Sunday, January 14, 2018

Choice Voices

It's the start of a new week. We expect the weather to be cold here again in The Sunshine State. 

I don't think Florida deserves that motto on the license plates. Colorado gets a lot more of the bright stuff and on these cold, rainy days, I miss the sun! But with that said, there is still cheer in my heart because it's not cold and dreary all the time, and my collection of flip flops are waiting for me when the time is right.

On Tuesday mornings I am a part of a group that seeks to bring cheer to local nursing homes. We sing at four different places, a different one each week. There are about twenty-five of us, mostly seniors. (We never know when one of us on the singing side of the room might end up as a patient on the resident side of the room.)

We always start out singing Zippity Doo Dah, which is appropriate since we live in the land of Disney. That is followed with God Bless America, and then we sing a number of hymns, have a devotional thought by a retired preacher in our group, and end with Jesus Loves Me and Amazing Grace. There is a lot of energy and harmony in the singing, accompanied with the piano and a bass guitar to keep us on track. I love it.

Some of our audience sings with us, some just sit and smile, some have a blank stare the entire time, and some sleep through the whole thing. But no matter, I know the gospel music ministers to their spirit and that's the main reason we do this.

This month our repertoire includes "His Eye is On the Sparrow." I often sit with Elizabeth, who is  originally from South America. She spent the Christmas holidays taking care of her friend's two parakeets. She tells me she knows nothing about birds but I guess the task has not been too hard. 

I told her she should sing "His Eye is On the Sparrow" to her charges. She said she did, but their owner told her the birds only understand Spanish!

Our retired minister friend always includes at least one smile-inducer (if not an outright chuckle) in his devotions at the nursing homes. Last week he told us about two corpses in the graveyard. One rolled over to the other and said to him, "How did you get here?"

The second one replied, "Well, I caught a cold, that developed into pneumonia, and then I ended up here.  How about you? How did you die?"

The first one said, "I had 'seenus.'" To which the other one replied, "I think you mean 'sinus.'"

"No, it was 'seenus.'  I was out with another man's wife, and he seen us!"

this hangs in one of my bathrooms, purchased at Kirklands a couple of years ago

It's a little scary, going into these nursing homes. We could carry germs in, or bring some out! For that reason, we are diligent to use the antibacterial dispensers that are always stationed just inside the doors to the outside. 

Our visit at the nursing home goes for about 45 minutes; then we go to lunch together, a different restaurant every week. One of my favorite parts of the entire morning is after we are all seated and ready to eat, our director leads out singing The Doxology. We all close our eyes and sing it aloud in acapella harmony, as our thanks for the food. It brings a reminder to all of us and those at nearby tables the Source of all our blessings.

I hope  your week is off to a cheery start!

Nancy Halvorsen from Art to Heart, "Bless Ewe"

Friday, January 12, 2018


leaves in Walmart parking lot January 11

My fascination with how autumn arrives in northeast Florida continues. Or does it come at all?

We lived briefly in Central Florida some twenty-two years ago, but there weren't as many trees near to our house as we have now, so I don't remember anything about what autumn looked like back then. We were in that house less than a year before returning to Colorado. Ever since then, I have wondered, do the trees have any autumn color in Florida?

Yes, they do, but they don't even begin to change until at least Thanksgiving, and I suppose now that we are nearing mid-January, we're probably at the 'height of the season', so to speak. 

Some leaves have fallen but I suspect what will happen is the new spring leaves will literally push the old autumn leaves off the branches. All of this is so contrary to what I am used to in a place with four seasons clearly seen through twelve months of the year.

Our world, the climate, people -- all are changing rapidly, often in shocking ways. Sometimes we can't help but wonder just what 'season' it is that we are really in, and who is really in control?

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17-18
- - - - - - - - - - -

Comments are closed for the weekend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Addressing Weirdness

Today I'm linking up with the weekly Hodgepodge as we answer questions, some having to do with our oddities. Bloggers answer the questions from and then we link up with each other. My replies are in italics.

Palm trees in Florida
1. January is National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?

I've never been formally addressed as a mentor (but what mother isn't?) and I've never been formally paired with a mentor. However, there have been several people in my life (female) I consider to have mentored me.

It is my opinion that we all need somebody trustworthy, loving, and knowledgeable to help us navigate life, and in particular, to help us process the hard stuff that comes our way. When we are not accountable to anyone, humans go off-track pretty easily.

2. What current trend makes no sense to you?

There are several things, but I want to keep this light, so I'll just say 
some NFL football players are sporting some clown-like hairstyles. I won't give any names, but come on, how am I supposed to take anyone seriously when they look like that?!

3. I saw a cartoon on Facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included: writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?

I will go with the last one -- sipping coffee early in the morning. Beloved and I get up at the same time, so I'm not the only one awake. He's in the shower while I sip my brew and contemplate who I am, where I'm going, and how I should get there.

As for one 'weird' thing that I'd add to the list? After consulting my phone's weather app, I prefer to set aside my clothing for the next day on the night before, especially for dressier occasions such as church. If I don't do this, I tend to spend too much time on the decision in the morning.

4. What's the last good thing you ate? 

Gluten-free rotini topped with Traditional Meat Sauce at The Olive Garden for dinner on Monday night.

5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.

A husband, three children and a dog all put me on a track to serve others and not just myself.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Beloved completed the construction and staining of my new table/desk on Monday and I am sitting there now as I type. I love how it's tucked into a quiet corner by a window where I can look out at the serene forest, read, deal with correspondence, and pray.  Everybody needs a private place to meet God, deal with themselves and determine how they will face the giants in life. 

If more people would make the time to be still before their Maker first thing in the morning, maybe there would be a little less 'weirdness' in our world.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

As previously stated, I'm linking up at From This Side of the Pond.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


January is here with its storms, cold, and for some, a gloom that settles in until spring's first tulips poke through the snow. One year when the first month led me to complain a little too much, Denise flatly stated, "The only good thing about January is that it comes to an end." Oddly enough, that statement gave me hope.

Today's post is not very original. I am sharing a collection of thoughts from others on the topic of "cheerfulness" that has helped to brighten my soul on the darkest of days.

"Let's be cheerful. We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for our own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger." ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

Bless your family with a cheerful attitude. 

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

People who are always cheerful know that being positive is a constant battle. They fight to overcome the darkness and the negativity, using smiles and laughter as weapons. From their joy and happiness,they carve a bright path ahead of them. Learning to be positive is an essential skill in life.

The quality of our experiences is often dictated by our way of perceiving things. When we decide to see the good side of life, we discover that we gain a more peaceful attitude towards life. It takes the same amount of energy to see the bad as it takes to see the good. Perception is thus the thing that transforms an experience into a good story.

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

Cheerfulness, calmness, and relaxation are vital for a harmonious life, where body, mind, and soul can achieve balance and remove the heaviness of fear or negativity. A cheerful mind is the strongest ally against all the things that try to bring us down. It makes all moments count and all fears dissipate.

Seeing the mud around a lotus is pessimism, seeing a lotus in the mud is optimism. ~ Amit Kalantri

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

It is surprising how two people can look at the same thing and see two different things. This is the most powerful clue that the way we perceive the world is dependent on our attitude and our state of mind. A cheerful, optimistic mind will always notice the beautiful and good things in life.

Most of the time, life is a complicated mess on which we can hardly have any control. However, there are a few simple rules that can make our lives better and that can ensure our well-being. Things such as exercise, good sleep, healthy eating, laughter, and cheerfulness can help us reach our best state.

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

Unfortunately, it seems that life cannot sustain prolonged happiness or joy. Whenever life tries to bring us down, remaining a cheerful and happy person becomes a battle. Everyday, when we wake up, we can decide with what frame of mind we want to welcome the new day.

A cheerful and happy person always makes a good impression on people. Cheerfulness adds brightness and vitality to the way we present ourselves to the world, making us look younger and more beautiful. When we smile and laugh, our entire being appears as inviting and warm.

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

It is difficult to cheer ourselves up in moments of distress, but very often, we can decide conscientiously to give up on sadness and focus on our happiness. Deciding to become awesome and cheerful instead of sad takes great courage, but once mastered, it turns into our greatest strength.

🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴 🌴

People who always seem cheerful and optimistic don't actually hold some secret of life that the rest of us failed to learn. The truth is that they are actually the ones who appreciate every experience, no matter how simple it might seem at a first look. They take their joy from simple, but meaningful moments and experiences.

Some of the above quotes came from  Comments are closed for today.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Spotlight on The Snow People

It's been my custom for the last couple of years to not pull out The Snow People until Christmas is over. The Wise Men and Shepherds give a nod to The Snow People during the transition. To have them ALL on display during December made for crowded conditions and a possible dilution of the real reason for Christmas.

the whole gang

It was a good decision on my part because we disposed of some furniture when we moved from Colorado to Florida six months ago and that means we have fewer staging areas for my seasonal characters.

I had some worries that the frozen few would melt in this new climate, however [this year, anyway] that proved to be a groundless concern. The "bomb cyclone" that has spread its icy influence on so much of our nation included northeast Florida, much to the delight of The Snow People and dismay for this one who loves her flip flops!

We have become well-acquainted with the warming ability of our heat pump (give me a hard-blowing gas furnace, PLEASE), dug into the back of our closets to pull out winter clothes we were reserving for visits to family in the mid-west, and put an extra blanket on the bed. This is not what we expected when we moved here, but the natives assure us the current weather is very unusual.

We have one more expectation that I hope will be fulfilled: winters are short here. We shall see ...