Category Archives: Christian Walk

It’s Christmas Time in the City

OK, so it’s not Christmas yet and we don’t live in the city but for some reason I’m really psyched about it this year.  Maybe because last year we had no kitchen and were in the middle of a daunting renovation.

This was our Christmas tree last year, a gift from our son.

This was our Christmas tree last year, a gift from our son.

And right on time I see 7th House on the Left’s post on 10 Little Things to do Now to Have a Jollier Christmas.  I’m in.

Lights, icicles and star -- December, 2011 -- we had hired an architect but didn't even have sketches of the renovation that would eventually take place.

Lights, icicles and star — December, 2011 — we had hired an architect but didn’t even have sketches of the renovation that would eventually take place.

This is what I’m going to get on right now so I can enjoy Christmas along with everyone else.

This year's plan -- any lights that don't work are trash. No saving them "just in case".

This year’s plan — any lights that don’t work are trash. No saving them “just in case”.

The first thing I’ll do is pull up the names of everybody for whom I get a gift.  I keep the list from year to year on the computer. This year I have 6 couples to shop for and, of course, my darling.

Gift wrap and packing materials are stored together in a plastic tub in the attic. I'll get them down soon.

Gift wrap and packing materials are stored together in a plastic tub in the attic. I’ll get them down soon.

Then I write down possible ideas for each recipient.  Some people are easy; they get want the same thing year after year.

Every year my sister sends us a personalized ornament.

Every year my sister sends us a personalized ornament.

I try to buy things well in advance of Christmas so there are no significant charges on the credit card in January. I don’t usually wrap presents in advance even though I already have the wrapping paper because I sometimes can’t remember exactly what I bought.

We've put lots of decorative things away during the renovation -- I hope we can find the Redwing stag!

We’ve put lots of decorative things away during the renovation — I hope we can find the Redwing stag!

I have also decided my theme this year which may become my permanent Christmas theme. Back in January of 2013 I decided that mistletoe would figure heavily in my 2013 theme.

I should order these mistletoe kissing balls from Etsy.

I should order these mistletoe kissing balls from Etsy.

Well there was hardly any decorating for Christmas last year so this year I’ll just say have a “Merry Kissmas.”  Check out my Pinterest board.

Bacio -- kiss in Italian.

Bacio — kiss in Italian.

I want to have the downstairs finished enough (even if the wallboard isn’t mudded or painted) to have a swell party. I’m really working on that concept.

The renovation has really cramped out entertaining style -- we're back.

The renovation has really cramped out entertaining style — we’re back.

I’m going to make a list for myself just in case someone special asks me what I want for Christmas. It’s never happed before but you never know.

Oranges, cranberries and candles in the lving room in 2011 -- in 2014 they'll be replaced by limes and something blue.

Oranges, cranberries and candles in the living room in 2011 — in 2014 they’ll be replaced by limes and something blue.

Another Christmas chore that I’ve been doing for the last two decades is having Christmas cards made for the lovely couple I work for. In the past few years the card has been from Shutterfly.  I’d like to start in August  but my boss never seems to be ready to focus on this until the week after Thanksgiving. It takes me a few days to design the card and get it sent in. Since we only send 400 and now use printed address labels, the project goes fairly quickly but still takes 2 weeks to get everything off. (We used to send closer to 1000, all hand addressed.)  I guess that’s why I don’t personally send cards.

I'm going to try to use things we already have and natural elements to decorate this year.

I’m going to try to use things we already have and natural elements to decorate this year.

This year when we put up the decorations we’ll take time to edit them and get rid of some we no longer enjoy. (Last year I got rid of some ceramic trees.)

I saved this little ceramic tree but I might want to change the color -- AGAIN.

I saved this little ceramic tree but I might want to change the color — AGAIN.

We also need to clean that part of the attic which got very dirty when the new roof was put on. WOW, I’d better get started, only 99 days left.

We wish you a Merry .  .  . too soon for you?

An Unexpected Spicy Gift

I went to a church meeting last night and as I was on my way out someone called my name and held up a little bundle.

Three welcome plants in plastic bags.

Three welcome plants in plastic bags.

Spearmint, lemon balm and oregano,

The spearmint will be lovely in tea and lemonade.

The spearmint will be lovely in tea and lemonade.

I asked Charlie to plant the spearmint and lemon balm in pots so they wouldn’t take over the place. Actually he put all the plants in pots because he couldn’t remember what I said.  Hmmmmm?

Here's what we have: 6 pots of oregano, 1 pot of spearmint, and 1 pot of lemon balm.

Here’s what we have: 6 pots of oregano, 1 pot of spearmint, and 1 pot of lemon balm.

Wow, I can’t believe just how thoughtful people are. Thank you, Lord, for all your bounty.

What’s in your herb garden?

The Last 4 Mind Freeing Questions

Back on April 5th, 2013, I began to answer “50 Questions that will free your mind” to complete #43 of 101 things to do in 1001 days. Today I’m answering the 4 I still needed to think about.  My answers are in green.

14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? I think insanity often creates such a narrow focus that it appears to be creativity.  True creativity is a disciplined approach to inspiration that exhibits itself in originality.

I hope the chaos of our renovation allows us to have a lovely yard once again.

I hope the chaos of our renovation allows us to have a lovely yard once again.

15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? I know I handle money differently than most.  I would rather save for a big extravagant  expense rather than nickel and dime my money away on daily or weekly (even monthly) indulgences.

A special treat.

A special treat.

18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? My only child was married without telling me. I’m working on it.

All grown up and married.

All grown up and married.

48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? I love Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I often get to express this openly in the safe environment of home and church. Recently I had the opportunity to respond to a question from a couple that told them exactly where I stand on the issue of what happens after we die.  As important as heaven and eternal life is, my focus as a Christian is based on the abundant life in Christ in the here and now.

I made these last year and have the supplies to make some more.

Indeed.

There now, #43 of 101 Tasks in 1001 Days is finished.

Have you answered any difficult questions lately?

The Spirit of Christmas

Whilst Charlie and I were at choir practice our secret Santa made a special delivery.

We found this live, decorate, potted tree on our side porch.

We found this live, decorated, potted tree on our side porch.

We were surprised to find on our porch a potted evergreen tree decorated with lights and ornaments.

This tree will no doubt be a part of our landscape planting once the renovation is finished.

This tree will no doubt be a part of our landscape planting once the renovation is finished.

And the gift was totally anonymous. I’m going to try not to let that drive me crazy.

Here's the gift tag hanging on the tree.

Here’s the gift tag hanging on the tree.

In addition to the lovely tree I won a cross bottle from “for the love of a house”.

One of these will be mine.  Thanks, Joan.

One of these will be mine. Thanks, Joan.

Am I blessed or what?

Have you been treated to a wonderful surprise this Christmas season?

Sidebar:  My first guess as to the Secret Santa was our son and I was right.  The giveaway (for me) was that he couldn’t fit Christmas on one line of the tag.

Mind Freeing Questions

Awhile ago I saw an article called “50 Questions that will free your mind”.  I like these kind of challenges so I added answering these questions to my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days (#43). Today is a good day to begin answering these questions.  My answers are in green. I’m still thinking about the answers to the ones in purple (4 questions remain).

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 55
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying? Never trying
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do? We get caught up in the here and now and forget that the future may not actuate.
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? I will have said quite a lot but, hopefully, done more.
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world? Selfishness
  6. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich? My current balance of work is perfect for me and my happiness.
  7. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? I am committed to my work which I think of as my ministry.
  8. If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? I would not be concerned about health or security.
  9. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? I’ve had a great deal of control over my adult life which has both good and bad aspects.
  10. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? I want to do a right thing in a right way. I’m not interested in playing catch-up.
  11. You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do? It wouldn’t matter if the person were a friend of mine or not, nasty gossip is not necessary.
  12. If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Love God with all your heart.
  13. Would you break the law to save a loved one? It really shouldn’t be necessary to break the law to save someone’s life.  Would I lie to a murderer or child molester or rapist to spare harm coming to someone? Unequivocally, YES.
  14. Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity? Still thinking about this one.
  15. What’s something you know you do differently than most people? Still thinking about this one.
  16. How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy? I’m content with what I have and willing to work for the things I want.
  17. What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?   There’s not “one” thing I would like to do that I’ve never done. I would like to travel more.  What’s holding you back? Money
  18. Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? Still thinking about this one.
  19. If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why? I think I’d move to France or Italy just because it would be such a change from my life here in Maryland. 
  20. Do you push the elevator button more than once?  No Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
  21. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? Worried genius. Does that mean I’m a genius?
  22. Why are you, you? I was created to have a unique relationship with God and humans. I’m not dispensable.
  23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? I would want more from me if I were my friend.  That being said, I am trustworthy, truthful, loyal and dependable.
  24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you? It’s so sad to lose touch with friends who live right near you.  Perhaps it’s time to reconcile.
  25. What are you most grateful for? God’s extravagant blessing in my life.
  26. Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones? I don’t remember much from years ago so I’d definitely want to be able to make new ones. If I need information about an old memory I just ask my sister.
  27. Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Absolutely! Truth is not the same as fact.
  28. Has your greatest fear ever come true? No.
  29. Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Yes. Does it really matter now? Yes.
  30. What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special? I don’t remember very much of my childhood but I’m sure my happiest memory would included my grandmother.  When I was very young she would cut out doll clothes for me to sew and never correct me because it wasn’t perfect.
  31. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Now.
  32. If not now, then when? NOW!
  33. If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? I’m making big decisions and great strides to overcome fear and longing.  Just do it.
  34. Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever? No, I like words; I covet communication.
  35. Why do religions that support love cause so many wars? War is inevitable considering the Devil rules this world.
  36. Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil? Yes
  37. If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? No, I have made a commitment to see my job through to its inevitable end.
  38. Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing? Less work
  39. Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? No, each day is new and different.
  40. When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in? I try to get all the information I can before making a big decision but then I’m not afraid to step confidently into a new situation. The house renovation is a good example.
  41. If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? My son.
  42. Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous? No
  43. What is the difference between being alive and truly living? Truly living is making the effort to improve not only my personal status, but to empower those around me.
  44. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right? Doing what’s right has its own reward.  The risk is covered by God.
  45. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Afraid of making a mistake is not the issue, disappointed at an outcome.
  46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? That doesn’t motivate me in any way.
  47. When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing? This morning.
  48. What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love? Still thinking about this one.
  49. In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that? I will remember that I had a goal and the goal has been achieved.
  50. Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you? I’m making my own decisions with God’s help.

Whew, this was tough and I didn’t even answer every question.  I’ll get on those directly.

Have you answered any difficult questions lately?

Where Did the Fish Collection Come From?

I didn’t realize I had a collection until I saw Janice’s fish on the wall at Curtains in My Tree. I looked around the Glade and found lots of different fish-shaped objects.

This fishy duo, a tarnished silver toothpick holder and a ceramic plate, have done mantel duty together.

This fishy duo, a tarnished silver toothpick holder and a ceramic plate, have done mantel duty together.

I had plans to hang this heavy iron fish coat rack in the garden when I finally settle on a place for our out-door chapel. At one point in history the fish became a symbol of Christianity. Jesus told his disciples I will make you fishers of men.

I found thisfish-shaped  rack for a few dollars at a discount store with the hopes of hanging it in an outdoor chapel.

I found this fish-shaped rack for a few dollars at a discount store with the hopes of hanging it in an outdoor chapel.

I’m not sure what this little slip of cloth with a fish on it is for but it would be easy to replicate into a larger banner or repeat the motif for a whole school of swimmers.

A 5" by 7" piece of fabric with a painted fish.

A 5″ by 7″ piece of fabric with a painted fish.

A brightly painted fish sculpture would add some whimsy to a child’s bedroom.

A brightly colored fish (about 8" long).

A brightly colored fish (about 8″ long).

While the fish above is very light weight, this grey and tan fish is a heavy stone.

A painted stone fish (about 6 inches long).

A painted stone fish (about 6 inches long).

A brass fish dangles on a leather cord to wear as a necklace or perhaps I could find a more unique use.

A brass fish pendant on a leather cord.

A brass fish pendant on a leather cord.

A delicate silver metal fish on a key chain might not endure the rigors of daily usage.  Perhaps it could hold one special, seldom-used key.

A fragile, sectioned fish on the end of a line.

A fragile, sectioned fish on the end of a line.

My wooden fish earrings add swing and color to summer clothes.

My well-worn fish earrings.

My well-worn fish earrings.

I’m going to see how I can turn this diverse fish collection into a cohesive element.  If I had a pool house the connection would be obvious but I don’t even have a pool. If we ever finish the laundry room the fish might feel at home there. Perhaps a new mantel theme!

Do you have an unintentional collection?

Daffodils

A spring posy for a nonegenarian.

A spring posy for a nonagenarian.

Daffodils

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
From the garden at The Glade

From the garden at The Glade

I have always loved daffodils.

What’re your favorite?