“Beachy-Keen”

Since my husband retired we spend our winters near the ocean in what we affectionately call our “beach house,” despite the fact that we are about ten minutes from the water. We are close enough to enjoy sea gulls and mild winter temperatures, but far enough inland to avoid the storm surge from hurricanes and Nor’easters. The interior decorating of the place has a decidedly coastal flavor and feels like a vacation home.

Tooling around Pinterest the other day, I stumbled across “Beach Wreaths” and fell in love! This place “NEEDED” one! I made note of the styles I liked, and then started searching the internet to see where I could buy one similar to the ones I liked on Pinterest.

My dream beach wreath is made from burlap, with kisses of blue and sea shells. I found several that I liked ready-made but they came with an exorbitant price tag. Not wanting to shell out $100 plus dollars for a decoration to hang on my front door, I decided to build one myself.

My supplies for step one: wreath frame, burlap, wire and wire cutters.

My supplies for step one: wreath frame, burlap, wire and wire cutters.

The process is easy. Attach one end of the burlap to the frame with florist wire, make whatever size loops you want and run the wire around each loop, securing it to the frame. Some instructions on the web tell you to just tuck the burlap into the frame, but I wanted my wreath to be more permanent.

Working the burlap around the frame.

Working the burlap around the frame.

Work your way around the frame, looping and wiring as you go. My frame is 18″ and I used two 10 yard rolls of burlap.

The back of the frame showing my wiring.  I ran the wire around the inner rings of the frame.

The back of the frame showing my wiring. I ran the wire around the inner rings of the frame.

I used a thin florist wire that is nearly invisible. Some directions suggest tan colored pipe cleaners, but I wanted to keep the costs as low as possible.

The burlap is complete.  Now to decorate!

The burlap is complete. Now to decorate!

I purchased blue Christmas ornaments from a discount store and a bag of sea shells. With the aid of a hot glue gun, I attached wire and fastened them into place on the wreath. I paid $3 for 12 ornaments, and another $4 for the shells. The burlap cost $7 a roll (I used 2), wire was $1, and the frame was $3. Total investment was @ $25 and 90 minutes labor while watching television.

I topped it off with a string of pearls salvaged from old Christmas tree decorations that haven’t been used in several years.

The finished product!

The finished product!

Most of the ready-to-purchase wreaths I found have the decorations hot-glued into place. Because I want to reserve the option to change things up with the seasons, my decorations are fastened on with wire. All in all, I am very pleased with the results and think my new wreath is “Beachy-Keen!”

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Sacrifice

My daughter’s apartment was robbed just before the Thanksgiving weekend. She lives alone in a small apartment on the “edge of the ghetto” in Virginia Beach and interrupted the robbers when she returned home from a party. Fortunately she was not injured and her little dog was found locked in the bathroom. However, most of her electronics are missing as well as her handgun. One of her laptops is gone, and one was staged by the door. Her cashbox was untouched but her piggy bank is gone. The apartment was in shambles and the burglars got away.

After the police left, she spent the night with friends and left town the next day for the Thanksgiving weekend in Michigan. She has decided that her apartment is in too dangerous of a neighborhood for her to live at without feeling afraid, and is making other living arrangements. Friends have offered to allow her to stay with them but these offers do not extend to her little dog, as many live in pet-free apartments.

We offered to keep her dog here until she moves. He will most likely be with us until Christmas. This is not without sacrifice on our part. Her dog is a friendly little beast that thinks cats are created for his chasing pleasure. Our cats do not agree. He needs twice daily medication and we must be aware of his bathroom needs before we leave the house. The dog is not accustomed to sleeping in a room by himself. We are not used to sharing our bedroom with animals. The dog wakes up barking and growling at the sound of the furnace turning on, the water softer recycling, or the sump pump running. None of us got much sleep last night!

We chose to sacrifice our comfort, sleep and time because we love our daughter. She has a need we are able to provide it.

And yet, our sacrifice of keeping the dog is of no consequence in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Because of his great love for us, he chose to take on human flesh, walk the earth, suffer and die for our sins. We have a need for a savior and his death was the only way to provide it.

As we approach the Christmas Season, keep in mind that the sweet baby in the manger was born to sacrifice himself for us. Because of his great love for us, we have a hope and a future if we believe on him and accept his sacrifice as full payment for our sins. Don’t allow the glitter and tinsel cover the fact that without the cross, Christmas would be a broken promise.

Christmas lights in November

Today is November 4. It was dark and frosty as I drove to the office this morning and the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. Amidst the piles of leaves and rotting Jack-o-lanterns, I passed a house that was already decorated for Christmas.

Every tree and bush around the house was lit with multicolor twinkle lights. And when I saw them, it made me smile.

Some people say that decorating so early is “pushing the season” and rail against the department stores playing holiday music in November. Holiday music in November makes me smile, too.

I’m not talking about adopting the whole “Santa is coming to town” commercialism mentality, but am referring instead to the phenomenon of “God coming to Earth!” Those little twinkle lights remind me that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to rescue sinful man from spiritual darkness.

The promise of Jesus the Messiah began in the garden of Eden, after Adam and Eve sinned. Later, Abraham was told that through his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God in human flesh, Jesus Christ the Messiah, is a descendant of Abraham. He lived a sinless life and paid the total payment for all of our sins. Anyone who trusts in Him will be saved from damnation.

Those twinkle lights remind me that Jesus is the light of the world. The music at the mall reminds me of the angels singing in celebration of His birth. When I see Christmas lights and hear Christmas music, I smile and thank God for His incredible sacrifice for me. Christmas is THE gift to celebrate: God Himself coming to earth to rescue sinful man.