Thursday, December 27, 2007


Merry Christmas to all!! Wishing everyone all the BEST this holiday season. We are headed to Gatineau to spend a few days with my sister and her family. She gave this ornament to me a couple of years ago and it is a perfect reminder. As children, we shared so many holidays and we have sooo many wonderful memories. God Bless you as you visit with family and friends - making new memories and reflecting on seasons past.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm Sorry!!

Our Anniversary is coming up next week (34 years!!). On our 25th anniversary, we went to Niagara Falls. I bought this beautiful glass ornament as a memento to hang on our Christmas tree every year as a reminder of our December anniversary.

One year, our son’s new kitten was discovering what Christmas was all about – a time for installing new climbing structures in the basement!! I was upstairs when I heard that unforgettable noise. Even though the family room floor was carpeted, the sound was like a light bulb hitting the cement floor.

I ran downstairs and there under the tree was my Niagara ornament. The kitten fled, instinctively knowing she was in deep trouble. Thankfully it was not smashed beyond repair. My husband carefully glued the pieces back in. Unless you look really closely, you won’t notice the cracks – especially hidden in the dim lights of the Christmas tree.

On Christmas morning, there was a gift under the tree from our sweet little kitten. Inside was a beautiful glass ornament with these smiling Christmas cats. They were all saying, “We’re so sorry your special anniversary ornament was broken. Please forgive little Wiley!!” Of course we did and they have been a reminder of this story every year since.

Christmas is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation. We have all done things that have caused us to run from God and hide, thinking that what we have done is beyond being forgiven. But we are wrong. God sent Jesus to “reconcile” the world to Him. He came to forgive and to restore.

Many may think that some lives are not worth saving, BUT God knows what HE can do with each damaged life. He is waiting for us to come to Him with our brokenness – broken lives and broken dreams – and allow HIM to restore them as only He can. If you look closely, you may still see the scars of our past, but it only becomes an opportunity to give testimony of the Faithfulness of our God, who reconciled us to Himself and gave us more than we ever knew was possible.

This Christmas allow God to bring forgiveness and reconciliation to your life. It is a time when many families gather together and the season when many hearts are open to hear the message of reconciliation. Watch closely for the opportunities to “give” the gift of forgiveness. Then allow God to heal past wounds and restore estranged relationships. This could be your best Christmas gift ever – the one that lasts all year long!!

Selah Y

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Angels

I collect Christmas Angels. These are just a couple of the angels hanging on my tree. Both were gifts to my collection. Each one is special. Each one has a story. (Don't we all??)

Some of my angels are beautiful collector pieces and others are homemade. I really like this little cloth angel. She is very simple and maybe that's what makes her special.

Jesus came - not born in the palace as a prince (though He was) - but born in a stable and laid in a manger. He came humbly and simply.Sometimes the most treasured gifts are the simple ones - made special because of the giver, not the gift itself.

In the frenzy of all the commercialism and "bigger & better" advertizing, remember the simple things - the "homemade" touches - that are special because of who they came from or who made them.

Treasured Christmas memories are often made in the simple things, which may be overlooked by some, but are made special by what is connected to them.

So whether it is giving a handmade item or some homebaked goodies, keep the simple traditions that can't be bought in the store or ordered online, but add that special touch as only you can to make Christmas personal.

Selah Y

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Memories of Christmas Past

This will be a "First Christmas" for many families - First Christmas together - First Christmas tree of their own - First time to cook a Christmas turkey (yikes!!! remember that??) - First Christmas away from home (ours was in BC - a long way from NS) - Baby's first Christmas - The first year of new traditions.

This is a photo of my first Christmas. My Dad was military and we were posted to Fountainbleue, France. For sure, it was a year of firsts and a very different Christmas for my parents so far from home. We were in France for 3 years (& that meant 3 Christmases). Fortunately, my Dad's brother was also stationed in Europe (Belgium) so we did have family close by for part of our time there. I know we spent at least one Christmas together with their family.

After France, we were in Winnipeg for 2 years and then we moved back to Nova Scotia. From the time I was 5 years old, we spent every Christmas at my grandparents' house (Mom's side). Christmas day was a time for all 4 siblings and their families to gather and have Christmas Dinner together.

There were 8 cousins (I am the oldest) and we are pictured here at our last traditional Christmas together. After this year, everything changed. The next year I spent Christmas with my uncle's family with an invitation to Christmas Dinner with my future husband's family. It was actually the first time to meet his mother (very stressful to do this on a holiday!! but all went well). The next year we were engaged and every year after that we have shared Christmas with our own family.

Of all the years in the military - traveling far and wide, my husband only missed one Christmas at home with us. On Christmas Day, 1992, he was in Mogadishu, Somalia - flying in famine relief which was so desperately needed. He had volunteered to be deployed over Christmas so that those in the squadron with young families could be home for them. (It's harder for the very young to understand why Daddy - or Mommy - is not home for Christmas. PRAY for our military families!!!) He missed other holidays and special occasions, but Christmas seemed to be the hardest. It was the first and thankfully, the only one.

Memories are Treasures. We have so many memories that it is difficult to choose just one "special" Christmas. After all, isn't it the memories of ALL of our past Christmases that have brought us to this year? Some are valued more than others. Some were celebrated not knowing that it was the last Christmas together. ALL are "special" in their own way. God Bless you this Christmas as you make special memories for 2007.

Selah Y

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas in Heaven

This post is dedicated to James Michael Rusinka (my cousin, Jan's son). He passed away on November 17 after battling many years with CHF. He was only 26. There is no easy time to lose a loved one, and the first Christmas is always the hardest. This poem was written by a Mom who lost her daughter on Christmas Day. (Story behind the poem).
Christmas in Heaven
I see the countless Christmas trees
around the world below
with tiny lights like heaven's stars
reflecting on the snow.

The sight is so spectacular
please wipe away that tear
for I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so dear
but the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you
of the joy their voices bring
for it is beyond description
to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart
for I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

I can't tell you of the splendor
or the peace here in this place
Can you just imagine Christmas
with our Savior face to face?

I'll ask him to lift your spirit
as I tell you of your love
so then pray for one another
as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful
and let your spirit sing
for I am spending Christmas in heaven
and I'm walking with the King.
Wanda Bencke
Copyright 1998

All Dressed Up

Three weeks until Christmas!! This month will be filled with Christmas Pageants, Christmas Concerts, and children bursting with excitement. Kids love to dress up and they will be have plenty of opportunities this month, whether it's in their school play or a Nativity presentation at their church. They love "pretend" times and we love to take pictures as we sigh, "Aren't they cute??"

How many remember being a shepherd or an angel? The chances of playing the role of Mary or Joseph or 1 of the 3 wisemen were slimmer. Any star performers? I love the Charlie Brown Christmas TV special (I never tire of watching it every year). In all of the Christmas chaos, he reminds us of the real message of Christmas - Jesus' birth. Whether you are reminiscing of past Christmas traditions, or planning to make brand new traditions this year, remember to weave in the Nativity story. Make it fun, make it fresh, make it your tradition.

Kids remember special occasions long into their adulthood. Many family traditions are duplicated as they celebrate future Christmases with their own children. Sadly, there are some who don't even want to celebrate Christmas because of "bad" memories of their past Christmas experiences. Let's change that for them and make new, happy Christmas memories.

Others dread December because it reminds them that their loved ones are no longer nearby to celebrate with them. Be sensitive to those around you. The angels proclaimed: "JOY to the world!!! And PEACE to all men." Pray that God's peace brings comfort to those who are grieving losses this Christmas season.

Selah Y

Christmas Giveaway

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tis the season for gifts!! Check out this contest. Hurry - Drawing will be Monday, December 10th. You don't have to have a blog to enter.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Reason for the Season

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!! December is here!! One of my favourite Christmas decorations is my Nativity set. I made it when I belonged to the Ceramics Club on the radar station in Baldy Hughes (near Prince George, BC). I was the Sunday School Superintendant there and this represented my SS kids re-enacting the Christmas story. The stable actually belongs to a nativity set that Wayne brought home for me from Israel when he was with UN Peacekeeper in Egypt for 6 months. It is made of olive wood and makes it an "authentic" Hebrew stable!

Mary and Joseph are the central characters of the Christmas story so they are always "in the center" with the Baby Jesus slightly in front. After all, HE is the REASON why we even have a Christmas season! It is the celebration of HIS birth - His arrival in fulfillment of God's Promise to us. His name (Yeshua) means "Saviour" because He came to save us. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to watch "The Nativity Story" on DVD. It's a wonderful view of the story we all know so well, but from how it may have affected Mary & Joseph personally. It's very well done - not filled with action (or violence!!) and you know the ending, but just reminds us again of sacrifices made so many years ago that WE are reaping benefits from 2000 years later.

With the birth of a child comes the Birth Announcement. The Shepherds were watching their flocks by night, just as they had always done night after night. Suddenly, angels appeared and told them the Good News. They rushed to see and confirm that what they were told was true. Then they ran and told everyone who would listen. Wouldn't you if you had experienced what they did? Pretty hard to just go back to the field as if nothing special had taken place. I love it that the very first to learn about Jesus' arrival was not the officials or most important in terms of position, but the simple every day people. Maybe those who would have been overlooked once the news made headlines. They were given front row seats to the great event.
The Wisemen are an interesting group. We don't really know how many there were who traveled so far to see for themselves what they believed was about to happen - the birth of a king that was foretold by the stars! They believed and took action. We know they brought at least 3 gifts and that they were truly sent by God, even though they were not even from Israel or of the Hebrew faith. (Do you think they carried down something from the time of the Babylonian captivity when Daniel was in Persia? God has ways of preserving His Word for such time as HE wants to release it. He loves keeping it hidden from those who want to destroy and wipe out even the memory of what He has done, but He will ALWAYS keep a remnant with His true testimony.) How do we know that they were sent by God? They were warned in a dream to go home a different way and not report back to King Herod. Why would they listen to the dream and not obey the command of the king of the country they were visiting unless they knew it was God directing their path. (Commands of the king in those days was NOT taken lightly. Disobedience could be fatal).

God knows the hearts of men (& women). He knew King Herod would kill Jesus rather than worship Him. God warned Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt to escape Herod. They stayed there until he died and it was safe for them to return to Israel. God's provision for their exodus came from the gifts brought by the wisemen. Sometimes we can question the verse that tells us that God knows our needs before we even ask. Here we clearly see that God knew they would need provision and made preparations a long time in advance for their need to be met in that crisis time. They certainly would not have had time to raise support for that kind of journey in the moment of crisis that they unexpectedly found themselves. God knew and provided for them before they even knew they would need it. He DOES watch over us. He is FAITHFUL!!

Remember the phrase: Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Yes, it's cute and I heard it before, but what does it mean? The reason we even have Christmas at all is because Jesus was born. Remember - it's HIS brithday celebration. Invite HIM to your Christmas celebrations. How would you feel if you were not invited to your own birthday party?? I know some who even have a birthday cake for Him as part of their Christmas tradition. If "cookies for Santa" can be a tradition, then why not a cake for Jesus?? The kids will love it.

Today is December 1st. 24 days until Christmas Day!!!! Advent calendars are being activated. This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. The first candle of the Advent wreath will be lit. Many other Christmas traditions occur throughout the month of December, not only on Dec 25. Why not share with us what your Christmas traditions are? I know there is a Dutch tradition about filling wooden shoes and it's before Christmas Day. Tell us about them and your memories of Christmas seasons past. Let's keep our December focused on the true meaning of Christmas and not on the "shopping craze" that tries so hard to pull us in and overwhelm us emotionally and physically. Jesus IS the Reason for the Season!! Let's celebrate HIM together.

Selah Y