It's been a calm Christmas season for me. I cut back on the decorating and the shopping and spent more time focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. I've had more time to enjoy the things I have chosen to do. Today I'm sharing a few things that have delighted me this season. First up, this little cute jar with it's metal holder. Couldn't pass it up when I saw it at the flea market!
I found my favorite Cordial Cherries! I only buy them at Christmas, so they remain special. I also have a special way of eating them. First I take a small bite being careful not to get the cherry and savor the sweet, creamy fondant and chocolate. Next, I pop the whole thing in my mouth and enjoy the cherry!! Yum!!
I found myself absolutely in awe of this man's photography. This is Arkansas nature photographer,Tim Ernst. Each year in December he presents a slideshow of images that he has included in his latest photography book. This year his book, Arkansas Nightscapes,features only night photography. My mom, dad, sister, and I attended one of his slideshows. The images include the milky way, the moon, stars, comets, shadows, color, and light. They were absolutely breathtaking! In the slide show he also included several time-lapse videos of those night skies. One in particular made the whole room gasp. He had captured a falling star that burst right above a rock formation! Of course, I had to have his latest book. That's my book he's signing! We had a delightful evening that filled our hearts with gratitude for the beauty that God has given us even in the darkest night!
One more thing that made me happy this week. After the slideshow we stopped by the Saline County Courthouse to see their lights. It makes me so happy that there is still a Nativity scene sitting on the courthouse lawn!
This has been the toughest Be Still 52 prompt yet: tallish, a bit of a sway, and a message. My biggest problem was the tallish! I've been thinking and looking around for two weeks and nothing inspired me. Today I was determined! I'm two weeks behind and I must find something.
Nature is what draws me. I'm not a flower, pretty vase, dainty teacup kind of person. So, to start this gathering I grabbed my garden clippers and tramped around the edge of the woods looking for something with a sway. I found a couple of things, blue berries and limbs from my wisteria bush. I also found these pine cone looking seed pods. Wikipedia tells me they are from an Alder bush which "is the common name of a genus of flowering plants (Alnus) belonging to the birch family Betulaceae. Alder bushes provide food for numerous butterflies and moths. That's nice to know! I'll make sure Mr. H doesn't cut them down!
Back to the photography. I first put them in a textured tall vase, but that just didn't seem to fit. I walked back to my craft room looking for some twine to wrap around the vase when I happened to look up and spotted this vintage thread spool on top of my bookshelf. Now, that was more like it! It's been sitting there all this time! I just needed to look up! I added some homespun fabric and took looks of pictures. Wound up with three that I like! Letting out a big sigh here! I'm glad this one is done!
I hear a piano made from bamboo playing. I hear children laughing. I hear babies
crying. I hear Christmas carols. I hear jingle bells. I hear a
train engine chugging and the ringing of it's bell. I
hear the tread of hundreds of feet along the pathways. I hear excited voices. I
DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?
millions of lights on bells, stars, elves, candy canes, gingerbread men, snowmen, snowflakes, trees, Santa, reindeer, a sleigh, flowers, piano, grapevine balls, butterflies, candles, and a train engine. I see
children running excitedly through the lit pathways. I see a big full
moon. I see the lights reflecting in the
Koi Pond. I see
DO YOU FEEL WHAT I FEEL?
joy and delight. I feel awe. I feel amazement. I feel Christmas!
Needing to get out after several days at home over Thanksgiving, I decided to go by my favorite antique/flea market. Now, I know Christmas has been in the stores since before Halloween, but I choose to ignore that. I pretty much refuse to go near the Christmas section of stores until after Thanksgiving. I can't ignore the Christmas music that has been playing for weeks, but that doesn't bother me. I could listen to Christmas music all year long and in fact I have played Christmas songs in the summer before! Anyway, back to the story. As I walked through the doors I was greeted by a wonderful display of Christmas, old and new. Honestly, I couldn't stop smiling!
There were trees and ornaments and snowmen and Santas. I really liked this rather tall statue of Santa and the children until I looked at his eyes...what eyes? Where are the pupils in his eyes? With all the details in his beard, why are his eyes blank? The more you look at him, he gets rather spooky!
This aluminum tree brought back many memories. We had one for several years. They were the rage in the late 50's till the early 60's. The tree assembled in about 15 minutes. Then you added the balls and garland; no lights as they might short circuit against the aluminum! Our tree was illuminated with a rotating color wheel which was placed at the base. No lights!! I could not live with that! My tree has around 200 little lights on in and I carefully wrap and place them along each branch. I love a tree full of multi-colored lights!
I found this advertisement from the Sears Christmas book in 1963.
"Whether you decorate with blue or red balls . . . or use the tree without ornaments - this exquisite tree is sure to be the talk of your neighborhood. High luster aluminum gives a dazzling brilliance. Shimmery silvery branches are swirled and tapered to a handsome realistic fullness. It's really durable . . . needles are glued and mechanically locked on. Fireproof . . . you can use it year after year."
I can remember thinking we were so modern to have an aluminum tree!My mom still has our old tree and for nostalgic purposes put it up last year! Makes me feel a little old to realize they're antique and are found in several museums. Museums? That makes me feel ancient!
Notice the heart-shaped little ornament on the right? Yes, this is the booth where I found the ornament garland I used in the pictures for my last post.
This week I found a little Christmas that put a smile on my face and delight in my heart.
I hope you're finding delight in this special season!
It's hard to believe we're already into one of the fastest paced months of the year. A month that is filled with a whirlwind of activities....decorating....shopping....baking....cleaning....busyness. Each year I get to the end of December, look back, and wonder where did the month go. I'm already shaking my head and thinking, can it be the third already?
Although I've always enjoyed the Christmas season, when I look back I don't feel like I've celebrated the true meaning of Christmas. I don't feel like I've spend time just being in the moment or savoring the sights, sounds, and flavors that go along with this holiday. I want this year to be different, so I sat down and wrote my hopes for this Christmas.
I will pray
I will journal
I will breathe
I will slow down
I will be of good cheer
I will enjoy simple things
I will remember traditions
I will treasure our family times
I will believe in Christmas magic
I will give thanks for daily blessings
I will ponder the birth of the Christ Child
I will capture Christmas through photography
I will listen to bells, choirs, and Christmas hymns
I'm trying something different this Christmas season. I've joined Journal Your Christmas 2014with Shimelle Laine. It's similar to a December Daily, but this project primarily focuses on journaling, not photography or scrapbooking. Shimelle sends a daily journaling prompt and a photo prompt, but the focus for me is the journaling. I don't think I could ever complete a December Daily, but this is simpler. You'll probably see some of my thoughts here, although I will not be posting daily. That's just a little too much work.
I encourage you to take time this December to slow down and enjoy this special season.
I'm also linking with Be still 52, where our prompt this week was square, top down, two sides.
This post wraps up my 30 Days of Gratitude postings. I have been changed this month. I have been more content, peaceful, and joyful as I've contemplated the beauty of nature. As the quote says
"It is not joy that makes us grateful, it's gratitude that makes us joyful." ~ David Steindle-Rast
I am grateful as I wander this earth for the many beauties I see in nature and I am grateful that when I share them here, you visit. I am grateful for each one of you. Words can never express how you have touched my life in so many ways! Thank you for sticking with my posting every day this month! Thank you for your comments that always make me smile! Thank you for being in my circle of friends!
"New beauty meets us at every step in all our wanderings."
I am grateful for this special day set aside to give thanks for God's abundance.
"For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, How profound your thoughts!" Psalm 92:4-5 Wishing you a very special Thanksgiving.
I am grateful for gorgeous sunsets that end beautiful days!
"Clouds come floating into my life,
no longer to carry rain or usher storm,
but to add color to my sunset sky.
~ Rabindranath Tagore (Stray Birds)
Today is also Friday which means Friday Finds hosted by Kim Klassen. This week as I was cleaning out that every growing folder of clipped recipes, I came across this little baking leaflet, New Fashioned Old-Fashioned Recipes sponsored by Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and published in 1953. Reading the forward in the leaflet gives the reason for the "new fashioned" recipes.
"To get extra light and tender, moist and delicious baked goods every time took real skill, grandmother's leavening was provided by Baking Soda and sour milk, with it's variable acidity. This new way calls for Baking Soda and vinegar. The use of this new method is dependable."
Since the Be Still 52(also hosted by Kim) exercise this week used eggs and butter, I decided this leaflet would be my focus with eggs and butter are in the background. Since the leaflet was published the year I was born, I added my little tin cake pan that was part of a baking set I played with as a child.