I am welcoming 2015 quietly at home tonight. It would be fun to be a part of New Year’s celebrations tonight in a big city. At least we went on a tour through downtown Charlotte during the Christmas holiday and enjoyed seeing the city decked out with a spectacular display of lights and decorations.
Monthly Archives: December 2014
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 260 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
One of my new year’s resolutions is to get things organized at my house. I think I will start with the attic. They say that it is best to start organizing the area that bothers you the most. That way you will not give up on a project before you get started because you are too overwhelmed. My attic is the worst because it is where I stash things when I don’t know what to do with them. When it is out of sight, it is out of mind. Things have been out of my mind for a while because it was too warm in the summer or fall months to go in the attic. At Christmas, I had to drag things out of there and was reminded at how horrible it had become. Now that the weather is cooler, it is the perfect time to tackle that area.
We have only been in our house three and a half years. I went through things and pitched a lot before our move but our attic is still overflowing. Yes, we even had a yard sale a little over a year ago. How does that happen? Some of it comes from two in-laws who emptied a storage unit. Other things are from my mother’s move from her big house to a condo. I had a booth in a store for a year and unloaded the best things. We sold victorian chairs, small tables and assorted antiques. I participated in another sale before Christmas. Thankfully, my daughter wanted the larger furniture items when she furnished her apartment. Yet, there still remains quite a pile. These items are not what I call junk. They are still quite useful and are treasures for someone. I have window treatments, towels, pillows and comforters. These came from my former house which had a different color scheme than the one in which we now live. I have wreaths, garlands, flower arrangements, baskets, bows, and miles of Christmas lights. I have enough gift bags, boxes and wrapping paper to last me the rest of my life. I have pictures, knickknacks and china that I no longer have room to display. We moved to our house to downsize but it still seems that the contents of my house have expanded beyond its capacity. I plan on donating a large portion of the things in the coming months and know that I will get a huge sense of satisfaction once things are cleared out. My satisfaction will come especially knowing that someone will enjoy them.
I have determined to be thankful after the Christmas festivities have ended. I will begin by writing thank you notes for the wonderful Christmas gifts I received. My goal is to keep finding ways to express my gratitude in the coming year. This should help reverse the inevitable doldrums that set in after the holidays are over. It should affect my outlook on life in general in the coming months. It will take the focus off of me and onto others. It will help me to thank and focus on God from whom all blessings flow.
This is the beginning of my reflection over the past year and the time to set some new year’s resolutions. I realize that I have been truly blessed this past year. I am thankful for family and friends that have been with me through the highs and lows of 2014. I am thankful that we have all been together to celebrate Christmas again. God has given us health, financial provisions and many unexpected and undeserved blessings. We have jobs, wonderful food to eat, nice clothes to wear and comfortable homes. We have a Savior who loves us unconditionally despite our shortcomings or failure to recognize His many blessings in our lives. He gives us second and third chances. Each year we have the chance to start over and try to do better than the last year. By His grace, we will try to do better….. again. If we start out being thankful for all that He has done in the previous year, I think that our success rates for change in 2015 will soar.
It’s exactly one week until Christmas. Hopefully, most of us have finished Christmas shopping and decorating. By now we should be wrapping presents and planning our Christmas meals. There are always last minute gifts or so we rationalize. There are the purchases for the aunt, uncle or cousin that decides to show up at the last minute. It is a challenge to know when to quit making purchases so I have determined that if it has not been purchased by now, the week before Christmas, then it is probably not necessary. I decided years ago to buy a few extra things that would work in a pinch to give to a male or female in the event that someone came unannounced or gave me a gift and I had not planned to give one in return. I have tried not to let guilt motivate me to overspend each year. I try not to impress by gift-giving. I try to be practical with gifts as I am in my every day purchasing. I try not to be overindulgent and spend impulsively. No one really needs something that they will wear only at Christmas time, a tacky gift just for laughs or the extra pounds that come with overeating food that is rich and unhealthy. I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge or a tightwad but I truly am trying to keep my focus on Jesus the giver instead of all the gifts.
The phrase “I believe” is fairly common around the holidays. It is commonly known to be a belief in Santa Claus and is a famous line from The Miracle on 34th Street. It also shows an openness or willingness by people to believe in the birth of Jesus. I think that holiday time brings out the child in most of us, a vulnerability and level of faith when God can speak to us. We have more expectations during Christmas to believe in miracles or unexpected blessings when everything and everyone around us is merry and bright. It is an opportunity for Christians to open up conversations asking others what they believe.
The challenge is to keep this childlike faith or belief system throughout the rest of the year. I want to still believe in miracles and look for God in unexpected ways when the world is cold and the merriment is gone. We need the spirit of giving when we are back to the monotony of everyday life, sentiments are low and the bills have to be paid. Christmas has a way of emboldening us to step out of our comfort zones to do things for others that we wouldn’t do during the rest of the year. We need to hold on to that philanthropic spirit all year and show that we still believe in God through the witness that we live out every day before others.