Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Be Nimble, Happy Be Quick; Happy Happen Every Tock of the Tick

This is my second year to celebrate Christmas. I've watched from behind the scenes for over 10 years and it is interesting to finally be among those celebrating. People celebrate for many different reasons. Some celebrate to give; some to get; some just to celebrate; and mostly, because...  their parents and grandparents and great grandparents celebrated.

I love and hate things that surround Christmas. I hate the commercialization. I hate that some people must depend on Christmas for part of their salary or to keep their business above the red. I hate the entire "give me, give me, give me" attitude.

But I love more about this holiday than I hate.

I adore it when kids tell me that they are giving each person in their family three gifts and that they made the gifts. I love it when kids come into the store and search long and hard for the perfect gift for Mum or Dad. I love the giving aspect of Christmas. Don't tell me it doesn't exist and that all modern children are greedy. I know it's not true because I've seen the exact opposite so many times.

I love seeing people freeing themselves of current woes to be joyful. Their eyes sparkle and their lips smile and "Merry Christmas" aura floats around them like a blanket that warms everyone near them. I want to see this happen to people all year around. I don't think it's a fake attitude or one that should be frowned upon: happiness is to be welcomed at any time or place. But I wish for joy, everywhere, at all times.

The radio plays in the store on a popular station which plays many hours of music each day. Usually, it's music from the 70's, 80's and 90's, none of it remotely religious or spiritual. Yesterday, I heard a song about Jesus and I was amazed as I listened: the lyrics depicted his life, his death, resurrection and how we can be one with him. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Any reason to celebrate something good is a good reason to celebrate. People get into the spirit and are excited. Some people don't. But then, those folks don't get excited about anything anymore...

That leads me to the last thing I hate about Christmas or holidays in general: they end. The radio plays music up until December 26th and then, it's back to regular fare. The stores take down their decorations. The gifts are all opened. The food is just leftovers (though I admit that turkey leftovers are awfully yummy). Can't Christmas or birthdays or Easter or any holiday at all last more than a day or two? As with anything, it all depends on the attitude. I believe it can. I believe Jesus lived each day as though it was a gift. Life is not easy most of the time. We are meant to struggle as well as be happy. But I think there is a spirit of love that each one of us can embrace, regardless of where we are or where we have been.

Sam and I got to talking about the holocaust last night. That evolved into genecides and mass killings. (I promise this all fits together... please keep reading. :-)) Sam said that studies show that these horrible things happen not because people are evil. It is because of the mindset of the society they live in: killing your neighbor or the people under your rule is simply a way to erase a problem.

We have all seen or perhaps even felt the effects of such a mindset. It's frightening to think where a simple lack of respect for life can lead you. And we could all be the guilty ones, given the opportunity. There is no right or wrong method to curve ideals like these but I think a good place to begin is by making every day and every person your priority. I don't know what that means for you or even what that means for me: life changes in a blink of an eye. But keeping that good-will-to-all-men spirit every single day of the year is a great place to start.

Don't do it because it makes you feel good. Don't do it to look better to others. Don't do it for any selfish reason. Don't do it because you're frightened of yourself. Do it because that's what Jesus would do. Do it because it will lead you to Truth. Do it because people need to feel that joyful, Christmas spirit every single day of their lives. Do it because it's the most right thing to do.

"It’s Christmas Eve! It’s… it’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer, we… we… we smile a little easier, we… w-w-we… we… we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be!" -- Bill Murray [Scrooged]

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas House

I like Christmas trees and ours is no exception. It's like bringing flowers into the house, except.. bigger.

 I found these lovely burgundy bulbs at the Pharmasave.

See the pottery tea-set? A wedding gift from a friend. We love it.

Deck the halls with... garlands and bows. :-)

My wonderful husband and our dearly beloved cat. Both vying for attention... and receiving it. :-)

Some of you have requested pictures of the new porch. Well, there it is from the inside. Haven't braved the cold air to take any outside.

I made the most delicious bean and tomatoe soup with sausage in it for supper tonight. We had toasted cheese sandwiches to go along with it. So good. :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Formally Over

News reports citing the formal end of the War in Iraq have been written and posted on the internet.

I am very much a believer of peace. I don't know what all went down and what I do know, I don't agree with. But I do appreciate the hardships of the troops and the hardships of the people.

When peace comes, I will be glad.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Smile! Smile! Smile!

A friend posted this on their Facebook and said it was their favorite short film, "If you have 16 spare minutes, I would recommend watching it." Well, I had 16 spare minutes and this is now my favorite short film. I am inspired. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

love: an ode to mine

The Fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the the world is single,
All things by a law devine
In one another's being mingle -- 
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would  be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea --
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
-- Shelley

I know people who have fallen out of love. There are times when their pain is badly disguised. I feel it.. their longing for what they have lost. I do not judge them and I try to avoid pity. I believe there is a different path for each of us. If you are offended by this post of utter and complete contentment, forgive me. I have known my own pain and I have struggled through my own struggles. (I am me, of course, so I never stop learning the hard way.) But I have found a resting place, somewhere safe and I want that for everyone.

I have chosen a path to walk and by my side is the man I want with me forever. I have only loved for a little over a year. The varying of and the strength of this emotion never is the same - not even moment to moment. I have learned some things; I hope for much more over the years. This post is partly for me but I also wanted to put to rest some of the misconceptions about love.

Fear to embrace it, fear to not. Do not fear.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you

The love of all man’s days both past and forever:

Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours – 
And the songs of every poet past and forever.
-- Rabindranath Tagore

Love fills emptiness or holes in you that you didn't know existed.

Love is a partnership: it requires giving of yourself and receiving of the other person. While you need to be whole in yourself (your faith, your love, your abilities) you also need to be able to allow yourself to be made whole by that other person. 

Love's a mystery. Sometimes there are feelings that are so deep and full that they cannot be expressed. Sometimes it's a crush of overwhelmed senses and wildly fluctuating emotions. Sometimes it's found in the easy camaraderie of two people who have established a friendship. But it can never be said, "Love is this. Love is that," and this thing be properly explained.

A true lover is proved such by his pain of heart;
No sickness is there like sickness of heart.
The lover's ailment is different from all ailments;
Love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries. 
-- Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi

Love's story is different for every person. You might find yourself falling for your best friend, your worst enemy or someone you met on the street five minutes ago.

At the point Jesse and I met, I didn't think I was ready to meet HIM. I had prayed for years for a man who would be worthy enough for me to fall in love with. When I met Jesse I knew almost immediately that he was the one but I fought it. God had to really work on me. I cannot tell you how important it is to be of an open heart to His will. The places and people God leads  you to are for a reason. They shape you. For what end, you may ask? For better. For good. For love! But God won't force you to go where He wants you to go. As Jesse says, "A free will, the chance to choose, is the greatest gift God gave us." It's true. Of course if you're really headed in the wrong direction, He may put a wall of fire or a cliff in your path. :-)

Love never judges. Love accepts you for who you are, regardless of where you have been or what you have done. Love thinks you are perfect for Love. But Love never accepts that you are all that you could be. Love strengthens you, helps you, encourages you... to be more of you. 

Everyone says that you can't change a person. To a certain extent, that it the truth. But let me tell you, you can encourage people to go one way or another. People say that Jesse has changed since he met me. He has grown a lot, I know. But I never tried to change him because I like the way he is. I just believe in him and love him. I am a responsible person. I stress. I worry. I fear. I am an introvert. Jesse has gently but firmly pushed me to be more confident in myself and my abilities. For years, I had been expected to be a certain person and criticized if I stepped out of the role. Jesse hasn't changed me but he has helped me embrace who I can be. I am no longer just Naomi. I am Naomi. 

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: 

Love is living, growing, changing. Love would not have been worth it had it not been with my soul mate, my best friend. So much mystery, so much fear, so much unknown... but Jesse proved faithful and true every step of the way.

Each day I find myself praying for wisdom: How can I love Jesse more? How can we grow closer together? Love cannot help but change as I change from day to day. And I do change from day to day! I am a living human being, experiencing living human life. Jesse is the same. We are two completely different people. How can our love not change with us changing day to day? The prayer is that we will change for good. We may be perfect for each other at this point in life but will we be in 30 years? 13 years? 3 months? Love is the most difficult thing of all because we human beings are selfish by nature. That's why being committed to each other for life is so important for us.

Love has many faces. We love our lover. We love our friends. We love our family. We love God. Each love we experience helps us understand ultimate Love.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart) 
-- e e cummings

I love this post by my friend Abigail. :-) It is very insightful.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

9 Cellos

I hope you enjoy this beautiful hymn of praise as much as I have this morning. It has made me glow. :-)