In Olden Times, the Love of Christmas

Tonight I am sharing a memory of my youth. A wondrous time at Christmas when the majority of our small town was Christian and the separation of church and state did not exist. A time when Christmas decorations depicting the birth of Jesus lite the lawns of most houses remembering the reason for the season.

Our college at that time at that time was still relatively small and still called a college. Its front campus was on the main street in town so a lot of traffic went by it on a daily basis. Today it has grown to university status but I remember stories way back in the day from my grandmother who went there when it was an all women’s prep school. Time changes all things but it is important to remember and hold on to these memories and to hold fast to the important things and traditions of life.

On the front of the school lawn of the college in the mid 50s through the mid 60s a life size nativity scene graced the lawn from Thanksgiving to New Years day. I am posting two pictures, one being day time so you can get a visual of just how big it was – I mean life size camels as well as people – and then one at night to show you the beauty of it. I was sad when they no longer put it out and did not understand why. Now I think it is sad but it is the world we live in today. So I share with you a wonderful memory of my youth and hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

VSU Nativity day

VSU Nativity

Holiday’s Can Be Hard

I love the holidays. I have been so blessed to be able to share this love with friends and family. But if you have recently lost someone, the holidays can be really hard. This post goes out to all of you who may have recently lost a loved ones this year, or even several years ago making the holidays hard to get through. This was a poem with author unknown but it was posted on Facebook  by a dear friend and coworker and I thought it needed sharing.  My heart goes out to all of you.

My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,

With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear,

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,

But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas Choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring,

For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me. I see the pain inside your heart,

But I am not so far away. We really aren’t apart.

So be happy for me dear ones. You know I hold you dear,

And be glad I’m spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year.

I send you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above,

I send you each a memory of my undying love.

After all LOVE is a gift, more precious than pure gold,

It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, as my father said to do,

For I can’t count the blessings or love he has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear,

Remember, I am spending Christmas, with Jesus Christ this year.

-Author Unknown-

 

Remember those who are hurting this year and give them an extra hug of kindness.

Kind light

Tuesday Photo Challenge, Glow

Jansen Photo has a wonderful weekly challenge that I try to play with often and today, due to the season, it is right up my alley – the Glow of Christmas.

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The lights seem to glow brighter at this time of year with hope, love and joy being shared more freely. Come join in with TPC and share the beauty of the lights you see, the glow and happiness of a child, or how the theme moves you to share.

And as you share in this weeks theme, remember the season and why He came, the love He gave and the kindness He shared and try to always be kind.

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Let the light of Christ glow from you.

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.

kind ripples

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.

kind ripples
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.

kind smile

 

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.

KINDNESS10