Happy Birthday To Me

日本語: 黒ゴマソフトクリーム。秋田県角館市にて。 English: Black sesam...

Today is my birthday.  I was born in 1968.

1968. What?!  How can that be? That was such a long time ago…..

In honor of my special day, I thought I’d write a list. (Doesn’t everyone do that, on their special day?)

Forty-four things I’ve learned about life and myself:

1. Days can seem long, but life is short.

2. Time doesn’t stop…it doesn’t even slow down.

3. Relationships are what is important. We are each made for relationship.

4. God is sovereign. He is in control. Always. Nothing surprises Him.

5. I don’t need to have all the answers.

6. Messy won’t kill you…it might aggravate, irritate and you might need to fumigate…but, it won’t kill you.

7. I’m glad I’ve journaled over the years.

8. It’s fun having friendships that have lasted the years.

9. I don’t need negative people in my life. Hurt people, hurt other people. I don’t need that.

10. Every person can reach their full potential.

11. Some of the happiest people I know, don’t know that they have “special needs“…they just enjoy life…and that makes me enjoy life.

12. Children are a gift from God Himself.

13. Being a mother is the closest I will ever come to understanding unconditional love.

14. Birthdays are fun. I like them. I feel special….and I get to eat ice cream.

15. I love ice cream. I refuse to feel guilty about it. Ice cream is good.

16. Dogs are the best pets ever. Loyal, furry friends.

17. I have learned to like cats. Even if I clean up puke nearly every other day. Darn them, for looking all fluffy and cute!

18. Chickens make me happy. Even if they try to peck at me.

19. Sheep freak me out. They look like aliens.  I try not to hurt their feelings…they can’t help it that they look like aliens.

20. Llamas are my favorite “new” animal. I’d like some one day. Just to watch.It lowers my blood pressure to watch them graze.

21. The city life is great for convenience, but I truly love the peacefulness of living in the country. Open spaces and quiet places…..

22. I haven’t been to a high school reunion yet. I wish I could. I think it would be interesting.

23. People watching is an art form, especially during trips to Walmart.

24. Sleep is important, and cannot be overrated. The body needs it and it helps me to not be cranky and want to gag and tie up my family members.

25. I enjoy watching ID TV. I wonder about myself sometimes…..that I should enjoy shows where people are serial killers, identity thieves, housewives that have snapped, or jilted lovers gone wrong…terribly wrong.  When our dogs dragged home some bones last year, I knew they could not be part of a deer carcass….they were probably the remnants of some poor soul that had been dumped on our road. This was completely fabricated on my part, but see how my mind works?  I’m weird, I know.

26. I like to walk. Walking is therapeutic.

27. The scales at the doctor’s office are always wrong, and we all know it.

28. I am a bad gift wrapper, but I don’t care. It’s a gift that someone is getting…should they really care if it is duct taped together?

29. I love to read….but, never feel like I have enough time to sit down and read. When I have enough time to sit down and read, by eyesight will probably have gone by then. How unfair.

30. I could eat Mexican food every day. Hot stuff is good for you. Seriously. Of course, not if flames are shooting out your ears…….

31. Never stop learning. It makes you interesting and entertaining.

32. Remember the good things.

33. Know that bad times will pass. They always do. It won’t be that way forever.

34. A truly strong person is one who can be gentle.

35. Laugh. Laugh a lot. Laugh at yourself.

36. Try to stay organized. It helps life to run a little more smoothly. Do the best you can.

37. I’m not in control of life….even though I’d like to think I am.

38. Tell people that you love, that you love them. Say it over and over again. You need to say it. They need to hear it.

39. Slow down. What is the rush, really? What are you rushing to?  Or from?  There are 24 hrs. in the day for each of us.

40. With age comes wisdom.

41. Beauty is fleeting, but a winning smile and sparkling personality go a long way to making anyone look good, no matter the age.

42. Music speaks to the soul.

43. Flip flops and worn T-shirts are the best summer gear.

44. God is good. All the time.

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Christmas Through The Decades

Back in the Fall, I bought a book entitled, A Century of Christmas Memories by Peter Pauper Press (copyright 2009).  I love, love, love books like this. I’ve always enjoyed the Christmas season. The nostalgia of my childhood Christmas’ and the joy of celebrating Christ’s birth all wrapped up together to make wonderful memories.

I thought it would be interesting to trek back through time to see some Christmas highlights. Maybe you will have good memories, too?

1902-Brooklyn shopkeepers, Morris and Rose Michtom made a cuddly stuffed bear and called it “Teddy’s bear”, after President Theodore Roosevelt.

1916-John Lloyd Wright, son of famous architect Frank Lloyd, invents Lincoln Logs. One of the classic Christmas gifts.

1924-The event that eventually became the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade starts this year!

1931-The Coca Cola company introduces its first Santa in The Saturday Evening Post. (and by the way, a coke only cost 5 cents)

1936-The ice skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza opens on Christmas day.

1942-Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire hits the big screen. The song, White Christmas, becomes one of the best selling records of all time.

1945-The Bell’s of Saint Mary’s and Christmas In Connecticut are movies of the season.

1946-It’s A Wonderful Life premieres on December 20 in NYC.  The Christmas Song is recorded by Nat King Cole Trio.

(As a side note from me….in my opinion, the 1940’s had some of the best movies ever made. Just sayin’.)

1951-Gene Autry records Frosty The Snowman and Meredith Willson sings, It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas.

1953-Matchbox cars are every boy’s dream gift.

1954-The movie, White Christmas makes its appearance on the big screen.

1958-WHAM-O hula hoops are here!

1960-Etch-A-Sketch is introduced by the Ohio Art Company.

1964-Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer airs on TV on Dec. 6

1965-A Charlie Brown Christmas premieres and becomes a holiday classic.

1973-Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments are a new Christmas collectible.

1977-Everyone wants Star Wars stuff for Christmas!

1980– Rubik’s Cube made it debut.

1983-A Christmas Story and the Red Ryder BB gun became famous!

1986-Pictionary is introduced, and many people spend time over the holiday, drawing.

1996– Tickle Me Elmo sells out quickly, forcing parents into a frenzy.

1999– The world’s largest snowman was built in Bethel, Maine. (113 ft. 7 in. tall)

What Christmas memories  or traditions do YOU have from this past decade? Will you share? I love hearing people’s Christmas stories…they are  like snuggling up in a warm blanket.

Immanuel

Bonnie, at Faith Barista, asked, “What are your hopes for Christmas this year?”

Immanuel.

“God with us”.

My hope, that in amongst the opening of gifts, the festivities, and the get togethers with family, people do not forget.

Do not forget the baby born in Bethlehem, was God, with skin on.

That this child would one day grow up to perform miracles, love the unlovable, and provide salvation for the broken, the lost, and the disheartened.

No ribbons and bows, no electronics or games, no clothing or jewelry, will ever be able to touch the most incredible gift of all time….

That the King of all Glory, gave us the gift of Himself.

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.”  Matthew 1:23 NIV

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Gratitude Is A Discipline

Tree

Image by Adnan Yahya via Flickr

Why is it so much easier to find fault than it is to be thankful?

I look around and see the living room is a mess.

The kitchen counter is sticky.

I need to sweep the floor.

There is a mountain of laundry.

I have a mental to do list a mile long.

It is never ending.

I grumble, maybe not out loud…but, in my heart.

Which is worse?

There is a reason that showing gratitude is a discipline. It is not first nature. It is more difficult. It takes work.

It is easier to complain than to praise.

I’m quicker to mumble than to see the miracle.

How blind I’ve allowed myself to become on a daily basis.

I need to open my eyes.

Open my heart.

To all I have…

because of all He is.

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 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100: 4-5  NIV

*dark blues and smoky grays of  November mornings

*naked tree branches reaching into the gray, autumn sky

*the smell of French Vanilla Dunkin Donuts coffee

*a calm morning

*my husband, who almost always wakes up in a good mood

*this man who loves me through it all

*my son who races around in the morning at 100 mph

*my other son who keeps me calm and centered

*my daughter who teases me before she trudges out to the barn

*12 acres in the country

*combines with big headlights that look like UFO’s in the night

*the sound of the dogs barking

*friends who I still keep in touch with over the miles

*family

*home made hot cocoa

*God made a way for me

*Jesus loves me…enough.

Not Waiting For Sunday…

Tim Hortons in Ottawa, ON, Canada

Image via Wikipedia

Always comparing.

Searching for the more, but wanting contentment.

Se-sawing between holding back and living the “yes”.

The ongoing tug-0-war between my will and His perfect one.

I am weary.

I inhale deeply.

My inner voice is irritated. It scratches into my thoughts.

It scans over all that is, acutely aware of all that is not.

Discontent.

The enemy of eucharisteo.

Showing gratitude

changes attitude.

I continue to seek the words of thanksgiving,

knowing that there is joy in eucharisteo.

Joy that comes from worshiping God in the moment.

Praising Him in the here and now.

Not waiting for Sunday, but allowing the Holy into each day.

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*a date with my husband

*ice mocha capps from Tim Hortons

*laughing out loud

*stepping out of my comfort zone

*long back rub from my daughter

*morning hugs

*son talking about his journey

*coffee cake

*foggy sunshine

*sudden summer storms

*beautiful decoration

*brilliant yellow bird at the bird feeder

*realizing so much has changed for the better

*opening the gift of a new day

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Thanking the One who gives all good things…

My Father’s Day Gift

Forgiveness & Rememberance

Image by alex drennan via Flickr

Today at Faith Barista we are talking about Father’s Day.

Bonnie told us to write on the topic

however we chose, just keep it real.

So that is what I am doing….
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Some of us had difficult relationships with our fathers

When we weren’t “daddy’s little girl

When words were said

and feelings hurt.

And although he was there,

he wasn’t. Not really.

For times he chose others over my sister and me.

Maybe we just didn’t understand each other.

And yet…

I am thankful for the years he provided for his family

and gave routine and predictability to the day.

I do have good memories too.

I wish there had been more.

I wish he had chosen to live.

To see me… and my sister.

To see his grandchildren.

To know and understand that

Fatherhood is important.

I could choose to burden myself with the “Why?” questions

but, the answers would echo cold

in the void, left behind.

Instead, I have chosen forgiveness

As much for me as for him.

To forgive him,

even now, years gone

is my Father’s Day gift

to him

and to myself.

R.I.P

Dad.