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Showing posts from 2017

Guilt-Free New Year

As far back as I can remember, I have not kept a New Year’s Resolution. It’s been years since I even made one. I already have a pretty sensitive ‘guilty conscience’ over the silliest things – or at least my husband thinks so. From time to time, I have expressed that I felt guilty for over-indulging at a holiday meal or a special restaurant. His response would always be “Why feel guilty? Maybe stuffed, but guilty?”
So, where did my guilty feelings over food come from? Perhaps growing up in the era of Twiggy (a very thin model) affected my thoughts on food. Or, perhaps it was the result of my family’s way of doing things when I was a kid. When we visited the local donut shop, we each ordered one donut. When we had ice cream, we had one scoop of our favorite flavor. Those portions were always more than satisfying. 
And then one day, I was handed a bowl of ice cream, with multiple scoops in the bowl, and I was literally dumbfounded. Could this all be for me? Two scoops I could comprehend, b…

To Us A Child Is Born

After the worship service, a few families lingered while enjoying each other’s company. Resting on the floor, in the center of the scene, was a newborn tucked neatly inside of her car seat carrier. One little hand peeked out from the blanket. Her fingers so tiny, yet perfect. Spying the baby, a little girl came toddling over in her sparkly Christmas dress. She stopped to admire the one nestled inside and crouched down on her knees. As she leaned in to watch the sleeping baby, her chubby little hand gently touched the baby’s fingers. Her eyes were glued to this precious little bundle. Feeling the softness of the blanket, her little fingers started patting the one that was held inside.
What a treasure, and what a moment to treasure. Before the moment passed, I just had to interrupt my husband’s conversation  - “You have to see this!” Such a sweet moment of awe and wonder. Cozied up in a blanket and twirling about in sparkles were two very precious little girls. Two girls born into a worl…

Christmas Miracles

God is alive and well, and He is at work in our lives! Yes, the God of all miracles is still working miracles today. I have no doubt that people are witnessing God’s miraculous touch all over the world today, but what happened to get me so excited? Did I witness a miraculous healing? No – at least not this week.Did I experience a dramatic moment of reconciliation and forgiveness? Not this week.Did I receive a substantial gift that balanced out an outstanding account? Not recently.
What did I experience? The gift of a miraculous healing in my heart! God blessed me with an unexpected moment - a healing that only He could do. This healing has been taking place over the past several years through much prayer, discipline and determination. However, God took me a giant step further in my journey of healing, and it was quietly unveiled to me during a Sunday worship hour…
As I stood holding my granddaughter, I was not only praising God through song but I was also praising Him for the blessings i…

Keeping the Anticipation Alive at Advent!

As a child, one of my favorite Christmas traditions was opening up the windows of our Advent Calendar. Keeping my anticipation in check was the hardest part. (Or, maybe it was when I tried to reclose a window so others wouldn’t notice I cheated and took an early sneak peek!) This simple tradition never failed to increase my anticipation factor as the countdown to Christmas Day drew closer. Ahhh, it was a simpler time in life!
As I grew up, got married and had kids of my own I found Christmas traditions a bit more complicated. My husband was of the “everybody opens gifts at once” mindset, while I was brought up with the “one at a time” rendition. To remedy the clash of expectations, we created new Christmas traditions with our children.  Probably the most anticipated tradition was the annual trip to the woods to pick out our Christmas tree. Not only was the mini hike in the snow a fun family outing, but the event always concluded with a yummy treat!
Those days are now but sweet memories,…

Do You See What I See?

It seems like the world gets a bit crazy the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The lines in the stores increase, and with each passing day it becomes apparent that we are a society that has no understanding of what it means to wait. Drivers are less tolerant of fellow travelers. Everyone seems to be in a rush and a bit more on edge. The clock is ticking, and the Christmas deadline looms before us all.
Without warning, we can easily get sucked into the chaos of a world that is exploding with indulgence. We push our budgets to the breaking point at the expense of extravagance. Even the most cautious and conservative can find themselves wishing for fulfilled dreams and storybook endings – all wrapped up with a bow and delivered on the 25th of December.
Christmas can be a time of so much fun, and yet it is a time that can be so hard to navigate wisely. Our priorities can easily get sidetracked if we’re not careful. So, perhaps it is time to ask the question…
What is the Christmas mes…

Signed, Anonymous

We have an agreement, my husband and I. It became necessary early in ministry. If ever we received an ‘anonymous’ note in the mail or slipped under the church office door, I was to save it but not share it with my husband. At least for a time. Since I typically picked up and sorted our mail, 99% of all anonymous notes hit a very quick dead end.
Over the years, I can’t even tell you how many anonymous notes there have been, but it has been more than I can count on two hands. My best guess is that my husband has only asked to see one or two of them. What about the others? Some he knew about – eventually. Others, he has assumed existed, but he never confirmed his suspicions. So, the anonymous mail was typically saved for a time, and after a year or so it was thrown out. A few have been forgotten, but filed just because of the potential severity of the conflict.
Why didn’t my husband want to read them?
His philosophy is this - ‘If they don’t have the courage to sign their name to the note,…

Content in a World of Discontent

More, bigger, better, quicker. We live in a world of discontent. The season of Thanksgiving is evolving into two new holidays – Black Fridayand Cyber Monday. No, you say? You still celebrate Thanksgiving with the turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie – and you take time to share that day with family and friends around a table. Me too! But, what has been swirling in your mind and tugging at your heart lately?
Are you wondering… How you will get all your shopping done in time for Christmas?How you can strategize to get in on the best sales – whether “black or cyber”?How to capture a photo to share in your Christmas cards – or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?How to stretch your budget for your Thanksgiving meal or traveling expenses this week?How you will survive all the holiday drama?Are you overwhelmed yet? 

That’s not my purpose today, but I would like to remind us all how easy it is to be dragged into the world’s way of thinking. More, bigger, better, quicker. Picture perfect. With…

Thankful for the Cross

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NLT)
It never gets old to see three crosses standing majestically on a hillside along the highway. Or, the moment we come across a picture-perfect church nestled in a serene valley or rising up from miles of vast corn fields. Each cross that stands high atop a steeple serves as a beacon of hope to all who pass by and for all those who enter the door below. The cross of Christ - a symbol of life, hope and peace. A quiet reminder of the ultimate sacrifice given by God’s only Son to save each one of us. The word, thankful, seems a bit insignificant in trying to sum up the gratitude that should be offered for that amazing gift.
Recently, I was reminded that many in our communities don’t know the significance of the three crosses so how can they be thankful. Some don’t understand what goes on inside of a church, and they definitely do…