"fly" 2007 acrylic and polymer clay on canvas
to my dear friends john and mary
pink and orange purse knitted from strips of cotton fabric
Shall come to thee, O Israel!
Blessings of the Season to All who stop here...
from Christian clipart
Anne Geddes Happy Birthday Jesus
My Church Nativity with 6-white roses
Each Christmas eve I lay 6 white roses at the manger, before Jesus is placed, to welcome Him...
Saint Francis' birds are fed on Christmas Eve - a new tradition launched
Sir Chancelot helping feed the birds
Sir Chance Christmas morn
Surfin' Santa in Fernandina Beach, FL
For so long you have promised
forgiveness, peace, salvation.
Now in my heart, I am filled with joy
because of your coming.
Thank you for your promises
and for the way I can trust in you.
I feel a new freedom in my life
and a courage I have not known before.
I know you came to save me and bring new life
and I am so grateful to you.
Let me show my thankfulness
with my life.
You have brought me through the darkness
and into the light of your saving grace.
Guide my feet on the way of peace.
Who was this man named Joseph...who became the foster father of our Lord? Joseph of Nazareth, son of Jacob, descended from the line of David. He was a carpenter, Mary's husband and Jesus' foster father. That is about all we know...
Joseph, second only to the Blessed Virgin Mary in strength of faith, was given leadership of the Holy Family as a direct assignment from God. Imagine what strength of character it must have taken to fulfill his destiny? He had to provide all that was necessary for Jesus, the son of God, to grow in grace and wisdom. And he was "righteous" in the administration of his vocation (Matthew 1:18). But for many, the essence of this humble carpenter seems to elude us.
Read the Nativity story here...and here...
As I reflect on this father/husband/man and the Nativity story, I think of the virtues Joseph possessed in order to live the life he was called to lead...could I have undertaken such a Divine responsibility? Could you?
In the Roman Catholic and other traditions, Joseph is the patron saint of workers and has several feast days (see Saint Joseph's Day). He was also declared to be the patron saint and protector of the universal Catholic Church (along with Saint Peter) by Pope Pius IX in 1870, and is the patron of several countries and regions. He is a rare example of a saint from the early days of the church whose devotional role has tended to increase in the centuries since the Middle Ages.
A 9-day Novena to St.Joseph is here...
I found this on www.creighton.edu
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. - Luke 2
Many of us celebrate Christmas alone. This may be the first time for us, or an odd set of circumstances this year, or an every year thing. Some of us are single persons living along. Some of us are widows or widowers and some of us are separated or divorced. Quite a few of us have family living elsewhere.
It may be that our health or the weather prevents us from even going to church on Christmas. Perhaps we are able to celebrate with a faith community on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, but the rest of the day is alone, and accompanied only with memories. Some of us are in nursing homes, and though surrounded by neighbors and friends, we have no one to visit us on this special day. Some of us are in a distant land on business.
For us who are alone, Christmas can be a great blessing. The solitude we have can offer us the grace to receive the gift of Christ's coming in a very special way. We may be tempted to be discouraged or quite down in our aloneness, but that really is a temptation. It is a temptation to turn our focus in on ourselves rather that to let ourselves be contemplative at the time of Christmas. To act against this temptation is to open ourselves to great graces these days.
The first grace we might have is time. These are special days to take advantage of the stories that are given us about Zechariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, the journey to Bethlehem, that frightening night looking for a place to stay, the birth in a stable, the visit of the shepherds, the visit of the Magi, the flight into Egypt and the hidden life of the Holy Family back in Nazareth. When we have time, we can read those stories and let them enter our imagination. We can contemplate them deeply by entering the scenes - even becoming an added character in the stories to become part of the dialogue and to experience it all "first hand." We can take the time to pay attention to the sounds and smells, to see what everyone is wearing and what they are saying. We can study people's faces and the emotions and prayers of the characters enter into our hearts. Seeing a Christmas card, a crib scene or a stained glass window is a doorway to really entering the scene and witnessing the birth, holding the child, comforting Mary and Joseph, being a part of the excitement of the shepherds, rejoicing in a hidden life with the Holy Family.
The second great grace we might be given is the ability to enter into relationships with these special persons in the story of our salvation. It would be a special grace if our aloneness at Christmas could allow us to come closer to Mary. Mary is both the mother of our Savior and the first disciple. In those roles, she is always our first Intercessor. It can be a very rich time of prayer to simply talk with Mary - telling her our situation, describing our situation, and then listening to her tell us the story, her story and ours. Somehow, as she tells us about her surrender to God's will, about the anxiety and trust of that night, about the poverty of the stable and they joy in her heart at how her son brought such joy to the shepherds, we can be filled with consolation. The mystery of God's redeeming mercy and love which was born in that stable that night can be born in our stable.
It can be very powerful to turn to Mary and simply ask her to intercede for us, for our loved ones, and for our world. In our solitude, we can become great instruments of God's grace for others - transforming our aloneness into a powerful ministry of love and mercy.
We get our word "manger" from the Latin (and so French, Italian, Spanish) root, which means simply "to eat." Jesus comes, into the greatest place of our poverty, not only to be "with us" but to nourish us. The manger can be the place we go this Christmas to be fed with the acceptance, love, and peace we need. There is no place of darkness in which we need ever feel alone. There is no situation, no loss, no tragedy that need ever leave us empty. There is no sin, no matter how selfish that will ever leave us apart from God's love.
Perhaps the greatest grace of our aloneness will be the gift of grateful surrender. Sometimes, our aloneness gets filled with resentment, self-pity and anger. We can become upset about everyone and everything. These emotions can be like a cancer that eats away at us and wipes out any chance of peace and joy entering our hearts. When these emotions dominate our hearts, our whole being is tight and closed. Our hands symbolize the emotions within us: holding on to everything tightly, shaking a finger at others, pounding the table as we refuse to accept this or that, perhaps throwing things down, slamming doors, maybe even wanting to slap someone.
It is into these powerful emotions that we can let our Savior come with the gift of mercy and peace. When we accept who we are and where we are, just as we are accepted and embraced there, the anger and self-absorption will melt. Then we can open our hearts and our hands in surrender. "I am your servant today, Lord. Let this be done in me according to your will." Gratitude is the greatest grace of Christmas. We can receive that grace alone. And, sitting alone, with our hands open, whether for a minute or an hour, can prepare us for the greatest experience of Christmas ever. And then, so full of grace, we can begin to reflect on how we can share our gifts with others.
Hoffman, 55, is one of the growing number of "nontraditional" food pantry clients across the country. They include more formerly independent senior citizens, more people who own houses and more people who used to call themselves "middle-class" — those who are not used to fretting over the price of milk.No matter what city you live in, and no matter what newspaper you read, you have probably seen a headline that says something like “Local Food Bank Donations Down,” or “Shelves Empty at the Food Bank.”
"We're getting calls all the time from people who want to know how to get here," said Kristine Gibson, community outreach manager at the Stockton food pantry. "And when I ask where they live, they give an address of a nice neighborhood, one where you or I would want to live."
my days in california are coming to an end...i return to florida early saturday morning...the day i arrived (november 24) it was raining in southern california...i shot these photos of the roses in my son's garden...i love my camera...
this little strip off light...
twixt night and night...
let us keep
and if tomorrow shall be sad...
or never come at all, we've had...
jane of random notes blog is having a contest about journaling...please visit and share...
i have journaled for many years...it is the place i work out new ideas, design and dream, and record moments of my life...my favorite journal has divided pages - the top half blank for art, drawing, attaching things and the bottom half lined for writing...the pages are very thick, textured paper that will not wrinkle or bleed...the pages are ivory...
i keep a prayer journal and a life/art journal...i also have blogs that are my electronic journals...journaling is a purely selfish endeavor...time just for me to be alone with my thoughts and my creativity...i do it for me, not to share or display, as rarely do i share them with others...
last year (2007) i drew a face each day in my journal to help me with my drawing skills...it worked, 365 days of drawing improves your eye and your hand...the drawing improved dramatically over the course of the year...
thank you jane for asking this...please leave a comment about why you do or do not journal...
here are the flirty girls...
But that’s not the real culprit. Much more, it’s the way all the noises that we choose to listen to have infiltrated our minds. We’re caffeinated, buzzed, wired, plugged-in. In one recent survey, only 19 percent of Americans said they wanted a "more exciting, faster-paced life." Excitement can’t excite us anymore.
What can excite us – what can make us salivate the way a circus could make some Kansas farm boy salivate – is the prospect of a lull, an interlude. Stillness scares us (that’s why the TV goes on when we walk in the hotel room) but it attracts us, too. If there’s one thing we’d really like from Christmas, I think, it’s a little of that "season of peace" that the greeting card writers are always promising. It’s one of the reasons "Silent Night" is the all-time favorite carol. There’s a moment when we sing it each year at the end of the Christmas Eve service, with the lights out and everyone holding a candle that frames their face with soft light, and that marks for me the absolute height of Christmas.
If there’s one way in which the world has changed more than any other since 1840, one thing that’s truly different about our lives, it’s that we’ve become such devout consumers. That consumption carries with it certain blessings (our lives are long and easy by any historical standard) and certain costs (first and foremost the damage it causes to the rest of creation). But the greatest cost may be the way it’s changed us, the way it has managed to confuse us about what we really want from the world. We weren’t built just for this life we find ourselves leading – we were built for silence and solitude, built for connection with each other and the natural world, built for so much more than we now settle for. Christmas is the moment to sense that, the moment to reach for the real joys.
A Hundred Dollar Holiday - How To Create a Homemade Christmas
I have joined the ranks of Squidoo...it is a fun place to voice your opinion...click the above link to get tons of information on creating a beautiful holiday celebration for less than $100.
You want to make a memorable Christmas holiday for your family but you have no idea how to do it! We will explore ways to make a beautiful Christmas memory without spending a lot of money.
I have always been a make it, take it kind of person. There will be how-to's, ideas, recipies, videos, and much more. New stuff will be added daily...so chack back often!
Please share a favorite homemade idea, your family holiday traditions, or special things you do on Christmas Eve or Christmas day in the guestbook at the bottom of the page!
angel art by Rebecca E. Parsons (Cre8Tiva)
"So the reason to change Christmas is not because it damages the earth around us, though surely it does. (Visit a landfill the week after Christmas.) The reason to change Christmas is not because it represents shameful excess in a world of poverty, though perhaps it does. The reason to change Christmas - the reason it might be useful to change Christmas - is because it might help us to get at some of the underlying discontent in our lives. Because it might help us see how to change every other day of the year, in ways that really would make our whole lives, and maybe our entire 365-days-a-year culture, healthier in the long run." Bill McKibbon - see his book below...read the rest of the article here...
I have been in California for a week now...getting some much needed rest and recuperation...it rained for the first few days...so much for it never rains in California...it does...I will upload some pictures when I figure out how on my sons' computer...
US Economy In Recession Since December 2007
Yesterday, Monday, December 1st 2008,
"The National Bureau of Economic Research said that the U.S. has been in a recession since December 2007, making official what most Americans have already believed about the state of the economy .
The NBER is a private group of leading economists charged with dating the start and end of economic downturns. It typically takes a long time after the start of a recession to declare its start because of the need to look at final readings of various economic measures.
Achuthan's research firm tracks weekly leading economic indicators that are supposed to signal a change in direction for the economy four or five months ahead of time. Those indicators are continuing to fall at a record pace."
The good news: 55 percent of economists surveyed in a new poll don't believe the U.S. will fall into a full-blown recession.