Special Day (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Welcome to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, hosted here today. This month we’re exploring the topic “special days.” Following my thoughts, below, is a widget where you can leave the link to your post.

Somebody’s turning seven! (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

The look on the face of my four-year-old granddaughter—of excitement, anticipation, I’m-ready-for-the-spotlight—said it all. This was her special day.

It doesn’t take long for kids to realize that not every cake with candles and pile of presents is for them. How quickly they learn to let the special person of the day blow out the candles and, hard as it is, open all the presents.

But today was our little four-year-old’s birthday and the expression on her face, even though seen only on video, showed that she knew it was her turn.

I think it’s a great thing to celebrate each person one day a year. In our family we do that on the anniversary of their birth (birthday). Letting the child choose the food for a special meal, the guests to invite for a party, the party theme and decorations, the destination if the activity is an outing are ways to appreciate and affirm each little and bigger one.

We are all created in the image of God as one-of-a-kind beings. What a privilege and joy it is, then, to acknowledge this by giving each person entrusted to us, especially in the family unit, a day of celebration.

Special Day

Each year we celebrate Valentine’s Day
giving our hearts as a present.
Hearts gifted back make us feel special.

Other days we circle too, as special:
Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas day
occasions we want all to be present.

But there is no other like the one I now present
a different date for each of us to feel special
our cake, candles, make-a-wish Birthday!

The day we celebrate the present of each special self.

© 2018 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Now it’s your turn! Please leave your link with Mister Linky.

Ghostly visible

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August 6, 2016 Photo (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Ghostly visible
as winter’s “Fresh Blueberries”
summer’s Christmas scene

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly

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I photographed the Christmas scene above last August when we were visiting the kids up north. I wondered how many times I had passed it and not even seen it. It made me think of other things we see and subconsciously ignore because we know they just aren’t relevant. Is there some psychological phenomena behind that? Probably!
PF-2This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted this week by Carol at Carol’s Corner.

 

Twenty-One Candles (review)

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Twenty-One Candles: Stories for ChristmasTwenty-One Candles: Stories for Christmas by Mike Mason

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mike Mason (Canadian author of The Mystery of Marriage, Champagne for the Soul and the Blue Umbrella fantasy series for kids) has a personal tradition of writing a Christmas story every year. This book is 21 of those stories, collected into a “wonder-full” volume of tales, as different from each other as each Christmas we live is one-of-a-kind. Some stories are short, others long, some playful, others serious, some fairy-tale-like, others as real as photographs. What binds them all together, though is the way each reflects some facet of the deepest meaning of the season.

From the one with the earliest date, 1981’s “Christmas Rocks”—in which the narrator and his friend, weary of the commercialism of a Winnipeg mall, drive to Gimli to choose a unique water-lucent rock for each person on their list—to 2014’s “In the stillness of the Night”—set in Hope BC with a local tourist attraction, the Othello Tunnels, playing a major role—these tales are recognizably Canadian, yet have a universal, parable quality to them that sets them beyond time and place.

The two that touch me most deeply are “Born with Wings”—about a sick baby expected to live just hours, born on Christmas day. Any parent who has lost a baby to miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death will relate to this poignant, tastefully told tale and its Christmas message.

The other favorite is the 1984 tale that closes the collection, “Bound for Glory.” Its tame yet mysterious beginning:

“A light rain was falling as I set off across the platform. … It was Christmas Eve, close to midnight, and the station was unusually busy, though not with the bustle of a daylight rush hour but with the trance-like commotion of darkness…” Kindle Location 2939.

soon reveals a carload of citizens fleeing for the border, among them a couple with a newborn baby. Enter soldiers with guns, making threats and culling group by group from the coach. Of course there is a surprise at the destination.

Stories in this book have been read at the Vancouver Pacific Theatre’s annual Christmas Presence programs. Now that they are available to all, they’re sure to add their special light to the Christmases of many more individuals and groups. I, frankly, love this book. It’s the kind of volume I feel like buying as a gift for friends and family members because I just know they would love one or another story in it.

My one gripe with the Kindle version of the book is that there is no table of contents. Actually there is a Table of Contents, but it’s not listed under the “Go to…” options in my Kindle reader’s “Menu.” I found it when I paged onward from the cover.

View all my reviews

A Child’s Christmas in Saskatchewan

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It’s Christmas Eve, the time our thoughts turn to all things holy—and presents! How crass. But how real, especially if you’re a kid.

A few weeks ago when I was cleaning out some papers, I came across a picture book I wrote and illustrated way back when. It was one of my course requirements at UBC, (College of Education). It’s my memories of childhood Christmases on our farm in Saskatchewan. I hope you enjoy.

A Child's Christmas In Saskatchewan - Cover

A Child’s Christmas in Saskatchewan – Cover

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A Child’s Christmas in Saskatchewan – Page 9

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A Child’s Christmas in Saskatchewan – Page 10

Now a Merry Christmas to all who read here!

Cecile’s Christmas Miracle (review)

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Kathi Macias' 12 Days of Christmas Volume 7Kathi Macias’ 12 Days of Christmas Volume 7 by Ruth L. Snyder

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cecile’s preparations for Christmas this year are nothing like they were last year when she lived in Alberta. Now, as a nurse working with the San Bushmen people of Botswana, she’s covering up to protect herself from the burning Kalahari sun instead of Alberta’s frigid winds, concerned with the medical surprises and challenges she’ll encounter each day at the clinic, and re-evaluating. Has she made the right decision to come out here as a missionary? Her life would be so different if she’d accept Colin’s proposal

Thoughts about her decision are only complicated by the fact that she really does still care for Colin. But best leave all that behind. For such a handsome young doctor has surely found someone else by now.

Snyder’s familiarity with missionary life in Botswana hints at first-hand experience. The details of the foreign setting help us feel the burning heat, smell the stench of sickness and decaying flesh, and experience Cecile’s nervousness as she faces government officials who are determined to shut her clinic down.

I found the story—told from two points of view: Cecile’s and Colin’s—captivating, inspirational, and short. The novella-length makes this the perfect choice for when you need a break from your Christmas busy, baking, shopping, or wrapping gifts.

And I think you will find, like I did, that this little miracle tale adds depth and breadth to your sense of what Christmas is really about.

View all my reviews

Christmas on the West Coast

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Reindeer Christmas decorations

Christmas on the West Coast

Twigs stunning in diamonds
doors lined running pearls
scribble reindeer all lit up
under Christmas tree swirls.

Christmas light decorations

Balconies wearing ruby
emerald, agate bling
like necklaces, bracelets
scarves, pins and a ring.

Stained glass window

Roof lines cascade ice lights
twinkle bells and bright stars.
Windows beam the old story.
Velvet antlers deck cars.

Manger scene in lights

On the city hall rooftop
in stitches of white
Wise Men come ever nearer
star-led through the night.

Night scene with lit-up tree

In the rain plaza glistens
all that’s missing is snow
to soften the sparkle
of a silent night glow.

© 2013 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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I love Christmas lights! How can you tell?

Poetry Friday LogoWe do sometimes have snow. We actually had a dusting earlier in the week that lasted for a few days but this afternoon the rains came back. So we’ll take what we get and look on the bright side. For the wet just adds to the sparkle, making it all the prettier.

This post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by the eclectic and always interesting Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference.

Advent project

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The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp (along with the Jesse Tree decorations)

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp (along with the Jesse Tree decorations)

I’m excited to be going through Advent with Ann Voskamp’s beautiful book The Greatest Gift! It’s a Jesse Tree project where each day’s reading adds another bit to the story of Jesus’ family tree.

There are 25 decorations too, one to go with each day’s reading (sorry, you have to buy the book to get the password).

I spent last night watching curling and an old Columbo movie while I cut out and trimmed my decorations. I’m going to love December! (Our Costco had Ann’s book…maybe yours does too.)