Friday, December 25, 2015

merry Christmas

Now is the moment for the Spirit of Christmas…
The joy of giving, the smiles of children, the music of bells,
The twinkle of lights in crisp evening air,
Warmth and love of family and friends, sharing of special memories…
The gentle Spirit of Love that falls quietly upon all of mankind,
Seeking the single day of celebration bringing Peace upon the world.

Merry Christmas… and may God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

the heart of Christmas

Full mantel. Fuller heart.

Monday, December 21, 2015

deck the halls

just a sampling of my favorite things...

Sunday, December 20, 2015

a Christmas story

Christmas Story: 
For the Man Who Hated Christmas 
By Nancy W. Gavin

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree.  No name, no identification, no inscription.  It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past ten years.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas.  Oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it—overspending and the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  I reached for something special just for Mike.  The inspiration came in an unusual way.

Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was on the wrestling team at the school he attended.  Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church.  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.  It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.

Well, we ended up walloping them.  We took every weight class.  Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said.  "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.”  Mike loved kids—all kids.  He so enjoyed coaching little league football, baseball and lacrosse.  That's when the idea for his present came.

That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes, and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.  On Christmas Eve, I placed a small, white envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done, and that this was his gift from me.

Mike's smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year.  And that same bright smile lit up succeeding years.  For each Christmas, I followed the tradition—one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.

The white envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning, and our children—ignoring their new toys—would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.  As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the small, white envelope never lost its allure.

The story doesn't end there.  You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree.  And the next morning, I found it was magically joined by three more.  Unbeknownst to the others, each of our three children had for the first time placed a white envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our grandchildren standing to take down that special envelope.

Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

ho, ho, ha

An elderly man in Oklahoma calls his son in New York and says,

"I hate to ruin your day son, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are getting a divorce; 45 years of marriage... and that much misery is enough!"

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son yells.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the old dad explained. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Hong Kong and tell her!".

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone.

"Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this."

She calls her elderly father immediately, and screams at him, "You are not getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don't do a thing, you hear me?" she yelled as she hung up the phone. 

The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay", he says, "it's all set. They're both coming for Christmas and paying their own air-fare."

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

alone with Him

My heart has been heavy, feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not sure why. I need to stop, slow down, enter into His presence, seek His peace, His love, His joy, His strength, His comfort, His Word, alone in prayer. Just Him and me. 

1 John 4:4  “
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 9:9-10  “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.  Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Isaiah 41:10  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Monday, November 23, 2015

who do you want to be?

Be Someone

Be someone who listens, and you will be heard.
Be someone who cares, and you will be loved.
Be someone who gives, and you will be blessed.
Be someone who comforts, and you will know peace.

Be someone who genuinely seeks to understand, and you will be wise.
Be someone kind, someone considerate, and you will be admired.
Be someone who values truth, and you will be respected.
Be someone who takes action, and you will move life forward.
Be someone who lifts others higher, and your life will be rich.
Be someone filled with gratitude, and there will be no end to the things for which you’ll be thankful.
Be someone who lives with joy, with purpose, as your own light brightly shines.
Be, in every moment, the special someone you are truly meant to be.

© 2003 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.

Monday, November 16, 2015

what i see

It's a dreary, rainy day.  Looking out the kitchen window, I see a Crepe Myrtle tree.  Actually, there are several (my favorite tree).  But, this particular one has unusual fall colors.  Some leaves are tones of golden yellow, while others are shades of rich burgundy.  Unique and different, yet part of the whole.

You know what this reminds me of?  

Family.  Everyone knows how it is, from its roots, to the trunk, extending out to branches.  We have a family, we are a family, we belong to a family.  Like trees in a forest, there are many different families. Unique families. Families that intertwine, that continue to spread, that become new families, and the cycle goes on and on.

Life is beautiful. 

The clouds have parted giving way to a beautiful Carolina blue sky. The sun is bright and glistening on the Crepe Myrtle trees. 

Yep, life is beautiful!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

quick quotes

quotes from one of my all time favorites: CS Lewis

Monday, November 9, 2015

i don't consider it a 'fun fact' but...

came across this last week. It applies to some types of depression. Yes, there are several types with specific symptoms and specific treatments. 

Although there are a number of tv commercials for depression medications, for the most part, mental health still carries an unspoken stigma. The public has become aware of the subject, yet it's still an awkward conversation. 

Tell someone you have cancer, and they understand. There are numerous types and treatments for cancers. Tell someone you have depression, and they (typically) don't understand. They don't want to talk about it. Depression can be an uncomtable subject. And no, we're not crazy. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

it's Autumn!

Nothing could be finer than to be in North Carolina when the Blue Ridge Mountains are painted by the strokes of the Lord God, Creater of all.  I have trembled at the overwhelming beauty spread all around me... Life is good...

Friday, November 6, 2015

only a month away

Facebook is a wealth of information. Several pages I like have beautiful ideas for Christmas decorations. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Monday, November 2, 2015

testing & trials

Sometimes I can't see beyond a trying time or a testing of my faith or learning thru my trials. I admit, I often ask 'why me?, 'what now?', 'haven't I had enough?', 'how can this make me happy?', 'again?', 'how can I deal with any more?', 'haven't I been here before'.

'Lord, I need you', 'Lord, I give it all to you', 'Lord, use me', 'Lord, teach me',  'Lord, strengthen me', Lord, lead me', 'Lord, may Your will be done'.

See? There's an indescribable difference! Leaning on the everlasting arms of Jesus my Lord... That's the only way...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

lessons learned in life

A son took his old father to a restaurant for an evening dinner.

Father being very old and weak, while eating, dropped food on his shirt and trousers.

Others diners watched him in disgust while his son was calm.

After he finished eating, his son who was not at all embarrassed, quietly took him to the wash room, wiped the food particles, removed the stains, combed his hair and fitted his spectacles firmly.

Whenthey came out, the entire restaurant was watching them in dead silence, not able to grasp how someone could embarrass themselves publicly like that.

The son settled the bill and started walking out with his father.

At that time, an old man amongst the diners

called out to the son and asked him, "Don't you think you have left something behind?".

The son replied, "No sir, I haven't".

The old man retorted, "Yes, you have! You left a lesson for every son and hope for every father".

The restaurant went silent.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

love this time of year...

The air is crisp, the color is magnificent.  I love Autumn decor, although currently I only have one sad looking pumpkin.  I'm not very crafty, but I enjoy seeing others' ideas.  These are a few of my favorites...