No New Year Resolutions? - A Dose of Encouragement

Are we thinking about the end of a year?
Are we thinking about the preparation for a new year?

Yes because let's face it, all of us will have something in our minds about the new year.
It may not be resolutions as such and with me it definitely isn't but I still have some kind of plans and hopes and thoughts going through my mind as to how I want to do certain things during the year but then on the other hand I also have loads of things that I should have thought about more in advance for this coming Year.

However regardless of how organised or unorganised I may be throughout the year to come will that make any significant difference to God's plan for me for this year?


because His plan does not depend on my organised life or even my organised thoughts but I believe He is waiting to see whether or not I will be obedient to His Word and His Spirit prompting me day by day.

Let's see 

Where am I writing this post?   

When am I writing this post?

I am writing this today, New Years Eve in the late afternoon while I wait in Currys Electrical Store in Sprucefield, NI for my husband to pay for a item we have just picked out in the sale.

I will not be able to post this until sometime this evening after I get home, get internet connection and get this finished and edited.

Other things will be more important and need to be done before I get back to this.
I may even have to wait until after we have our dinner although my plan would be to do this earlier.
But will it make a lot of difference whether it is posted before dinner or after?


because again God's plan does not depend on my great organised efforts or plans but solely on whether or not I am obedient to Him even today.

So I do wish everyone a

but I do not have any New Year Resolutions

nor have I made any of those lists that I love to make.

This year I do want to be more organised, I do want to be more prepared in advance for events but I really want to be more open to listening and obeying.

I am writing something I feel is important for me and for others to be encouraged knowing that each year, month, week, day are not governed by how well we organise them or plan for them but by God's Love and Grace and Mercy extended in each one of them.

I am writing so that we can be encouraged that God's plan for the year ahead is not going to succeed or fail because of us but rather that we will be enriched by our participation in His Plan when we are simply obedient to Him.

So this year 

no New Year Resolutions for me!

no Lists and Plans in advance for me!

just a prayer

Maybe you want the same thing in this New Year.


It's God's Love #26

On Sundays I have been writing a short post consisting of a Bible Verse around the topic of God's Love and today we have come to the end of this series.

God's Love 




will continue forever


of everything else. 

I am thankful


God's Love



than everything else


that it is always extended

toward us.


The True Christmas - A Dose of Encouragement

Today I'm going to tell you about another decoration I love putting on my tree every year because this one tells us about The True Christmas.

Previously I have been writing about some of our Christmas Tree Decorations.

We had  3 Sleighs for Christmas  and   A Fan for Christmas

These two along with this post will be hopefully be a good dose of encouragement for us all at this special Christmas time. 

All around us at this time of the year we see everything being used to represent Christmas.

We see Santas.

We see Turkeys.

We see Trees.

We see Gifts.

We see Pictures of Snow.

We see Everything becoming Red.

But we see less and less 


The True Christmas.

This decoration was bought in America when we lived in Delaware so it has been on our tree for over 20 years just like the other ones in the last two posts in this series.

Yet I still remember the day I bought it.

I was with my friend Suzanne in a Christmas Shop she had taken me to.  While we were paying for our purchases I noticed something else and as I moved away to get it I said to Suzanne

"I must lift one of those"

and I was so surprised by her reaction

"you can't say that Sandra"

I couldn't understand why she jumped in with this so quickly.

So I asked her why?

Suzanne explained that to use the word  "lift"  was implying shoplifting.

Suzanne knew what I had really meant but she was concerned that the shopkeeper would have heard me and not known my proper intention.

I had simply meant

I must pick up one of these to add it to my items to buy 

but the way I had said it meant something else in that part of the world.

Now when I look at this Tree Decoration of Mary and Joseph with Jesus I remember three things.

Firstly I remember the Original True Christmas when Jesus came into the world.

Secondly I remember those 3 years we spent in America where we made new friends and shared in new Christmas time experiences.

Thirdly I remember the True Meaning of Christmas which is just the same today as it was all those years ago.

Why should it change?  

Jesus doesn't change.

God sent His Son Jesus into the world to be our 




to be

"God with Us"

But what do others think of at Christmas?

They think of the things I listed at the start of this blog post.

They think of all the busy days and activities at this time of the year.

They think of the money that will be spent.

They think of the holiday from work.

They think of Seasons Greetings and Happy Holidays to just mean exactly what the words say.

But when they hear

Merry Christmas

they don't think that it means exactly what it says.

They don't consider how it is the commemoration of the miracle of God coming to dwell on earth to live as a human like us so that He can do for us what no-one else could possibly do.

No, they hear the words that are intended for them to hear 
but they think of completely the wrong meaning of the phrase just as that shop keeper could have thought of the completely wrong meaning of my words all those years ago.

I love the fact that when I went to take the picture of this decoration there were two lights right above it as if to highlight it particularly because really that is precisely what we should be doing.

To so many people Christmas is no longer based on Christ.

So let's try to help others to actually think of

The True Meaning of Christmas

in every opportunity we have so that they may come to know

The True Blessing 


The True Christmas.

I pray you will know the The True Christmas this year and every year to come.


It's God's Love #25

This is the Christmas post for my Sunday Series.

Each week I have featured a Bible verse graphic to concentrate on the Love of God.

Today I also want to share a very short video.

Perhaps you will think of a verse around God's Love as you watch the video

or perhaps you will think of God's Love extended to you and your family over the years

        whichever it is

I pray you know the true meaning of God's Love this Christmas.

Because Christmas started with a Baby

And Christmas is still all about that same person


Our Saviour

So as well as giving and receiving gifts this Christmas why not

Merry Christmas to you all and may you know the love of Jesus as Saviour which is the real gift of love this Christmas.


A Fan for Christmas - A Dose of Encouragement

Children make a lot of crafts at school and Sunday School especially at special times like Christmas.

How many times have you run out of magnets to attach another picture created especially for you?

Some people keep all of their children's pictures but we didn't,

     we just enjoyed them at the time

          and then enjoyed the next one

               and the next one

                    and the next......

However some other things the children have made for us or bought us have been kept and one of these things is one of the decorations Fred and I put up on our Christmas Tree last week.

I have never worked out what a fan has to do with Christmas but then I suppose a lot of the decorations we have for this festive time do not really relate to Christmas time so why should this one have to.

It is gold and green and tones in with what we expect colour schemes to be at Christmas time.

It was made by our son Daniel many, many years ago and although we do not wrap it up carefully each year as we do with some of the other ornaments for the tree, it has never got damaged in all the years.

But even though this fan does not remind me especially of Christmas or the Bible it does remind me of Love.

Daniel made it carefully and it was well-made.

He gave it to us for the tree and even though this was probably prompted by his teacher, all these years later I see Love in this simple tree decoration.

I don't particularly think Daniel was thinking about how much he loved us when he gave it to us but I do know that because it was made by him that I love it.

It certainly is not because of the colours as I am not very fond of green but you see colours do not mean anything in this case.  It is the fact that this was made by my son, that is special to me.

God also took delight in His Son Jesus and His actions.

God even spoke out and told people how pleased He was with His Precious Son.

Do we speak favourably about our children?

Do we tell others how much we love our children?

Do we tell our children how much we love them?

The next time you see something that was given to you by your child or made by them think about when you last told them how precious they are to you.

If it was a while ago, go tell them now.

But even more importantly

if we are trusting in Jesus and know the importance of Christmas,

the Love that was expressed at Christmas and the love later expressed by Jesus on the cross 


are we speaking out about Christmas

and are we speaking out about Jesus


God's Love for us?

If you didn't read my previous blog post about our Tree Decorations you can do so at  3 Sleighs for Christmas


It's God's Love #24

On Sundays I write a short post consisting of a Bible Verse around
the topic of God's Love and we are coming near the end of this series now.

Thank you for joining us today.

God's Love

is simply 

the character 

of God

because the 


tells us that 

God not only loves us 


 God is LOVE. 

I'm thankful

to know that

because we have

trusted in God

we have His Love in us

and we will be able to share His Love

with others.

They will know that we are Christians by our Love

which is God's Love.


An Organised Dressing Room!

The first thing we did in the dressing room when we moved into this house 4 years ago was to put in fitted wardrobes along two walls with mirrored doors which make the room brighter and bigger.

This was not as straightforward as most wardrobe fitting companies want it to be because we had slanted ceilings and it affected both walls in two different ways so some of them just said

              "No, sorry we can't do that"

Well we did get it done and it was one of the best things we have done as it used up space along one wall in the room which was not tall enough for normal wardrobes and space on the other wall which we were able to use right up to the normal height of the ceiling and gave us 6 sections of wardrobes and shelving space.

It also meant that there was still plenty of space in the room for us to put up an extra double bed when there are more family coming to visit.

We use the electric EZ Bed for this.
I purchased it on a TV channel which is not the norm for me as I rather see these channels but I also got one of my best ever buys from there too - my steamer.

However because we kept meaning to get the plaster on another wall fixed and the room painted and new carpet put down I never really sorted out the wardrobes properly until now.

Yes we had one wall with huge cracks and bits of plaster always falling on the floor.

But now these cracks have been dealt with

and the room has been painted

and the wardrobes have been sorted.

Along the high wall

Left Wardrobe

Too many shirts were pushed in together and mixed up
a quick removal of all the short-sleeved shirts and then colours put together better
left a not so crushed pile of shirts
and 2 neater looking rails.

The top shelf didn't need to be touched at all.

Middle Wardrobe

This one was a bit of a crazy mixture so some things were able to be thrown out and some removed to be put elsewhere leaving room for all the short-sleeved shirts and a few long things.

The top shelf was fine, the shelf below just needed to be rearranged to hold the four pillows for use with the EZ double bed we can add to that room.

The bottom of the wardrobe still holds the grey container as before but Fred's 2 music/sound things which had been placed there (still inside the packing paper from our move to the house) have been taken out and a basket is there now with some gifts for Christmas in it.

Right Wardrobe

You can clearly see the slanted part of the ceiling here as this wall meets the lower wall.

This rail now is neater with the trousers and t shirts and polo shirts.
The top shelf just needed tidying up and still has some space left.
The shelf below it was a real mess with a mixture of travel things and a large box got last Christmas for Fred's belts but then he complained and said the sections of it are too small and the belts will get ruined having to be rolled up tightly.   Now that shelf only has 3 containers on it.
The belts are now all on the lower shelf which had originally been a mixture as well, and so messy looking with the hangers.

I need to think more about the belts and see if there will be another solution for them instead of taking up a whole shelf.

Along the lower wall

Left Wardrobe

The left hand rail here had been a mixture of my jackets and Fred's suits but now is better organised with Fred's suits easily reached and our summer jackets in the corner that is harder to get at.

The right rail had too many items crushed together so it now has my dresses.
On the bottom of this section we keep the emergency ladder which can be hooked over the window of the Dressing Room in case of fire.  The space in the corner beside it  is free - I love to have some free space because inevitably there will be something else needing a home when I tackle the games room.

The shelf at the top is now neater with the use of another 2 grey containers which have summer clothes in them.

Middle Wardrobe

This one was easy to work with very little change at the bottom.
A few clothes removed so rail is not as full.
Top shelf has the first grey container I got and these containers are just brilliant.  They are made of material and cardboard and are firm but pliable some have little windows and they come in several shapes and sizes.

I got them on Amazon and this is just one example of them.

Right Wardrobe

Quite a few items were summer clothes so they were packed away in one of the grey containers so no longer too many clothes hanging here.

I found that the slanted roof to this wardrobe was ideal for storing extra hangers so all the hangers making a mess previously in one of the other wardrobes are now neatly placed here on the top shelf along with a containers holding one of my large American Quilts.

My Hair dryer & brushes etc. had always been a problem on the top shelf and now I have them on the bottom and there is a lamp beside them because we keep this for when someone uses this room as a bedroom and need a bedside lamp.

I am looking forward to getting the new carpet for this room now.

And because a lot of the wardrobes still have free space at the bottom I'm considering which types of boxes or containers to get to fit there, and you know how I love Storage boxes!

This sorting was a joy to do because of the decorating having been completed and making everything feel like a fresh start.

Time consuming but counted as  FUNWORK  because I was happy while doing it.


3 Sleighs for Christmas - A Dose of Encouragement


Our Christmas Tree was too big.

Well too wide to be precise.

We had bought it about 7 years ago when we lived in Belgium and had more space to have a tall and wide tree.

We really liked it because it was easy to assemble and was prelighted so no fiddling and fighting with strings of lights.  The most time would be spent actually putting the decorations on the tree.

But now in our present home we had struggled with not really having enough room for this tree definitely in our lounge but also not really having the proper space for it in our large kitchen with seated area.

Last year we thought too late about trying to find a new slimmer tree but this year on Saturday we decided to go ahead when we saw a slimmer tree very similar in style to our other one.  In fact this one was going to be slim enough so that we could put it up in the lounge now that we had the smaller suite.

Last week when I wrote the Wednesday Encouragement post I was disappointed that we hadn't got our tree up yet in the kitchen because we were waiting for the painting to be done and I couldn't start writing about our Tree Decorations as I had hoped but today I can.

So I want to start with the 3 sleighs

On the tree each year since Christmas 1993 we have had these three sleighs.

They are almost identical except for one thing.
They each have the name of one of our children on them.

Fred & I hung them on the tree last night.

As per always my thoughts went back to when I got them.

We were living in the US in Hockessin, a village outside Wilmington in the State of Delaware.

That was where I was introduced to Christmas fairs and Christmas shops and Personalised Christmas Tree Decorations.

I saw the sleighs and remembered the fun our three kids (plus Fred & I) had had in March that year when we had woken up to find 14 inches of Snow at our front door.

After shovelling the driveway a few times and playing around and then in for hot drinks we joined our next door neighbours to race down through our back gardens.

What fun, what laughter, what coldness, but what enjoyment from a simple act.

We really didn't want to stop because we were enjoying this unusual activity.
It was very unusual for us because we had come from Northern Ireland where we rarely see 4 inches of snow let alone 14 and rarely get the chance to even try to slide down a snow slope.

Eventually we had to drag ourselves and the kids inside as it started to get dark and we were concerned about frostbite from those round red patches appearing on our cheeks.

So here we are again at another Christmas with the memories from 21 years ago.

I remember getting these tree decorations at a craft fair a month before Christmas and surprising the children with their special named sleigh for each of them to hang on the tree as the last decorations that year.

Do the children remember that event as distinctly as I do?

I don't think so but they do remember hanging them on the tree for years.

A lot of our tree decorations are individual things we have picked up over the years and not colour co-ordinated to be extremely fashionable and make a glamorous tree.  I want to have memories of happy times together as a family or remember friends who may have given us something for our tree.

I want to be able to look at my tree and say thank you to God for the lovely memories and the family and friends that he has put into our lives.

My tree will not be perfect but why should it because nothing can be perfect and in striving for my tree to be perfect I would miss out on remembering the memories and blessings of the past.

There is nothing or no-one perfect in this world except for God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit.

So as I remember my imperfect tree and it's decorations I am going to be thankful to God for my 3 children this Christmas and my husband and all the memories and blessings we have seen together as a family.

Then I will pray for the future members of this family and the future memories to come and the future blessings God will bestow on us all because He loves us even though we are not perfect but just trusting in Him.

What will your tree be like and will you remember your blessings?

These are the things that mean a lot to families at Christmas especially when not all of the family can be together.

This year like last year Linda will not be with us over Christmas time, she will still be in South Korea but her sleigh was put up last night and the boy's sleighs were also put up by Fred and I because they are not here for the decorating of the tree any more.

Even though they have their names on them I believe they are more my special item than theirs because I was the one that chose them,


they are staying on my tree, not going with them!

They can wait until they inherit them.