Friday, December 27, 2019

Boxing Day

In New Zealand along with a lot of British Empire countries, Boxing Day is a holiday, the day after Christmas (26 December). Its' traditional meaning is taken from the giving of a box or basket filled with holiday gifts or food the day after Christmas. It comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor, a ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a special ‘Christmas Box’ from the master as a present. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

These days it has taken on its own demises with commercialism meaning the Boxing Day sales entice most to spend more in bargains they might miss out on. There are major sporting events, traditional mid-winter swims in the northern hemisphere and before it was cancelled in 2004 fox hunts were a traditional part of the day.

I refuse to be drawn into the sales and this year family who had  stayed and celebrated at others were gone. Harry rode his bike to the boxing day bike street racing in Wanganui so I was at home alone. It was a day for me of clearing up after family, washing sheets etc and just resting and reading.

My readings for the day had been from Matthew 2:1-12 where it clearly states that the Magi or wise men were not there straight after Jesus was born. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea... 
so the three wise men did not visit Jesus for a week or so (Epiphany) after he was born although at Christmas we include them in nativity scenes. We know that the shepherds were the first to be told about the birth and went straight away to the stable to see the Christ Child, but who else knew?
Who else visited or saw?
Perhaps the inn keeper came to check on them and maybe some who heard the shepherds rejoicing  17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
But what was that first boxing day, the day after the birth like?
Mary had given birth. It seems it happened at night.
Was a midwife called?
Was Mary and the baby checked that all was well?
Who cleaned up the mess?
They had been visited by a group of shepherds come in from the fields.
Were they a smelly lot? hovering around an hours old baby.
Did those who had heard come to look and see as well?
Did Joseph have to go out and get in some food and water?
Exactly when did they have to go and register for the census?

So for a time Mary would have been alone. In a lowly stable with her baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a food trough for the animals.
She had time to think.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

This boxing day I had time to think.
To ponder those first days of Jesus life.
What a start for a King, my Saviour.
I don't imagine those swaddling cloths being very clean or white. They were bands of cloth, probably cotton and the custom at the time was to wrap the new-born in these strips of cloth after washing the body and anointing it in powdered salt. First the baby was laid on its back diagonally on a square sheet of this cotton cloth. After folding the cloth around the infant the shroud was tied with ribbons. Then the baby was wrapped, arms and legs included, with the “swaddling cloth.” This binding prevented the baby from hurting himself by kicking or scratching or rolling over.
Mary would have seen this done and knew what to do.

But after the build up and climax of Christmas - that first Christmas - the birth of Jesus, the day after will have been quiet.

New born baby cries, the murmurings of animals in the stable, the noises outside by those passing by would just be happenings around but the stillness of a new birth will have been quiet.

In those days women would have been around mothers who had given birth to help and know what was involved, but Mary was away from family.
She was alone with just Joseph her husband of less than nine months.
A time of reflection and to wonder at what the future had in store.
Was she worried, afraid of what to do next?
Was she unsure of how to bring up this Child of God?

I too reflected on the events of the last few months for myself and family and wondered, as well, what the future holds.
We are encouraged at this time of year to think about the last year and the coming new one but it is often closer to the 31st of December.
I, whoever, focused on my journey and all that I hope and pray will be for my family, friends and me.

Take time over the next week to just focus and ponder on what you want in your life and seek to fulfill it.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas 2019

Wellington Harbour 

Christmas for 2019 was very busy, starting for me with a trip to Wellington the weekend before.

Harry chose not to come so I flew and was met at Wellington airport by my sister-in-law. We drove to the top of Mount Victoria to climb the steps and take the typical Wellington harbour pic so often used for Wellington. It might look nice enough but believe me it was very windy and a bit chilly!

We had a bit of a ladies day out having morning tea around in a cafe in Days Bay and then a bit of a drive around Eastbourne and its homes. These are rather expensive but actually are rather nice if you like large older early settler homes.

The following day we went to the airport again and picked up my sister who had also flown in to have a Purdie clan Christmas with our parents.

Adan and Kate - grandchildren
This was to be a special time for us all as a family, as my parents are both getting old (Dad is 90 and Mum will turn 90 in April next year) and some are experiencing ill health at the moment. It will be a time to nestle in my memory for the rest of my life.

The following day (Saturday) we all arrived at my parents including my eldest and her family for a lovely spread for lunch supplied by my two sister-in-laws. It was lovely to have this time together for a few hours and then we regrouped for leftovers for dinner.

Our family have always had the tradition of taking a family group photo on Christmas day.

Me and Gordon (holding his dog Hammy)at the back
(Sitting) Ailsa, Dad, Mum and Stuart standing on the right

Back Row:  Stuart, Liz, Dianne, Me, Gordon (holding Hammy)
Front Row: Ailsa, Dad and Mum
The following day I took Dad and Mum to their Church for a lovely pre-Christmas service where we focused on Joseph and how he felt about the fact that his wife was having a baby who was not his but, the Son of God. I had a last stop at my eldest and then they dropped me off at the Wellington airport to see the planes and after a twenty minute delay, I flew home.

The airport is very automated these days and I don't like not having the personal touch of check-in staff. I'm not a frequent flyer so its rather special for me to fly anywhere. I wonder if the two missing bags of luggage that caused our flight to be delayed, would have been lost had there been people overseeing all that.

Harry picked my up from the airport and we arrived back in Tirau just in time for the end of the annual Carols by Candlelight on the Tirau Community Churches front lawn. I must admit it felt a little odd not having had anything to do with the preparations as I no longer work in the office.

From the following day on it was a bit of a flurry of last minute shopping for food now I knew some family were coming to stay and then the arrival of our eldest and her family who stayed for two nights.

While her parents and brother went shopping Kate enjoyed some time with Opa and Nana, helping Opa in the vegetable garden - something they don't have as they live in an apartment and making some muffins with me. We also made lollie cake a traditional sweet treat I have associated with Christmas for years. My Granny made it and it was a rule in our family that you had to be thirteen and over to be allowed to have a slice.

When it was time for some lunch Kate and I sat out under the big spreading silk tree in the middle of our front lawn to enjoy a bit of cool from being in the hot kitchen baking and to taste the muffins warm from the oven.

Interestingly, Harry reminded us that the chair we were sitting on was made by Kate's mum when she was at high school and in a group of students in a YES team. (Young Enterprising Students.) They made the garden chairs and table (in front) using up-cycled fence strainers etc from local farms. It's stood the test of time for over twenty-two years but is in need of a little repair so it doesn't fall to bits when sat on in the not too distant future. Kate found it interesting that her mother had made the furniture.

Finally all those last minute things seemed to have been done and we had a light tea, settled into the evening with the two grandchildren putting up their stockings on Christmas Eve in the lounge.

As a child I had a large woolen sock of my fathers that was put at the end of the bed and some time during the night it would get filled. As a parent I couldn't understand how it was done without waking us up and it wasn't until even later that I was told the other sock in the pair that we had at the end of our beds was filled in another room and just placed in exchange of the empty one. No wonder I never really noticed it happening. - the magic of Christmas.

The children had pics in their new pajamas beside our tree. A tradition Theresa has started for her family. Of course Santa was left a large glass of milk and a Christmas mince pie which Kate got ready.

Keeping traditions that are special to you and making new ones of your own are important for memory making and building a strong family. The traditions and not the actually gifts etc are what make the special events in life, beautiful times.

Christmas Day dawns warm and fine and the children had unwrapped their stocking gifts before I rose!. We had breaky and after a family Christmas Church service we went out to Carl and Sarah's for a lovely time celebrating the birth of Jesus.

As usual Sarah had prepared a beautiful meal with some help from her siblings and then, as our family traditions are, the giving of gifts from under the tree was had after the lunch time dishes were done.

It was a special time as all our (Harry and mine) family were their except our youngest - but I believe that one day she too will join us on the occasional time that we can all gather together in this joyous time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ so long ago.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Planner (8)

Christmas Planner
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

If you have been following my Christmas Plan that started here, you will have a planner with

  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with added menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary needs 
  • Gift list 
  • Gift shopping list 
  • Book or list of Card recipients 
  • Christmas letter
  • Important dates

This is probably it for the planner, but you need to keep it with you when it comes to Christmas things so you can be sure you are doing/getting what you need and no fall off the wagon. You may even have other things you would like to add to it like favourite recipes, addresses etc.
Keep the planner when Christmas is over for next year so you can use it again and make new lists or  slightly change things you have done. I also like to refer to it after Christmas to note anything I didn't like or forgot to do/add
It's also good as it lets you know what you gave/did last Christmas.

So today we are ready to go and shop.
Now before you rush out the door you need to think of the Christmas song

"He's making a list
He's checking it twice...."

Check your gift list.
Have you got all the ideas sorted?
Are you sure it is what the person wants/needs? You don't want to find they have sold it on Trade Me on Boxing Day!
Check for sizes, colours, title etc.
Sort out what shops you will need to go to, to purchase them.
As I have mentioned before I save for this time but I also need to stick to that budget.
If you prefer to buy online make sure you are only buying what you want not being sucked in by something extra for a few more dollars. Also take into consideration the cost of packaging and courier fees.

You might also like to check your other purchase lists for stationary and non-perishable grocery items.

Now armed with the lists go out for the day and enjoy the shopping. Remember to stick to what you have planned and don't get sucked into all the other enticing displays and adverts to get you to buy more.

Make sure you treat yourself to a nice stop for a coffee or what ever you fancy during the day to reward you successful planning. This is fun.

And please remember this is the time for joy - the true meaning of Christmas is Love.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas Planner (7)

Christmas Planner
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

So now the fun begins.

By now I have written all my cards and posted them.
I am confident in all my lists (Cos' I love lists - they help me not to panic!)
I know what is and isn't' happening for the Christmas Celebrations (Unless something changes and you can't plan for that, but just learn how to adapt! - breathe)
So although some things and parties have happened I am now ready to run with it.

Depending on what day of the week it is I either get the tree up and decorated or at least get it started.

Note Milly under the tree.
I love the season of Christmas and so decorate a few places.
My sister just has a table setting of candles and a few Christmasy things on a platter type arrangement. It is a precious time for meditation of the meaning of Christmas as she is on her own and so doesn't go for all the tree and trimmings.

So what ever makes you feel happiest then do - and if others want something else get them to do it. Just don't complain if you suddenly decide you want it done a different way to what they do e.g. the way the tree is decorated.

I don't like to decorate to far in advance because then I get a bit 'tired' of it, but I do want it up for awhile before the task of taking it all down is upon me and I end up thinking "I've only just put it up!"

Hubby does the lights outside the house and this is actually best started at the end of November so you can get them all up and connected well before you actually want to have them turned on.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Christmas Planner (6)

Are you still with me?

The start of my planning can be found here with links to the next ones within the post and at the bottom of this one.
You will have a Christmas planner with
  • A calendar 
  • Planner page with menu 
  • Ideas sheet 
  • Stationary needs 
  • Gift list 
  • Gift shopping list 
  • Book or list of Card recipients 
  • Christmas letter 
This is the time I do the recheck of lists etc.

Is the gift list sorted?
Is the size, colour, style, brand written down?
Is the budget set and realistic to stick to?
Is the shopping list for non-perishables completed?

I then focus on the normal things of any month but especially for December/January. In New Zealand most of the country closes up from about 23rd December to after the first week of January as it is not only Christmas but the summer holiday season for most people. That means that business' can be closed and even doctors, dentists etc run on skeleton staff while others like ourselves have a break.
This means that the paying of bills or having appointments are virtually impossible. The computers in these places will spit out bills or cancel subscriptions automatically so you need to tend to what needs doing.

For this reason I work out what bills need paying until mid January and what income there will be to cover these and keep that separate. In New Zealand its school summer holidays and the new year will start at the end of January so that will mean buying uniforms stationary etc so this expense needs to kept in mind as well.

I will also check what medications maybe running low and make sure they are stocked up on as well as other things that may be hard to get or we may forget.
Even more so if we are gong to be away the last thing you want is to suddenly remember in the middle of your holiday that you forgot to cancel the paper, pay a bill, miss an appointment or find the warrant on your car ran out on the 3rd of January.

So yes I make another list for all those things that need checking. I have a standard list that I use each year and either cross off what is not needed this year or set a date for it to be sorted by.

Ideas are:
  • Doctor appointments
  • Prescriptions ordered
  • Hair appointment
  • Car warrant
  • Date leaving
  • Date returning
  • Mail collected
  • Paper sorted
  • Visitors arriving
  • Visitors leaving
  • Bills posted by
Once this check off list is sorted or as you do it write dates on the calendar in your Christmas planner. I also spend time finishing the Christmas cards especially the overseas ones and others even if they are not being posted right now.

This is also a great time to go over that list of ideas you had of the things you like (and don't) about Christmas. You have already made some changes so now it's time to look at what you haven't addressed and do so.
Remember this is about you and your family, not what others expect. You little family is making their own traditions. If it seems to hard then think about perhaps not dong it this year and making an agreement that you will next year but only if it is something that you feel is important to keep your relationship spared any harsh treatment.
E.g. If you are expected at Grandma's for afternoon tea every Christmas then you may have to say you will promise to do so every second year if it is not something the rest of your own little family want to do.
Just realize if you later feel like something was missing this Christmas and realize it was "Afternoon tea at Grandma's" you will have to make it part of your wish for your family traditions and talk it through with your own little family.

So you now have an 'Important Dates' list in your planner and your tasks are to check and complete lists ready to go shopping and cards ready for posting.

Christmas Planner
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Deviled Sausages

My hubby is not a great one for experimenting with new meal ideas or flavours so we tend to stick to the same sort of meals.

Sometimes when you want to cook up a meal a little different from the meat, potato and two vege you reach for a packet mix to add flavour and something more exciting for dinner. You might follow the recipe or maybe boost a simple meat meal to something more exciting in taste. As much as I have used these I’m never quite sure what is in the mixes so I like to make the dish from scratch using my own ingredients and adapting them to our tastes.

The deviled sausages mix I have used in the past is an easy one to copy and bring in the spices you like. The prepared tomato ‘n chilli mustard is from a jar from Nanric Road, a New Zealand company but any mustard would do. You can really add or omit to get the flavour you like.

Now I don’t really like the name of this dish, but at least we all know what I’m talking about!

1 Tbsp. of olive oil for frying
6 pork sausages
I onion thinly slices
1 clove garlic crushed
I apple halved, cored and sliced thinly
1 tsp chicken stock powder
½ cup tomato sauce
2 tsp Worchester sauce
1 tsp of prepared tomato ‘n chilli mustard
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp coriander
1 tsp curry
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 cup water
½ cup of corn
1 Tbsp. cornflour

Preheat oven to 180°C
Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the sausages until just turning brown on all sides.
Remove to a plate.
Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook until nearly transparent but not browned.
Add crushed garlic and apple and cook for a couple of minutes just to soften but not brown.
Mix together the stock, sauces, spices and brown sugar then gradually stir in the water.
Pour into pan and mix with the other ingredients for a couple of minutes.
Cut sausages – I like to cut them into four pieces but you can do thirds or just in half. (Or even keep them whole).
Place sausages into a casserole dish and add the mix from the pan stirring all gently and sprinkle corn over the top.
Cover and cook in oven for 30 minutes.
Mix the cornflour with a little water to make a smooth paste and stir into casserole.
Cook a further 10 minutes and then remove from oven.
Let stand for a few minutes just to cool a little and thicken.
Serve with steamed rice, boiled or mashed potatoes.
You could add/substitute peas or beans to the casserole

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Encouraging The Younger Women

I’ve been researching some things for a blog post about using a planner and so have been checking out a lot of my pinterest ‘pins’ to see what I can learn for what I want for myself, but also to help with what I wanted to share.
What I found in every link to a weblog of some sort was that the people seemed to all be female, but most of them were also young enough to be one of my daughters.

It surprised me a bit as I was thinking how come these young ladies know so much at 20 or 22 etc.

I realize that living in today’s world is so much faster and more up-to-the-mark than it was in my younger years. For one we didn’t have computers nor did we know anything about the World Wide Web. Cell phones were bricks if you had one and keeping up with everyone was either by a landline telephone or letter!

Now there are times when I wish we were still like that - a slower pace in life, less demands on our lives and the constant need to be up with the play with everything. Like a lot of us it would be nice if people looked up from their phones or away from their desks to talk face to face but really that’s a whole other issue.

Mind you I wouldn’t have this blog and you wouldn’t have come across it either!

I especially looked at the beautiful photos of all these young ladies and thought to myself ‘would people be put off by seeing an old lady posting on her blog?’ and, ‘how would she know what the younger generation are wanting or looking for?’

God spoke to me from a piece of scripture in Titus 2 about the older women teaching the younger ones

Titus 2:3-5 Tree of Life Version (TLV) 
3 Likewise, older women are to be sanctified in demeanor—not backbiting or enslaved to much wine. Let them be teachers of what is good, 4 so that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, managing their household, kind, submitted to their own husbands, so that God’s word may not be dishonored.

I saw then that it was me He was asking to step into the place of teaching younger women. A lot of them won’t have their mother or grandmother near or even with them anymore so they will look to someone like me knowing that I have been through the tough things and come out the other side so able to base my thoughts on genuine experiences.

A man was praying for me the other day and he said he saw a vision of my hand reaching up to a blind on a window and the sunlight was just slipping though the gap and on to my hand. He said this was God starting to use me in a new way to shine His light on others.

1 Timothy 5:2 The Passion Translation (TPT) 
Honor the older women as mothers, and the younger women, treat as your dear sisters with utmost purity.

As my life situation is changing I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life.
So with this in mind I was spurred on to actually post more here.