The Blessing of Christmas Morning

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAMerry Christmas to you and yours!  May you have a wonderful Christmas!

Here are a few verses of scripture that announce the birth of Jesus.

**Luke 2:11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

**Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 

**Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

**Matthew 2:10When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”

**Luke 2:12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

**Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

**Matthew 1:21She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

May you be blessed on this Christmas morning.  Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

The Blessing of Christmas Eve

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Christmas Eve Eve! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the day before Christmas.  I cannot believe it is finally here.

Advent is nearly finished and all of the work is done — well almost.  Still things to do, but we are nearly finished!

Christmas Eve is a blessing as it is the day we celebrate the night before Christmas and the anticipation of what is to come on Christmas morning. Christmas morning is so full of fun and excitement.

I remember as I child growing up that we always had dinner with the family on Christmas Eve, then went to church for a wonderful service, and then came back home for dessert and the chance to open one gift.  It was a fun evening and a taste of what was coming.

Tomorrow, we will celebrate with Kirk’s family and then get home in time for Ian to put cookies out for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.  And, he is excited that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.  He is so into Christmas this year and it is fun to see.

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas too.  Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

Here is a prayer that my in-laws sent us in our Christmas card. It is a prayer for peace by St. Francis of Assisi.  It is lovely and includes so many things for us to remember.

  • GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERALord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.
  • Where there is hatred, let me sow love
  • Where there is injury, pardon;
  • Where there is doubt, faith;
  • Where there is despair, hope;
  • Where there is darkness, light;
  • Where there is sadness, joy.
  • O Divine Master, grant that I may seek
  • Not so much to be consoled as to console;
  • To be understood as to understand;
  • To be loved as to love.
  • For it is in giving that we receive;
  • It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
  • And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
  • Amen.

May you have a blessed, wonderful, and peaceful Christmas Eve!!!

The Blessing of Crafting

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHappy last weekend before Christmas!  It’s just a few days away and we still have things to finish.

Again this year, we are making ornaments, and making fudge and other treats to give out as gifts.  This is our second year of doing so and I love it again this year.  I am blessed to have the time to do this at home.  I know not everyone can do so.

Last year, I saw a great and very easy recipe for Peppermint Fudge on “The Pioneer Woman” television show.  There are only three ingredients. I thought, “I can certainly do that.”  Cool.  So our fudge gift was born.  The great thing is that people really like it.

On Thursday, we had Ian’s class Christmas party.  Several parents and his teacher helped me put a great party together and the kids had a blast.  We ate yummy pizza with other foods, watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and the kids made three ornaments.

The first craft was two ornaments made out of beads and pipe cleaners.  They had a choice between a wreath and candy canes.  Some did both and some did two of each.  It was fun to see their creativity. The second craft was coloring wooden ornaments with pens and then gluing on small balls for noses or a button.  The students had so much fun being crafty and it was great to see!

This photo includes some of the bead ornaments that we made last year and this year.  By the end of this year, we will have a few more to add to our tree.  I love crafts and much as arts — thus I am an arts and crafts gal!

Here are a few quotes about crafting and creativity:

  • “He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” — Francis of Assisi
  • “Crafting is the best medicine.” — Unknown
  • “Write what you don’t know. Imagine, empathize, create. Build something from a fragment of a daydream. Believe in the magic of creation.” — Unknown
  • “It’s not just about creativity. It’s about the person you’re becoming while you are creating.” — Charlie Peacock
  • “Nothing can rival the incredible rush the act of creation brings. Of crafting something you know is destined to be great for all time.” — Alyson Noel
  • “In crafting there are no mistakes. It is your own unique creation.” — Unknown

I wonder what fun and crafty things we will be doing today?  I plan to make some fudge, some cookies, and a few more ornaments.  Have fun in your crafts too!

The Blessing of Christmas Music

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.  I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas music! I love the pop music on the radio as well as the carols and hymns that are sung at church.

For our advent services, we use a caroling songbook that was put together last year.  Part of the songs are sacred Christmas songs and others are Christmas fun.  On the sacred list are tunes like, “Silent Night,” “Still, Still, Still,” and “What Child is This?” On the fun list are “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Silver Bells.”

This photo is of our tree with the musical ornaments and a Singing Santa in front.  He lights up, signs, and his hat flaps up and down.  Even in the silliest things, it is about the music.

I have some favorite songs that the local radio station plays throughout the Christmas season and some others as well.  I like these songs sung or performed by particular people.  They are:

  • “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” as sung by Andy Williams.  This is my all-time favorite and I crank it up every time and sing along with it.
  • “Happy Holidays” also sung by Andy Williams. I loved him as a child and still do.  His voice is Christmas to me.
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” By Band-Aid.  This was originally recorded and released in 1984.  Although a sad song, it reminds me of the true meaning of Christmas and that we are called to help one another.  This year, it was re-recorded to raise money for Ebola.  I just love that!
  • “Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins.  It is all about making it home for Christmas with your loved ones.
  • “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill.  A baby born on Christmas changed everything. Babies born every day also change everything.  Our baby certainly did for us.
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Josh Groban.  This one gives me chills, especially the version that is interspersed with servicemen and women talking to their families.  Again, home is the place to be, at least in my opinion.
  • “O Holy Night” as sung by my mother at church.  She has a lovely voice and her rendition gives me chills every time. Looking forward to this year Mom!
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as sung by Ian.  He has learned about the Rudolph story this year and loves it. And he has made up his own version of a female purple-nosed reindeer.  Love his creativity.
  • “Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant.  Since I am from Tennessee, the words mean a lot.
  • “White Christmas” from the movie as sung by Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera Ellen.  I love this entire movie and all of the songs in it.  And, I sing with each and every one of them.
  • “My Grown-Up Christmas List” by Amy Grant.  The words are just right for my current wish list.  Gifts are more than material things.
  • “Santa Clause is Coming To Town” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  This is a fun version recorded at a concert.
  • “Last Christmas” by Wham.  I really like George Michael’s voice on this song.
  • “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.  This is another fun song.
  • “The Hallelujah Chorus” as performed by a choir with a full orchestra.  I have performed this song twice and loved singing it both times.
  • “Winter Wonderland” by Eurythmics.  I like Annie Lennox’s voice on this version.
  • “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by U2.  This is one of my favorite groups and is a great version.

What are your favorite Christmas songs?  I would love to hear about them and what you like about them.

I wonder if I will be singing along with these songs?  Yes!  I most certainly will!

The Blessing of Youth Groups

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday at church, the youth did the entire service and it was great.  Several of them prepared special music – a few songs on the piano, “Canon in D” played by a violin trio, a children’s choir, and a young man singing “Mary, Did You Know?”

They also read scripture, led us in a moving prayer, and videotaped the sermon message of a skit about who stole the church.  The skit was the Grinch story told if a church had been robbed.  It was really cute and meaningful.

This great service was followed by a lunch and a visit with Santa in the fellowship hall of the church.  A great time was had by all. This photo is from the tree in the fellowship hall.

This service made me appreciate the youth groups that I was involved in as a child.  I went to two different churches – one while in junior high, and then I switched to another while in high school.  I went on several great trips — to a youth gathering in San Antonio, Texas, that I will never forget, and to a youth camp.

Thanks to my parents for allowing me to have these adventures and be so active with these groups.  Some of the people I became friends with at church are still my dearest friends.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Children using their talents
  • A funny skit as the sermon
  • Eating lunch with friends from church
  • Ian being excited about meeting Santa
  • Enjoying lunch in the room where Kirk and I had our first dance as husband and wife
  • Santa’s gift being just right for Ian
  • Checking out Christmas books from the church library
  • An active youth program at our church
  • Memories of my youth group days
  • Pictures of youth then and now

I wonder what Ian will think of the youth group when he gets older?  I imagine he will like it as much as I do.  Hope you have a great week!

The Blessing of Christmas Past

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi and happy Throwback Thursday.  It is hard to believe that two weeks from today is Christmas.  Wow!  Where did the year go? For today’s photo I decided to include a photo of Ian at his first Christmas.  He was two months old and fascinated with all of the lights and colors and textures.

We were looking at each other and as you can see, his fingers were in his mouth. Many things went into his mouth, as usually happens with babies. This particular year we received a lot of Baby’s First Christmas gifts — framed photos, stockings and several ornaments that we still include in our holiday decorations.

Ian was nearly 10 pounds when he was born so he never was a tiny little guy.  But, this is so small compared to him now at 7 years old. At this size, I could hold his entire body on my lap.  Now, his legs hang onto the couch.

The years have flown by with him but we have savored each and every minute.  I like that we can have conversations with him now and that he can read to us. Our boy has grown up into such a wonderful young man.  For that I am truly thankful and very blessed.

The next few weeks will be quite busy as we finish getting ready for the Lord’s birthday.  There are ornaments and food to make, purchases to finish, and baking to be done.  I will be taking it one day at a time and plan to have fun with it.

May you have a blessed remainder of Advent and the Christmas season!! May you enjoy this year’s Christmas as much as past Christmas celebrations!

December 16 – Makes You Feel Merry

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAHi and Happy Monday!  Today’s photo challenge is Makes You Feel Merry.  I took some pictures yesterday at church.  These make me merry since they include items of both Advent and Christmas.

These and the scriptures below remind me of what Christmas is all about.  Ian commented about the photo with the baby in a manger picture in front of the tree, “Aw, how cute.  They have the Baby Jesus.”

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Luke 2:10-12  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

May you have a blessed day full of merry and fun!

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

Family Gatherings

gatheringLast week for Christmas, there were many wonderful family gatherings.

We had four fabulous days in a row with family — exchanging gifts and enjoying our time together.  It was so much fun.

Here is a plaque that I found for my parents.  It is so right for this past week.  It states, “Take joy in the gathering… sweet memories are being made.”

We made many memories and for that I am very thankful!  My sister took a family portrait when we were all together.  I cannot wait to see that!!

Each home I went to, I took pictures of the trees or the decorations.  I was trying out my GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAnew camera that was a birthday and Christmas gift from my sweet husband.  Here are some of my shots.

Here is a picture of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree that Ian received from my parents.  Our dining room in is the background.  He was so thrilled to get his own tree!  They also gave him the movie which he enjoyed watching.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThis next photo is our tree.  Ian especially liked decorating the three and liked seeing the gifts under it.  He was just the right age to have an absolute ball this year!  What fun times.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERATwo of my sister’s-in-law’s decorations were beautiful.  One had a really nice village scene as well as nutcrackers, a sled and other items, and the other had a great collection of nutcrackers.

Ian too likes nutcrackers and received one from his Uncle Jon!  He was excited to add to his Nutcrackerville community as he calls it!  He had a few from last year but it was great to add to the collection.

Hope you too were able to enjoy fun gatherings with friends and family!

May you enjoy the last two days of 2012.  God Bless!!

Merry Christmas to You!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to wish my friends, family, blogs followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a very blessed holiday!

A few Sundays ago, our Pastor told a story in his sermon that is what I think the holiday is all about.  An autistic boy had a part in the Christmas play.

He played the inn keeper and was supposed to tell Joseph and Mary that there was no room for them in the inn.

Instead this boy said, “I know what I am supposed to say, but Mary and Joe, there is room.  Why don’t you take my room?”

Isn’t that the sweetest? This boy knew that Christmas and Christ are about love and helping others!  May we all live that kind of life!!

This Christmas Eve and Christmas, I look forward to time with family and dear friends, good food, baking cookies, going to church tonight with my family, cookies and hot chocolate after the service, watching Ian open his gifts and stocking on Christmas morning, and the love of the Christ Child!

Here are a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”– Burton Hillis
  • “From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” — Emily Matthews
  • “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” — WC Jones
  • “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”– W. J. Tucker
  • “At Christmas, all roads lead home.”– Marjorie Holmes
  • “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.” –Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”– Laura Ingalls Wilder

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

Christmas Music

Christmas musicIt’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

I don’t know about you but I love Christmas music.  The radio station I normally listen to, B-97.5 in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been playing some of my favorites along with their regular lineup.

Hearing these songs puts me in the mood for Christmas and all of the wonderment of the Advent season and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well.  And I must admit that I sing along with as many as possible!  Fun times for me, that’s for sure.

Here are some of my favorites that I hear on the radio with the artists that I like the best:

  • “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams — His version of this song always makes me smile.  I can sing each and every word and usually do at the top of my lungs!  When I hear this, I am ready for the Christmas season.  This year he will be celebrating in Heaven.
  • “Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins — I always sing along with this version.  It is so great being home for Christmas!
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Bandaid — This was recorded in the mid-80s and remains one of the best.  It always makes me a little sad and mindful of so many who are suffering.
  • “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill — This song gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.  Baby Jesus truly did change everything!  And, my baby changed my life so I think of him as well.
  • “Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant.  Since I live in Tennessee and grew up there, this song is quite special to me.  Her version is beautiful.
  • “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  I love his talking at the beginning of the song, the song itself, and the band and crowd they recorded it before.  It is a fun song!
  • “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.  I like the musicality of this song and the words are great as well.
  • “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Josh Groban with the quotes from service men and women mixed in.  This always makes me tear up and hope and pray that people will be with their families at Christmas time.

Music has a great effect on me as I am sure it does on you as well.  Each time I hear these songs I am happy and thoughtful as well.  They are truly an important part of this season for me.

What are some of your favorites?  These are just from the radio.  I have many others that I will write about in another posting.

Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!!