Tag Archive | Christmas

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…


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.


Leftovers Again

By Muffet (used with permission)

By Muffet (used with permission)

It’s only been a few days, but already I’m gathering Christmas items from around the house, parking them under the tree so we’re sure to pack them up in a few days.

After packing up last year’s stuff, around mid-January I found four Christmas items in my house. It’s such a pain to climb into the attic and find the right storage container that I just left them. This year I’m determined not to have any leftovers.

One would think Christmas leftovers would bring a smile, reminding us throughout the year of family, gifts, happy times, and most importantly…of Jesus. But for me, seeing the Christmas leftovers is just a reminder that I missed something. It seems out of place. It doesn’t belong. And every time I see it (or them) I’m reminded that despite its intended purpose or beauty, it shouldn’t be there.

But leftovers aren’t only seen at Christmas time or sitting uneaten in the refrigerator. Leftovers come in the form of people, too. Sometimes they’re easy to spot: the homeless person sleeping on a bench, the woman disfigured from years of spousal abuse. But sometimes they are right out in the open where we pass them every day completely unaware that inside they feel like a leftover, like a has-been, like someone no one else is interested in—most of all God.

Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you’ve led a rough life and done things you wish you hadn’t. Maybe you’ve been unkind to others. Maybe they’ve been unkind to you. Perhaps you feel as if life has passed you by and you find hope is no longer something you can hang on to.

Maybe you’ve done such a number on yourself that you no longer feel worthy of respect or love and you’ve come to believe you don’t even deserve it. Hope is gone and not only is the future bleak but the now is bleak as well.

And if it’s not you, it’s someone you know or a stranger passing by. We’re surrounded by people who feel like yesterday’s news, yesterday’s leftovers who no one else is interested in. Knowing that in a heartbeat you’ll be tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.

So what to do? If we’re the one struggling with feeling like a leftover, then we can remind ourselves of how God sees us in the Scriptures below, all quoted from the New International Version of the Bible.

  • Psalm 149:4  For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
  • Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Galatians 4:7   You are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
  • 1 John 3:1   See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

And if we’re doing okay in that regard, then we can look for the leftovers surrounding us; we can seek them out, pray with and for them, encourage them, share these Scriptures with them, love them.

Be encouraged, dear one. There are no leftover in God’s eyes—only “first-overs!”