Search Results for: advent

  Adventuring... it's my very favorite springtime activity.  There's nothing like the exhilaration of discovering tiny whorls of spring green pushing through the thick decaying blanket of brown covering the woodland floor or spying the first marsh marigolds in the wetlands or catching sight of the elusive Baltimore oriole that beckons us with his melodious song. My husband and I love to get out in the early light of the morning.  It's the best for picture taking, but it also feels like we are on a holy adventure.  There's something extraordinary about the world waking up for the day and being a part of … [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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  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...]

  This year, I wanted to be really intentional about observing Advent.  I even shared a post with ideas for Advent readings and candles, here. But, when it came to my own advent candle wreath, I had nothing.  Nada. It was something I wanted....but it is not necessary.  Plus, I don't exactly have money to be spending on something like this, and since I'm living "in between" with my stuff in storage, well...I really could go without.     Several weeks ago I was invited to participate in an upcoming blogger event, All Things Dollar Tree for Christmas, where you create something from … [Read more...]

It was interesting to me to listen to other shoppers when I was in the stores earlier this weekend.  I was amazed at how intentional and sometimes intense people were in finding and deciding upon their purchases.  Most of us have a plan in mind when we go shopping, or even when we begin our Christmas decorating. How many of us have a personal plan for the Christmas season?   Often we are so busy doing....that we don't take time to be in the moment.  We don't take time to ponder the reason for the season.  We just go.  And I am very experienced at getting into that mode.  So... Last week I invited you to … [Read more...]

  Do you feel like you are already on the quickly spinning hamster wheel? For many of us, the holidays are so busy we hardly have time to breathe. I don't think that is how Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be.  Do you?   Hespe   Have you ever thought about observing Advent? I'm not talking about the little calendar where you open the door each day in December as you countdown to Christmas. or even the very fun games and gifts and random acts of kindness that families can do together for Advent. No, I'm thinking about observing Advent in a more quiet … [Read more...]

    EASY and almost FREE... Kitchen Cabinet Organizer Ideas   It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention.  Out of desperation, I created some cute kitchen cabinet organizers for almost free using common items from around the house.     Chaos may seem like a strong word to describe my kitchen cabinets. You know the feeling.  You're cooking dinner and need one more herb or spice and before you know it, you've pulled out half of the little bottles looking for the RIGHT one!  The counter is covered in seasoning containers while you hurry to pull … [Read more...]

  Prayer is crucial to our lives. Have you wondered how to improve your prayer time?     It might surprise you, but I've come to the conclusion that my relationship with God is more dependent on me than on him.  This realization has been pivotal in improving my prayer life. You see, God is constant, never changing, always present. Me... I'm up and down, coming and going, flitting all over like the butterflies I've been watching from my balcony garden. There are days that I struggle to write or stay on task for any length of time.  Honestly, I wish it wasn't true, but that's my … [Read more...]

  WHY do I celebrate Earth Day?     Immediately upon rolling out of bed I take a step the to the window and pull hard on the cord that raises the blinds shielding my eyes and bedroom from the morning light. Today as I peered through the panes of my second story window, the blue sky was pale behind the gray sticks reaching upwards to the heavens.  Those dull branches and twigs looked lifeless, yet invisibly life might be found coursing through the pulp in that forest of trees.  In a matter of a few weeks, buds will be bursting with glimmers of green and our sleeping world will look … [Read more...]

  When it comes to Christmas gifts... this one is the best gift ever.     Several weeks ago, before I became swamped with the "to do's" on my to-do list, I mentioned to my neighbor kids that we could have an ornament making party.  The calendar filled up and the days quickly passed.  My little friends asked about it and I told them we would have our little party on the Saturday before Christmas.  That way they would have fun ornaments on their tree and gifts for their parents.  But then, their dad decided that he wanted to leave on their trip before Christmas not after, so they would … [Read more...]

  This year my cozy apartment is living large with a stunning new blue and silver Christmas tree courtesy of Balsam Hill.  Here are some tips for decorating a tree beautifully filled with sparkle, color, and a touch of the dramatic.     Growing up, decorating for Christmas was a big deal in my home.  My dad was all about hanging lights on our front porch and creating gorgeous swags filled with miniature lights. My mom always had a DIY Christmas decor project and could be counted on to cover our tree with lights and ornaments and garland until it looked like one huge sparkly Christmas … [Read more...]

  The other day as I was driving home from the workshop my phone dinged.  It was a notification from one of my partners in crime, er work.  Since I don't text and drive, I pulled off the road to read her message and reply.  There wasn't anything unusual or special about that text, but as I got back into the lane again I thought, "I love my life!" Yup.  You read that right.  "I love my life!"     If you've been a long time reader or friend, you know that my world was rocked hard and I've spent the last eight years walking through the rubble while trying to find a new … [Read more...]

  Living on the edge of the woods with all that natural beauty inspires me in my Christmas decorating.  This year I purchased a skinny tree and filled it with rustic farmhouse Christmas tree decorations I made.  It's easy and inexpensive to create ornaments using the bounty of nature.   Remember the 31 Days of Handmade Christmas Ornaments that we were so inspired by back in October?  We enjoyed it so much that my friend, Mary Beth and I invited the group back for our First Annual Extraordinary Christmas Trees Tour.  Not everyone could join us, but we have 13 gals for a fabulous 3-Day line … [Read more...]