Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve




My Wish for You in 2010

May peace break into your home
and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans
become a magnet for $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline
and may laughter assault your lips!

May happiness slap you across the face
and may your tears be that of joy.

May the problems you had
forget your home address!

In simple words .........

May 2010 be the best year of your life!

 
Hugs,
Brenda
xox





Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Frosty Evening


It's a dark frosty night, and the moon fills the sky with shimmery light. Thought I'd give you a glimpse of it from our angle of the world. I understand we're enjoying what is called 'a blue moon' as this will be the second full moon this month.

I've been working most of the day on my family history submission for our local history book. The job didn't seem that arduous when I started, but you soon realize if you want to do a good job, it takes more than dashing off a few paragraphs. Yes, you want the information to highlight the facts of births and marriages, but it's so much more interesting to read historical information when it comes interlaced with memories that bring smiles, laughter, or even poignant throbs. So Lin, I can see why you enjoy chasing down the history of so many of your family members.... there's a real pleasure to it.



I just re-discovered a quote I always thought inspiring -- I have it on the inside cover of a little notebook I'm using these days:  "Live one day at a time, and make it a masterpiece!"

As we prepare for a brand new year, I'm musing over that idea ... what does that look like in my life? If I make each day a masterpiece, what does it feel like? What am I doing and who am I with?
 
On that note, what does a masterpiece day look like to you?

Ponderingly,
Brenda



Monday, December 28, 2009

Relaxin' Time Between Holidays



The turkey's been eaten, the presents unwrapped, the guests have returned home, and Kitty and I are snuggled all cozy by our computer this morning. Hubby and I put everything to rights in the house yesterday, so today we can relax and enjoy the quiet after all the happy hubbub.



Outside My Window Today
Skies are so laden with snow you can hardly tell the roof tops from the horizon. No sign of the sun. No sign of the birds. No sign of people in the neighbourhood either. All is still and quiet.


In My Kitchen
Still enjoying some leftovers from Christmas turkey dinner -- making a turkey pot pie for supper tonight. Easy-peasy and yum!


What I'm Reading
Voices, Understanding & Responding to the Language of Heaven by Steve Witt 2007
Cats in May by Doreen Tovey 1959
Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
Victoria Magazine, January/February 2010
Artful Blogging Magazine
 
I still need to find two books for this challenge: a book with a medical condition in the title, and one with a building name. These were more difficult finds for me ... any ideas, anyone?


Project I Need to Finish Before Year's End
The local museum in the home town where I grew up is putting together a local history book for our region. I'm just finishing up the final drafts for my submissions of my grandparents, parents, and myself. It's been an interesting exercise -- amazed at how quickly the old memories started to surface when I began to jot a few ideas down.


Afternoon Snooze With Miss Kitty
Kitty beat me to the napping stage of the day. As per usual, she's curled up in a tight ball on the computer chair behind me, which means I'm starting to lose the feeling in a certain part of my anatomy -- the part that's barely perched on the edge of 'our' chair. I'll go finish that history essay and then see if I can't join Kitty for a sweet afternoon snooze somewhere more comfortable. She'll follow me there.


Stay cozy, everyone!







Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!



I wish you love and joy...
I wish you hope for your future...
I wish you comfort in time of sorrow...

I wish you strength in weakness..
I wish you more than enough...
I wish you health and well-being...

I wish you peace...
that place of nothing missing, nothing broken.

God bless us, everyone!

Joyfully,
Brenda
xox






Thursday, December 24, 2009

O Holy Night


 

The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth...


Wishing you a peaceful and hopeful Christmas Eve!
Brenda
xox


Photo Source: morguefile.com







Monday, December 21, 2009

We Don't Have To Dream It

Source

Well, there's no need to dream about a white Christmas around here. It's been snowing all day. We've had to get out and shovel twice...'we' meaning Dear Hubby, in this case -- ha.

I'll have to take my turn at it, but I've been in the midst of making ginger cookies, a banana nutmeg loaf, and now the makings for sugarplums await my return to the kitchen.

So let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Keep warm!
Brenda
xox




Sunday, December 20, 2009

Simply Sunday: Once In Royal David's City



On this last Sunday of Advent, I am eager to share one of my favourite Christmas carols.

One day I hope that I'll actually be able to hear this sung in a beautiful cathedral in England. And, now I hope it adds beauty and a sense of joy to your day as you listen.





Best Blessings!
Brenda


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Carols and Other Ponderings...



The day started out... looking like a Christmas card. Everything was covered in soft fluffy snow. Perfect for snowman building.

At Christmas, I like to...
attend at least one concert where I can hear some of the beautiful carols and music of the season. Sometimes it's Handel's Messiah or Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and sometimes it's a community concert.

My favourite character in the Nativity story is...
Mary. I have often marveled at her great courage to say to the angel, Gabriel, after he'd told her she would become the mother of Jesus, "Be it unto me according to your word." Such trust and, as I say, courage.

An interesting Christmas present I remember getting was a...
doll that walked. The only thing was, she had one leg shorter and so she didn't 'walk' very well. As a child, I imagined she had polio, as one of my older cousins walked with a limp from having contracted polio. I named my new doll, Joanne.

One Christmas carol I love listening to is... Once in Royal David's City. I love how the one lone voice begins as if far away and then the one voice is joined with others, building the momentum into a magnificent expression. This one tends to give me shivers down my spine.

For me, Christmas begins when..
. I've been to a concert where I can join in the carol singing. And if I don't get to one, it begins when I start humming my favourites around the house or in my car. Years ago, I used to sing in a choir and every year we'd do a big event for Christmas called The Singing Christmas Tree. A gigantic stand was erected and festooned with tree boughs and thousands of lights. The choir members would stand on this and sing from it. It was quite the experience.

And so, we come to the last few days before the big event. Here's wishing you peaceful 'sugar-plum' dreamin'!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Reading

Here's hoping you're enjoying a pleasant day. 

I've also been enjoying a couple of Christmas stories from the library -- The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber. It's a fast and light-hearted read for those curl-up times by the fireplace. I'm not usually into the 'romance' novels, but this one was fun.

The other one was The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg. The author takes the story of the Nativity and muses 'between the lines' about what this historic event meant to Mary and Joseph. It gave me an appreciation for what they might have experienced and encountered. I enjoyed the story.

It's hard to believe the countdown is so near now. Only nine more sleeps (or eight if you count Christmas Eve as the beginning of Christmas, as I do).

The sun shines bright on snowy banks this morning. Our weather has been a bugbear these past few days, but we're into a 'thaw' --- well, not quite, but after that -36C stuff, anything above -20C feels like we're near the banana belt.

Best be off.... I'm baking Almond Cherry Balls today.

Happy Day!
Brenda







Saturday, December 12, 2009

Violet Creates Something Pretty for Christmas



Oh my, you'll want to check this out. Violet over at Create Beauty has designed something quite lovely for Christmas. She takes beautiful seasonal table napkins, she turns them into envelopes for greeting cards.

She assures us that it's an easy project. So, if you're feeling creative and want to dress up your card giving this holiday season, you'll want to check out Violet's post today.

Violet, you've made our day so beautiful with your gift to us. Thank you for sharing.

Enjoy your day!
Brenda





Friday, December 11, 2009

Musing About Christmas Traditions



Hubby and I were chatting one day about what our favourite and not so favourite traditions were ... what we enjoy the most about the holiday season and what we enjoy the least.

For me, I've always loved starting Christmas early -- shopping, listening to the old familiar carols, watching the movies, getting in the mood, or crafting new decorations and gifts. I didn't have a problem dreaming about it as the days of autumn drew us closer to the fireside in September, and I certainly loved the idea of decorating my house at the very whisper of December 1st.

When I met Rick and we married, he didn't have many 'traditions'. He'd put lights up on the house outside, but didn't decorate a tree. And, he didn't often go home to visit his family, who lived in another province. He often spent Christmas Day with special friends closer to home, so his celebrating was simple.

Then I came along and turned everything up-side-down for him. I'd start playing carols weeks before and want to put the tree up early, etc. And he was usually not as enthusiastic as I. Not that he ever stopped me from sallying forth, but he would just tease me about it being way too early and he'd have to call the "Christmas police".

I just figured it was because he wasn't used to it. But then we had our chat and that's when he shared that he didn't really enjoy spreading out Christmas so far and wide across the weeks. To him, if we celebrate days and days of holidaying, what will then make December 25th special and set apart?He had a point!



So I said, well, let's make this Christmas more like what he would relish and not spread out the festivities too far in advance. I was happy enough to share the new experience, because in truth it was an old one for me. For, as a child, we didn't decorate our home until just 2 or 3 days before Christmas. (You didn't want the real tree to dry out before the actual day.) And most of our festivities were just those few days right around Christmas, just before and between Christmas and New Year's.

I refrained from shopping (yes, even shopping), planning menus in advance, holiday baking, playing the carols, and decorating until just a couple of days ago. I did read my December Victoria magazines and dream, but there was no actual activity happening.

Anticipation grew as we waited. So now that we're only 13 days away, this new experiment has revealed something very interesting. It's like the essence of the holiday has distilled into something more potent, and has created something where we're not jaded by all the hubbub, but there's a building up of something eagerly looked forward to. It feels more akin to that feeling of anticipation I had as a child.

Then one day I was reading Jan Karon's delightful Shepherds Abiding and if key character Father Tim didn't describe something similar after he'd just heard the choir singing the beautiful old carols in the beautiful old stone church. Here, listen...

"Call him a stick-in-the-mud, a dinosaur, a fusty throwback, but indeed, jumping into the fray the day after Halloween was akin to hitting, and holding, high C for a couple of months, while a bit of patience saved Christmas for Christmas morning and kept the holy days fresh and new."

*****

That's it, starting things later this year has given me that sense of that fresh and new. Interesting, I thought. Now whether I do this every year, well, time will tell. But I'm enjoying this year.

On that note, I bid your own sweet musings on this wintry evening,
Brenda
xox






Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Warmer... But Not Much!




It's positively balmy this morning -- it's only -20C. Haha! The skies look heavy with snow and methinks the sun has hied off to Hawaii today... no sign of Mr. Sunshine at present.

Even so, I begin turning my thoughts with eager anticipation towards preparing for the holidays. My list today includes gathering my ingredients for some Christmas baking. And, I want to put up the Christmas tree. We're a lot later at putting it up than most years -- but I have had my fig tree in the living room festooned with tiny white lights for weeks, so we haven't been totally bereft of cheery lights and cozy ambiance.

I just looked out my window. Snow crystals are forming and falling, so I may need to add shoveling to that to-do list. If you've followed this blog for a while, you may recall that I actually prefer snow shoveling to lawn mowing, so I won't mind bundling up for a brisk workout on the driveways!


Wishing you happy thoughts today.
Brenda
xox




Monday, December 07, 2009

Staying Warm




Brrrrr.... it was cold here today, but the sun was bright and skies were that frosty clear blue. A perfect winter's day.

I had full plans to write a cozy posting for today, but other needful things filled in the day. So as the evening draws to a close, let me leave you with this thought by J.C. Penney:
"Christmas is not just a time for festivity and merry making. It more than that. It is a time for the contemplation of eternal things. The Christmas spirit is a spirit of giving and forgiving."

Warmest wishes for a peaceful evening,








Saturday, December 05, 2009

I Love Winter

I love winter! Yes, even during a snowstorm, especially when everyone is home safe and snug.

Yesterday, there was quite the blizzard around here. A real winter snowstorm. This morning, we woke to find it had stopped snowing and the wind wasn't howling.

Being a sturdy Albertan, I donned my winter things and maneuvered my way out of the driveway, up the deeply rutted street, laughing that my trusty car could find her way through the snow piles without getting stuck.

Of course, we did keep our fingers crossed that there wouldn't be any useful car parts scraped from the bottom of my car ... for the ruts made by early morning traffic were d-e-e-p.

Now that our town is all wrapped in its winter wonder-wear, that means Christmas must be getting closer too. Do you see my eyes lighting up? In fact, the reason for my venturing forth on this frosty morn was to meet with friends to garland and festoon our little church meeting place for this holy and festive season.

Here's a question: After you've decorated your tree with all the pretty lights and decorations and tinsel, do you turn off all the 'big' lights and stop in that first moment to stand in awe -- with childlike wonder -- at how magical it all looks and feels? And you find yourself feeling like a kid again?

I know I do. There is something magical about it all, isn't there? I know Christmas comes to other places in the world where there isn't any snow, but for me in my world, snow and Christmas ... well, you just can't have one without the other. So, I'm all for singing....

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Sending you a snug hug,
Brenda
xox





Friday, December 04, 2009

SnowFlakes Galore




Yes, here in Alberta, we're in the midst of winter. It's snowing and blowing across most of the province. No sign of those romantic fluffy snowflakes of a few days ago. Although minuscule in size, you can feel their determination to get the job done and completely whiten our world today.

'Tis a good one for staying indoors. With a few more clients' newsletters to complete, I'll be happy to watch the storm unfold from the comfort of my cozy office.

Earlier this morning, I gathered the ingredients to simmer a pot of chicken soup for lunch. So guess what's wafting up the stairs?

Methinks digging out the seasonal jigsaw puzzles and setting them up by the fireplace would be a good idea too. Perhaps the Charlie Brown puzzle I enjoyed piecing together last year.




Funny, I enjoy Charlie Brown more now than I did as a child. Maybe Charlie's loneliness seemed too close to home to feel comfortable when I was little. Whereas now, I rarely feel lonely, for even when I am alone, I'm always reminded of the truth that the Divine One promised He'd never leave nor forsake me. So now I often feel like dancing with Snoopy's abandoned joy!

Here's wishing you a great day! And if you're interested in knowing exactly what I mean by 'great day', you might want to pop over to an earlier posting to find out. Click here.

Cheerio,








Thursday, December 03, 2009

Can't Come Out And Play



The skies are icy blue this morning and the temperatures are biting as they have plummeted well below freezing. But the sun is faithful and so sheds its cheery light across our neighbourhood today.

Miss Kitty thinks she might want to do her garden tour as usual, until she feels the cold air hit her face when the door opens.

I'm in the middle of writing the monthly newsletter today, so perched upon my chair I shall remain for most of it.
Wishing you a happy and productive day,







Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's the First Day of December


And the weather was cool and icy today -- no sign of fluffy flakes either. With my monthly newsletter needing to be done this week, I've chosen to share an article originally posted last year as my offering to you on this first day of December. I hope you enjoy.




The Tradition of Gift Giving

For those of us who love Christmas, we can gleefully start our holiday preparations in earnest. Which, of course, means focusing our attention more closely on the gifts we want to give this year.

One of my favourite ways of expressing love to the people in my circle is to give them gifts. I love finding or making little treasures that I hope will give them pleasure, as well as convey my esteem and affection.

After reading Gary Chapman's book on the five love languages, I realize that gift giving is probably one of my primary love languages (words of affirmation right up there as well). I love shopping for presents at Christmas time, although I have to admit my most favourite times of the year to give gifts are those times in between, when no one is expecting them. It's the surprise element that I adore.

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the social obligation of gift giving at this time of year. Instead of feeling a sense of joy and wonder, we can feel the pressure of giving because it's expected of us. I don't know about you, but I don't want to receive something from someone if they only feel a sense of duty to give it to me.

I don't want to give in that spirit, either! For me, I want my gifts to be an expression from my heart. Whether our gift comes wrapped in shiny paper or a note with gentle words of affirmation, or an offer to provide some act of service or spend time together, it doesn't matter if we're two or ninety-two, we are all looking for that little something that says, "You I cherish....you I notice."

As we prepare ourselves for this special holiday season, may the gifts we choose be ones that come from hearts filled with affection, esteem and love. Now that's living life beautifully!

Happy Preparations!
Brenda


* * * * *
Footnote:
* Gary Chapman's five love languages include:
1. Giving gifts
2. Words of affirmation
3. Physical touch
4. Quality time
5. Acts of service