Thursday, December 17, 2015

Is merry leaking from your Christmas?

Creative Commons License photo credit: wolfsavard

Is the merry leaking from your Christmas? Did the advent season start with sharp edges like a broken ornament? Does society's tar-la-la-ing rub you the wrong way when you are struggling with  discord, illness, or outright tragedy? 

First of all, free yourself from "should." Your legitimate (as opposed to  deranged) thoughts and feelings don't have to match the Hallmark commercials. But if you can't point to any good thing in your life right now, seek help. 

Second, consider how and why you celebrate Christmas the way you do. It's  okay to scale back, or cut out the trappings of tradition. Instead, concentrate on nurturing relationships. 

Third, if you are a person of the Christian faith, remember that this wasn't a great time for Mary either.  She was pregnant before the wedding and a lot of folks didn't believe in her virgin birth 2000 years ago any more than they do today. In her ninth month, she hiked one hundred miles. Or if she was lucky she jostled on a donkey's back. And then she delivered her first child without her mama, in a cave, with Who Knows as midwife.

From the angel's briefing to the humble birth, nothing matched Mary's ideas of becoming a mother. Yet despite the circumstances, she hoped in the promise from the angel, "the Lord is with you" and she "treasured" the shepherds eye witness account of the angelic birth announcement, "pondering [these things] in her heart."

The reason we celebrate Jesus is because He is the hope of the world.  He promises that eventually those who love him won't cry any more tears.  Hope abides with Him even when hurt stomps all over your heart.

"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word." 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My "page views" flat-lined

Successful bloggers have growing readership. Mine is more or less stagnant, and a graph of my "page views" looks like the flat line of an electrocardiogram.

So when I checked my statistics this week and saw a 1000% increase in readership, from 5 to 50, I looked again. I also found that Russia was the source of this huge increase.

Hmm, I don't think there was a big rush by babushkas to read about my making doll clothes. More likely, a "bot", web robot, was running an application that involved my site. I don't set store by artificially elevated statistics.

What I do value is every email, oral or posted comments you make telling me that something I wrote resonated with you. Thank you. 

And here's a link to another blog (whose readership numbers are rising) that eloquently lists what you can do to help spread the word about my blog. If somehow, the link doesn't pop up, you can google  7 ways to love 
your blogger. 

Even though it's #2 on Lori's list (in the link), don't bother hitting the Facebook thumbs-up graphic on my Facebook page. Instead, read what Lori has to say about encouraging your local, friendly blogger (me), item #4, 
and email my blog to somebody else who would like it.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Grandma's Workshop: Gift-Making and Gift-Giving

I love it when I can create something special for a Christmas gift. 

At one point my sisters and I shared the unfinished attic of an old farm house as our bedroom. Even though it had a couple of heat ducts it got pretty chilly. So I made one sister a long flannel nightgown for Christmas. It looked cute, but there was a little problem with the sleeves. When she woke the up the next morning  her hands were swollen about twice their regular size because the wrist elastic was too tight. 

This year I made doll clothes for a granddaughter's doll.  I pulled free basic  patterns off of the internet and raided my scrap boxes to make this cute pair of pjs. I double-checked the sizing by trying the garments on a same-sized doll to be safe. Good thing I did. I had to remake the shirt so it would fit over her big head and stiff arms. 

Once I got the kinks worked out I coasted on a creative rush. I designed the little wardrobe using odds and ends of former projects. Maybe my daughter will recognize some of the fabrics. 

I'm pretty sure the clothes will be a hit, which is all a grandma wants when choosing a gift for a youngster she loves. But gift-giving is more fun if it's also gift-making.

What was your "greatest hit" in gift-giving history?  What was your worst dud?