Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Size and Shape of Having Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

..
Have you sung it?
Or heard it?
You know
the Christmas song
that tells you
all about letting your heart be light
and letting the yuletide glow
and telling you from now on
your troubles will be
MILES AWAY,
as in olden days,
happy golden days?
It is all so
"Norman Rockwellish"
and
"Thomas Kincaidish"
and our hearts long for
merry
and bright
and joy
and perfect holiday meals
and parties
and family gatherings
and kissing under the mistletoe
and romantic sleigh rides.
When in reality,
there are bills to pay
and relationships to mend
and doctor visits
and anxiety
and fear
and pain
and grief
and loneliness
in the midst of a crowd
and tears
amidst laughter
and false smiles.

This morning
as the choir sang
I saw her
(I leaned over and told Philip,
"I see Melody singing this.")

in my mind
and in my heart,
there she stood
beautiful red hair
purposeful countenance...
and I felt memories
pool in the corners of my eyes
and 
slip from underneath my eyelids
and slide down my cheeks
and drip from my face.
I could hear her voice
and in another scene,
in my mind,
I saw her family standing
on the bridge
that exited the stage,
a prop...
there they stood singing.
And my heart broke
as I heard her voice
singing of
"The Spirit of Christmas."
Though, I did feel peaceful
as I contemplated her reality
of knowing true Christmas.
Afterwards,
we ate lunch
and then I sat down
at the piano to play
some Christmas songs.
As my fingers
danced through the notes of
"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas",
I heard the sounds
of 35 or 40 pairs of feet
as we shuffled across
the highly polished gym floor
of
Mountainburg High School gymnasium.
We attempted to quietly
assemble ourselves
on the risers
while Bren Marshell,
the high school choir pianist,
played the introduction to
"Have A Holly Jolly Christmas."
I really did,
in my mind,
I heard the distinct bass notes
just as he played them
and I heard our shuffling,
like we were shuffling
all those years ago,
as in olden days,
happy golden days.
And I wonder why?
Why do I remember
these random things?
And see them?
Why today?
And I think of those
whom I love
and care about...
And there are many
longings unfulfilled
and needs seemingly unmet
and relationships unmended
and grief borne
and sorrows uneased
and peace...
well...peace is surely...
out there somewhere...
and trust is wavering
and faith is ebbing away,

ALL WHILE JUST SIMPLY
TRYING TO HAVE
A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS.

Reality isn't found in
the Norman Rockwell
picture perfect traditions
OR
the Thomas Kincaid
lights all aglow
beaming out,
there's no place like home.

No, unfortunately,
for many
that just isn't reality!

But the good news is...
for the dysfunction
AND
the broken,

for all of us
any size
any shape...

JESUS CAME

the size...
a tiny baby
the shape...
a manger,

JESUS CAME.

Tiny size
Manger shaped...

JESUS
Wonderful Counselor
Prince of Peace
Almighty God
Everlasting Father
Comforter
Healer
Provider
Prince of Peace
Strong Tower
Miraculous Mind Blower
Awesome Game Changer
My Best Friend

And that,
yes
THAT IS
"The size and shape
of
having  yourself a merry little Christmas!"



Monday, December 1, 2014

It Only Takes A Little

The room was shrouded in darkness.

I stumbled,

trying to find

 my way to the light switch 

on the wall across the room.

Pulling my cell phone from my pocket

I searched for the flashlight app 

on my phone screen.

Upon hearing the "squeee"...

from the flashlight turning on, 

the room flooded with light

and I could see!!

It never ceases to amaze me 

how light penetrates darkness.

With just a tiny light 

darkness is pushed away.

It's the same way with vinegar in water.

You see~
a little makes a big difference.


Think about:

Heat in the chill.

A smile toward the sad.

A hug to the lonely.

A forgiving word.

A prayer for the despondent.

Just a little.

Makes a difference.

We don't always know the extent or the impact.

In my Christian tradition, as I celebrate Christmas, 

we have entered the season we call 
Advent.

1.  a
 coming into place, view, or being; arrival:
the advent of the holiday season
.
2.  the coming of Christ into the world.3.  the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, 
observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.
During this season of joy,
 of Advent,
 I ponder:

One tiny Child,a world changer,  
simply by being...being willing.

Am I a world changer?
Do I make a difference?
Am I willing?
Does my light shine?
Does it dispel darkness?

vinegar in water,
heat in the chill,
a smile toward the sad,
a hug to the lonely,
a forgiving word,
a prayer for the despondent

Just a little.
Makes a difference.




Friday, November 7, 2014

In The Silence

Time passes.

Things change.

I got a text the other day 
from our son
 away at the University.

He said, 
"Oh, Okay,
 so what are we gonna do about it then?
 Just take it as it comes?"

I replied, 
"Yes, 
we won't cross that bridge 
till it's in front of us."

And that is the way life is.

Don't you think so too?

This summer and fall,
 especially,
 we have made decisions 
based on the necessity 
of the next half hour.

Whether that is right or wrong, 
I can't particularly say, 
but that is the way it has been.  

It has needed to be that way. 

I've told you before 
how much I appreciate you
 and our conversations here. 

In fact, 
I just absolutely love you.
I really do.
You faithfully read.
On and on 
you read
this.

I know I've been silent.

And once again, 
as I have said before,
it is not because 
I have had nothing to say.

No.No.No.
(shaking my head)

Life has been full
and challenging
and sad
and a lot of ups 
and downs
and laughter
and tears
and joy
and hugs
and sighs
and goodness
and blessings
and blessings
and more blessings.

And in the silence...
much has happened 
and time has passed
and things have changed
and we've learned
and grown more mature,
 hopefully.

So today,
 I thought of all that has transpired
since I wrote here last, 
in August.
And there is so much I can say, 
but I'm not going to right now.
I don't know 
that this is the time 
or place to lay it all out.

Today, 
also, 
I thought about God,
 and His silence in our lives sometimes.
And I felt a glimmer of encouragement 
as I thought 
about all the "stuff" that happens
  in the silence.
In those really quiet times,
Or dark places,
In between the words,
and actions,
and lines 
of life.

And God is.
He is there.
Doing something.
Working His best for our good.

Let that encourage you today.
In the silence.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Other Thoughts On Life and Living...all while riding a roller coaster

 We spent three glorious days
 in the beautiful
 Ozark mountains of Branson, Missouri. 
 Part of that time was spent riding roller coasters.
 When I first step onto a roller coaster
 the anticipation is high for the thrill of the ride.
um...sorta... 
 Can I just say, I DO NOT LIKE roller coasters?
  I do not like them. 
To say I don't like them,
 should not be confused
 with saying
 I'm scared to ride them. 
 I'm not scared.
 I just don't necessarily see
 any sane reason
 to have my hair flying through space
 and my head banging
 and my neck jerking
 and feeling my body be lifted off the seat
 as I plummet head long
 into the next upside down turn. 
However, when my kids want me to ride,
 I ride!
And I tell myself to shut my eyes,
 don't anticipate the turns or falls
and just enjoy the ride,
  feel the exhilaration,
sense the wind on my face,
feel the air pulling my brown curly hair,
 listen to the sounds,
mostly screams,
 and then the laughter
and sighing and more giddy laughter
 as the coaster slides to a quick and abrupt halt.
 In about two minutes and 45 seconds,
 it's all over
 and I step across the barrier to the exit.
I can look back at that point
 and see the five times
 I was hanging upside down,
 the times I was going up
 and coming down,
 and I  may even gasp and say,
 "I did that!"
I can walk through the gift shop
 and get a t-shirt describing
 the thrill of my ride
 on a steel track,
 rising to heights of 155 feet,
 reaching top speeds of 66 mph,
 and dropping down yet again 155 feet,
 all while coiling through Cobra Rolls
 and Full Loops.
  No I'm not scared.
I just don't like the uncertainty,
 the "out of controllness" of it all.
 
At times I've heard people say
 life is like a roller coaster. 
 I've said it too.
Because in the ride of life
we aren't in control.  
Do you agree?
 
When I step off the coaster
 and look back at all I just did
 as I rode that piece of machinery,
 putting my life
 in the trust of the designing engineer
and surveyors
who marked the positions
of the support beams
and  the controller
sitting at the desk,
 and computers
 and chains
 that keep it going, 
I think,
 "what was I doing?'
 
When you stop and think about it,
 life really is like that.
  We can't see the whole track,
 the path of life
 that we will journey. 
 We don't know the heights
 we will climb,
 and the depths
 to which we will drop,
 the upside down helplessness
 and the G force of pain or peril. 
 We don't know
 the times
 we will reach a tip top peak
 and sense the wonder of the view
from way up there. 
 
So I guess,
in reality,
we all just get on,
 with anticipation,
 and know that we just have to trust the Maker,
the Master Designer.
If we could see the whole track
of life
at one time
before we ever got started
or got on
maybe we couldn't endure~
maybe we couldn't
bear
the ride.
 We have to trust our Maker,
 for the whole journey,
not just parts of it,
no matter how bad you or I may want off,
there's no gettin' off. 
 
When my life is done,
 if I am allowed to look back
 and see the twists and turns,
the exhilaration and despair,
 the whole track of life
 that I travelled,
 I know I will say it was all worth it.
I might even sigh and say,
"I did that!" 
 
 "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived"
 -- the things God has prepared for those who love him--
Holy Bible New Testament
1 Corinthians 2:9

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Suppose This Is What You Will Have To Do

When every door is closed,
closed tightly,
and there is not a single window opening,
then I suppose the best thing
you can do
 is patiently wait in the hallway.
 
Are you walking through open doors,
 or waiting in the hallway?

Old Testament

Book of Jeremiah chapter 29 verses 11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
 plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call on me
 and come and pray to me,
 and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me
 and find me
when you seek me with all your heart.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

This Is What I Do Know...life is not always gentle.

In January I flew.
 
We had such a cold and snowy winter,
 
so it was a reprieve to go where there
 
was no snow.
 
Upon my return it was interesting to see
 
a distinct line
 
where the snow began.
 
I was returning to 16 degrees Fahrenheit,
 
and cold frigid winter.
 
Were it not for the perspective
 
of seeing the snow line from above the earth
 
it would have been easy to think that everyone
 
was enjoying snow.
 
Because "my world"
was covered and wrapped
 entirely in snow.
 
Perspective,
 yes,
perspective
 is how we
can attempt
to see things
 from a different point of view.
 
When I was expecting our first born son,
 
I began to wonder,
 
what my perspective would be,
 
if I could see life through the eyes of
 
Mary,
 
the blessed mother,
 
of the Christ Child.
 
I'm sure it wasn't easy
 
to travel in the condition in which she found herself.
 
Did she long for her circumstances to be different?
 
Did she have a willing heart?
 
Did she have a hopeful heart?
 
Was she resisting every change?
 
Or was she pursuing the future?
 
We can't know the answer,
 
but I believe anyone
 (any woman at least)
 
would have enough perspective to say,
 
Mary was walking through some really hard times.
 
But God provided a place:
 
in a manger.
 
God provided a protector:
 
in Joseph.
 
God provided for physical needs:
 
in the Magi who brought expensive gifts.
 
God provided love:
 
in adoring shepherds.
 
God provided celebration:
 
in the chorus of Heavenly Angels.
 
I have no way of knowing
 your perspective.
 
I have no way of truly knowing
 the depths of your pain.
 
I have no way of knowing
 the arduous journey you are travelling.
 
But I do know that God will provide.
 
I do know
 
LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS GENTLE,
 
but
 
GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD!
 
Feel blessed today.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Medium Notes" of Pure Yum!

We eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies.
 
Tonight it was
 
 nectarines
 
plums
 
and
 
blueberries.
 
Yum!
 
That's a new combination for us.
 
It's a new favorite.
 
The tangy tartness
 
of the nectarines and plums
 
paired very well
 
with the smooth and mild
 
blueberries.
 
You know,
 
if it was coffee
 
from a coffee shop,
 
it would likely be
 
described with
 
"medium notes
 
of something or the other exotic".
 
Just thought I should let ya know that.
 
What is your favorite summer fruit right now?