Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Wonderful Friend

Phia has left the room momentarily and has also left her computer open.
So, I'm taking this golden opportunity to tell the world how awesome, sweet, amazing, talented, beautiful, and what wonderful friend my sister is.
I would love to go into more detail but I hear her entering the room.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Conclusion of the Matter ...

{after all of the festivities this weekend, lack of sleep, etc. my creativity is at an ebb ... howevah, for your sake, I shall endeavor to muster what little remains. =}

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming.

Just as drummers beat out a loud, steady rhythm for marchers to follow, so the Apostle's Creed sets forth the beliefs of those who call themselves Christians. The twelve drummers represent the twelve vital Christian beliefs as stated in the Apostle's Creed.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father. He shall return to judge both the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. "

[You can't convince yourself. Have the past twelve days, honestly been nothing more than -
a dream?
That wee sister of yours has just cheerfully jumped on you (dumbfounded that you could still be sleeping at 6:00 a.m., Christmas morning!), until at last she had the satisfaction of seeing your eyes reluctantly open. She extricates you from your awfully snug kingdom of blankets, and leads you (perhaps drags you is more befitting) out to the living room, so that you too can share in the excitement. Your senses still a bit foggy, you humor her by counting the number of packages bearing her name, and help her discreetly shake/feel and otherwise try to discern their contents. Leaving her contentedly counting, you make your way to the study. Almost hesitantly, you open the door. Not a feather to be seen. You look out the window - confirming your hunch, there is nary a barn in view.
As wrapping paper is joyously flying around the room, you sit and ponder quietly to yourself, sipping tea from your favorite mug. Interrupting your reveries, you hear the delighted laugh of your merry sister, who has just received an ornament of a dancing ballerina. She immediately declares that it has reminded her of a song, and commences with (lisp and all ;), "On the firtht day of Chrithtmath, my true love gave to me ... " A smile plays at the corners of your mouth. You shall never think of that song in the same manner again - you join in with the rest, thanking your True Love for sending His Son.
For that is the greatest gift of Christmas.]

It is my sincere desire that you have enjoyed and learned something new from these posts ... my apologies that they were not always consistent; nor I daresay, what you were at times anticipating . =/ All of your kind words of encouragement and comments have been a treasured gift. Readers are what make a blog possible - so, thank you muchly!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Ta-ta,
Phia

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Festive Outing ...

[This morning, you received a telegram, giving you instructions to attend the annual Christmas parade (hosted by a neighboring town). You are to devote your particular attention to the Medieval Pipers. The meaning of this venture shall be explained upon your return home. Even though the eight maidens (and their bovines), nine ladies, seven svarns, six geese (and the newly hatched goslings!), four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and your little partridge have all become dear companions (in some way, shape, form, or another), you think that perhaps it would become slightly awkward to bring them all; thus, you have purposed to attend the event alone.
The eagerly anticipating crowd is noisily mulling around, endeavoring to acquire the street corners with the most advantageous views.
It begins.
You see the float with the live Nativity pass by; followed closely by walking candy-canes and gingerbread citizens, who are distributing ... candy-canes and gingerbread cookies (ironically). Ah, you can hear them now! The tune of Good King Wenceslas reaches your ears, and you watch the Pipers approach. You feel strangely beckoned to follow - their melody is both soft and strong (like cheese ;). Pushing your way through the crowds, you smile to yourself - reveling in your child-like pursuit of the Eleven Pipers Piping. Upon your arrival at home, you find another telegram awaiting you - the sequel to the one prior.]

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven pipers piping.

"Eleven pipers represent the eleven apostles who were chosen by Jesus and remained faithful to him. (there were twelve before the betrayal and suicide of Judas.) Like children joyfully following a piper, these disciples followed Jesus. They also called others to follow him. they piped an everlasting tune of great joy - the salvation message of Jesus' resurrection from the dead.

These are the twelve [Jesus] appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James son of Zebedee and his brother John...Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. ~ Mark 3:16-19."

I cannot fathom that tomorrow is Christmas Eve *shakes head in disbelief* ... Merry Christmas Eve Eve to all!

Ta-ta,
Phia

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Not Happening ...

I tried, and I tried (and others tried for me =) to think of some feasible scenario to fit the Ten Lords a-leaping into this little narrative - from police officers on pogo sticks, a group of ten bungee-jumping lords from England, a traveling troupe of Irish step-dancers, to presidential bobble-heads that bounce, etc.; alas, the sting of defeat was inevitable. I am greatly saddened if I have dashed any (or all) of your expectations for the ten lords ... come, come! Not to fear, I shall still share with you the special meaning behind these lordly chaps. =)

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ten lords a -leaping.

"Lords were men with authority to command people's obedience. Ten lords a-leaping symbolize God's ten basic laws, otherwise known as the Ten Commandments.

You shall have no other gods. You shall not make and bow to any carved images. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's things. ~ Exodus 20:3 - 17 {paraphrase}."

Only two days of Christmas remaining, and then - voila! - it's Christmas. =) I do hope that you have had (unlike myself) a head start on your gift-giving. I tell you the truth, each December, Christmas springs upon me more swiftly than the year previous. =} Our little Smoo is coming to visit tomorrow! And if he isn't enough to fill my {earthly} cup of Christmas-cheer to overflowing, I don't what is. =)

Ta-ta,
Phia

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Swirling, Twirling, Spinning 'Round

[To be sure, the means by which some of the gifts have arrived, up to this point, does have you quite befuddled; however, this one takes the proverbial cake! This morning, you blithely make your way down to the barn (amongst other responsibilities, to see if those baby geese have shown their beaks), fully expecting to be received by the sound of lowing and squawking, etc. Instead, your ears are greeted with the voices of fiddles, banjos, and the like - you hesitantly open the side door and peer in. Positioned in the loft are the eight maidens, displaying their un-spoken musical talents; below, are ^nine^ ladies, do-si-do-ing to their hearts' content, in time with the Virginia Reel (the menagerie of onlookers adding their voices to the music, when they feel led)! The song just ended. You timidly approach - the ladies are laughing and trying to catch their breath, after their jolly frolic. One glances in your direction, seeing you for the first time; she calls to the others, and they all rush to meet you! Introducing themselves, and eagerly grabbing your hand in turn: "Patience", "Joy", "Peace", "Charity", "Kindness", "Gentle", "Essie (S-C)", "Goodness", and "Faithful".]

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing.

"The nine ladies remind us of the nine different fruits that the Holy Spirit produces in the lives of God's children. Just as these ladies dance joyfully, so can every Christian rejoice over the life changing fruit of the Holy Spirit. Gifts like love and joy and peace are worthy of great celebration!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ~ Galatians 5:22 - 23."

A most Happy Winds-day to all you dear readers!

Ta-ta,
Phia

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Expansion Project

[It's confirmed. You had been entertaining the idear since the French Hens; but, after today's gift, it is an absolute necessity - you must build a barn. Eight cows will simply not be tolerated in the house (not to mention the eight maidens who so kindly offered to stay for an allotment of time, to help you take care of the newly acquired kine!). In addition, it might also be prudent to build several bunkhouses - not knowing how long you will be called upon to house eight additional people. As you inspect each of the bovines, you find a meaning-note secured to the bells around their necks; 'poor in spirit'; 'mourn'; 'meek'; 'hunger and thirst'; 'merciful'; 'pure in heart'; 'peacemaker'; 'persecuted because of righteousness'.]

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight maids a-milking.

"The eight milking maidens represent eight unique teachings of Jesus sometimes called the Beatitudes. These words of Jesus, from his Sermon on the Mount, nurture and strengthen us much the way milk nourishes a child.

Blessed are the poor in spirit...blessed are those who mourn...blessed are the meek...blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...blessed are the merciful...blessed are the pure in heart...blessed are the peacemakers...blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness. ~ Matthew 5:3-12"

Don't think about it too much, but tomorrow is already the middle of the week ... =O! Unfathomable. This year has been *incredible*, and I am sad to be bidding it farewell soon; yet, I eagerly anticipate experiencing what God has written for next year! Oh the thought of it gives me heart-thrills. =)

God bless us, everyone!

Ta-ta,
Phia

Monday, December 19, 2011

An Eternity Of Birds ...

*heavy sigh* I am deeply sorry for having missed posting yesterday ... on the bright side, you get ^two^ posts today! ;D

[You are out on your afternoon walk (just before tea-time =) - there is a very light snow quietly drifting down, tenderly caressing the earth in it's placid merriment. You dust the whiteness from your coat, as you approach the door, and are almost instantly greeted by your effervescent child-sister; who is predicting, quite adamantly, that you will receive more birds today. You laugh to yourself as she begins naming possibilities (inwardly cringing at the word pigeon). Entering the 'Bird Cage' (which was formerly your study), you make your way around the cooing/clucking/calling/honking occupants, towards the window that overlooks the backyard. And there, as if to defy your {wishful} doubts, are ^seven^ svarns* a-swimming - it's as if they came down with the snowfall, they look so peaceful and white. You sigh with relief, to find that they do not match your sister's list of candidates. As you make your way to their location, your eye catches something bobbing in the water - you gently pull the note from the bottle and discover the significance of this gift.]

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven swans a-swimming.

"Seven swans symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Just as baby swans grow and change from "ugly ducklings" into beautiful graceful birds, so do God's children grow and change through the work of the Holy Spirit. The various gifts of the Holy Spirit are distributed for the benefit of the entire body of Christ.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. ~ Romans 12:6-8"

*I have been having fun researching the different animals that take part in The Twelve Days of Christmas, and found that 'svarn' is Old Norse for 'swan'. Possessing a great fascination for languages, and a joy when it comes to learning new words, I thought perhaps some of you might enjoy it as I did. =)

Ta-ta,
Phia

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Six Potential Feather-Pillows

Geese - they are as familiar to me as grass or trees. On the surrounding property in my neighborhood, there are several tribes of - geese - that somehow manage to *always* prolong their summer holiday ... through the entirety of winter, to be precise. I've given it some consideration, and I have arrived at the conclusion that they're all dyslexic; the reason being, *most* sane fowl fly [South] for the winter, correct? Mmmhhmm, not these special birds {perhaps, in their minds, it's because they're already South of Canada? Anyhoo...}. It is their tribal tradition to be unconventional. My point being, there would have to be an enormously special reason for me to accept a gift of *six* geese a-laying (goslings, I'm fine with). ;) So let us learn something new! =)

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six geese a-laying.

"In many cultures, eggs symbolize new life. Six geese laying eggs became reminders of the six days of creation when God, by his Word, brought forth life on earth. God spoke and filled the earth with plants, birds, animals, and people during the first six days of creation, as found in chapter one of the book of Genesis.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ... God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. and there was evening, and there was morning ~ the sixth day. ~ Genesis 1:1, 11"

Oh what a glorious day! I had the very happy privilege to Carol the Good News of Christmas with a group from my church, and share the gift of Jesus' love with those who were walking by, or who stopped to listen. =) "It is more blessed to give, than to receive" - I concur! And to consider, that sharing Jesus' love with others is not just something you can do with your church, once a year at Christmas time - you can *choose* to do it every day, anytime you are able to interact with other people ... be it only a smile, or having the opportunity to talk with them. My Jesus is awe-some! And may I never be so selfish as to keep His free gift all to myself - He intended for me to share it with others. <3

*sigh* May your day be as merry and bright as mine was (and even more so)! =)

Ta-ta,
Phia

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Respite from Feathers

Argh ... this will be brief. =}

[Today, you are anticipating the post-man's arrival - knowing that whatever your True Love will send, it will be special, and have some sort of purpose. You're trying not to think about how much it would be appreciated if he would stop sending you poultry -- focusing on the positive here. The familiar sound of the doorbell rings. You take the package from that ever incorrigibly cheerful post-man, half anxious about what it's contents are; yet, irresistibly curious. The package is smaller than all the previous ones "Aha!" You think to yourself, "No more birds." =) You open the top, and enclosed are five well polished pieces of jewelry. You smile, and eagerly search for the meaning-note.]

"On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five golden rings. Gold rings are among the most valuable and treasured of all gifts. The five golden rings represent the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books, known to the Jews as the Torah, were treated with great reverence and considered to be worth more than gold. In these books, Moses, the commonly accepted author, records the creation story and the beginning history of the people of Israel.

No prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord kew face to face ... for no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel. ~ Deuteronomy 34:10,12 "

Not much for words at this time of night/morning. =} So, I had better say,

Ta-ta,
Phia

Friday, December 16, 2011

And yet *more* Birds

Once again, I crave your indulgence, there being no pictures in this post either. =/
Quite honestly, I didn't think that I would last this long...posting every day and all...to all of you who do post every day, my admiration for you increases by a great percentage - it certainly takes dedication. =P

[You find yourself sitting in your study one fine day, endeavoring to block out the sounds of the household. You muster all the concentration at your disposal, trying to write your family Christmas letter (the deadline of which is impending!)- when you hear a noise, resembling that of a Rook; but, not quite the same. You lift up your head and pause, then think nothing of it, and return to your task. The sound comes again, this time sounding more impatient. Still you disregard it, and press on with the letter. Suddenly, and most surprisingly, the latch windows in your study are thrown open, and in fly four birds, about the size of a Blue jay (perhaps a bit bigger), with red bows tied around their necks. One comes over to your desk (their audacious leader no doubt), and begins to peck at your papers - as you are shooing him off, a note falls from his bow to the desk. You pick it up, and it reads, "Merry Christmas, darling! I do hope that these fowl will not inconvenience you too dreadfully; it's just that they represent something special, that I wanted to remind you of. Please take care of Luke, Matthew, John, and Mark. Fondly, Your True Love." Somewhat puzzled, you write in your journal entry that evening:

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four calling birds.]

"The four calling birds are reminders of the four Gospel writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These writers of the first four books of the New Testament proclaimed the testimony of Jesus' life and teachings. Like birds calling out with loud and distinctive voices, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John spread abroad the news of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. They called people to faith in Jesus as their Savior.

Jesus did many other miraculous signs...which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. ~John 20:30-31"

I wish you could come over to my house ... we would sit in the living room (where our shimmering Christmas tree is standing, quite contentedly), and I would bring you a warm cup o' tea, with a serving of raw Baklava, and we would discuss merry Christmas-y things. =)Ah well, perhaps in the future...

Ta-ta,
Phia

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Late Hour ...

*gasp* There are no pictures in this post! =O I attribute it to the lateness of the evening . You have my deepest apologies. =( You shall simply have to use your magnificent imagination! =)

*ding-dong*
"Merry Christmas ma'am/sir! These just arrived, registered mail - three chickens, addressed to you!"
[You silently take the clucking crate from the amused post-man, and wonder where you will keep the hens...pondering about what you could possibly receive next.]
=)

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens.

"French hens were valuable poultry during the sixteenth century - only the rich could afford them. These costly birds symbolized the three valuable gifts given to Jesus by the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Gold was the most precious of all metals. Frankincense and myrrh were expensive spices used as incense and for burials.

When they [wise men] saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child ... and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. ~Matthew 2:10-11"

It has been a most unusual, exciting sort of day, and I am looking forward to an equally grand one tomorrow! =)

Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas dear readers!

Ta-ta,
Phia

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Turtledoves ... Two of 'em =)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two turtledoves.
"For hundreds of years, Jewish families used turtledoves as offerings to God. The gift of two turtledoves is a reminder of the sacrifice offered for Jesus by Mary and Joseph. When Jesus was forty days old, they took him to the temple in Jerusalem. They brought a sacrifice of two turtledoves as was required by the law.
Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord ... and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: 'a pair of doves or two young pigeons.' ~ Luke 2:22, 24
{The chocolate was Heid's creativity ;}
Jolly Little Gift-Giver =)
We have had a happy afternoon reading cozy books by the fire, staying dry, watching the rains come down ... it's been a regular duck day, I say! =P
Ta-ta,
Phia
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Partridges - A Hidden Meaning?

It has always been a puzzlement to me as to why 'My True Love' was so inconsiderately generous ... I mean where is one to store 23 fowls (not including 8 cows!), and 50 surplus people?? That isn't even taking into account that one is responsible to feed them all ...
*dink-dink*
It wasn't until yesterday evening that my curiosity was satiated, when Mum read to us from a book titled, The Real 12 Days of Christmas
{by Helen Haidle}.
It begins by explaining that in England, sometime during the sixteenth century, any religion, other than the proclaimed state religion, was forbidden. Thus, over the next three centuries, the individuals who refused to adhere to this law developed creative ways to teach the children their beliefs.
The generous benefactor, 'my true love', is referring to God. =)
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.
"The original gift of Christmas is Jesus, sent to earth from God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. John 3:16
The partridge was known as a valiant bird, willing to fight to the death in order to defend its young. This bird's readiness to die for its young made it an ancient Christian symbol of Christ. The pear tree represents the cross.
I am the good shepherd...I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15"
It is my goal to be able to share with you the meaning of each day of Christmas until we reach ... December 25th! ;)

This past weekend was the annual IBLP staff Christmas Conference!
It has ever been a highlight for me. +)
The speakers were incredible, and there were also really awesome people there that I got to see. =D
Tell someone about the true meaning of Christmas - you may be the first person who's ever taken the time to tell them about our magnificent Savior! <3
Happy First Day of Christmas to all!
Ta-ta,
Phia
Post Script - I do apologize for being unable to post last week ... what with a hectic Christmas sche-dual and all, I trust you understand? =) I'm going to make up for it by posting every day until Christmas - highly unusual, I knowr. =P We shall see what transpires!
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