Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Almost Here...

Thanks to Mary Engelbreit for the above artwork

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Let's Keep Christmas

I bought a book this summer at a thrift store entitled "The Best of Peter Marshall", that was compiled and edited by his wife Catherine Marshall. Peter Marshall came to America from Scotland when he was a boy. He eventually became pastor of Washington DC's historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and was chaplain of the US Senate in the late 1940's. His daily prayers were widely quoted in the press and senators sought him out as "their" pastor. He died of a heart attack at 46, and his widow Catherine compiiled many of his sermons, sayings and stories into several books which are all now considered Christian classics. Catherine Marshall has been with Guideposts for many years but I never knew much of Peter Marshall's work until reading this book. This little excerpt I am posting here is from his message 'Let's Keep Christmas', which "was heard for a quarter of a century over radio stations at Christmastime." You may have seen the movie about his life, A Man Called Peter, by 20th Century Fox...I have not, so I can not comment about its accuracy or content...but here is an abbreviated version of Peter Marshall's Christmas message.

Changes are everywhere.
Many institutions and customs that we once thought sacrosanct have gone by the board. Yet there are a few that abide, defying time and revolution.
The old message "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" is still the heart of Christmas.
It can be nothing else.
And this message can neither be changed-nor quite forgotten although there are many things that tend to make us forget.

The idea of Santa Claus coming in a helicopter does not ring true.
No interior decorator with a fondness for yellow or blue could ever persuade me to forsake the Christmas colors of red and green.

I must confess that modernistic Christmas cards leave me cold. I cannot appreciate the dogs and cats, the galloping horses, the ships in full sail, or any of the cute designs that leave out the traditional symbols of the star...the manger...the wise men on their camels. Angels there must be- but they need not be nodernistic angels in evening dress with peroxide permanents.

There is no need to search for stories new and different. There is only one after all- and no modern author can improve it.

We all feel the pressure of approaching Christmas. The traffic is terrible. You can't find a parking space, the stores are crowded, mob scenes make shopping a nightmare. You are thinking about presents- wondering what in the world you can get for so-and-so. You can't think of anything they need (which is rather strange when you take time to think of it).

Maybe there is nothing in a store that they need. But what about some token of love- what about love itself, and friendship, and understanding, and consideration, and a helping hand, and a smile, and a prayer? You can't buy these things in any store, and there are the very things people need.

Let's not permit the crowds and the rush to crowd Christmas out of our hearts, for that is where it belongs. Christmas is not in the stores, but in the hearts of people.

Let's not give way to cynicism and mutter that "Christmas has become commercialized." It never will be - unless you let it be. Let's not succomb to the sophistication that complains, "Christmas belongs only to the children." That shows that you have never understood Christmas at all, for the older you get, the more it means, if you know what it means.

Have you been saying, "I just can't seem to feel the Christmas spirit this year"? That's too bad. As a confession of lack of faith, it is rather significant. You are saying that you feel no joy that Jesus came into the world...You are confessing that His presence in the world is not a reality to you...Maybe you need all the more to read the Christmas story over again...sit down with Gospel of Luke and think about it.

We hope that there will be snow for Christmas. Why? It is not really important, but it is so nice, and old-fashioned, and appropriate, we think. There will be the fragrance of baking, and the warmth of the house, melodious with the strains of "Silent night, holy night..." and we shall sweep the skies for their brightest colors and festoon our homes with stars...and we will remember what Christmas means- the beginning of Christianity, the Second Chance for the world, the hope for peace, and the only way.

The years that are gone are graveyards in which all the persuations of men have crumbled into dust. If history has any voice, it is to say that all the ways of men lead nowhere. There remains one way-The Way-untried, untested, unexplored fully...the way of Him who was born a babe in Bethlehem.

In a world that seems not only to be changing, but even to be dissolving, there some tens of millions of us who want Christmas to be the same... with the same old greeting "Merry Christmas"and no other. We want to hold on to the old customs and traditions because they strengthen our family ties, bind us to our friends, make us one with all mankind for whom the Child was born, and bring us back again to the God who gave His only begotten Son...

So we will not "spend" Christmas, nor "observe" Christmas...we will "KEEP" Christmas- keep it as it is, in all the loveliness of its ancient traditions.

May we keep it in our hearts, that we may be kept in its hope.

Peter Marshall, Senate Chaplain
photo from 1955

Sounds like this could have been written THIS year in America, not way back when...


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Icy Wind

Here is a lovely picture that expresses how it feels here today! An icy wind has been blowing ALL DAY!

the original picture is from


Time to stay warm! Clean house, wrap Christmas, cook for company, sit and read a book! I just can't get brave enough to be outside!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One Million Moms

I get regular e-mails from an organization named One Million Moms. Here is their mission statement.

"OneMillionMoms.com was begun to give moms an impact with the decision-makers and let them know we are upset with the messages they are sending our children and the values (or lack of them) they are pushing.
Our goal is to stop the exploitation of our children, especially by the entertainment media (TV, music, movies, etc.). Mom, OneMillionMoms.com is the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children. It is time to fight back!"

Here is my latest e-mail about the progress made in 2010.

SUBJECT:  OMM's Smashing Year!

December 9, 2010

Dear Lisa,

I guess is when you signed up for One Million Moms you wondered if we could really make a difference. Well, read on...the results speak for themselves! OMM has fought many battles over the last twelve months, and the victories are what make all of our efforts worthwhile. What a remarkable difference YOU are helping make in our culture. Together, and with God's help, we are taking a stand and making a tremendous impact in our country! We are thankful for each and every accomplishment we have had in 2010. Here is a list of our highlights:

VP of Corporate Affairs for Wrigley, Andy Pharoah, apologized and stated they will not be using inappropriate phrases on their packaging going forward. They will be making appropriate changes to their Extra gum packaging.

Claire's took swift action to remove the razor blade jewelry line from their shelves! They appreciated our notes of concern and apologized. Claire's also stated they appreciate the important work of OMM!

After informing Jiffy Lube of an ad we found disgusting, they assured OMM they did not give the franchisee permission to print this ad and have taken the appropriate steps to make sure that it is pulled from circulation.

OMM has closely monitored the television program "Secret Life of the American Teenager" and the advertisers you contacted who are no longer sponsoring this show are: Dairy Queen, Kellogg's, Schick, 1-800-Contacts, Pamprin (Chattem, Inc), Pizza Hut (Yum Brands), Chili's (Brinker International) and Stride Shift Gum (Cadbury Adams USA LLC).

The following sponsors have pulled their support from the program "GLEE": Hanesbrands, TJ Maxx, Burger King, Virgin Mobile (Sprint) and Arby's.

ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars" lost sponsorship from Pizza Hut and KFC (both owned by Yum Brands), Coca-Cola, and M&M's (Mars, Inc).

There is still work that needs to be done, but we have seen an improvement in what products Sears is offering on their website.

OMM applauds you for your dedication! We are truly grateful for each member's support. We are making a HUGE difference! OMM needs your financial help in gearing up for a knockout year in 2011! Thanks for your support!

Monica Cole, Director

P.S. Please forward this to your family and friends! Become a fan of OneMillionMoms on Facebook! If you use Twitter, keep up with the latest information by following us.
Here is the link if YOU want to join! http://www.onemillionmoms.com/purpose.asp

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fun with Hot Tea

Time for hot drinks! now that it's December in America...

My little man likes to have tea sometimes with his sister. Today he asked me to make him some Green Tea, because "that's what they do in Japan!" (he has just been learning about that country in 2nd grade at school)
I told him I didn't have any green tea, but I had some other tea "that I think you will like." Actually it is a Rooibos, Lemon Chiffon. I special ordered this several years ago from a shop in Albany, Oregon, where my sister-in-law had taken me when we visited out there one summer. Whenever I make this for the children, they always enjoy it, whereas if I make something like English Breakfast or Darjeeling they may not. 

Now, David is All Boy, as you will be able to tell from these pictures. I don't really know what it is about the "taking tea" that he likes, unless it is stirring lots of sugar into it!

(see my wrapping paper in the background? I've been wrapping Christmas Gifts!)
I found this little teapot for the kids
at a thrift store! I love it

David decides to stir with both hands,
twirling the spoon...
getting the table messy...
I told him to try to be neat and he said, "Boys are different from girls!"
I told him he could be a gentleman, anyway...

So much for the gentlemanly manners!

Julia likes to be a lady!
I gave them some gingersnap cookies to dunk in their tea
(they are in the little jar with the rubber seal)

I love my little chick-a-dee-dee-dees!

Monday, December 6, 2010

For the US Military

Let's dedicate this song to our loved ones that are serving in the Armed Forces...thanks to Josh Groban for such a beautiful rendition of "I'll Be Home For Christmas".

And great news from one of my son's best friends that is also a Marine...He is coming home for Christmas REALLY! He's already back from Afghanistan, in de-briefing in California...Welcome Home Gerald!!!!!

Beautiful Song For Christmas

Lovely, lovely, LOVELY!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Glory Be!

Christmastime is here! I love this time of year, when stores will play Christmas music that mentions Jesus and God and praise to Him that otherwise would not dare to play Christian music any other time of year! And the radio stations too...LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

Here is a new Christmas song to me- having not been raised in a Methodist Church is probably why I've never heard it before. The tune is ELLACOMBE, which I equate with "I sing the mighty power of God that makes the mountains rise"...

Glory Be To God On High

Glory be to God on high,
And peace on earth descend:
God comes down: He bows the Sky:
He shows Himself our Friend!
God the invisible appears,
God the blest, the Great I Am
Sojourns in His vale of tears.
And Jesus is the name.

Him the angels all adored
Their maker and their king;
Tidings of their humbled Lord
They now to mortals bring:
Emptied of His majesty,
Of His dazzling glories shorn,
Being's source begins to be
And God Himself is Born!

See the eternal Son of God
A mortal son of man,
Dwelling in an earthly clod
Whom Heaven cannot contain!
Stand amazed, ye Heavens at this!
See the Lord of Earth and Skies
Humbled to the dust He is,
And in a manger lies!

We the sons of men rejoice,
The Prince of Peace proclaim,
With heaven's host lift up our voice,
and shout Immanuel's name;
Knees and hearts to Him we bow;
Of our flesh and of our bone
Jesus is our brother now,
And God is all our own!

- by Charles Wesley

I LOVE THESE WORDS!!! May they fill our hearts with JOY at this season of year...

This tune Ellacombe also has been used to the words of another Methodist Christmas song, 'Jesus Christ".
Here are the words to it:

Hail to the Lord's Anointed, Great David's greater Son! Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free; To take away transgression, And rule in equity.

He comes with succor speedy to those who suffer wrong; To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong; To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light, Whose sould, condemned and dying, Are precious in His sight.

He shall come down like showers Upon the fruitful earth, Love joy, and hope, like flowers, Spring in His path to birth. Before Him, on the mountains, shall peace the herald go, And righteousness, in fountains, from hill to valley flow.

To him shall prayer unceasing and daily vows ascend; His kingdom still increasing, a kingdom without end;
The tide of time shall never His covenant remove; His name shall stand forever: that Name to us is Love.
-these words are by James Montgomery, 1771-1854