Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year Wishes to You

With 2007 's departure, comes the introduction of 2008. The changing of the guard always makes for a time of reflection.

One highlight in 2007 was getting acquainted with the amazing world of blogging. It is a world that allows me to capture and pen my views, thoughts and emotions (wonder if that’s good?? oh well, it’s fun). Thank you to all for so graciously accepting me into this place of expression and inspiration.

  • May GOODNESS and MERCY be yours;
  • May a hedge encircle you as a PROTECTION;
  • May you find PEACE in life's storms;
  • May you be anointed with perfect LOVE that only comes from above;
  • May you have JOY unspeakable, and full of glory;
  • May HAPPINESS and laughter fill your home and heart;
  • May PROSPERITY be yours in the things that really matter; and
  • May an abundance of untold BLESSINGS be yours.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Preston - You're the Man!

Happy 8th Birthday
You are Awesome!

Keep throwing touchdowns,
Enjoying horse camp,
Getting your dirt bike ready for the desert trails,
Memorizing your Bible verses,
and Loving Jesus.

You are so Special. Love you, Nana
PS: Go Ducks!

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Place of Beauty

Wanted to share some pictures my daughter Kellee snapped during our visit to Gallup & Stribling's Orchid farm. G&S is one of my favorite places - the orchids are breathtaking. The farm occupies 48 acres along the central California coast just south of Santa Barbara. If you get the chance to visit, be prepared to walk away with a beauty or two (its warehouse prices are irresistible - my house and yard enclosure are testimonies to the fact).

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Child Is Born

Jesus Is the Reason for MY Season

May an Abundance of Blessings be Yours
as We Celebrate Jesus this Christmas Season

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas is Coming - The Goose is Getting Fat
I took this picture of Canadian Geese while in Bend Oregon in October.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Angel Awareness Week

I would like to declare this as Angel Awareness Week (or at least what’s left of it). Why not? There is an Awareness Day or Week for everything else - and it being the Christmas Season, what better time to recognize angels. The angels of which I speak are not ones with halos and wings nor affixed to the front of Christmas cards or in department store displays. My angels are flesh-and-blood and walk into our lives daily.

I always get excited as to where and when my angel will make an appearance. My angel may knock at my door offering a surprise visit, call on the phone to have a chat, or send a “love” note, card or letter. In any case, it will be a message conveying the sincereness of genuine concern for me and mine.

My angel may visit with the nod of a warm greeting while in a crowd, graciously make a path for me to maneuver my cart through an aisle, or offer their chair for me to sit down. My angels also love to visit church. They are there to greet me, encourage me, give comfort, and just plain show their care for my keeping. At times, they speak through the Word, or sing a beautiful song that touches my heart and I feel heaven has touched earth. The ways my angels visit are so varied and so unique that I don’t dare take the time to list them all because I'd never complete my post.

If you still don’t believe that we entertain angels, just take another look at your children and grandchildren. These angels provide blessings beyond measure, and their heavenly communication could only come from above. Need I say more?

During Angel Awareness Week may love lead us to our angels. In fact, better yet, let’s reverse the role and be an angel ourself.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tis the Season to Give [What?]

December is a time of gift giving. I was wondering what gifts should I give this year? Will the cost of the gift determine how much I love and care for someone? No, the price should never be the measure of my love. If that is considered the joy of giving, then let's start leaving the tags on. Or better yet, let's make sure the tags are in conspicuous places so they'll be noticed right away. Let's let our children, our parents, and our friends know they are worth $24.49, or $49.89, or $98.95, or $229.59, or (I’m sure you get the point).

Looking back, my greatest gifts came with a love price tag. Please allow me to share some. A bouquet of wild flowers picked by my husband for my 22nd birthday, slightly wilted and the stems in lengths of various degrees but still an everlasting memory gift. A green ware Nativity set from my two sons, Mark and Cameron, when they were teenagers. It was a birthday present in 1976, and a total surprise. I opened the package at midnight (been at hospital all day as my husband was in ICU at that time). A priceless gift, which is proudly displayed all year round. A snapshot of daughter Kellee (at 7), grinning from ear-to-ear (front teeth missing), wearing an apron that fell to her shoe tops, but the snap proudly proclaimed she was cooking in her class - and going to share her baked goodies with me. An absolutely adorable memory, framed close to my heart and kept in my special memories box. A bright orange construction-paper cookbook from youngest daughter Alisha (at 6). Its pages contained cookie recipes (having more glue on the pages than anything) . On the cover, handwritten in her original words, "Mommy's Cook Bookie." I still have the “bookie” in my memory box, and look at the love creation from time to time with a chuckle.

Another special Christmas gift was via a tiny grin from granddaughter Zoe (at 3-1/2 months), when her mother Barbara tried to get her to play with toys we'd given her that were for children ages 3 and up. Zoe loved the toys but just couldn't get the hang of how to use them. We lost Zoe less than two months later so I would not take anything for that gift memory. Oh yes, the two handmade ornaments from granddaughters Madison and Cassidy when they were 3 and 5 . Their little hands made ornaments with their pictures prominently displayed inside with glitter encircling the outside. They were proud as punch to give them to me, and I was equally as proud as punch to get them. These ornaments are still part of my annual Christmas decorations. A drawing by grandson Preston when he was 4 years old showing Santa driving a race car around a race track (even at 4, he wanted to share something we both loved and that was NASCAR). Four years later that drawing is still an everlasting gift, tucked away in my heart.

No money could buy any of these gifts. There are all priceless. Guess I’m melancholy but this year I don’t want currency, checks, gift certificates, or expensive presents to take the place of giving love memories. Bring on neighbor Judi’s homemade goodies, Auntie May's embroidered dish towels, or Grandma Gracie's crocheted tablecloth. Bring on special handmade gifts from the grandchildren. These are all fashioned with love.

Oh dear Lord, please let me give gifts that last. . . gifts wrapped with a portion of myself. Tis the Season to Give LOVE.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Altar

After posting the "praying" bunny yesterday, I started thinking about prayer lives. Many of us are victims of the whirlwind, being tossed to and fro with life. We have no choice. Exasperated, tired, watching ourselves go in one door and out the other at the same time is the order of the day. If we wait to use the prayer closet, we may be robbed of our daily devotion with Him.

Now, with retirement, I have more time for the luxury of praying in solitude, but before retiring from my job in San Francisco, I spent 8-to-10 hours a day at work, and approximately an hour commute to and an hour commute from work. Attending mid-week church service added an additional hour to and an hour from church to home. Plus there was dinner time and the normal daily chores (occasionally there was the adding of time for special events). I just didn't have the time (nor the strength) to give God what He truly deserved. My situation required me to reprogram my thinking as to places for My Altar.

Expanding prayer surroundings can allow one to experience the beauty of spontaneous prayer. We can pray almost anywhere and be effective. We can pray in our car while commuting to and from work, in our office/workstation, in a crowd, on an elevator, a bus, train or plane. We can pray while feeding or bathing a child, eating lunch, doing dishes, mopping floors, buying groceries, in the shower/tub, and the list goes on. The Lord never turns away a sincere prayer. He accepts our visits no matter where we are, or what we are doing. An Altar can be anywhere our heart cares to travel. Hopefully, I've appropriately expressed my feelings in this poem.

My Altar is not made of wood or of stone,
nor permanently anchored to stand all alone.
Nor was it designed as a ritual where I praises could sing,
but built as a foundation for supplications to bring.

My Altar is anywhere my heart cares to travel,
there to present my petitions and life's mysteries unravel.
No appointment is needed for a request to submit,

for I may be a prayer away for a wayward soul to acquit.

My Altar is truly the place dearest to my heart,

for it is where all my heavy burdens depart.

Upward intercessions soar for the Lord to capture,

Yes, I consider My Altar the true gauge of my stature.

Your Altar has no limits, and can bring victory to your weary soul. So today why not consider scouting out the land for special places of prayer? You will never be the same, believe me.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Need An Answer?

(i.e., people, finances, jobs, attitudes)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Well, Shut My Mouth

"Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” Psalm 141:3

Ever put your foot in your mouth? Days come when no (or few) words fair far better than a mouth full of nothing. It's days like those where it seems that no matter what you say, it is of little (or no) benefit.

Tomorrow, I've decided to just listen - listen for that small, still voice. It is The Voice that never says anything unless it is of value. Speak to me Lord.

Well, shut my mouth - I’ll talk with you later.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Faith Is

FAITH is such a small word, with so much potential. There is not a day that goes by when we don't need to exercise FAITH.

Sometimes it is difficult to keep FAITH. Our natural man wants to take care of matters without any help (from anyone). What a mess that can turn out to be. FAITH, standing alone, definitely does a better (more complete) job.

Here’s my definition of FAITH (written from first-hand experience):

Faith is a song,
Sang when all is silent.
Faith is a book,
Read when all is illegible.
Faith is a medicine,
Prescribed when all is incurable.
Faith is a road map,
Followed when all is lost.

Now FAITH IS the substance of things hoped for. . . then taken care of by the Lord.