Christmas Wall Sign: It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Christmas slate plaque, Merry Christmas wall sign

Clicking on the photo above will take you to the ordering information for our beautiful, festive and unique Merry Christmas slate plaque. This lovely Christmas sign is especially great if you will be hosting a Christmas party, dinner, or any type of holiday get together. The powerful message is sure to resonate with anyone who enters your home. Always remember, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Here’s an informative movie review of the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

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Prayer Break

This is my favorite and most moving scripture, and one I certainly need to read and meditate on every day.

The Lord is My Shepard

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me besides the still waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

-Psalm23

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Song of the Day: I Just Want to be Your Everything

 

I’m dedicating this song to my husband.

I remember being a little girl and, during those nice family nights, mom and dad sometimes would both be in a great mood and they’d start dancing to songs that reminded them of their teenage-love years. (They’ve been together since they were 16 years-old.) Of course, my sisters and I would laugh; but it was so comforting to see mom and dad smiling, dancing, showing how much they love each other, and reminiscing over their teenage years.

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One day when Megan is older, she’s going to be in the spot I was and be that little girl smiling and laughing as her parents dance to a love song.

Thankful Thursday: Like Mother, Like Daughter

Last week Meg and I had another great evening at the pier. No big ole’ stroller, I just carried her around and she did a lot of walking–with me holding her hands from the back. She is so funny. Sometimes there are big dogs out there, and they would walk past us on the side walk. Of course, their owners would have the dogs’ mouths covered up and have the dogs on a leash. However, I noticed that the big animals don’t scare Meg at this point. She actually starts walking towards them.

She doesn’t have that fear of the unknown yet. Well, besides strangers. She doesn’t like any stranger trying to hold her or even to get really close to her. The other day we were out there, the ducks were getting really close and feisty. They kept looking like they wanted to attack and take Megan out of my lap. So there were a few times we had to get up and move away from the wild ducks. She wasn’t scared though, but I was taken aback.

She gets so much attention when we’re out. On this most recent outing, it must was about 8 people/couples wanting to play and talk with her.

She used to be scared of the fountain, but she certainly wasn’t last week. The photo below was taken in November and she wasn’t with me on that night. However, it’s the same huge fountain that we sat near last week during sunset. And Miss Meg started taking her shoes off and was trying to wiggle out of my arms and get in the fountain!!

It was hilarious. I sat her down so she could dip her little hands in the fountain, but I was surprised and tickled pink that she wanted to get in there. I think she thought it was bath time since she now takes baths in the regular tub and not the kiddie tubs anymore.

We walked along this pier. I have a wonderful picture of her holding onto the rails and looking at the water. That’s when I thought to myself, she’s going to be a nature lover just like mommy!

The picture below was taken with my cell phone. It doesn’t matter….DSLR (which I never really carry anymore) or cell phone, practice framing your photos! We’ll buy her a camera when she gets older and go on many nature photo shoots.

Thankful.

Question of the day: What do you enjoy about getting older?

There are so many negatives related to aging, everything ranging from our physical appearance to our general health status is negatively impacted by aging. I think it’s good to find something positive regarding getting older, and embrace it among the sea of negatives that are out there.

I’m 35-years old. (Ouch, that honestly stings to say, because wow, I’m really getting seasoned to say the least. And “35” is a pretty high number. Oh wait, I’m supposed to be discussing the positive side of aging.)

So, only recently have I realized that I truly get better with age in many ways. I can finally understand what Oprah meant when she said, “Life begins at 40.” I was about 15-years old when I heard her say that (I’ve been an Oprah fan for a long time), and I could never understand where she was coming from. I truly thought it was something women said just to make themselves feel better about getting older.  Of course I also thought I knew everything at that age.

Now that I’m 35 (ouch, am I really this old?), I can truly say that I get better with age because:

  • I’m very satisfied with the many things I painfully obsessed over in my teens, 20’s, and even early 30’s. Things such as hair length, hair type, weight (I was either too thin or too heavy),  complexion or skin tone, my hands, my knees, my feet, you name it, there would be some point that I would wish I looked “better” in a particular area. I realize how insignificant those things are in the grand scheme of LIFE despite the emphasis that society places on them. Those things do not contribute to what’s most important in life: Health, strong sense of self, strong spirituality, health, and loving, healthy relationships.
  • I’m okay with being quiet and introverted and realize that I’m never going to change, and why should I have to? I used to desperately wish I could be the popular, social butterfly who loves to party. I’m actually a bit of a wall flower, and that’s really okay. I can make my impact in other ways besides being the life of the party.
  • Becoming a wife and mother, and experiencing, living, and growing in these roles are gifts that make aging a worthwhile treasure .

Art credits: “Butterfly” by Michael Wallace.

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What about you?

A Mother’s Spirit

A Mother's Love by Kolonji

I’m realizing I had a void in my life before becoming a mom and that’s partly why I was so drawn to working with kids. Now, I’m like a different person when it comes to other people’s kids. I’m somewhat selfish now, in the sense that I realize how micro my time and life is, and I want all my nurturing and patience to go to my kids/family kids.

That’s actually why I knew it was time to try and have my own, because I kept getting heartbroken and sickened with stress from other people’s abused, neglected, traumatized kids that came into my life. I remember being pregnant and still crying over all these kids I couldn’t help. I always wondered why I would cross paths with such hurting and suffering children, yet I wouldn’t be able to help them out of their situation. It felt like torture, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to have my own child if I didn’t step back for a while.

Now that I have my own little angel, I’m like, wow, I owe everything to her. I can’t let other parents’ mistakes tear me down and I bring that home to my child. I don’t see how youth workers and teachers with their own children not bring that stuff home. I accept the fact that I have a very obsessive, high strung personality and if it’s anything I can’t solve or conquer it runs me crazy(er) and eats me alive. I don’t see how teachers/counselors/youth workers of troubled children turn it all off when it’s time to deal with their own kids.

I’m finally so at peace. I don’t feel like I failed all those other kids in past. The group of 5th grade, inner city, troubled students where I had to quit, though I loved them (probably too much), since having my own child I no longer feel like I failed them or any other kids I couldn’t help. I must have tried so hard, too hard, because I had a void because I wasn’t a mom. It’s amazing how you can look back and put the pieces of the puzzle together. I would like to use my love for education in a different way, not just with kids. I actually enjoyed working with elderly people, to my surprise. I learned so much about living life, growing old, and death.
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Art Credit: I believe it is called “A Mother’s Love by Kolonji.”
http://imgfave.com

Mother’s Day Ideas!

 I love Mother’s Day!

As I mentioned in this post, Happiest Little Girl in the World, I had a magical, wonderful childhood thanks to my wonderful parents. And of course, we just happen to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids, and a great location that provided us many opportunities to have so much fun.

Mother’s Day is an important day for me. I may let Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts slide, but Mother’s Day is that day where it’s important to make sure mom feels very special and appreciated as you look back on the years she has given so much to raise a family in this challenging world that is about everything but family.

Ideas

1)I’m in the process of starting my own (online) photography gift shop. I’m starting off by offering photo books and 4×6 and 5X7 prints as part of a gift package. My 1st photo book is Rainbow-themed. It will have rainbow photographs that I have taken, as well as prayers, quotes, cooking ideas (How to make a rainbow cake), a photography article (how to photograph a rainbow), and rainbow lesson ideas for teachers and parents. I will like to give my mother (and my motherinlaw) the first copies of my book that I hope does well. More on all of this later.

2)So I will basically like to have an entire table set up for mom with all types of little things, such as:

3)Colorful flowers, something to match the very slight rainbow theme I am going with. Of course this will be a joint effort of my sisters and me.

4)A CD with some family videos of her grand kids. Also will be the Easter speech videos from her grand kids. She saw the Easter speeches on my cell phone as best she could. She asked for these to go on a CD, so what better way than to make it for Mother’s day.

5)I’m thinking of putting together a little booklet where each grandkid write something for her and draw something. Gotta get the rainbow theme in here somehow.

6)A Giftcard for her to, I guess her favorite store.

7) I will need to have a photo of all of the grand kids on it.

8)She has already asked us to cook for her. (Why didn’t we think of that). So for dessert it will be the layered rainbow cake.

Photo Credits:

 http://static.tastykitchen.com
http://chella.typepad.com/
 

Happiest Little Girl in the World

…That would be me, in the mid and early 1980’s. I had the best childhood any kid could ever ask for. There were no trips to Disney, no fancy summer camps, or anything like that. We just used our imaginations and created our own magic. From board games to hide and seek to our treasure hunt bike trails and our dance routines, our club house….and so much more, we always had something fun going on.

But the main reason why my childhood was so wonderful and magical was because of the heaven-sent parents the Lord chose for my sisters and me. They did a wonderful job of shielding and protecting us from the many dangers that hunt so many children and rob them of their childhood. As we got older, of course, they had to slowly let us find our own way in this world, but they certainly laid a solid foundation for us.

I miss the innocence and magic of my childhood so much. So much actually, that years ago I started having these dreams where I am a little girl again. I am very happy and without a care in the world. I’m protected, stress-free, and oblivious to the many ills of the world. I’m playing and enjoying myself, and then suddenly in the dream, the realization comes that this sweet and innocent candy-coated world of mine will not last forever. In the dream I begin to realize the harshness and cruelty that awaits me when around age 11. Things such as puberty, certain family members turning to drugs, the neighborhood becoming violent and beginning to deteriorate, my cousins and friends starting to take a  faster and negative path in life, noticing and experiencing sexism and hatred against females, becoming more  aware of racism….I could list many more things, but basically those are the things I woke up to once my dreamy, lovely childhood was over. It is almost like my entire world changed over night.

Besides those heavy things, things like Saturday morning cartoons, family-friendly and classy Black sitcoms, classy music and videos….playing all the yard games, board games, dance routines, riding our bikes miles away from home, going on long walks away from home, etc would also be coming to an end as everyone grew up, found different interests, and the entertainment world changed for the worse.

So about 2 weeks ago, I had the dream again. I was in my childhood home, walking through the long brown hallway. I had my long ponytails, and was smiling and as happy as they come. Then it hit me that eventually I’m going to grow up. As in all of my dreams like this, I began crying hysterically in the dream and shouting over and over how much I do not want to grow up. I cry so hard in the dream that I can actually (physically, as in real life) feel the tears in my eyes and I can feel the lump in my throat as I sleep. I would wake up with actual tears in my eyes.

But this dream was very different!

In this dream, as I was crying, someone (I don’t know who it was–it was a female), but someone brought Megan to me. In the dream, I was told that it’s time to stop crying and stop grieving for my childhood. The message was now that I have Megan, I can use those same memories as a way to create  magical and wonderful childhood memories for Megan. She is my new magic, innocence, wonder, joy, happiness, and everything that my childhood represented; I can find it in Megan.

So actually, it’s not the end of my childhood. It’s actually a new beginning.

Birthday Party Ideas (Part 2)

Part 1 is here.

Theme: Butterfly

Invitations

Since it’s only going to be close family & friends there, I really don’t see the need to focus on invites.  For keepsakes, I might get some darling ones I saw in Dollar Tree though they didn’t match my theme. They had a kitten on them & were too cute.

Food/Menu 

This is the hardest part for me. I wanted to do all platters because they are so pretty, but like my sister said platters are just so costly. One year..not this one though, lol.

Food platters sure do cost: Sandwiches??

Fruit?? Pizza, chips, & dip?? Goodness I just remembered we’ll need drinks as well.

The Cake:

They are fairies but still match the butterfly (and garden/flower) theme. At first I wanted cupcakes with butterflies on top, but after seeing this cake I will scratch the cupcake idea.

Edited: Ok I’m changing my mind about the cake. I LOVE this cake below. Maybe the store (or I) can add some butterflies so it will match the theme.

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*Other ideas*

Okay, I have had to ban myself from coming up with anymore ideas. I already have too too much to buy, plan for, and put together.

Display Table: 

Decorations: I will just have to go in stores and see, at this point I can’t come up with how I want it until I start putting something together. I’m thinking small candles, a nice table cover, and of course butterfly things. The main things on the display table will be the Pregnancy/Newborn Photobook (I have scratched the idea of making a photo book about her 1st year for now. Maybe later. I need to go back to printing individual pictures) I was thinking about making a book about her 1st year & giving a copy to each of her grandmothers for Mother’s Day.

A Card(s) for everyone to sign:

The outside of the card will have her picture on it. It will say “Megan is Number One.” 🙂 The inside will have a picture of a black & white butterfly. The bottom of the inside will say:

“Our Little Butterfly, set the skies on fire,

Rise up even higher,

so the ageless winds of time,

can catch your wings.”

That’s a quote from one of my favorite songs called “Black Butterfly.”

The back of the card will have a photo of her the day she was born. It will say, “One Year Ago…” March 7, 2011.

Butterfly Garden

I want to make (a very small) one, real flowers & all,  and put it on the balcony. This will be a good educational component for the kids (and adults too!). I will print some educational information to put near it. I’m not expecting it to actually attract butterflies because I just don’t have the time to research & find the type of flowers needed for my area and season. But it should be interesting & educational either way. I’d like to include a little butterfly house as well. The kids will love this.

When I was on a photo shoot in the gardens I came across a large, professionally created butterfly garden.

Butterfly Treats or Favors

Guests can put some candy in the plastic butterflies above.

Butterfly Gallery

The kids will choose a picture of a different butterfly before the party. They will color it (crayons, markers, water color..), and I will frame it (maybe?) & display it & call it a gallery.

Photo Credits:
http://www.miacarina.com; http://www.publix.com; http://party.tipjunkie.com; http://www.bridaloccasion.com

Remembering a Special Childhood Friend

((I wrote this about 11 years ago for one of my former websites at the time. Our house was the hangout spot for all the neighborhood kids on our street. I think I had the best childhood ever. During the summer a bunch of kids would be at our house from as early as 9 am and stay around until 8 or 9 pm (or whenever my mama called us in). During the school year, after we finished our homework, we would also be outside for hours until mama called us in.))

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During the summer, Tookie would be on my porch at about 9 or 10 am, asking me to play UNO with him. We played many games in my neighborhood, but sometimes we would start the day off with hours of UNO. Sometimes Tookie would put his younger cousin Dusty up to the task of asking me to play UNO. After a while Dusty, who was about 7, and I, who was about 11, would sit on the porch at night and have these long conversations with each other.

 

I remember one night, just for a little moment,  I became a little jealous of Dusty when he told me that he was taking Spanish. I didn’t believe him, so I asked, “How do you say ‘house’ in Spanish?” I just knew he would not be able to answer that because I just randomly picked a word. In fact, I did not know a word of Spanish at the time (though in High School I would be chosen Most Outstanding Student in Spanish). So I was thinking, how could this little 7-year-old know how to say “house” in Spanish & me, a big 11 year old, not know any Spanish.  Then Dusty smiled at me and said “CASA!!”

Dusty was always smiling, and was a total sweetheart. He had smooth, caramel-brown skin and soft, curly hair. If I could have chosen any boy from the hood to be my little brother, I would have chosen Dusty. He died in 2000 at the age of 17 from a heart attack. (No, he was not overweight).

After he died, I kept saying that I wish I could have hugged him. So one night I had this dream that went back to my childhood. We were kids again & I got my hug in the dream, which made me wake up feeling relieved somehow.

Dusty, we sure did have a lot of fun didn’t we?:+)

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Photo Credit:
http://www.lssproducts.com