Saturday, December 6

This & That

Isn't this the prettiest picture you've ever seen? I would love to live in this place. It is quaint and looks warm and cozy.

I have received this award several times in the last few weeks. Thank you Mike, Mama Bear and Deborah. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I would like to pass this on to everyone that I visit on a regular basis and all those who visit me. I have made many blogging friends over the past year and three months and I value each of you. Enjoy!

Yesterday I had to make a trip to the drugstore. Hubby warmed up the van and drove me as I was feeling terrible and was freezing for some reason. The drugstore had a book sale, so while I was there I picked up a package of four Christmas books for over the holidays. Bargain price at $9.99 for all four. These books are usually about that price each so I was ecstatic.

I'm way behind this year. Usually at the end of November, I write hubby's card for him and also do my own. This year, we had just said our goodbyes to Aunt May and I didn't get them done. The cards shown here are only the ones for hubby to give out to his clients. He needs 232 this year. I sat down tonight and wrote 72 of them, but I still have a long way to go. These have to be ready by next Saturday, so you know what I'm going to be doing this week. But really, I enjoy doing them. I also have my own cards to get ready to mail to all my family and blogging friends. I am determined to get it done, but possibly some cards will only arrive at their destination just under the wire.

In other news, please pray for the families of the three Canadian soldiers who were killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. What a tragedy. Their families are going to have a difficult Christmas this year.

Please be sure to pick up the button from my sidebar that I made for all of my friends and visitors. If you would like a larger version of the bottom, check out yesterday's post.

Thanks to all of you who took up my Baking Challenge from yesterday. You will each be blessed as you bless those who are less fortunate this year. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, December 5

Christmas Baking Challenge

Sharon at Sit With Me Awhile wrote a beautiful post today. Now Sharon and her family moved this year from Louisiana to North Carolina. They are living in a trailer and have put up a beautiful fir Christmas tree and some outside snowflake lights. She was mentioning that some of the people who are her neighbors are living in the trailer park because they have no where else to go. She mentioned that these people don't have much and she and her daughter are going to do some Christmas baking for them.

Last year Sharon and I joined forces to organize a group of people to do something for those less fortunate. With Aunt May so ill, I didn't really have a chance to talk to Sharon about that this year, but instead, I'm going to turn Sharon's goodwill gesture into a challenge. I am going to do some Christmas baking for someone less fortunate.

I challenge all of you who visit my blog to take up this challenge and do a bit of Christmas baking for someone less fortunate. It could be a family who has no income, a senior citizen, someone who is disabled, someone whose lost their job or a neighbor who lives on a fixed income. If you don't have time to bake, you can purchase something at a bakery and give it. Please though, let it be something that is baked, not something that is purchased from the shelves of your local grocery store.

So, my friends, let your light shine. It doesn't take long to whip up a batch of cookies, a batch of microwave peanut brittle or some fudge. Rocky Roads are quick and easy when done in the microwave. It only takes about 15 minutes.

If you are going to take up the challenge, please leave a comment. I would love to know how many are going to participate.

Have a great week and remember to Let Your Light Shine. ~Blessings Mary~

PS. Here is a little something for all my readers and followers to display on their blogs. Why! Because Santa says, "Your Blog is Cool!"

Thursday, December 4

A Christmas Memory

Each year during December, I often have memories of Christmas in my childhood days. We lived in rural southern Ontario and the winters back then were much like the winter we had here last year. There was always lots of snow on the ground and we always looked forward to having fun in the snow.

Back then, Christmas was a time for family. We didn't get much from Santa. I remember one year when my brother got a metal farm tractor and wagon and a wooden barn that my mother had made. She had cut the entire barn out of plywood, hinged the double door and painted it red. The tractor and wagon fit inside perfectly. This was an amazing gift for my brother, as he was crazy about farm life. He played with these things for hours, pretending to drive into the fields, pick up hay and straw and store it inside of that barn that mother had spent hours making after we kids were tucked in and fast asleep.

I think one of my best Christmases was the year I received a pair of skates from Santa. They fit perfectly. Though they weren't new, they were new to me and they were the first pair of white ice skates I'd ever had. I was ecstatic.

My interests were of an outdoor nature. I loved to visit the old red barn. When I stepped through the door on a cold winter day, it seemed so cozy and warm inside. I would find a spot to sit in the hay and listen to the cows lowing, as they chewed their cuds. I loved trudging through the snow in the barnyard to visit the chickens and geese. A visit to the horse barn was always in order, because that is where my favorite team, Punch and Maude were housed.

Punch and Maude were the team that always pulled the sleigh and they were well matched. Often, on a Sunday afternoon, and always on Christmas day, Grandpa would hook the team to the sleigh and ask who wanted to go for a ride. I never passed up the opportunity to snuggle in the straw with great-grandpa while the horses pulled us over hill and dale, across bridges and over icy streams. We would wave as we passed neighbors who were going about their chores and they would wave back. As twilight descended, we would head back to the horse where there was a hot meal waiting.

My memories of these sleigh rides are happy ones. Those were the days when simple things were what melded families together. Though we didn't have much, we never considered ourselves as being poor. Instead we were rich with the love of family and happy times together.

Enjoy the week and remember to do an random act of kindness for someone less fortunate. Say a kind word or give someone who looks down your best smile. There are times when a smile from a stranger is a great blessing to those who are struggling with the issues of life. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, December 3

Christmas on Chestnut Street

Many of my regular readers will know that I don't watch much TV. The one exception is the Christmas season when I enjoy watching Christmas movies. On Tuesday night, I flipped through the channels looking for something to watch and I came across the movie, Christmas on Chestnut Street, starring Kristen Dalton and Robert Maloney.

When the movie began, I wasn't sure that it was something that I would like. The opening scene was a department store called The Great American Store. Store owner, Mr Crouch, played by Gary Chalk, was furious because one of the employees had mistakenly ordered 60,000 sets of Christmas lights instead of 60. Mr. Crouch's daughter, Dianne, had just began working at the store and had always had everything handed to her on a silver platter. She was gearing up to take over ownership of the store. She and her father insisted that the employee pay for the excess Christmas lights.

Lou Boyd, played by Robert Maloney, had returned to the small town to help his mother take care of his father who had Alzeheimer's. He convinced Crouch and his daughter that they should put on a contest to get rid of the excess Christmas lights instead of making the employee pay for them.

The Light up the Night Christmas contest was announced. The Great American Store put all Christmas lights on sale in order to provide residents of the county with lights to decorate their properties. Light up the Night turned neighbor against neighbor and a contest war took over Chestnut Street.

Unknown to county residents, Crouch planned to announce Lou Boyd as the winner. He would then give the 4 hour shopping spree prize to charity and the store would be allowed to write the shopping spree off as a charity donation. The store made money hand over fist in the first two days of the light sale. Everyone wanted the 4 hour shopping spree.

Lou Boyd and Dianne Crouch decorated his parent's place as Santa's Village. But on the night the judges viewed the entries, Lou's father did something that changed everything. The heart touching ending saw Dianne Crouch and her father learn the real meaning of Christmas.

I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a good old fashioned Christmas without all the commerialism of today's word. I would rate it 4 out of 5. There are times when it is comical, times when it is sad and the ending is out of this world.

I hope everyone has a great day. Remember to give to the less fortunate this Christmas season. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, December 2

Feelin' Stuffed Up, Sneezing, Coughing,

This is how I'm feelin'. I woke up on Monday morning about 3am feeling awful. Yes, I was stuffed up, sneezing, coughing and my head felt like it was full of fluff. Since Brandon was sick off school for three days last week with this and he stayed overnight on Saturday, I'm not sure if he passed the bug along or if I got it somewhere else. I do know that the day of Aunt May's funeral was not nice. It was freezing and there was a wind that had a bite to it. My ears were sore the next day and since I'm prone to ear infections, I started taking 5,000 mg of Vitamin C daily. I was hoping that it would boost my immune system so I wouldn't get sick. Oh well, it didn't work. But now I'm feelin' tired, achey, stuffed up and just plain miserable. This too shall pass but I dislike feeling like this.
The highlight of my day was talking to Deena from Can I Be Pretty in Pink on the phone. She's such a dear and I told her I'd call her a few weeks ago. Then Aunt May went into the hospital and everything got delayed. It was so nice to chat with Deena again and know that she's doing much better. Deena, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. It was delightful to talk to you again.Tonight I ran across a fictional story that I wrote about 15 years ago. I have posted it on my Treasures to Me blog. It is the story of two men who have lived on the streets for years. I wish I had found it closer to Halloween, as it is a bit of a ghoulish tale. I don't often write fiction, but was inspired by a homeless man I met while driving taxi. I would be delighted to have you read it and give me some positive criticism.

Take care and enjoy your week, dear friends. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, December 1

A Tribute to Aunt May's Life

I'm writing this on Sunday night for Monday's post. One week ago today, Aunt May went home to be with the members of her family that predeceased her. I would like to tell you a bit about this amazing woman who has inspired me throughout my entire life.

As a young girl, Aunt May worked on the farm, both in the fields and the house. She had five siblings, the oldest of these being my mother. There were 3 girls and three boys. Aunt May filled in wherever she was needed, as did Mom.

As the story goes, Aunt May, her older brother Walter and my mother decided one day to take a ride down a steep hill in a wooden wagon. Mom being oldest, was put in the front in charge of steering. Walter sat in the back and Little May, as she was called in her youth, was in the middle.

After the wagon began its descent, Mom found the tongue was not a great steering wheel. She lost control and they went down the hill and through a barbed wire fence. Walter and May had cuts and bruises and Mom's legs were slashed by the barbed wire. Can you imagine the horror that Grandma felt when she heard the screams of her children and hurried into the yard. There the three of them came, up the lane, bawling at the top of their lungs and blood dripping from their cuts. Though the incident wasn't funny the day it happened, it was reminisced and laughed about for years. It is one story that will be handed down through our family.

While attending school, Aunt May was a member of the 4H Homemaking Club. She finished every one of the courses and then became leader, where she taught for approximately five years. As a teenager, she joined Junior Farmers and also lead in that capacity after a few years. She was also a member of the Women's Institute and served as both President and Treasurer.

Whatever Aunt May joined, she gave it her all and she lead in many capacities. She was a member of the Foresters and her church. She often spent hours helping prepare meals for the needy or for a funeral. I'd like to thank the Ladies of Aunt May's church for putting on a wonderful luncheon after her funeral. They did a great job and accomplished a feat that Aunt May had participated in many times during her life.

Aunt May was an avid sewer. She sewed for her son and daughter when they were young and in later years for her granddaughters. She taught her daughter to sew as well as the granddaughters. Her entire family grew gardens of vegetables that were preserved for the coming winter. She did this year after year and though her health was always frail, she could still be seen out in the garden or in the kitchen making fruit or vegetable preserves.

Reta, Aunt May's youngest granddaughter spoke at the funeral and told how Grandma taught her and her sister, Rachel, to sew. When they were very young they took an interest in sewing and wanted to buy some fabric. So Aunt May took them to get the fabric, helped them cut out the patterns and guided the material through the sewing machine while they stepped on the foot pedal to make it go.

Throughout her life, Aunt May had frail health but she never allowed it to stop her from doing what she wanted to do. She lived life to the fullest and always kept her sense of humor. She loved her family and her God.

Aunt May went into pallative care on November 13th. She had stopped eating and drinking. The very next day, she and her nurse had a lot of fun. What a wonderful thing for her nurse to kabitz and have fun with her. She knew that Aunt May would never leave the hospital and that she was in a lot of pain.

Over the next few days, Aunt May did open her eyes when we spoke to her. Then, she was heavily sedated to keep her comfortable. Aunt May passed on November 23rd. Each member of her family as well as her friends were greatly inspired by this little woman who was sometimes affectionately called, Mighty May.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Aunt May. She has been my mentor, my role model and an inspiration to me since I was a child. I will miss her, but would not wish her back to suffer. I am happy to know that she has no more pain, suffering or tears.

Have a great week and remember to do a random act of kindness. This is the holiday season and many people are in great need. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, November 30

An Amazing Find

On Friday afternoon when I came up the walk after running some errands, I came across the most amazing find. Right at the bottom of the porch steps was this huge maple leaf. I brought it into the house, photographed and measured it. It measures 11 inches across and 9.5 inches from point to stem. I don't believe I've ever seen such a large maple leaf. I'm wondering how big the tree was that grew it. The tree at the end of our driveway is between two and three hundred years old but it didn't bear this leaf, as it it not the right type of maple tree. I would love to know where this came from, but have no idea. It could have blown into the yard from anywhere, as winds have been strong here lately. The leaf is dry but not so dry that it crumbles and I am going to try and preserve it. I just find it amazing.

When I announced the card shower for S., I promised I would post a photograph of all the cards that I received. Here it is. How wonderful that S. will receive all of these for Christmas. Once again, I want to thank everyone that participated in the card shower.

In other news, Brandon came over about 5pm on Saturday and we had hamburgers and then he and I went to Wal *Mart to pick up a transparent tablecloth to put over the cloth one that I put on the table over the Christmas holidays. The bargains were fantastic. Everywhere we looked they had rolled back the prices. I found something for hubby that I'm going to keep to give him for Christmas. Usually about $30, I got it for $10. I can't tell you what it is, as sometimes he reads my blog and that would spoil the surprise. We also bought two beautiful cinnamon candles that will be perfect to give off a homey fragrance over the holidays. Brandon found a deal and finished his Christmas shopping for Jordan. He got a $40 game for $15. He couldn't believe it.

Not much other news from here. They are calling for snow today and tomorrow and I'm hoping it's not too much. However regions all around us have snow and though we've had a few flurries, we have no accumulation.

Take care and enjoy some family time today. I wish you all a great week. ~Blessings, Mary~