Even though I never had an advent calendar as a child, I like the excitement of counting the days until Christmas. For children you think of the calendars where you get a piece of candy or a small toy each day. As an adult you know the true joy comes from giving to others. That is what really makes the Christmas season special.
Today is the anniversary of my father’s death and I have been thinking about him today. I know he did not choose to leave me fifty-one years ago, and because of my faith I believe we will be together again someday. I don’t often share such personal things, especially to the world, but feel the urge to do so in hopes that you will be comforted especially if you have lost a loved one or even a pet recently.
This is a story about my father’s sister at the end of her life and how my father came to her. I had written it at the time, because I knew that time would fade my memory and I did not want to forget a single sweet detail.
Aunt Sid’s last days:
Aunt Sid was my father’s baby sister. Daddy was born in 1908, and then his mother married and she had two daughters, Greta (1912), and Hildred (1913) who everyone lovingly called Sid. Even though they did not always live in the same home, the siblings were always close. Unfortunately Daddy died at the young age of 56 in 1965.
Aunt Greta married, but never had children and Aunt Sid never married. Daddy’s family was wonderful and always showed you unconditional love. Needless to say, I always had a close relationship with them even though they lived an hour away from us. The sisters always lived about a block apart and did everything together. Aunt Greta being the older sister was the bossy one, and Aunt Sid always went along. Sometimes to keep peace and sometimes I think it was just her easy-going good nature. Aunt Greta died in 2000 at 88.
I was able to move Aunt Sid to an assisted living facility near me and my husband. We were blessed to be able to spend a lot of time with her those last three years of her life.
The end of July 2004 Aunt Sid was not doing well and she was hospitalized. This was a Tuesday, that night she slipped into a coma. They told me that she would not come to; it would only be a short time until she died. The next night I went to see her and she was still in a coma, I went for a supper break and when I came back she was sitting up in bed.
Aunt Sid was looking around the room and her eyes were sparkling, she said to me “Janie, look at all the food they have prepared.” Then she said “look at all the people here” She used her finger to count and include my husband and me. There were 10 people in the room. She then said to me that we should get back or Greta would be upset with us. I still had not caught on and I said “Aunt Sid you know that Aunt Greta is dead”. She then crossed her arms and said very emphatically “Well, I know that my brother is alive.” I knew in that instant that my father was in the room with us. Being the big brother he was there to walk her home. Aunt Sid then said to me “look at the pretty little girl in the pink dress”. This time being smarter, I asked her who it was, and she told me that she didn’t know. I know that she was named after a little girl who had burned in a house fire and I thought that it might me her.
Aunt Sid adored my husband Al. She looked at Al and I could tell that she was upset with him; she said “why aren’t you taking care of your dog?” He asked her where it was, and she pointed to the corner of the room. Aunt Greta always had a dog that the both of them would spoil.
Aunt Sid slipped into a coma on Friday evening. I told her that I loved her and what a blessing she was to me, she spoke to me but I couldn’t understand because they had an oxygen mask on her. I was with her when she slipped away on Monday afternoon. I’m sure that the whole gang was there with her, and they are celebrating in heaven.
I feel blessed and very and thankful that God gave me that little glimpse into eternity. I know that we never have to be afraid to die and that we are never alone. I know that we can look forward to being with our loved ones in eternity, when we are done with this brief life. As I was blessed by this experience, I hope that you will also be blessed.
From this story I believe:
- There is food in heaven, lots of food, really good food!
- Even if you die alone, you don’t die alone because those your love come to you and walk you home. And I think the party continues.
- There are pets in heaven.
I hope this story does not fill you with sadness, but with peace, hope and joy.
Love and Blessings,
I don’t know about you but sometimes it is easy to get discouraged with our art (or whatever your gift is). It is easy to look at what others are doing and think what we are doing is not the right thing or our art doesn’t measure up; or, even worse, have others tell us what we are doing isn’t good enough, or that we should be doing something else. Continue reading Using the Gifts You are Given
Last year I had read on Jeanne Oliver’s blog that her family had a service advent tree. Instead of receiving a little gift or treat to count down the days until Christmas, they did an act of service for someone each day. I love the idea and thought I would try it this year. You could use any tree and attach stars on it each day but I thought I would make one.
I found these wonderful kraft stars at Michaels. I did not want to completely paint them, but I wanted a little bling so I flyspecked them with two shades of gold metallic paint. I used DecoArt Metallics – Emperor’s Gold and Splendid Gold.
One day I was on Facebook and someone posted a picture of a gift that her mother had painted for her birthday. The tray was one of my designs so I was excited when I saw it. I always love when people paint my designs, but I really love when they take my design and personalize it. Here is the picture that I saw on Facebook.
A little while ago I share a mixed media project that I felt would be a good way to introduce others to art. You can see the blog post here. The beginning of the month some ladies from my painting chapter Penn’s Woods Painters and myself did this project at the Ronald McDonald house in our area. The project was open to patients and family members. These are the happy faces of our helpers.
A while ago I was asked to do an artsy project for a bachelorette party, that would be reasonably priced and would suit someone who had not painted before or very little. Something to have fun together. I decided to incorporate mixed media elements into the piece and use stencils and scrapbook paper for the basic shapes. The project went well and everyone was happy with their ART. Many were amazed at themselves…what a fun way to introduce others to the LOVE of ART.
Since doing this my painting chapter is going to be doing a similar project for Ronald McDonald house and I will be leading a workshop at my church’s woman’s retreat. I thought you might also like to share this project with others.
There is no set way to do this project, you can add or eliminate steps. I will share with you my process. I started with a 9×12 canvas. Using Matt Medium or Deco-Page glued paper to the canvas. Using an old gift card I pushed the wrinkles out of the paper and then allowed it to dry. (to speed things up I like to have a hairdryer handy), I used Tim Holtz tissue papers on the background, but you could use book pages, sheet music or scrapbook papers. When working on this project adding a coat of medium between layers will make it easier to wipe away any mistakes. Continue reading Share the LOVE of ART