Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter Mantel

We Nova Scotians, like many other areas in the country, are experiencing a very uncharacteristically mild winter season.  We have had very little snow, and what comes down is usually gone in a few days.  We haven't even had a long stretch of freezing days.  There is a cold day and then it shoots up to +8.  I know some of you are laughing at our +8, but we do live in Nova Scotia...right?    +8 is balmy when the alternative is -20.  ;0)

I do enjoy our distinct four seasons.  However, I would never complain if the winter one was a tad shorter.  But those who enjoy winter sports such as:  skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and skating need a bit more snow and cold than we have had this year.   Even if it does not look like winter outside, it does inside.  When the Christmas decorations are packed away, then I get out the snowmen, snowflakes, skates, and sled decorations.  We will enjoy them until after Valentine's when I am ready to "hurry spring along".

I filled my jar lanterns about half full with Epsom Salts
 and placed a candle inside.
 See HERE for my post on ideas using Epsom Salts
 including the snowballs you see!

One of my many "flaky friends".

One kind word can warm three winter months.
- Japanese Proverb


Every Friday in February!
Come on over to Take Six
and warm up with some great
homemade soup recipes!

Wild Wednesday
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Potpourri Friday
Seasonal Sunday
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "When words fail us..."

Synagogue, Krakow, Poland
Last week we left Hannah praying to God at the Tabernacle, the Jewish house of worship. As a woman, she would be allowed to enter through the main gate into the Women’s Court, but no further. It was no doubt here that she found a quiet spot where she could bare her tormented soul to God. She had made a solemn vow to Him, pleading with God to give her a son. In return, she would give him back to serve the Lord in the temple for the rest of his life.
“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard.”[i] There have been many times in my life when my soul was in such anguish that all I could do was pray in silence. Often, only tears have been offered up when words were lost to me. It is in those times that I remember the comforting promise of Romans 8:26, “…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
Just last week a woman shared this with me, “I remember times when dealing with infertility that I felt I just couldn’t ‘pray about it’ anymore. I had taken it to the Lord and prayed about it so much…I felt guilty about those feelings. But many years later I was sharing this in a Bible study and a dear lady said to me, ‘That is o.k. You just let the Holy Spirit and other people intercede on your behalf.’ What great relief and peace that gave to me!”
Hannah needed someone to come alongside her and offer that same comfort and reassurance. In her deep grief and loneliness of spirit, she was unaware that someone else had been watching (besides God). Sitting near the temple doorpost was Eli, the priest. Now, at first, Eli mistakenly thought Hannah’s actions indicated she was intoxicated (which was not uncommon during the sacrificial feasts, even for a woman) and he scolded her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.”[ii]

How many times am I too quick to judge or accuse a person before taking time to listen to their story? When do I need to be more sensitive and put on my “listening ears”, as we often instruct our children and grandchildren to do?

Quick to vindicate herself, Hannah replied she had not been drinking, but was pouring out her anguish and grief to the Lord.

Point Pleasant Park, Halifax
Can’t you imagine the sudden change in Eli’s demeanor as he recognized his error in interpreting the situation? “Go in peace,” he answered, “and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”[iii] I don’t need to know all the details of another person’s circumstances and pain to come alongside them and help bear the heavy burden. Sometimes, the only thing this person needs to know is that I am there for her/him, that I care, and that I am willing to intercede on their behalf, even if the only way I can do that is through prayer (which is really the best way).
I love what happened next! As soon as Hannah had received Eli’s blessing and words of encouragement, “she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.”[iv] Her deep sorrow and pain had been lifted because someone cared enough to listen and share her heavy load of grief.

While listening on Wednesday to the DVD portion of our Beth Moore study on the book of James, she shared that often when we are going through a time of anguish, God brings along a wonderful source of joy (either through a person or circumstance) and replaces the anguish with joy.[v]

That’s exactly what God did for Hannah. Not only did He provide someone to encourage her, but He blessed her with what she had asked for – a son! “She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’”.[vi]

Not always has God give me exactly what I asked for, but He has always been faithful in providing what is best for me and what will lead me on a path to greater dependence on Him a and completeness in Christ. Praise His name!
As I’ve been writing this, a Gospel song has been singing in my head, “Tears are a language God understands” by Gordon Jensen. If you don’t know it, or want to review the words, follow the link below. It will bless your heart as it does mine![vii]

Until next Sunday,

[i] I Samuel 1:13
[ii] I Samuel 1:1
[iii] I Samuel 1:17
[iv] I Samuel 1:18
[v] Beth Moore, Mercy Triumphs, LifeWay Press, 2011, p. 69
[vi] I Samuel 1:20
[vii] http://www.gospelsonglyrics.org/songs/tears_are_a_language_god_understands.html

Seasonal Sunday
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Every Friday in February!
Come on over to Take Six
and warm up with some great
homemade soup recipes!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

All Bundled Up

All over Blog land, you can see some great examples of vases and glass containers of all kinds, "bundled up" in sweaters.  I think they are so cozy looking and perfect for winter time.  I've been pinning examples for inspiration and finally pulled out the supplies recently to complete them.  

1 sweater
1 old rose bowl
1 new Dollarama vase
glue gun
hemp string

For the rose bowl, I slid one of the sleeves on, and ran a bead of hot glue around the base of the bowl.  Then I cut the leftover fabric off flush with the bottom of the bowl.  

For the tall vase, I had to "take in" the arm some, as it was not the same width all the way up, and was too big for the vase.  I cut the excess off and used my glue gun to "sew up" the side of the arm.  I slid it on the tall vase, turned down the top edge, and tied on some hemp string!

It was as easy as that.  I do highly recommend, if you decide to use buttons, that you stitch the buttons on BEFORE you glue the bottom of the sleeve to the container...  ;0)

The body of the sweater is perfect for covering a cushion.  That is next on my list!

Winter, a lingering season,
 is a time to gather golden moments,
embark upon a sentimental journey,
 and enjoy every idle hour.
-John Boswell

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Jeers and tears..."

When we shared together last week, we touched on an issue which seems to affect every woman’s life at some moment or another and to various extents – insecurity. If you missed that article, I encourage you to read it first, and the comments that followed, as the next few weeks will follow its theme. Thank you to those who share their insights and struggles – you encourage my heart and we learn from each other.

One story in the Bible that I have always loved and speaks straight to the heart of this topic is found in the first two chapters of I Samuel. If ever there was a woman who had every reason to feel insecure it was Hannah. She was the first wife of Elkanah and Peninnah was his second wife. Even though this arrangement was common in that culture and time, and still is in many countries and religious groups, it led to a rivalry between these two women. What was the root cause of this conflict? Hannah was unable to have children - she was barren. My heart goes out to women who struggle with this heart-wrenching pain. I have known some of these precious individuals personally and it is a very difficult experience to endure.

In Hannah’s culture and time being barren was a source of humiliation, embarrassment, and disgrace. Bringing a son into this world to carry on the family name was of great importance in the Jewish culture. Today it is still of utmost concern to many women in their particular culture, religious circles, or family group. It led Hannah to feel “downhearted”, “in bitterness of soul”, in “misery”, “deeply troubled”, in “anguish and grief” (NIV). Other versions use words such as “sorrowful spirit”, “distress of soul”, “affliction” (Amplified) and “discouraged” (NLT).

To further complicate matters, wife number two made a special point of taunting Hannah until she was reduced to tears. Since Peninnah had children already, she added insult to injury and basically harassed Hannah. There is a possibility that Peninnah was very jealous of Hannah as we observe from this scripture passage that Elkanah’s love for Hannah was no secret. When they travelled annually to Shiloh for the sacrifices, he would give Hannah a double portion of the sacrificial meal because he loved her. No mention is made of his love for Peninnah. He was also very attentive to Hannah and her sorrow, weeping, and refusal to eat disturbed him greatly. He said to her, “Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” (v.8) Somehow, I don’t think this really comforted Hannah too much! Later on, we discover that Elkanah was very supportive and affirmed a crucial decision Hannah made. Even if Hannah felt the security of her husband’s love, which we can only assume, it still was not enough for her. I’m thinking she probably felt a great degree of unworthiness and lack of self-esteem due to her childlessness.

While some women identify personally with Hannah’s pain of being without children, others are able to relate to her struggles from a different perspective. Perhaps you feel unworthy because you bear the brunt of criticism, accusations, or other unkind words. Maybe you share the emptiness of unfulfilled dreams or expectations. Still others may long for a soul mate and wonder why God has not brought that special person into your life. I believe we can all find ourselves in Hannah’s experience on some level and feel some of her pain and insecurity.

So, how did Hannah respond to all this? It is clear she had a very strong faith in God. Through her tears and anguish, she prayed to the Lord, pouring out her heart and soul to Him. I love her prayer which was a vow to her God,

“O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”  (v.11) This latter statement refers to the Nazarite vow found in Numbers 6:5.

What impresses me most about this dear woman is her humility. She refers to herself four times in this first chapter as a “servant” or “handmaiden”. Her prayers sound very much like those of the virgin Mary in Luke 1. In James 4:10 we read, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Since our time is gone for today, we will look next week at how God indeed lifted Hannah up and restored her feelings of self-worth and security. May you find comfort this week from the Lord Almighty!

Until next Sunday,


P.S. My husband’s above pictures at a butterfly garden in British Columbia, Canada, I think reflect the diversity, beauty, and uniqueness with which God has created each woman. We are deeply loved and cherished by Him!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter White

I have been looking forward to this tablescape.  It has been simmering in the recesses of my brain for quite awhile.  Finally this week, with Christmas all packed away and winter trying it's best to visit,  I let the creative juices flow!  Oh goodness, it was fun!!


I started by spreading out the beautiful white chenille bedspread, that my cousin, Janice, gave me.  It reminds me of freshly fallen snow.


Then I placed the gorgeous silver place mat that I treated myself to for my birthday.  ;0)  They were expensive so I could never imagine buying enough to use at each place setting.  One was perfect to use to anchor a centerpiece.  I know I will get lots of use out of it.

Next...I built my snowmen!


Several months ago, I pinned a picture on Pinterest of a winter card.  The front of the card had a snowman on it.  It looked something like this.  It was three white paper circles laying on top of each other.  Of course, since I enjoy tablescaping, I immediately thought of round plates when I saw the three different sized paper circles.



I knew I wanted everything to be white and silver.  However once I decided on this imitation enamel jug for the flowers, black seemed to be the perfect accent.


"Snowmen are the closest thing to a perfect man- they're cute, they're well-rounded, and they know what to do with a broom!"  ~ Unknown

Edited to say: I just found out that today (Jan. 18) is World Day of the Snowman!!  Perfect timing!!!!


You do not have to spend a lot of money on flowers to have a pretty centerpiece.  Two little bundles of grocery store carnations.  The stemware was a bridal shower gift almost 27 years ago.  Does the ribbon tied on the stem remind you of anything?


A scarf tied around the neck of a snowman??



Each place setting has their own Epsom Salt candle holder.  They are so pretty in the dark.  Learn how to make them, as well as the Epsom Salt snowflakes in the next picture, and the snowballs in the centerpiece HERE.


My new white nesting bowls, from Nicole for Christmas.


Silver snowflake tree ornaments, that I bought on clearance last January, decorate each place setting.



Purify me from my sins,
and I will be clean;
wash me,
and I will be whiter than snow.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Great News!

We are excited to share some great news from Blogger.  Blogger is the site that hosts our blog, and many other blogs out there in Blogland.  From time to time they will publish a survey in an effort to continually improve the blogging experience for us bloggers.  A very popular request from bloggers has been an improved commenting system.  Well this month, that request became a reality.

So you have some great commenting options on blogs that are using this new feature.  The feature is an option to bloggers.  We, @ Take Six love it, and have set up our blog so you can take full advantage of this feature.  In the second last line of the post in the above picture, it reads in blue "9 Your feedback makes our day".  This means 9 people have already commented on this post.  You are the 10th person, by clicking on those words.

This screen shot shows the first four comments on this post.  Below each comment is the word "Reply" in blue.  By clicking on that word you can reply to that particular comment.  Maybe that person has asked a question, or for some feedback.  Please respond if you are able to help.  If you ask us a question, please come back for the answer.  We read every comment, and will reply in a timely fashion.  Our goal is a feeling of community here at Take Six, and this feature adds greatly to that goal!

In this screen shot you can see that I have commented on Gwyneth's comment.  Then Lisa has commented on mine, and I commented one last time.  (Someone had to set her straight, that a host does NOT win the prize!!)  ;0)  You will also see the word "Delete" beside each comment and response.  That is only because it is a screen shot of my computer screen.  Only a blog host could ever delete a comment.  Readers are not able to delete comments from other readers.  You would, however, be able to delete any of your own comments.  

Back to screen shot 1 again for a second.  We want to share our creative ideas, yummy recipes, and inspirational words with everyone.  You can help us with this.  Right beside the words "9 Your feedback makes our day!" there are 5 little boxes.  If you read a post and think of someone you know would enjoy reading this you can email it to them.  You would click on the first box to email it.  The second box is if you wanted to blog it yourself.  The third box is for all you Twitter Tweeters! Then there is the box to post it directly to your FB wall.  The last box is for those who use Google +.  We love to have you visit.  It is exciting for us to know that people enjoy our posts by leaving a comment, and we hope you will spread our posts in whatever way you are used to using!  

Thank you friends!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Facebook Fans Draw Winner!!!!

The Winner
of our FB Fans Draw is...

Pattie Tierney!!

Pattie has the yummiest blog

where she features delicious recipes.
You have got to visit her!

Congratulations,Pattie!  Please email me the address you would
like your prize to be mailed to!

Thank you all, for being a "fan" of Take Six!


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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Comparisons..."

This week I was challenged with a question that arose during my study of the book of James in the Bible. Our church’s women’s ministry just began the new Beth Moore series on this book and she asked something that really made me stop and think.

As I explored the relationship between James and his half-brother, Jesus, as well as the interactions John had with the apostles Paul and Peter, Beth asked us to consider how we might be tempted to compare ourselves to other people and be ensnared by this. I took the time to really meditate afresh on this issue personally. What I discovered was revealing and helpful to me. It also caused me to wonder how other women would answer this question. So, I asked some! I appreciate their willingness to tell me their stories and insights with such honesty and transparency. With their permission, and respecting their anonymity, I will share some of their wisdom with you over the coming weeks.

Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Through my conversations and emails with women, there is a common thread that seems to weave its way through our varied circumstances and life issues, especially when it concerns the tendency to compare ourselves with someone or something else. One woman shared how she often has to pray and study extra hard to grasp a passage of scripture and at times she feels unprepared when it appears that other leaders have it all together. Another feels uncomfortable with the exuberant and enthusiastic responses of some women who are so hyped up about what they are doing – it causes her to wonder if her own steadfast and quieter way of expressing her faith is as significant. One lady finds she is always comparing herself physically to others because she has been overweight for many years. A young woman shared that other people’s expectations of her are a constant struggle and that as a young teen she felt a need to keep up with the status quo. One more told how she used to compare herself to other women either because they weren’t as busy as she was or she felt the need to keep up with other ones. Personally, I often desire I could be like the person who always seems to know the right words to say at just the right time. Why do I usually need time for reflection before I chide myself with, “That’s what I should have said! Why didn’t I think of it then?”

The common thread expressed by each of these women was insecurity. References were made to their feelings of unworthiness, lack of self-confidence, doubts, and inadequacies and most used the word “insecurity”.  

Another insight that these women shared, and others with whom I have interacted in the past, is the need for us to see ourselves as God views us. Here are a few of their comments:

Handprints in the snow
“I focus on what I know in my heart - that each one of us has been blessed with special and unique gifts and skills.”

“God showed me that I should only be doing what He was asking me to do and what He had specifically designed me to do. Everything else was a distraction and an idol, getting in the way of my worship through service.”

“I started really seeking God and I think the major thing he taught me at that age was to be uniquely me and to celebrate it. It is me, and I hope God uses every part of me as I offer myself to Him every day.”

“I know in Whom I have put my trust.”

For some time now, I’ve wanted to peer into the lives of several women in the Bible, not for the sake of comparing myself with them, but to learn from them and see how their experiences can enrich my own. So, for the next few weeks this is what God has laid on my heart. I hope you will feel free to pass along your insights as well so we can encourage one another. I value your input!

Point Pleasant Park, Halifax
Isaiah 12 :2 says, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”

Until next Sunday,


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Thursday, January 12, 2012


Before we start I just want to remind you about our FB fans draw.  Go HERE for all the info!  We will draw on Monday the 16th!  "Like" us on FB by clicking the "like" button in the top right corner of the blog.  You will automatically be entered into the draw!!  


Granola is such a filling, healthy breakfast or addition to a mid morning snack.   When you make your own, you have control over the ingredients.  I have a severe nut allergy so that is the best option for me.   This morning I got out my mixing bowl and began measuring out ingredients.

Take Six Granola

4C rolled oats
1 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 C wheat germ
1 C chopped unsalted nuts (walnuts, almonds, or pecans)
1 C sunflower seeds
1 C soy nuts
1/2 C sesame seeds
1/2 C natural bran
1/2 C cooking oil
1/2 C honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C raisins

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, combine oil and honey.  Cook over low heat, stirring until honey melts and mixture is warm, about 5 minutes.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour oil mixture over dry ingredients, stirring to blend well.  Spread mixture on two baking sheets.  Bake in 350 oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  Stir occasionally.  Let cool completely, stir in raisins.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 12 C.

It smells so good!  I, of course, left out the nuts.  I added pumpkin seeds in their place.  I didn't have enough raisins, so I added some dried cranberries as well.  You can add or subtract ingredients to suit yourself, and your family.  

My hubby does not like yogurt.  I told him I was going to give him some with granola on it to try.  He was not excited, but tried it.  This is what I gave him.

Sugar free Vanilla Yogurt
Fresh blueberries and raspberries

Tanya:  "Well, Hon, what do you think?
Hubby:  "It's really not bad at all...as much a I hate to admit it!"



There are several ways you can share this recipe with your friends at the bottom of this post.  They will love you for it!

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Snow

We had a little snow this past week.
It was so very beautiful,
and fell so very gently.
It was the softest, fluffiest snow. 

I took a couple pictures.

These pictures remind me of "Winter Snow,"
a song on Chris Tomlin's CD.
Written by Audrey Assad.
It speaks of the "quiet, soft, and slow" way
our Saviour entered the world. 
I love it!

Have a listen.



Our FB Fans draw is still going on!  Don't miss out!  See it HERE!

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Let it snow..."

Hubby's picture at the waterfall near home
I love snow! Now, I realize many people don’t share my sentiments and are less than enthusiastic about seeing the white stuff while others of my readers may never even have seen snow except in pictures or movies. Back in 1983, I was attending the Child Evangelism Fellowship training institute in Switzerland and one of my roommates from Kenya had never seen snow. What fun it was to introduce her to the first snowfall and see the delight on her face as she made her first snowball! My husband doesn’t really share my passion for snow, although he loves to photograph it, and pushing a shovel or snow blower around to clear the driveway and steps is not his favourite pastime, to say the least!

My miniature planter trees
So far this winter, we’ve only seen three snowfalls amounting to 5-17 centimetres (2-7 inches) each time – enough to make everything look pretty and festive for Christmas and the New Year. The latest was on Thursday, but like many Halifax winters, today (Saturday) is milder and showery so I fear the snow will soon disappear. Last night I asked my hubby to take pictures of the snow on my miniature planter trees as they looked so pretty with the Christmas lights. Today I will be removing all but the white lights and I usually leave the trees there until spring when it is time to replace them with some real plants. I’ll do the same with the park bench tree and leave the snowman lights on for a few weeks yet.

A few of my snowman ornaments

Inside, I have so many snowman ornaments and winter decorations which I love to leave up until I get tired of winter. Now that I’m beginning to put away the Christmas decorations it looks so bare; keeping the snowman theme going helps to keep things appealing and comforting through the long winter months. Even my Christmas village stays, although it is given a new home on the shelves of our entertainment stand. Some people have commented they like it even better there than on the tabletop setting.

Our backyard

Freshly fallen snow has such beauty! I love to see the trees and bushes laden with snow, their branches bent over to caress the ground. It always amazes me how those same trees and bushes bounce right back once the snow melts. A few nights ago I happened to glance outside my bedroom window after turning out the light and the moon was casting the most beautiful shadows on the snow from the trees lining our backyard! I just stood there and marveled at the enchanting silhouette it created. It made me think of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Yesterday, I noticed deer tracks in the snow between our house and the neighbor’s. We live in a heavily populated subdivision, but the deer which live in the woods at the top of the hill continue to explore the community in search of food (much to the chagrin of gardeners in the warmer months!). Last night around 10 PM, I opened the blinds on our dining room window to remove decorations and a young buck with foot-long antlers walked right by me not four feet away! As I called to my husband to come quickly and see, the deer turned and looked straight at me for a few seconds before quietly striding across our lawn and street disappearing between our neighbor’s houses on the other side. I’m always awestruck by the gentle beauty of these magnificent creatures. It brings to mind the verse, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1) If only I was so persistent in searching out the spiritual food that is always plentiful and available in the storehouse of God’s Word!
Taken on back deck 2011

When I see those fluffy flakes drifting earthward and covering the world like a wooly blanket, it is hard to imagine anything more spotless, white, and unspoiled. However, there is something that surpasses this illusion of purity. We read in Psalm 51 King David’s prayer of confession and heartfelt petition for God’s forgiveness, “…wash me and I will be whiter than snow…Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (verses 7, 9, 10). I thank God that He does the same for you and me when we come before Him in humility and repentance!

Until next Sunday,


Welcome, friends, to our front porch!

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