Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wanted: Christmas Cards!

I remember before the days of email and eCards, there were these wonderful things called Christmas Cards. I'm also not referring to the Christmas Letters (brag letters) or the family Christmas card you purchased in bulk at Walgreens or through a photo service, but the old-fashioned Christmas cards that offered the recipient a hand-written greeting for the Christmas season.

Does anyone recall those anymore?

I heard that they are considering also in reducing the days in which we receive our mail, giving up Saturday delivery or even just a four day delivery because their isn't enough for mail carriers to do besides delivery junk mail and bills. That is unless you've already gone paperless in which case most days if you're like me to rush out to the mailbox and it's empty.

So like Clark Griswold would say, it's time for a fun, old-fashioned, family Christmas Card exchange if you're up to it. All cards would need to be mailed by December 15th to ensure we can fill our doors or card holders to overflowing with Christmas cards from all over. If you want to participate, simply email me with your mailing information and I'll email you back with mine. Hopefully we'll also do the postal service a huge favor and increase the number of Christmas stamps we have to purchase, along with Christmas cards and keep them super busy this year. I'll have this listed on my sidebar if your interested! If you send me your name, you're going to get one back from me! It's truly a win/win for everyone who wants to participate. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment. By the way, my email address is listed in my sidebar under contact me!

Would love to know you're thoughts on what you think of Christmas cards disappearing as well! So whose with me?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why Re-Read Books?

Most of my faithful readers already know I am a book fanatic, a collector or purveyor of literary works, in a nutshell I love to read. It's been a love of mine since childhood and one I am having difficulty getting my own children to enjoy. Mostly its due to the fact, they have technology that engages their every whim and I grew up without.

We dealt with imagination, they deal in virtual reality. So how does one share that love of books with these next generations? I guess the simple answer is to take away electricity. That would leave Ipods, computers, televisions and video games almost worthless. No power, no play.

Yet what I want to do is create that love for what books provide that technology can't. Yes, I also am aware of eBook readers, but for me, nothing feels the same or even smells the same as a paper book. Which is why, I love book stores! I love learning what secrets and adventures lay waiting in store for the eyes and brain to piece together the movie that plays out when we immerse ourselves into books.

When I grew up, some of my favorites included every single book about horses. From fictional novels like Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague, to books identifying the many different breeds and uses for horses. In addition during the summer, the book mobile would arrive in our neighborhood and provide us a mobile mini library to select from. This was perfect since mom and dad both worked so getting to the library often posed challenges. This rectified that problem. I read through all the Nancy Drew mysteries, solving crimes right alongside my best friend Nancy, I journeyed across the prairie with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family; I read the classics, Swiss Family Robinson, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Books gave our imagination wings to fly and nothing was impossible, that is until we tried something and it failed.

Yet in the re-reading of these books, lessons are captured that our youth often missed or perhaps we learned something but never really understood what was happening. Through the Ingalls family, we learned about surviving through hard times, learning what living a simple life really meant. Even though Laura didn't have as much money as the rich Olsen's, she still was envied as having the warm love of her family and friends who would do anything for them.

We learned that visiting new places, meeting new people and trying new things didn't have to be so scary through Lucy's visit through the wardrobe. We learned that loyalty pays off in the end, and that evil never wins in the end, no matter how it might seem that it will. Patience is something to be gifted through trials and storms, and it doesn't hurt to have help in the form of friends and family along the way.

I am so curious to learn what books you read as a child and how they impacted your life today, even though you may not have thought about the correlation til you read this post. Please share by leaving me your comments below, and I hope you pick up some of your childhood favorites once again and read them through experienced and new eyes again. You can even research your favorite authors and learn more about why they wrote the stories we have come to call classics, those very reasons may just in fact prove to be a surprise as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Hmm, I sit here wonderful just what to share with you my readers of this Thanksgiving holiday. Something I haven't shared before, no cartoons about ways that turkeys are looking for you to find alternative foods to eat over them, no history lessons on just how the first Thanksgiving is celebrated or even what foods our family will be preparing or what our plans our this Thanksgiving.

For those of you that are interested in our plans, we are staying at home. We live some distance away from our family and friends and therefore don't want to uproot anyone just to have them drive over 2 hours away for dinner. We'll save those moments for when traffic isn't so bad or the weather may pose a threat to everyone's safety. We are keeping it small to just our immediate family, meaning anyone who is dwelling in our home that day or even the night before. Like all Thanksgivings, we open our home to anyone that doesn't have a place to go, be it family members, friends or even friends of friends.

We know that most families have been hit hard this year. Due to the "Recovery" plan that never quite panned out the way our President expected, some families are without anything this holiday. So this is our families year of giving. Whether it's helping the homeless out, volunteering at the soup kitchens or just providing a family with a way to have a meal or a place to go. That is our mission this year. I remember last year, we were struggling to find a way to make a Thanksgiving meal, times financially were really hard, and believe it or not, you probably know someone who is struggling but won't share that bit of their personal life with you. They are too embarrassed or just don't want to bother. They'll keep it to themselves, so this year. Be observant. Be open to windows of opportunity to help.

Share a bit of yourself, your family and even your finances if you are able to this year. I know for our family, we want to help, to give back, to make a difference. So while we gather around our table filled with food, we'll remember those that don't have any meal to gather around, who have lost family members this year, or who don't have a home. We'll be sharing ideas of how we can help before the year ends. Ways we can make a difference. Ways we can help, to step outside of our comfort zones and really be the hands and feet of Jesus this year.

Please pray for those that need help, that God will guide them to you, and you can make a difference in their lives. That you can offer them hope to a world that wants to remind them of what they don't have. Be the light. Be the salt! Let us flavor this year and this holiday with the hope we have in Jesus!

Wishing all of you and yours, a very blessed and abundant Thanksgiving filled with the love, warmth, and laughter of friends and family! Happy Thanksgiving ~ Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Priceless Memories

I just finished reading the most amazing book this year, called A Marriage Carol. If you want to know what it's about, click here. What I took away from this book was it dealt with a marriage more than just on the rocks, this house was losing its foundation and was ready to fall into the ocean. Not mine but the marriage that is discussed in the book.

The couple was spending their 20th Anniversary heading to their divorce lawyer's office to sign the paperwork to split their assets and divide the custody of their children. 20 years of marriage. Wow! I could say that I commend a couple for making it that long. We all know that our marriages will have their ups and downs, their seasons of drought and at times where one or both of those probably considers what it might be like if we hadn't married that person. Most of the times, they remain as internal dialogue, never surfacing and remaining just what they were thoughts.

Yet in this story is a promise of hope, the promise that if one of them is willing to fight for their marriage it just might be saved. See in the story, there isn't another man or woman contending for the affections of the spouse, its just that have grown apart. The husband is spending more time trying to make it up the rungs of the corporate ladder and the wife is spending her time working on raising a family and dealing with the kids. Now they barely have two words to say to one another, and find spending time doing what they love no longer involves the two of them.

What both of them need is a reminder. A reminder of where they met, what attracted them to one another, what made them fall in love and enter the commitment of marriage. They needed a trip to the past. Have you taken the time to venture into the past of your marriage. To spend time remembering what it was like the first time you laid eyes on your husband or wife. What it felt like the first time they told you that they loved you, your first date. All the "first" times. See none of that has changed with our spouses. Just more time has elapsed to create more memories, more firsts. Our first fight, our first child, our first grandchild even, our first graduations. You get the idea.

Which leads us to where we are today, in our Christmas present. Time has moved forward, and we have been married now for quite some time. Long after the proverbial honeymoon period has died, and experience at being married is now a time of being settled, comfortable even. Yet we need that magic back of what those "first times" were like. Perhaps it involves nothing more than spending an evening reminiscing of those first memories. That's what we did last night. We spent time sharing our favorite memories, our first kiss, our first real vacation, our first time as parents...well you get the idea. As we both shared some of our favorite memories, you can feel the embers in those fires inside both of us, begin to become fanned and the fire rekindled. We just have to remember not to let the fire die out. We have to find ways to fan the flame of love in our hearts. We have to be willing to fight for our love, for our marriage, for our family.

We entered this world with nothing and we will leave this world in the same manner. We can take nothing with us. Not our homes, our vacations, our children, our money or even our status. It's all on loan from God. ALL OF IT! Nothing belongs to us, so it often amazes me why we cling so tightly to those things that are on loan to us from God. Yes, it hurts to lose things especially children and our family. Yet we need a reminder to give God thanks every single day for those things that receive daily. Need the ultimate reminder?

I got this as a status on one of my Facebook friends, what if you woke up today and the only things you had were the things you thanked God for yesterday? How many of you would literally have nothing to show for that today? I know I would have nothing yesterday morning. So why wait? Why wait for something to happen? Why not start today and thank God for every little thing that you have in your life today. Not just today, but every day. I think the attitude is contagious. To have an attitude of gratitude, not just praying for wants and needs but for thanks as well.

The one thing we do leave this life with is our memories. We will remember our family and friends as we enter into Heaven. That is the only thing plus our salvation we take into Heaven. Looking back at my personal memories with my husband, I realize I have so many happy times that make me smile just to revisit those. It's time we spend our time creating more to savor and enjoy in the years to come. Those memories are priceless and one that no one can take from us, not even death. How will you chose to spend your time? Making priceless memories or filled with a life of regrets?

I hope like me, you'll spend it praying about things your thankful for and living a life of beautiful blessings and memories! I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. You are all a big huge blessing in my life. You're not just blogging buddies or Facebook friends, but real life connections that unite us all! Wishing you and yours a very Blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Husbands New Help Too!

Sharing a story I got a few days ago that really hit home for me in so many ways, I just had to pass the message along for others who could benefit! Enjoy!

A Plea for Understanding
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Job 2:1--9

I want to confess that for too long in my ministry I took unfair advantage of Job's wife, especially since she was not present to defend herself. I think it was probably due to immaturity on my part. Furthermore, I hadn't been married long enough to know better than to say those things. I cannot leave this one snapshot of Mrs. Job in the story without clarifying the record in her defense.

Now that you've seen the incredible disaster they shared, isn't it a little easier to understand how she could suggest, "Job, darling, let's just pull the plug. Don't go on. You can't keep living like this, I can't stand it. Curse God, and let Him take you home to be with Him." I think so. She's reached her limit and is willing to let him go. I'm not justifying the woman's reasoning as much as trying to understand it.

Always guard your words when your husband is going through terribly hard times. I want to confess something about us men. Mainly, I want you to remember: going through sustained hard times weakens most men. For some reason, hardship seems to strengthen women; we admire you for that. But we men are weakened when times of affliction hit and stay. In our weakened condition we lose our objectivity, sometimes our stability. Our discernment is also skewed. Our determination lags. We become vulnerable, and most men don't know how to handle themselves in a vulnerable state of mind. So in light of all of this---hear me---we need your clear perspective, wisdom, and spiritual strength. Most of all, we need you to pray for us as you've never prayed. We need not only your prayers, we need your emotional support. We need you to take the initiative and step up.

We need your words of confidence and encouragement. We even find it hard to say, "I need you right now." My wife could tell you that she lived with me for our first ten years of marriage before she ever thought I needed her. I finally admitted it and learned how to say it. In the lonely hours of a man's great trial, nobody's words mean more to him than his wife's words. That is one of the God-given reasons you and your partner were called to be together. When we husbands lose our way, you wives help us find our way back.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank You To All Our Veterans and Service Personnel!

Without your unconditional sacrifice and willingness to serve, we wouldn't remain a free and blessed country despite our difficulties at the present time. It's because of the sacrifices of people who have stepped up to the plate, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if it means laying down their life for another, they do it without hesitation. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for those that have died serving, those that are still at war, those that are still missing, and those families that have stood by while our country remains one of the best in my personal opinion. I am proud to be an American and thank you for those who have paid the ultimate price.

I had the opportunity yesterday while visiting the Museum of Flight in Washington, to visit the World War 1 and 2 exhibits. What memories were found personally by me, as I walked by each exhibit, from the items on display that family and friends have lovingly dedicated, to the letters and journals I have the privilege to read. It was a moving moment for me, wondering if each piece could talk, what stories they would share. The photographs on display of such loving men and women who paid the price to serve our country and those that never made it home alive. I cried at times, but very so proud as well because I am an American, both my parents served, and I was fortunate. They came home.

The best part of my day was visiting with an elderly gentleman who was kind enough to share his personal story with us. He served in WWII, in Pearl Harbor. He remembers the day fondly. He was playing golf in Griffith Park, when he got the news that Pearl Harbor was attacked and went to war. He flew P38's and a few others. As he talked it was an honor to realize that this man was well over 80 and still standing here telling us his story. He was so proud and you could see in his eyes he could remember it all like it happened yesterday. When we left, we personally thanked him not only for his time, but for talking to us. For sharing a time in history with us, for serving our country well. Now I will take his memory and treasure it because he so lovingly shared it with us.

Thank you again for your time sir. It was treasured and well worth the time it took for you to share it with us. Happy Veteran's Day and making it memorable to us.