Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

May you all have the most wonderful, magical and blessed 
New Year

See you in 2014.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice & Merry Christmas!

From this....

to this....

Right on time for winter solstice which I seldom pay attention to, except this day gains in more popularity as weather news item like this.

 I went out early evening on an errand and found it a bit hard to navigate. It was rather icy in places. It was also very wet at the street corners. One has to jump across puddles. I used my walking poles to navigate the sidewalks.

From here on in I'll look forward to the increased daylight hours.

Have a great weekend!

Enjoy your Christmas too!

Our World Tuesday

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Sunsets

"The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy."
Psalm 65:8 (NIV)

I captured these photos of the sunset on Monday evening.  

Even the hanging telephone wires couldn't dim the beauty of the sky.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday today.
Enjoy your weekend and have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Party

I'm a bit over due for posting this week. I have been very busy with buying and wrapping some gifts and making preparations for my mother's third move in the facility where she lives. As always things did not go off without a few glitches concerning the move but it is done and she is more or less settled. Now I pray she is going to be okay health wise until we can move her for good to a new facility.  She is eager to get back to where she used to live but because she is already in a facility she is not at the top of the wait list.  If you can remember to say a prayer about her health and about her new place coming up soon that would be wonderful.

Some of the crowd at the Christmas party I attended.  A lot of Asians were represented.

In the meantime, I've also been preparing for Christmas here at home. I posted most of my Christmas cards some weeks back and put up my small decorations around the condo.  I set up my small tree earlier in the week but only just managed to trim the tree on Saturday.  This year it is all in gold tones.

The weather here has warmed up a lot since the cold winds of over a week ago. The bird bath outside had ice in it last week and this week it is back to water.  I'm sure the birds will appreciate it.I can turn my heat off again as it gets a bit too warm inside now.  If I need to take the chill off the air, I can put on the fireplace or cover up.  Of course, I finally covered the vent in my front room which had been blasting very cold air for about 2 weeks. It took a while to move everything from the corner of my living room, tape up the vent with duct tape and heavy duty cardboard, then move everything back in the corner but it is done.  The difference is amazing.

I had a fun time earlier in the week when I went to an annual Christmas party. Apparently this multicultural Christmas Party has been an annual event for about 15 years.  This is the first year I've known about and attended it. I had fun with my friends from Tanzania. It's always nice to experience Christmas through the eyes and delight of children.

The back of the venue.  There were also a lot of people to my right but I didn't capture that section.

was able to go with a number of friends from the neighbourhood and sat in the audience with the family from a place near Mwadui, Tanzania.
The little boy was clearly excited about something on stage.  I think it was the Persian dancer.

These beautiful Vietnamese ladies performed two different dances. There were several other performers but most were moving too fast for me to get good photos.

There was free food reflecting a variety of ethnic groups (East Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Canadian), cultural entertainment from a number of countries (China, Mongolia, Iran, Vietnam, and Canada), many beautiful door prizes and a Santa with toys for all the children under the age of 9.

A dancer from Mongolia.She danced to a slow song but her movements were lithe and quick.

Of course a Christmas party would not be complete without a visit from Santa and toys for the children. They were excited about that. Santa is behind the tree

The little boy from Tanzania really enjoyed the lady from Persia (Iran) and was grooving to the music.
 I captured this video so I could share it with his parents.

Holiday signage at a local, popular restaurant.

Joining with Our World Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. 
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. 

~ Calvin Coolidge

After dinner I enjoyed a short walk in the snow.

It's late and I'm labelling Christmas gifts for my mom before I wrap them. I am also preparing a few other gifts for family and family friends.

I am attending a Christmas party tomorrow and after that I'll finish decorating my small tree as well as put up the other decorations. I'm a bit late this year.

Oh my!  I still have to finish crafting 3 gifts.
Oh well, there is always next week, lol.

I can't believe I started these gifts long ago and still haven't finished them but life keeps cropping up :-).


Where does the time go?!
Best to breathe and savour the days as they pass.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday

Thank you to Lady Fi for hosting!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Life's Blessings

“Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

Dr. Steve Maraboli,
Behavioral Scientist

Christmas is always a time when I think of the way God has richly blessed my life.  Things could have been so very different for me had I been born in poverty in a multitude of other countries.  But I was blessed to be born in Canada and to have opportunities that I would not have had in many other countries because I was a girl child.

So Christmas is always an important time of year for me. A time to consider my blessed life and to see what I can do for others beyond my family or immediate circle of good friends.

There are many ways to be a blessing to others.  If we look around in our circle of friends and acquaintances and review their circumstances we can probably think of a number of people who could use a kind gesture, a helping hand, a small blessing or material helps of some kind.

Beautiful flowers remind me of God's blessings.

This week I had a special blessing and I was also able to bless them in return.

It has been very cold here in my city with lots of cold air blowing through the vents in my home.  A serviceman came to check on the ventilation in the building and concluded that my vents are not attached to the building vents.  He concluded that he couldn't help me.

But it turned out that he is also a certified gas technician.  He asked about my fire place and I told him I haven't been able to use it for a few years.  A part needs replacing and I just never got around to dealing with it.

The nice young man offered to try and start it and after a few minutes, it started working!  I was so excited.  I blessed him by insisting he take a small tip.  That way he could buy himself something that he likes. He didn't want to take it but I told him how much he had helped me and that I appreciated it very much. He was also a great blessing to me because he saved me a few hundred dollars.  At this time of year that is a huge help.

A hut in a Kenyan village. It belongs to my friend's Grandmother.

Another friend from a far away land didn't know where to purchase buttons for a blazer she bought in a thrift store.  She has a couple of children and it is difficult for her to go shopping and arrange to be home on time for her eldest child's return from school.

I had the bright idea of putting together a small sewing kit for her.  It included:  a variety of buttons in different neutral colours, sewing thread, sewing needles, pins, a pin cushion, a small scissors, measuring tape and a tin can to hold it all. She was so happy with this small gift because though she has been in Canada for a year, she has not had the time to put a basic sewing kit together. I also put together separate, small gifts for her two children and her husband. I want them to feel that someone is thinking of them though they are far from their homeland.  She had shared with me about two weeks ago that her son misses Christmas because last year (their first year in Canada), the only person that invited them to share Christmas with them was me! In their homeland they are used to family, extended family and friends being together at Christmas.  That story touched me and showed me that our small gestures do not go unnoticed even by children.

Another friend was complaining of how he was so cold this week while working outside as he is employed in construction.  He is from West Africa so you can imagine how very different the weather is here for him.  He said he was so cold on Friday that he was almost crying. I know how cold it has been because the wind has ripped through me like an icy shard several days this week when I had to run errands.  When I went out the other day I saw some hand warmers that can last for 12 hours or more. I bought some for him and will add it to another small gift I've purchased for him.  I'm not sure he knows about the hand warmers so if I give him some samples, he can try them.  At least they will warm up his hands for those few very cold days that we will get this winter.

There are so many other ways to bless people but these are just three small examples of lifting a person's spirit at this time of year.  Sometimes people can feel low in spirit because they are far from family, don't have friends or family, or have family and friends from whom they are currently estranged. Let's look for ways to be a small blessing to someone this season.

Two Kenyan women and their children. They were desperate for some help.

I also want to continue to be a blessing and encourage others to be a blessing to Elvis in Kenya. Elvis is in his final year of medical studies in Kisumu, Kenya.

If you want to be a blessing to Elvis,  Pay Pal donations can be sent to kerichojoy[at]gmail[dot]com
If you want to send Elvis or his mother (who is a single parent) a special word of encouragement, you can send them to the same email address. Thank you to those who respond :-)

I hope to share Elvis' graduation photos when he has finished his studies.

If you'd like to share your blessing stories, I'd love to hear them in the comments section.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Rest in Peace

Nelson Mandela, was an inspiration to me like he was to so many others around the world. 

Even though his life here on earth is done, I pray his life and light continue to shine brightly as a beacon of  hope and inspiration to those of us left behind.

May God too bless his family and his Nation at this time of loss.

Mr. Mandela, we will all miss you dearly.

You have run your race. 

You have finished your course.

I pray you rest in peace. 

Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...