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Monday, January 3, 2011

Dismantling Christmas...Slowly

It is always difficult for me to put away Christmas. This is a discussion I've had before at Haven so I know that some of us struggle with it. We are divided between those who can not wait to get things back to order and those who want to hang on a bit longer. I'm one of the hangers on who keeps decorations up until Epiphany on January 6. Neighbors drive by slowly and ask themselves if it is Christmas lights they are still seeing here. Guilty as charged.

This year, I've decided to take a slightly different path. Each day I am taking down a little bit more of Christmas until Friday morning when the tree itself will come down. Since Christmas is stored upstairs, this gradual dismantling will help my knees, my back, and ohhhh my aching behind. (I fell down icy steps Christmas Eve and haven't been the same since.) So far, all poinsettias are put away, many bulbs, and assorted decorations. The wreath made of springs has become a train wreath for the grands, the candy canes are saved in a pitcher for hot chocolate this winter and peppermint milkshakes. And, as always, some Christmas things remain out all year long. The kitchen night light is a case in point.

Taking things slowly and steadily makes a lot of sense with other things as well. It's when impatience sets in that situations begin to nosedive. Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said that haste makes waste. The older I become, the more sense taking things a bit slower makes. It's not necessary to do it all in one day.

We are facing a number of challenges in this new year. Most are ones that we dragged along with us from last year, but somehow a bright, new year looks more hopeful than a tired, old one. You may wish to read "Behind the Scenes" in the coming days as I'll be adding more information there. Perhaps I need a "Behind the Scenes II and III" as well. Pacing myself is going to be an important part of my year.

Looking forward to doing some catching up in Blogdom today. I really do miss you when I'm away from the computer.

A blessed day to you...
Photo taken January 2010. This year the ground is almost bare. I like this year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!


 

Friday, December 31, 2010

Waiting for the Ball...

Steve Breen
Dear 2010,

It is with great joy that I say goodbye. Great. Very. You've been a truly rotten year on so many levels. I never would've thought it possible until I lived it. Does that make me a survivor?
Hoping (praying, too) that your successor will do better. 
No fond farewells from me,
Yup,  that's what I'd say if I could write 2010 a letter.

Thank you to each and every one who found your way to this corner in Blogdom. You have made the year bearable and kept me sane. ( Let's not question this. ;> )

Here's to a much happier, healthier and prosperier prosperous New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26

Yes, we had a lovely Christmas! Hope that you did, too. Now it's time to eat up the leftovers, including the owl-shaped cheeseball!

Enjoy a pleasant day...

(Since I myself have no time for leaving comments, I'm closing them here as well. It's only fair.)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Fun Day Planned

Last Saturday, my daughter, mother, grandson, and I went to see Tangled — my daughter's treat. It was great fun and my grandson's first time at the theater. He was alternately horrified and thrilled.  The first film I ever went to see was Disney's Pinocchio. As I recall, I was also alternately horrified and thrilled. There are 70th anniversary editions of Pinocchio on sale now, but I assure you that I have not yet seen my 60th year and won't for a few. Obviously, it was a re-release. ;>

Anyway, my youngest grandson has been waiting patiently for his day. Today is it. We are going to spend some quiet time reading stories, coloring, playing in a box (one of his very favorite things), baking some cookies, playing on the piano, and whatever else suits his fancy. We might even watch a short video, which is all his budding attention span allows.


My mother's favorite childhood Christmas book front and center and mine below...

She has yet to make it through The Little Match Girl without weeping and I have yet to read Herriot's The Christmas Day Kitten without doing the same. We are two sappy gals now let me tell you. Neither of those Christmas stories will be read today for obvious reasons. :D

Any favorite children's Christmas stories you'd like to mention and/or do you remember the first movie you went to see in the theater?



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Narnia and Beyond




I used my limited knowlege of my Paint Program to create a "better" clock. My imagination can not be explained otherwise. :D

I confess that I've recently watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe again. Perhaps that is why, every time I look out my window and see this tree, the spot where a limb was removed looks like a giant clock. If I start hearing ticking, I'll let you know.

Over the weekend, I had a nice catch-up conversation with friends who are married to each other. He loves this movie; she has never seen it and doesn't care to. She isn't "into fantasy" she says. I told her that there is a far cry between fantasy and allegory. Far. Way far. I encouraged her to watch this movie in preparation for going to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It'll be fun to learn if her curiosity was piqued at all when I see them again Christmas Eve. (It is my fond hope to see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next week and I'd love to have them go with us.)

Okay, I am certain that I hear that clock ticking...gotta run. Is there a big old clock ticking in your world, too?

(My apologies for having this post get away from me last evening with its being posted, removed, and returned. Perhaps I'm too analytical because I'd really like to know what happened. The post dating thing just didn't hold. Anyway, it's all straightened around now.)



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A White Christmas After All


Just when we'd given up hope of a White Christmas, a Nor'easter took a sharp left.

Can you tell that I'm still crazy about my spring wreath?  Oh the decorating possibilities!

If you have a cactus hanging about and you don't know what kind it is and why it's blooming now or why it's sitting around twiddling its thumbs, La Tea Dah excellently spells it out at Gracious Hospitality on her post titled Bloom, O Christmas Cactus. I now know that I have an Easter cactus that sometimes blooms in November and again in spring. (It also sometimes blooms in July, but that's only when really confused.)

A happy day to you...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pretty Blue Lights

So you're looking for a pretty mosaic? Especially on the last Sunday before Christmas? Well, move right along for you'll not find it here. ;>

This was the night I had reserved for seeing the lights. It also happened to be the night of the church concert. Fine. We'd see lights after attending the concert.

John driving...Mother in front passenger seat...I am backseat driving. I know, you'd think it was a pattern.

Me: John, you're going to have to drive VERY slowly and stop just when I say stop or else I'm never going to get this picture.

John: I'll do anything you want.

Me: STOP!

He didn't stop. He slowed down some, but no stop.

Mother: Pull into this yard and turn around there.

Me: Don't pull a u-turn in the road.

John: I'll do anything you want.

He didn't exactly pull a u-turn, but it was close. A u-turn in a parking lot is not the same as a u-turn in the highway.

Just as I was setting up my shot, we got to see the really pretty lights. Blue lights. Bright, bright blue lights. Blue lights that rotate hypnotically.

John: Hello, Officer.

Officer: Hello, Sir. I was really concerned about your erratic driving and just wanted to make sure that everything was okay.

Erratic Driving? Well what do you think?


This is what I think. I think we won't be doing drivebys for a very long while.

Oh, this is what I was trying to capture. I had to do weird things to the photo in order for you to see it; although, I did decorate it for Christmas.


May these days leading up to Christmas go much better for you!

Visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics.

He's Not a Baby Anymore

This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ.  ~Frank McKibben

I heard a sermon long ago that remains with me. (I wish they all would.) The pastor said, "He's not a baby anymore! He is the living Christ crucified, risen, and coming again!" There was something about the "he's not a baby anymore" that excited me that day. So while I do think of the baby in the manger at Christmastime, my thoughts don't stay there very long before moving on to "He is the living Christ, crucified, risen, and coming again!"






Comments are off for Sunday post. ♥

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Chatty Little Post

And no one has time to read it. My timing is certainly interesting. :D

Mother moved to her new home this week. I've been feeling lost. It has been so much fun having her here. I don't know how to describe it exactly. When I wanted to talk there was a woman to talk with, yet we could sit and read and be quiet for long stretches of time. I had a built-in "playmate" who was more than willing to go along with any of my schemes. She was happy to try a new recipe, work on a new craft, read a blog I pointed out to her or head off for a little shopping. Perhaps I was afforded the luxury of a return to childhood without all the fussy parenting. Some fussy parenting, but not all. While I know that she's not even a mile down the way, it's not the same. I told her to hurry back. And she will be back for a few days over Christmas. Think I can last?

It's been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where many events culminated in troubles. The old "when it rains, it pours" kinds of weeks. We all have them, but it is a special affront during Christmas when we fervently wish for things to go well, for people to be well, for there to be abundance, for there to be joy and peace across the land and around the world. When world peace becomes too much to hope for, we still hope for peace to reign in our hearts and families. All too often that is another "too much to hope for" because we can not control other people and the decisions that they will make. When my son stopped by to pick up some packages he'd had sent here, I shared some of this with him. He listened to me vent: he's so wonderfully sympathetic that I didn't know when to shut up. Thankfully, I pulled it together and he gave me a big hug and told me that things would get better. May it be so...

Mercifully, I have been aided by so many of you and your wonderful blogs. If you haven't noticed the section in my sidebar named "Inspiring Posts of the Month," you might look and see if there's something there to comfort and cheer you, too, should you need a bit of cheering. Currently, I have five posts listed. I highly recommend them all and each one points to the the Lord. After all, our help and hope come from Him.


There's a lot to be done in the time before Christmas around here. Procrastination and I know each other all too well, though I did get the bookcase top decorated for the second or third time. (Note to self: Must learn to move forward instead of sideways.) I really am loving those springs. (Springs are "harvested" from old mattresses or they were in this case. It so happened that my mother gave her mattress the boot so I got lucky blessed. John did all the hard work of harvesting so I had it very easy. I understand it was ghoulish, tricky work.)

A blessed Saturday to you...

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Digital Story of Christmas

John's sister sent us the link for The Digital Story of the Nativity. Though not always one hundred per cent scriptural, it is very cleverly done. Made me laugh with joy. If you have a minute, I think you'll enjoy it as well.


Hope to get back to better blogging soon. It's been crazy busy here as I am sure is true in your home as well. Here's to a Merry Christmas!

Edited to Add: I see that this is making the rounds in Blogdom...all good, of course. I should have been paying attention and then I would've seen that my friend *Diva* had beat me to it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holding Onto Joy

John arrived home from church with a lot of these little candy canes. The weather had been vile Sunday morning and not many people were out braving it. Therefore, the pastor had a lot of candy canes to share with the few in attendance. His sermon had been the classic one about the real meaning of the candy cane. I like that story, but this year the real meaning of the candy cane is going to be all about the letter J. For me, the J=Jesus and the J=Joy. We may not always experience joy in the ways that we might expect, but joy is always present when we look for it. And that is why all the mini candy canes are hanging like Js all over the tree.

Thanking you again for all the prayers. My parents' marriage ended today after nearly 57 years (nearly 58). It has been very difficult for both of them, but especially so for my mother who has always considered my father her God-given mission in life. (Personally, I am glad that God has this mission back. It's going to take a miracle.)

So we are off to do some heavy duty cleaning...that should keep our hands busy and our minds occupied.

Blessings to you this day...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Spring Wreath~Mosaic Monday


These weeks are passing by so very quickly!


Following what has become the staple format:

1. Top of Fridge...I'm just now realizing that what I wanted to show is being covered by my fussy design...check #8. Frosty the Pumpkin found his new home up there, too.
2. A calendar pic by Laura Berry centered on fridge...it needed something... 
3. My spring wreath...visit *Margo* for details...she does the neatest things!
4. My poor mother trying to relax in the midst of chaos... I didn't even pick up the table for you!
5. Vintage bulbs in the midst of the spring wreath
6. A spring bulb...pardon the play on words...a single spring with a vintage ornament on top
7. Spring wreath decorated with silk poinsettias for a different look. (My wreath doesn't fit on my front door as I'd hoped...not enough room between the storm door and the main door.)
8. Leftover springs slapped together and tossed on top of the fridge.

Please visit Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics!

Have a wonderful week...

Sometimes the storm is going to nail me. There's no avoiding it. It's coming through. The good news is that I'm not going alone and no matter how much the wind howls, God will still hear me. (Isn't it great when even the weather cooperates by providing a powerful metaphor?)

The waves of death crashed over me,
devil waters rushed over me.
Hell's ropes cinched me tight;
death traps barred every exit.
A hostile world! I called to God,
to my God I cried out.
From his palace he heard me call;
my cry brought me right into his presence—
a private audience!

II Samuel 22:5–7 (The Message)

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and all the sweet advice. I am praying, playing music, and resting. I am confident that there are answers as I keep my heart open to them. And this, as always, is true: This, too, shall pass.

~comments are closed on Sunday

photo source:accuweather.com

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Choices

Start each day with an "out loud" prayer in which you enthusiastically choose life, openness, relationships, love, vibrancy, and fun. ~Waking the Slumbering Spirit by John and Paula Sandford


Given the choice, and we all have that choice, I might decide to go back to my cozy, warm bed. We've had days and days of cold and gray making "vibrancy" seem unattainable. I'm feeling under the weather and I don't mean sick or maybe I do. One incident after another has threatened to swamp me and mine. Nevertheless, Christmas is going to happen with or without me so I need to make a better choice. What is your remedy for the blahs?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The P*o*lar Express

Hot! Hot!
*Hot chocolate!*
(You tube hot chocolate scene from movie)


The grands had a delightful experience riding *The P*o*lar Express.* I get all sappy looking at the amazement on those little faces... The little guy couldn't get over his ticket...he's still talking about it. The train ride included hot chocolate, cookies, a ticket with each child's initial punched by the conductor, photos with the conductor, and a healthy dose of wonder.

Here's wishing us all a dose of wonder this season!

Disclaimer: Sadly, I was not on this journey. The photos were sent to me by my daughter-in-law whom one can see in the window reflection in the largest photo. My son is the only other adult besides the conductor. Thanks for looking and for all the sweet comments. Catch you another day...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Thoughtful Gift and a Johnism


Another gift in the mail! What have I done to deserve such things? It proves that God just loves to bless us with good and thoughtful friends. This beautiful Lenox angel comes from Pat (Mille Fiori Favoriti) who said this: "I thought this little angel votive would remind you of your Nan who is smiling down on all of you as your special angel." Thank you so much, Pat, this means a lot to my little family here at Haven and you know that I think that you're the real angel.

The gingerbread didn't get baked yesterday after all, but to compensate I placed grapefruit rinds and a stick of cinnamon on the stove to heat and scent the air hoping to provide a nice "welcome home" to John and my mother as well. The next bit is easier told with dialog.

V: Doesn't the house smell good?

J: I can't smell anything.

V: You can't? I put citrus and cinnamon on the stove.

J: I saw that.

V: But you can't smell it?

J: No, I just thought we were having a meager supper.

V: Hahahahahahahaha...

Honestly, I laughed for over a minute. Times may be tough, but we've not come to eating two grapefruit rinds and a stick of cinnamon! :D

A happy day to you...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Christmas Meme

Christmas Card from my grandmother's collection reminiscent of *this painting* by Nita Leger Casey

 A meme found at *Chocolatechic's:*

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
2. Turkey or Ham?
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
5. Snowball fights or sleddin’?
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
7. Favorite Christmas song?
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
10. Stockings before or after presents?
11. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
12. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
13. What do you do after presents and dinner?
14. What is your favorite holiday smell?
15. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
16. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
17. Favorite Christmas memory?
18. Favorite Part about winter?
19. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?

(It's an easy copy and paste.)

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?
     Hot Chocolate please!
2. Turkey or Ham?
     Ham with raisin sauce
3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?
     A fake tree so that I can put it up early and keep it up late...Epiphany on January 6. (As much as I love the smell of a fresh tree, I can not abide the mess that they make. I compensate with fresh boughs near my door as one enters and with some fresh boughs at the windows.)
4. Decorations on the outside of your house?
     Yes, John is still stringing lights on the deck...an arrangement on the side deck by the main door and a kissing ball on the garage. I have yet to do anything with the front door...*gasp*
5. Snowball fights or sleddin’?
     Sleddin'!
6. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?
     Not so much
7. Favorite Christmas song?
     Secular: I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas sung by Bing Crosby
Sacred: Joy to the World
8. How do you feel about Christmas movies?
     I enjoy many of them, including "It's a Wonderful Life," but my favorite is "A Christmas Story." (I have yet to find a sacred film about Christmas that I truly enjoy.)
9. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?
     It is never too early to listen to Christmas music. ;>
10. Stockings before or after presents?
     Before
11. Go to someone else’s house or they come to you?
     We do both...
12. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?
     Yes, no set time...we've read it once this season and will do so again, I'm sure.
13. What do you do after presents and dinner?
     We enjoy playing the new board games or just having quiet conversation. Sometimes, if the weather isn't too bad, we go for a walk.
14. What is your favorite holiday smell?
     Cider brewing or evergreen boughs or cookies baking or gingerbread baking...I'm doing the gingerbread thing today. The aroma lasts for days.
15. Ice skating or walking around the mall?
     Given the limited choices, I'll watch the ice skating.
16. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?
     Presents may be opened at any time during the Christmas season. We're flexible.
17. Favorite Christmas memory?
     It shall always be listening to my grandparents play the old carols...my grandmother at the piano and my grandfather on his violin...as I fall asleep in a cozy upstairs bedroom tucked under the eaves.
18. Favorite Part about winter?
     Though it is not my favorite season, I love the coziness of a home after being outside in the cold and I enjoy watching snow fall gently from the comforts of indoors.
19. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?
     Ohhhh, once or twice

Please let me know if you're going try this (you are definitely invited to do so) because I want to read yours, too!

Enjoy a pleasant and productive day...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Crafts and More~Mosaic Monday



This week found me making crafts. I see so many delights in Blogdom that I must give them a whirl.  1. An open Christmas songbook decorated with ribbon and berries given to me by my friend Kathy. I have used it every year since. 2. A snowflake first found last week at *Quill Cottage*. Miss Sandy will reveal where she found the information. It's really big! It's growing on me. (I had to add some glitter and I didn't have sheet music that I wished to spare...ink is out of printer... so used an old book from the flea market free pile instead.) 3. A Christmas card snowflake. Look back on my posts this week to find instructions if you are interested. 4. A dove and a believe sign 5. Frosty the Pumpkin or Sam the Pumpkin, whichever you prefer. (My grandson renamed him.) Glitter helped his cap look like newly glistening snow. 6. An apothecary filled with antique ornaments that are so fragile I no longer hang them on the tree. 7. A cozy nook in the dining room 8. My Home Interiors Nativity purchased in the early 80s. 9. My attempt to try a mosaic a different way thanks to *Lorrie's tutorial.*  (I used a background made available at Diane Knott's Musings somewhere! Sorry that I can't find it. ETA 8/8/13: Equally sorry that there is no Diane Knott Musings any longer. I sure do miss those who have bowed out of blogging.)

Thank you to Mary at Little Red House for allowing me the opportunity to participate. We are all so busy, but the Christmas season is such a fun time to share!

Mary's Little Boy Child

Yesterday found me shopping at the flea market. Mother was busy looking through stacks of puzzles and I was busily looking at silver spoons looking for monograms on their handles. Christmas music was playing and I became aware that it was "Mary's Little Boy Child" and so hummed along a bit instead of mindlessly going about my search.
When I got to this line: "And man shall live forevermore because of Christmas Day," I began to ponder a bit. Now the truth is that it is more than a special day that gives us eternal life. And the gift is much more even than eternal life because, truth is, every person who has ever been born is going to live eternally. It's just a matter of where one wishes to spend eternity. (Where to spend eternity is a choice that each person will make. Choosing "the gift" does not cost any of us a thing — not all the gold we have or all the time or all the talents. It cost Jesus everything. It cost God everything. It's an incredible gift for whoever reaches out to take it.)

Back to my point (I really did have one!) At this season of the year, the message is repeated in lyrics sung in standard Christmas carols. It's there. It's repetitious. It's *the answer* to any question ever wondered.  

This answer is the greatest gift ever given or ever received. Please know that He can be yours today. Your life will never be the same again and Christmas will mean so much more.

Blessings this day...