Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive


It’s time to wish everyone a happy New Year again.  

Christmas passed so quickly, but in that short span of time, we spent many precious moments with family, enjoying every busy, noisy one.

Sadly, not all folk were blessed with the opportunity and so, must dread another same old, same old, year.

A new year gives us time to ponder our lives and how productive we were in the months of the old year.

Myself?  I know I should be able to claim that I did the best I could have done – but, I know that is not the whole truth.  I could / should have done better.  What I can do is try harder and do better in this coming year, than I did in 2013.

My hope and prayer is that we keep that beautiful Christmas spirit alive and well, and spread it generously through 2014 and subsequent years;not keeping it for emergencies only.

Let each of us use our God-given gifts to care about and to reach others.





Three Cheers



Three cheers for all the hydro workers who gave up Christmas with loved ones, in order to restore power to thousands without heat, light and power.  It cannot have been pleasant working in the frigid temperatures, and with such dangerous work.

A minority have complained of the time taken to bring back light and heat.  Thankfully, the majority have whole-heartedly approved of the way this colossal situation was handled.

While a few households are still waiting for power to be restored, just a very few remain out of the over three hundred thousand initially affected.  I think each worker deserves a medal – better yet, a bonus?

Meantime, let’s continue to think of, care about and pray for those still waiting for vital utility services to be repaired.

Thankfully, we have not been inconvenienced, although our son and his wife did lose power and heat and trees, it was less than two days for them.

Mayor Ford has redeemed himself in the way he has  directed and controlled the work in Toronto.  Good for you.

Good for any and everyone who has reached out to help – no matter how small the effort.  In the greater scheme of things all help accumulates to be part of a greater cause.

Stay safe all you workers, householders, drivers – all who live in the frigid North.     Patricia


Frigid Weather

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We are still in the grips of frigid weather.  The temperature is minus 20 degrees celsius, outside.

Thank the Lord, we have not been affected by power cuts, and we do have heat.

I look out the window and am in awe of the spectacular scenes I see.  The trees are clothed in ice; this in turn looks more like crystal as the sun touches them.

feel for all who are suffering because of the cold and darkness, and hope power is restored quickly.  We can pray for them and help whenever, and however we can.

The pictures here demonstrate the ice beauty, they do not convey the trauma of downed trees and power lines, devastating many neighborhoods in Southern Ontario.

Stay safe everyone.

Stay warm.

Seek the comfort of warming centres.

Reach out for any help that is available in your area.

This is no time to be proud and independent.

This cold weather is a life taker.

There is an extreme cold alert in place and it can KILL quickly.

Please be sensible.

Patricia for my blog and details of my book.



Birthday Candles

Thank you, to Robin Ross, for this devotional.  (

John 12:46 – I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. (NKJV)
Throughout my ministry, Christmas Eve was always a high point of the year, and some years, I put a lot of effort into developing a themed script, illustrated with projected slides. After the children portrayed the nativity story, we would light candles symbolizing Jesus as the light of the world and our task to represent Him as lights in the world. Then we would sing “Silent Night”.

So, early in December, one of my jobs was to buy enough candles for the 120 – 140 people in attendance. So there I was, one year, checking out at the grocery store with a full display box containing a dozen boxes of birthday candles.

“You want all these?” the clerk asked.

“Yes, they’re for a Christmas Eve Service,” I said.

“Oh,” she replied, “it isn’t for someone’s birthday.”

“Yes, it is,” I said. “It’s Christ’s birthday!”

Then a fellow behind me in the line said, “Well, you haven’t got enough!”

Imagine a birthday cake with more than 2000 candles!

How amazing it is that after 2000 years, we still celebrate Jesus’ birthday. But how easy it is to get so caught up in our Christmas traditions and busyness that we forget the fact that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Imagine holding a big birthday party and not remembering to invite the birthday person! To consciously include Christ, what gift will we give Him? Will it be to forgive someone that we’ve held a grudge against? Or maybe to extend unconditional love towards someone whom we find it hard to love? Or perhaps we might even pledge obedience to Jesus, who lived and died to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose again to give us eternal life, a relationship with God that will go on forever. Let’s make this a special Christmas and truly celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It could even include a cake with a white candle and singing “Happy birthday, dear Jesus!”

Prayer: Our birthdays are always special times of celebration, Lord, and Your birthday is an extra-special one. May we accord to You all the honour due unto Your holy name! Amen.

Robin Ross <>
Mission, British Columbia, Canada

Christmas Busy-ness Got You Down?


Checking on the feathered friends in our garden, I watched today as White Breasted Nuthatches flew around – first to the seed feeder and then to a long-empty bird house, that they appear to have inhabited.  That is cool.

Each year, since we arrived here, the only birds to stay a while in the ‘house’ have been lowly sparrows.  They diligently build nests each spring,  in compartments on either side of the structure, only to have starlings come  and steal the nesting material for their own use.  You’d think the sparrows would give up – but they do the same thing each year.  We’ve been here four years and I have watched the same ritual play-out every spring.

Now the nuthatches are occupying a west-facing unit, and keep watch from their lofty condo, head visible just inside the porthole.  They are very pretty birds – and extremely agile as they creep up and down the trees with ease.  It’s always a thrill to see new activities taking place, and I can’t do that if I don’t slow down my busy-ness and take notice.

What’s new in your life?  Is Christmas becoming a chore of rushing or is it a time of calm for you?

Is stress building up?  If so, STOP!  SLOW down.  Don’t let the hectic retail demands get you down.

Christmas is not about shopping, it is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and of sharing quality time with family and friends.  It is all about caring for those less fortunate than yourself: of giving your time and blessings, and importantly, of spreading the story of Jesus, and the hope and love He brought the world.  After all, without Jesus there would be no Christmas.

So negative anxious thoughts begone, and welcome positives to take up residence.



Endurance Wins


Winners win, because they refuse to give up.  They push themselves to extraordinary limits in order to accomplish the goal of the race before them.

In Corinth, the Isthmian games demanded that an athlete endure ten months of rigorous training, in order to compete.  Failure to do this, meant there would be no crown and, definitely, no glory.

I began writing my book, A Stolen Childhood, Eleanor’s Story, four years ago.  Today it is available to buy as an e-book but the print version demands strict setup and because I am self-publishing, I am the person responsible for the final preparation.  Writing the book was time-consuming (naturally).  Editing even more so.

My goal was to have a printed page turning paper book in my hands.  This was, and still is, my goal.  The constant need of change to appearance, etc.,make paying large sums to ave it done by somebody else – very appealing.  The challenge is that I do not have large sums of money to use.  SO – I plod on; approaching one print company after another to find one that will give me the prize for which I yearn.  A printed copy of my book – that I did not have take out a mortgage to obtain.

Do I get frustrated?  YES.  Do I want to give up?  YES.  More than I care to admit.  Yet, if I do, all those years of effort are wasted.  Just as an athlete, in Corinth, could be deprived of the crown, I would deprive myself of the sense of accomplishment that holding a paper copy of my book would give me.

This morning I was reading my Bible (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) and the words within those passages caused me to reflect on my efforts.  I have been consumed by dollar thinking, without considering a much greater reward.  The tangible proof of four years of writing, editing, rewriting, setup, and angst.

I want that book in my hands, and so I need to refresh my determination in order to reach that goal.

Do you have an unfinished project, that you just wish you could finish?  Why not bring it out and get back to it – today?


Author of:  A Stolen Childhood, Eleanor’s Story.

Available at:


Are You Loved?


When life gets busy, we might overlook the importance of telling others how much they are loved.  This might lead to somebody wondering if they are, indeed, loved – and how much.

My children are busy.  When I say busy – I cannot impress enough, how busy their lives are.  They work full-time, in professional management careers.  They encourage their children to participate in after school interests: dancing;learning to play guitar and piano; soccer;basketball;military pursuits, etc.etc.  All these activities need time – not just from the children but also the parents, as they drive my grandchildren from one class to another.

The time it takes to say ‘I love you’ can, be filled with busy-ness and we don’t even realize we’re not doing it – telling someone how important they are to us.

So, my recent birthday, brought me to tears – nice tears, I might add, as one by one my children and grandchildren, phoned to give me their love and birthday wishes, while gifts and email messages expressed their deepest love for me – causing my deepest emotions to become exposed.  You (I hope) know the feeling.

A card from a grandchild with the words, ‘Nana, do you know how much you are loved’?  Upon opening the card a little critter has arms open wide and the caption reads – ‘This much’, with the words ‘Hug shown smaller than actual size’ beneath it.

A beautiful card from a son, and another from a daughter-in-law and messages galore.  The words from the cards are for my eyes only, so sorry everyone, I’m not sharing those.  My point is that it is so very important to let people know how you feel about them – how else will they know?

An email message from a teenage grandson.  What precious gifts.

I picture God with His arms open wide, saying to each of us, ‘Do you know how much I love you?  This much.  Hug shown smaller than actual size.’

Christmas is the perfect time to tell someone how much they are loved, or to show them how much you care.  It can make an immense difference.  A good difference.  Try it and see!


Author of A Stolen Childhood, Eleanor’s Story and

Slow Down


‘Tis the season to be jolly.  Shopping, planning and preparing menu after menu for that special Christmas meal, with family and friends.

Hurry, hurry, let’s get it done – no time to waste.

Reaching the actual Christmas days – we can be – if we allow it – exhausted by the frenzy of preparations.  Where’s the joy in that?

Retailers are much to blame.   Thrusting one ‘holiday’ at us before another has ended, or has even been celebrated, can be aggravating.  Their marketing and greed can take away the joy.

Some years ago, I worked with a particular gentleman, who always rushed.  He’d say, “I’ve got a lot to do, got to get on with it.”  He was very community orientated, and so, had a certain image to maintain.  He tired everyone around him with his constant blur of activity.

One year, his daughter gave him a gift.  It was – if I remember correctly – a turtle, that emitted the Simon and Garfunkel song, Slow Down, Don’t Move So Fast.  You’ve Gotta Make the Moment Last………………..  It was hilarious to watch his expression on hearing it. He truly appreciated it.  But it didn’t change his pace one bit.

So, with Christmas fast-approaching – don’t let the retailers steal your joy.  Make each moment of preparation last long enough to become a happy memory.


My e-book A Stolen Childhood, Eleanor’s Story can be purchased from: or   Print copy coming soon.