Pages

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Christmas is forever, not for just one day, for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf. The good you do for others is good you do yourself. ~Norman Wesley Brooks

Wishing you peace and joy this Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

CHRISTMAS JOY

 
It's early Christmas Eve morning. I'm sitting in a dark living room with only the Christmas tree lights twinkling. It's quiet. Long gone are the days of noise and excitement as Christmas approaches. I miss those days! I wish I had slowed down, relaxed, and enjoyed them more. The years pass way too fast! Oh, but we do have some wonderful Christmas memories!!   Even though there's a touch of sadness, my heart is full of Christmas joy. Christmas music is what has filled my heart with joy. I love Christmas music. I could listen to it all year long and I just might this year. It would remind me of the feelings in my heart this morning.

I wish you could have been with me the last two days! On Saturday afternoon my dad, mom, sister and I shared a special time together at Blanchard Springs Cavern. A group of talented area musicians with their stringed instruments filled the cavern with carols.
 

There's is no way that you can even imagine or I can describe the sound of joyous carols being sung in the perfect acoustics of this cavern. There were no microphones, no fancy set up;  just seven carolers, two guitars, one mandolin and one lap dulcimer. They moved through the big room as they sang. We could hear them just as clearly when they were yards away as when they were standing right in front of us.
 
We heard fun Christmas carols, a dulcimer and guitar duet, and Pachelbel's cannon played on a guitar as another gentleman read a Christmas story. I was thrilled when they sang my favorite carol The First Noel. It jubilantly rang through the cave.  The most breathtaking moment was when a beautiful soloist sang "O Holy Night." Her voice was amazing, so very pure. There was not a sound in the cavern as she sang. I closed my eyes and could feel the air full of music. I wish I had the right words to describe how I felt as she held that last beautiful note. We sat is awe as she ended and her voice echoed around the room. I just can't describe it, but it filled me with joy.

 

I'll tell you just a little about the cavern. Blanchard Springs is located in Mountain View, Arkansas.  The care given by visitors and the United States Forest Service has kept this cave a "living cave" one that is constantly changing and growing.
 


Living caves are ones in which slow metamorphosis due to minerals deposited by seeping and dripping water is still in process. The cave stays around 58 degrees year round with 100% humidity.



We were in the cathedral room which is 216 feet below the surface and is large enough to hold three football fields and still have space left over!



The cave formations include a 70-foot column, 55-foot draperies, and a natural bridge. You can see the column about 1/3 of the way from the left side of this photo.

I didn't think my heart could be any fuller, but I was wrong. In our worship service Sunday morning our church choir sang a beautiful cantata Love Transcending. We don't have a huge choir or an orchestra. We have a group of very talented singers who love to praise God with their voices. We did have a small percussion section for the cantata, chimes, a xylophone, piano, and organ. It was the perfect blend. The instruments enhanced the beautiful voices. The songs told the story of how love transcended to earth in the Christ child.

I will echo the words of our pastor after the contata,  "I am filled with unspeakable joy!"

May your heart be filled with joy this Christmas!

kat eye view
 
I'm linking this post with Kat's Exploring With A Camera. Our exploration this month was "The Lights of Night."  It's actually darker than the night down in the cavern. They keep very low lighting to show the beauty of the creations. Stop by Kat's blog and see her great tutorials and photo examples of lights at night!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ December 23, 2012


The prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday with Ashley Sisk at Ramblings and Photos all shouted Christmas to me!!  I know you're busy, I won't keep you with a lot of words!

This weeks prompts:
joy
tangled
silver
guilty pleasure
angel
 
joy
Christmas tree bell ringing out joy??
Stretch with me here, It's all I could think of!!
 
 
 tangled
tangled light drawing?
Another stretch!!
 
 
 silver
tarnished silver cap on a vintage ornament
 
 
 
 guilty pleasure
I love these!!
 

angel

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!!
May all your dreams and wishes come true!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Silent Night, Holy Night


Last night I stepped outside for a few minutes and looked up at the winter sky. The stars were bright against the dark sky and the crescent moon laying on it's side was beautiful. There's just something extra special about crisp winter nights. I began thinking about the night sky so many years ago when Christ was born. I thought about the shepherds in the fields watching their sheep. There may have been a little rustling of the sheep, perhaps a flute playing softly, or maybe it was a completely "silent night." What would it have been like to be there when the angel appeared and spoke?
 
"Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people"
 
What would if have been like to hear the host of angels fill the air with their chorus of praise?
 
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men"
 
It gives me chills just thinking about it!! I'm sure the shepherds told the story of that night many times and it was passed down through many generations. A story that we can read about in Luke chapter two in our Bibles. As I looked up at the night sky I sang the words "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht."  The first line of the hymn "Silent Night, Holy Night" in German.
 
On December 24, 1818, the young pastor, Joseph Mohr, of St. Nicholas parish church in a tiny Austrian village took a poem that he had written two years earlier to his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster and organist.  On that night in just a few short hours Guber composed the melody and guitar accompaniment for this Christmas hymn. Father Mohr's reason for wanting the new carol is unknown. Some speculate that the organ would not work; others feel that he dearly loved guitar music and merely wanted a new carol for Christmas. At the midnight mass Father Mohr and Gruber sang the hymn accompanied by Mohr's guitar. On each of the six verses, the choir repeated the last two lines. The carol was first sung in America by an Austrian family singing group in 1839. Now this lovely hymn is sung in churches and homes across the world.
 
Autograph of the carol by Franz Xaver Gruber
 
I've love this story since I first heard it in early childhood when a music teacher told us about the hymn as we prepared for our Christmas concert. Not only did she tell us the story, but she taught us the first verse in German. Although I've forgotten most of the words, I still remember the first line "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht."  I clearly remember the night of the concert; the stage, our class singing dressed in our Christmas best, and being so proud that we could speak German!
  
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Joseph Mohr
Franz Xaver Gruber
 
If you can, take a few minutes to go outside tonight, look at the winter sky, absorb the beauty, and remember the most perfect silent night.

Monday, December 17, 2012

It's All About The Shape!

The sun hasn't shown much around here lately. I really wish it would come back! The cloudy days make the world more bleak and stark.  There's very little color to photograph, so I looked for the next best thing...forms and shapes. I found that forms and shapes are my muse!  Well, plus macro shots, that is!!  When the leaves are gone and the flowers are gone the shapes magically appear!
 
Seed pods are a favorite of mine!  I've been amazed at the different shapes and sizes of these little seed bearers! I can just image the seedpod slowly opening and its seeds being scattered by the wind or animals assuring us of their return next spring.


Sometimes I find ball shapes or...


elongated shapes or...


fuzzy shapes.
Each not very colorful, but amazing
in it's texture and beauty.


I'm captivated by the curls, shapes, and textures of the drying leaves. Each one so different and unique.
 

Even the dried flower is gorgeous
and graceful as she bends her head.
 

I always count it a special day when I find a little heart-shape in nature. I've heard them called "little love note from nature."  They're always a surprise that causes me to gasp and makes my heart beat a little faster!
 
Take time, notice the small things and enjoy!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ December 16

I'm enjoying the Christmas season this year! It's a little more relaxing than normal!  It could be that I've made an effort to slow down and notice the special things of this busy season!

This week's Scavenger Hunt Sunday prompts
sparkly
door
decorate
stripes
a few of my favorite things


sparkly

 
door
this is what hangs on my front door


decorate
I love to decorate with vintage items.
 

stripes
Stripes are even pretty in black in white.


a few of my favorite things
I love children's books, especially Christmas books!

That's it for another week!
I hope your week is filled with wonderful memories!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peace and Comfort

May your heart find peace and comfort today.


"For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."
 
Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12.12.12

I'm sure you're all aware that yesterday was 12/12/12!  How could we miss that fact, it was all over the news and the Internet!  There were weddings, celebrations, and special attention given to babies born on this date. Never again in our lifetime will we see these numbers line up!  It won't happen again until 12/12/3012!!  The date numbers won't line up at all until 01/01/3001!  I guess we'll be missing those parties!!  It's kind of neat that I was alive for the number line ups that started in 2001! Okay!! Enough about numbers it's confusing my brain!!  I took this picture yesterday at 12:12 p.m. Sorry about the bad photo!! I didn't think of taking this until the last minute and I only had a minute to take it!!
 
 
It's funny, I can't remember numbers! Give me a number and ten minutes later I've forgotten it! I am fascinated with numbers though. I love that numbers mean special days, like birthdays and holidays! I love their shapes and special combinations. Numbers are everywhere!!
 



I decided to treat myself to a holiday yesterday!  I had plenty that needed to be done laundry, finishing some ornaments I'm stitching, and wrapping gifts. I just put that all aside and took a day off from the holiday hustle and bustle. I took the time to just play with my camera and take pictures of my holiday decorations. I picked out 12 to give you on this 12th day.

 
Did you do a little something special yesterday?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Icicles!!


Our weather has finally turned colder and it's beginning to feel more like December. On December 1st it was in the 70’s and this morning we dipped to 19 degrees!!  Looking out the window I can see the ground covered with a heavy frost that is glistening  in the morning light. I think I'll just stay inside and enjoy my Christmas decorations.
 
I changed things up a bit this year…small changes. I was getting tired of every year looking identical to the last. One of the things I did was add icicles to the tree. I haven’t done that in years! I stopped the year Jake, our oldest grandson, was born because I didn’t want him eating them. That was ten years ago. This is the first year we haven’t had a really little one in the house. Next year we’ll have a new grand baby, another grandson,  so this was the year!  When I was growing up I had a love/hate relationship with icicles! I loved the look, but we had to be so careful putting them on…no throwing…not globs. They were laid carefully across the branches. I remember making my children do the same  thing! I look back and wonder, why did I care? I should have just let them enjoy the magic of decorating the Christmas tree! It didn't have to be perfect!!
 
As added the icicles this year, I placed them on the tree semi-carefully and even tossed a few; just because I could! Some of these icicles are forty years old. Many years ago when  Christmas was over, I would take each one off the tree and carefully lay them on a piece of white tissue paper and then I would gently fold if for storage. Now they are just in an old shoebox. I think the shoebox is even antique!!  Why did I save them, because my mom did!! Why did she…because they couldn’t afford new ones each year!
 
I can’t wait to see my grandson's reaction to the tree. I’m not sure they’ve ever seen Christmas tree icicles! As I sit here writing, the heater has just come on and the icicles are sparkling as they wave in the moving air.
 
MAGICAL!
 

"Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time." ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Photo-Heart Connection ~ November 2012

 
 
It's magical!
It's breathtaking!
 
What is magical and breathtaking?
Discovering a beautiful stem of seed pods!
 
I'm amazed when I hold a little pod full of seeds in my hands. I know that when it cracks open the seeds will be released on the wind or carried on the backs of animals. I've brushed a few seeds off myself after a walk in the woods. Amazing isn't it, that with the right conditions beautiful plants will emerge and start the life cycle all over again. Even though the branches are bare and the landscape looks stark, the tiny seeds are there ready for the next season.
 
Each little seed pod brings to me a sign of hope. It brings me happiness and peace. It reminds me that no matter what happens in my life, I have peace and happiness through the promise that the God who created these seeds is with me every step of the way.
 
 
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."
Romans 15:13



Do You Here What I Hear?

There’s music in the air!

Christmas music that is!

Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with melody that would last forever. ~ Bess Steeter Aldrich
 
Christmas music has been an essential part of Christmas for centuries, people have gathered together in villages, town squares, churches, and barns to celebrate the birth of Jesus by singing.


Christmas carols and hymns are one part of the holiday season that always lifts my spirits. It’s also nice that I’m not required to do anything to enjoy this lift…no decisions, no shopping, no baking, and no assemble necessary. All I have to do is listen and of course, sing along!
 
My favorite Christmas carol is “The First Noel.” I especially love the chorus. When I hear these words, I always think of a chorus of angels singing their glory to God.
 
(the ornament below is one from my childhood, dated 1961)
The first noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!
 
Very little is actually none about the origin of this song. It’s believed to have been sung in France during the 15th century and then brought to England before 1823. Noel is a French word meaning “birthday.”  Carols such as this were sung when the village gathered for singing and celebrating the bringing in of the Yule log. I thought it was very interesting that at this time carols were thought of as popular religious songs meant to be sung outside the church rather than within.
(these angels are also from my childhood)
 
Christmas music brings to me :
  • the story of the birth of Jesus (Away In A Manger, O little Town Of Bethlehem, Silent Night, Oh, Holy Night)
  • worship (O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels From The Realms Of Glory)
  • joy (Joy To The World, Angels We Have Hear On High)
  • hope (Let There Be Peace On Earth)
  • decorating ideas (O Christmas Tree, The Holly And The Ivy)
  • traditions of old (We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Deck The Halls) I'm thinking a yule log would be nice next year, but I don't think Mr. H will agree!!
  • ideas for gift giving (The Twelve Days Of Christmas) Let me know what you want off this list!!
  • dreams and wishes (I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas, Let It Snow, Let it Snow LET IT SNOW) emphasis mine, yes, please LET IT SNOW!
  • childhood memories (Here Comes Santa Claus, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Jingle bells)
So crank up your radio. Listen to your Mp3 player, CD's, records, or what ever you have and enjoy this season of beautiful music. Oh, and don't forget to sing along!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In The Picture ~ November 2012

In The Picture
 
It's time again for {in the picture} with Christy at Urban Muser.
Eleven months have come and gone since I began this project!
Over forty-four posted self-portraits!
One more month to go!
I'm proud of myself!
I'm going to make it!!
 
I realized that I had shown my face, my feet, my back, my shadow, but I've never really shown  my hands!  Hands are expressive and I didn't want to leave them out!
 
My hands say "I LOVE YOU!"  I've used this hand sign with my grandchildren since the first one started preschool. His Mom actually started this practice. When she dropped him off at school she waved with one hand and said "I love you" with the other. When his twin brothers were born, I dropped him off for my daughter and of course had to never forget the hand signs!!  It's a family tradition now! Anytime we separate we wave and give an "I LOVE YOU!"
Today, I'm sending this out to you!!



My hands hold the amazing things of nature!
Huge leave!
I think it's a sassafras leaf. If anyone knows please tell me!
 
 
My hands hold the little critters!
I was told this is a beetle cucumber beetle.
He was on this persimmon and then crawled onto my hand.

 
My hands hold the beauty of nature!
Brown withered leaves are beautiful in the morning frost.
I also love the curlicue on the left side of the leave.
 
 
Our optional them this month was "gratitude." I'm sitting outside journaling near the open crawl space of our house. My husband is under the house adding some insulation to the pipes. We've had a terrible pike rattle lately!  I'm the "gopher." I sit at the door listening, waiting for him to tell me what he needs and I "go for" it!  I even crawled under the house and took him what he needed. Okay, so where is this going??  I'm grateful that he's able to fix so many things around the house and he does it, even though he hates it!!" :)  There's always some grumbling, but he gets the job done!
 
 
One more month to go!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ December 2

 
The busy month of December has begun!
Although it certainly doesn't feel like December.
We were in the 70's yesterday and should be today!!
 
The prompts for Scavenger Hunt Sunday with Ashley at Ramblings and Photos were tougher for me this week. I had to step out of my comfort zone, which is nature, to fulfill the prompts. It was a fun set of prompts that had me doing some creative thinking!!
 
The prompts were:
missing
numbers
purple
music
bracelet
 
 
Missing



Numbers



Purple
vintage crocheted trivet
Each individual circle was crocheted with tiny thread and then placed over a cold drink bottle cap. This is in such good shape that I know it wasn't ever used under a hot pot. It must have just been used as a decoration in the kitchen. Curiosity got the better of me, so I carefully removed three of the caps just to see what kind of pop caps were used!

The trivet was made sometime after 1938, since this was when Sun Crest soda was developed. Royal Crown Cola was developed in 1933 and good old Coca-Cola has been around since 1886! (according to a quick Internet search)



Music



Bracelet

That's it for this week!
I hope your first week in December is full of fun!