26 December 2009

Christmas Wish #5

Merry Christmas!

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
~John 3:16

23 December 2009

Christmas Wish #4

Have a Hilarious Christmas!!!!

 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
                 ~Psalm 126:2

He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.
                  ~Job 8:21

God has a sense of humor.

I mean, He would have to in order to create funny creatures like giraffes and monkeys. I think of Jesus saying, "... how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:4)   I can just see Him laughing as He shook His head at the obvious hyperbole of His statement.

Last Sunday, my church stepped out of the proverbial Christmas box and presented a play entitled "Make Your Own Christmas Play" It wasn't quite as far out as the video above, but for our church, it was pretty unexpected.

Rather than a variation of the tradional Christmas Pageant (which my church does very well, I might add) we had a play which included a "baffled" co-narrator, the Grinch, a flamboyant wardrobe mistress, and even a surprise appearance from Elvis, who tried to pass himself off as one of the "kings"!

Everyone in the audience had a part to play as well. Depending where they were seated, they played the roles of "cattle", stars, kings, sheep, angels or shepherds, complete with "head gear" and props. It was a riot! Laughter could be heard from the pews to the rafters. And the gospel message was clearly presented by a guest missionary as he explained it to the Grinch.

Take some time to laugh this Christmas! 

19 December 2009

Christmas Wish #3

Have a Creative Christmas!!

“ You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
~Revelation 4:11

I am an artist. No, I don't get paid for my art, and you won't find my masterpieces hanging in the Louvre, but I am an artist just the same. And I bet you are too, even if you don't yet know it. You see, God created us in His image - and one thing we know about God, is that He is creative! When we consider the variety of food, plants, animals, people, stars, planets and colors! And as Tiana says, "God creates art in nature, and none of the colors clash!!"

This Christmas, I haven't really purchased any gifts for anyone, and I'm sure the same can be said for many people this year due to the "economic downturn" (read, "ain't got no money"!)

It's a good thing Christmas isn't centered around money and gifts and things, isn't it? ISN'T it! Wait a minute - in case you had to ponder that statement, let me get some backup from a well know philospher, Dr. Seuss.

“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.”

I have been having one of the best Christmas's yet and I believe it's because I stand in awe of the Creator who humbled Himself to come to Earth in the form of a helpless baby so He could make a way for me to be reconciled to Him.

Last night, I decided it was a good time to get started working on some gifts I was making for various members of my family. I am in process of making an army of wooden soldier clothespin ornaments;

Here are my "naked" soldiers.

Here they are "partially" dressed!  (hehehe)

When ever I sit down to do art, I feel so close to the Lord.  I truly believe it is a sacred time of worship! I believe there is the gift of creativity in every one of us.  Sometimes as we become adults, we put away our crayons and paint, and scissors and colored paper and glue, so we can "grow up" and put away "childish" things.  Or someone ridicules our attempt at something creative and we vow never to try again.  (Now that's a subject for a whole - nuther blogpost!)

But, I challenge you - create something.  Go on YouTube and find an instructional video for whatever kind of art that you find interesting.  Or - if that's too much, go to the dollar store- buy a coloring book, crayons and glittery gel pens and get to coloring!  (No worries, this time of year, the store clerk will assume you are purchasing a gift for a young loved one!  ;-) )   I dare you!!!


18 December 2009

Christmas Wish #2

Have a Mighty Christmas!!

"For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
                                            ~Isaiah 9:6

(my collection of nutcracker soldiers)

I know, I know....  "Have a Mighty Christmas"!  Must be typo, right?  Well, no. Not really.

You see, in the archaic Olde English, the word "merry" was a synonym for "mighty".  So when one wished another "Merry Christmas" what they were saying was, have a strong, mighty Christmas. Think of the Christmas Carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen".  "Rest" to be in the protection and grace of God, and be merry - "strong".  It sheds a whole different meaning to "Robinhood and his merry men"!  In fact, the term "merry" was used to describe armies and fighting men.   

So, for this Christmas season, I would like to wish you all a Mighty Christmas!!!

17 December 2009

Christmas Wishes

Have a Restful Christmas!

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

~ Matthew 11:28

This one of my favorite ornaments.  I can just gaze at this sleepy little angel and it fills me with such JOY! In the midst of all the Christmas hustle and bustle, how sweet it is to just... REST!  Because of my illnesses the past 2 months I am so far behind, I've decided not to even TRY to catch up.  Decorating is done a little here and there as I'm able, and - oh, yeah, I'm still working on my Christmas letter.  I'm not involved in any Christmas programs this year - except as a audience member.  ... And due to a mishap with my sick leave at work, my paycheck was just about half of what it should have been, so, guess what!  No Christmas shopping for me!

And I am SO joyful despite it all!  I am resolved that Christmas will be a little different this year (we haven't really had any snow yet  ---  weird!).  And instead of running myself ragged, I am going to REST in the Lord and really take time to enjoy the season.

I love putting up the Christmas Tree!  We finished ours last week, (it took an entire week to do so)  and I'll tell you - I do have a lot of ornaments!  I'm of the opinion that one can't have too many ornaments! Every time I thought we were done decorating, someone would find yet another box of ornaments.  I enjoy looking at the lighted tree in the dark.  Each ornament has a special meaning for me.  Ornaments that were made for me, those I obtained on my travels, and my ever growing collection of angels.

Here's wishing you the PEACE that surpasses all understanding during this Christmas season!!

16 December 2009

Leaving a Legacy

I was recently visiting some of my favorite cyber-friends blogs, when I came upon a scrapbooking challenge. One of my favorite blogs to follow is entitled "Faith Sisters" and is basically a group of Christian women who are also scrapbookers (like me!).  Their blog shares scrapbooking techniques and offers challenges and encouragement for "artsy" types who are following Christ and using their art talent for His glory.

The challenge that caught my attention is called "My Life Story" and each month we are given an assignment, focusing on our legacies and family history.  I got so excited reading about it.  This will help me focus more on my scrapbooking, and will result in a beautifully created scrapbook that will be a legacy to my family.

If you would like more information on this group, and their legacy challenge, visit

09 December 2009

One King held the Hope of the World

“ But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”
~ Micah 5:2

Last Sunday was Week 2 of Advent; The Bethlehem Candle. 
With it, I associate the "Wise Men" - whether 3 or 3,000, whether Royalty or not - the Bible doesn't really specify. How appropriate to consider the lyrics from the song "One King" as performed by "Point of Grace"
(If you'd like to listen, it's number 12 on my playlist =>)

Kings of earth on a course unknown
Bearing gifts from afar
Hoping praying
Following yonder star

Silhouette of a caravan
Painted against the sky
Wise men searching
For the Holy Child

One king held the frankincense
One king held the myrrh
One king held the purest gold
One King held the hope of the world

A star hangs over Bethlehem
A journey ends in the night
Three kings trembling
Behold the glorious sight

Heaven's treasure Emmanuel
Drawing men to bow down
Tiny baby born to wear a crown

05 December 2009

Advent - The Prophecy candle

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  
~ Isaiah 7:14

Last weekend began the first week of Advent. This first week, we ponder the PROPHECY of Christ's birth.

I love this time of year.  There are so many things that I would like to note here, but time is at a premium, it seems! I returned to work a couple of days ago, so I imagine my posts may not be as frequent as I'd like - (but, I'll try!) Meanwhile, I have some catching up to do.

Two weeks ago, in between illnesses, I attended a scrapbook weekend retreat. I thought I'd share a few of the pages I completed during that retreat. For those of you who are not familier with scrapbooking, a weekend retreat is where a host (in this case my long time friend and Creative Memories Consultant) arranges a weekend at an inn or hotel and the conference room or ballroom of the facility is set up for 30 - 50 women (occassionally a man or 2). For one price, each participant gets a generous space at a table, most, if not all meals provided, games, prizes and a room for the weekend.

I'm so far behind in my scrapbooking that I am still working on a scrapbook of my trip to Israel in 2006. Here are some of those pages;

Here's spread of my visit to Bethlehem.

Here are some other places of interest;

01 December 2009


Happy December!!! 
November is finished - all too quickly it seems.  Now the transition from November to December; Autumn to Winter; Thanksgiving to Christmas....

I always have such high hopes for this time of year.  By Christmas Day I've made a dozen of promises to myself as to how I'm going to do things differently NEXT year so I can enjoy Christmas more and rush around stressed less.  (I never seem to remember those promises until much too late when Christmas is just a few weeks away...)

Well, today my intent is to box away my Autumn decorations and begin to gradually add in my Christmas items. (It's funny how orange/brown/yellow clash so hideously with red and green!).  I didn't arrange to have my Christmas boxes brought up from the storage room so I didn't have my Advent candles ready for last Sunday.  (hmmmm ... NEXT year I'll keep the Advent candles upstairs....  like I did the Christmas mugs!!!!)

Oh, YES!!!
One of my favorite rituals is to put away the "everyday" mugs and replace them with my CHRISTMAS MUGS!!!!   YAY!!!!    And I have already done that!!!!

Ahhhh!  A hot cup of coffee in a festive Christmas mug!

Now to formulate a plan of action!

28 November 2009


"Cleanliness is Next to Godliness!"
~ (Contrary to popular belief - this is NOT found in the Bible)

Okay...! (perhaps I should post a warning here for people who are very neat and organized and are faint of heart):
"Warning:  the following contains images which may be classified as very dirty and decadent and may cause persons who are afflicted with BO (Born Organized) to have sudden attacks of heart palpatations, sweaty palms, shortness of breath and a general urge to scrub the kitchen floor AGAIN today." 
(Mike and Erica - close your eyes!)

As you may or may not be aware, I have been having quite a difficult and chaotic 2 months. Since the end of September, I've been out of town 2 weekends, have had 3 major flare ups of arthritis which left me nearly crippled and a severe bout of broncitis, both of which I am still recovering from.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.  The girls basically took care of everything. I was feeling fairly well today and figured I would try to tidy up a bit especially since we will be engaged in Decking the Halls very shortly. I knew my bedroom - slash - create space (artroom) has been seriously neglected during these past 2 months, and I had to start putting things back in order. I took a good look at my surroundings and couldn't believe how bad it had gotten!... my walker, which I haven't had to use for a couple of days, had become a clothes rack. When I couldn't walk, I just threw things in the general direction, often toppling the growing piles of junk. When packing for a weekend scrapbook retreat, I ransacked bags and boxes and drawers and shelves in an attempt to gather needed supplies.

Now, I've never been a particularly "neat" person. I love order as much as the next person, and if EVERYTHING in my life is going smoothly, AND I am living by myself, I can keep things obsessively neat and tidy... for a time. The minute I don't feel well, or I get over-extended, then I let everything go. And the result is...

~~ CHAOS!!!!!~~

Now although "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," is not found in the Bible, I know my Lord and Savior is a God of order and is in no way honored by my chaos. So... I have decided to take a deep breath, post pictures of my chaotic state for all the world to see, (I can delete these later when I'm off my meds and come back to my senses, right?)  Beginning today, I will start working little by little to put my room in a state of order and beauty. I don't know how long it will take me, especially with the next few weeks filled with Christmas/New Year's Prep and my limited physical ability.... but I've gotta begin NOW... I can't even beat a path to my workdesk to work on art projects that are due, and other "projects" I have to complete for gifts!

So here is my "cave" as it currently stands...

I will try to keep a post to show my progress as the weeks progress.  In the meantime, feel free to join me in my "quest" for unclutter and let me know how you're doing.  I will be checking out Flylady for inspiration and you may wish to do so also at http://www.flylady.net/

Time to clean house... after all, I am preparing the Advent for a very special Visitor...


25 November 2009

In Everything Give Thanks

"... in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
~1 Thessalonians 5:18

I lay on my bed this morning, all my joints screaming in pain, especially my knee and my ankle. More missed work. More doctor's appointments to anticipate and more medications. Back to my walker and having my daughters do everything... and all this just before Thanksgiving!

The host on my favorite Christian radio station was talking about being able to give thanks in all circumstances:

"So a thankful life, thankful lips, the attitude of gratitude, is an evidence that I am filled with the Holy Spirit. Are you filled with the Spirit today? How can you know? Well, one way you can know is, are you thankful?"

"NO," I responded defiantly, to the voice coming from the radio.

"Are you walking in an attitude of gratitude today? If so, that’s an evidence that you’re being filled with the Spirit of God."

"I can't WALK in an attitude of gratitude - because I can't even WALK!!"

I laughed at myself.

Then, I seriously began to count my blessings;
  • I was in a warm apartment
  • I have a boss who told me not to worry about the sick time, just rest and get well;
  • I have my 2 daughters living with me who were able to pick up meds for me and help me;
  • I have medical insurance and a good doctor.
  • and on and on....

The Lord has a way of helping me put things in perspective!
... and yes, I am very thankful!

31 October 2009

50 Reasons to Love Autumn 50 Reasons to Love Autumn 50 Reasons to Love Autumn

Acorns; cool crisp weather; wood-burning fire; flannel sheets and PJs; cornstalks; jumping into a pile a fragrant, colorful leaves; warm cider; knit scarves; chili; fleece jackets; sweaters; Indian summer; apple crisp; scarecrows; autumn-scented candles; pumpkins; Canadian geese; making jelly; Thanksgiving; cranberries; roasting marshmallows; turkeys; popcorn; potato soup; orange; red, yellow, brown; shrimp gumbo; butternut squash; chowders; planning for Christmas; the sound of rustling leaves; cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice; picking apples; warm comforters; hay rides; beef stew; Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks; mittens; Cornacopias; caramel apples; Hot Chocolate; bonfires; corderoy; acorn squash; candy corn; cashmere; corn maze; Curling up with a good book; Columbus Day; Veteran's Day, wool and tweed.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
                  ~Psalm 19:1
Recently, I participated in a CAT (Collage-A-Thon) weekend hosted by ATCs For All which I am a member of. The way the CAT works is, the participants begin working on ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) at 5pm on Friday and continue (as their schedules permit) until midnight Sunday.  Artists are literally from all over the world, so we each start whenever 5pm begins in our part of the world. As we complete our cards, we post them to the site and to our galleries.  Then we trade cards and mail them out the following week.  I completed approx 16 cards in all and noticed that many of my cards had an "autumn" inspired theme. Here are some of them;

24 October 2009

I Love Autumn!

I love the month of October! I often say "autumn" is my favoritie time of the year, but here in Northeast Ohio, autumn can be 85 degrees - or 30 degrees, balmy short sleeve weather - or snow and boots.  So, I've chosen a very specific time and condition;  late October, leaves turning or at their peak, bright blue cloudless sky and, oh, about 50 - 60 degrees where I need to wear a fleece jacket.  That narrows it down to a 3 - 10 day window - and some years, we skip it all together with ice storm that knocks the leaves off before they can fully change.

I love the stews and chowders and chili - traditional - and non traditional holiday fare that comes with cooler weather. Earlier this week, Cara made Shrimp Gumbo in the crock pot.  Yum!

Last Sunday morning as I walked to church, I took some pictures of the foliage that had seemed to change overnight!

Now, Cara went out the following day and with the same camera, but set on "manual" with all her expertise in photography took some stunning pictures (below).

Hope you've enjoyed these!