Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I think I've been in a blaaaahhhhhg mood this last week or two. I've tried composing blogs, but all the stuff is jumbled inside and isn't ready to come out yet. Kinda like that not-so-subtle feeling of indigestion one gets after the holidays have come and gone. It's stuck.

Every year there is a Blue Christmas feeling I get after the holiday. It's never quite what I expect it to be. But this year, as I reflect, I realize that nothing is ever what I expect it to be. Sometimes things are far better. And sometimes, things are much worse. I guess having no expectations is an option. Would I be more content? I think maybe I would be.

I wrote recently that my goal for 2009 is to Live in the Moment while Planning for the Future.

I am preparing for a road trip to see some dear friends I haven't seen in a long time. My agenda: BE there. Be PRESENT. Listen. Laugh. Be. Live in the moments as they come.

I know my tree is still covered with ornaments and my carpet is covered in pine needles. I know that I did a shoddy job of cleaning the fridge today. I know that my car needs to be cleaned, inside and out before we leave. There is laundry to be done and lists to be made, but here I am: blogging.

Why? Because tonight is a new night. It's New Year's Eve. I may not get a chance tomorrow to tell you what is on my heart and mind. I've done enough work today. It is vacation after all. Tonight, when I am done with this blog, I am going to BE in the kitchen preparing an appetizer. After that I am going to BE with my kids as I help them dress for a party, braiding hair. Tonight the agenda is to listen, laugh and play.

God willing, I'll awake in the morning to a new day and a new agenda. I'll start my planning...again.

Tomorrow, while I am doing all that laundry and list-making I hope I will BE WILLING to BE in the MOMENT. I pray that I will BE MINDFUL of the MOMENT and where God is in it. I hope I will BE ABLE to listen to God's whisper as He guides me through my PLANS. I know I have lots to do, but it's pretty worthless if the minutes just tick by. No, this year, I really do want to Live in the Moment while Planning for the Future.

But, Tonight is the only thing I can do anything about. Tonight I will ring in the new year. Tonight I am hoping that I might carry the willingness to merely BE into the new year, not just when I am going to a party or on vacation, but every day.

What are you going to BE this new year?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are you a Fan Of Christmas Cards? I am!

What happened to the years between 1998 and 2000?

I have no idea. It’s perplexing.

In several moves I have lost :
A box of lovey letters Joe had written me while we were dating.
A standing FLOOR lamp.... yes a great big lamp!
and I can’t believe it but, I lost the years 1998, 1999 and 2000!

I have 1997’s Christmas Cards. I have everything between 2001 and 2007, what happened to the rest? I guess I won’t know ‘til I get to Heaven.

Losing the Lovey Letters was heartbreaking. Losing the Floor Lamp was a bummer. But gosh darn it, I always meant to do something with those Christmas Cards!

Since you can’t cry over spilled milk or lost things, I want to share what I think is a great idea. In good conscience, I can not brag about a good idea without admitting that I stole the good idea. In fact, I have few good ideas of my own so if you observe me having a good idea, ask me who I got it from. Here, the credit goes to my Sister-in-Love, Mary, who is a good resource for people like me who are in desperate need of good ideas. Mary showed me what I needed to do with all my Christmas Cards that I had not yet lost, and is the Queen of THIS good idea.

The (drum roll please)....... Christmas Card Fan!

To make a Christmas Card Fan you need Christmas Cards and some Christmas letters, too. Mount them on black cardstock and hold them together with a ring. Simple. It’s fun to see how families have grown. It’s fun to recall the history you have with people.
Year 2001 - a cute couple
Year 2002 - still a cute couple
Year 2003 - an ecstatic couple with one child
Year 2004 - a toddler, a tired dad (smiling) and a fat momma (also smiling).
Year 2005 - 2 beautiful children with two happy, tired looking parents and eventually, a few years down the line, we get a Christmas Card of that same family with 5 kids and the parents are still grinning. How is that?

Anyway, making the Christmas Card Fan is cheap, easy, and priceless in it’s own way. The one thing I will never do is MOVE ever again! Because I might lose my Christmas Card Fans and then where would I be?

How do you use your Christmas Cards?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


There's a whole lot of hoop-la this time of year. It's all about Jesus. There's also a lot of attention directed toward Mary. She is, afterall, the mother of God. Bears some attention I think. Like all pregnant women, she gets LOTS of attention.

However, do you ever think of dads? I'm sure you do. Especially if you have "been there, done that" and recall with a modicum of clarity how fuzzy the world was when you were first expecting a child and when your infant was born. The world was changed for you, wasn't it? It changes for moms and dads alike. Many of us have personal experience to draw upon when reading the Christmas Story. But do you ever think much about Joseph?

I can't remember where I heard it but somewhere someone commented... (like that?... I'm trying to give the credit but that old memory of mine is failing) Someone on some show or in some book remarked that Jesus came as a baby to draw attention to his humanity. It strikes me that he didn't come as a King. He didn't come as a Political Power. He didn't come as a Warrior. He didn't come as a great artist or aritocrat. No, he came as a baby. Same as you and me. He came in human form and among the most helpless of humans, an infant. He was a baby who needed an earthly father... and Joseph got picked!

Why Joseph? What do you think or believe was so notable that God chose Joseph to be the father of this child? Or do you think there is nothing noteworthy about Joseph at all? What does the Bible say?

This is one of my favorite passages about Joseph -

Matthew 1: 19-20 says: Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

This is one of my favorite passages because I can't help but to dwell on the fact that he had to consider what to do. Can you imagine? How long did he consider? What did he consider? How many choices did he have? How many nights did he lay awake? I gotta look it up in Greek. Maybe the original language will help.

What do you think about Joseph? Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to have been him? Joseph didn't lead a great army, win great battles, or fell any giants. But he is a giant of the Christmas Story and I wonder what he was like. Do you?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gifts I've Received

My friend Denise blogged recently about the spirit of gift giving. It got me thinking... not so much about the creative gift giving I’ve done, but about the many special gifts I’ve received.

Here are a few, and only a few, highlights from a few Someones whose gifts have meant so much.

Someone once gave me - a bottle of wine left on my porch after our firstborn’s first trip to the ER; Ouch!... stitches.... he bears the scar to this day

Someone once gave me - the gift of knitting because she taught me how

Someone once gave me - the LLBean travel bag I had been eyeing in a catalog for 3 years which I couldn’t see buying for myself when ziploc baggies will do. I love that travel bag... in my favorite color no less!

Someone once gave me - a precious picture framed to remind us of sympatico

Someone once gave me - the gift of forgiveness... You can’t be a friend with someone for 30 years without that!

Someone once gave me - the gift of wisdom and gentle guidance and words of truth spoken in love, consistency, loyalty, all in a single afternoon

Someone once gave me - my Jeremiah 29:11-13 bracelet right when I needed to let go of my own plans and accept God’s plans

Someone once gave me - my Sisters By Heart poem

Someone once gave me - amazing black pants I have worn for so many years that still fit perfectly and go with everything and have lasted forever

Someone once gave me - a little heart box complete with symbolic little items like 10 candles for our first 10 years of marriage, 2 monopoly houses for each real house we had made Home, 2 angels for our 2 children, salt for the tears and sugar for the sweet times

Someone once gave me - a little box with a stone, hand decorated, representing the spiritual marker of our friendship

Someone once gave me - my mushroom picture that she drew with her very own hands

Someone once gave me - the gift of allowing me to barge in on her and help her paint her kitchen my favorite color

Someone once gave me - the gift of loving my children like her own

Someone once gave me - the gift of letting me love his children like my own

Someone once gave me - the gift of time talking on the phone for a whole hour which is a big commitment when you are only 9!

Someone once gave me - the gift of encouragement and fitness because she got me to run my first 5K

Someone once gave me - a party complete with balloons and laughter and cake and ice cream and singing on a birthday day when there was supposed to be nothing but laundry, macaroni and dishes

Someone once gave me - the gift of a silver locket

And those are just a few of the best gifts I’ve ever received. What comes to mind for you?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa Died

The child was nestled all snug in her bed
When Mommy came in for the prayers to be said.
Mommy was hoping to be done in a snap
And go settle her brain for a long winter’s nap.

Jillian: Are you Mrs. Claus?

Mommy: Yes

Jillian: So is Daddy Santa?

Mommy: What do you think?

Jillian: Well, if you’re Mrs. Claus then Daddy must be Santa.

Mommy: Why do you think Mommy and Daddy pretended to be Santa?

Jillian: Because you like giving us presents and you like surprising us.

Mommy: That’s right. It’s fun to give presents in secret and not to get any Thank Yous. Sometimes it reminds me of Jesus who gives us lots of good things and we don’t say Thank You. Sometimes we don’t see that it is Him who is taking care of us. Jesus loves us though. That’s why he came to earth. He loves us even if we don’t say Thank You.

Jillian: Why are you crying Mommy?

Mommy: Because I don’t want any Thank Yous. I just want to love you the way Jesus loves me.

Jillian: How can I not say Thank You when I know it’s you?

Mommy: I know it’s hard. Try not to thank me on Christmas. Try to remember that some gifts are free and Thank Jesus for His gift instead. Jesus’ gift is the best one of all.

Jillian: Jesus really loves me.

Mommy: Yes, he does.

Mommy sprang to embrace her while the tears started pouring
And away she flew to go finish her mourning.
Santa had died, the fib was now out of sight,
"It’s all about Jesus now, and One Holy Night!"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Use the word, “Ebenezer” this time of year, and you are bound to think of Dickens’ famous Ebenezer Scrooge, Esquire. A greedy, grumpy, and supremely selfish man eventually transformed and reborn.

Aren’t you glad at the end of that tale? Isn’t it a relief to see what happens to that crusty old man? The Ebenezer that emerges at the end of the play inspires Hope in us because we want to believe that given eyes to see, the past, the present and the future we can be made new. We so desperately need that kind of Hope. Deep down we fear what we might be missing, don’t we? We identify with Dickens’ portrayal because Ebenezer reminds us who we are and who we might become. But there is another Ebenezer I want to talk about.

In the Bible, an Ebenezer was a memorial. It was like a totem pole of thankfulness. An altar erected to God to remind the people of all He had done. It was meant to give them Hope. Why does God think the people need an Ebenezer? It is because we forget.

We forget how blessed we are.
We forget what God has done.
We forget all the times we have been rescued.
We forget the joy we have known.
We forget to be thankful.

God knew we are Forgetters. We are Ebenezers like Scrooge who get greedy and grumpy and need again and again to be transformed into Rememberers. Rememberers who know how fortunate we are. Rememberers who care about the poor and needy. Rememberers who look for a way to give of the little or much we have with joy.

So in response to our Scroogish nature, Joe and I bought some rocks. We also bought a great big cedar bowl. Into the bowl we place stones on which are written memories of the miracles and blessings authored by Jehoveh Jirah - the God who provides. We do this lest we forget all that the Lord has done for our family. We do this to become Rememberers. It is our Ebenezer Bowl, to remind us who God is, who we are and what He has done for us in the past and in the present. Each blank stone is a reminder that God has a plan for the future. Someday, all the stones will tell a story.

In Hebrew, Ebenezer means Stone of Help and it is with the help of these stones that I hope to actually BE an Ebenezer Scrooge, Esq..... transformed, reborn and made new... a portrait of Hope... a reflection of God.

1 Samuel 7:12.
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up.... He named it Ebenezer, saying, “The LORD helped us."

PS - Credit for the Ebenezer Bowl goes to my friend Jill who got her idea from her friend. And maybe Jill’s friend got the idea from someone else. In any case, it all started in the Old Testament. It was God’s idea all along... that we not forget. That we REMEMBER.

What do YOU do in YOUR family to remember?