Heart Choices: 2008-12-14 -->

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Michael W Smith - Welcome to Our World

Michael W. Smith is one of my favorite Christian music artists. I fell in love with this song when I first heard Michael sing this on Direct TV Christmas show. The words are so meaningful. I hope you enjoy it too.


Christmas Tea at the Phoenician

The Phoenician is one of the loveliest resorts in Arizona.

Each year, I've been so thankful to receive an invitation to the Christmas tea at the Phoenician from my good friend Terri. Because it's so popular, Terri has to make the reservations in early October.

Our annual tradition began about 12 years ago. Terri's mother Eileen was a patient in a cardiology practice where I worked. I always looked forward to their appointments. No matter how Eileen was feeling ... she was always such a bright spot in my day. Eileen had the most beautiful smile and Terri looks just like her mom.

It was easy to become good friends. And Eileen always told Terri and I that she was so glad we were friends. Although Eileen has since died, we always remember her smiling face as Terri and I reminisce about the fun times we had with her mom.

I want to share some of the photos I took this year. The Phoenician resort and grounds are simply beautiful.

This is the view when I first drove up the winding drive to the front entrance. The flowers were so colorful and pretty.

As I walked into the hotel, the lobby was decorated with a huge Christmas tree. The sound of the fountain is so soothing and peaceful. This place is so elegant.

Live piano music was being played and I recognized some of my favorite Christmas carols.

Terri and her cousin Janet were waiting for me when I arrived. They were already having a good time.

Take a look at the cute little sandwiches. The china tea set was so beautiful and just sets such an elegant mood to the whole affair.

We were so excited to have Wanda as our server. She's been with us for the past two years and is so efficient and kind. We were so touched when she told us that she had prayed to God just that morning that He would give her kind people to serve that day. She said He answered her prayer. And that touched our hearts.

This is the huge edible gingerbread house. The culinary staff had been in a local competition.

We stepped out on the veranda to take a few photos of the view.

The bottom of the pool is mother-of-pearl. Can you believe it? This resort was built by Charles Keating and he spared no expense.

This was the view as we were waiting for our cars.

If you ever come to the Phoenix area, be sure to take time to stop at this resort. I'm sure it would be a treat to stay here as a guest, but if not, come by to take a few pictures. The views are fantastic. The weather yesterday was in the low 60's but the sun came out so it was pleasant.

I'm glad I could share our Christmas tea at the Phoenician with you. Thank you Terri!

Do you have any favorite traditions that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear from you.

Thankful Thursday ~ Random

The theme for this week's Thankful Thursday is random. First of all, I want to thank Iris of Grace Alone, who is the host of Thankful Thursday's. It's been a blessing to participate each week, especially since this has been a very challenging time in my life.

Making the choice to focus my attention on all the things for which I can be grateful has been so helpful.

It's all a matter of perspective. How do you view life? Do you see the glass as half emtpy or ...is it actually half full?

My desire is to view my life through a lens of gratefulness. And it starts with a simple choice.

The Bible says in Philippians 4:8 "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

So, instead of thinking about all the bad things that could possibly happen, what if instead ...you begin to focus on what is praiseworthy?

May I suggest that you consider keeping a thankful journal? This is a great way to focus your attention on what is good, right and lovely in your life.

And then if you have a difficult and challenging day, you can open your thankful journal and remember how good God has been to you in the past. And that will give you hope for today.

I am thankful that I had a day to spend with my friends from San Antonio, Texas. I had been sad when this family moved away from Arizona. But, I'm thankful for the times when they come to visit their family and that they take the time in their busy schedule to spend with me. Thank you Todd and Jamie!

I'm also excited and thankful that today I am going to the Phoenician resort for Christmas tea. My friend Terri has invited me each year and it's become an annual event that I look forward to with great anticipation. I will take pictures and blog about it tomorrow. The Phoenician is always so beautifully decorated for the holidays. With good food and great friends, what's not to like? And it's one more thing I can write about in my thankful journal.

How about you? Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Will you make the choice to focus on all you have to be thankful for today? I want to hear from you.


Decorating for Christmas

Decorating for Christmas can be such fun. I've enjoyed touring so many of your homes through your blogs. And I have to say, many of you go all out and are quite creative. You've given me some fresh new ideas for next year.

This is my tree fully decorated. We place it in our family room and most of the decorations have been accumulated over the years. Some were gifts from friends. Whenever we travel, I always look for a Christmas ornament to bring home and hang on the tree.

A close up of a few of the decorations.

This is our great room. The kitchen table is decorated with a Norwegian tablecloth that I got from my mom.

This is a close up picture of the tablecloth.

I guess I've combined American items with Norwegian. Bullwinkle seems to like the little Jule Nissen.

This is a book that I bring out each Christmas to read and reread. Lisa Whelchel does a great job writing about the meaning behind many of the traditions of Christmas, including caroling, lighting the tree and the meaning of Advent. It's written for children but I guess I'm still a big kid. I enjoy reading this one over and over.

I'm glad you came to visit me through my blog this Christmas season. Thank you for stopping by.

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