Showing posts from December, 2007

My Most Memorable Gift

Christmas exploded with a flurry of gifts, shiny paper, bows and giggles. Children tore into toys with enthusiasm matching the enjoyment of parents and grandparents together. Amidst the Christmas chaos, I found a girl hovering at my shoulder with a large wrapped gift.

"Here's my present for you Mommy."

Bright blue eyes peered over my shoulder as I gently tore the paper. "Be careful Mom. It's breakable."

The box filled with tissue paper was light and I searched through the tissue to find the gift. Little hands reached in to help me unwrap a heart shaped peice of porcelain.

"It's a jewelry box Mom. I picked it out just for you." Her eyes lit up with pleasure as I hugged her with thanksgiving.

Tears pricked my eyes in appreciation for the greatest gift I received this Christmas - pure love and the joy of giving.

This year marked the beginning of a new tradition for this little four year old girl: purchasing her own gifts for family member…

Merry Christmas!

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:4-7
May there always be room in our home for You, Jesus.

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. (v.11)
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (v. 14)We join the angels in glorifying Your name today.

Merry Christmas!

My 100 Things

I understand that it is a blogging tradition to post 100 things about yourself on your 100th post. That sounds like a lot of stuff. We'll see if I can come up with 100 interesting things. That's a daunting task. Well, maybe a few of them will be interesting at least!

1. I lived in Kentucky for 4 years.
2. I spoke in a lovely twang (making one syllable words in two) for a few more years.
3. Now I have a northern accent, complete with a long "o."
4. I have an uncanny ability to imitate the accent of those around me (even Russian).
5. I was born breech. They don't do that anymore. Feet first.
6. I weighed 5 pounds and a couple of ounces at birth.
7. My dad held me in the palm of his hand and Mom dressed me in doll clothes.
8. I sang "Sunshine on My Shoulders" word for word when I was five. It's still a favorite of mine.
9. I was baptized in my Southern twang days and have never turned away from walking hand in hand with Jesus.
10. My grandparents have been the…

The Kiss of Mercy

I've been kissed by mercy. It wasn't just an obligatory peck on the cheek, but a kiss filled with generous loving-kindness. Just like I smother my kids in kisses before bedtime, God has bent down from on high and smothered me, His child, with kiss after kiss after kiss of never ending mercy.

This past week I made a big mistake which had serious consequences, and God reached down and extended mercy to me when I was greatly in need. He didn't erase all of the consequences, but He did grant me grace in eliminating some of them and no matter what happened, He has forgiven me.

In His mercy, He has given me a reprieve from the war against micro-organisms. This battle is over and man has triumphed over germ (for now at least). I am filled with gratitude for the chance to rest from the battle.

A broken de-humidifier and no receipt to be found (after hours of looking) left me in another scrape this week. Customer service was not helpful and I had resigned myself to dealing with one …

Christmas Poems

I have read so many good poems lately, I thought I would compile them all together here for everyone else to enjoy. Each one draws me back to the true meaning of Christmas and I think they would make a great Christmas program all put together. Enjoy!

Micca Campbell's poem at Lysa Terkeurst's site is about the stress and hurry of the season.

Renee Swope's poem reminds us to prepare room for the little one in the manger of our hearts.

This 1 Corinthians 13 poem for Christmas at Holy Experience puts the focus back on Love, the true reason for Christmas.

I also love this poem about How Martha had a Mary Christmas.

Happy Reading!

Christmas Ornaments

My three kiddos have been home sick from school for the last five school days, so we have been entertaining ourselves with our own version of "homeschooling."

First, we made salt dough ornaments:
This is the recipe we used:
4 cups of flour
1 cup salt
1 1/2 cups hot tap water
Mix together and knead until soft and smooth
Roll out the dough and shape into designs or cut out figures - don't forget to make a hole if you plan to use these on the tree!
Bake in 325 oven for 1 1/2 hours (I took mine out at 1 hour because they were thin).

After they cool down and dry a bit, paint them with acrylic paint and sprinkle with glitter, etc. Now you can add string to hand them on the tree!

IMPORTANT NOTE: To remain sane while allowing children to complete this project, I recommend making one or two yourself if you want some very beautiful ornaments and then let the kids make theirs however they want.

Second, we made ice crystal star ornaments. Thanks to a friend who shared the recipe!
Bend w…

The Chief End of Man

"Don't blame suffering in the world on the anger of God. He's not mad; he didn't mess up. Follow our troubles to their headwaters, and you won't find any angry or befuddled God. But you will find a sovereign God.
Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end -- the glory of God."

~Max Lucado, It's Not About Me~

This week has been filled with my own personal problems, struggles and hassles of the minute kind. If I were the narrator of my life story, I would describe myself as irritable and petulant in the midst of microscopic problems.

It's easy for me to think about the big disappointments of life (from the outside looking in) and comment on the need to glorify God through troubles. But, now, from the inside looking out of a teeny tiny problem, I can't practice what I preach.

I've gotten so caught up in the minutia of my problems that I have forgotten about the purpose of it all. Max Lucado'…

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

In the 365 days of 2007, our Great God gave to us:

12 snowmobile trips,
11 disasters on a canoe trip to the Boundary waters ,
10 days of family time in Arizona,
9 months of learning to read and write,
8 jars of bread and butter pickles,
7 tons of frozen green beans,
6 kids at a wedding (Grandma's)
5 apple pies,
4 deer down and in the freezer,
3 kids getting bigger,
2 days at a (speaking and writing) conference

and a very happy family!

Blogger of Purpose (and Friends)

Denise keeps sending me lots of love and I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying that! It's so wonderful to have friends, isn't it? Thanks Denise! I was thinking, why is it that Denise always gets the awards and then she is the one who sends them on to me? I want to give her an award for once! That's really the way it ought to be, you know, since she is such an encouragement. And, then, the opportunity finally came my way! It's my turn to hand out the presents!

Robin, at the Heart of Wisdom blog, kindly sent an award my way - Blogger of Purpose. I have been thinking about PURPOSE lately: making a point to do things intentionally, deliberately and to live with the purpose of Christ before me at all times.

Now it's my turn to pass the award on to people who blog with purpose - divine purpose. These are the people that come to mind (consider yourselves awarded DOUBLY today since you are both friends and bloggers of purpose):

Denise: Her heart overflows w…

Of Micro-organisms and Men

I sat down beside my friend at the cafeteria table to eat dinner as we enjoyed chatting about our day. We were new friends and she had just informed me that her undergraduate degree was in microbiology. She must be smart, I thought. She pinched off a piece of her paper napkin and put it between her thumb and forefinger to grasp the salt shaker and season her food. I sat open mouthed at her OCD (Obsessive Compusive Disorder) behavior...What was she doing?

She proceeded to lecture me for the next half an hour on the millions of micro-organizms which live everywhere around us. I guess there's a real down side to being a microbiologist. I always say, What you can't see can't hurt you. If you know what I mean.

Now I am not a disgusting slob or anything but I do not see the purpose in being a germophobe either. You can carry a tissue in your pocket to open every germ infested door and before you know it, you'll just decide it's easier to stay home in your germ free…

God is Good

I'm having a rough morning so far and it's hard to feel thankful today. Everything that could go wrong has already gone wrong...

But I was reminded by my husband that no matter what is happening, God is still good. He's good all the time. My husband's favorite verse is in the book of Habakkuk. It's a reminder that no matter what is going on, we can choose to praise the Lord.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord and I will be joyful in God my savior.

I guess a little perspective helps too: there are grapes in my fridge, there is olive oil in my cupboard, and there's plenty of meat in the freezer for our family. So, I really do have lots to be thankful for! And even if I didn't have those things, I could rejoice in God my savior.

For more thankful hearts today, visit Lau…

A Thorn in My Eye

I was teaching last week at Bible study about praying for healing: when it's appropriate, how God seems to work through healing or without healing, etc. We were discussing the Apostle Paul and his need for healing and I said he had a "thorn in his eye." Whoops. I think that was supposed to be a thorn in his side, which doesn't make much sense because scholars believe that he had an eye problem of some sort. The point was, God didn't heal Paul, did He? God used that irritating, frustrating and painful "thorn" to keep Paul humble and totally reliant upon Him.

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Chris's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
I think I might have meant to say that I have a thorn in my eye. You see (forgive the pun), I have had pink eye for a week and despite the anti-bacterial drops and prayers, it…

Changing the World

If I want to change the world, I have to start with me. It is so easy to fall into the trap of paying more attention to the failures and successes of everyone else in this world, instead of working on the one person I actually have control over.

How can I create a little piece of heaven on earth? By living in HIM, by living for Him, by walking with Him every step of the way. God's paradise is filled with His presence and my job as His ambassador in this broken world is to bring His presence wherever I go.

I can't be a perfect specimen of God's holiness, but I can be a vessel for His use. I want to be His - I want my life to display His holiness and shine a little bit of heaven on this earth.

In Other Words is hosted by my friend Lori at All You Have to Give.

A Rugged Man

He was a rugged man - his black hair gelled up like a city slicker didn't mask his northwoods roots. His scratchy face betrayed his lack of shaving over the weekend and his love of the outdoors was evident in the black Carhart coveralls, red plaid fleece and camouflage boots. Plowing his way through the snow, he walked with a swagger and a confident air. He was probably looking for a good chunk of snow to ball up and bring into the house to terrorize me. Rugged, confident, and a bit mischievous too!

He walked into my life over ten years ago and swept me off my feet. His serious expression and blatant honesty gave a crystal clear view into his heart. He stood out from the others - the posers trying to put on a holy face or the almost feminine submissive type. No, he was sometimes abrasive - not afraid of offending others in pursuit of the truth. He was one hundred percent masculinity: following God didn't mean wearing a tie or acting like a weakling. Being a Christ-follower mea…

Thankful for New Life

I am grateful for the best gift I've ever recieved: a New Life! In Christ, I have been made new. He saw my dead bones and breathed new life into my soul, forever changing me.

And even now, when being born anew has become commonplace and I've begun to take it for granted, He breathes new life again. His Holy Spirit comes and falls afresh upon me, igniting the flames of passion for Him.

His love is beyond my comprehension - I'm overwhelmed. His breath in me produces new joy and resurrects a longing for all to know this God who can make dead things alive.

He is the resurrector of dead hopes and dreams, of deadened emotions and dead relationships. He gently breathes newness into all He touches. He resurrects my desire for Him and my hope of spending eternity with Him.

For more thankful hearts today, visit Laurel Wreath.

To Do Today:

1. Make Gingerbread men and eat them.
2. Make snow angels.
3. Throw snow balls at all of my kids.
4. Drink Hot Cocoa with whipped cream on top and a candy cane as a stirring stick after coming in from the snow

5. Use the red and green play dough to create "Christmas cookies."
6. Watch a Christmas movie together as a family with popcorn and candy.
7. Sit in my lazyboy, gaze upon the Christmas tree and watch the fat, fluffy snowflakes falling outside the windowpane.
8. Read a novel while sipping my cocoa and watching the snowflakes.
9. Play Christmas music loudly for all to hear (that's the best way to spread Christmas cheer!)
10. Hug and kiss each of my treasures: especially my lumberjack lover (who you see here chopping down our majestic spruce).

The Widow's Mite (or the Pharisees Bite?)

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."~ Mark 12:41-44 ~

The generosity of the widow is highlighted in this oft-quoted Scripture. Her relatively small gift makes the pompous giving of the rich pale in comparison. But, today I want to look at this passage of Scripture in a different light - thanks to the insight of my professor Dr. Wong Loi Sing at Moody Graduate School.

Looking at the context of the passage sheds new light on the meaning of Jesus' story.

Mark 12:38-40 "As he taught, Jesus said, 'Watch ou…

I'm a Wanna Be

I woke up this morning with a bad case of the "wanna be"s. I don't know if you've ever felt like that. Like a teenager with dreams and aspirations which battle against insecurities and weaknesses, I grumble around, hoping for a remedy to the wanna be's. In my robe, nursing this case of the wanna be's, I wonder if more rest, chicken soup or seven-up will help me feel better. I definitely need an extra nap today and a back rub might be nice too.

Have you ever had the wanna be's? I went to the Great Physician with my symptoms recently and His remedy was amazing.

Lord, I wanna be known. I mean, I don't want to be Oprah Winfrey, but I want people to know who I am - not just who I profess to be - but to know the real me. I want to be greeted at parties with welcome hugs and waves across the room. I don't want to be the person in the corner wondering if I fit in or if I know anyone here. I don't just want name recognition (although that might be nice) …

The Most Terrible Time of the Year

These are the days when people are humming little tunes such as, "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." while they trim a pine tree with lights, glittery balls, homemade decorations, angels and stars. Manger scenes are carefully put upon the mantle while hot cocoa is warming on the stovetop and children listen to Christmas stories in their jammies. Fond memories warm our hearts and children's laughter brighten our days.

But, for many, these are not the most wonderful days of the year - this is the most terrible month of the year. I have thought about these people recently because many of them are close to my heart.

Mentally Ill and Homeless : When I lived in Chicago, I met mentally ill homeless people on a regular basis and it was a challenge for me to know how to deal with these people. They were needy and in a terrible spot, but I was unsure of how to help someone whose needs were so desperate. Have you noticed that mental illness frightens most of us?…

Christian Women Online

Well, let me tell you something that suprised and encouraged me today! CWO just made my day by including me as the blog of the month. I'm so blessed by the women I've met through CWO. I enjoy participating in our Tuesday writing prompt: "In Other Words"

and I've met some special new friends through the connection with CWO. Thanks Christian Women Online for the supportive network you provide.