Monday, December 22, 2014

All He wants for Christmas...

Once again, I marvel that I am alive to celebrate another Christmas.

No, I'm not dying.

Well, yes, I guess we all are.

Rather, that by God's grace I have survived another year.

With a daughter who's a Paramedic, I know how often people don't.

By now you are probably thinking, "Well, this is a not so merry Christmas message!"

It's not meant to be.

Because Christmas isn't about merry. Jolly. Holly. Whatever.

It begins with the messy birth of a baby.

And travels on through the slaughter of innocents.

And ends with a horrifying crucifixion on a cross.

Christmas drew a dividing line between hopeless and hope.

Between lost and found.

Death and life.

He left His Home in Glory to give us the greatest gift ever...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hey, you! Whoever you are...

I was one of four girls in our family.

Which meant lots of emotion and words and activity.

One way my parents knew to get our attention was to yell.

"ArleneDeeDeeDebbieSusie...who ever you are!"

I hated it. Why couldn't my parents take the time to figure out who they wanted?

I swore I would never do that to my kids.

Then I had kids.

The first time I did it, I cringed.

"JeremyJasonJackiJonathan...whoever you are!"


It was so easy to do. And it got the job done.

But it definitely lacked something...

I was thinking about this last week while volunteering at Operation Christmas Child.

You sign in, fill out a name tag, get oriented, and you're off and running.

For one day you work in a warehouse the size of a football field, with hundreds of other volunteers.

All wearing name tags.

I'm sure it was an extrovert's delight...being surrounded by chatty, singing, cheering people.

But for an introvert? I loved my little assigned spot on the assembly line where I could do my small part unseen...quietly...anonymously.

Except for one problem. I had a name tag. With my name on it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When you just can't lift your head up one more time

Today was the last day of my year long adventure into "Grand Jury Duty".

Not just "Jury Duty" mind you.

No, I get "Grand Jury Duty".

Which was anything but grand.

If I had any preconceived notions that I lived in a safe, quiet county, forget it.

Shot that one down.

How about the goodness of mankind?

Ha! Let's try the depravity of mankind...that works better.

Drugs. Violence. Rape. Abuse. Murder.

Case after case...295 of them today. With all the sordid details included.

I wanted to weep. Wail. Lash out.

I. Can't. Do. This. Anymore.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Doing away with the baby Jesus

I can hear it now.

Cries of "Heretic!" "Abomination!" "What are you thinking?"

Now that is a really good question!

Maybe I'm not thinking. Or, maybe I am.

Confession: I have always struggled with connecting with the baby in a manger. Not that I don't love the image.

It does make an inspiring sight, sitting high on a shelf over my TV where I can't miss it.

Living nativities? Gotta see 'em.

A spotlighted creche in someone's front yard? Infinitely preferred over Santa and his reindeer.

And a deeper confession? I own like, six nativity sets!

So, what is my "problem" with the baby Jesus?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why I Wear "Eau de Peppermint" and not Chanel No. 5

It never fails to happen. I'm in a store. A doctor's waiting room. A church pew.

"I smell peppermint," the unwitting victim says, glancing at my mouth to see if I am sucking on a candy.

I smile.

"Isn't it great? It's my perfume of choice!"

"Uh, yeah" is the most common reply.

Hold on. Give them a second....wait for it...

"Wow, that brings back memories!"


Monday, November 17, 2014

Been in a plane crash lately? It's never too late!

Today is the Christian Writer's Blog Retreat at The Cove in Asheville.

I wanted to be there. So much.

But cost and commitments nixed that dream.

So, I did the next best thing and read the main speaker's book entitled...

Ready for this one?

"Start." By Jon Acuff.

Well, it really has a longer title than that..."Punch Fear in the Face. Escape Average. Do Works That Matter."

There, that sounds more interesting doesn't it?

It's proven to be one of those books that, when I'm immersed, makes me not want to pay attention to anything or anyone around me. Sorry Hubby. But he understands.

So, I'm at this section where Jon starts talking about plane crashes. How he always wanted to be in one. Not the terrible, fiery, all-are-dead kind. Those are horrible.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

And all God's people said...THANK YOU!

The sun comes up, there's a new day dawning...

The song rambles through my mind as I sit in front of the computer screen, frequently glancing up at the darkened windows, eager for signs of daybreak.

Up since 4 am....courtesy of the Hubby who has some very early repairs to make at a local pizza shop. Had to get it done before they can open. God bless him.

I am by nature a creature of light. I come to life when the sun is exploding the colors on the trees...the birds are out and about at the feeders...the coffee is made and all is right with the world.

None of these things are happening at 4 am.

Little rumblings of grumblings begin in my mind...I'm going to be soooo tired today! How will I get everything done? How does he get these crazy jobs? And on and on and on...

My pity party is squelched when a box pops up on my lower screen.


I look closer. Seriously?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A love that allows us to suffer

It was time to get up.

Sometimes you  just need to give in and stop trying to sleep.

Coffee. Coffee would do it.

Turn on the lights. Take out the dogs. Make the coffee. Sit with the coffee. A normal start to my day.

The newspaper hadn’t come yet, which was a good thing. I usually like to get the bad over with first... read it...and then wash it with the Good News of the Word. Cover it with Truth. And Justice. And Hope.

Eyes still bleary, I did one of those, open-the-Bible-and see-what-happens things.

Hmmm....Lamentations. Not feeling it but let’s see what happens.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

All the way He leads

This morning I spent time searching for a book that would be of help to someone.

I knew it was there...somewhere.

It had once spoken healing into my life and I trusted it would do the same for another.

My fingers traveled over the spines of hundreds of books...all books I have read. 

Books I have loved. Books that have challenged me. Inspired me. Searched my soul.

I picked out several and opened their covers, consoled by their familiarity. Each took me home a time in my life that was once so important.

They were familiar friends. Unlike earthly friends that have come for a season and then disappeared, they have always been there...available…giving freely of themselves.

Warm tears suddenly filled my eyes. An unexpected catch caught in my throat.

Then the truth gently washed over me...I am the person I am now because of these books, and thousands more. Books used by the Lord to break me. Mold me. Call me home to His heart.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I love books!

On my nightstand

True confession...I have an addiction. (Hi, Arlene). It's a sickness. Utterly incurable. I will have it my entire life.

But even if I could be, which I can't, I never want to be delivered from it. I. Love. Books. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Photos of the week #2

This says it all~ we love having family and friends here!

Better to have loved...

This isn’t the post I had planned for this week. Not. At. All.

Maybe I’ll get back to that one later. Instead, I need to tell a a dying dog, but you can listen in...

Venga came into our lives 12 years ago. A tiny black and white canine blob that fit in the palm of our hands. With eyes that spoke to our hearts...and still do.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Where have all the Monarchs gone?

One of the four Monarchs that visited my garden this year

Four Monarchs this year. Just four. In years gone by, I would have stepped outside and sighed in delight as a virtual cloud of them passed overhead. Orange wings, flashing in the sun. And me, on the ground, in awe at another one of God's incredible creations.

Photos of the week #1

This is a picture of me, pretending that I know what I am doing! I'm currently taking a photography class at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, a great place to learn and play. I look forward to sharing more photos with you!