CFFC: Holiday Colors

Cee reminds us to share our holiday colors. I do love all holidays…but Christmas is a favorite due to my love of unique Christmas ornaments. I love their colors, their shapes and their meanings. Christmas is a time where we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and so many of my ornaments and d√©cor follow along that theme. Except for the village. I have a fifty plus piece village that goes up in November when the weather turns cold. While there are many Christmas components to it, this year we added more winter components as in a mountain and ski slope.

You can see the full village takes up two tables, well a desk and a table, plus the cathedral is on a shelf further over. The majority of these plaster buildings, I painted as a summer project in 2000 and a few others have been bought over the years. This year we expanded the “country” by adding the mountain and ski slope.

And of course any good snow covered mountain needs an abdominal snowman…thanks to the Rudolph character Bumble.

But I must close with sharing the beauty of a new addition. My daughter knows my love for angels and got me this beautiful piece. At night, it’s lights glow, making it even more beautiful.

So regardless of the holiday you may celebrate this time of year, I remind you to do it with love and kindness. Those aspects of any holiday make the memories last longer, creating smiles and kindness that can carry you for the rest of the year.

Always Be Kind

There’s Something Calming About a Fireplace

Being originally from south Georgia, I tend to not be a fan of winter. But I moved this way because I was tired of the heat. We are never really satisfied with all aspects of weather. But during the winter, there is something peaceful about watching the fire in the fireplace, especially during Christmas.

If you are in your winter season, may you feel the warmth of life around you and remember to share that warmth in kindness.

Always be kind

Christmas Songs

I have always wondered what in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge sitting up in pear tree have to do with Christmas?

I saw this on Facebook and though it interesting. Not sure of its validity but felt it worth sharing.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-

-Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-Ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.

-Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

So there is your history for today. I found it interesting and enlightening and now understand how that strange song became a Christmas Carol. Share this with others as you wish and have a very Merry Christmas.

And as always, remember the beauty and power of kindness and share it often.

New Tree

Those of you who have read me over the last few years know that I go a little “Griswold” at Christmas. Because of a modification to my Christmas village this year, I had to move my train set and railroad station. So where…where do we put it??ūü§Ē I know, I will go by to childhood years and put it under the tree. Okay, which tree?ūü§Ē The living room tree and the dining room tree are too formal…

the ocean tree is not thematically correct…

and there is no room under the bedroom tree because of the large 4 foot stuffed Santa Claus…plus Daisy has issues with moving things.

That leaves me with only one option…buy a new tree…lol. And since it is going in the sunroom with the other outdoor themed decorations, lets make it an outdoor tree…so here we have the bird tree featuring many owls. And below we have the working train carrying its many imaginary visitors home for Christmas.

So as you enjoy the fun parts of Christmas, remember the heart of and why we do Christmas. God sent us a marvelous gift that came to give us life and to show us His power love that is to be shared with all of creation. Merry Christmas and remember to always be kind.

Always Be Kind

Invisible Love

Hello…remember me?? A person of a certain age…my certain age…should not be so busy that they can’t even do the small simple things they enjoy doing. But alas, that is where we have been for the last six months. But now, I can sit and do nothing…or the small things I enjoy doing. My Christmas decorations of course have been up since mid November so now its just a few presents that need wrapping. Whew!!

The Christmas season, although busy, is where we seem to share the most kindness to those around us and sometimes we focus this kindness on those less fortunate. The Covid years took their toll on all of us – physically, emotionally and financially. And some of those effects are still lingering creating uncertainty. So I want to share a thought from my morning devotion that kind of hit home for me concerning the true purpose for this season…or any season.

Why do we celebrate this season….I think the most trustworthy answer in all categories is...LOVE.

I recently saw a picture on facebook showing pictures of movie portrayals of Mary with baby Jesus next to a picture of Mary crying over the body of Jesus after he was crucified…both pictures reflecting overwhelming gifts of LOVE. God’s gift of baby Jesus for his love of mankind and then Jesus’ sacrificial gift of his life for mankind’s salvation. And lets not forget Mary’s sacrificial gift of raising Jesus, knowing who he was and what his mission was – to save mankind. Colossians reminds us of the visible image and invisible image of God.

Jesus…the visible image of God’s invisible image. How many times do we say – I won’t believe it until I see it. Even the disciple Thomas would not believe in the resurrection until he saw the holes in Jesus’ hands. And modern man is having a very hard time in believing in a God they can’t see. But I challenge you to look around at the beauty of creation, not just the nature side – which is amazing – but the human side as well. While man can sometimes be persnickety, man can also show a beauty and power through kindness and love towards others that can make us see the beauty and love of our invisible God.

16¬†For in him all things were created:¬†things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through him and for him.

The fact that even in this chaotic world we have the ability to show this love and kindness is proof that the invisible God is still here. There will be a day when He will leave and when he leaves, all the love and kindness will leave as well. It won’t be pretty.

So share this wonderful season of love – not just now at Christmas but make every day Christmas by reflecting the love we have been shown by our invisible God and His visible Son…and always be kind.

Christmas Eve Encouragement

Tonight is a night we focus on the memory of Christ’s birth, a quiet joyful night usually with candlelight. The candlelight represents His light coming into the world and as we share the flame from candle to candle, it shows how we should share His light from person to person.

Christmas means that God is interested in the affairs of people, that God loves us so much that He was willing to give His Son. Billy Graham

In my Christmas village I have an observatory and it reminds me we should always remember to look for His star, His light, as it shines on us and the rest of the world.

The Hope Observatory, may we all feel the hope of His light

I wish you all the very best Christmas. If this is a joyous time for you and your family, I hope it continues to shine brightly. If this time of year is sad for you, I hope the light of Christ finds you so that you understand just how much you are loved. He came for all of us to find His love and peace.

Merry Christmas

The Gift of Joy

Good morning friends. I come¬†to you this morning to explore some more through¬†the Advent devotional book “The Gifts of Christmas”.¬† This week we are celebrating the beauty and¬†power of Joy.¬† The candle we light is pink because this color represents joy. This candle is meant to help us enjoy the remembrance of Jesus’ birth. This candle is also called the Shepherd’s Candle as it represents the joy of the shepherds.¬†

I can not imagine how the shepherds felt when all of a sudden the sky erupted with angels, but they told them not to be afraid. The gift of joy that had been promised of old had now been born.  It is a gift of caring love and of strength.

And while this world around us can be quite scary, we have an inner joy that is stronger than any fear through Jesus our King.  The Wiseman from foreign lands had studied the stars for years and knew of the prophecies. They felt a powerful joy the star appeared and went to seek it out.

As our pastor explained to us during Sunday’s sermon, joy is not a feeling, it’s a choice. Happiness is a feeling that¬†can come from joy but if circumstances are dire, you can still have joy, it is a gift from¬†God that comes from within.¬†

There are many scriptures concerning joy, so it is a very important gift for us to embrace and hold tightly to.  The psalmists remind us to be glad in the joy that has been bestowed on us.

May you feel the Joy of the Lord in all that you encounter. Have a blessed weekend and remember through this season of joy to always be kind.

Always Be Kind

2021 Holiday Doors

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature, hosted by No facilities, allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

His post this week of Ginger bread houses inspired me to show some favorite doors from the village I painted with a friend way back in 2000. We wanted to have a small village for Christmas but could not quit finding cute houses. So now 48 houses later, I have my village. The village gets put out every year. We won’t talk about the 10 I gave away as Christmas gifts. Wish I still had them. But alas it is what it is. The first pictures are a few of the ones I painted that have more interesting door features.

The next set of pictures are from a new village I started this year. These structures are only 3 inches high against those above that are 5 inches or higher. I call this little village the Candy Cane Village. They feature Mr. & Mrs. Claus and I did not make these. They are actually supposed to be ornaments, except for the Mr. & Mrs. They were my mom’s.

If you enjoyed these, I will post more village pieces this weekend. Have a great end to your week and remember to always be kind. It shows the sweeter side of you.

The Fun Side of Christmas

Good morning friends. So far I have shared my living room tree, more on the elegant side; and my bathroom tree, the down under tree. Today I am sharing my bedroom tree, the kitchen tree and the woodland animals tree. Its the fun side of Christmas or at least my quirky side.

My bedroom tree is the more personal tree. It has the ornament that my children made when young, happy ornaments that make me me smile and it is fast becoming the S’more tree.

I know as kids we all ate S’mores, or should have, but over the past 20+ years, I have collected S’more ornaments. Its my kids fault, they started it – I have just kept it going. My S’more ornament this year made me chuckle when I saw it, so, yes I had to have it.

A Graham Cracker truck, lol

Below are some of my more favorite ornaments from this tree because I cant show them all – they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t a favorite of some sort.

Moving from the bedroom to the dining room and you have the Woodland Christmas including a cabin, the outhouse with cow, woodland animals and the hedgehog Christmas.

Then from dining room to kitchen, yes no room was left untouched by Christmas, we have the rest of the critters celebrating Christmas. All enjoying the fun of the holiday, singing, playing instruments and playing in the snow.

On Thursday I will share the Sunroom Christmas that has the big tree and the Christmas Village. I added a side village this year – the candy cane village. Until then, I hope you have wonderful week. Stay warm, its 12 degrees here in Iowa and remember to always be kind. It shows the very best side of you.

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.”