Monday, December 18, 2023

Generation to Generation

 I have written before and will write again about the importance of LEGACY and how highly I value the relationships I have with my children (and their spouses, whom I think of as also my children), their children (my grandchildren, and that includes my grandson’s wife whom I think of as my granddaughter), and the children of my grandson and his wife (my great grandchildren).

In recent years, the Scripture passages that talk about “generation to generation” are overwhelmingly meaningful to me.

Like this one:

But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear him, and his righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep his covenant, who remember to observe his precepts. ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:17-18‬ ‭CSB‬‬

This may be my favorite of all!

Speaking of “family pictures beside the Christmas tree,” (referenced a couple of blog posts ago), here are a couple from this year, as we had a Christmas celebration at our house a few nights ago. This grouping is my Washington family (where we live). We will be seeing our Missouri family (our daughter’s family) in a couple of weeks. We are so blessed.

L to R: our son Mark and his wife Kristy, our grandson Conner and his wife Caroline, my husband Russell, myself, our granddaughter Tory. Front row, our Greats: Lily (2), Oakley (10 months)and Leeland (5).

Merry Christmas, everyone!

God is so good, and I am so undeserving of His love and mercy!

#familyChristmaspictures #generationtogeneration #Godissogood #childrenandgrandchildrenandgreatgrandchildren

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Relationships/Communication: Goal of Conversation

 One of my high priority Life Values is RELATIONSHIPS. The primary sub-heading of that Value is COMMUNICATION (because, obviously, a good relationship is based on good communication).

Several years ago I made a list of topics I would like to share on my blog. On that list is a reminder to recount a conversation that I had with my son a long time ago. Since that conversation, I have shared what he told me many times, with Bible study groups, friends, etc.

On the occasion of our conversation, I was thinking about having a very difficult conversation with a beloved family member. I was talking to my son about how I dreaded it and hoped I wouldn’t say the wrong thing.


His words to me (paraphrased):

“My advice would be to make it a priority to remember the goal of the conversation. 

“If the goal of the conversation is to get them ‘told,’ or ‘tell them off,’ that would be one approach. If that is what you decide is the most important goal, then do it. You may feel a whole lot better. After you have told them off, you may have a tremendous sense of relief that feels pretty good at the time (the “so THERE” effect).

“But if the goal of the conversation is to discuss something and then be able to leave the conversation with the relationship at least intact, and maybe even better, then your approach to the conversation will be entirely different.

“You have to realize that with the first option, you risk fracturing (or totally breaking) the relationship, as a result of your doing what you needed to do to feel better.”


Well, I must say that I took that advice to heart for the occasion I was seeking advice about; I thought it was insightful and wise, and I do believe it helped me maintain and possibly repair and save a relationship that was very fragile. I was able to make my points in that difficult conversation, but because my primary goal was to protect the relationship, I didn’t blow up and say some of the things I really “wanted” to say (but should not have).

I will also admit that through the years, in our own relationship, this wise advice has not always been followed by my son or myself. That’s when the need for forgiveness kicks in (a topic for another blog post). But, the reason this principle is so important is because words have consequences, and they cannot be un-said. 

But, we are human, and I dare say that everyone who tries to remember and implement this “goal of the conversation” principle will have successes and failures.

So, it’s an “easier said than done” goal, but nonetheless, it is a wise and important point to consider when facing a difficult conversation.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 NIV

I read this at “Why does Paul tell us to season our conversation with salt? He means that our words should be tasty and delightful to people who may hear them. Our words can also be used as a preservative—to build and to strengthen relationships.”

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” Proverbs 25:11 NLT

Likely my last post before Christmas, I want to wish all my faithful followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!

#GoalofConversation #OhBeCarefulLittleTongueWhatYouSay #watercolorcandycane #MerryChristmas

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Holiday Tradition: Family Pictures “Under” the Tree

 I know that many families have the tradition of taking pictures by the Christmas tree.

My Mamo Wilson was the queen of taking pictures. I was never at her house as a young child up until her last couple of years (she was 95 when she passed) that she didn’t say, “Before you go, let me make your picture.” And she not only took the pictures, but she had them printed, and ordered reprints for us as well (and mailed them to us—that’s right, hard mail).

In my family, it was Christmas at my Mamo and Grandad Wilson’s where the holiday tradition of taking family pictures was ingrained into me, burned into my heart and soul, as it were.

In our case, it really was “under the tree.” We sat down under the tree for the picture of our family group.

I’ll share a couple of those early pictures here.

At Mamo and Grandad Wilson’s, this was Christmas 1948. I was about 19 months, and my sister Janene was about 4 months. Notice how Mother and Daddy dressed up for Christmas at Mamo’s. Mother looked so pretty with her nails polished (bright red, you can be sure). Mother was 20, and Daddy was 22.

At Mamo and Grandad’s again (Helena, Arkansas), Christmas 1953.

Early 60’s, now there are 5 of us kids, still taking pictures under the tree at Mamo and Grandad’s (they had moved from Helena, Arkansas, to Crane, Missouri). My turtleneck sweater was my Christmas present from my boyfriend, Russell Ford (now my husband). I was a freshman in high school.

Now we have our own little “home” (8’x29’ trailer) in Bolivar, Missouri, and this is our second Christmas together (1966). This is our own little “picture by the Christmas tree.”

Christmas 1971, now we’re having Christmas pictures “by” the tree  at my parents’. Our son was 18 months, our daughter two weeks.


Christmas 1972 at my parents’.

Christmas 1974 at my parents’.

Fast forward. Now our children are grown and have their own children, who are grown, and our son’s son has his own children as well.

Still, family pictures by the Christmas Tree.

Russell and I with our daughter’s family, at our home in Troy, Missouri, Christmas 2019.

Here we are with our son’s family (their daughter was on mission field in Mexico)-their son, his wife and two little ones (now they have another little girl)—at our home in Ridgefield, Washington, Christmas 2021.

Unlike many folks these days, I actually print (and scrapbook) all the photos.

I’m 76 years old. So, 75 years or so of  “family pictures ‘under’ the tree.”

So, yeah, it’s kind of a big deal to me.

#ChristmasFamilyPictures #PassingofTime #Blessings #ChristmasPicturesUndertheTree

Friday, December 8, 2023

Holidays and Heartaches: Hope

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Ps 34:18 NIV

I recently found this verse (again) and have been leaning into its message each day for the last few weeks. 

Much has been written about the challenge of facing the holidays for those whose hearts are hurting. Often we think that holiday heartaches are those that result from having lost a loved one. But there are other causes of heartache, and the fact that the pain is a result of something that coincidentally happened during the holiday season just means it may feel like a little deeper hurt during a time that should be joyous.

Heartaches can come from various sources. And although a heartache is not necessarily related to the season, there’s no doubt that the season can make the emotions more intense. Joyful things are more joyous. Sad things are sadder. Hurts are felt more deeply.

As I was searching on the Bible app for a devotional that might help my emotional upheaval, realizing that I needed to allow God to “rescue” me, I actually searched for “heartbroken” and “crushed spirit.” Most of the devotionals that came up were about depression (not actually what I need right now), but one devotional caught my eye because I remember the author, Jim Cymbala. His devotional title didn’t seem to be related to my search. But as soon as I started reading Day One of “The Reason for the Season,” I realized that God had directed my search.

In “The Reason for the Season,” Day One, Jim Cymbala writes:

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” (Psalm 103:2)

Beginning with Thanksgiving and on through the New Year, the holidays are a busy time, with lots of activity and happy moments. But the festivities can highlight our problems and heartaches as well, and even believers can end up with the holiday blues. 

…a lot can happen in life; and if we meditate on that, it will pull us down to the depths of despair.

Do you know that we have a choice today? We can choose to dwell on the negatives, or we can choose to praise God for all of his benefits. We can thank God for the gift of our Savior (which is the reason for celebrating Christmas in the first place); for giving his Son to die in our place; for forgiving our sins; for the gift of eternal life… That’s not counting everything else he gives to us, because every good gift comes from above.

And while it's true that even Christians go through difficulties on this side of eternity, we need to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that he is greater than the mountains in our lives. Therefore,every day is a day when we can give our challenges to the Lord and begin to count our blessings instead of our problems and our sorrows.

Perhaps you are going through a difficult time, and it’s an even greater distraction to you at this time of year when the tinsel and the lights can seem to form a contrast with the way you are feeling. If so, why don’t you pray right now: 

“God, you know what I am going through. I love you, but I feel sadness today, and you know the reason why. Help me, Lord, to cast my care upon you. And then help me to forget none of your benefits! Thank you for salvation, for being a God who hears and answers prayer, for being a friend who sticks closer than a brother, and for sending the Holy Spirit to be my Counselor, my Advocate, and my Comforter!” 

Then choose to praise the Lord today, even through tears. As you bless the Lord and glorify his name, he will manifest his presence in your life, and this time of year will become a time of rejoicing in the true meaning of the season.


As I read this, I burst into tears, understanding that this was exactly what I needed to read at that moment, and realizing that God had directed my search. It was also a much-needed and emotional reminder that God cares about my pain. He collects my tears in a bottle.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

Psalm 56:8 NLT

It seems to my human mind that a broken heart is difficult to heal, and a crushed spirit even more. And I admit that a mountain can seem more imposing as I get older.

But do I believe and know that God can perform this healing in my heart? Yes, and though I do not know how, I do believe He can and will. 

So, this prayer (above, in the devotional text) is my prayer. And I DO choose to praise the Lord, even through tears.

*My experience is my own, but I share it here in hopes that someone who reads this will be encouraged and find something here that is uplifting in his/her life right now.

#Heartache #CrushedSpirit #Hope #ThankGodforBlessings #ForgetNotAllHisBenefits #CloserThanaBrother #ThankGodforSalvation 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Christmas “Tags”

 A few years ago I was creating mixed media art, using, by definition, many different types of media. It was before I started watercolor painting. It was more of a “craft” than an “art,” but it was sort of my introduction into the creative world, and I totally enjoyed it. 

For about four years, I created several tags each holiday season, and since that time, I always have at least some of them as ornaments on my Christmas tree. I was highly complimented recently when my granddaughter told me she loves them and thinks that’s what makes my tree “unique.”

Alrightey-then, just the excuse I need to keep going with the tradition!

Here are a few from this year’s tree:

Even though it was really fun to make these (hours on each one), I wouldn’t attempt to do it again, because at that time I had a dedicated craft room with TONS of supplies. Watercolor (what I do now) requires very few supplies and I no longer need an entire craft room (good thing, because I don’t have one!)!

#ChristmasTags #ChristmasArt #ChristmasMixedMediaArt

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Christmas Watercolor

Okay, so here we go with a trial on using the actual platform of blogger rather than the third-party BlogTouch that I have been using for a long time. The problem with the photos disappearing is real, and I am trying to resolve that.

So, here are the watercolor pieces I have done this holiday season. I’m not thrilled with them, and I am moving away from the teacher that I was following when I painted these pictures. Hopefully I will be happier with a new instructor.

Rather than writing out a lot of my thoughts just now, I am going to publish this post with minimum text, to see how this different platform works for me.