Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wise Words to Close Out 2010

Do you keep a collection of quotes? I do. I keep lists and files of stuff that catch my fancy, and surprise, surprise—many of them are pretty phrases or wise words.

This is my last post of 2010, so I’m leaving you with a few of my favorite quotes:

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~Theodore Roosevelt

Whatever we worship, short of God, is sure to be our undoing. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, a touch that never hurts. ~Charles Dickens

Never confuse thoughtlessness with malice. ~Robert Charles Whitehead

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8

What about you? Do you have a favorite quote to share?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

I welcomed 2010 with a sense of optimism and enthusiasm. I had a list of goals to accomplish, and some of them have been duly crossed off.

The year 2010 unfolded with promise at the dawn of each day. Some days I lived up to the promise, some were disappointing. I tried to do my best, but I know there were days I skated by. Some moments were fabulous, others not so good.

I laughed, I questioned, I tried. Some days held proud successes, and others were total failures. I loved with abandon on some days and guarded my heart on others. I had days filled with joy, and too many days held captive by grief.

The year 2010 was another year to live and love and labor, to win and lose. As it shrinks away, I’m not stirred by sentimentality at seeing it evaporate. It will forever be one of those years that serve as a time marker for my family. Someone we loved has passed, and that’s what will stand out most in our minds when we recall 2010.

In three days the New Year will be ushered in with noisemakers and fireworks—another year with promises that will bloom and with treasures of love and friendship to savor.

I wish you a sweet and challenging 2011. I wish you a year to enjoy success, a year to delight in love and friendship.

I hope you grasp 2011 with purpose and squeeze every ounce of meaning and joy and accomplishment out of it. I hope that this time next year when 2011 is about to become another memory, you have thoroughly used it up and wrung it out with the business of living.

Have a blessed 2011, and live it well and with meaning!

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I wish you the best of the season. Joy. Hope. Love. Peace.

Reflect on the true meaning of the day--that Jesus came to this world as a babe to save the lost and lonely. He bridged the gap between man and God so that we can have communion with the King of Kings, Lord of the Universe, and Lord of our hearts.

Savor moments with loved ones, smile at a stranger, make a Christmas wish. And please remember that Christmas must be found in your heart, not beneath a tree or wrapped in shiny paper with bows.

Have a merry, blessed Christmas!

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?
~Dr. Seuss

All the best to you and your family.

The photo is a scene from my Christmas village. In the top center of the image, Ebenezer looks through the window of Old Fezziwig's with the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Bob Cratchit walks by with Tiny Tim on his shoulder.

*If you'd like to be on my newsletter list, please send me an email. My Christmas newsletter went out yesterday, but I'll be glad to send you a copy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Moms--need encouragement?

Last week I got a brochure in the mail about the 2011 national Hearts at Home conferences. This year's theme is Mom Revolution. Moms, if you need encouragement and refreshment, check out the Hearts at Home website and plan on attending one of the conferences.

A few months ago I had the pleasure of attending a joint event sponsored by Hearts at Home, MOPS International, and Focus on the Family. That's where I first heard of the Mom Revolution 2011 Conferences, and now registration is open.

I'm looking forward to experiencing the Western Conference this coming October in Colorado Springs. It looks like it's going to be fabulous. Pencil it into your schedule so you won't miss out! See you there.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Divine Humanity

For as long as I can remember, my mother put this reproduction antique post card on the table next to our nativity set each Christmas season. The nativity set was passed on to me a few years ago. In the box was the post card with a sentiment written by Phillips Brooks, a man known as the greatest American preacher of the 19th century and author of the Christmas hymn, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Each year when I read the post card, a thrill of joy bubbles up from my heart. At this beautiful time of year, I wish you a similar thrill of joy. . .

“Lift up your eyes to the great meaning of the day, and dare to think of your humanity as something so divinely precious that it is worthy of being made an offering to God.

Count it as a privilege to make that offering as complete as possible, keeping nothing back; and then go out to the pleasures and duties of your life, having been truly born anew into His divinity, as he was born into our humanity on Christmas Day.”

Since I was a very young woman, I have given myself, heart and soul, to my Lord. I offer each of my days to Him. And in a most humble way, I think of my writing as something so divinely precious that it is worthy of being made an offering to God as well.

*This is a re-post of previous years, but I love it so much I trot it out every holiday season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It’s the sentiment, stupid.

I’m one of those people who usually put some brainpower into my gift giving. After all, it’s easy to toss out some money and fulfill an obligation, but it’s more meaningful when you consider the personality of the recipient.

For me, giving gifts is more rewarding than receiving gifts. When I was a child, a neighbor family used to give “big” gifts for Christmas: easy chairs, pianos, televisions, etc. Things weren’t like that in my home, but it didn’t diminish the joy of Christmas at all.

The best part of the Christmas season is expressing affection with family, friends, and neighbors. I know it sounds corny, but for me, it’s true. I love to stop and visit, chat and admire the pretty decorations we display, and get face-to-face and heart-to-heart with those I hold dear.

On the left is a snapshot of three of my favorite Christmas gifts. :)

Christmas is worth celebrating because Jesus came into the world, and because I chose to be a Christ follower, my world is richer, deeper, and more joyful. Jesus is the reason for the season. He is the gift.

I wish you peace, love, and joy this Christmas and the time to share those sentiments with people who are special to you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Light a Candle

Tonight is The Compassionate Friends’ 14th Worldwide Candle Lighting. If you want to participate in remembering children who have died at any age from any cause, then light a candle for one hour at 7 p.m. local time.

Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting creates a virtual wave of light, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor the memory of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries.

I’ll be thinking of my nephew Michael tonight and of all others who have lost a child.

Friday, December 10, 2010

‘Tis the season to be nasty?

Merry Christmas! Happy Chanukah!

Extending the greetings of the holidays is risky business these days. Apparently some people feel put upon to have to endure the kind thoughts and warm wishes that are shared this time of year.

Grinches and Scrooges are hijacking society. Whatever happened to live and let live? In modern America people who protest religious Christmas displays are old news. How very sad. I truly believe that people of faith are among the last people group to whom it’s okay to be biased and discriminatory. It’s PC to bash the believers. Sigh.

Another example of the Grinch in action happened this week in the UK when a rare thorn tree, a symbol of Christianity, was vandalized. The perpetrator hasn’t been caught, and in all honesty it could be an anti-monarchist, an anti-Christian, or someone who’s an atheist.

It is unfortunate that such ugly actions take place during the season of love, light, and perpetual hope. And all I can say in response is a heartfelt, “Merry Christmas!”

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

This or that?

Choices. Some are infinitely important, others not so much. One that comes to mind with the Christmas season is angel or star. Know what I’m talking about? It’s a question of what to use to decorate the top of your Christmas tree. We go with angel. Just saying.

My darling husband and I are beginning to dream about our next vacation choice. I’m not a cruise-kind-of girl. Give me solid earth, perhaps a spot with a nice beach and tropical weather. BTW, I also have an irrational fear of pirates. Yup, that made my travel agent laugh till she cried.

So when we go on a getaway vacation, it’s usually a tropical beach. Today I glanced at the news and saw another cruising nightmare—rough seas. Check this out.

Yes, I'm pushing for my next tropical vacation to be on a beach, under a palapa, with a good book. How about you? What’s your dream vacation?

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ho, ho, holidays!

Thanksgiving was a little more than a week ago, and now the Christmas season is ticking along.

Saturday my husband and I did ALL of our Christmas shopping, wrapping, and boxing (to ship). When we arrived home, our neighbor was putting the finishing touches on his exterior Christmas decorations—wearing a delightful Santa cap complete with mouse ears. :)

Our outdoor decorations went up Black Friday. Now the inside of our home is decked out, and I love it. We got a new, artificial tree this year. We’ve done real trees for a long time, but the convenience of a pre-lit tree spoke to me this year. It’s got so many lights that the entire living room glows in the evening. Lovely.

Besides decorating my home, I also think about decorating my heart for the Christmas season. For me, a bit of introspection is an important part of preparing for Christmas. Sometimes I listen to (and sing along with) Christmas carols, and soak in their meaning. The other night I sat in the glow of my Christmas tree and thought how Jesus is the light of the world, and more importantly, the light of my world. I also plan on spending time meditating on the prophetic names of Jesus.

What about you? Do you decorate your heart for Christmas?