somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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New Traditions

Although traditions that have been in our family for years will always have a special place in my heart, I need to share a new tradition that my husband’s side of the family started this year.

Actually, our niece, Heather, suggested this idea.  It sounded interesting, however I didn’t realize how awesome it really was.

Each person, or family, received a name.  We were not to send a gift “for” that person, we were to send a box of items that depicted “who we are”.  You see, our family is a large one, and we are strewn all over the country.  We are losing touch with each other a little, and don’t know about each other’s daily lives or special interests or talents.

The first blessing of this tradition is actually choosing the items that will represent yourself, or your family. Our family box represented my husband, me, and my mother who lives with us.  After much thought, we made our selections.

My husband works hard marketing and screen printing  graphic tees for our business, so we included two tee designs.  He also loves to brew beer, so a bottle of his latest brew was lovingly wrapped  and added to the box.  Since I read so many inspirational and spiritual books, I chose to include “The Promise” by Jonathan Morris, a book that opened my eyes in so many ways.  My other contribution was homemade cookies that I love to bake each Christmas.  (as a side note, I am still baking more and will be baking until New Year’s Day probably!!!)  My mom parted with one of her beloved “Beanie Babies”…a bright red Cardinal.  She LOVES Beanie Babies, and does not part with them easily.  However, she made an exception for the “Family box.”  Not only is the Beanie Baby one of her treasures, but the Cardinal is Ohio’s State bird, which is our hometown…both my side and my husband’s side of the family.  She also included a Word Search book, because she spends hours a day finding words!  The last thing we threw in was a White House Ornament to represent the Northern Virginia/DC area where we make our home.  We sent our box, with love, to my sister in law and our niece.

It is more difficult than you may think, to decide on a few things that depict your life, or your family.

The second blessing comes with receiving the box that your “giver” family assembled for you.  Our box was from our niece, her husband and daughter.  As we were opening each package, we actually felt the spirit of their family.  It was a beautiful and fun experience.  There was a handmade bracelet and hand drawn notecards, created by my great niece, a bottle of  a favorite local beer, Ohio beer glasses crafted in their town, handmade birdseed ornaments which they handed out to neighbors as gifts this year, local Tony Packos relish and a Carruth Angel that was created by an amazing local artist.  They have many Carruth pieces displayed in their backyard, and now we have one more to lovingly display in ours.  My niece also added some PB2 (powdered peanut butter) which she loves in smoothies and ice cream.  I had never heard of “PB2” before, but it sounds interesting and we are looking forward to enjoying it!  She also creates beautiful handmade cards, and tucked one of the most beautiful cards I have ever seen in the box.  The card  listed all the items and what they meant to each of them.

The third blessing from this tradition, lies in all of us sharing about what was in the box we received. We have a group message going on, and it is exciting to see pictures and descriptions of each family’s box.  What a fun way to get to know each other in a deeper way!

Right now, my heart is completely full of the warmth, love, and appreciation of family.

Thank you Lord for the amazing gifts of love and family.  Help me to always look for ways to share those gifts with all the people you place in my daily life.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

 

 


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The Joys of Christmastime

It really makes me sad when I hear someone say that they are super stressed due to the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Many are frustrated and have closed their hearts to Christmas because of the commercialization and materialism that seems to have taken over the beauty and holiness of the season.

As Christians, and children of God, we are called to share the light of Christ with the world, one heart at a time.  For me, the Advent and Christmas Season is a wonderful time to do just that.

Amidst the tacky and commercial decorations, relentless Christmas music, and the barrage of holiday marketing hitting us from all angles, sometimes it is very difficult to stay focused on the Truth.  Sometimes we tend to drift over to the realm where parties, food, drink, and the “perfect” gifts dictate the atmosphere and the spirit in our hearts.

Don’t let that happen to you this year.  The beauty of Advent and Christmastime is already waiting in your heart. All you need to do is open your heart and will to God’s Holy Spirit, and your Christmas Season will be perfect in God’s love.

I can’t help myself…I love Christmas and all that comes with it.  I choose to look past the commercialization and materialism, and focus on the things that bring joy and love.

Here are some of the ways that either bring love and joy to my own heart or ways I find to share that joy and love with others.  We are all unique, and have different ways to experience and share the joys of Christmas.  God made us to be different; we are blessings to each other when we appreciate the ways of love from each person in our lives.  Maybe my thoughts and Christmas traditions will help to open your heart to some of the things you’ve felt were missing.  It’s easy to close ourselves off when we feel overwhelmed.

It’s open season for Christmas music on Thanksgiving Day through mid-January.  We have many Christmas CDs and we enjoy them often.  My mom lives with my husband and me, and she really loves the music.  My husband enjoys a little of it, so I have to be careful of the amount of time those Christmas tunes are playing.  The reason I love to listen and sing Christmas music is that it fills me with joy, and it also brings me back to being a little girl.  Remember the wonder of Christmas when you were a little child?  I still love to feel that way.

Our Christmas tree and inside decorations are very special to us.  Not because they are perfect or trendy…but because there is a lifetime of Christmas memories attached to most of the ornaments and decorations.  There are family ornaments from over fifty years ago, and then from the years of building our family with our sons.  There is our Nativity Scene under the tree that was a gift from my parents when I was still single.

Are the “things” themselves the most important thing?  No, the memories attached to them are blessings from God.  All of God’s gifts are good, and we are very thankful for all the memories; even the “bad” ones.  Like the Christmases when we lacked the money to buy ANY gifts for ourselves or anyone else.  But you know what?  I can truly say those were the most beautiful Christmases, because we were surrounded by the love of God, family and friends.

Our family loves Christmas movies.  There are probably 15-20 movies we watch every year.  These stories bring warmth and joy to our hearts, and we love the tradition of watching them together.  This year, I decided to string popcorn garland, so that was what I was doing while I watched some of those movies.

A Christmas puzzle is a must.  Sometimes two or three, depending on the time I decide to spend putting them together.

Our outside decorations consist of multi-colored lights, a gorgeous wreath on the front door that was a gift from my mother, and a spotlighted Nativity Scene.  We love to drive around to enjoy the beautiful decorations in our neighborhood and surrounding areas.  It’s interesting to me to see the different ways that people decorate and express themselves, and I look for the joy in all.

Although it is time consuming, and I try to remain stress-free during the Holidays, I LOVE to bake cookies.  Lots of cookies.  We eat more Christmas cookies than we should, but the main reason I bake  is to give them away.  I enjoy filling tins with a variety of cookies and handing them out to anyone I feel might enjoy receiving them.

Christmas cards are very special to me.  I love making them out for all the people in my life, and sometimes for those that may not even know me,  but may need a special pick me up.  Sometimes I write thank you notes to those who have had an impact on my life, and slip them in.  With each card I write out, I think of that person and how they have blessed my life.  I also say little prayers for them as I go along.

It’s always fun searching for unique little gifts for people; and we usually participate in a few “angel trees” and community events.  Sometimes we focus on a single family, or there may be someone we know of that is in need.  We have sent gifts of money anonymously, or filled a particular need.  These are all ways to share Christ’s love.

Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass is when I truly feel the Spirit of Christmas.  When we walk into the Church, the Spirit overcomes me.  This is it.  The preparation, the music and joy, all of the time spent with family and friends, is one with the pure love and peace of Jesus.  Thank you, Lord!

May you find your own special ways of sharing Christ’s perfect love and peace during this  blessed Advent and Christmas Season.  Enjoy all of it, with the heart and eyes of the child that lives in your heart.

 


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True Destination

For the past few days, I have been thinking about a personality pattern in my life that was recently revealed to me.  Sometimes the events are seemingly insignificant, however, when combined with other experiences definitely show a pattern.

So I will open my heart and divulge some of my quirks and transgressions.  Maybe someone out there can identify?

Some of these things started for me when I was a little girl.  I never believed in Santa, because we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve.  I KNEW who all the gifts were from.  The presents started appearing under our Christmas tree a few weeks before Christmas, complete with tags.  I knew which ones were mine.  The suspense was way too much for me.  Yes, you guessed it – I was one of those children who woke up during the night, grabbed my gifts from under the tree, and slid the gifts out of their wrappings. I was really good at rewrapping them, too!  The only down side for me, was that I had to feign surprise when I opened the presents with my family.  I really don’t think they ever caught on.

Another one of my “quirks” is I LOVE to read the last page of a novel first, and I prefer to know the ending of a movie before I watch it.  My husband cannot understand the logic of this.  All I can say is, I love to know the end, because then I can really enjoy the story’s journey, and the twists and turns to the conclusion.

Whenever I am exposed or required to experience something new, it is imperative that I know the steps involved, in detail. I don’t like to be caught off guard.  I like to be prepared.

The last thing I can think of is my love for tasting food while it’s cooking.  I taste it a lot…because I am impatient.  I want to have an inkling of how good it is BEFORE it’s completely done.  Then I can make adjustments.  My daughter in law doesn’t like this at all.  I once tried tasting one of her dishes she was cooking for me, and after seeing the look on her face, I never did that again.  She does not like anyone sampling her creation before it is complete.

You might ask where this is all leading.

As these personal traits came to light one by one, I picked up on a lesson to be learned.

What I found is this.  For me, it is extremely important to know what is ahead for me.  When I am sure of the outcome, my spirit is calmed, and I can focus on my day to day experiences.  As long as I know my destination, I can enjoy the journey, and make adjustments as I go.

I already know my true destination.

What is ahead for me, and for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, is an eternity with our Heavenly Father.  There will be colors that we have never seen, music we’ve never heard, beauty and love that we cannot even imagine.  Because I know this to be true…I know the “end of the story”.  I can rest assured that each day brings to my life a new opportunity to grow and learn to love in a deeper way.  My Father’s love is so amazing, that even though I stumble and fall, He is always there to guide my path, and help me to make the changes and adjustments necessary for my growth.

I trust that no matter how the road twists and turns, it will always lead me to Him. 

Jesus has offered His life as a gift for us.  He is holding that gift out for us to open, and once we accept it, we will always be sure of our destination.  After knowing the intense love of Jesus, wrapped in light and love, I pray that we never attempt to cover that perfect light with the false wrappings of pride and rebellion.

I pray that we allow the light of Christ to shine so brightly in our hearts that it spills out to a world in need.

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.   John 3:16

But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.  1 Corinthians 2:9