A few Friday things…

December 4, 2015 | My Jottings

Hello friends….I hope you’re all finding some time to rest and experience the peace and wonder of this season.

Each year around Christmas, Sara fills our three outdoor flower boxes with assorted evergreens, branches, and large ornaments. This year she added some pampas grass too. These planters are each almost five feet long and they hang on our front deck. The ornaments nestled amongst the greenery are about the size of honeydew melons. Even though I love the flowers she plants in these boxes each spring, I think the winter arrangements are my favorite. Here’s a photo of one…you can click to enlarge if you like…clicking twice makes the photos large enough to see more details:


We always say the various pine branches and the blue and silver ornaments look best with a lovely coating of fresh snow, so we’re waiting for a good storm. Apparently El Niño is going to bring us a mild winter in Minnesota; indeed everyone in our area is talking about how we haven’t had much snowfall this season, and how unseasonably warm our temperatures have been. Our balmy forecast for the coming week is for the low forties…in Decembers past we’ve expected below-zero temps at night and have had two feet of snow on the ground.

In a little over a week my three daughters and I will have our annual cookie exchange. We’ll go out to lunch together and then come back to my house to pick up the two dozen cookies each of us will have made, so we end up with six dozen, plus whatever we keep from our own batches. I just CANNOT figure out what I’m going to do with six dozen various Christmas cookies! Hahaha. I’m making my favorite Christmas recipe, Soft and Spicy Molasses Cookies. Michael used to love to dip these in his coffee.

I always wear slippers in the house from around September until April of each year, and I’ve come to appreciate certain characteristics in the ones I gravitate toward buying. They have to be slip-ons, they should have enclosed heels, and I prefer if they are loafer-like and don’t cover my ankles. I also like for them to have a rubber sole of some sort, since I often step out onto the front deck to call the dogs in, to fetch the mail, or to gaze at the stars at night before I go to bed. Even better are when my slippers are machine washable. Rarely do I care how they look.

Well, I was searching the Acorn slipper website last week, and lo and behold, here’s what I found:

IMG_2449 (1)

I’ve never added “must have many brightly appliqued cardinals” to my list of slipper prerequisites, but from now on I just might. When I opened these up and slipped them on my feet I had the fleeting thought that I may now be approaching Cardinal Overload. The second fleeting thought I had was… “I don’t care.” These make me smile and they keep my feet warm, so who am I to impose a cardinal limitation on myself?

This morning before driving to the mall area to look for a plaid scarf/shawl, I drove up to the cemetery. I live very close to Lake Superior, and that huge body of water has a warming effect on the weather close to its shores, hence our lack of snow. However, if I drive one mile away from the Lake, up over the hill that leads inland, there’s snow on the ground. There was close to three inches at the cemetery and I took a picture of Michael’s grave, looking toward the morning sun. The distant pond in the photo is where I saw two men on ice skates playing hockey last week.


Sara will also be making a wreath this week to hang on the cross-shaped wreath hanger in front of his grave.

It has been 298 days since Michael went home to Jesus. It comforts me to think that when I go to the furthest reaches in my mind of what beauty, peace, grandeur and joy must be like in heaven, I can’t even come close to imagining what he’s experiencing. (But just as it is written, ‘Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.'” 1 Corinthians 2:9)

I spent some time today with my granddaughter Mrs. Nisky, Sharon and Chris’s second child. She has been coming over now and then so we can work on her math lessons together, and after those are finished she works on a project she’s making for her daddy for Christmas. I’ll show pictures of it here on the blog after he opens it. We also like to read out loud for a good long while before she goes home, and the book we’re enjoying now is a childhood favorite of mine called The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink.

As I sit here tonight with my (cardinal decorated) feet up on Michael’s recliner, the tree lights glow nearby and I can hear both Schnauzers breathing deeply as they doze stretched out on their sides. Dinner is done, Phoebe the parakeet’s cage has been covered, and in less than two hours I’ll be turning in for the night myself. I look forward to working tomorrow on the sharing I’ll do on Tuesday morning at Community Bible Study. I have a rough outline completed, but may have to just dive head-first into the mental oatmeal I always encounter when writing what I pray God puts on my heart. I’m planning a short PowerPoint slideshow to go with it, and that’s always a fun thing for me to do.

What are your plans for the weekend? I hope your sleep is deep and love abounds between you and all of your dears….



  1. Sue Denney says:

    I am looking forward to your opening tomorrow! I love your beautiful cardinal slippers…whenever I see a red cardinal on anything I think of you. I am praying for you and your family as you experience your first Christmas without Michael, may God deeply bless you and yours as we celebrate Jesus’ birth.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Thank you so very much for your prayers, Sue. You are dear to me. xoxo

  3. Nancy says:

    We are also having warm weather here in the Northeast. Spent weekend partially volunteering and touring historic Christmas house tour with the theme 12 days of Christmas. Some of the homes are over 200 years old and the homes are beautifully decorated for Christmas and some had musicians playing while people went thru. It is in a neighborhood my husband spent his early years when his parents rented and it had a special place for him. Peace and joy to you in this season of Advent.

  4. Just Julie says:

    Nancy, this sounds like just the kind of Christmas thing I would enjoy. We have similar tours here but it has been a long time since I’ve taken one. I wish you peace and joy too, Nancy, and am thankful for your visits here. I’m looking forward to starting the book you recommended! xoxo

  5. L. says:

    Those slippers are darling and practical, a combination sometimes difficult to find. In true monkey-see fashion, I may have to put them on my own Christmas list. Sara’s arrangement in your planter is so festive! How lovely to adorn Michael’s grave; anyone passing will surely think “This man was well-loved.”

    I have a new attitude towards Christmas in my home this year. It is the first year in a long time I haven’t felt utterly exhausted by the time December comes around. I realized if I, as the lone female in my household, don’t bring the feminine warmth to the season, it won’t happen. So I’ve decorated in better spirits and plan to do a little baking this weekend, along with planning my candle strategy (quite literally bringing the warmth).

  6. Just Julie says:

    I will post a picture of the wreath Sara made for Michael’s grave soon, Leah….your comment brought tears to my eyes about others thinking he was a well-loved man. Indeed he was and is. I think you are very wise in what you’ve decided to do about the warmth in your home for Christmas. I think a lot of life is planting seeds and just doing the things we can do, trusting there’ll be a harvest even if it comes long after we had hoped. I’d love to know what you’ll be baking, and what your candle strategy is! God bless you Leah… xoxo

  7. Kay says:

    Julie, your criteria for slippers are exactly the same as mine. 🙂
    I think the cookie exchange is a lovely idea – you could always send some this way. 😉
    Michael’s earthly body is lying in a very beautiful place indeed.
    Sorry for not keeping in touch often enough. We’ve had a lot going on here and Archie keeps us on our toes! His latest trick was to chew the ends of my glasses while I was recovering from a migraine-type headache. (No, I wasn’t wearing them at the time!) But I wouldn’t give him up for all the tea in China.
    I hope that one of your New Year’s resolutions will be to visit us on a tour of England and Scotland. 😉 We would both so love to meet you in person.
    Sending love and hugs across the ocean xxx

  8. Just Julie says:

    I understand exactly what it’s like to love a little dog who’s a bit of trouble, Kay. That Archie! I would love to meet him. Maybe someday things will line up and I’ll be able to take you up on your gracious invitation. What a gift that would be. I always love hearing from you dear Kay…my love to you and Alan. xoxo

  9. Leah says:

    For baking, I think I’ll pull out the spritz press. Toby might be more inclined to help me if there is a tool involved. Ha! Little boys, God bless ’em.

    My candle strategy, so far, is to put gold glass votive holders at intervals on the plate rail in the dining room. Then on the mantle I have two brass reindeer candle holders with tall ivory candles, unscented, of course! Aloha Bay is my favorite candle company. I’ve also got a couple of votive holders on the window sill over my kitchen sink. I’ll be standing there a lot and like the company of the flames. But I’m not done yet. My next strategy is to make sure I don’t burn down the house. God’s blessings to you too throughout the season.

  10. Just Julie says:

    I never heard of spritz cookies until I moved to very Scandinavian Minnesota, Leah. I enjoyed reading about all the places you’re putting candles too. I was cleaning the kitchen yesterday and just decided to light candles to keep me company while I was doing that. There’s something about light…. xoxo

  11. Linda says:

    My favorite cookies every year to make are the soft chewy molasses cookies too! I seem to enjoy them more than anyone :). Each year some of the gals from my school have a cookie exchange with a fun Pollyanna gift giving & food buffet. Trying to pace my days until Christmas & inhale deeper each day of the “reason for the season”. Soooo love the flower boxes Sarah decorated & the views surrounding Michael’s gravesite you’ve shown here. You have such a lovely environment to enjoy Julie & it is so good to see your posts up again ….xo

  12. Just Julie says:

    Hi Linda! Do you roll your molasses cookies in a fine coating of sugar before you bake them too? Yes, I’m trying to make room every single day to breathe and read and close my eyes and ponder what this is all about. Emmanuel— God is with us. Hugs to you, dear Linda. xoxoxo

  13. Linda says:

    Roll in cinnamon sugar?

  14. Just Julie says:

    I have cinnamon in my dough, Linda, but I only roll the balls in sugar. I’ll bet yours taste wonderful! xoxo

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.