Monthly Archives: November 2008


Are you putting up the Christmas tree today? Decorating for the holidays? As you begin thinking about Christmas, Nana has some wise thoughts to share…

Nativity SceneOn his last business trip to Israel, our son-in-law, Jeff, purchased this hand-made nativity scene for us.  We will display it year round as a conversation starter.

It reminds me of my favorite historical fiction authors, Bodie & Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee).  Years ago we read their first series, The Zion Covenant, and were hooked!

They are experts at capturing their reader’s minds & hearts and do a superb job of researching for historical accuracy.

This year I discovered their AD Chronicles series that takes readers back in time to first century A.D. to the most critical events in the history of the world.

These books make the Bible come to life as you read it. Three books in the series, Fourth Dawn, Fifth Seal, and Sixth Covenant are written at the time of Jesus’ birth. There is a richness to these events that changes my perspective of both Joseph & Mary.

It is so much more than the “scene” that is sold commercially or even the “play” that is acted out in the Christmas Eve service.

Like Joseph & Mary, God does not ‘set” us here on earth, ask us to obey Him, and abandon us to fate.  He gives strength, knowledge, wisdom, provision and protection as we follow Him. He is indeed “working all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose”. Check out these books and be prepared for a special Christmas season!

Do You Have a Thankful Heart?

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, the question I ask myself is, do I have a thankful heart?

I am surrounded by so much. We are celebrating our first Thanksgiving in our new house with friends and family. I have a wonderful husband and five great kids.

All of our parents are still living and still love each other (and us). We have a whole slew of siblings and in laws and nieces and nephews that we love to be around.

I have a Savior who loves me unconditionally, a dear church family, food in the freezer and clothes on my back.

But is my heart thankful? I’m ashamed to say it… but not always.

Isn’t it amazing that even when I have so much- I can still find something to complain about?

Remember the Veggie Tales movie Madame Blueberry?

This song from the movie says it well…

We thank God for this day
For the sun in the sky
for the friends that we have
for this yummy apple pie
for the love that He shares
‘Cause he listens to our prayers
That’s why we say thanks every day.

Because a thankful heart is a happy heart.
We’re glad for what we have
That’s an easy way to start

For the love that He shares
‘Cause He listens to our prayers
That’s why we say thanks everyday!
That’s why we say thanks every day!

Be glad for what you have today, remember that a thankful heart is a happy heart!

Let’s say thanks every day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Joys of Laundry

I am thrilled to be doing laundry today!

Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic here!

My wonderful husband has spent three days running wires, water lines and drain lines so that my washer and dryer could be hooked up in the new house.

After 3 days with no laundry and seven people in the house- it was time. We had dusty dirty clothes from cleaning out and sorting through the storage room. There were my smelly and sticky painting and varnishing clothes. There were piles of towels and wet wash clothes.

I even found a bag of my parents dirty clothes from their last visit that had somehow gotten left on the porch when they were packing up!  (It was a little confusing that afternoon!)

The pile was growing and beginning to take on a life of its own!

Still it wasn’t quite as bad as the ice storm last December when we went without power and water for 6 days…

Or as bad as after our week long camping trip every summer…

But still I am grateful. My Amish neighbors still use wringer washers and hang everything outside, even in the dead of winter. My 87 year neighbor still hand washes all of her clothes on a wash board (by choice).

But my washer and dryer are modern conveniences that I appreciate.

The sound of the washer changing cycles is like music to my ears!

The hum of the dryer sounds so normal and homey.

So on this Thanksgiving eve I would like to express my thanks for the wonders of modern washers and the convenience of my dryer. Ahh- there’s the ringer for the dryer now- what a sweet sound!

Davy Crockett’s Coon Skin Cap Birthday Cake

Davy Crockett Coon Skin Hat CakeLittle Buddy turned 8 this month. Poor guy, his birthday ended up falling on moving day.

I didn’t want his special day to get lost in the shuffle, but what’s a mom to do?!
I called in reinforcements!
God bless Aunt Julie for pulling off a humdinger Davy Crockett birthday party in the midst of a house move!
We threw green towels over the boxes in the living room and surrounded them with the plants that were waiting to be carried out.
Then we served buffalo and venison meat on hard tack (ham and turkey on whole wheat) and dried buffalo skin (chips) with rattlesnake juice (Sprite) for lunch.
The kids got to eat lunch on the floor in the “forest”.
Then we enjoyed Aunt Julie’s amazing creation- Davy Crockett’s Coon Skin Cap birthday cake.
She used a regular box cake mix and baked most of it in a well greased round stainless steel mixing bowl. The rest she baked in a well greased small bread pan for the tail.
The round portion took almost twice as long to bake than the tail, but when they were done, she turned the cakes out on a wire rack to cool.
To assemble, she placed the tail at the end of the hat section and frosted the whole thing with a can of chocolate frosting using her knife to create little tufts of fur.
This was a birthday that won’t soon be forgotten!  Buddy had the last birthday in the old house and the first birthday in the new house- all in the same day!
Thanks Aunt Julie!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

I’m so glad that my amazing Mom (the original chocolate lady) shared this yummy recipe! My entire family loved them! (The last two are hiding in my freezer!)

Chocolate Oatmeal CookiesIt is Monday, time to make something for a snack for Bible Study. Flipping through my “cookie” file I find several choices.

Then I check the pantry to see what ingredients are setting on the shelves. I see a bag of milk chocolate/caramel swirl chips and then some oatmeal for a “healthy” balance to the sweet decadence of the chips!

Flavorful! Chocolate! Easy to hold in your hand with a cup of coffee or glass of milk! Decision made!

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
From Nana Shirley’s Kitchen

1 Cup Butter or Margarine, softened
1 ½ Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Packed Brown SugarChocolate Oatmeal Cookies (thumpnail)
2 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
3 Cups Rolled Oats
12 Oz Chocolate Chips (any flavor)
½ Cup Chopped Nuts (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F. In large mixer bowl, beat butter & sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs & vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda & salt; add to butter mixture, mixing well. With spoon, stir in oats, chips & nuts. (Batter will be stiff)

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 11-12 minutes. Cookies will be slightly moist in the center. Do not over bake. Cool 1 minute. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yield: 4 doz. cookies.

Until next time,
Nana Shirley