Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Forward to New Beginnings

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning."

Louis L'Amour

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

Great is his faithfulness

his mercies begin afresh each morning.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance

therefore, I will hope in him!”

Lamentations 3:22-24

After celebrating two Christmases, and two birthdays this past week, I'm enjoying the freshness and freedom we feel when we look to the new year. This morning as I've been contemplating the close of the year 2008, I've enjoyed reading your posts and have been inspired by your words. I'm ready for new beginnings. . . new hope. . . new accomplishments. . . new ways of looking at the same things. . .new strength to face each day. . . new friends. . .new opportunities. . .new joy. . .

This is what I wish for you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house. . .
Watching "It's a Wonderful Life"
Lighting candles
Reading the Christmas Story

And wishing all of you a wonderful, peaceful Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You lift up my spirit, You shine on my soul

This song was just a gift to myself. I fell in love with Paul McCartney when I was 9 years old, about 44 years ago now. I discovered this new song the other day and I couldn't listen to it enough. Listen closely to the words. While I haven't always known if we shared the same philosophy, these words reflect my heart.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmastime Thoughts

Ice Day! Woohoo! The schools were closed here on Tuesday because of icy roads so we had an unexpected day at home together! It was so warm and cozy inside and freeeeeeeeezing outside. Yep, ice is kind of a big deal here in Texas and I'll take any version of "white" I can get at this time of the year!

Beautiful surprises in the mail from friends bring joy and remind me of the gift of thoughtfulness and time that make a difference.
I feel really behind on getting ready for Christmas this year as far as shopping goes, even knowing what I need to be shopping for, but I've been blessed with the small gifts of Christmas. I'm reminded that it's the small things and the simple moments that I enjoy most about the Christmas season. Somehow the rest will happen and Christmas Day will arrive as it does every year, full of presents, food, and family, and a feeling of awe as I realize what the day means. How the whole world is changed for a day. . . as ours is changed for eternity, because of the birth of Christ.

Baking and decorating Christmas cookies. . .with the same cookie cutters we used when I was a little girl! This was a yearly event in my childhood and it brings back lots of memories. I'll admit I've skipped a few years in carrying out this tradition, but it's never too late to begin again!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Morning Praise

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Psalm 9:2

O my strength, I will sing praises to You;For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.

Psalm 59:17

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

Psalm 104:33

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 106:1

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Beautiful Words

It seems when I'm busiest, my blog posts become reflections of random ideas or words that have reached me through the busyness, not always having the time to explain my reasons. Every moment of my days are filled with prayers for my friend and his family. Lifting them up to God for His healing and strength. In the midst of these days, I'm aware of a loving Presence with me.

Sometimes beautiful words catch our attention unexpectedly whether through movies or books, reaching that part of us that needs to hear and believe them. While watching the movie "Prancer" the other night, I heard the quote "there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding." For some reason, those words broke through and gave me encouragement to BELIEVE. That truth lies underneath and over and beyond everything we see in this world.

I just finished reading my second book by Harold Bell Wright, called "The Calling of Dan Matthews". The book was full of gentle words and strong truths. I need these moments of quiet reflection, of being wrapped in another world, drawing some of the beauty into my own world. One of the quotes that was a gift to me is this, " you think that anyone could ever replace the mountains, the ocean or the stars, or any of these wonderful things in the great universe, if they were to be destroyed? ...And do you think that anything in all this beautiful world is of greater importance- of more value to the world-than a human life, with all its marvelous power to think and feel and love and hate and so leave its mark on all life, for all time? ...Then don't you see how impossible it is that anyone should ever take your place? Don't you see that you have a place in the world-a place that is yours because God put you in it, just as truly as he put the mountains, the seas, the stars in their places? And don't you see why you must feel that you have a right to your own life-place, and that you must hold it, no matter what others say, or do, or think, because of its great value to God and to the world? you think that anything in all the universe is dearer to the Father than a human life, that is so wonderful and so eternal in its power? So life should be the dearest thing in all the world to us. Not just the life of each to himself, but every life-any life, the dearest thing to all. I think this was true of Christ; I think it should be true of all Christians. I believe this with all my heart."

And so, I pray this could be my gift to you today, these words to take with you. I guess it's time to get on with my day, of sweeping the floor, washing dishes, shopping for and preparing some food, hearing about my kids' day at at school, having a new crown put on my tooth, and heading off to work this evening. Through it all, I'll remember these things I have pondered and carry them with me.

Love to all

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Dear Editor, I am 8 years old."Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus."Papa says, 'If you see it in The Sun, it's so.'"Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety-fifth Street

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
Calvin Coolidge

Silent Night

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth "

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Prayer Request

A very dear friend of mine is having heart bypass surgery tomorrow morning. Please pray for God's healing through the doctor's hands and peace for him and his wife, (Karen M at LovedandEngraved. )

They are both very special, giving people and invest so much encouraging others. I pray that they would be encouraged and comforted at this time by our love and prayers and God's presence and healing.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finances . . . The Final Frontier

I discovered a new website this morning I couldn't resist clicking on the title Financial Worries! My ends lack a long way to meet these days, and just this morning I was reminded when I checked my bank statement online. Don't you just hate the way banks switch the order of our purchases and deposits, depending on the amount? I know we don't usually discuss our finances openly, but after reading Suze Orman's story, A Matter of Perspective,I decided maybe I should. It really is one of the last frontiers in my life that needs to be explored, tamed and settled.

If you are challenged in this area, like I am, I encourage you to read these stories. I hope this can be an encouragement to you and me, especially as we begin this season of giving.

A Matter of Perspective Read Suze Orman's 7 steps to financial health.

A Spiritual Approach to Financial Worries
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale's tips to find strength over financial problems.

How to Find Yourself After Losing a Job Getting laid-off was a blessing in disguise.

The Truth About Money How we all invest a little of ourselves in our finances.

One thing I believe God has given me the idea to do, is to be open with my kids about money. Maybe even to the extent of working up a budget, letting them see what we spend money on and when the bills are due, and what and when my paychecks are. It would give me accountability as well as give them a clear picture of just how this thing called "money" works.

My son just called me to brainstorm about how I could get my photography business going. Talk about timing! He's driving back to Houston after spending Thanksgiving at home. We came up with some great ideas and I'm excited about getting started!

My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

Thanksgiving Wishes

This was our Thanksgiving week project. We worked it twice actually so most of us could have a chance to work on it. It's still sitting on my coffee table. I had forgotten how much fun puzzles could be!