A Hedgehog Christmas

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Oh, there you are!

Where are the kids?” asked Dad.

“What?” questioned mom.  “I thought they were with you.”

“Would I be asking you if they were with me?”

“Oh, good grief!” mom exclaimed exasperated as she walked past dad. “Grandma, have you seen the kids?

“They were  headed to the edge of the forest. They haven”t been gone long.”

Mom looked at dad, “They found the tree,” she stated. And they all headed toward the edge of the forest.

As they approached the tree, a small light glimmered through the branches and giggles of joy could be heard from inside.

May happiness and joy surround you and your loved ones in light throughout this wonderful season of love. And remember to spread that love, joy and kindness where ever you go so that the ripple effect of love spreads through the world.

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What Is It I Ask?

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The tree in my sunroom

What is it all about, this season that makes me love it so?

Is it the hustle and bustle of the people as we hurry to and fro?

Maybe it’s all the lights that sparkle and twinkle and glow,

Or the funny old man in red when he giggles Ho, Ho, Ho. 

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Santa(56 years old) chatting with Chris Moose and Friends on Grandmother couch

Maybe it’s something totally different as we zoom to our many places,

The joys of seeing and greeting others with the smiles on all of our faces

As fresh cut evergreens fill the air, a wonderful smell the season embraces

With glittering balls and tinsel aglow and angels draped in laces.

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Angel, 29 years old

Are these real reasons, to enjoy this season, a season surrounded by love,

The birth of a baby, the birth of our salvation, as soft as a coo of a dove

Laying in a manger, a food trough for animals, a precious gift from above

Although he was King, he came as a slave, to show us the fullness of love.

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1 of 27 different Nativity Scenes of varying sizes on Grandmother China Cabinet

Anita Neal

As you enter this holiday season, remember, its not Happy Holidays, although it is a happy time, its Christmas – Christ Mass – a time for celebrating His birth, remembering why He came, what He has done for us and we should reflect His love through the season. And always try to be kind.

CB Christmas

The Area’s Official Start

Today was the Festival of Trees Parade. This is the kickoff of the Christmas season for Quad Cities(Iowa/Illinois). In the Davenport Civic Center is where the Festival of Trees is sponsored – a fantastic array of fully decorated trees created by businesses for bidding on as a charity event. It has some amazing artistic display for those who are crafty to get their ideas turning for their own trees.

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But the event is kicked off in the morning with the Festival of Trees Parade with huge balloons, bands, and I am told hot chocolate but have yet to find it.

But what this does for me is get me fully in Christmas mode. Today I decorated outside, so the only thing left to do is the mantle above the fireplace in my bedroom. I will get that finished tomorrow.

But for today’s fun post, I will start showing off more of my Christmas. I will start with the “formal” tree that is in the living room. This tree has only white lights and white or silver ornaments, some with a touch of color. I have it on top of the coffee table to keep the puppy’s interest out of reach. It also has the painted ceramic puppies I painted this year beneath it and the other normal other things that are usually under this tree.

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For today’s featured piece of my village, I give you the municipal buildings, ie. City Hall, Lawyer office and the police station. I enjoyed doing these as my father and my brother both are in the corporate legal filed.

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The string of lights running under the little building makes them a little off centered, but I really like the lights shining through the windows. It reminds me of the verse from       II Corinthians 4:6 saying to let the light shine out of the darkness. I think that is what Christmas does for me, a reminder of Jesus light and how he was us to shine our love and kindness the way that he did.

Kind light
Be Kind

 

Fandango’s Friday Flashback, 11/22/19

I find it kind of interesting as this is only my second year at blogging and while I have learned better what to do, I am still green as a gourd with blogging skills. I do find it encouraging that even at the beginning of blogging, my closing theme is still the same…Be Kind.

If you have been reading me lately, then you know I am all about Christmas at this time of year and this date 1 year ago was about…you guessed it, Christmas.

And Startup for Christmas Begins 11/22/18

Christmas is filled with religious meanings and family traditions that echo our love toward the season and mankind. There are many stories or ideals we all share that originally came from myth or folklore and then get sprinkled with embellishments that make us love the story or the tradition even more. One of these for me is the candy cane.

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Peppermint Candy Canes

There are so  many stories about the origin of this coming from a Christian perspective but they always seem to get debunked as untruths. Lets go through a few of these myths and at least enjoy them for the tale that they are.

In Germany over 250 years ago a white straight stick of candy was created for the supposed holiday season. There was some stories that were told the the white symbolized the purity of Christ but that evidently can not be substantiated. Then in 1670, in the USA, in the state of Indiana, a choirmaster made similar candy using the same symbol of white for purity but he added a “J” shape to the cane to represent the staff of a shepherd and the “J” of Jesus’ name. His thought was to give the children something to remember about Christ and to help keep them quiet during the nativity play.

It was not until the 1900’s that the stripes and the peppermint were added and the Christian meanings/myths were increased and are believed as true.

The white represents the purity of Christ. The “J” still represents the shepherd staff for us lost lambs and for his name as well. There are two types of stripes on the candy cane, a large thick stripe and three small thin stripes. The small stripes represent His scourging for by His stripes we are healed. I have also heard they represent the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The large stripe represents His blood that was shed on the cross for us. The peppermint represents hyssop which was used as purity in biblical times.

I don’t understand why someone wants to worry so  much about proving the factual truth of a wonderful story concerning Christmas instead of enjoying the beauty it represents today. At the end of the day it is a candy cane. Especially when people use this to look for extra reason to show their love of Christ or find ways to energize the imagination of a child to help them understand the intricate details on the meaning of Christmas. It a joyous time of year. Have a candy cane.

And remember this season of thankfulness as it springboards us in the joyous season of Christmas. Its a time of year where we can share extra doses of kindness to all creation. Remember that no act of kindness is ever wasted but can create a ripple effect that spread across the world.

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Be Kind

Busy November

As I am literally waiting for the paint containers(face paints) to dry as I needed to clean them before heading to the church for another face painting party, I am reflecting on how busy I have been thus far for November. Not even much time to write and post here.

October was busy as well as we had to get ready for the fall parties, give the yard a last once over before it got cold not counting the ridiculous snow on Halloween which cancelled outdoor fun due to the extreme cold. Snow you can deal with but temps in the 20’s is too cold for little ones to be out begging for candy.

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And of course football(college) was beginning to get interesting across the country. Unknowns rising with the foam of the Heisman search, expected candidates dropping to the wayside. Fall can really a fun time of year. Today will be a nail bitter for us as it has championship possibilities. Go Dawgs.

UGA Dawg

November brought on the usual for me of getting the plan together for decorating for Christmas, my favorite time of year.  Plus my book is in process of getting printed. I received the initial press run copies so the reality of this happening is kind of overwhelming. Hopefully it will be available in stores in a few weeks. My church is throwing me a book signing party on Dec 1 so I am getting excited.

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Its a story of a dog’s journey when he gets to heaven with people and other dogs friends. Its different because I want all the dogs I lived with growing up to be with me in heaven so I wrote a book making it so. LOL. I am not telling you all this to get you to go buy my book, I just want you to come along and enjoy the fun I am having. The sequel is about 3/4 written, so maybe next summer it will come out.

And as I promised when I posted the pictures of the entire village, I am periodically including a highlighted section so you can see the details.

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The Mountain Cottage

This is one of the first pieces I painted. Over the years I added the trees, the pump, the well and the wood pile and this year I added the horse and the bears after the honey. I told my daughter it is spreading everywhere like Peyton Manning’s on the insurance commercial. LOL

I think it would be cool to have one warehouse size to bring in all the kids at Christmas with Santa and cookies and fun  activities. That would be a fun dream. So as you smile at my fun dreams, share that smile during the season and spread the kindness it reflects.

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The Oldest but Always the First

Our lives are generally setup  by our priorities, our goals and things that move our hearts. For me Christmas moves my heart as I watch people be more loving, more compassionate and overall kinder to each other. So I push it’s envelope a bit by decorating early but I know the average person wants to get through Thanksgiving first before throwing all the Christmas out. I kind of do that as well, but since I have so much stuff that moves my heart over the years, it takes me awhile to get it all up so that the week of Thanksgiving, all lights go on. I have less than 2 weeks and so much still to do as I have added outside features this year.

So this post features old much loved traditions involving how we decorated our (only) tree when the children were very young.

The very first item that got put on the tree, even before lights, is the Christmas Nail.

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The Christmas nail is placed on the tree near the trunk where is really is not seen. It is not meant to be seen. It is meant to be felt, honored and remembered for what it symbolizes…one of the nails that pierced our Lord when he was hung on a tree(cross made of wood). I put it on my large 7.5′ tree.

The hidden nail is lost in the bright lights of the tree, representing that as Christ died for us, His light shines on us and we in turn should reflects his light to anyone needing the light of hope to shine in  their darkness.

The other old but another first is the angel for the bedroom tree.It is an irreplaceable angel made by my oldest child when he was 3 in 1981. This one is a true heart ornament and until he left home to create his own life, he made sure it was the first thing on the tree, after the nail. The nail was always first.

Sometimes the most valuable things we have are made with wooden clothes pins and wrapping paper. As you start off the beginnings of the holiday seasons, remember the reason for the season. After all, its a marvelous birthday party. Spread the love and the cheer to all. And as always, be kind, it more important now than ever as so many people are hurting.

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Christmas Craft Project Done

For some of us, getting ready to decorate for Christmas is almost as fun as the actual decorating, especially if you are into making the decorations or making gifts to give to family and friends.

Today we are in snow #4. While they have not been big snows, its still too early for my liking but we pull up out boot straps and deal with it. I only work 3 days a week now, so I was able to swap out today with tomorrow which allows for me not to have to go out in it.

If you remember I told you about the dog, the tree and the snowman ceramics I bought to paint and that they light up. The snowman turned out the cutest. They are about 7″ tall.

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The biggest Christmas craft project I have ever was done back in 2000. That is when the ceramic houses that you could paint yourself first started being a hot item. My friends and I started a village at the beginning of summer and by Christmas, we both had well over 50 items each. I place it out every year and last year I added a couple of items. I have to  monitor sizes as my houses/business were in the middle of the scale of houses they make today. This year I added a cathedral and an observatory along with some enhancement items like bears in a tree for the mountain cabin and the coffee stand at the tree farm. The new items were already painted so I just got to add them to the collection, but still it is fun.

The layout is broken down into 3 separate sections, one due to the size and one because of it’s theme and location.

First you have “up town” with the government buildings and the large shops. There is the City Hall, the Lawyer office/Police department, the Post Office, the Fire Station, the Bank, the Library, the Theatre and of course a church are located.

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This is an alcove above the fireplace for a TV/Entertainment center

Suburbia is located on an adjacent table next to the fireplace with many favorite shops, homes and added novelties. Throughout the season, I will feature a few of these at the end of each post so you can see the details like the car at the burger stand shaped like a burger.

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Homes, businesses, the mountain house, the Christmas tree farm, Railroad, Antiques, the stream with the covered bridge and the feed store.

The last section is the observatory way out in the country(the other side of the fireplace) on a mountain(a bucket on a snow covered file cabinet) by itself, however there is a hotel and a church close by. And yes, the tree for that room is reflected in the window. Not fully decorated yet though.

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The fun in doing this always brings back good memories, plus that fact that one year I gave some houses away as gifts and still have lots left.

Yes it is a lot of work getting all of this out but I still enjoy it and lay it out different each year.

What are some of your favorite crafts to do at this time of year or some of your favorite decorations. I always enjoy looking at everyone’s as much as I like sharing mine, so share away and lets have fun together.

And in closing you know I always stress the value of kindness. It is a true reflection of Christ and how he wants us to try to always be kind.

kind Eph

 

 

Fan of…Christmas Decorations

 

I am a huge fan of Christmas decorations. Jez Braithwaite encourages us to reflect on the things we are a fan of. His challenge this week is Cacti – while I am not a huge fan of cacti I do enjoy his prompt of Fan of…

Yes, I know it is early but when you have as much to play with as I do, you have to start early so that by Thanksgiving, the switch can flip and the lights come on. This year I am switching things up a bit as the new puppy demands caution. So a plan is in place. This past weekend was shopping weekend to see if there was anything out there we just had to have…not need, we long past that mark. So in celebration of a new puppy, I found these at Michael’s that you paint the color of your dog and they light up.

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I also bought a snowman and a Christmas tree

Since both dogs are black and white, not sure how the light will reflect through. I will go easy on the paint.

The village was added to as well…of course, and will be moved to the sunroom where I can spread it out more. I will also put my big 7′ formal tree there so that I can better protect it from possible mayhem. I will put my short 4.5′ tree which is always decorated in white lights and white, clear or silver ornaments in the living room on a glass top table hopefully keeping it out of harms way as well. The 7′ fun tree will go in the bedroom with the funny quirky ornaments, like S’mores, things the kids made when young and other ornaments that make me giggle.

It takes a while to get all that up so we start early. Since I made new wreaths last year, these light up ceramics may be the only things I “craft” this year. As things go up, I will post my fun and show you much there is. The sad part about it, I inherited this “bug” from my mother and my daughter inherited it from me. She lives in the  basement in-law suite and has almost as much fun as I do.

Why do I love Christmas so? It is the one time of year when almost everyone seems filled with joy and hope. There seems to be more kindness and compassion floating through the air creating a magical moment of tenderness and love of mankind.

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Yep, It’s Time

I am fully aware that is just mid-October but if you have lots to prepare for and many things that needs to get made you have to prepare and get ready ahead of time so when it time, you are ready. What in the world am I talking about…

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Decorating for Christmas

This year I am able to decorate some outside, so new toys. Yea! I had house repairs made which included fixing my outside energy source so, let’s let our light shine. Last year I was not able to walk much due to surgery on my feet, and the sunroom remained closed off all winter long because the fireplace had issues. The fireplace got fixed this summer, the junk in the room was dealt with and now to reorganize that room which will take time. But cute stuff goes early, so we buy early. Added more pieces to my village, added a table tree to my woodland theme for the bathroom…cant wait to get started organizing everything so that by the middle of November the trees (3 large, 2 small) can start going up. Takes time to do all that but it is my favorite time of year to decorate the house.

As we think about the coming light season, remember the inner light Christ has given you and to let it shine reflecting His love for everyone. You don’t need a season for that; that’s and everyday thing. Have a great week.

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Radiate God’s LOVE.

He flew over…JusJoJan #11

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The bird flew over it and what did he see

But craziness below of a torn up Christmas tree

The lights and ornaments were slung everywhere

While the flu engulfed me and I rested in a chair

He circled the room getting caught in the drapes

Then he raced up the flue in  hopes to escape.

The silliness of quick poetry on a tired Friday night. Thanks to Linda G Hill and M for the fun challenge of “flew/flu/flue.” Come join us for Just Jot January, see the zaniness that we can come up with and say Hi.

We are all birds of one kind of feather or another but we all want love and kindness, so remember to always be kind. And if you live in  the midwest like me…its coming y’all…

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