Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Thoughts

New Year's Eve! The last day of the year. How did it get here so quickly? It seems we celebrated the beginning of 2007 just a few days ago. I wish for you a wonderful day today and a great celebration of the evening - whatever that may be. My sweetheart and I will have a quiet celebration at home together. My dear mother will be here for part of the evening and will - hopefully - be snuggled safely in her bed when the new year begins. Wherever you are, whatever you do, may you have a safe and peaceful New Year's Eve.

Frances Ridley Havergal, a favorite classic Christian writer - the writer of many well-loved hymns wrote this reminder.

God will never fail us,
He will not forsake;
His eternal covenant
He will never break,
Resting on His promise,
What have we to fear?
God is all-sufficient for the coming year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I don't know about tomorrow,
I just live from day to day.
I don't borrow from it's sunshine,
For it's skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future,
For I know what Jesus said,
And today I'll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Ev'ry step is getting brighter,
As the golden stairs I climb;
Ev'ry burden's getting lighter;
Ev'ry cloud is silver lined.
There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eyes,
At the ending of the rainbow,
Where the mountains touch the sky.

I don't know about tomorrow,
It may bring me poverty;
But the One Who feeds the sparrow,
Is the One Who stands by me.
And the path that be my portion,
May be through the flame or flood,
But His presence goes before me,
And I'm covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand.

Song: "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow"
Words and Music by Ira Stanphill

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Finding My Way

The new computer is up and running - finally - and I have a lot to learn. Everything is different. There are pictures to download, addresses to enter, bookmarks to add. But I'm pleased. Things work faster, the screen is bigger and the music seems nicer but at times I wish for the slow, old computer that is so familiar. Soon things will feel normal again and all will be well with the world! Until then I will learn something new every day and find my way. One step at a time.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

'Twas The Day After Christmas

After the rush of the past few weeks and the activity of yesterday I'm enjoying a slower pace and a bit of quiet at home today. There are things to put away and laundry to be done. And a lot of work in my office - cleaning the 'avalanche' that happened in there when no one was looking - and getting ready to set up my new computer that arrived sooner than expected. Good incentive to get things done!

We had a nice Christmas Day. The morning and early afternoon were fairly quiet with just my sweetheart, my dear little mother and I opening gifts and enjoying breakfast and early afternoon dinner together. This year our son and daughter and their families were with their in-laws. Mr. J. and his family were with our daughter-in-law's family in a cabin somewhere in the mountains of Idaho. Mrs. M. and her family were with our son-in-law's family just three blocks from our home. Late in the afternoon they came to our house to exchange gifts and spend time together. Snow began to fall late in the morning - big flakes that looked like pieces of tissue paper confetti. It continued for a couple of hours and just covered things lightly. Like powdered sugar. And then it was gone! But it was here long enough to hear someone singing "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas."

Since I can slow down a bit today there will be time to sit with a cup of tea - Kiwi Strawberry tea - in my new 'Forest Chapel' Thomas Kinkade mug with a swish of the swizzle stick to add a touch of sweetness and a few Luscious Lemon biscuits. A gift from a care center where I spend time as Chaplain each week. What a thoughtful gift from dear folks who are close to my heart.

I hope you can take some time for quiet rest today. Time to reflect on the joys of the season and the blessings we enjoy. And perhaps a good cup of tea.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Welcome To Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking,
How we need to hear from God.
You've been promised, we've been waiting -
Welcome holy child,
Welcome holy child.

Hope that you don't mind our manger.
How I wish we would have known!
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home,
Please make yourself at home.

Bring your peace into our violence,
Bid our hungry souls be filled;
World now breaking Heaven's silence -
Welcome to our world,
Welcome to our world.

Fragile fingers sent to heal us,
Tender brow prepared for thorns,
Tiny heart whose blood will save us -
Unto us is born,
Unto us is born.

So wrap our injured flesh around you,
Breathe our air and walk our sod.
Rob our sin and make us holy -
Perfect son of God,
Perfect son of God.

Welcome to our world.

"Welcome To Our World" by Michael W. Smith

Monday, December 24, 2007

Seasons Greetings

From our little house on Holly Street
to yours -
May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
Author unknown

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Decking The Halls

I have been decking the halls with boughs of holly here at our little home on Holly Street.It has been a slow process since a number of things have been added to the busy-ness of the season. In addition to my regular Chaplain ministry schedule December finds me especially busy as a musician at a number of different events throughout our area. And there have been big changes at this little house on Holly Street this holiday season. Changes that have taken time to put together and changes that make our home feel so cozy and festive. For several years our decorations have been blue, silver and white - creating a winter-y atmosphere. Since we live on Holly Street my sweetheart suggested that we should feature holly during the holiday season. So, this year we have touches of holly throughout the house. I've been snooping through thrift stores, discount stores and decoration departments whenever I could and I've found some fun things. Holly berries add a color we haven't used for several years - red - so I've had fun finding special things to add red to our home.
Please come in and see what I've been doing. I am glad you came to visit. Make yourself at home. I hope you will feel right at home here.

An old sled leans against the entertainment center. . .
A mirror on the wall near the door has been decorated. I just found the tole-painted wooden piece at the Goodwill yesterday. My sweetheart added it to the mirror today. I like it there, don't you?A table near the door welcomes you. . .Christmas plates hang on the wall nearby. . .Across the room, beside the piano, an angel stands on a tall plant stand. . .(At night she looks like this.)On the piano - old Christmas music - and a collection of 'singers' and music boxes . . .A candlestand that looks like a trumpet beside the piano. . .Recently I shared about the fireplace remodel we did last year. Here is what it looks like this year. You can see a bit of the antique trunk we use for a coffee table. I found the cute metal cardholder at a thrift store during the last year. It holds greetings from family and friends far and near.The fireplace mantle and adjoining bookcase shelf have been inhabited by angels! Each one is special and so different.Angels on the mantle. . .Angels on the bookcase shelf. . .
Singing angels. . . a sleeping angel. . . kissing angels.
On the hearth a pair of deer add to the festivities. Not far away is a wire deer with Christmas greens, flowers and ribbon.
In the corner near the tree a little stand holds two special things. The church was a recent gift from a dear friend. It is metal with lots of glitter that shimmers in the light of the tree lights. The sleigh candleholder was the centerpiece at a holiday luncheon last year.The tree is very different this year than it has been for the past several years. Instead of the blue, silver and white 'winter-y' look it is silver and white with red. It has been such fun finding red things to add to the silver and white decorations we already had. During the day the tree is pretty. . .But I love it most at night. . .The tree has fir cones on it and is decorated with red and white beads, silver and white glass balls, old-fashioned glass ornaments, icicles. . .White lights, candle lights, crocheted snowflakes that I made when we were first married, red berries and red prisms found at a nearby antique mall. . .On the entertainment center my Currier and Ives village. . .And on a counter at the end of the hallway - on the other end of the house - you will find the countryside setting.The dining room is ready for holiday activities. At the top. . .
In the corner. . .And on the table. The runner on my table this year is very special. It was a gift from my mother's cousin when she visited last summer. She was a missionary in Guatemala for a number of years. I chose simple, clear candleholders so they wouldn't distract from the beauty of this sweet gift.On the counter between the dining room and kitchen is a beautiful candle lamp from a special new friend. She finds bits and pieces at thrift stores and garage sales and puts them together to make special treasures. Nearby on top of the microwave is a 'new-to-me' Christmas collection. I found the teapot and each of the mugs at thrift stores. More holly! I added the little gingerbread ornament. I love the sentiment it expresses.A holiday train is stationed in the kitchen window. It's such fun during the day. . .But at night it gives a magic glow.There's more - just a touch of Christmas in our bedroom. A sleigh of silk flowers, leaves, berries and stars, a little church and a lighted ceramic Christmas tree. The tree gives such a beautiful glow at night. Thank you for stopping by our home. I hope you enjoyed your Christmas visit. Please come by again - the teapot is already on and there's always time to visit with friends, new and old.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,
Proclaiming Thy royal degree;
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth,
And in great humility.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God,
In the deserts of Galilee.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

When the heavens shall ring, and the angels sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.

Words by Emily E. Elliott
Music by Timothy R. Matthews

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Hoopla

Sher at Sher's Creative Expressions tagged me for this Holiday Hoopla. I have to share 12 random things about me that are related to Christmas.

Here are the rules:
1. List 12 random things about yourself that have to do with Christmas.
2. Please refer to it as a 'HOOPLA' and not the dreaded 'm'-word.
3. You have to specifically tag people when you're done. None of this "if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged" stuff is allowed...then nobody ends up actually doing it. The number of people who you tag is really up to you -- but the more, the merrier to get this 'hoopla' circulating through the blogosphere.
4. Please try and do it as quickly as possible. The Christmas season will be over before we know it and I'd like to get as many people involved as possible.

12 Random Christmas Things About Adrienne
1. I love the Christmas season - the lights, the smell, the music.
2. I would love to spend the whole Christmas season at a mission (orphanage, school, clinic, church) in Mexico where we have gone on missions trips in the past. Every December they do a big Christmas production for the entire community, complete with live animals and all the children and staff in costumes. People come from miles around to enjoy this special presentation. I would like to be there to work behind the scenes and watch the joy on the faces of the children and the people who attend.
3. From the time I was a little girl my father and I always shopped together for his Christmas gift to my mother. It was our special time together. After we were finished we had lunch or dinner out together, depending on the time of day. After I was married there were a few years when I lived out of town and couldn't help him do his shopping. When we moved back to my hometown I loved helping him and being with him again every Christmas season. We always had such a wonderful time together. I miss him terribly and every Christmas season I wish we could have just one day to be together again.
4. I am usually at the piano for the Christmas Eve Services at our church. My favorite part of the service is at the end when we sing 'Silent Night' by candlelight. Each person attending has a candle and the beauty of their faces as I sit at the piano and look out at them always brings tears to my eyes. (Good thing I can do 'Silent Night' without the music!)
5. For some reason when I was young I made a rule for myself: I couldn't get out my Christmas albums and start listening to them before Thanksgiving evening! I've tried to keep that true - until this year. I broke my own rule.
6. I wish everyone knew the joy of knowing Jesus and understanding that He is the reason for the season.
7. I am an only child and there were many Christmases when we couldn't be with family at Grandma's house in another state. We usually had a quiet, but really fun Christmas Day - just the 3 of us together - but I always felt sad, missed my family and wished we could be together.
8. After supper on Christmas Eve when I was a child we drove around town and looked at all of the Christmas lights. When we got home my father read the Christmas story before I hung my sock and went to bed. When I was old enough to tell the story by myself I told it to my parents instead.
9. The only thing I remember that was in my Christmas stocking was from my father when I was about 6 or 7 years old. He waited until the last minute to buy something for my sock. Just before the stores closed on Christmas Eve he rushed downtown and got something for Mom's sock and for mine. When I woke on Christmas morning there was a paper bag thumb-tacked next to my stocking! Inside was a little, round doll suitcase for my doll clothes. He said he didn't have time to find something that would fit in my stocking so he just got something he knew I would like.
10. My father was a preacher and when Christmas was on Sunday we had a different routine for the morning. We got up, opened the stockings, got whatever was unwrapped and in front of the tree, ate breakfast, opened ONE gift, got ready and went to church, came home, ate Sunday dinner and THEN opened the rest of our presents. I didn't seem to mind but it sure was a l-o-n-g day.
11. My mother always wrote and directed the Christmas programs at our church. When I was 5 years old I told her I didn't want to be in the program. I didn't have a reason - I just didn't want to. She didn't force me to take part. Good thing because the night of the program I was terribly sick with a high fever and couldn't even go to the program. Mom had to call her assistant and have her direct the program so she could be with me.
12. I wish it would snow like crazy on Christmas Eve after we go to bed so we could wake up to a White Christmas.
There you have it - probably more than you wish you knew about Christmas and me! Now I will tag some blog friends - Kathy, Sherry, Paula and Manuela.
I hope you have fun with this and enjoy the little tidbits you learn about each of us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Inside The Christmas Cottage

Thank you for your sweet comments about my dear little mother's cottage home. She is a special lady and, yes, I am very proud of her! The feelings are mutual - we are very close. Mother and daughter. Close friends. I am blessed! Her wonderful home is just six blocks from ours, an easy walk on a nice day. We are truly blessed to be close to each other. Please join me for a look inside my dear mother's Christmas Cottage. As soon as you step through the door you may feel you have stepped back in time and I'm sure you will enjoy the cozy atmosphere she has created for the holidays. There are stories to share about each treasure but we don't have time to tell all of them today. In front of the fireplace you can't miss the dear little creatures who gather there each year to join in the fun. Jocko, the monkey, always claims the spot in the little red wagon and he must have a book to read. My dear mother made Jocko when I was a little girl and, oh, the adventures he has had and the tales he could tell! The 'Patsy' doll belonged to my dear mother when she was young. Patsy was a gift to me one Christmas many years ago, along with carefully handmade clothes that led to hours and hours of playtime. A few years ago I 'gifted' her back to my dear little mother so she could enjoy her once again.On the bookcase next to the fireplace old-fashioned Christmas treasures, collected over time, grace my dear mother's home during the holidays.Nearby a beautiful mirror has been decorated for the season.On the other side of the fireplace an antique 'commode' shows more signs of the season.Two buddies sit on an old chair (a family heirloom) where they enjoy all the activity around them.Across from Drummer Boy and Mr. Bear a Christmas Cat and drums share the corner near the dining room.More holiday decorations on and above a pretty lamp table.

If you peek across the hall into the bathroom you will find a touch of Christmas spirit there, too. On a little shelf at the end of the counter. . .

And on the back of the 'potty' Christmas accents add to the usual decor of the room.

When you step into the dining room you will see that the Christmas Cottage decorator didn't miss anything in here, either.

Closer to the table you can enjoy each piece that was lovingly placed there.

The top of a little antique china hutch wasn't overlooked.

My grandfather's old library case is filled with some of my dear mother's cobalt blue glass collection.

Near the corner of the dining room this cute old toy phone rests on the bottom shelf of an old table that holds her modern-day phone. My dear mother saw this in an antique shop a few years ago. She loved it but didn't want to pay the asking price. A few days later I went back to the shop and negotiated a better price. I wrapped it and put it under her Christmas tree. She was surprised - and happy to receive it.Peek into the kitchen and you can see this pretty centerpiece on the little kitchen table where many wonderful meals are shared with family and friends.I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Christmas Cottage. Oh, wait! There's my dear little mother. She is glad you stopped by today. If you are ever in our town she would love to show you all of her treasures and tell you the stories behind them. You will find a welcome here no matter what time of year you arrive.