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My SW Daybook – December 2016 edition

Whoa. Christmas is almost here, and I’m just getting to this! Here’s my November/December entry for the Simple Woman’s Daybook. (I can surely see why our SWDB blog circle hostess merged the two months!)

Looking out my window …

The sun is shining, at least for now, with its rays bouncing beautifully off the freshly fallen snow. It’s so bright outside that it’s hard to believe we are receiving extreme chill warnings. The actual temperature measures zero degrees (F) today, with the wind-chill coming in at about -15.

Public domain artwork
I am thinking …

How far off is spring? That sounds like a trick question, as winter itself doesn’t officially arrive for three more days (according to the calendar). Oh, boy.

I am thankful …

This year has been filled with what seems to have been an unusual amount of losses for friends. Dear ones have said goodbye to passing spouses, parents, and children. Others have lost beloved pets. All over, people appear to be bidding 2016 farewell more eagerly than I can remember in past years and pointing to 2017 as a time of promise.

Life is as unpredictable as any old saying may claim – perhaps even more so. I am reminded with gratitude of my many loved ones and the health they enjoy. I appreciate that this is an unusual and remarkable gift. And I remember fondly those who have gone on ahead.

Family photo/All rights reserved.
This was taken a few years ago, and two of these dear ones are no longer with us.
One of my favorite things …

Did I mention Christmas is almost here?

I am creating …

I am starting the process of collecting several poems topically, assembling them for another upcoming book

Public domain artwork
I am wearing …

Although I likely won’t run today (Remember the wind-chill advisory?), I am running around the house in Nike Pro Hyperwarm Running Tights, topped by an Under Armour Women's ColdGear Infrared Popover Hoodie. I have a pair of Smartwool Women's Charcoal Heather Socks on as well. And I’m shuffling around in a pair of moccasins.

OK, I’ll probably crank out a couple of miles on the elliptical. I’m doing a holiday mile challenge thing, for which I committed to do at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.

I am watching …

On Netflix, I am about to begin watching The Crown. Friends recommend this highly – especially those who loved Downton Abbey.

Downton Abbey publicity still - fair use.

I am reading …

Actually, I’m about to order this title: How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership: Compelling Stories from Prominent Evangelicals. It’s a compilation of articles by several well-known evangelicals (Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Tony Campolo, Bill and Lynne Hybels, John and Nancy Ortberg, Ron Sider, and more), discussing women in leadership in Christian ministry. 

Book cover - fair use.
This is sort of a hot-button for me, particularly as we now attend a church that espouses hierarchical complementarianism. (I confess: I am bristling a bit at it, particularly after spending more than a decade in a church that willingly lit booster rockets under women who were gifted and willing to serve.)

I am listening to …

Right now, YouTube is playing continuous Christmas carols, as I type.

I am hoping …

Yikes! I am hoping to run 2,017 miles in 2017. That’s a tall order for me. It would average 5.5 miles a day, if I run every single day of the entire year. That’s not really feasible, especially in the Upper Midwest. That means I’ll have to do at least twice that on plenty of days. But I am trying to push myself a bit, to stay in shape, and to keep MS at bay (as much as possible).

So here we go!

Public domain artwork
I am learning …

Recently, I auditioned and joined a local chorus. This is already a lot of fun, and it has jettisoned me into learning some music theory. It’s been a long time since I sight-read sheet music! And my own ear has required something of a tune-up. But I love the challenge, and it is refreshing to be using my brain in a wholly different way.

Plus, this group of wonderful new friends has welcomed me so warmly. I find myself grinning, just at the thought of them.

LAN photo. All rights reserved.
In my kitchen …

Although I hosted a Christmas cookie swap less than a week ago, I am getting the itch to bake a few more kinds of holiday treats. We have a few family get-togethers coming up, and I haven’t yet made my perennial gingerbread horses. (Nope, I didn’t say “gingerbread houses.” It’s a horse-girl thing.)

In my garden …

What garden? It’s winter in Wisconsin!

Board room …

Here’s a pin for a fun Christmas party game/Holiday song quiz from my Christmas Creativity board on Pinterest. The actual game, titled “Christmas Carol Titles Undone,” can be found here at Delightfully Amiss: Berzerkians Gone Amok. The 32 holiday songs are all pretty familiar, but the clues are tricky!

Public domain artwork
Post Script …

Did you know that 2017 is the Year of the Rooster (in the Chinese New Year’s 12-year animal cycle)?

Shared Quote …

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.”

Adapted by this user from public domain art.
Closing Notes:

Thanks for stopping by at Practically at Home! Best wishes for a merry Christmas, a happy holiday season, and a wonderful new year.

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10 top Bible verses for Christmas cards and greetings

Christmas cards and greetings including messages of faith may be particularly memorable and meaningful, as Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. Several Scriptures are especially appropriate for printing on holiday cards or for penning messages inside before signing and sending.

Consider these 10 popular Bible passages for including in Christmas greetings. These verses are listed here in biblical order, with reference links leading to online Bible translations and paraphrases for context and further study. 

“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26, NLT)

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14, NIV)

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” (Matthew 1:21, ESV)

"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.” (Luke 2:10b – 11, NIV)

“At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: ‘Glory to God in the heavenly heights. Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.’” (Luke 2:13-14, MSG)

The Word became a human being and lived here with us. We saw his true glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. From him all the kindness and all the truth of God have come down to us.” (John 1:14, CEV)

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, GNT)

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15, NASB)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17, NKJV)

Many additional Bible verses may be suitable for Christmas greetings as well. Why not pick a favorite Scripture to write with festive holiday salutations?

NOTE: Written by this author (with verses gathered from multiple Bible translations and paraphrases), this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this article. No republication is allowed without permission.
Adapted from public domain art.

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Christmas party game: Answers to holiday word scramble

Did you try Practically at Home’s holiday word scramble with your family, party guests, or school class? (If you haven’t yet given this puzzle a whirl, you can find it here.)

I bet you’re looking for the answer key, right about now.

Spoiler alert! Don’t scroll down, unless you’ve already worked at unscrambling the list of 25 holiday words.

OK, are you ready?

Here are the answers:


  1. stocking
  2. bethlehem
  3. caroling
  4. wreath
  5. tinsel
  6. holly
  7. jesus
  8. tree
  9. mistletoe
  10. star
  11. nativity
  12. ornament
  13. gifts
  14. scrooge
  15. advent
  16. peppermint
  17. reindeer
  18. angels
  19. rudolph
  20. magi
  21. shepherd
  22. christmas
  23. sleigh
  24. manger
  25. snowman

How did everybody do with the holiday word scramble? And what wonderful or whimsical prizes were included? 

Adapted from public domain art.

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