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.
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.
Fairy tales are noted for taking those humble well meaning people with no visible riches and taking their story up a notch to give them the visible riches that matches their gifts of love they give to those around them, as in Cinderella.
But sometimes riches come to people unexpectedly, like the lottery, and because they have never had them, they don’t know what to do with them, and they waste them on un-needed items, then the riches are gone. Putting them back into worse conditions than before.
But today’s story is a follow up on a previous post of God’s guiding light to shine not only on a bedraggled mutt that was dirty beyond belief and covered in fleas to a now happy home, fully loved by two people, which also gives these people a much needed purpose in care for others. If you don’t know the story, this pup was found in the middle of the road by the church and a neighbor brought it inside to hopefully find its home. People, like dogs, sometimes lose our way as well in hopes of a kind neighbor to rescue us. We all need to be loved and we all need to be able to love. It is how God has programmed us – Love one another as I have loved you. And I think that goes for all of His creation. He created it in love, asked us to take care of it in love therefore we must love.
The last time I talked to his new mom, they still had not settled on a name but that doesn’t really matter, when ever she gets up, so does the new little prince. He follows her everywhere and sleeps in his own cushioned bed next to theirs. If you have ever had anything to do with a rescued dog, you will know that they fully understand they have been rescued and are forever grateful shadowing the new mom/dad with love and honor. See below the pictures from bedraggled pauper and the new little prince.
Remember, God looks at us the very same way. He created us all and loves us all and when we get lost from his care, he rejoices when we return and covers us in his love. Never forget that your heavenly father is a king, therefore you are a prince or princess, so stay fast in his love and show other the kindness he has lavished on you – even when it feels like no kindness may be falling on you at the moment. Let your kindness shine through the storm.
After reading the scifihammy post this afternoon about a Fiscal Shrike bird she likes, she also made the comment of it having the reputation of being a bit of a bully. I looked on-line to see how many birds are considered mean and was shocked at how many there were. I have one in my yard that I run off when it gets on the feeder because it bullies the other birds and is known to destroy the other bird’s nest and break their eggs. My bully is the European Starling – taking survival of the fittest to the next level I guess.
The iridescent coloring really is remarkable. But I was surprised that one of the meanest birds is a bird I have been familiar with all my life – also a beautifully marked bird, the Red Winged Blackbird, known also for its loud mouth.
I saw a story with a video of an adult killing one of its young. I didn’t watch the video. I know this world is broken and meanness is abounding but I don’t want to watch it on purpose. But I remember back to a couple of stories written on the meanness of birds, like Edgar A. Poe’s poetry or Alfred Hitchcock’s movie. Such a tiny creature in the grand scheme of things.
This is a true visual representation of just how broken this world is. We see the large animals in Africa fighting and we are kind of accepting of that but I don’t think we realize birds are just a smaller version of wildlife where the survival of the fittest reigns.
That was not God’s initial intent. Not that I have any clue as to what God really thinks but I believe in my inner most part that meanness was not on His agenda. That came from that other “being” trying to discredit all the good that was created for its beauty and enjoyment by his lies and trickery.
So I remind you even more the importance of kindness shared throughout your world, to man and beast alike. Will the beasts understand what you are doing? Not at first but in time, repeated kindness is always remembered. Will man understand your kindness without thinking you have an ulterior motive? Maybe not but be kind anyway. Kindness is a reflection of God’s love and a shimmering hope of better things to come. Be the good example of trying to show unbrokenness in a broken world and always be kind.
Life can be scary and overwhelming when those floodwaters of life seem to dump on top of your head and threaten to drown you. But I encourage you today to rise and stand tall. God has not forgotten you. Scripture tells us over and over that he is always there beside us. Deuteronomy 31:6 says ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.’Then all through Joshua, II Chronicles, Psalms, Isaiah and Hebrews, he reminds us over and over ‘I will never forsake you.’ Then there is a full page of reference notes of God saying how much he loves you- I Chronicles 17:13, ‘I will never take my love from you.’
Here in the midwest we are beginning to see the river start to go down. Second street in sections is dry and the chairs at the Le Claire Park band stand can be seen poking their backs out of the water, standing tall. I thought the picture below showed the resilience that nature shows us about their survival and if they can rise and stand tall, then we must as well. God always shows us small signs that he is with us every step, just look around.
These tulips are a testimony of survival as their street is still underwater and we should follow their lead, rise above the floodwaters of life and stand tall. God will be standing right next to us.
May you all have a calm and beautiful weekend. I know some parts of the nation are still having major issues of storms; my prayers for you is safety and feeling God’s peace. And in the midst of all storms, there is usually a moment when kindness will be needed. I remind you to always be kind when the helplessness of life can effect us all.
There is an old legend that many people don’t know about, I was one of those, but it says that for every drop of blood that fell from Jesus while he was on the cross, a lily grew. That’s a pretty remarkable legend. I was doing a research for a poem about Easter lilies and that’s how I came upon that legend.
The whiteness of the lily represents the purity of Christ. The shape of the lily represents a trumpet as it blows to welcome in the king.
Tonight we had a church service to tell the story of Jesus last day on earth. the horrifying cruelty in the way he was beaten, ridiculed and then crucified. The music was soft and mournful to help set the mood for this dark day. We left the sanctuary quietly to maintain the funeral like mood of death.
When I walked in the house, it was just getting good dark so I turned on the lamp by my sofa where my lily is sitting. Its fragrance has been beautiful filling my house with fresh gentleness for several days as three of four blooms have open to share their love; one new bloom beginning to open this evening. I reached over to smell the blooms and was amazed to see a water drop on the bloom and I wondered where it came from. Nothing on the ceiling, nothing close by that could have done that. So I looked at the other blooms. They all had small drops of moisture on each bloom. I am sure there is probably a scientific explanation but to me…it was weeping. Flowers weeping for Jesus’ death and Jesus’ weeping for us. We all know that creation is raging and wanting to be reconnected with Eden but can not be. So creation weeps.
So understand what all of nature knows, that Jesus loves you and weeps for you and has compassion for wherever you are or whatever you are going through. Feel His love and share his love with kindness.
Today we mourn the pain and sorrow of ourselves and what Jesus did for us on the cross. His love for us is so strong; stronger than a parents love for a child as we are His children.
Jeremiah 13:3 tells us – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
He loves you regardless of how well you think you are doing to be worthy of His love. As Jeremiah says I love you with an everlasting love, a love that flows from eternity with out limits or conditions.
Today’s devotion from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young remind us that on this day he showed us just how much he loved us. He died for us so that we may live. So on this day of sadness and reflective mourning, know that you are loved more than you can imagine and His love will always remain.
Even though this is a day of mourning, lets us feel His love warm us and let us share in His loving-kindness for others to feel His astounding love.
As we remember the events of the last few days of Jesus life, lets us bow in prayer for what he has done for us. Even in His death, His kindness was still true. Let us remember to always reflect the kindness he shared.