Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Calm

This was an unusually quite Christmas Day for us. We visited with our daughter’s family the previous weekend. Unfortunately she and the grand children were ill Christmas weekend. Our plans are to visit with our son’s family later this week.

Dan at a rare loss for words

One of the things on our “Some Day” list is Dan’s desire to play the guitar. Well, “Santa” via UPS, delivered one for him on Christmas Eve. The look of surprise on his face was a gift to me! It was the first time I have been able to completely surprise him; at least, happily anyway.

On our way to Christmas Eve worship, we dropped by the music store for assistance. We asked if there were possibly a how to booklet, “Guitar for Old Dummies”. Without missing a beat, the salesperson immediately produced several to choose from. We found him to be both pleasant and helpful; even with having to work on Christmas Eve. He even offered an assortment of ear plugs should I feel the need.

Christmas by the fire

We spent Christmas weekend, eating, resting by the fire, eating more, guitar strumming, speaking with family and friends. Dan caught me trying, in vain I am sure, to work off some of the chocolate consumption. He walked outdoors in the snow and cold with Angel. I am certain he burned more calories than I. A new weight loss gimmick promotes sitting in an ice water bath. The promotion video shows a gentleman relaxing in a tub of ice reading a book. The theory is your body works harder to stay warm thus burning more calories. Sorry, not my kind of relaxation. If there is a choice between that and chubby; the latter wins out.

I loves me chocolate!

My “Santa Baby” gifted me with the most recent Francine Rivers book. Smart man that he is knows if I have my nose stuck in one of her books, I will not be back seat driving on our trip. Makes travel more enjoyable for the both of us.

Coming from a large family, I miss those noisy and chaotic Christmas Eve dinners with the entire family. My heart was a little sad as we passed houses lined with vehicles of visitors. Our family has grown and multiplied and divided, having small ones and living in different parts of the world, it just isn’t feasible anymore. I do miss those “old” days, but the new gives way to new traditions and memories.

Four year old grandson Riley, feeling ill, rose just long enough on Christmas morning to see if gifts had appeared under the tree during the night, said, “I knew he would come!” Knowing Santa had come with gifts as promised, he could return to bed in peace, confident the gifts would be waiting for him.

Grandson Sullivan Christmas Tree Joy!

Even in the midst of Christmas joy, heart ache and disappointment can creep in and try to steal our joy and our peace. If we can just hold on to the simple and complete faith of a child and trust Him in all things we can have peace because, “I knew HE would come!”

For the Lord says, See, I will make her peace like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream, and she will take her children in her arms, gently caring for them on her knees. Isaiah 66:12

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Shameless Boasting!


   Daughter's family

Dad Neil, Mom Misty
Sullivan and Big Brother Riley

Son's family

Dad Michael
Mom Becky with Lily
Megan and Joshua on the left
Haley and Connor on the right


The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18).

Husband Dan with Linda
A Pair of Brown Shoes!
                                                         Merry Christmas!!! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Everyday

Dan spreading Christmas cheer by "stealing"

The old song, “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” has been stuck in my mind today. Blogger buddies from around the world have opened tours of their beautifully decorated Christmas homes. I am always amazed at the range of gifts among these ladies. Perhaps it is their genuine love and understanding of this special season that shines through in their lives and homes.

Christmas village house

We are simple folks with simple tastes. White lights are preferred to colored ones; gold over silver. Dan loves the stillness and beauty of the soft glow of Christmas Tree lights during the night. There is a special feeling of warmth, contentment and peace in the late and wee hours of the morning.

A very special Advent Christmas Tree was given to us by our grandchildren.  Each day we anxiously opened a door to find a "letter" from one of them. Hand made angels from a friend, and a love letter from a grandchild; priceless gifts.

One of our simple trees

Christmas blessings are shared with family, friends, fun and food. Enjoying the security and strength of loved ones, brings us Christmas every day. We love hearing from family and friends that live far away. I was particularly happy to receive a card from an ‘ole friend today. Times have been hard for her family, but she ends her letter with, “But with the Lord’s help, things are going to be okay.”

Advent wreath

It is the time of year we begin to reflect upon the events of the past months and look forward to new beginnings. This year has brought deaths of loved ones and the happy news of another grandbaby to be born. Thanks are to God the giver of life; even after death.

Angels made by friends- Christmas Advent Tree from Grandchildren

Someone asked me what was the best gift I was expecting for Christmas this year. The question took me back a bit. We don’t really think about receiving at Christmas. Our joy is giving “our” gifts to others. Our children asked if we wanted or needed anything particular for Christmas. My immediate answer was, “Yes! We want the gift of time with you and your family.” I do not want or need anything that requires feeding, watering, and most importantly, dusting!

"Dirty Santa" laughs with friends.
We never know what the new year will bring. For sure there will be good times and difficult times, but with love of family, friends and strength from our Heavenly Father, things are going to be more than okay.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above… – James 1:17

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Spiritual Arrogance

The Lord has, more than once, called me to personal accountability on spiritual arrogance. It amazes me how we can get caught up in a mind set without realizing it. Thankfully, if we allow Him to, the Holy Spirit will bring these things to our attention.

I was brought up with Pentecostal beliefs and practices on one side of the family and Southern Baptist on the other. Unbeknown to me as a young child, religion has always been at odds. I have been on both ends of the spectrum. There was a time I was mortified at the sight of hands being raised in worship; to the opposite end of viewing this gesture as evidence of being Spirit Filled.

Last night as I watched the Bellevue Baptist Singing Christmas tree, I thought of Jesus coming into and leaving this world with the spilling of blood and water. When He raised His hands, He was nailed to the cross for our sins. That is the ultimate form of worship.  A large Christmas tree was in the church foyer with three empty crosses on the top. A simple but powerful reminder of the Gift and Giver of Christmas; the reason we were gathering there.

How do we become so blinded and off track with our faith? Whether a person raises hands, shouts, speaks in tongues, stands or sits quietly, does not determine if they are Spirit filled. Yes, we believe and operate in all of the gifts of the Spirits. However, we can find ourselves off track by focusing more on the gifts rather than upon the Giver.

We sometimes develop a mind set of going to church rather than recognizing we individually are the church. Our pastor says, “We are called to be Little Jesus’ to this world.” It is a plain and a powerfully convicting statement. People that are dying physically and spiritually care little about our form of worship. They simply need the Hope and Salvation in Christ Jesus.

I certainly do not claim to have all of the answers. I just know He is the answer. A true test of a Spirit filled life may be, “How have I shared Jesus with someone today?” Dan remarked, "The manger is empty, the cross is empty and the tomb is empty."  He lived, died, rose again and is coming back for us. That is truly the greatest Spiritual Gift!

John 3:16

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A December Day

At home on a perfect December day!
Dan and I are not winter folks. We like our comfort and cold, dark and damp winter days are anything but. It takes some effort not to sit by the fire, eat and hibernate. Sitting or strolling along the beach with gentle breezes and the sounds of the waves crashing along the shore; that's more our kind of winter!

Finishing off leftovers from two of three Thanksgiving celebrations, and no work out is a recipe for disaster. There is an unspoken rule that even the most minute leftovers must be saved. Items not consumed may be discarded only after they have become moldy and unrecognizable. I am not sure when this rule was established nor, “There are children starving in China”, but they both are deeply imbedded in my psyche.

The sunshine pouring through the windows beckoned me outside. I decided to let Angel take me for a walk. She literally drags me around our cul-de-sac with her leash. She prefers to run rather than walk. However, smart girl that she is, refuses to go up hill. We are generally joined on our walks by Angel’s neighborhood friends. One puppy kept me in stitches as she took running leaps into piles of leaves sending her flying through the culverts.

Walking within itself is great for body, mind and spirit.  So too are sunshine and laughter.  Sunshine provides the body with vitamin D and releases endorphins in the brain producing a lighter mood. Laughter has been shown to have such a physical and mental impact on the human body; Laughter Yoga has become a worldwide phenomenon. Has science has finally caught up with the Bible (Proverbs 17:22) on laughter and medicine?
Sunshine pouring in!


Today was a clear, still, dry day with milder temperatures. The sun was shining through blue skies and white clouds. I walked and laughed in the sunshine. It was, for me, a perfect December day!

For thus the LORD said to me: “I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”  Isaiah 18:4