Hear Those Bells? – Day 9 Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt

Salvation Army worker
Today’s prompt is a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. There’s nothing more “Christmasy” than hearing a Salvation Army bell ringer. I wonder if you’ll take a look at my past with me? A stroll down memory lane if you will…

I had the most beautiful upbringing in the whole world. Part of this heritage includes a family with its roots entrenched in the Salvation Army. My father, the eldest son of Salvation Army officers started his young family where his foundation lay…at the SA. My mother had her life changed when at 15, after a Billy Graham crusade, she filled out her followup paper work with SA for Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, and the Salvation Army showed up at her door. I have a plethora of family members that has served as officers of the Army and are now retired. As someone who has had the pleasure of watching their lives from the inside, let me tell you, they do the most good.

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My own spiritual formation took a turn when I was 14. An uncle from my mother’s side started a non-denominational church and we began attending there. However, there have been key moments in my life when I have found myself right back where I started…at the Army. Two times stand out in particular. Once was the Thanksgiving when my father encouraged my family to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at the corps they were attending. My children were all tweens at the time, and at first they were a little annoyed that our family traditions were going to be “interrupted”. But, by the end of the dinner, I can honestly say that they were truly more grateful for things that previously they had taken for granted.

The other time that stands out in my mind was around the same time as the first. We went to church with my parents who were then attending a Salvation Army church in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Army has much more conservative services than my children were used to, and the congregation there was much more…shall we say ecclectic? First, a lady with a FULL BEARD, stood up and gave a testimony. I gave the “look” to my boys, more than once, and eventually they were so intrigued by her praise to God and to the love and acceptance that the rest of the congregation showed that her that they were okay on their own with my evil eye. Next, a lady with an oxygen tank got up and played the accordian for special music. I’ll never forget my daughter whispering very sincerely and innocently in my ear, “This is better than a circus!”

…and then I realized. How many churches would celebrate these dear ones? Would mine? Even more importantly, would I? I am reminded of an old song we used to sing when I was in the Army. “To love the unloved, in the service of the Lord.” It is service to the Lord when I love those the world calls unlovely. And the unlovable aren’t just those who look different than we do…or those who smell different than we do. Sometimes they are the co-worker in the cubical next to us, or dare I say it, the person we are living with…

Please consider giving to one of the most nobel causes on the planet. The Salvation Army has made the world a better place in so many ways. Won’t you help them do it? If you are interested in contributing to my virtual kettle, you can click here.

Ham barely beat out turkey for most popular Christmas Dinner meat. Today’s poll is for the best picture of a Christmas present.

I know that this week will be busy for all of us, so I’ve decided to post the week’s photo prompts:
Monday – A Gift
Tuesday – Salvation Army Bellringer
Wednesday – Advent Calendar
Thursday – Snowflake
Friday – Nativity

The linkup will be from now through Friday. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “gift” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!



I Want To Soar Like A Spider (Repost)

So, I’ve had a bad cold the past few days….which really stinks because my Mom is here and I had all kinds of fun things planned. All she has done is serve me. I am so disappointed as it is almost time for her to go home. Anyway, in order to spend what little time I do have with her, I’m reposting something from a long time ago. If you’ve never read it before, I hope you enjoy it! It was published in an on-line Chicago magazine which is pretty cool. My son took the amazing picture! Gotta fly…or should I say gotta soar like a spider! 😉


Today my son and I went downtown. He edits video promotions for our church and he needed some good footage for an upcoming conference. So, he asked me to come along. Actually, he asked someone else, but they couldn’t go. It’s interesting how moms are always last on the list…

So we found ourselves romping around the city for a few hours. One of the places at which he decided to do some shooting was at the Hancock building. I wasn’t exactly thrilled about going to the ninety-third floor on the fastest elevator in North America. (It takes only 40 seconds!) The things we will do for our children. But, once we arrived the view was spectacular! It was a beautiful, clear day and visibility was particularly great.

While sitting in a chair waiting for my son, I noticed a spider in the corner of the window…on the OUTSIDE of the corner of the window, thankfully. I wondered how he got up there. Did he walk? If so, how long would it take a spider to walk from ground level to the 93rd floor? Fascinated, I asked my son to take some pictures.

I couldn’t stop thinking about these spiders, and after some investigation I found several of them all around the observation deck. When I got home, I did a little research and this is what I found…and I promise, I am not making this up.

Fellow blogger Mom2Mom stayed on the 15th floor of a hotel across the street from the Hancock building recently and received the following note left on the bed:

Dear Guest:

We request that you do not open your windows in your suite during this time to avoid the annual migration of High Rise Flying Spiders.

A Chicago Phenomenon…..

Lake shore high-rises, Willis Tower and Hahn Hancock are noticing the annual influx of flying spiders spinning mini-masterpieces as high as 95 stories.

Baby spiders release silk from their spinnerets to create a balloon-like contraption. The spiders then use the balloon to hitch rides on uplifting air currents from the lake. The spider is the Larinioides sclopetaria, an orb-weaving spider that is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. In natural environments, these spiders live on rocks overhanging water. In the city, they have found the next best thing; tall buildings and high-rises. What makes high-rises so appealing is the light shining through the windows.

Thank you for helping us provide you with a comfortable stay.

There are no “rocks overhanging water” in Chicago so they found the “next best thing”. I want to be found as adaptable as these little critters. When they find themselves outside their typical environment, they don’t complain, they don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, they adapt. Then they use their spinnerets to create little hang gliders that carry them to the most spectacular view in the city, where they construct a beautiful home for themselves.

May we be like these little creatures, using the resources God has given us to create a beautiful environment for ourselves and those we love. And may our creation cause us to go soaring on the wind to greater heights. May we be undaunted by a change of environment and plans. Yes, it’s official, I want to soar like a spider.

Giving thanks with Ann:

68. Pine cones with a touch of bronze glitter.

69. Snow swirling snow globes.

70. Taking walks with my beautiful mother, downtown.

71. Golden light from a globe lamp.

72. Tis the season to be thankful for your KitchenAid.

73. That I’m feeling better. 🙂

And learning with Michelle:

On In Around button

And I have a playdate with Laura:

Cyber Monday Shopping With A Cause!

Today is Cyber Monday…and in order to get into the spirit of things, I am featuring 4 gifts that you can give 4 Christ’s Sake! So move over Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, here we come!

1. Since human trafficking is the very first issue addressed here at What In The World R U Doing 4 Christ’s Sake? I thought it would be nice to find an item that donates its proceeds toward ending human trafficking. Look what I found! A beautiful necklace!! … for the rest of this post visit my other blog…What In The World R U Doing 4 Christ’s Sake?

Giving Thanks with Ann:

61. For a mouse catching dog…

62. So thankful to have a house to clean, money for food, and friends and family to share with!

63. for the gift of Ann in my life…

64. for being done with Holiday meals…at least for another month. 😀

65. For the awesome grace graffiti of Michelle, Jen, Emily, Renee and Leanne

66. for the best girlfriends in the world…

67. for the opportunity to be a friend in deed.

Something Everyone Can Do To Help

I have followed Lisa @ Lisa Notes for some time now. She always shares her heart and gives scriptural foundation with her thoughts. In a world that questions the validity of the Bible, I really appreciate that. Recently, I stopped by her place and read this post. I was so excited because I knew that this post would be perfect for this site! Lisa has a practical idea all of us can do in order to make a difference in our world. This is a great followup to Kristen Bridgman’s post. I know you’ll enjoy this post as much as I did.

Sometimes you look away.

You see the man under the bridge or on the street corner.
But you don’t want to.

So you fiddle with the radio or watch the traffic light or check your phone.
All to avoid the human being.

But other times, you can’t help but stare.
You wonder.
How did this happen? Did he used to have a job? A family? A home?

To read this rest of this post, won’t you join me at my new blog, What In The World R U Doing 4 Christ’s Sake?

Teaching Kids to Serve

I first stumbled upon Amy’s blog several months ago, and was blown away by her purpose for blogging. She states, and I quote, “Can one beyond-blessed family move from addicted to ourselves to devoted to others? This is where I share our story. Thanks for tagging along.” Many of her posts include practical ideas on how to get children beyond self-absorbtion and into being mindful of others. In today’s “it’s all about me” society, I think that’s an amazing feat, don’t you? You must visit her blog, amy l. sullivan, as it is a plethora of ideas and encouragement to do things for the love of Christ. This is a recent post on her blog about what she is doing for Christ’s sake.

Get Kids Invested in Serving Others in Five Easy Steps

Step 1: Find a cause that interests them. For this group of girls, the cause was a local center that houses people traveling to Asheville, North Carolina to seek medical treatment.

Please join Amy and I at my new blog What In The World R U Doing 4 Christ’s Sake? to find out the other 4 tips!!

Inclusive Exclusivity, An Epiphany


God uses the stutterer who stammers a resignation,

He speaks through youth who quake in their shoes.

He shares secrets with prostitutes, moon seekers and stargazers,

Visits with strangers of small stature in trees.

He employs sarcastic donkeys and keeps sparrows secure.

Exalts smelly fishermen to positions of honor.

His deep knowledge is grasped by children

And his simple message is scoffed at by sages.

He spits on blind eyes, chases hypocrites OUT of church,

Offends prideful offenders, defends the humble defenseless;

Inclusively exclusive, He is the ultimate paradox,

An Epiphany Beyond Time

 

Photo by my dear friend from Creations and Inspirations.

Linking with sweet Jen at Soli Deo Gloria

 

Choosing Smile Lines As Trophies In A Plastic Surgery World

Keeping with the theme of a Wrinkle In Time…I am getting older. Being blessed with Scandanavian complexion, I don’t have too many lines or wrinkles, but I am hoping that when I do, I will wear them proudly. I hope most of them turn upward as I sign that I’ve found more good in my life than bad. I am hoping that they tell the story of a woman who had her share (and maybe more than her share) of hard times, but never stopped being inspired by the sunrise, a bird’s song, a blade of grass, a child’s laugh or the sunset.

The post that got me thinking about this is written by my first blogging friend, Adela. Her blog is always so beautifully written and almost always makes me laugh. Please enjoy, Love and Happiness Scars as a part of A Life-Size Catholic Blog’s Pay It Forward Project.

 

 

Exciting News!

My other blog, The Proverbial Shopper has had two articles posted on Center31!!  One article is written by my mother about the blessings of the Body of Christ during her recent widowhood, and the other is my story called My Life As A Single Mom!!  There are tons of other great ideas and posts on this website, make sure you check them out!!  Thanks Linda Thompson and FHC for including our stories!