Why I Celebrate Christmas Early

Why I Celebrate Christmas Early

winter-1927427_960_720As my family well knows, I am a lover of Christmas.  When I was younger, I used to drive my siblings crazy by playing Christmas music in September.  As an adult, I still do this at times.  By the time Halloween is over, Christmas is in full force in my house.  The twinkling lights are up, the soft, sweet music is playing, the warm glow of candles are flickering, the cinnamon cookies are baking and I am planning out the Christmas presents to buy.  I do not ignore Thanksgiving, for if you look, you will see my Thanksgiving decorations mingled with my Christmas, because I’m a firm believe that gratitude is in every way a part of this beautiful season.

But why do I do this?  Why do many people do this?  Others might have different reasons, but this is mine: because it is the season of light, of giving, of sharing, of kindness and love. beautiful hugs

When the daily news is filled with the most evil and depressing of acts (like the shooting last night in California), I want to counteract that with everything I have in me.  I want to spread more kindness, more love to strangers, more love to my family and friends…more light.  I want everyone to know they are loved.  I want to hold a friend or family member or even a stranger until their tears are washed away.

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I wish I could do this…I wish I could somehow get this message out to every person…You Are LOVED! How different it would be if all people understood this one thought: you are loved by the most perfect person who ever walked this earth.  If you are worthy of that kind of love, then wouldn’t that change your perspective about your life, your purpose and your actions?

The-NativityIt is the season to celebrate the Savior, the Son of God, and to remember not only His birth, but His life and who He died for.  I celebrate Him and his perfect life all year, but everything about Christmas from the lights, to some of the beautiful music, to the Star and the small manger scene under my tree…everything reminds me of His perfect love.

Love…to me that’s something worth celebrating all year long.

 

(My Christmas playlist for this year…sending you all long hugs and so much love!)

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Civility, Kindness, and Love

No act of kindness...These days, watching the news and headlines, I have become more and more saddened and horrified by the awful things that people say to each other.  Anger, vitriol, name-calling, violence, terrorism, shootings and threats seem to have washed over most of the people in this country and around the world.  Common sense has taken a backseat.  Every evil act seems to be splashed over every news station, radio show and internet site. With the midterm elections coming up, we see the hatred grow…and it breaks my heart.

I do understand, because I have watched myself get pulled into these arguments as well, yet when I pause, I realize that most of these people want the same things I want. These people are my brothers and sisters in humanity.  They have the same feelings as me: they feel sadness, happiness, pleasure, love, pain, anger, frustration, depression, and joy.

Young, middle-aged or elderly…we all have something unique and wonderful to offer. Let us seek the greatness in each other and stop letting our differences divide us.  I know my words are nothing but a small drop in an ocean of negativity, nevertheless…maybe my one small drop will join others until we can fight back the rising tide.

And on that note, to spread a little more positivity, below you will find pictures of everyday acts showing the best in humanity, not the worst.  Seek and ye shall find…

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Strangers link arms to help each other across the street in a torrential storm.

shoes

Pizza delivery
A man delivers pizza in a flood to stranded people.

showing love to allflowers

Gratitudeeveryone everywhere download

October Nights

October moon

Lazy summer evenings descend into cold, shadowy nights

Grey cobwebs of clouds stretch across the pale moon

As black fingers claw the sky.

Thunder laughs and lightning flashes from a distance

The winds dance and tease, leaves swirling at my feet.  

And the silence whispers of ethereal voices

Beckoning to join them in the night.

A Happy and Safe Halloween to all!! 

cute-happy-halloween-facebook-cover-3

 

Daughter of the Storm

Daughter of the Storm

I have felt a strong connection to Nature since I was a young child.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to witness dramatic sunsets, white-sand tropical beaches, lush green mountains, hidden dark forests, sunlit red rock arches against a twilight blue sky and so much more.

Yet there is nothing that inspires me like watching a thunderstorm.  When lightning flashes across a sky or an explosion of thunder bounces off the surrounding mountains, I feel so connected to nature…to the power and majesty of it.  Even during a typhoon, I was the (slightly crazy) woman standing strong against the winds just to feel the rush of adrenaline as I faced a force of Nature. Climbing a wet hilltop in March and feeling the fierce storm blow as I take in the glorious view is more exciting to me than anything that man can think of.

meI’m not sure where this started, but I remember as a young child that my mother actually had to call to me from the house to come inside during an electrical storm.  I just couldn’t take my eyes off the approaching lightning and thunder.  Every moment of it was an adrenaline rush.

Since that time, my passion for Mother Nature’s storms has only increased.  When a hurricane approaches, I watch the news and videos like a weather forecaster (even when I live nowhere in the area).  If a thunderstorm approaches, I will stand outside or at a window and watch the brilliant display until it fades away.  I watch tornado videos and am fascinated with the first snowstorm of the year.

watching the stormI have come to conclude that I am a daughter of the storm.  I was meant to ride the winds.  As lightning streaks across the sky and the thunder shakes the ground I stand on, I feel a sense of power surge through me and I am at one with Nature.  I am not afraid…I am alive!  Alive with a vibrant energy that only comes when the wild winds whip my hair and fly fiercely around me.  It is in that moment that my spirit feels most connected to the powers around me…reminding me of my own inner strength and that I, too, am a force of Nature.

Forget Me Not

Forget me not

So small…barely noticed…I only found you because I was looking down at my feet.  There you were, among the mossy green blades of grass.  You were no bigger than the head of a pin.  I would have walked on by, like all the others, had I not been meandering slowly deep in thought.

You did not stand out like the red poppies, the delicate orchids or the bright sunflowers.  No, you had a quiet loveliness.  But you were there…steadfast and enduring and graceful.

I knelt down and gently touched your petals.  Though small, you were perfectly formed.  Each petal exquisitely colored in a lavender blue with a bright spot of sunshine in the middle.  Tiny mirror images of the heavens above.

You seemed to say “Look at me.  I am here.  I know I don’t stand out like the glorious rose, but I will be there in your darkest moments, growing gently and persistently at your feet.  Giving  you something to smile about…even when you are looking down.”

For some reason, I wiped a tear away as I lovingly touched the blossoms.  “I see you,” I whispered and I realized that you were, in your own small way, perhaps the most beautiful flower of all.

 

Just Another Day

The morning light crept through my window 
Dreaming faded and memories flowed
I slowly opened my eyes 
And thought
“Just another day…”

Distractions during the morning meeting
Silent reflection and melancholy feelings
I sipped a cup of tea
And thought
“Just another day…”

As the debts piled up with no end in sight,
The raise never came and the money was tight
I laid my head in my hands
And thought
“Just another day…”

I looked at my phone…still no message from you,
I wiped a tear away and tried to make do
Cheering up others
Yet still I thought
“Just another day.”

I stood just inside my apartment door
Listening to the quiet and staring at the floor
When suddenly a knock came at the door
And I sighed
“Please…some other day…”

You smiled as you stood in the archway
You wrapped me in your arms and wiped the tears away
Cradling me and touching my face
I whispered softly
“So it’s not just another day…”

couple overlooking lights

 

Becoming a Peacemaker

BusIt was just a normal early summer Sunday in London.  I had just finished church and I was feeling so calm and peaceful as I walked to my bus stop.  It had been a good day visiting with and hugging lots of friends. I hummed a song quietly as I waited with about 40 other people while cars, people and life passed hurriedly by.

While waiting, I turned to see a woman, probably around my age, take her very large and heavy purse and hit a young man walking by her in the head with it.  It was obvious she did it on purpose and I have no idea why as I didn’t hear what had passed before.  It was a shock and he and his friend both looked furious and looked ready to hit her back.

I felt a surge of emotion go through me, one that I did not understand.  I also felt determination and some instinct to protect both the woman and the young man.  At this point, I did something I have never done.  Seeing the anger on the young man’s face, I quickly stepped in between him and the woman.  I lightly put my hands on him and said quietly “It’s not worth it.  Let it go.  Just walk away.”

He was very angry (and rightly so) and said “But she hit me!!” And he looked as though he wanted to do the same.  The same calm, firm spirit came to the forefront.  “I know and she was wrong to do it, but it’s not worth it. Let it go.”  He still managed to reach above my head (he was very tall) and hit the woman lightly on the side of the head.  I stepped again between them and said “No!  It’s not worth it, let it go!”

At this point, he finally turned away with his friend and walked away.  The woman remained on her cell phone the entire time trying to ignore them.  Eventually I saw tears well up in her eyes and she too, walked away.

I returned to my waiting spot for the bus while a multitude of feelings washed over me.  I felt relief, fear, embarrassment, and even trembled as I realized what had just happened.  But most of all, I felt again that sense of peace and calm return.  As I continued to wait for my bus, my mind raced.  Why did I do that?  What prompted me to step in between them?  That was most definitely not my normal instinct to interfere in such a situation.

Later on in the day, watching the sun set from my bedroom window, I thought about it. I realized that I had been used as an instrument of Heavenly Father to prevent something that could have become very ugly.  Who knows what could have happened in the lives of those two young men and that woman had violence been the answer?  And finally, I identified that feeling that had surged through me.  It was simply love.  Love for two strangers whose lives were about to be hurt by rash decisions.

And then I understood.  A peacemaker is someone who simply loves his/her fellow man and wants to create a better world for those around them.  It isn’t easy and we often have to leave our comfort zones to do it, but even one act of kindness can change and bless the lives of many if we have the courage to act.

Jesus with a child.