Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Miniature Cottage Ornament

Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Frozen Bootprint on My Deck

Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The First Christmas (a letter from Jesus)

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated.

During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago.

At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.

Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts.

But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited.

I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation.

The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.

They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time.

To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk.

He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" as if the party were in his honor!

At midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know, no-one hugged me.

Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one?

I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.

I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life.

I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you.

Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements.

Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you.

I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters, in my great guest book.

Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party.

Those who don't answer the invitation, will be left outside. Be prepared, because when all is ready, you will be part of my great party.

See you soon. I Love you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Anti-Theft Sticker

It takes more than this to protect your vehicle and belongings inside!
Remember to hide bags and lock up!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Handel's "Messiah" Historical Background

On April 8, 1741, Handel gave what he considered his farewell concert. Miserably discouraged, he felt forced to retire from public activities at the age of fifty-six. Then two unforeseen events converged to change his life. He received a commission from Dublin charity to compose work for a benefit performance, and a friend, Charles Jensen, gave him a libretto based on the life of Christ, taken entirely from the Bible.

In an age when illiteracy was widespread and written copies of the Bible were expensive and rare, Handel became excited about Jensen's idea. Handel pioneered the "oratorio," a musical composition designed to teach the Scriptures by setting them to music.

Handel set to work composing on August 22 in his little house on Brook Street in London. He grew so absorbed in the work that he rarely left his room, hardly stopping to eat. Within six days part one was complete. In nine days more he had finished part two, and in another six, part three. The orchestration was completed in another two days. In all 260 pages of manuscript were filled in the remarkable short time of 24 days.

Handel never left his house for those three weeks. A friend who visited him as he composed found him sobbing with intense emotions. “I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself,” as he finished writing what we now know as the Hallelujah Chorus. Later, as Handel groped for words to describe what he had experienced, he quoted St. Paul, saying “whether I was in the body or out of my body when I wrote it, I know not”.

Considering the immensity of the work, and the short time involved, it will remain, perhaps forever, the greatest feat in the whole history of music composition.” Handel’s title for the commissioned work was simply Messiah.

Messiah premiered on April 13, 1742 as a charitable benefit, raising 400 pounds and freeing 142 men from debtor’s prison. A year later, Handel staged it in London. Controversy emanating from the Church of England continued to plague Handel, yet the King of England attended the performance. As the first notes of the triumphant Hallelujah Chorus rang out, the king rose. Following the royal protocol, the entire audience stood too, initiating a tradition that has lasted more than two centuries.

That Messiah continues to have a profound impact on its listeners may be best explained by Handel himself. Following the first London performance of Messiah, Lord Kinnoul congratulated Handel on the excellent “entertainment.” Handel replied, "I should be sorry, my lord, if I have only succeeded in entertaining them. I wished to make them better."
Sources: Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers, Patrick Kavanaugh; Notes by John W. Ehrlich

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Miniature Village

Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Gingerbread Doll House at The Fair

Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Wonders Wednesday Photo: Mountain Above Clouds

Mt. Rainier
Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reasons for Thanks Abound

by Gary Schneeberger, CitizenLink editor

It can look pretty grim sometimes on the front lines of the culture war, but tough circumstances don't mean God's not with us and for us. Abraham Lincoln knew that.

Tradition tells us this is the time of year we're supposed to be thankful.

But what if we just don't feel like it? What if we woke up this morning thinking we have more to be frustrated with, hurt by, scared of and depressed about than we have to be thankful for?

Scripture certainly addresses that question. Paul exhorts the Colossians to "let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3: 15-17).

Few of us can deny we've missed the mark in that regard from time to time. The first thought that entered my mind last week when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual "marriage" was not, I must confess, "Thank you, Lord." Neither is that response always easy to come by when we lose ground on other fronts the campaign for righteousness — whether it's Roy Moore getting fired for acknowledging God with his Ten Commandments monument or federal courts blocking enforcement of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Even if we think back to our grade-school studies, to the story of the first Thanksgiving, it can be tempting to feel less than thankful in the midst of trying times. You remember the story: The Pilgrims, their numbers cut nearly in half by a devastating winter, were so blessed by the subsequent harvest of 1621 that they gathered to give thanks for their bounty. But by then they'd survived their trials and had found happier, easier times. Months earlier, when their limbs were immobilized by the cold and their children were dying in their sleep, history doesn't record much dancing and feasting in the fields, does it?

No, it does not.

But history does record — two centuries, two score and two years after the Pilgrims' first feast — the words of a man who faced very different, yet no less devastating, trials. Abraham Lincoln, president of half a country engaged in bloody battle with the other half, somehow saw fit in the midst of the Civil War to declare that, yes, there was much in the no-longer-United States to be thankful for.

On Oct. 3, 1863 — just two weeks after more than 34,000 Americans were killed or wounded in the battle of Chickamauga — Lincoln issued a proclamation establishing a national day of Thanksgiving.

"The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies," he wrote. "To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . .

"In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict . . .

"Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements . . . and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom . . .

"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

If Lincoln could find such abundant reason to be thankful in the thick of the war he faced, shouldn't we be able to do the same in the thick of the war we face? It is a fierce battle, to be sure, and the casualties — in the form of liberal court decisions and the increasing secularization of our government and culture -- can pile up quickly. But none of it is a surprise to God — and that's why none of it should be a discouragement to us.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom," those were Paul's instructions to the Colossians, but they apply to us, too, never more fittingly than at Thanksgiving. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

Maybe your life is a battlefield today. Maybe it's bountiful. Maybe it's a little of both. No matter the circumstances, though, we pray that as you reflect on what it is you have to be thankful for, you will permit yourself to expect a continuance of whatever blessings you find there.

And that you will remember, as Lincoln did, that we don't fight this battle alone, but as servants of our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Martha Stewart Will Not Be Coming For Thanksgiving Dinner"

"Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. I'm telling you in advance, so don't act surprised. Since Ms. Stewart won't be coming, I've made a few small changes:

Our sidewalk will not be lined with homemade, paper bag luminaries. After a trial run, it was decided that no matter how cleverly done, rows of flaming lunch sacks do not have the desired welcoming effect.

The dining table will not be covered with expensive linens, fancy china or crystal goblets. If possible, we will use dishes that match and everyone will get a fork. Since this IS Thanksgiving, we will refrain from using the plastic Peter Rabbit plate and the Santa napkins from last Christmas.

Our centerpiece will not be the tower of fresh fruit and flowers that I promised. Instead we will be displaying a hedgehog-like decoration that has been hand-crafted from the finest construction paper. The artist assures me it's a turkey.

We will be dining fashionably late. The children will entertain you while you wait. I'm sure they will be happy to share every choice comment I have made regarding Thanksgiving, pilgrims and the turkey hotline. Please remember that most of these comments were made at 5:00 a.m. upon discovering that the turkey was still hard enough to cut diamonds.

As accompaniment to the children's recital, I will play a recording of tribal drumming. If the children should mention that I don't own a recording of tribal drumming or that the tribal drumming sounds suspiciously like a frozen turkey in a clothes dryer, ignore them. They are lying.

We toyed with the idea of ringing a dainty silver bell to announce the start of our feast. In the end, we chose to keep our traditional method. We've also decided against a formal seating arrangement. When the smoke alarm sounds, please gather around the table and sit where you like. In the spirit of harmony, we will ask the children to sit at a separate table. In a separate room. Next door.

Now I know you have all seen pictures of one person carving a turkey in front of a crowd of appreciative onlookers. This will not be happening at our dinner. For safety reasons, the turkey will be carved in a private ceremony. I stress "private" meaning this: Do not, under any circumstances enter the kitchen to laugh at me. Do not send small, unsuspecting children to check on my progress. I have an electric knife. The turkey is unarmed. It stands to reason that I will eventually win. When I do, we will eat.

Oh before I forget, there is one last change. Instead of offering a choice between 12 different scrumptious desserts, we will be serving the traditional pumpkin pie. Garnished with whipped cream and small fingerprints. You will have a choice. Take it or leave it.

Martha Stewart will not be dining with us this Thanksgiving. Come to think of it, she probably won't make it next year either. I am thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving!"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Harvest Giving

Remember to give unto others.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wonders Wednesday Photo: Log Formation

Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cell Phone vs. Bible

Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected, because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think 'where are my priorities?' (And no dropped calls!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wonders Wednesday: Rain-Jeweled Web

Copyright © 2008 "DJ" author of Sonbeam Corner. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008