Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tiger's Birthday...

So, yesterday was Tiger's birthday. {25} :) And it seems he had a great day, getting a lot done that he wanted while still celebrating some. {26}

Let me explain-

When he got home from work the night before, it was already officially his birthday, and the Christmas tree was up and decorated. All he had to do is water, skirt it, and add lights, which he did in his own time throughout the day. :)

Not the best lighting, but this is our little tree. :) I had a lot of fun decorating it, even though it took longer than normal due to surgery.
Tiger's new stocking from the gift exchange...

One of three butterflies from Laura. Handmade in Poland.

One of our beautiful birds. We have a few different ones...

Heart of faith, nativity scene bulb, and hand-crafted sand dollar ornament, which is probably one of my favorites. :)

My cute little teapot!

Santa's got his glow on...

Another cute butterfly...

Hand-made turtledove by Diana with other ornaments in the background...

Our biggest ornament is this butterfly I usually keep up year-round elsewhere...

Star of hope...

Faith closeup.

Closeup of sand dollar...

My favorite angel ornament...

Cork and felt teddy bear made by God's Kids Caring... a wonderful organization I really enjoy volunteering at during Christmas, whose tree sale proceeds go to help needy families throughout the year.

One of my plaid bulbs... I really like them. :)

Light can be seen right through this Nativity ornament...

As well as through this bulb.

Lit-up plaid...

Nativity ornament closeup.

Snowflake from Linda and one of the stars I got at Ikea with Laura last year...

He came home with a Christmas gift, as they did a gift exchange at work. He ended up with fishing bait in a stocking, which he seemed pretty thrilled with. The stocking going onto the tree was the first thing he did when he got home.

Tiger decided to wait to open his gift and card from me until later in the day, so he felt he was opening it on his official birthday, even though it was after midnight. lol It was cute...

Ironically, I saw this photo of owls, very similar to the one I got Tiger for his birthday, 20 minutes after he opened his gift. Photo from We Heart It
 We watched movies. Three of them throughout the day, two of which (Timeline and Uncommon Valor) I really enjoyed.

For dinner, we had turkey soup as the appetizer, then a bit later, turkey, rice with gravy, steamed broccoli, and stuffing. For desert, a few hours later, it was pumpkin pie with whipped cream. :)

One of my pieces of turkey was shaped like a heart. :)
He got to catch up on his sleep, which I was thankful for. {27}

God is so good to allow us to bless each other on birthdays; to celebrate the lives of the people He has blessed us with. Tiger's birthday was also the anniversary of the birthday of someone else who was really close to my heart, whom the family called  (calls) Dadeda. She was the grandmother of one of my uncles, and is still thought of and missed. She was nearly 104 years old when she passed away, a few weeks ahead of her birthday.

And, of course, today is the birthday of another family member, Monica, who's been staying and working in Alaska, and then right after Christmas, my Dad's 60th birthday, and then on January 1st, the birthday of my sister-in-law's father. It seems busier than ever these days. lol But I'm thankful for these people, who have touched my life in their own ways, and thank God for what time I have and have had with them.

Monday, December 19, 2011


When you see the word "SHOES," what's the first thing that comes to mind for you?

Photo courtesy of We Heart It
Photo courtesy of We Heart It

Perhaps a favorite pair, or, for some, an obsession. Perhaps memories of wearing some for better or worse. Perhaps stories or jokes or a number of other things... but this is what I think about:

I think back to when I was last at A.C. Green's mother's house. OK, the only time. I think about the pile of shoes sitting on the chair just inside the house from the garage, near the soda machine. And I think about how, before I knew the shoes sitting there were his, I picked one of them up because they were so huge, and the family member I was visiting laughing and telling me, "them are Jr.s" and about how I set the shoe back down really gingerly exactly where it was, so as not to disturb them. But before I set it down, I had measured it against my torso... the shoe was longer and nearly as wide.

That wasn't even two years ago.

But the other day, it came to mind again... and then...

It had me thinking, too, of the time I visited a friend, many years ago, on Christmas Day. I was in high school, and had invited him over to spend time with my family, and then we went and spent the rest the day with his mom and brother. Well, the brothers got in a kicking match, and my face, somehow, got in the way.

I'm thankful my nose wasn't broken.

I think of the shoes I wished so badly to wear for my MREL graduation that I couldn't wear because I was on medication that would bust my veins if I wore heels going up stairs, at the time. Because I didn't wear the shoes I wanted to, I didn't end up wearing the outfit I wanted to, either, because it would have looked pretty ridiculous without them...
Photo courtesy of We Heart It

I'm thankful I graduated, despite the shoe dilemma. I worked day and night, hard, to earn that degree, as well as my undergrad one. More than some might think I did...

I think of shoes other kids had when I was a kid that I really liked, but we couldn't afford, and I think of shoes I have tried on at stores that I really wanted to buy then didn't. I think of shoes in the context, in other words,  of stories associated with them.

But going back to A.C.'s shoes for a minute... how they were so huge they seemed big enough for a giant to wear and the awe I was in, not because of whose they were, but the title he holds, that of the Iron Man of Basketball, and it reminds me that awe belongs, not to MAN, but to GOD.

GOD is the One deserving of awe, honor, and glory. He should be reverenced. What HE thinks is what matters, even when things don't go our way. When life kicks us in the face, or things don't go as planned and our plans change accordingly, it is because God has a bigger plan than we could ever imagine.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Light of the World

12 Gifts of Christmas

Feel free to follow along with me on my Kura Kimanna blog, where we are counting down the 12 days of Christmas, each with a gift. :)

Courtesy of We Heart It

Wonder-Filled, Love-Covered, Fabulous Week

Last night, Tiger and I had a very enlightening conversation {21}, and on top of it, when I woke up, there was a Christmas letter from my parents in my e-mail, which is only funny because I wrote our Christmas letter yesterday {22}. I guess it's just one of those things.

In the letter they sent, there was a reminder of a trip I went on with them to one of the places my Dad lived when he was growing up, not too far from here {23}. There's a boardwalk or sorts, with bricks of names people had bought for themselves or in the memory of others. Mom linked this to the Book of Life. Like the names on the bricks, we have a choice to make. People bought the bricks, sometimes for others, but when we get to heaven, the only thing that will "buy a brick" is faith in Jesus Christ.

I know that to some, this Jesus is the only way thing is seen as exclusivist, though they forget they are invited to follow. Christianity isn't a good ol' boys club where people decide the fates of other people and who gets to join, though in the past, sadly enough, there have been times throughout history that people have tried to do this.

For those who may be reading this who have been taken advantage of, judged by, or made to feel as less-than by people who proclaim Christ, I apologize with all my heart for the behavior of those representing - truly or falsely- the Savior. For those who don't understand what it means to be unconditionally loved and therefore who have a hard time understanding that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died IN ALL OF OUR STEADS so that we would have the option, by faith, and faith alone, to escape hell and separation from God, I pray that He will open your hearts to the idea. May He touch you even now as you are reading this and plant a seed that will help you to become who you were always predestined to be.

God says in His Word that ALL have fallen short of the glory of God, and that while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us. It tells us that He loved the world, and those in it, so much, that He sent Jesus to be the Savior, the Messiah, of the world. Jesus, Who was fully God and fully man, sinless, born of a virgin, Who lived a normal life without giving in to temptation or doubt, and Who CHOSE to go to the cross in His great love for each of us - for you, for me, for your best friend and worst enemy. God is not a respecter of persons; He is a respecter of His Word and promises. He says that He doesn't want ANYONE on earth past, present, or future, to end up separated from Him by their sins, nor anyone to end up in hell, or sheol... but ALL to come to know and love Him so that they can be the people He called them to be.

As I was talking with my Aunt Sandy, not long after waking for the final time of the morning, Tiger sent a text that said: "I just wanted you to know I love you very much and have a grrrr8 day". {24}You know... God is like that! He sends us reminders throughout the day in varying forms He hopes we will acknowledge, that He loves us and hopes we have a great day! This might be in the smile of a child, the laugh of a baby, the playfulness of a puppy that makes you laugh, the heart-shaped cloud in the sky, the note of acceptance or thanks from a friend or boss, or any number of other ways. He just wants to remind us, like the rainbow reminds Him of His own promise to never flood out the entire earth again, that we are loved and watched over. We aren't always cognizant of His love and care, or even His presence, and He doesn't limit these things to those who know Him, but gives them freely to all - just as Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was for everyone - if everyone believed or just one believed, He still would have made the sacrifice. And so, today, one week before Christmas Day, I ponder these things in my heart, and many more... and wish you a wonder-filled, love-covered, fabulous week!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Everyday Miracles

Yesterday, I got a surprise call from my friend Nan, which was really the highlight of my day {6}, as well as a text from Stefan and Heather in Illinois {7} to check on how I'm doing. I also went for my second walk outside {8}, for which I was extremely grateful.

The night before, I was truly blessed as I listened to the X-Factor's Melanie Amaro {9} and Josh Krajcik {10}, who I thought both did an amazing job, bringing me nearly to tears with their renditions of Hero (Amaro) and Hallelujah (Krajcik). If one or the other ends up not winning, I would be totally shocked, as the two of them stood out to me from the get-go and have not failed to live up to the beauty of their voices even when the staging wasn't necessarily on-target.

I also recently watched The Christmas Visitor {11), which really hit home. If you haven't seen it, and have lost any loved ones with the recent wars, it's a must-see.

I got good news about the health of a close loved one who has been going through some very trying times two days in a row now, for which I am most grateful of all {12}.

I got something that was really on my heart resolved {13}, and a dear loved one has offered a way to help with two of the other things weighing heavily there {14}. With the first of these, perfect strangers, one named Jeff {15} and the other his boss, whose name I may never know {16} were a huge help. With the latter, someone very close to my heart, whom I love dearly, has offered her help {17} in an unexpected way.

Last but not least, Tiger came home after a hard long day at work and, since I'm still recovering, made a wonderful Mexican meal for dinner {18}. He has no idea how much I appreciate him nor all he has done on my behalf, but for those of you out there: it's good to be thankful and humble and caring with those around you, as yo never know who will be called to care for you in your time of need. I am so thankful God placed Tiger in my life {20}, even though things are sometimes more difficult than I wish they were.

Even in just these past couple of days, God has really taught me a lot and helped me to better understand life as it is and to continue to believe Him, and in Him. He performs miracles everyday, and if we look closely enough, without using a microscope, we will see them with the eyes of faith, hope, and grace.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On Faith and Thankfulness

I've been inspired. Having a lot of things to be thankful for and connecting them to faith is important to me, and so, I've decided to begin a series, 1000 Thanks. Each blog post in the series will have that tag, and will look at one or more things to be thankful for and how they connect to faith. They are in no particular order, other than what comes to mind in its order. So, tonight, I begin by saying I am thankful for:

1- Tiger. God is good, and He placed the right person in my life at the right time, who has been so kind and wonderful despite the occasional frustrations related to my healing process.
2- My friend Laura's visit the other day. God is good, and He knows when we need some cheer and conversation and care.
3- The ability to walk. I took my first post-surgery walk outside, downstairs yesterday, and was very thankful. God is good, and He is the great healer.
4- Understanding loved ones. God is good, and He has placed a heart of understanding on most of my loved ones as I continue to heal slowly.
5- Fabulous, wonderful doctors who listen, and medical care. God is good, and He made a way where there seemed to be no way so that I can be a lot healthier than I have been for several years now. He is certainly the original and only true Miracle Worker.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Other Blogs

My other blogs, for those interested, can be found here, and here! Thank you for your interest and support.

Christmastime is Near...

As Thanksgiving has passed, surgery has gone well, and with Tiger's birthday, Christmas, and Dad's birthday to still look forward to. By then, I should be feeling much more myself, and the Christmas music and movies have certainly helped, as well as the decor I put up before last Wednesday morning's meeting with medicine and laser, etc.

Once I can reach my camera, I'll take and put up a picture of the lovely card and flowers Tiger brought me when I was in the hospital. They're too sweet!

Now... if only there were a little snow, but not so much people can't get around safely, that would be the finishing touch. lol And yes, we still need to get a tree... that'll be Tiger's job. I look forward to seeing what he finds for us... and to helping decorate it in what ways I can without bending too much.

I also wonder... what kind of Christmas will it be this year? How will we celebrate the birth of the Savior in a new and fun way that is reverent as well as loving? A new tradition is in the works... I just don't know what it will be, yet. ;)

From We Heart It

Friday, December 9, 2011

Thankfulness Report

Surgery went better than I had hoped for, in many ways. Everything that needed taking care of, was, and I am thankful that my doctor was able to get it all done with less scar-tissue area on the outside than it could have been, by far. I am thankful he went with his gut on what to do, and that God guided him to make the best possible decision while performing surgery so that the best possible results were granted, as was prayed for.

I am thankful for the anesthesiologist, who was funny, from what I recall, though I barely spoke with him before I was out for the count. I'm also thankful he didn't tell me what was in the cocktail he gave me for the pain and for sleep, considering I could hear others being told exact medicines and formulations through curtains before I was out.

I am thankful for the nursing staff; especially Ingrid, Dora, Lydia, and Kathy, who were especially helpful during my brief stay.

I am thankful my Mom was able to be there, and that Tiger was there, too. He took care of himself first, which is important, by getting enough sleep to be able to help me out when I really needed him, and was a real prince about it all. I appreciate all he has done, above and beyond the call of duty both in and out of the hospital.

I am very thankful for all who were praying... more than you can ever know. I am thankful that you joined your faith with my own, and that of my family, and that God answered with a yes these prayers. It took a long time to get this particular yes through from heaven to earth, and I am more and more thankful for it as I think of all God has done. He is so good and amazing, and I cannot praise Him enough!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nerves and Prayer

Beginning to get a bit nervous about surgery tomorrow, so have been praying a lot. Today, I finished paperwork for tomorrow, did an online orientation, had an orientation at the Red Cross, shopped for a seven year old, chatted a bit with a friend of mine who is preparing for a presentation tomorrow, heard from my Uncle Bill in Mississippi, got to catch up on a family member's blog who is teaching in Alaska. I wish I had had time to begin creating the muff I bought material for the other day, but I guess it will have to wait until I can move about a bit next week.

I'm greatly looking forward to Tiger's birthday, Christmas, and Dad's 60th birthday. Hoping that all will be well with these and well-celebrated. I felt bad I didn't get to see my sister on her birthday or Grama and Chuck on their anniversary, both just after Thanksgiving, but was thankful to spend that particular holiday with some family.

For those in cyberspace who read this who are prayer warriors for Christ, I wouldn't mind some prayer joining my own; some faith added to my own as I go under the knife, recover, then get back to everyday life.

It's 33 degrees right now, and tomorrow's high will be about 42. The fog is crystallizing in the air, making it feel like ice. I am thankful for warm blankets and tea, as well as having a roof over my head. As much as I would like it to snow, I certainly don't mind waiting until after Christmas for it. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Christmassy Welcome

Welcome to my new blog, The Color of Faith. I'm Harmony.

I'm creating this just prior to having surgery, and not long after a number of hardships in the lives of loved ones as well as myself have really altered my perceptions. Perhaps this is an extension, in some ways, of having recently finished the Believing God series Beth Moore has out on video with my ministry counterparts, Michele and Debra, as we prepare to go into women's ministry. Perhaps not. But indeed, it is a journey of faith as colorful as any other.

As it is nearing Christmas, I decided to start off with a bit of cheer and photography related to the season. 

 Homespun stockings I created for Tiger and I. His is on the right, and mine on the left.

Our Christmas table display. Simple items coordinated together create beauty and remind us of all God has done.