More Christmas from My House

Time to share more of my fun and wish you a Merry Ho Ho Christmas. We have to say that this time because we are featuring Santa. When I was 8 years old, I went show shopping with my grandmother, my mom’s mother, Miss Lottie. She was a gentle spirit and a much beloved 2nd grade teacher. Since it was during the holidays, the shoe store had a three and a half foot tall stuffed Santa that they were having a drawing for. Well I had to put in a ticket for it but I also put one in for my grandmother, my parents and probably other people. The week before Christmas, we were called and notified as winners of the Santa, still not sure who actually won it. And now 60 plus years later, I still have it and it comes out each year. But like most folks who reach our age, we don’t stand as tall as we once did. So I place him where his stature adds interest to Christmas. Here he is admiring the beautiful tree in the living room. This tree is a white light tree and most of the ornament are white.

Closeup of Santa with his two friends, Straw Dog and Straw Elephant, that each have their own tree. Both trees are live trees with battery operated lights.

This tree also has a lighted church and a country inn underneath. The angel for this tree is well over 20 years old but an elegant ceramic lady. I love angels and they stay on tops of the large shelves year around.

My favorite ornament for this tree I have had for a couple of years. While I did buy a couple of new ornaments for this tree this year, the lamb laying with down the lion is still a favorite. You can’t see the top of the ornament very well, but it is and angel and her wings taper down to form the sides of the ornament.

This last sharing from the living room I shared last year. It is the inside wreath for this door. The front door wreath that is outside has a Christmas tree inside of it. One day I am going to count just how many Christmas trees I have that light up, there’s lots.

This wreath shows the mood for the season, Joy. It was one of my fun crafts from two years ago.

Remember to share your joy and kindness this season in all that you do.

A Time of Preparation

Good afternoon friends. I hope this day finds you well. This is a time of year where we are scurrying about getting ready for Christmas. We are decorating our homes, shopping for gifts and trying to be our best selves. Sometimes that is a hard thing to do with the rushing about and chaos. We are preparing for one day of joy. But in all actually, there is a bigger picture.

There is a song we love to sing at Christmas called Joy to the World. I have heard debates off and on about this not really being a Christmas song. It was just released around Christmas time. While down in the latter verses of the song it talks of Him already here and ruling so its not really a song about his birth…but the first three lines of the song represents what we should be doing now, every day.

Joy to the world! The Lord is come
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare Him room

Joy, for He has come. Joy, for He is our Lord. Let the earth receive Him as King. Then the line to represent what we should be doing now…today. Prepare our hearts to give him room. We are in the season of Advent. I did not grow up knowing or celebrating Advent but as an adult, to me it is a very important time of preparation. Not only is it sharing with the ancient longings of Israel in waiting on the coming of the Messiah or the excitement of celebrating His birth but its preparing our hearts for His second coming…as our Lord and King.

I was given a wonderful little book called “The Gifts of Christmas”. Its a devotional book through the season of Advent and I want to share those scriptures with you over the next few weeks. For those who already celebrate Advent, I hope these scriptures bring you Joy, for those who do not celebrate Advent, I hope these scriptures and notes help you understand there is a bigger picture. Advent themes are based on four gifts from God – the gift of hope, the gift of love, the gift of joy and the gift of peace. This week starting on this past Sunday through Saturday is the gift of hope. Hope can be something we use flippantly or something to hold tightly to as our lives depend on it. I hope you understand the power hope can give you as I go through these scriptures.

Peter reminds us of the joys of Jesus birth, he also reminds us of the beauty of Him coming again.

Hope is key to our survival and when we lose hope we lose purpose. Hope is central to our faith and hope is central in waiting for the rest of the story – Jesus’s second coming.

Paul tells us in the book of Romans how his suffering produced perseverance, how the perseverance produced character and how that character gave him hope. It can do the same of us in our struggles.

Hope also has a byproduct – faith.

The gift of hope comes when we place our trust, by faith, in Jesus Christ…something we cant see. But this hope is not in something but in someone. It’s an assurance of the bigger picture of eternity. It’s a patient waiting and a patient hope in Jesus Christ no matter the season or the chaotic circumstance.

Sometimes when we seem to be low on hope, we can rejuvenate our hope in sharing God’s hope with others. Hold close to Romans 15:13, simply because of God’s love for you.

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Share that hope through kindness as you go through this day.

Always be Kind

Fandango’s Story Starter #22

Fandango’s story teaser today was too delicious to not participate. It could go in so many directions. Because it is the “season” for me, I chose to go there. Hope you enjoy.

The Garden Shed

Samantha leaned against her car and stared at her Grandpa’s house. The love and life that once oozed from this building brought life to any child; especially at this time of year, Christmas. She had not been back to visit the house since he passed five years ago. What would be the point. He was gone. He had turned the house over to the city to be used as a museum and library for children. Her brother Gerald was in charge and the place looked great. The large rolling lawn was decorated for the season and a smile creased her saddened face.

“Sure do miss you, Grandpa.”

“Samantha,” called a voice from the front porch.

“Hey, Gerald. Merry Christmas.”

“Its been awhile since you came by. You ought to come see the new children’s wing. It would have made Grandpa James proud.”

“Maybe later. I just came by to walk the grounds. Is the garden shed still in the back?”

“Yes. But it’s not used. We turned the large two car garage into the new garden center. Its where we have some planting seminars and during Christmas, we have crafts. I know it was special to you but too small for what we wanted to do. But it’s still intact. We air it out each spring and place fresh cut flowers on his desk for the spring tours of the gardens. Come by inside when you are done.”

As Samantha came around the side of the house, she saw the beautiful gardens. Christmas trees had been scattered about and were fully decorated. Behind them was the small but adequate garden shed. Her memories went back to the summers of laughing and playing in the dirt with Grandpa James. Such a magical time.

The windows of the shed were dusty and hard to see through so she opened the door to see in side. The door creaked a bit and drug its bottom across the wooden planked floor. She saw no sign of life in the room except the smell of her grandfather’s tobacco filled the room. He smoked a pipe with a very distinct brand and she loved smelling it as she snuggled close when small.

“How in the world can that fragrance still be so strong,” she mumbled as she walked over to his desk. Everything was exactly as he had left it. His ratty old note pad laid open with a pencil laying across it and someone had written on it. Her initial thought was anger that someone had used it but then she read the note and recognized his hand writing.”

“I will always be close to you.”

“Hey,” said Gerald as he entered the shed realizing he startled her. “Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. I just wanted you to know we have hot chocolate with peppermint sticks. I know its your favorite.”

“Oh, its okay. I was just down memory lane. When did you find his notepad?”

“His notepad? What are you talking about?”

“This. Do you not recognize it?”

“No, sorry. I don’t. As far as I know, there was nothing in here. Where was it?”

“Right here on his desk. Right where he always had it. Do you mind if I keep it?”

“No. Does it have anything in it?”

“Not really. How does his tobacco smell stay so strong when you air this out in the spring?”

“You smell his tobacco?”

“Don’t you?”

“No.”

“Interesting,” she said as she walked past him out of the shed.

“Hot Chocolate?” he asked closing the door behind him.

“Sure.”

Morning Encouragement

Good morning friends. I wanted to share with you a quick word on fighting the good fight. What does that mean…why do we have to even think about fighting? Because Life is hard, sometimes even on good days. Billy Graham’s message this morning was an encouragement to me and I hope it will be to you.

Remember to always walk with Christ, live for Christ, and to have one consuming passion—to please Him in all that we do. Then, whatever happens, we know that He has permitted it in order to teach us some priceless lesson and to perfect us for His service. He will enrich our circumstances, be they pleasant or disagreeable, by the fact of His presence with us. Billy Graham

We wonder why life seems to be so hard sometimes and its usually because we make it hard by forgetting His presence is always with us, strengthening us, loving us and sometimes carrying us.

Remember the footsteps poem from a few years back, even though we can’t see Him around us, even though we only see one set of footprints in the sand, it proves he is just carrying you. He will not leave you to carry the burden, the discouragement, or the fight alone.

Let Him drive the car for a while and enjoy the beauty out the window. I know that sounds like a strange analogy but it is a favorite of mine as I often want to be the one driving. But if we would move over and let Him drive, there may be a few less potholes or at least the ability to not bounce too hard when you hit them.

I encourage you today to feel His peace surround you and as always remember to be kind and reflect the beauty and joy of His presence in you.

It’s Beginning to Look…

I know it is not December yet…but it is after Thanksgiving, so I don’t feel bad about showing you my new Christmas toys. I promised I would share my pictures once everything was up but its been up since mid-November. I wanted to wait until after Thanksgiving to start sharing. I put it up early so that I can enjoy it. Since it takes me two plus week to get it all up, I put it up early so that I can enjoy it all of December… cuz it’s a lot.

Last year I started a tree for my bathroom. Whaat?? Yea. I kept seeing these cool nautical ornaments and my bathroom is beach themed…so, there you go. Yes, my daughter and I are addicted to interesting looking and different ornaments, so this was a natural direction for me to go. The tree (4 foot) sits on a small table inside my corner tub. A tub I can’t use because its too difficult to get in and out of.

The tree is white and the lights are blue and all ornaments except for a few small dark blue balls, are ocean or river themed. I love this picture because you see the tree, its reflection in the mirror and the reflection of the tree that is in the bedroom. We will do that tree one day soon.

I am not sure I really have a favorite ornament on this tree but I am partial to my manatees, because I am from the south and manatees are in the rivers of Florida. This ornament is ceramic and shows a mom and baby.

For the sharks and whales division, they are broken down by ceramic like the above manatee or glass with pearls added to represent bubbles in the water. Plus we girls like the bling anyway.

The mammals of the sea show the tight bond of love and caring between mother and child, as well as male to female pairs as most mate for life.

Sharks are most important to the ecosystem. Because of the limited understand by most people, they are doomed as evil beast instead of their own form of majestic beauty.

Stingrays are also in the shark/skate family and while they can be dangerous if you are not careful, they have a grace and beauty of their own. And of course we can’t leave out the turtles, amazing sea creatures.

I am still looking for other interesting creature’s of the sea, a sailfish would be fabulous but I have yet to see one. So I close with her close cousin in appearance, the Marlin. Then of course you have to have a lighthouse for your seascape. The lighthouse was originally part of my village but I felt it fit better here. I will share the village as well soon.

I hope you have enjoyed this fun traipse through the ocean of my bathroom. Remember all creations of the ocean have a beauty and purpose and most of them have an understand of family, love and kindness. So be kind in all you do to all kinds.

FOTD, November 29

I generally don’t have beautiful flower pictures this time of year, and these are in a vase, but they are filled with the color of fall and make my office look happy. Flowers make everything look better and happier.

I first thought the peach colored carnations clashed but the more I looked at them, they seemed to add a different look to the bouquet.

While the yellow mums up front are always a favorite, the multi-colored mums are bold and striking drawing you in to the full beauty of the mix.

The the golden Alyssum drooping from the sides ties them all together with fall colors of warmth and beauty.

Come join in with Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge and share the beauty you are seeing. Share the beauty of kindness where ever you go and its beauty will make you shine.

Backyard Acrobatics

I enjoy watching the antics of the birds and squirrels our my windows. It is amazing how animals can adapt to the humans who have invaded their areas. We could probably learn a thing or two from them.

Twice now I have had to call animal control to come get the ground hogs who are bound and determined to dig tunnels in my yard. Guess that is better that porcupines.

Then the squirrels became creative in getting to the suet feeder at the office. I later added a slinky to the post so they can’t climb up it. It a gentle and effective way to keep them off certain feeders. They have their own feeder further over.

Then the antics of the sparrows was amusing when the suet cake got to small. I would think eating from the side of the cage would be easier…no, he climbed down inside it where no one would bother him…smart bird.

The woodpeckers we are used to seeing hanging upside down, which is why I have the bottom feeders. But they like the regular ones better. The nuthatches like the bottom feeders but are very skittish of movement.

Guess its time to pull up the dried up sunflower. All the birds enjoyed eating the seeds from them. Well, I guess they should have, they planted them. Having nature come into your yard is a fun way to help you relax. You can actually learn a lot about the hierarchy of the different birds. Think of putting out a feeder, you would be amazed of who may come by.

And as always remember to be kind…to all kinds. All of nature understands kindness and are part of God’s creation plan too.

Reflections of Love, Loss and Encouragement

Good Saturday morning friends. If you celebrate Thanksgiving where you are, I hope It was a wonderful time of family and love. This past week we lost two women from our church family that were synonymous with their biblical names reflecting love, kindness and strength of character. I did not know Mary as well as Ruth but we as a church family will miss both ladies. Even in this last year as Ruth began to slow, her love of Jesus and people never slowed and the power of kindness radiated from her. Something we all should remember and try to copy. 

As we start into this holiday season, first with this past holiday of Thankfulness, we next go into a season of preparation. A time filled with hope, love, joy and peace. Another fierce encourager in our church family gave out a small devotional book to help us prepare for this season, the season of Advent. I realize not all churches celebrate Advent but I think we should all understand its purpose and decide individually whether or not to celebrate this beautiful season. I hope to shed some light by sharing this devotional with you, each week until Christmas, to help us focus on “the coming”. So many of us focus on the coming of Christmas that I think we forget to focus on the coming of Christ. The nation of Israel focused for centuries on the coming Messiah and now that he has come, we need to focus on His return so that not only are we celebrating His birth, but we are focusing on our preparedness for His return.

The circle of evergreen surrounding the candles of advent represents God’s never ending love for each of us. He came into this world to save us. The large white candle represents Christ, an ultimate gift of love from God surrounded by four other gifts from God to help us walk through this darkness.

As we prepare to walk through this season with these gifts from God, lets remember to share these gifts with those around us and to always be kind.

Always Be Kind

Giving Thanks

Here in the US, we are celebrating Thanksgiving. A day set aside to be thankful for all we have. The first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621, was a celebration of the harvest between the early Americans and the Indians. We celebrate it today with loud and busy families and way too much food.

As with all holidays, an element of sadness can occur when we focus too much on the physical aspects of our surroundings and not enough on “the heart of the matter”. Some families may have very little to share physically but love and kindness is a free component that carries more value that all the turkeys eaten on this day.

For all of us, let us remember to give thanks for the bounty of this day. And in all things be kind. If your bounty is very small, give thanks for what you do have and in all things be kind. Giving thanks is choice of the heart. We can look around us and be sad for the things we wish we had or we can praise God in all things, being thankful for what we do have. So I challenge you on this day of thanks to be Thankful for in all things and the world will suddenly begin to look much brighter.

May you have a blessed thankful day and as always remember to be kind in all things.

Wordle 527

Its fun when you spot a challenge you have never seen before by reading the post of people you do follow. Susi Bocks of I Write Her has encouraged me over the past couple of year with my meager attempts of writing. I am of the old adage that if you do use it you will lose it and the creative process, regardless of the genre, stimulates the brain and I want mine to stay stimulated so I play with writing. And she wrote a story here on Wordle 527.

Bwarren creates a fun challenge with The Sunday Whirl and Wordle 527 by giving you a list of words that you have to assimilate into a 100 word story. Join in with it and see how you can stimulate your brain. Today’s list is below.

Meredith looked down the stone path of the enchanted forest. She knew the legend of this forest but she had no clue of its truth. The icy wind blew making her breath hang in the heavily scented evergreen air. She knew few people dared to walk this path during this time of year but winter was the best time to spot this elusive bird. Sparks of anticipation spread up her spine as her courage began to brew. Stepping on the path her eyes caught sight of a huge feather lying along the paths edge. Did she dare go?

Hope you enjoyed my fun. Remember in all that you do, always be kind. It can make all of our stone paths a little smoother.

Plant seeds of Kindness