Advent ~ Cozy Warmth

Advent ~ Cozy Warmth
 
Remember those younger days when winter came to visit and it got very cold to play outside? The first thing my mom would say if I wanted to go outside was, “You better put something on your hands so you stay warm.” Maybe you are saying that same thing now to your children or grandchildren. My family didn’t have a whole lot when I was young and so sometimes that “something warm” on my hands was my dad’s wool work socks; maybe two pair! But it worked for quite a while. If we got mittens at some point, they were a gift, and they were also handed down to the child below us when we outgrew them. Share and share alike, you know. Pass down the blessing. 😉
 
This ornament reminds me of those times. It represents warmth to me; not just for my hands, but the warmth of our homes; lights and candles, the warm in our hearts as we share time together. At my house as a child, it was also music. My dad would take out his harmonica and play a few Christmas songs. I remember feelings proud that my dad could play all sizes of harmonicas. He even had a mini that he could play! Blessed times.
 
It’s not about how fancy everything is. Think about it…the wisemen came and shared time with baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in a stable with animals around them. I doubt they smelled the stable smells…they were into the moment…seeing the Christ Child they had heard so much about. Excited to see the scripture fulfilled. And then… offering their best gifts.
 
Keep the season simple and share the warmth of your home and heart. That is what is most important…your warm, cozy home and heart.  Enjoy the sweet soft lights of Christmas!
 
Come home, come home! Ye who are weary come home…
Until next time…
JoAnn
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Advent ~ Seen Through the Eyes of a Child

Advent ~ Seen Through the Eyes of a Child

Have you ever been with a child and noticed they can zero in on a toy or something they want for Christmas out of shelves and shelves of toys? They have laser focused vision.

I was in a thrift store one day here in my town and there was several bags of ornaments and other things all in ziplock bags. My eyes went immediately to this particular bag out of all of them because I

saw these ornaments in there. Five of them. There was a lot of other stuff I didn’t want, but I did want the ornaments!! I was very excited about them. The bag was stapled shut so you couldn’t see everything but I was happy getting these ornaments.

When I got home and displayed them, I went through the bag and at the bottom of the bag was a black Cross pen and pencil set with its own leather holder. Another score. It was like Christmas for me!!

Sometimes our most unexpected gifts come when we aren’t expecting them. They may come from the most unlikely places too! I would like to think that I look at the time of year with this idea…where is it I am to be a blessing,? It’s not just what I receive. Maybe I am to be someone else’s’ unexpected gift. What do you think?

…Bearing gifts we traverse afar…

Until next time…

JoAnn

Advent ~ Joy

Advent ~Joy

Today’s ornament brings me joy. When I see it, I see someone who is feeling the joy of Chirstmas. She has the look of someone who looked up, and then closed her eyes to the joys of what she is experiencing. She is ringing the bell of Christmas and ready to decorate with a touch of pine.

Christmas is like that for me. I want to enjoy everything about it. I love the lights, the tree, the ornaments, gift shopping, smells of the baking in the kitchen, and family gathering. It is something I want to take slow, and take it all in.

You see, Christmas makes us a bit crazy at times with all the activities that go along with this time of year. Yet….it can be different. Take the time to slow down and just like the expression on the face of this ornament, breathe in the experience around you. Let this time of year be one of new traditions and the find the joys in every day.

Joy to the World, the Lord has come…

Until next time…

JoAnn

Advent ~ New Expectation

Advent ~ New Expectation
 
I came across these ornaments today and thought of the window scape that I made with them in my home prior to coming to where we live now. It’s a little bit old and a little bit new.
 
The burlap reminds me of old times…times of feed sacks, animals; rather a farm-house look. The plaid ornaments remind me of a new way of decorating the Christmas ornaments; an old idea made new.
 
We are like that especially at Christmas. We bring the traditions to our families, but we also may be making new traditions with our families too. We have expectations of the taste of the goodies that we know, but we may be anticipating something new also. We have anticipation of the gifts we will receive, or just the fact that our family will be together, and all the fun we will have.
 
But sometimes, we have feelings of expectation and we aren’t even sure why we feel that way. There is a shift in us that we don’t quite understand. We aren’t sure what to think, or possibly, we are even a bit nervous that we don’t KNOW exactly.
 
I think that the people felt the same way about the birth of Jesus. The had been told a King would come, but a baby a King? Doesn’t look like anyone they would consider a King…from parents such as Joseph and Mary? However, God has His own plans and they don’t look like ours. It’s always a challenge to believe what we don’t quite understand. It may mean a period of being uncomfortable on our part to get through and beyond to the place where we are supposed to be, and understand why we are here.
 
Embrace the gift of the child for what it means then, and now. I look at this window and realize it was perfect for that space. Anyone who came to our house would see the window driving up and walking up to the door. It won’t look the same here in this house. My window is at the back of the house. No one will see it but us, or unless someone comes to visit and comes in the kitchen. But it will still be beautiful to me, just different then this vision.
 
God is just that” individual” with us. He will change the circumstances around us, and our heart toward it. To burlap, sparkles and expectation!
 
What Child Is This…while shepherds watch are keeping…
Until next time…
JoAnn

Advent ~ Love

Advent ~ Love
 
I received a gift in the mail yesterday and thought it fit perfectly with my ornament postings. One side says Merry Christmas and the other side has a key hole and a key that fits into it.
 
What could this mean for Advent? Because of the love of God for us, He sent His Son. He loved us enough to send His one and only. Jesus later loved us enough to die a horrible death so that we might live. That is love and grace extended.
 
The heart shape reminds me that it is my heart that I need to keep open, and not give my key away. This key represents the perfect key to fit into my heart. It won’t fit your heart, but it does fit mine. We are unique; each of us. The gifts and talents He gives to you, aren’t the same as He gives to you friends, or sister, or brother. So… don’t look around you and feel “less than”, but remember that what you do is who YOU are. Don’t be jealous in your heart for something someone else has, or the way they decorate, or the material possessions they have. This Advent Season is for you to decide how you open your heart to what and who is around you.
 
Be a giver. Buy the car behind you their ordered drink. Give a person who has a heavy load a place in line ahead of you. Send a note. Make a phone call, or text. But let this heart spur you on to share more love today! Keep your key handy to open your heart to His leading. His key is the perfect fit for the door of your heart, but only you can insert the key! Get your key!!!
 
When Jesus comes in, He will save you from sin, BUT YOU must open the door…
Until next time…
JoAnn

Advent ~ The Color Red

Advent ~ The Color Red
 
This ornament is actually hanging on the outside tree of our neighbor’s yard. But as it is with me, I saw it and thought of the color red. It’s also my favorite color. But this had a different message for me.
 
Red is an emotionally intense color. It is known for representing energy, passion, fire and blood, courage, joy, action and vibrance. It captures attention.
 
When I saw this ornament, it reminded me of the blood that was shed by baby Jesus later on in His life on earth. And… that was done for me. The purpose of Jesus coming to earth was so that I could have that freedom through Jesus. He was courageously compassionate. The facets on this ornament made me think of the many facets of God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I am still learning about the facets of the Holy One, and I am happy to share that I don’t know that much about Him in terms of what I still have yet to learn.
 
I once read a book called “The Noticer”. In that book, the author talked about noticing what is going on around us and then being available to take part. God is showing us where we need to be and what we need to do, IF we are willing to notice when He shows us, and listen and take action when He speaks.
 
May God help you be a notice this Advent where you can be a part of what HE is doing, v.s. asking God to be a part of what you are doing.
 
Oh the blood of Jesus…that washes white as snow…

Advent ~ Our Heritage

Advent ~ Our Heritage
 
This has been a fun project that was pressed on my heart to do. I hope you are enjoying it.
 
This little lady standing next to my gnome reminds me of my heritage. I’m Norwegian and so this ornament was one I purchase on my last little road trip. I have learned a lot about my family heritage; on both my parents’ side of the family. It has been a fun adventure and sometimes confusing to figure it all out. But I love learning about it and more clearly understand where I came from, as well as, gaining insight into the lives of my family.
 
You see, we all have a heritage. We may not like some of it, but it doesn’t mean we have to live in the parts we don’t like. We live and gain connection from the parts we do. The traditions of Christmas bind us together. They give us a sense of belonging and comfort. We celebrate according to those traditions and they bring us goodwill, comfort, joy and love. You can create that for you, your family and future generations. 🙂
 
In terms of the Advent Season, we also have a heritage in the family of God. We have a church family that help us to build a life of serving God and loving on others. We have a Bible that can give us all we need to know to learn about our heritage. Some of that history wasn’t so great either, but God shows us how we can live and create a new life for ourselves through His forgiveness and through the giving of His Son to be born as a baby and later die for our not so good stuff. We start anew! We have the comfort of a God who loves us; a Father who understands. We have the assurance of a heavenly home. THAT is our heritage.
 
May this Christmas bring you all the above!
 
And they’ll know we are Christians by our love…
Until next time~
JoAnn