Archive for December, 2011

So we’re just about at the end of another year. So how’s 2011 been for you? For me 2011 has been one which I probably would rather forget. So how would I sum up my year…

A Rotten Start To 2011

2011 started well, as hubby and me did our usual New Year’s Day thing and took in a Chinese to Mum and Dad’s for dinner. We spend a while at Mum and Dad’s before coming home to relax for the rest of the evening. I changed into my pjs when we got home and was stretched out on the sofa watching the TV, when I suddenly felt really unwell…

That was the start of my rotten start to 2011, as I ended up off my work for two and a half months during which time I got sent for various tests etc to try to establish the cause of my illness.

One Thing After Another

Just a few days before I was due to go back to work after being off at the start of the year, my hubby took unwell and ended up in hospital with kidney stones, and then had to have an operation. So as I say just as I was feeling a bit better (though not 100%), hubby ended up ill.

What a rotten year 2011 was turning out to be!

It improved a bit for a while until the end of September when hubby fell ill again, this time with some kind of viral infection. Unfortunately the virus seemed to hit him really badly so much so that he ended up off work from then until just a couple of weeks before Christmas.

This year hasn’t been one of my hubby’s best ones as far as health is concerned.

No Answers Yet

Just like the last few years, this has been yet another one where I’ve had more and more tests at various hospitals, but we’ve still no answers to my ongoing health concerns. Maybe 2012 will be the year!

Feeling the Effects of Living With Dementia

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, while know that my Dad has vascular dementia, and has been getting progressively worse over the last year or so.

Dad’s now got to the stages where he doesn’t know who anyone is, including me – and that’s heartbreaking. Apparently there’s even been a couple of times when he’s asked Mum who she was, that must have been really really tough on Mum.

Mum’s finding it more and more difficult to look after Dad at home, as it’s a 24/7 job, and without meaning to be unkind, Mum’s not as young as she used to be! Fortunately Mum has accepted some help from social work so someone come in to help with Dad a few days each week and he also goes to a day centre on another day. At least when Dad’s at the day centre, Mum gets a chance to chill and do some things she wants to do without having to worry about leaving Dad for too long.

The best thing that happened this year was Dad going into a local care home for one week’s respite care, at the start of November. I took the week off work so I could spend it will Mum so she didn’t feel too alone without Dad at home. We had a good time, going round the shops, lunching and visiting a few places we’d not been for a while. Personally I don;t think this week could have come soon enough for Mum as she really was needing a break from caring for Dad.

So the week’s respite care did Mum the world of good, and it certainly didn’t do Dad any harm either…not that he remembers anything about that week or even that he was away from home for a few days!

Not Limited to Humans!

Health concerns within my family have not been limited to the human members of my family, as our cat, who is now 16 years old, wasn’t very well at one point this year. For a few weeks we were going back and forward to the vets with him for more tests and more tablets to try and get him well again. Thankfully though, he got over his illness almost as quickly at it had originally appeared…mind you our bank account is still recovering!

Sudden Passing

Unfortunately this year also marked the sudden passing of a good friend. Rest in peace my friend.

My thought and prayers have continued to be focused on her family, particularly during this festive season.

Even right to the end of this year, it’s not been a great year – just today we heard the sad news that the wife of one of my husband’s cousins had passed away.

What Made My Year

So this year has obviously felt like there have been more lowlights than highlights, however as I take more time to consider events of this year I realise that though I may not have initially considered it a highlight, I now realise that I could not have got through this year without the support of my family and friends.

I’m not going to mention specific people as I’ll only miss someone out! So suffice to say that some of the folk who have most supportive to me this year have come from unlikely sources, at work and also through Twitter and Facebook – you know who you are. I have to make particular mention of my Twitter and Facebook friends who I’ve never even met in person, but who have supported me through some tough days.

I simply want to say to each of you, thank you for all the love, support and prayers you’ve given me and my family throughout this year – it has been greatly appreciate by both me and Mum.

So there’s my year, how’s your year been? I hope whatever you have faced this year you have had some highlights which you can cherish as memories for a long time.

…and finally

Just to finish off what has been a pretty rotten year for me, can I remind you not to ever underestimate how many blessings you receive and give out over  the period of a year.

Many may seem very small and insignificant, however they may well have had a massive impact on the recipient – they may have meant the world to them!

So we’re now on the second last day of 2011, so I’d like to ask you to reflect on this year as far as your faith is concerned…

  1. Is your faith stronger now than it was at the start of this year?
  2. Have you questioned your faith at times during the year?
  3. How have you coped when troubles have come your way?
  4. Are you still growing in your faith?

I’m sure we’ve all had our ups and downs during this year, but it’s how we’ve coped during those “down” times in our lives that help us build our faith. For me, I’ve been in some very low places in the past which I tried to get myself through on my own…what a failure that was! However when I realised that God was still there with me, things did improve for me, not immediately and no my problems didn’t go away, I was just able to cope better knowing everything was in God’s hands.

It’s because of those really black times in my life that I was reminded that my faith can and will get me through everything life throws my way. Therefore my faith this year is definitely not stagnated or reduced, but through some of the situations I’ve had to deal with, I can truly say my faith has been reinforced and become stronger.

God is good and He will provide for me in all situations, He is faithful.

Here’s Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army playing an arrangement of Great Is Thy Faithfulness, called Swedish Folk Song:

I pray that this year has been a God-inspired year for you and that your faith in has been deepened by your life-experiences. I pray 2012 will also be one where you experience God’s love for you each day.

I’m one of the lucky ones who’s been fortunate to have enough holidays left to be able to use up the last of my annual leave for this year between Christmas and New Year and then the 3 days after New Year. It’s great it means that after being at work on Friday 23rd December I’m not back at work until Monday 9th January next year!

So far, after Christmas I’ve had a pyjama day, a housework day and a housework and shopping day! Which was my favourite? Definitely my pyjama day!

I love having pajama days, not that I get them very often at all these days, so on Boxing Day I thoroughly enjoyed my pyjama day, especially as I’d got new fleecy pyjamas in my office Secret Santa and they are soooo cosy.

When I was younger I never liked having a lazy day, I used to feel as if I was being really unproductive if I wasn’t busy doing something every day. But my views have definitely changed, because I love lazy days…maybe it’s just because I get very little opportunity to have a “lazy day” these days that makes them so desirable!

When you have a day of doing nothing, do you feel relaxed or unproductive?

Whether your busy all the time or find time to have a pyjama day, I hope you are able to get some time to relax, chill and recharge your batteries this festive season.

Now that Christmas is past and many folk are back at work, I’d like you to review your Christmas.

For each of the following rate it between 0 and 5, 0 being the lowest score and 5 being the best score:

  • How much did you enjoy Christmas Day?
  • Did you like your Christmas presents?
  • Did you get the presents you wanted?
  • Was your Christmas centered around celebrating Christ‘s birth?
  • Were you able to spend Christmas with the people you love?
  • Was this the best Christmas you’ve ever had?
  • How many things about your Christmas Day would you have changed?

I don’t want to know how you scored each of these questions, I simply wanted to get you thinking about how you spent your Christmas: your thoughts and feelings, the people you were with, and your focus for the day.

For me some of my questions scored the highest points while others the lowest. So for me some things about my Christmas, such as the presents I received, were excellent, while some of the other things, such as the health and availability of some of my immediate family meant this Christmas wasn’t quite what we may have hoped for.

Having said that, I am thankful for the family I have, and the love and support we share with one another throughout the year.

I can also say with assurance that for me, Christ was most definitely part of my Christmas celebrations.

I hope you had a great Christmas with those you love and that you found time to celebrate the reason for the season…the birth of Jesus.

 

So that’s Christmas over…the presents have all been opened the food prepared and eaten…so what now?

In the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas I’ve talked about Christmas, and what Christmas is really all about…Christ. So now that Christmas is over does that mean we should just forget about Christ until next Christmas?

Definitely not!

Christmas is the time of year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the impact His time on earth had on the people He came into contact with as well as the millions that have become believers in God since then too.

Celebrating Christ’s birth is just the start of the celebrations, as there’s so much more that Christ did during His time on earth that we must celebrate. So in celebrating Christ’s birth, this should just be the start of a long celebration of Christ and all that can be achieved by becoming a believer in God.

Why not make this Christmas season the start of a new and exciting life for you, celebrating Christ’s life and learning more about His love for each one of us.

…which in the UK is known as Boxing Day.

Why is today called Boxing Day? And what has that got to do with Christmas?

Boxing Day – When

Boxing Day is a public holiday that is celebrated the day after Christmas. It was originally the first working day after Christmas Day, but is now always celebrated on December 26th, regardless of which day of the week it falls.

The 26th of December is also called St. Stephen’s Day.

Boxing Day – Origin

There are several thoughts on this…

  1. In the 17th century Christmas boxes were earthenware boxes used by the poor (servants, apprentices etc.) to save money throughout the year. Then at Christmastime, the boxes were opened and the savings shared to fund the Christmas festivities.
  2. The tradition though that has stayed with su until the current time, but dates back almost as far as the first suggested origin, is where Christmas boxes are given as gifts, usually money, to tradespeople or others who have rendered some service throughout the year but who aren’t normally paid directly by the giver. e.g. paperboys, milkmen, office cleaners.

 

So Boxing Day is all about Christmas Boxes, this actually confuses me more, as I’m still confused why it’s actually the day after Christmas the Christmas boxes seem to relate.

Whether you’ve been giving Christmas boxes today, or simply relaxing after a busy Christmas Day, I hope you’ve had a relaxing and enjoyable Boxing Day!

Christ coming to earth makes a difference to me, does it make a difference to you?

This Christmas season would not exist if Christ had not come to earth, so in recognition of this I’d ask you to spare a few minutes of your busy Christmas Day to give thanks to God for sending His son to earth to live amongst us.

Yes, it was many years ago since Christ came to earth, however His message is just as relevant today as it ever was, because God is here with us now,and every day. It’s not too late to give your life to Christ, in fact what better day to commit your life to God that the day on which we celebrate the birth of His son Christ.

Luke 1:76-78 (NIV)

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven.

I pray you have had a blessed Christmas, and have experienced the love and peace that can only be found when we have a relationship with Christ the King.

Merry Christmas – I hope Santa was good to you all!

It’s nearly Christmas Day!

It’s now after 7pm so all the shops will be closed, so I hope you’ve bought everything you need, both for presents are also food! But are you really ready for Christmas? Are you ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus?

Christ was born this Christmas night!

 

 

Let’s make sure this Christmas that we make sure we keep Christ in CHRISTmas, by celebrating the love God has shown to each one of us.

I pray you may expereience God’s love for you and your family this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

How many times have you been travelling somewhere in the car, with children, and before you’re anywhere near your destination they start asking, “Are we nearly there yet? Are we nearly there yet?”

Imagine how Mary felt travelling to Bethlehem while very heavily pregnant. Do you think she kept asking Joseph every few minutes, “Are we nearly there yet?”

Never having been pregnant I can’t give you any words of wisdom regarding how Mary might have felt during the last few hours of her pregnancy, as she travelled to Bethlehem. However I can tell you that based on the experiences of family and friends, I’m sure Mary would have been hoping her baby would be born soon, and there would be no complications.

But Mary’s pregnancy was no ordinary pregnancy as she was going to give birth to the Son of God! What an incredible responsibility she must have felt!

So by this time on the first Christmas, I’m sure Mary would have been delighted and relieved when Joseph told her there wasn’t far to go

Here’s a video of the song Not Far from Bethlehem performed here by Carol Gaddis & Joyful Noise:

The following video, although it has a very simple message, it is also a very powerful message, one which I could never put into words any better than you can see in this movie…

He comes…

He will enter into the hearts of all those who seek Him with open hearts and minds