Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It's looking like, but not feeling like, Christmas!

Good Tuesday morning friends ~ It is 11:23 a.m. EST, and the temp is 83 and feels like it is 88, humidity is 76%, and the a.c. is on. 

I do believe I've finished with decorating for Christmas, bins are back in the workshop. Now I need to straighten up and vacuum. 

I really enjoy decorating for Christmas, always have. Even if I feel down, somehow just listening to the Christmas music can put me in the mood to get out the bins and begin. Most of the ornaments in my collection are from our 43 years together. When I unwrap them, my heart floods with memories and love for others and from others. My dear husband's mother gave each of her kids ornaments every year, then as married couples we still got them. We bought the holy family, three wise men, and donkey and cow, made of terra cotta clay when we were newlyweds living in Spain while DH was stationed there for the US Navy. When we got home from Spain, he made a wooden stable for them. These little figures are almost 50 years old. We bought them in a little shop in the main town square of our little town.

I've added angels and different peoples to our Nativity scene. In the silver s & p shakers are bits of frankincense in one and myrrh in the other. The little angel in blue hanging on the left was my husband's as a kid.

Here's a close up. The old angel at the back was $1 bought many, many years ago.

The lace angel was made by DH's mother. The stars are old and made of tubular and round beads. The little gauzy angels are really old and a couple have seen better days, but they still like to proclaim Jesus' birth.


Now for some vignettes.

This close-up below is from an old icon, painted on wood, very bad condition. But the way Jesus is lovingly looking at His mother, and has His arm out as if to comfort her really touches my heart, and worth keeping.. This piece is behind the small framed painting, which is next to a piece of granite that has been carved into, to look like a book, the cover saying 'Learn of Me'. The end of the book says 'Bible', and of course, by reading the Bible we will learn of Jesus and all that He has done. We will be encouraged, inspired, convicted, and comforted.

This is a watercolor I painted of our tabby named Ditty, this was done in 1984.

 She is sleeping on an old wrought iron bench top covered in old red velvet. One year we had the stable/nativity set up on a low surface and she curled herself up on top of everyone and laid down in the stable. No picture.

Here is my little tree.

Yesterday I received a pkg from a sweet online blogging friend. In it was the lovely stocking, looks like it is made from a sweater. There is something inside but I am leaving that for Christmas morning. 

I also have an order of books that just came in the mail yesterday waiting for me to look at Christmas morning. They came the other day, a present to myself, 8 books for $19.43, I'll do a post later. I can hardly wait to look through them. They are in the basket behind the stocking

Isn't this lovely, and the faux fur is soft and lush. I love it, and of course I love the hearts.

She also sent this sweet little 'snow bird', pictured below. At least that is what I am calling him. He just makes me smile and my heart feel full. Thank you sweet 'K'.

The snow couple were from an online blogging friend many years ago when we were in an ornie swap. The little heart is my last ornament to my DH, just days before God called him home.  The round ornie is stuffed with dried lavender and I made that many years ago. Also crocheted the star. The round lit snowball is from a dear friend who lives locally.


I made this bead and thread embroidered heart on cream background before my husband became ill, after he left this planet I took and old pair of his jeans and made this ornament for myself. The heart on the left represents me, the one on the right, him.

The lion couple were the last ornaments from DH's parents, and if I figured right that's 27 yrs ago.

 My crochet work, from a pattern found somewhere.

The ornament on the left is antique. The little ballerina is porcelain and made by DH's mother, one of my favorites.

 I believe she was taking porcelain classes, learning to paint and fire and this was a piece she chose to work with for ornaments one year.

Another antique ornament. Which reminds me I've other old ornaments to get out of the attic. I will need help with that. I've been just choosing the smallest ornies for this tree.

Tree topper made by another online friend from another online ornie swap.

This ornament was gifted to me from another widow. Someone had given her one and she liked what it said.

Yesterday, the 9th, made 7 years since God whispered those words to my dear husband. December is a hard month, because his birthday is the 20th, then we have Christmas.

I have to share something with you that I hope will encourage any of you who have lost a loved one. A couple of weeks ago I was outside walking around, and I thanked Jesus for my life in general, for His blessings. As I stood there,  a peace came over me and it hasn't left. I felt amazed.  A couple of days later, my pastor's message on Sunday morning was on peace, God's peace.

This is the first year I've not been filled with overwhelming sadness. What a gift that is. I miss my husband, don't get me wrong, I miss him every day. But, I know that he is with Jesus and I am so thankful for that.

Why this peace has come on me now, I don't know, but I can tell you that it is so welcome. Maybe it has something to do with being a part of 'GriefShare'? We just started our next 13 week session. Each loss is unique and through this program we offer hope, and let people know they are not alone. We share the peace that God gives through His word. We share our own experiences. We cry, laugh and pray together.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Passion Translation (TPT) is the following:

"All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For he is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort.

He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering
so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial.

We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us."

Helping others helps us.


At this time of year, so many are hurting for all kinds of reasons, 

let us be kind, because kindness matters.

May you all be blessed and draw comfort from Jesus. 

Let us be filled with joy and peace, letting God's strength be ours. 

FlowerLady from Plum Cottage



Yesteryear Embroideries said...

Love your sweet and lovely decorated post! All of your decorations are so cheerful and lovely! It is good that you have a church home and a " griefshare" to help you through these lonely and hard times. What a wonderful feeling it is to get the presence of peace when you need it most.
Prayers for you ,
Wishing you a merry Christmas

BeachGypsy said...

I love this pretty post, Lorraine! Loved seeing all your pretty ornaments and how you got them each year. Your manger scene is so nice and we also hang a big star up over ours each year. My favorite ornament is the blue jean one with the two hearts....that is so beautiful!! So glad you are feeling the peace of the Lord, surely it will help you. December has got to be such a rough month for you...all month long- all the sweet remembrances. Hugs from me!

Deb said...

Thank you for this heartfelt post and your testimony of God's love and comfort to help you through the grief. That is the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I love all of those lovely ornaments filled with love and memories. God bless you, my friend. Have a good week.

Nancy J said...

7 years, and you have that faith and inner strength to be fgull of the love you shared, and pass that onto so many. Love every ornament, angel, and the stable collection. Mark will know he is in your heart every day, and we share with you the sadness that day, as you have overcome so much on your own. Love to you.XXXXX

Morning's Minion said...

I haven't decorated for Christmas in quite a few years--too many moves and too many resident cats. I admire that so many of your ornaments are handmade and have sentimental value.
So glad that you have been blessed with peace. May it continue through this month which holds so many remembrances for you--and beyond into the new year.

Darcie said...

I can honestly see how you would be unpacking so many memories as you decorate for Christmas, and thank you for sharing a handful of those special memories with us. I love how you don't have 'things' you have memories...I think that is the way it should be for all of us. Keep and collect things that have precious memories. I can't believe its been 9 years already since Mark has passed...I still remember reading that blog post, and my heart broke for you, but I'm so thankful that God has brought you to a strong and safe place of his peace this year. Much love!

Terra said...

In this post I kept seeing one and then another and another delightful ornies, especially the hearts you create. A nice touch is what looks to be a Roman soldier at the nativity scene. Yes, Griefshare is very helpful to hurting hearts, it was for me. Peace is a gift from Jesus, I am so happy you are feeling that peace.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I can almost feel the special love you have for each ornamenter is it for those who gave it to you? How wonderful that God gave you that special peace . Interesting little fact. My hubby's birthday would be on the 19th of December, so close to your hubby's birthday. For some reason I have been struggling a bit more this year, but that's ok. This too will pass. Thanks for sharing your Christmas decorations with us.

Ann said...

All your decorations are beautiful. You have so many wonderful memories to go along with all the decorations

Anne Payne said...

This such an encouraging post, Rainey. Thank you for sharing your life with and without your beloved. May you continue to feel the Lord's peace and blessings. Your cottage looks cozy and from the weather, it is very warm! {{hugs}}

pilar said...

What a beautiful time for you in your life and journey! I'm so glad that this year you've encountered peace, at last! The heart given to you by your widow friend made me teary-eyed and all the lovely memories the ornaments recall are fun to read about. Your MIL was very talented, artistically! The ballerina is so well-made and so very pretty. Thank God for you, being so caring of all these things(anyone else might have lost or broken them) and proving that it's the small things in life that really count. You've done a great job preserving your Spanish terra cotta people, and the ones you've added onto the Nativity scene are really great, too. Many blessings to you, Lorraine!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

I have that exact same angel that sits on your Bible. She is almost 50 years old. Your decorating is beautiful, especially the memories that go with your treasures.
Merry Christmas

Cheryl said...

So many memories in your Christmas decorations . . . and so much love. ❤

Vee said...

That is beautiful, Lorraine, your story about peace descending. God is good and so eager to give us good things. Your Christmas tree is a memory tree like so many. Beautiful vintage ornaments and homemade ones...just lovely to see. I know what you mean about tough months especially when they are anniversary months. I am saying a prayer for you in this month of memories, We would never wish our husbands back from Glory, but I know how much you miss him. Many blessings...

Lynn said...

So joyful and hopeful to see all your Christmas decorations. You really have
filled your home with lovely thoughts and symbols of the birth of Christ and
the reason for celebrating Christmas. Thank you for sharing in the beauty.
So glad you enjoy the time of year it is and can keep so many heart warming
gifts and cherished mementos.

The Wykeham Observer said...

I think the reason you do not have that overwhelming sadness is your practice of gratitude for what we have. You've shown that gratitude through this little tour of your meaningful ornaments. A nice post. Phil

GretchenJoanna said...

That icon of Mary and Jesus I think is often called "Sweet Kiss."

You have so many wonderful heirloom decorations for Christmas, I can see why it would make you happy breaking them out every year!


ellen b. said...

So happy to hear about the peace that God is giving you these days. Such a sweet gift. You have so many keepsake ornaments with history connected to them. May God continue to give you peace in this hard month.

Val said...

That peace is a precious gift. I'm so glad to hear of it. The hanging angel in the nativity is so unique too. I wonder why we don't see more hanging ones like that--It makes more sense. :) ♥

Jean Campbell said...

I felt led to your blog this afternoon. It's a dreary dismal day here. I'm so enthusiastic about your decorations. Mine are mostly still at the farm in boxes until there is more room for displays. We're using some borrowed faux poinsettia trees and pots for the porch. It's heartening for me to see how you cope with what life brings. Love you Rainey.

Kit said...

Oh everything looks so lovely my friend! I saw the wooden angel and I believe Erma made that. She was a great forum friend. Have a wonderful Christmas season. Love, KK

Kim said...

Dang, you made me cry!

Henny Penny said...

Lorraine, this is a beautiful post. I enjoyed every picture and word. Never seen so many beautiful and special old ornaments. Such an encouraging post. Hope you have a Merry Christmas. I love what you said about your walk, thanking God, and the feeling of peace that came over you.

Melanie said...

I love it that "God is the God of endless comfort." So glad you had peace flood over you. I must seek this daily.

Very interesting to see and hear all the history behind so many homemade ornaments. That's a lot of memories to think about as you decorate the tree!

The memory of your cat sleeping right on top of the nativity is very comical! We have a cat and she will sleep just about anywhere which can be very comical! The laundry bin and the bathroom sink. We love her so much!

Thanks for your email regarding my latest blog post. It was hard to put that one out into the world. I hope it helps somebody.

Much love to you Lorraine....bye for now, Melanie

Junkchiccottage said...

Hi Lorraine,
I love love seeing all your pretty decor and all the memories attached to each piece. These are the best decorations when you have years of saving and things that have been gifted. Glad the little birds have flown into Florida and have a place in your decor. Enjoy all the decorations and all the memories.

Red Rose Alley said...

I enjoyed seeing all your special treasures around your house. Your home is charming and cozy and says "welcome" to me.