Monday, December 27, 2010

christmas week (# 212 - 226 of 1000 gifts)

212. Ann's book on my Kindle app. (So very good to read the story behind 1000 Gifts, to discover the inner desperation that sparked Ann's search, and to have my eyes opened to the potential of habitual gratefulness.)

213. Christmas pies that leak sticky goodness all over the floor of my oven.

214. Tin foil on the bottom of that oven.

215. The person who invented tin foil.

216. The holiday smell of hubby's cabbage rolls.

217. Our peaceful, twinkly livingroom on late afternoons in December.

218. Teachers who learn from their students.

219.  My friend's words about Christmas:
Though it’s easy to see God as harsh and judgmental, even dangerous, in the Old Testament, think about Christmas.  What could be more tender than a baby? ...When God intervened in our messy world, he came as tender as tender can be.  He was handing us his baby.
(Read all of "That's Christmas" by Jill Hoskyn).

220.  Scent for me under the tree (Estee Lauder, I *heart* you!).

221. Hubby is liking his gift (but then, who wouldn't like an iPad).

222. A super-special gift to me from son (love that kid!!)

223. A safe drive through a mountain fairyland, to Christmas No.2.

224. Being part of a special act of worship -- the dedication of our grandbabies.

225. Christmas No. 2 with the two most handsome and lovable grandboys on earth.

226. A crystal-shiny and cold  walk this morning beside the North Thompson -- with my best friend.

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.

Ann's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is releasing in January. But you can get the Kindle version -- even give it along with a gift card from Ann --  now!

Saturday, December 25, 2010


My sister made this little potpourri bag manger scene for me some years ago. 
It is one of my favourite Christmas decorations.
"'For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.*'" Luke 2:11-12

*"Feed trough" is how my Bible footnotes "manger." It's a bassinet painted with animal drool, and decorated with cobwebs. What a contrast - Savior, Lord — lying in a manger! This is a sign indeed.

But it is consistent. For throughout His life, Jesus characteristically associated with  humble things:
  • He was "numbered with the transgressors" (Luke 22:37) when He was "crucified..." and, as if that way of death was not bad enough, "between two robbers" (Matthew 27:38).

I have two reactions:

1. Amazement, that the exalted, all-powerful, all-knowing Creator of heaven and earth chose to identify with us in this way. The contrast is almost inconceivable.

2. Thankfulness. Paul expresses that the reasons for our thankfulness so eloquently in 2 Corinthians 8:9.
"You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich." Message

Wishing you, dear reader, a rich and blessed Christmas!

Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) - Chris Tomlin

Violet Nesdoly / poems

Friday, December 24, 2010

merry christmas eve!

Here's a Jacquie Lawson greeting to go along with your eggnog, popcorn, and "It's a Wonderful Life."

Hat Tip: @VerlaKay

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Getting acquainted with Grandma's stick horse


Next Week: LIGHTS (Holiday Lights, Candles, Street Lights, Fireplace, Fireworks,...)

Violet Nesdoly / poems

Monday, December 20, 2010

love those lists, lunches, letters & lights (#199-211 of 1000 gifts)

Woven straw ornaments on the North Shore Polish Association tree 

As Christmas nears, my calendar can breathe again. It is most crowded at the beginning of the month — not so much any more. I love it that way.

Now for the gifts collected during the week just past:

199. Lists, which make Christmas shopping ... not so hard — actually fun.

200. A little timing miracle. I needed to be somewhere but the clerk was taking extra long to explain things. so I was late. But it didn't matter (not that it ever does, I'm just so obsessive about being on time) because everyone else was delayed too.

201. Christmas lunch with girlfriends.

202. Reconnecting with friends who moved back into town.

203. Christmas cards and letters; we're all thinking of each other!

204. A magic evening with Michael W. Smith (and thousands of others). Love his humble attitude: "It's all a gift." Yes, but what a gift!

205. Gift bags.

206. My local dollar store (how do they afford to sell those sturdy giant bags for $1.00?!)

207. Spending time with friends at the Dundarave Village Festival of Lights.

208. The sight of some old friends...well, they feel like old friends. We saw these Barrow's ducks from the West Vancouver seawall. We used to see a big variety of ducks and waterfowl on our Elgin Park, Serpentine River, and Mud Bay Park walks. Where we walk now we see mostly mallards.

209. Tree whimsy.

210. A creche on public display.

211. Charles Price, whose Living Truth talk on "The Doctrine of Christmas" put the whole season in grand perspective.

Now I'm off to make some more lists, of odds-and-ends to round out the shopping, and food for the feast!

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.

Ann's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is releasing in January. But you can get the Kindle version -- even give it along with a gift card from Ann --  now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Frivolous Friday - A Social Network Christmas

A Social Network Christmas | Igniter Media
This is too clever!

Hat tip: @angiehunt

Thursday, December 16, 2010


 Strawberry Tart
A Salmon House (West Vancouver) dessert in June, when strawberries were in season.


Next Week:TOYS (Dolls, Games, Stuffed Animals, Athletic Equipment, Construction Toys, Art Supplies,...)

Monday, December 13, 2010

music and lights (#190-198 of 1000 gifts)

 The stained glass windows of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Langley, BC

Collecting these gifts is doing a good thing inside me. It's helping me slow down and pay attention. As I notice and name it is making me mindful of the myriad good things that fill my life. I am happier, more peaceful and content. The week just past was characteristic...

190. Finishing. Last week we finished our ballroom dance lessons and Alpha. For someone who gets frequent temptations to quit early, finishing anything challenging is a high.

The Alpha dining room - ready for our Christmas feast

191. Kind words of encouragement. A couple came in emails from a colleague and a friend. When I reflect on how much they lifted me I challenge myself: Encourage others more often.

192. Hours in the kitchen. In our household where hubby does most of the cooking, last week spent stirring kneading, whipping, spreading, baking, freezing — I got totally into it!

193. Which segues naturally into the tastes of Christmas: spiced apple cider, toffee, chocolate, mint candy canes, sage dressing, eggnog... cookie dough!!

194. Our church's Christmas production, which I enjoyed this year from the audience. This is the first time in about five years that hubby and I haven't been in the choir. We invited friends and managed to get excellent seats all together!

Maria Whelton played the harp in the "Cal's Christmas" production at CLA.

195. Music. The choir songs were fabulous! So was the harp.

196. A house party afterwards. At our house. I had so much fun preparing this spread.

Wrap sandwiches, spinach dip with French bread, veggie and fruit platters with dips, spiced apple cider. Not pictured are Cracker Toffee, Seven-Layer Bars and cheesecake with blueberry-cranberry topping.

197. The computer, email and a printer, which make the tradition of writing the Christmas letter way less work than when I first started doing it eons ago.

198. An evening walk amid the lights. After a busy weekend wherein we also had a Pineapple Express (warm temperatures and a deluge of rain), we got home to find the rain had stopped and the lights of our little town beckoned. So we took a walk in the dark and enjoyed the Christmas ambience.

 MacBurney Lane, Langley, BC

Casino Plaza, Langley, BC

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

Violet Nesdoly / poems

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Lego Maple Leaf structure 
Langley Canada Day celebration, July 1, 2010

Next Week: FOOD (Farmers Market, Vegetables, Meat, Cooking, Restaurant,...)

Violet Nesdoly / poems

Monday, December 06, 2010

one week down, three to go (#181-189 of 1000 gifts)

Now that we're into December, Christmas feels very close indeed. Even though I promise myself after every hectic yule season that next year will be different, I never seem to change my drifting along ways, so that the month of December continues to catch me by surprise and feel like a sprint to the 25th. But I'm realizing too, that the busy times bring so much good with them. Many of the items on this week's list of 1000 gifts come out of seasonal busy-ness.

181. Our church's women's ministry put on a beautiful Christmas event on Wednesday night. "Dwell" was all about dwelling in God's presence. Every attendee left with a crystal ring-holder and perfume dispenser, along with the gift-tag reminder: "For we are to God the AROMA of Christ among those who are perishing." What a fabulous way to begin December.

182. I have an article due at the end of the month. I thought of making it an interview, my interview subject answered "yes" and sent back my questionnaire within 24 hours. So my article is already written!

183. On Friday I wrote the last of a whole year's worth of devotions. I didn't miss a day! It feels so good to have completed this challenge to myself. (If you're interested, they're here.)

184. The December 2010 issue of Good Times arrived with a poem of mine in the poetry section. How sweet is that!

185. The banquet and house party season is upon us! I love to get all dressed up in sparklies and go out to sip, munch and eat with friends.

186. The door prizes at the banquet we went to were legion. I didn't win one but hubby's ticket was drawn for a sparkly poinsettia!

187. The house is decorated. (The blog's new banner is the busy little village on my mantlepiece — in candlelight of course.)

188. Curling has begun! We watched the finals of the Canada Cup this weekend. How about that Stephanie Lawton! Those prairie girls sure know how to curl.

189. Water at the twist of a tap or touch of a lever. I'm appreciating that more than ever this morning as ours is off. We had notice, so collected a couple of soup pots of it.

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

holy experience


Violet Nesdoly / poems

Wednesday, December 01, 2010



Next Week: CONSTRUCTION (Houses, Streets, Commercial, Equipment, Vehicles,...)

Monday, November 29, 2010

C.S. Lewis Birthday Party etc. (#174 to 180 of 1000 gifts)

Today (November 29th) is the anniversary of C. S. Lewis's birthday. In honour of the Christian bard, I quote from one of my favourite books of his: The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil. How's this for a bit of upside-down advice:

"My Dear Wormwood,
You mentioned casually in your last letter that the patient has continued to attend one church, and one only, since he was converted, and that he is not wholly pleased with it. May I ask what you are about? Why have I no report on the causes of his fidelity to the parish church? Do you realize that unless it is due to indifference it is a very bad thing? Surely know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that "suits" him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches..." p. 81

(This birthday celebration is  sponsored by "Into the Wardrobe — a C. S. Lewis Website" with a party on Facebook.)


And on to naming this weeks' gifts:

Lavender - from roadside to sachets, a labour of love (Can't you just smell it!)

174. Our lavender project (all about raising money to fund reconstructive surgery for girls and young women in Uganda who have been facially disfigured by rebel soldiers-- project #5 on this page) is into the final sale phase. A big hug to my sis who is helping by selling them at the library where she works!

175. Alpha - two weeks from done. A big sigh of relief from this kitchen coordinator.

176. Ballroom dance classes — also only two weeks left and another big sigh of relief from the klutzy Mennonite girl who never learned to dance in her youth when it would have been a lot easier to etch those neural pathways between brain and feet.

177. My poetry group in Abbotsford. Our potluck last Wednesday night was fun — and tasty.

178. Last week's snow — beautiful!

179. I'm also thankful it's gone, along with the brutally cold weather. I love our normal winter days of cool, not cold temps (5-10C), with lots of humidity (so my hair doesn't go totally limp and straight).

180. Mini-mandarin oranges. These have to be the cutest fruits imaginable and so sweet!

If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here

holy experience


Violet Nesdoly / poems

Friday, November 26, 2010

book review: Make Love, Make War by Brian Doerksen

Churches have been singing Brian Doerksen’s worship music for several decades now. In his book Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship, released in 2009, Doerksen explains his philosophy of and passion for worship, tells the stories behind some of his songs, and gives songwriters artistic encouragement and technical tips.

Doerksen is no stranger to the Christian evangelical worship scene. Since he published his first song in 1989 (he tells that story in Chapter 3) songs have continued to flow from his heart, to his guitar, to his pen. His choruses, contemporary worship songs and laments have been sung in church services, home groups, gatherings, rallies and conferences around the world. He has been part of dozens of recording projects and he continues to write music with his web site abuzz with offerings of new CDs and DVDs.

Make Love, Make War consists of twelve chapters in which he tells the story of twelve songs. Each chapter begins with the song lyrics. Within the chapter he weaves together the story of how the song came to be written with what was happening in his life (including family, church, personal, and spiritual life) at the time. He devotes large parts of many of the chapters to the theology that grounds the song, quoting lots of scripture.

The chapters end with a section called “Songwriting Tips” where he offers suggestions to songwriters on a variety of topics, like where to find ideas, ways to make the songs musically interesting and integrated with the lyrics, and how to write effective, memorable lyrics. (I was struck by how similar his description of writing song lyrics is to my experience of writing poetry.)

His writing style is warm, conversational, and often casual – the smooth prose you’d expect, with here and there a phrase, sentence or paragraph that gives the reader a sense of his personality. Here, for example, is his little tangent about the expression “rose-colored glasses”:

It seems to me like someone slipped us some rose-colored glasses so that we don’t see things as they truly are. Let me say something about that expression. I wonder if the first person who used the phrase “rose colored glasses” ever came anywhere near actually growing roses. If you grow roses, as I do, you know this is not an easy task—it’s a battle. Roses are full of thorns, and so the beautiful blooms and fragrance from a rose come at a great price – often the blood and sweat of the gardener! and what color do you see when you look through those glasses? I am guessing they are inferring a pale shade of red…but roses come in every color (except black!).” p. 113.

He explains the scriptural basis of his songs using strong, customary Christian words, not with the studied avoidance of “christianese” seen so often these days.

What sticks with me most about this book is the heart of the man – a heart that is consistent with the kind of person who would write the songs he has written. He is a man who studies, knows and loves his Bible, his family, his church and, most of all, his God. His family situation as the parent of two special needs children has, it seems to me, kept him grounded and, in turn, contributed to the spiritual depth, honesty, and relatability of his lyrics.

His book is full of good advice, not only for songwriters, but for Christians in general. My favorite quote from the book is a songwriting tip from Chapter 3:

“Let God bring you forward – don’t promote yourself and your own songs. This is a really challenging area. You could move through seasons when it is time to be bold and share what God has given you. But don’t start there. Start in a place of hiddenness and service. God knows what you have written, and He is fully able to call it forward at the right time and in the right place.” p. 83.

If anything this book has made me appreciate the songs on the many Doerksen albums we own, more than ever. Make Love, Make War would be a great gift for song writers, worship leaders, and indeed any people that know, sing, and love Doerksen’s songs – and that’s a lot of people these days!

Book Details:

Title: Make Love, Make War: NOW is the Time to Worship
Author: Brian Doerksen
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition, (August 1, 2009) paperback, 224 pages, (August 1, 2009)
ISBN: 1434766829

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