Monday, December 24, 2012

O Holy Night

Never sing louder than lovely



An exquisite voice — listen for the note so pure that it will bring a stinging tear (or I don't know how to call them). This is Anita and she blogs at Far Above Rubies. You may visit You Tube and listen directly *here.* It seems to work better.

(Thank you, Barbara, for sharing your friends.) 

***

"The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit," he exclaimed, his breath vaporizing on the frosty air, "The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are!"
He was looking things in the face and knowing them for what they are. "And they are...," he huffed, fishing for a word, 'beserk!'
Father Tim in Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon 
Oh it was a splendid idea to place a rereading of this book on my What I Want Christmas to Be list. I've laughed and wept a bit and enjoyed it so much.

So, yes, Father Tim's sentiments are my own this Christmas Eve morning. I've written a new list and it includes ever so many things for the day. I'm sure that yours does as well. Still, I hope that midnight finds John and me at the Christmas Eve service singing joyfully. (That will mean a required nap somewhere along the way.)

A blessed, meaningful, and altogether holy Christmas Eve to you...

Love Vee

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Pace Quickens~Mosaic Monday


Those who read yesterday's post will recognize the extreme irony of shopping this afternoon (in Freeport) with my daughter instead of for my daughter. Yup. Those are our shadows. (All the pictures in the mosaic above were taken by my daughter on her iphone.) It was a fun day!


Gifts continue to arrive and the mosaic above shows the delights from Cheryl who blogs at The Farmer's Daughter. Cheryl loves to visit Branson, Missouri. She knows that I just love reading about her trips so she gifted me with a cookbook from Branson, some beer cheddar dip, a cute little stocking, a sweet card, and Missouri itself.


Just some photos taken around the house...wanted to show off some of these great Christmas cards I've been receiving and show Cheryl the stocking hung on the tree.

Linking to Mary at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. (If you've never joined in the fun, please consider doing so in the New Year. It's a great way to meet some wonderful people and Mary has all the instructions you need on her sidebar.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Love Vee
Comments are closed so that you may boot it right along... It's the best Christmas gift I can give. ☺

Why Do I Celebrate Christmas?

After all, Christmas has many of its roots in pagan holidays. Christmas was not celebrated by Christians until 300 AD or later. That Holy Night most likely did not happen in December.

"So the birth may have occurred earlier, before they left the fields?"
"Very likely. However, the tradition of a late-December Nativity is eighteen centuries old, and I'm not messing with that."
"Still, if they were traveling in December, nighttime temperatures would have been freezing." His wife pondered this, shaking her head. "Just think! All that misery over taxes!"
"Some things," he said, "never change." 
A conversation between Tim Kavanagh and his wife Cynthia in Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon

"So have you ever been accused of being a pagan because you celebrate Christmas?"

That was the opening line of our pastor's sermon last week. It sure made us sit up and take note. No, we had not, but he has since a family member has become part of a church that celebrates nothing "extra" scriptural.

Extra scriptural? Didn't the Shepherds and Wise Men go to worship the child?

This entire discussion has given John and me plenty to ponder in the week since. Ultimately, I celebrate Christmas because I will not be silent when all the world focuses, even for one brief golden moment, on the Christ of Christmas. What a sneaky strategy on the part of the evil one to get Christians to stop celebrating Christmas. What a lowdown trick!

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. ~Titus 1:15 

Merry Christmas to You!
Photobucket


Love Vee
P.S. Linking to Brenda's Sunday Afternoon Tea because we're bookends today. Her side is lending more support to the books and mine is slipping a bit. ☺

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Weather Outside was Frightful


The Bunte Teller morphed into a Bunte Platte...I
added to it all the day long. Currently, it's also wearing the left-over cherries from my pitiful attempt to copy Judy. (My Front Porch) as seen at Ellen's (The Happy Wonderer) The candy cane heart is a knock-off from Jen (Our Southern Table).
~Lights Along the Fence in Torrential Downpours~

~Our New Lake~

~Inside Was So Delightful~
In keeping with fake blankets, fake flowers, and anything else fake around here, we have added a fake fire to the repertoire. This really did add quite a bit of ambiance to the evening. John was seated between the tree and the fire and I was seated on the sofa. As the fire crackled and danced, John got so hot that he began to repeatedly mop his brow. We were laughing at him and then I got so warm that I began to steam as well. It was purely psychological and we are obviously highly suggestible. Who cares, though, if that little dvd is the answer to the energy crisis?!

I awoke this morning with a start...I have not one thing for my daughter and must get to town.  < *thud* >  Hope that you're doing better!

Have a happy day...

Love Vee

Friday, December 21, 2012

Disentangle

Feeling a bit frazzled and a lot harried? Hold that thought...

~Bunte Teller~

Although I'm not one hundred per cent certain of all that a Bunte Teller represents in German tradition, it reminds me of a Horn of Plenty in that bounty is on display. It certainly creates a lovely focal point. You can learn more by visiting my featured blogger Niki on yesterday's post.


Another day, another gift. This sweet Christmas tea cup and arrangement is from the lovely Michele at Finch Rest where I recently won a Giveaway. (Michele really knows how to pack fragile items. I'm taking lessons, too. Let's see, take a box in a box in a box with the middle box's sides turned toward the center to create almost a roof so that the item cannot drop through. Smart gal!)

~Brightening a Corner~

***

Now let's watch John walk about a little, shall we?


Want to know what he's doing? 


Tracking bears that's what!

I found big tracks on our deck! That's my footprint on lower left beside a round bear print. (You can see immediately when John discovers where his wife has been. ☺) John believes that there was a Mama Bear and a Baby Bear. It probably explains why Molly got so excited day before yesterday and wouldn't stop barking. And it also explains why she went sniffing along a trail, turned on her heel, and marched back into the house without "doing" anything. No more out by herself and no more setting the garbage on the stoop waiting for John to take it to the garage (though it's never been disturbed); we're not taking any chances. 

***

Did you hold that thought? That one about possibly being frazzled and harried? I confess that I have been feeling a bit under it myself. It's been an incredibly difficult week. How have you been doing? Our thoughts are often in Connecticut and our prayers are with them. It can feel overwhelming sometimes. 

When I am feeling this way, I know that it is time to purposely and purposefully disentangle. So sit down with a cup of tea; put your feet up; pray, intercede; read a book; better yet, read the Word; watch the lights on the tree; rest. Trust the Lord to carry the burden. Do it. Please?

Newtown will be observing a moment of silence at 9:30 this morning on this one-week anniversary with a tolling of the bells.

Blessings and comfort...
Love Vee

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Grand Central Station

Perhaps you were under the impression that Grand Central Station looks like this:


It does. Nope. I  have never been. Pat has though. She took *that photo* and I have used it by permission. Did you know that Pat has been named one of the top Pinners to follow on Pinterest? True. She blogs at Mille Fiori Favoriti and has lived in NYC all her life. She will soon call the state of Colorado home and we'll have lost one of the most amazing ambassadors for NYC in Blogdom. We'll gain an amazing ambassador for Colorado. I hope that she'll revisit New York from time to time just so we can see the amazing photos she takes of her "hometown." If you haven't checked out her entry for the Note Card Party, do. As she says, "We Need a Little Christmas."

My side porch has also been a little Grand Central Station for much of this week. Perhaps yours was as well. One UPS truck after another pulled up through rain, freezing rain, snow, and slush. I am so impressed with all manner of postal services of late. It has really been amazing. Two days was the average length of time between order and arrival. Now that is incredible.

Not all this stuff is mine. No, no. I'm just babysitting it until whichever gift giver comes to wrap it and take it off. In the midst of all this, a package arrived just for me all the way from the plains of Canada. Niki, who blogs at Rural Writings, had wrapped me up some sweet things and I'm showing them off! Visit her Christmas post, if you need a little Christmas. Today I bought the things I need to make the Bunte Teller she shows and discusses. I'm so looking forward to that.

So here's a mostly picture story of my gift box...

Oh beauty products were declared...heaven knows I need them!

 Beautifully wrapped in this sweet paper...

 Little Santa cap...
Actually two little Santa caps...they're hanging on my tree just now...

 All the goodies...

 Sweet wishes...

Spring fabrics by Ro Gregg. These are five-inch squares and I am going to have fun thinking what to create with them...perhaps a spring table runner.


Great label on the goat's milk soap that smells amazing: Where goats grow and flowers don't.


 Skin and hand lotion...these hands need some lotion.


 Darling little candle and apricot colored glass holder.


Look at the graphics on this box of Dare Maple Cream Cookies! This is now prominently displayed on my pantry cupboard. If we eat them, I'll be saving the box!


Ohhhh, yum. Coffee Crisps. I'm going to cut them into pieces and share them with my family...perhaps as part of the Bunte Teller.

All I have to say is that someone has been way too generous and has really been paying attention around here.

Niki, thank you for the sweet gifts, sweet Canadian gifts. You really made my day!

***

Thanks to all who participated in the Note Card Party yesterday. It's always a lot of fun to see the wonderful photos presented. There is no excuse for any of you not to make up your work into your own personalized cards for next Christmas.

The party will remain open throughout today for anyone who'd like to get in on it. It was a lot of fun to have some new participants join us, too. 

Back to Grand Central...

Love Vee

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Note Card Party~December

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
~Charles Dickens 

A gift of Christmas~2010

 Now those little worshippers are really experiencing Shekinah glory, aren't they?!
2011

 I "fixed" the torn linen...
2012

Sweet juxtaposition between the cold outdoors and the warmth inside and that strawberry gets more delicious looking every time I see it!
2012

Your turn!

Love Vee

Let Your Light Shine

It's turning into "Bleak Mid-Winter" around here — snow upon snow. Okay, it's now freezing rain upon snow, which is worse. Time to make the house cheery and do some baking and think about packages and such things. Our "main" Christmas with the most family members will be this Friday. So there is much to do!

Still gray and oh what a difference a few colored lights makes...

Thank you for your thoughts in yesterday's comments. I see that they echo my own. In the distress of the first hours, many felt that a day (or days) of silence would be the right thing to do; in the ensuing days, we have rethought it and feel that it is best to go on. The children are returning to school today. Apparently, normalcy helps people recover best. They are already moving forward and so my prayers are for the parents who put the children on the bus — what courage! For the teachers who return to work — what courage! For the students who face this day in a new school — what courage! It will be wonderful for them to see their teachers and friends again. And always my prayers will be for those who move forward without a beloved child, may God give them strength.

For all those who wish to participate in this month's Note Card Party, Mr. Linky will be available between 8 and 8:30 this evening. (Directions can be found on my sidebar by clicking on the notice in red or the button lower in the sidebar.)

Stay busy, keep praying, do some baking, talk with friends, let your light shine...

Love Vee

Monday, December 17, 2012

Blankets of Comfort


We woke to a blanket of snow this morning. It began yesterday in the early afternoon and is still falling. Gently falling. Falling snow is very soothing and strangely comforting. (I'll let you know how John feels about that once he's been busy plowing for a while.)

May I just say that I have read some of the most incredible posts over the past several days. People's hearts are in tune and identifying with the community of Newtown. I hope that you have read Debbie's, Karen's, Susan's. There are so many! Each one focuses on a slightly different topic and together they have created such a blanket of comfort...like the gently falling snow.



And now I'd like to ask my regular readers a question: what shall we do with this month's Note Card Party? I have read that there is a Day of Silence or two or more scheduled this week. I am not participating in them because when Blogdom goes dim, a beautiful light is snuffed out. This seems counterintuitive to me.  When times are dark and difficult, we need light. So do let me know what you think. Thanks so much!

Comfort and blessings to you...

Love Vee

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Snowy Sunday Afternoon~Mosaic Monday

We spent a cozy, quiet, snowy Sunday afternoon enjoying the lights and the aroma of the baking *Norwegian Custies.* It was a time to decompress from the news reports. (I can't recommend doing that enough.)






Love Vee

Psalm 46

Psalm 46 — a great comfort

When we have doubts or are facing difficulties, when others suggest courses of actions that are conflicting, when caution dictates one course but faith another, we should be still. We should quiet each intruding person, calm ourselves in the sacred stillness of God's presence, study His word for guidance, and with true devotion focus our attention on Him... ~Streams in the Desert
John was chatting with his daughter recently who so happened to be caring for her grandson that day. She shared that the little fellow had recently spoken his first words and that they had been, "Hold Still." We rather like that and can't think of much better advice, especially when one is uncertain.

Our hearts are with Newtown today. My prayer is that they, too, will "Hold Still" that they might circle the wagons and keep the intruders at bay. They have everything they need within their community to move forward when the time is right. And the Lord most certainly is with them and will guide.

Many blessings to you this Sunday...
Love Vee

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sorrow


Hate is strong and mocks the song of Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men.

So much sadness in this world. Yesterday I was suggesting that you look for Christmas joys. It would have been a very difficult day to have found any.

Sweet and innocent five-year-olds lost so brutally. I take comfort in knowing where they are today. It is not small comfort; it is the best comfort. Whatever horrors they saw yesterday have all been wiped away by the hand of God and they are joyful and more alive than they have ever been before.

We, as a nation, even the world, will not forget these children nor the adults who tried to save them. Our prayers are with the families and the community and those precious first responders who will never be the same again. And I will not forget that this is exactly why the Lord came in the first place. We need a Savior. We need Him now more than ever.

It had been my hope to put up the post I had planned before all this happened. It is important to put one foot in front of the other and carry on. We do this for the people around us; we do it for ourselves; we do it because we have hope for better, brighter days. Not today, though. Not today.

Be comforted...

Love Vee

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thirty Geese A'Flyin'


Wild geese fly south, creaking like anguished hinges...
~Margaret Atwood



John burst through the door at a full gallop two days ago, "Get your camera! Quick!"

How surprised we were to hear them creaking like anguished hinges before we could see them and then to have them break to the south side of the row of pines in the narrow window of opportunity between the last tree and the garage. Thirty geese a'flyin' — what  a lovely gift of Christmas! Hope that they are skedaddling for bad weather is coming and they are leaving very late.

~49? Geese A'Creakin'~

Closing comments today that you may read and scoot just like the geese.

Be expecting some Christmas joys today...

Love Vee

DB