Monday, September 29, 2008

My Dining Room...

Good Morning! I thought I'd share some pictures of one of my favorite rooms in our house. I've always wanted a formal dining room...our house in Paterson had a dining room but it was open to the kitchen and I really didn't like sitting down to a nice meal while still being able to see the kitchen sink!

My blue and white coffee set and collection of White House ornaments that my parents give me every year...I love them so much I keep them up year round!




My sideboard with some of my collection of blue and white!

Close up!

And finally a close up of my favorite miniature tea set from my hubby!

I hope you've enjoyed my little tour! Most of the pieces I've collected over the years have been "hand-me-downs" from Vivian Hock and my mom and garage sale finds. On the back wall, next to the window, is a cross stitch sampler that my grandmother stitched that I had framed a few year ago. Enjoy your day!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Worship Song Sunday...

I love this song, however, this is the only video I could find on You Tube. It's not that great...but the song is Fabulous! Enjoy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scripture Saturday...

Isaiah 61:10-11

I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.


Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Saying Goodbye...

Today I'm off to Lake Wallkill to say goodbye to my parent's house. My mom finally sold the house that she and my father had since 1987. And while I'm happy the financial burden this house was on my mom for the past few months will be gone, I can't help but feel sad that I will never get to go into this house again.

My father loved Lake Wallkill. Phil and I purchased our first home here. I still love that little house up on Highpoint Road. This is where we brought home our two babies from the hospital. We spent so many happy hours down at the lake, walking around the lake, playing at the playground, but more importantly stopping in to see Oma and Opa daily.

One of my happiest memories took place during this time, fall...leaves. There were so many leaves to rake up in Northern New Jersey. I have a beautiful picture of my Olivia sitting in the middle of a pile of leaves. It seems life was much simpler back then, not so much rushing around. Where has the time gone? It seems one day they're barely walking and the next minute they're rushing out the door to catch the school bus.

My father was the one who wanted to move here close to my family, it's almost as if he knew he wouldn't be around much longer. I knew he was sad to leave Lake Wallkill and I knew he was really moving so my mom wouldn't have to move alone. So today will be a sad day for me, say a little prayer for me...I sure could use the peace of God to be with me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Very Interesting...

And somehow this is all the republicans fault??



From Ann Coulter's column today in Townhall.com:

Under Clinton, the entire federal government put massive pressure on banks to grant more mortgages to the poor and minorities. Clinton's secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's portfolio be made up of loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers by the year 2001.

Instead of looking at "outdated criteria," such as the mortgage applicant's credit history and ability to make a down payment, banks were encouraged to consider nontraditional measures of credit-worthiness, such as having a good jump shot or having a missing child named "Caylee."

Threatening lawsuits, Clinton's Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. That isn't a joke -- it's a fact.

When Democrats controlled both the executive and legislative branches, political correctness was given a veto over sound business practices.

In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration's affirmative action lending policies as one of the "hidden success stories" of the Clinton administration, saying that "black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded."

Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn't get out of their loans by selling their houses.

A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it's gone off.

In Bush's first year in office, the White House chief economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, warned that the government's "implicit subsidy" of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combined with loans to unqualified borrowers, was creating a huge risk for the entire financial system.

Rep. Barney Frank denounced Mankiw, saying he had no "concern about housing." How dare you oppose suicidal loans to people who can't repay them! The New York Times reported that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were "under heavy assault by the Republicans," but these entities still had "important political allies" in the Democrats.

Now, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars, middle-class taxpayers are going to be forced to bail out the Democrats' two most important constituent groups: rich Wall Street bankers and welfare recipients.

Political correctness had already ruined education, sports, science and entertainment. But it took a Democratic president with a Democratic congress for political correctness to wreck the financial industry.

Taxes, taxes, taxes...

Okay, so yesterday my husband was home. I was looking forward to spending the day with just him. The past few days my brother-in-law has been with us and I was feeling like a third wheel at times!

I asked my husband what he had planned for the day and he said, "We're taking care of our tax problem." Back in July we received a huge tax bill from the good old state of Pennsylvania...for earned income. It seems that PA has an earned income tax that is one percent of your total income for the year. Phil called the office when we received the bill and they suggested coming to the office to handle payment, which is difficult considering Phil's schedule.

Well, we never paid this tax...never knew anything about it...and neither did our accountant in NJ that we've used forever. I'm not talking about one year...we've been in PA for FIVE YEARS. The bill was a couple thousand dollars! Just think about the income that comes into your house yearly and figure out one percent of it, times five...that's quite a bit of money!

Phil collected all our taxes from the past five years and off we headed. I was not too happy about spending the morning in the tax office. Phil assured me we would be able to work out a payment plan and told me not to worry. I guess he forgot that "worry" can sometimes be my middle name.

The lady we worked with was wonderful. She was very understanding and realized this was an oversight. She started immediately going through our taxes for the past five years and noticed that Phil is on active duty. SOOOOOO...he only has to pay the one percent on a portion of his total earnings per year! And because he was in Iraq for part of 2006 and 2007, he's completely exempt those two years.

We were in the tax office for about an hour and we left paying just a couple hundred dollars, which included the one percent from my income also. Not too bad considering what we thought we originally owed. God is so good.

We then headed over to the Whitehall section of Allentown and had a delicious lunch at my new favorite restaurant...Panera Bread. We had a wonderful time sitting by the fireplace enjoying potato soup for me, French onion for Phil and a sandwich.

Don't worry...we're getting a new accountant this year!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Worship Song Sunday...

The piano playing on this video reminds me of how my brother use to play the piano when we were growing up. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Scripture Saturday...

Today I have two scriptures to share with you. There's a story, of course! When I was helping my father unpack and set up his study in the new house we came across a postcard that contained two scripture verses. I asked my father what the origins of the postcard were. He said that he had this postcard framed for many, many years in his office at Bethlehem, Syracuse and then finally Lake Wallkill. He told me he loved the two scripture verses and they meant a lot to him.

I, of course, couldn't read the scripture verses because they were in German. I asked my father to read them for me but, unfortunately, he couldn't. His eyesight was so poor that day. He told me to take the postcard home with me and put it someplace special and that when his eyes were feeling better he would come and read the scriptures for me.

Well, that day never came. My father had his accident a few days later and then died on May 19th. I placed the postcard on the windowsill above the kitchen sink, wishing I could figure out what the scripture verses were. I tried a few German to English websites in hopes of maybe figuring out a few words, but nothing worked.

Until...Cousin Ellie came for a visit. I asked her to please try and read the postcard so I could finally know the verses my father had with him these many years. It was very hard to do...even though Ellie is fluent in German, the postcard was written in old German script. With a little work below are the two verses that meant so much to my father and now to me. It's the last thing I have that my father gave me.

Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Psalms 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.


Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Quote of the Day...

"Actually, I like chemistry...it's easy."

That was what my Olivia said to me as she handed me her first graded test in a subject that I avoided in high school! She received a 96 on her first test a week ago. She came home last Friday with a 90 on her second test.

Let's just hope she doesn't start any experiments here at home!

Enjoy your day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cleaning Out...Organizing...

If you know me by now, you know how much I enjoy organizing and keeping things neat and orderly. If you were reading my blog back in June and saw our garage "makeover," you know how most everything in my house has a place.

Well I decided this morning to tackle our closet. I have been blessed to finally have a closet to hold all our clothes in...yes, that's right, I no longer have to switch my clothes around each season. I know some people still have to do this, my sister Liz for one, and I truly do feel your pain!

In our first house we had such tiny closets. I think back sometimes to how did I ever manage? But then I remember the constant packing up of seasonal clothes into storage boxes and putting them under the bed in our daughter Olivia's room.

I know that sounds weird, but, the house had these built in beds in her room that if you lift up the mattress there was all this storage underneath. I could not believe how many boxes of clothes I could fit under just one bed...and there were two in this room! So underneath the other bed went all the clothes that my sister-in-law gave me for Olivia to grow into.

Anyway, back to this morning...I decided our closet needed a good cleaning out. I had clothes in there that I hadn't worn in 5 years, so out they went. I looked over at my husband's clothes and realized he really doesn't have much, so I better leave them alone!

I then went to tackle the guest room closet. Remember, I said I've been blessed with closets in this house! That closet holds all our luggage neatly in one corner on the floor. The top shelf is filled with storage boxes of quilts, blankets and old baby clothes that I cannot bear to get rid of.

But hanging in this closet is, or should I say WAS, my husbands collection of Army uniforms. He probably had about a dozen uniforms of desert style and the old Army green uniforms. Plus half a dozen green dress shirts, his dress blue uniform, but NOT his dress green uniform. I need to check with him to see where that uniform is!

Anyway, I decided to pack all these uniforms up, except the dress blues into storage bins and put them downstairs in our storage room off the basement. They were taking up sooooo much room and he hasn't worn them in ages, well the desert ones were worn when he was in Iraq two years ago. But still, did I really need these uniforms taking up space?

I remember when we were first married he came into our marriage with about 10 uniform PANTS, not tops, just pants. We moved these pants around to three different apartments and three different houses, almost 18 years of marriage and he never wore them. He kept saying he would wear them for projects around the house, but then I would nicely remind him that he already HAD Army pants in a dresser drawer that he used for projects!

I just kept packing them up and moving them with us. Finally about 2 years ago, I had enough of these pants. I threw them out...only to realize later at our church's flea market how much I could have sold these pants for! A friend told me that I could have sold them for probably $10 EACH. Oh well...lesson learned...I'm not throwing out these uniforms just storing them in a much better place...the basement!

Yellow Belt...

As promised, here are pictures of Michael's yellow belt test in karate from Monday evening. He missed the original testing a few weeks ago because he was home sick with scarlet fever. He did very well!

Getting ready to break the board...

He did it...he made it look so easy!

That's two pieces!

Receiving his yellow belt from his instructors...

A very happy boy!

Michael broke the board so fast and without hestitation that I missed getting a picture. Michael was the first to do the test and the other kids had to try a few times to break the board. Michael just stepped right up to it and kicked away and it broke! Thanks for spending a few moments with a very proud mom!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

Jesus Is All the World to Me
Jesus is all the world to me, My life, my joy, my all;
He is my strength from day to day, Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go, No other one can cheer me so;
When I am sad, He makes me glad, He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, My friend in trials sore;
I go to Him for blessings and He gives them over and over.
He sends the sunshine and the rain, He sends the harvest's golden grain;
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain, He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, And true to Him I'll be;
Oh, how could I this friend deny, When He's so true to me?
Following Him I know I'm right, He watches over me day and night;
Following Him by day and night, He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me, I want no better friend;
I trust Him now, I'll trust Him when life's fleeting days shall end;
Beautiful life with such a friend, Beautiful life that has no end;
Eternal life, eternal joy, He's my friend.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where Have I Been?

It's been quite a few days since my last entry. I was able to get Worship Song Sunday out only because I had done it a few weeks ago. This weekend has been very trying for me. My husband had minor surgery on Friday to repair a hernia he developed.

The Army insisted on it being repaired since there's always the possibility of him being deployed again. With a hernia you have about 4 hours to seek medical attention in case of a rupture and if you're here in the States that's not a problem. But if you're overseas in the middle of a desert, well, the outcome is not too good!

My husband had to return to work this morning, even though the doctor wanted him home for a bit longer...so now I worry that he'll do too much and maybe hurt himself.

Being in the hospital reminded me too much of my dad. I really didn't want to go there...back to those memories...but they came flooding back. And other things happened this weekend that just really drained me. I really had no interest in being here...or reading other blogs. Which is really weird because I love my blog.

I'll leave you with a verse that helped me out a lot this morning. I know I didn't leave one for Saturday... 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Check back later in the week to see pictures of Michael's yellow belt test in karate!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Worship Song Sunday...

Two beautiful songs...I Need Thee and Through it All. How many of us can say that we truly need Jesus every hour and that through all of life's struggles we have come to depend upon Him? Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim through this barren land
I am weak, but Thou art mighty, Hold me with Thy powerful hand
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, Feed me till I want no more,
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain, Whence the healing stream doth flow
Let the fire and cloudy pillar, Lead me all my journey through
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer, Be Thou still my strength and shield,
Be Thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan, Bid my anxious fears subside,
Bear me through the swelling current, Land me safe on Canaan's side,
Songs of praises, songs of praises I will ever give to Thee,
I will ever give to Thee.
AMEN!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day...






Did you all have a nice holiday weekend? We did here at the Christensen home! We had 35 people over on Monday for a barbecue which turned out very nice. The weather was perfect, a little sunny towards late afternoon as the sun came around, but the Colonel came to the rescue and made a make-shift curtain to block out most of the sun.

On the menu was...ribs, flank steak, hot dogs, hamburgers, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, Chinese salad, tossed salad and even scallops. Now I don't eat fish, don't cook, don't like the smell of it, etc. But my hubby wanted some so we researched how best to cook them and they came out pretty good...so I'm told! We also had tons of snacks...the favorite was fried green beans!

Our friend Jonathan brought his guitar and we spent some time singing on the back porch. Phil brought home with him 3 pieces of plywood and set them up on top of our regular table we keep on the porch and a folding table and even two saw horses...doesn't sound too good?? Well, of course, I had to get some nice tablecloths out and we were able to sit all adults down this very long table that went from end of the porch to the other. I told Phil it would be perfect for Thanksgiving!

We really had a wonderful time and I hope you all were able to spend some time together with friends and family enjoying the last summer holiday of the year. I finally got around to taking some pictures of my mom's house...come back in a few days! Enjoy the pictures!