Thursday, 30 December 2010

December Days in a Daze...

     Truly, I intended to write a lot during writing about the gifts I was making; experimental craft projects; the result of my appointment with the Rheumatologist and of course, Christmas.  Now, not only is December almost is 2010!  
     Around the first week of December, whilst cooking dinner, I heard Midnight Man's mobile cock-a-doodle-do.  This Rooster-Song is the quirky, yet highly identifiable ring tone Midnight Man has chosen for his portable mode of communication.  The caller was his oldest daughter, T-Girl.  She had a favour to ask--would me mind having her two oldest sons--Grandsons M & K--for a week during their school holidays?  Mmmmm...okay, why not?  This gave me a couple of weeks to consider what to do with two rambunctious boys (ages 13 and 11.5).  Well, given my tiredness, they might have to deal with Nana D taking a nap everyday!!! 
      In the meantime, I did a little knitting--trying to make good use of the time to make some Christmas presents.  I made a valiant effort...meaning I got three pairs of mini-mittens knitted but got overwhelmed with the idea of needing to knit another 14 pairs!  And they are tiny!  The photo shows the three pair I did get done laying next to a 12 inch/30 cm ruler!  So, I've decided that I have a start on next year's Christmas gifts.    
      The idea is that each year for all 14 of the grandchildrens' Christmas Presents I will make at least two or three ornaments--each marked  with the year and each child's name on it.  I haven't been as successful as I would like.  However, I have managed a few years to achieve my goal.  The teddy bears were the 2008 project.  Each teddy was hand-painted with the favorite colour of each grandchild.  The name and year was marked on the back.  This way they have a keepsake to take with them for their own Christmases in the future.
     Another thing I've had to learn this December is how to put a group of photos into a Microsoft Publisher file, save it  as a JPEG File Interchange Format in order to insert it into the blog.  If I want more than one image, then I must make a photo montage with several photos on a document that can be saved in a JPEG format, thereby creating a single and insert-able image. Trying to maneuver an inserted image in this blog -creating -mode is limited to the optional commands the website gives me.  So, this led me to experiment and find a new way to use publisher and also accomplish my objectives.
     The teddy bears are made out of a non-edible dough made with flour, salt and water.  You roll it out like roll-out cookies.  The link to the recipe is here:  I used acrylic paint to decorate them.  
     If I think about why I make the ornaments, there are at least a couple of reasons.  Perhaps the most obvious is that both Midnight Man and I are unemployed due to illness.  So we must be wise with our resources.  With four grown children, their spouses/spouses-to-be and 14 grandchildren, buying Christmas presents requires a create deal of creativity.  We could shop year-round when we find good deals...but then we don't have the space to store things.  
     Another reason I like to make gifts is that I am giving of my time to create something unique for each person or family. I am constantly praying for each person while I'm working on a project.  I am not just giving them from my hands, I am also giving something of who I am, reflecting back to them the love they give me.  
     Making things with family creates memories--which can be a real treasure.  By making a point of making things each year, I am also creating a tradition.  Traditions can be boring--but they can also become anchors that create stability for us in an ever changing world.  Imagine the first time you were away from home at Christmas.  Singing along with songs you sang with your parents, siblings and close friends hopefully made you feel less alone.

    It was a Christmas in the 1970's that started a tradition between Grandma Cox and me.  Grandma Cox was my mother's mom.  Grandma made a set of feather pillows for my older brother, my younger sister and me.  Along with each set of feather pillows, she handmade pillow shams from old flour bags, embroidering each case with special designs, and trimming them with hand-made lace she had crocheted.  I was so excited by those pillow cases, my grandmother made a set for me each year until she died.  I still have these pillow cases.  Each time I use them, I feel touched by her hands.  I am now trying to replicate that type of tradition--and hope my "Step-" family feel their lives touched by the love I invest in what I make for them. 
      So, that kind of covers the topic of making gifts.  I hope that I will complete some of my experiments and give you some interesting blogs in the future.  
      Regarding the result of my appointment with the Rheumatologist, I am happy to report that my body is clear of any rheumatic complaints or conditions.  All along I had believed this to be the case.  However, after the New Year, I'm going to pursue seeing and Endocrinologist.  I have a reasonable amount of energy each day--provided I get at least 10 hours of sleep a night.  The Rheumatologist recommended light exercises, such as Pilate's.  I have two videos to work hopefully I will get motivated with that soon.  
     My time with Grandson M and Grandson K deserve a blog of their own...and I will be writing more soon.

Become a follower?

     Hello!  Have you noticed the colours I use?  When I was in high school, I read about a study where researchers tested how people's eyes responded to typeset on different background colours.  What they found was that people found looking at black ink on a light-to-medium green was more restful for readers.  I acutally read several paperback books with the greenish tint and found it easier to read.  So that's why I've been posting most of my blogs on the green background.  
     Would you like to become a follower of my blog?  It's pretty easy really.  Near the top and on the left you will see a small google symbol with "Follow" on the tab.  Just click on that tab.  A window will open with the message:  Sign in using an account you've already created.  If you don't have an account, you will be asked to sign up for a google account.  You can use any e-mail address you want.  Just enter that and a password.  Once you've got an account, simply go back to my blog and click onto the follow tab.  Then you become a follower.  It's just that simple. 
     I will certainly share the posts via Facebook and send out e-mails.  I guess I just don't want you to miss anything!  
    Thank you to all of you that are reading my blog and following it.  
    Hope to see your "Follower" Icon on my blog page!    

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Psalm 92:1 It is a good thing to give thanks....

     September and October mark the annual harvest of crops in the United Kingdom and North America.  As a woman of dual citizenship, I can honestly say that I benefit from having more traditions and customs to celebrate and enjoy. 
     November brings All Saints' Day on the 1st and All Souls' Day on 2nd November.  As an official Church of England (Anglican) member, these church days give me a reminder to think about those who have gone before me in the walk of faith--Hebrews 11; my family members who have gone home and see the Lord face-to-face.  
     November 5th is a British National celebration--Guy Fawkes Night--a date remembered for its political and historical significance:  an annual public day of thanksgiving for the failure of a plot by English Catholics to blow up the House of Lords on the opening day of Parliament, 5th November 1605.  It is a good day to remember that I am blessed to be a citizen of Heaven, and also a citizen of two countries where worshipping Jesus Christ openly is freely allowed.  I may not agree with the politics of 1605, or even 2010, but I am still glad that I am blessed to live in a country where I can freely express my faith.
     My 52nd birthday was on 19th November.  Love was lavished on me by unexpected presents, phone calls, birthday cards and 42 well wishes on Facebook.  My Midnight Man (Husband) took me out to dinner and purchased an MP3 player for me.  I am still learning how to use it.  
     One of the high-lights of the day was the phone call to my sister, "Dija".  She answered the phone:  "Hello".  
     "Hellooo!"  I replied.

     "Ruff ruff ruff ruff, ruff ruff.  Ruff ruff ruff ruff, ruff ruff.  Meow, meow meow meow, meow Meowww Meowww, Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff."     "I've sung it in the other languages, do I have to sing it in human as well?"  Said "Dija".  
     I was laughing out loud by now.  "No, that was great."  
      There was nothing better than being serenaded by my sister's animal band:  Hannah and the Cats.   
     This brings us to American Thanksgiving--traditionally the 4th Thursday of November.  
     Some of you know me well enough to know that I enjoy history.  I can get lost for hours trawling through websites reading about things that intrigue, puzzle, pique my curiosity.  And why?  Because deeper appreciation comes when context frames the significance, reasoning and purpose of events that have come into our lives--from daily tasks to annual observances. 
     According to my research the first Thanksgiving was 1619 in the first colony of Virginia.  Later the Pilgrims had a three day feast of Thanksgiving in 1623.  This is the traditional event most recognised in schools and by the American public.  
     After the Revolutionary war ended in 1789, George Washington declared a national day of Thanksgiving and prayer as recognition of the Providence of God.  Washington declared a 2nd day of National Thanksgiving in 1795.  These proclamations to recognise and acknowledge the Providential care of God, were the first time a governmental proclamation of this type was issued to the United States--and significantly and not initiated by the church.
     Presidents John Adams and James Madison also made proclamations to observe national days of Thanksgiving.  But it was Abraham Lincoln who was responsible for creating an annual national day of Thanksgiving.  In 1863--while the Civil War still waged--President Lincoln signed a declaration of National Thanksgiving to God to be observed on the last Thursday in November.  And it has been observed annually since 1863--147 years.  It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt who made the 4th Thursday of November the official federal day of celebration.  And in 1941 the Senate and the House of Representatives officially signed a resolution to make the 4th Thursday in November permanently fixed as Thanksgiving.  
My Sister-In-Law & Husband
     Because of my struggle with fatigue and related symptoms, I hadn't originally planned to do a Thanksgiving dinner.  But my good friend Señora L. asked if I had any plans--that she and her husband (Mr. C.) would like to celebrate with us.  We invited Midnight Man's sister and her husband and the "Dpr" Family--with whom we attend church.  Thursday was a not viable day to have the feast because of schedules and Britain not observing a national day of giving thanks; the meal was scheduled for Saturday 27th November.  Señora L & Mr. C. contributed a turkey and some vegetables.  I contributed a broccoli and cauliflower salad, desserts and all the cooking.
     My guests were due about 7:30 p.m.  I had a moment of being completely overwhelmed-nearly burst into tears, which was complicated by exhaustion--even though I'd taken a nap.  I looked at John and said, "I feel like a pregnant woman giving birth to her first child---I'M NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN!"  Once all the guests had arrived, Midnight Man and S-In-L took over the serving, I settled down and was actually thinking of having guests for Christmas dinner.  
Mr. D, Me, Senora L. & Mr. C

It's great to know that I don't have to wait for once a year to give thanks to God.  Everyday can be Thanksgiving--as indeed it should be.  The world has a way of telling us that we should want more, more, more...

But the Apostle Paul wrote "Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always).  Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]: Thank God in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and mediator of that will}.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith