Things I’m Loving These Days

Candles

I burn a lot of candles and tea lights in the fall and winter (well, actually, I burn them year round but especially in the fall and winter).

I love this candle from Bath and Body Works.  I use the wallflower plug-in of this scent in my kitchen and it smells just like hot chocolate.  I’ve received many compliments on it.  So I decided to try the candle when they had a sale on them last week.

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Hubby likes it a lot and he doesn’t like strong or overbearing candles so this one was a hit!  It really does smell like hot chocolate!

My sister-in-law gave me this candle for Christmas.  It’s a favorite of mine too and has a really pleasant scent.  I love almost all Avon candles.

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Madonna and Child tea light holder

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My oldest son bought this for me while in Rome, Italy this past spring.  It’s very special to me and I burn a tea light in it every night.

Dasani Drops®

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A doctor recently turned me onto these.  It’s a squeezable flavoring to add to water.  Put in as much as you like to flavor it as weak or as strong as you prefer.  It’s zero calories and comes in six natural fruit flavors.  I’ve only tried the pineapple coconut flavor and it was surprisingly good!  I’m always looking for ways to increase my water intake.

Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds® Walking DVDs

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I’m trying hard to walk every single day but these cold rainy days sure don’t make walking much fun.  So, I’ve started putting in Leslie Sansone walking DVDs and I walk myself silly in the house on these very cold rainy days.  I’m not sure if it’s as good as getting out and walking in the neighborhood, but I sure feel like I get a good workout!  Some of the DVDs also have you doing workouts with arm weights or resistance bands as you’re walking.  I figure it has to be better than not walking at all.  My cats think I’ve lost my mind and sit there and stare at me during the entire “walk.”  I know they’re thinking, “Why isn’t she going anywhere?!”

Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation: Find True Peace in Jesus– by Robert Morgan 

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I just finished reading this book and loved it!  I’ve always wanted to know more about meditation and I’ve loved all of Robert Morgan’s books and always get so much out of them (I’ve read his blog too).  He’s a pastor in a church in the town I grew up in and it was a thrill for me to meet him last year when I visited his church.  He was every bit as nice as I had imagined he would be and he was nice enough to autograph a copy of this book for me.

Gail ♥ 

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Sunday Glory- Epiphany

“This Endris Night”––a 15th century English Christmas Carol.

“This Endris Night” lyrics

This endris night I saw a sight
A star as bright as day
And ‘ere among a maiden sang
Lullay bye bye lullay
This lovely lady sat and sang
And to her child did say
“My son, my brother, father, dear
Why liest thou thus in hay”
The child then spoke in his talking
And to his mother said
“Yea, I am known as Heaven’s King
Though I in crib be laid”
Methinks it right that king or knight
Should lie in good array
And then among, it were no wrong
To sing bye bye lullay
Mary, mother, I am that child
Tho’ I be laid in stall
For lords and dukes shall worship me
And so shall kinges all
Now tell, sweet son, I thee do pray
Thou art my love and dear
How should I keep thee to thy pay
And make thee glad of cheer
My dear mother, thou hold me warm
And keep me night and day
And if I weep and may not sleep
Thou sing bye bye lullay
Thou sing bye bye lullay

Gail

 

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Let’s Share a Cup of New Year’s Coffee (virtual coffee #5)

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If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’m still having a hard time believing that 2018 is gone and 2019 is already here.  The end of the year just flew right by, didn’t it?

I’ve heard so many people say that 2018 was a bad year and they weren’t sorry to see it go.  Hubby even said it.  I’ll have to admit that it started off rough with the sudden and unexpected death of my brother-in-law on January 14th, and then our son calling the very next day to tell us he had been laid off from his job.  And then shortly after that, my sister got diagnosed with lung cancer (the one who had JUST lost her husband unexpectedly).  Hubby fell and broke his knee cap at the very end of 2017 and spent the first part of 2018 in a full leg extension splint which he swears messed up his hip and back.  He went through X-rays, MRIs, and months and months of physical therapy and NSAIDs, and he’s still battling pain.  I started out the year with a kidney stone and spent 6 weeks trying to pass the darn little thing but it wasn’t budging so had to have it blasted with a laser and removed.  Not fun.  Unfortunately, I learned ureteral stents can be as painful as kidney stones.  So yes, it was a horrible start to the year.  But there were blessings in 2018 and I can’t overlook those.  Hubby applied for a new position on a different floor at the hospital and got it and we were very thankful about that.  He previously worked on a med/surg floor which was both a peritoneal dialysis floor AND a stroke floor and it was notoriously a hard floor to work on.  Hubby opened the floor some 30+ years ago and was a charge nurse and let’s just say he was ready for a change and needed a change.  He is now a Team leader on a rehabilitation floor and he is really liking it so far.  He worked with stroke patients for so many years and he told me he is finding it interesting now to see the “rehabilitation side” of caring for stroke patients.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I found it especially hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year.   At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, Christmas is not my most favorite time of the year.  It never has been.  That’s because I always try not to get stressed and caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, but if truth be told, I always do.  So I’m always ready for it to be over.

I enjoyed having both my sons home during the holidays.  You’d think it was crazy but one of the things I enjoyed most this year was our family driving around at night on the  Sunday before Christmas to look at Christmas lights.  It used to be a tradition for us to do that every year even when our sons were little and still in car seats.  And of course they would usually be asleep before we even got out of the neighborhood, but we were together as a family and those were happy memories.

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Though I didn’t get many decorations out this year, what little I did manage to get out will stay out through tomorrow– Epiphany.

If we were having coffee today, I’d ask you if you did anything special to bring in the New Year.  Hubby was off and we stayed home and worked on a cat puzzle I found at Target.  Yes, we’re exciting like that.  That little 750 piece puzzle was quite the challenge and kept us busy.  Actually, I started the puzzle the day after Christmas and son #1 jumped in and helped.  Have you ever worked a puzzle with two cats who insist on helping you?  I was finding puzzle pieces clear at the opposite end of the house and New Year’s Eve morning I walked in the living room to find about six pieces on the floor and Dakota bug tossing one up in the air over and over.  He was having the time of his life.  My son said he was sure we would end up with a piece or two missing and it would probably be right in the middle of the puzzle.  I’m sorry to say he was EXACTLY right!  Here’s the finished product.

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Notice the ONE MISSING PIECE?  Right in the center (in the red lantern under the orange cat’s nose)?  Aaarrggghhh!  I spent literally hours searching for that darn missing piece (it drove me crazy!) and I finally found it.  Under the couch!  It was bent and had a puncture mark from a tooth but I flattened it out and made it fit.  Oh, yes, life with cats…. never a dull moment.

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So yes, on New Year’s Eve, hubby and I were perfectly happy staying home and working a puzzle.  Gee, do you think we’re getting old????  At midnight I poured us some Diet Ginger Ale (yes, really) and we made a toast to the New Year and we watched the ball drop in Times Square and then an hour later we changed channels and watched the music note drop in Nashville.  I walked out on the porch and listened to a lot of fireworks while the cats ran and hid under the bed.  That was our exciting New Year’s celebration.

If we were having coffee today, I’d mention that these gray gloomy days of winter really get to me.  Today was the first day we have even seen the sun since Christmas morning.  What do you do to get through all these gray sunless winter days?  I burn lots of candles and tea lights.  Speaking of which, this year I found a Yankee Candle which had the scent of warm Tobacco.

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Oh my, did that candle bring back some Christmas memories.  You see my father used to smoke a pipe and every Christmas he smoked cherry tobacco and I loved the smell of that stuff.  I’ll have to say that Yankee candle nailed that scent and while it wasn’t a real potent scent while burning, it was almost as if my father was right there in the room smoking that pipe with the cherry tobacco.

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My dad smoking his pipe and opening gifts on Christmas morning in the 1970s.  That’s my sweet Baron in the background.

 If we were having coffee, I’d ask what books you have lined up for reading in 2019 and if there were any favorite books you read in 2018.  I participated in the Goodreads 2018 reading challenge.  My goal was 35 books and I came up a little short.  While Goodreads had me reading 29 books, it was actually only 28, as one book I didn’t finish but for some reason it was counted even though I logged it as “did not finish.”  After Halloween and the start of the holiday season, my reading almost comes to a complete stop and I don’t seem to get much reading done in the final two months of the year.  I had many favorites this year and ironically, two of my favorite  books to read this year were two of the last books I read for the year.  One was this book:

The Real God

It’s a study of seven attributes of God: his goodness, sovereignty, holiness, wisdom, justice, love, and faithfulness.  I really can’t recommend this book highly enough.  It’s moved up to one of my favorite books of all time.  I’ll definitely be reading it again.  I’ve never read any of Chip Ingram’s books but this one makes me want to read more by him.

The last book I read this year was this book:

Crazy Christians

Michael Curry is the current presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church and was previously bishop of The Diocese of North Carolina.  He was invited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to give the sermon at their royal wedding.  I love this man’s enthusiasm and style.  He’s uplifting and inspiring.  Though this book is actually a compilation of  addresses he presented at the Annual Conventions of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina over the years, I loved it.  His main message always points to the love of Jesus and to the example of Jesus. He made me think throughout this book and that’s always a good thing.

Other favorite books this year were Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore, 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey.

 

My least favorite book of the year was Jane Eyre.  Ugh.  Sorry, all you Jane Eyre fans but I really struggled to get through that one.  I almost abandoned it a dozen times but forced myself to finish it.  Another book I really didn’t care for was The Liar’s Club:  A Memoir– by Mary Karr.  I had such high expectations for this one because I had heard such good things about it.  For the most part, it got really good reviews but I found the book terribly dark, depressing and sad.  And there was a lot of profanity in the book which is a big turn off for me.

 

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that it looks like I’m going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen in 2019.  I’ve always loved to cook and always have but I’ll have to admit, I’m a southern girl through and through and I’m a southern cook, just like my mother and my grandmother ( I’ll mention that my lard-cooking great grandmother lived to be 103 or 104 I believe).  And let’s face it, we southerners like our fried chicken, our fried catfish, our barbecue, and well, other such foods.  Hubby and I had our physicals at the end of October and I didn’t like my blood work profile.  While my cholesterol profile improved greatly, (it was all normal and in all honesty, I have no idea why as I didn’t do anything really to improve it from last year), my fasting glucose and A1C are creeping up as well as my weight and blood pressure.  So I changed my way of eating and started a walking program the last week in October and by Christmas I had lost 8 lbs.  When I went back to my doctor for a re-ck at the end of November, I complained to him that the weight loss is so PAINFULLY slow (only 1 lb. a week!) but he cheered me on and kept telling me that slow weight loss like this is better and will mean that I have a better chance of keeping the weight off.  Unfortunately, I fell off the wagon Christmas Eve night (it started with a piece of southern pecan pie at The Hancock House.  Yum.).  For several days after that, I gave in to the temptation of Christmas goodies (blasted egg nog and boiled custard), and gained a little of that 8 lbs. back, but I’m happy to say I’m back on track.  I’m reading this book now:

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I’m reading up on diets like The Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet and trying to decide what will work best for me.  With God’s help, I think I can do this.  I’ll admit it’s not going to be easy and I have a lot of hard work in front of me.  So if you’re a praying kind of person, I could sure use and would appreciate some prayers that I will get a little healthier in 2019 and shed some weight.

Thanks for having coffee with me today.  I hope 2019 is a good year for you and one filled with love, laughter, good health, and rich blessings. 

Gail

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In The Bleak Midwinter- by Dan Fogelberg

I love this version of this song.

Gail

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Sunday Glory

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Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most. 

Ruth Carter Stapleton

Gail

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Silent Night- The Carpenters

I once saw Karen Carpenter’s name on a list of the most beautiful female vocalists ever.  I had to agree and think she most definitely deserves a spot there!  Her voice is very calming.

Gail

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Sunday Glory

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The Christmas spirit shines most brightly in those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor—spending and being spent—to enrich their fellowmen, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others—and not just their own friends—in whatever way there seems need.

J.I. Packer

Gail

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