Thursday, December 31, 2009

May God Bless our New Year With Love

My prayer for one and all
Is to always have a hand to catch you should you fall
Or an understanding ear that doesn't just 'hear'
But most of all an overwhelming feeling of strong love
That can only come from our Heavenly Father up above!!

A new year should signal new "life" for us, new ways to look at everything around us and bring peace to even the thorniest of situations, sometimes by "landing" on them gently like a butterfly...

What sweet message does this little droplet of water hold ...hmmm, maybe we can look more carefully from now on??...

This is a little prayer I send to you and kindly ask that you send it on to others in your prayers...

Now this is what life is all about...blessings given through kindness and all the blessings we are showered with from God and often through others...

And here's our little droplet of water and the message it has for us is not just Happy New Year but Spread Nothing but Cheer.....

How can this greeting be complete without a little puppy dog so sweet?....

We won't get 2010 again...
 so let's make it a year to remember for all the kindnesses and blessings we can bring into this needy world...

Sparkle and shine wherever you are, so that darkness of all kinds is made lighter by your presence and my presence...

In case you were wondering and even if you weren't here's what the Internet says....

"The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. Originally the new year was celebrated in the beginning of spring. In the Gregorian calendar, New Year's Day is the first day of the year. It first came to be fixed at January 1 by the Roman senate in 153 BC.

Many cultures believe that what they did or ate on the first day of the year could bring them either good or bad luck for the rest of the year. Some traditional New Year foods thought to bring luck are something in the shape of a ring, black-eyed peas, pork, cabbage or rice.

The modern tradition of making resolutions dates back to the early Babylonians.

Today, celebrations include parades, football games, and fireworks. Since the 1900s the night of December 31, New Year's Eve, has become an occasion for celebration."

This must mean we need to stay bubbly in the New Year and maybe even make bubbles as well...hmmm, think I'm gonna go get some bubbles that we have and blow them all over the place!...

A new chuckle or two,
 just for you,
along with a thank you
for all you do
 to make the world less 'blue
' and even me too
 for I do treasure each of you!!!...

Dieting - New Resolutions

2006: I will get my weight down below 180 pounds.

2007: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200 pounds.

2008: I will develop a realistic attitude about my weight.

2009: I will work out 3 days a week.

2010: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.

(I'm sneaking this New Year's giraffe in for Michael since he doesn't have any giraffes to gack/slobber/make slimmy his hands this year....yet!)...

A New Year's Wish

On New Year's Eve, Marilyn stood up in the local pub and said that it was time to get ready. At the stroke of midnight, she wanted every husband to be standing next to the one person who made his life worth living.

Well, it was kind of embarrassing. As the clock struck - the bartender was almost crushed to death.

Lecture Tour with A Difference

On New Year's Eve, Daniel was in no shape to drive, so he sensibly left his van in the car park and walked home. As he was wobbling along, he was stopped by a policeman. 'What are you doing out here at four o'clock in the morning?' asked the police officer.
'I'm on my way to a lecture,' answered Roger.
'And who on earth, in their right mind, is going to give a lecture at this time on New Year's Eve?' enquired the constable sarcastically.
'My wife,' slurred Daniel grimly.

~~~Thank You dear Lord for all the blessings this past year has brought and for all the future blessings in 2010, may all people be a little kinder and gentler, starting with me.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

In The "Heart" of Christmas

Lots of people think that Christmas is now over
Forgetting there are twelve days
To sing the Baby's praise
So let us pause to spiritually "graze"
And make the most of these remaining days.

For more information, please click on the title below...

"The twelve days of Christmas are not the twelve days before Christmas, but are instead the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25 until January 5), which is when the three Wise Men or Magi arrived on the scene.

In some families, it was and still is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of those twelve days, much as gifts are given to children on each of the days of Hanukkah. Some have suggested that the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is actually a song of instruction with hidden meanings to the basic teachings of the Faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith."

This lighted nativity is taped to our window over the front door...

To give you a proper perspective of where I had to put's waaay up there...

The white Peace nativity was found tucked away last year in a religious goods store in Columbus and marked down drastically since it was from the year before has a very nice little blue light shining down on it...

This is an old set that used to light up in three places and play music as it only lights up in the middle (which is the most important spot by the Baby Jesus) and plays music.  This may have been a gift from my daughter Ria...

The two tiny sets on the far left are from Costa Rica when Mario and I visited there and the wooden one on the far right is from Germany when we lived there.  The others are just ones that I have found and are different from ones I already had (please note that I even found a nativity gift box)...

And from our faithful Internet, we learn...

'The first Christmas card is said to have been designed way back in 1843, by a certain JR Horsley.

There are massive demands for Christmas trees around the globe, in fact there are a massive 3 - 6 million trees produced each year purely for the demand for Christmas trees.
Christmas crackers, invented by Thomas Smith, can be rather large. In fact the largest ever was over 45 metres long and still worked! "

This set I treasure because it was my dear step father's for many years and the last one my mother and he enjoyed together....

Today I will be making another trip to meet halfway (whew for that) and pickup Laura who has been visiting her sister...this will be my third trip in 8 days!!  It's been very busy around here as I am sure it has been for all of you, so kudos and my hat is off to all those who managed to post anyway...I hope to comment when I get back from today's trip (which means no painting class but then I/we have also missed prayer groups and a study group we signed up for among other things.)

IN case you were wondering...we DO keep Christmas till the Epiphany, in spite of funny looks from neighbors when we put our lights on for the last time on January 6th!!  On this day we like to give gifts that you cannot we write on a piece of paper something nice we will do for one another like wash or vacuum a car or help with some project etc. etc.

Ever wonder where some of our Christmas quotes came from??...

"Christmas Quotes:

'Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody!' Ogden Nash

'Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home!' Charles Dickens

'Love came down at Christmas; Love all lovely, love divine; Love was born at Christmas, Stars and angels gave the sign.' Christina Rossetti

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,

Just like the ones I used to know,

Where the tree tops glisten

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow.

Irving Berlin

'I heard the bells on Christmas Day. Their old familiar carols play. And wild and sweet the words repeat. Of peace on earth goodwill to men.' Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "

And here's a Christmas kitten, getting into eveything he can that is Christmas, especially garland and the artificial tree which looks very real due to the many needles being pulled off!!...

And here's little Sadie Mae looking pitiful and hoping for treats (which she always gets)....

One year I found a nativity that had hay attached to it (on the far left), then a picture with the story of Christmas on the other side and finally a nativity bell...

This pretty gold globe nativity that plays music came from some friends last year...

Some more different nativities with the one in the center being a Hallmark special after Christmas sale...

An old nativity that had a light in the star that used to work....

Some Christmas chuckles...

Reindeer's Story at Christmas

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December.

Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl.

We should have known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost.

From Great Britain...
Father Christmas Calls

Alex was five; all his Christmas presents were always signed, 'from Father Christmas.'

A little while after Alex had opened all his presents on Christmas morning, we became aware that he was looking quite down in the mouth for no obvious reason.

'What's the matter, Al?' I asked.

'Ummmm, 'replied Alex slowly, 'I really hoped that you and Mummy would give me something for Christmas.'

Christmas Spirit

♪It was just before Christmas and the magistrate was in a happy mood. He asked the prisoner who was in the dock, 'What are you charged with?'

The prisoner replied, 'Doing my Christmas shopping too early.'

'That's no crime', said the magistrate. 'Just how early were you doing this shopping?'

'Before the shop opened', answered the prisoner.

Try Before You Buy

Myra was going to the Christmas office party but needed a new party dress.

In the clothing store she asked, 'May I try on that dress in the window, please?'

'Certainly not, madam,' responded the salesgirl, 'You'll have to use the fitting room like everyone else.'

~~~Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings of many days to revere the birth of Your Son.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Blessed Christmas Eve to All

This sweet little set, made entirely of straw is from a place dear to my heart because my late husband was born there (although raised in Venezuela), Poland.....

Last year's sale at our nearby Monastery, after Christmas and displayed for the first time, is a soapstone nativity from Kenya, Africa (behind it is a capiz shell nativity from the Phillipines).....

Some miscellaneous decorations around our home.....

For a minute, I thought this was one of our nativities but it is one I found online and so is the cute little puppy, wishing all a Merry and Blessed Christmas...

And here is a cute little Christmas test of who you are by how you decorate that I found on the Internet...

"Homemade ornaments: You have lots of children....

Blinking Lights: You have attention deficit disorder....

Multicolored lights: You’re an extrovert....

Strung Popcorn: You have too much time on your hands....

White lights: You ask houseguests to remove their shoes..."

A couple of more batches of cookies, these are IRISH APPLESAUCE COOKIES...

PINEAPPLE RIGHT SIDE UP COOKIES is the name given to these cookies we tried for the first time this year...

And where have I been?? and what have I been doing???, you might well ask...well, there have been some challenges and some excitement, all time consuming....

***the final and fifth visit by people to see the nativities (lots of prep work involved each time from the hot apple cider to the cookies being uncovered etc. etc.)

***Laura, my sweet daughter coming into the Atlanta airport (and getting lost trying to find baggage claim which was WAY behind in off loading baggage)

***a trip to Columbus, Ga to drop off gifts with LOTS of things going wacko from the start when I ended up going all alone as Laura had one of her severe migraines and then the final  'delight' of the backed up and stopped traffic on the way back (gave me plenty of prayer time)

***the septic tank having to be emptied one more time due to the heavy rains (which caused our pockets to be emptied beyond belief as well)

****last minute wrapping of gifts and squeezing in a couple of Christmas movies

***unexpected visitors coming by as well...gosh, where are all of you???...I'd LOVE to have had any of you surprise me!!!

Time for a Ho Ho Ho or two...

My appointment as pastor coincided with the church's appeal for aid for victims of a hurricane. Unfortunately, on my first Sunday in the parish, the center page of the church bulletin was accidentally omitted. So members of the congregation read from the bottom of the second page to the top of the last page: "Welcome to the Rev. Andrew Jensen and his family ... the worst disaster to hit the area in this century. The full extent of the tragedy is not yet known."
Filling in one weekend for a priest at a neighboring parish, I called the church early Saturday to inquire about my Mass schedule. I confess that I was taken aback when the caretaker picked up the phone. "Holy Angels," he answered, "Gabriel speaking."
The highlight of our zoo trip was a peacock showing off its plumage. My four-year-old son was particularly taken with it. That evening, he couldn't wait to tell his father: "Dad, guess what! I saw a Christmas tree come out of a chicken!"

~~~Heavenly Father I thank You for the blessings of these fine, kind and loving people that You have sent into my life in blogland, please bless them with a beautiful Christmas, one full of YOU!!

you won't need a special star -

I'm no longer just in Bethlehem,

I'm right there where you are.

You may not be aware of Me

amid the celebrations -

You'll have to look beyond the stores

and all the decorations.

But if you take a moment

from your list of things to do

And listen to your heart, you'll find

I'm waiting there for you.

You're the one I want to be with,

you're the reason that I came,

And you'll find Me in the stillness

as I'm whispering your name.

Love, Jesus "

The poem you've just read was sent to me in an e-mail and I wanted to share it with everyone as I feel it is Jesus' message to each of us!

This nativity is a paper mache that has a certain elegance to it, so I was drawn to buy it many years ago....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas cookies and some nativities

Let me take a little break
From the cookies that I bake
And share a thing or two
With good friends like all of you.

It is ever so true
that "Jesus is the reason for the season"
So to bring Him closer to you
A nativity or two have been chosen just for you.

The "artists" from my painting class/group just left and I downloaded these pictures yesterday, so you could see some of what I/we have been doing.  The ladies today were very sweet and ooohed and aaahed nicely over both the cookies and the nativities and I was just happy to hear one lady say over and over that our home was so peaceful and blessed (the two dogs were locked up in Kelly's room and the cats were in the garage....hmmm, is that why?).

Kelly was a great hostess and helped in the preparations as well as talking to some people while I was in the other room talking to others.

The first cookie you see here is called a Piernik and it is a Polish cookie that is also called a honey cookie....

Next we have Chocolate Highlander bars, alot like brownies but with a sweet crust on the bottom and powered sugar on the top...

These plain looking cookies are anything but...they are ginger molasses cookies and very flavorful...

Hard to choose favorites, but these are near the top of my list...they are Almond cookies with colored sugar sprinkles...

Yet another top of the list favorite are these flaky almond crescents...

Not easy to find an old fashioned homemade recipe for gingerbread, but I have my sweet mother's old cookbook and now other people, like some today, can taste home made gingerbread fro the first time...

Even though the original little Christmas recipe cookbook seems to be lost, I thank the Internet for helping me re-create these bird nest's cookies...

Last, but definitely not least (because there are several more batches of cookies not pictured here)...these yummy cookies are very thin and oh so good...they are called Aggression Oatmeal cookies...

Remember that black and white photo in the post before this that I said I have a nativity just like it?  Well, here it is in glorious color...

The little wooden nativity in the middle is from Germany, the uncovered church nativity to the right is from Costa Rica, the box that says hope held candy and was nativity themed, the globe to the left front is out of focus but has a lovely gold nativity and finally there is just a nice white nativity to the back....

 we all can appreciate or even use some of these suggestions I found on the Internet to help keep Christmas inexpensive and meaningful at the same time...

"Christmas comes with all the joys of a wintry holiday and well-loved Christmastime activities. Consider these suggestions for fun and fairly inexpensive ways to enjoy the holiday.

Christmas Baking

Christmas, like any holiday, loves food and is a great time for home baked goodies. Shortbread cookies and pumpkin pie are just a few Christmas baking favourites. Some people may bake better than others, but it can be an interesting activity either way and is a enjoyable time to share with others.

Christmas Carolling

Carolling is a great activity for family and friends to do together. It can be done outside, during Christmas festivities in the community and it can be just as enjoyable at home. Try holding a carolling and cider evening at home. With a carolling night at home, Christmas baking can be shared as well.

Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

Decorating can be even more enjoyable when the decorations are homemade. Making Christmas tree ornaments can be a simple activity and is a great craft for kids to enjoy. Materials for making Christmas tree ornaments can be found at craft stores, in scrap materials that may otherwise be thrown away and even in nature.

Homemade Nativity Scene

Making a homemade nativity scene may take some creativity and supplies, but it can be an interesting and gratifying activity. Use a lightweight plank of wood for the floor of the stable and two others to create a peaked roof. The sides can be constructed of sturdy sticks that will hold up the roof. Nativity figurines can be found in novelty stores, craft stores, or almost anywhere that has a seasonal section. They can also be made from popsicle sticks, fabric, a little paint, and a little imagination."

One last nativity picture for today...sorry the lighting is so poor but the set to the right is an old nativity with a new background/nativity archway found on a 75% off sale at Hobby Lobby last year, then the middle is a pastel nativity with a light in the back and then to the left is a nativity within a tree...

Now for two jokes....

"Athiest Holiday
An atheist complained to a Christian friend, "You Christians have your special holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Jews celebrate their national holidays, such as Passover and Yom Kippur. But we atheists have no recognized national holidays. It's unfair discrimination."

His friend replied, "Why don't you celebrate April first?"

Desparate Measures

Little Johnny went to his mother demanding a new bicycle. His mother decided that he should take a look at himself and the way he acts. She said, "Well Johnny, it isn't Christmas and we don't have the money to just go out and buy you anything you want. So why don't you write a letter to Jesus and pray for one instead." After his temper tantrum his mother sent him to his room. He finally sat down to write a letter to Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

I've been a good boy this year and would appreciate a new bicycle.
Your Friend,

Little Johnny

Now Little Johnny knew that Jesus really knew what kind of boy he was (brat).

So, he ripped up the letter and decided to give it another try.

Dear Jesus,

I've been an OK boy this year and I want a new bicycle.

Yours Truly,

Little Johnny

Well, Little Johnny knew this wasn't totally honest so he tore it up and tried again.

Dear Jesus,

I've thought about being a good boy this year and can I have a new bicycle?


Little Johnny

Well, Little Johnny looked deep down in his heart, which by the way was what his mother was really wanting. He crumpled up the letter and threw it in the trash can and went running outside.

He aimlessly wandered about; depressed because of the way he treated his parents and really considering his actions. He finally found himself in front of a Catholic Church.

Little Johnny went inside and knelt down, looking around not knowing what he should really do. Little Johnny finally got up and began to walk out the door and was looking at all the statues. All of a sudden he grabbed a small one and ran out the door. He went home hid it under his bed and wrote this letter.

I've broken most of the Ten Commandments; shot spit wads in school, tore up my sister's Barbie doll and lots more. I'm desperate. I've got your mama. If you ever want to see her again, give me a bike.


You know who

~~~Dear Lord and Saviour, thank You for the blessings of sharing You with others and growing into better people.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Something Christmas Poppin In

This morning as I was laying in bed, very ambitious thoughts were going through my head...this time it would have been better to have those 'sugar plums' dancing in my head.  Being so far behind in my blogging posts that I am almost ahead of myself has weighed on me so I said I will go in and change my header and re-vamp some of my sidebars...oops, then there would be no post PLUS, if things went the way they did last time I attempted to re-do my blog, you would see a big mess.  Instead here is a humble post, with apologies for not having/taking time to even post comments.  BUT I ALWAYS remember to pray for all of you, so even if a 'catastophe' strikes, like dear Jerelene having emergency surgery, please be comforted by knowing that I am praying! 

Here's a cute little snowman with a sweet little if he was magical, I would have him wave his wand on you and all your Christmas baking, cards, presents, shopping, cleaning etc. would be done....and you would have no money or health problems, you would be at a spa getting an two hour long massage, you would step on the scale and it would say "You lovely thing, thanks for stepping on me.  I barely felt it and you seem to be losing so much weight and you don't even need to. Please hurry back, I just love you and you love me too."  (when I fantasize things look REALLY good)....

Since taking pictures and downloading and then finding them all takes so much time, I went hunting for some online again AND  I found the exact outside nativity that we had three years ago!  It looked this good when we first put it out and then it rained...lots of rain....this is NOT really an outside folded where it should not fold and bent and separated and then fell down...very sad...sadder still that it is still in our garage awaiting an impossible repair!.....

Still, incredibly blessed I found yet another nativity that I have but mine is in color not black and white...maybe this one is so old it was made before color nativities (just joking here).  Last night I also just finished setting this one up, so how much more incredible is that?  The pieces like to fall down as they are a light wood and very thin (so that they can be stored back in that nativity 'stable' you see behind the figures)...

Now, for those wondering what I have been doing and so that you do not think I have just been frittering my time away, here are some of the things going on around here..., gift, Christmas tree children gifts (had to go to the mall for one requested gift), gift wrapping, putting out tons of nativities...redoing nativities knocked down or over by cats, dogs and people, searching for nativities and decorations, putting up tree, more shopping, visiting, putting up the lighted nativity above the door which is waaayy up there (just about nose bleed high),trying to get through writing and addressing and stamping over 50 Christmas cards, bill paying (what a challenge this was the other day, but that is another story), decorating house, baking and baking and far we have made homemade ginger bread, almond crescents, almond cookies, bird's nest cookies, molasses cookies, chocolate highlander bars (and we still have about six more recipes to make before the people start coming over to view the nativities)and a BIG mess in the kitchen each time that requires four or five maids to clean up each time but being short on maids I have had to put an apron on Michael and pretend (he does look cute in his tights and little French maid outfit...more fantasizing here), mailing packages and standing in the post office line for long enough to get to know all other 57 people on a first name basis (it did feel that way), going to meetings for the Consolation group, prayer group, painting and now our church mission...what WAS our pastor thinking doing it THIS week with all the chaos???, a lector's meeting for a poetry recital...what WAS this leader thinking doing this during this busy time?...hmmm, maybe  no one is thinking and maybe I shouldn't be thinking either!

This post was partially done many days ago, so here is an exerpt from the Internet for you which teaches us that the message we get may be WAY more powerful than the message we expect....

"Children are able to communicate a message better than any adult. The story below will touch your heart. May your Christmas have Joy, Peace and Love in big overflowing portions.

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience.

I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing, endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be working the night of the production.

Unwilling to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the presentation. All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in 10 minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited, the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as "Christmas", I didn't expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment--songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love", I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads.

Those in the front row--center stage--held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song.

As the class would sing "C is for Christmas", a child would hold up the letter "C". Then, "H is for Happy", and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the complete message, "Christmas Love".

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her--a small, quiet girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W".

The audience of 1st through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.

A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we understood--the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities.

For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear: CHRIST WAS LOVE."

And, I believe AND know, He still is and always will be.

Now time for some laughs....

~Other Uses For Fruitcakes ~

Paint a few white and place them outside on the grass

So people won't park on your lawn.

Use it as building material.

(This is actually what the Ancient Egyptians used to build the Great Pyramids.)

Keep one under your pillow for home defense.

Send one to the junk mail company with a note

Asking them to take you off their list.

It's colorful, use it as a Yule Log.
Carve the Presidents' faces in it and

submit as a science or art project.

Give one to your boss and tell him it's a life preserver.

Use it as a base for flower arrangements.

Donate to the local airport for use as airliner wheel blocks.

Grind a few up and give it back to your in-laws in a bag marked "lawn fertilizer."

For a community project, sink a few in the ocean

and build an artificial reef.

Tie one to each foot when you walk through

deep snow to keep your feet dry.

Into the Church

The hardware store humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free outside town. But three days later, the squirrels climbed back in.

Only the church came up with an effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and made them members. Now they see them only on Christmas and Easter.

~~~Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of being able to re-focus on the important things like reaching out to others and taking time for thankful prayers.