Monday, December 31, 2007
Learn, laugh, stretch, fear, attempt new things, cry, beauty, confession, love, Amazing Grace, forgive, forgiven, confused, tired, peace, refine, redemption, deliverance, hope, fear, scream, pray, question, purify, doubt, trust, swim in grace, Jesus washing my feet, hang on, direction, counsel, support, prayer, friends, rejection, acceptance, accept, disappoint, let go, grow, leave, arrive, change, promise, challenge, open eyes, learn to love, learn God's love, wisdom, new friends, old friends, new life, lonely, content, drown in grace – breath it in until there's nothing else.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I don't do resolutions. I barely even do goals. I am not by nature a very goal-oriented person.
I tend to find that each year a theme develops. A focus.
I am sensing that this year my focus will be living more intentionally. I tend to just let life happen. It washes over me and time goes by and nothing has been accomplished. I kinda live by the seat of my pants. I'm finding that's not really workin for me. I mean, I like it. It's easy and all that, but haphazard living isn't getting things done the way I'd like.
So, I am going to have to learn how to have just a little bit of structure in my life. I am going to set up just the tiniest little schedule for myself. If it's too much, I will just rebel, so I have to go easy.
And I'm going to have to set a goal and try to care about whether I reach it or not.
So, I will schedule housework because doing it when I feel like it… well…I don't want to talk about it.
The same goes for writing.
I need to make some plans and follow them. I can't plan my life, obviously. That is outside my control. But I can plan my hours. I'm tired of seeing time slip away unchanged.
So, do you do resolutions? Goals? Anything? What do you want to do differently in 2008?
Friday, December 28, 2007
I was tagged, (I love getting tagged!) by Michelle at Just a Minute. It's the 10-20-30 meme and I have to talk about what I was doing 10, 20, and 30 years ago.
10 years ago , 1997- Oh, that was a rough time. I was pregnant with my son. I had been suffering from depression for a year or so already. My aunt had just died earlier in December from complications from Lupus or the medications she had been on for decades. Who knows. She had aneurysms and a staph infection. Basically, it was just her time. There was too much going on. My grandma died then in February of 98, then my aunt's husband in April. I also got very sick while pregnant and had a health issue that involved frequent encounters with a scalpel.
20 years ago, 1987 - I was in college at Liberty University in VA. A Sophomore, I guess. I had just gone to Mexico City on a missions trip and I was dating a guy from India that I met on the trip. Before that a cute Mexican guy and a Canadian were vying for my attention. I guess I am just Internationally appealing! LOL! Or "was" anyway.
30 years ago, 1977 - Yeh, like I can remember. I was 11. My cat had just been born before my 11th birthday. I had him until I was 26 years old. He was my best buddy. I don't really know what else exciting happened then. I think I may have had my first crush about that time.
Ok, I'm going to tag Angie, Jan, Bet, and Jen.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
1. Meet the Robinsons
2. Amazing Grace
3. Spiderman 3
4. Beyond the Gates
5. Bridge to Terabithia
6. Reign Over Me
7. Ethan Almighty
8. The Painted Veil (both versions)
10. Freedom Writers
11. The Last Sineater
12. The Astronaut Farmer
Monday, December 24, 2007
The moment God the Son left Heaven and became a wee little embryo, the sacrifice began.
Every tear He cried because He was hungry, tired, or had a tummy ache was a sacrifice. Every drop of blood from skinned knees and split lips. Every time a neighbor died, every time He saw a loved one suffer. Wearing shoes, having an itch, being stung by a bee, eating, breathing, sleeping were part of the sacrifice. Every headache, every smashed thumb, every day – a sacrifice.
He was God. He didn't have to be here. He chose to be. He chose to leave Paradise and come to live among men. The sacrifice was in the coming and in the living.
We all know He sacrificed Himself in His death. When He hung upon that cross and bore terrible physical pain. The moment that He took my sin upon Himself and wore it as a covering; that was the greatest sacrifice of all. When God the Father looking down could no longer bear the sight of His own Son because He was wearing my clothes. Jesus looked like me hanging there in that filth and grime, the sins of my soul, and the Father turned away. God the Son forsaken by God the Father. God forsaken by God. Christ the man hanging utterly alone dripping with my wickedness mingled with His atoning blood. Then He could give to me His spotless robe so that when the Father looks at me, He sees Christ's Righteousness and I am accepted. The sacrifice.
But it began the moment He stepped into time. The instant He was conceived in a young woman's womb.
This is Emmanuel. God With Us.
God bless us, every one.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I love Christmas. I love everything about it. It has always been my favorite time of year.
As Monday-Sunday said, I even love the commercialism. I love the music, the decorations, the aluminum trees.
I don't like the commercialism that's all about selling me stuff. I don't like the idea that Christmas is for the saving of our economy. One last boost to our monetary system.
But I love the rest. I love looking at the lights. We are going to drive around and look tonight. I like the simple, elegant light displays. I also like the gaudy ones with everything crammed in that will fit. I like Santa and reindeer. I like goofy Christmas specials. I love the sappy movies. I like the emphasis on family and other loved ones.
I miss the old variety shows that always had their Christmas specials. Donnie and Marie and The Captain and Tennille. I miss Perry Como and Bing Crosby.
I love Cider and popcorn and Christmas cookies. I'd like to try things like a Christmas Goose and a Christmas pudding, but some people around here don't want me to. I love tradition. I love new and creative things. I love Christmas.
Of course the best part is what it represents. The fact that Christ came. Prophecies were fulfilled and God became man. But the truth is, this isn't the only part of Christmas for me. I think about those things all the time. God is the main part of my daily life and I don't need Christmas to remind me of what He did.
As people have pointed out to me; God didn't ask us to celebrate Christ's birth. That's true. But I'm sure He doesn't care that we do. Jesus loved a good celebration. His first miracle was making wine for goodness sake. He was criticized as being a glutton and a drunkard. So I think He's ok with the fact that we make a big deal of Christmas and feast and laugh and love and give good things to one another. He loves it! But I also don't think He would be terribly disappointed if Christmas went away. After all, as mentioned, it's not written in His word anywhere. I'm sure He cares more about how we live the rest of the year.
But anyway, all this to say that lately--the past two or three years—I have been having trouble getting excited about Christmas. I've had a hard time finding that joy and wonder and "Christmas spirit" that used to come so easily. I've been trying to figure out why and asking God to help me figure out how it can be different next year.
Last night while talking with a friend I realized where my Christmas discontentment is coming from. It's from the gift-giving. Now, I love giving gifts. It isn't that. But it is the fact that I am trying to find things for people who already have everything they want and way more than they need. My kids don't have all they want, of course, the want never ends for them. And that is part of my frustration. It is so hard to buy things for them when they have so much and yet they still want and want. I love them to pieces, but can't think of a thing that I really want to give them. That one special thing that would make their eyes light up and fill me with joy to give.
The adults in my life all get what they want whenever they want it. So what do I do?
I'm not sure. But it helps me to realize where the real frustration lies. I know we will do something to decrease the gift-buying next year. We have been telling the kids for several years that Christmas isn't about them and we have been buying fewer gifts each year. We let their birthdays be about them, and try to give the bulk of gifts then. But we still need to cut back more.
We'll figure something out. And I know that the solution is going to involve more giving of ourselves to those outside of our family. People who have real needs. People who know what it means to truly want. That's what my heart is telling me.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I went through I don't know how many radio stations today before I found one that was playing a Christmas song. I've noticed that very few of the stores I've been in are playing Christmas music. And most of all, when I leave the store, all I get is "have a nice day." That's it. Less than a week until Christmas.
Well, I figure the companies have given up since no matter what they do someone complains. I personally didn't mind being wished Happy Holidays. Holiday means Holy day and isn't that what Christmas should be? A day set apart for God? So it was a good reminder to me of what Christmas is supposed to be.
Also, I don't personally feel that the world has the responsibility to keep Christ in Christmas. I think it is the responsibility of we Christians to do so. In our families. In our celebrations. In our priorities and our spending.
It's sad that our world has changed so much that Christmas isn't the cultural thing it used to be. It's very sad.
But, one of my main pet peeves with society today is the way every complains when something isn't exactly the way they want it to be. The way everyone is so offended by every little thing. All this PC stuff. Yes, it bothers me that people are offended by the phrase "Merry Christmas" but for that exact reason, I refuse to be offended by the phrase "Happy Holidays."
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Christmas Traditions and Legends
- The Christmas Spider Legend explains why we put tinsel on our tree.
- St. Nicholas Day is December 6th. I am considering using this day to talk about St. Nick and what it means to live a generous life. Also we could exchange gifts on this day thereby saving Christmas for the celebration of Christ.
- The Legend of the Candy Cane.
- Christmas Stockings. The story goes that a man had squandered his fortune leaving his daughters without dowries. St. Nicholas heard of their plight and anonymously tossed bags of gold down the chimney which happened to land in the stocking that were hanging by the fire to dry.
- St. Lucia is another example of generous living. Celebrate St. Lucia's Day on December 13th. (Sorry about the popup on that site, but it was the most comprehensive site I could find)
- The gifts of the Magi. Gold -- a gift for a King; Frankincense – a gift for a priest. It was burned as Incense and its fragrance signified the presence of the LORD; Myrrh – a gift for someone who is to die. It was used to prepare bodies for burial.
- The Christmas Nail. Take a very large nail and tie a red ribbon around the head to make a loop for hanging on the tree. It is to be hung on a branch near the trunk where it will not be noticed by others who are admiring the tree. Its presence is known only to the home that hangs it, understood only by the heart that knows it's significance. Put a tag on the nail saying, "The Christmas tree but foreshadows the Christ tree which only He could decorate for us by offering salvation through His crucifixion."
- Gingerbread. Bethlehem is called the "House of bread." Gingerbread houses were first made in Germany to remind people that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that He is the Bread of Life.
- Christmas colors. In the 1300's, trees were decorated with red apples to represent the fall of man and white wafers to symbolize salvation. The evergreen of the fir tree represented eternal life.
- Advent begins the first Sunday of December. Those who follow the Liturgical Calendar do not decorate until Christmas Eve. Advent is about expectation. Christmas begins December 25 and goes until January 6th. Those are the Twelve days of Christmas.
- Epiphany is the 6th of January. This is the day recognized by some traditions as the day the wise men found Jesus and presented their gifts. This used to be the day that gifts were exchanged, so it would be neat to do that instead of exchanging on Christmas day. Plus you could take advantage of the sales!
- "Good King Wenceslas looked out on the Feast of Stephen." St. Stephen's Day or the Feast of Stephen is celebrated on December 26th. Stephen was the first person martyred for believing in Jesus. His story can be found in the book of Acts in the Bible.
- Boxing Day is also December 26th. On this day, gifts would be given to the servants and other household staff. Gifts would be given to the poor. We could set aside this day for charitable giving.
Editted to correct the date of Epiphany. Oops. It is in January, not December.
Monday, December 17, 2007
If you are travelling over the Holidays, (yes, I have no problem calling them Holidays, we can take that up in another post if you like) and don't know what to tip -- here you go.
If you are just like me and wing it all the time, well -- here you go.
Just visit this site and all your tipping questions will be answered.
edited to add: For more, go to the website.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I'm sure fear has played some part in every person who attends that church at some point during the past week. But they have overcome.
We sang this song in church and my mind was on all of those people. And on our God who is faithful to save. Hosanna means Save, we pray.
Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You, we turn to You
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You, we long for You
'Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away
You are the God Who saves us, worthy of all our praises
Come have Your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus
Hear the sound of hearts returning to You, we turn to You
In Your Kingdom broken lives are made new, You make us new
'Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your Presence all our fears are washed away, washed away
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
My friend Mel did her TT on white last week, so I will do red.
- Red is one of my favorite colors
- My grandma's favorite color was red. She would be 105 if she were still alive.
- My adopted grandma's favorite color is red. She will be 91 this month.
- Pomegranates. The kids and I love them. My mom used to get them for us and it was always a treat. So I get them for my kids this time of year.
- Roses. Especially the wild, rambling kind.
- Hens. We used to have chickens, but none of them were red. I like the red ones, though.
- My pony, Creampuff. She was actually more pink, but she was a red roan.
- My dog, Skittles.
- Blood. I'm not a freak. I just think it's a gorgeous color and it is the stuff of life. We need it. Physically and spiritually speaking.
- Watermelon. Not the season for it, but I love it.
- Strawberries, fresh picked and still warm from the sun. Wow. That literally made my mouth water.
- Cherry pie!
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
A hundred geese, sounding like they need a dose of WD40, flying across the sky in single file.
Tracks in the snow attesting to the variety of critters that come our way during the night and wee hours. Some of which have me puzzled. Something with very short legs, I guess, made tracks that, from here, look like a toy truck drove through our front yard.
God with us.
The many shades of blue in a Colorado sky.
Never met friends
Comments on my blog
My kids' hugs
My husband's kisses
Wood burning fireplaces
You, taking the time to come here, to my blog, and visit me!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Continue to pray for the Colorado communities affected by the shootings yesterday. Two people announced dead since I blogged about it. A total of five dead including a shooter. Five wounded.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Last night I was stuck in Colorado Springs due to weather and was able to go to our old church. They made an announcement about the shooting at a YWAM office last night up in Denver. Two people killed and two injured. My dear friend who reads and interacts on this blog knew the two people who were killed. I know several people who are involved with YWAM. It was heart-breaking to hear that news.
Then, on the way home this morning, several police passed me in a big hurry and my heart clutched. Something stirred me to pray. My route home just happens to take me past New Life Church and as I approached, fire trucks were positioning themselves to block the roads. No one was even directing traffic yet. Police were still arriving. So I called the above mentioned dear friend because her family attends New Life and she told me the news that at least four people had been shot. Her family had already left the church, so they are ok.
I know many people who attend New Life. And also, you may recall this church has been through a lot already as their former Pastor, Ted Haggard, was involved in a sex scandal earlier this year.
Please, keep in prayer this church, the YWAM staff and missionaries and everyone affected by these horrible events.
As far as is known, the man who shot the YWAM people is still at large. The shooter at New Life killed himself. No other people were killed at New Life, just wounded, as far as I know right now.
God is still God. God is still on His throne and He is always good.
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I know you've been wondering, so I'm going to tell you what my favorite Christmas movies are.
They are probably the same as most people, actually, because they are just downright good.
I really love Charlie Brown's Christmas. I don't know if that really qualifies as a movie or not, but I'm including it. It is my favorite of the Peanuts' specials. I love the dancing and Snoopy's attempts to win the house decorating contest. I love most of all that they get the real meaning of Christmas in there. And who doesn't love that tree?
A Wonderful Life is one I watch every year. I have it mostly memorized, I bet. I love it because it is about Hope. And it is about the beauty of life. I wish we all had the opportunity George had to see what life would be like if we didn't exist. And the beauty of friendship. People really caring for each other. I love that old show.
A Christmas Story is my favorite for a good laugh. It cracks me up every single time I watch it. When he imagines that the soap in his mouth will make him blind… and then… They'll Be Sorry. What kid hasn't had a similar thought? And I don't know how many times my mom has warned me that I would poke an eye out. How come we don't see one-eyed people running around everywhere if it's such a dangerous possibility? Tell me that.
As much as I love old movies, I could get through Miracle on 31st Street. I'm not sure why.
I like the Santa Claus movies with Tim Allen. I like Elf. The Christmas Vacation movie is funny, but not as funny to me as A Christmas Story. I like to watch A Christmas Carol. But none of them top my three picks.
What are your very favorite Christmas movies/shows?
Monday, December 3, 2007
I hope I have this right. Feel free to correct me if I don't. This is not information I grew up knowing in my Gentile, Christian, non-Catholic home.
But the history of Hanukkah as I understand it is:
After Alexander the Great died, the Greek empire split into three dynasties; one of which was the Seleucid Dynasty. One of the rulers in this dynasty was called Antiochus IV Ephiphanes. He was so evil that the Bible, in the book of Daniel, uses him as an example of what the Anti-Christ will be like.
He desecrated the Temple of God. The Bible calls it the Abomination of Desolation. He made the Israelites stop their daily sacrifices and sacrifice to other god's instead.
One day when an Israelite made one of these sacrifices a godly man named Matthias killed him. He started a revolt in which the God-fearing Jews went throughout the land tearing down false idols and killing those who worshipped them. It was a time of purging for the land of Israel.
When Matthias died his son Judah took over. He is known as Judah Macabee. These Macabees went into the Temple to purify it after Antiochus had profaned it. They cleansed it and re-dedicated it to God.
The lamps in the Temple were to burn continually. But when they rededicated the Temple, there wasn't enough oil to last for more than a day. They miraculously continued to burn for eight days until more holy oil could be obtained.
There. I find some very significant stuff for all of us to think about. Purification. Rededication. We can't go wrong spending some time dwelling on that this Season.
And the Light will never go out.