Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

{yuletide carols} God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman

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God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessèd Babe was born,
And laid within a manger upon this blessèd morn;
The which His mother Mary did nothing take in scorn.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came;
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “Let nothing you afright
This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethl’em straightaway this blessèd Babe to find.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

But when to Bethlehem they came where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Now to the Lord sing praises all you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

God bless the ruler of this house, and send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas may live to see again;
Among your friends and kindred that live both far and near—

That God send you a happy new year, 
happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year.

***
If you want to know more about the original carolers photo, for this post - read HERE!
Fun times from last year's Yuletide.

Oh my goodness..
What a fabulous month of pretty much just caroling.  Thanks to you, my friends and readers for hanging in here with me and joining in with the sharing of your favorites along the way.
Have a wonderful start to the New Year!
God bless..

Monday, December 30, 2013

{yuletide carols} Mugs & Muffins :: Christmas Post and Giveaway! Now - CLOSED!

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Welcome to the last 
Mugs & Muffins 
- for the year of 2013!  

It's hard to believe another year is behind us, but here we are.  For our family- it was a year of growth and change and blessing...
We have much to be thankful for.  And, we are!

What's in store for 2014?  We'll all have to wait and see..hopefully, more of the same. 

Isaiah 33:2 is a wonderful prayer to hold fast to and one that I want to be praying for the New Year!  It reads..
O Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
    Be our arm every morning,
    our salvation in the time of trouble. (Isaiah 33:2, ESV)

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you a "re post" of a heart-felt post (if you don't mind...) - one I have done some time ago and have alluded to several times since.  I feel like I'm kind of being my own "Guest Post-er". :)  But, hey - that's quite alright.

The title of this encouragement today is:  Glowing Windows.

I felt it would be appropriate to share this one with you - since we're nearing the end of our {yuletide carols} series.  I will (sadly!) be ending the series tomorrow..the last day of both the month and of the year.  I really hope you enjoyed it, as much as I did.

When we would go caroling, physically from door-to-door, in years past, we certainly didn't hang around at the cold, dark houses - where obviously, no one was home.  But, by all means, we would be sure to head to the homes that looked like someone was "at home"; ones with windows that were aglow.  Where warmth exuded...and we knew we'd be welcome!

But first, before we get into all of that, you know what I'm going to say you should do, right?  You guessed it!  Go ahead and grab that mug of hot Christmas Tea!  Yup... you heard me right.  Change it up a bit from the usual cup of coffee. Why not?  Or, do whatever you want.  Who am I to stop you?
Besides, the recipe of Almond Torte, that I am sharing with you today, is to die for.  You won't care what is in your cup.


Help yourself.  Please!


I was introduced to this recipe (shared at the end of the post) earlier in the season and have had it several of times.  I also decided to make it for my extended family to enjoy this Christmas.  It was lovely.
***
Let's get started, shall we?

:: Glowing Windows:: (a re post)

Brrr, it's kind of cold outside...
Yeah, I know not as cold as some of our recent days.  In fact - we're in a warm spell, right now where we live. What I want to know today; most importantly, is... What really is the temperature inside your home? Hopefully, there is a stark temperature difference.  A difference between what is on the inside verses what is on the outside...

I'm not exactly sure where this long-time idea has come from, perhaps it was this - from these words of Bonnie Green, who said:

"It is the glow from within that creates beauty.  People are like stained-glass windows.  They sparkle like crystal in the sun.  At night they continue to sparkle only if there is light from within."
It's the idea of me being as a house with glowing windows!

If you drive around at night, this time of year, everywhere you look, you will see these cozy looking little houses with little lights in every window.  (I would have them too, most likely, except for Mr. Frugal - Honey- with the Electric Bill. That's okay Babe!  I still have memories of when I was single or at best I have a pretty good imagination.  I can imagine lights at every window, in our home.)  

I can remember as a young teenage daughter (growing up conservative Mennonite) when I had two windows in my bedroom.  Of course, I just had to have a little window light in each one.  This pretty near was a source of contention for our home, because at the time it seemed as though lights in windows were the start of a neighborhood fad, or "worldly" - without saying that.  In a more practical sense - it seemed as though it were a waste of electricity (ahmmm).  And, well our household, growing up, just wouldn't be having any of those things.

That is, until one night...

I can remember well, my dad, outside, one COLD winter's evening, chopping/splitting wood.  And as he came back inside, later that night, he mentioned how "welcoming" the house looked - if and when he looked up towards the lighted windows - upstairs.  When he said "that", I knew right then and there the conversation was over and that things were okay.  To this day my Mother puts little lights in her house windows... and all is cozy well.

So, what makes for glowing windows?  There is obviously something REAL to be had - on the inside. There is a warmth, a peace, and a cozy-feeling, per say, that has to go someplace.  There is a light - the Light of Life- that has to permeate the darkness.

It calls.

It comforts.

It's lovely.

It's beautiful.

It's a reflection.

It's warmth.

It's peace.

It's hospitable.  Not meaning entertaining or serving a meal, necessarily.  But letting people in your life. Period.

You can add more thoughts to this.  But here is where this dials down in my life...in my current standing as a wife and as a mother.  Particularly, as it pertains to being a stay-at-home Mom...

I am the temperature of my/our home.  How I am on the inside will show on the outside.  How I feel, react, respond, etc.... matters.  If I am happy or moody; smiling or grumpy; singing or snappy; friendly or COLD... whatever the condition of my heart, my being, my face, my persona...it's spreads infectiously, either good or bad, to my spouse and particularly to our children.  Including those outside our home, whether it's over the phone, or in the grocery line.

I want to be as a house with glowing windows!  Even if the windows are stain-glass windows and everything, looking on, appears all ornate and put together... it means very little, unless there is light from within.  That being the light of Jesus Christ shining through.  This is the only way there is true beauty, anyway.
Likewise, if my windows appear dirty or dingy looking on from the outside... certainly not perfect...there is still a lot to be said about the temperature of the home on the inside.  When Jesus lives and reigns within, his light can't help but exude outward.  Regardless.

"...her lamp does not go out at night". ~ Proverbs 31:18 b

: : What do people see, looking on?  Is there a drawing to the Light of Christ?  Is it a warm, cozy, comfortable place -inside- as Mommy's temperature gauge reads "herein dwells a spirit of loveliness".?  Are you a house with "glowing windows"?

I have to be quite honest.  Sometimes this - what I'm saying to you - is VERY hard to implement for myself personally.  So, I truly covet your prayers, as a wife, a mom, a friend... that I would be as a house with glowing windows.  It certainly is a prayer of mine and will continue to be a prayer of mine - throughout this coming year!
***
:: Giveaway::

Our giveaway today includes a little something special from me!  A newbie! If you want to call it that.  I recently started making these Tea Wallets and have given some out as Christmas presents..  I'm working on a few more to stock in my etsy shop.. there aren't any in stock - at this point - but keep checking in.

Here is the one I plan to give away today.  The tea bags are included - I thought it would be nice to receive some tea with this gift...
The wallet holds two tea bags or it can be used to hold business cards, or whatever...


This book - Christmas Uncut, by Carl Laferton is also part of the giveaway.  What a great little read to have around.  I encourage you - read this yourself and then give it away to a non-believer friend, next Christmas.  It might spark some conversation... perhaps a conversion.  You never know.

The GIVEAWAY ends on Friday evening, January 3, 2014, at 10pm, EST.

Please share your thoughts on the glowing windows...idea.  Can anyone else out there relate - to the fact that it isn't always easy to maintain a warm and lovely attitude in the home, etc.?
Feel free to share your thoughts on your how special your Christmas was for you.  Or, share some of your hopes and dreams for the coming year.  This is the time to "fellowship" as ladies, as readers and encourage one another... I look forward to reading all you have to say.

Remember.  Each comment - including Facebook - will be an entry for the giveaway.
::THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED::
***
::Recipe::  Almond Torte

1 1/2 Cups sugar
3/4 Cup melted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt
1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cup sliced almonds, chopped
2 tsp. sugar

Blend sugar, eggs and butter. Stir in salt and extracts. Add flour and most of the almonds. Pour into greased spring-form pan. Mix remaining almonds with sugar and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350* 30-40 minutes. Cake hardens as it cools.

***

One more thing - before we go:

I wanted to ask your thought on what you (honestly) think about Mugs & Muffins.
Do you enjoy them?
Are they hosted too often?
Not enough?

My thought would be to host them once every season (quarterly!) for this coming year.  Personally - I enjoy doing this.  I just wanted to get some feedback from you regarding it.  And you can email me - if you would rather let me know your thoughts that way.  I would simply love to hear from you!
Thanks!

Thanks again for coming to our last Mugs & Muffins - for this year.  Have a wonderful day celebrating the New Year and God bless..

***
Come back tomorrow for the last of the {yuletide carols}...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

{yuletide carols} We Three Kings

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“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh." 
~ Matthew 2:1-2

     
We three kings of Orient are; 
  bearing gifts we traverse afar, 
field and fountain, moor and mountain, 
following yonder star. 

O star of wonder, star of light, 
star with royal beauty bright, 
westward leading, still proceeding, 
guide us to thy perfect light. 

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain,
gold I bring to crown him again,
King forever, ceasing never,
over us all to reign.

O star of wonder, star of light, 
star with royal beauty bright, 
westward leading, still proceeding, 
guide us to thy perfect light. 

Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising,
worshiping God on high.

O star of wonder, star of light, 
star with royal beauty bright, 
westward leading, still proceeding, 
guide us to thy perfect light. 

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

O star of wonder, star of light, 
star with royal beauty bright, 
westward leading, still proceeding, 
guide us to thy perfect light. 

Glorious now behold him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
sounds through the earth and skies.

O star of wonder, star of light, 
star with royal beauty bright, 
westward leading, still proceeding, 
guide us to thy perfect light. 
***

I continue to be amazed how I've never really paid close attention (over the years) to the lyrics of so many carols..
And yes!  while Christmas is over..
It really is something that should live on and on in our hearts throughout the year!  Amen?

***
Be sure to come back tomorrow as I squeeze in the final MUGS & MUFFINS for the year of 2013.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

{yuletide carols} Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

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Charles Wesley, 1739

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

(I'm not as familiar with this last verse, but I really like the lyrics..)

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

***
So.. apparently, this carol - as we know it - should never have existed.  
Here's why..
Interesting to say, the least.  I'm glad it does... because, again, it is still one of my all-time favorites.

Friday, December 27, 2013

{yuletide carols} Go Tell It On the Mountain

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While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night,
Behold throughout the heavens,
There shone a holy light:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Saviour's birth:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God send us salvation,
That blessed Christmas morn:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

When I am a seeker,
I seek both night and day;
I ask the Lord to help me,
And He shows me the way:
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

He made me a watchman
Upon the city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.
***
"Go Tell It on the Mountain" is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. It is considered a Christmas carol because its original lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus:

Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;
go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born. 
{source}

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Daybook in December {yuletide carols}

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FOR TODAY  ~ taking a bit of a break from the {yuletide}caroling just for today... in order to share the day, in specific, with you!

Outside my window... the red sky of sunrise is simply stunning!  I think "red in the morning" means -- warning!  and, "Red at night" - - delight!

I am thinking...it's probably pretty chilly outdoors this morning.  

I am thankful... for a nice and cozy home!  Too bad, I had to crawl out of bed to tell you that this morning.  Seriously, I'm truly grateful for this blessing of HOME.

In the kitchen...Jasmine Green Tea with a swirl of honey, and a homemade cinnamon roll on the side. ;)

I am wearing... still in my pj's, of course!  (smile!)

I am creating...a little something *new* to stock pile in my etsy shop!  Tea Wallets!  I have given away - a few over Christmas, and I'm anxious to hear how those folks have enjoyed using them..

I am going... to get a chance to sew later today.  Lord Willing!  I was told this, by a certain MIL/ Grandma - that that is what I should do this afternoon.  :)

I am wondering... how far I will get with that *sewing* ambition.   I do have another bag order - due!  Not anytime soon... but, I still want to get it done.

I am reading...Christmas Uncut by Carl Laferton.  Subtitle: What really happened and why it really matters.  What a great book!  Funny, serious and mysterious.  

I am hoping... to include a copy of this great little book in my next Mugs & Muffins Giveaway (MONDAY!! - stay tuned)  I can't wait to share it with you, whomever the winner will be.

I am looking forward to...starting a new book - received at Christmas! Grace for the good girl - by Emily Freeman.  

I am learning... that even the "best mom-cookers"..(as so dubbed by my kids) still have baking challenges..arghh!  What to do - now - with shortbread cookies that flopped..?  I'm serious.  I am thinking that I'll crumble the cookie and turn into a dessert trifle or some sort.  How can shortbread cookies - fail?  I either cut them too thin, or had them in the oven too long or ...?  I have no idea.. but they're not pretty.  Tasty yes! but not "serve-able" the way they are.  That's the truth!

Around the house...there are still bits of wrapping paper and boxes that need to be tended to.  And more company is coming today!  My sister and her three girls.  Which means more wrapping paper and boxes..
My niece celebrated her 10th birthday - on Christmas Day!  And they were unable to be a part of our family Christmas Day - so they're coming later today.

I am pondering... this word: SLOW!  I have so enjoying the slowing of the season - with the {yuletide carols} that I've been doing here on the blog.  Some of those hymns... I have never fully pondered as I have this season.  I'm grateful that I have taken the opportunity to slow down...and savor.

A favorite quote for today... "We have seen the star in the east, and are come to worship HIM".  ~ the Wise Men, Matthew 2:1-11.

One fine example of intentional obedience, perseverance, diligence, wisdom... seeking him with all their heart.
Did you know to "worship" means to give up your time for Jesus, just as the Wise Men did?

One of my favorite things... being with (most of our) family over the holidays.  I'm also thinking how much I was VERY proud of my two oldest as they sang their little hearts out - in the Children's Christmas Choir on Christmas Eve.   That certainly was a favorite highlight for me... watching them, do their best.  They are second and third from the left, front row.


A few plans for the rest of the week:  My sister was with us all week - overnight.  My MIL is, now, here with us for a few days.  Just anticipate a slow ending to what was a busy lead into the week of Christmas..

A peek into my day...
I just had to share this with you - today!


I took this photo - one late afternoon - last week.  I think it says it all..
The cross makes all the difference - in our home!

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." ~John 4:24
***
Joining in with Peggy from The Simple Woman's Daybook..

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

{yuletide carols} We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

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We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding;
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some;
We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas;
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

***
We're spending the day with family, today!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{yuletide carols} Away In A Manger / What Child Is This?

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Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head
The stars in the bright sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The poor Baby wakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes
I love Thee, Lord Jesus
Look down from the sky
And stay by my side,
'Til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me I pray
Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there


The Sweetest Christmas Hymn of all time..
***

The other day, I found my Aubrey playing with our "toy" nativity set ...
She had quite the narrative going on with it.  I will say it wasn't exactly the Christmas story - as we know it from Scripture, especially coming from a bright and very imaginative 5 year old.  I should say I was rather surprised (or maybe, I wasn't) on how she was giving it her own twist.

All that to say ~  it really made me think through the words, to the song...
"What Child is This...?"
***
What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

**
Though I still may pause to ponder, at times, just WHO really this Child  is...
One thing I know for sure..
This God-child, Jesus!  He not only made a way- He is the Way!
~
May you have a Blessed Christmas Eve..
Are you doing anything special this evening?

We have our usual Christmas Eve service tonight, and both Caleb and Aubrey are participating in the Children's Choir this year.  They're nervously excited about it - as you can imagine.  We, as parents, are too!
Christmas Pj's - here we come!
Just one little tradition, we have here, is to open one present on Christmas Eve!
And that is the kids Christmas Pajamas..

Monday, December 23, 2013

{yuletide carols} Oh Beautiful Star of Bethlehem

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Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem
Shining afar through shadows dimmed
Giving the light for those who long have gone
Guiding the wise men on their way
Unto the place where Jesus lay
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on

Oh beautiful star the hope of light
Guiding the pilgrims through the night
Over the mountains 'till the break of dawn
Into the land of perfect day
It will give out a lovely ray
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on

Oh beautiful star (beautiful, beautiful star) of Bethlehem (star of Bethlehem)
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on

Oh beautiful star the hope, the grace
For the redeem the good and the blessed
Yonder in glory when the crown is won
Jesus is now the star divine
Brighter and brighter he will shine
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on

Oh beautiful star (beautiful, beautiful star) of Bethlehem (star of Bethlehem)
Shine upon us until the glory dawns
Give us a lamp to light the way
Unto the land of perfect day
Oh beautiful star of Bethlehem shine on

***

No words are needed for this hymn..
Just another one of my all-time favorites.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

{yuletide carols} Toyland

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Toyland, toyland
Little girl and boy land
While you dwell within it
You are ever happy there

Childhood's joy land
Mystic merry toyland
Once you pass its borders
You can ne'er return again

When you've grown up, my dears
And are as old as I
You'll laugh and ponder on the years
That roll so swiftly by, my dears
That roll so swiftly by

Childhood's joy land
Mystic merry toyland
Once you pass its borders
You can ne'er return again

***
Take a listen, here..


I had to add this one in - one, because I hear it so often from one of my kids' Christmas CD's that we've been listening to - over and over, and it's been growing on me.  I like it's catchy jingle..

Two. I am including this song... because last evening our family went and FINALLY started on Christmas shopping. Ahem!  DON'T shop WITH YOUR CHILDREN - WHILE THEY'RE with YOU!!  

I don't know why I'm telling you that - because nobody else (in their right mind!) would do that.  Only us, silly folk.  Gheez!!

Here's the deal.  I wasn't nearly enjoying "toyland" as much as my kids were... and I think we left the store(s) with a few broken hearts in tow.  
Yikes!
However, it was fun for me to observe  the looks and squeals and pining over a few that spotted their eye..

It's good that we still have just a couple more shopping days left...then again, by then, Christmas, the "wants and wishes for" will have long passed... 

Lord Willing!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

{yuletide carols} It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

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It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever over its Babel sounds
The blessèd angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophet-bards foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
***

Sometimes this song is sung, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear.
Sometimes we sing, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.
I caught this while typing the post's title (confusing myself for a minute) and then while entering the actual lyrics.. I left it alone so you could see.
Looking it up online; sure enough!- it is known to be sung either way.  Of course..

Which way are you most familiar - singing this carol?

Either way, I will never tire of this beloved Christmas hymn..
***
** This photo was taken out of our upstairs window - one early, early morning.

Friday, December 20, 2013

{yuletide carols} White Christmas - Crunch!

. .... .. ... ... .... .... .... .... .. . ... .. .. .. .. .. ... . .

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas 
Just like the ones I used to know 
Where the treetops glisten, 
and children listen 
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas 
With every Christmas card I write 
May your days be merry and bright 
And may all your Christmases be white 

***

Are you feeling the crunch, as I am?  
Christmas is just a few days away...

Here is a fun and simple recipe to share
with your friends and neighbors this time of year!


One of the ways I like to give this White Christmas Crunch away is to take an empty coffee can, or use a cardboard container, such as a Pringles Chip, Rolled Oats, Iced Tea, baby cereal etc... take those and paint them; cover with paper; decorating as desired...
This is optional, but be sure to punch  two holes near the top of the can, opposite of one another, in order to slip in (and knot) a ribbon or jute string; acting as a handle.

Hand off with a smile!

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas 
With every Christmas card I write 
May your days be merry and bright 
And may all your Christmases be white

***
So, are you enjoying this series?  Tell me... what I have missed; in reflecting on "your favorites"?
I personally have a few more favs, I would like to share with you.
And, I think I'm just going to keep on going, as much as I'm able - finishing out the rest of the month; the year!  with these Yuletide Carols.
They're too beautiful, to stop so soon.  I hope you don't mind..

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

{yuletide carols} In the Bleak Midwinter

. ... ... ..... . .. ... ... . .. .. ... ... ... .. .. .. .. .... .

In the bleak mid-winter
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 mid-winter
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 mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.


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.

Christina Rossetti, written 1872 - published posthumously in 1904
***
Listen as Sarah McLachian sings..one of my favorite renditions.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{yuletide carols} The First Noel

. .. .. .. ... ... .... ... ... ... .. .... ... ... .... .. .. ... .. .. . .

The First Noel, the Angels 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!

And by the light of that same star
Three Wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
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 Pause and stay
Right o'er the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!
***
Once again, another of my favorite Christmas hymns...
It's a proclamation of the first birthday!
Christ's Birth.

The First Noel (also written The First Noël and The First Nowell) is a traditional classical English carol, most likely from the 18th century, although possibly earlier. The word Noel comes from the French word Noël meaning Christmas, from the Latin word natalis which translates as birthday.
{source}


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

{yuletide carols} Do You Hear What I Hear?

. ... .. .... .. ... .. .... ... .... .. .... .. .. ... ... .. .. . .

Said the night wind to the little lamb,
do you see what I see
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
do you see what I see
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy,
do you hear what I hear
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy,
do you hear what I hear
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,
do you know what I know
In your palace warm, mighty king,
do you know what I know
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold

Said the king to the people everywhere,
listen to what I say
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
listen to what I say
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light

***
I can hear the inaudible whisper; the soft and gentle voice; the pleading - loud and clear; the urgency...louder still!

Peace
Goodness
Light

What do you think of when you "hear" this song..?

Monday, December 16, 2013

{yuletide carols} Joy to the World!

. .. .. .. .. .. . .. ... ... .... .. .. ... ... .. .. ... ... . . .. .

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven and nature sing
And heaven, and heaven 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 sound in 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 and wonders of his love

***
Remember my first, initial, post on preparing...?  Preparing my heart for more of HIM - this Christmas season?  Well.  I have a confession to make...
I was, I have been, feeling rather Grinch-y (if that is a word!) this season. Every photo you've seen here, this month, with the {yuletide carols} theme, has been a repeat photo, etc.
If it wasn't for my kids...
there honestly wouldn't be a decorations.
I still have a lot of baking to do, cards to finish up and send, gifts to buy (let alone.. plus wrap)...etc.
My Mom & siblings, and their families, usually come to our home for the whole of Christmas Day - and even that got nixed.
With the grinchiness (again, is that even a word?) though, I've been truly enjoying the SLOW.
These carols, that I have been posting everyday, have truly been
ministering to me.
**
Last evening (Sunday), our family did go to our Church's Christmas Concert.  And while I enjoyed it - it still wasn't the thing to "push me over the edge into excitement" about Christmas.

On Saturday - it snowed!  Very nice..
A great day to bake Cinnamon Rolls - in hopes of gifting some of them.
The kids finally convinced me that it really was a "good idea" to start decorating...
and we had fun doing so, late into the evening.
**
My back hurts.  I mean really hurts.
I know why.  It's because I fell off the roof.
Although, no decorations were involved...with this one!  I promise.

**
For today!
All I can say is that I'm so grateful that Christmas has nothing at all to do with me.
Nothing on how Bevy feels, or views things, etc.  Only Christ!  It's only because of HIM.. This may sound cliche, but it's the truth!  Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

I'm happy to report to you that in all of this...
I can finally say - JOY!
Joy to the World..

It's been a joint effort -but by the grace of God and his quiet love for me - I now feel, a preparing...is and has been continuing to take place.  Join me in singing... will you?

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room...
((Hallelujah!))
He comes to make his blessings flow!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

{yuletide carols} I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

. ... .. ... .. .. .. .... .. ... .. .. ... ... ... .. ... .. .. ... .. 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is a Christmas carol based on the 1863 poem "Christmas Bells" by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The song tells of the narrator's despair, upon hearing Christmas bells, that "hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men". The carol concludes with the bells carrying renewed hope for peace among mankind.
****

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

During the American Civil War, Longfellow's oldest son Charles Appleton Longfellow joined the Union cause as a soldier without his father's blessing. Longfellow was informed by a letter dated March 14, 1863, after Charles had left. "I have tried hard to resist the temptation of going without your leave but I cannot any longer," he wrote. "I feel it to be my first duty to do what I can for my country and I would willingly lay down my life for it if it would be of any good". Charles soon got an appointment as a lieutenant but, in November, he was severely wounded in the Battle of New Hope Church (in Virginia) during the Mine Run Campaign. Coupled with the recent loss of his wife Frances, who died as a result of an accidental fire, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was inspired to write "Christmas Bells".
He first wrote the poem on Christmas Day in 1863.
 It was not until 1872 that the poem is known to have been set to music.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

{yuletide carols} Winter Wonderland

.... ... .. .. ... .... .. . .. ... . .. .... .. ... . .. .. .. ... .. . .. ..

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town.

Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain't it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

***
I just had to throw this one in, here, today!

It is snowing - at our house.  But not as much or as fast as we'd like..yet!

Friday, December 13, 2013

{yuletide carols} The Friendly Beasts

. ... . .. .. ... .. ... .. .. ... .. .. ... ... .. .. .. .. .. .. .... 

"The Friendly Beasts" is a traditional Christmas song about the gifts that a donkey, cow, sheep, camel, and dove give to Jesus at the Nativity. The song seems to have originated in 12th-century France, set to the melody of the Latin song "Orientis Partibus". The current English words were written by Robert Davis (1881-1950) in the 1920s.  {source}

***
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.

“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother uphill and down,
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

“I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;
I,” said the cow, all white and red.

“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,
He wore my coat on Christmas morn;
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high,
“I cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry,
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.

Thus all the beasts, by some good spell,
In the stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.

***
  My children have enjoyed "hearing" me sing this carol - this year, as it was new to them.  I certainly have fond memories of singing this carol each Christmas either in school or at church while in my growing up days.

I couldn't resist using this photo with this Christmas carol, either.

As well, we had a lovely snow storm the other day which reminded me of this particular snowfall, and more snow is headed our way tomorrow.  Anywhere from 5"-7"... (love snow days on Saturday's)
By the way, this photo was taken last winter.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

{yuletide carols} We Break for Cookies!!

. ... .. .. .... .. .... .. .. .. ... ... . .. ... .. .. ... .. .. 
Of course, we can't go on without a cookie or two...especially when it comes to caroling. :)
Here are a few of my must-haves  each Christmas!


I've served these Toffee Bars several times over the past couple of weeks..
and with each time there was a request for the recipe.  I know why, too.  They are so yummy.  A soft and chewy toffee center, smack dab in the middle of a delectable shortbread cookie crust and a chocolate coating on top.
  Very simple to make, as well.

TOFFEE BARS
1/2 cup butter, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet are best!)

In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), sugar and salt.  Stir in flour, mix. (Actually, I just cut the butter in to the flour - to make course crumbs..)  Remove and press into a (lightly greased) 9x13" or 7"x11" baking pan.  Bake at 350* for 15 minutes or until edges are browned.
In a saucepan, heat milk and 2 T. butter, just till bubbly.  Stir in 2 tsp. vanilla.  Pour over hot crust and return to oven for another 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle (a handful or your preference) chocolate chips over the top.  Let them "melt" nicely before spreading over the bars.  **These can be stored in the fridge or freezer.  
***
A few other cookies on the platter today, are:






Serve any and all with a nice mug of Hot Chocolate, Coffee or Tea...
Stay warm!!

Oh the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful.  
And since we have no place to go.
 Let it Snow, 
Let it Snow,
 Let it Snow.

***
So, tell me!  What are a few of your must-haves??  
And - if you don't mind. Here's an idea! Go ahead and include your own quick and easy recipe, in the comments, and we'll call it a "Christmas Cookie Exchange" - while we're at it. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

{yuletide carols} O Come All Ye Faithful

. ... .. .. .... .. .... .... ... ... .... .... .. ... .... .. .. .. ..

O Come All Ye Faithful
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

O Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing all that hear in heaven God's holy word.
Give to our Father glory in the Highest;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

***
One of the most loved, most popular, most sung Christmas Carols of all time...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

{yuletide carols} There is Room in My Heart

. ... .. . .. .. ... . .. .. .. . ... .. .. .. .. . .. .. .. ..  .. .

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.

Refrain 1-4:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.

When the heav’ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”

Refrain 5:
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.
                                                              
~ Emily E. S. Elliot, 1864

***
This one might be another "new one" for you.
It is certainly a prayer-song..

Join me, in preparing my heart today!

Monday, December 9, 2013

{yuletide carols} Zion's Glad Morning

. ... ... .. ... ... .. .. ..... .. .. .. .. .. .. ... .. .. . .. . ..

Hail the blest morn when the great Mediator,
Down from the regions of glory descends.
Shepherds go worship the Babe in the manager;
Lo! for his guard the bright angels attend.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

Cold on his cradle the dewdrops are shining,
Low lies his bed with the beasts of the stall;
Angels adore him in slumber reclining,
Maker and Monarch and Saviour of all.

Say shall we yield him, in costly devotion.
Odors of Edom and offerings divine -
Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine?

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gold would his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration -
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
~ Reginald Heber, 1811

Reginald Heber was born in 1783 into a wealthy, educated family. He was a bright youth, translating a Latin classic into English verse by the time he was seven, entering Oxford at 17, and winning two awards for his poetry during his time there. After his graduation he became rector of his father's church in the village of Hodnet near Shrewsbury in the west of England where he remained for 16 years. He was appointed Bishop of Calcutta in 1823 and worked tirelessly for three years until the weather and travel took its toll on his health and he died of a stroke. Most of his 57 hymns, which include "Holy, Holy, Holy," are still in use today. -- Greg Scheer, 1995
{source}
***
I know this is not your typical, most commonly sung, Christmas hymn.  In fact - I Googled it and it didn't appear that it was all that well known.  What I did find - was of different choral arrangements, etc.
Well, I grew up singing this hymn, in the old conservative Mennonite circles.   I have to tell you that in typing out the lyrics, today... I was brought humbly to tears.  Simply because, honestly, I don't know that I have ever considered the lyrics - especially  the last two verses - particularly this one...

Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gold would his favor secure;
Richer by far is the heart's adoration -
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.

How often do we attempt to "impress" HIM with our finery?  Our wealth and riches?  Our "best behaviour"?
When really, all he wants is our heart's adoration.
Our fellowship in prayer and worship.

***
Tell me, are you familiar with this Christmas Hymn?
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