Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Blessings

By a Gracious Heavenly Father

We Give Thanks.
And Welcome 2013
 with Open Hearts and Open Hands

A year of Blessings in 2012

John and Connie- a year of changes and growing and learning

All Together for Family Worship at Living Savior in Fairfax Station, Va.
  The Meiers, the Schumachers, the Denningers and the Wilsons- to- Be.

Warm fires in the family room

Together Gatherings-
 SEVEN fearless Snow Skiers and Boarders at SEVEN SPRINGS, PA

The hand made and the vintage mix in our household

A creche at the National Cathedral
A tree in golden time-worn hues

Reading List 2012

Looking back and seeing if I can find the books 
that I have read for Spiritual reading this year....

some already lent out ----
 but this is what I could find strewn across the office book shelves...

Favorite in this stack- Answering God- Eugene Peterson

Favorite- One Thousand Gifts-  by Ann Voskamp (read twice)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Blessings

Once in royal David's city stood
 a lowly cattle shed, 
where a mother laid her baby in a manger 
for his bed;
Mary was that mother mild;
 Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven, 
who is God and Lord of all, 
and his shelter was a stable, 
and his cradle was a stall; 
with the poor, the scorned,
the lowly, lived on earth our Savior holy.

We, like Mary, rest confounded
 that a stable should display heaven's Word, 
the world's creator, cradled there on 
Christmas Day,
yet this child, our Lord and brother,
brought us love for one another.

For he is our life long pattern;
daily, when on earth he grew,
he was tempted, scorned, rejected,
 tears and smiles like us he knew.
Thus he feels for all our sadness, 
and he shares in all our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child who seemed so helpless
 is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he has gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable, 
with the oxen standing round, we shall see him;
in heaven, where his saints his throne surround;
Christ, revealed to faithful eye,
set at God's right hand on high.

Song--- Once in Royal Davids's City written by
Cecil Frances Alexander in 1848.
Set to music in 1849 by Henry John Gauntlett.

A Blessed Christmas to all of you!!
  with Love

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Nativity Walk II

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, the light pours through the windows
 and reflects the Good Tidings of the Advent Season!!

 Prepare out hearts ...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nativity Walk - I

On this shortest day of light I will take a tour of the Light that gives HOPE in the darkness....
without leaving home- a tour of the Christ Child- the one who is Immanuel- God With Us.

Enjoy the images that represent the Greatest gift of Christmas in our home.  May it bless your Advent preparations. Too often words interrupt the focus -- so I will let the images speak for themselves. And because this is the main focus for our celebration-- ( so  there are many photos) I will break the tour into 3 postings.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

For Newtown Families

"The Lord IS Good,
 a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in Him."
Nahum 1:7

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Much talk today about this date only happening once every 100 years... guess I am doing some thinking about century markings this week.  2012.  looks funny to even write it - let alone say it....

But if I could pick 12 Advent thoughts this celebration of 12 today, what might they be?

 some nostalgic?  some predictive?  What have I leaned in over a half century of living Advent?

Wood and a Metal Nativity
1.  Prepare your hearts first.... Advent Living starts there.  Ask the Lord to give you an expectant heart.

2.  Keep a manger out in your house all year round. It helps to be a visual reminder that Christmas living is every day living.

3.  Make a list of Advent preparations.  Then cross off half the things.   Then start your getting ready for a Birthday.

Paper trees and metal Holy Family.
4.  Spend time with young children during Advent- they bring heart joy and a sense of wonder that we lose as we age.

5.  Look for those who celebrate without family living nearby and call them "family".

6.  Watch The Nativity video and sit in amazement at the regular people- Mary and Joseph- who loved that baby- who just happened to be God, and imagine yourself in their place.

Paper wreath- Joy to the World

7.  Play Christmas music all day long and dance if your heart is leaping.

8.  Research and learn about  using a Jesse tree, and find one that suits your age and stage of family.
     And mark the story of the Old Testament herald to the Messiah.

9. Find a live performance of The Messiah and let the music sink into your soul.

10.  Imagine being a different character of the story each day. One day be a shepherd, one day the innkeeper. One day be a Wise Man.

11.  Find a Living Nativity and go pet a sheep and smell a camel.

12.  Pray about who you might bless this year with the gift of fresh water, a goat for their family, or
a gift that means a new standard of living for another family around the world.

So on this day of 12-12 -12- those are my Advent thoughts to share...... some I learned long ago and some are new Advent thoughts...

And may the sights, and sounds, and smells of Advent preparations bring to your deep heart places--
the joy of knowing that Advent means Coming- for He is returning for each and every one of His children. Pray that each day we may pay attention and see our part of the story.

Monday, December 10, 2012

100 years of Advent

We worshipped yesterday at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Reston, Va. and the homily given was wonderfully poignant and very down to earth.  It was a "get real" look at our Advent preparations for Christmas....

that all the doing and stuff and fluff will in the end remain broken, disappointing, and a challenge to store more....

so what to trim away?  what to keep and highlight?  what to pull out and always include? So maybe 2000 years of Advent are a little bit overwhelming to take a look at...
so I focus on the last 100 years of Advent.

100 year old post card
I have a collection of vintage postcards for Christmas.... started years ago when our three daughters were young and I would give them each a dollar and they could pick out Four for $1 postcards....

and somehow their stories have been part of the hunt- not only for the card fronts- but for the long ago and forgotten stories penned on the back usually in pencil---The one above was made in Germany and the words are not English...

Printed in Germany
To Miss Emma Wildermuth
 in Pottsville, PA
 from Grandma

Printed in Germany
To Miss Mary Sauner - Globe Mill Woon, RI

postmarked Woonsocket, RI Dec 23, 1907 at 7 am.
No message at all  and no name of sender

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Crafting- Open Studio

Well, it seems that the 100th blog post has come around and to make that a special event...

some creative crafting happening around here... some friends, some neighbors, and tonite some
beautiful   "twenty something"- friends of youngest daughter Sara, grace the lower level with glue guns ready and laughter brimming.

So join the fun.....

Started with cereal boxes rolled into tree forms
tags punched form the 1941 edition
of the Lutheran Hymnal
and hot glued around the cone shape
A shredding scissors cuts the edges
 fluff the tags
 add a crinkled bow on top
( from Hug Snug seam binding-)

 the secret is to get it wet
scrunch it
 and roll into a paper towel
 and let dry there -- perfectly crinkled
Vintage look ornaments- doilies and old hymnal pages
Start with a small base doily-- 4 inch doily size
  glue onto cardstock or cardboard base
Fold 12 doilies into a cone shape
Glue onto base with folded side down
 tacky glue works best
so you can pull them up
 and replace if you need to
Make an accordian folded fan circle-
used the hymnal pages-
5 strips-  2 inch wide  and width of page
 use double sided sticky tape to assemble
 hot glue to doily base

The gold snowflake
 is at Target this year-- great deal at 2 for $1
 Comes with the hanger
 so the ornament is ready to hang
The snowflakes come in silver also.
Top with a crinkle bow

and the finishing touch was a piece of my mom's jewelry
Just the right sparkle
 and sentiment
Creating the cone tree forests
The ornament table

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seeing Red

The Japanese Maple is SOOO REEEDDD.  
 It really almost looks fake-- thought I had better get a photo -- 
it will be gone when we return from Iowa
 after the gathering there for a nephew's wedding.

Some garden things still cling to leaves
 like gathering a warm scarf against the cold.

The lovely red glow of sedum in the fall.

And a spirea falls into a chaotic riot of color.

The rose shifts to open looking for sunlight.