Friday, November 30, 2007

The countdown begins...

Tomorrow officially begins the "countdown to Christmas" in my mind, even though I know many have already fought the crazy Black Friday crowds, getting to stores by 4:00 a.m. to save big money and get all their shopping done before the Thanksgiving weekend is done, with time to spare to decorate the house from inside out! I have to tell you, there is nothing on God's good earth that I covet badly enough to go out and stand in line for at 4:00 a.m.! Hmmm... okay, MAYBE if Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin BOTH came back from the dead and were doing a concert, I MIGHT stand in line at 4:00 a.m. for that! But then, I'm an old earth mother hippie who still loves the scent of patchouli.

I really had a case of the Scroogies this year, which is unusual for this normal Christmas-a-holic. I didn't even think I was going to put up a tree. The thud you just heard was the people who know me fainting! But yesterday, my friend Allison brought me this teensy little purple tinsle Christmas tree. Now you may think a purple tinsle tree is tacky, but being a purple glitzy glitter freak, it was the most wonderful, thoughtful gift! It's so "Charlie Brown"-ish and was just the spark that warmed the coldness in my holiday spirit and tugged that stake of holly out of my heart. I even found myself humming a Christmas carol.

And with that one simple act, my whole outlook has been refreshed. Thanks, Allison, you really blessed me in a very special way.

Her act also reminded me that my heart and outlook should be focused on others, and doing all I can do to bless them, especially at this time of year. So starting tomorrow, I am going to try to find some way to bless at least one person each day - that's my living advent calendar life act for this Christmas. I encourage you to join me. Maybe it's something as simple as opening a door for someone laden down with packages. Perhaps it's paying for the coffee of someone behind you at Starbucks. Maybe it will mean inviting a single person and/or single parent to join you and your family at the holidays. Think and pray about it, and I'm sure you will think of many ways to bless someone. Do it as a family, and keep a "blessings journal" together, as a record of what you did together -- it might start a whole new holiday tradition! What better way to honor Him who gave up so much to give us the gift of eternal life?

I'm off to put on some Christmas music and bake some cookies from the recipes I found here: Have a blessed day!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Feelin' Flaky!

Grab the hot chocolate and mittens – it’s snowing outside! While I’m not a winter enthusiast, the little kid in me always gets excited at the first snowfall. Now I will tell you, my idea of winter sports is being the designated hot chocolate maker and cookie-baker while watching from a warm kitchen and giving my best “Donna Reed’ wave to the crazies scampering about, tossing snowballs and making snowpeople. Toss in a fireplace, and I’m ready to nestle down until spring. (And, dear readers, if you don’t know who Donna Reed is, well then go Google her, because I probably have socks older than you.)

There’s just something fresh and clean and wonderful about lifting up your face to the Heavens and feeling the snowflakes drifting down onto your cheeks and eyelashes. In my head I hear the song “Snow” from one of my favorite movies, “White Christmas”. Once the rush is over, though, I’m happy if it snows (lightly) on Christmas Eve (see aforementioned movie reference), and then I’m satisfied for the rest of the season. Truth be told, the last time I seriously played in the snow was with our women’s ministry leaders at a retreat during an unexpected snowfall, and we wound up making a snowwoman in the retreat leader’s front yard that seriously resembled Dolly Parton. Yep, yep, yep… we didn’t add those pictures to the next PowerPoint presentation at church, as I recall!

As I’ve blogged earlier, I’ve been going through a valley recently. But I feel a change in this “season”, and I lift my face to Heaven as God gently showers me with His love. It’s time to heal, and laugh, to dance, (see Ecclesiasts 3:1-8). So I’m breathing deep with a renewed smile on my face, a new lightness in my heart, and blessings on my lips to the God who loves me. And who knows? I might just go take a walk in the snow!