That’s Hygge

It has been awhile, friends. Life has been extremely busy for me, over the past several months. Teaching, tutoring, working on my masters degree, presenting at a monthly parents (of children with special needs) support group, being involved in church, being a wife, Mom, and Nana is just…well…exhausting! Many nights I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. That all said, I still enjoy blogging and writing, and reading, and taking pictures of my country life (you can follow me at gibsongirl247 on Instagram).

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As I type, I find myself looking out the window. It is a cold, gray, January afternoon. There are still remnants of snow on the ground, leftover from a couple of days ago. Yes, I am one of the “weird” people that loves winter. My warm weather friends don’t understand me, and that is just fine. I choose to do my weather complaining from mid-June through early September when the temperatures and humidity are like living in Dante’s seventh circle of hell. Just sayin’.

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I am a sweater person. I am cozy socks person. I am a colorful mittens type of girl. I think in another life I must have been Scandinavian. I am drawn to the Scandinavian decorating style. I think the Finnish truly understand how education/learning is supposed to work, and my latest infatuation is with hygge (that is pronounced hoo-ga) The Danish people have this extremely cool word (in my opinion) that doesn’t even have an English translation. It sort of means, creating a warmth and intimacy even in the smallest of things. I can see where this would be wonderful year round, but especially during the cold, dark months in this northern country. Think of padding around the house in thick, warm socks and comfy clothes. Think hot chocolate with a big, fluffy marshmallow. Think a crackling fire in the fireplace and a good book or a movie with friends and family. Think flannel sheets and snuggling. Think candle light. Think board games. Think a handwritten note to a friend. Are you feeling it?

That’s hygge.

 

 

Showing Grace

We always have a choice.

To show grace to others, or not.

Yep, I get it.

Sometimes people do things, and we think we are justified to let them know they are wrong…even if we don’t express those thoughts with words. Many times actions speak much louder than our words ever could. We take the moral high ground, because we are right after all. That’s what we think. We didn’t make the poor choices. We didn’t make the wrong decisions. The “unforgivable sins”. If we act like everything is okay, doesn’t that appear like we are condoning whatever it is? That attitude is so easy to slide into. That we are better because we didn’t do those things.

And yet, it is when we show grace to others, that we are the most like Jesus. Choosing to love….in the midst of the mess. Choosing to forgive…is not accepting less.

When we acknowledge our own brokenness, the darkness of our own hearts, our own poor choices, mistakes, and mess ups, we begin to understand the amazing grace shown to us by Jesus. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He didn’t say, “I’ll wait until you are perfect.” Instead He said, “I love you”.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s A Wonderful Life

Yes, it is true. This movie is one of my all time favorites to watch during the Christmas season. I wait for that time when George Bailey realizes that his life really did make a difference, and that things would be different if he had never existed. Most of all he realizes he truly does have a wonderful life.

I agree with George Bailey. Sometimes all we need is a reminder……

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Top Twenty Reasons It Truly IS A Wonderful Life: 

*Celebrating Jesus’ birth, the greatest gift of all (all other gifts pale in comparison to God entering time and space to make a difference for all eternity)

*Remembering The Light of the world (the baby born on that day so long ago, that grew into a man that shattered the dark– of hopelessness, and separation of man from God—because of His love for us)

* Christmas music (my favorites are O Holy Night, and White Christmas)

*Family, both near and far ,that I love and love me right back. (family in different states who don’t let the miles get in the way of showing love)

*All the kids home for Christmas (even though they are young adults)

*A new daughter-in-law (our first Christmas together)

*A new granddaughter, seeing everything for the first time. (is there anything more precious?)

*Sweet baby laughter (I could listen to this all day long)

*White lights (simple and pure)

* Hot Chocolate (home made, not from a packet)

*Snow on the ground (preferred over the ice)

*A warm house (yes!)

*New opportunities (one year is ending, a new one getting ready to begin)

*Friends (I am so blessed)

*The nice UPS guy--(we see him a lot)

*An “A”in my grad class (Hallelujah!)

*Time off from school (rest? maybe?)

*Watching Christmas movies with the family (fun times)

*Outside twinkle lights (it “looks” like Christmas)

*The night sky—Silent Night, Holy Night (there is nothing better than the winter night sky, cold and clear)

 

 

Light In A Dark World

 

My family enjoys seeing the lights at Christmas. There are some families that go all out decorating their houses like light show extravaganzas. You know what I mean. They are a sight to behold.  (Although, I always wonder about the January electric bill for these homes) The lights I enjoy seeing, made me think of something I read on another friend’s blog post the other day. She said, “See  the lights. Be the light.”

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Light that cuts through the darkness.

Light that brings joy to those who see it.

Much like the Light that cut through the darkness of time and space…

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Flashback over 2000 years ago… A dark night. A man and a woman who needed a place to stay. No one could help them out. The city was busy and there was not one room available. They were bone tired. The young woman was not feeling so well, she knew that this child that she had been carrying for the past 9 months, was ready to be born. But where?  The man managed to talk an inn keeper into allowing them to sleep in his stable, which was really not much more than a cave.  A literal hole in the wall.

In the stench of barnyard animals, the greatest gift to mankind was born that night. A night where people were running to and fro, busy with their lives. A night where no one was really paying much attention. A night not so unlike what we have now. God came into the world. Jesus left Heaven to come to this earth in human flesh. AND THE WORLD HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE. A divine gift. A gift of love to humankind. A light to the world. Light that split the enveloping darkness of that night, as well as all the days and nights to come.  –(excerpt from my archives)

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Love People

 

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I have always been a writer ever since I was a little girl. Diaries. Journals. Notebooks. Scraps of paper. Lists. Poems. Stories. Reading and writing, have always been “my thing”. I readily admit, I am not the writer of great novels (although, I can  (and do) truly appreciate those that are gifted in this way). I am much more a writer of human experience, both mine and others. I write my opinion, how I see life, and the events that have touched me. I see things in a rather aesthetic way, and yes, sometimes get teased for that. After all, who writes about the colors of the changing leaves, or the chilly autumn air that is an omen of what is to come? Or how the geese sound as they land in the lake across the road?  The creases of time etched into a person’s forehead, or the way the little girl who can’t stop hopping, has lopsided pigtails? How the cracks in the sidewalk make a pattern? And how complete strangers, driving by, will wave at you when you go to get the mail, if you wave first? I like to observe and remember the smallest details, because it is sometimes those details that tell the truest stories of our lives.

Sometimes people’s stories are short and sweet, and sometimes they are long and drawn out. I find that when I listen, I usually learn something………..

Yesterday, a friend sat with my family at our church luncheon. We were having a “kick off” for Operation Christmas Child . This man, has the gift of words. He talks to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or how old you are. He wants to know people. He said something, that caused me to ponder, mostly because I’ve had the same thought myself.  The gist of his statement went like this: People are so busy these days, no one talks to each other. No one really knows what someone might be going through. If you have the opportunity to talk, and then really listen to someone, it is amazing how much gets said. It just pours out, because people, really DO want to tell their stories. They want to be heard. I smiled. I told him I thought his ability to speak words, to make friends, and to listen was a gift, and did he know that? He just smiled, and said, “I love people”.

Wouldn’t we all do well to love people more?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13 NIV

 

 

Before And After…

This Monday, October 10th, would have been my late husband’s 50th birthday. He passed away almost 16 years ago, just a few weeks after he turned 34. The old saying about how time stops for no one, really is true. A lot has happened in the years since his death, much has changed.

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Sometimes on special occasions or during certain events, I am reminded of the hands of time. My husband, a huge Dale Earnhardt fan, didn’t know his NASCAR hero died in the last lap of the Daytona  500 in February of 2001. He never watched in horror, as the Twin Towers fell, and thousands perished on that fateful day in September. He wasn’t there when our son was baptized, or when he graduated from high school. He didn’t vote in the last few elections, and never got to see his grandchildren be born.

For those of us that have lost a loved one, a strange thing happens. Life becomes a series of, “before’s and after’s”. Remembering what happened before that person passed. And, what has happened since?

Thinking about Kennis today. Looking at pictures and noticing his lopsided grin, that lives on in our son. Reading the words his daughter posted to me, about missing her Dad. At certain times, the embers of remembrance are stirred until a bright flame breaks through the darkness. A time comes when one starts celebrating the life that was, instead of mourning the death that occurred.

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However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–       1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

 

 

 

Zip It!

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So, I am currently in a Women’s Bible study group. We are reading through Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The book is good, in the sense that it causes me to think, consider, and well…..learn to keep my mouth shut. There is a time and place for everything, and quite frankly just because I am thinking something, doesn’t mean I need to say it. Is what I am saying truly beneficial? Is it helpful to others? Am I speaking truth? Or are my motives more about being right, and having the last word? Yes, admit it. We have all been there! The truth is, I might legitimately be right and my words valid, but that doesn’t mean I need to use my words like a sledge hammer.

Let’s make no mistake about it. Words have power. They can build another up or destroy. Words can decimate, far greater than a sword. We have all probably had experiences where someone said something that hurt us, and we carry the scars of how those words made us feel, even years later. I remember words a friend’s older brother said about me, when I was just ten years old. The teenage boy’s thoughtless words probably meant nothing to him, but cut me deeply.

I do not want to be that person. The one whose words sting.

I can be wise when I choose what words to say……or not say.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.  Proverbs 10:12-13a NIV