Chrismons

crismon treeChrismon are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They were first made by Frances Kipps Spencer at the Ascension Lutheran Church in Danville, Virginia.  She also thought of the word Chrismon which is a combination of Christ and Monogram (meaning symbol).

20171214_212617_resized (1)

The simple symbols remind us of the story.

The ornaments remind of Grace and Goodness.

During Advent, our church decorates the sanctuary tree with white felt Chrismons.  Other years we have attended a church in another state and that tree also had Chrismons, however, those were made out of beads & pipe cleaners.

I cross stitched several of these ornaments years ago.  If I remember correctly, I have made this set three times to give away. As luck would have it, I did indeed make a set for our tree.   Each has Biblical meaning.20171214_212607_resized All of our ornaments were stitched with the same three colors of thread, same cloth and utilized the same small plastic frames.

We hang them every year on one of our trees.  This year the tall, tall skinny tree in the kitchen is decorated with German straw ornaments, Chrismons, antique chocolate candy molds and cinnamon ornaments.

Once the Chrismons come out of the box, or I spy them on the church tree…………it finally feels like Christmas.

Here’s to that happy feeling we all get while unpacking and seeing our treasured decorations.20171214_213706-1_resized

In this together, friends,

Chat soon.

What is saving you today?

Life at times can be tricky.  It can feel tough and brutal.  Life feels hard sometimes. Life can be very loud.

It seems as though for the big huge troubles, we pause, pull up our bootstraps and face it head-on.  Not pleasant, however, we all have the ability to rise up and fight something big.

It’s the small things that add up & sneak up on you. You don’t realize how full your heart & soul & plate are until the tipping point and things start to topple over.

buffetBefore walking up to the buffet table, you actually are not physically starving.  Coffee sounds good, then you spy the potatoes & take a few.  Next, you notice the fruit.  Oh my,  look at that spinach quiche it is calling my name.  Wait!  I spy with my little eye, a freshly baked croissant.  Oh, cappuccino.  And just like that, my plate is piled high, I have both hands filled and I have to ask for help carrying my coffee back to my place.

That moment when you ask for help.  You instinctively know the moment has come to politely ask for assistance. We can’t do this alone.

That’s how I feel lately.

A friend’s son is sick.

Two friends are very, very sick.

I miss playing board games with my kids. I miss hanging out and talking.

I miss our grandkids.

I’ve baked a couple of times to take to friends.  My stash of sympathy cards is dwindling at an alarming rate. A couple of friends are in the hospital.  (I can’t be around germs, so I send cards.)  I need to replenish my “thinking of you cards”.

Working from home has its advantages for sure, however, sometimes just talking with the dog does not fill my need to chit-chat.  I miss dressing up, driving to work, checking in with co-workers, hearing about their day, eating lunch, teasing, banter etc.

I picked up my phone yesterday, I was going to send a text message to my friend ( I have two happy things to squeal and share about), then I remembered she doesn’t have a phone in heaven.

This time of year, the weather is dreary and it’s not easy to go out and work off some frustration through yard work.  It is pouring down rain as I type.  If we get a slight break in the liquid sunshine, my boots are ready….. I am headed out to rake leaves and breathe in some fresh air.

Yesterday, while listening to a podcast interview, Jen Hatmaker asked her guest the final question.

“What is saving you today”? 

 

I listened then I proceeded to answer it as well.

“What is saving me today”?

Mr. Right (fancy date night over the weekend, talking on the phone like high school kids,Date night_resized doing a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle in 3 hours, reading the same book or studying and then discussing together, stitching and talking while he makes juice every day…………my list goes on and on)

Floss Tube ( a group of worldwide cross stitchers who make videos and share their passion)

coffee cupCoffee

Counted cross stitch

I don’t really need finger shaking and rules right now.  Reading Psalms uplifts and psalm rockencourages me to move forward.  Even when the world seems all wackadoodle & topsy-turvy.

My Sweet Dog

my guilty pleasure, looking at “Hello” Magazine pictures online

Crocheting

Funny videos during medicine time

Reading the latest FBI thriller

Baking

holding handsHolding hands while wearing mittens/gloves on evening walks

 

So on this wet Tuesday,  my question to you friend is,

“What is saving you today”?

Maybe we can share answers & grace with each other?

Maybe by sharing we can smooth out the rough edges of this thing we call life?

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.

something we can agree on

heart crossMy heart hurts.

I can’t stop thinking about the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.  I woke up this morning at 3:14 am thinking about them.  Thinking about the mom’s, the wives/husbands and the families.  My mind wouldn’t stop swirling.

I will freely admit, I am tired of just sending my thoughts and prayers to victims of unspeakable violence.

I think we can all agree, the time has come.  We need to do more.

The very reason I started this blog was so I could leave my heart on the page and sleep through the night.

Our church sings a song with the words, “Let peace begin with me“.  I have always loved that song, memorized the words, sang with gusto, the melody sounded so smooth and easy.   La, la, la…. look at me being peaceful.  In my nice dress and high heels, so nice and clean and calm. 

Move over Blue Haired Methodist Ladies!

The new younger, more vocal “Medium Golden Brown” with Cappuccino highlights” lady is ready to speak up.

Never in a thousand years would I have believed that “peace” would begin with me by contacting my congressman/woman.

This morning while listening to a fellow cross stitcher, Bendy Stitchy aka Michelle Garrett (a wonderful stitcher, kind soul, giving, nurturing spirit, open-minded)  in amongst talking and sharing about stitching, she shared a brilliant idea.

I liked her idea.  It’s the first time I have thought of it this way.  It is not huge, it is a teeny, tiny step.  Maybe, fingers crossed, an idea in the right direction?

This is NOT about gun laws, gun sales, taking away hunters rights, questioning the Second Amendment.   This is not to ban fertilizer sales or knife sales, this is not a never-ending circle of red-faced, screaming loud, ranting and raving.

THIS IS ABOUT the people who were injured or killed and their families. 

I repeat.

THIS IS ABOUT the people who were injured or killed and their families. 

This is something we can actually do.  Physically write, email or phone your congressman or the white house.  Yes, we can do this.

Allow me to paraphrase her thoughts:

Back in the early 80’s then-President, Ronald Reagan asked the CDC to study why so many Americans were dying in their cars.  The CDC takes a long time to study things, however, in the end, what they deduced is:   car restraints were needed.

That study resulted in a seat belt law.

Do people still die in car accidents?  Yes, of course, every single day. Did the study reduce the number of deaths due to seatbelts?  Yes.  The study was worth it.

Let’s ask our congressmen/women or President to have the CDC  commence a study of multiple deaths by gun violence or other lethal means (fertilizer, knife, car etc) by one individual.

This could very well be a step toward the “WHY” question we all have.

Just take a look at it.  No political slant.  Just take a look.

It is a beginning…….a place to start…….at the very least a jumping off point to try and figure out the “why”.

As the victims and their families, walk through this horror,  May God cover them with a blanket of Love & Grace.

May we all be bathed in Grace as we AGREE.

YES, we can all agree, WE CAN AND SHOULD ALL DO BETTER.

In this together friends, chat soon.

 

 

one glass of water

If you every complain about not having enough storage, might I suggest embarking on painting all the cabinets you have?   Jeepers, it takes some time.  Yes, the magic of television has the kitchen cupboards painted in a matter of a 60-minute television show.  No, in real life, it does not happen like that.

This past weekend, while painting cabinets, a locksmith arrived at our home to install a new front door lock and handle.

I got down off the ladder, grabbed an icy cold sparkling water, said hello, shook his hand and offered him a cool drink.

His English was very good, however, he asked what is this?  I thought he meant, what was in the can.  Mr. Right told him like soda only water.  He was confused about us giving it to him.

 NO ONE HE HAS EVER WORKED FOR HAS EVER GIVEN HIM A GLASS OF WATER. 

I will let that settle in your throat &  heart.  I instantly felt ashamed of my fellow-man.

SERIOUSLY? 

I got tears in my eyes.

The media today would have you to believe that huge groups of people are treating each other with disrespect.

Wrong.

APPARENTLY, one person by one person we as a society are not treating each other with basic kindness.

I quietly went back to painting, he got to work.

Of course, within 45 minutes, his work was completed and I had worked up a mighty good head of steam.

20170710_081205-1_resizedWe thanked him, paid, shook his hand and sent him on his way.

As the locksmith got in his work van and began to drive away, the first thing I said to Mr. Right, “I’d give a prisoner a glass of water.”

APPARENTLY, some folks have not been taught common decency, common courtesy, basic human manners.  APPARENTLY, the locksmith who works a 40 hour plus week, (I have no idea how many customers that is per day) has been to MANY homes, businesses, people locked out of cars (doesn’t count, I am assuming you don’t have a cold beverage in your purse awaiting a locksmith) …………………… and NO ONE has ever offered him a drink of water! 

Shameful.

Shameful.

Allow me to enlighten you.

When someone (guest or worker) comes into your home, you offer them a beverage.   Is that one of the first things you do when someone comes to your office?

When someone comes into your home, you offer them a beverage.

Did you teach your children?

Did you teach your children? Okay, not too late.  Tell them right this moment.  I’ll wait for you to come back.  YES, it is that basic and that important.

I will not share with you how many “friends” homes I have been to and never offered a glass of water. People might be embarrassed to see their names printed.  Oh, and that would be rude on my part.

From this moment on, NO excuses!  My mother never taught me that.  Oh, he wasn’t going to be here long.  He is just cutting the lawn outside.  It isn’t that hot out.  They just stopped by for a moment.  I didn’t have anything to offer.  I saw she had her own water bottle while she repaired our fence.

NO, I don’t mean the casual comment, “Would you like a drink?” Leaving the responsibility up to the guest in your home.  You are putting them in an awkward position.

I am going to be very clear here.  HAND the person a glass of water or ice tea or hot cocoa or hot coffee and OFFER the person the drink.  

Hello, welcome to our home, would you like some water? (AS YOU ARE HANDING IT TO THEM)glass of water

Are you treating your fellow man with gracious behavior?

Monday seems like the perfect day for a rant.

In this together, friends.  Let’s try to treat each other with kindness.

Please try harder to be nice.

 

 

 

30 stars of kindness

SourwoodHello, beautiful September.

I am just starting to see a little color on the leaves.

Awwwww, late at night, I can feel autumn in the air.  Just a hint, it’s coming…… cool days, sweaters, hands wrapped around mugs of coffee while sitting on the porch, fall leaves……….  I am sort of giddy about it.

Are any of you up for a challenge?  I double dog dare you!

30 days of self kindness & grace

What the heck is she talking about?  She has taken a leap right into the river.  She is one crazy chick.

The beginning of fall, back to school, back to routine, time to regroup and steady ourselves before the holidays march into our lives.

When I worked outside the home, the month of September was a full, busy, chaotic time of the year.

I used to take a couple weeks before and fill a little box that fit into my desk with emergency supplies.  You know, important stuff?….. a few snack bars, a new tube of great colored lipstick, a small tube of new amazing smelling lotion, a new hair clip, a couple stamped post cards, a pretty barrette, a length of ribbon, fancy spritzy water etc.  When life got too hard, I could slip into the restroom and put on fresh lipstick and tuck my hair up and rub some fresh lotion on my arms and TA-DA, be a new refreshed woman in less than 5 minutes. Or take a 5 minute break at my desk and jot a post card or tie a ribbon in my hair or snack on a delish fruit snack.

It didn’t take much to get back on track.

The time has come to refresh and fill up that beautiful empty pitcher.  Not one of us canempty pitcher handle everything.  Life is hard, tricky, quirky, strange and a little bit scary. You have heard it a million times…you can’t pour from an empty pitcher.  You gotta fill up the tank now and then. You have to recharge and put a little sparkle back in, so you have some left over to share.

I am not talking about a glorious vacation of gelato and beach sand for ten days. Nor am I talking about shirking your responsibilities.  No, your kids are not going to get up on their own and get themselves to school.  Dinner won’t magically appear on the table for the next 30 days, nor will the dog brush him or her self.

  What I am talking about is doing one small thing a day for the entire month…..just for you.  

What?  SHE IS NUTS!  I don’t have time.  I am busy. I work.  I have a family to care for.  People depend on me. I have an important job.  I care for others.   How could I possibly do something for myself when there is so much to do?

News flash my fellow over-doers…… to survive and also THRIVE we must be nice to ourselves. We must be a bit kinder, sweeter to us.  If we don’t….well it isn’t a pretty picture.

I use Kris Carr’s , Crazy Sexy Love Notes.  I choose a card every day.  It helps me take care of me.  It is a stack of cards with gentle suggestions on the back.  Spring for the $10.00, so worth it.  https://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Sexy-Love-Notes-52-Card/dp/1401948286/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472781976&sr=8-1&keywords=kris+carr+love+notes20160901_190503_resized.jpg

 

Do I have to gently remind you to put on your own oxygen mask first, before you can help others?  Oh, it is so very true.

We have all seen folks, who volunteer too much (in the name of charity, giving, religion, service hours etc.), care for others, do way too much for our kiddos, give ourselves too long of a list of “must do’s”.  We all know people who have somehow placed the importance of their daily jobs/careers above family and self.   Yes they are still upright and walking around.  Their hair is a bit frizzled, their skin is pale and dull, the sparkle has left their eyes.  They are making poor food choices and don’t have time for anything.  They always seem to be “exhausted”.

While volunteering, giving, donating, being there to serve and help,  are all valuable traits……I am just wondering, typing out loud here folks……..maybe, just maybe if we take a moment or two a day…FOR OURSELVES.  Then maybe, just maybe after 30 days of doing this…. we might be better at volunteering, giving, donating, doing for others, we might be better partners, better parents, we might be better at our jobs…. ?

Oh, just think of the possibilities.

We all NEED a big dose of gentleness.  We are task masters when it comes to ourselves. We are much too quick to skip our own care in the name of helping someone else. We need to be nicer to ourselves. Self care, self kindness, grace …….whatever word you want to use. We don’t even have to use words.  I vote for sticking a star, or drawing, earning one,  on each day of the month of September.

Every single time you do one thing for yourself, you get a star.   That’s it.  That is the entire challenge.  Do something nice for yourself, one time each day. Then put a star on the calendar. 

A gold sticky star.  A star drawn with a purple gel pen.  A plain black ink pen.  A pencil.  A fancy drawn star with shooting flames and a smiley face.  I am quite sure, some of you techno- advance folks can somehow put a star on your smart phone calendar.  purple star sticker

I just thought maybe we could help each other out?  Share our ideas with a co-worker or friend.

Just think, when we meet up on October 1, we will have 30 things to share.   30 pieces of grace that we gave to ourselves?  For no other reason than we are worth it.  We will be better people in 30 short days.

You can go on line and type in lists of self care.  You could brain storm at the dinner table tonight.  (wait, you do sit down to a proper dinner and have conversation, right?)

I am serious, I would love it if you share an idea or two or 20 in the comments.  I need help here with little ideas of goodness.  Off the top of my head, here is a list of ideas;

take a long hot shower

home manicure/pedicure

make a lovely home cooked meal

sew the button back on your sweater

cry

take a nap

watch a trashy television show

take a long walk

get a massage

read a good book for pleasure

just say no

be a sofa girl

listen to your all time favorite song

put on new socks

go to the gym

buy a string of twinkle lights

walk your dog

listen to music

figure out your top 5 song titles

put on lipstick

buy some star stickers

enjoy one of your favorite comfort foods

buy some fresh cut flowers

color

pull some weeds

make and enjoy a great cup of coffee (said the Seattle girl)

crafting

watch a funny 2 minute video

buy ingredients to make your own trail mix (put the cool jarful on your desk , in the car at home near the computer

Make yourself a glass of fresh juice

begin to write a list of 99 things you love

journal

make a cup of tea or hot cocoa

hang a seasonal wreath

bouquet-fall-4632

In this together folks, here’s to our mental health and wellness.

Today, I slipped 3 charms on a thin purple ribbon.  I am wearing it like a necklace.  The three charms have the initials of my three grands.  I am smiling.

I drew a purple star on the calendar square.

Here’s to 30 stars!!

Bit by bit , together we will fill up our pitchers.

twinkle lights pitcher

 

 

owls and flamingos fly back to school

It’s that time of year again.

Back to school supplies.

We’ve got cute back packs and pencil cases to fill.  Another classroom to help.

When I say “we” I actually mean, I sew new pencil cases and help check off the items and Mr. Right (Papa Bruce) shops and fills the supply lists.

Both the grandgirlies and a classroom in Vermont will ease into the new school year with sharpened pencils, “juicy’ markers, note cards, rulers and colorful scissors galore!

Backpacks are overflowing and pencil cases are filled with pencils, sassy hair baubles and of course a candy necklace tucked sweetly inside.

FB_IMG_1469988956315Last year the shark pencil cases were a hit.  A bit more time-consuming than this year’s quick, cute & easy cases.  This year I went with girlie colors and pom-pon trim, owls and flamingos, oh my!  Each girl got beads tied onto the ribbon with their initials.

20160731_110319-1_resizedHappy first day of the new school year!

In this together folks.  Please consider helping your grands or the neighbor kids or your local school.  Buying school supplies is fun. You don’t need to sew a pencil bag.  They have oodles of cute ones to buy.  Fill a pencil case with love.  Some little short person will be thrilled & tickled.  They won’t even realize they have been covered in grace & goodness.

Don’t forget to tuck a note inside that gently reminds them School is cool 🙂

Here’s to happy school children, ready to learn!!

 

 

 

 

unexpected grace

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep.

I read and read and read some more.   Nothin’.  (note to self:  next Sunday when you are feeling super sassy, don’t go overboard with so much coffee, end of lesson)

I got up and went into the library/tv room.

Netflix.  Yes, we have had it for a couple of weeks, giving it a try.   B and I have watched a few things together.  I didn’t pay close attention on how to actually turn it on.

Are we the only family that has 4 remotes?  We seldom turn on the television, so I need a cheat sheet to figure it all out.

After several attempts, I did it!!!

I wanted to see the documentary “I’m Not Your Guru”  with Tony Robbins.

(spoiler alert….HIGHLY recommend)guru

First let me say, I love this guy.  We love this guy.  He has taught us/we have learned so much about finances/giving.

Other than about money and giving to charity,  never have I seen or listened to any of his other seminars.  We both have read the book about money, investing and giving to others.

This was new for me.

HUGE WARNING:  In this documentary… his language is not for the faint of heart.  It is salty and brass and in your face.  He uses some mighty ugly words and drops the F bomb on several occasions.  His words are harsh and I am thinking do what they are intended to do.  Snap people out of their comfort zone and help them start anew.

This is a behind the scene view of how one of his yearly seminars is run.  People pay $5,000.00 just to gain admission.  That doesn’t include airfare or hotel etc.

If you asked any of them, just guessing here, they would positively say it was worth it.

The personal stories are rough and tumble, hard to hear.   Some of these folks have had extremely tough times.   (after video follows up on the folks that were interviewed and you find out how it all turned out)

The high energy level is unbelievable.

Here is the thing that I wanted to share.  In among all the swear words, energy, people…lots of people, groups, sharing and what can only be described at control chaos…………..there was a pearl.  (nah, not his beautiful, smart, lovely wife, Bonnie Pearl “Sage” Robbins)……..right in the middle of all that madness…..

……….. Tony Robbins said,  “that’s grace……Grace is a connection to the Divine.”

tony-robbins-joe-berlinger-netflix

While not being billed as a feel good seminar, it was really about Grace and Love and Goodness.

Here’s the thing,  I need to be reminded to love myself and love others with fierce passion.  I need to look for more goodness and seek it out.

I feel enlightened, I am enthralled with his thinking and his commitment to figuring it all out.   It certainly was a good use of my time.

Grace is a connection to the Divine.  

I love this thought.  It is going to hold me all week and then some.

5 Star documentary, worth your time.