Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

An angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were watching their sheep at night and the angel told them "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about'.

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told." Luke 2:10-20

In the Annunciation the angel spoke to Mary "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35

This post was contributed by Terra Hangen

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Making a Christmas List

Photo of our living room at Christmas 2014.
At this busy time of year I like to make a list of what I choose to do.
That gives me freedom to consider not doing things that no longer need doing, since one year is different from another.
Here are some things I will do this Christmas season.
I love to attend live performances of the Nutcracker Ballet each year, but will decide if I will do that this year.
Set up our festive Christmas tree with lots of old ornaments for the sparkly centerpiece of our holiday decor.
Buy an amaryllis bulb. I did that and planted it in the pot that came with it, on November 17. The color will be a surprise since the kit says it will be red, white or red and white.
Put up our collection of wooden nutcrackers on the fireplace mantle. My parents started this tradition.
Buy a new Christmas book each year. One sweet book is "A Cup of Christmas Tea", for children and adults, about a young man visiting his lonely senior aunt.
Display our two manger scenes.
Holiday meal and gift exchange on Christmas day with family.
Spend time at church.
Mail 30 or 40 Christmas cards to family and friends near and far, some who live in other countries.
New activity this year.
I will attend a holiday lunch and show where my friend is singing and dancing.
Tradition I will not do this year.
Bake Christmas cookies. This year I won't do any baking since I don't have little children around to bake for and we avoid excess sugar and white flour. We do love sweet treats though.
Are there any Christmas traditions at your house that you will enjoy this year, and any you will drop?
This post written by Terra Hangen
Here is a link with info about our co-authored Christmas book:
Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Amaryllis for Christmas

November is the ideal month to buy an amaryllis bulb and plant it in a small pot for blooms at Christmas.  These photos are of amaryllis from our home. Amaryllis do NOT require a green thumb or much care and they look spectacular as they grow on a thick green stem that reaches up above the pot and looks unusual.

Amaryllis grow from bulbs that can be as large as your fist, and have flowers up to eight inches across, on tall sturdy stems. As the thick stems grow above the pot, they look like strange alien beings, and guests are apt to remark “what is that?”.

Once the blooms open up, the question is answered, as the flowers brighten the room.

Most amaryllis will bloom in six to eight weeks, so November is the time to buy an amaryllis, either as a plain bulb, or one that is already growing in a pot, and that has stems emerging from the bulb. The bulbs you can buy that are almost ready to bloom are usually for red or red and white flowers, though amaryllis can be found in salmon, white and even lime green. There is a wide selection of bulbs and colors available in online and mail order nurseries.

For beauty I put some gardener’s marbles on top of the soil, set the pot in a sunny window, water once a week, and turn the pot a few times a week to keep the stalks growing straight up.When the amaryllis is done flowering, let the leaves die back, and set it in an out of the way corner until next spring when you can water it so it will bloom again, for several years to come.
For many more tips see our Christmas book:
Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts: Stories To Warm Your Heart and Tips To Simplify Your Holiday

This post written by Terra Hangen