Friday, December 29, 2006

Odds and Ends for the End of the Year

I haven't posted for a week. Christmas happened. And a wonderful Christmas it was! All the kids came home this year. All nine of us were in our little house, eating, sleeping, watching Muppets Christmas Carol, playing Iron Dragon, opening our presents, playing tricks on each other. It was a memorable day and I am so pleased that all the kids made the effort to come to our place between other in laws' celebrations and their own traditions.

My gifts to the girls were hand made and embroidered felted bags. I made one for a friend, too, and one for myself. I received several books to add to my life goal collection of owning all the Newberry Award Winners--The Door in The Wall, The Tales of Despereaux, Lloyd Alexander's The High King, Strawberry Girl, Bridge to Terebirthia. My year subscription to Real Simple is a gift that will keep giving me pleasure all year. John listened to my request for two books- Frugal Living for Dummies by Deborah Taylor-Hough and Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice by my good friend Roxanna Matthews.

I want to recommend the latter book to every one, especially people who enjoy reading fantasy and/or have a knowledge of knitting, spinning and weaving. Roxie is a Certified Master Knitter, professional weaver and spinner. She weaves in knowledge about all aspects of fiber arts and her story line kept me turning pages and not wanting to put down the book to sleep or eat. You can eat while you're reading, you know...

I wish you all a Happy New Year! Ours will be spent in Phoenix celebrating with Dan and Jennifer enjoying a Lord of the Rings movie marathon and eating hobbit food at regular intervals-- lembas, bread and butter, mushrooms and bacon, dried fruit, rabbit stew.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lesson Nine

Lesson Nine

St. John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation

Text: John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone,, was coming in to the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Song of Praise

Joy to the World

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the world! The Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.
Isaac Watts and G.F. Handel

Friday, December 22, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lesson Eight

Lesson Eight

The wise men are led by the star to Jesus

Text: Matthew 2:1-12

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,

"Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem saying,

"Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then opening their treasure, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

This Little Babe

The little Babe so few days old is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth, at his presence quake, though he himself for cold do shake;
For, in this weak unarmed wise, the gates of hell he will surprise.

With tears, he fights and wins the field, his naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries, his arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, Cold and Need, and feeble flesh his warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall, his bulwark but a broken wall.
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes, of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound, the angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ, join thou in fight, stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest war, this Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this heavenly Boy.
Words by Robert Southwell, music by Benjamin Britten

This Little Babe is sung allegro and animato in four, six and eight parts, fugal- with all the parts starting and stopping at different places (like much of the Messiah). When we sang this carol last year, it was both my favorite and most difficult piece. Try saying "the crib his trench, haystalks his stakes" three times very fast.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lessons Six and Seven

Lesson Six

St. Luke tells of the birth of Jesus

Text: Luke 2: 1, 3-7

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

And all went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.

And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Lesson Seven

The shepherds go to the manger

Text: Luke 2: 8-16

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Sarior who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those
with whom he is pleased!"

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

Sussex Carol

On Christmas night, all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
On Christmas night, all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
News of great joy, news of great mirth,
News of our merciful King's birth.

Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad?
When from our sin he set us free
All for to gain our liberty?

When sin departs before his grace
Then life and health come in its place.
When sin departs before his grace
Then life and health come in its place.
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King.

All out of darkness, we have light
Which made the angels sing this night.
All out of darkness, we have light
which made the angels sing this night:
"Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forever more, Amen."
English traditional carol

Song of Praise

The First Noel

The first Noel, the angel did say,
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east, beyond them far,
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest, o'er Bethlehem it took its rest,
And there it did both stop and stay,
right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then let us all, with one accord, sing praises to our heav'nly Lord,
That hath made heav'n and earth of naught,
And with his blood mankind has bought.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, born is the King of Israel!

English Traditional Carol

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Lessons and Carols-- Lessons Four and Five

Lesson Four

The peace that Christ will bring is foreshadowed.

Text: Isaiah 11:1-3a, 4a, 6-9

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jess, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord...

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor...

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.

They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Lesson Five

The angel Gabriel salutes the virgin Mary.

Text: Luke 1:26-35, 38

In the sixth month [of Elizabeth's pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.

And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"

But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his
kingdom there will be no end."

And Mary said to the angel, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you,and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy--the Son of God."

And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

And the angel departed from her.

And the Glory

And the glory of the Lord whall be revealed
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)
from Handel's Messiah

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kitty is Sakit

Sakit is the Indonesian word for sick. That's what this little kitty is. Sick. I have cancelled everything I was planning for today and tonight.
We have a Christmas tree. John is setting it up now. If I have any energy tonight, I'll decorate. But I'm not betting on it.
The only good thing about being sick is that you get to sit home (or lie down) and watch movies and knit. If you have energy to hold your head up.

Nine Lessons and Carols- Lesson Three

Lesson Three

The prophet foretells the coming of the Savior.

Text: Isaiah 9:2, 6, 7

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness , on them has light shined.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."
Thanks be to God.

Song of Praise:

Joy Has Dawned

Joy has dawned upon the world,,
Promised from creation;
God's salvation, now unfurled,
Hope for every nation!
Not with fanfares from above,
Not with scenes of glory,
But a humble gift of love--
Jesus, born of Mary.

Sounds of wonder fill the sky
With the songs of angels,
As the mighty Prince of Life
Shelters in a stable.
Hands that set each star in place,
Shaped the earth in darkness,
Laid against his mother's breast--
Vulnerable and helpless.

Shepherds bow before the Lamb
Gazing at the glory.
Gifts of men from distant lands
Prophesy the story.
Gold, a King is born today;
Incense, God is with us;
Myrrh, his death will make a way
and, by his blood, he'll win us.

Son of Adam, Son of heaven,
Given as a ransom.
Reconciling God and man--
Christ our mighty Champion!
What a Savior , what a firiend,
What a glorious mystery!
Once a babe in Bethlehem--
Now the Lord of history!
Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend, c. 2004

You will notice that Joy Has Dawned is a new song, written in 2004. I like that the hymns can be changed from year to year. I am a big fan of Getty and Townsend's music. They write interesting yet singable tunes and the words, the words are always right on and meaningful.

Even so, I usually start to hum bars from The Messiah as we are reading Isaiah 9, especially as we get to "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace".

Monday, December 18, 2006

Nine Lessons and Carols

Every December our church performs Nine Lessons and Carols which is a performance started in 1880 in Truro, England that has been sung and read every year since, somewhere. King's College Choir in Cambridge is famous for its performance each year.

We have sung with the choir other years, but it just didn't happen this year; even so we thoroughly enjoyed participating in the congregation yesterday. As you read here, if you know the tune, feel free to hum or sing along.

Call to Worship

Once, in Royal David's City, stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby in a manger for His bed.
Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable and His cradle was a stall.
With the poor and mean and lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.

Jesus is our childhood's pattern; day by day, like us, He grew.
He was little, weak and helpless; tears and smiles, like us, He knew.
And He feeleth for our sadness and He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes, at last shall see Him through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle is our Lord in heaven above.
And He leads His children on to the place where He has gone.
Henry Gauntlett & Cecil Alexander (c) public domain

Lesson One

God tells sinful Adam that he has lost the life of Paradise and that his seed will bruise the serpent's head. Text: Genesis 3:8-15; 17-19

Adam Lay Ybounden

Adam lay ybounden, bounden in a bond.
Four thousand winter thought he not too long.
And all was for an apple, an apple that he took,
As cleckes finden writtein in their book.
Ne had the apple taken been, the apple taken been,
Ne had never our Savior, our Redeemer abeen.
Blessed be the time our freedom gained was,
Therefore, we moun singen, Deo gracias!
Words anon, 15th century

I was familiar with the first song. The first verse is sung by a young boy chorister and is haunting and sweet. The second song was new to me. The music was written for the 15th century words by Boris Ord, 1957.

Lesson Two

God promises to faithful Abraham, that in his seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
Text: Genesis 22:15-18
"And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, "By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice."

Friday, December 15, 2006

Clean House

My friends just left after cleaning my house and doing what little "yard" work I have on the cement outside. It looks beautiful and I am deeply thankful for their help. And I think it was reciprocated as they are looking at moving by January 1st, and have no idea where in LA they can afford a place to live. And then I opened our earnings statement for this period and found that we were given a bonus. Blessings abound!

The furniture has been moved so now we can go out and buy a Christmas tree! The spot is waiting! Maybe tonight.

Yesterday I made bread. A friend of mine is allergic to milk so I made French bread and used about 1/3 whole wheat flour in it.

Laurel's Kitchen French Bread

Dissolve 1 packet active dry yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. When yeast has proofed, add 2 1/4 cups very cold water and 5 1/2 cups bread flour white or whole wheat or a combination)and 2 1/2 teaspoons salt.

That's it for ingredients. The methods for french bread are what set it apart from ordinary, mortal bread. French bread is slow rise, and so after you knead it forever, you set it to rise and you 'deflate' it twice. Because of the very cold water in the ingredients, the first rising is especially slow. I made two long loaves but forgot that bread rises OUT not UP when it's not in a loaf pan. Next time I'll make very skinny loaves so I don't get the flat bread look I got last night. The key to making the bread crusty is to start with a very hot oven (425) and SPRAY warm water on the bread before you put it in, then every 4 minutes until the crust is golden brown. THEN you lower the heat to 350 and finish baking (total about 1 hour). Final product was delicious (if I do say so myself). I'd show you a photo, but- ahem - we already ate most of both loaves. Next time, maybe.

I am prepared for my class tomorrow. I get to masquerade as a college teacher and be a guest presenter in an education class (curriculum, I think). Then in the evening, we are going to Gautum and Vicki's wedding! I think the groom and his roommates will be here over night because the apt is full of family members. viva la wedding and congratulations to the bridal couple!

Monday is my last school day until after New Years. I am so looking forward to enjoying my break.

Our family will gather together to celebrate Christmas!

I have big plans for the photo album mess, I want to get in some long walks and bike rides, and of course I am hatching all kinds of ideas for knitting. I really want to knit up some pillows, afghans and maybe a tea cozy or two. I have some special yarn for a vest that is calling...what to do first. Oh yeah, finish the Christmas presents.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

buying presents

I am finished with Christmas present purchases. John has a couple to buy to round out the stocking surprises, but I AM DONE. Yeah!

I'm having a hard time realizing that Christmas is 11 days away...I'm thinking maybe three-four weeks. Yesterday I bought a fir and cone wreath at TJ's and put it on a table in the dining room. That is the first decoration I've put out. No worries though, the weekend is coming. I hope to have the house cleaned and ready for decorating by tomorrow afternoon. (secret: a friend who needs a little extra cash right now is coming to clean tomorrow--it's a symbiotic relationship).

Mike, et al, will be staying here during the wedding weekend for his friends and the back rooms will be ready. The afghan is still laid out on the bed and I haven't started stitching. Just don't quite know where to begin on that thang.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gift Ideas

Not for me. For Mike. This is for people who are buying gifts for him.

After The Ice. He left his copy in Hawaii.

Three book trilogy about Horemheb by P.C. Doherty
An Evil Spirit Out of the West
The Season of the Hyaena
The Year of the Cobra

I am preparing a talk about dyslexia and about teaching reading in the inner city. I will be talking to a Biola University class on Saturday. I did this lecture last year, but I can't find my notes so I am preparing a whole new talk. I enjoy talking about what I do, so I'm looking forward to the time.

As we are getting in to the Christmas season, our calendar is filling up. I intentionally stayed home from a Ladies' Tea yesterday afternoon, knowing it would just be too much for the weekend. Our drive to Bakersfield to meet Deb and Debbie was wonderful but took most of the day on Saturday and then we house/cat sat overnight so we were gone a lot of the weekend. I'm taking a lesson from a friend who encourages me to save time for myself. She's right, of course, and I am working at allowing myself downtime.

This evening John and I are meeting with his Monday a little social time. I'm baking cookies to take. I love Christmas baking and I'm seriously taking this afternoon to do the baking. It's so good to plan out the time and then do it.

Tomorrow is a super busy day with teaching, dentist appts, meetings and then hopefully shopping before John has class and I go walking on the beach with Kristie.

Wednesday is the usual teaching then racing for the beach cities before traffic hits to have dinner and go to my Bible class. Thursday is a normal schedule too, with daily duties and WI small group at night.

Friday--help with set up for the Toy Store at school.

Saturday--lecture in the morning and then Gautum and Vicki's wedding in the afternoon.

All this to say, I don't need any more activities.

We don't even have our tree yet or any Christmas decorations out. Many presents are wrapped and we are drinking out of our Christmas mugs, but I haven't opened any boxes of decorations. Maybe this week.

However, all my Christmas cards are written, sealed and mailed.

Knitting? Oh yes, lots of it, but I'm not talking. Don't want to spoil any surprises.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sleepy Kitty

According to blogger, I am posting my 100th post tonight.

As it is almost bedtime, this will be quick. Besides I'm sleepy.

Fridays are nice because I don't go in to school. Today the farthest I ventured was my side yard to plant the mum Mia brought up on Thanksgiving Day. It was not thriving in the house, so I planted it outside, hoping it will revive. I spent a few minutes outside clipping faded roses, watering the pots, and harvesting catnip and basil. The catnip is drying and the basil was used in a fettucine dish for dinner--just basil, garlic and tomatoes sauteed in olive oil and tossed with fettucine (whole wheat from Trader Joe's).

The rest of my day was spent quietly cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry. This evening we finished watching the first disk of Netflick's Bones Season 1. Love that show. Besides loving to watch movies, I am happy to sit in my grandma chair and knit while I watch. I don't worry about running out of yarn. I have a whole dresser full, four drawers. Can't have too much yarn.

I am looking forward to having a new digital camera. I really am hoping for one for Christmas. If I don't get one, I plan on purchasing my own. I really miss the one I share with Mike when he is using it (like now). I have some great knitting stuff I want to share but can't without a camera.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to seeing Deb and Jeff. We're meeting in the middle between LA and Fresno to give them a nice grandmother's sheet music cabinet.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


A friend from Portland just published a fantasy book about a girl and knitting. Sanna, Sorceress Apprentice by Roxanna Matthews. I've ordered it, can't wait to read it.

I'm wondering how my nephew Bob's job will be affected by having a new chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

My neighbor blessed us with a motorcycle cover for our bikes. Now it can rain.

I love aha moments. Like seeing WHY a student isn't getting what the vowel sound in cap is... phonemic awareness--or rather the lack of it. Hearing that a coworker thinks we need more handwriting practice in lower grades to ensure automaticity in middle school. (her aha moment)

We now have heat.

Our phone line is fixed.

Earl Grey tea tastes great with chocolate chip cookies.

Monday, December 04, 2006

new laptop

Deb mentioned in her blog that technology hates her. It's genetic. She gets it from me. John went to the store alone to make the purchase. I won't take any chances with my ruining every device in the store by my presence. Now last night we excitedly opened the box and John set up the computer and I sat down to turn it on and do all the new downloads with John looking over my shoulder and OF COURSE our phone line is out and we have no land line and then last night our wireless connection wouldn't work either. We had to wait until this morning to complete the set up. But it's done now and I have a new laptop computer! Thanks to Jeff for good advice on brands to buy.