Saturday, December 31, 2016

MORE OR LESS

What in the WORLD do we mean when we say, "MORE OR LESS"??  Speaking of a ambiguous statement this one may take the cake!  Today though those words play perfectly into this year end post.  


As the final hours and then minutes of 2016 click away, there will certainly be a time of reflection of all the year held.  Reflection is all we can do with 2016, for we cannot undo the past--history.   Perhaps more important is how we will approach 2017 and the clean slate it includes.  I am not a huge fan of New Year resolutions--they seem to be a sure fire way to set myself up for failure.  The test becomes not keeping the resolutions, but instead how long can I keep them.  Some years a week seems good!

This year I am looking at more or less- 

More laughter---less sadness


More adventures---less of the mundane

More conversations---less time on social media

More good food---less junk food

More intentional seeking---less wasted time

More awareness of the wonder---less distracted gazing

More enjoyable physical activity---less time with my nose in a book

More time with friends and family---less hibernation

More affirmation---less condemnation

More awareness of the needy---less excuse making

More time with The Father---less procrastination

I could go on, but the pattern is set.  The hours are dwindling--time is fleeting--there is no time like the present to turn over a new leaf, go for the gusto, begin anew.  What better time to do that than a brand new year---a new calendar---a clean slate?  It is my firm intent to make the final chapters--good chapters--wonder filled chapters--chapters filled with love and a lasting legacy. All I have to accomplish that is today--and today I begin again with renewed vigor!

So as I quietly say Goodbye to 2016 and all it held--I look forward to a new year--and pray I can focus on what is right, what is true, what is good.





HAPPY NEW YEAR, DEAR FRIENDS!
MAY GOD BLESS YOU IN THE YEAR TO COME!



 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

Friday, December 30, 2016

LET IT GO!

In the midst of this super tiny year end series, we must talk about letting go!  Letting go of the negative--the bad--the vengeful--the painful--anything from the past which produces negativity in your life.  Why is it we so tenaciously hold on to our anger, hate, pain--all those negative emotions?  



While looking around the WWW for a visual representation of this, I found this little ditty and laughed out loud.  This is the basic question!  Why do we allow negative experiences to kidnap our valuable brain space?  With all the shouting and bragging about multi-tasking, we tend to forget---we can only have one thought at a time!  We can change tracks--but the train can only stay on one track or chance de-railing!  

How many times have I heard the story of some family feud, friends falling out, long ago mis-understanding or perhaps even you done me wrong that is hashed and re-hashed for the remainder of your days here on this earth.  The story is told and retold and regurgitated so many times others run for cover if the subject is even neared.  Why would we allow negativity to capture our mind-which in turn kidnaps our heart and soul?

From personal experience it is difficult---to re-train our thought process--but it is possible.  Thus the title of this post----LET IT GO!  The title song from the hit cartoon movie, "Frozen", is a great example of how to move away from the negativity.  A catchy tune, this little song will over-ride all thoughts--negative and positive once I begin humming it.  You only have to mention those words and it begins running through an endless replay in my head.  This proves beyond any shadow of a doubt we can  retrain our thought process--if we are willing.




SO--what I am telling you---is LET IT GO!  Do not allow the negative in life to kidnap your thoughts.  Turn away from it---refuse to allow it to inhabit the valuable space of your mind.  Look to the positive and turn from the negative.  The song says it so well---the past is in the past.  Replaying the past over and over is counter productive to your successful future.  It is exactly what the enemy wants you to do--become mired down in negativity and ineffective in carrying out God's plan.  His plan is NEVER anchored in the past, but always present in the today.

Praying as we cross the invisible line into 2017, we can all leave behind all the negativity in our lives in the past---and always strive for the positive in our new today's.


Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.
Philippians 4:8


Thursday, December 29, 2016

ALLOWING OUR PAST TO SHAPE OUR FUTURE

The waning days of a year always bring a flurry of evaluating and pondering the year that is ending.  It seems to be a good exercise in spiritual and emotional well being to begin by reviewing what was- in the light of hopefully improving what is to come.  As the body surely suffers when planted in one spot--sitting stationary emotionally and spiritually is not in the best interest of the heart or soul! 


As water in a puddle grows stagnant if there is no source of flowing water--so it is with us--we grow stale--perhaps even a little moldy if we refuse to learn from our past and strive for a better future.   If we allow ourselves to be planted in the poor soil of past mistakes, our future fruit will bear the cost of our poor decisions.

Too many times we sit under the umbrella of our past, the mistakes we have made or life occurrences which have deeply marked us and perhaps even scarred us. I have laughingly always said the original sin was blame shifting.  Sadly our world has encouraged taking the mantle of martyr and allowed our past to be the excuse for not altering our current circumstance and living life to the fullest.   We become the reflection of the labels cast upon us and allow those labels to define who we are. 

Shaping and defining are important terms when we look at our history.  Loosing my father at 14 was a life shaping event.  I am not defined though by the label-Father-less.  My former husband filing for divorce has certainly shaped my current life, but I am not defined by the label Divorcee.  

Others have suffered life altering events-I think of all those who lost children this past year.  That loss has certainly shaped how their lives will look from here on, but they are not defined by the death of this child.  The loss of that child did not alter the fact they will always be a parent to a child taken too soon.

In a rather round about way, I am relating to you all the events of our lives shape who we are today.  One singular event does not define us, but instead combines with all the others to shape us into the unique and complex personality we are. 



The boys received a new set of magnetic building blocks for Christmas.  As you attach one magnet to the next, the towering building begins to form the complex structure of a sky scraper or perhaps a castle.  The building must have every block to stay erect.  We do not define the structure by one of the blocks, but step back and view it as a whole.  Each block is an important part of what it took to create the whole.  

So it is with each of us, we are not labeled by one event in the long line of life-instead we are the  complex and sophisticated combination of each of the events.  The loss of my father, being a single struggling mom, or living alone are no more important than being a mother, grandmother, and friend.  All the roles and labels I have played or held in life make up the complexity of who I am.

What is important is how I use the events of the past to shape my future reactions to similar events or others God places in my path.   Am I able to use those events to grow to a higher level of emotional or spiritual maturity?  Do I speak to those in similar places with empathy and wisdom or do I become mired in my stagnant pool of self pity?"

Where am I going with this?  Do not allow the labels of the world to become the defining markers of who you are.  Take the past and allow it to shape how you live the present --which might even incorporate change.  Life is about growing, morphing, and striving for a better future.  As you reflect upon 2016, I pray you recognize the good and bad as life shaping tools to use for a better 2017.  May God fill you with hope and joy as you ponder upon what was and look forward to a better tomorrow.  His desire is for us to recognize He has a plan for us---a plan for a hope and a future and the future is now 2017.


“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” 
Romans 12:12


Sunday, December 25, 2016

SIMPLE GIFTS

WISHING YOU 

A DAY

FILLED WITH THE

SIMPLE GIFTS

OF

ETERNAL CONSEQUENCE




MERRY AND BLESSED

CHRISTMAS,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

FAR FROM PERFECT!

Something must be wrong with me!  Every picture I see posted on social media, every Hallmark Christmas movie I watch, and every television commercial currently on continuous repeat seem to point to the way Christmas should look.  Perfection in motion!  The family all loves one another and would never think of not being together for the big day.  The decorations are all "House Beautiful" creations with a Martha Stewart flare which transforms the house into a Christmas Wonderland.  The dinner is a proverbial feast of gourmet culinary delights.  Under glass, flame thrown, braised, demi-glazed offerings to tickle the palette.  And of course, each participant and every gift wrapped and dressed in their seasonal finery.  Move over Dickens--Christmas is NO Bah Humbug according to the wide world of media presentations!



My Christmas does not even begin to resemble this offering of utopia!  It would be easier to pull together representatives from every nation in the world than to get us all together at the same time.  Everyone is BUSY!  Everyone has long lists of things they need to do and want to do and making time for a family get together is no easy task.  I am happy that we manage to get together for a day or two a year--no matter what time of the year.  This out of focus picture is a great simile for trying to pull us all together.



As for the decorations, I have seen the pictures on Social Media of how lovely many of your homes are decorated.  I tend to go with what I have had for a LONG time!  My tree is decorated so the little ones can undecorate and redecorate the bottom every time they walk in the door.  Most of the decorations have long and precious memories associated with them.  It would
not make a great magazine spread, but it does make me smile every time I walk in the door.



The Christmas feast more closely resembles a dyslexic smorgasbord for picky eaters.  The choir sings, "I Don't Like That" and "Yucky" in seasonal harmony when new dishes are introduced.  We seem to eat the same old favorites year after year.  Tried and true is our culinary theme.




As for our dress and gift wrappings, we are extremely pleased when everyone is covered with some form of clothing and the wrappings never stay on the gift long anyway!

NO---there is no Perfect Christmas here---FAR from it!

Long--long ago on that first Christmas---the conditions were less than ideal too.  Following an extremely long walk and donkey ride, a dirty stable filled with smelly animals were not ideal conditions for child birth.  Straw makes for not such a soft bed and strips of cloth are not the finest of dress.  The power was off and only stars provided light--thank goodness for that extra bright one!  Just when a nap was needed in came the nosy neighbors to gaze upon the new baby.  FAR from perfection in the eyes of man.

Perfection is not necessary to produce true beauty.  The elements which produce the most beautiful are not tangible, but instead have everything to do with the intangible.  The wonder, the beauty, the perfection was seen through the eyes of the beholder.  The eyes which gaze beyond the superficial to the eternal.  My Christmas wish is that you gaze upon the perfection and wonder of the true meaning of Christmas this year--not the vision of the eye, but instead the feast of the heart.


And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of  grace and  truth.
John 1:14

Monday, December 19, 2016

IN THE BEGINNING

Almost every wedding I ever attended left me a little teary.  What could be more beautiful than a bride and groom promising life long love to each other?  As the bride floats down the aisle, an angelic vision in white, the handsome groom stands waiting for his beloved.  Knowing their lives are about to change, perhaps they both trade nervous smiles and perhaps even a giggle.  Those age old words are traded and two become one--on this the beginning of their new life together.  



In the midst of dream like surroundings, the promises have been made and now the party to celebrate the occasion may commence.  The good eats, the dancing, the fun and laughter all culminate weeks of preparation and celebration of the greatly anticipated joining of two.



The truth of it is marriage is so much more than the wedding day.  It is fitting and proper to celebrate the joining, but the marriage has just begun.  The marriage will hopefully be celebrated for years and years to come.  It was necessary to make the promises---but the promises did not make the marriage.  Life makes the marriage.  Living life together--often as a family--sometimes until the end--that is marriage.



And so it is with Christmas.  The baby was born in fulfillment of the promises made long before.  After the birth, their was a great party--a huge celebration from the heights of heaven to the pasture floor--there was rejoicing.  Song, gifts, and perhaps even dance welcomed the promised Messiah.




It was necessary for the babe to be born and it was right and fitting to celebrate the day.  The fulfillment of the prophecy and the gift of salvation was accomplished not in the birth, but in the years to come.  The 33 years of teaching, equipping, leading, and the final sacrifice were all part and parcel in what was accomplished.

How wonderful that we celebrate Christmas and the birth of Our King all these years later!  It is good to celebrate that long ago birth.  As the party closes and all the trappings of the day are put away, I encourage you to wake up the next day and remember---to continue to live as to celebrate the gift which was accomplished long ago.  Christmas is only the beginning of what we celebrate as we begin our new life with Him.  Celebrate Christmas and then move forward with the sure knowledge of the complete gift set in motion on that starry night--long ago.


For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Saturday, December 17, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

Today 
I Celebrate
Another Trip
Around The Sun


Two
Pieces of Really
Good News
Concerning
That Event



In Spite
Of Considerable Risk
From the
Bonfire Atop The Cake

NO
New Forest Fires
Have Been Reported


AND HAPPY DAY


For Some Reason
Beyond Explanation
I Spent Most of The Past Year
Telling Everyone
I Was 68

TODAY
I Turned 68
SO
I Get A Do-Over for 68
In My Mind!

Thank You
Each And Everyone
For The Gift
Of Your Friendship
And Love-
You Are Such A
Blessing!


God Bless You One and All!

Friday, December 16, 2016

HOPE IN TINY PACKAGES

Before leaving "Scrooge", we would be remiss if we missed "Tiny Tim".  Poor Tim surrounded by a family of siblings all hearty and hale, doomed to hobbling around via crutch, and the distinct possibility of a shortened life hanging over his head.  Somehow Tim rises above all the circumstances in his life, embraces the love showered on him by his entire family, and maintains hope in the midst of living on Despair Street.  Tiny Tim gives us all a lesson in how to live our lives.



The Ghost from Christmas Future gives us a glimpse of the dire consequences of Tim's illness if left untreated.  And yet, Tim does not hang his head, take to his bed, and wait for the end.  Tim lives life---lives life to the fullest with the best of attitudes.  Tim is a fighter and  Tim shows us how to end well--by living as if there will be no end.  He harbors no malice, spends no time moaning over the hand life has dealt him.  Instead he savors the love of his family and lives in the present.  

Christmas is not a joyful celebration for some.  Christmas is a reminder of those who are not present in the circle of loved ones.  Christmas can be a test of endurance in the midst of great pain. Tim's chair was empty when the Ghost of the Future showed Scrooge what was to come.  Many have empty chairs at their Christmas table this year.

The question becomes what would those who have left expect of us?  Would they desire for us to forget the joy and the reason for the celebration?  How can we celebrate in the depths of grief?

There is only one answer--JESUS.  Jesus will comfort you.  Your loved one is sitting in the presence of Jesus as you mourn your loss.  Jesus has a plan and no the plan does not look anything like you thought it should.  That is where faith enters the equation.  Can we remember the blessing of our loved ones, and celebrate the joy of knowing where they are?  Can we emulate Tiny Tim and live in the moment with love and goodwill for all mankind?  Is there not a lesson in the character of Tiny Tim for us all?

  In the midst of the worst life can throw our way, we can still hold on to the joy of hope.  Jesus brought us hope that first Christmas night.  Clinging to that hope in the midst of sorrow and trials allows us to remember the great gift we were given by the birth of The Lamb.  There is always some reason for joy--some cause for a smile--some tender morsel of comfort in sweet memories.  When opened- the tiny package containing hope will burst forth and multiple into joy--the joy of Jesus.


57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ
Luke 15:57

Thursday, December 15, 2016

LET'S HEAR IT FOR BOB!

I have had plenty to say about the visitation of Scrooge's ghosts.  I for one say, "Bah Humbug, Ghosts"  and "Let's hear it for Bob Cratchit!"  We all tend to focus on Old Man Scrooge and those ghastly ghosts when thinking of "Scrooge".  I say the real hero in the novella was Bob!  POOR PUT UPON- DOWN TRODDEN-NEVER CATCHING A BREAK-Bob---HE is my hero!  He is one of the legion who are underpaid, overworked, and under appreciated in the world of commerce.  Scrooge heaped the work on Bob, griped about any and everything he did, and was never satisfied with Bob's best efforts.  And yet, Bob gets up goes to work every day, loves his family fiercely, and faces criticism and rebuke with a brave front.  He never looses hope when hope is only a faint glimmer in the far horizon, Bob keeps on keeping on!  WHAT A MAN!


Bob has a home overflowing with mouths to feed, and a son with a terminal illness.  Yet he never looses hope, refuses to moan and groan, and does his best with what is before him.  When faced with impossible circumstances, he never gives up, but instead chooses to look for the best and make the most of the least.  Who else should be the hero in this book, but Dear Old Bob!  We tend to forget about Bob and cast him as a secondary character.  I say the main lesson being taught is not it is never too late to change, as Scrooge learned, but instead the importance of perseverance and endurance in the face of insurmountable odds.  There is always hope is the message to be gleamed.

Many float through life feeling like bit characters in the Great Play.   How must the shepherds have felt when they spent their entire lives exiled to the fields taking care of the sheep?  Life's important action was happening in town, the markets were brimming with activity, the inn was crowded with travelers, and the town was over flowing with a party like atmosphere.  And here you are stuck on the hillside with a flock of sheep and a group of smelly fellow shepherds for company.  What a raw deal!  And yet--they endured--they persevered and tended the sheep without fail.

AND LOW---the angels appeared to them--telling of the GREAT NEWS--the promised Messiah had been born.  GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!


Of all those crowding the overflowing city, they were chosen to hear the good news first.  Talking about a bonus plan for enduring sleepless nights and lonely days tending a flock of bleating wool growers.  This must have been the ultimate Golden Parachute!


To think they were allowed to praise Him first.  They gazed upon The Great Shepherd.  Only his parents and the animals of the stable were before them.  What a statement--what encouragement--what a wonderful reminder to always know their is hope.  Someone sees what you are doing.  Someone knows of your faithfulness and hard work.  The heroes of life are often the bit players in the eyes of the world.  God though sees their efforts and Jesus is their eternal reward for keeping the faith.  The day to day knowledge of His eternal presence is the Oscar for a role well played.

There are no bit parts--no secondary roles in the life you are living.  You are the main character and God is watching your performance and cheering you on.  Play your role to the fullest--give it your all--and keep the faith until the final curtain.  It is your starring role.

. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:20


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE

I do not spend much time thinking of the future.  I am human and do have a couple of concerns of how my end will play out---the concern is not the final chapter--but instead the help that might be needed in those final days.  As for the Christmas's of the future, I can honestly say they never enter the cycle of thoughts whirling around in the vast sea of gray matter.



Finding myself far too caught up in the trappings of Christmas present, it becomes difficult to see beyond December 25 most days.  A never ending list to accomplish  so that I cn succeed in a successful celebration clouds my future vision.  If I were to stop and think of Christmas Future, what would truly matter about those future celebrations?

Scrooge had a wake up call when the final ghost visited him that night.  When he saw how he would be remembered, how his actions of today played out in the living of the future, he was deeply saddened.  Saddened enough to change the course of his life.

What we all desire is to be remembered with fondness and to leave a good mark on the world.  Who will have memories of me and what will those memories say about me?  Will I be another statistic of cause of death, or will anyone mark my passing with regret?  This, My Friends, will cause the most light hearted to pause in ominous contemplation.  The first Christmas after we have taken our leave of this terrestrial ball, will anyone miss us, will our legacy live on?




I do not have a crystal ball, but what I do have is the ability to begin today to ensure my legacy is beautiful.  Like Scrooge, today is the day to start anew and change the final chapter.  Today is all we have to change how we are remembered in the future.  The next step we take is our path to the future.  The choice is ours to walk the path of self indulgent narcissism or selfless service.  Each step we take is a building block in the legacy of tomorrow. What a privilege to be remembered for finishing well-honoring Jesus as we decrease as He increases in our lives.

The three ghosts of Christmas-past, present, and future are a glimpse into who we are.  If your ghosts could visit you, would you like what they had to say?  No need to fret, no Bah Humbugs necessary--there is still time to change the end of the story.


"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." 
Romans 12:2

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

 If you could hover above your piece of the world or take a seat as a spectator as the action unfolded, what would your Christmas look like?  Through the eyes of an innocent by-stander, what comments would be made about the direction of your celebration of this important birthday?  If only we could turn around and see ourselves as others view us day by day.  I tend to place way too much pressure on myself to create the perfect Hallmark Christmas when the truth of the matter is I live a soap opera life.



My Christmas Present has included much prayer and concern for the world and those in my sphere of presence.  I see parents who have lost their children, friends in final illnesses, friends who have lost their jobs, the homeless under the overpasses in the frigid night air, and a nation torn over political philosophies with no tolerance for an opposing conviction and a total loss of all civility.  I have put up the trimmings, played the seasonal music, planned the time with loved ones, and yet I cannot seem to forget all of the sorrow, distress, pain, and disrepair I see all around me.  My question has become, "What does God require of me in this hurting world?"  How can I celebrate when so many are unable to move beyond their distress?



  God desires peace for us.  How do I find peace in a world filled with sorrow, anger, and pain? And yet, how could I not celebrate when I remember the true meaning of the season.  When I reflect on the birth of a baby so long ago, how could I not remember with awe and wonder that first Christmas.  There is only one answer, and it is His birthday we celebrate.


J E S U S

I am called to pray for all these I have mentioned, help those in my path, and trust Him for the peace that passes all understanding.  God desires my concern, but God does not want me to become mired down in all that is wrong.  God wants me to remember what is right with the world--remember Who is always by our side--remember He is the Great Comforter--remember He has a plan for us.  God wants me to celebrate, be thankful, and find joy in all the blessings which surround me.  God desires my presence in the present--and for me to remember there is always hope which is sustained by my faith.




So be assured, if you think Christmas will be better behind you, I am praying for you.  If the pain of loss, aloneness, sickness, or dire circumstance are overwhelming, I am praying for you.  If the wonder of the season is hidden behind the veil of grief, He will comfort you, as I pray for you.  The very one who is the reason for the season--He is right beside you--and He loves you beyond your wildest dream.  He is present in your very present and He is reason enough to celebrate.


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10


Monday, December 12, 2016

GHOSTS

I randomly grabbed a bottle of hand cream after soaking my hands in a sink full of dishes and began to slather it on my hands.  I was immediately transported to a time in my past as the aroma of the cream my mother used most of her life drifted in the air.  Our memories are often brought to the surface by our senses--be it smell, taste, feel, sound, or sight.  I never see a pond surrounded by a green pasture that I don't remember the pond beside the house of my childhood home. The scene touches my sense of sight, my sense of smell of the smell of the green grass surrounding the pond, my sense of sound of the frogs as they sang their nightly serenade, and the remembrance of the feel of warm spring water which filled the pond to overflowing.   As those memories are brought to the surface, the ghosts of my past also come for a visit.  No I do not believe in ghosts, but yes, I do believe in the eternal presence of the memories of my loved ones.  My memories can conjure up thoughts so vivid one might wonder if a ghost had paid me a visit.





Christmas does not come without viewing one of the multiple versions of "The Scrooge".  Poor Ebenezer visited by not one, but three ghosts in the same night. Someone should have warned him about eating after seven.  We all know he was an old man--because all of us old people have sleep issues.  The one downfall in taking melatonin is the weirdo dreams it sometimes creates. 

There are those, who have gone from this world, who I would love to have one more conversation.  My daddy, my mother, relatives, and many friends I would so love to sit and chat with one more time.  To ask them questions, to get their opinions, to hear their voice--if only.  But this cannot happen, as much as I want it, we are unable to communicate with those who are gone on.




As I remember the ghosts of Christmas Past, the vast majority of my memories are beautiful--even sacred.  The sweet innocent years of my childhood, those wonderful years of watching my own children grow up, and now I have the opportunity to see it all again through the eyes of my grands.  Those sweet occasions with family and friends which often came with the holidays are a wonderful dream like memory of joy and laughter.  The memory of candlelight, Christmas tree light, and the glow of the decorations as I turned down the drive tickle my thoughts.  The scent of cookies in the oven, hot apple cider on the stove, and a live tree in the den are all stored away are a hosts of smells associated with the day..  Carols sung by candlelight as we celebrated the birth of a king, Christmas pageants and plays, and parades with Jingle Bells played by the school band are ever present in the vault of stored memories.  The Christmas's past are precious memories nothing can take away.  For the past is history--and not to be relived or revisited --except in our dreams.



There are Christmas's from the past which are best left in the past.  Memories which replay pain and suffering.  Memories of Christmas's without precious loved ones, Christmas's when precious friends left us, memories of loneliness, sadness and distress.  Memories of a Christmas of illness, empty seats, and broken traditions.  Ghosts better left in the past.


One Christmas long ago, the first Christmas, we are told the story of the couple who traveled by donkey a long way while expecting a child any day.  The scene was not perfection--the scene began in desperation--NO ROOM---Baby coming--and no one with a lick of compassion.  God provides---a stable--filled with the strong smell of animals--itchy hay for a bed--and the pangs of childbirth.  In pain and terror, the young girl must have wondered--Why Me?  Then it is done--the baby is born with all the sights and sounds of childbirth-it can be a messy business.  The mother rests holding her baby who is wrapped in a makeshift blanket relieved the work is done.  Then the star grows bright, angels fill the sky singing loud praises, and shepherds appear with their flock of sheep.  It is a night filled with the sights, sounds, smells, and touches of wonder.  The wonder of the birth of a king---God's gift to mankind---the Prince of Peace.

The ghosts of Christmas past are all around us--they are part and parcel of who we are.  Those ghosts--or memories are what advent is all about.  The memory of Christmas's past lead us to the great anticipation of Christmas present.  The ghosts of Christmas past live in the wonder of Christmas present, as we celebrate--we remember.


6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
Isaiah 9:6

Sunday, December 11, 2016

AMAZING LOVE

Come and See

What God Has Done


N O E L





The Story of

God's Amazing Love


Blessed Advent Sabbath,
Dear Friends

Sunday, December 4, 2016

WHAT GIFT?

Dare we give

Any less

Than 

Our Best?



Blessed Advent Sabbath,

Dear Friends!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

Our Thanksgiving

Adventure

Cat's Head Island National Wildlife Refuge


A Thanksgiving must

A Christmas craft


And the week

Has seen

Christmas appear

In the bungalow


The tree

is filled

with favorite ornaments

from years gone by.


The plates

all precious gifts.





Christmas trains

are the

grands' favorite


This precious creche

Given to me

By my mother

Over 35 years ago.


Sometimes I think

No more

And then the grands come over

And I remember why.


Living Christmas large

Here in the hood.