November 28, 2011

When All Is Said and Done...

Last year in Christmas 2010: Take Two I shared how, by blond impulse, I assembled our tree wrong. Putting long limbs above short, it resembled Charlie Brown's tree standing pathetic, gangly, and lopsided. Seems this season a brainless fiasco unfolded again.

After decorating the fireplace/T.V. room Saturday, I took a rest and began to load the tree in the front living room with lights Sunday. Pulling up the usual Christmas garb, I couldn't find a single strand of lights. I vaguely recall light trouble last year, but that describes every year. Assuming I'd tossed out the old and needed new, I purchased two boxes of brand spankin' new lights; the kind that fit outdoor bushes not indoor trees and have to go right back to where they came from.

By a whisker this little guy
almost became our tree for 2011.

Then...I remembered the light bag
I forgot to pull out of the basement!
Easter baskets propped on the top
threw me off course.

A quick test and waaalaaa!

Soon Beanie joined in...

Last but not least, the nativity.

After pointing each nativity figure to face baby Jesus, the Lord reminded me that it doesn't matter what glitch, malfunction, or disappointment comes our way this holiday season, peace is ours when we set our hearts on the reason for the season, Jesus Christ our Messiah and Prince of Peace!

The next time you find yourself frustrated or unhappy this season, stop and examine your focus. Is it directly on Christ and what He has done for you or centered on something of no eternal value? May we each determine to resist getting whipped up into the rush of the holidays all to forget the meaning behind the season.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. - Isaiah 9:6

Father help us keep our eyes set on your Son.

November 25, 2011

Holiday Hodge Podge

I hope you are enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday. Our son was off only one day, turkey day itself, so we loaded up the fixin's and headed his way. The trip was much easier than last year since we were not met with ice collecting on the windshield or glossy steps to trek up while unloading food, supplies, and excitable dogs. This year it was sunny and warm, we didn't so much as need a sweater. In fact, I balked at the pre-Christmas month and wore my sandals.

Like Meals on Wheels on steroids, we descended on Drew with all the Thanksgiving garb, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade rolls, punky pie, deviled eggs, olives, stuffing, cookies, and the best homemade toffee you could ever want. After walking the dogs, eating, watching football, visiting, cleaning up, and walking the dogs again, we headed back home leaving all the treats behind. Now that's a good deal for a son if I ever heard of one.

That was the hodge so here's the podge.

After a good night's sleep we brought up the Christmas decorations this afternoon. (I thought I'd bring stuff up today and do the trimming tomorrow. No point in rushing.) Everything looked status quo as far as condition goes until I took a gander at my 10-plus year old Ginger bread man.

At first glance I thought he was chipped, but a closer investigation revealed something else. Given the forensic knowledge I've gained from watching CSI, I surmised that our little Gman had in fact not been broken, but rather nibbled on by a rodent, most likely a mouse. Take a look for yourself. His right leg and side of head is not the result of blunt force trauma. They are delicate nibbles from busy little teeth.

Double click to enlarge.

A little more podge.

Since I don't enjoy overly boisterous holiday crowds, we stayed home for Black Friday, we always do. I worked on the writing of my current Bible study, Dani pulled out a few miscellaneous Christmas decorations because she couldn't wait for me to resume tomorrow, and we enjoyed another warm day before the rains come in tonight. I'm also eating way too much toffee and may soon require an intervention.

So there's our hodge podge of a holiday. Just being together is grand. Hope you are having a great time with family and friends too.

Blessings all!

November 21, 2011

Anatomy of a Speech

I recently had the pleasure of composing an article for the writers and speakers of WINGS (Women in God's Shadow). The piece instructs how to create a presentation that excels beyond standing before an audience reciting a litany of facts. With the welfare of the audience as top priority, it details ways to educate an audience in an appealing and memorable way, avoiding a speaker's number one sin, boring an audience to tears.

So, fly over to WINGS. It'll only take a moment, I promise. If you or someone you know teaches or presents material to audiences on a regular or rare basis, share "Anatomy of a Speech" and the WINGS website with them.

Blessings to you all and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 15, 2011

Holiday Special

Hey girls. It's that time of year! Everyone and their dog is looking for just the right thing to buy their special someone.

Is that you? Do you have a friend who loves to dig into the word of God or perhaps want to gift your women's ministry leader with an idea for an upcoming 2012 event? If so, go no further because I have just the ticket, Elaine Olsen's Peace for the Journey.

I shared with you a few months back what her study did for me in part 4 of "Your Sista's Havin' a Hysta." To tell you the truth I still miss meeting daily with her work. It was so peaceful. Not too long each day or as a whole for that matter. Just the right thing in every way. That's why I keep nagging her to write another. I need it.

The book I received from Elaine was autographed and wouldn't you know her penmanship is neat as a pin. All swirls and scrolls twirl at a perfect angle, unlike mine which looks like a chicken ran through ink and across the paper. Yes, her study is perfect in every way and I encourage you to find out for yourself by visiting her blog.

For the holidays she is offering a special you have to see for yourself, and if that isn't enough, all books are signed, sealed, and delivered by this great author herself. Oh...and it's now available in eBook format too. Is that handier than a pocket on a shirt or what.

So ladies scuttle yourself on over to Elaine's blog and get your own dose of peace. Don't wait for the stores to become crowded or the mail system to bog down. Order your copies today, one for you and one for a friend or relative. You'll love it and be blessed, I promise.

I'm ordering mine now.

November 11, 2011

A"Holey" Ministry

I need to Google steel-toed socks. This holey pair is the fourth in just over a week of Dani's I need to darn. Her feet, though decidedly small, are a tad deformed, making shoes difficult to fit. Keeping her tootsies in constant motion, she kicks her shoes off every chance she gets and commences swinging her feet, dragging her toes on the floor with each wag. She's bloodied many a carpet in her day wearing the skin off her toes in the process.

My days of darning won't end any time soon and I've come to realize there's no point in getting upset. After all, there are worse things in life. I would rather have my baby and her perforated apparel than not have her at all. This is a small price to pay, so I do it with joy. In fact I accept this as part of my ministry.

You have a ministry too! One that is special, unique, and planted deep inside you by God Himself.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us." 2 Corinthians 4:7

As jars of clay, God in His all-surpassing power has placed within us a treasure or you might say, deposit of wealth. According to 2 Corinthians 4:1 this treasure is the ministry of the New Testament truth of Jesus Christ. To all believers this is our ministry, shining the light of Jesus in our corner of the world. Whether it's defending a client in the court room, performing intricate surgery, wiping a child's runny nose, digging ditches, or darning socks, we are called to do our work as if directly for the Lord, so others may see Him through us.

I don't know what lies ahead of you today but whatever it is accept it as part of your calling. Even seemingly small tasks can impact God's kingdom. Your smile may be the only ray of light in a passerby's day, do it with sincerity. Your note of encouragement may meet a friend at a very dark time, send it with affection. A child's illness may have interrupted your day's plans, accept it with calm restraint and compassion for in your very own home you are nurturing members of the upcoming generation.

I pray God's chosen ministry for you blooms and grows as never before. Nurture it with humble obedience and then watch as the abundant harvest ushers in. May the Lord bless you this very special day!

November 3, 2011

Holiday Fun

We sure hope you all had a great Halloween. Our son, Drew, was home for a visit so we had fun planning family time. Here's what landed on our docket October 31st.

A beautiful crisp sunrise.

Early morning make up session
with Dani for her bunny costume.

Quick picture before the bus arrives.

Afternoon of making homemade cinnamon rolls.
We tried to make them small
and they still turned out HUGE.

An evening of carving.
(Left) Drew's pumpkin, an alien
(Right) My punky, a surpised kitty

The only thing we didn't have time to do was see the movie Puss N Boots. Guess my cat pumpkin will have to suffice.

Only three weeks till Thanksgiving. Can you believe it!