Friday, December 31, 2010

My Year in Review

In 2010 I made goals instead of resolutions. And each new goal was started in a different month. My thought on this was to give myself time to create a new habit with the stress of having a whole long list to work thru all at once.

This is how I did with those goals…

To get my home decluttered: this battle was fought for the entire year. I’m still fighting it. It’s been sadly amazing to discover just how much junk/stuff/clutter we had. It was a bit overwhelming at times. But I am very pleased to say that I have made great progress, I still have a good attitude wanting to keep after it and I plan on completing the goal in this next year.

To improve my physical appearance: Some areas I did great and in others… not so good. The goal to dress better was a smashing success. I updated my wardrobe and now only rarely will wear a plain ol’ T shirt out of the house. And I wear accessories regularly now. It really helped when I found ways to store them that made them visible and easy to get to. I decided make-up was more for ‘dressy’ times than every day as I don’t like the way it feels on my skin – even after trying several options. Weight… that is on the not so good side. Didn’t change from where I started. I “fell off the wagon” and didn’t have the wherewithal to have another go at it. I’ve got to get much more serious about it.

To get my papers organized: This fell in with the decluttering work. I found “paper” in almost every box I went thru! I’ve done a lot of culling but still have quite a bit more to do. I’ve been working on organization methods and that has been a help. This has been the most overwhelming part of my clutter-busting.

To clean up and organize my shed: Family commitments switched this from a spring chore to an autumn one. Then more family commitments in the fall pushed it back even farther. So it’s back on the list for this coming year.

To bring curb appeal to my home: The long, HOT summer really did a number on this goal. Those family commitments caused me to start later in the season too, so a lot did not get done. But I did make improvements – porch, bonsai area, bird garden, shed front, patio… so I am fairly happy. I’ll start earlier next year… like in March!

To become a better steward of my resources: That is coming along well. Energy saving practices and devises are becoming part of our routine. I am much more aware.

To understand myself and my purpose in life: This one overall gave me more to think about than all the others. It was hard, at times it was painful and it was good.

To incorporate my photography into my life more: Coming along nicely. I’ve started with my sorting of the 500 bazillion photos both on my computer and hard copies. I’ll be able to start making prints of exhibition/sales quality photos soon. And I will get the frames sorted thru soon too.

To make a gracious and welcoming home: Coming along well too. The updated guest room is a hit, the many suggestions I received on ideas for making it more welcoming were so nice.

I’m pleased with my year and what I have accomplished in it. I’m looking forward to what I’ll get done in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Moments

Seems most photos at Christmas are snapshots... wonderful family snapshots.  This year I caught a few photos that I really liked, that I thought were better than a quick snap.

This was Little Bird's first snow.  I like this shot as her parka frames her face.  She really didn't know what to think of all this cold white stuff.

Little Hoss during Christmas Eve dinner.  Everything was right in his world and he was just HAPPY.

A peaceful creek in the snow.  This is a place I used to play as a child and I enjoyed seeing it like this.

Another area of the creek.  The snow was melting a bit, creating drips in the otherwise still water.

Cozy.  Just cozy...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's A Wonderful Christmas

We spent Christmas in MO with my family. It was Little Hoss' first Christmas (he’s 6 months old now) and Little Bird is now 16 months old. 

We took off in a rush, as there was a prediction of SNOW coming in the St Louis area and possible ‘ice pellets’ in ours. Good thing we left early as this is what we woke up to Christmas Eve…

4” and still falling!

By early afternoon it had stopped and the road crews were working.  We were able to go up to my sister’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. 

Next morning we returned for Christmas Day. It’s just so much fun with BABIES!

Little Hoss in his Amish-made outfit.

And Little Bird in her Christmas dress.

Even at 16 months, the girl likes her clothes!

Little Hoss wondered what was going on! 

Little Bird liked her first nativity book.

The kids didn’t get their main present from us until a couple days later, as space had to be made for it.  We gave them this fun playhouse.  In warm weather it will go out on the deck.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Story

The Bible tells the story of Christ's birth in three of the four Gospels.  Each writer tells us different parts of the story.  I have combined them into one chronological piece telling the whole story.  It's a wonderful read for Christmas day!

John – Green

Luke - Red

Matthew - Blue

**  **  **  **  **  **  **  **  **  **  **
The Word Became Flesh

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.

God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."

29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"

35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[c] the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God."

38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

39At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

Mary's Song

46And Mary said:

"My soul glorifies the Lord

47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

48for he has been mindful

of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,

49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—

holy is his name.

50His mercy extends to those who fear him,

from generation to generation.

51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

52He has brought down rulers from their thrones

but has lifted up the humble.

53He has filled the hungry with good things

but has sent the rich away empty.

54He has helped his servant Israel,

remembering to be merciful

55to Abraham and his descendants forever,

even as he said to our fathers."

56Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son.

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  25And he gave him the name Jesus.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss your servant in peace.

30For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,

32a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel."

33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18"A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more."

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Friday, December 24, 2010

"And Lo, The Star Stopped..."

Most of our Christmas decorations are nativities.  There is at least one in each room of the house and I am going to make one (at least) to have outside too!
Some of our nativities are from other countries.  I try to find one each place we travel.  Sometimes it isn't easy.


The heads and hands are carved from ebony.  The rest is from one piece of acacia wood.



This one is hand made from old Christmas cards and scraps.


Made from wire and banana leaves.


Some of our nativities were gifts.

This one is from my sister.

This one Himself gave to me a couple years ago.  It's hand carved.

Himself also surprised me with this Bethlehem village.

A close up of the stable.

Best Friend gave us this darling music box nativity.

Our first Christmas nativity.  We were broke and moving over Christmas, so we got this tiny plastic nativity we could carry with us.  It's about 2.5 inches high.  It's 29 years old this Christmas.

This lighted Madonna gives of a soft glow in the kitchen.

Another kitchen nativity.

Love this one.

This is carved from a piece of olive from Israel.  Haven't been there (yet).

Christmas is all about telling The Story.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hallelujah Chorus - Native Alaskan Style

This is so worth watching!  It was sent by a Native Alaskan friend.  It's precious.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beautiful Hungary

I'm working on organizing my photos and found some shots from our trip to Hungary.  Budapest is a beautiful city.  The horse photos were taken at a ranch that gave demonstrations of the traditional "horse shepherd" skills.  Pretty incredible!

Outside of Parliment.

On the Danube River.

St Matthais cathedral.

The Chain Bridge.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar eclipse tonight!

If you get up (or stay up) in the wee early hours, you may get to see something like this! 

According to "On the East Coast of North America, the lunar eclipse begins half an hour after midnight on Tuesday; on the West Coast, it begins around 9:30 p.m. PST Monday. In all cases, the lunar eclipse will be observable before the moon sets in the west just as the sun is rising in the east. Maximum eclipse – the really cool part when the moon is totally in shadow – is at 3:17 a.m. EST/12:17 a.m. PST."

So you now know where I'll be at 2:15am tonight... out on my deck!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Walk Outside

Recently we had a break in the cold weather and took advantage of the nice day to walk down to the lake near our house.  (Recently Himself was given permission to walk on Mr. M’s property.)  We were dog-sitting Best Friend’s rat terrier Sasha, who enjoyed the outing too.

The trail is on the narrow piece of property between our house and the river. It used to be a railroad track but was decommissioned years ago and purchased by Mr. M.

It is a perfect place to take a nice walk.

For a while I had a little hitchhiker but she quickly wanted to run around.  (Himself took this photo).

There is a rock cut along the pathway.  This rock has such an unusual pattern that if it is moveable; we are going to ask Mr. M if we can have it.

One the river side, huge grapevines climb up the sycamore trees.  There are also several patches of wild cane. 

After about a half mile walk we were at the lake. 

Someone left this old canoe and it floats around wherever the wind pushes it.  I don’t know why it doesn’t fill up with rain and sink.

The lake was perfectly still.  The reflections were incredible.  Except for the tuft of lakeside grass I put in the bottom right corner, you can’t tell this is the reflection and not the image.

I thought this was pretty cool.  A tree had broken off and the remaining branch became the new trunk.  This is the exact same thing we do with our bonsai!

These little dried flowers look like snowflakes.  Which was a foreshadowing of a few days day later…

Sasha wasn’t quite so happy with this walk!!!

Linked to:
"Outside photo challenge"