Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trust,
Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service
Of witness for thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning:
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Happy New Year to you, dear friends.

Song: 'Another Year Is Dawning' - by Frances Ridley Havergal

Scripture: New International Version

Sunday, December 28, 2008

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit;
His grace has no measure;
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

From His fullness we have received . . . grace upon grace. John 1:16

Thank you so much for your sweet comments and emails. Your words of comfort and your prayer support mean more than words can say. God is good - we know this didn't catch Him by surprise - and we can feel His arms holding us close.

Song: 'He Giveth More Grace'
Written by Annie Johnson Flint
Scripture from New American Standard Version

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On A December Day

This is one of the hardest posts I have had to write. When I woke very early this morning I began to read your blogs and try to catch up a bit. My thoughts for the day were many - things to do, preparations to finish for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day - all the normal morning thoughts. Within minutes a phone call from our dear daughter shattered the early morning quiet and instantly our world was turned upside down. Our dear son-in-law was in trouble. The ambulance was on the way to their home and we were asked to come. I stayed with the three young children as my sweetheart took her to the hospital. After a very long day of waiting and many phone calls between the hospital and me the call I dreaded the most finally came from my daughter. He was gone. Our son-in-law suffered two massive heart attacks today - one at home and a second after arriving at the hospital. I fed the children and kept them busy until my sweetheart and our daughter arrived home with the task of telling the children about their father. There have been many tears and a lot of hugging each other close through the evening and I'm certain reality has not yet really begun to settle into their young hearts. Our hearts are heavy as our daughter faces the road ahead to raise her young children alone. And our hearts grieve for the son-in-law we loved for a few short years.

I will be away for a few days in order to help get the children and the rest of the family through Christmas with some kind of order. I appreciate your prayer support through these difficult days ahead. There are decisions to be made and many things to do. This I know - God is faithful, even when we don't understand! And He is our Rock, our Shelter in the time of storm.

I wish for each of you a wonderful Christmas. As you celebrate, hold each other close and treasure every moment you have together. Be sure to tell your precious ones how much they mean to you. Take every chance to make the most of every minute you can. Thank you, dear friends, for your friendship. It means much, especially at times like this.

Monday, December 22, 2008

White Christmas

We are having the most incredible, unusual weather in our part of the Pacific Northwest! Our part of Oregon usually doesn't have snow at this time of the year. We hardly ever get this much and it never lasts this long. We are at day nine with the promise of more to come before this is over. We are not as prepared for snow and ice as parts of the country that are accustomed to this kind of winter weather so flexibility is the key for us. While I don't drive in these conditions my sweetheart has a lot of experience driving in snow and on icy roads. Yesterday he and I ventured out to visit my cousin and her husband in a nearby city. Before we could leave home my sweetheart had to 'dig out' the car that was encased in ice and covered with snow.The beauty as we drove was amazing and I couldn't resist capturing some of it to share with you. Here's the view from the passenger seat as we drove toward the main highway - not far from our home - it reminded me of the picture on a Christmas card.

A ways down the road the scene was still amazing.
Shortly after entering the highway it was necessary for my sweetheart to pull off the side of the road to adjust the tire chains. We parked beside this cute, old farmhouse.
On the highway again we drove between steep cliffs and the banks of the nearby river.Around corners, up and down the hills - we continued on toward our destination.The neighborhood where my cousin lives is filled with wonderful homes - some are old, some are new.Nearly all of them have a lot of character and personality.
The snow continued to fall through the night and into the early morning hours. By the time we got up this morning it seemed we would be covered in white in no time. The snow continued through the morning and into the afternoon hours and kept getting deeper and deeper. Outside our doors everything was decorated for the winter. The Butterfly Bush no longer stands tall - it is bent and every branch is covered with ice.
Just above - Christmas lights peek out from under a covering of snow, accentuated by little icicles.
The big Maple tree near the front door is outlined in white.
Every bush and tree bears the weight of snow and ice. A tall, lacy evergreen tree bends clear to the ground (middle of the next photo). It looks like a big bush covered with snow instead of the regal beauty that graces the front of our home.
The rock base of the lamp post at the front sidewalk is nearly hidden by snow.
The view outside the patio doors is much the same - and intriguing. Like winter yard art. A huge icicle hangs just past the middle of the patio doors.
Our shed looks like it has been covered with frosting and the Fir trees are sagging beneath the weight of ice and snow.
The patio fireplace and nearby birdbath look like little gnomes with point-y hats.Not far away another decorative evergreen tree leans to touch the ground. It normally stands taller than me but today it is bent completely over.
Our favorite piece of snow art is our patio dining set. It looks as if a giant angel food cake was set on top. The snow comes clear up to the bottom of the chairs. Anyone care to come over for a picnic?
The view from my window as I sit and share this post with you is a favorite. Just outside the window the Christmas lights shine in the beauty of the snow and ice that has graced our lives these past days.We are told the storm is not over. We are told we will have a white Christmas this year - perhaps not the way we dreamed it to be but a white Christmas we won't soon forget.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Shopping List

I say:
Lord, I need to talk to You
There's so much on my heart
So many burdens make it hard
And I don't know where to start
I thank You for my family
For Your mercy and Your love
Now on to more important things
I'll give my magic lamp a rub

Gimme this, I want that
Bless me Lord I pray
Grant me what I think I need
To make another day
Make me wealthy, keep me healthy
Fill in what I miss
on my never ending shopping list

Lord, You've been so good to me
How could I ask for more
But since You said to ask I will
'Cause what else is prayer for
The cattle on a thousand hills
They all belong to You
But I don't need any cows right now
But something else will do

Gimme this, I want that
Bless me Lord I pray
Grant me what I think I need
To make another day
Make me wealthy, keep me healthy
Fill in what I miss
On my never ending shopping list

Well I made my list and I checked it twice
And if I get it all it would sure be nice
I want a nice while smile on a perfect fact
And some perfect hair that will stay in place
I want a smaller nose and a single chin
And a figure like a perfect ten
I want some kids that never yell and scream
And some hips that fit into designer jeans
I want a brand new house with a heated pool
I can use them Lord for a witnessing tool
I want a color TV and a VCR
And some 'Jesus' plates on a brand new car

Gimme this, I want that
Bless me Lord I pray
Grant me what I thank I need
To make another day
Make me wealthy, keep me healthy
Fill I what I miss
On my never ending shopping list

He says:
'Be still and know that I am God.'

Song: 'Shopping List' - written by Larry Bryant

Scripture: Psalm 46:10

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Has Been Cancelled

Today was supposed to be our family Christmas celebration together here at our home. Our son and his family, our daughter and her family, my cousin and her husband and my dear little mother planned to join us for a wonderful time together as we shared fun together, a meal and gifts. That was the plan! Plans can be changed, and at times they need to be changed for the good of everyone involved. That's what happened today. Our weather is getting worse by the minute with much worse conditions expected later today. As we spoke to everyone on the phone earlier this morning it became clear that safe travel, especially their travel home this evening, was a major concern to everyone. So - Christmas has been cancelled at my home today! The gifts by the tree will have to wait a bit longer. Six big gift bags wait for precious little hands to open so they can see what is inside. They will have to wait a bit longer!
Since our son and daughter and their families will not be here on Christmas Day, and since the weather doesn't promise to improve over the weekend, 'Plan B' has been devised to the delight of little hearts - and big ones, too. On Christmas Eve, early in the afternoon, my sweetheart and I will pick up my dear little mother who lives just a few blocks away from our home. The three of us will travel north a ways to the new home of my cousin and her husband. They will join us as we do a 'Santa Run' to deliver gifts to our grandchildren. Together we will circle around a bit, stopping at the home of our sweet daughter where we will leave these three big bags to delight the hearts of her three children.
After we give them Christmas hugs and bid them farewell we will travel a ways south to the home of our son and daughter-in-law where three little boys will be eagerly awaiting our arrival. These three gifts will be among those left at their home.
After a brief visit, hugs and the promise to care for the gifts left in their care we will head north again, ending at the home of my cousin where we will spend Christmas Eve together. Now - if we could just find a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer . . .

(Knowing the temptation to sneak a peek inside of gift bags when no one is looking, I punched a hole in the center of each side of the top of the bag, wove a ribbon through the holes and tied them closed. I kept it simple and easy for little hands to untie when the time comes to open them. They won't have to deal with complicated, fancy or difficult bows, ribbons and all kinds of things this Grandma could think up! Just simple ribbons. I like the idea so much that I will embellish it a bit and may do it will all the gift bags I give. Yes, there is tissue down inside the bags - it just doesn't show.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Marshmallow World

It all started early Sunday morning. Snowflakes began to fall - a bit unusual this early in the season here. That began a very cold, snow-y, icy week. We have had cold weather with more on the way today and through the weekend. I took these pictures just as it all started. While this may not seem like much for many of you we usually just have cloudy days and rain through the winter. I just couldn't help myself - I started to sing.

It's a marshmallow world in the winter
When the snow comes to cover the ground.
It's a time for play,
It's a whipped cream day -
I wait for it the whole year round.
Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly
In the arms of the evergreen trees,
And the sun is red like a pumpkin head,
It's shining so your nose won't freeze. The world is your snowball -
See how it grows;
That's how it goes
Whenever it snows,
The world is your snowball
Just for a song,
Get out and roll it along.
Oh-oh! Someone has been out rolling it along! My sweetheart? What are you doing out there? Hey, wait for me!

It's a yum-yummy world made for sweethearts,
Take a walk with your favorite girl,
It's a sugar date, what if spring is late?
In winter, it's a marshmallow world.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Night of Light

I am the light of the world.
He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness.
John 8:12

This month the birthday of Jesus Christ will be celebrated all over the world. It will be celebrated in various ways in many languages, by people of all races. For a few hours many in the world will stop talking of satellites, rockets and war. For a few hours they will talk of peace on earth and good will toward men. People will exchange their gifts and talk about the Prince of Peace.

Imagine the scene in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. It was the night of nights, and yet it had begun as every other night had before it.

But it was to become the greatest, most significant night of history. This was the night that would conquer darkness and bring in the day when there would be no more night. This was the night when those who sat in darkness would see a great light. This was the night God brought into the world the One who is 'the light of the world.'

May His light shine in your life this Christmas season!

From 'Hope For Each Day: Words of Wisdom and Faith' by Billy Graham
Photo: 'Northern Lights in the North Sky' from

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Finds and Treasures

Since my holiday decorating is not finished I thought I would share a few fairly new finds that you haven't seen before. Well, this first one has already made its debut! It was featured last Sunday here. These sweet little carolers were lying on a table among a bunch of Christmas things that were unnoticed by most of the shoppers at a nearby yard sale. Nothing at that sale was marked so it was necessary to ask about everything. When I asked about these three cuties I was told 'ten cents each!' Sold!
At another yard sale not far from my home a sweet lady - about my age - was helping her dear little father sell things from the home where he and his wife of many years had lived. His wife was gone and he was moving in with the daughter. Prices were so reasonable it was hard not to buy everything in sight to help the dear little man. He was so sweet and friendly but I wondered how hard this really was for him. I loved these vintage candle holders, especially after I saw the price. Twenty-five cents for the pair. You will see them again when I share my Christmas decorations.
Another sale on a different day resulted in the addition of this little Avon piece to my Valentine decorations. What sweet little children. They are reading a Valentine card together.
Even the back is cute! See the little envelope?
A few weeks ago as I browsed through the ads in the Sunday paper I checked on sales at Fred Meyer (now owned by Kroger). Kitchen towels were on a good sale. I really needed to replace some of mine but that wasn't what caught my attention - the photo in the paper led me to head right over there and see if they had what was pictured. Sure enough! They did and it didn't take me long to add new towels to my basket. Towels that were just perfect for my kitchen. The colors are right - yellow and blue and white. And even better - tea is served!
Of course I had to have the teacups, too. Couldn't leave them there.
Even though it's the season to share holiday decor I just couldn't resist sharing these new finds and treasures. Every time I see them I smile a little bit and cherish the memory and delight in my heart when I found them. It's like a gift every time I remember.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sing Noel

Sing we all Noel, hear the music all around.
Sing we all Noel, let the joy resound.
Sing we all Noel, with a joyous rondelay.
Sing we all Noel, hear the news today.
Sing we all Noel, a joyous song of praise
To our God incarnate, exalt Him all our days.
Sing we all Noel, the gladsome tidings bring
Lift our God on high as His praises now we sing.
Sing we all Noel, our hearts with love aflame
Praising Christ our Savour, we bless His holy name.
Sing we all Noel, to Jesus Christ on high
For our sins He suffered, left Heaven's throne to die.
Sing we all Noel, with all our heart's great joy
In our Savour's praises our song we now employ.
Noel, noel, noel, let our voices rise
As we sing a song of praise and lift our music to the skies.
Noel, noel, noel, sing it loud and clear
So that all the earth may know our joy
This season of the year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Ideas

Today is the long awaited day! My dear cousin, Mrs. C., and her hubby - accompanied by my sweetheart and our son-in-law - just left our home. They are headed to the neighboring community where they will move their belongings into their new home. In a bit I will pick up my dear little mother and we will join them - with lunch for everyone - and we will help in any way needed. Today seems like a dream. A somehow-this-isn't-real thing. I think we are still all in the mode of 'this is just a brief visit and then they will get on an airplane and go home'. Well, they have gone home this morning! To their new home nearby where there will be many times of togetherness from now on. Thank you to each of you who have joined me in prayer for them over the past few weeks and for this major move that is drawing to a close. Today is the first day of the rest of their lives! Truly, it is a new beginning - a gift from God to each of us.

As a result of having extra family in my home, and the need to assist with a lot of things including meals to meet special needs, I have only just begun to decorate for Christmas. I have done a few things slowly and this morning added one more bit. Later today I will return home and my sweetheart will put up our tree, get the lights on and then I can add the decorations. He will be leaving late this afternoon for a Church Board retreat and will be gone for most of the weekend. While I will miss him I look forward to having time to bring the holiday season into our home. I plan to have the decorating finished by the time he comes home. In the meantime I want to show you a few decorations that I promised to share with you before life went from busy to crazy here at my house.

Not long ago I shared here about a wonderful ministry that I participate in each month. Friend To Friend is such a special part of the lives of many women in our area. I showed you the flower arrangement made and given away by our guest last month and I promised to show you what else she demonstrated and taught us. Today is just the perfect day to share the Christmas tree she decorated and the cute things she brought to share with us. Mrs. M. is a local florist and a part of Friend To Friend. Her talent was obvious and her humor added to our time together. She began with a tree topper that included a glittery bird in a nest. Please excuse my photo with the big black speaker in the background - it was the best I could do from where I sat.

Next came a gorgeous gold ribbon that cascaded down through the tree.Then ornaments of all kinds. Another one nestled in the tree.Big ones. . . Small ones. . .Bright, shiny. . .And glittery.All together they made a very pretty tree! She had more to add but we ran out of time.She shared pictures of Christmas decorating ideas and some cute little gift boxes from The Dollar Tree. The little boxes were plain but with the addition of stickers - Viola! - they suddenly were the cutest little things you ever saw.She brought wonderful little gifts and favors from her shop. We could buy them at a special discount that day - just for us.Snow globes.And little Christmas cuties. . .

In pink. . .

And green.Hopefully over the next few days I will have a chance to catch up with each of you and see what you are doing. And maybe - just maybe - I can get caught up on my emails. In the meantime I hope you have a wonderful weekend wherever you are and whatever you do. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!