Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Eve Times Square

My family and I had the privilege of being apart of the festivities at New Years Eve Times Square last year.  My admiration for the NYPD grew as I saw how much preparation came before the big event.
About one million people come to see the Waterford crystal ball drop.  Party goers are screened with hand held metal detectors twice once they enter pens where they must stay.  There are fourteen access points to enter the celebration.Thousands of officers won't be celebrating New Years Eve with their family because they will help with security.  They perform their job without complaining.

"Leave the worrying to the NYPD," said James O'Neill, chief of the department.  "People should feel safest this New Year's Eve because we're there."

The bomb squad will sweep hotels, theaters, construction sites and parking garages.  They also will patrol the subway station.  They will rely on a network of thousands of security cameras blanketing lower Manhattan.  
Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Wiz Khalifa, Demi Lovato and Charlie Puth will be among the musical guests to perform this year.
Security Officers will be on horses to maintain the crowds.
Sanitation crews will come after the show to clean up from 2016 celebration.  They will get rid of 50 tons of garbage including confetti, party hats and other leftovers from the party goers.
Thank you New York Police for keeping everyone safe.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jesus is the Greatest Gift

Jesus is the greatest gift mankind has ever known.  Isaiah 9 6-7  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon his shoulder. and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I  am the light of the world.  If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

John 14:27  "I am leaving you with a gift.....peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don't be troubled or afraid.  Jesus came to love us.

lohim or Elohay is the first name for God found in the Bible.  It's used throughout the Old Testament over 2,300 times.  Elohim comes from the Hebrew root meaning strength or power.  Genesis 1:1  In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth.  The name describes one God.

Elohim is combined with other words to describe different characteristics of God.
God of the Beginning Deuteronomy 33:27
God of Justice  Isaiah 30:18
God of Forgiveness Nehemiah 9:17
God of Heights Micah 6:6
God Who is Near Jeremiah 23:23
God of My Strength Psalm 43::2
Holy God Leviticus 19:2
Living God Jeremiah 10:10
God of Gods: Deuteronomy 10:17

El is another name used for God in the Bible showing up about 200 times in the Old Testament.

The Lord who revealed Himself as YHVH The Lord our Maker Psalms 95:6.   is revealed as Jesus Yeshua in the New Testament.  Jesus presents himself as the "I Am"

Romans 10:9  Paul declares," if you confess with your mouth Yeshua as Lord.... you will be saved.
Romans 10:13  Paul quotes the Old Testament  Joel  2:32.  Calling on Yeshua Jesus as Lord is the same as calling Him YHVH because Yeshua Jesus is YHVH Lord the Messiah foretold throughout the entire Old Testament.

Jesus the creator, the eternal Son of God, who lived a sinless life, loves us so much that He  died for our sins, taking the punishment that we deserve, was buried, and rose from the dead according to the Bible.  If you receive Jesus as your Savior declaring Jesus is Lord you will be saved and spend an eternity with God in heaven.

Let all within us Praise His Holy Name.  Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth Toward Man.    Christ divine.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Happy 94th Birthday Mom!!

We celebrated the ninety four years my mom has been blessed to be on this earth.  The highlight of the day was seeing her grandson Alex.

 Her eyes beamed when he walked in the door and sang Happy Birthday to you!

"I love chocolate cake,"  she delighted.  "I think I'll have a little more," as she grabbed the spoon.  I was so happy she liked it.  I remembered chocolate was her favorite because every holiday she'd bake her Chocolate Sheath Cake recipe by scratch.  She used real Hershey chocolate with creamy butter.

"Do I blow out the candle? "She asked.  I kept saying, "Make a wish, make a wish,"  I knew she always liked to do that on her birthday.  But this year she just blew out the lit candle.

I brought her pink long stem roses because she loves flowers.  She kept pointing to them,
"Aren't they pretty."  She always had a pink rose bush growing in her backyard and she'd look at it through her kitchen window.  Birds love to play in her bird bath.

Alex sat by her on the bed as she kept asking him questions.  We all got into the party atmosphere by wearing Happy Birthday Hats!!!
She talked of her boyfriend Jack who she met at the age of 85.  She said,  "Why did he have to die?  I guess everyone has to at some point." she sighed.  I got out one of the hundreds of letters he wrote to her.  He always left a romantic song at the end of the letter   I read it out loud.  You are my sweetheart Sweet Sue.  I love you.  I thought Jack would have liked it that she remembered him on her birthday.

She was born in 1921 in Oklahoma City. She was raised on a farm where her job was to pick grapes every  harvest. She gathered  eggs quickly so she wouldn't get scratched by hens.   She has seen the dust bowl days, when her mom covered her face so dust would't settle in her lungs.  She remembered boyfriends she had to so say goodbye to as they went off to fight in World War II.  
She loved her brand new red shirt with sequins.  She wore her new scarf with red roses on it.  She has a trunk full of memories.  Life is a little hard now at 94.  Her back hurts and it's difficult to move her tired muscles.  But on her 94th birthday the joy was in her eyes.  She felt loved.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Meaning of Poinsettias at Christmas Happy National Poinsettia Day 2015

I was in Home Depot buying my usual assortment of beautiful Poinsettias when the sales clerk asked me.
 " A lot of people have been coming into the store to buy Poinsettias but when I ask them what is the meaning for Christmas no one could tell me."

I answered, "I know the meaning."  She got the quick version since other people were behind  me to check out.  So here is the longer version of the meaning of this heavenly flower.  December 12th happens to be National Poinsettia Day.

The Poinsettia Flower is known as the Christmas Star and Christmas Flower.  It comes from a Mexican legend from the 16th century about a child who wanted to get baby Jesus something special for Christmas.  Maria or Pepita was poor and didn't have much money.  So she gathered weeds from the Mexican countryside to place at the church alter on Christmas Eve.  The people who attended mass that night witnessed a Christmas miracle.  The weeds turned into brilliant red and green flowers.  Jesus saw the child's heart of wanting to give and turned the weeds to something magical.  In the 17th century, Franciscan priests used the Poinsettia flower in their nativity processions.

So why do we call the Christmas Flower a Poinsettia?  It's all because of a man named Joel Roberts Poinsettia.  He was the first United States ambassador to Mexico in 1825,. He loved plants and thought this beautiful flower should be shared with others. He sent the flower to South Carolina where he began growing the plants and sending them to botanical gardens in 1828.  December 12th is National Poinsettias Day because of the death of Joel on December 12th in 1851. They became known as Poinsettias in 1830 when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.
The flower symbolizes good cheer and success.  It is said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration.

The beautiful flower is also known as Winter Rose, Noche Buena  and Mexican Flame Leaf.  In Turkey they call it  Atakurk's Flower, named after the founder of modern Turkey.  Even the ancient Aztecs loved the flower and considered it to be symbols of purity.  It is native to Central America so this flower has been shared with many types of people.  The Aztecs used the flower for purple dye for their clothes and cosmetics.  The milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers.  Today we call it sap latex.

The shape of the Poinsettia Flower and leaves are thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus.  The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ.  The white leaves represent his purity.
What is even more special is the etching of the Poinsettia flower is on a sand dollar.  God with his infinite wisdom knew this flower would some day symbolize Christmas.  So he planned ahead and took this lowly shell to remind us all of the plan of Christ. On the other side of the sand dollar is the Easter Lily.  This flower is celebrated at Easter symbolizing Jesus resurrection.  The sand dollar also has five wholes to show his death on the cross.

  Jesus came to earth at a special time in history when God knew the timing was right.  He came to humanity as a child in a manger.  He lived a life on earth without sin.  But bore our sin on the cross so we might live with him forever.  All we have to do is believe in Jesus and follow Him.  He gives us the Holy Spirit of love, joy and peace this holiday   season.  If you open the sand dollar white doves fall out to show peace.

 The doves are in the shape of a star on the inside of the shell. Peace on earth, good will toward men.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Praises

Rejoice always: pray without ceasing: in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving:
Colossians 4:2
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God ,even the Father;
Ephesians 5:19-20
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make it boast in the Lord, The humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the Lord with me.  And let us exalt His name together.
Psalm 34 1 -4
And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, "This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of ME. And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
Luke 22:19-20
May my prayer be counted as incense before You; The lifting up of my hands as the evening offering.
Psalm 141:2
do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
Ephesians 1:16

Bless the Lord O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all you iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103 1-5

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Caring for the Elderly by Sandra Kent

My mom will be 94 years old in December. People say she looks seventy. She has never dyed her hair and I think it still looks healthy.  She has a spark in her eye that says I've lived a good life.  I had a husband who loved me with three children to raise.  She adores her two grandsons who are now in their twenties.

 She is in a facility that gives her 24 hour health care. She has taken good care of her body most of her life and has never had a serious illness.  But when your body is almost ninety four years old it's going to hurt.  The doctor says her heart is still doing fine. Her mom's heart was the same way.  I say it's the Scottish side of the family.  The McPherson's live a long life.

The question is how to make her feel comfortable?  She doesn't like taking pills.  So when she got an infection a shot was the best solution.  The pain pills make her loopy.  She always did crossword puzzles to keep her mind sharp.  She tries to go down to the dining room for her meals.
The meals are the highlight of her day.  There's a backdrop of Texas Cowboys herding cows to eat by .Fort Worth is part of  wild west history.    She sits with her roommate who is from Bosnia.  She doesn't speak English but she has the warmest smile.  I feel I know her intimately even though we have only exchanged small words like," Hi how are you doing?"  She says," thank you," if I give her a treat.  I have no idea what she has lived through but she is nice to my mom and that's important to me.

They share a common window to let the sunlight in.  The cactus is always blooming with an amazing pop of yellow.  Her pink and black teapot that matched her kitchen is a reminder of her home with green leaves growing in the water.  I grabbed the pot from her windowsill kitchen window.  It overlooked a wire for hanging laundry.  Stay at home moms hung the sheets to dry to save electricity.  Every penny was important.   Her home was built in 1956 the year I was born.  It was a time in the United States where children could play in the street and cars would stop for a game of kickball.  I brought her a McDonald's Happy Meal one day and she saved the toy from the box.  Little things bring her joy.   My mom's bed is the closest to the window so she has a view of a beautiful courtyard.

When I visit I stroll her around the halls with her wheelchair.  There are sights to see like yellow canaries in their nest.
They come out to say tweet, tweet.
Little things break the monotony.  Bingo is another favorite thing to do.  Now I point to the numbers and she puts the marker.  Lately she says I can't make it today.  She lies in her bed and listens to her roommates TV.
When I come to visit she always mentions the photographs on the wall.  They are a reminder of her past.  My favorite photo is the black and white one of my mom with a backdrop of white Oklahoma Snow.  She looked beautiful with her dark hair and hazel eyes.  She remembers things like the Chatty Kathy doll I had as a child. She says it's still on the top shelf in your bedroom.  I think why does she always mention the doll when I talk to her on the phone or come to see her?  Maybe it's a way of remembering the times she raised her children.  She's a link to the past.  

As Thanksgiving approaches there will be many loved ones being cared for by facilities. My mom wants to see her home one more time so on Thanksgiving the plan was to pick her up and take her there.  But when I called today she said I don't think I can make it.  Her body is fragile  with age.  She doesn't want to get hurt.   Life is fragile.  Every day on earth is a gift from God.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cottonwood Art Festival in Richardson, Texas

The Cottonwood Art Festival is an art lovers tradition located north of Dallas in a community called Richardson.  It is rated as one of the top art festivals in the United States and a jewel for North Texas. It feels like a neighborhood festival with so many people bringing their dogs for a stroll or their children in the stroller viewing the colors from a child's perspective.  There's a lot of stimulus for the young and old because 240 artists from areas all over the United States come to share their creativity.
The competition is fierce for artists to even show their talent because they compete with 800 submissions.   A jury decides who comes to the Cottonwood Art Festival.  The artists compete in several categories: 2D Mixed Media, 3D Mixed Media, Ceramics, Digital, Drawings, Pastels, Fiber, Glass , Jewelry, Leather, Metalwork, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Wood.

 It's located in a beautiful North Texas setting on a canal of water.
Ducks are swimming as if to say come and enjoy the creativity of minds.  It's a river of art waiting to be explored.
The first artist that caught my eye does wonderful things with the medium of clay and color. Randy O'Brien  finds pleasure in exploring infinite possibilities in ceramics.

  He has done thousands of clay tests to achieve his goal.  He melts different materials at different temperatures to achieve his results.  
The glazes he uses takes his work a step further from a 2 dimensional surface to a 3 dimensional surface.  

Elizabeth Dunlap awakens the soul as she uses glass and metal to create sculptures of art.  
A combination of steel, aluminum, copper, brass,and bronze are her canvas for sculptures she creates.  
 Glass is the main focus of her creations because it acts like a backdrop to color.  Her pieces sparkle with individuality and luminescence.  Love and light are her goal as each person takes home a piece of energy.
Time clicks as Martin Design Works creates artistic expressions of time passing through space.  Martin works with his wife to display a gallery of wall clock art.  Although Martin repeats styles they are never exactly the same.  His color palette varies with the time piece.  I  loved it so much I bought the wall art for my husband to celebrate his 35 years with the same company.  
Creative art sparkles with colors of the rainbow as you stroll the lanes of Cottonwood Art Festival.
Thank you Cottonwood Festival Volunteers who help sponsor a wonderful event each year.
Artists pack up at the end of the day of creative expression.  It's time to carefully pack each precious item so the next festival will be successful.