Monday, 26 December 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 597-612

Well dear friends, we have come to the final Monday of the year 2011 and while I enjoy the lovely trees and decorations and packages wrapped up so pretty, my prayer is that the gift of God's only Son, born of the virgin, delivered in a stable and wrapped in flesh and blood and swaddling clothes would be our most treasured gift . . . that we would get the message of love that came to seek and save us, that would we hear Him as He speaks to us in the daily happenings of our lives.

More of the gifts so graciously given . . .

597.  The massive wingspan of a heron in flight . . . what a sight to see
598.  Reaching a goal at physio
599.  Visitors with a sweet Christmas hamper

600.  Cards and calendars from a dear friend

601.  Prayers for a kitty with a sick belly . . . poor Zack

602.  Hearing people say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays"
603.  Store manager helping me to the checkout as I struggle with my crutches
604.  The smell of fresh brewed coffee in the morning
605.  Christmas Eve dinner at my daughter's . . . with my former in-laws . . . amazing grace, amazing dinner
606.  Roast beef and home-made gingerbread cheesecake . . . best cheesecake I've ever had

607.  Christ the Saviour is born . . . the best Gift ever given . .  one size fits all
608.  A most generous gift . . . a new computer to replace the failing dinosaur
609.  A daughter that truly delights in sharing what God has blessed her with
610.  Christmas dinner prepared by many willing hands
611.  Hot chocolate with marshmallows

612.  Phone call from my son, talking to the girlies one by one . . . oh how I love them all

Linking up with Ann and friends at . . .

Monday, 19 December 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 586-596

I have been enjoying Christmas carols, old and new this last little while.  
I found this beautiful Huron Indian carol,  Jesous Ahatonhia (Jesus is Born) in a lovely old hymn book from the Church of England.  The Indian words were written by St. Jean de Brebeuf circa 1643 and were translated by J. Edgar Middleton in 1926.

Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi-Manitou* sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn:
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark the tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapped His beauty round:
But as the hunter braves drew nigh, the angel-song rang loud and high
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of winter-time is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on the helpless Infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free, O sons of Manitou
The Holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy, who brings you beauty, peace and joy,
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria.

*(The mighty Lord of all the world.)

Truly, God has revealed Himself to every tribe and tongue . . . every people group is precious in His sight.

Continuing the counting of His gracious gifts . . .

586.  Surprise dinner out
587.  Pretty lights at night
588.  Another ultrasound on my leg veins . . . excellent blood flow
589.  Winter beauty

590.  Home made chicken soup  . . . so comforting
591.  Ginger snaps, lemon crinkles, peppermint fudge, French Cake and caramel cracker toffee

592.  Parcel on the way to grandkids
593.  Christmas cards arriving in the mailbox

594.  Experiencing a little of what permanently disabled folks go through
595.  Beautiful Christmas concert

596.  Music that brings me to tears
"Joy to the earth, this newborn king 
has come to bear our suffering, 
to break the curse that binds us here . . .

Peace on earth, is born in a manger
for love has come to earth
The lame will walk, the blind will see,
the captive hearts will be set free
He has come to save the day.

Joining the grateful community at . . .

Saturday, 17 December 2011

SHS Photo Challenge 12

"Soon it will be Christmas Day"
I am looking forward to a quiet week before Christmas . . . the hustling and bustling is all done and I am ready for some peace on earth and silent nights . . . let my heart prepare Him room.

The time has come again to reveal my finds for the weekly scavenger hunt photo challenge hosted by Ashley Sisk at Ramblings & Photos.  This week we were looking for "What is it?", Children/Fur Babies Sleeping, Joy, Window and Half.

1. What is it?
 That question will be answered on Christmas Day, dear daughter.

2.  Fur Baby Sleeping
 My fur baby, Gracie, was snuggled up taking a nap at my daughter's house  . . . I had been trying to catch her sleeping all week.  As soon as I aimed the camera at her she opened her eyes.  Little stinker.  She went right back to sleep as soon as I took the photo.

3.  Joy
 My daughter has quite a collection of these wooden Christmas words.

 4.  Window
Window decorations at Starbucks . . . toffee nut latte anyone? 

5.  Half
My morning starts with this  . . . coffee with half & half cream and sugar.

Be sure to stop in and see the other entries at . . . 

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 563-585

Oh that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men!  For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry with goodness.
Psalm 107-8,9

Counting towards one thousand . . .

563.  Walking at the mall . . . lots of pain, but I did it
564.  Large flock of geese swooping low to land in a field
565.  Good physiotherapy session
566.  Laughing instead of crying
567.  Missing an old friend on her birthday
568.  God's word to me in The Message Bible . . . 1 Peter 5:9-11
                    "The suffering won't last forever"
569.  Declaring over my knee . . . "every knee shall bow"
570.  Cancelled car insurance while I can't drive . . . save $$$
571.  Baby Ema - 11 months old
572.  Phone time with the grandgirlies
573.  Mandarin oranges
574.  Sunny days that start with a hard frost

575.  Trying out my crutches
576.  Christmas shopping
577.  Remembering others in need

78.  A sweet young girl at the mall asking me if I need help with my walker
579.  A gull in flight
580.  Christmas carols
581.  Little treasure boxes for my girlies

582.  Without You I can do nothing . . . I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
583.  Handmade envelopes for someone special (tutorial here)

584.  A warm bed in cold weather
585.  The chrysanthemum I babied all summer finally blooms in December

Joining this grateful community @

Saturday, 10 December 2011

SHS Photo Challenge 11

Joining Ashley and friends for Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Ashley's site, Ramblings & Photos has all the details if you would like to play along.

This week there was ample opportunity to capture the clues but it was still last minute to make my final choices.  I was tempted to go with some archived shots but I resisted and these are all fresh from this week.
We were looking for Less is More, Holiday Lights, Ornaments, Cup of Cheer and Nativity.

1.  Less is More
In this little collage, less focus is more attractive . . . these decorations were quite tacky tinsel trees attached to light poles in a supermarket parking lot.

2. Holiday Lights
One of the many yards in my neighbourhood that go a little crazy with decorations and lights.

3.  Ornaments
I am partial to green and blue and that is how I have decorated my tree for several years now.  This year I only have a little tabletop tree that I set up before my surgery as I knew it would be more than I could handle  afterwards.

4.  Cup of Cheer
Okay, so the cup is missing the cheer in this shot, but it still looks pretty.

5.  Nativity
I love this simple little nativity set . . . I found it in a thrift store several years ago. Some pieces are missing, the sheep's feet are broken and donkey only has one ear.  It reminds me that the reason Jesus came was for we who are broken and worse for wear. "O come, let us adore Him."

This week we're looking for:
1.  What is it?
2.  Children/Fur Babies Sleeping
3.  Joy
4.  Window
5.  Half

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Things My Papa Told Me

As I have struggled with pain and discouragement in these weeks following my surgery, I have wept many tears of frustration, guilt (should I have had the surgery?) and just plain lack of sleep.  Getting this knee to bend to the degree it needs to seems absolutely impossible.  How can I push through the pain?

My feeble cries for mercy . . . "Help me, Papa". . . seem to go unheard most of the time.  
Yet,  I know He sees, He hears, He cares.

And then there comes a whisper . . . I have loved you with an everlasting love . . .
a phrase in a sermon . . . He is speaking to me . . . and that changes everything.  As one of my favourite chorus's says, "to hear what He's saying brings life to my bones".  His words bring hope, create vision and so, I press onward.

The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying:
"Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!
You shall again be adorned with your tambourines,
And you shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.
You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria;
The planters shall plant and eat them as ordinary food.
For there shall be a day when the watchmen will cry on Mount Ephraim,
Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God."
Jeremiah 31:3-6 (NKJV)

It is VISION that gives 
                                            ~ Kris Valloton

"So keep a firm grip on your faith.  The suffering won't last forever.  It won't be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ . . . eternal and glorious plans they are! . . . will have you put together and on your feet for good.  He gets the last word, yes, He does.
1 Peter 5:9-11 (The Message)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Grace Notes - Counting the Gifts 537-562

On this day of linking with Ann Voskamp's Multitudes on Mondays, I begin with this hymn from long ago that speaks my heart so perfectly today.

O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light  that  followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

. . . and the counting continues . . .

537.  Peace that passes understanding
538.  Prayers and phone calls to encourage me
539.  I am in Your hands
540.  A final full body shower
 541.  Call from the grandgirlies on the way to the hospital
542.  Their sweet voices reading me scripture
543.  All my fears unfounded
544.  Warm air "bear hug" during surgery
545.  Attended by surgical nurse named "Joy"
546.  Finally something to eat
547.  Shannon and Alison come visiting . . . with Toffee Nut Latte from Starbucks
548.  Sister Martha drops in with flowers and a lovely card
549.  The wonderful nurses of 2 North . . . Susan, Renee, Shannon, Grace and Katie
550.  Doing what seems impossible
551.  Going home to my own bed
552.  My daughter's fridge that spits out crushed ice . . . the perfect ice pack
553.  A great night's sleep
554.  Unfailing kindness
555.  Grace for the hard days
556.  The kitten who snagged my sock right off my foot. (They are called Pillow Paws, so maybe she thought she should have them.)
557.  Peppermint oil to soothe a headache
558.  Sun streaming glorious through lacy curtains
559.  This post that refers to that post that reminds me all over again how graciously You walked my family through this heart-wrenching time.
560.  Granddaughter asking "Grandma, will you be able to run again?"
561.  A comfortable position
562.  My dear cyber-friend celebrating  a birthday milestone . . . Happy 60th Birthday, Dawn!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

SHS Photo Challenge 10

Sooo . . . this week I have actually got all fresh shots . . . woohoo!  They are not necessarily the best ones I've ever taken but they are appropriate for the clues (I think).

This week's clues, posted at Ashley Sisk's Ramblings & Photos, are:
1.  Portrait
2.  Nostalgic
3.  Time
4.  Full of Light
5. Motion

1.  Portrait
This is Gracie, my 15 month old Ragdoll Himalayan.  
While she did look at the camera, I couldn't get her to say "cheese".

2.  Nostalgic
 Twenty-five years ago this month my husband and I opened a franchised coffee shop, called the Gourmet Cup.  In addition to gourmet coffees and coffee paraphernalia, our wares included loose and boxed teas, a wide assortment of mugs and porcelain tea cups and a selection of interesting and unique giftware from around the globe.  This glazed pottery water jug pictured above was something we sold for quite some time.  It was made in Portugal and came in the blue as well as olive green and cream.  It is the only piece I have left from my days as a small business owner (1987-1992) and it truly makes me nostalgic for that season of my life.  It wasn't all fun and games but I learned so much and discovered so much about myself and what I was capable of.

3.  Time
When it is "time" for tea I pull out one of these three mugs that I reserve for tea and my favourite Bengal Spice.  When the kettle whistles it's "time" to pour the boiling water and release the fragrant aroma of cinnamon and orange as the tea steeps for just the right amount of "time".

4. Full of Light
 Standing under my daughter's chandelier and looking up.

5. Motion
Though it doesn't truly show motion, this shot was taken while the vehicle I was in was in motion.  The other vehicles were also moving.  A stretch I know, but I am sticking with it.

Check out all the great collections at Ramblings & Photos and please join us in the fun.

Clues for next week are:
1. Less is More 
2. Holiday Lights
3. Ornaments
4. Cup of Cheer
5. Nativity

Friday, 2 December 2011

An Honour and a Privilege

Though my posts have been few and far between the month of November and now on into December, my heart has been full of gratitude for the many dear friends who have carried me in their hearts and prayers while I had surgery to replace my right knee.  The recovery has been unlike anything I had anticipated and I have been quite surprised to be so low on energy on so many levels . . . physically, emotionally, mentally . . . so much so that I thought I might be slipping into depression.  Dear Susan, who has recently had her own journey through surgery, has been most encouraging and has shared her timelines for several recovery issues that give me hope for better days.  

During these days of recuperation I have been honoured to receive sweet recognition for both of my blogs . . . this one, The Art of Life and WORD Pictures. 

A precious mama of 7, T. from A Seed Inspired nominated this blog, "The Art of Life" for the Leibster Blog Award.  T. is passionate in her pursuit of receiving all that God has prepared for her and her family and endeavours to instill generosity and selfless attitudes in the hearts of her children.

My second nomination, for WORD Pictures, came from Susan, The Fisherlady at My Favourite Things.  Her poetry is exquisite and invites you into her most intimate conversations with her beloved Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit.  She is a truly gifted artist on so many levels . . . the written word, photography and her drawings are so amazingly detailed and life-like.  

Here are the rules for the Leibster Award:
1.  Show your thanks to the blogger that nominated you
2.  Reveal your top picks and let them know
3.  Post the award on your blog
4.  Bask in the love and support in blogsphere
5.  And best of all  . . . have fun and share it too.

This  award is given to bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers all in the spirit of fostering new connections.  Liebster is German and means 'dearest' or 'beloved' but it can mean favourite.

Since I can only choose 5, I wish to acknowledge the five following blogs for their diverse styles of blogging.  They are unique with what they share and contribute to the world of blogging.  I have several people who I would have nominated if they had not already received this award (Dawn, Susan, T.) but in order to keep the love and encouragement flowing I will not duplicate the nominations.

In no particular order, it is my privilege to announce my selections for this award:

1.  Rosie at LeaveNBloom Photography . . .  she specializes in fine art florals and one of my favourite features is her weekly "Highlighting the Promises of God" posts.

2. Ken at Ken Trails . . . fairly new to the blogoshere but a world traveler who delights in photographing, researching and documenting the history of the places he travels to.

3. Linda at Your Word Weaver . . . this woman truly has a way with poetry and shares my love of all things avian.  

4.  Cedar at Cedar's Photography . . . another photography blogger that I discovered through Ashley Sisk's Scavenger Hunt Sunday Photography Challenge.  I always enjoy her interpretations and she is a great encourager.  Her faith shines in her words and her photos.   She also has a second blog, Joyful Mama Gives In.

5.  Jamie at Six Bricks High . . .  a woman whose goal is to be a wise builder of her home and family, a regular participant in the Gypsy Mama's 5 Minute Friday writing challenge and linking with Ann Voskamp for Multitudes on Mondays.