Thursday, December 16, 2010

All I Want for Christmas is....

.....WORLD PEACE ~ right?  RIGHT.

Definitely.  But, this is not what this blog is about.

I have many favorite Christmas songs..... but, again, that is not what this post is about.

Today I would like to share one of my LEAST favorite songs with you:

"All I Want for Christmas is You."

Ugh ~ I think it is a combination of being OVER-PLAYED and the vision of Mariah being a silly caricature of herself in the inappropriate costume.

But, anyway....I have found a way to not only tolerate it, but embrace it.

Now, all the lyrics aren't quite symbiotic to my point....but the overall focus is now changed.

All I want for Christmas is........YOU, JESUS!

Yes, I already have Him.  I asked Him to be my Savior almost forty years ago,  I have a relationship with Him and He resides in me.  However, so does my SELF, and as Princess Diana once stated:  "It is a bit crowded."
So, LESS of me, and MORE of JESUS.

The irony of Christmas in today's culture is that we give EVERYONE else gifts, except the BIRTHDAY BOY...the PERSON whose birthday it really is and for whom we supposedly celebrate.

So, what would a good Christmas gift for JESUS be?

"ALL HE wants for Christmas is........YOU!."

After all, He left His throne, broke through the glory of heaven to come to earth, humbly and earnestly ~ to die a horrific, torturous death because He wants a relationship with you NOW and for all eternity.

Won't you give Him the gift of yourself? 

Visit here for giving and receiving the GREATEST GIFT of all!

So, perfect ~ all I want for Christmas is JESUS and all He wants for Christmas is ME and YOU!!!

I found this cute youtube version of the song.  I don't know these girls....but, how refreshing.
(You can stop at around four minutes....somewhat redundant and don't want to waste your time.)

Blessed gift giving and receiving!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

 Generally speaking, we all know the first verse of the Christmas carol, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day...

.....their old familiar carols play.
And wild and sweet the words repeat                          
Of peace on earth, good will toward men.

 And that's about it, right?

The first verse evokes images of a time long ago.....a sweet, simpler time when the true meaning of Christmas would indeed ring out and could be embraced and enjoyed with intentional pertinence.

However, the back story behind this well-known song is a poignant expression of what many of us face ~ the immense pain that comes with living in a fallen world, and melding it with the hope and joy of the coming of our Savior and King.  The tension between sorrow and happiness. 

First of all.....the lyrics were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Who knew?

In 1861, the famous poet experienced what we would call in today's vernacular, "a very bad year"  ~ the nation went to war, brother against brother, and his beloved wife died tragically. This is a recounting of the incident: 

The day before the accident, Fanny Longfellow recorded in her journal: "We are all sighing for the good sea breeze instead of this stifling land one filled with dust. Poor Allegra is very droopy with heat, and Edie has to get her hair in a net to free her neck from the weight." After trimming some of seven year old Edith's beautiful curls, Fanny decided to preserve the clippings in sealing wax. Melting a bar of sealing wax with a candle, a few drops fell unnoticed upon her dress. The longed for sea breeze gusted through the window, igniting the light material of Fanny's dress-- immediately wrapping her in flames. In her attempt to protect Edith and Allegra, she ran to Henry's study in the next room, where Henry frantically attempted to extinguish the flames with a nearby, but undersized throw rug. Failing to stop the fire with the rug, he tried to smother the flames by throwing his arms around Frances-- severely burning his face, arms, and hands. Fanny Longfellow died the next morning. Too ill from his burns and grief, Henry did not attend her funeral. (Incidentally, the trademark full beard of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow arose from his inability to shave after this tragedy.)

His journal entries mirrored his grief:

Christmas 1861 ~ "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.  I can make no record of these days.  Better leaven them wrapped in silence.  Perhaps someday God will give me peace."

December 25, 1862 ~ " 'A merry Christmas' says the children, but that is no more for me."

Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded with a bullet passing under his shoulder blades and taking off one of the spinal processes

1863  ~ his journal remained silent.

Christmas Day, 1864  ~ he wrote the words to the poem, "Christmas Bells"

the verses continue.....

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair, I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men."

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearthstones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men."

Hallelujah, just like the psalmist.....out of his despair, he dug deep into his soul, relying not on his feelings, but on the TRUTH of who God is!!!

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us"  Psalm 62: 5-8

So, in this season of Advent ~ may the TRUTH of WHO GOD IS.... 

 .... ring a joyous sweet song in your soul ~ for HE is AWESOME and so very WORTHY. 

My Christmas wish for you, dear friend, no matter your circumstances....God's TRUTH and His profound presence in your spirit......the JOY that is "EMMANUEL, with us," and the HOPE of His glory.

Enjoy this historical hymn with a new rendition and new understanding:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


That is the word that keeps coming to mind, and how I am feeling....liberated.

Why?  You may ask, if you are interested.

For all intents and purposes, I am doing NO Christmas shopping.


My husband and I generally over the past several years have not exchanged.  And this year, with one daughter in East is sort of pointless to spend lots of money to send over stuff she probably won't be able to fit in her suitcase when she comes home this summer.  And our other daughter moved into a new place this past summer, and we helped her out making it cozy and feel like home.

Besides just a few things here and there for some other relatives, I have jumped off of the "retail treadmill."

It is sooooooooooo freeing, and feels absolutely marvelous.

I HIGHLY recommend it.

After all.....

haven't we already received the GREATEST GIFT of ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you have not ACCEPTED this wonderful gift.....yet, I pray you will.  Nothing compares.

  All you have to do is talk to God saying something like this:

I would like to receive the gift of eternal life and forgiven sins because Jesus, Your Son, came to earth to live and die for ME.  I would like to celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas this year by accepting this gift. 


If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who took your sins (that you have done things that are contrary to how God wants you to live) away on the cross and was resurrected because He is part of the awesome triune God and He is alive and hears your prayers, then WELCOME to the family!

Please find a church that can help you to grow in this MOST amazing journey.  (Just like there are distinct personalities to each person, so it is with churches.  Keep looking until you find one that is right for you.)  In the meantime, start reading the Bible ~ the New Testament is the best place to start.

and congratulations to you....
dear brother or sister in Christ.
May this be the most merriest of Christmases.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Giving Thanks

I LOVE November with the crispness in the air, the earthy smell of the fallen leaves, and the cocooning process.  I also LOVE that it is a month in which giving thanks is highlighted.

As I was pondering ALL for which I was thankful for, I thought it would take much more than the thirty days of November to I'll have to move into December, January ~ ahhh, let's just say 365!

Now, except for the top 25 of so.....they are pretty random, and you will see how scattered my brain can be.

I may have repeated, but I also lumped some categories together; i.e., food ~ so, if I individualized some ~ there would be plenty more.

1.  My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ's humility, obedience, and sacrifice on the Cross.
2.  That He saved me.
3.  That I now have life, and life abundant.
4.  That I will spend eternity with Him.
5.  That my loved ones will be there with Him also.
6.  That He is sooooooo patient with me.
7.  That He loves me unconditionally and lavishly.
8.  That He never leaves me or forsakes me.
9.  That He is trustworthy and faithful.
10.  That He supplies all of my needs according to His riches in glory.
11.  Health
12.  My dear husband
13.  How hard he works
14.  How kind he is
15.  How generous he is
16,  My wonderful children
17.  How thoughtful they are
18.  How committed they are to being authentic Christ-followers
19.  How dedicated and trustworthy they are to all they do.
20.  Their jobs :)
21.  Their friends
22.  Their future husbands
23.  Their future children & my grandchildren
24.  How sweet they are to my parents
25.  That my parents are OK, considering their ages and health
26.  That my sister lives ten doors away, and takes fabulous care of them
27.  My brother-in-law, too.
28.  My nephew and his wife, too.
29.  My extended family.
30.  My in-laws.
31.  My friends.
32.  My church.
33.  My ability to travel.
34.  All of my GREAT traveling experiences.
35.  My giftedness which God gave me.
36.  My senses.
37.  Nature
38.  My house.
39.  My car
40.  My clothes
41.  My jewelry
42.  Books
43.  Pets
44.  Furniture
45.  Memories
46.  Hopes
47.  Dreams
48.  Ancestors
49.  Medical technology
50.  Doctors
51. The GREATEST Physician of all, Jesus
52.  Hospitals
53.  Medicine
54.  Insurance
55.  Helping others
56.  Food in the pantry
57.  That my husband likes to cook
58.  That he likes to fix my strawberries
59..  That S.B. likes to cook
60.  That my sister likes to cook
61.  That my sister-in-law likes to cook
62.  Heating
63.  Air conditioning
64.  Sheets
65.  Blankets
66.  Pillows
67.  Computers
68.  Telephones
69.  SKPE
70.  Indoor plumbing
71.  Winter
72.  Spring
73.  Summer
74.  Fall
75.  Sunrises
76.  Sunsets
77.  Rain
78.  Snow
79.  Airplanes
80.  Cars
81.  Other modes of transportation that makes our lives easier
82.  Restaurants
83.  Summer memories in Potter County
84.  Summer memories "down the shore"
85.  Teachers
86.  Schools
87.  Holidays
88.  Worship
89.  Music
90.  Bible
91.  The written word
92.  Magazines
93.  Acrylic nails
94.  Make-up
95.  Toothpaste
96.  Shampoo and conditioner
97.  Lotion
98.  Perfume
99.  Soap
100.  Stationary
101.  Calendars
102.  Creativity
103.  Art
104.  Stores
105.  Postal service
106.  Internet
107.  Gardens
108.  Farmers
109.  Inventors
110.  Missionaries
102.  Ministries
103.  Selfless people
104.  Clean air to breathe
105.  Clean water to drink
106.  Beauty
107.  Luggage
108.  Television
109.  Weather forecasts
110.  Cameras
111.  Photographs
112.  Writing instruments
113.  Paper supplies
114.  Tea
115.  All Coca-Cola products :)
116.  Nurses
117.  Nice neighbors
118.  Mentors
119.  Mentees
120.  Encouragers
121.  That God is sovereign
122.  That God is victorious
123.  That God is the King of King and Lord of Lords
124.  the Holy Spirit
125.  Dentists
126.  Massages
127.  Stuff that keeps you organized
128.  Flowers
129.  Trees
130.  Gentle breezes
131.  Beautiful waterfalls
132.  Freedom
133.  A country that was built on Christian principles
134.  Wisdom from above
135.  the Peace that passes all understanding
136.  Joy
137.  Comfort
138.  Forgiveness
139.  Security
140.  Women's Ministry
141.  Women's Retreats
142.  Rest
143.  Sleep
144.  Respite
145.  Storage spaces (basements, etc.)
146.  Guest room for company
147.  Porches
148.  Moon
149.  Stars
150.  Clouds
151.  Libraries
152.  Sports
153.  Games
154.  Puzzles
155.  Toys
156.  that Scripture is alive ans active
157.  that God is omnipotent
158.  that God is omnipresent
159.  that God is omniscient
160.  that God is majestic
161.  that God is marvelous
162.  that God is magnificent
163.  that God is my Father
164.  Safety
165.  Protection
166.  Smiles
167.  Tears
168.  Harvests
169.  Angels
170.  Help
171.  Mercy
172.  Grace
173.  Redemption
174.  Quiet
175.  Excellence
176.  Integrity
177.  Honesty
178.  Laws
179.  Traffic rules
180.  Goodness
181.  My God is good.
182.  Kindness
183.  My God is kind.
184.  Compassion
185.  My God is compassionate.
185.  Justice
186.  My God is just.
187.  Love
188.  My God is loving.
189.  Prayer
190.  Jesus is my Intercessor
191.  Dancing
192.  Praise
193.  That My god is worthy of praise.
194.  Restoration
195.  Reconciliation
196.  Righteousness
197.  Plan B
199.  My God is holy.
200.  My God is glorious.
201.  My God is awesome.
202.  My God is the Name above ALL names.
203.  My God is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
204.  My God is unchanging and unchangeable.
205.  I am not alone.
206.  I am God's handiwork.
207.  I am God's daughter.
208.  I am God's friend.
209.  God is my strength.
210.  God is my shield.
211.  God is the restorer of my soul.
212.  Singing
213.  Blogs that I love.
214.  The women that write them.
215.  Time
216.  That God will restore the years the locust has eaten.
217.  Thesauruses
218.  Dictionaries
219.  Concordances
220.  Commentaries
221.  Repairmen
222.  Seamstresses
223.  Light
224.  Power
225.  Chocolate
226.  Fun
227.  Laughter
228.  Candles
229.  Exotic locations and getting to visit them
230.  Bible translators and the translations
231.  Video cameras
232.  Treasured mementos
233.  Yarn
234.  The afghans my Mom made me
235.  The ceramics she made me
236.  The cards my kids gave me
237.  Thank You notes
238.  Gifts
239.  Iron sharpening iron.
240.  A clean house.
241.  God hears.
242.  God cares.
243.  God answers.
244.  Birthdays.
245.  Special days.
246.  Ordinary days.
247.  Windows
248.  Eyeglasses
249.  Contacts
250.  Hair stylists
251.  Good ideas
252.  Plans that come together.
253.  Veterinarians
254.  U.S. Military ~ past, present and future.
255.  God's amazing creation
256.  God's creatures...except maybe mosquitoes ~ why God?
257.  Police
258.  Firefighters
259.  EMTs
260.  Ambulances
261.  Funny jokes
262.  Nice movies
263.  Resources
264.  Personalities like me
265.  Personalities that are not like me
266.  Accessories
267.  Garbage collectors
268.  Things that make my house cozy
269.  Calculators
270.  Oceans
271.  Mountains
272.  Lessons I've learned
273.  My husband is a great father.
274.  The Church
275.  Harmony
276.  People who use their gifts to glorify God
277.  Faith
278.  Carpet
279.  Carpet cleaners
280.  Decorations
281.  Decorators
282.  Clean laundry
283.  Wisdom
284.  that my God is triune
285.  The Father God
286.  His Son, Jesus ~ fully God and fully man
287.  Holy Spirit
288.  that the Holy Spirit lives within me
289.  Unity
290.  My God is longsuffering
291.  My God is my Rock, my Anchor, my Refuge, my Everything
292.  Treats
293.  My husband's unconditional love
294.  My children's unconditional love
295.  My parent's unconditional love
296.  My doggie's unconditional love
297.  that "this too" shall pass
298.  found "lost" objects
299.  Mechanics
300.  Plumbers
301.  Ingenuity
302.  a nice yard
303.  trees
304.  walking trails
305.  tennis courts
306.  swimming pools
307.  sales
308.  coupons
309.  fun opportunities
310.  God's glory
311.  authenticity
312.  understanding
313.  good communication
314.  comprehension
315.  a purpose-driven life
316.  friends to do things with
317.  friends to travel with
318.  friends that are there for me
319.  aunts
320.  uncles
321.  cousins
322.  time with grandparents
323. a sense of humor
324.  remembering....
325.  my heritage
326.  Jesus is victorious, my Victor!
327.  that God works all things together for good for me
328.  that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world
329.  God's favor
330.  Sanctification
331.  God is my Sustainer
332.  Jesus is my wonderful Counselor
333.  Jesus is the Quieter of the storm
334.  My God is the Name above all names
335.  My God is on the Throne far above all rule and authority and power and dominion
336.  Pedicures
337.  Color
338.  Garages
339.  Garage door openers
340.  Paper Towels
341.  Food
342.  Celebrations
343.  Flowers
344.  Snow
345.  Maps
346.  Hats
347.  Gloves
348.  Ingenuity
349.  Vacations
350.  Sun
351.  Facials
352.  Television
353.  Movies
354.  Videos
355.  My teeth
356.  My immune system

Thank You, thank You, thank You, God ~ from WHOM ALL BLESSINGS flow!

Happy Thanksgiving, ya'll!

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Is It Hot Enough For Ya?"

We've had a few days of respite from the intense heat of summer, so extremely lovely ~ but apparently the 90's are coming back.

Everyone likes to talk about the weather. On beautiful days...we expound about how gorgeous it is outside. On extreme days...we complain about how hot, how cold, how rainy, how windy it is.

Especially, the heat.

Globally, 2010 is set to be the hottest recorded.

Where I live, the heat seemed relentless. We had 64 days of temperatures of 90 degrees or more. The most since 1993. The all-time record dates back to 1980 with 70 days.

Now, the reason I bring this up is this:

I keep thinking that those hot summer days that seemed relentlessly ruthless are really a terrible foreshadowing of spending eternity in Hell...a blip on the radar screen of an everlasting fire.
Hell, is not a subject readily talked about these days.

A survey done by the Barna Group have found these results:

Most Americans do not expect to experience Hell first-hand: just one-half of 1% expect to go to Hell upon their death. Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) believe they will go to Heaven. One in 20 adults (5%) claim they will come back as another life form, while the same proportion (5%) contend they will simply cease to exist.

Oh, that that statistic would be close.  I hope it is off by .05%  ~  because God wants NONE to perish, but ALL to come to the knowledge of Him (II Peter 3:9)...and that is pretty darn close.

There is a condition that must take place in order for 100% to indeed, not experience Hell first-hand. That is to enter into a relationship with the Living, Triune God. How to do that is easy: Acknowledge that you are a sinner, and believe that Jesus Christ came to the earth, fully God and fully man, died a sacrificial death to absolve you of your sins, is resurrected and sitting on the Throne in Heaven.

Yesterday at our church, Ken Boa gave a sermon on hell. Not being a theologian or particularly adequate in expounding on this subject, I am going to give you a few of his quotes from his website:

"The reason Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone else did is because He wanted no one to go there. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9; also see John 3:16)

"Jesus taught the existence of hell. He had more to say about hell in fact, than heaven, in order to warn us and turn us to salvation. A few of the examples of Jesus' teachings on hell include Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 11:22-24; 18:9; 22:13; 23:15,33; 25:41,46; 26:24; Mark 9:43-48. Many other Scriptures affirm the existence of hell. The Apostle Paul spoke of everlasting punishment and separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)."

 (me again) Since God does not want us to have a relationship through puppetry (with Him being the Master Puppeteer), He gave us a choice. We can choose to believe we are sinners, Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died on the cross to take away those sins and restore us to a RIGHT relationship with our Creator, or NOT. That is what determines our eternal destiny....Heaven for those who accept Jesus as their Savior, and Hell for those who do not.

I am a nerd. I have a book, a "Weather Journal" in which I notate mostly extreme weather happenings.

Jesus has a book, too. It is going to determine the weather of each and every day (if there are days) of your eternal existence ~ ones which are beautiful, glorious and perfect, or ones which are unyielding in the blazing inferno.

"If anyone's name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Rev. 20:15

Please, please, please have YOUR name written in the Book of Life. God loves you, but He is also HOLY, and can not look at sin.  His wrath is for those who refuse and reject His offer of salvation ~ to repent, be cleansed by Jesus, the sacrificial blood of the Lamb that was slain for this reason, and to accept the greatest gift of all ~ reconciliation with God, and eternity in Heaven.  Choose God's love.

The weather is perfect.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Iced Tea ---- A Confession and a Carol

OK, don't gasp...not in this heat.

Sweet tea is NOT served here.

Nope.  Not at my house.

Although I have lived in the South most of my life, I can not stand sweet tea.  There I said it. 

But don't let that hold you back.  Go "fix ya some tea"  and then come back and watch a cute video clip:

"Southern Living" Southern Sweet Tea

6 cups boiling water
4 family size tea bags
1 to 1½ cups sugar

Pour boiling water over tea bags; cover and steep for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Pour the mixture into a 1 gallon pitcher, and add enough water to fill it to the top. Serve over ice.

So, with my sincerest apologies to all my TRUE SOUTHERN SWEET TEA drankers, enjoy this tribute.

Happy sippin' ya'll!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The TRUE Empty Nest

I have twins.  Identical.

Being identical, they are similar in many ways (looks, interests, tastes), but yet very individual (personalities, pursuits, hobbies).

The same, but different.

They graduated from college last month....together.

Most mothers (and fathers) generally start the bewailing and 'wringing of heart' the Senior year of high school concerning their children leaving the nest.

Being a mother who would experience the "empty nest" all at once, I would often get the question:  "How did you handle it?"

Well, I would say two things ~ one is.......a project.  I had a project to keep me busy.  So, I would suggest perhaps to pick a project and set a goal.  Anything from small to large:  cleaning out the basement, making a scrapbook of family vacations, taking a class you've always wanted to, volunteer, plan a trip, or a myriad of other things that would fit into your life and interests.

The other is ~ perspective.  At the time my girls were graduating from high school, their cousin was fiercely and courageously battling a terminal cancer she was diagnosed with when she was thirteen.  Now, that puts things in the proper context.  My children were healthy, and entering a new chapter of their lives.  A GOOD thing.  Health, life and being able to take the next step on this flight in order to grow, spread wings, and fly is a beautiful and wondrous thing.


I know it helped that they were within a day's driving distance, and we saw them probably once a month or so.

Their last semester they both spent abroad.  One in Italy and one in Germany.  Somewhat harder.  Thank God for Skype, however!!!

Now, to me ~ the TRUE "empty nest" is setting in ~ one is heading to her first "real" job and one is heading to East Asia for a year enrolled in university and interning with Campus Crusade for Christ.

The FINALITY of their childhood seems to be real now. 

Much to their chagrin, however sometimes I am very good at practicing the old adage:  "Once a mother, always a mother."  (Did you put on sunscreen?  Did you Mapquest?  Did you eat today?).  So,

The same, but different.

The basement is calling my name.....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Diana + Theresa = Hope

Jesus is the TRUTH to be told;
Jesus is the LIFE to be lived;
Jesus is the LOVE to be loved;
Jesus is the LIGHT to be lit.

Let us love Jesus
with an undivided LOVE,
and others, as He
you and me.

(Mother Theresa 1992)

The prayer book and tiara are a few of the pieces of memorabilia in the exhibit called:

"Diana:  a Celebration!"

I can't help but wonder if Diana, in reading Mother Theresa's inscribed words to her 
or in spending time with her,
ever accepted the TRUTH of Jesus' love...

...ever truly became a Princess, being a Daughter of the TRUE KING.

One can HOPE.

Since they both died within the same week, in my hope-filled, romanticized notions... 
 perhaps God planned for them to be on a "special assignment" together. heaven, as it was on earth.

Hope so.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:  1-4

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joy in the Journey

"It is God to whom and with whom we travel, and while He is the End of our journey, He is also at every stopping place." Elisabeth Elliot

I am going on a long journey with lots of stopping places, and may not be able to post for awhile. The next few weeks I will be feverishly trying to get everything done that needs to be done when one is gone for a month's time. I also have a HUGE project at church that takes place shortly after I get back, so I am trying to accomplish as much as possible on that before I leave.

Now, this journey is a JOYOUS one ~ praise God. It is one of His lavish gifts for which I am extremely grateful. I will join my daughters for their Spring Breaks in Europe. Since they are not scheduled at the same time, nor are they concurrent; the four-week time span comes into play.

My daughters are graduating from college, and moving on into a more mature place in their of commitment and responsibility (read: jobs, with limited vacation time.)

So, this is a perfect opportunity to spend quality, unfettered time with them while visiting exotic locations. How wonderful is that?-

Sara Beth chose Turkey for her destination.  We will spend time in Istanbul.  I am very excited because I get to go back to one of my FAVORITE places I have ever been ~ Ephesus. OH.MY.WORD. To be able to see where Paul lived and preached ~ to walk the same streets!!! Incredible. And, by the way, those streets upon which I will tread once again, are MOSAIC. Yep, mosaic! The accoustics in the amphitheater in which he preached are phenomenal. You can whisper, and still hear. We will also visit Capedoccia. Capedoccia from what I've read is very interesting.

I will then spend some down-time on my own in Italy ~ visting Ariccia (Sara Beth's town, and visiting my friend, Anne in Assisi.  Assisi has been on my Bucket List because of Francis.

Then, Meg has chosen Greece for her destination. We will be staying in Santorini for a few days and then some friends have graciously and generously offered us their home on the island of Naxos ~ about two hours ferry ride from Santorini. Wonder of wonders ~ EASTER in Greece is HUGE....bigger than Christmas, and Orthodox Greek Easter falls while we are there. So, I am very excited to see what that experience is like.

Now, here is an interesting side note. I have loved traveling all my life. However, a few years ago....I felt like I was putting it too high on my "Priority List," and it was interfering with my Top Priority ~ my relationship with God, because it was taking up too much time ~ planning and thoughts. So, instead of 'me' being my travel agent....I made God my Travel Agent. (Duh ~ He's my Travel Agent anyway, but I wasn't letting Him plan my itinerary ~ forcing my plans on Him, instead of the other way around. Not the way to go.
So, He has taken away my desire to travel. Which is sort of weird and sad, but 1,000% OK.

Though I am THRILLED to be able to travel with my girls...being gone for a month is a bit daunting to me. I am a HOMEBODY.

Like everything, I just want this trip to glorify my Father in heaven. With so many spiritual elements involved, I think He will show us some great and mighty things. I am praying so.

So, although I hope to post on my trip....can't promise between available Internet access and such.

So, hang in there with me.  I'll be back.  God and I are traveling.

Monday, March 1, 2010

True Victory!

As I watched the Winter Olympics, and witnessed the palpable, exuberant, overflowing JOY of those who DID their personal best ~ it was a reminder that we, too, are in the Olympics.

Our performance may not be televised, but we certainly have an audience of ONE.

As followers of Christ, our "sport" is to run the race He has set before us with endurance and excellence.

Each of us have our very own unique race that God has designed, but the "game plan" is the same:

* "Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and all your soul and with all your might." And love your neighbor as yourself."

* Be humble

* Be obedient

* Be surrendered

Athletes must be humble, odedient and surrendered to their Coach, in order to be the best that they can be.  In order to be a champion.  In order to be victorious.

As a Christian, God is our coach. And He guarantees the victory.

"But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:57

Are we listening to our Coach?

Are we being the athlete God called us to be?

Are we being victorious?

Oh, to have that joy of winning the "gold"....but for an audience of  "ONE."

"But He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."  Job 23:10

Friday, February 12, 2010

Whose Your Valentine?

Once upon a time there was a girl who had four boyfriends.

She loved the fourth boyfriend the most and adorned him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the best.Beautiful Love
Beautiful Love by Jô Angel div>

She also loved the third boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.
Love Vintage
Love Vintage by Jô Angel
She also loved her second boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.

The girl's first boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she did not love the first boyfriend. Although he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him!

One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, 'I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, I'll be all alone.'

Thus, she asked the fourth boyfriend, 'I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?'

'No way!', replied the fourth boyfriend, and he walked away without another word. His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.

The sad girl then asked the third boyfriend,'I loved you all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?'

'No!', replied the third boyfriend. 'Life is too good! When you die, I'm going to marry someone else!'

Her heart sank and turned cold.

She then asked the second boyfriend, 'I have always turned to you for help and
you've always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?'

'I'm sorry , I can't help you out this time!', replied the second boyfriend. 'At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.'

His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.

Then a voice called out: 'I'll go with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go.'

The girl looked up, and there was her first boyfriend. He was very skinny as
he suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the girl said, 'I should have taken much better care of you when
I had the chance!'

In truth, you have four boyfriends in your lives:

Your fourth boyfriend is your body. No matter how much time and effort you lavish in making it look good, it will leave you when you die.

Your third boyfriend is your possessions, status and wealth. When you die, it will all go to others.

Your second boyfriend is your family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for you, the furthest they can stay by you is up to the grave.

And your first boyfriend is your spirit. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world.

However, your spirit is the only thing that will follow you wherever you go.

Cultivate, strengthen and cherish your spirit now, for it is the only part of you that will follow you to the throne of God and continue with you throughout Eternity.

Which boyfriend do you LOVE the most? Nurture? Spend time with? Lavish upon?

Your heavenly Father so longs for your spirit to be one with His. He never loses His vision for whom He designed you to be, even if you have fed the wrong boyfriends, and starved the right one.

So, in this season when we celebrate love, give your spirit the greatest gift of all ~ you!

The throne of God, full of mercy, grace, love, goodness, compassion, kindness and forgiveness, will seem closer than you think ~ for eternity is now.

The Holy Spirit is waiting for yours....the PERFECT LOVE, the PERFECT VALENTINE!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An Offer I COULD Refuse

So, I had an interesting proposition pop up recently.

We received a letter from a "location scout" for a movie that is being filmed in our area this Spring. (They liked the look of the outside of the house ~ supposed to take place in New England and our house is traditional, red brick).

Curious, I thought it would be fun to explore further. Since my niece's boyfriend is in the business (Apollo 13 and Blindside), I called him and he said he knew her, everything was legit, and gave me some coaching.

I called her and we chatted and she said to e-mail her and she would come out and look at the house.

After we hung up, I thought I'd better find out more about the movie.

I "googled" it, and everything came to a S.C.R.E.E.C.H.I.N.G halt.

Here is what I find out:

New Line has picked up the Farrelly brothers comedy "Hall Pass" from turnaround from Fox, signing up Owen Wilson to topline the picture. Jason Sudeikis is also in negotiations to co-star.

The story centers on a married couple who find themselves in a lull in their marriage and just going through the motions. The wife then gives her husband (Wilson) a "hall pass," a free ticket to engage in extramarital encounters. Sudeikis would play the guy's best friend, who also gets a free pass.

The movie begins production Feb. 23 in Atlanta.

With the Bible being my plumbline and my compass, and knowing God's heart on this, I knew immediately that this was something I could not and should not pursue.

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure,... ~ Hebrews 13:4

Of course, I have no idea how the movie ends ~ does the "Hall Pass" allow them to live happily ever after? But, the END certainly does NOT justify the means.

So, needless to say, I did not e-mail her.

It will be interesting to see which house they end up choosing.

Not ours ~ "But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

(Please know that this is JUST not right for our family ~ for whatever family that chooses to participate...I wish you nothing but the best.)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Recipe for the New Year

Take twelve beautiful, full-grown months;
see that they are thoroughly cleaned from....any and old transgressions of ~
Scrub them completely from any clinging impurities of....
picking off all specks of ....
empty conceit
self order that these months ahead are unhindered from the past, so that they are as FRESH and CLEAN as when they came from HEAVEN'S great "PANTRY of TIME.

Cut these months into batches of thirty or thirty-one equal parts (February, accordingly.)

Do not attempt to lump the batches together, but prepare one day at a time, as follows:

One part QUIET TIME with the Lord (preferably in the morning)
One part READING of GOD'S WORD (preferably in the morning)
One part LISTENING for GOD'S DIRECTION (preferably in the morning)
All parts PRAYER
All parts LOVE
ALL parts HOPE

Next, spice up this recipe with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and compassion. Dollop in a teaspoon of whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellence, and praise. A dash of laughter, a pinch of fun, a sprinkling of friends, and a smidgen of tears and silence are important additions.

Stir vigorously with Jesus' forgiveness, freedom,
joy, peace, comfort, mercy and grace

Place in a bowl of GOD'S FULL ARMOR, and bake continually with PRAYER.


Serve with a warm portion of gratitude and a wonderful over-flowing cup of GOD'S GLORY for the year ahead, and may His favor flavor your every day with blessings beyond measure.

(I adapted this from a devotional
I read 1-2-10 by Harold M. Smythe)
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