Friday, December 19, 2008

FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOURS






I did not decorate much for Christmas this year. That is OK because we have up the things we like best. The Poinsettia carries so many memories. We did not have a tree as I was growing up because the Mennonite Church was strongly against them. How I longed as a child to have one. To this day that rule makes no sense to me. But we did have Poinsettia plants and so that says grandma's house, the Aunties home and my home and brings back fun holiday memories. When I moved to Florida as a newly married gal at 19 I remember with wonder the beauty of huge Poinsettia plants growing outside homes. I managed to grow a nice large one outside and I enjoyed it a lot. If dad was where we lived he would buy one for me and so that makes this small one remember him with a lot of love.
The Nativity is my very favorite symbol of Christmas. Before we lost all our things in Florida due to the toxic mold I have a set for each room. My favorite was my Fontanni Set that I had added to whenever I could. My goal was to be able to set up the Bethlehem set....town and all. But that was not to be and I say these things are "gone with the mold". I love these because I could allow the kids and grand kids play with them and act out the story as often as they wanted. I have a set I did paint out of ceramics for mom and dad as a Christmas gift 25+ years ago. They decided not to use it anymore 3 years ago. I do put it out but in this last move the stable was broken and so I decided it will come out next year and will create one during this year. So the one you see was John's mothers set. (She was crazy about the 3 Wisemen). I had given this to mother to use but she decided she did not want it last year so that is on the mantle. Foe fun I suggest you read this page. It tells how to set up a Nativity set.
Than our tree. It is a love tree. When we lost all out things email buddies sent me what is on the tree. I can sit and look and remember who gave me what and I love each one. A box of ornaments I made were at moms and so I do have some from 35 years ago and they remind me of the kids and the fun we had at Christmas. A tree to me is really a memory tree. I have never wanted to go out and but the latest fad for trees or the "new" colors. I always hoped it was one the kids, friends,the grand kids, John and myself could look at and remember the times we spent together. If I could so one from scratch I would want it to have white lights to remind me Jesus is the Light f the World, Stars that tell us the Wise men followed the star, gold to remind me Heaven is paved with gold and Crystal for the light to bounce off of and that reminds me that Jesus is the Light but we must reflect Him in our lives,,and ornaments that represent Jesus. I want to create Chrismons.
Symbols:
Ideas to make them:
Than I would add the Jesse Tree ornaments.
the above is for kids
this one is also printable:
I think I will try to create mine from felt and embellish them some.....Maybe I will begin as soon as a paycheck happens. I love to work with felt.
Remember Christmas is Christ and Christ is Christmas.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

TODAY...DEPRESSION...ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

Today depression hit me so hard. This is not a feeling I am used to at all. I was not even sure I wanted to get out of bed. I knew I had to “take the bull by the horns” and call it what it is. I prayed and got up for that hot cup of coffee. It was quiet and so I reflected on this week. When we had a urgent bill to pay a check came from a precious Aunt and Uncle and it was paid and I went to the Discount Grocery Store and picked up a few essentials. Now that is a blessing! I heard from a few friends that lifted my spirits. That is worth more than gold. I sold a few cards and that was a blessing. John received 2 possible job emails that were personal and not automated. Maybe…
The depression started to lesson but as many of you know the devil likes to show us the other side. How I fought that. Nature does so much for me and so I decided to take Sparky for a walk. He likes to visit the row of trees to do his business and he went a bit crazy…it looked like some fur I thought that worked him all up…but no it had roots. So I finished walking him and got my camera. It was too dark to take a picture where it was so I pulled it up…brought it to John and he was amazed…it is delicate. Sparkles, has black dots on it and is so dainty. We looked it up but found nothing…. so here is the picture maybe one of you can identify it.
The back yard was calling me and soon I stumbled on this pretty and bright fungus. I brightened too because I simply love nature. John thinks something eats these because there are some out there that look nibbled on.
I stopped to sit on the outside brick fireplace and just watched the pond. I had taken some stale bread along and the fish were feeding on it and the birds were singing. To me it is way too warm today for the season but I have to admit it is nice. A hawk soared over me and all of a sudden it was quiet. The small birds dove into the bushes by the feeder. That made me pause. They saw or heard danger and they hid. That is survival. Maybe there is a lesson in this for me too. I will think about it more.


As I headed back to the house I saw these full heads of dandelion seeds. I love them because they remind me of my childhood. Do you remember picking them and than blowing on them? I do and I giggled at the memories. As a child it was a wonder or fun to us but I guess our parents did not like all those dandelion seeds on the pretty yard. But as a mother or grandma I remember the delight on the face of my children and grandchildren as they handed me the treasure they had just picked…a bouquet of Dandelion flowers.


I sat on the chairs on our patio/carport and adjusted my attitude. We are among many families that are out of work with no job in sight. There are many of us without no presents under the tree for our kids and grandkids. There are many of us that have been told the panty shelves are empty in the food closets. I looked at the panic in the eyes of a family there and knew they have children to feed and we do not. They told me the only agency here in town that helps with electric bills is out of funds. This town of mill workers has been hit so hard with lay-offs. The huge carpet company here handed pink slips to those 45 or older. There are many that do not have the faith that knows God will supply our needs. We may question how and when and I believe that is a normal emotion but we can never doubt His power. He does know our breaking point.

I have resented having to once again giving up what God supplied us with after the lass of all our things. But if I am honest I will say I allowed myself to be once again attached to things and I was determined not to do that again. I know the things we have He gave us for a reason and to hang on to “things” is not a very good way to say thanks to Him. So I prayed and told Him I am willing to do whatever is required of me.

What are gifts under the tree? Usually they are fun to select for our families. It gives a mom pleasure to find that perfect gift for her children. It gives a grandma great pleasure to find the right toy or game for our grandkids. I had such plans…not for big gifts but thoughtful gifts for each one. But that is not to be. I gave this hurt to Jesus to. It will have to be up to Him if He sees fit to grant me this pleasure.

I do have what I need to bake brownies for my oldest daughter for the party at the Police Dept. I made them some time ago and her guys want more. I make them and that melt chocolate as a icing. I am looking forward to doing this for her. I was so happy she asked me.

I was able to set us a Pay-Pal account to sell my cards and some things I have stitched and that gives me encouragement to know maybe I can help us some as job spends all day and way into th night searching for that job. I hope to go now and create more to sell.

As I close this let me tell you the depression has lifted. God is faithful in giving us strength for the hard times, in giving us joy in nature if we chose to take the time to enjoy them.. He is faithful in taking away the resentment when we repent. He allows us to be open and transparent with Him and meets us where we are…even if the depths of depression. He is indeed a good and faithful Father.

The challenge I leave with you is this…if you need your attitude adjusted go to Him. Look around you and see a neighbor that needs encouragement and be that to them. He will give you the words to say, the actions he wants you to take and the needs they may have you can give to them. Remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Do what He does for you!




Friday, December 12, 2008

TRIALS, STRENGTH AND CHRISTMAS


Waiting for a job is not easy when you are living on a dime. We have made the hard decision to sell household items so we have a roof over our head one more month…hoping for a job.

I love Christmas and always have. I will admit in past years I “just had” to have gifts for those I love. It was expected and I delivered. We never put Christmas on a credit card but I did pressure my DH for money to get Christmas. This year it has changed. Yes, I would love to be able to give the grandkids a gift but it is out of the question. I gave the Lord my desire to gift them with “things” and he gave me the desire to give them the gift of time.
He helped me see I can look ahead and He will help me make their birthdays a special day. I am Ok with that.

Now back to Christmas…. what is Christmas to you? Is it the giving and receiving…is it the tree and tinsel…is it the carols and caroling…is it the baking and the turkey…is it the wonder in the eyes of your kids and grandkids…is it family and friends…is it serving or being served…is it Santa or seasons greetings?

I have searched my heart and see that in years past it was somewhat in the toys I gave, the goodies I baked and the parties I had. These things are OK when kept in the proper prospective and are part of the season for us. But it hit me this season that Christmas is Christ and Christ is Christmas. That is the bottom line. We read a lot about the miracle of the birth of Jesus in the Bible. It is a story we teach the kids and they love playing with the Nativity and being in Christmas pageants at church. But I am afraid as we grow up the commercial part of the holidays becomes part of our lives. Did you ever wonder what we could do with the money we spend on new ornaments for our trees to keep them up to date? What about the money we spend to wrap what we buy? Beside the money we need to think of all of this going to a landfill and the harm to our environment. I have a friend that wraps in tea towels, bath towels, and fabric or she uses baskets…anything the receiver can really use. The gifts are always attractive and are appreciated. Why does it take glitter and bright objects to get us into the mood we want in the season? I have heard so many folks mention since the tree is up they feel Christmas or when 10 types of cookies and candy are made it smells and feels like Christmas. Is it because we have really lost the wonder of a virgin having a baby and His name is Jesus?

Think of this with me…..you are a virgin and are carrying a baby and betrothed to a man that still marries you. Can you really feel the fear at first and that the wonder of this miracle? Can you travel with Mary and Joseph to pay their taxes and you have to ride on a donkey? I can’t because I have rode on a donkey at Camp Hebron and it is not a comfortable ride at all. Than she is carrying a child…now that is a tough ride. Think about her attitude when there was no room in the Inn and they had to go to the stable and there birth her child? The miracle of the birth of Jesus brings tears to my eyes.

Can you imagine being a shepherd and all of a sudden seeing angels that are singing and announcing the birth of Jesus? If they came and told us would we label them as delusional? Would you believe them and follow the star? Can you even imagine how they felt when they saw that new born baby? I think they “knew” it was the promised Messiah.
The Wise men are really a story by them selves and I did a word study on them for my journal time. I started at this sight and suggest you do also.
http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/wisemen.html

You will see why this indeed a part of the miracle of the birth of Jesus.
I believe if each of you reading this blog were to get up early one morning and study this miracle or stay up after all are gone to bed and ask the Lord to take away the commercial out of Christmas and instill the miracle of His Birth and why He came to earth you will energized and your family will slow down and see Jesus. Why we run to and fro and get so frazzled is beyond me. Maybe instead of a huge Christmas dinner we need to have a simple meal and share what we might have spent with a family that needs food. Not only will you be blessed but your waist line will be blessed too.

Why did it take a stressful time in my life for me to really see Jesus in Christmas? I think it is because my pride has been stripped, my holiday planning needs no planning, I need no extra gas to shop for what someone may not use and I feel peace…real peace in this season.

Back to no job and no income and all our 401k money used….I read in a book that is getting worn called “Wisdom for the way, Wise Words for Busy People” by Charles Swindoll. He has a way of speaking a book in one page and it points you to Jesus. The verse was Psalm 27:14: (Amplified Bible)
“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”
He says wait is Hebrew verb (kah-wah) and means to “twist, stretch” and noun for “line, thread or cord”. That brings a picture of the making of a strong and powerful rope. He says “…and weaving ourselves so tightly around the Lord that our weakness and frail characteristics are replaced by His power and unparallel strength. It describes very literally the truth of what has been termed the ‘exchanged life’…
The last line hit me and I praise the Lord for it!
“Strength and courage are developed ‘during’ a trial, not after it is over.”

Mary and Joseph must have been perplexed by the twists and turns in their life but I believe they knew the Lord was in control. I believe they became strong in these circumstances and this is a lesson for you and I during this season. The economy is awful for many, the unemployment is high, groceries are up but all of this can twist us into a strong rope that gives us the strength of the Lord… we also will have the strength to help others struggling. How can you help another today?
Yes, Christmas is Christ and Christ is Christmas.

Monday, December 8, 2008

THE BIG 60

Today was the big 60 for me. It was the first time I dreaded a birthday. I wrote this last night.

“Might it be because I still have so much I want to do? Could it be I want to be able to bless others more? Could it be because we always thought 60 was old? I think it is a lot of the first 2 for me. I still want to see the Swiss Alps, I want to spend time with my family in Pa. I want to see Skyler graduate from college, Adam, Will and Zoe from high school. I have so much I want to share with them.....stories, memories but mostly listen to them and I mean really listen. I have the time now. I want to finish my book or books....I have 2 started and just got stuck. I want to be able to walk on the Beach or hike up a mountain again.

Those all are dreams and some will come to pass. But mostly I want to enjoy each minute right now.....like the look on Zoe's face when she saw me walk into their house and the squeals of delight and the words, "Nana, I love you and missed you" along with a tight hug and yes I picked her up and cried.....we had such a delightful afternoon drinking our tea, reading a book, playing with toys and laughing.....the fun I heard in Ryan's voice as he teased me about becoming a senior citizen that can get him a discount....big chance!
I so enjoyed watching a hawk on the way home.....my DH pulled off the road so I could enjoy him and than the owl watching us as we came home. Sparky was one happy dog to see us and he just put on a show and laid with each of us for a bit......or this morning as I looked out to the pond and saw the Great Blue Heron catch a fish and what fun to see him swallow it! The Cardinals sang and the Purple Finches flutter about......Yes, it was all simple things but ones I will remember this week.

God has given me a gift....so many die before they reach this age and you know I believe each of them had dreams too. My dad at 88 had some.....but his biggest wish was to go and be with the Lord. He said many times he was ready and as I type this I did wipe a tear but mostly I am comforted by the love he gave me every minute he was alive. One thing I learned was he too had fears and he too was down at times but he always shook them off with his strong faith.

Birthdays are funny....they do something to you no other day does except Maybe New Years Eve.....you stop and reflect. It is kinda like the word "selah" at the end of a verse....it means stop and reflect......the goodness of God, the gifts he has given us, the family we have and yes these storms in life that take us to the brink of despair for really it is there that you see the strength the Lord gives you. I seldom think of that strength until I think I am going over the edge and than you see the break in the skies and you know God is still with you. You feel that love like you did as a child when you climbed up into your fathers arms and knew you were safe and loved. Yes, God gives us that strength because He says that what is His is ours....take a minute and reflect on that.

I have a wonderful husband that would move mountains for me if he could. He also gives me strength as I see him struggle to be "normal" whatever that is......His love gives me what it takes to love him more and more.”

TODAY:
I awoke with joy this morning. It was great to be alive. I watched the birds and drank my coffee. John wished me Happy Birthday. It seemed like the depression I have bee feeling lifted. I know that was because of the prayers of those that care. The girls called and Ryan also. That was nice.
John pulled out the Christmas tree, which surprised me because I did not plan to get it out this year. Ryan’s girlfriend was here and she helped me decorate while John made a hamburger for us and Ryan along with French fries. It was so good. A meal we seldom make but what we could afford. The fact John made it was the important thing. I love that man of mine!

Gifts were not bought but that was fine. When there is no job store bought gifts are not important at all. It is family and their love that gets you through. It is one’s faith I God and knowing He is in control. It is learning from the tough times and gaining strength day by day.

Than I had a wonderful surprise in a phone call from a neighbor from childhood and I believe we chatted for close to an hour. It is funny how God sends the right people at the time you need them. Thanks Ruby for taking the time to surprise me with a call. God Bless you.

Let me end with some things I am grateful for:

Another year to serve the Lord

My darling husband

Family and friends that care.

The job God will give John

I am feeling creative again