Gift Ideas - Handmade and Other

Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A Dakota Tale

Guest writer Dakota joins us for this final post of 2012.  

Here I am again putting paw to keyboard to send you a year end greeting from Mommy and me. She has had a very exciting year and I want to tell you all about it!

In January, Mama was able to live out one of her long time dreams. She went to see “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. Shortly after New Year’s she started listing Bucket List items on Facebook. One of them was to see a Broadway show. One of the ladies from her church saw this and offered to go with her. Then a man from her church gave her a link to a site where she could get tickets very inexpensively. Before Mama knew it, she had tickets to see “The Phantom of the Opera” with two women from her church. She loved it!! (Yeowzer!!) When the music began to play and the chandelier began to rise, she got a chill up her spine and was entranced the rest of the evening. 

In Broome County where Mama grew up, they have an annual weekend event called the Balloon Rally and Spiedie Fest. Mama used to go many years ago, but she hasn’t been able to go since she moved away. This August Mama and cousin Sandra went to the Fest. On Friday night they were able to watch the hot air balloons fill up and take off. On Sunday they went to church at the Fest, heard Mark Shultz in concert (meow, he was good, even though he made people cry with his poignant songs!) and then wandered around looking at the crafts and Mama enjoyed a spiedie sandwich. That afternoon Mama and cousin Sandra were able to hear Lone Star in concert as well. It was a fun weekend for Mama.

Autumn brought another opportunity. Mommy took a workshop.  For 5 weeks she met with several other women and they worked through a book called Sacred Rhythms about how to incorporate different spiritual disciplines into your life so that you can get to know God better. She enjoyed getting to know the other women and learning about them and sharing herself with them. Through this workshop she realized how important rhythms are in her life both those that come naturally like the seasons and holidays and those that she incorporates into her life like work and rest, time with God and time with family.

As for me? Well, I do a good job at keeping Mommy company and she tells me I am a good kitty a lot. I work hard to keep our home free of mice and she is very appreciative. Once in awhile she gives me tuna juice and then I am so happy (meow . . . purr, purr, purr)! 

We hope that you have a Blessed and Healthy New Year!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Christmas Memory Tree

My Christmas tree is twinkling in my living room and I love to look at it. A Christmas tree is a memory tree for me. I remember getting up early when I was a young child to plug in my parent's tree and lay on the floor watching the lights blink on and off and the the bubbles in the old bubble lights float to the top. But, what evokes the most memories are the special ornaments on it.

The fan made from a leftover wallpaper border that my parents loving hung in my room. That room and the wallpaper are gone, lost in a house fire, but that little fan reminds me of the room where I grew from a child to a woman.

A lovely rose, lace, and ribbon concoction from a college friend's wedding decorations. Every time I hang it on my tree, I remember this lovely lady.

A small cinnamon hand made by a tiny little girl and given to me for Christmas many years ago.

A tiny handcrafted shadow box, made for me by my mother, holding her favorite collectible - a teddy bear.

A small pewter ornament depicting the nativity - the most important reminder of what Christmas is all about.

A lovely heart, ribbon, lace, and pinecone piece handmade by one of my nieces, many years ago.

As I decorated my tree and now as I walk by it each day, I am reminded of so many loved ones who have given me ornaments over the years - family members, students, friends. I am also reminded of the true meaning of Christmas, of God born in human flesh in a humble manger over two centuries ago. My tree reminds me of love - both human and divine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mending Broken Relationships

Early one morning, I was awakened by strange sounds. In my sleep induced stupor, I eventually recognized that my cat Dakota was chasing a mouse. Having complete confidence that Dakota would take care of the situation, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

The next morning there was evidence of a cat and mouse skirmish; however the mouse was not to be found, not in the Christmas tree (yeah!!), not in the basket of laundry. In fact, I found no evidence of a mouse dead or alive anywhere.

I continued on with my morning routine and noticed that Dakota was sitting quietly on the floor, something he rarely does unless it is in a patch of sunshine. He sat there for nearly 45 minutes. I decided it was time to investigate. I looked a little, moved a couple things, and then I saw the little critter. He was wedged between two photo albums . . . quite dead I was sure. I put on a glove so I could dispose of him and pulled out one photo album to reach him better. However, he was not dead. In fact judging by the speed at which he ran toward me and when I screamed the speed at which he shot across the room, he was quite alive.

Things may not always be what they appear to be. As we work to heal and rebuild damaged relationships, this is a good principle to keep in mind. We may not correctly perceive the other person’s point of view. In his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presented the principle: “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” Solomon warned us that “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13 NIV1984). As we seek to repair broken relationships, remember to humbly approach the other person willing to hear their side of the story, willing to allow our perspectives to be adjusted.