Thursday, December 31, 2015

WORD WEDNESDAY - My Word for 2016

After pondering a bit about a "word for the year", as other bloggers are doing, I have decided to adopt this practice for 2016.  My word for 2016 is: 

Over the past few weeks, I have experienced joy many times as I shared holiday memories with my family and friends.  And as we gathered to make new memories, I noticed the joy on the faces of my grandchildren - and that, in itself, brings much joy to me!

My Bible reading and morning devotions have focused on the words joy and rejoice.

The holiday carols we sing mention joy and rejoicing as well...

"Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee"
"Joy to the World"

So, if that is not enough to accept this word as my own for 2016...

The meditation I read on the 29th secured it for me...

From "A Daily Journey Through Psalms for Women", the meditation reads:  "As you take the next step in your life's journey" - {a new year!} - "you should do so with feelings of hope and anticipation.  After all, as a Christian, you have every reason to be optimistic about life.

"As John Calvin observed, 'There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice!'

"But, sometimes, rejoicing may be the last thing on your mind. Sometimes you may fall prey to worry, frustration, anxiety or sheer exhaustion.  What's needed is plenty of rest, a large dose of perspective, and God's healing touch, but not necessarily in that order."

Today, as I remember my mother whom passed in June 2012, I may not be joyful; yet, as I look back on all of the wonderful days I spent with this amazing woman, I can rejoice that we had those years together.

I pray God gives me the words throughout 2016 as I explore the word(s) joy and rejoicing - and all of the combinations we use such as enjoy and joyful.

I plan to publish a "Word Wednesday" every week - and only hope it works out to actually publish it on Wednesday!

Please join me on this journey through 2016...with JOY!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook - December 28, 2015

Linking up with

December 28, 2015

Outside My Window:  Another gorgeous day is 9:00 am it was already 73 degrees; so now, at 11:20 am, it is most likely closer to the 80's!

I am Thankful for:  The time I've had to be with my "children" and grandchildren...unfortunately, our Sunday plans were changed because my youngest daughter and her family were sick.  But, now will be able to spend more time with them today.

My three kids

My six grandkids

In My Kitchen:  Dishes are washed; somewhat clean except for the floor...leftovers for hubby for dinner since I'll be away babysitting!

I am Wearing:  Black pj pants; dark pink night-shirt with white dogs all over...they are wearing pink bow-ties with white polka dots and one of their ears/eyes is black.  Cute!  And the pj's are very comfy!

I am Creating:  At least in my mind, I am "designing" - or thinking of a design - for a card swap.  I will be making "Thinking of You" cards to swap with "however # of participants", which means I make that many cards.  Will probably make more so I'll have them in my stash of hand-made cards.  Hoping for a couple of craft shows this year!

I am Thinking About:  My word for 2016!  I have not participated in a "word of the year" before and have decided to do so this year!  I even have found an "accountability group" of others through my bloggin' friend, Larissa.

My Tuesday @ Ten post last week touched on the word:  Looking forward to writing a weekly post on...

I am Praying for:   The new year - 2016 - that is just around the corner.  A new year, as in a new day, to make a new start; and praying the "JOY" I have felt the past few days continues into the new year as I explore this "joy-ful" word!

I am Going:  To spend some time with my youngest daughter's three children, along with my son and granddaughter, so she and her husband can get away to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

I am Wondering:  How long will this "joy" last before the bomb explodes!  That "bomb" being my husband; it has been so pleasant lately, which is good!

{I know there have been a few prayer warriors praying on our behalf; and I am thankful to them for their prayers!}

I am Reading:  "Ricochet" by Sandra Brown...another "can't put down" book!

I am Excited for:  A couple more days to spend with family; then a bit of crafting with my friends...haven't done any crafting in a couple of weeks - and I have a project to finish before meeting with my friend for dinner!

I am Learning:  To stop when I am feeling bad or tired; and lately, having these headaches, have needed to do that more often.  Tests soon to figure out what is going on!

I am Hearing:  The news on TV...not my fave; but, well, guess we do need to keep up with what is going on in our town?!

A Quote for Today

Thanks to Ann Voskamp for her wonderful images; and the words she shares with us...many that touch deeply in my heart and soul.  And many around the word I am using for 2016!!

I am Pondering: The JOY found in Jesus Christ, our Savior, whose birth we celebrate during this time of year.  He is with us; Emmanuel...He IS with us!

A Scripture Thought:  From Psalm 40:16 - NLT:

"But may all who search for you be filled with JOY and gladness in you.  May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, 'The Lord is great!' "

Another verse directing me to my word for 2016!

And so ends the final Simple Woman's Daybook for 2015...looking forward to connecting more in 2016!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tuesday @ Ten - JOY/JOYFUL

Today I am joining my friend, Karen Beth, for Tuesday @ Ten, writing from a prompted word or phrase.  This is one of my favorite blogs to follow; and am excited to see what the new year 2016 will bring!

Today's prompt is:  Joy or Joyful

I have so many great quotes and images in my files - many from Ann Voskamp for my "1000 Gifts" journaling!  This post could be filled with only quotes and images...

But, I'll add a bit of my own writing, as well!

My first thought, because of the season, was the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee", one of my favorites!

Many of the Christmas carols contain the word "JOY", or lead us to the joyful time of year.

During this time of year, most often we are all joyful, anticipating the holidays that loom so far ahead; yet frazzled because of all that must be done before the holidays appear, so much more quickly than expected!

Yet, there are so many who are suffering in many ways.  It's hard to be joyful when we, or a loved one, are sick; or when we are scared of the future because of a lost job or financial crisis; or we have just lost a loved one...or even lost a loved one years ago but continue to grieve.

It is so hard to continue living a "normal" life in the face of the hard, difficult times we all face at different times in our lives.

But, just as we know He died for us, we can also know that He lives for us and wants us to have Holy Joy; the joy that comes from being thankful to Him for the blessings He bestows upon us - All the time.

As I's hard!  But, He is there to help us all through any situation we may be in, no matter how hard it may be!

So, as we continue to celebrate the birth of our dear Savior, we continue to live our joy, out loud in our soul...

And may we share our joy with others, even as we are aware of the "joy-less" lives they may currently be living; and knowing that God - Immanuel - will be with us, through it all.  

And remember, with God, anything is possible...even finding the joy we may have thought was missing!

So, here for your holiday enjoyment are a couple of my favorite Christmas songs:

"Joy to the World"

"Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee"
from "Sister Act 2" Finale

"Fill us with the light..." and fill us with JOY!

May you have
A Joyful Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook - December 21, 2015

Linking up with

December 21, 2015

Outside My Window:  Ending my day the same way it began: it's DARK outside!  Left the apartment at 6:40 a.m. for a 7:30 appointment for and Echo and Stress Test.  It was 52 degrees, moisture on all of my windows, and a bit least, for Florida it was chilly!!

Now, as I attempt to do a bit of writing, it's 6:30 p.m. and the weather is 70 degrees!

I am Thankful for:  Getting through today, with the tests and a little shopping and relaxing and having almost all of my gifts purchased...and it's only FOUR days 'til Christmas!!  Just a couple of gift cards and then...

the wrapping begins!

In My Kitchen:  Dishwasher is running an almost-full load; it's semi-clean...tomorrow is chore day: kitchen floor, vacumming, bathrooms?!  We'll see how far I get!

I am Wearing:  A pair of capri jeans (because it was almost 80 degrees!), a light blue top with darker blue flowers; and, of course, my crocs!  Need to check CVS for another pair (they're not "real" crocs; just a brand that looks like them and are cheaper!!)

I am Creating:  Ready to put the puzzle glue on the "button puzzle" I put together for my friend's Christmas gift.  Then, I'll paint the wood tray before placing the puzzle in the middle.  I figured out a way to get the quote onto the puzzle; so, I just need to get it finished!

Below is the finished puzzle before it's put onto the tray:

"Button Puzzle"

{We usually don't get together until after Christmas anyway; so I'll be able to get it done for her!}

I am Thinking About:  All the fun events I've been to lately:  Our crafters' holiday gift exchange; The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops Concert; the Live Nativity and other events at church; the production of The Grinch at a local church.  I love spending time with family!!

Elfster Gift Exchange
and Theme Crop

Live Nativity

Meeting The Grinch

I am Praying for:  My friend Cheryl who recently lost her daughter after battling an illness for a very long time. 

I am Going:  To bed early tonight since I have been up since 5:oo a.m. and hopefully be able to sleep until I feel rested!

I am Wondering:  What FUN things we will do while my son is here?! 

I am Reading:   In between the tests I had this morning, I started reading "Richochet" by Sandra Brown.  Finished reading a few others that I had been reading in between ...and have been too busy to start anything else.

I am Excited for:  Back to the "I am Wondering"!  And I think I've said this a lot; but I am excited for the time I will have with my family...all three kids and all six grandkids!

I am Learning:  To slow down when I need to; to take the time to "smell the roses, so to speak!  And to enjoy my life!

I am Hearing:  HGTV!  I get to watch it at night when my husband goes to bed earlier than I do!  He hates the "painting and cooking" shows!!

A Fave Quote:  

I am Pondering:  The Grinch's quote above:  "Maybe Christmas means a little bit more."

A Scripture Thought:  From "The Upper Room Devotions" a few days ago:

"Jesus said, 'I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.' "  (Matt. 28:20 - CEB)

And I wrote, quoting a few lines from the devotion:

Emmanuel - God with us!  He is with us "every day until the end of this present age."  He is with us in the "quiet and peaceful countryside;"  in the "gentle and soothing and fragrant breeze" and the "fragile and delicate" wisteria bush "bearing sprigs of blossoms - in exquisite shades of purple; in the distant call of birds; in the moon or the sun or the stars at night; in the cries of a new-born babe.

God - Emmanuel - He is with us "in the big things and in the little things.  At every twist and turn of life."

He is surely with us!  Amen!

One more post of the Simple Woman's Daybook for 2015...

So, I wish you a truly beautiful Christmas and a New Year filled with many blessings!  And, wherever you may be during the holidays, I hope you have FUN...

As for me, I think I might go to the beach; it's gonna be in the 80's again by Christmas Day!  So...


Today I am joining my friend, Karen Beth, for Tuesday @ Ten...just in time to get it done before this week's prompt!!   This link-up, writing from a prompted word or phrase, is one of my sure to check out Karen's blog and the links!

Today's prompt is a phrase:  My Christmas Traditions

From the magical Christmas tree that "appeared" after we all went to bed on Christmas Eve, to the stockings hung on the mantel -  the adults' filled with empty cans and fruit and the children's filled with fruit and candy and little gifts...

These are the traditions I remember from my childhood.

The first time we saw the Christmas tree, all decorated and shining brightly, was when we came into the living room and saw it lighted and presents galore all around the tree.

My parents and grandparents stayed up - very late - assembling the last minute toys and putting the decorations on the tree, lights and all.  That is why there were empty cans in their stockings - they needed those drinks to keep them awake!

Now, as I look back on those days, I don't even know if the trees were real or fake; but they were beautiful in the eyes of my brothers and I.

Fast forward to the growing years of my own children...

We had our own traditions, like buying a special ornament each year for each of the kids...and many of those ornaments still hang on their trees!

Ornaments on Our Tree

Close-up of Ornaments

Elf and Mistletoe
Handed down from my Grandparents
to my Parents then to Me
and now to one of my Daughters!

The Nativity Music Globe

And, after moving to Florida, there was the chili supper and caroling at church; Christmas Eve service as a family; and the annual visit to Kuhn's Flowers to see their window displays - see photos below.

Two of the windows at Kuhn's Flowers (2013);
the tradition has been passed on to the grandchildren!

Another major tradition was the hunt for a "real beard" Santa!  We'd check out all of the malls and if he had a "fake beard", we'd go someplace else looking...

And we usually found one!  {Don't ask me what the kids thought about all the different Santas; don't remember what I told them...probably the "Santa's helper" bit!!}

"Real Beard" Santa

The tradition of finding a "real beard" Santa is also passed on to the grandchildren!

Every year I would make the statement that it was going to be a "small Christmas"; yet when we all gathered and placed the presents under the tree...

Well, it's not about the presents anyway, is it?!

Of course, once the "children" were grown and had families of their own, they made their own traditions.  Yet, many are blended from their childhood and their spouse's childhood...

Around 2002, we added the Live Nativity and Luminaria in the community surrounding my church as an annual tradition on the Sunday before Christmas.  In the beginning, I would sing with our choir for this event as well as our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service...

Live Nativity
at Riverside Ave. Christian Church

RACC Chancel Choir

Now, I work for a 45-minute shift at the craft table we have in Fellowship Hall for the kids during the Live Nativity festivities, and while they wait to see Santa!  And, I think I was as excited as anyone to notice this year's Santa...

Yes!  He had a "real beard"!

Usually Christmas morning is set aside for my daughters and their families to enjoy opening presents and being together.  Then, later we gather for our big family celebration.

This year, my son will be here sometime Christmas Eve night (usually they'd arrive a day or two after Christmas); so our festivities will begin earlier - once they open their "family" gifts.  Then, we'll gather for breakfast/brunch and then open the rest of the gifts.

The holidays are different when you don't have any children in the house!  I didn't even decorate this year because it's so time-consuming and I'd be doing it alone; and nobody comes to our apartment most of the time anyway.

It doesn't mean I am not in the holiday spirit!  I have done many things Christmas-y: I have exchanged gifts with my crafting friends; I have attended church and our Live Nativity; I have been to the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Pops concert;

Jacksonville Symphone Orchestra
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Dancers

I have shopped for gifts; I have mailed (finally!) my Christmas cards; and I have seen The Grinch!!

Meeting the Grinch
Dec. 2015

Christmas Traditions?  There are probably many more I could think of from my almost 65 years of life!  But, I'll leave you with this:

Jesus is the Reasons...

for ALL seasons!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday @ Ten - I FEEL...

Today I am joining my friend, Karen Beth, for Tuesday @ Ten...just in time to get it done before this week's prompt!!  

This link-up, writing from a prompted word or phrase, is one of my sure to check out Karen's blog and the links!

Today's prompt is a phrase:  I FEEL...

Sometimes I feel as if my life is flying by in super-sonic rapid-fire motions...

As if time has sped up so it goes by in such a flash that it's hard to keep up with what is happening.

I live each day to the fullest, most of the time.  I am so busy many weeks that there's not time to just sit and relax and enjoy the "retirement".

Yet, I feel the life I have is full, and fun, and flexible and...I am enjoying the retirement.

There are some days that I do feel tired, depressed, or at least just not as "joy-ful" or "happy" as I could/should/would want to feel.

Yet again, I feel the life I have does make me happy, especially when I am spending it with my family, my friends, doing things I enjoy doing...

Even when I am home all day, like today!

Because when I am home, I am usually doing (a few) things that I need want to do, like reading, writing, watching TV, coloring, and just being home relaxing.

Midnight lying in her fave spot,
between my legs while I watch TV.
{It's not easy taking a "selfie"
with a regular camera!!}

So, what do I feel my life will be like in the future - or at least in the new year?  Probably much the same as it is now; except, I need to be trying to get more accomplished...things that we don't really want to think about doing, such as:

  • Making out our Will so our children don't have to worry about what to do with our stuff;
  • Making sure there is a list of "where to find" things such as insurance policies (oh, and I need to get life insurance for myself!);
  • Making a list of our doctors, prescriptions, etc.
  • Getting rid of "stuff" so the above isn't such a "chore";
  • Organizing pictures and photo albums so they can go to someone after I am gone;
  • And I am not going to leave out spending time with family and friends, doing the things we love to do together!  That will not change, until or unless I am unable to do so!

And I am quite sure there are many more things that need to be done, especially with a husband whose memory is fast fading...

Yes, I feel there are many things that I have left un-done; and I need to get a better handle on them.  Afterall, my husband will not be able to do so; and it needs to be done.

So, this is what I feel; making sense or not!

I feel like having fun while I can:

Elfster Gift Exchange and Reveal
December 2015

Selfie with My Girls
at the
Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra

And there will be many more fun events to come!

Simple Woman's Daybook - December 14, 2015

Linking up with

December 14, 2015

Outside My Window:  It's a beautiful day in sunny - cloudy - Florida; almost 80 degrees with a slight breeze.  But, it is a beautiful day, even if it doesn't "feel like Christmas"; it does feel like a December day in the Sunshine State.

Even Midnight enjoys the view outside!
Photo by BJ London

I am Thankful for:  My beautiful daughters!  My youngest treated her sister and I to an afternoon at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, with dancers from her high school and the Symphony Chorus which she sang with before being a "mommy".  Ended the evening with dinner at a local restaurant; then watched TV with hubby.
Our Selfie
Melissa, Cathy, Me

The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra
with the
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Dancers

In My Kitchen:  Dishwasher to clean out and re-load; pork chops thawing for dinner...and close to the kitchen, washer and dryer to unload and re-load!

I am Wearing:  A pair of jeans (ready to change to shorts!), a light blue top with darker blue flowers; and...wait for crocs!

I am Creating:  Making Christmas cards; these will be used for my craft shows next year as they will not be done to send out this year!  But, I have some already made that I will be working on getting out...soon!

Also made a two-page layout at our Elfster gift exchange and reveal on Saturday.  They always give us the supplies to create a one-page layout (and usually a "sample" to go by); but I almost always make it a two-page...I want to share lots of photos of the fun we have together!

The One-Page Layout
and other Goodies

My Two-Page Layout

I am Thinking About:  What I need to be doing: (1) addressing Christmas cards - the are not here; I left them at our crafting place to work on, and will probably do that on Wednesday!  (2) checking the laundry; I think both washer and dryer have stopped!  (3) unload the dishwasher and put the dirty dishes inside; (4) ???  Actually, feeling tired...or is it lazy?!

I am Praying for:  My brother's wife and her family; she lost her father a couple of days ago.

I am Going:  Christmas shopping this week to finish buying the gifts left on my list!  As we always say, "It's going to be a small Christmas this year"; but once we all put gifts under the tree, it doesn't look so small!

But, it is in the gifting that we find true Christmas...

I am Wondering:  What the new year will bring?  It is in God's hands and I am trying to prepare myself to follow his guidance more in the new year.

I am Reading:  After finishing "Fragile" by Lisa Unger, I read a little more in "Girl Meets Change" by Kristen Strong.  It is really interesting but I want to really read it to learn how I can better deal with "transitions" or changes!

I am also reading "God's Guest List" by Debbie Macomber.  She shares a variety of people that come into and out of our lives; some for a season; some for a reason; some that "got away" from us, or that we failed to connect with; some we have known forever; others we have yet to meet, or will never meet.  Interesting reading; easy to sit and read a page or two, or a paragraph or two, then pick it up later.

Life does get rather busy during the holidays; so I haven't done much reading - which includes others' blog posts.  In fact, I haven't done much writing either!  But, I will pick it back up as soon as I can!

I am Excited for:  My son and granddaughter to be here!  I see my daughters and their families often because we live in the same town...that doesn't make it less exciting to get together with them.  But, we don't see my son and granddaughter that often; it's quite a long drive from Louisiana.  So thankful he was able to get time off from work to come see us.

I am Learning:  What am I learning?  Not sure at this time...but, I continue to learn something each day, or at least every week!

I am Hearing:  The ceiling fan and the "hum" of the computer...other than that, silence!

A Fave Quote:  

I am Pondering: God's Word in Ecclesiastes 3: "a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance..."  These words specifically as I think about my sister-in-law and her family losing a loved one during this time of year.  It's hard to lose a loved one no matter what time of year it may be; but when the holidays come, and we want to's hard!

My prayer is that all who are grieving during these days ahead may find His comforting arms and the strength He gives each of us.

A Scripture Thought:  From the book of Luke, Chapter 1, beginning in verse 46 as read in The Message Bible:

"I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me,
and look what happened -
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy,
set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him..."

Of course, there are more words Mary shared.  I pray you will find "God-news" as Mary did so many years ago, and continue to exult in His awesome love for each of us.

One of My Fave Things (from the week):  Walking into my younger daughter's house to babysit, my almost 18 month old granddaughter pointing to me and saying, "MeMaw"!  That's special because for so long she was saying "A-Ma" for both me and her other grandma...and of course, the kisses I always get from all of them!

And so ends another Simple Woman's Daybook; only a couple more for 2015...then what?  Well, I enjoy this prompted post each week; so I will see what Peggy comes up the meantime, the next couple of weeks will be very busy finishing up shopping and preparations for the holidays!

May you all be "merry and bright" however you celebrate!