “If you look at the ten commandments as a boundary around something, instead of a obstacle to something, you will see that God’s laws are situated in places that make real life possible. They are rules of freedom.”

Free Desktop Wallpaper. I got the “Be Still and Know That I Am God” one.

This is pretty amazing. I am surprised the guy ever found his camera again.

Today is Grandma H’s 83rd birthday! We’re bringing her over for pizza and birthday cake tonight.

A day of funny observations

Yesterday I was scheduled for my annual mammogram (I almost said something on Facebook about having a smashing good time but refrained for the sake of the men and teenagers who read there, not to mention my own kids. 🙂 ) In the waiting room with me was an older man and his even older mother. I doubt she was there for the same procedure, but the office there did all kind of imaging.

He was filling out the form for his mother, and said aloud to her, “They want to know if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.”

She responded, “Breastfeeding.”

I looked up to give him a smile over what his mother said, but he continued filling out the form as if what she had said was perfectly normal.

It was kind of bizarre. But it did strike me as terribly funny.

I thought maybe one of both of them thought the question was whether she ever had done either, but then, she would have answered yes to pregnancy, too.

By the way, when I bring up funny things elderly people say or do, it is not to make fun of them. It’s more in the same vein as bringing up funny things our kids said or did as they were growing up. Though sometimes with the elderly the fact that their brains don’t always make the connections they used to can be sad or even disturbing, most of the time with my own mother-in-law, we take the stance that it is better to laugh than to cry or be frustrated.

Then last night I noticed the extra toilet paper rolls in the ladies’ restroom at church were labeled with the brand name “Heavenly Choice.” Appropriate, yes?

And I got a text message from someone during church last night, and when I reached down to turn off the phone I checked the text message as well. It said, “Hey, this is Asa.” I don’t know any Asa, but since that’s the name of an Old Testament king, Jim later suggested I should have responded, “Hi, this is Jehoshaphat.”

🙂 🙂 🙂

Hope you have a good day — it’s been a week of errands and I am off to take care of some more.

Laudable Linkage

Here are interesting things I’ve seen around the Web lately: maybe some will interest you as well.

10 reasons to break the sarcastic habit, with action plan.

So Was Jesus.

Thoughts on Modesty, not from the standpoint of causing guys to stumble, though that’s a valid concern, but as a matter of our own hearts before God.

“Dora the Doormat” and other Scary Straw Women of Complementarity, HT to Challies. Deals with some of the erroneous charges some make against proponents of complementarianism, the view that God created the sexes equal but with roles that complement one another.

Confessions of a Conflicted Complementarian, showing how gospel grace applies even in this.

One taxpayer’s response to the potential government shutdown. Heh, heh, heh.

Food:

Double Chocolate Treasures. I am definitely trying these!

Cake Balls. I usually take the easy route of just throwing cake batter in a 9 x 13 pan, but these looks so good.

Resurrection Rolls for Easter breakfast. I’ve posted my version with yeast rolls before, but this one uses crescent rolls and cinnamon. I might just try this kind this year.

Crafts/decorations:

Buttons on display. Really cute card made with buttons.

How to Turn Mini-Blinds Into Roman Shades, HT to Lizzie.

What guys think about modesty:

I can’t imagine all the work behind this:

Happy Saturday!

Spring….

INSTALLING SPRING…
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33% DONE. Install delayed….please wait. Installation failed. Please try again.

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I saw this going around Facebook recently and thought many of you would get a kick out of it since many of you are experiencing back and forth weather like we are. Today is pretty springy, though — sunshiny and in the 60s. Let’s hope that spring installation completes and stays. 🙂

Laudable Linkage and Fun Videos

Here are a few things that stood out to me online this week:

Filling my home with the unseen, HT to Lizzie. Both the photos and the sentiments are lovely.

Pray to BLESS. I’ve heard and read a number of acronyms as a help to prayer, but I had never come across this one before. Very helpful.

The New Evangelical Virtues. Tim Challies masterfully discusses “characteristics that seem to pass as virtues today…doubt, opaqueness, and an emphasis on asking rather than answering questions.” “Humility is not found in doubting what is true, but in believing that what God says is true is true indeed.”

Spring Cleaning Your Facebook Account. No, not a discussion of purging your “Friends” list, but rather helpful questions to check our hearts. It’s not that the technology is bad, but what’s in our hearts is going to reveal itself even there.

Why Books Still Matter.

I almost labeled this “Luggage Inspectors,” but I didn’t want to be snarky. 🙂 Let’s just say don’t leave a parked car where there are monkeys:

This is amazing. I could never do this — not only because I can’t play music, but I’m sure I would knock over more than one glass.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage and a Few Funnies

Here are some interesting things I’ve seen in my online reading lately:

The Blind Quilter. Amazing. I can’t even do this with sight!

I seem to have marked several about parenting:

Mystery. Enjoying an uncommon moment of affection from a teen son. “Remember this. Remember this.

Everyday Is An Adventure about raising a son. “My boy was not disobedient, he was all boy, he was made of different temperament-a different mind, than my girls and I. I had an epiphany that day, and chose to embrace the adventure instead of struggle against it.” “Boy work is messy and smelly, but a freshly scrubbed boy in clean p.j.s is a gift from above.”

Moms and Teens. Good advice from a mom who has raised four.

First time obedience, really? I haven’t read any of Sally Clarkson’s books and have only recently heard of her, so I don’t know what her general philosophy of raising children is, but I like what I read here. Sometimes well-meaning parents, in a quest to train children to obey, run roughshod over the very hearts they’re supposed to be training.

I edited my review of One Thousand Gifts to add this, but in case you didn’t see it, in the second comment here Ann discusses her use of language that some feel is too explicit for intimacy with God, saying she wanted to reclaim it for the Kingdom and use it apart from cultural connotations and pointing out that even Spurgeon and Edwards used similar language. I do understand where she is coming from and think she had the purest motives, but I still think as sexually charged as society is today you have to be careful about what pictures words bring to mind. The cultural  connotations are going to be different from what they were in Edwards’ and Spurgeons’ time. But I do appreciate her explanation.

How To Make a Asymmetrical Stripe Buttons. So cute.

Applique with used dryer sheets.

20 tips for selling on Etsy.

The Sacred Sandwich specializes in satire, which I think you have to be careful with because it can be easily misunderstood at times. But they do have some funny things some times:

Cuteness:

Aw, poor doggy.

Funny!

Laudable Linkage & Videos

Oddly, after a couple of weeks of not sharing interesting links I’ve seen, I only have a few. You’d think I’d have multitudes, but much of the blogosphere was fairly quiet over the holidays, and perhaps my reading was distracted enough that I didn’t think to save many. But here are a few:

8 Amazing Blogging Lessons from Albert Einstein, HT to Lisa Notes. The author takes quotes from Einstein and cleverly applies them to blogging.

52 Ways to Read and Study the Bible compiled by Semicolon. So many ways, and with all our electronic devices so many venues — it should be easier than ever.

A couple of years ago I compiled a list of resources and reasons for reading the Bible in Planning to read the Bible more this year?

Katrina at Callapiddar Days told of her first successful attempt at reading the Bible through in Part 1 dealing why she wanted to do so and finding a plan and Part 2 concerning how she succeeded this time, what she learned, and a few resources.

Lisa shares Why I am NOT reading the Bible through in a year, though she is still reading and shares tips for making it more effective.

One area where I’ve fallen short is memorizing. I did a lot in college and then in a children’s ministry we worked with, and those verses have pretty much stayed with me all these years (except I have trouble remembering the references) but not much at all since then. I’ve never memorized a whole book of the Bible. Some ladies at church are memorizing Ephesians, but they meet at a time that isn’t best for me and they are already a good ways into it. Lisa Notes shared a plan for memorizing Philippians by Easter: Partnering to Remember The 2011 Philippians Memory Moleskin.  Ann shares a plan for memorizing Colossians with 2 verses a week for a year with some more details and updates here. I am leaning toward the Colossians plan — 2 verses a week sounds very doable, and I have to admit the little booklet really appeals to me. They’ve set up a Facebook page as well.

Well, I guess I only thought I had just a few!

Just a couple more:

The worst gifts ever, HT to Challies. Though, I don’t know, that office chair looks good for a power nap. 🙂

How Critical Thinking Saves Faith HT again to Challies, on the need to talk with young people and wrestle through their questions with them rather than cutting them off for even asking.

I’ve shared this before, but here is some fun you can have with your Christmas tree when you’re done with it. My guys used to love shooting off model rockets, so this really appealed to them.

And I can’t remember if I shared this here or not, but it just makes me happy:

Retrospective Stray Thoughts

At the end of December the first couple of years I blogged, I did a look back at the first post from each month. In the course of looking through old posts, I found several favorites that I wanted to note as well, so I began making a list of first posts of the month plus favorites. I think this year I’ll just list a couple or three favorites rather than the first post of each month. I don’t know if anyone gets anything out of this except me, but I enjoy it. 🙂

I hope you’ll forgive two retrospective posts in one day, with this and the look back at the top 10 books of 2010, but I wanted to get them both posted before the end of the year — which is tomorrow — and I already have the Friday’s Fave Five scheduled for tomorrow.

January:

Thankful in everything.

Finding God’s Will For Your Life.

February:

Spontaneity vs. scheduling.

Light Thoughts For a Dreary Day.

March:

God’s Help For God’s Assignment.

The Face of Jesus.

April:

Am I the only one who…?

May:

Wanting things to be “perfect.”

The blessing of hymns.

An original poem...

June:

Findings.

Big changes coming

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers.”

July:

Spirit-lifters.

“What Keeps Us From Real Rest?”

A fond farewell from the ladies’ group.

August:

Do You Have the Son?

David encouraged himself in the LORD his God

September:

Exposing kids to evil.

In case he needs my prayers

October:

Colorlessness.

Inner peace. (Not what you might think from the title. 🙂 )

98 books and book series that have enriched my life.

The Gospel and Christian Fiction.

November:

I guess it is time

The ministry of showers.

December:

Christmas grief.

A Perfect Christmas.

That’s just the way I am.

I see I am woefully inconsistent in my capitalization…

I didn’t delve into Friday’s Fave Five posts — that has become kind of my round-up of what’s happened over the last week — or any other meme. I am sure I might have pulled a few favorites from there.

Sometimes it helps to go back and remind myself of things the Lord has taught me, and this look back through posts has been an exercise in that respect.