Sunday, January 1, 2012

Newsletter - 1/1/12

Hello Dear Friends!

Gift From Maggie, a Friend in Alabama
I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas and have plans for a magnificent new year! Here in Central Virginia we still don't have any "real" winter since the temps haven't yet killed off all the plants. We even have salvia plants that are still green, but without blooms of course. We've had low 30's but such warm weather during the daytime (50's and 60's) that it has felt more like Fall.

Friday was 60 degrees and 62 on Saturday.  Funny, I've never been one to do the weather thing like many folks who check daily. This whole focus on keeping this winter warm has me looking forward to checking the thermometer with big smiles.

We had a very nice Christmas. We keep it simple so we can focus on the birth of Christ. One of our traditions is to pray for everybody that sends us a Christmas card. We don't send cards ourselves, but I stay in touch with people who do, and I reuse the ones we receive to make postcard notes from them. Of course, there are always the special ones that I tuck away in my Memory Box, but most can be recycled into note cards so no further trees are used.

On Christmas Day the weather was awesome and the wildlife were excited about all the extra piles and types of food placed out back for them. It was a busy day of everybody stuffing themselves with Christmas Dinner ... at least outside. We had our normal simple daily fare, but had a few special goodies (cookies, nuts, and dried cherries) from neighbors. Although sugar is considered illegal in our home, when somebody uses it to bake us an "I love you" gift, it becomes legal and like gold, since God considers LOVE better than anything else that we can do.

A local friend of mine, Margaret, gave me a gift and it was an angel.  On its wing it says, "Dwell in Possibility."  WOW!  I love that!  When you're fighting incurable diseases, you have to be an optimist and a forward thinker, so I have that hanging in the kitchen on the pantry knob.  Margaret is a very positive person herself and she's an inspiration.  She is what I picture when I remember a phrase my grandfather used to say, "Let it roll off of you like water off a duck's back."  Margaret has the ability to do that.  Isn't it grand that God provides us with friends that show us the way.

Randal and I exchanged Christmas gifts. I opened an Amazon box to find a pocket-sized camera which will make it possible to always have a camera with me. My usual larger Canon is often left behind because I just don't want to have it hanging around my neck as I walk about or work outside in the garden. This new one will always be ready to capture something in God's Creation. It won't do the long-distance shots, but it will do macro and not-so-far shots just fine. It's another Canon PowerShot. This one being Model A1200. I still use a viewfinder to shoot photos and there are few small cameras that still include that.

Randal Thrilled with Bible Commentaries
Randal's desire was for Life For Today Bible Commentaries. His birthday gift was the first one of these on the Gospels and he has loved it, so he wanted to add more of the New Testament books, so that's what he got. He was very excited when he opened the box.

We kept our gifts from our son till the day after Christmas since he worked on Christmas Day and was going to a basketball game that night. It was nice to extend the joy of the holiday to yet another day.

We got quite a gift prior to Christmas when we were notified that we had won a prize from Nature's Sunshine. It was a $200 gift card for  What a thrill. We enjoy shopping at Amazon since you can get just about anything at a great price and our son has us on his Amazon Prime account so we get free two-day shipping on any order. That's a nice family perk.

Squeek, aka Kitty Girl, of course, had no Christmas requests. She is a continual reminder of how wonderful life is when you keep it simple and satisfied. She enjoys her two baskets that she's had since the late 90's when somebody that worked at Big Lots brought them to our shop for her. One of them has been splintering during the last month and since she rubs her cheek on the sides, it concerned me that she could be hurt.

So, we ordered a new bed for her from Amazon, but it's not a basket so she's still adapting. You can make it a bed, or make it a tunnel escape, and for now, she's more interested in lying in the tunnel when she wants her "private time" than lying in it shaped like a bed. It's more a place to snuggle into and she's been used to a bigger basket with a pillow in it and towel as a cover. The name of it is Mysterious Kuddle Kup Cat Bed.

In November, my neighbor, Dorothea, asked if I'd heard the owls one previous evening. I had not, but she said she woke up at 1 AM and couldn't go back to sleep for an hour being totally absorbed in the owl hooting. I did notice it the next night and knew that it was a Barred Owl. I listened many other nights wondering if Dorothea was also awake hearing their calls. They seem to be very vocal to maintain the territory they have chosen as their own for nesting.  They begin courting in February and mate in March. View a one-minute video with calls and a gorgeous huge Barred Owl closeup of facial expressions.

So Dorothea and I emailed back and forth about our delight of owls and the wonders of God's Creation. Was I ever surprised when she left a gift for me in the cubby under our mailbox (the method of delivery between neighbors here in our community). It was a really unique owl which I have added to the table we have in our sunroom (converted south-facing breakfast area for winter).

So when I have my chaise God time, which is several times a day, I enjoy the real daytime wildlife and the image of our nighttime visitors staring right at me. Being a recovered workaholic, I find life so much more wonderful with the change of pace God has led me into. The devil used health problems to initially drive me there, but God's promise is always to use everything for our good and it has been a good thing to slow down.  After all, by now it's obvious that it's not the "quality" time that builds relationships, but the "quantity" of time invested into them.

© Donna L. Watkins - Male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on Suet
I think I mentioned my plan for Randal and I to make a list of completed sentences for "I love winter because .... " for each day of winter, so we began that on December 22nd which was a day in the upper 60's. This is a few we've listed:

I Love Winter Because ....

• I can see our 5 species of woodpeckers harvesting bugs buried into our tree bark so much easier
• it allows the evergreens to show their beauty and be noticed.
• I can wear sweaters
• we get the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker as a winter visitor
• there's more time to do puzzles.
• it makes me grateful for heat and warm blankets and reminds me to provide for the homeless
• there's more time to play games with friends.

It's only 10 weeks till Daylight Savings Time begins on March 11th.  We will have daffodils and forsythias (yellow bells) blooming then also, so Spring is just around the corner.

May 2012 be a year of overflowing blessings, joy and a new revelation of God's abundant and amazing love for you.

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Love and Hugs,

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2012 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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