Saturday, December 15

My Saturday

Today was quite the day. Brandon had called me last night and told me that he found his wallet. It had been missing for a few weeks. Inside he had found a $10 gift card for Toys R Us and he wanted to know if I could take him to use it because it would expire on December 31st. I agreed, so today we headed off to the store, which is about a 40 minute drive from here. There was a storm warning in effect - a Nor' Easter was moving into the area.

When we arrived, it took us 15 minutes to find a parking place. People were cutting us off, flipping fingers and doing all kinds of obnoxious things. I couldn't believe the lack of Christmas spirit. Do people not value themselves more than this? Yes, they are behind in their shopping, but whose fault is that. Usually mine is done weeks ahead of time and I don't have to face the hostile shoppers. I must write a note to myself to remind me never to go shopping this close to Christmas ever again.

Once inside the store, Brandon has trouble choosing what he wanted to spend his money on. He knows he has to stay within his price limit. Jordan had $11 and Brandon had $15 in total. So, they had to find something in that price range. Jordan made his choice fairly quickly. Brandon took about an hour. He compares the things he likes and tries to figure out which will be available at a later date when he has more money. He finally made his choice at the checkout. Maybe he just makes choices more easily when under pressure. He does this often. We were able to get out of there and make it home in the nick of time. We were just pulling in the driveway when the snow started. All in all it was okay, but not so much fun as last week because the shoppers were so rude.

The storm didn't leave as much snow as expected but apparently the Nor' Easter was delayed. We are to get dumped on heavily around 7 am Sunday morning. When I wake up in the morning maybe I will find myself looking at a beautiful world that's dressed in a gown of lovely white. I'll be sure to let you know.

After the boys were safely home, I wrapped a few Christmas gifts. I still have a few to do, but the majority are done. I enjoy wrapping gifts and making them look so pretty, but I've run out of ribbon and I need a few things to add to the beauty of them. I usually tape a candy cane to the top of each package and sometimes attach a small Christmas ornament that I find at the dollar store. These make the packages just a little more festive. So, if I can get out of the driveway in the morning and the roads are clear, I will be off to the dollar store.

This evening, I watched The Christmas Shoes. The movie was based on the book of the same name, written by Donna VanLiere. I really enjoyed it. It was a heart touching story about two families that found their lives transformed by a gift of Christmas shoes that a boy presented to his dying mother. Be sure you have a box of tissues.
Tonight I read my comments and there was one from Anni, at Hootin' Anni's . She has honored me with this very special award. When I read Anni's post, it touched my heart. Thank you, my friend. You are very special to me.

The graphic at the top of this post is one of my Christmas postcards. If you would like to take a copy of the graphic, you are welcome. Merry Christmas from my home to yours. May the Light of Christmas shine in your heart and in your home. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, December 14

Friday Show and Tell

Wow! It seems like Friday was just here and it's here again. It's time for Show and Tell, which is hosted by Kelli at There is No Place Like Home. If you would like to participate, just click on the link and Kelli will explain everything. Thanks, Kelli for hosting this. It's a lot of fun to see what others post.

I promised to show some of you my Christmas angel. It was a gift from my husband last year. I love her. She stands 13 inches high and holds a dish for floating candles. The ones in the dish today are the roses that light up when you place them in water. They are lit, but it's very hard to tell. However, they are beautiful in the evening when the lights are turned low.
I received the most beautiful Christmas card today that I just have to tell about it. It is from Sharon at Sit With Me Awhile. Sharon is my Sister in Blood and I truly LOVE this card.

The card depicts the Nativity. This is the inside, which is a pop-up. The stable is 3-D.

Thank you, Sharon. This card is so beautiful. It will be going into my card collection once that Christmas is over.

Well, that is Show and Tell for me for this week. I hope you enjoyed seeing my lovely angel and the beautiful card. Both of these things are very special to me. Love you, Sharon.

12 Christmas Things about Me Huppla

I've been tagged by Denise of Samaritan Women and these are the rules:

1. List 12 random things about yourself that has to do with Christmas.
2. Please refer to it as hoopla and not the dreaded m-word.
3 According the the creator, Andrea, you must specifically tag your people. There's none of this saying, "if you reading this consider yourself tagged.
4. Hurry, Christmas is coming and Andrea would like as many people to get involved in this as possible so it can make the rounds and we can read 12 things about everyone and Christmas.

So here goes:

1. I have always had Christmas with my family. In 1974, I traveled to British Columbia on Boxing Day and I have traveled to Florida twice just after Christmas, but never have I been away from my family on Christmas Day.

2. When I was a child, I alway helped Grandma do all of her Christmas baking in the old wood stove. We made molasses cookies, sugar cookies, cake doughnuts, both white and dark fruitcake, fudge and other candy, refrigerator cookies, homemade chocolates and more. It was all made more delicious because I was with Grandma. She always let me have at least one cookie while it was still warm out of the oven.

3. The entire family (at least all that would fit) would hop onto the horse-drawn sleigh and travel to the back of Grandpa's farm. Each family would chose the perfect Christmas tree and the men would cut them, put them onto the sleigh and home we'd go. Dad always let us help put up the tree. He would put the lights on it and then Mom and us kids would decorate it. Grandma and Grandpa put their tree up on Christmas Eve.

4. My first husband died on December 31st unexpectedly. He was 31 years old. I still have at least one of the decorations that we put on our first Christmas tree. Each year at this time I think of him often, but instead of thinking of his death, I think of the fun we had at Christmas over the years. That is what he would want me to remember.

5. Every year since the grandsons have been little, we have gone Christmas shopping together and also have made Christmas crafts. This year we are making snowmen stockings. I will try to get some photos.

6. When I was little, we opened our gifts Christmas morning. We were never allowed to open anything on Christmas Eve. When my brother, sister and I got up in the early morning hours, we could play with whatever Santa had left because those gifts weren't wrapped. We couldn't open the present from our parents until they were up and breakfast was over.

7. One year I was visited by Christmas angels. That was 1987, and my daughter and I were struggling. A friend from the US sent a gift of basic neccessities such as shampoo, conditioner, deodrants, food staples and other things. The gift was received thankfully. Then, the week before Christmas, a man knocked on my door and asked for something to eat and a hot drink. We had very little, but I offered him tea and toast and he gratefully accepted. I noticed that he had no gloves. I gave him a pair that had belonged to my first husband. I also gave him socks that had belonged to my first husband. Since my daughter and I lived alone and I didn't know him, I took his food to the front porch. He told me he understood this completely. I went into the house for a moment and when I came out, the man had disappeared. I ran to the corner to see which way he had gone and there was no sign of him anywhere and he hadn't had enough time to get out of my sight. To this day, I feel that I entertained an angel unawares. His demeanor, gentle voice and kind spirit shone through. I will never forget this man. On Christmas Eve a taxi pulled up and the driver brought us a huge box of Christmas goodies and enough food for Christmas dinner and more.

8. When my daughter and I was traveling to British Columbia on Boxing Day 1974, (she was five) we landed in Calgary and that is as far as we went for 48 hours. There was a blizzard and we were stranded in Calgary airport. I met a woman there from Reno, Nevada who helped this young mother and her daughter cope with all of the chaos of that time.

9. It doesn't seem like Christmas to me if there is no snow and if I don't put up a real tree. For a few years when I lived in an apartment building, I had to have an artificial tree. It just wasn't the same. The fragrance of a real spruce or pine tree is a smell that I associate with Christmas, as is the fragrance of baking cookies and cinnamon candles.

10. The best Christmas present I received as a child was a record player. It was brown and beige metal and could play 78s, 33s and 45s. Along with the record player was a record of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Rain Deer. They were both sung by Gene Autry. I often wonder what Mom and Dad had to give up to buy me that record player.

11. When I was six, I went to a one-room school. We all had a part in the Christmas concert. I was to recite Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Mom made me a beautiful turquoise dress made of crepe paper. She bought star stickers of silver and placed them all over that dress. She also made me a star wand to hold. Mom still has that dress packed away in a box. It is a bit yellowed here and there but is in marvelous shape for its age. It is a treasure to me.

12. Every year since I was a child, I've celebrated the birth of Jesus at Christmas. I've attended many wonderful plays and concerts that were centered around His birth. Christmas is my favorite time of year. Lights twinkle on the snow and windows are lit up with Christmas trees. It's like the world takes on a special glow.

Now, because of the rules, I must specifically tag some people. Here goes:

Karen of Karen's Korner

Anni of Hootin' Anni's

Carole of Pea's Corner

Michele of Writing the Cyber Highway

Tina of Tina's Odds and Ends - Girly Comments & Graphics

Thursday, December 13

What's Happening Today?

Well, first of all I'd like to announce the winner of my little contest where my readers had to guess what was in the packages that I wrapped for my grandsons to have on December 25th. These will not be going with us to Florida. All the travel games, window writers, movies and stuff that we're giving them are all in a big Disney World bag that we brought home with us last time. Each day the boys will get to pick something out of the bag to do that day. The gifts that I posted are to keep them occupied until the 27th when we leave.
And the winner is... Drum Roll please...

Kristen of Mama's So Called Life. The packages contain Lego. A bionicle for the younger one - Santa is bringing that to the older one - and a Lego Fire Boat for the older one. Hopefully, this will keep them busy until we leave.

In other news, when I woke up this morning, the world was white. I took Meeko for his walk. Here are our footprints in the freshly fallen snow.

And here is the scene we saw of our neighbor's property. Notice the snow on the cedar hedgerow. It was so pretty.

Meeko was enjoying the snow so much that I couldn't resist taking this photo. Notice his eyes. He looks as if he is in paradise and to him, this is paradise.

He loves the snow and is never happier than when he is playing in it. We had a little game of snowball fight. I throw the snow and the tries to catch it in his mouth. If he misses, he pounces on it. He is so funny. Don't mind the old boxes on the porch. They are waiting for recycling day.

Please continue to pray for my beautiful friend Deena from Can I Be Pretty in Pink. Deena had surgery for breast cancer yesterday. Her friend, Church updated us in the comment section of Deena's blog last night and this is what she had to say:

Church.... Deena thru first phase surgery and in flap phase now. Sentinel Lobe cancer positive, all nodes hard. It is 6:30pm 12-12-07. Chemo and radiation will begin in 4weeks. No nerve damage. Her daughter Nicole is very scared and wants to relieve her mother of this path. This 25 yr old is a mother herself. She is also trying to help stabilize Deena's husband, Rich, who is distraught at results. Let's keep this young woman in prayer also along with the whole family. I will post more if I get anymore info tonite.

I phoned Deena's daughter, Nichole, last night and she told me that Deena is going to have to undergo treatment in the form of chemotherapy and radiation. Nichole and Deena's husband, Rich, also need prayer, as they are going through a very difficult time right now. Thank you all for holding Deena and her loved ones up in prayer.

Christmas Dividers

Denise at Shorty Bear's Place honored me with the Bodacious Blog award, as did Sharon at Sit With Me Awhile. I didn't know Sharon had given it to me until I visited her blog to tell her that I was giving it to her. Thank you, Denise and Sharon.
I would like to share this with the following people:

Carolyn at Talk to Grams

Denise at Samaritan Women

There are so many others that I would like to bestow this award on because their blogs are all bodacious, but always limit myself to five. Thanks to all my friends and readers who leave words of support and love.

Thank you, Denise, for sending me this beautiful button. It is adorable. ~Blessings to all, Mary~

Wednesday, December 12

My Eye Exam and Christmas Memories

I would like to thank all of my blogging friends for praying that my eye examination this morning would go well. Praise God! It's the best I've had in a long time. My eye pressures were 14 and 17, which is VERY good. My vision is 20/20 with my bifocals on and the doctor informed me that the field test he did six months ago was excellent. I have not lost any periphial vision. This is great! I have a double risk of vision lost because I am a diabetic that suffers from glaucoma. I go back in April for another field test and then next September for a full eye examination like I had today.

Last night I watch the movie, Booky and the Secret Santa on CBC. It was a family movie that I really enjoyed. It takes place in Toronto during the Great Depression. Booky is a ten year old girl who tries her best to make Christmas a happy one for her family.

Booky's father worked for the T. Eaton Company as a harness maker in the horse stables. In November 1932, Eatons upgraded from horse drawn delivery wagons to trucks. This put Booky's father out of work just a month before Christmas.

Booky's aunt owned a nut shop in Toronto and gave Booky a job handing out samples every Saturday. While working, Booky becomes friends with Mr. Eaton who owns Eatons department store.

One day Booky sees a man with a gun force Mr. Eaton down an alley. She runs to help him and is successful in her attempt. Mr. Eaton grants her one wish and Booky uses it to help her friend's mother. In return, Mr. Eaton invites her family to his famous Christmas party.

This is a great family movie that is fiction based on fact. Eatons department store was a great Canadian icon. Here is a bit of history on the T. Eaton Co. Ltd., or as Canadians knew it, simply Eatons:
Above: The T. Eaton Company in Toronto.

Timothy Eaton was born in Ireland in 1834, the child of a widow. His father had died two months before he was born and his mother died when he was 14, leaving him an orphan. At this time Timothy left school to work and support himself. He saved enough to sail to Canada West (now Ontario) in 1854, where he worked for some time on his sister's farm in Georgetown.

Before long, Timothy was offered and took a position as bookeeper at a general store. This was at the time when the Grand Trunk Railroad was expanding into the area. Timothy and his brother saw an opportunity to supply travelers with goods and opened a general store in 1856.

In 1860, Timothy and James moved to St. Mary's, Ontario and opened a dry goods store. Timothy also opened the T. Eaton bakery. In 1868, he married Margaret Beattie and they moved to Toronto, Ontario, where Timothy purchased a dry goods store in 1869. The store was located at 178 Yonge Street.
Above: The Yonge Street entrance to the T. Eaton Company.

The Company did well under Timothy's direction and in 1883, he expanded and moved the store to 190 Yonge Street. The T. Eaton Co. Ltd., was Toronto's first department store. The following year, it distributed a 32 page catalogue so their customers could order goods and have them shipped through the mail. An empire had been born.

Above: The 1884 edition of the T. Eaton & Co. catalogue.

When I was young, we got both an Eaton's and a Sear's catalogue. I almost always purchased something from Eaton's after I began working. Mom preferred Eaton's as well. During the 1950s, the catalogue was 400 pages of everything you could ever need or want. I loved looking through the Eaton's catalogue.

The store stayed in the Eaton's family until 1999, when it sold all of its assets to Sears. I sure miss that store. It was my favorite for many years.

Last night's movie brought back many memories of Eaton's. When I received my first pay in 1965, I bought a pretty blue wool skirt at Eaton's for $6.00. I will always remember buying that skirt, as it was the first piece of clothing I'd ever purchased with my own money.

Eaton's always had a Santa at Christmas, and Mom would take us to town and let us stand in line to tell him what we'd like to receive for Christmas. The toy department was in the basement and that is where Santa could be found. Sweet memories of Christmas and Eatons.

Tuesday, December 11

Time Flies Sometimes

Just wanted to let everyone know that I have posted on my Treasures to Me blog tonight. I also watched a wonderful Christmas movie that I will post about tomorrow. However, it may be late because I have a full glaucoma eye exam in the morning. This means that the doctor will dilate my eyes and I won't be able to see much until tomorrow evening.

Please pray for Deena from Can I Be Pretty in Pink? She is undergoing surgery for breast cancer Wednesday morning and we need to lift her up in prayer. Deena is a wonderful person. If you haven't met her, be sure to stop by and get to know her.

Blessings ~Mary~

Monday, December 10

Christmas Secrets and Some Christmas Fun

Yes, Christmas is drawing near and it's a time for secrets. If all of you promise not to tell, I'll let you in on some of the secrets that I've been cooking up, but you must promise to keep your lips sealed. Of course you are all good at keeping Christmas secrets, so here goes:
Yesterday hubby and I took Mom to Micheals. Mom had mentioned on Saturday night that she was feeling a little lonely. Though she keeps busy, I'm sure that loneliness sets in once in a while because she lives alone. I do call her every night before I go to bed, but I'm sure there's times when the day is long. Sometimes I talk to her two or three times a day, just to be sure that she is doing okay.

We don't usually shop on Sunday, but I thought Micheals would be a nice treat for Mom. She loves that store and is a very crafty person. I'm not so much, but every once in a while I like to make something for somebody. This time I decided to make something for my daughter and her family.

Micheals was packed when we got there about 2:30 pm. However, as we looked around, the people starting dwindling. That was okay by me since I don't like crowds very much. Crowds will make my Christmas spirit fly out the window faster than anything else and so I try to always avoid them. I usually have all of my shopping done early and only go to the stores to see the Christmas decorations at this time of year.

But I'm getting off track. We looked around the store and saw many lovely Christmas decorations as well as the supplies needed to make them. I was looking for nativity supplies, as I thought I might like to make a nativity set. But alas, there was nothing. Then I spotted these lovely birch bark Santas. They have a base, but the beard, hair and eyebrows are made from birch bark. Being a lover of nature, they tickled my fancy. Then I saw the pine brooms. Being a lover of these vintage looking brooms, I decided I would make something with the brooms and the Santas. Here is the finished product.

It was hard to get a good photo of this, so here are some closeups. First, the birch bark Santa.

Then the berries and the holly that I placed strategically on the handle slightly above Santa.

And finally, the last finishing touch - silver bells and pine near the top.

The photos do not do it justice, but you get the general idea. I enjoyed playing around and creating a little something to give to the boys and their parents that was made with love by Grandma. In fact, I think I will print a label and attach it to the back, so someday they can treasure it. I made one identical for myself and one day the boys can have it too, so there will be one for each of them.

Being a little crafty got me into the Christmas spirit. We aren't giving much to the boys this year, as we are taking them to Florida. However, they needed a little something to open on Christmas Day. Most of the gifts we got them will be going in a large Disney World bag and they will be opened while we're traveling. I really want to keep the boys occupied while we're driving because if they get bored, they will drive us insane. LOL So, I wrapped the boys gifts that they will be receiving on the 25th. I am not quite finished, as I still have to add the ribbon and all the fancy things I place on their packages to make them look nice.

Now that you all know my Christmas secrets, there is one more portion to this post. I want you to guess what are in the boys packages. The person that comes the closest to getting the right answer will win a copy of the book, Loving the Children from the Guideposts series, Listening to the Animals. My story The Old Red Barn is in the book and Renie Burghardt's story Chicken Dreams Can Come True is also featured. If the winner would like, I will autograph the book for them. So let's have some fun and see if you can guess what is in these packages. The fun will stop on Wednesday night at midnight EST - my time and I will divulge what is in the package and who the winner is on Thursday. Remember to think boys. - The place for myspace comments, glitters, graphics, backgrounds and codes
Myspace Christian Comments & Graphics

My friend, Bertha, who lives in Arkansas, emailed me this morning to tell me that her mother-in-law who is in her early 90s had a massive heart attack and a stroke. She is in hospital and the family are gathering around her. Bertha's husband has to travel approximately an hour to get to the hospital in Fort Smith and the roads are treacherous with ice. Please keep the entire family in your prayers. Please pray that if it is God's Will to take Mom home that she will pass quickly without suffering any further. Thank you all. Blessings ~Mary~

Sunday, December 9

Be a Blessing this Christmas - Let your Light Shine

Well, it's that time. December 10, 2007. This is the date that Sharon at Sit With Me Awhile and I chose for posting Mr. Linky so we can all share the blessings that we've taken part in this Christmas season.

First of all I'd like to thank each of your for participating in this project with Sharon and I. I would also like to thank Sharon for being a BIG part of this project. Thank you, dear friend. Each of us that are participating has reached out in HIS name to Let our Light Shine.

Monday is the deadline for posting how you Let your Light Shine. Because Mr. Linky is still not cooperating with me, I must ask you to click on the link to Sharon's blog to add your name. All you have to do is type in your first name and the URL of your Let your Light Shine post. I apologize for the inconvenience, but for some reason Mr. Linky just doesn't like me. :-)

Thanks also to all of you who posted a link to this project and helped to make it a success. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Let me tell you what I've done this year to let my light shine. Here are a bunch of brand new books that I've donated to the local Christmas Baskets program. It is run by the city and the Salvation Army and provides gifts for kids and also a holiday food basket. Since I am an avid reader and believe strongly in literacy, hubby and I have donated these.

Besides this, we donated a bag of canned goods to the local food bank and also one to the Christmas Baskets program. This will help meet the goal of no family going without a Christmas dinner. They give out food stuffs for an entire Christmas dinner, which includes either a turkey for a family or a ham for couples and single people. This is a very worthy cause. I would hate to see anyone go without enough food over the Christmas season. These are handed out in the week prior to Christmas.

When I saw Sharon's post, Pick Me, I was very touched. I talked to hubby and we decided to give to this needy cause. It seems that 16 year old Britt has decided to help his sister, who is a missionary in Thailand provide Christmas gifts for 123 orphans. What a spectacular young man. So, to help him reach his goal, we have asked if we can help two boys between the ages of 10 and 12, in honor of our grandsons, who are that age. I will be hearing from Britt soon and will be sure and keep you updated. If you still haven't chosen something for Sharon's and my project, please stop by and donate $10 to give one of these children a gift this Christmas. CLICK HERE

Thanks once again to all those who have been a blessing this Christmas. Please add your name to Mr. Linky at Sit With Me Awhile to let others know how you let your light shine.

Blessings ~Mary
Update: Britt, Bev's 16 year-old son, who started this project has raised money to provide for 50 orphans and he has picked the two boys who I decided to sponsor. They are Worrayoth, age 11, who is the first boy in the second row and Chalerm, age 12, who is the last boy in the 3rd row. I will pray for both of these boys. Thank you, Britt, Brooke and Bev for allowing me this opportunity to make Christmas a little brighter for these children. Blessings, ~Mary~

Green Thumb Sunday

Join Green Thumb Sunday

It's time for Green Thumb Sunday. It is a time when we share with you something growing in our garden or our home. If you would like to participate, please visit Tricia, at How the Garden Grows. Please visit others who are participating to see the beautiful plants that they are growing.

This is a photo of a bloom from one of the peonies that grow in my garden each spring. This is the palest pink one. I have a bright pink one and a red one, also. I don't know which is my favorite. They are all so pretty.

Thank you for dropping in to see my Green Thumb Sunday post. Have a wonderful day. Blessings, ~Mary~