Friday, December 31, 2010

next year

If you've read my blog for a year or more you know I'm not a big fan of resolutions. But I do try to set some goals. I try to formulate a bit of a plan for the next year.
I'm not a real big fan of goals and plans, either, so it doesn't always work out that well.

Focus may be a better term. I try to find some focus.

I want to focus on feeling better. Making some diet changes, one little step at a time. First, no refined sugar. Second, add fruits and veggies. Third, decrease refined flours. We'll see where it goes from there.
You may know that I've had Insufficient SI Joint pain for over a year. It's finally improved to the point that I think it will benefit from exercise. So I'm going to start walking and I'm going to try Tai Chi.

Because of the back pain I've started feeling and thinking like I'm old. That's going to change next year. I'm going to remind myself that I'm only halfway there. I'm not going to surrender to dotage yet.

Writing will be a focus, but I don't want to talk about that. I've discovered that I do better when I don't talk about what I'm doing and planning to do with my writing.

Since I did the creative month thing in November I want to focus more on creativity next year. Make more art. Live more creatively and beautifully.

Relationships and friends are always a focus. That won't change.
God is always a focus. That won't change, either, but I'd like to take some time away next year. Time alone with God. I need it.

What about you? Do you make resolutions? Are you changing things for the New Year?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a friendly little chat

I hope you had a nice Christmas. Whether quiet and reflective or jovial and loud, I hope you enjoyed the day.
We had a nice time at our house. My parents always come up along with my aunt and uncle, all of whom drive two hours to be here.

We went light on the gifts for the kids this year, but they didn't seem to care.
I got some books I've been looking forward to reading. I'll share reviews as I finish them.
That's good enough for me. Give me books and I'm happy. But I got some other nice things as well like some slippers that I've barely taken off since Saturday.

Now 2011 looms around the corner. I remember a long time ago figuring out how old I would be in the year 2000. It seemed so distant and impossible. One of my gift cards expires in 2019. It will be here before we know it. Fortunately, I already used the gift card, so no worries. I'm a procrastinator, but I'm not that bad.

Looking forward to doing some things differently in the next year. I'll talk about that Friday.
How was your Christmas?

Monday, December 27, 2010


I've heard a story about a man who wanted to save some geese from the cold as an illustration of the incarnation. The only way he could save them was to release one of his own geese to guide them to the warmth of the barn.
I've heard the incarnation related to us becoming a worm in order to save worms.
But those aren't quite right.
As astounding as the incarnation is--that God became a man, that the One who created billions of galaxies with a word came to live with us, as one of us--as amazing as that is, what's more amazing is why.
He came because He loves us. That man cared about the well-being of those geese, but it was a simple thing to save them. He cared, but he didn't love them. We wouldn't become a worm because we don't love the worms.
God wasn't just doing a good deed. His love compelled Him. He can't live without us. He loves us. Really, deeply loves us.
That's the most amazing thing of all.

Monday, December 20, 2010

God with us

When God stepped down to earth, He didn't just step into the human existence, He stepped into your existence. And my existence. And even though Jesus left the earth, He left His Spirit here. God with us. In our lives. In our circumstances. Our joys, our sorrows, the mundane, and the monumental.

But what does that look like? God with us?

I was thinking about those Hebrews waiting for God to be with them. Waiting for the Messiah. They fashioned ideas of what that would look like. They had expectations. God would come and save them from their oppressors and make their lives easier.

So when He came, they didn't see. They were so busy looking for the expected that they missed the extraordinary.
And that can happen to us. We have an idea of how God is going to be with us. We expect something specific and He does it differently and we miss it. We miss Him. Then we think He didn't come. We think He wasn't with us.

God is with us. But we have to learn to set aside all our notions of what having God with us looks like. Don't expect anything. Just watch. Just listen. He's here. Let's not miss Him.

Friday, December 17, 2010

a bit of rambling about the incarnation

The idea of the incarnation fascinates me. I spend a lot of time letting it flow through me, eddying and swirling and I try to grasp it, but get only little droplets of insight.

God became man.

God with a runny nose. God with a smashed finger from learning how to use a hammer. God needing a bath.
God ate soup. God laughed. God cried.
But the thing is... he wasn't God, he was man. He was God, but He was man. Okay... that part I definitely can't grasp.

You know, when someone you love is in pain and you feel powerless? You want to help. You would give anything to fix things, to ease their burden, but you can't...
Did Jesus ever experience that? We know that Joseph died, and I'm sure many others whom Jesus cared about. Did he look to the Father wanting to intervene and God said "no." And so he had to stand by, watching, waiting and feeling the same helplessness we do?
Or was his knowledge of God and eternity so perfect that he could see the bigger picture and felt no struggle in that moment?

The Bible says he was tempted in all ways just like we are. And I think that during those times we are tempted. Tempted to want things our way instead of God's way. Thinking we can handle the situation better than God can. Tempted to doubt His goodness.

So, I think that Jesus did experience that. I think that was another part of the sacrifice. He was not God, he was a man. A man like us. But different. In all ways the same. In all ways different.

It makes no sense to my feeble mind. But the coming of the God/Man into our lives--into our existence--changed everything. I'm not sure how he did it. I'm just glad he did.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


When I learned about King Edward abdicating his throne I thought it was the most romantic story I'd ever heard.
Imagine, giving up the throne for the love of a woman.
Of course, during that time, the throne didn't really hold any power anymore. It was purely position, but still...

What if a king of old had done that? Back in the day when brother killed brother, son killed father, husband killed wife for the crown. What if a king had forsaken all that power, wealth, prestige and honor for love? Unheard of.

But then... isn't that what we're celebrating this month? A King who abandoned everything for love. For love of us. He shrugged off the royal robes, set aside the crown, and stepped down from a throne of untold splendor. For us.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I didn't grow up with the tradition of Advent, but my husband, kids and I attended a liturgical church for awhile and I fell in love with the church calendar.

Advent is about waiting. Remembering the waiting of Israel. Is the Messiah really going to come? When? When?

It's about us waiting for his return. He promised. He keeps his promises. But when? When?

And it's about us waiting for him in our lives now. Doesn't it seem we are always waiting on God for something? Yet the Bible says that those who wait on him will renew their strength.  But when... when?

I could list some things right now that I'm waiting for. Miracles. Healing. Hope. Things that are laid out before him like offerings. Not as pretty as gold, not as fragrant as frankincense or myrrh, but just as precious.

Waiting. Looking. Looking to the clouds in anticipation. Looking for his hand and listening for his voice.

He always comes. He came two thousand years ago. He comes to me each day in some way. Some things I used to wait on him for, I'm not now, because he came.

He knows the when. And that's all that matters. We just wait.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Once again Christmas glitter is dulled by clouds of sorrow. Some of my friends have cancer. There are marriages that have broken, are breaking, or are tottering on the edge. I have friends who've lost mothers in the past couple of months. Friends who don't know if they'll see next Christmas. Friends who are weighed down by pain, physical and emotional.

The past couple of years, I've posted about suffering this time of year. You can read one of the posts here.  Not because I'm negative, but because reality has a way of invading. And this time of year when everyone wants to have the "Christmas Spirit" it can be very discouraging to be in a place where you can't find it.

I have my own set of things I'm coping with. I imagine many of you do, too. Stress takes up a lot of room.

I'm simplifying things this year. I'm off schedule for decorating my house. I forgot to get teachers' gifts for my daughter's school. I'm not doing any kind of get-together this year. And I've let that be okay. Why should I pile more stress on? That's not what Christmas is supposed to be about. Not about how pretty my house looks or how many parties I go to. Not even about buying everyone a gift.

Christmas is about God meeting man. It's about me letting God meet me where I am, in the quiet moments when I'll hear him, see him, acknowledge that he is with me.
God with me.
God is here. In this moment. In whatever mess you are living in right now. God is here. Let's take the time to breathe, to slow down and let him show us what he wants us to see.
This may not be the Christmas of all Christmases. The kids may not have homemade cookies or get the gift of their dreams.
But if we let God in, then it's Christmas the way it's meant to be.