Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Comfort and Joy

Sometimes those two little words which signify every person's true desire in life, can be so very difficult to obtain, and even harder to hang onto.  In this season of Christmas, when we would hope that all could be merry and bright; the opposite is many times, the case.  The holidays can be a time of reflection, soul-searching, stress, depression, isolation, and even desperation.  

If each one of us could take a look around, really see all that we have to be thankful for; I truly believe that comfort and joy isn't all that hard to find.  Take Patch for instance; doesn't have anything except for the basics in life...a warm bed, food for his belly, another cat to occasionally scrap with, and a family who sees to all his needs.  We have someone who sees to all our needs as well.

The other morning I watched this beautiful rainbow appear, a double rainbow actually, after another thunderous shower had ended.  A beautiful rainbow...God's promise that the world will never again be destroyed by water.  There's comfort in that.

And joy...this beautiful face gives me joy every single day.  Without fail.  I can't imagine life without my dogs.  They give me unconditional love, complete acceptance and laughter.  Simple pleasures that give me reason to return that love.  We always love where we are shown's more challenging to love when it's undeserved.

Our beautiful horses bellied up to the bar.  Another source of joy, laughter, amazement, beauty and love.  For them, I am so grateful and feel so very blessed.  Horses are one of God's greatest gifts to mankind.  I believe this with all of my heart.  They are also a source of wisdom for me.  If we will but humble ourselves for a bit, and quietly observe; they have so much to offer and teach.  People are arrogant if they don't think we have much to learn from the horse.

A couple of weekends ago, we were fortunate to get to go share some joy in the form of singing Christmas carols for the families in our church neighborhood.  A friend brought a team of his beautiful Shire Draft horses and his hay wagon.  It was wonderful!  I've always wanted to go caroling, and now I've finally done it!  It was a brisk evening and the rain held off while we sang under the starry sky.  If that doesn't put a person in the Christmas spirit, I don't know what will.

And this was my view from behind while riding up front with Duane, our driver.  Add to the experience of singing, the scent of warm horses - perfect!!  This is Ellie Mae and Gracie.  They are beautiful and very patient girls who perform their jobs flawlessly.

This was November's full moon.  It was so beautiful that I had to pull over and take a few shots, however my camera wasn't able to capture the amazing visual that I was able to see.  Still pretty though.

My dear, sweet I love this dog.  She has always been a momma's girl, and I adore her and am so very thankful that she came into our life.  We weren't looking for another dog when we had the opportunity to adopt her into our family, but I'm so very, very glad that we did!  She brings me comfort and joy every day of my life.

I think my lens may have been foggy, but this is the scene from our front porch yesterday morning.  Our first snowfall of the season.

Ruby loves the snow!  She gets so excited and races around barking and biting at the snow.  We can learn a few lessons about enjoying the simple pleasures in life from our dogs too.

The backyard view yesterday morning from the deck.  Big, fat, wet flakes, but it was peaceful to watch while enjoying my morning coffee in front of the wood stove.  There's something so serene about snow.  I'm hoping for a white Christmas this year...let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!

Another shot of the beautiful Shire Draft team.  Ellie Mae and Gracie.

My view while singing Christmas carols under the starry night sky.  Crossed that one off my bucket list!  

My hubby and I went into downtown Portland last Sunday.  We parked the car and walked all over downtown looking at the beautiful Christmas window displays, did a little shopping, but mostly looking, had dinner at our favorite little Italian place and cruised the public market.  Some people have so much talent.  The items that were available are ingenious, delightful, cozy and beautiful - just depends on what you're looking at.  I got a new hat!  And some new incense.  My hubby got me a new pair of boots!  We even looked at and tried on riding helmets, which I know absolutely nothing about.  I found one that I like, it fit my head comfortably and didn't make me look too much like a bobble-head.  But, I'm going to peruse the internet and see if I can't find it cheaper.  I'm not doing much riding this time of year, so I've got time.  I've never even tried on a helmet before that.  I'm not accustomed to wearing anything other than a baseball cap or a sun visor when I ride, so this will be different for me.  Oh, and I got a parking ticket!  First parking ticket in my life...$45!!  What a drag, a few more bucks and I could have had the helmet...oh well, guess I'll be looking more closely next time for those pay boxes at the end of the blocks.  Live and learn, I guess.  Anyway, the weather was horrendous, wind was blowing wildly all day long, rain coming down sideways and we got drenched!  We had a blast!!  When you live in the Willamette Valley, you grow accustomed to getting wet, and you learn to dress for it.  I'm sure I provided some entertainment for the waitress at the restaurant when I removed my hat... :)  Give joy where you can my friends!!

There are so many ways to bring comfort and joy into our lives.  I'm finding that I enjoy Christmas so much more when I decide to relax and enjoy everything; forget about "having" to do anything and just be thankful, recognize my multitude of blessings and enjoy the people and the animals that I love.  When I count my blessings each and every day, my attitude becomes one of overwhelming gratitude to my Father, from Whom all good things come.  

I wish for each and every one of you this Christmas season...comfort and joy!

Fah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah rah!  
Name that movie!!!  :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas poem

I love this little poem.  It's a gentle reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas.

It's not about the presents, nor the frantic trips to the mall.
It's not about the cookies, or the decorations at all.
We celebrate our Savior's birth,
So I post this here to remind us...
Take a moment to be thankful;
for the greatest gift on Earth.

It's so easy, especially at this time of year, to get caught up in all the hype that surrounds us. Whether it's the traffic, the crowds of people everywhere, the rushing, the lists, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the parties...the list goes on and forget; why we celebrate this holiday at all.

For the last several years, we've opted for a quieter, more serene Christmas.  And I've got to tell you that I'm enjoying it far more than I ever used to.  I try to visit my friends, take a little time apart from all the scuffle and nourish what's really important to me.  My friends, my family and our relationships.  Send those cards to let people far away know you're thinking about them.  It's fun to receive something other than a bill in the mail!  Christmas cards is one of my favorite parts of the holiday.  I also enjoy baking cookies, and sharing them with friends, neighbors, co-workers, my farrier, even the mailman.  It's a tiny memento of gratitude and makes people smile.  Who doesn't love a homemade cookie?  I also like to go out to the barn and set up a little work table, put on some beautiful Christmas music and make a wreath for our door; even better if I spend that time with a friend.  We laugh, talk and savor our time spent together.  That's better than anything you can buy in a store.  I also enjoy decorating the Christmas tree.  It's beautiful and the smell is heavenly!

But the main reason for this special season is always foremost in my mind.  I realize that nobody really knows exactly when Jesus was born.  That's not important.  It's just that we set apart a day and remember to be thankful for that birth.  And really let it sink in, just how very important that gift was, and still is, to all of us today.

What's your favorite Christmas tradition?

Merry Christmas everyone from all of us at Cingspots!!!!!!!!