Month: December 2011

Advent 2011

Dear friends and followers.  I regret that I was not able to keep up with my Advent 2011, I had a few setbacks.  My husband was in the hospital for 8 days,and is now home, praise God.  His doctors are working (along with the prayers of our friends and prayer partners, and our faith in God) to restore his health in every area.  He had made great improvements in most areas, with a slight setback in the healing of his leg, however we are not swayed or moved.  We know God has His hands upon him.

My computer sadly broke down right after my last post and needs to be replaced.  I’m using my daughter’s computer right now.  I can’t complain, my computer lasted for almost 7 years, and they say the average life span of a computer is 3-5 years.  The downside is that I do not have the funds to get a new one, so posting to my blog will be difficult until I get a new one.  Again, I give all praise and thanks to God, because while I cannot post to my blog, I also am not bound to the computer as I was.  I truly spent way too much time on the computer.

And, as usually happens, I allowed myself to get run down between being at the hospital, trying to volunteer at the law office and give my family a nice Christmas, so I ended up getting sick Christmas evening.  It could have been much worse, I am grateful that it was just cold/hot spells and muscle soreness.  The downside is the wonderful fever blister that is about to make its appearance just to let me know that I was in fact sick and I need to take better care of myself.

I pray that God blesses you abundantly with His peace, joy and health now and for the coming years.  Know that we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

Advent 2011 Day 20

With just 5 days until Christmas, many have finished their shopping, finished their wrapping, mailed their greeting cards and are done their baking.  I am not even close to being done any of it.

I know I need to get my cards in the mail, do some baking, plan Christmas dinner and get a few gifts, but for some reason that is not what is on my mind.  I’m thinking about the squirrels, rabbits and birds that hang in my yard and wondering what I can do for them.  I have no idea why – I mean they’re squirrels and rabbits and birds for goodness sake.  I’m sure they’ve laid up their food for the winter, but I can’t stop thinking about them.  Maybe it’s because I noticed the huge chunk missing out of one of the cushions on my lawn furniture.  Yes, I should have brought them in weeks ago, but it wasn’t a high priority – then… Or maybe it was the enormous cluster of bird feathers at the base of my spruce tree.  Or perhaps it was the 2 nests that I also found at the base of  my spruce tree. 

Whatever the reason, someone or something is trying to get my attention.  So, with that in mind, I’m pulling out the Girl Scout in me and I’m going to make some Pinecone Birdfeeders and save all the ends of my bread and put them out for the furry friends.

Don’t forget about your woodland friends this winter.  I will suggest however that you put your goodies far from the house to avoid having them become too comfortable or close to your entryways.  I opted to use directions from a website for the Pinecone Birdfeeders to save time.  Their directions and pictures are awesome.

Materials you will need for each pinecone feeder:

  • A large, open pinecone
  • Vegetable shortening, peanut butter, lard or suet
  • Oatmeal or corn meal – optional
  • Birdseed
  • A few feet of string, fishing line or twine
  • Mixing bowl
  • Butter knife
  • Spoon
  • Scissors
  • Pie tin, paper plate or cookie sheet
  • ½ cup measuring cup
  • Optional: High-energy bird foods such as dried fruit (cut in small pieces), chopped nuts, sunflower seeds or millet

Making a pinecone bird feeder:

STEP 1:

Assemble your materials.

STEP 2:

Tie a string around the wider, stem end of the pinecone.

STEP 3: – Only need to do this step if you opt to use oatmeal or corn meal

Mix ½ cup vegetable shortening (or alternative) with ½ cup oatmeal or corn meal in a mixing bowl until well blended. (This amount will cover one large pinecone or two or three smaller ones.)

Pinecone feeder ingredients

STEP 4:

Thoroughly spread the mixture over the pinecone with a butter knife or back side of a spoon.

Pinecone ingredients

STEP 5:

Pour the birdseed into a pie tin or on a paper plate or cookie sheet. If you choose, you can add any of the optional high-energy foods to the birdseed. Then roll the pinecone in the birdseed until well covered.

Birdseed in pan

STEP 6:

Suspend the feeder from a tree branch outside.
Completed Pinecone birdfeeder

Advent 2011 Day 19

Do you bake at Christmas time? Do you have anything special you make for the family or friends?  There was a time when I would bake for days at a time.  Cookies, cakes, pies and whatnot.

As the years have gone by, I have done less each year.  I can’t say why exactly, there are many reasons, but I must say I miss all the excitement of shopping for the ingredients, and getting flour everywhere, all the mmmm’s and oohhhs from the kids as they sampled the cookies and treats.

With all that’s going on in my life right now, I don’t have the time or energy this year, even though my mind and heart had plans of making all kids of goodies.  Even still, I thought today’s Advent could be about Christmas recipes.  Here are couple I found on the web that I thought were a bit different.  Feel free to share your favorite recipes in the comments section – I’d be happy to share with my readers.

Christmas Crescent Cookiescrescent

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
2 c. flour
2 c. chopped pecans
5 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar; add vanilla and water. Sift flour and salt,
stir into mixture. Add pecans and mix well. Shape into size of 
walnut and shape into crescent. Bake slowly at 325 degrees about 
20 minutes. While warm, roll into powdered sugar. 

 

Christmas – Egg Nog Pie

4 3/4 ounce package vanilla pudding and pie filling mix  
eggnog pie2 cups eggnog 
1 1/4 cups milk 
1 tablespoon light rum 
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
9" graham cracker pie shell 
Whipped cream 
Nutmeg
	
Cook pudding mix for for pie filling using 2 cups eggnog and 
1 1/4 cups milk. Stir in rum and nutmeg; pour into crust. Cover 
surface with plastic wrap; chill several hours. Garnish with 
whipped cream and nutmeg.

Christmas Float

1 can coke or Dr Pepperrootbeer
3 scoops of ice cream - chocolate or vanilla
4 cherries
2 red and green gum drops
red and green M&M's
whipped cream topping
	
Put ice cream in cup. Pour soda on it, then add the whipped cream, 
cherries and candy.
 

Christmas Cranberry Punch

2 C Cranberry Juicecranberry

2 C Pineapple Juice

1 C Orange Juice

3/4 C Triple Sec (optional)

1 Pint Strawberries, sliced

1 Lime thinly sliced

4 C Ginger Ale – chilled

 

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts.

In a large glass container, combine ingredients and chill thoroughly.  Just before serving, slowly stir in the ginger ale. Pour into a punch bowl or large jug and add ice cubes.

Advent 2011 Day 18

eggnog1Eggnog.  Either you LOVE it, or you HATE it.  I side with the latter.  I like eggs, but something about whipping it into something I drink just doesn’t do it for me.  I thought I’d get all historical and tell you the history of Eggnog and why we only drink it for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there really isn’t anything conclusive that says why or when or how it became a holiday tradition.

It appears that it started in renaissance Europe.  It was not something for the poor, mainly an aristocratic treat since eggs and milk and alcohol were expensive.  They mainly used wine or ale to add to the mix and I’m thinking that since refrigeration was not around, adding the alcohol helped keep it around a bit longer.  eggnog

It seems to have been intended as a winter treat.  Something they would serve at parties and gatherings.  When it hit America around the 1600s, rum was used instead of wine and so that is where that tradition began. 

Today it comes in all varieties.  You can get it with or without alcohol, you can even get it with soy or organic milk. 

 

eggnog2eggnog7eggnog3eggnog6eggnog5eggnog4

There’s eggnog coffee, ice cream, cheesecake, cookies, pancakes, martini’s, and the list goes on wherever your imagination or taste buds take you.

Advent 2011 Day 17

Joy to the World, the Lord has come!  I’m not sure why that suddenly popped into my head, but I thought it the perfect message for today’s Advent.  This song, written by Isaac Watts, is based on Psalm 98 and was not originally meant to be a Christmas carol, but rather as a hymn giving glory to God.  Let it ring through our hearts at Christmas, and all year long. ~Briggie

 

Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Advent 2011 Day 16

I apologize for not posting this on day 16.  I have been preoccupied with my husband’s illness and did not have an opportunity to get to a computer.  I thought it would be nice to post some Christmas quotes for you so here goes…

 

merry christmas

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.  ~Roy L. Smith

 

Christmas is the gentlest, loveliest festival of the revolving year – and yet, for all that, when it speaks, its voice has strong authority.  ~W.J. Cameron

 

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!  ~Author Unknown

 

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!  ~Hamilton Wright Mabie

 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

Advent 2011 Day 15

I am having a hard time deciding on what to post for today’s Advent.  My husband has been in the hospital since Monday, and my mind just can’t seem to focus.  I jump from idea to idea but never get anything going.  It’s just 10 short days until Christmas and I am praying for a Christmas miracle, as I am sure many thousands, no – millions of others are.

Some are praying for financial help, some for a medical miracle, others for their soul mate.  So many are praying to find work, keep their homes, fix their cars, the list goes on and on and on…

I am praying for peace.  Peace over my finances.  Peace over my husbands health.  Peace over my children.  Peace over my employment.  Peace over my home.  Peace over my car.  Peace over my spirit.  Peace over my soul.

I feel that if I pray for peace, all the other things that I could, and should be praying for will work themselves out God’s way.  I’m giving him the reins over it all.  I truly feel it’s the only way I will make it though the day without losing what little control I have left.

So, my Advent for today is that you find peace.  His peace.  The peace that surpasses all understanding.  The peace that will calm any storm.  The peace that will give you rest and help you to breathe.

 

Matthew 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 11:28-30  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 20:19  On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,  “Peace be with you.”

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Advent 2011 Day 14

 

The Story of the Nativity – Luke 2:1-21wisemen

 

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

mary5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.shepards

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

jesus16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

candle

Advent 2011–Day 12

I thought I’d switch things up a bit for today’s Advent.  My dear friend Doris sent me an email with the message below and I knew I had to share it.  Think of it as an early Christmas gift from me to you.  Remember, a gift does not have to be something you purchased, the gift of prayer has no earthly measure but is more precious than silver or gold.  Take care and may God bless you and keep you in His care. ~Briggie

gold

Hope all is well. When you have a moment to yourself, read this. Many people claim to pray, but not everyone does. May everyone who receives this message be blessed.

There are 12 months -  12 disciples -  12 tribes of Israel  -  Jesus’ birth is celebrated in the 12th month.  

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, just a lot of reward. Make sure you pray, and pray believing God will answer. 

May today be all you need it to be. May the peace of God and the freshness of the Holy Spirit restore your thoughts, rule in your dreams tonight, and conquer all your fears. May God manifest himself today in ways you have never experienced. May your joys be fulfilled, your dreams be closer, and your prayers be answered. I pray that faith enters a new height for you.  I pray that your territory is enlarged.  I pray for your peace, healing, health, happiness, prosperity, joy, and a true and undying love for God.  I ask this in the name of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. ~Amen.

Advent 2011 Day 11

santa

Det. Nunzio: [after Scott got arrested] Look, I know you’re Scott Calvin. You know you’re Scott Calvin. So let’s make this simple: I say ‘name’, you say ‘Scott Calvin’.
[gestures Scott to come close]

Det. Nunzio: Name?
Scott Calvin: Kris Kringle.kris kringle

Det. Nunzio: Name?
Scott Calvin: Sinterklaas.Sinterklass

Det. Nunzio: [annoyed] Name!

Scott Calvin: Pere Noelpere noel. Babbo NataleBabbo Natale 1875. PelznickelPelznickel.

Scott Calvin: [imitates Ed Sullivan] Topo Gigio!topo gigio

I love that scene from The Santa Clause.  You may know him as Santa,  but he is known around the world by many other names – nearly 40 different names actually.  He also comes in different shapes and sizes and colors too.  No matter what he looks like, how he speaks or enters your home, one thing remains the same – he brings joy to those who love and believe in him.  He is the subject of many songs: Jolly Old St. Nicholas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Kris Kringle’s Jingle Jingle Jingle, just to name a few. 

They say Christmas is for the children – and maybe they are right.  Each of us was a child at one time or another.  Staying in touch with our ‘inner child’ is a way to stay young at heart.  I’ve heard tell that it’s a secret to living a long, full and happy life.  No matter who or what he is to you, take a moment to reflect on what he stands for -  the selfless act of giving and making others happy.  To me, he will always be Santa.

* Note – giving does not have to mean you have to buy something – you can make something, you can give your time or a kind word. My Mom always told me, “it’s the thought that counts.” Today more than ever those words are so true.

The Legend of Saint Nicholas (From the Volunteer Center of Southern Arizona.)

Long ago, in a far off land known today as Turkey, there was a boy named Nicholas. Nicholas was a person who created numerous miracles and accomplished many good deeds. As a teenager, Nicholas inherited a vast fortune, but he had no idea what to do with it. Wanting to help those less fortunate than himself, Nicholas set out to make the wishes of others come true. While Nicholas knew the townspeople needed his help, he was also aware that they were very proud people, so Nicholas decided to help his friends secretly.

Each night, Nicholas would disguise himself and deliver such items as food, clothing and money to the people of his village. Of all the townspeople, Nicholas felt the closest bond with one specific family. In this family, there were three daughters. Sadly, the family was very poor and the father felt much pain over the fact that he could not afford the weddings of each daughter. In his desire to help the family, Nicholas left a bag of gold on the father’s doorstep as the wedding of the oldest daughter was near. Upon discovering the money the next morning, the family was very happy!

When it was time for the second daughter to get married, Nicholas again visited the family. He threw another bag of gold into the family’s chimney. The family greatly appreciated the individual who was providing them with such a great fortune, but they had no idea as to who this person could be. As the third daughter’s wedding neared, the father decided to stand guard so that he could identify the kind person who had created such happiness for his family. On this visit, Nicholas tossed the bag of gold through an open window. Upon hearing the bag of coins land on the floor, the father chased Nicholas until he caught up with him.

Nicholas was embarrassed and did not want the father to make his identity known to the townspeople. The father promised to keep the secret, but was so grateful for the kindness of young Nicholas that he could not keep the secret no matter how hard he tried. Soon the entire town knew that Nicholas was the person responsible for the wonderful events that had occurred in their town.

Every December, Nicholas took it upon himself to reward all of the boys and girls who had been good throughout the year by secretly delivering presents to them. All these years later, Nicholas is still remembered for his kindness, generosity, and undying love for children. In honor of Nicholas, many countries throughout the world provide children with gift bags in December on Saint Nicholas’ Day. 

Prayer Request–Susan & Mother

I received an email from Gail asking for prayer for her daughter’s friend Susan and her mother.  Please place them on your prayer list.  We all know the power of prayer – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. May God bless you for your faithfulness. ~Briggie

 

Dear Prayer Warriors,

My daughter’s friend Susan has had to leave a job offer and not complete medical school to care for her mother who has BRAIN CANCER.  The tumor is growing rapidly, and the Drs. want to start her on a  cancer treatment now but the prognosis is for 1-2 years at most. Susan wants her mother to be accepted for a new clinical trial and needs a miracle/conventional route is just not acceptable.  Susan’s mother has not been able to study her Bible due to memory and focus problems.

Susan wants to help her mother but she was so close to being a brilliant doctor and will still have to pay for 4yrs of medical school.She needs GOD to intervene and provide the answer and healing.

This is the time for a miracle before Christmas and Praise God that my daughter and her best friend are looking to God and his prayer warriors to lift up Susan and her mother and claim a healing miracle or medical breakthrough for with God Nothing is Impossible. Please pray in Jesus’s Name  and for God’s will to manifest itself in this family. Blessings to you!  Gail.

Advent 2011 Day 10

C is for Christmas Cookies!  Everyone has a favorite cookie that helps to make their holiday complete.  I love sugar cookies, spritz cookies, peanut butter cookies and the kind with the Hershey Kiss stuffed in the middle.  My Mom makes awesome chocolate chip cookies but I’d have to say I love her Russian Tea Cakes the best.  I was browsing the web and learned they are also known as Povlorones and can be made with chestnuts or almonds.  I prefer walnuts myself.

Here is some history I borrowed from Wikipedia: Russian tea cakes appeared in Russia in the 18th century as a confection used in a tea-sharing ceremony. By the 20th century, they were a part of wedding and Christmas traditions in the U.S., known by their popular “Russian tea” name. Mexican Wedding Cookies, and Bizcochitos, the official cookie of the State of New Mexico, are similar except that they have the addition of anise, although, properly made, the anise flavor is very mild. Many cultures have a similar cookie. In Spain, they are called Mantecosos.

My Mom has always used the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook, and so do I.  Why question perfection?  Now, some recipes say you can use margarine – DO NOT BELIEVE THEM!  Use butter – it makes the cookies melt in your mouth.  Now as for using salted or unsalted butter.  That is debatable.  I have always used salted butter because I never really knew about unsalted butter.  I know they say you should use unsalted for baking, but hey – I know what I grew up on and what I and my family have come to love so I will leave that decision up to you – but the margarine thing – forget it!  Trust me!

cookieINGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts – your preference
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for dusting

Parchment paper for baking

 

BAKING INSTRUCTIONS – You must be attentive when making these cookies!!!

Heat oven to 400ºF.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl – should be very creamy. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.

Carefully roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Makes anywhere from 2-3 dozen depending on the size of your cookies.

Advent 2011 Day 9

For those who follow my blog and are enjoying the virtual Advent, I humbly apologize for Today’s Advent being late.  I was making rather merry with my family and close friends last night, and I was so tired when I got home I forgot to put up a post.  I am taking steps to enter a few posts ahead of time so that this does not happen again. 

Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day…So many songs with Bells in them , but my favorite has to be Carol of the Bells.  I love every version, but my utmost favorite arrangement is the one performed by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I found a version on YouTube that has an awesome light show to go along with the song.  Enjoy and God bless you! ~Briggie

Advent 2011 Day 8

I was reminiscing about Christmas’ past and thought I’d share some of my favorite childhood Christmas memories. 

It just wasn’t Christmas for me as a kid until I saw Santa sledding on a Norelco Electric Shaver. How awesome is it that we now have Google so we can search for things from the past and continue to enjoy them – who would have thought it would be possible!

I love the smell of a fresh cut Canadian Balsam, but I loved sitting in front of my Grandmom Palermo’s Aluminum tree with the color wheel.  (this isn’t her tree but it’s close enough)tree2

I loved all the wonderful candy I would find in my stocking like the Lifesaver story bookcandy, chocolate foil wrapped coinscandy2, ribbon candycandy3, candy coated chocolate strawscandy4, and gold rocks bubble gumcandy5, but my favorite was the toy shaped sugar lollipops – or glycerin candy.  I have such a hard time finding them these days and couldn’t even find a picture of them, but they came in a bag with 4 or 5 lollipops.  They were red, green and yellow and came in different shapes.  I remember one was a chicken, and another a tree.  They were pure sugar and yummy.  While searching I found another lollipop we would get but I still liked those other lollipops a lot morecandy6.

I couldn’t wait to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Jack Frost. They are still some of my favorite movies.  One year, my dad took me to the movie theater to see Albert Finney in Scrooge.  I never forgot how much fun we had and I watch it every year.  I love the story so much I have several versions of it and I am ashamed to say this, being such an avid reader, but until this year, I never took the time to read the original story by Charles Dickens.  Great story, I highly recommend it. 

movie3movie2moviemovie4movie5movie6

toyAnd I would be lying if I didn’t say I loved all the cool toys, like my first Barbie doll, toy2my princess vanity table, nurse’s kit, toy3and all the dollies like baby tumblestoy6 or baby grow a toothtoy4.  But my favorite gift was probably the 20” Baby Blue Schwinn bike I got one year.  It was so beautiful and to top it off, it was warm out that Christmas day so I was able to go outside and take it for a spin.  I loved that bike, however my baby brother loved to take things apart so one year while I was visiting with my Grandmom Palermo, he decided to disassemble it.  The problem was that when he tried to put it back together, there were a few parts left over that shouldn’t have been, if you know what I mean. 

toyy7

Well, I hoped you enjoyed my trip down memory lane.  I have lots of other memories, some good, like going to bed on Christmas Eve with the tree untrimmed, then waking up Christmas morning to see it all lit up and gloriously decorated – by Santa as Mom tells it.  Some bad, like the year I was forced to eat a bowl of Spaghetios but my stomach hurt and I got sick really bad.  With that said, I must say the good ones outweigh and always push away the bad ones, and I would not trade away a single one.  Take care and God bless. ~Briggie

Advent 2011 Day 7

I actually posted this back in November of 2008, and today someone visited my site and commented on it.  I thank them for blessing me with the remembrance of this and decided to repost it for today’s advent.  God bless you and keep you in His care. ~Briggie

clip_image002 Well, Christmas is just a few weeks away and I found this story on a tract in my local Christian bookstore and thought I would share it with you.    Some people believe this story of the candy cane is only a legend.  Others believe it really happened this way.  We do not know for sure exactly how the candy cane was invented, but one thing is certain…it is an excellent picture of Christ and His love for us.clip_image004

Long ago there were two villages in a far-off land.  One was in a valley, and one was on a mountaintop.  The people in the mountain village wanted to give each person in the valley a Christmas gift.

So, the mountain townspeople formed a committee to think of something special.  Money was limited and each gift had to be of equal value to each person.  After much time an discussion a decision was finally reached.  The town’s candy maker, an elderly gentleman who had loved Jesus for many years, came up with an idea – the candy cane.

Now, you may be thinking, what is so special about a candy cane – and how can it ever be tied in with the real meaning of Christmas?  Well here is how…and why…

 

1.  The candy cane is in the shape of a shepherd’s staff.  Jesus is our Shepherd, and we are in His flock.  A sheep, follows his own shepherd, knows his voice, trusts him and knows that he is totally safe with him.  The sheep will follow no other shepherd than their own.  In the same way, if we belong to Jesus, we are to follow only Him.   (John 10:11; Psalm 23:1; Isaiah 40:11)clip_image005

2.  Turned over, the candy cane is a "J", the first letter of Jesus’ name.  (Luke 1:31)  It is made of hard candy to remind us that Chris is the "rock" of our salvation.

 

3.  The wide red stripes on the candy cane represent the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for each one of us so that we can have eternal life through Him.  He restores us and cleans us with His shed blood – the only thing that can wash away our sin.  (Luke 22:20)

 

4.  The white stripes on the candy cane represent Jesus’ virgin birth and His pure, sinless life.  He is the only human being ever who never committed a single sin, even though He was tempted just as we are.  (1 Peter 2:22)clip_image004

5.  The narrow red stripes on candy canes symbolize Jesus’ stripes, or scars, which He got when He was arrested and whipped.  The Bible says we are healed (of sin) because He took those wounds.  (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24)

 

6.  The flavoring in the candy cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop.  Hyssop is of the mint family and was used in Old Testament times for purification and sacrifice.  (John 19:29; Psalm 51:7)

 

7.  When we break our candy cane, it reminds us that Jesus’ body was broken for us.  When we have communion, it is a reminder of what He did for us.  (1 Corinthians 11:24)clip_image005

8.  And, if we share our candy cane and give some to someone else because we love that person, we are sharing the love of Jesus (1 John 4:7,8)

 

God gave Himself to us when He sent Jesus to earth to save us.  He loves us so much that he wants us to spend eternity with Him.  We are assured of that when we accept Jesus into our hearts as our Savior.  (John 1:12; John 3:3,16)

You can accept Jesus into your heart through a prayer like this:

Dear God, Thank You for loving me enough to send Jesus for Christmas.  I believe Jesus died for my sins, and I accept Him now as my Savior.  I promise to follow Him clip_image007and share His love with others the best that I can.  Amen.

Advent 2011 Day 6

Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays.  This is the topic of many discussions and sometimes those discussions get quite heated.  My personal feeling is this, we live in the United States of America where freedom of speech and belief is our right.  So if I choose to say Merry Christmas, it is my right.  If you prefer Happy Holliday, it’s your right.  It’s about respecting each person’s right to celebrate, honor or worship in the way they choose.  As for me and my house, we shall celebrate, honor and worship Jesus Christ, our Reason for the season.  I’ve posted 2 videos I thought might enjoy.  Merry Christmas and God bless you! ~Briggie

Advent 2011 Day 5

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lights2It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Actually, if you’ve been to any of the stores, it’s been looking like Christmas since before Halloween, but who’s counting?  Anyway, with the days flying by, I decided to get started on my outside lighting, or should I say, finish up.  My son started setting things up last week, but I just wasn’t feeling much yuletide spirit and had so little energy to tackle the job. lights4 To be quite honest, I felt a bit ho-hum and wasn’t in the mood to work on the decorations, but I began stringing lights on my lights3Dogwood today and suddenly seeing it so bright and lit up, I felt a spark of that Christmas spirit touch me deep inside and one thing led to another, and if it wasn’t for my knee giving me trouble, I would have finished stringing the front and back porch to bring my outside work to a conclusion, but it will have to wait till another day.  So if you haven’t done so, string up some lights, whether it’s inside or out.  They brighten up a room as well as our spirits.lights ~Briggie

Advent 2011 Day 4

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With Christmas just 3 short weeks away, I figure this is a good time to get started on my Christmas card list.  I remember when I would send out over a hundred cards to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.  To save time I would use labels to address the envelopes and to sign my cards, but began to feel it was more of a chore and not a labor of love, so over the years, for various reasons, I’ve trimmed my list.  With this I mind I thought I’d research the origins of sending Christmas cards and this is what I found:

Christmas Cards

No one is sure where the tradition of sending Christmas cards first started. Some say it began in England, where schoolchildren away from home would write to their parents reminding them that the gift-giving time would soon be near. The first known artist to create a Christmas card was John Calcott Horsley, who designed a card for Sir Henry Cole, a London museum director.  Sir Henry Cole decided that it would be easier to send pre-made cards than to labor over individual greetings, as he had done as a child. Sir Henry had 1000 cards printed and sold them for one shilling each.  At first, only the wealthy could afford them, then later less-expensive printing soon became available.  Queen Victoria loved the idea and soon it became quite fashionable. By the 1850s, Christmas cards were a well established tradition.
Christmas cards did not become popular in America until the 1870s when Louis Prang, a German immigrant who owned a small Massachusetts print shop, designed and printed such beautiful cards that he became known as, “father of American Christmas cards.” The cards were favorable, but impractical to produce. By the end of the nineteenth century, less expensive cards were taking over and Prang was forced out of business.  Before WWI, many of the cards sold in America came from Germany.  After the war, the Christmas card business flourished. Today, over two-and-a-half billion Christmas cards are exchanged every year!

So, now that you know how they got their start, why not start a new tradition.  This year when you send your cards, perhaps you could send a few to your local nursing home asking them to share the cards with those who may not have family or friends.  Perhaps you could send a few to our service men and women overseas (click here for the link on how to send your cards to insure they arrive on time).border

Advent 2011 Day 3

garland2I heard this song for the first time a few years ago and was so moved that not only has it become one of my favorite holiday songs, I find myself humming when I need to feel closer to God.  It moves me to tears every time.  May God richly bless you and may His peace be upon you. ~Briggie ^i^