06 December 2008

Advent wreaths

Well it's almost week 2 of Advent and I should have posted this a couple of weeks ago, but I had other things on my mind and so did my best friend. Next year I'll try to be more timely:)

One of the things a family can do to celebrate the Advent season and help focus their minds and hearts on the Christ child, and the whole story of the Nativity, is to make a special wreath--called an Advent wreath-- for their home. Many churches also have one at this time a year (see link below for more info).

Making the wreath isn't very difficult or expensive (next year I'll post better directions and the photos I took this year) Basically you just wire on 'cross shaped' evergreen boughs to a round wire frame and continue doing this all the way around that frame, overlapping the previously wired on section. At the top you use the wire in a 'blanket stitch' fashion to secure the wreath's greenery (Note: make sure you pull the wire well as you wrap each section and wrap it twice around the frame).
FYI: I prefer wreaths made of fir but my best friend also makes ones of boxwood and many like them instead. I am such a traditionalist!

Making the bow -- if you choose to add one -- can be a bit difficult. For those not up to the challenge you can check with florists or craft stores in your area for pre-made or custom made bows. Fortunately for me, my best friend makes amazing bows:) but I decided to just use a red ribbon tucked under and on top of the boughs because it was the look I was after. FYI: I am still working with it to get that look perfect though--I have a few issues with perfectionism you know:) If you are trying to be thrifty you can save the bow for a wreath next year as it should be in good condition.

Can you see the little jul bok, isn't he cute? Also please note the unruly ribbon! Bad ribbon.

If desired you can add other decorations now--glass ornaments, pine cones, juniper, incense cedar and so forth. You can wire or hot glue them on. I just placed mine on the wreath as it lays flat on the table. I chose straw Nordic Christmas tree decorations this year in keeping with a Scandinavian theme. The set-bought several years ago-consists of angels, hearts and jul boks (little goats). Often you can find decorations, Christmasy picks for 1/2 off at craft stores or look at garage/thrift stores.

Now as to the candles--I was going to use my Swedish electric candle set in the center but was not happy with the result at all! I ended up using three white/silver piller candles and a rose one (they're on a plate which is under the 'hole' in the wreath's center). I still need one more for Christmas Day but I'm pretty sure I have one--somewhere....

A final note---I know it's not necessary to warn you all about getting the flammable ornaments/ ribbons/greenery or kids (LOL) too close to the lit candles!! I never leave my lit Advent wreath unattended and only leave the candles burning for a short time. Isn't this red nice and in keeping with the season?

Link to more information:
Advent wreath (Wikipedia)

And still more Advent blessings your way! Aimee

Why Advent?

When I was a child we attended a church that did not celebrate Advent, so it was only as an adult that I was introduced to this season and it was then I fell in love with it!

For those who may not be familiar with Advent, it is the four week period of time which ushers in the Christmas season. Advent was set aside by some churches for people to reflect on the first coming of the Christ child and also to look forward to his second coming as the King of Kings.

As our world seems to be moving further away from the REAL meaning behind Christmas, I feel setting aside these weeks that call us to focus on Christ is a good thing. After all Christmas is not really about the latest fashion, toy, electronic device or other worldly and temporary things, is it?

So I challenge you to include the season of Advent in your yearly calendar and take a few moments each day to reflect on what Christ means to you, what He has done for you and what your response to that should be.

Remember the birth of Jesus Christ was all about God's great love for us.

Here are some links to Advent resources:
Information about Advent
Advent calendar (Catholic site, doors open to Bible verses)
Family friendly Advent site with recipes, verses, etc
Daily devotion for Advent.

Advent blessings, Aimee

Photo: St Paul's Episcopal Church, Port Gamble, WA

03 December 2008

A Walk in His Gardens-NW OR & Olympic Peninsula, WA

A Walk in NW Oregon & the Olympic Peninsula, WA

Let's pretend that I posted the 'Walks in His Garden' last Wednesday just as I was scheduled to do.
And that there was nothing else on my mind then.

Let's pretend it wasn't a bad week for me because it wasn't the worst I've ever had;

it was just different--very different.

I didn't really go anywhere new, although I definitely thought about it. Nope. No new trails---at least not the kind you find on mountains.

I could have used a walk in God's gardens ...on a trail and with an aebleskiver--a lot of aebleskivers. Freshly made aebleskivers with powdered sugar and lingonberry preserves. Of course you really shouldn't walk on trails with aebleskivers---not a good idea. It's just that I am so hungry for aebleskivers and there on my mind lately. And I am at home so it's OK.

How was your week? Some stress in your life too, huh? I understand, sorry I let you down. But I am here now with some good news about One who is always here.

Now you know we can't go back in time? This isn't an episode of some TV show or movie, right?

However, this is blogger...and they do have this Help button UP there....for people like me--newbies. It has lots of instuctions and you just have to know where to look to get the advice you need.
Kind of like life, ya know...often the answers are right there. Obvious.

So thanks to blogger's helpful staff and programmers back we go----in cyber time.
I know I'll feel better about it and maybe you will too.

Set aside your cares and stress.
Relax and take some deep breaths.
Turn off the news and put some soft music on.
Reflect on the beauty of the Creator's creation...
and on the beauty of the Creator Himself,
the One who made Christmas possible.
The One who knows you by name and loves you
The One who gave us instructions on how to live....

He says "Be still, and know that I am God".
Stillness is a very good thing, it allows us to hear the most important things in life.

"My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth."
The One who made all this hears our prayers and cares deeply for us.

"The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof".
All of this is His. He made it. He made us too.

Take the focus off whatever is bothering you and place it on God and His promises.

He is the good Shepherd.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures"
Where we can be fed by the "Bread of Life"--and sheltered by His care.

"He leadeth me beside the still waters."
Where we can be restored by the 'Living Water'.

who made the blue rivers and fjords,
the green pastures and forests,
the foothills and high snow capped mountains of our land.

Help us to trust You in all things,
even when we're afraid and unsure.
And help us to give You thanks always.
For this is Your will.

Advent Blessings, Aimee

Bible verses: (KJV)
Psalms 46:10a (all of Ps 46 is good)
I Corinthians 10:26
Psalms 121:2 (this is my favorite chapter in the Bible)
Psalms 23: 2

NW Oregon & the Olympic Peninsula, WA

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