Holiday Spirit & Giving Ideas

Wow!! The Holidays are upon us and it is a wonderful time of spreading cheer, goodwill and heartfelt gifts.

I thought it would be fun to share a few ideas, a couple great stories, gift giving ideas and more. Enjoy! Enjoy the season of giving. It’s all good.

christmas-gifts-christmas-gift-decorations-christmas-gift-ideas-2014-christmas-gift-ideas-pinterest-christmas-gift-ideas-to-make-christmas-gift-ideas-for-mom-christmas-gift-ideas-for-gir“The manner of giving is worth more than the gift.”  -Pierre Corneille

GREAT GIFT IDEAS:

‘Twelve Days’ or in this case ‘Twelve Dates’: Every year I try to do a ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ for my parents and my husbands parents. Each year I try to come up with little things they could do each day or every other. I include stories, links, recipes, activities, etc. This year I did ‘Twelve days of Picnics” because life should be a picnic!! Right?  Each ‘picnic’ was a date night of asking each other questions, recipes for a meal together, a gift or activity. Little things to bring two people together. I think when you can make a gift for someone it tells them that you care & took the time.

A Good Read: One of my favorite books this year was Squire Rushnell’s ‘When God Winks at You.’ It is a compilation of stories that illustrate how God speaks directly to us through the power of coincidence. It is a great read. I am going to put one of the stories down below, so don’t miss it.

A way to calm: My daughter has found out how powerful the art of coloring can be. This would be a good gift for anyone, but especially students or people who work in high stress situations. Coloring seems to calm the mind. My daughter started coloring before taking a test & has noticed how well it calms her mind and prepares her to focus. There are many types of adult coloring books, so it is NOT just a kid gift. Get coloring.

Something personal: I think you can put meaning to anything. I bought a bunch of tiny, silver pine cone charms & added them to some ribbon & put a quote that says ” Since the Pine Tree remains green all year, it is a symbol of Eternal Friendship.” I made it to be a book mark for a couple of my friends who like to read.  Write a love note to someone you care about or make a special card that you leave on your loved ones pillow each morning or night for twelve days before Christmas. You could also do something similar for your kids & leave one in their stocking each day & they can read them before bed. You could also make a little photo book of highlights from the year & give them to family or friends. There are so many ideas you can get personal with. Just put some heart into your ideas & the love will shine through.

You can also ‘search’ my blog & find other Christmas traditions and holiday ideas. I have posted MANY over the years. Hope there are some ideas that get you excited. Yay!

 

045c0bf22bcff82025d1dc18d9cda104MAKE IT FUN! Every year I try and get the little cousins together & gift them with a fun party for the holiday season. This year I am hosting a ‘Grinch Party’. I am having all the kids come dressed like Whoville characters (crazy hair, crazy hats, stripes, etc) & bring a crazy gift for a fun exchange. I am going to gather them in a circle & make them sing the silly Whoville song while passing gifts. It will be funny!! We are going to play some fun games & watch the movie. It should be super fun!!

I couldn’t help add this cute chalk idea. Get creative. Make a fun family card. Make a special gingerbread house. This year we bought a gingerbread trailer to decorate because my husband is living in a trailer for a few months while he is away. Make your own ornaments, build ice castles with balloons. Check out this link http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-ice-sculpture-for-kids-of-all-ages/

Make things fun & memorable.

 

pond-town-christmas-lights_f3d882cd-5056-a36a-0ba8bf7ba2cedcb8MAKE MEMORIES: My husband is still living in another state and we only get to see him once a month, so our time is very cherished. He just came home for a few days & we knew we needed to pack in some holiday cheer, so late one night (around 9pm) we jumped in the car & drove 40 minutes to one of our favorite places to see holiday lights. It is a pond that lights up about 30+ floating, light trees that mirror & reflect such beauty. We all held hands & walked around the pond. Cherished memories are priceless. Even though it was late we were sure happy we went.

 

Solutions--1020x200--More-Ways-to-Give_1GIVE: Every year my daughter and I love fixing up ‘groovy girl’ dolls that are in great shape & may just be missing a dress, skirt or scarf. We find them at thrift stores, add some holiday flare, add a note of Christmas cheer & send them to a holiday toy drive. My daughter literally knits scarfs, skirts, dresses, hats, etc for the dolls & they turn out so cute. Use your talents to do something for someone else this holiday.  Here is my other post on good places to make items to give, service ideas’ etc. https://yourhappyplaceblog.com/2015/11/10/give-because-we-have-been-given-much/

 

how-to-revive-your-lovelifeLIFE IS TOO SHORT: Enjoy each day. My husband had an employee come in for work and never leave. She had been employed there for ten years, so she had some great friends. She went in to work & had a brain aneurysm that took her from this life. It can happen that quickly, so cherish each day, kiss those you love, and offer kindness to all those you meet. Make each day count. You never know. This holiday season embrace the chance to be with those you care about.

 

A COUPLE GREAT STORIES to share with your family this holiday season: taken from Squire Rushnell’s book (noted above) Here is a story to help us remember that we are always surrounded by a divine LOVE.

450872979When God Winks at You is the story of Ken Gaub. Ken was going through a period of uncertainty with his ministry. In the 1980’s is family did an entertainment ministry that they would take to churches, schools, and the back roads of America traveling fifty-thousand miles a year. On one trip, a couple of his sons were driving. They kept in touch between the cars with a CB radio. One son told the other to stop at an exit. While his family went to a diner, Ken decided to take a walk. He walked by a gas station and an empty phone booth. The phone began to ring. Ken stopped and looked around, but the phone kept ringing. He thought it might be for the attendant or an emergency. Because he thought it may be an emergency, he picked up the phone. An operator on the line said it was a person to person call for him, Ken Gaub! He thought it was a joke, but continued. The operator repeated that the call was for him. Ken went ahead with the call. On the other end of the phone was a woman named Millie who had seen him on The 700 Club. She remembered his name and wrote it in the suicide note she was writing. When Ken asked her how she got the number, she said it just came to mind while she was writing her suicide note. Ken explained where he was, but then explained how God was watching over her, that her worries were temporary, and God was the only answer and she would find peace thru Jesus. After a few years, Ken met Millie face to face performing on the road. Today, Ken is still on the road.

*****

il_fullxfull.1092511228_su6kANGELS IN THE BARN by Joan Wester Anderson (She has many wonderful Angel stories that are in numerous books by her)

The after-Christmas snowstorm had blanketed a wide patch of rural eastern Pennsylvania, and Chris Clark Davidson probably should have waited until the roads were plowed before she, her mother and her two small sons attempted a drive. But Chris’ grandmother lived alone more than 100 miles away and couldn’t get out to the store to buy groceries. “We’ll be fine,” Chris assured her mother. “We’ll take that shortcut that we use all summer.”

However, Chris had forgotten how narrow the short-cut road was, especially with drifts piled high and wind blowing snow across the fields. When another vehicle roared around a curve. Chris swerved and skidded into a snow bank. The other car kept going.

The wheels spun uselessly as she tried to pull out. “Mommy, are we stuck?” toddler Philip asked from under his blanket in the back seat.

“Looks that way, honey,” Chris admitted. They had only seen that one car since they’d turned onto the shortcut. How long would it be before someone came along? How long before the freezing temperature invaded the car’s interior? And why, oh why, had she worn stylish open shoes instead of warm boots?

Chris got out, her almost-bare feet plunging into a high drift, and looked around. Lord please send us some help, she prayed. Then she saw it—a silo and barn roof about a quarter-mile away. “Mom,” Chris leaned in the car, “I’ll walk down to that barn and see if anyone’s there. Keep the kids warm.” Her mother nodded, her face worried.

The journey was incredibly cold and by the time Chris pushed open the barn door, her feet were icy. A welcome blast of heat greeted her, along with the mooing of heifers in their stalls. It was a working dairy, clean and well organized, with a shiny window fan circulating the air. Although she had passed it during previous times on the short cut, she had never really taken a good look. Now, she realized with joy, there were young male voices coming from behind a stall.

Maneuvering around the livestock, Chris followed the sound and came upon two farmhands in overalls and flannel shirts, kidding and teasing each other as they pitched hay. They stopped and smiled when they saw her, and quickly she explained the situation.

“Stay here!” one said, tramping past the cows, grabbing his jacket and going out the door. A moment later, Chris heard a horn honking in front of the barn. There he was, driving a blue pickup truck. “Get in!” he shouted.

Chris hesitated. She didn’t know these men, and her family, down the road, was vulnerable. Yet, there was something so merry about the men that she couldn’t feel afraid. She and the other farmhand scrambled into the pickup and bounced down the road. There was the car, her toddlers bundled up and Mom waving. The driver roared across the field, spun in a wide circle and screeched into position behind it. “Way to go!” his buddy yelled.

Chris gripped the seat. “Do you always drive like this?” she asked, only half-joking.

The driver shrugged. “Well, it ain’t our truck.”

Within minutes the men had freed Chris’ car, and she opened her purse to reward them. But both backed away. “It was our pleasure, Ma’am. Just drive safely.”

Not like you, Chris grinned as she pulled away. But their happiness was infectious, and they were wonderful guys.

Chris didn’t realize just how wonderful until several weeks later when she and her mother decided to make a return visit to her grandmother. Since the snow was almost gone by then, the shortcut was safer. “When we get to the barn, I’d like to stop and let the guys know we made it to Grandma’s that day,” Chris told her mother. But when they pulled up in front to where Chris had climbed into the blue truck, she could hardly believe her eyes.

The barn was vacant, shabby, with paint peeling and door hinges hanging loose. Bewildered, Chris wiped away a heavy film of dirt and cobwebs on the milk house window and peered inside. Where were the heifers, the floor littered with fresh manure? Even the fan was rusty.

“You couldn’t have seen any farmhands or cattle there,” the woman at the next house told Chris. “No one’s worked that property for years.”

Chris got in the car. “Am I crazy, Mom?” she asked, bewildered.

“No.” Her mother was firm. “This is definitely the place.”

Then how….?  Suddenly Chris understood, and like the shepherds at that first Christmas, she was filled with awe. Her angels had worn blue jeans and flannel shirts instead of white robes. But they had delivered the same timeless message to her and to anyone willing to listen. Fear not! The Savior is here! Alleluia!

See more of Joan’s stories at http://joanwanderson.com

Have a beautiful holiday season. Best wishes sent to you & your family.  -H

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THANKS LOVE

original_big-hugs-and-kisses-chalkboard-cardIt is the week of THANKSGIVING and we will all be joining family and friends for food and hopefully some fun!! haha.

My husband is currently working in a different state than where me and my daughter are, so we are not going to be able to be with him, sadly. It has been since July that we have been apart (on and off) and it has made me realize many things about love, insecurities, myself, our relationship, what is truly important and the tiniest little things we often take for granted.

I now know that it is very easy for people to take those they love for granted. I have told everyone around me to “hug those you care about because you can!!” I have missed just having my husband around to hold hands, hug, talk to…

This THANKSGIVING take a moment and truly be grateful for those around you. Give them big hugs and tell them how much they mean to you.—because you can!!

Love you Jonny. Have a beautiful day. We will make it up soon. Sending you our love. xoxo

Hugs to every single one of you.  -H

 

Hello Fall

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Fall is that special time of year when everything changes. It is a good time to reflect personal change, glorious colors and light, finding things that warm our bodies and soul and help us embrace a new season of our life.

I thought with Fall break coming I would find some fun ideas to help celebrate this beautiful time of year.

It is my daughter & husbands favorite time of year, so this is for you both!! Love you.

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THIS IS A GREAT TIME OF YEAR TO…

GET OUTSIDE: We have a traditional First Day of Fall walk through the woods near our home. We also like to rake up a giant pile of leaves & take fun pictures in them.

Last year we invited all the cousins over & hid a giant sized candy bar in the pile & all the kids dove in looking for it. It took forever & by the time they found it, it was a little smashed, but oh so fun!!  You could also get fun plastic, cheap toys and throw them in the pile to add to the fun.

Take a drive and enjoy the colors of the canyons. Take time to notice the changes around you. Ooh and Awe over the leaves below your feet & notice the intricate detail of patterns and color.

 

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FOR YOU: Take the time to sit and watch the leaves fall. As you watch them one by one drop to the ground, think of things that weigh you down, that drain the energy from your body or make you feel low. As you notice those things, begin to watch the leaves again and envision your worries dropping with the leaves…going away, slowly drifting away, falling into a pile that will forever take them & leave you feeling a little less weighed down in your mind. Try it. See what happens.

 

its-a-new-season_fall-quote_1024x1024START SOMETHING NEW: We have a great advantage!! We have youtube and other diy channels that you can learn about anything! Its amazing. I loved hearing that one of my daughter’s online friends when asked what he was doing for fall break said, “Maybe I will learn the guitar, fix my bike or how to hack a new game.”  It screams of trying something new!! There is SO much to learn & if we just take a few minutes a day to invest in ourselves–think of the many things we would accomplish, learn & grow from.

What is something you want to learn? My list is endless! Italian, how to cook, learn more about energy & its effects, the power of nature, improve my photography skills, getting my creative ideas /writing out into the world, black belt (without being knocked down or throwing people to the ground–haha. not sure this is possible, so I will stick with kickboxing for now. smile), growing tomatoes (not successful yet), so many books to read (endless)…so many things to learn and do. Those are just off the top of my head.

 

ac3424c56058ebb9bdcaa8c542445c0d--fall-quotes-fall-recipesTRY SOMETHING NEW TO EAT: Maybe google some fun chili or crockpot recipes that are full of warm, spicy goodness. You could also make some homemade rolls to make it a meal. Then make a yummy pumpkin, spice dessert like cupcakes with cream cheese frosting or pumpkin pie always hits the spot.

 

maxresdefaultLISTEN TO SOMETHING PRETTY: I have been learning more about the power of music & its effects on the vibrations of the body. It is better to have good vibrations (no song intended. smile. smile).  Maybe try some of the classics: Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. I personally like chill music like ‘Light and Motion’ or Carinthia. Its just calming.

 

1RELAX THE MIND: Fall is a great time to put a puzzle together as a family, have quiet reading time or sit and color mindlessly. It gets darker earlier, so light a candle & find an activity that you can just calm the mind.

 

Homemade-Holidays-Lets-Make-the-House-Smell-Like-Christmas-1SCENTSATIONAL: grab a small pot and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, apple and orange slices, rinds, pine cones, etc. Let the scent fill your home with warm goodness.

 

salted-vanilla-hot-chocolate4-600x900GET COZY: My daughter always chimes in “lets get hygge” Ever since I read a book on the Danish style of embracing the coziness of what cold weather brings, she says this. We light a special candle that mirrors light throughout the room & creates an ambiance that we enjoy. Sometimes we embrace this sentiment with egg nog hot cocoa, cozy pants & cuddle up in our big blankets and watch a fun movie for fall.

Here are hygge tips from Good Housekeeping: Spend quality time with friends and family. Sit by a roaring log fire. (wish I had my old fireplace. sad face). Keep things simple (recipes). Dim the lights and use candles instead. Decorate the inside of the house with the outside (bring nature in with stone walls, wood floors, big wood tables, piles of logs). Bake bread. Drink cocoa. Don’t deprive yourself (indulge the good things in life–even dessert). Get outside (getting out in nature is key). Pick up a book. Put down the phone.

 

1-1DRESS WARM: Celebrate the season with a new pair of boots or find a wrap you can throw on to keep you warm while enjoying a beautiful, fall breeze. Be aware of the aesthetics of what you put on and around you. Enjoy the fibers and textures & make sure they make you feel embraced in warmth.

 

9755cef6GRATITUDE TREE: One year I found a large branch, stuck it in a pot & filled it with pebbles. On each branch I had my family write down things they were grateful for on little paper leaves & we hung them on the branches. It was a good daily reminder of good things within our life.

 

Well, I hope these ideas get you in the mood for fall. It is a beautiful time of year. enjoy.

 

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YOU can make a difference

I LOVE stories about individuals who have such an incredible impact on the world & this morning I came across yet another great story to share…

Douglas Tompkins (founder of The North Face brand) and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins (She grew up working at Patagonia & became their first CEO) both had a love of the beautiful country of Patagonia. Their marriage truly became a force for change.

Wow what changes they have made. Here is a glimpse of their story

 

I hope you enjoy their story as much as I did. Have a beautiful day & know that YOU are here for a purpose. Your gift to the world is to find it!!

-Peace to you. -H

GREAT STORIES about finding fortunes

616x510$4 PICTURE holds $2.4 MILLION DECLARATION

A collector who spent $4 at a Pennsylvania flea market two years ago for a dismal painting because he liked the frame now finds himself the possessor of a first printing of the Declaration of Independence.

The discovery was announced yesterday by David N. Redden, head of the book and manuscript department at Sotheby’s in Manhattan. Mr. Redden described the document, found behind the painting when the collector took the frame apart, as an “unspeakably fresh copy” of the declaration. “The fact that it has been in the backing of the frame preserved it,” he said. Of the 24 copies known to survive, only 3 are in private hands, he added.

Mr. Redden said the unidentified owner bought the painting, “a dismal dark country scene with a signature he could not make out,” for its gilded and ornately carved frame. He told Mr. Redden that he discarded the painting, which he disliked. When he realized the frame was crudely made and unsalvageable, he said he got rid of it also.

“But he kept the declaration, which he had found behind the painting,” Mr. Redden said. “It was folded up, about the size of a business envelope. He thought it might be an early 19th-century printing and worth keeping as a curiosity.”

Recently the owner showed it to a friend “who became quite enthusiastic and urged him to look into it further,” said Selby Kiffer, an Americana printing specialist at Sotheby’s “At that point he called us.”

“The discovery of any first-printing copy of the declaration, even a fragmentary one or a poor copy, would be exciting,” Mr. Kiffer said. “But on this one, the condition is beyond reproach. It was folded up when we first saw it — the way the owner said it was in the painting, less than one-tenth of an inch thick. I had to agree with him it was just as well that he kept it that way.

“There has been absolutely no restoration, no repair. It was unframed and unbacked.” Only 7 of the 24 copies are unbacked, he said, which increases their value.  -taken from nytimes, 1991 article

I just saw this story on Mysteries at the Museum & they mentioned that the print went for $2.4 Million (highest auction item ever)

 

horton1ART ANYONE?

If you’re not an art connoisseur, it looks a lot like a bunch of squiggly lines on a page. But to an expert, it’s a stunning find – an original Jackson Pollock, an American painter and an artist considered a master of abstract expressionism.

How this painting came to be on display and up for sale in a local Toronto gallery is the stuff of legend. You may remember the unbelievable story surrounding a woman named Teri Horton, a retired truck driver who loved to frequent thrift shops around North America. When she entered one of them in California in the 1990s, she spotted a picture lying unused in a corner, a piece of artwork that no one seemed to want.

She hated it but thought it was funny. And she was going to buy it for her depressed friend. And she brought it to the counter and the lady said it was $8 and Teri said she’s willing to pay $5, she doesn’t love her friend that much. They were planning on drinking some beers and throwing darts at it. But a friend of hers was dating an art teacher and he looked at it and said ‘you very well may have a Jackson Pollock on your hands.’

And she came back with the statement ‘Who the F is Jackson Pollock?’ And it all began from there. That statement became the name of a 2006 documentary featuring her story, including her struggles to prove her five buck painting was really the masterpiece many claimed it was. It was finally authenticated and now there’s no doubt about its value.The painting has since been assessed as being worth a stunning $50 million, surely the greatest flea market bargain in history.   -taken from Oddee.com

 

magnolias-on-gold-velvet-cloth-1890One day, an employee at a tool-and-die company in Indiana spent $30 for a few pieces of used furniture and an old painting of some flowers and decided to strategically hang the picture to cover up a hole in the wall that had been bugging him.

Some years later he was playing a board game called Masterpiece in which players attempt to outbid one another for artwork at an auction. Much to his surprise, one of the cards in the game featured a painting of flowers that looked a lot like the one he had on his wall. He found that his painting was similar in style to the work of Martin Johnson Heade, an American still-life artist best known for landscapes and flower arrangements.

He asked the Kennedy Galleries in Manhattan, which handles many of Heade’s works, to take a look at his painting. They verified that the piece of artwork covering the hole in his wall was a previously unknown Heade painting, since named Magnolias on Gold Velvet Cloth. In 1999, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston purchased the painting for $1.2 million dollars.  -taken from Oddee.com

 

MORE If you liked these stories, here is another link to many other thrift store finds that were incredible treasures. Wow!  http://boredomtherapy.com/incredible-thrift-store-finds/

Purpose? That is the big question

I think that no matter what age, there is always that little voice pushing you to go deeper, to find something greater, to find something within you that makes you want to give of yourself & share it with the world. Is that purpose?

That is my question for you today. Are we all on purpose or are we continually seeking things within us or outside us that give us purpose?

Here is what I found around the beautiful internet universe!! Enjoy!

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Wow! that is quite a statement. You can look at it a couple of different ways–If you have a cause to stand for, then your life will have more purpose OR If you just GO through life it will have no cause or reason. You will have no effect on anything.

Is that true?

Well…have your heard of the BUTTERFLY EFFECT? EveryTHING has an effect. The question is, Will you have positive or negative effects?  Will your purpose be from your personal truth?

I LOVE Andy Andrews work & in this clip he tells about the butterfly effect. Its amazing! Its a ten minute clip worth the watch. He also has many incredible books that weave true stories with life lessons.

 

PURPOSE CAN CHANGE THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE. Some people may find theirs early in life, while others may take their lifetime. Purpose is ongoing. You have your whole life to find various gifts and share them with the world.

At this point in your life, what do you feel is your purpose? Here are some others thoughts at various ages.

 

TO HELP FIND PURPOSE With over 9M views I figured this would be worth the watch & its a Ted talk. 5 easy questions to help you find purpose for your life.

Well, I hope all these videos get you thinking about where you are at and where you want to be. Life is about challenging ourselves to grow on different levels. We have a steady path that desires us to follow, but are we listening? Are we seeking within to know where to go? Are we taking the time to find greater purpose? Are we having a positive or negative effect? What can you do?

Make it an amazing day!  -Ha39711c8f9c653600db7374d8272a8bf--purpose-of-life-quotes-quotes-pics

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