Under Angel Wings


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome, Baby Henry Grierson

Our family is delighted to welcome a new baby in the family: Henry Grierson, son of William Grierson (Grier) and Susan.

Grier and Susan were married on April 9, 2005 at the Holy Family Church in South Pasadena, California. That is my cousin, Rich, serving as father and Best Man, to the right of Grier. Rich is the one who was chaperone to Heather and Jenn in Williamsburg~he also attended Heather's wedding there~he really gets around! Heather's daughter, Eliza, and Grier's son, Henry, are third cousins who live across the country from one another. They share a great-great grandmother, Minnie, the Girl From Williamsburg.

Baby Henry Grierson was born on December 20, 2008 at 12:03 p.m. in Pasadena, California. He weighed 7.79 lbs. and he was 21  1/4 in. long.

Since then Grier and Susan have been very busy taking care of Henry, entertaining visitors and enjoying Christmas celebrations!

Baby Henry was named after his great-great uncle, Gen. Benjamin Henry Grierson, who was born in 1826 and lived until 1911.

General Grierson was a career officer in the United States Army. He was a cavalry general in the volunteer Union Army during the American Civil War and later led troops in the American Old West. He is most noted for a daring 1863 expedition (Grierson's Raid) ordered by Grant through Confederate-held territory that severed enemy communication lines between Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Confederate commanders in the Eastern Theater.

On March 2, 1867, Grierson received a brevet promotion to the rank of Major general in the United States Army for his famous raid.

Colonel Grierson is a prominent figure in Turner Network's documentary, "Buffalo Soldiers." The part of Colonel Marlowe, played by John Wayne in the movie "The Horse Soldiers," is loosely based on Grierson.

It will be very interesting for our new baby cousin to learn about his great-great uncle as he

grows up!

July 8, 1826 ~ August 31, 1911 (aged 85)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Heather, David, and Eliza in Williamsburg

In response to my welcoming story about Baby Eliza, our cousin Rich wrote in with an amusing anecdote about his trip back to Williamsburg with his daughter, Jenn, and cousin Heather. All three were attending the annual get-together of the descendants of our Grandmother, Minnie, and her siblings. Here is Rich's story...

"I had been charged with 'chaperoning' the girls and was driving them everywhere and making sure they had breakfast, lunch and dinner. We ran off to Chownings Tavern one evening and the entertainers came by. I asked some very insightful questions about jigs vs. reels and the Scottish sound vs. the Irish sound, and I was quite certain that my clever repartee was what caused the entertainers to dwell on us so. They had us playing colonial games and pounding the tables to the music...we went there another night or two and on the last night, after the family dinner, the girls wanted to go back again.

I suggested they just walk down the street and I'd hang around Merchants Square. Everything was closed there, however, so I roamed down to Chownings, too. I looked in the window and the girls seemed to be having a good time~and I didn't think they needed an old man cramping their style~so I went back to the hotel. THAT'S when the minstrel struck. In my absence he slipped her his phone number...and after a few months of talking across the country, they were engaged."
Heather and David were married on May 5, 2007, and had a beautiful wedding and reception at Providence Hall in Williamsburg.

On October 30th, 2008, their daughter, Eliza Adalaide, was born, also in Williamsburg (please see my post on December 17th).

And this is a photo of Eliza's first visit with Santa Claus!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Blessings

On Christmas Eve, no matter where we are, my family and I attend a midnight candlelight service. This year we were at home, so we attended our own parish, Trinity Life Church. It's always a really special feeling, driving home from church past midnight, with the quiet streets and the Christmas lights still on in the neighborhoods as each family waits...

Then on Christmas morning the excitement builds as the family begins to stir, including the puppies, Chloe and Max, who are always anxious to get us up early.

This is my family: our son, Grady; myself; my husband, David, holding Chloe; and our daughter, Olivia, holding Max.  It seems Mom is the only one who gets dressed early~the others are anxious to get right into the festivities!

After we open the stockings, we go into the living room to sit by the tree and open gifts. Max, the baby, was a little confused by the goings-on so he retreated to Mom's lap where he could be extra comfy in Dad's new sofa blanket and Mom's new scarf.

After the gifts are opened we adjourn to the kitchen to cook up something special for brunch. This year it was French toast, bacon and scrambled eggs.

Our afternoon was spent enjoying each other and our new gifts, especially Dad's new camera. At one point I looked over at my husband and he was asleep on the recliner, with his new camera on his chest and the manual open to the last page he was reading...it was really cute. My family really enjoys cameras, computers, and phones. Any new technology holds a fascination for all of us. I guess that's probably true for just about every family in America!

For early dinner, Liv and Grady made cheese fondue with raw veggies, French bread and wine, and chocolate fondue with fruit and marshmallows. What a wonderful day we had!

On the day after Christmas we had some friends over to celebrate with a potluck dinner: appetizers, martinis and wine, and a delicious ham with all the trimmings. We raised our glasses in a toast to 2009~may it be a better year, yes, a wonderful year, for all!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Luke 2:1-20 The Birth of Jesus


In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. that will be for all the people.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

   "Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace to men on
                whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Christmas Creche and Carols, Too

 Yesterday I learned something new and interesting. We have all seen and enjoyed many beautiful creche scenes in our lifetimes, but do you know who was the first person in the world to create one? I didn't know, in fact it had never occurred to me that there would have been a first creche. (Creche is the French word for cradle.)

Francis of Assisi lived in the 13th century in Greccio, Italy. He is best known as the founder of the Franciscan Order of Friars. In 1224, Francis had the idea of creating a "living" recreation of the birth of Jesus, as a way to convey the ideas and spirit of Christmas to his illiterate congregation in the village. It is believed that the local shepherds, guarding their flocks outside the town of Greccio inspired him.

Francis had real people dressed in biblical robes and real animals positioned outside a cave on the outskirts of town. In the manger was a life-sized wax figure of the infant Jesus.

On Christmas, Eve, families traveled far and wide to witness the living nativity scene. Francis encouraged people to rejoice in the season of Christ's birth and remove discord from their hearts.

Over time the presepio, as it was called in Italy, grew in popularity. Other towns began featuring the living creche, and soon people had individual nativity scenes in their homes. One of the most famous nativity scenes in Italy is displayed in the Basilica of Saint Cosmos & Damian in Rome. Originally built in Naples during the 17th Century, it measures 45 by 20 feet and has hundreds of wooden figures.

Along with his living nativity scene, Francis sought the help of music to teach his congregation about the birth of Christ. He is credited with singing the very first Christmas carols as well, by adding religious words to everyday tunes. The result was the Italian lauda, which was very popular for the next two hundred years. 

Saint Francis was canonized by the church not long after his death in 1226. He had remained a deacon all of his life, never becoming a priest or a bishop. He is best known for his love of and communion with nature. He is the patron saint of animals, ecology, peace, and Italy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Luke 1:26-38 The Birth of Jesus Foretold

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord be with you."

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Olivia

Today is Olivia's birthday. She is our one-and-only, best daughter in the whole world, daughter! In this photo she is at the Sea House, Napili Bay, on Maui. That's why she looks so happy :D.

How do you describe this beautiful young woman? Well...she works in a small marketing firm in the East Bay, and she spends a lot of time running for a good cause, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training, where she is a mentor to new runners. She has run many half and full marathons, including the New York City marathon last year, which her family attended with her. That was an incredible day, never to be forgotten!

She has lots of hobbies: hanging out with friends all over the Bay Area and the state, camping and hiking, reading, photography, knitting and many more. When she was growing up she took dance, piano and cello and played in the orchestra all through school into college. She graduated from Santa Clara University and volunteered for two years in the Jesuit Volunteer Corp in Camden, New Jersey.

Olivia is the classic daughter, the kind people dream of having. Intelligent, tall, beautiful, funny,
sweet, organized, thoughtful, athletic, reliable, accomplished, with a ready, gorgeous smile...

How do you describe this young woman? "Awesome," that's how!

Happy birthday, Liv. We love you THIS...................................................................................much!!!!

Click on the video clip below to watch Olivia trying something new!
(If you listen carefully you can hear her giggle...)

Welcome, Baby Eliza Adalaide, our newest "Girl From Williamsburg"

Our new baby cousin, Eliza, was born on October 30, 2008, in Williamsburg, Virginia. She weighed 6 lbs, 7.3 oz and she was 19 inches long. Her mom and dad are Heather and David, Heather's parents are Joanne and Mitchell, and David's parents are Birgit and David. Joanne has already had a trip back east to meet her new granddaughter.

Eliza is becoming very alert, according to her mom, Heather, and she loves to be held sitting up so that she can look around. She loves to be bounced! Her mom and dad hear a lot of cute cooing noises, and they have even learned that Eliza likes showers. She has grown three inches in a month and a half!

The birth of Baby Eliza helps bring our family full circle in an interesting way. Before the turn of the last century (in the late 1800's), Eliza's great-great grandmother, Minnie Galt Braithwaite, was born in Williamsburg. She was the eldest of eight children who had dreams for her future. In October 1896 she applied to be admitted to the College of William & Mary, but she was declined (twice!) because she was a woman. Not to be deterred from her plans to make her mark upon the world, Minnie took the Civil Service examination and entered the Indian Service. She packed a large picnic basket and rode the train west to Winslow, Arizona, where she worked under incredibly difficult conditions teaching the Navajo and Hopi Indians in the remote area of Blue Canyon.

Later at Fort Mojave Minnie met and fell in love with Clarence Wilmot Jenkins, and they were wed in California, founding a family in 1909 with the birth of their first son, and a family farm in the Sacramento Valley in 1910. Minnie went on late in her life to write a book, Girl From Williamsburg, about her experiences teaching in Arizona. (On Saturday, October 5, 1996, the College of William & Mary held the inaugural event in the annual Minnie G. Braithwaite Lecture in Women's Studies series which is held in honor of Minnie, the first woman to apply to the college.)

Eliza's mom, Heather, was raised near that family farm in California. She met her husband-to-be, David, on a trip back to Williamsburg to visit with descendants of Minnie and her siblings. David is a musician with Colonial Williamsburg, as well as head of the language department at the high school, and on one memorable evening when he was performing in Chowning's Tavern, he met Heather. They were married in Williamsburg on May 5, 2007.

That's when Minnie's circle was closed. One of her descendants came "home" to Williamsburg and has now founded her own family!

Eliza, we California cousins can't wait to meet you. Until then, enjoy your very first Christmas. With you in their arms, mom and dad's holidays will be complete...God bless you, little one, and may the guardian angels watch over you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Elizabeth's Gingerbread House

Meet Elizabeth Marie, the next generation in our immediate family! She is daughter of Chris and Kendra, granddaughter of my sister Jan, and grandniece of me. She is also great-grandniece to Dorothy, and niece and cousin to a number of people! Before her great-grandparents, Bruce and Mary, passed away, she was the light of their lives. In other words, she is our Shining Star, nothing less.

Yesterday Lizzie came over after school and we had some fun. To keep it simple at this busy time, I picked up a gingerbread house kit at Target. I wanted to make this project easy, quick and inexpensive. It was all of those things! It held the interest of an eight-year-old and wasn't tricky at all for me.

First you lay out the pieces, which were all intact and unbroken. Notice that as well as the sides, ends and roof pieces, there are three cookies and a chimney piece to begin with! This is important to take note of. Because...

Oops!! Elizabeth was hungry for a gingerbread cookie, so...down went the snowman. There really were only two holes to stand up the cookies in, so she selected the gingerbread man and the tree to keep. The other tasted really good, she said! I was pleasantly surprised, because many children don't really like the taste of gingerbread or the cookies as they are not used to the different spices.

At this point the house is almost completed, and Elizabeth is adding the finishing flourishes. She was very careful to not disturb the frosting which is holding the pieces together while it set. We actually let the house rest for fifteen minutes before adding the last candies, so the frosting could begin to harden. The frosting is very easy to work with, and tasty, too! (There were a few boo-boos that needed to be wiped away, so we sneaked in a taste or two :D) There were just enough candies included in the box to cover the house. We added a few little marshmallows just for fun.

Elizabeth, you did a wonderful job! Perhaps next week, we'll try decorating some cookies...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story

by Charles Dickens

(Excerpted from Dickens' "The Life of Our Lord," written for his children.)

He was born, a long long time ago - nearly Two Thousand years ago - at a place called Bethlehem. His father and mother lived in a city called Nazareth, but they were forced, by business to travel to Bethlehem. His father's name was Joseph, and his mother's name was Mary.
And the town being very full of people, also brought there by business, there was no room for Joseph and Mary in the Inn or any house; so they went into a Stable to lodge, and in this stable Jesus Christ was born. There was no cradle or anything of that kind there, so Mary laid her pretty little boy in what is called the Manger, which is the place the horses eat out of. And there he fell asleep.

While he was asleep, some Shepherds who were watching Sheep in the Fields, saw an Angel from God, all light and beautiful, come moving over the grass towards Them. At first they were afraid and fell down and hid their faces. But it said ``There is a child born to-day in the city of Bethlehem near here, who will grow up to be so good that God will love him as his own son; and he will teach men to love one another, and not to quarrel and hurt one another; and his name will be Jesus Christ; and people will put that name in their prayers, because they will know God loves it, and will know that they should love it too.'' And then the Angel told the Shepherds to go to that Stable, and look at that little child in the Manger. Which they did; and they kneeled down by it in its sleep, and said ``God bless this child!''

Now the great place of all that country was Jerusalem - just as London is the great place in England - and at Jerusalem the King lived, whose name was King Herod. Some wise men came one day, from a country a long way off in the East, and said to the King `` We have seen a Star in the Sky, which teaches us to know that a child is born in Bethlehem who will live to be a man whom all people will love.'' When King Herod heard this, he was jealous, for he was a wicked man. But he pretended not to be, and said to the wise men, ``Whereabouts is this child?'' And the wise men said ``We don't know. But we think the Star will shew us; for the Star has been moving on before us, all the way here, and is now standing still in the sky.'' Then Herod asked them to see if the Star would shew them where the child lived, and ordered them, if they found the child, to come back to him. So they went out, and the Star went on, over their heads a little way before them, until it stopped over the house where the child was. This was very wonderful, but God ordered it to be so.

When the Star stopped, the wise men went in, and saw the child with Mary his Mother. They loved him very much, and gave him some presents. Then they went away. But they did not go back to King Herod; for they thought he was jealous, though he had not said so. So they went away, by night, back into their own country. And an Angel came, and told Joseph and Mary to take the child into a Country called Egypt, or Herod would kill him. So they escaped too, in the night - the father, the mother, and the child - and arrived there, safely.

But when this cruel Herod found that the wise men did not come back to him, and that he could not, therefore, find out where this child, Jesus Christ, lived, he called his soldiers and captains to him, and told them to go and Kill all the children in his dominions that were not more than two years old. The wicked men did so. The mothers of the children ran up and down the streets with them in their arms trying to save them, and hide them in caves and cellars, but it was of no use. The soldiers with their swords killed all the children they could find. This dreadful murder was called the Murder of the Innocents. Because the little children were so innocent.

King Herod hoped that Jesus Christ was one of them. But He was not, as you know, for He had escaped safely into Egypt. And he lived there, with his father and mother, until Bad King Herod died.

A Christmas Carol

Recently my sister, Jan, her daughter-in-law, Kendra, and her granddaughter, Elizabeth, and I attended a local production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, or "The Gospel According to Ebenezer Scrooge!" This version is an original adaptation written, directed and choreographed by my friend Paul. The costumes were designed by his wife, Anne.

In researching Dickens' life, Paul states that Charles was going through a 'particularly "dark night of the soul" during the pre-holiday season of 1843, facing many of the challenges that we face in our day - financial, family, and struggling with a sense of personal self-worth.' He began writing  A Christmas Carol simply as a quick way to make some holiday money, but during the writing of it, a miraculous changed occurred, not only to Scrooge, but to Dickens himself!

Dickens wrote in various diaries and correspondences that in the writing of the story he was "reborn," and in the setting down of the tale he "wept and laughed and wept again, and excited himself in a most extraordinary manner!" In Paul's adaptation Scrooge undergoes a spiritual awakening as well which adds tremendously to this classic Christmas tale.

Our eight-year-old Elizabeth, we are proud to say, managed to stay awake during the entire play, never was afraid of any of the three "visions," and lined up with us afterward to thank the players.
Well done, Lizzie!

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, "God Bless Us, everyone!"

Sunday, December 7, 2008

St. Nicholas Coffee Hour

Yesterday afternoon, after posting all of the cookie-making activities on the blog, my husband and I went over to our church to decorate the table for coffee hour. He was arranging the string of lights on the little tree and I was getting all the ornaments ready to hang. Dave went under the table to plug the lights in, and then I smelled something burning. I looked at the tree and there was a trail of smoke going up to the ceiling! Dave jumped up to see one of the little lights melting. He quickly unplugged the lights, and we got them off the tree as fast as possible. Fortunately I had brought an extra string of lights! We finished decorating, unplugged the lights and locked up the church before going out to dinner. All evening I tried not to think about burning down the church due to a tree light meltdown!

This morning we took our St. Nicholas cookies on the Christmas plates to coffee hour. You wouldn't BELIEVE how quickly those cookies disappeared! (Don't worry kids, I remembered to save some for you when you come home for Christmas.) Everyone seemed to enjoy remembering the story of St. Nicholas and his spirit of giving...

Something special happened after we came home this afternoon. I received an e-mail from Martha, a dear friend who was at church. After hearing about my new blog, she went home and read it, and got inspired to put up her own page. The name of it is I Can Only Imagine, and the photo at the top of the page is just stunning. I won't tell you what it is, so you can go visit there and be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

Congratulations Martha, and welcome to the world of blogging. We'll learn together!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas Day

Today we are celebrating Nicholas, a wonderful man who was born in the third century in a village in what was then Greece, but is now Turkey. Nicholas was a kind and generous man who shared all of his possessions with the poor and needy, living his life modeled after Jesus. The custom of giving presents at Christmas comes from St. Nicholas! And the three wise men, of course.

Remember that favorite Christmas carol, Jolly Old St. Nicholas? On Dec. 6th, the feast day of St. Nicholas is celebrated in many places around the world, keeping alive the stories and legends of his goodness and generosity. There are about 2,000 churches in the world named after St. Nicholas, with over 400 in England alone!

There is an excellent website, St. Nicholas Center, that has many stories, songs, recipes, art work, crafts you can make such as ornaments, puppets, stockings, stand-up figures and many things, all about St. Nicholas. If you're looking for a way to put more emphasis on doing for others this Christmas, gather up some family members, children in the neighborhood, or friends at church and celebrate St. Nicholas!

Today at our house we are baking St. Nicholas cookies to take to church tomorrow for coffee hour. We're using a classic sugar cookie recipe from the Pioneer Woman that can be baked all year 'round at holidays, using different shaped cookie cutters. Here's the recipe:

Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
4 teaspoons milk
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream shortening, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla thoroughly. Add in egg and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the milk and mix. Sift dry ingredients together, then stir into the creamed mixture. Divide the dough into halves or thirds if you have doubled or tripled the recipe, shape into balls and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

It's much easier to work with cold cookie dough, so keep the other balls in the fridge and just roll out one ball at a time. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer shapes to lightly greased cookie sheet and paint with colored egg yolk glaze, or bake plain at 375 degrees for approx. 6-8 or more minutes. Do not allow the cookies to become browned. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool, then pipe with white icing using a pastry bag or Ziplock bag.

Egg Yolk Glaze

1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
3-6 or more drops food coloring, depending on your preference

Mix together in a small dish with a fork. Use a soft brush, such as a watercolor brush, and paint the cookies before baking. This recipe will paint approx. two trays of cookies.

White Decorative Icing

1  1-pound box powdered sugar
few tablespoons of milk

Stir in the milk a bit at a time into half of the box of powdered sugar until frosting is the right consistency. It should be thick enough to hold its shape on the cookie. Decorate using a pastry bag or a Ziplock bag with a tiny piece of the corner snipped off. Let the cookies dry for awhile so the frosting will set.

The important ingredients

I am making a triple batch of cookies today, so you will see three times the amount of everything going into the bowl!

Add in the shortening (I used Crisco), and the sugar...

Next,  grate some lemon peel which gives the cookies a delightful, subtle, lemony flavor...

Add in the lemon zest, vanilla, egg, and milk and mix with the mixer until creamed.

Sift the dry ingredients together, then blend into the creamed mixture.

Stir all together!

Divide dough into thirds, roll into balls, and wrap in waxed paper.

Place balls in fridge for at least an hour, or overnight if you wish. Freezing is an option as well. When it's time to roll out into cookies, take out only one ball and leave the others in the fridge to remain cold. It's much easier to work with cold dough!

Dust your surface and your rolling pin with flour. You are probably wondering what I am rolling out my dough on. Years ago I got this square plastic mat from Tupperware. It has dimensions for pie crust drawn on it which has been very helpful! Flour it well before you start rolling your dough and you will be able to lift up the cookies with a spatula. I ordered the cookie cutters from the St. Nicholas Center website, but you could draw your own pattern. Here I am using two Bishop shapes and a Bishop's hat shape (called a Miter).

Put an egg and 1 teaspoon of water in a small cup. Add several drops of red food coloring and beat with a fork until mixed. Add a drop or two more food coloring if you want the color darker.

Paint those cookies! Use a soft brush and apply the color liberally. No problem letting the finished ones wait while you complete the tray.

Bake cookies in the oven for 6-8 or a few more minutes, depending on your oven. Watch them carefully! You want the cookies to be only slightly, slightly browned, but done. It can be tricky, but if you pay careful attention to the oven and don't get distracted by the doorbell, the phone or the kids or the dogs, you'll be rewarded by some beautiful cookies!

Mix up half of a box of powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk, until icing is somewhat stiff but still workable. Snip a tiny corner off of a small Ziplock sandwhich bag, spoon in the icing, seal up the bag and begin decorating, putting a cross on each hat, filling in a beard and putting a crozier (the Bishop's staff like a shepherd would use) diagonally on the front, or a straight line to represent the Bishop's robe.

Here are your finished St. Nicholas cookies. Let them sit an hour or two so the icing will set and dry. Then set them out on a beautiful plate and celebrate! Don't forget to save some in the freezer to serve at Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Leap of Faith

Hello world, here I am! Today is my first blog posting, ever. I have been inspired to share my life with you, and I'm hoping you will do the same with me. My postings will generally fall under the headings of faith, family, friends, food and fun, and many will overlap.  I'd like to thank my family for their help: my husband, David, who is always willing to advise on a new project; our daughter, Olivia, who has led the way with her own blog, Just a Running Fool; and our son, Grady, who is endlessly patient with all things Mac.

Most of all, my inspiration comes from above! From God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. From all the saints and all the angels in heaven, and from all the "saints-in-the-making" living out our lives here on Earth. We all live...Under Angel Wings!