Nacho Average Christmas Fiesta

We had a wonderful family get together yesterday. Instead of a traditional Christmas meal, we had a “Nacho Average Christmas Fiesta.” Fajitas, tacos, queso, guacamole, chips, rice, beans, choices of four different meats, and all the trimmings. Plus added fun things like tiny sombreros, fake mustaches, maracas, and so much more. Lots of laughter and love shared.

And so as Christmas week is officially here, I want to wish each of you and your families a very merry and blessed Christmas and a wonderful 2022 filled with hope and love. I’m going to take the next two weeks off and will resume blogging on January 3, 2022.

Lifting my cup of tea with a smile and heart filled with thanks to each of you. God bless. See you next year!

Preparing for Christmas

Watching a beautiful pink sunrise this cold morning. I’m always amazed at the beautiful scenes God paints outside my window! He always starts my day with a smile!

It’s been a crazy week for me. The first part of the week was super cold and ended with a lot of wind and rain! Sunday started this week in nice way with temps in the mid 40 degree range and lots of pretty sunshine. I did not venture out of my home, except to collect the mail, after church until yesterday to attend church. I finished several things I’d been wanting to do and was actually able to color a few pictures. And I enjoyed some happy ending Christmas movies!

Today I need to make cookies and fudge to mail to my daughter and son in love for Christmas. This coming Sunday evening we are having a small family meal in my equally small condo. Quite a change from the large traditional get togethers we’ve had in the past, but better than last year when we had nothing. My youngest daughter is singing with the praise band for three Christmas worship services next week. That’s how I’ll be spending Christmas Eve.

Here are the three pictures I colored last week. And the diamond painting I finally mounted for hanging. The first picture is the diamond painting now hanging on my wall. The second picture is a color by number illustrated by George Toufexis. The third is from a Jim Shore artist coloring book gifted to me last Christmas by my dear friend, Sandy. The last picture is my favorite. Illustrated by Ruth Sanderson. I used a limited number of pencils blending to make different shades and colors.

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing each of you a week filled with smiles and the true spirit of Christmas!

It is Difficult to “See” When Consumed With “Me”

Usually I look back on the previous week to write Monday’s blog, but yesterday I began thinking about how easily it is to get consumed with thoughts about myself. How I’m feeling. What I wanted.

I looked at how I make sure I have breakfast every morning. I was never a breakfast kind of person until diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. My husband loved breakfast. It was his favorite meal of the day. After I retired, my hubby was already ill with COPD and heart disease. He would stay up until the wee hours of the morning and wake after a three to four hour sleep. During the day he took multiple naps. I would wake every morning to find him drinking his first cup of coffee and doing a breathing treatment. He had gotten used to eating toaster waffles in the morning. So that’s what I fed him.

Sundays we went to one particular restaurant for breakfast, and when he had doctor appointments, which were frequent, we’d stop to eat wherever he chose. But, now, as I fix a breakfast for myself every morning, I regret not doing the same for him. Not toaster waffles, or my homemade version of his McDonald’s favorite, but a good breakfast he would love. Hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, toast and coffee.

I was retired. I had no appointments other than his. So why didn’t I take the time to make every breakfast special? A time to eat at the table together and talk would have been wonderful. Instead, I fed him junk, then showered, dressed and prepared for my day. I regret this. There were too many times in my past life when I was consumed with ME. This distracted me from focusing on others.

I realize I can’t change the past, and I shouldn’t look back. Yet, if I could change anything, it would be making breakfast special for my beloved hubby in our last years together. In the future I’m asking God to help me remember life isn’t about me. It’s about God. And that translates into being a servant to others, not being consumed with me.

This week, I had appointments every day of the week. I started coloring a Christmas picture, but remembered I wanted to complete the Hannah Lynn Steampunk book and there was still one picture left uncolored. Rarely do I use a collection of Sharpie markers, so I decided to try using them. I used them to color this picture with the exception of using a chalk medium for the sky. Yay! One more book complete!

This week I need to concentrate on making the gifts for my daughters for Christmas. One needs to be mailed, so it is important to get it finished early this week. I hope to finish the Christmas picture I started on Friday as well.

Lifting my cup of tea and looking at a rainy morning outside my office window and feeling grateful it isn’t snow!

Christmas Decorations, Cards, and a New Great Grandson

The rumbling of the trash truck is the first sign of life in the world outside my condo. All is quiet and serene as the sun kisses the lightly frosted green grass. No sign yet of any flying birds, but in the distance, beneath the autumn clothed trees, ducks waddle toward the morning breakfast provided by a kind-hearted neighbor.

I breathe in deeply, enjoying the peace before setting off on a busy day of errands and appointments. This past week has taken a toll both physically and emotionally. Sometimes aging gracefully can be lost in the rush of busyness. I finally finished making my Christmas cards, writing notes inside, and addressing them in preparation for mailing today. Each card is different. Next year, God willing, I am going to make every card the same.

Yesterday as I was getting ready for church, my daughter in SC called me. I knew it must be important since she knew I would be preparing for church. So, with a mouthful of toothpaste, I rushed to the kitchen to answer. She told me her daughter, my beloved granddaughter, had awakened thinking her water had broken. (She was being watched for high blood pressure during the last trimester of her pregnancy. Originally due in January, they had moved the date up to Christmas Eve.) At 1:30am on Sunday morning, she found it wasn’t water, but blood. She was rushed to the hospital and had an emergency c-section due to a ruptured placenta. Both mom and baby are doing okay, though mom lost a lot of blood and baby will be in NICU for a few weeks. Thanking God for His love and mercy! I can’t wait to meet Wyatt Robert McDine.

With my focus on finishing Christmas cards, the only coloring I completed this week was swatching two new sets of pencils. The Christmas decorations are in place so after this day of errands, I’m hoping to be able to resume coloring some Christmas pictures while listening to Christmas carols.

Lifting my cup of tea and wishing all of you a happy Monday. Until next time…God bless!

A Heart of Thanksgiving

This is Thanksgiving week. I’m happy to be joining family gathering at my youngest daughter’s house and to not cook a turkey. She always gives me easy things to contribute. But I do miss the smell of Thanksgiving and the leftovers. I did purchase a 3 pound turkey breast which is in my freezer. I’ll make a mini Thanksgiving meal for myself in December when I decorate for Christmas.

This time of year can bring moments of sadness with missing those who have been called home. I’m thankful to turn into the arms of Jesus for comfort. He reminds me this is only temporary and one day He will lead me to them. In the meantime, this is the life I’ve been given and each day is a gift to enjoy. I smile because this life is good and filled with blessings.

Yesterday my grandson called to tell me he had proposed to his girlfriend and she said yes! Oh, what happiness filled my heart. Other family members are struggling in various situations. I know God is working in their lives, too, and I trust Him for healing their hearts. He is faithful.

The world is filled with suffering and hate. Yet, I stand firm in my faith that God is working in the background and there is no reason to fear. I’m looking forward to family gatherings, family meals, laughter, love, old memories, and new memories to be made.

Trying to give my eyes rest this week, I colored one picture this week while skyping with my daughter. It has been a quiet week of resting and prayer.

It is my prayer that I will live each day from this day forward with a Thanksgiving heart! Until next time…

The First Snowfall

Wow! Yesterday we had our first snowfall. A mixture of rain and snow lightly fell on my way to church. As I parked, the snow began to fall in huge, beautiful flakes, floating softly to the ground. I expected it to be gone by the time church ended, but surprise! Everything was covered with snow and it still came down in small flakes. My awesome grandson cleared the windows of my SUV. What a blessing!

This is what remained when I returned home.

The week has been unproductive for me. With the AFIB I lost a couple of days to resting and reading. When I get invested in a good book, I can’t put it down. I read Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin. I highly suggest it. The characters wrapped themselves around my heart and will live in my memory for a long time. It’s a book I could read again.

I didn’t accomplish much other than looking through pictures to use in my book. I am feeling much better today and plan on writing. My fingers are itching to document more memories.

A special friend gave me a bookshelf to hold my canned goods. Honestly, I dislike the wire shelving being used in homes these days. The canned goods bend the shelves and small packages, like taco seasoning, slip through the openings. I’m very grateful to have this new shelf. Now all boxed goods, like oatmeal and crackers sit on the metal shelves.

In my down time I colored three pictures for relaxation. I needed to keep down any stress so my heart could recover. Friday was a good day. I skyped with my daughter who is now settling into her new home in NC. Her views are awesome! She seems very happy and so does her hubby. That makes my heart happy, too.

A new week has begun and I’m looking forward to any opportunities God provides. Lifting my cup of tea and wishing you all a blessed week. Until next time…

A Truly Thankful Thanksgiving

I am thinking about Thanksgiving today. And family, of course. My memories take me back to a Thanksgiving past when my mother had come to live with us. Our downstairs family room was really two open rooms and very odd shaped, but we managed to piece together tables that stretched from one end of the room to the other. Chairs were various sizes and styles, and the entire setup was very eccentric yet beautiful.

I wanted my mom to experience a large family Thanksgiving with her extended family. Everyone brought something to contribute to the meal. As we went around the table telling what we were thankful for on that day, one of my daughters gave thanks that her husband was sitting at the table with us after having dealt with losing a kidney to cancer. This brought the true meaning of thankfulness to our table. I am thankful mother was able to share this Thanksgiving with us as it was her last here on earth.

Many Thanksgivings later, I look back at the loved ones who were at the table then, but no longer will join our family in person. Our family has dwindled, not only due to death, but also to long distance moves. I am now the matriarch of the family. I used to be the one hosting family gatherings. Now that duty has fallen to my children.

My heart wants to be the one to host the family gatherings again, but space and age have placed limitations on me. New traditions are being established. I am happy to see how much my family has bonded over the years and though many are absent, love still abounds when we gather together. One day I, too, will be absent from the table. I only hope my love for all of them will remain in fond memories. Lifting my cup of tea as I wander through memories with a smile in my heart.

Planning With Jesus

After rearranging my home when all my guests departed, I spent a week doing not much of anything. We all need time to relax and recuperate from time to time. I find as I grow older, this becomes more important.

As a birthday present to myself, I purchased a new Bible. It’s a Holman CSB Restoration Bible–Embracing God’s Word in Difficult Seasons. There are 7 Restoration Principles in this Bible:

  • R – Rest and Reflection
  • E – Eternal Perspective
  • S – Support
  • T – Thanksgiving and Contentment
  • O – Other-centeredness
  • R – Relationships
  • E – Exercise of Faith

I began reading the 30 day devotional in the front of the Bible on the 1st of November. In December, I will read Luke, one chapter a day through the 24th. The remainder of the year, I’ll be praying for God’s direction for my word for 2022 and my vision board in my 2022 Christian Planner. This will be my 4th year for using a planner from this company. I use it every day. I write all my sermon notes inside, too.

These last two months of the year I’m reflecting on what has transpired and the hopes I have for the upcoming year. I’m going to be working on Christmas cards a lot this month and won’t be spending as much time coloring. I want to color a couple more fall pictures and then I’ll begin working on some Christmas pictures. And, of course I’ll be working on the historical autobiography book. The past week I only colored one picture. I wanted to experiment with using watercolor pencils my daughter gave me this week. I’m looking forward to trying these with some pictures that have landscaping type of backgrounds in future.

Lifting my cup of tea with a full and happy heart as I look forward with hope to this new week ahead! Until next time…

Guests, Wedding, and a Birthday

What a wonderful week! Don’t you just love the feeling when you are anticipating an upcoming event and you can’t contain the happy that keeps bubbling up in your heart? That’s the kind of week I had!

First, let me tell you about my birthday. I was born on October 31st. One thing about being born on that particular day is…people remember. It’s Halloween. That’s how my family and I celebrate the day. Many people tend to confuse Samhain with Halloween. No, we do not celebrate anything about the dead or spirits. We are Christians who love God. We celebrate the American tradition of Halloween in fun. It’s about just that. Laughing and having fun with pumpkins, costumes, and little children visiting neighbors and having candy added to their plastic pumpkins. And we celebrate my birthday. I always loved having my birthday on Halloween until some of my Christian friends thought Halloween was not to be celebrated because that meant celebrating evil and Satan. But God knows what is inside my heart. That’s what He sees.

So yesterday was my birthday. I had two very special birthday gifts from God. First, my youngest daughter sang in church. I thought of how proud her Dad would have been to witness her using the gift God gave her to worship Him. I thought of how my prayers for her had been answered. And I gave thanks for being blessed on the day of my birth.

Second, I attended the wedding of my granddaughter and her love. Oh, the glow of happiness and love that shone on their faces filled my heart to overflowing! What a wonderful gift I was given to be included in such a special day!

Who could ask for more on their birthday? Not me!

And now my grandson, who spent the last two nights here with me, along with his love, so they could attend the wedding, has left. The house is a little empty, but I’m preparing for my daughter to arrive on Tuesday. She will only be here one night, but I know God will bless the time we have together. On Wednesday, she will be traveling on to her new home in North Carolina, car loaded to capacity, and one very confused cat. I’m so excited for this new adventure in her life, and I know she will be happy to finally be settling into her and her hubby’s new life. He’s been in NC now for a couple of weeks because of working, while she’s been taking care of the last details of selling the old house and getting the furniture loaded with the moving company.

So, all the anticipation of the events of last week also gave me time to squeeze in some hobbies. I colored three pages in my Inspire Journaling Bible. Also colored two pages in coloring books, and made four more Christmas cards.

This week will be a little quieter but no less filled with God’s blessings. I will be spending a little more quality time with Him and doing some studies in the new Restoration Bible I gifted myself as a birthday present. I just realized that I am now 78 years old young! I don’t know how many years God has planned for my earthly stay, but I intend to accept each new day as a blessed gift and fill it with love and joy! Until next time…

Sunrise, Sunset, the Colors of Life

I love when the sun is rising and just kisses the tops of the trees around my condo! God’s promise and His smile shining through the darkness. A new day has dawned, a new gift for which to give thanks.

Last week I said goodbye to another son, a son of my heart. He was a teenager when he came into my life, the best friend of one of my bonus sons. The loss of his earthly presence is deeply felt. Death is so painful and I long for the day when there will be no more death. My heart is sad for his mother, for no parent should have to go through the pain of their child’s death. As you read this, if you are led, please lift her in prayer for healing and peace.

Most of my time this week was spent working on the biographical book. The first chapter is in rough draft form…very rough! I pulled out a scrapbook I started seven years ago with pictures from my growing up years. I’ve been thinking about removing the pictures and making copies so I can make one for each of my daughters. I’m not sure how well the pictures will fit into the book. I will need to do some research on how to import them. I’m happy to be working on this winter project. Each of our lives are filled with different colors depending on how we view life.

I had a fun time yesterday after church. My daughters treated me to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant in celebration of my upcoming birthday.

As for hobbies, I colored two pictures and finished a puzzle. I also read two books and I’ve started a third. The television was rarely in use.

This coming week, I’m looking forward to my bonus granddaughter’s wedding, overnight visits with my grandson and his girlfriend, and my youngest daughter singing in church. I will also age another year on Sunday. God willing, I will turn 78. Each day is a gift for which I’m thankful. Lifting my cup of tea with a wish that everyone reading this will be blessed with good health and prosperity. Until next time…