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Showing posts from December, 2011

Finishing Up and Looking Forward

Good morning, Friends!

I hope each of you had a blessed Christmas, spent with those you love!  We had a grand time here at our house....lots of family time, lots of good food and some pretty serious naps!

Now that it is past, I am itching to get in there and start dismantling all the decorations, though.  It's always this way.  I love putting it all out, but when it's over, I'm ready to tear it all down and get the house back in order! The living room always seems to feel somehow larger once the tree is out.  Even though I didn't put as much out this year, it is feeling a bit cluttered now that we are past the 25th.....

How about you?  Are you ready to take it all down and start the new year off clean and fresh?  It's much like that in our lives, too.  Paring down, cleaning up, getting ready for the next chapter.  It is somehow invigorating and exciting! 

I am looking forward to 2012 and all the possibilities it holds!!!  This week between Christmas and New Year&#…

Day 30 - Wrapping It Up With FAMILY!!!

The day before Christmas Eve, and here it is - Day 30 of my project.  I have to admit, I'm a little sad to be wrapping up this month-long series of posts.  Some days, it took Divine Intervention for me to get a post in!  But, over this past month, I have discovered a distinct shift in my attitude....

When I decided to answer the gentle nudge to undertake such a blogging adventure, I really had in mind that I would get many of these posts written in advance.  Seriously, I thought I would have several posts ready to hit "publish" on those days when I was running behind or feeling no inspiration to sit down and write.  However, it simply did not work out that way! 

Instead, I found myself writing about something that had come to my attention that day.  I began "looking" for a blessing to write about each day.  What a shift in attitude occurs when you begin to "seek" and "identify" the blessing!  It's like looking through a new set of eyes e…

Day 29 - The Christmas Spirit

I awoke this morning with a cheerful heart!

If you know me, then you know I am not particularly a morning person.  My husband has said that it's almost painful to watch me wake up....that he can literally see me struggling against opening my eyes and clinging desperately to sleep just a bit longer.  I laughed when he told me that, but it's probably true.

But, this morning I woke up in a good mood.  While I was getting ready, I found myself continually humming Christmas songs and smiling at myself in the mirror.  It was almost scary!

Our Broker and his family hosted a wonderful brunch at his home for all of us this morning.  We gathered in their beautiful home and prayed together, sang a Christmas carol around the long table and enjoyed the most fabulous food!  As we hugged one another before leaving, my heart swelled with emotion.  This is one of the most enjoyable parts of Christmas - the time spent with friends, pausing to be with one another, fully focused on the joy to be …

Day 28 - Rest for the Weary

Nearly midnight....and here I sit, fingers poised above the keyboard.....cutting it so close tonight!  But, at Day 28 of my 30 day project, I am not about to blow it now!!!

Today has been long, so long.  I woke at 4:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.  I finally drifted off a few minutes before my alarm went off at 6:15.....not good, for me.  I woke up in a fog and felt so tired.  But, I had a full day planned at the office. 

By the time I arrived home late this afternoon, I was weary....both in body and spirit.  I sat down to take care of some bookkeeping and business, but I simply could not face it.  Have you ever felt that way?  Just bone tired, the numbers swimming in front of your eyes? 

Since Eddie is pulling the late shift at the store, not home til after midnight, I went ahead and fed the dogs, took them outside to do their business, put on some comfy sweats.....and crawled up on the bed.  With a warm blanket over us, daylight waning outside, the pups and I doz…

Day 27 - Christmas Is All In the Heart

In just a few short days, it will be Christmas!  Whether we feel we are ready - or not - it will be here.

Today was Eddie's only day off this entire week before Christmas (you gotta love retail....), so we headed out early to finish up some shopping.  It wasn't so bad - no, really!  It wasn't too bad.  But, it's pretty obvious that people are beginning to get stressed as the holiday bears down on us.  And, for some odd reason, it seems that people's driving skills seem to diminish as they get more stressed......

But, we survived it - and in one piece, too!  We are just about done with the whole shopping thing for this year.  There are only a few more presents to be wrapped and I got a really good start on the baking/candy making yesterday.  The cards are done; the groceries bought; the menu planned; everyone invited.  All in all, we are in pretty good shape!

In fact, I was feeling "on top" of it enough to actually check out some new books at the library. …

Day 26 - Light of the Season

I just love all the lights of Christmas!  Don't you?

The twinkle of the lights on the Christmas trees.....


The soft glow from candles burning....



The multi-colored outdoor lights and displays seen as we drive through town.....




Even the warmth of lamplight in a room on a gray afternoon or cold, dark evening.....



Yes, I love the lights at Christmas time!  But, even more than the holiday lights, I love the symbolism which they hold. 

"There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man." - John 1:9
"I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me  will not remain in darkness." - John 12.46
The lights of the season represent our belief in the birth of One who brought Light and Life to the world.  Each time you admire the twinkle of the lights on the tree, or focus on the flame of the candle, remember the reason for the lights. 

"Lord, thank you for being a beacon in the night, drawing me near to your light and love…

Day 25 - Change of Plans....

I had a post all thought out in my head for this evening.....

But, as I sit here and listen to the thunder of a storm passing over, rain hitting the window and rooftop, I am so thankful for the rain.....

Plans change sometimes.  Life throws a little curve ball and events change to make us realize what is important in the moment. 

The rain is welcome!  We have been caught in a terrible drought for some time now.  It has been rough on our part of the country.  Any moisture that falls from the sky is a relief.  And, in the last three weeks, we have had wet stuff (in the form of both snow and rain) on a more consistent basis than we have had all year.  It is truly an answer to prayer.

So, tonight I will table my planned post until tomorrow. 

There is most likely a reason that it is getting bumped to the back burner.....perhaps, it needs more thought and work before it is ready to share.

Tonight I will focus on the blessing of the much needed rain and be thankful! 


Day 24 - Friends

Today, I am thankful for FRIENDS!

Whether it is the friend right across town, or the one who lives many miles away - each is meant to treasured!  Whether it is the one who will honestly tell me "Yes", my rear looks big in those jeans....or the one I seldom see, but we can always pick up right where we left off......a true friend is one that will consistently be there when the dust settles. 

Where would we be without friends?  Those people who touch and enrich our lives in so many ways.

We don't get to "pick" our families, but we do get to "pick" our friends.  Once picked, those relationships must be nurtured and tended.  Yes, there is effort involved in being a "good" friend.  But, the reward is so sweet!

I've heard it said that many will come into our lives, but few will remain.  I've been blessed with some who would go to the ground for me....and I hope that some of them would say the same about me. 

Filled with gratitude for th…

Day 23 - An Afternoon Simply Being "Mimi"

Day 23 - and I haven't lost my rhythm yet on the daily posting!  Some days, I just don't know where I will find the time to sit down and prepare something, but (amazingly!!!) I have.  Just being able to continue this project has been a blessing - and I can see where there has been some Divine Intervention along the way, allowing things to fall into place!

Today was a special blessing for me, as a grandmother.  Ansleigh, my five-year old granddaughter, has been a bit under the weather.  Since she still had fever this morning, she couldn't go to daycare.  I had business at the office and some running to get done this morning, but I was able to help out this afternoon.  After spending the morning at my mom's house, she came home with me about noon.

Thankfully, she had no fever and wasn't feeling that bad at all by the time she got over here.  So, we were really able to just enjoy some girl time while she was here!

We had macaroni & cheese for lunch - eaten in fron…

Day 22 - Preparing the Heart

Preparing the heart for Christmas.....


Does the world really know how to adequately prepare for the true blessing of Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of our Messiah?  Judging by commercials and advertisements, I think not.  For many, this sacred holiday has become the height of commercialism.  Rushing around, shopping and overspending, stressing over getting everything "just so" has become the norm - but, it isn't truly reflective of the spirit of the season.


How exactly does one prepare the heart for Christmas? 

Emptying the heart of the ways of the world and seeking the blessing of the Divine, the Christ Child, the King of all kings.....prepares the heart for Christmas.  For only by emptying the heart is there room for Him to enter in. 

Not that baking cookies or giving gifts is a bad thing.  That's not at all what I am saying.  Surely, it is a way to show our love to people we care about.  It's not wrong to decorate our homes, light our trees and candles…

Day 21 - Welcome to Work!!!

Today I am thankful for the wonderful place I get to "work"!

When I was interviewing for a sponsoring broker last December, even before I got my license, this particular Broker was so excited to share with me that a new building was in the works.  However, when I came on board, we were crammed into a small space in a retail shopping center - wedged between a hamburger joint and Chinese take-out.  Privacy was often lacking as we tried to work with clients in cramped cubicles, but the knowledge it was temporary helped all of us on the team get through that awkward time. 

As the company has grown, so too have our quarters.  In August, we finally moved into our brand, spanking new offices.  Each agent was provided a desk and given the opportunity to decorate their private work space with their own flair. 

Here is the space that I enjoy when I am working at the office.....


During this holiday season, I have dressed it up a bit with greenery, tiny white lights, simple gold beads…

Day 20 - The JUMBO Eraser

Funny how sometimes things will just jump out at you when you least expect it, isn't it?

For instance, I spied this while shopping in the dollar store......



For some reason, it caught me eye - even though it was hanging about halfway down the aisle from the crayons for which I was searching.  But, there it was and it spoke volumes to me! 

Ever feel like you just need a big ol' eraser to clean up messes you make in your own life?  Gosh, I think most of us do feel that way from time to time.  Wouldn't it be nice if we could just pull out an eraser and whisk away mistakes?!?!?


Well, God has the original JUMBO eraser!  He can erase those mistakes, if we are just humble enough to admit them and ask Him.  And the most amazing part is that when He uses His eraser, there's not a trace of the mistake in His eyes anymore.....totally clean paper, once again.

It's called FORGIVENESS.


"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins  and to clea…

Day 19 - Family Traditions

As the days speed by, Christmas draws closer.  Quickly, so quickly, time flies by.  Are you ready for Christmas yet?  I admit, unashamedly, that I am not!  But, hey!  We still have nearly two weeks to work on it, right?

This evening, I'm pausing to reflect on the seasonal traditions that our family has developed through the years....

Without fail, we have to set aside a couple of evenings to load up in the car and drive around town "looking at lights".  Sometimes, it is just Eddie and me.  Sometimes, now that we live closer, we have my mom or Bonnie and the kids loaded up with us.  But, as the children were growing up, this was an integral part of our celebration of Christmas.  As we wound through the most decorated neighborhoods, viewing the display of lights on the houses and lawns, there was much "oooooh"-ing and "awwww"-ing.  And, if we were out on Christmas Eve, the search for Rudolph's red nose in the sky was on!

We are of the group of Chris…

Day 18 - Shifting Thought Patterns.....

Like many women, I have many roles in life - wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother.  I am also a friend, a coworker, and my career is extremely service oriented. 

It seems that I am constantly doing something for someone! 

Every once in awhile, I get to thinking along these lines -

"I just do, do, do for everybody.  All the time.   Nobody ever does anything for me!   Why am I always the one doing for others?!?!?!   I wish someone, just once, would think of doing something nice for me, without me even asking!!!"
Imagine that in this monologue in my head, my inner voice grows louder and whinier with each statement.  And as I begin to submerge into this line of thought, my actions grow resentful and hateful.  Joy flees in the face of resentment and anger.

Any of this sound familiar?  If you can honestly say, "No, absolutely not", then I applaud and admire your sweet and giving spirit.  Because, I am just not there, yet. No, I still get off on this negative line of…

Day 17 - An Evening Out

It is late.  And I have been so busy today that I haven't gotten to prepare a post yet.  But, it's been such a full day and I really have a good excuse for being so late!

I ended up working for a few hours earlier in the day.  Then, the afternoon involved helping my mom get a dear family friend settled into his new "assisted living" apartment.  Finally, we came home late in the afternoon to prepare for an evening out with friends.  This was an evening to which I have been looking forward for quite some time......

After meeting our friends and enjoying a nice dinner, we headed downtown to the historic Paramount Theater for a special showing of "White Christmas".  I must say, it was simply magical!!!  (As I had imagined and hoped that it would be.)


A full house enjoyed the show in the beautifully restored theater.  People of all ages came together for the evening and sat mesmerized by the classic holiday film.  From the opening credits, I had goosebumps from …

Day 16 - Enjoying Little Slices of Time

Ever have one of those odd little pockets of time that fills up in an unexpectedly pleasant way?  Maybe you had time set aside to work on something that you weren't particularly enthusiastic about, but ended up enjoying it anyway.  Or perhaps you had a couple of hours that had no direction and you decided to do something on the spur of the moment and it brought you a measure of happiness.

I was blessed with one of those little episodes yesterday afternoon.  I found my schedule slow for the afternoon, so I left the office and went by the grocery store to pick up a few things.  I knew in advance of heading to the house that I was going to have to sweep and mop the kitchen because Jake tracked in a stinkin' bunch of mud right before I had to scoot out the door in the morning rush.  I just put all three dogs in the kitchen, on tile, until I could get back to the house and clean it up.  The knowledge of that chore waiting on me at the house hung over me like a dark cloud.....

Howe…

Day 15 - "Live in the Moment".....

.....it's not just a cliche!

My goal for Christmas this year, and beyond, is simply ~

"Live in the moment."
I know, I know...that seems to be a popular catch-phrase right now.  But, it is a wise directive and definitely a worthy mantra.  

For me, the challenge is in focusing and reigning in my own agenda.  Sometimes, that takes an extremely concentrated effort on my part.  I'm apt to be thinking ahead, planning in my head; rampant thoughts battling for the number one spot in line.  And I tend to be a champion worrier, often fretting over things that cannot be helped by fretting. 

Consequently, I am making a conscious effort during the holidays this year to simplify ~ meaning less decorating, fussing and fretting and more experiencing, enjoying and expecting to be blessed by being present in the moment. 

Today, I am thankful that God is impressing upon me the need to live in the here and now.   I am thankful He has placed a burden on my heart about this.   Each moment…

Day 14 - A Man Who Cooks!!!

I am such a lucky girl - I married a man who can - and does - cook!!!  In fact, he actually ENJOYS it! 

Eddie Dale loves to create yummy food and he is very, very good at it, too.  The first time he cooked for me, he made chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy....traditional comfort food that tasted better than just about any I had ever eaten before.  Before long, I learned that he can cook, fry or grill just about anything!  The only thing he does not do is bake - except for the pumpkin pies at Thanksgiving.  

My husband is fearless in the kitchen.  He has created some wonderful recipes, combining and layering non-traditional layers of flavor to make the tastebuds rejoice.  In particular, he makes a raspberry chipotle sauce that is truly divine on pork tenderloin.  His vegetable lasagna is another one of my favorites; as is his old-fashioned chicken stew.  I will eat anything he smokes or cooks out on the grill - meat, chicken or veggies.  His smoked ham and brisket are le…

Day 13 - Living in a Modern World....

With the chilly weather we've been experiencing here in our little part of the world, I've been thinking how wonderful it is to come into a nice, warm building after being out in the cold.  Thank God we have central heating almost everywhere these days!!!

And that got me to thinking about all the wonderful, modern conveniences we have around us.  To name a few.....

Automobiles - We can get around so quickly and efficiently now.  Imagine if we were limited to where we could walk, or had to saddle a horse or hitch up a wagon to go to town.....



Indoor plumbing - Think about having to head to the outhouse when nature calls in the middle of the night.  And how often do we take for granted having indoor water at the tap, both hot and cold?


Electricity - Powers everything.  Remember how disabling, and downright paralyzing, it was the last time you lost electricity?


Cell  phones - As a realtor, I truly depend on mine!  But, beyond that, it helps me stay in touch with my family and fri…

Day 12 - A Snow Day!!!

I awoke early this morning.....5:30 am, to be exact.  What woke me up so early?  The tinkle of Pepper's tags as she wandered around the bedroom....she was trying to wake Jake up to play.  Ugh....way too early for that!  So, I called her back to her bed, told her to go back to sleep and got up to look out the window.

Snow came during the night.  A good dusting covered the ground in white and illuminated the dark outside.  I crawled back into bed and snuggled down deep in the warm covers, saying a silent prayer that the dogs would sleep a bit longer.

They did, thank goodness!  And when we got up a couple of hours later, the snow was already starting to melt in spots.  But, it is still very beautiful and since the temperature didn't get much below freezing for very long, it is just wet and mushy - not slick and dangerous.  No school delays today.....



As I am enjoying another cup of coffee, I am so thankful that I don't have to get out early in the weather this morning.  I am …

Day 11 - A Bumbling Start to the Day....

For some unknown reason, I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. 

Not literally, of course.  But, I just felt cranky and short-tempered from the moment my feet hit the floor.  Realizing my mood was not very pleasant, I wisely crawled back into bed after getting the dogs out and fed.  After all, I reasoned, perhaps the problem was that I just needed a little more sleep.  And so I hibernated under the covers until Eddie left for work shortly before 9:00 o'clock. 

However, my mood didn't seem to really be that improved when I attempted getting up again.  I guess the knowledge that today was the day set aside for some housecleaning and laundry didn't help.  I brewed a pot of coffee, drank two cups, spun my wheels for a bit on Facebook......

And procrastinated getting started. 

I even went so far as to make a rather smart-mouth comment on Facebook that I was having a hard time finding "joy" in scrubbing the toilet.....

Finally, at nearly 10:30, I jus…

Day 10 - The Project is the Blessing....

What a day!!! 

Yesterday, the temp hovered in the upper 30's and lower 40's all day, with a good rain coming last night.  Oddly, it warmed during the night, creating foggy and drippy conditions.  By 3:00 pm, it had cleared to a sunny and warm afternoon.  By this time tomorrow, though, an arctic front should pass through, dropping the temperature considerably and possibly bringing a wintry mix our way. 

Although it was raining this morning, I decided to venture out to do a little Christmas shopping.  The stores and mall were crowded, but it wasn't terribly bad.  I covered a lot of ground and I would estimate that I am over halfway through with the shopping for this year.  As for tomorrow, I fully intend to get everything that I have purchased so far wrapped and under the tree!

Eddie is working this evening, so I am here, alone with the dogs.  When I got home this afternoon, I put a pot of chili on and the boys came over and had dinner with me.  Now, they are gone and I am s…

Day 9 - Keeping Family Close

Some days, as I approach writing my daily blog of gratitude, there is just so much in my life for which I am thankful that it is difficult to narrow it down.....

Today is one of those days!  WHAT to write about???  How to select just one topic on which to expound......

But, I'm going to narrow it down....not just sit here, with fingers poised above the keys, waiting for inspiration to hit. 

Today, I am thankful to live so close to much of my family!!!  Since we moved back to Abilene, less than two short years ago, our lives have changed in many ways.  One of the best changes is that we get to see loved ones much more frequently!

Ben and Sam share an apartment here in town.  They come over for dinner pretty regularly, as you would expect two young, single guys to do.  Sam's schedule at work even allows us to get together for a late lunch now and then.  When they need something, they know we are just a phone call away.  And this is one momma who enjoys answering the phone every …