Tag Archive | Christmas

A Special, Precious Moment … with Love


Jesus-Mary-Joseph-manger-sceneWe live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.

All this joy, and yet it is not enough.

Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.

In the Christmas Mood


I’m watching my favorite movie of all time tonight: It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart. I watch it every Christmas, and usually once in the summer just because I love the story. Here’s a clip from the movie and pictures of other things that just keep me in the Christmas spirit.

IMG_1488 2013-12-13 18.05.42 2013-12-14 14.26.10 2013-12-06 10.24.41 2013-12-20 21.07.13 2013-12-20 21.07.222013-12-20 21.08.022013-12-20 21.08.39

Kindness Inspires Kindness – It’s coming!


KIK logo 8-13-13I simply can’t wait! I’m like a child at Christmas that suddenly hears the jingle of Santa’s bells or the hoofs upon the rooftop. The excitement is intoxicating!

What am I anxiously waiting for, you ask? Well, it’s my 50th Birthday KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS Day!

What started all this was a simple inspiration that jumped to me via my dear friend Anita. She had read a blog that inspired her. See how this is going? Here’s the link to Making Life Whimsical. Amy from MLW had blogged about her 40th birthday and celebrating with a KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS Day. As Anita was reading Amy’s blog she said “I can do that.” And as soon as she shared the idea with me I knew I would do this too. I had been pondering what I could do to make my 50th special. The best way I can think of to make my day special is to make it meaningful. I can use that day to help change the world in small ways here in my community. I try to spread kindness every day and this will be a concentrated day full of gift giving – from me, not to me!

Anita’s good news is that she had a KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS day last week. Here’s a link to Anita’s blog about her day. I’m so blown away by the positive outcome she had. My excitement is growing even more!!

Now the plans are coming together for me. I have my list of kindnesses almost complete. I’ll be meeting with my friend Barb H. to create a plan and a schedule to make it possible. I’ll be calling on friends, family, fans, and my peeps of all sorts to join me in planning, gathering donations, and hoofing it around Cincinnati spreading our kindness gifts. I’ll be taking pictures and blogging here as the plans come together and as the day materializes.

I invite you to join in too. Either on my birthday (Aug 13, 2013) or on yours, do an act of kindness that makes your heart sing and makes your soul celebrate. Then take some pictures and sent me a note describing it. I’ll share your kindnesses on my blog as well.

My desires are big but very doable. I want to make my KINDNESS INSPIRES KINDNESS day a huge success. I want to light the eyes and brighten the smiles of many, many people. And I want to inspire more acts, gifts, and day that are even grander than mine. Are you in?

Tell me what you plan to do …. and be blessed!

A Special, Precious Moment …


Jesus-Mary-Joseph-manger-sceneWe live all year for these moments – these special Christmas moments. Whether in the hearts of children looking forward to Christmas plays, cookies, and visits from Santa to load the tree and stockings. Or whether in the hearts of compassionate adults looking forward to time with family and friends, special songs, and thoughtful giving to those who are less fortunate. These longings, traditions, and special celebrations are what we measure a year by sometimes. The waiting makes them both fleeting and precious. Sharing a smile and a surprise is the fun part. We spend time in labors of love by baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating, and random acts of kindness.

All this joy, and yet it is not enough.

Because Christmas, while it is celebrated in these and many other ways, is not complete until we reflect on the TRUTH. Take a moment or two as you hustle and bustle about your day to remember why we even have this holiday at all. That tiny baby, born so long ago with one purpose – to redeem and save the souls of mankind. With reverence for the season, I share with you 2 great songs – from a parent’s perspective.

With all you are and with all you do and believe, I pray that you be blessed. Merry Christmas!

1462.john316christmas.jpg-550x0

 

A Holy Moment


angel praiseToday I was in the office and my cube-mate was playing some holiday music by consent of our small group. Most were happy and light and it was fun to hear them. Then one song came on that made me stop. I’ve heard it many times but for some reason in that moment, I found myself really, really listening as if for the first time. It was Josh Groban singing  O Holy Night. His voice reverberated all the way to my soul and I was engulfed in a wave of praise and prayer. I had goose bumps and I could almost see every angel drop to their knees and join in the song. It was a tender, precious, holy moment in remembrance of an even greater holy moment.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to give you the same opportunity. And for my non-Christian friends, I hope you can simply enjoy the instrument that is his voice.

Enjoy and be blessed! 

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme ….


This year I find myself in quite the different holiday mood. I have several friends that I have always enjoyed the sharing of Christmas gifts with. We don’t spend a lot of money but we do try to find the “right” something for each other. We top off our little celebration with the “breaking of bread” as we share a lunch or dinner to catch up and enjoy the holiday lights and music. It makes for a really pleasant spreading out of the holiday and is probably a part of your routine Christmas as well.

0912_money-gift_485x340And yet, this year, something feels to be different. My soul’s yearning to make a bigger impact in the world is growing. And the only thing I can think of is that I feel I have too much this year. I certainly have all that I need and I have enough of the “I wants” to satisfy my heart. So this year I’m shifting out of the usual mode of the gift giving tradition with my friends. I’m still sharing the gift of time but I’m asking them to forgo the shopping for some nice little gift that I don’t actually need and I’d like them to make a donation to the poor as their gift to me instead. I want to play a little part, even if it’s just a catalyst part, in helping us all help someone in need. And the beautiful thing I’m finding is, that at my suggestion for my gift they are delighted to not shop for a trinket and to also not receive one. They are asking me to do the same thing on their behalf. I love my friends – they see the best and brightest intentions and they magnify them. I am blessed.

So, to all my internet friends, in addition to any regular charitable giving this year that you are inclined to give, I ask that you consider joining us to exchange a different kind a gift. A gift of generosity. A gift that can change a moment in someone’s world. Give the gift of charity, request the gift of charity, and be blessed.

Music that Moves Me ….


rockefeller-center-christmas-tree-nyLast week I was watching a TV program with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in NYC. That tree is an iconic symbol of the season in the US and over the years the lighting ceremony has turned into quite the celebration with the songs of the season. I saw some favorite singers and some newbies that come from the various singing competition shows that are ever so popular these days.

What struck me that night was that this time of year is even more joyful as it allows for songs of faith to ring out from every corner of our culture. What a blessing when I hear praise and glorification going on by some of the most famous of people.  Some even unexpected people.

Recently this video has been going around FB and I wanted to share it here for your enjoyment as well. I must say the ending gave me shivers and my heart was moved – be sure to stick with it until the end!

Enjoy this medley of lovely Christmas songs and be blessed! 

 

Season of Beauty – original poem


SEASON OF BEAUTY

It isn’t the twinkle of lights in the city that brighten the holiday season,

  It is the smiles and gestures of charity from you that give the days their meaning.

It isn’t the songs that bring out the joy on the lips of all the people,

      It is the words of kindness that you are spreading that creates a joyful ripple.

It isn’t the food, cookies, or nog warming the hearths of the homes,

But rather the touch of a friend, or a hug that shows them they’re not alone.

It isn’t shoppers who bustle about, that create the atmosphere and energy,

It is the quiet connection of hearts and giving that melts the frost in the air.

I have a part, and you have a part, in bringing the season to life.

It is our union of spirit and not our religions that actually fuels the light.

It is the love in our hearts that we’re willing to share that creates a sense of community.

Believe you can spread the light and the love and we’ll all have a season of beauty.

~ Barbara Bernard Miller

A Victorian Christmas Carol, Thomas Kinkade

Reach Out and Touch …


In a crowded town on the first day of December the weather was unusually warm here. The sun peeked in and out and I found myself grabbing over and over for the protection of my sunglasses. It doesn’t feel like the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas. Oh, the Christmas music is playing on all my favorite radio stations. And the shops are decorated and the billboards are touting the season. But something was amiss today.

alone2After some welcome reflective time spent in community, I realized as I turned to go home, that the emotion closest to the surface was loneliness. Not because I am physically alone in the world – I have my wonderful children, friends, and family who love me. But a deeper melancholy – one that speaks of the soul. One that soaks in the realization that in spite of what I own and who I know, I am travelling on this life journey alone. I am influenced by others and seek to do the same. But I am learning my lessons, one at a time, on my own. I am opening my heart to greater awareness in solitary cadence and with a rhythm all my own. This is not the loneliness of the heart, this is the loneliness of the mind when we realize that we are surrounded by a voice, our own voice, narrating our life one thought at a time.

Perhaps I am alone in these thoughts as well. In that moment I knew that I had a choice to make. I could focus on the solitary emotions of the journey or I could relish the connections of the heart. And that is what I chose. I chose to connect with the woman at the restaurant where I picked up my dinner. I chose to connect with my son who is rarely home when I am. I chose to connect with my dogs who make home just a little bit warmer. And now, I choose to connect with you. This is the only thing – the touch of other solitary travelers, that chases the loneliness away.

On your solitary journey, when the melancholy sinks in a little too close, reach out and connect and be blessed!

I’m soooo ready …


I realized something today that I haven’t thought about in a while… I FEEL READY.

Ready for what you say? So very many things. Here’s just a few:

> I’m so ready to enjoy no more campaign ads on my TV, radio, or voice mail. SERIOUSLY ready for this one!

> I’m ready for the giving seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas to reveal the kind and generous nature of my fellow man.

> I’m ready for my children to begin experiencing the success that comes from hard work.

> I’m ready for new friendships to blossom more and more each day.

> I’m ready to learn new things at work and feel like I’m growing my capability again.

> I’m ready for closure on some very big, and very old bills that are about to be paid off (yay!)

> I’m ready for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, patriots, and cynics to step across the divide and start working together as Americans and not any other label we have chosen to use.

> I’m ready to start reading another good book – make it a mystery please.

> I’m ready for our sons and daughters to come home and end the wars.

> I’m ready for people to embrace the diversity that comes from loving each other and not judging each other.

> I’m ready to shine my light a little brighter and further in the world.

> I’m ready for the distance between friends and love ones to shrink – whether it’s physical distance or emotional.

> I’m just feeling ready for change.

Are you ready? On your marks … get set … let’s go! And be blessed!

My confession


I have a confession to make. It is with much chagrin that I must admit  – I still have my Christmas tree up and lit at my house. Crazy, no?

I didn’t plan this decorating gaffe but I’m secretly still enjoying the outcome. As with any self-respecting woman who tries to stay on top of things like this, I made plans to take down my tree much earlier. I always purposefully leave up my nativity and tree until after Jan. 6 in honor of my Catholic upbringing as that is the Epiphany, or when the wise men arrived at the manger. I like the tradition, which acknowledges the real 12th day of Christmas.  So on Jan. 7 I summoned the appropriate ornament boxes from their storage spot. But this year something happened that stopped my efficient need from removing this lone Christmas decoration. My son, who is 23 and has never once in his life had an opinion on such things, declared that I should NOT under any circumstances, take down the tree. Now, he never commented throughout the season that he even liked the tree so I was taken aback. Here was this man-child telling me how cozy the lit tree makes him feel as he walks through the house. He even did a little begging as I recall (and I’m sure he’ll deny this).

So – what’s a sentimental, near empty-nest mom to do? Having lamented for years that my kids didn’t seem to notice or care whether I decorated for any holiday or every holiday, I was inwardly touched. And so – my tree still stands with all it’s flashing light glory. I’m daydreaming of schemes for how I can justify it staying even longer as I too love the ambiance it brings to the room. Without it the room, although decked out with cozy creature comforts and warm color (red) on the wall, seems a tad bit cold. Tonight we’re supposed to have ice and snow. Now what’s better with that kind of winter weather than a cheerfully lit and blinking tree? Nothing. Tonight it stays.

But the Catholic guilt (or is it the decorator in me feeling guilty) is creeping in. The seduction of Valentine’s day is peaking it’s head as I do my errands about town.  Alas, I see the end is nigh and this weekend the said tree must fold it’s unadorned head into the dark of the cardboard box and live out the rest of the year in the basement. Farewell cheerful tree – you’ve served us well, beyond your time.

Christmas Letter from Jesus


I saw this posted on a friend’s FB status and had to repost.  It puts so much into perspective!  Read, enjoy and be blessed!
****************************

Dear Children,

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I wasn’t actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival, although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. Not just during Christmas time, but all through the year. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’ that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no ‘Christmas’ tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions and words that you are one of mine.

Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:

I LOVE YOU, JESUS