Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year 2012

Wishing you health, happiness and love!

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Friday, December 30, 2011

In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

 Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.


What can I give him, poor as I am?
                                                 If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.

I woke up with this song in my head.  The photos I took yesterday, on a mild and sunny winter day.  Today is bleak and raining, but my heart is still full of Christmas cheer.  Everyday is a blessing, even the bleak ones!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It Was the Best Christmas, and then some...

 The house was all decked out...
 all the small touches that make me happy.
 Things that no one will notice, except me.
 When night fell on Christmas Eve, and the luminarias were lit...  the house glowed with the love within.
Every Christmas Eve, I walk across the street and look at our home.  It's my moment alone.  If I could bottle that moment every year, it would be filled with gratitude, happiness, faith, love and something more... The essence of Christmas.  All that I love safely snuggled inside.
 I remembered to take a few photos, and my brother took the one of my SIL's and me.
I opened the door to this great group.  The sweetest favorites in all the world...Kristen, dearest daughter o mine and mom to be, Gina, Amy, Emma and the sassy "little bird".
 My beautiful SIL's, Elizabeth, Mindy, Monika and Lynette.

My wonderful brothers,  Greg, Larry, Tony and Jeff. (aka my rotten brothers;-)

 Tracy and Tyler...and baby #2!
 Pal o mine, Marci... glowing!
 dearest darling husband, oh how I love that man o mine...and Mikey, my son, sigh, my son...
dear Charlotte and #1 son Jon Jon...  My heart overflows... 

It was the happiest Christmas I can remember, and the best gift was having all of us together.

The house sure is quiet.  Everyone has gone home.  The New Year is on the horizon, and I'm ready!  The New Year will bring a new baby to the family, along with a Grandchild to our lives.  Time to plan.  Time to reflect.  Time to nap...I'm pooped!  Enjoy this beautiful day.

PS  The only people I missed photographing were our dear Doug, sorry sweetie, and Tyler's brother Andy, who was a welcomed addition to our festivities.
PSS ...and  my wonderful nephews, Greg and Jimmy, sorry guys!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Christmas Wish

Peace on Earth
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, from all of us here
 At Home in English Valley.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taking Time for Fun

It was an explosion of frosting, candy and marshmallows...

When you have Christmas time birthdays in the family,
you are free to decorate the cake accordingly, Right?  
If you have a problem with sugar, LOOK AWAY! 
The little bird and I had some fun
with this cake we baked in my sand castle bundt pan. 
Wishing Uncle Greg and Grandpa very happy birthdays.
Are you taking time for fun?  Hope so. 

Love to you, from English Valley

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Snow and Frost

Wishing you a few moments of serenity,
to enjoy this beautiful season.
Be well my friends.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Best Christmas Present Ever!

On this date, many years ago...  I received my very best Christmas present ever...our daughter, Kristen.  She was born 9 days shy of Christmas,  and I'll never forget the feeling of holding my sweet daughter under the sparkling lights of our Christmas tree, and wondering what the heck I was gonna do for the next 18 years...  That's how little I knew then about being a Mom, like your job is done after 18 years!  I've put in a few more years than those first 18, and I still have so much to learn and do. It was Kristen that first taught me about being a Mom.  Now, Kristen will be a Mom soon, and I can't believe that my baby will have a baby of her own! 

I love you so much Kristen, and so does Harry (what she disrespectfully calls her Dad;-) and your brothers love you too. Happy Happy Birthday dear Kristen, may all your dreams come true...Just like you made mine come true thirty something years ago.  Love, MOM


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Story...

Once upon a time, November 20th to be exact, my dearest one and I went to Mequon, Wisconsin to see Josh and Brent, aka The Beekman Boys at Josh's parent's Church. I told you about it in a post here...but I left out one bit of information. Why, I'm not sure...but here is the full story. I brought with me a gift for Josh and Brent. A pillow I made with the graphic above. (From the Graphics Fairy) There was something about it that I thought they might enjoy, and might fit in their historic mansion...somewhere. Possibly... Well, they were so very sweet when they opened the gift, and went on about how much they liked it. Later when we stood in line to have them autograph our Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook, Josh leaned in and said again how much he liked the pillow and how he had the perfect spot for it at home. Josh said, "I'm not just saying that I like it, I REALLY DO LIKE IT! " Then HUGS all round!!! It made me very happy to do something nice for Josh and Brent, and I didn't want to make it blog was just such a sweet and special experience...

Fast forward to last week...Our darling daughter was visiting her allergist at lunchtime. She gave me a call from the street, just to say hi and let me know she had this appointment and was almost there. We said goodbye...and then a few minutes later Kris called me again. She said, "Mom you won't believe who I just saw!" It was Brent! He was hailing a cab and Kristen saw him and said, Hey!? It that?... So she said..."Brent?" and he turned around and smiled. They had a sweet conversation, where Kris said how much she enjoyed their show... and that her Mom, Penny (me!) had just seen them in Mequon and gave them a pillow... Brent said, "We love that pillow, and it's on a chair in our home. Say hello to your Mom for me!" They hugged right there on the street in Manhattan. First of all, what are the chances of Kristen seeing Brent and recognizing him?... In a city of millions!... Then to have him be just as warm and friendly on the street to our dear girl. And then to have our cosmopolitan NY daughter be so excited to meet him. I just had to chronicle it here.

I love when life gives you little gifts, just like this experience with Josh and Brent. Makes me smile remembering it, and so happy that Kristen got to meet Brent. The world seems a little smaller, a lot warmer and a little magical to me... Just the way the world should feel at Christmas.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011


Taking my time around the house, no choice really, can't shake this bug...
Putting up the old stuff...
Pretty stuff...
Stuff that isn't heavy stuff...
Making the guys do all the climbing and hanging...
The time to sit and reflect on the season.
Christmas comes, ready or not...
The most important preparation is done in the heart anyway...
Remembering why we make the fuss.
Why we deck the halls...

May your day be as bright
As the light in your eyes,
A joy for each snowflake
That falls from the skies!
May your faith be as deep
As the root of a pine,
Your home melt the shadows
Like candles that shine.
May love warm your heart
Like the depth of a flame.
The future hold promise,
The old dreams remain!
May your pathway be shared,
Each step of the way,
By the old friend who sends you
These wishes today!

from A Toast by Grace E. Easley

Enjoy this beautiful day my friends!