This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday: A Look Back

I’ve never been a “Black Friday” fan, I worked at least twelve years in some form of retail and saw more pushing, shoving and herding of hordes than anyone should have to. I remember the last Black Friday I was working. I knew I would be leaving retail after the first of the year. I was sooooooo excited. I was probably merrier then, than all the previous Day after Thanksgivings before.

After I did leave retail my mother and I did start a little tradition of our own on the day following Thanksgiving. For almost fifteen years (we missed one or two) we would get up early and drive to two very tiny towns (populations less than 500, I suppose) near their home. It was all very sweet and the pace was as slow as we liked. The crowds were in the malls at the city and we got the fresh air and cozy atmosphere. Both towns were decorated simply and in an old-fashioned manner.

The first town is an antiquing town. The main street has stores filled with antiques and craft shops. Sometimes we would start at the bakery with a pastry. And often we would warm up at a small coffee and tea shop about halfway through our shopping. There was a store with one floor devoted entirely to Christmas. That was mandatory to visit. Also a must stop shop was the Victorian shop—so small it could fit into my living room, but packed with delicate and beautiful ornaments, tantalizing scents and peaceful music. Every store was filled with holiday cheer and even though it was, technically, a retail environment it was just different and special.

The second town is filled with many Danish descendants. We would head first to the local craft fair. My mother worked with the public for a long time and knew so many people. She would take at least twice my time in getting through the stalls & booths because she would stop and talk to everyone she knew. And she knew everyone. Then we would go to several other shops, including the one in the windmill and finally straggle toward home. If we had any energy left we might stop at the town square in my parents’ hometown to visit three shops we were particularly fond of.

Then I would spend most of the weekend decorating her house. And there were lots of things that followed just because “that’s how we did things.”

Because this is our first holiday without my mother, and for a few reasons, this year isn’t going to be like that. Maybe some year in the future I will retrace our steps alone or with one of the children (none of whom seem to have inherited the “browsing gene”). Maybe I will find something nearer my home for the day after Thanksgiving.

Which brings me back to my search…for ways to bless our families during the holidays. Please join me and share your ways to make the holidays really holy days.

What was your “Black Friday” like today?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Thankful Thursday Thirteen

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It just wouldn't seem right to do anything but a "thankful" post today. So, while not original, a very heartfelt Thirteen Things I am thankful for:

1. My faith
2. My husband
3. My sons
4. My father & the time with my mother
5. My sister
6. Her children
7. My friends both IRL & internets
8. The opportunity to homeschool my boys
9. Food in the cupboard
10. A roof over our heads
11. Vehicles to drive
12. My pets
13. An endless supply of other things to be thankful for.

THE PURPOSE BEHIND THE THURSDAY THIRTEEN:
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. What do you do? Write Thirteen things about yourself, summarize your week in one entry, make it easy for other bloggers to get to know you on a weekly basis. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged!


Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Long ago and faraway...

My husband used to do this.

And I used to do that.



It was fun.

But I think I am happy where we are now.


But I wish I just looked like that again!


Visit more Wordless Wednesday participants.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Help Me with My Holidays

Okay, I am not feeling particularly creative this year. I am looking for lovely ideas to make this holiday more filled with the Spirit and less filled with retail.

I have asked some great bloggers if I might link to their sites to share their ideas that have blessed me. A couple have already responded with kind generosity and I will be sharing their ideas.

If I missed asking you, shame on me!!

If you have a blog post from Christmas past or will be posting one this year that shares family traditions that focus on how you prepare to remember the True Gift of Christmas, if you have a post sharing a special memory of a loved one you who made your holidays bright, or traditional foods, sweet and savory that have been handed down or are going to be, or any ideas you think I missed that will take the hustle an bustle out of the holiday and would like to be included leave a comment or e-mail. I will add you in the list in my post. Family friendly only—let’s keep the focus on the “Reason for the Season.” I will keep adding entries up until Christmas--or even after if it applies!

I will post some other non-blog sites that might spark your spirit and creativity, and hopefully fill your days with just a little more joy.

There is no such thing as too much joy.

So will you help me find out how joy-filled our holidays can be? I hope so.

Always in HIM,

Julie