Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas-Day 7

New Years Day is Day 7 of the 12 days of Christmas.

At our church’s New Years’s Eve service, we were told what the word of 2015 would be.  It was announced that the word was B-O-L-D Bold.  The content of the sermon included the two sides of God-the Lion and the Lamb and that the Lion side of His nature would appear more in the New Year.  What a surprise then, or was it,  to wake up on New Year’s Day with the front page of our local newspaper with this article about Pope Francis being the person of the year.  The word BOLD was prominently displayed in the title of the article.


I got to thinking about what that word BOLD  means to me.  I pondered how sometimes people like to take each letter of a word and make additional meaning to it and came up with this expanded meaning for me.





The word inspired me to start to take action to get things done on the dreams that I have desired for a long time. The desires that He put in me. After spending 2014 doing some major inner healing work, being very quiet and often times alone among the sheep, this new word encourages the Lion in me to step out in the accompaniment of our Lord and get things done. There’s all those dreams that have been brewing and all those items yet to be realized. It’s time now to do them. To roar, to stand up, to fight if needed to be all that the Lion and Lamb has promised all of us to be.


Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas-Day 4

On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Four Calling Birds

Three French Hens

Two Turtle Doves

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

On the Voice website (crivoice.org) the author of the Twelve Days of Christmas article, Dennis Bratcher, correlates the twelve days of Christmas song to biblical references.  On the fourth day of Christmas he states that the four calling birds are the “four gospels 1) Matthew , 2) Mark, 3)Luke, 4) John, which proclaim the Good News God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.”


Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas-Day 6

It seems the twelve days of Christmas song and celebration has references suggesting it was a secret way for children to learn the “tenets of their faith”. That myth has mostly been debunked but it appears the idea is still going strong even while the idea has been unfounded.

For Catholics, today is the day to celebrate Pope Sylvester 1. It appears that there is not that much information about him other than that he was a Bishop in Rome in 314.

The idea of what it means to be a saint has been on my mind lately.

I think traditionally what comes to mind when someone references a saint is the image of someone like Saint Sylvester who worked in the church in a high position and has since passed away.

But if you consider Jesus who walked the earth and was God himself and offered himself to us as a sacrifice so that we might know eternal life, maybe this verse reference may be one meaning that more closely fits,

“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” 1 Corinthians 1:2

May you call on our Lord Jesus Christ today and every day of the New Year and be like the saints.


Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas-Day 5

My internet search for the meaning behind a lot of the 12 days of Christmas after the Holy Innocents and up to the day of Epiphany seems to get blurry at best with different ideas and a lot of Catholic references that I don’t follow. So, I’m falling back on the Christmas Carol for inspiration.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

In the carol, the Five golden rings verse has a long pause once you get to the next days of the song. Perhaps then, this is an important pause in the celebration.

Previously I had read somewhere that the biblical meaning behind the number 5 was Grace and Gold seems to get a lot of references in the bible. Part of Revelation 21:21 states that …”the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass.” In Genesis 2:12 it says, “And the gold of that land is good…”Finally, the bible references the signet ring often in scripture. According to bible-history.com,

“The “signet ring,” also known as a “seal” comes from the Hebrew word “hotam” and the Greek word “sphragis” and was used universally in the ancient world. It was a portable instrument used much like we use a signature today, but much more important. They would seal or stamp a document, or the door of a house, or a tomb, etc. It was also an emblem of authority.”

So the three together could possibly be a very basic snapshot of what it means to follow Christ–He provides the grace for us to understand His promises, like streets of gold, and He even signs his promises with a signature.

Much to pause, and ponder about.


Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas Day 3



Continuing the celebration of day three of the twelve days of Christmas, I spent a lovely lunch at Brothers Provisions with a college friend and her family.  Seeing her daughter hold her present really highlighted the day’s focus on celebrating the innocents.  As Christianity Today states, “On December 28, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Innocents, the children murdered by Herod…They died unjustly before they had a chance to know or to will—but they died for Christ nonetheless. In them we see the long agony of those who suffer and die through human injustice, never knowing that they have been redeemed. If Christ did not come for them too, then surely Christ came in vain. In celebrating the Holy Innocents, we remember the victims of abortion, of war, of abuse. We renew our faith that the coming of Christ brings hope to the most hopeless. And, in the most radical way possible, we confess that like the murdered children we are saved by the sheer mercy of Christ, not by our own doing or knowing.”


Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas Day 2

According to Christianitytoday.com, “St. John the Evangelist, commemorated on December 27, is traditionally the only one of the twelve disciples who did not die a martyr. Rather, John witnessed to the Incarnation through his words, turning Greek philosophy on its head with his affirmation, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14, KJV).

Yesterday was day two of celebrating the twelve days of Christmas. For me, it was a day to think about what it means to live a life focused on love. One of the most often quoted gospel verses is John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

I thought about how it’s really difficult to love those who hurt us, whether intentionally or not.  I also considered the idea that to be able to fully love others, we must embrace our own love and beauty for ourselves.  That statement could sound self-centered but I don’t believe it is. If we haven’t learned to really appreciate who we are, I don’t think it’s easy to appreciate or love others.

So, day two for me was a celebration of sending out New Years cards and gifts to my treasured business clients and then spending the rest of the day enjoying the town I live in and seeing it in a new perspective.

Letter photo

With a brand new loaner car while mine was in the shop, my first destination was to the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe where they had set up an ice skating rink on their front lawn for the holiday season. Since it was midday, no one was skating at the time I visited. I stepped into their reception area and found this massive Christmas tree in the center.  Inn at RSF tree

From there, I headed toward Del Mar and made a decision to stop at the Candle Shop. For all the years I’ve lived near there, I had never gone in. They make beeswax candles on the property and said they had been there for 85 years.  My purchase, a Jane Austen inspired candle with scents of gardenia, tuberose and jasmine-some of my favorite smells.

Candle shop

I had brought a manuscript I have been working on with me on the journey and decided to head to one of my favorite destinations to write–The Grand Del Mar.  The Grand is a five star hotel and could very well be Cinderella’s castle. I’m lucky to live nearby. There’s a coffee shop that overlooks their beautiful saline pool. They had an almost to the ceiling tree in the entryway and many people sat around tables in the dining area enjoying afternoon tea.


My final destination was to view Candy Cane Lane in Rancho Penasquitos. And lo and behold what should appear, not St. Nick but Cinderella, her prince and fairy Godmothers there.


Overall, a love-ly day.


Celebrating 12 Days of Christmas-Day 1

I’m finding that one of the beautiful things about the Christmas season is continuing the celebration after Christmas Day.  I’ve never formally celebrated twelve Days of Christmas but I think this year I’m going to try. To get started, I need to understand what the 12 Days of Christmas actually mean.

So, a Bing search came up with some interesting results.  One “Best Answer” on Yahoo answers came up with this response from Susan, (partial quote here) …”Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th but the following day is considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th)…Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God’s grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was a secular “nonsense song,” they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world. After all, is that not the meaning of Christmas anyway?”

Over at achievebalance.com, an article describes the 12 Days of Christmas song this way, “The singer of the carol is the ordinary person who believes in Christ, and his ‘true love’ is God the Father. The accumulative pattern of going back each time through all the verses teaches the ongoing and abundant blessings of a loving God. We repeat to help us not forget what we have received. The whole song is a joyful celebration of what God has done for us.”

An article about the 12 Days of Christmas on Christianitytoday.com suggests that the traditional Christian celebration of Christmas is exactly the opposite of how the world generally celebrates Christmas, starting after November in getting ready for it and then culminating in the celebration on the 25th.

The article goes on to say, “The “real” twelve days of Christmas are important not just as a way of thumbing our noses at secular ideas of the “Christmas season.” They are important because they give us a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation means in our lives. Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history—the entry of God into the world He made, in the form of a baby. The Logos through whom the worlds were made took up His dwelling among us in a tabernacle of flesh.”

It goes on to say that December 26 “is the feast of St. Stephen—a traditional day for giving leftovers to the poor (as described in the carol “Good King Wenceslas”). As one of the first deacons, Stephen was the forerunner of all those who show forth the love of Christ by their generosity to the needy. But more than this, he was the first martyr of the New Covenant, witnessing to Christ by the ultimate gift of his own life.”

photoOK, so my plan for today was initially to bring these Capezzanna Olive Oil tea cakes I made yesterday to my volleyball group I’m playing with this afternoon, but I’m adding one more task: Find a homeless person to give one to.  Wish me luck.




Celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles

This year my church has decided to celebrate all the Jewish Festivals and today is the Feast of Tabernacles.  Our pastor has studied the different signs of the times and found the recent red moons (two in 2014 and two in 2015) fall on significant Jewish festivals like today’s Feast of Tabernacles. This morning you could see a red moon at 3:30 a.m. on the Pacific Coast.  There is so much significance to these signs that pastor Ray has written a whole book about it called the Holy Land Keys. 


The Hebrew name for the Feast of Tabernacles is Sukkot.  According to the website hebrew4christians.com, the event is to celebrate the time Israel lived in huts while living in the desert for 40 years after leaving Egypt.  It goes on to say that after Israel moved into the promised land Sukkot was like a Fall Festival.  It is a time to celebrate and rejoice in God’s blessings and provisions for our lives.

It is also a time for restoration, according to ucg.org. The site maintains that  “The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the restoration process, which will start with the return of Jesus Christ, pictured by the Feast of Trumpets, and the banishment of Satan, depicted by the Day of Atonement. Once these events have taken place, as represented by the previous Holy Days, the foundation is in place for the restoration of the creation to peace and harmony with God.”

I have found it interesting that as our church body celebrates these events my own walk has aligned with them. Last Saturday on Yom Kippur I naturally rested all day only realizing later that it was meant to be a day of rest.  Then, today I changed my internet service provider and had them install a wireless device someone had given me which was aptly named Paradise.  I kept the name. It seems like just the right fit to start celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles.  Now, whenever I choose my wireless service I can remember that God does promise us Paradise.

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Five Ways to Live Beautifully on a Limited Budget

I’ve always loved surrounding myself with beautiful things but there have been many instances throughout life where resources were  limited so I needed to be creative.  So, how do you surround yourself with beauty on a limited budget?  Here are five suggestions I’ve come up with in my search to live beautifully.


Collage Journal

Collage Journal

1.  Imagine It-In times of scarcity it can be difficult to imagine what it would be like if resources were more abundant.  What I have in multitude are images from magazines.  Even if you don’t have a bunch of periodicals lying around you can find them at used bookstores for cents.  Flip through the images in the magazines and find ones you like that are pretty or attractive to you. Rip the pages out and create a collage. Make the masterpiece into a journal or poster to hang on your wall for inspiration. Take the notebook around with you on your travels to record more ideas about ways of living beautifully.

Reupholstery in progress

Reupholstery in progress

2.  Reupholster It- I had a chair from Salvation Army for years before I took the time to reupholster it. I could see the beauty of the bones and figured some nice new fabric would turn it into a gem.  I think I paid about $25 for the chair and spent another $20 for fabric and trim. One long weekend I finally figured out how to do it by reading through Simple Upholstery & Slipcovers by Carol Parks.  It still needs the trim because I ran out of staples, but once it’s redone it’s probably worth a little over $100.

3.  Can It-When I was studying wine I wanted to know what vintners went through in growing their grapes so I planted a cabernet sauvignon grape vine in the backyard.  It took three years to produce fruit and then a one year learning curve to figure out what to do with the grapes, but this year I was able to make homemade grape jelly out of the harvest. Yum and what a great chance to spread the beauty around to friends.

Cabernet sauvignon grape jelly

Cabernet sauvignon grape jelly

4.  Drink It-If you can’t afford a nice dinner out, how about traveling to try a different coffee house?  The new Zumbar Coffee & Tea in Cardiff by the Sea, California is  an inexpensive excursion.  Beauty in a cup. Ahhh.

Zumbar Coffee

Zumbar Coffee


5.  Meditate on It-Certainly not least, but if it boils down to just you and God, meditate on the word for a beautiful mindset.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11



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Laughing in the Rain


Sometimes I’ve heard people say we’re not supposed to look for signs from God to prove His reality or presence, but then if you think about all the stories in the bible about how He made Himself known in such miraculous ways and through nature, I wonder if we often miss out on how He speaks to us by trying to temper this idea down.

Last weekend while at church and waving my bulletin in front of my face because it was hot, the air conditioning finally kicked in and the pastor made a comment about the thankfulness of cool air.  A little while into his sermon it appeared the air conditioning was on full blast as the noise was becoming rather loud.

He stopped speaking and asked the crowd, “Is that rain?”

Someone in the back of the room shouted “yes.”

The pastor started laughing while the congregation quietly clapped.  Just so you know the place and time, it was early September in San Diego where things like loud rain storms don’t happen in the middle of the summer and in a very long drought season.

I felt something good bubbling up and kicking in the middle of my stomach. It was a mix of thanksgiving, gratitude, the wonders of what God can do to show His love for His people, and really an amazing sense of well being that is hard to put in words.

When the service was over we walked out to a bright and sunny day with the only reminder of that rain storm in dried up droplets of blotchy patterns on my car.  I drove away laughing and found myself chuckling internally for the rest of the day. As I sat and pondered His love for us, I had thought about what the pastor had said the weekend before. If I remember correctly he was talking about how God had controlled the timing of things when he had opened Rachel’s womb in the Genesis story, and he had made it a point that there were three ways that God did this, one of the ways was opening the womb of a barren woman, another of the ways was controlling rain.

Some may reason that there has been tropical rain storms in Mexico and so it was just a natural situation.  But I say God at just the right time, likes to make Himself known to the people who love him doing things like showering down a rain cloud at just the right time. I bet He was laughing while He was doing this too.

Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250Coffee For Your Heart is a weekly challenge with Holley Gerth. Click on the heart to the left to find out how you can participate in this challenge too.