Google+ peggy aplSEEDS: December 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday: Happy New Year!

For me, there's nothing like having guests coming over to visit that gives me more incentive for cleaning up! My desk was in a state of total chaos yesterday but the thought of taking a picture of it for our Wednesday link party hosted by Julia made me start putting things away!  What I've left out for you to see are some of the gifts I received.  Here are my new clear stamps (my first ones!) given to me by my sister and fellow WOYWWer, Patsy.  Aren't they wonderful?

She also gave me a gift for my birthday (which was on Christmas Eve) and I kept the little rose and ribbon that she decorated the box with.  Isn't it pretty?

Here is a box that my super talented brother Robert decorated to put his gift to me in.  Pretty, pretty, pretty!

It was tied around with twine and a little key...

How cute is that!  I wonder how I will use it!

As 2010 comes to a close, I wish all of you, my dear blog friends, a very happy New Year!  May the new year bring all the best for you!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Difficult Times

Christmastime is my favorite time of year; a time of celebration, of family and friends, of love.   It is a wonderful time to recall the blessings of the past year and to be grateful for them. But at times, when we undergo challenges and trials,  Christmastime can also be the saddest and loneliest time.  I know of many people having a difficult Christmas this year.  My friend's father and my sister's mother in law both died recently.  The parents of my sister's friend were both killed in a car accident.  A baby (due in January) of a young couple I know died because of placenta abruptio.  Heartbreaking.  In this season of joy, it is even harder to deal with grief and sadness.

Let me share with you about a difficult Christmas that I had and how I was able to celebrate it.  It happened a long time ago and all is well for me this Christmas, but it is still one of my most precious Christmas memories.  

As the Christmas season of 1993 approached, I started to feel depressed about the thought of Christmas.  My husband, Jing, died that year and I did not feel like celebrating at all. “What do I have to celebrate?” I would say to myself. “What blessings do I have to be grateful for?" 

One early morning, after another one of those seemingly endless sleepless nights, in my heart, I sensed the answer to my question - "What do I have to celebrate?"   I realized that indeed, I had every reason to celebrate, and I had much to be grateful for.  Christmas is much more than gifts, decorations and happy get-togethers.  Christmas is about how God loved us so much that He sent His beloved Son to be born as man!  To be God with us.  Because of this I had the Hope of eternal life for my husband.  The Lord and His promise of eternal life had been my greatest consolation and comfort.  I wondered, "Where would I be and how could I survive this greatest trial if Christ were not born?"  How grateful I was of this realization.

Then, the thought of a trip to Singapore sometime in November of 1989 came to my mind.  The Christmas decorations were already up and at the time, I marveled at the many lights, at how beautifully they had decorated the shops and streets.  And as I remembered the awe I felt while looking at all those decorations, in my heart, it seemed God was telling me that the most beautiful decorations and celebrations in the world are nothing compared to the beauty and splendor of Heaven.  I thought, how wonderful it must be to celebrate Christmas with the birthday celebrant (which was what my late husband, Jing was going to do)!  After this time of reflection, my heart, which was filled with dread and gloom, was suddenly filled with such joy.  This is the real meaning of Christmas, I thought.  And that first Christmas without Jing (which I dreaded) turned out to be perhaps the most meaningful I’ve ever had.

Reflecting on the joy I felt at that time, I realized God had given me the gift of true joy, a joy not based on circumstances, but just a gift.  Perhaps, it is a joy we cannot experience when all is well, because then, we would have a reason to be joyful.  But when we feel that our reason to be joyful is gone and yet we are able to experience joy, then we know, it is a gift and God can truly "turn our mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11).  For me to have experienced this joy strengthens my belief that nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).   And although we never want to experience trials, this Christmastime experience of mine is precious to me.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Blessed and Joyful Christmas!

Happy Birthday, Jesus! 

I thank God for you, my blog friends and visitors, 
and for the inspiration, friendship and encouragement 
you have given me this past year.  

May the peace, joy and blessings of  "Emmanuel, God with us" 
be yours throughout the coming year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday: Christmas Blessings to Everyone!

A blessed and joyful Christmas to everyone, and today, especially to the WOYWWers who regularly take a peek at each other's desks!

On my desk today are my efforts in recycled gift wrapping.  I have been trying to reduce the amount of new wrappers I use and so, as much as possible I'm using recycled ribbon (see, how my box of ribbons has come off the shelf?) and paperbags.  I made the gift labels using bookpaper.


I finished my Advent ATC project and although some of you lamented the fact that I was going to cut it up into 25 ATCs (Julia said she was experiencing trauma over my plan to cut it up), it didn't start out as one piece anyway.  It was made up of three pieces because I recycled three small boards and just stuck them together while I was painting.  Perhaps I will share about each ATC and what each symbol stands for when I use it as an Advent calendar next year.  How's that for long term planning!

For a peek at more desks and Christmas projects, check out the WOYWW list in Julia's Stamping Ground

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday: The Third Week of Advent

Time is flying by so quickly and it is now the third week of Advent!  This Christmas, we are simplifying our gift giving.  We usually give little gifts to many of our friends who already have so much that they wouldn't know what to do with those token gifts anyway.  Instead we will be making donations in their name to projects that help people who have so little.  One of them is "Patak ng Pag-asa" (meaning "Drop of Hope"), a project my daughter and her friends created to help bring clean water to an indigenous community in the province (imagine having to walk two hours to get a bucket of water to bring up the mountain!).  Just one drop can make ripples.  As it is said, "Our deeds are like a stone cast into the pool of time.  Though they themselves disappear, their ripples extend to eternity."

And so on the far left side of my desk are Christmas cards that I am preparing (they aren't handmade, sorry!)  All I did was print out our letter about our donations, paste it unto the cards and label them.  These friends also have a heart for the less fortunate (there are so many very poor people in the Philippines) so I hope they will appreciate this.  Notice how I cleared up my desk to make space for the cards and for some gift wrapping?  You can actually see a clear space on my desk!

My Advent ATC set is coming along nicely and I am so pleased with it.  Early in the week it looked like this...

and now it looks like this...

Can you make out the words "God with us Emmanuel"?

As I mentioned last week, each ATC sized portion has a symbol for a bible character and story, just like the Jesse tree symbols I found here.  Here is the Ladder which represents Jacob, and the Assurance of the  Promise in Genesis 27:41-28:2...

a Ram's Horn Trumpet representing Joshua and The Fall of Jericho in Joshua 1:1-11, 6:1-20...

and the Rainbow and Dove representing Noah and The Flood in Genesis 6:11-22, 7:17-8:12, 20-9:17.

Pam commented that this is an ambitious project and as I was making it I would giggle and think to myself, it sure is ambitious, what was I thinking! What a thing to be making when I'm supposed to be busy with lots of other stuff like preparing presents.  But then, I have been enjoying reflecting on these stories and how they all come together to form one big story, just like this piece I am making.  Making this has helped me celebrate Advent.

For more peeks into desks, tidy and otherwise, go visit Julia's Stamping Ground.  This time of the year, other than the desks, you'll see Christmas trees, Christmas cards and snow and all sorts of other interesting things.  Hopefully, I will be able to visit more desks than I did last week.  Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday: Advent ATC Set in Progress

Just a quick post today, since I'm having internet difficulties and I'm posting from my son's computer. On my desk today, for our weekly Wednesday blog party, is the advent project I started last week.  It's not clear from the picture, but the whole painting is made up of twenty five artist trading cards (I will cut it apart after I finish painting it).

Each card has a symbol which represents a bible story.  The top left card with the tree and mountain represents the creation story in Genesis.  More details later, but for now, happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday: Awaited Treasures and Advent Reflections

My parents in law arrived from the US yesterday and they brought with them some art materials that I ordered and had sent to their address (cheaper postage).  I've been waiting excitedly for these "treasures" to arrive.

I saw this Sakura's Koi Watercolor Field Travel Set  in Alisa Burke's blog some time ago and promptly searched for where to buy it.  It comes with a brush that has a water container in the handle so that you just squeeze the handle when you're painting.  I couldn't decide on whether to buy the small set or the bigger one so I bought both!

Last Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent. It is the New Year’s Day of the Church, the start of the Christian year, and so it is...
A time to start anew.

I thought of starting an Advent project, something which will help me focus on the season, perhaps something I can use as next year's Advent calendar.  I  decided on a set of 25 ATCs, one for each day of December until Christmas.  I know, I know, too ambitious a project for this busy season, but as I said, it is only a start and is actually for next year!  So far, I started on the background, which, when the cards are arranged together, will form a verse from Isaiah 40.  I don't know if the verse will still be seen after I'm done painting and collaging but well,  I'll know it's there.

Advent is also...
 A time to prepare.
As Christians, we prepare for Christmas.  And so, I spent the weekend up in the attic, organizing the Christmas presents I have stocked up there, preparing to get the Christmas decorations out come "Gaudete" Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent which emphasizes the joyous anticipation of the Lord's coming).  We prepare not only in the way we decorate our homes or give gifts but also, we try to prepare spiritually.  I cleaned out a lot of stuff and put them aside to give to the less fortunate.  Getting rid of stuff is also a way of symbolizing my desire to prepare for Christmas by trying to get rid of my bad habits and weaknesses.  And so, on my desk this Wednesday (for our weekly blog hop organized by Julia), aside from my newly arrived watercolors, there is no art work, just the remnants of my cleaning activities.

Advent comes from the Latin word 'adventus' which means "arrival" or "coming," and so, it is...
A time to wait.
We are reminded of the original waiting of the Jews for the birth of their Messiah.  We wait for Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and we wait for the second coming of Christ.

We're always waiting - to pick up the kids, or to see the doctor, waiting for our turn in the supermarket line, or for more important things like answers to prayers- for a job, healing, or a problem child.  Sometimes we can get impatient, or sometimes we lose hope when our prayers seem to remain unanswered.  Advent can teach us how to wait, to wait prayerfully with patience and hope.  Advent is...
A time to hope.
In the midst of a world full of suffering, pain, poverty and war, we can hope for the day when we will “hunger no more, and thirst no more . . . and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7).  And we try to do our part to let these words come to pass as we await our greatest Treasure, Jesus Christ.  A blessed Advent season!

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