Sunday, December 30, 2012

Retired Nature Weaver Closes --Nature Weaver Gypsy Begins

Retired Nature Weaver is starting a spin-off blog called Nature Weaver Gypsy that will feature photos we take along our way and amazing quotations that guide our way.  Please visit me at the web address that appears at the end of the Great Spirit Prayer of Big Thunder, 19th Century Algonquin..... 
Give us hearts to understand.
Never to take from creation's beauty more than we give;
Never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
Never to deny our hands for the building of earth's beauty;
Never to take from Her what we cannot use.
 Give us hearts to understand.
That to destroy earth's music is to create confusion;
That to wreck Her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
That as we care for Her, She will care for us.

We have forgotten who we are.
  We have sought only our own security.
We have exploited simply for our own ends.
 We have distorted our knowledge. 
We have abused our power.
Great Spirit, whose dry lands thirst,
Help us to find the way to refresh your lands.
Great Spirit, whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
 Help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.
Great Spirit, whose beautiful earth grows ugly with misuse,
 Help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.

Great Spirit, whose creatures are being destroyed,
Help us to find a way to replenish them.
Great Spirit, whose gifts to us are being lost in selfishness and corruption,
 Help us to find the way to restore our humanity.
Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to the world, hear me. 
 I need your strength and wisdom. 
 May I walk in Beauty.

Nature Weaver

Please visit me at my new blog

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Holy Family

Day 19 - Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus 
Our world has a Savior.
This completes my December Nativity.

From my hubby, our fuzzy one, and myself,
 we wish family and friends around the world
 a holiday of warm love and peace. 

Be happy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Nature Weaver

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Day 18 - Donkey that carried Mary
Mary wasn't able to walk on the rocky hillsides.  She was going to have a baby soon and was physically uncomfortable.  Bless the dear donkey that willingly gave her comfort and ease of travel.

The donkey is the symbol of service, suffering, peace, and humility.  The one characteristic we've all heard is that donkeys are stubborn.  That's how we humans see it.  To the donkey, it's called self-preservation. 
"That which is called firmness in a king
 is called obstinacy in a donkey."
  ~John Erskine
Nearing the Stable
Did God bless that particular donkey with the ability to sense the significance of the baby and mother it carried?  I sure hope so.  For the sake of my nativity,  the donkey was filled with a pride it never before had the chance to experience.

The donkey goes inside the stable to rest after its exhausting journey.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Stable Mouse

Day 17 - Stable Mouse  
The Nativity Story focuses on the small, the lonely, and the humble. It was among these creatures that Jesus wanted to be born....with the forgotten, often mistreated, souls who stay in life's background.  He wanted us to know that the world belongs to these creatures, as much as it belongs to us.
My imagination sees this little mouse poised above the manger peeking down at all the commotion.  Kings, camels, shepherds, angels, sheep and other animals getting uneasy and jittery.....waiting together.......but, for what?  This mouse can't figure out what's going on.
What little boy wouldn't get a kick out of a mouse wearing a sweater.  Jesus was no different.
The snoopy little mouse adds a lighthearted touch to my nativity.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Day 16 - Manger 
St. Francesco of Assisi's love and respect for animals is what started the nativity scene.
In 1223, Francesco was visiting his friend in Greccio, Italy, and had agreed to preach the Christmas sermon in a small chapel.  Worried that the chapel wouldn't hold the villagers, he got the idea to hold a night mass outdoors.  He borrowed some sheep, goats and cows from a local farmer. 
That night, as he walked among the animals, he told the Christmas story.  The way he brought the story to life, showed the villagers that 'Jesus was a king who did not come to earth in a chariot to conquer, but in a manger to love.' 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut Massacre

Out of respect for the families in Connecticut, my nativity will stand as it is until tomorrow.  My heart feels like it's bleeding.  Little babies shot in cold blood.  In America.

This is an ungodly mess, and we Americans have got to wake up and start focusing on what matters.....and stop focusing on what doesn't. 

Last week hubby and I needed to wait a half hour in an electronics store.  We were tired and found two chairs toward the back of the store in front of a 50" tv screen.  Store customers can watch and listen to the surround sounds.  The remote control didn't respond to our touch, so we asked a young guy employee to please turn it on for us.  He had trouble, as well, so instead put in a movie for us to watch. 

Holy Migod.  Instant upsetting violence.  Did I want to sit there and watch automatic guns fire at people and blow their brains and bodies apart? The surround sounds amplified the gun shots and made me sick.  Yet, the young employee thought nothing of putting this movie on for us.  He was accustomed to watching this sort of mayhem. 

Is the movie industry partly to blame for the kind of shooting spree that happened in Connecticut?  Are violent movies preventing good development of conscience and compassion in our children?  Are we teaching our children to kill?  I've often wondered how a group of kids could possibly get a kick out of getting together on a dark night to torture and sacrifice innocent animals?  This is not uncommon.  Kids are desensitized from little on that they have no feeling for others.  Why are we allowing the movie industry to sell corruption in one hand and popcorn in the other?  How better to glorify violence than to call it "action adventure."  How sad that producers, writers and actors are willing to adversely affect young minds, if it means financial gain for them.

My second concern is our mental health services.  After spending 42 years in the court system, I had more than enough first-hand witnessing of "no funding" for kids who needed mental health.  Yet, the morning's paper announced a million-dollar incentive package for a football coach because his team won.  This happened over and over and over again.  No money for the suffering child, but plenty for the successful coach.  Why?  Because the coach earned money, and the suffering child cost money.  America the Greedy.

The third issue will, of course, be guns.  Guns aren't the problem...their owners are....for leaving them accessible to these sick children.  All he/she has to do is watch one of these bloody, gory, kill-everybody movies, have an insane idea flit through his/her brain, go for the guns in the house, and the rest we watch on tv.  I do have to wonder why people own the street version assault weapons.  Hunters don't use them.  Who does? 

Minds all over the world this morning are rallying with answers and ways we can stop these massacres.  Each and every one of us has got to do something to change America's direction.  If every one of our fifty states could redirect a fraction of its funding from sports to a mental health fund, we Americans could put together a system with top-notch psychiatric doctors and staff to help our hurting boys and girls.  When I say hurting, I mean they are living with hell inside their heads.  Demons talk to them.  They listen.  They are scared to death.  Nothing is more frightening for a child.  The only way for relief is suicide.  There are signs, but is anyone watching for them?  If I've said it once, I've said it a million times.....the kid with a broken leg gets sympathy......the kid with a broken mind gets forgotten.  The mental health system we have now can effectively evaluate and diagnose the disorder, write a prescription for medication, and put the kid's file in the back of the drawer.  I know this.  I watched this.  Mental health doesn't go away, like some allergies do.  The suffering child grows into a suffering adult.  The problem doesn't go away at age 18 or 21.  The problem only gets worse when adult responsibilities are piled on the person living with mental illness. 

Mental illness plays no favorites.  Don't for a hot second think this can't affect any family.  Wealth and status won't save, nor prevent, it from happening.  Mental illness isn't something to hide.  Now, more than ever, it is something we should bring to the forefront so it can be properly addressed.

There's always been a stigma attached to mental illness.  I like to think of the body in parts.  The brain is our computer.  Mental illness is simply a glitch in our computer.  Maybe it's time we start redefining this malfunction and labeling it something more suited for the 21st century. 

How do we convince the movie industry to tone down their movie graphics?  How do we put mental illness on the chalkboard?

Kids are more independent today than ever before.  No one is supervising them.  Let's not make our children their own parents.  We're finally realizing that it does not work.

My heart won't rest if I don't write this.  I welcome all comments, in agreement or not in agreement.  Every word and thought written and shared is a step forward, hopefully in a new direction.  All of this has nothing to do with a generation gap.  This has everything to do with a growing gap between right and wrong.  Twenty little children and seven adults are testimony to that.

Our children need love, hugs, and kisses.  We all do.  Let's not fail one another.

A candle burns on my blog for the families in Connecticut.


Friday, December 14, 2012


Day 14 - Dove

The dove represents peace.  Every home nativity is the family's hope and prayer for peace among nations and peace within the family. 

Doves mate for life.  Together, they build their nest and nurture their young.  They are devoted and loyal to one another.  In ancient Egypt, the dove symbolized quiet innocence.  To the Romans and Greeks, the dove symbolized love, devotion, and caring for the family.
That long ago night, a white dove perched above the stable manger.  When this angel appeared on the scene, the dove left its perch and flew down into her arms.  The angel cradles the dove the way Mary will soon cradle her baby.

Joseph and Mary's journey will soon be over.  Exhausted and fearful, they are worried if they will find a shelter where Mary can have her baby.  If they only knew that a chosen group of peaceful souls are gathering at this stable to welcome and protect them, watch over them, and keep them warm.          

The dove and angel join the others near the manger.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Angel and Lamb

Day 13 - Little girl angel and lamb

Little girl angel watches...
She rests her head on the lamb.
Two gentle souls cuddle and wait.
All things small.....
Bring sweet innocence and love to the earth.
~ by Nature Weaver

The angel and lamb I place inside the stable, beside the animals.  One by one, angels of all ages fell from heaven, taking their assigned places above, inside, and around the manger.    

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Goat and the Ox

Day 12 - Goat and Ox
Goats were central to the rural economy of bible times.  Their milk and flesh were food staples, their hair was woven into fabrics, and their skin was made into clothing, water and wine bottles.

The oxen, were the mainstay of biblical farming.  They were what the tractor replaced.  Submissive to authority, the ox is obedient to the word of command and the goad.  There is no malice between oxen, only the contest of strength.  The stronger ones won't pursue the weaker ones.  They are mild and gentle and innocent in a rough way.  Oxen are affectionate of one another and tend to graze together even in a large pastured area.

Oxen are large and strong and able to slowly carry heavy loads.  In rough plowing, they have more endurance than a horse.  The ox will pull again and again when goaded, the hundredth time as patiently as the first time.  They are persistent and pull together.      

These two calm creatures are chosen to be part of the audience.  Their innocence and significance to the biblical era adds a sense of peaceful strength to my nativity.  The goat and ox go inside the stable, back of the manger.

Listen closely.  Can you hear the rustle and restlessness of the animals as the time nears?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Day 11 - Myrrh

Balthasar brought the gift of Myrrh.  

Myrrh is a sweet-smelling resin extracted from a shrubby desert tree, that hardens into fragrant pieces.  In ancient time, myrrh was used mainly for burials.  Myrrh was put on the cloth used to wrap bodies to help prevent the smell of decay following death.  

The taste of myrrh is bitter.  In Mark 15:23, Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh at the time of his crucifixion.  Did myrrh symbolize the future bitter cup of Jesus' suffering and mortal death? 

Balthasar holds the gift of myrrh.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Day 10 - Balthasar, one of the Magi
Over the centuries, the story of the Magi has grown and been embellished from just a few lines in Matthew 2:1-16.  One legend tells us that Balthasar was an Arabian scholar. I'll go with that version.

Was there a language barrier between the three wise men and Joseph and Mary?  Were they able to talk to each other?  If there was a language barrier, I wonder what Joseph and Mary thought when they saw the Magi approaching on their camels.  Were they afraid?  How did the wise men explain who they were and why they were there? 

The scene is growing momentum, with the rich and the poor and lowly standing close to one another.  Do the kings talk to the shepherds?  What would the kings and shepherds have in common to talk about, other than the bright star in the sky?     

Part of setting up a nativity in our homes is giving thought to the story, taking time to personalize it and bring it to life.  My eyes see Balthasar as the handsome one of the three....quite charming, actually, who most likely lived in a royal palace. 

I'll place Balthasar beside Caspar.

Sunday, December 09, 2012


Day 9 - Frankincense 

Caspar brought the gift of Frankincense.

Hebrew for Incense is "to cause to smoke."  According to the Old Testament, there were two types of incense.  One was entirely frankincense, and the other was frankincense compounded with equal measures of various aromatic spices. (Exodus 30:34-35)

History tells that some of the finest Frankincense at the time came from India. It was a very expensive dried tree resin that, when lit, created a sweet fragrance.  Frankincense would have been burned at a funeral procession for a king.

The Old Testament high priests burned frankincense on their altars during temple rituals and ceremonies.  The aroma was thought to clear and heal the mind for worship.  Did the Magi Caspar bring Frankincense as a symbol of Christ's future priestly ministry?

Some churches today still burn incense during their services as a visible means of watching human prayer rise up to heaven. Incense is placed into a thurible, or censer, and ignited.  The thurible is on chains so it can be swung by the priest when he censes things or people.

Caspar offers Frankincense.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


Day 8 - Caspar, one of the Magi

One legend tells that Caspar (or Gaspar) traveled from India to Bethlehem, Israel, a journey of roughly 2,500 miles.  Looking at a map of bible times puts the journey in perspective.

In Hebrew, Bethlehem means House of Bread.  It probably got its name because of the area's fertile soil.  I picture lush vineyards and groves of olive, date palm, fig and pomegranate trees.  When I think of dried dates, I first think of the treats my Mom made for us kids every Christmas. She cut the date open lengthwise, filled it with marshmallow cream (store-bought in a jar), and topped it with a hickory nut meat that we picked in the woods and cracked for Mom's baking.  This time of year, eating foods from that far-away region is a neat way to bring us closer to our nativities.

What a stunning sight.....three wealthy and influential men bowing down before a baby laying on a bed of straw in a rickety and smelly stable.  I would've loved to been a mouse in the corner watching this take place.

Caspar stands next to Melchior.

Friday, December 07, 2012


Day 7 - Gold
Melchior brought the gift of gold.  

Were the three gifts brought by the Magi symbolic of the future roles of Jesus?  The gift Melchior offered was Gold,  which might have symbolized the acceptance that this baby was truly a King of Kings.  What form of gold was it?  Coins?  pieces of gold?  jewelry adornments?  For the sake of my scene, I'll go with the gold coins.

Through recorded history, gold maintains its genuine tangible wealth.  When we hear that a sunken ship has been discovered on the salty sea floor, the first thing we hear about is the gold.  It remains beautiful, brilliant, and desirable.  

I try to imagine what it was like for Joseph and Mary, who were poor and humble of heart.  What was it like for them to be given gold?  Did it put the Holy Family in danger of being robbed? Where would they have hidden a chest of gold coins?  Did they use it to escape Bethlehem?  Or, did they save it for Jesus?  There weren't safety deposit boxes like there are today, so where did they keep it safe?  Where are these gold coins today?  In my imagination, they are the most precious things on earth.

Gold, the noble metal, is part of my Nativity.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Melchior, One of the Magi

Day 6 - Melchior, one of the Magi

In the first century, the term 'Magi' identified astrologers.  They interpreted things they thought to be of a divine nature, like dreams, visions, and signs in the sky.  Kings and princes consulted these astrologers about their destinies, and their interpretations were held in high regard by the royal courts.  They were wise men.

The three Magi, or magicians, traveled a far distance with their gifts.  They followed the sign in the sky to Bethlehem.  When King Herod heard these guys were in town, he got riled.  Calling the Magi in for a meeting, he tells them to go find the baby.  When they find him, Herod instructs them to report back so he, too, can go worship him.

Herod lied to the Magi.  He had no intention of worshiping this baby boy.

Who was this Melchior?  Did he have a sense of humor?  Did he play with his grandchildren? How old was he when followed that bright star in the sky?  Was he in good health?  What physical problems, like all of us, did he have? Did his knees hurt when he knelt down before the manger?  Did he call his camel by name?

Legends differ about the Magi, because Scripture doesn't say.  Some claim Melchior was a Persian scholar, was the oldest of the three, and wore a white beard.  I'll assume that version is the right one.  

Melchior joins my Nativity.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Three Camels

Day 5 - Three Camels

Tradition tells that three camels transported three kings from the east across the desert that miraculous night.

Camels are strong and intelligent, have good eyesight and hearing.  If treated well, they are docile and patient.  If they are annoyed, they get stubborn and angry.  They spit.

Padded Cushions
A camel can walk easily in soft sand where a truck would get stuck.  The leathery cushions under their feet spread as the camel walks.  Their steps are quiet as they carry heavy loads of cargo in scorching heat and sand storms to places where there aren't roads.

A reservoir of fatty tissue is stored in their humps which can be broken down into energy and water on enduring journeys. A camel sometimes has to go days without water, because water holes and wells are far apart in the desert.  In their native surroundings, camels never forget where they previously found water.

Maybe the camel isn't the prettiest animal on the block, but they will do whatever they must to carry what man asks of them.  Their dependability, strength and endurance give them man's honor and respect.  No other animal can do what the camel does.  Interestingly, camels are born with pads on their knees.  In order for them to do their work, they must get on their knees.

Three camels woke up to an ordinary day expecting a routine job of transporting their owners to some destination.  They were going to leave on a journey.....Christianity's most told story.....that is kept alive with our nativity scenes some two thousand years later.

From Afghanistan
Hubby and I cherish the hand-carved camel that our niece brought back for us from Afghanistan.  It joins rank with our most treasured possessions.

Three camels are added to my Nativity.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Angel - The Messenger

Day 4 - Angel

As the shepherd leads his sheep,
 so did the angel lead the shepherd.

Imagine how terrified the shepherds were that night when they woke up to a blinding light and an angel coming down from the sky.  The angel sensed their terror, quickly assuring them, "Don't be afraid of me."

The angel's assignment was to bring wonderful news to the earth.  The angel's instructions were to reveal the news to plain humble men sleeping with their animals in the desert.  Just imagine how shocked the shepherds were to be the ones worthy of an angel's personal invitation to visit the baby King.

One by one, more angels appeared, and their joyful singing filled the hills around the town of Bethlehem.

Today I add a glorious angel to my Nativity.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Mama Sheep and Her Baby

Day 3 - Placing the sheep next to the shepherd

Where the shepherd goes, the sheep go.

That long-ago night, the sheep followed their shepherd to the stable and were welcomed with a warm place to lay.  Their body heat would help keep a baby warm.  Imagine being chosen, out of all the animals, for that privilege.

Sheep are timid, gentle and mutually affectionate.  They even like to graze with their heads close together.

Sheep are totally dependent on man for guidance and protection.  The shepherd's watchful care is repaid with trust and love.  Do a sheep a kindness, and that kindness will always stay in their memory.

Sheep are patient.  If they are caught and restrained, they soon give up their struggle.  Even if their captor hurts them, they simply give in and hold their feelings inside.

Today I add the mama sheep and her baby to my Nativity......two dear examples of goodness and innocence.  

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Day 2 - One Shepherd for My Nativity

The biblical shepherd around Bethlehem spent lonely days and nights with his flock, leading them to food and water and guarding them from wild animals and robbers.  The shepherd was accountable for every adult sheep and lamb in his care.  If one wandered off by itself, the shepherd followed and brought it back to be with the rest of his sheep.  Even though his job was important, he received little attention and applause.

It's been over 2,000 years ago since a lowly shepherd was chosen to play a major role in the beginning of Christianity. The day was no different than ours is today.  He was devotedly going about his work, unaware that in a few hours he would be called to witness a birth that would impact human spirituality forever.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Putting Out My Nativity Scene

I've been racking my brain how to devote my December posts to the spiritual side of Christmas. Last year, if you recall, I decorated a Jesse Tree with symbols of biblical stories.

With brain racked, my thought is to set up a Nativity.  By adding one piece each day, I'll bring to life the beautiful story of the Holy Family.....    

Day One - The Humble Stable.    

We are told that Baby Jesus first lived in a place where animals were kept...a stable with hay on the floor and in the feeding trough for the animals, called a manger. A place with less than favorable conditions for a newborn baby.  Why did He choose to be born there? Perhaps he wanted to teach us from the get-go that frills, thrills and social distinction are meaningless without love and respect for all creatures.