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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Week of 2009, Year End, New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve Day 2009...This morning my husband and I are driving over to Port Canaveral to meet my aunt for breakfast then drive/walk along the beach. We'll probably have a quiet afternoon and evening at home. We're not big New Year's Eve revelers like many are. I'm lucky if I stay awake until midnight most years! We'll see what tonight brings. New Year's Day will be a time of visiting friends, parades and football games that evening. Happy New Year! I'll probably be off the blog until Monday.

Here is a link to 10 questions to ask yourself at the start of a new year (or on your birthday) by Don Whitney. Good to ponder this weekend as 2010 begins.

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Week of 2009, Year End


Another end of the year chore today will be to balance the last checkbook and pay the final bills and property taxes for 2009. I've got everything laid out to begin today. Final reports for school aren't due until January 7th but if I have time, I'll finish those as well. I also need to go to Walgreens and spend down our flexible health spending account. I usually estimate pretty close to what we need during the year but occasionally have a little left to spend. This year I have about $50 left so I'll stock up on cough drops, Tylenol, and basic medicine cabinet items. I also purchased a new wall calendar, the kind with BIG blocks and no pictures, for our kitchen. I need to transfer birthays and appointments onto that as well. I know...I have a computer calendar but this way, everyone in the family can write on the calendar and check dates as well.

This morning after walking I spent an hour or so going through our church's Silent Communion program. I had to practice a musical piece for that morning's offertory the day we did this at church and I had set it aside to be sure and do before the New Year began. It was a nice long quiet time of praise and prayer for everyone in our church family.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last Week of 2009, Year End

One of the household chores I always do before year-end is filing of paperwork and tax-related documents. I breathed a sigh of relief after finishing this job last night. I don't know why I put it off for so long (besides the inevitable paper cuts). The stack was about 10 inches high in a folder that was about to burst. I cleared the dining room table and started sorting everything in piles and within about 30 minutes had sorted AND filed it all. I'll try and not procrastinate next year and do it each month. Now I'm ready for the end of January when I start inputting what I need to into Quicken in preparation for taxes.

Later today I plan to start going through my eBay inventory and weeding out as well as listing a few new items. We purchased two computers for Christmas this year (ouch!)--one for my husband and one for my college-aged son. My younger son got our old desktop and I got my son's laptop. I've never had one before and feel like I'm in a new age of technology! I can see all kinds of uses for it particularly in my business(es) and am one happy camper. :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last Week of 2009


The last week of 2009 is upon us... time to look back at the year behind us and look forward to the new one ahead. When I wrote our family Christmas letter to accompany our cards, I took down our wall calendar and skimmed through it for the major events of the year. Writing this blog was even mentioned in our letter since it was something new that I attempted.


I've never been a New Year's Day goal setter and do not consider January 1 as some kind of "magical" day to begin something new. I am a planner by nature and Mondays work well for me to do that, to ponder what to do in the coming days. I want to keep on track with my daily walking (5x a week) which I did this morning, as well as continue to build up my eBay business. This blog is helping me to journal about daily life as well as what the Lord is teaching me each day as well. I want to encourage my sons and husband to do their best using whatever gifts God has given them and enhance some of my musical skills with some more challenging music to practice. Saving money and being a good steward is always a goal so that will definitely continue into the new year. For the last several years I have read through the Bible using a specific 365 day Bible (NIV). Those little booklets with the schedule don't work for me. It's much easier to have a Bible that is divided into daily readings.


Our church had a guest speaker on Sunday morning, an old friend of ours who has been a missionary to Japan and is now in the U.S. for a season preparing to hopefully, return there. As soon as his sermon is uploaded I'll put the link here for you to listen to. It was really quite excellent about evaluating your relationship with the Lord and determining what your idols are as we begin the new year. One point he made was that even good things can be idols and that asking yourself what gives me the greatest joy is an easy to tell what they are. For me, that was easy--my children. This will be a year of removing them from that pedestal. What good thing are you settling for instead of the Best thing--enjoying God?


Why wait until tomorrow (or 4 days from now) to begin what you could begin today? Start thinking now about what you have in mind for 2010 before January 1 arrives on Friday.


Ecclesiastess 3:1
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—




Thursday, December 24, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas, Daily Life


Christmas Eve 2009

Food shopping done. House cleaned. Bread baking, cookies in the oven. My husband and I are off to the Morse Gallery for an hour or so to relax. Pizza dinner tonight and then church with the family. We always drive around afterwards and look at Christmas decorations and lights...maybe even take a walk on Park Avenue.

Christmas morning we get up around 9 a.m. and open stockings as a family before anyone else arrives. Breakfast is fresh baked cinnamon rolls, bacon and orange juice. Grandmother is coming later in the morning to open gifts and have midday dinner. Usually we have ham but since we've had it 2x lately (progressive dinner and another party) my husband grilled steaks today for tomorrow. :) In the afternoon we'll all head out for a late movie. Boxing Day party on Saturday with some old friends. My husband has all next week off from work and my sons are both on school break.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus this weekend. May God bless and keep you in 2010. Merry Christmas!

I'm off the blog until Monday!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


26 Days of Advent continues:

Letters X, Y, Z--the Lord is:
Well, we've finished up the alphabet in this series of praises to the Lord during this Advent season. Try to remember them when you pray.

Advent Devotional
The day before Christmas Eve...I'm sure you are getting last-minute details taken care of especially if you have young children. We are not traveling anywhere other than to church on Thursday evening and the weather is quite temperate here in Florida this week. Here is a paraphrased version of 1Corinthians 13 to help you wind down and keep a good attitude despite the hustle and bustle:

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family -- I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table, but do not show love to my family --I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family -- it profits me nothing.
If I trim the tree with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the church choir, but do not focus on Christ -- I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table lines.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return.
Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
May we keep the true meaning of Christmas foremost in our thoughts and hearts as we approach the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life



26 Days of Advent continues:

Letters V and W--the Lord is:
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DAILY LIFE
All the shopping is now done. My younger son and I have our routines each week, so we're headed to the YMCA this afternoon for an hour or so. Then it's time to clean the house, sit down and look through my favorite Christmas books and relax with the family. Our older son is home for most of the week so it's been a fun family week together. Slow down, have a cup of coffee or tea and savor the quiet moments you have to reflect on this marvelous gift of Jesus the Savior born so long ago, yet living in our hearts today. As Mary Engelbreit says, Don't waste the miracle.




Monday, December 21, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life



26 Days of Advent continues:

Letters T and U--the Lord is:
Advent Devotional
Let's review.
  • Candle 1 reminds us of God's promise to send the Messiah.
  • Candle 2 helps us remember Jesus' birth in Bethlehem.
  • Candle 3 reminds us of the angels.
  • Candle 4 (this week) reminds us of the shepherds whom God gave a special gift to them as they were doing their everyday work. They were the first to hear of the birth of our Savior. Can you imagine the anticipation within them as they ran to the stable to see what the angel had told them of?
Memory Verse for this week:
Luke 2:20 (Luke 2: 15-20)
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

Hymns for the Week:
  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night
  • Joy to the World

SUNDAY
Joseph was a cautious, godly man, wanting to do what was right. He acted with boldness when God revealed His will. God provided for Mary just the right man who would not do something foolish and rash. How thankful she must have been for him particularly in that culture.

MONDAY
Wise men asked about Jesus so they could worship Him. Herod asked about Jesus so he could murder Him. Whom do you stand with--the wise men or Herod? Being neutral is not really an option. We are on one side or the other. Choose wisdom.
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DAILY LIFE
Today I am finishing Christmas cards while my car is being repaired and trying to not be anxious as to how much that is going to cost. It helps to remember that all our $$ belongs to the Lord and He can use it as He sees fit. The car must be repaired so I am thankful that God has provided for that need.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter S--the Lord is:

Advent Devotional

This is one of my favorite psalms from the Bible. I discussed in a previous article how my high school concert choir director gave us a musical piece with these lyrics that we sang over and over again for a state competition (and won). I was not a Christian at the time but even today, I could sing that piece and not miss a beat or a word. Little did I realize that I was memorizing scripture. The psalmist asks,What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? But God does think of us...each of us individually. That the Creator of the universe even has one thought of us is mind-boggling but I am so glad that He does. The comfort and love from the Most High God...who loves me as His child. I'll sleep well tonight just knowing that.

Questions to Ponder this Week:
  1. What would it have been like to be a shepherd in the field that night when the angels came?
  2. If the angels would have come to your place of work or school, what would have the response been? Similar to that of the shepherds?
  3. What might have been going through Simeon's mind and heart, and Anna's, as they experienced the Christ child?
  4. As you think of all Jesus has done for us, can you relate to David's excitement about God in Psalm 8?
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DAILY LIFE
This afternoon and evening we attended an open house at the home of some dear friends as well as a White Elephant gift exchange for my son's youth group. Both were totally different settings and atmospheres with an older age group at one and a very young group at the other. I am so thankful that we are in a variety of circles of friends and that the love and care we experience with each is so warm and welcoming.

Not sure if I'll post on Sunday since we have church and then will be gone the rest of the day. Have a wonderful Sunday with worship, family and friends.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter R--the Lord is:
Advent Devotional:

Anna, a prophetess of old (there are only a handful referred to in the Bible), thanked God for Jesus Who is God's Christmas gift to the world. Anna is only mentioned once in the entire Bible. How reassuring that the Lord recognizes and remembers those who are faithful to Him no matter what their age. The record of her faithfulness endures forever in His Word.
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DAILY LIFE
Today I'll bake another loaf of bread for our neighbors and some friends. Since last Monday or so, I've been making one loaf a day to give as a gift. The smell from the kitchen alone is worth it!

There is always something fun to do each day over the holidays. I will be working on our Christmas cards today but I am only mailing them to our extended family and a few close friends. I discovered a neat way to send photos and Christmas greetings via email at Smilebox. I have to say it is one of the cutest ways I've seen to send personal greetings of any type. You can design slideshows, Ecards, scrapbooks, photo albums and collages. And it's VERY simple to use. I received a few of these myself and decided to take a stab at it. Give it a try. I think you'll be pleased. It sure saves on the cost of postage!
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter Q--the Lord is:

Advent Devotionals


"Ponder means to think about, to wonder about. What a gift the Lord gave to Simeon--to see God's salvation in the baby Jesus before he died. When Simeon told Joseph and Mary that their son was a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel, it is not certain that they perfectly understood what he meant. Along this line, I love the words to the song titled Mary, Did You Know? Try to find a calm, quiet place for yourself to ponder the scripture as well as the lyrics to this song and also be amazed at the things which were said about Jesus.
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Not sure what's going on with the text sizing here. Sometimes it's large, sometimes it's small. I have combined two devotionals into one today since I accidentally posted yesterday's elsewhere. We are in the process up switching computers and there are always glitches and adjustments to make. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter P--the Lord is:
Advent Devotional

Imagine exactly how it might have been the night of Jesus' birth--no doctors, midwives or nurses, no electricity, unsanitary, no soft bed...a young girl of maybe 15 years of age having a baby would be hard in any century. Mary would have been familiar with this Old Testament passage. How the Lord must have comforted her. How her faithful husband stood by her. As we all know, it is difficult to praise when in the midst of turmoil, danger and trials. Committing scripture to memory is one way to be ready to praise when those times inevitably come upon us or our loved ones. He is worthy of praise no matter what the circumstance.

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DAILY LIFE

Last night I finished my list and was checking it twice. Just 4 items to purchase today and then begins my favorite kind of shopping -- finding stocking stuffers next week. A friend sewed three stockings for us when my older son was born in 1989. Five years later (1994) when my younger son was born I searched for the same material to make a matching 4th stocking and actually found it at Joann's Fabrics. The saleslady couldn't believe they still had it in stock. It's not as perfect as the original three but pretty close. :) We don't have a mantel but manage to hang them over our fireplace until Christmas Eve when they are placed under the tree. Everyone sneaks around that night putting little treasures into them. There's something exciting about waking up on Christmas morning and finding your stocking stuffed (some things don't fit and are sitting next to the stockings), then putting your hand inside and pulling out small surprises. A fun family tradition in our home.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


Letter N--the Lord is:

Letter O--the Lord is:
Advent Devotional
This begins the third week of Advent and we light the third candle which reminds us of the angels and the joyful announcement they made, the most joyful ever made. Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

Memory Verse for this week:

Hymns for the Week:
  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
  • Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
SUNDAY

Although true peace will not come until the Lord returns, as much as it depends on you through your own relationships and by praying for others, we can experience a time of peace during our season on the earth. We look forward to the day when the lion will truly lie down with the lamb.
MONDAY

This passage has several of the most familiar names of Jesus--wonderful, Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace. What an appropriate way to start any prayer of your heart--by praising God for Who He is, not just for what He does for you.
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DAILY LIFE
On Sunday morning I had the wonderful pleasure of playing the piano at our former church in Orlando. The pastor there baptized me when I was in my 20s and married my husband and I when I was in my 30s. He and his wife are long-time special friends. They have been without a regular pianist for many, many years and had been having difficulty singing Christmas carols since most are written for a piano or keyboard. Except for the sermon, I played for most of the service including communion. I could hear and see the Lord moving among the entire congregation which was so full of joy when the service was over. It was my delight to give the gift of music to them and a blessing to me to worship through playing the piano as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter M--the Lord is:

Advent Devotional

God had promised Jesus to Abraham and to David. Now John, the prophet who would go before Jesus, was born. The way was being prepared for God's Son as it was prepared for kings of old. Praise God for His goodness.

It is easy to overlook preparing yourself for the commemoration of the coming of Christ when so many other things are demanding your attention. However, preparing ourselves is important for keeping proper perspective on this time of year. Try not to get caught in the trappings of Christmas, but pace yourself and leave plenty of time for rest and reflection on the true meaning of Christmas--Emmanuel--God with us.
  1. What are you doing to prepare yourself spiritually for Christmas? [Writing this blog helps keep me focused.]
  2. How about physically taking care of yourself by eating the right food, getting enough sleep, etc.? [If I eat too much or the wrong things, I try to adjust for it on the next day or next meal. Getting 7+ hours of sleep a night and continuing walking in the mornings.]
  3. How are you emotionally coping with the crowds on the streets, in the stores and malls? [Online shopping helps, having a list and sticking to it, just shopping for no more than an hour or two at a time, then coming home, sticking to our budget.]
  4. How do you think Mary coped with all that was happening in her life? How might you have acted if you were her or even Joseph? [I hope my faith would have stayed strong, but I am amazed at her maturity in Spirit for being so young.]
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Daily Life
Today I am preparing our home for the second stop in a progressive dinner party for the young adult singles of our church. I am looking forward to a fun, elegant evening.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter L--the Lord is:
Advent Devotional

John was born, as God had promised. God keeps His promises. Can you praise Him as Zacharias did? As a popular Christmas movie puts it, Believing is not always seeing...
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Daily Life
Last night I attended a Christmas open house with several friends whom I have known for more than 30 years. We don't run into each other often as everyone is busy, mostly with children and now, grandchildren. The host couple had decorated their home so beautifully inside and out. The husband had been collecting Christmas Village scenes and decor since 2001 and now has an enormous display which took up their entire 2-car garage. It was amazing. Not only that, but to honor all of us "oldies" who attended, each of us had our own building labeled just for us. What a treat to see and boy, did we all feel loved! [The house in the third photo below with the couple kissing in front has my name on it. :) :) ]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter K--the Lord is:

Advent Devotional

The angel told Joseph that Mary's son would fulfill Isaiah's prophecy. Hundreds of years had passed since the original prophecy. Now it was coming true. What are you waiting on that the Lord has promised to you and you are trusting Him for?



Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter J--the Lord is:

Advent Devotional

Mary sang a song of thanksgiving to God. This section of scripture is referred to as "The Magnificat" and is similar to Hannah's song of praise when told by Eli that she would give birth to a son in 1 Samuel 2. They both praised God for many things He had done and for choosing them give birth to sons who would change Israel and the world. Make your prayer a song of thanksgiving, particularly as it regards your children.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter I--the Lord is...

Advent Devotional

Elizabeth told Mary that God had blessed her. God has blessed all people through Jesus' birth as the angel Gabriel once said. His birth and the gift of salvation is the greatest gift any of us will ever receive, but we do have to open our hearts to accept it. Thank God for His goodness and open your eyes to see His blessings today--big and small.
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Daily Life

It is one of my great pleasures to play the piano for others. Last night I had a rehearsal with some old friends who attend a church where we once were. They have not had a regular pianist in many years, so my Christmas gift to them this year is to play for their service this coming Sunday. Usually each year I find somewhere else to play piano free of charge--a nursing home, an office... It is always so appreciated and it blesses me as much as those listening.

While Christmas shopping yesterday I bought a few things to donate to a children's gift drive at my husband's office. I was thinking how much my own children and my niece and nephews will be receiving in a few weeks and how little others will get. These children depend on the generosity of others.

Look around you today. How can you use your gift(s), talents and money to give to someone you don't normally give to this Christmas--someone from whom you will probably receive nothing tangible in return?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 days of Advent continues:

Letter H:

Advent Devotional

Mary's answer was not like Zacharias' answer. Mary said, "I am God's servant. Let it be as God says." What a humble sincere prayer for any of us. May our prayers be like hers.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life


26 Days of Advent continues:

Letter G--the Lord is:

The second Advent candle, the Bethlehem candle, was lit today at church. This reminds of us the days just prior to Jesus' birth in Bethelem.

Memory Verse: I Timothy 1: 17
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.


Advent Devotional


Jesus was laid in a manger, a box for animal food. There was no room in the inn. Pray the words of the song, "Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. There is room in my heart for Thee." You may remember these verses from Luke 2 from your childhood. I had our sons memorize most of Luke 2 when they were young to recite to the grandparents when they came for Christmas. By doing this at a young age I hope these will always be familiar and cherished in their hearts.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Advent of Christ, Christmas Devotional, Daily Life

26 days of Advent continues:

Letter F--the Lord is:
Advent Devotional

Read again the description of Jesus--"He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest... and He shall reign...; and of His kingdom there shall be no end."

Questions To Ponder:
  • How do you feel when someone makes a promise and after a period of time it still isn't fulfilled? Do you remain strong in believing the promise will be fulfilled or do you begin to doubt?
  • How would you have responded if you were Zacharias and were given such a challenging promise?
  • How do you react to the various promises God gives us in His Word?
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