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It’s the second most wonderful time of the year!

In the photo you can see hubby hard at work un-decorating the Christmas tree that we had outside this year on our lanai. I’m so grateful for him. He put most of the decorations up and was happy to take most of them down, repack, then get them up in the attic. With the two of us working side by side, it was down in about two hours, maybe less.

But I have to laugh…

…at how I’ve changed over the years. Our long-standing tradition has us putting the tree up and decorations out the day after Thanksgiving. But in years past, I would leave it all up into January, just enjoying the cozy, warm feelings. Especially on cold nights with a fire in the fireplace and a cup of cocoa in hand.

But not anymore. I think it all changed when we moved to Florida. While I still buy into “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” pre-Christmas and am delighted to pull down those attic stairs and bring out our assortment of decorations, I have to say that January 1 or 2 runs a close second because we get to put it all away…usually in shorts and tee shirts.

This year it was in the 80’s for nearly a week after Christmas, so you’d better believe we needed to pack things away until next November.

How about you?

What are your traditions for beginning the season and for ending it? I bet some, like a few of my friends, are taking things day on the 26th. But I just betcha there are a few who keep things in place for several more weeks.

In any case, stay tuned. Once the Christmas decorations have been returned to their resting places, it’s on to January reorganization. I’ll share a little about what I’ve been up to next week.

Until then…

Mimi

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Happy New Year

Wow, that went fast!

It’s hard to believe how quickly these last 12 months have gone by. For me, 2018 was a year of both challenges and triumphs. I’m sure it’s been the same with you.

In the past, my wish would be to know the future but then my sweet friend Marilyn would remind me that knowing what’s coming doesn’t always bring delight.

Knowing the future may be great when it looks rosy, but to know some trials are coming your way could be devastating. And yet, for those of us in Christ, we can confidently face those unexpected trials because His grace is completely sufficient to get us through.

Did things catch you off guard last year?

Did you feel ill-prepared to face the challenges that came your way? I dare say many of us can answer yes to those questions.

And while I certainly wish all good times for my loved ones, I know it’s often in the darkest hour that we cling to God and experience His wonderful grace and amazing love, comfort, and peace.

I Rejoice With You

So, if last year found you desperately holding on to God…I rejoice with you because that’s the perfect response to less than perfect circumstances.

And if 2018 was relatively calm, I rejoice with you as well, thanking God for that respite you experienced.

No matter what 2019 has in store for us, we can experience God’s peace, knowing He has everything under control. Nothing will surprise Him, and certainly nothing will catch Him off guard.

 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NLT)

Happy New Year with Love!

Mimi

Missing Mom…still.

The holidays are always a time with family at the center. In many, if not most homes, it’s the family that gathers around a table laden with yummy food. It’s the family that spends the day together giving and receiving gifts to show how much we love each other.

So, when families are fractured or have missing members, instead of pure joy, often those gathering times are reminders those not there.

Like so many others…

Like so many others, I’m missing my own mother this Christmas season. She was a very special person who brought joy to so many, that her parting left a huge hole in the hearts of those who knew her.

My sister is gone, too. Much too soon. At age 63 and after celebrating her birthday on the Friday of Labor Day weekend in 2014 with friends and family gathered near, she passed away three days later, no longer able to fight the cancer that took her life.

So, I too, mourn these losses. And though most days the sorrow is no longer a constant nag, getting through the holiday season each year seems a tough journey.

But I rather like this Charlie Brown picture and caption. Though it’s not scriptural, it’s still a happy thought indeed to look up, see the millions of stars, and think they just might be our loved ones reminding us that all is well.

Mimi

So very thankful.

November 19, 2018

 

With Thanksgiving upon us, I can honestly say I’m so very thankful for my wonderful Lord. His kindness to me and my family simply cannot be described in words. My heart is full not only for all He’s done in my life but for who He is.

Thankful, grateful, and truly blessed.

This wall art hangs in my kitchen where it is seen every single day. It’s a wonderful reminder to me that I am blessed…not because of anything I’ve done, not because of anything I have, but because I am in God’s family. I belong to Him. And that, my friends, is more than enough.

Some Favorite Verses

Here are just a few Bible passages about giving thanks and praise to God. Would love to read what your favorite ones are. Please comment below.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (1 Chronicles 16:34)

 

I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High. (Psalm 7:17)

 

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.  For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:1-3)

 

Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. To him who alone does great wonders; His love endures forever. Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1-5)

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Mimi

 

My Christmas gift to you…a bit of laughter

I suppose I should write a heartwarming story about the birth of our wonderful Savior, express thanksgiving for His coming into the world and into my life, or share a family story with you. But no. I’m going a different route.

This year I’m giving you the gift of laughter by sharing with you some recent events.

A little background before I tell you what happened. It concerns technology, something I’m fairly good at. Oh, I have my limits, but I love using an I-pad and touch technology; I can touch and swipe with the best of them.

Fast forward to last week. It was a baking day and while a delicious sour cream coffee cake (a family favorite) was in the oven, I put my feet up and began reading a print catalog. Fairly soon I saw an item that interested me, and deciding I wanted to know a bit more and to see the photo a bit larger, I simply touched the picture so it would load additional info with a larger picture.

Nothing happened. So, I touched it a few more times until I realized DUH! It’s not going to load anything else. It can’t load. It’s not digital…it’s print!

I kid you not. I’m so used to reading on my I-pad that without thinking about it I treated a printed advertisement as if it was digital and then couldn’t understand why my finger taps weren’t doing anything. Let the laughter begin!

But the story isn’t quite finished. I had no sooner stopped shaking my head at myself over trying to touch printed material to “load” it, when I walked back to the kitchen and noticed something. A softened stick of butter was sitting on the counter. (In hindsight, I believe it was actually mocking me.)

Why was it mocking me? Well, this wonderful family coffee cake recipe is delicious because of the butter…TWO STICKS OF BUTTER. And I had only used one. After it finished baking, I sampled it and while it tasted good, the texture was off and it was definitely missing the decadent buttery yumminess. Needless to say, I ended up baking another one.

Both incidents really made me laugh. And during a time when we can get stressed and overwhelmed, I realized maybe you could use a giggle, too. But most importantly, I believe they happened because I have a dear, dear friend who needed to laugh. So, with great joy, I called her and told her my story. And laugh she did. And it was music to my ears.

My gift to you this year was the laughter that came with some funny stories. I know you have gifts to give as well…gifts you can share with others. Some of you can bake a great cake (that actually includes all the butter!). So, bake and share that cake with some neighbors.

Some are great with words, so share those words with others. Write a note or pick up the cell phone and make a call.

Others do crafting or crocheting or knitting. I bet the hospital NICU could use some knitted baby caps for preemies or the grumpy neighbor could use a homemade anything to bring cheer.

Still others can run an errand for someone, buy a gift card, say a prayer.

Gift giving began with our Lord. He gave us Jesus…the very best gift of all. He set a beautiful example that we can all use to help us carry on the tradition in 2018.

Merry Christmas to all.

Mimi

It’s Mother’s Day…Again

Boy that went fast. It seems like just a few months ago I was facing my first Mother’s Day without my sweet Mama. But I didn’t write anything about it at the time because she had just passed away a few weeks prior.

Mom had been very sick and my dad was in rehab trying to recover form a severe head injury. With Mother’s Day coming just a few weeks after she died, hubby and I were pretty much in a daze. It didn’t even cross my mind that this was the first Mother’s Day without her.

But this year is a little different. I’m more aware that it’s Mother’s Day and there’s nothing I can do for her. No gift to make or buy. No special card to find that perfectly expresses my heart. No surprise visit to spend the day with her.

As I walk around the stores with their Mother’s Day displays my heart yearns to pick up a little something for Mom, only to be reminded that she’s no longer here.

Sigh…

It’s really ok. Most of my sadness has been replaced with the precious memories of having had a wonderful mother for so many years.

And even though Mom isn’t here this year, I can still honor her. I’ll look at her picture, spend some time remembering her, and mostly I’ll just be grateful. She really was someone special! And I was so blessed.

Mimi

Fixing the broken pieces of our lives.

img_5881Getting mail in December is a lot of fun. But getting a thick envelope or package is an extra delight.

I recently received a thick envelope from our Ohio family. Eagerly tearing the paper, anticipating what I would find inside, my face lit up with a big smile when I saw the Lenox angel ornament. But within seconds I also noticed the angel had broken in transit.

No worries. A little hot glue and voila! The angel is good to go and now hanging on my tree. And the ornament now serves as a beautiful reminder that God heals the brokenhearted and bandages up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

We all endure wounds that often leave scars. Scars of hurt, scars of betrayal, scars of loss. Yet those scars tell the story of our lives and the glories of the One who intervenes and heals. “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT).

Interestingly, if you look at the angel on the left (you may need to zoom in), you can barely see the scars of hot glue while on the right they are clearly visible. Another reminder that while scars may remain, they often fade and become less noticeable over time. There is indeed hope that our own scars will eventually be less painful, too.

Bearing scars dear friend? Be encouraged and don’t be ashamed for they are producing a glory in you that points to God and His redemptive love and healing.

Mimi