Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gracie's Nativity

This was a post from two years ago.
I am sharing it again today on Stephanie's Roses of Inspiration.

I think it has been probably over twenty-five years since she first gave it to us as a family Christmas present. My husband's two sister's families received one as well. The gifts I am referring to were the hand-painted ceramic nativities that Gracie made for all of us that year. Gracie was my husband's sweet mother. Ever since she presented to us, it became a Christmas tradition that it was always the first decoration that went in it's place. When my boys were just little guys, they always helped unwrap and place the individual figurines carefully in the wooden manger. Once the nativity was all set up, it was on to decking the halls and trimming the tree.

I was totally in awe of the beautiful work and the many hours that Gracie put into making these nativities for her three children. The fine detail of the faces was far better than anything I could have done...and I prided myself as a pretty good artsy-crafty kinda girl! The set included all the regulars—right down to a couple of shepherds and their sheep...

...the shepherd boy...and a cow....

...the ever important donkey...

...the Three Wise Men...
 (although we know they weren't actually there when Baby Jesus was a tiny infant)

...and their three camels...

...oh, and the angel hovering above...we can't forget the angel!

I raved and raved to Gracie about what a wonderful job she did  on this. It never failed, she would pretty much blow off my compliment by saying something like "Oh, Debby, you could have done much better" or "Don't look too closely at it!" As hard as I tried to compliment her on her beautiful handy-work, she just couldn't accept my praise. Year after year whenever I would get it out and comment on it to her, it started to become more about her rejecting my compliment rather than me giving her one day, I stopped.

Is it hard for you to accept a compliment? I have to admit that sometimes it is for me too. At times, I am guilty of saying things like Gracie did. I don't ever want to seem conceited and often I really don't know how to react to a certain compliment given to me. Sometimes, I think we get it confused with flattery. But how are we making the person giving the compliment feel when we don't accept it graciously? Not only are we rejecting their kindness, but we could also be making them feel just as uncomfortable by not receiving it with graceI am learning that I am actually robbing the person giving the praise of a blessing. Accepting a compliment is not a is a form of encouragement.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Gracie has been with Jesus since 2001. She suffered from Alzheimer's the last few years of  her life and when it finally robbed her completely of her spirited, witty personality along with the twinkle that was always in her eye, a fall resulting in a broken hip was all it took to take her out of this world and into the next. In a couple of short months she was gone.

I'm starting my Christmas decorating today and have been thinking a lot about Gracie as I was putting out the nativity. It's all carefully arranged, although I'm pretty sure that every year it's probably just a little different from the year before. One thing that remains constant, of course, is Jesus...He never changes. He wants us to praise Him and give Him compliments of all kinds.

After all, that's why He created us, isn't it? 

Have a lovely week ahead... giving and receiving those compliments!

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Friday, November 29, 2013


Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving!
I pray everyone enjoyed a wonderful day yesterday...I know I did.

This is what my dining room table looks like today.

There actually is a table beneath all of this!

As much as I love Christmas...

...I must say I'm a little sad to be putting away the fall decor for another year.

Oh...I'll be okay...
...just give me a few days.

Like the old saying goes..."out of sight, out of mind".

In the words of David Bowie, "Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes..."

It's time. 
Time to transition into Christmas.
There's no better time to be having a five-day weekend :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
since as members of one body you were called to peace. 
And be thankful.

Colossians 3:15

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
~Scott Wesemann

Lord, so often times, as any other day
When we sit down to our meal and pray
We hurry along and make fast the blessing

Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing

We're slaves to the olfactory overload
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold

But Lord, I'd like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I'm thankful for

For my family, my health, a nice soft bed
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head

I'm thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they'll ever possibly know

Thankful Lord, that You've blessed me beyond measure
Thankful that in my heart lives life's greatest treasure

That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I'm ever so grateful for Your unending grace

So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You've provided
And bless each and every person invited


Have a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Cactus

It started back around Halloween.

Tiny pink nubs.

The tiny pink nubs became little pink ice cream cones.

Little pink ice cream cones became bigger pink ice cream cones.

Now it's in full bloom. 

The same thing happens every year.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Once upon a frosty morn...

Here in central North Carolina, we don't get much snow...
...however, we get our share of frost on those brisk, clear mornings of late fall.

It looks a lot like snow, don't you think?
Maybe just a little bit?

The bales of hay looked like giant cinnamon rolls covered in sugary icing.

I found this poem that pretty much says it all. 

"Frosty Morning"
~by Rachel Heffington

I've heard that in the halls of old
They plated everything with gold—
The chandeliers, the pillars, floors
With spoils from their latest wars.

Yet all this splendor cannot be
As rich as what is given me.

For every night as soft we sleep
Out in the dark, and midnight deep
A beauteous miracle is done
Before the waking of the sun;

 And if I wake just at the dawn
I catch a glimpse of what went on:

Each leaf is clad in crystal cloak,
The grass glimmers in fairy smoke.
The rudest bramble, tinged with rust
Is sprinkled well with diamond-dust.

The thorn, the tree, the hidden flower
Are glittering with silver shower
And things that never caught my eye
Are regal in their shimmering dye.
This miracle is but for those
Who early from their beds arose
And I can say I'm wealthy quite:
My world is gilded every night!

Everything he does reveals his glory and majesty.
    His righteousness never fails.
Psalms 111:3 ~ NLT

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Four Seasons...a note card collection

Remember the old days when we used to send cards through the mail?
I still do occasionally but it seems it's nearly a thing of the past.

This is my first link up to Vee's Note Card Party and I'm SO excited!
Right away, I thought of making a "box" of cards for every season.

I didn't realize how many photos I had taken throughout the years... was not an easy task to decide which ones to pick!




or fall...

...all you gotta do is call...and I WILL be there. know the rest.

'Cause you got a friend :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Only God

The other morning I was out snapping some shots after the sun burned through
that awesome fog we had.

Here are a few things I came across on my excursion. 

Did you know that little fuzzy socks can be found growing out in the fields? 

Aren't these adorable?
They certainly look warm and comfy!

I know they are really soybeans but just humor me while I pretend, OK?

And then I came upon this beauty...

...all decked out wearing lovely crystal beaded necklaces.

Can I just tell you how many times I have tried to get a decent shot of a spider web?

And then we have this little fella...or lady. Can you tell??

I can't either but he/she sure is cute, don't you think?
And can you see what I see?

Here's a little hint: Meow...meow...
Do you see it now?

Only God would put a kitty cat face on a green bug... a field of fuzzy socks...
...behind a spider web wearing jewelry.

Fuzzy socks, anyone?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Just Making Do

The other morning while getting ready for work, it dawned on me. I realized as I was getting dressed, that I was basically being held together by safety pins! The slacks that I had decided to wear had a missing button and the last time I had worn them, I pinned the waistband in a hurry instead of sewing on the button. I had to find it first, right? Hastily, I had washed them, put them away in my closet and found them just the way I had left them, safety pin and all. Also, the sleeveless top I had picked out to wear underneath my sweater had safety pins attached on each shoulder. Now, there is a very good reason for this. The top has a tendency to fall down too low in the front and well, I don't like showing pin it to my bra, OK? There you have it. True confession time. So basically, I guess you could say that I was depending on those safety pins to hold it all together—a quick fix, so to speak. This situation got me to thinking just how often I do things in haste instead of doing them the right way. To say the least, I'd be totally embarrassed and humiliated if I was in an accident or suddenly gotten ill and had to be rushed to the hospital. On any given day, they may have to use the Jaws of Life to cut through all of that metal to get my clothes off!

Seriously, I realized that neglecting to do something as simple as sewing on a button or running a seam or two was also a sign of laziness. Laziness? Or maybe it's a lack of character on my part—just getting by—just making do. Do any of you ever have those times when you are just doing enough to get by? The holy spirit has been convicting me of this lately and He used a few safety pins to speak to me. Safety pins. If I'm not careful, this type of attitude can get out of hand seep into bigger, more important areas of my life. I have to admit that sometimes it does.

Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 10:4

I feel like there is an another aspect to the issue and that would be the fact that I was keeping something hidden. You see, I would never wear those safety pins on the outside. Of course not! But as long as I can keep anyone from seeing them, I'm good. Can I get a witness? Hidden things many times are equal to not-so-good things, right? Now don't get me wrong...we all need to use a temporary fix at times. Those little safety pins sure come in handy when we need them and I am only using them as an example.

For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, 
and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.
Mark 4:22

Sometimes God chooses to use the most unusual things to speak to us, doesn't He?
Is God using something unusual to speak to you?
I would love to hear about it :)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. 
It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

Have a blessed weekend!
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