Be a Light in Dark Places

May it be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out.
~J.R.R. Tolken, The Fellowship of the Ring

Our church created a Magic Tree from an 85-foot-high sycamore tree in our courtyard. It’s an awwwwsome sight to see in person, and I thought it fit perfectly as one of Anne’s Sparks as well as fitting well with Sandee’s Awwww Monday.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16

There are 38 miles of lights on this tree, with 200,000 bulbs…representing each person in our county. The symbolism is each light reminds us of a person in our community that is precious in God’s sight.

As with each bulb on this tree, may we all strive to be points of light in the dark places of this world….especially when it looks like all the other lights are out. Our love can shine in the darkness and light the way.

Annie at McGuffy’s Reader hosts a blog hop every Monday called Sparks. I’m finding that reading everyone’s “Sparks” is one of the highlights of my week. Her philosophy its simple:

The negative energy in the world has become thick and oppressive. Social media has become a part of this dark, negative storm. There is an obvious universal need for more positive energy and peace. And, we can all be part of this affirmative change.

Also playing along with other awwww-inspiring photos with Sandee’s Awww Mondays at Comedy Plus.

 

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Just for Fun

Here’s a fun Christmas season activity. Create a playlist of songs using the first letter of your name. If you’re really ambitious, use your last name too! I created two lists with links to YouTube videos. Enjoy some of the sounds of the season!

The first playlist has more traditional Christian carols.
L   Little Drummer Boy by Josh Groban
I    It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Mercy Me
S  Silent Night by Sarah McLachlan
A  Angels We Have Heard on High by Third Day

The second is a collection of seasonal, traditional and whimsical songs.
L   Let It Snow by Michael Bublé
I    I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey
S  Sleigh Ride by Manheim Steamroller
A  A Marshmallow World by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra

May your lights be bright and your cocoa hot this holiday season.

 

 

I Believe In…..

Seeing is believing….but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.
~The Conductor on the Polar Express

It’s easy to believe in things I can see firsthand with my eyes. It’s harder to believe in things I cannot physically see. But does that mean they are any less real?

I can’t “see” gravity. What I can see is gravity’s effect.
I can’t “see” air. But, I know I cannot live without it.
I can’t “see” thoughts…even though I could look at the physical place where they originate.

I don’t believe any of us would dispute the “reality” of any of the above intangibles. Just because we cannot physically see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I can’t “see” love. What I can see is the results of love and how it can affect others. And those results often come in the form of feelings and emotions….more intangibles that cannot be actually seen. Generosity, compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope….all things that cannot be physically seen but stem from the reality of Love.

We’re so quick to say, “seeing is believing,” but the most real things of this life can only be seen when we open the eyes of our hearts…and feel those wonderful intangibles life has to offer.

This is my contribution to Annie’s blog hop called Sparks.
“I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!”

Also adding a bit of “awwwww” for Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus 

November Photo Challenge: Blue

Another month has come and gone…can you believe it’s one day away from December?! Yikes! PJ prompted us this month with finding photos that represent Blue. This prompt may seem a bit strange among the orange, crimson and gold colors of Autumn, but there is a method to his madness. Blue is the color for diabetes and November is National Diabetes Month. And, November 14th was World Diabetes Day.

So here are my five, lovely blue selections to bring attention to this battle many people fight on a daily basis.

Blue #1
I know they’re around all year here in middle Missouri, but I see  blue birds more in the winter than any other season. I’ve occasionally seen blue, indigo buntings with their iridescent, neon blue feathers. But this little guy posed so nicely on the feeder hook, I had to take the shot.

Bue #2
This is my go-to mug when I’m feeling a bit blue. It holds a lot of hot chocolate and just enough Bailey’s Irish Cream to make a blah morning a bit better.

Blue #3
I bet you thought this was a piece of artwork by world renown glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Well, you would be incorrect. It’s a wine topper…made out of pony beads!

Blue #4
This is a blue dish, handmade by an artisan in Cabo San Lucas. The colors are every bit as bright as they look here. No photo manipulation at all.

Blue #5
I swore I wouldn’t opt for blue sky shot, but couldn’t resist this one. While most might see the vibrant orange of the clouds at sunset, my eye first went to the aqua blue of the sky.

There’s my five for November. Be sure to visit PJ’s place and see what colored everyone else a bit blue this month.

Beautiful Changes

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~Maya Angelou

Beautiful souls don’t happen by accident. They are the result of many life experiences…good and bad….and the attitude carried throughout the process. Never think the beauty you see is the result of random chance. True beauty is only achieved through the intricate, well-planned refinement of change.

Sparks is an awesome idea created byAnnie McGuffy. The Monday blog hop shares uplifting, inspiring thoughts, ideas, and experiences with others in hopes of providing the SPARK needed to make the day better and contribute to the power of positivity.

Please join in the blog hop and be a part of the light that can dispel the darkness of negativity.

Also blog hopping along with those over at Peabea’s Pictorial Tuesday.

 

 

Big dog; puppy brain

Hello everyone, it’s me (Cabo) again. Mom seems to be really busy with stuff….I think it’s something called the “holidays.” So, I’m taking this opportunity to post for her.

I’m officially 8 months old today! It seems like furever ago when I joined my family. And, as you can see, a lot of changes have been going on! I went to see my friends at the doctor’s office and they told Mom I weighed 48 pounds. And….then gave me two treats! It’s always fun when I walk in the door and meet other furry friends.

Summer was a blast. Mom got me a baby pool! And there’s these water spouts that pop up out of the ground in the yard that are soooooo fun to run through. One of my favorite things to do on a summer night was to make Mom wait outside while I jumped to catch fireflies in the air. She laughed a couple of times, but I think she got tired of waiting on me to do my “business.”

I have TWO girlfriends. One of either side of my house. Ellie is a shepherd/boxer mix and she can keep up with me. But, she came over one day and tried to run off. So, we don’t get to play with each other much anymore. Good thing everyone likes to throw the ball for me.

I’m trying to be a good pupper…really, I am. But, to be honest, I had a few fails the past couple of months. Mom planted some really great-smelling flowers in September and I just couldn’t help myself. In fact, I helped myself to them all over the patio…dirt and all. That didn’t go too well for me.

A couple days ago a tree appeared in the house. I’m not sure what to do with it since every time I sniff it, I hear that word, “No.” And now it’s all lit up and doesn’t much look like a tree anymore. Mom has found me a couple of times with a pine cone in my mouth. I honestly thought the basket of smelly pine cones were free for the taking. Evidently not.

Oh well, happy 8 month birthday to me! I hope everyone has warm and wonderful holidays….whatever those are.

Before I get back to chewing my sticks in the yard, Mom told me about a blog hop called Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus. Just thought I’d pick a photo for her and add it to the fun.

It’s a choice.

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.
~Roy T. Bennett

Isn’t that the truth? Do you ever find it odd that so many people claim they want complete control over their own lives and then blame-shift off onto others when it comes to not wanting to have a good attitude, or be happy and optimistic? All of a sudden, there’s a million excuses for not being kind or respectful with remarks, thoughts and actions.

Is it really someone else’s fault when we find ourselves with a crappy attitude, unhappy, pessimistic, unkind, selfish and disrespectful?

Trying to add to the positive aura over at McGuffy’s Reader, Sparks 7