Tag Archives: Gifting

Thought For The Day 12/08/14

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The Rest Of The Story…

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Depiction of Saint Nicholas. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Depiction of Saint Nicholas. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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True Happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery

http://www.searchquotes.com/search/Saint_Nicholas/

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We have long come to associate St. Nicholas (or Santa Claus) with the pipe smoking, white bearded, rosy-cheeked man whose picture adorns nearly every place we look come the last couple of months of every year. But have you ever wanted to hear the rest of the story? Well, here it is!

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The real St. Nick wasn’t a fat, pale, and rosy-cheeked jolly fella. In fact, he was quite the opposite. You see, he was born almost 300 years after Christ, and he was a darker complected Greek holy man who became bishop of a small town called Myra (now present-day Turkey). Sure, he probably had jolly good days, but his reputation was of a more serious nature. He was described as a firebrand and staunch defender of Christian doctrine and spent years in prison for refusing to reject his faith during religious persecution.

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Portrayed as a bearded bishop in canonical robes, Saint Nicholas’s feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, December 6th. His strong faith created a lasting legacy among the saints, and as such, two main stories  planted the seed that would, many centuries later, bring about the fat, bearded man in a red suit bearing gifts to young children. But just exactly what were those two stories that have driven home our modern-day characterization of Santa Claus? Well, the first tale reinforced Saint Nicholas’s reputation as protector of the poor. Legend has it that he saved three impoverished daughters from a life of prostitution by providing for their dowries. He offered three bags of gold for the young women, of which he tossed through an open window. The bags of gold landed into socks that were left near the chimney to dry. The second tale, which is rather morbid, reinforced his reputation as protector of children. Saint Nicholas walked into an Athens inn and discovered through his holy senses that the local inn keeper had robbed, murdered, and then pickled three young men in basement barrels. The Saint fervently prayed and resurrected their bodies back to life.

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Merry Old Santa Claus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Merry Old Santa Claus. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Despite various iterations handed down over the centuries, Dutch settlers brought the legend of Saint Nicholas, known to them as Sinter Klaas, to America towards the end of the 18th century. As their tradition goes, Sinter Klaas rode a white horse and left gifts in wooden shoes. This story merged with the British character Father Christmas, who dates back at least as far as the 17th century. Sinter Klaas was eventually Americanized to “Santa Claus.”

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The rituals and fantasy surrounding Santa Claus became fixed in the modern American imagination with the publication of the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Moore in 1823. Better known as “The Night Before Christmas,” the poem established Santa’s physical appearance (plump and jolly), his mode of transportation (a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer), and his method of toy delivery (down the chimney) for generations to come.

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So now that you know the rest of the story, will you alter, in any way, your approach to your celebrations this year? I doubt it! I’m not sure that I will, as a matter of fact…. except to remember to include a greater emphasis in giving to others rather than in focusing on what I will be getting! After all, is it not the blessings of giving which bring to man the sense of joy, peace and love, that seems to make our world just a little bit brighter every December?

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There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 11: 24 NASB

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

History of Saint Nicholas adapted from http://www.biography.com/news/st-nicholas-santa-claus-origin-story

Thought For The Day 12/04/14

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 Rum Pum Pum Pum  

music_notes   Post 1363   music_notes

 

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little drummer boy

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+a+little+drummer+boy&qpvt=picture+of+a+little+drummer+boy&FORM=IGRE#a

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Our Story Teller:

Aaron’s heart was filled with joy and love. And he knew at last that the hate he had carried there was wrong. As ALL hatred will ever be wrong. For more powerful, more beautiful by far than all the eons of sadness and cruelty and desolation which had come before, was that one tiny, crystalline second of laughter. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

http://www.great-quotes.com/quotes/movie/The+Little+Drummer+Boy

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I like the idea of posting things light and fun and informative at this time of the year. It’s the all the little intangibles that create the wonderful magic of the Christmas holiday for me and everyone in my family. The idea for this post came from watching Landon grab his toy drum when he was but 20 months old, and he at once began banging on it and singing his very own words to the song that was being created in that one magical moment. Yes, I remember looking at him and thinking “The Little Drummer Boy”! And since I really did not know the history of the creation of what was originally known as “Carol of the Drum”, I thought that this would be the perfect forum to find out and then share it with you!

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This popular song was written by a classical music composer and teacher by the name of Katherine Kennicott Davis. She wrote it in 1941, but did you know that “The Little Drummer Boy” was recorded by the Trapp Family Singers? Yes, the “Sound of Music” Trapp Family! Since the composer was a teacher interested in composing music to be sung by a chorale or choir, she adapted a traditional Czech carol, adding the wonderful harmonies which blended so well with the rhythmic drum beat and melody! It was this combination that became so compelling to Maria and the rest of the Trapp family, and although the rendition that achieved the most success was recorded by the Harry Simeon Chorale, the Trapps also recorded several versions. The final one became their swan song, recorded in 1955 shortly before they retired from public performance.

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The lyrics tell the fictional story of a poor young boy who spies the star in the sky that shone over the place where the Christ child lay and follows the brilliant light all the way to Bethlehem. Reaching the stable at the same time the Magi do, they encourage the little boy to come forward and join them as they present their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Hesitant at first because he has no gift to share with the child, he looks to Mary for her approval, and as she nods to him, he begins to play his drum for the baby. Even as he “… played my best for Him”, this tiny baby seemed to understand, and in gratitude, “He smiled at me”.

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It is a story of kindness and generosity of spirit and reminds us all that during this magical time of the year, there is worth and value in all people, whether big or small…rich or poor. It is a story that reminds us that there is no greater gift that one can share with another than the gift of a loving heart! We know that there is nothing more pleasing to God than that! Acts 20:35 NIV, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

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 “Carol of the Drum”

 

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

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Scenes from the original TV Classic The Little Drummer Boy.
Song performed by John Denver from his “Christmas In Concert” CD

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Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/03/14

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Sharing The News With Children 

Post 1362

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advent_wreath

http://blog.newbyrealty.com/2011/12/history-of-christmas-wreath-dates-back.html

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“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Seek That Which Is Above

1986

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This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent and as I am often a “day late and a dollar short”, although I addressed it in terms of the way I address my Sunday Thought these days, I really did not address this very special day from my own perspective, as I should have. But since Advent is truly a magical time of the year, it deserves a more personal touch!

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When I was a child, Advent was magical time in the church where I worshipped, and it was just as special in the church where I raised my children and where I helped to direct the worship segment for our children’s Sunday School. There were very special advent lessons I would share with the children every year. Even little ones too young to fully understand the true meaning of the season somehow instinctively knew that these four weeks that lead up to Christmas were special and I don’t for one minute believe it was because they knew that gifts would magically appear come Christmas morning!

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Now our children would begin the celebration by lighting  our very own Advent Wreath that they helped to make. Of course, we used the battery operated variety of candles which I painted the colors of purple and pink and white. We would ask the children to bring in greenery and pine cones the week before and we would create the most beautiful wreath as each child would reverently bring their gift to the front where a circle sat on an altar covered with a linen and lace cloth. The candles would be waiting and each child delicately added the treasure of nature they had brought and as they would lay it on the form upon the altar, they would say one thing they were thankful for!

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During week number one, we walked around the church sanctuary and the Sunday School classrooms and asked the children to see what was different. Their answers were wonderfully innocent as some said the room was clean while others said that there were some new colors and decorations. The idea was to make sure they knew that this time was a special time. Then we would return to the gathering room and we would light the first candle…. a purple one…. and we would talk about what was so special about the coming of the new baby Jesus. We would talk about the very special gifts we share with each other and then we would remember the greatest gift of all….. God’s special gift….. by singing some special songs of the season.  And we would talk about the signs that were given that would foretell the world of His birth! And we would talk about John the Baptist, reading the our first holiday passage of the season from the gospel of Luke as we think about the signs that would herald His birth!

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In the time of Herod, King of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.

When his time of service was completed, he returned home. After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”

Luke 1:5-25 NIV

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Make sure you share with your children and your grandchildren what makes these days so very special. And while we want to embrace the true innocence of our children by including the secular components that remain so endearing to the season, make sure that the true reason for giving and gifting to those we love is given its proper place of importance in the days ahead. You see, “… Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy…” *1) He exists because of the beauty given to us all by the Father in heaven, whose love and generosity and devotion was so great, He gave to us the greatest gift of all time!

*1) http://classiclit.about.com/od/christmasliteratur1/a/aa_yessanta.htm

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 12/01/14

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I Gift To You

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giftpinkgreen_305111432_std

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=picture+of+a+wrapped+gift&qpvt=picture+of+a+wrapped+Gift&FORM=IGRE#a

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With all that I have, and because of all that we are…..

GIVE to you my all …  but I GIFT to you my heart!

Amanda Bruscella

12/01/11

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The quote I normally begin my blog posts with is usually some profound thought that someone of note has shared with the world. However, today the profound thought is mine….. and not because I am anyone so special, but rather, because it has occurred to me that there is something very thought-provoking about those two highlighted words, especially when thinking about this very special time of the year.

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Have you ever thought about the differences between giving of something and gifting of the very same thing? Is there a difference between giving and gifting? Look up the definition of both words and you’ll find something quite interesting. In fact, you may well come to the realization that anyone is capable of giving but only a few can truly gift to another!

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  • GIVE: denotes the act of voluntarily transferring the possession of something to another person, without further connotations.
  • GIFT: denotes the act of voluntarily transferring the possession of something to another person as a symbolic or sentimental act, generally in order to make that person think better or more dearly of you.
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Notice that both are generous gestures that are all about transferring the possession of something to another person, but only one includes within the very act of this transference, the impact that the heart plays in the entire scenario. And while giving is just as impactful and probably benefits the recipient just as much, gifting is usually done because of the need of the heart of the giver, to bestow something particularly special upon another.
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So I ask of you to give some thought to both of these two tiny words as you begin your foray into your local businesses, gathering up your various purchases and leaving your hard-earned dollars behind. Think….. and decide….. are the things you are purchasing to be used for giving only or will they be used for gifting? 

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But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 

Titus 3: 4-7 NIV

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Mandy 2014

Copyright © 2011-2014 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 04/19/14

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Four $1.00 Bills

Post 1133

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homeless-man-and-dog

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The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all. 

Leo Rosten

http://izquotes.com/quote/289989

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The other day I visited a wonderful Christian store with locations throughout the United States. And since this store is located at the south end of Myrtle Beach, adjacent to a large mall, I figured I’d “kill 2 birds with 1 stone” and stop in at a large bedding chain store while I was there, to pick up some mini coffee pods for my Coffeemaker (since I quit smoking, my coffee has become a must for me). OK, move over Edith Bunker….to make a long story even longer…. I was in my car leaving the mall when I realized that I had been overcharged for my purchase, and I had to turn around, park and go back inside to get my money back….which I did.

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It wasn’t much money, but I tossed the refund in the cup holder of my car, and left once again. My drive home took me through an intersection in an area of Myrtle Beach that is more run down than most areas, and as I was pulling to the traffic light I glanced out my window and saw a man holding the most extraordinary sign. I had actually passed him before the words really registered: “Homeless & Hungry. Even if you can’t help, God bless you!” My heart gave a lurch, I stopped, threw the car into reverse and backed up. I suddenly knew that the money refunded to me wasn’t really meant for me to keep……it was given to me so that I could give it to this man. It was not much but when I rolled down my window and handed it to him, he started crying and said over and over “God bless you”. I trusted that he would use it for its intended purpose and in my heart, I know he did! I also knew that I needed to do more.

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Early today I visited another chain store whose numbers are so great, that nearly every town in the United States can boast at least one contributing tax receipts to the local economy. Anyway, I went to the section where you can buy travel size items for personal care. I picked up small soaps, tooth brushes, tooth paste, combs, new wash cloths and I took them home and found clean towels I was going to donate anyway, and made care packages. I put these packages in a box in my car.

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Now I am not planning to go out and seek out those who are disenfranchised, but the next time I see someone I know is in need, I will give them one of these packages. The cost was minimal but the feeling of joy doing this will give me is beyond measure. It will be my way of giving back to my community and making a difference. And as I smiled, suddenly I remembered another who journeyed, giving His very own gifts to those who were often outcasts, as well. In fact, sick, sinner, and desperate…..He turned none away who came to Him for sustenance. And while His gift was not for the body, it was, indeed, a salve for the spirit!

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Now while I do not count my small offering as worthy as those He gave, I somehow suspect that He is pleased with what I am doing. So why don’t you all join me and start your own special project for helping others! You might not change the world by what you do, but you might just change the world for one person!

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 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” 

Matthew 25:35-40 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 01/30/14

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The Gifts That Matter

Post 1051

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present

http://wallpaperstock.net/present_wallpapers_16482_1600x1200.jpg

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You give but little when you give of your possessions.  It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. 
Kahlil Gibran
“The Prophet”
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Almost 2 years ago now, I was reading my email copy of Godvine, a spirit filled publication that I still subscribe to today. Now back then, Godvine offered perhaps 5 sappy videos that required a box of tissues in hand to watch, which, by the way, is right up my alley. They also ended the  email then with a print story of some kind. And, like the videos, they were meant to impart an important lesson of faith in a way that compels your rapt attention to the message being shared. And, once again this is something I like so much because the style is so reflective of my own when I write my posts and thoughts every day. I have referred to these Godvine posts a number of times in the past because they never fail to leave me feeling just a bit more blessed and a lot more thankful each time I read them.
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The Godvine story that appeared back then made such an impact on me that I never forgot its wisdom. I looked at it and immediately fell in love with the ideas contained in the article, “8 Gifts That Don’t Cost A Dime”. But in typical Mandy fashion, I began to think up a few of my own that I think would be the perfect gift to present to your loved one on any occasion, but especially now, since Valentine’s Day will be here in just about 2 weeks. And it is especially appropriate today, since being fiscally frugal has become the norm these days, rather than the exception! So, for those of you that did not see this article, I am sharing Godvine’s gift list and will follow up with a few of my own!
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 8 Gifts That Don’t Cost a Dime

(Godvine)

 1. THE GIFT OF LISTENING… But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

2. THE GIFT OF AFFECTION… Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back, and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

3. THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER… Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”

4. THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE… It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5. THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT… A simple and sincere, You look great in red,” “You did a super job,” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.

6. THE GIFT OF A FAVOR… Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7. THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE… There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8. THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION… The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone. Really, it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

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8 Gifts That Don’t Cost Much….If Anything!

(Mandy)

1. THE GIFT OF YOUR TIME… Today we live such busy lives that we all too often forget that it is our life partner that will still be here with us when our days end and when our working years are over. Don’t let that become a time when we discover, sadly, that we have somehow, drifted apart.

2. THE GIFT OF MEMORIES CREATED… Don’t put off making wonderful memories with your loved ones. Entice your partner to join you in the kitchen and make an ice cream sundae for each other. Or sit and listen to some favorite music and sing along at the top of your lungs….. TOGETHER!

3. HIDE LITTLE LOVE NOTES AROUND THE HOUSE… Tape a note or card to the bathroom mirror or hide one in the refrigerator or put it under that first steaming cup of morning coffee or tea. It doesn’t matter where you decide to put it, just as long as it’s an unexpected surprise for the one you love, to start their day!

4. SURPRISE YOUR PARTNER WITH AN UNEXPECTED LUNCH… Clearing this with the boss first usually helps, but arrive, picnic basket in hand, with fruit and cheese and crackers or some other treat you both enjoy. You needn’t dine in a 4 star restaurant to make a lasting memory!

5. PLAN A SURPRISE GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS FOR NO REASON AT ALL… We all enjoy the time we spend together with our friends but all too often, we reserve these hosting duties for special occasions. Why not make Tuesday night your special occasion?

6.  GATHER THOSE PHOTOS THAT ACCUMULATE AND BUY A DOLLAR STORE ALBUM OR FRAME… We are all guilty of storing so many special memories in a drawer. Why not dig them out, organize them and put them in your living room where you can share them with others.

7. TAKE A RIDE IN THE CAR… Just take your partner’s hand, say we’re going out together, and just drive. No cell phones, no music, no children, no distractions, no destination. Just drive….at least 30 minutes round trip….and talk! The fresh air and time spent holding hands in the car, might just evoke memories of a time of courtship, and can be so therapeutic to a relationship.

8. PRAY TOGETHER… Make sure to set apart at least one time each day, to pray together. Hold hands, close your eyes and bow your heads and thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon you as a family. It needn’t be long but it must be heartfelt! Sharing the intimacy of prayer as a family cements the values so carefully cultivated and assures that the one who has provided for those blessings is not forgotten!

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Let’s all try to give at least one of these gifts every day,  to someone whose life touches our own. I know it is often easy to overlook the seemingly simple things in these complex times in which we live. But while we might just be tempted to brush off the significance of the gift, make no mistake. That effort has the potential to make a  life altering difference to the recipient of your special gift!

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“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:19-21 ESV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

Thought For The Day 11/13/13

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Heaven’s Very Special Child

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gods special child

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“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.”

Helen Keller

http://www.ableplay.org/library/quotes-about-special-needs-children.html

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Heaven’s very special children are found under the umbrella of the huge grouping of special needs diagnoses. Whether a child has Dyslexia, or Down Syndrome, raising a special needs child can be a daunting and heartbreaking and yes, even an exhilarating experience for families. And how do I know this? Well, I did not have a child with birth defects nor any of the thousands of genetic or chromosomal abnormalities that so many families struggle to manage. But I did have a child who was bright, articulate, and could always spell words without benefit of a dictionary. But my child also had difficulties concentrating, was inattentive often leading me to swear that deafness was lurking somewhere, and seemed to be a perpetual motion  android unit masquerading as a human child.

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Yes, we managed to make it through graduation only by the grace of God and some school administrators that knew that to retain this brilliant mind another year would not serve anyone’s best interest. And so my own very special child graduated, grew up, and became an adult that is just as brilliant and articulate as anyone I have ever met (except for my other child, come to think of it)! In fact, my heaven’s special child has done exceedingly well in life, choosing a career which actually makes use of some the genetics (and the better parts of those, I might add), which my husband and I gifted through the miracle that is life.

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Our offspring was a challenge, albeit a wonderful and blessed challenge, but in hindsight, my child was a challenge that, were I have to face again, I would gladly grab a hold of with both hands. You see, I know that both of my children were lent to me by God for perhaps the first 20 years or so of their lives, to nurture and to raise and to teach and to love……and to let go into the world, where they both would make the world a far better place than it was before their entry. And it is my fervent hope that the very special children that God lends to other equally blessed families to nurture and love, do the very same thing. You see, in every blessed gift of life, is the promise that one day, there might be a cure for cancer, or even peace throughout the land. But even when that gift of life is a very special child…..a child who will never accomplish great things, still the great thing they give us is discovering the wonders of God’s love and mercy in the discovery that we can love absolutely that which is less than perfect. And isn’t that what God’s does for us all….we less than perfect people who are His children….anyway?

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In James 1:16-18 NIV, the words and the promises are shared with us all. “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” And the promise in these words is that with all that He gives, he gives us, His very special children, He give us the hope that as we live lives that both honor His faith in us, we will also fulfill His plan for the world. And I am a firm believer that as imperfect as each of us is at heart, whether we are a special child or not, that He never makes mistakes and that we are as perfect, in our own, very human way, as He wants and needs us to be!

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Edna Massimilla is a woman whose poetry and gospel music have been widely published. She was also a mother of one of His very special children, who has chosen to repay her thankfulness for this gift, in a unique way. “I feel like I have gifts of writing, and I am going to use it for our Lord,” she says.

This is what lead her to gift to the world one of her most beautiful, and well known poems. “Heaven’s Very Special Child,” honors her daughter, born with Down Syndrome, who now is in Heaven.

Edna Massimilla is the widow of Rev. John A. Massimilla, and together, they served as the chaplains at Delaware’s Institution for Retarded Children.

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“Heaven’s Very Special Child”

by Edna Massimilla

A meeting was held quite far from Earth,
“It’s time again for another birth,”
Said the angels to the Lord above,
“This child will need much love.”

“Her progress may seem very slow,
Accomplishments she may not show.
And she’ll require extra care,
From folks she meets way down there.

She may not run or laugh or play,
Her thoughts may seem quite far away.
In many ways she won’t adapt,
And she’ll be known as handicapped.

So let’s be careful where she’s sent,
We want her life to be content.
Please, Lord, find the parents who
will do a special job for you.

They will not realize right away,
The leading role they’re asked to play.
But with this child sent from above,
Come stronger faith and richer love.

And soon they’ll know the privilege given
In caring for this gift from Heaven.
Their precious charge, so meek and mild,
Is Heaven’s very special child.”

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God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:28 NIV

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Dan and Landon

Dan teaching Landon the finer points of Windows 8

Happy Birthday to the man who captured my heart exactly 41 years ago today. After all, you are the one that God put on this earth just for me!

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