Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell 2013 - Hello 2014 - Plus a Free Gift for You!

Butterfly Banner by Ben Wheeler
It's the final day of 2013 and many of us are looking forward to a better 2014. May God will it to be our best year yet! I have a New Year post planned for you tomorrow and the photo above (courtesy of my beloved husband) is a hint at what's to come.
Christmas Atrium - not sure if this is by Ben or Phyllis
But before we jump into next year I want to share some final 2013 holiday pictures from some of the Washington D.C. Smithsonian museums.
This poinsettia encircled cherub fountain was lovlier in person. I think I took the photo of it in the National Gallery of Art museum.
Like the Longwood Gardens poinsettias, I found myself liking the variegated type best. 
But this curly leafed poinsettia also caught my fancy. 

While you're contemplating this year and preparing for next year, I hope my little gift to you will be of service. It's an updated copy of my year end review spreadsheet. I gave more details on how I use it in this post last year but it's pretty self explanatory. You can do it in less than an hour or print it out and add to it over the course of a week or use it however you like.

While I normally do this at the end of December, with Moose the cat being so sick (although she is no longer critically ill, she is scheduled for surgery on January 2 and has needed a lot of extra care to nurse her through this difficult time), my husband's extended leave and my own health challenges, I'm giving myself a break and have some time scheduled next week to enjoy a cup of tea, relax and dedicate an hour to prayerfully filling it out. I'll set aside a different time a few days later to prayerfully make my action plan for 2014.

May 2014 be filled with all the blessings your heart can hold and may God's peace, joy and love fill your soul! If you are grieving or suffering in any way as you read this I pray that God will ease your pain and that you will feel His loving presence in your heart. If you would like more information on God's great love for you, I recommend visiting http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/. Peace be with you, dear friend!

Full link to your free gift: 

Related posts:
New Year Haiku Poems: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2012/01/two-new-year-haikus-inspired-by-god-and.html 
New Year Prayer Poems: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-years-prayer-haikus.html 
New Year Blessing: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/01/happy-new-year-haiku-and-blessing.html 
New Year Otter cuteness: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/01/cute-and-squeaky-river-otter-family.html

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Free Simplicity E-Book Offered This Weekend!

Image from Amazon
Minimalist, writer and multiple sclerosis conquerer Courtney Carver is offering her new "Mini-Missions for Simplicity" ebook for free this weekend at Amazon.com. I'm a fan of her "Be More With Less" blog and I enjoyed her and Leo Babauta's "Clutterfree" ebook which I bought earlier this year so I was quick to download her new book while it's free this weekend. 

If you're looking to get organized, live more simply or enjoy the power of less you'll likely enjoy this free book. As Courtney says, "If you don’t have a  Kindle, don’t worry! Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android."

May God bless Courtney and may He bless you too!

Related posts:
Free self talk scripts: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/11/self-talk-for-sound-sleep-two-free.html
Free DIY sleepy tea recipe: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/08/diy-sleepy-time-tea-recipe.html
Free tips for sound sleep: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/07/4-simple-tips-for-better-sleep-and.html
Great books to enjoy: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/01/ten-terrific-goal-boosting-books-for.html

Direct link to get free book this weekend:

Friday, December 27, 2013

National Christmas Tree with Children's Handmade Ornaments

On Christmas day my husband and I enjoyed viewing the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. According to a sign in front of the tree, this giant Engelmann spruce Christmas tree came from Colville National Forest in Washington state and has 5,000 hand made ornaments by Washington school children (although I saw a few made my Oregon school children too).
I thought the poinsettia disk ornament above was very creative and it looks like the crafty child used at least some recycled materials too.
 I loved the little sled ornaments and the children's handwritten sentiments.
Google worked their magic on this cute albeit weather beaten handmade snowman ornament, giving it the snowglobe treatment. I thought  the Starbucks cup was a nice nod to Washington's industry.
Here's another Google magic picture. The green sequins in the ornament really did glitter in the sunshine so I love that you can see it in the picture now too.

I hope you enjoyed this taste of our National Christmas Tree and a few of the kids' handmade ornaments. May God bless America, our children, and may He bless you too!

Related posts:
Smithsonian Castle Christmas Tree: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2011/12/smithsonian-castles-christmas-tree.html
2011 National Christmas Tree Overview: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2011/12/national-christmas-tree-photos.html
2011 National Christmas Tree Ornaments: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2011/12/national-christmas-tree-ornament-photos.html
2011 Decorating National Christmas Tree: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2011/12/decorating-capitol-christmas-tree.html

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Blessings

Merry Christmas to one and all! May God's peace and joy reign in your hearts as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

The photo above is of part of one of the Christmas cards we sent out this year to our closest family and friends. Although we've cut back on sending out physical Christmas cards I hope you'll enjoy this virtual one. In case you can't read the type on the photo, here's the Christmas blessing poem by Helen Steiner Rice:

"This brings a special Christmas prayer
That God will keep you in His care
And bless in peaceful, joyous ways
These holy, happy holidays"

May God bless you this Christmas and always!

Related posts:
Last year's Christmas blessing with cat pics: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2012/12/wishing-you-blessed-christmas.html
National Christmas tree photos: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2011/12/national-christmas-tree-photos.html
Christmas at Longwood Gardens: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-at-longwood-gardens.html
Happy New Year blessing: http://lovejoyandpeas.blogspot.com/2013/01/happy-new-year-haiku-and-blessing.html

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Cat Santa and Reindeer

 I love Google's magic photos. I don't know how they did it but they made the photo of Moose the Cat (above) look like she's in a snowstorm or snow globe. Cuteness!
While these funny and cute Christmas cat pictures were taken earlier in December, I'm dating the post Christmas eve. Although we had plans to spend our Christmas Eve differently, poor Moose was gravely ill and we had to take her to the emergency vet. Because she's so old they didn't want to risk putting her under so she's going to be on some serious pain killers and antibiotics for a while.
I pray she's still with us in the upcoming new year. Moose is a fun cat, full of love and willing to wear all my crazy costumes in exchange for treats and petting. She loves a warm lap and is fond of sleeping right on top of heater grates. It's hard to tell in this picture, but she's dressed as a reindeer.
 Here's a view from above of Moose the cat in the reindeer costume .
 Moose even tolerated red reindeer antlers!
Mostly she likes to sleep though so for this photo I just surrounded her usual sleeping place with poinsettia garlands and held the antlers up with one hand while taking the photo with the other. Moose the cat is a good sport!

Baby cat (who's also old but younger than Moose) wasn't interested in photos this Christmas. We're happy she's still with us too. Between her age and the seizures we're thankful for each extra day we get with her.

Merry Christmas from me and my cats!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas at Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens' Christmas/Holiday decorating in their conservatory was even more amazing in person, but I hope you'll enjoy my mini virtual tour of the highlights. For me, the most spectacular sight was this huge fanciful floor decoration made from red and green apples. According to a Longwoods Garden brochure, the apples were floating in four inches of water. If you look closely there's also a chandelier type ceiling decoration filled with blooming orchids.
The conservatory was filled with Christmas-y floral delights. Topiaries, berries, and a wide variety of Christmas trees greet visitors from every angle.
Poinsettias, cyclamen and more adorn the pool around the fountains and coordinate with the Christmas tree in the background.
This was my favorite poinsettia photo from the trip. I liked the variegation in the petals and the little white flowers streaming down from another plant.
This is the view you get entering from the new wing of the conservatory. It gives you an idea of the size of the addition, although there are wings off to both the left and the right and the original conservatory isn't in the picture at all (in other words, it's huge). 

Which photo did you like best? What flowers say "Christmas" to you? I'd love to hear from you.

I wish you the merriest of Christmases, happiest of holidays and all the joy your heart can hold! I'll be praying for those for whom this is a most difficult time of the year. May God's peace fill your heart!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dave Lakhani's Seven Steps To Activating The Power Of An Hour

Image by monosodium
Years ago I read Dave Lakhani's great book Power Of An Hour: Business And Life Mastery In One Hour A Week. I just came across my notes of his seven steps to activating the power of an hour and thought I'd share them with you. The book goes into great detail as to how to implement each step but if you, like me, have already read the book and just want a reminder of the seven steps, I hope you find this to be a handy efficiency and effectiveness tool.
  1. Clearly identify what you need to change
  2. Apply critical thinking to identify the structure of the change
  3. Apply creative thinking to identify other solutions
  4. Identify next steps
  5. Schedule your change and take the first action
  6. Evaluate your activity and measure your success
  7. Reward your successful completion
Source: page 3,  Power Of An Hour: Business And Life Mastery In One Hour A Week, by Dave Lakhani

Related posts: