Quiet and common notions...shared here...with you! Of life ~ our hearts and our home.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition...

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Here we are.  Our last gift... 
It's nice knowing there are things we can give away that can bless way more than a tangible, "costly" gift.  Amen?

I hope you enjoyed this mini series.  I had a lot of fun putting it together and am grateful for your patience and grace - while it SLOWLY came together.  See!  more gifts. :)
We're mid-week between Christmas and New Year - and the bulk of gift-giving, for most folks, is over... but I KNOW that true gift giving continues...

And, with this last one.  I truly HOPE it will continue.


The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition.

This is certainly one beautiful gift.  And, I had a hard time picking just one reference to share with you.  Because there are many, MANY friends and faces that come to mind... but, we'll go with this one.

I have a certain, favorite Mom and Pop type of gift shop that I like to frequent.  The thing is, I only recently discovered this store, though it's been around for a long, long time.
But what truly draws me to this store is absolutely not her "stuff" - although it sure helps, because,  I do LOVE what she has for sale.  I love her style.  The way she "decorates" her store... I love the old, uniqueness of the building...
The sights, the smells, the sounds...everything!!

However, do you know what it really is?
It is the shopkeeper's Cheerful Disposition that is what truly draws me in and keeps me coming back.
This woman is so friendly, amiable... very chatty - but heartfelt.  She's authentic.. even while sharing about hard times... she still has a smile!!
I appreciate that I don't feel like I have to purchase anything... rather, just being in her presence makes me feel so blessed.
I want to be like this - all the time - with everyone I meet.   Oh, to be known for a cheerful disposition!!

Proverbs 17:22 says,
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.


***
And, this concludes our mini series on gifts that don't cost you a cent.  To read the other seven gifts - click HERE!!!
I hope you enjoyed reading along!!



Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Gift of Solitude or Time...

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Down to sharing two more gifts that don't cost you a cent!!  I was trying to get these in before Christmas - but, here we are.  On the Eve of Christmas... and I'm just getting to this second to last one now.  We can still give gifts after Christmas - right?

This gift is one I for sure - savor!!   I want to say it is one of my love languages... one where I feel the most loved.  Someone giving me the gift of time?   Ahhh! I love...
The Gift of Solitude or Time.

Are these two, time and solitude, the same thing?  Yes and No!

We often hear the phrase " to give of your time" is a valuable and valiant thing to do.  As you can guess, it happens on rare occasion for me.
I know I would appreciate that gift even more than I am already blessed with and by it.
But I do think that the Gift of Solitude is a really special thing.
However, I'm not too sure it can be given as much as it needs to be taken.
It's like solitude almost needs to be found or discovered.

Solitude is definitely a gift and yet if you don't have the time to enjoy it - is it really anything?

Let me tell you - if you ever find yourself in a moment of quiet, peaceful solitude... take a minute, or five, or ten and simply enjoy it.
It truly is a gift!!

Wishing you and yours a Quiet and Peace Filled Christmas!!
***

Click HERE for more gifts that do not cost you a cent!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Gift of Encouragement...

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 So, yes! This gift feels closely related to the Gift of a Compliment, doesn't it?
 I actually had to think about how to differentiate the two.
There isn't a whole lot of difference.


Now.  I thrive on encouragement.  I'm sure most of us do.  As well, this isn't something necessarily easy to do, either.  To encourage others.  But, we're called to do it.

I'm going to share a bit about my 9 year old son today.  
Fourth grade has pretty much whipped his hyde.   He's doing fine... way more that he thinks he is, but he won't always hear it.  If you know what I mean?
He needs constant encouragement.  And on one tough night, recently, when I told him that he lights up like a Christmas Tree every time he receives a compliment (see, I told you the two go hand in hand. Compliments.  Encouragement.) - well, he didn't know if that was a good or bad thing.  So, then, I had to encourage him all over again - that, YES! - this is obviously a way that makes you feel loved.  

Compliments.  Encouragement.  Words of Affirmation. 
They all go hand in hand.

We all need daily doses and some of us need more than others.
Back to the whole compliment  side of things.  I'm serious.
Sometimes being told your appreciated is one of the simplest and most uplifting things you can ever hear.

I need to remember to encourage others as much as I know I need it myself.


**this photo was taken the night of Caleb's Winter Concert - with school.  He sang in the choir and ALMOST ranked up to play in the band. ;)  He plays 1st trumpet.  And, is doing fabulous... if I must say so myself.   I'm very proud of my boy!!!!

He loves to play it for everyone - and honestly, it is never a chore to get him to practice.  I can hardly complain of the "loudness" - but he gets it.  He's doing great.  I wish you could hear him play... unfortunately, the video (he asked me to make and to show all my friends... :)) wouldn't load for some reason.

***
Click HERE to read more on the Eight Gifts that do not cost you a cent.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Gift of a Compliment...

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We all know the blessing of a well-rounded compliment - don't we?  
It kinda fills our bucket...doesn't it?


I believe each one of my kids, in their kindergarten years, has come home from school with the story of how we need to be "bucket fillers" in each other's lives - not bucket dippers.
You know this story, too, don't you?

Well, today something interesting happened.

You know how every Christmas - outside of all the prominent retail stores you hear the familiar ringing of bells as the Salvation Army representative is sitting or standing there with their bucket - waiting.  Waiting to fill...

As I entered this particular store I didn't have anything at the moment to share, but I wanted to be sure to drop something in on my way out.

Now, this man, attending - was a jolly, friendly fellow wishing ALL, he saw, a Merry Christmas - but I also noticed he was not shy in speaking LIFE (compliments) to ALL he met, as well.  It wasn't awkward.  Rather, genuine.

When I came out of the store - I had my "gift" waiting and ready to add to his bucket - but, at the same time he caught my eye and filled mine.  In other words... he gave me a compliment - saying something about my smile being something really special and not to lose that.  Now, I've heard this compliment many, many times before and I'm not sharing this to brag - just saying... when someone "new" notices and it continues to be noticed - I sincerely hope that it continues to be a blessing!

I may or may not have have walked away with a tear in my eye... appreciating all over again the compliment that continues to remind me to wear my smile.  What's fun - is that it always catches me off guard - that someone will notice a simple smile and say something about it.  Maybe not enough people are doing it.  Smiling, that is.

Are you a bucket-filler, or a bucket-dipper?
Don't let others steal your joy - but rather give it away 1st - if you can!!

And, remember.  This is yet another gift that will not cost a single cent.

***
Click HERE to read more of these posts on the eight gifts that do not cost you a cent.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Gift of a Written Note...

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The kitchen table is strewn with cards. Both coming and going.  It's Christmas!  The time of year when the exchange of love and care is sent on it's way to loved ones far and near.
The names can be often hurriedly scribbled appearing as if to beat the mailman to the box - rushed - but "off - on their way" just the same...

Or... this.

And, it always amazes blesses me when the sender has taken the time to jot a few personal lines - handwritten thoughts of care and concern.  Thoughts of memories and moments they wanted to share.

It's a gift of the Written Note!!
One of my favs.

I'll admit - I struggle, at times, with taking specific care to share a few thoughts, more than my name.  Even if my name, and that of my family, is tidy and neat... sometimes a few more added (thoughtful) words are SOOOO important and are uniquely needed.  Maybe more than we'll ever know.

It is a gift.  Sharing and caring through pen and paper...
Something, I don't want to lose.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.  ~ Proverbs 12:25

Tell me.  Are you a card sender; a note-in-the-box kinda friend?


If you're anything like me, you love receiving this gift - way more than giving it... and I sure do like to give this sort of gift.  Though, I'm sure - I don't do it near enough.

***

Click HERE to read more on the Eight Gifts that do not cost you a cent!

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Gift of Laughter...

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Ahhh... the sweet gift of laughter.
Now, I KNOW I have talked about this before.... that laughter - as in, the easy roll-from-the gut sort of laughter does not come easy for me.   :(

I do like this gift.  Because when it happens... it sure feels good.   I have kiddos' that laugh really, really easily, especially Jayne - which I love!!! It makes me chuckle to hear it flow so easily for them.   In other words  - it blesses me. :)

As in, that is my style of laughing... I chuckle silently; simply snickering or smiling...

I am blessed to have a husband, that keep me laughing, as well as, other friends, which is so welcomed.
Oh, how I need them ALL in  my life.



You know when and where there is a deep-seated JOY in one's life... there is great peace.
And we know a peaceful heart gives life to the body.

I know that - because of that - it is when laughter naturally spills out.

Laughter is the best medicine...for ourselves and for others.  Amen??

***

Click HERE to catch up on other post in this series.


***

Have a Blessed Weekend!!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Gift of Affection...

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Are you a naturally affectionate sort of person?  Good for you!!  I struggle in this area... and in particular when my kiddos' beg for a dog... it's simply not in me!!

Affection.  A trait I wish I was gifted in.

Every year - at Christmastime - I pull out the decorations and out comes this book...The Tall Book of Christmas!   One of my favs.

There is one story in here that is a must-read for my little family.  It chokes me up, each time - I read.  Which, on one hand, surprises even me.   Obviously - affection is a gift!!

I thought I would share part of this story with you here today... as a way to share in this gift of affection.
You may have heard of the children's story called;  The Puppy who Wanted a Boy, by Catherine Woolley.  

I'll simply paraphrase the story, just a bit...


It's a sweet story of a puppy, named Petey, who wanted nothing more than a boy for Christmas.  He was a good puppy that year - well, sorta.  He only frightened the cat a little and he only chewed on a shoe a teeny-weeny... but his mother said alright.  She guessed he could have one and she would look for a boy!!  
When there were simply no boys to be found...
Petey decided that other gifts offered by his mother would simply not do. 
 He had to have a boy.

He decided to venture out on his own.  He had to find a boy.  Perhaps another dog would give up his boy for Petey.
But when Petey politely asked the collie, who's boy was riding a bicycle, if he would give up his boy - the collie dreadfully growled he definitely didn't want to.

Next he saw a Setter playing ball with his boy.  Then a Scotty carrying a package, for his.  "Oh, if only I had a boy to play ball with or to carry a package for.." thought Petey.  Yet, for each dog he found he mustered up the courage to ask if they would be willing to give up their boy - and each one would answer... "NO!" - they definitely didn't.

Where would Petey find a Boy?  His tail fell limp.  His ears began to droop.  He was so tired from looking e v e r y w h e r e...
Mother was right.  There were no boys to be had.

As he heads home, that Christmas Eve, and on the way at the very edge of town... He sees a sign hanging over a door. that reads.

Orphans' Home

Knowing what orphans are (for they are children who have no dog to take care of them) Petey decides to see if there were any boys here...
He pads slowly up the sidewalk barely able to put one paw in front of the other.
He stops because he hears music.  Looking through the window he sees a lighted Christmas Tree and children singing carols.

But, here... sitting on the porch... he sees a boy, looking all sad and lonely.  Petey forgets about being tired.  He leaps onto the boy's lap and wiggle-wag goes his tail.  Licking the boy with his warm, wet tongue...
How glad the boy was to see Petey!  He puts both arms around the little dog and hugs him tight.

All of a sudden the front door to the Orphans' Home opens and a lovely lady calls for Dickie, the boy, to come on inside to the Christmas Tree...

Dickie looks up at the lady and says, "I've got a puppy.  Can he come, too?"

Of course he can...

Before Petey knows it - he is inside - and the crowd of boys who were playing around the tree all rushed at Petey.  They all wanted to pick him up.  They all wanted to pet him.
Petey simply wags his tail and his fat little body is frisking about... kissing every boy who came near.

"Can he stay?" the boys asked.
"Yes," said the lady. "He may stay."

"Come on, puppy." Dickie said, "Get your supper."
"We'll fix you a nice warm bed!" cried another boy.
"We'll play games with you." said a third.

"Who ever would think." said Petey to himself, "that I would get fifty boys for Christmas!"


***
Ahh...this story... the epitome of affection.  Everything I am not and all that I want to be!
I can't say - "I want a dog."  I KNOW my kids, do - especially my eight year old daughter.  I just wonder if I could or would have the same response as the Lovely Lady... for she is who I would want to be.  She is who I like to think I am... saying "yes!" But sadly... well, I am ..uhhh... and, I think you know what I'm going to say...

All that to say - it really is a heartwarming story... full of dreams, desire and discovery all garnered through means of... affection.  Can we say it delivered?
**

Thank you for reading along in this eight-gift series... Click HERE to read the other posts in this series.


Tell me.  Are you one who easily gives the gift of affection?

What is it that you are longing for this Christmas?

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Gift of Listening...

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To fully give someone a listening ear is the best thing someone can do for another.  It's not easy to stop and always give someone the full, apt attention they need, or that they're asking for. 

As a mom... this following quote-for-thought has given me pause.

Do you listen to understand?  Or, do you listen to reply?

I can remember my youngest - Jayne - a couple of years ago.  Imagine, the baby, seeking to "be heard" amongst everyone else's chatter and clamoring...
She'd be sitting on my lap and would try to be telling me something... then, because I wasn't listening, she would take her chubby little hands and grab my face - turning my whole head towards her own... so that I would really have to LISTEN to her!!  
(smile)

I can remember on more than one occasion my own "demand" for a listening ear.  I had a dear friend who would willingly take hours into the night, sometimes, just to listen...to me ramble and pine and dream...
It was a season, for sure.  One that didn't last forever.  And yet, I'm sure that I took way more of her time than necessary.

But, she had a gift.  The gift of listening...
Her friendship was dear.  And, still is.
It's something I'll never forget.  A blessing I'll cherish long into forever!

I do want to be this "gift" to someone else.
Willing and ready to set life aside; to truly listen to someone - with where they're at.  With kind understanding.  Listening with questions that draws them out even more...
Obviously, for this mom, this starts at home!! 

In all of that, though, the above mentioned quote - reminds me of how and where I need or want to grow.  I realize I reply to readily... and am not patiently listening.

I'm so quick to be thinking of a reply - my reply - while someone else is talking - that I really miss what they are saying.  It's humbling to have to go back (within seconds of the conversation) and say, "I'm sorry - what did you just say?"   I've done this on more than one occasion...
I have so much room to grow...

**
So - this Christmas Season... with this Gift of Listening... 
To master this...what do you say we slow down and really turn our gaze to the one who truly LISTENS!  I know I need His help.

Listen to what the psalmist David says in Psalm 5:1-3...

Give ear to my words, O Lord, 
consider my sighing.
Listen to my cry for help.
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you 
and wait in expectation.

The Psalms are full of examples of prayer and petition... to the Lord.  Here's another, of David's words, found in 

Psalm 27: 7-9
Hear my voice when I call, O Lord; 
be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, 
O God my Saviour.

Oh friends...in JESUS, we have the greatest example; the Gift of Listening!!!

Doesn't that give you such peace?
**On a side note...
Have you ever stood outside on a snowy night and truly took in the quiet of the moment.  Snow softly falling.  If you hold your breath, pause.. and truly listen.  I promise, you can almost hear those snowflakes falling...one right after another.

That too is such a gift.  Try it sometime, you'll see... it stills you and all is right with the world!!


Click HERE to follow along with the other posts in the series..

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost You a Cent!! {mini series}

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Hello Friends... are you ready?  Christmas Time's a Comin'.  The season we all love...of gift-giving, celebration, family and friends and yummy food!  Of course, Jesus is the REAL reason for the season (the Greatest Gift) and I don't say that lightly.
 He is mine for sure...

I got to thinking what this particular season may look like for our little family.  Our kids all know that Christmas will be a little "light" this year, in terms of (tangible) gift-giving, simply due to the fact that we're wanting to buy a house.  It makes it easier to explain all of that, and abide by it- since we're all a part of the impending decision. :)
It also marks one year that our landlord passed away... which adds its own dimension in and of itself.  It's now a season with even more (raw) mixed emotions and change... but God is so good!!

In the past - here on the ole blog - I had a couple of meme's that I would do for and throughout the month of December.  One year was of sharing favorite Yuletide Carols (2013), another was the December Photo Project (2011)...or, of course there were favorite Holiday cookies sprinkled throughout.   Do you remember any of those?  lol..

This year, I thought I would dust off the old keyboard and share my thoughts regarding Eight Gifts that don't cost a thing!!

Not one single cent.

So, over the next couple of weeks - hopefully, I can keep up and get them all in before Christmas - I'll be posting a little more often (smile), as I share these eight different gifts that have made a difference either in my life or that can be given to bless someone else for this Christmas-time of year!!


Do you want to know what these gifts are?

1. The Gift of Listening
2. The Gift of Affection
3. The Gift of Laughter
4. The Gift of a Written Note
5. The Gift of a Compliment
6. The Gift of Encouragement
7. The Gift of Solitude or Time
8. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition

***

So, do you think you'll join me - as we reflect on this gift-giving season? ** these may or may not be coming to you in this order...

Perhaps, you can think of a few gifts yourself - that won't be costing you a cent.
I would like to hear your thoughts..



To him that gives generously... He himself will be refreshed.  
~ Proverbs 11: 24-25 (paraphrased)


HAPPY 1st DAY of DECEMBER!!
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