Things are smelling pretty good around here.

December 14, 2013 | My Jottings

On Wednesday I asked those of you who visit here to pray for us, and I thank those of you who did. Our circumstances haven’t changed but I feel a bit better, a little more hopeful than I did on that day. I’m so grateful, more than words can really convey.

This morning when I got up to help Michael to the bathroom three times and was faced again with all this disease has done to his brain and body, I knew friends had prayed. How did I know? Because I felt able to cope, say the same things to him (without inner grumbling) that I’m apparently going to say for the rest of our lives, I felt patience and compassion and even a dash of joy in my soul. I know that was because friends prayed. Did I say thank you? Thank you.

And Lord, I thank You.

It’s snowing again as I write this, which means our temperatures are above zero (14, to be exact), but tonight we’re supposed to drop down to ten below. It seems like it’s been a long winter already and it’s technically not even winter yet.

My three daughters and I got together this morning for an early lunch at one of our favorite, always-crowded restaurants, and then we came back here to have our Christmas cookie exchange. Last year I posted pictures of our cookies and some decorations here. This year I only baked one kind of cookie but it’s my favorite — Spicy Molasses Cookies. Sara ended up working long hours yesterday, writing a long paper for a college class, and taking an online final, so I offered to make her cookies for her — Heath Toffee Bars. Sharon made Peanut Butter Fudge and Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies sprinkled with sea salt (yum-o), and Carolyn made another favorite of mine, Peanut Blossoms, along with Chocolate Ganache Peppermint Bark. Oh my. I might take pictures and post them later.

Here are a couple of pictures taken with my iPhone….Sharon has the longest arms of the four of us so she took this selfie:


Sharon is in the back on the left, Carolyn is next to her, I’m the one with the glasses and the deer in the headlights expression, and Sara is next to me. 🙂

These young women are my treasures.

Here’s another one of Sharon and Carolyn at the restaurant. They are twenty months apart and certainly look like sisters to me, but they don’t look like twins. I mention this because you’d be surprised at the number of times people have asked me if they are twins. None of us get that. But we sort of enjoy talking about it.


And on the other side of the booth, Sara and me.


All three of my girls are so creative in such unique ways. And I also think they’re all so funny. They make me laugh, and I wish we had been able to spend more than just a couple of hours together today, but time got away from us and people were waiting in line for our booth.

It’s almost 4:00 p.m. as I type this and it’s starting to get dark outside. I just now finished cleaning up the kitchen from the whirling dervish cookie baking extravaganza last night! But the kitchen is clean, the lights on the tree are twinkling (that’s a romantic word for “on”) and I’m glad to be home with no place to go tonight.

My dear friend Pat recommended a British series to us so our first Netflix DVD of “Land Girls” arrived and Michael and I will watch Episode One tonight. Have any of you seen it?

I’ll leave you with a recipe of a wonderful concoction that’s guaranteed to make your entire house smell divine. Sara got this from a sweet woman she works for, and it’s simmering on our stove right now.

Simmering Pot That Makes Your House Smell Very Good

Place in a large pot:

1 gallon water
3 tangerines with 6 cloves stuck in the skin of each
2 limes
1 lemon (I cut the lemon in half)
6 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup whole allspice berries

Bring to an almost boil, then turn down the heat and simmer uncovered all day. Or a few hours. Add more water as needed, as mixture cooks down.

Is there such a thing as a heartening fragrance? If there is, then this is it.

I would like to pray for you now. If there’s something you need prayer for, please leave a comment (as long as you like), and aside from myself, I know many of our friends who visit here will pray for you. If you’d rather not share your request publicly, that’s totally fine — just tell me to keep your prayer request private and I will gladly do that, and I will pray.

God bless you, one and all…


  1. Ganeida says:

    Thank you, Julie. If you would just remember the island this Christmas. A 9yr old boy was killed on our road on Tuesday afternoon ~ one of Cait’s students. This is a very small community so the imapact is huge.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Oh what a tragedy, Ganeida. I have and will be praying for his family, and for your island. And God touch Cait…. xoxo

  3. Shari C. says:

    Hi Julie! Beautiful pictures of you and your girls! That’s such a great tradition you all have kept through the years- sharing cookies and being together 🙂
    The cookies all sound so good!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe for the “Simmering Pot of Goodness”, too! I’m going to have to try that real soon 🙂

  4. Just Julie says:

    Hi Shari, we’ve only been doing this cookie exchange for two years, but I’d love for it to become a long tradition. There’s no pressure that our cookies have to look perfect or be packaged beautifully too!

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