Tuesday, December 30, 2014

On The Sixth Day of Christmas, I Celebrate Another Year

Good Morning out there! Today is the Sixth Day within the Octave of the
Nativity of the Lord, also known as, the sixth day of Christmas! I love that
my birthday falls during the Christmas season! Sometimes I'm like a small
child, when I woke up today, I danced around in my flannel pajamas singing
it's my birthday, it's my birthday! I'm not excited because I may get presents,
but because I'm alive! Each day is a gift, our lives are a gift from God.
I want to share something from the Magnificat (a monthly Catholic book with
the readings from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and Responsorial
Psalms that will be proclaimed at daily Mass). The booklet also includes;
morning prayers, a hymn from the scriptures, evening prayers, a meditation
for the day, and a short story about the lives of certain Saints.
The following is from the readings for today in the Magnificat:

Canticle of Judith
As for  me, I am old and gray. I have lived with you from my youth to the
present day. 1 Samuel 12:2

Anna had grown old in faith and hope, but when she saw the Child of God's
promise brought to the temple, she sang in her heart a new song of praise
and thanksgiving. One is never too old to be surprised by joy.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 2:36-40
     There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe
of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her
husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She was constantly in the temple, worshiping day and night with fasting and
prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and
spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.
    When the pair had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they
returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew in size
and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Canticle of Mary
Glory in his holy name;
Rejoice , O hearts that seek the Lord! Look to the
Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.
1 Chronicles 16:10-11

I wanted to share these readings with you because I realize how much they
describe the way I feel today. So I start my new year of life  today, with hope,
with joy, with faith, with anticipation of the days ahead, and most of all,
with love in my heart and a prayer of thanksgiving on my lips.

Blessings to you all! I pray that we will all keep the true meaning of Christmas
and the beautiful spirit of Christmas in our hearts and homes throughout
this year, and in the new year to come.
                                                  Bye for now, Sharla

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas is More Than Just One Day!

Hello out there! I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas! I love the
entire Christmas Season! We spent Christmas Eve with our children and
grandchildren. We went to the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass and then came back
home for food and fun! My daughter-in-law's parents and one of my son's
friends from school (whom we claim as one of our own) joined us also.
We have a beautiful nativity scene on the front porch, I wrapped our statue
of Baby Jesus in a warm blanket and placed him in the manger, and then we
sang Happy Birthday. The grandkids love that. I did have to tell them that we
were not adding the "Cha Cha Cha" part as we sang to Baby Jesus!
On Christmas Day, Jim and I woke up to a quiet house! While he fixed
breakfast, I ran some sugar cookies that my daughter and grandkids made up
to the Sack Lunch Ministry at our church. Some really special people made sure
that lunches were given out on Christmas Day to those in need! I delivered the
cookies and gave all those sweet people a hug and wished them a Merry Christmas
and headed back home. I baked a pecan pie to take to my sister-in-laws for a
late lunch. We enjoyed visiting and catching up with our extended family.
On the third day of Christmas I baked banana bread and ordered cards with pictures
of my family to send out for a Happy New Year! (Needless to say, I didn't get my
Christmas cards out in time!)
On the fourth day of Christmas I delivered banana bread to many of my neighbors.
Tomorrow is my birthday! I will be 51, I can't believe it!
Well, I just wanted to say hello and that I hope you are all having a blessed Christmas
season! I'll try to write another post tomorrow.
I will close with this verse from the bible:
                   The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
                                             Psalm 126:3

                                                             Bye for now, Sharla

Saturday, December 20, 2014

My Nativity Scene, A Time of Preparation

Good Morning out there! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Advent! I set
up my beautiful nativity scene outside on Thursday. Just waiting for Christmas
to place baby Jesus in the manger. My grandkids know why I don't have Him with
Mary and Joseph yet, we are still waiting for Him to come, waiting for  His birth!
I have hay bales stacked up on each side of my nativity scene. The baby lambs are
laying up on top of one of the hay bales. After I put the nativity scene out on my
front porch I went to the grocery store. When I got back home, I saw my cat laying
up on the hay bale next to the baby lambs! She must be waiting for baby Jesus too.

A couple of years ago a porcupine would come in our yard and eat the acorns that
had fallen from our oak tree. He would walk right in front of the nativity scene.
One day he was right next to the hay bale, he wanted to be with the other animals
waiting for baby Jesus! I went outside and took pictures of him. My husband
hollered out the door that I was going to end up with quills in my rear if I didn't
watch out! No quills in the rear, but I did get a lot of neat pictures! I'll post them so
that you can see them.

I love Advent, and I love the Christmas season, but most of all I love the "Reason for
the Season." I wish all of you joy and happiness, family time, and peace.
Remember to take time to sit and have a cup of coffee, tea, or eggnog and just enjoy
the beauty of this time of year. Reach out to someone who doesn't have family,
stop by for a visit, take a plate of cookies, give them your time.

Blessings to you all! Happy Advent, remember to enjoy the time of preparation!

                                                            Bye for now, Sharla

Friday, December 5, 2014

Every Baby Should Be Able To Grow Up and Have A Story To Tell

Once upon a time, fifty or so years ago, a baby girl was born and she needed
a home. Never knowing the circumstances or the reason why, her birth mother
couldn't keep her, she had to say goodbye. This little baby girl was three days
old when a loving family came, and took her to their home. Now this baby girl
had a family of her own.

With love and joy and happiness this baby girl grew up, she never met a stranger
and her heart was full of love. She loved to hear the stories about her special day,
the day her family came and gave her their name.

When she was only eight years old, the scary news came, her loving mother had
cancer, the little girl was afraid. Her mother was strong and courageous as she
battled day to day, and when the girl was but twelve years old the angels came, and
took her mother away. She knew her mother was in heaven, no more pain did her
mother feel, and although she understood why, it had to be this way, the grief she felt
in her heart would never go away.
The young not quite teenage girl was strong, she was raised that way. She had
watched her mother suffer and never heard her complain. Her mother had prepared
her, knowing this day would come. Her love of God, her father, older brother,
church family and friends, would be there for her, as the years came and went.

She was now a young lady, thought she was so grown up, off she went to college,
another life event. She made new friends, and she had fun, but she
missed her dad, her brother, his wife, and friends back home.
Then one day it happened, a Sunday afternoon, she met a man, the most wonderful,
handsome man and her heart grew and grew.
Within a short time they were married, became husband and wife. So thankful God
had blessed her with someone she would cherish and love all of her life.
She had a new name, and a home of her own, she was also blessed with a stepson, she
quickly grew to love as her very own.
Expecting their first child, the baby grew, and as the mother heard the heart beat and felt
her baby move, she was amazed at what her body was going through. With her husband
at her side the doctor said "it's a boy" and the mother cried, my first born is a son,
and the emotions that went through her can never be described, but the love and
protectiveness she felt for this child was an overwhelming feeling that would never die.
As she held her son close to her breast, she thanked God for his life, for being so
blessed. When the baby boy was just three months old, the new mom found out she
was expecting once more. When her husband came home from work that day, he sat
down in the rocking chair and held their so. She knelt on the floor and leaned against
his legs as she shared the good news of another baby on the way. He smiled and told
her everything would be ok.
This happened during the time when the oil boom had gone bust, work was slow, there
had been lay-offs and his new job didn't pay as much. There would be no insurance to
cover the costs. They saved and worked side jobs to pay for the birth, the hard times
together, they grew so close.
The baby boy walked at ten months old, and his mom chased after him as her other
baby began to grow. The mother heard the heart beat and felt her baby move, and once
more, she was amazed at what her body was going through.
The baby boy was happy and had a beautiful smile, he was into everything, and his
pregnant mom was tired! Would this new baby be a brother or a sister, for the two boys
they already had, another son or a daughter, either way, they would be glad! The night
before the baby came, the mom was in the kitchen, she looked into the living room just
in time to see her baby boy dive from the chair into the presents beneath the
Christmas tree. She dashed across the floor and caught him mid-air, nine months
pregnant, not a moment to spare!
Early the next  morning, the labor pains came, they picked up their sleepy baby boy
and all loaded up in the black pick-up truck. They took him to his aunt and uncles and
told him they'd be back, and off to the hospital they dashed.
Just four hours later with her husband at her side they heard the doctor say "it's a girl"
and then they cried. Tears of joy, a daughter, a baby girl, and the emotions that went
through her can never be described, but the love and protectiveness she felt for this
child was an overwhelming feeling that would never die. As she held her daughter
close to her breast, she thanked God for her life, for being so blessed.
The next year was busy with two babies under two. The baby boy was fearless, and
loved to run and climb. The baby girl was carried upon her mother's hip to keep her
off the floor, and safe from baby brother who would zoom back and forth. The baby
girl was happy and loved her mom and dad, she would laugh at her brother's antics and
stay close by her mama's side. She loved her swing, and you can guess why, the floor
was otherwise occupied!
The years went by and the children grew up. They loved when their oldest son came
for a visit, their family complete. They were a close knit family, and shared so
much love. They were raised going to Mass and all their sacraments they made.
God was always a priority and still is to this day.
Three weddings have been celebrated and blessings of grandbabies galore, who could
ask for anything more!
Yes, it's true, this story is about me and my sweet, and amazing family.

I seem to get nostalgic this time of year. My son and daughter both have birthdays
this month. They were both born on Fridays, and it was cold and had snowed both
years. I remember Jim driving us home in our old black pick-up truck. There was a
Christmas tree in the living room to welcome us as we stepped in.
Their birthdays are right before Christmas, and mine is right after. We celebrate the
birth of Jesus right between our birthdays, yes, December is a special month for us!
I think back to the years when I was pregnant and how we got things ready for the birth
of our babies. It makes me think of how Advent is a time of waiting, of preparation.

Having been adopted at birth, I don't take life for granted. Life is a gift, and we are all
beautifully, fearfully, wonderfully made. Every baby should be able to grow up and
have a story to tell.

I hope you enjoyed my story!               Bye for now, Sharla

Monday, December 1, 2014

Part 2 - We Have the Most Wonderful Time Every Day

Good Morning out there!  I started a post on Saturday that detailed family events
during the week of Thanksgiving. I had to sign off before I finished because of
another family get together. So, I will pick up where I left off...............

Monday 11/24/14
If you read my preceding post then you know that Jim and I arrived home from
visiting our son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters from Houston on
Sunday evening.
The alarm goes off at 4:00 am, the snooze button was hit a couple of times! Since
we hit the snooze button we had to hurry! Jim and I signed up to pray at the
Adoration Chapel on Monday mornings at 5:00 am. This was only our second
Monday, and we did not want to be late. Coffee in hand we dashed out the door.
If you have never been to an Adoration Chapel, you should go. We are Catholic,
if you have ever read any of my posts, you already know that. Anyway, St. Margaret's
Church has a 24 hour Adoration Chapel where people are signed up to pray for
1 hour time slots. It is so peaceful in this small, beautiful chapel. I can tell that
Jim and I will treasure this one hour a week where we go and pray and sit quietly
with the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the monstrance. If you are not Catholic,
the monstrance is a receptacle in which the consecrated Host (Eucharist) is exposed
for adoration.
The rest of Monday was pretty ordinary: laundry, book work, fixing lunch for the
guys, Jim and our son come home for lunch just about everyday.
Tuesday 11/25/14
I started the day baking, I made 2 loaves of beer bread. Really good, really easy!
I sliced one loaf and took it to share with the workers at The Sack Lunch Ministry
at my parish. We handed out 70+ sack lunches to the homeless and those in need
during lunch. I love being part of this ministry. It is a very humbling experience,
it really makes you thankful for what you have.
I ran some errands, bought groceries, and started dinner. Jim and I were expecting
company for dinner, our daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters! They were
leaving on Wednesday to go have Thanksgiving with my son-in-law's family. So
they came over Tuesday night to be with us! The girls, ages 2 1/2 and 8 love to perform.
They sang jingle bells and danced all around the house! I can't even remember what
I fixed for dinner! Anyway, we enjoyed the visit, hugged them goodbye and walked
them outside to their car.
I remember what we had for dinner now, Jess brought over her yummy potato soup,
and I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches!
Wednesday 11/26/14
Crazy, busy day! I'm going to describe this day in short hand! Shopped, cooked lunch,
bolt in tire, got new tire, made cornbread, baked two pumpkin pies, boiled eggs,
washed lots of dishes!
Thursday 11/27/14
It is Thanksgiving! Alarm goes off at 6:00 am, make myself get up. Stumble into the
kitchen and poor coffee. Bake double batch of brownies for the special Thanksgiving
meal that the Sack Lunch Ministry is providing for the day. Jim helps me get the
turkey in the browning bag and into the oven. Go and get ready for 9:00 am Mass.
I'm breathing a sigh of relief right now, I love being in Mass! Bishop Sis gives an
excellent homily on being grateful. He explains that we have to learn how to be
grateful, it is not something we are born with. He names off 10 tips to help us learn
how to be more grateful! What an awesome homily for Thanksgiving Day! After Mass,
Jim and I take the brownies and one of the pumpkin pies over to the kitchen where
they will serve lunch. We hug the wonderful workers who are volunteering their time
to serve others! I found out the next day that Bishop Sis not only went and blessed the
meal, but he also stayed and helped serve! What a wonderful example for us all!
Meanwhile back at the Ynostrosa hacienda: checked on turkey, looks great. Jim chopped
onions and celery and peeled potatoes while I mixed up the dressing in my big roasting
pan. Set the table, made tea and lemonade, opened up the cans of cranberry sauce, and
all the rest of the stuff you do!
Our son, daughter-in-law, two grandsons, two granddaughters, my son's friend from
junior high and high school and his son all joined us for a wonderful meal. My daughter
in-law brought a green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and three pies, that each of the
older children had helped bake!
Son's family left about 7:30 pm. Sat down and rested for a little while.
Daughter's family got back in town, came over about 8:30pm, ate a snack, visited and
left the girls for a sleep over with Nana and Pa! We were all asleep no later than
10:30 pm.
Friday 11/28/14
Jim had to go to work, being self-employed you don't get many days off! The girls were
up bright and early, I fixed breakfast. All my grandkids like "real" breakfasts. They are
not crazy about cereal unless it is a snack. Scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast, or tortillas.
The girls play, and I clean up a little. Daughter calls and says she and hubby are picking
up lunch and headed our way! Jim and Son come home for lunch, everyone eats. Everyone
leaves! Jim and I are home alone for a little while. At 4:30pm I meet my son and his family,
I pick up our oldest grandson, he is 8, and youngest granddaughter, she is 1 1/2 to bring home
with me. They are headed to a football game out of town, they take our 4 year old grandson
and 7 year old granddaughter with them. The other two are having a sleep over with Nana
and Pa! Play, eat, bathe, rock the little one to sleep! In bed by 10:00pm
Saturday 11/29/14
Wake up bright and early! I make buttermilk pancakes from scratch and Jimmy cooks bacon
and eggs! Have breakfast with our grandkids and get them ready for mom and dad to pick up!
They arrive about 9:15am, they are taking the kids to see Santa ride the train into
the Santa Fe Depot, and then visit the museum there. They meet our son-in-law and
granddaughters there! Jim gets ready to go to a job and I am home alone! Laundry, laundry
and more laundry! It sure is quiet when I'm all alone! This closes out our busy week!
Read my post before this one to get the whole week of Jim and I spending time with our
Thank you God for all our blessings!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. During this busy
time of year remember to take a few moments for yourself.  We all need a little quiet time
I'm going to close with a prayer that is in "the Word among us" todays readings.
Monday, December 1
1st Week of Advent

                  Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,
                 as we await the advent of Christ your Son,
                so that, when he comes and knocks, he may
                find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his
                praise. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity
               of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.