Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Beehive is Open this Season

Since it's time for crazy preparation, I'd like to offer an open invitation to join us at A Beehive of Spiritual Activity.

It's going to be freely open this Advent Season (beginning November 30) for you to partake of the encouragement, booklets, downloadable lists, etc. to *hopefully* free your home-beehive a little with intentional spiritual activity.

Everything will be sub-divided on the Spiritual Beehive blog and notices will be provided on our Beehive Facebook page. Now is a great time to join us because we have found the Facebook page to be too drippy with sharing the multiple seasonal files so it will be more structured on the blog until we can cull it together on the website: A Beehive of Spiritual Activity

For starters, every day of Advent a simple *stress relief* will be dropped into your holiday tank. This is something that will assist you this month or just something that helps you to embrace the Christmas spirit over the Christmas insanity.

For example, today you pick a cherished scent, one you always associate with holiday bliss, to embrace into your home this season.
Each time you inhale the scent, you will pause.
Each time you exhale the scent, you will prepare.
Each time you breathe the scent deeply, you will prosper.

Simple little cues. Nothing big. Nothing overwhelming. We know you have enough going on without adding any more. We also know there are so many good things hoping for your time, praying for your attention.

Our hope is that you merely think of peace when you see an update from the Spiritual Beehive. It is also our hope that if you are feeling over stimulated by your to-do list, the Spiritual Beehive will remind you to that even if all those snowflurries in your head don't build a snowman, the season is still a joyful thing to contemplate. That's our hope because this is the week of Hope. And if you only capture them in your head and they never become any more than hopeful ideals, that's ok. Because through them those images and ideals will find their way into our hearts and that's a beautiful place for snowflurries to land.

A very beautiful place.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Advent Goodies and Preparations and a Giveaway

Word has it that the ever popular Shower of Roses blog is having a sleighful of giveaways this week. You don't want to miss them! And she shows more than tells this lovely sampler from the Feasts and Seasons that have created our Advent/Christmas/Epiphany Collection.
It will include a copy of my popular Christmas resource Christmas Mosaic. You can enjoy an old Christmas tradition or create a new Christmas tradition with your children (and/or grandchildren) using Christmas Mosaic to guide you through the four very special weeks of Advent right up through Epiphany.
Jessica's blog post alone for this giveaway is scrumptious eye candy. I'm sitting here oogling at the photographs she shares and enjoying the comments as they are posted.

This...This...the sharing...the excitement...the glee...the what makes Christmas magical.

Speaking of are a few things from past Christmases I want to share.

{Remember to fly over to Jessica's blog and enter to win an autographed copy of Christmas Mosaic in time to begin a much loved family tradition.}


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Advent Retreats

Orthodox Mom offers a 66-page Advent Study "...with the hope of assisting us to overcome the spirit of secularism by offering some simple things to ponder every day during the next six weeks.  ...
Included in this Advent Study are weekly devotionals, daily readings, and activities to help us remember who and what we are really celebrating at Christmastime."

Extremely affordable at $5.50 which you download and print and place into a binder.

I've got mine ready to study.

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And Women Living Well is offering a FREE Advent Study and December Reading Plan.

The cover alone is luscious and fragrant enough to inhale.

I've got mine printed and packaged and ready to enjoy!

"The weeks leading up to Christmas and Epiphany are some of the busiest and most stressful of the year. How can we live them as God wants us to live them? How can we re-learn the childlike art of anticipation and apply it to our grown-up lives?"
Available Nov. 23, 2014 from

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Advent 2014 Resources by Jennifer G. Miller


Friday, November 14, 2014

All Across Louisiana...

From the Mississippi River to Sabine...
{Seen at Rip Van Winkle Gardens on Jefferson Island}
Throughout Louisiana people are sighting my new children's book Cajun 'Ti Beau and the Cocodries published by Pelican Publishing.

I have updated the upcoming Book Signings and Presentations and added a long list of gifts shops and bookstores throughout Louisiana where you will find my new book skipping and skimming, "cutting through the tall swamp grasses and around the cypress trees beside the bayou" waiting to glide to your house to be enjoyed by your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews and cousins, and by your spouse who wants to try their hand at making an Alligator Sauce Piquante (recipe found in back of book).

Anyone far away from the bayous of Louisiana who would like to order an autographed copy, can contact me @ cay gibson at g mail . com (no spaces) for more information.

If you have a moment to share a review on Amazon or your blog, I would enjoy reading it. :-)

And remember...never trust an alligator's smile! ;-)

Places to hunt for cocodries...
Bayou Country-Slidell, LA

Beauvoir Gift Shop-Biloxi, MS

Louisiana Cajun Stuff-Houma, LA

Louisiana Purchase-Natchitoches, LA 

Rip Van Winkle Gardens-New Iberia, LA

LeBleu's Landing-Sulphur , LA

Gordon's Fine Gifts-Lake Charles, LA (book signing Nov. 15th)

The Fad-Franklin, LA

Georgia’s Gift Shop-Natchitoches, LA

Cabbage Patch Gift Shop-Vinton, LA

Thrifty Way-Abbeville, LA

Mardi Gras World-New Orleans, LA

 Prejean’s Cajun Restaurant-Lafayette, LA

Cajun Village Antiques-Sorrento, LA

Judy’s Hallmark Shop-Gretna, LA

Houmas House-Darrow, LA

Pick a Book-Breaux Bridge, LA

Cajun Treats-Welsh, LA

Vermilionville-Lafayette, LA

University Of La Lafayette Museum-Lafayette, LA

Tubby and Coo’s-New Orleans, LA

 Maple Street Book Shop-New Orleans, LA

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Know a Nurse Like This...

At a recent meeting for directors of religious education, our spiritual leader asked for us to focus on the Eucharist and how to teach the children the gift of it, the gift of Sacrifice which they need to understand in order to realize the ultimate gift and example that Jesus gave and showed us on the Cross.

One of the DREs made the observation that, as a whole, American children do not know or understand what sacrifice is. They (we) haven't had much practice with that concept.

On a day when we are remembering our military veterans (and their families) and the sacrifices they made for our country and I am forever grateful for my dad and brother (Army), my father-in-law (Navy), my brother-in-law (Coast Guard), my nephew (Marines) and my uncle (Green Berets) and so many other family relatives who have served and sacrificed... I am thinking of another relative who is learning the gift of Sacrifice in a 21st century way.

She shared this post the other day...

I Wish I Could Cry with You, But I Can't

She's one of the strongest people I know.

And she's my daughter.

In a phone conversation with her father last night, our registered nurse shared that she has begun training for a potential Ebola outbreak...incase...just in case...someone enters their hospital with this intruder.

Because she does not have children yet, she would be one of the first called upon to minister to an Ebola patient.

I'm often left in awe that I co-created this child...this person...this woman. Her father and I. With God.

She's such an individual.

She was the child I was told I had created nine months before I planned to even think of creating.

She was the child I almost lost and spent a agonizing week in bed with severe bleeding...with a two year old running around the house.

That she is here is a mystery...and a blessing.

I see her father in her. Her daddy says she's just like me.

But she's not.

My family will tell you in a heartbeat that I am not the family nurse. My husband has reckoned my medicinal knowledge and administration there of to tending a garden of failed plants: "It's a good thing you don't take care for our children the way you take care of our plants."

True...I see the similarities at times...the bluntness, the twitch of the mouth, the curtain being drawn. In many ways she is like me. She moves fast and she serves hard. We steel ourselves against the inevitable and we get the job done. But we wear a mask.

Those are the things I like least about myself so I see them most pronounced. They are the things that are probably necessary yet the very things I wish I could change.

She's so much more than I am. She may have some of my edges, but she's learned how to smooth them out.

In normal, everyday conversation she might mention a patient vomiting blood all over her, apologizing the whole time she tries calming him while placing towels under or about him while dealing with anxious family members or about a drug addict cursing her out or loosing another patient to cancer; but rarely. Mostly, she doesn't bother anyone with her sorrows. Instead she sits and allows the person talking about their failed deadlines or undelivered mail or spilt milk with as much respect and understanding as though that were the most important sacrifice on earth. Because she knows in their world, it is.

In reading this article, for a moment, I get to walk down the hospital hallway with her, seeing and feeling as she sees and feels. Probably because we're more alike than I ever knew.

She uses her hands to medicate the body.
I use my words to medicate the soul.

I know the sensitive side that others may never see. The side that calls for curtains being drawn. I've seen a wall go up at times when we're all sitting around the kitchen table because I know she can't allow herself to go there. She feels things like I do but we have two different ways of handling them.

She speaks hospice to the anxious.
I speak hospice to the searching.

She serves. And we don't know the magnitude of it until someone mentions it in passing us at the store or leaving church or on social media.

If she isn't working, she's simply drive a younger sister somewhere, to keep watch at a hospital not her own, to cook a meal for her brother's family, to babysit a nephew, spend the night with a feeble grandmother, to cheer on a little sister's dance, to freely care for an unwed mother's little girl so she can work, to rescue a stranded friend, to hold a hand...

...or a baby.

And somedays I know she simply holes up in her little cottage and struggles to retrieve herself. That part I know she gets from me.

Cold? Unempathetic? Jaded?

Not at all. You have to read this article to understand: Wish I Could Cry With You. You have to read it to understand why some of us appear stand-offish and yet care more than we would ever care to admit.

Like me, sometimes she is just trying not to cry, because she can't. She can't go there. Can't go as deeply as I can. Because I am weaker. I don't even attempt to walk through those heavy doors.

The part of her that opens those doors and enters a world of sick and hurt is her father made over. I'm grateful God makes people like that. I'm grateful He made her. I'm grateful for people like my daughter who don't overthink sacrifice the way soul-healers (like myself) do; they are merely there to serve you when duty calls. To overthink that would leave them unable to suit up and walk through those heavy doors.

And when they pull open those doors? Most often you'll see them smile because they can't let themselves cry with you.

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