Stocking Stuffers?

Perhaps this roundup of products, gadgets, and past-times will include the perfect last minute Christmas gift for someone you know.  Perhaps not.  These are a few of my new favorite things, things that I wonder how I got along without for so long.  I’ll begin with my idea of the most giftable and include some links where you can order.


I know this is a great gift because several years ago I bought one for each of my family members.  They still mention how often they use their CRACK POT.  This little bowl has a nice handle, a rubber ring on the bottom to prevent sliding, and that indented edge where you crack your eggs.  It’s deep enough to beat lots of eggs in, and perfect for mixing up a cornbread mix or batch of pancakes.  It even goes in the dishwasher.


Why, oh why, did it take us so long to start measuring the internal temperature of our meat?!  Great gift for the one who grills, or broils, or roasts, etc.  I even used this when tempering dark chocolate yesterday.  As one who is pretty averse to under-cooked meat, I’ve eaten my share of dry burgers.  Now we prepare perfectly grilled chicken breasts and pork chops, and  juicy hamburgers that are not pink inside.


According to the box, “Quiddler, the Short Word Game, is a delightful challenge for rookies and wordsmiths alike.”  It’s much more than that to my husband and I.  I found this game that is for Ages 8 to adult and for 1-8 players at the Cleveland Clinic gift shop after Dave’s heart surgery.  We passed time by learning and playing Quiddler and still play several times a week 5 years later.  Begin making words with 3 cards with letters and progress up to a hand of 10 cards.  It’s fun!!! If you get the Deluxe version, an official Quiddler dictionary is included.


Another gift for people who use words, this is the children’s book that I wrote.  It’s full of rhymes and colorful photos of kids of different ages who learn that what we say is important.  The last page reads, “At home, at school, or with my friends, I want to be well-liked.  I win by using words that help.  They’re true, kind, and polite”.  I have paperback copies of this 20 page book for $15.  You can use the Contact tab to let me know if you’re interested.


If the person who does your laundry appreciates using natural methods, but, like me, doesn’t use a clothesline, he or she might love to find these in the stocking!  After using unscented dryer sheets forever, I discovered wool dryer balls and gave them a try.  I just bought this set from an Artfire shop and love the way our clothes come out of the dryer.  The balls bounce around with the load, absorbing moisture and preventing wrinkles.  I can’t believe how nice my clothing feels when it isn’t full of residue from dryer sheets.


Not everyone on your list needs one of these, but I can tell you that this little tool has been the solution to one of my laundry problems.  Our new washer is a large high efficiency top loader.  I am a small, short-armed woman who has strained my shoulder trying to retrieve those 3 socks that are clinging to the bottom edge of  the tub.  These silicone tongs from the kitchen store are perfect.

OK,  here’s where I move from legitimate Christmas gift ideas to a couple of products that have so improved my life that I just need to endorse them.  However, I have gifted these to  my mom, and I wouldn’t mind finding them in my stocking.  I don’t think my husband would either.  We both use Breathe Right strips every night.  We sleep better when we breathe better and there is less snoring.  Enough said.

Don’t put this in a Christmas stocking, but do get some for yourself if you have stubborn toenail fungus.  I had given up wearing open-toed sandals after losing most of the nail on my big toe.  I tried a few products and methods, but didn’t have any success until I found Funga Soap and just washed my feet with it in the shower.  My toe nail grew back nicely and I’m back in sandals.

Merry Christmas.



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Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares

What’s your greatest fear?   A survey circulating on Facebook asks this question.  Touched by the honest answers I’ve read, I decided to consider my own response.  I’m not tormented by aerophobia, acrophobia, or  arachniphobia (fear of flying, heights, spiders). I’m OK in small spaces and in the dark.  I’m far less afraid of public speaking than most people.  I’ll admit to being a little cynophobic, not wanting dogs to lick me, bite me or knock me down.

Despite four decades of driving without a ticket or accident (except for backing into a parked car in 1992 – fear of lying?), my heart pounds at the prospect of driving in a big city.  Maybe I could do it if it was necessary – maybe.  Currently my husband who likes to be behind the wheel enables me to stay in the passenger seat.  It is a little embarrassing to admit that while we were anticipating his heart surgery, my fear of metro area driving was right up there with my concern for him.   Nevertheless, I wouldn’t call Driving Phobia (no Greek word?!) my greatest fear.

Actually, its things that I have no control over that frighten me more.   At age 9, I learned about SIDS and feared my baby brother would die.  As a young mom, I feared that the loud, low-flying plane would crash into our house.  Hearing that a tire had flown off of a semi and caused a tragic accident made travel more ominous.  None of these freak events occurred, but we all know that bad things happen to all people.

I still remember the neighbor boy coming in my house to tell me that my pet cat, Blackie, was hit by a car.  I can still hear the voice of a dear friend on the phone saying that a classmate had been killed in a crash shortly after our graduation.  And I will never forget the knock on my dorm room door the day Mom came to tell me that Dad had passed from cancer.

So, what is my greatest fear?  I’ve dreaded the possibility that one of our sons could be involved in a tragic accident, and I have worried that it could happen while my husband is out of town working, leaving me to get there and deal with it alone.  That is one of the worst situations I can imagine.

But, you know, I don’t worry as much as I used to, and I can testify that Grace has brought me through many dangers, toils, and snares.  Not only that, but when I’m willing to cast my anxiety on God in thankful prayer, fear is replaced by peace – just like He promised (Philippians 4:6-8).  My biggest challenge may be to overcome the fear of losing the things that I’m so thankful for.  I need to remind myself that things of this life, while important, are temporary.  There is a place and time coming that will not include sadness, pain and death.

But, what if I am required to go through many years without the person who knows me intimately and loves me so well?  Actually, my Lord Jesus answered that question on November 17, 2011, after my husband came through emergency surgery.  That night, as I was thanking God, I asked him, “But what if I had lost him?”  The Lord said to me, “If it had gone the other way, he would be with me and I would still be with you.”  Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).  My peace of mind comes when I believe what God has said.


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