A Little Christmas Bling

Winter slumps in like that grumpy gnome you have hiding in your garden. One minute the sky is blue, the next, there sitting in the corner armchair, or maybe it’s a recliner, is this frown faced, white bearded, cross armed gnome. Sort of like Grumpy. The fog sits in this fuzzy white line across the sky like a low hanging ceiling. Never lifting and you know darn well it’s all blue skies and sunshine above. Maybe. Who knows. It’s this bubble you are in. You have no clue. Heck, it could be rockets red glare up there and you wouldn’t know.

The fog, if it does lift, happens around 4pm right when the sun is making its last pass and is about ready to drop down over the mountains. Then, the night sky is alight with the most midnight blue sky. Brilliant and scintillating with the starshine of the winter constellations. Orion tipped on his side as a waxing gibbous mercury silvers a metal barn roof to mirror shine.

Daytime: late afternoon and deer linger on velvet lawns of faded green and tan, like well placed ornaments. It is Advent season after all. They are like the flocked deer of one’s childhood where there were those beautiful horses and deer and woodland creatures that were the softest to touch but couldn’t have their limbs moved. The kind that area always in the ranching stores. I remember the last time I saw them was in this all purpose Radio Shack store when I was about 12 in Colorado. The kind of store that sold farm toys to kids. Tractors and John Deere things, and blue jeans, and knick knacks for a tourist town.

Advent, when every glittering thing takes on a new meaning. Starlit nights, Christmas lights, a red drum in a second-hand store window, paper bags lining a street with little flickering lights. Turn on every Christmas song I know, watch every Christmas related movie in the world, hum about hippopotamuses and lost front teeth. Grinches and Little Toy Trains. Candles shine more brightly in the dark.

 

Christmas is a fairytale. For Christians it aught to be a fairytale. We are on this quest for the ‘gold’ and the right, we are knights fighting for our King, to end up in a paradise of riches and wealth. They say fairytales don’t exist. Clearly no one ever read the Bible. Why, everything is fantastic and amazing and glorious. And it’s all true! Talk about a story that doesn’t have an end, and the end is going to be so much more magnificent than anything us mortal humans could cook up in section 398.2.

The holiday season is fastly here and I’ve yet to write anything I’ve wanted, but the start of this post was a start of a poem that didn’t go anywhere. It was clearly meant for blog posts and all that.  I can’t quite seem to get out what I’m feeling and thinking. Life is just too chaotic at times. I’m just one motion into another. Planning desserts, Christmas party dresses, functioning. It’s just all a little too much to sit and write. That being said, I am in another Hallmark frame of mind. Ironically, a friend just sent me the best Hallmark Christmas movie plot generator. I am having a blast with it. I dare you to come up with something yourself.

Go for it and tell me what you come up with. Even better, or brownie points if you can name a movie that fits one of these!

Kate

 

Timing Is Everything

Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

I love the song from Country Strong, “Timing is Everything.” I believe wholeheartedly in the statement, living my life always amazed by the timing, the tick-tocking cadence of the world spinning. How things line up a certain way and lead to the next thing in life. Hostess Extrodinaire has “everything happens for a reason” tattooed onto her arm. And I fully believe in that as well. But, that doesn’t make me  not still question it at times.

Coffeeman’s last day was an unexpected slip away moment that for all included, lead to a very personal moment of tears, from all parties. It was not planned, it was jarring, and it was heartbreaking. When I got home later, I couldn’t stop crying. For him, for my sadness for him, the suddenness of all of it; the unexpected. The weird irony of it all was that months ago I had had a dream where actions and emotions were exactly what had happened. Not the situation, but this overwhelming heart stopping pain and crying. This feeling of helplessness. At the time of the dream, I was mentally off all day and when my mother asked me what was wrong, I couldn’t stop crying. I knew it was a portent of things to come. I can’t explain why I knew this, but I’ll apply it all back to my belief in God and how certain things in my life have been inferred by Him, either in dreams or a gut feeling, if you will. I believe that is Him talking to me directly. So at the time, I just tucked the dream into the back of my mind for a later date. Then there I was again two nights ago, sobbing for my friend, feeling like I was right back in the dream. Too weird is a statement I’ll say, but maybe it was a warning months ago.

Why did this have to happen this way, right at this moment? Why this specific experience for all of us? I will say that it gives me insight into certain people’s actions immediately following the slip out the door and gone moment. I now have an opinion of certain people that might not have been there had an event like this not happened. Some good opinions, some negative.

Coffeman has affected all of us in ways we never would have imagined. I’m in his life for a reason, he’s in mine, and somewhere it will all make sense. Brother, friend, boss, colleague, he’s impacted us in ways no one else has. Nor do I think we are ever going to find someone who has the same connection with us that he does. Jersey Boy has insanely big, impossible shoes to fill, and I don’t think he will be able to. Friends are impossible to replace. While someone new might move in and you may like them, they will still never be the person that left.

The timing of all of this is still on the fringe of my mind. I don’t get it. I don’t know why it all had to happen this way. Just about all of us is still reeling from Coffeeman being gone anyhow, but for some of us close to the man, I think it’s going to take a long while to move on. I hate that statement, moving on.  And I really don’t have any plans to move on, so to speak. I have great plans to stay in contact on a regular basis with Coffeeman. I respect the man. He knows several things, because he’s seen several things. (we are farmers…… sing the jingle)

Somewhere down the line I hope all of this makes sense. I mean, it’s not like I don’t understand Coffeeman not being here, the changes, bla bla bla (my new favorite statement) the fact that in this business, change is bound to happen. For whatever reason, this one moment, him being here, might be for something to happen down the road. Mrs. B said to me today, (Monday), that maybe Coffeeman was in your life just to remove Lucifer from the picture. She might be right. But I think it’s more than that.

So, as the old chapter closes, and a  newer one opens, all I can do is wait. I can honestly say I 100% do not like the new changes, but be that as it may, sometimes one thing you struggle with becomes the thing you need to overcome to get to the next part. Currently Jose Gonzalez’s “Stay Alive” is playing and I think it applies to everything as well. Especially the tick tocking rhythm.

There’s a rhythm in rush these days
Where the lights don’t move and the colors don’t fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean

But there is a truth and it’s on our side
Dawn is coming open your eyes
Look into the sun as a new days rise

Songwriters: RYAN ADAMS, TEDDY SHAPIRO
© BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, FOX MUSIC, INC., A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

I’m going to finish this semi rambling post with an online round of applause, as I was never able to get our group of people at work together for said applause for Chef Coffeeman as he slowly backed out of the doorway, shaking his head at our antics, and our craziness that led to his weird eyeball crazy look. I’m sure missing him like mad won’t happen for a week or so, but I’m sure it will soon. I’m dreading the day. Sigh

Kate

Devotions for Christmas – A Review

devotions-for-christmas-coverDevotions for Christmas: A celebration to bring you joy and peace published by Zondervan, is a lovely Christmas and December  devotions book that doesn’t just center on advent like many books for this time of year do. Instead, it takes you through the crazy, busy holiday season with very nicely done devotions. Simplifying life and giving you a moment to really enjoy the holiday season for what it is; a celebration of Christ. Each day has an incredibly appealing photograph of something Christmas-y themed, mostly over a two page spread, which I love. The images are clear and crisp and make you want to decorate. There are simple prayers and each topic is very appealing. Days like ‘Surprise Packaging’,  ‘Family Traditions’, ‘Home for the Holidays’,  ‘Holiday Memories’, ‘Christmas Leftovers’, and one of my favorites, ‘The Aroma of Christmas’.   Simple prayers, verses at both the beginning of each day and mixed within the text, and a whole 31 days of devotions, makes for an incredibly nice ‘coffee table’ book and a wonderful book for the Christmas season.

a-charlie-brown-christmas-abc-11302015-1276x850I was very pleased with this book when it arrived, one being that it is a hardback. I had expected a thin paperback and I am a fan of hardback books because I feel that they will last longer than other books.  The photographs are so incredibly beautiful feeling like they are right out of  a really classy magazine, like Martha Stewart.  The book will put you right in the spirit of Christmas, which sometimes is hard with all the ‘commercialization’ as Charlie Brown says.  It makes you want to sit down and take a moment. I am also very pleased that it is the entire month of December instead of just an advent devotional. I had assumed that this was only going to have 25 days, as it was a Christmas devotional, but it is for the whole month into New Year’s Eve. This is a really nice book for that reason. Because the holiday season doesn’t just stop on the 25th.

I was incredibly pleased with this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a really nice devotional that is not only useful, but pretty, for the holiday season. I also think it would be a lovely gift.   5 out of 5 stars.

This book was provided to me for my honest review with no compensation from Booklook Bloggers and Harper Collin’s Christian Publishing.

Kate

Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope – A Review

_225_350_Book.1777.coverDuring the holiday season, we are so focused on the holiday in general that we forget what the true season of Christmas is about. Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope by Louie Giglio is an advent devotion book meant to help us slow down, stop, and reflect what Christmas and the advent are really about. Each day starting with November 26th, Paster Giglio guides us in scripture, a reflection relating to the scripture, meditation (which is usually a Christmas poem or song) and finally a prayer.  So 30 days of thinking about how we are waiting for Christ  and the remembrance of his birth, which for Christians, is a very sacred time of year.  So, when we get a little too busy with buying the gifts, preparing the Christmas meals and dealing with family and travel and all the frustrations that may come, this very thing, almost pocket sized book is just right for pulling out. Lighting a candle and meditating and focusing on Christ.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have loved advent since I was a little girl when we would read the Christmas story through the four weeks of December, lighting a green candle each week for the wise men, Mary and Joseph, The shepherds, the angels, and finally a red candle for Jesus. There were the colorful calendars and it was a very memorable and sacred time of year for me. I eagerly looked forward to it. As time as gone by, I have slowly let that slipe away, and this book is perfect for putting you right back into the calming frame of mind of what Christmas is really about. While I am terrible at devotions and having a daily schedule for reading my Bible, and I didn’t technically finish this book in a daily order, it’s still a lovely small book, perfect for the season. There is something incredibly calming about the red, black, white and grey colors of the book. So calming in fact that I ended up writing a sonnet about red berries with the colors of black, white and grey. This book is perfect for any Christian that want to get back to what advent is about. I love it’s slim size and I love that the meditations are songs I know, but may not know all the lyrics. I liked that it was a very Christmas themed book in that it had the traditional songs that Christians know for the season. From Oh Come All Ye Faithful, O Come Oh Come Emmanuel, Silent Night, and O Holy Night. Lovely hymns Christians know and love.

I would highly recommend this book to any Christian who wants do practice adven but feels too old for the calendars and childish themes. This is a lovely book. Five out of Five stars.

Kate

This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest opinion and review from HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Thomas Nelson, and BookLookBloggers.

The Wedding Dress : A Review

A dress with a history; four women with a connection.  The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck intertwines the lives of four women  living in the south and the one dress that seems to have magic all on its own.  Charlotte, a woman who runs a successful bridal shop has been jilted; Emily, a young woman with dreams and ideas in 1912 becomes engaged to one while hoping for another; Hillary, a war bride of the late 60’s; and Mary Grace is a woman without options for a pretty wedding  in 1939, when a miracle happens.  The dress is special, made for a special bride, and the way it passes down through time, never yellowing or aging, creates a story that is magical and heartwarming. The story of these four women intertwine to create a sweet story.

 
While the premise of this book had me anxious to read it, I found myself getting annoyed at the way some of the women thought throughout the story.  Especially Charlotte, the main heroine, and Emily.  I am not someone who enjoys characters that come across as helpless and naive to a fault.  I don’t want a character that feels it’s too much work to have a bit of a mystery, and doesn’t want to solve it.  While I may have these faults sometimes, I don’t want to read about it.  I started out the story wishing Charlotte would meet her true match, and I felt that how she worked through her engagement, being jilted, then ending up with her wedding, a disappointment.  I didn’t realize when I requested the book that it was a Christian based story.  Usually I turn away from such stories due to how Christ is represented.  There was some amazing aspects of God and Jesus, but like most Christian books I’ve read, I was left wanting.  I would recommend this to my Christian friends, but I myself would only give it 3 stars out of 5.  That’s fairly high, but it was sweet.  Just not my usual favorite style.

Signing off

~Kate

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”