I heard the bells on Christmas Day     I HEARD the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men!     And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!     Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men!     Then from each black, … [Read more...]

  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire inhabited earth should be taxed. This taxation was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own city to be taxed. So Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a … [Read more...]

  Hello, friends!  Thanks for coming by!   The Countdown to Christmas has Begun! It's time to finish up the shopping, creating, decorating, and start wrapping and baking.  And just to make it super easy for you, I created these sweet candy cane Christmas gift tags for you.  There are 12 on an 8x10 sheet to make gift giving even sweeter.  I think these would be especially perfect for those food gifts you'll be making. They are my gift to you!! Download these Free 8×10 sheet of 12 Merry Christmas Gift Tags for personal use HERE!    If you missed stopping by since last week, I shared … [Read more...]

  How often do you hear the statement, "I just want her to be happy." Happy.  Happiness is great... but what if we instead would say, "I what him to have joy."     Joy, to me, seems supremely greater than happiness. Joy is something my heart deeply desires.  It isn't dependent upon circumstances.  It's that deep abiding sense of well-being that transcends our situations. Meeting an old friend on the street, hearing a humorous joke, or watching a comedy may induce the feeling of happiness.  Yet, if that old friend were to meet you for lunch and you were to have a true heart to … [Read more...]

  Hello, friends!  Thanks for coming by!   It's officially the Christmas season! Why do I say that on the 5th of December?  Because last night it snowed!  Two whole inches!  And it was gorgeous and wintry and Christmasy and beautiful.  And I'm not even a fan of snow!! How are you coming along with your Christmas decorating?  Today I used fresh greens and rose hips to make two wreaths for my windows... inside.  The aroma is delightful, too!  The only thing... I can hardly see the rose hips against the greens. Ugh! If you're like me and would like to add a little extra something that speaks to the … [Read more...]

  Peace.  We all want it. Peace for the world.  Peace in our hearts.  Peace in our homes.  Peace in our relationships.     Often, our struggle looks like the kitty here.     Let's take some time together for a few reflections on peace.   For several years, I hosted an annual Christmas open house in my home. One of the attendees had been there for quite a while when she said to me, "I love being in your home, it's so peaceful." How is it that my home was a peaceful place when ladies were coming and going and eating and laughing and chatting? … [Read more...]

  Hello, friends!  Thanks for coming by!   Have you started decorating for Christmas? I LOVE having word art prints framed and set in a vignette for the holidays.  So with that in mind, I created this lovely print with this Christmas verse...  "Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful." by Norman Vincent Peale.  I hope you'll download it, pin it up or display it somewhere special.  Or... place it in a frame and give as an early Christmas or hostess gift. Download this Free 8×10 Christmas Quote Art Print for personal use HERE!  If … [Read more...]

  What are you hoping for? A good test result? An interview? A mended relationship?     Hope is a funny word.  To me, it's kind of a nebulous word for a nebulous idea or feeling. How many times do we say, "Oh, I hope so!" To your spouse or child, you might say, "I hope you have a good day." or "I hope you have a great time!" It's kind of like a wish.   Other times it's an expectation for something to happen or for someone to make something happen. We often put our hope in things, in people, in events. Recently, a lot of people placed their hope in a … [Read more...]

  Wouldn't you love to approach Christmas with a sense of peace and purpose and less craziness? In the midst of the festivities, busyness, and sensory overload, you really can discover peace and purpose this Christmas.     I've discovered that when I plan to focus on Christ's coming and Advent... the season leading up to Christmas where we intentionally remember what it was like for people thousands of years ago to anticipate the coming of Christ... my joy and delight in Christmas and God's GIFT to us gives me much peace and purpose in spite of all the craziness of the world … [Read more...]

Praise God for this incredible, unbelievable, indescribable gift!  2 Corinthians 9:15 The Voice Most days are filled with the common, the ordinary, nothing spectacular happens.  And we just keep rolling along in a field of gray. As I write this on Christmas Eve just a little more than an hour before the 11 p.m. service at church, I'm reminded that incredible moments come in the midst of pain and ordinariness.  Early this morning I awoke with a terrific pain in my stomach.  I am pretty sure it was that glass of egg nog cut with some Vernor's, in addition to the chocolate truffle I enjoyed earlier in the day. … [Read more...]

  My desire to make coastal Advent candles comes from some very sweet childhood memories.  Every Christmas, my parents would take me to services at the Swedish Lutheran church.  A highlight for me was observing the Advent candle lighting. The Advent candles hung near the altar in a large circle of evergreen.  There were four red candles on the wreath with a large center white candle.  And though I really enjoyed singing the Christmas carols, I was mesmerized with that wreath. Once I was an adult I realized many families had Advent wreaths and candles in their home.  Many even participated in special … [Read more...]

  Today I'm joining up with some of my blogging friends for an extravaganza of Mason Jar Christmas Gift Ideas Each blogger has chosen a different theme and because my niece is having a baby mid January, I thought it would be fun to create a mason jar gift for her. Since my niece has selected green and pink for her baby girl... that became my color theme for the gift. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do when I got started.  But, in shopping for the gifts to put inside the jar I came across this green rubber bath ducky and knew that it was the key to decorating my mason jar. Polka dots … [Read more...]

Perfect love.  Is there really such a thing? This is the fourth Sunday in Advent. If you follow the tradition of lighting a candle each Sunday in Advent, you will be lighting the candle of love. Love. What can I say about love that hasn't already been said? Nothing. So, this morning as I was lying in bed, quiet, I asked God to speak the verse into my heart that he wanted me to consider here with you. After some silence... it came: "perfect love casts out fear"     I did not expect this verse for Christmas time.  But, as I reflect and consider it with you, let's look at the whole verse in its … [Read more...]

Do you clean your house for Christmas? I usually do a whole house cleaning in early November.  Generally I will have already done some cleaning in early fall, but in November I whip through the whole house, dusting the walls and ceilings, washing the windows, making my house sparkle in anticipation of Christmas.  One thing I always did in my old house was to put candles in my windows... and my windows had to be perfectly shined for the lights of Christmas.     This week I had a little bit of an "ah ha" moment. You know that I'm all about observing Advent... doing Advent readings, … [Read more...]

Today is the first day of Advent. It seems impossible for Christmas to be upon us, doesn't it?  The year has gone way too fast.   Do you observe Advent? I know many with younger children click off the days' march towards Christmas with candies or gifts. Others may light candles each night and read verses. And still others decorate a Jesse Tree.   Advent is a time of preparation. A time when we prepare our hearts for our Savior. A time when we await his second coming. And a time when we rejoice in his first coming     Typically I don't follow … [Read more...]

Manger Scene Memories   I am happy to join Diane for Creating Christmas Memories with Vignettes. She asked if I would create a vignette and tell a story and the first thing that came to me was to share this manger scene.  This was the manger scene of my childhood.  I happened to inherit it last Christmas.     The thing I remember most about this was how crazy I was about Baby Jesus. I used to sit and look at this manger and stare and play with Baby Jesus; I was maybe four, it is one of my earliest memories.     I have always been enamored with babies.  I went … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas!! I am the light that has come into the world  so that everyone who believes in me  will not live in the dark.   John 12:46     Today we light the Christ candle and celebrate Jesus, the Light, who came into the world to free us from the oppression of darkness. I've been contemplating this concept of Jesus being the light of the world lately.  And wouldn't you know, last night I attended a Christmas Eve service and the theme of the service was about Jesus being the light.   Isn't that just like God?     The time when Jesus entered this world as a babe was … [Read more...]

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