Monday, December 30, 2013

Ending 2013 in joys


I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch the past few days fighting some kind of yucky holiday virus. 

I’ve eaten chicken noodle soup more than one meal.

I’ve been thinking of hopes for 2014.

But first am wanting to end 2013 in thanks to God for the joy He can never stop giving.

Was watching the Charlie Brown New Year cartoon program on TV tonight with the family. As Charlie, Lucy, Pattie, Linus, Sally and the rest are ice skating on the pond, Snoopy and Woodstock with two other birds skate into the picture.

The yellow birds each held a sign – the first bird’s sign said “New”; the second bird held “Happy”; the third bird held “Year”.  New Happy Year

With a scolding look on his face, Snoopy corrected the birds order so their signs read, “Happy New Year”.

But what’s wrong with “New Happy Year”?  Or better yet, “New Joy Year”:

It’s a fresh start.

To count the joys that God gives as gifts.

In 2014.

Take the challenge!  In a notebook, a journal, a blog!

Today three years ago I would’ve never imagined myself counting.  But I’m glad I took the dare. 

Will you?

It’s all a God praise – for all things.  Even things that are hard to be thankful for.  But they’re gifts that “help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (Romans 5:3-4)   {in memory of you, sweet SF}

Thanking brings joy…

Joy unto the Lord!


Hoping you’ll discover new joys in 2014!



Here’s the gifts to thank God for to end 2013

#1814  listening to piano music of Christmas songs at night with only the light from the Christmas tree, alone, and writing

#1815  husband’s job

#1816  fun date night with husband at his work Christmas party and photo booth

elon party 13

#1817  decorating cookies with small group



#1818  dancing!

#1819  seeing a bright blue bird this cold winter morning on the bird house

#1820  All the friends to send Christmas card to

#1821  All the cards we received from family and friends that hang around the door

#1822  The start of Christmas break

#1823  Advent wreath on the kitchen table


#1824  lights in windows

#1825  Hebrews 12:1-2

#1826  being surrounded by witnesses

#1827  The Advent Good Morning Girls study with other women

#1828  the hope Jesus brings

#1829  the joy Jesus is

#1830  Libby’s teacher

#1831  Dinner with friends at Olive Garden

#1832  sitting outside in December on an afternoon 70* outside

#1833  family Christmas blog


#1834  movie night downtown Graham with family

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#1835  husband loving to cook breakfast outside on a chilly Christmas Eve Eve morning


#1836  driving through neighborhoods to see lights with family

#1837  donating to Feed the Hunger

#1838  buying gifts from Angel tree with daughter

#1839  Christmas Eve traditions…yet a few unavoidable not the sames


#1840  Sugar cake gift from friend to use as Jesus’ birthday cake

#1841  lighting a candle on the sugar cake Christmas morning and singing Happy Birthday song to Jesus


#1842  giving gifts

#1843  being with my family on Christmas

#1844  hard eucharisteo – sister’s family sick and not able to be with them on Christmas yet still able to even for a day a couple days later

#1845  surprise seeing our friend who’s deployed on TV the day after Christmas


#1846  a becoming tradition of visiting with childhood friends and their families


#1847  chicken noodle soup when you’re sick

#1848  my pillow

#1849  my bed

#1850  father/son project


#1851  father/son playing on the new basketball goal

#1852  ugly eucharisteo – loosing a sister through Christ to cancer yet there is still joy knowing she’s healed and laughing her great life on Glory’s side

#1853  hearing stories about her

#1854  Unto the Lord! (with hand raised high)


{726 joys and thanks to God in 2013}

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

It’s finally here.  It’s already here

Hearing last minute wrapping paper fold over gift boxes, giggles, dishes clanking, the Kitchen Aid mixer churning, Christmas music in the background will be heard soon.  But right now it’s a silent moment.

Rejoicing He’s here!



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Joy to the world!

Giving praise to Jesus to wish him a Happy Birthday.  Pray this with me?

Jesus, as you come into this world, as a baby, yet a king, you are the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

This Christmas I will choose to be glad and rejoice in ALL of my heart because You have taken away my punishment. Thank you for coming to this world to be with me to keep me from fear and harm.

I will rejoice! And I’ll say it again “REJOICE!”  Your Word says to keep a gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in your footsteps. God, you are near. You want me to know that your peace – a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding – will stand watch over my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

I praise You for who You are! Savior! Rescuer! Redeemer!  Yet as a baby with…

‘Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world’


Merry Christmas!




Praying these verses and lyrics:  Isaiah 9:6, Zephaniah 3:14-15, Philippians 4:4-7 and Welcome to our World by Chris Rice

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

While trying to make a perfect gift…


It’s getting down to crunch time.

A week from today is Christmas Eve.

I haven’t even begun to wrap any gifts, much less finish shopping for them.


But I’m trying…trying…to take some time…even for a moment…each day to allow God to remind me that Christmas isn’t all about driving all over town to find the “perfect gift” and a parking spot while listening to a song how Grandma who got run over by a reindeer.  (Hey, so glad some secular radio stations are playing traditional Christmas songs and hymns about Jesus, this month!)

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the commercialized Christmas about having to buy presents, just because that’s what everyone’s supposed to do at Christmas.  So I’ve tried to come up with gift ideas that are from the heart, and homemade to make it a little more special than a gift card.

It’s not easy for me.

At all.

This past weekend I went all over town to find specific supplies to make a homemade gift.  It really would be a special gift with special meaning and it even wouldn’t cost too much.

So I got home, started the “craft” and 3 hours later there was paper everywhere, hot glue stuck to my fingers and the gun breaks, there’s so many "mess up attempts” on the counter and the two that were actually put together looked lopsided and well…awful!


I wanted to swear out loud but I controlled myself and whispered it loudly instead to myself so the kids couldn’t hear me in the other room as I opened the trash can and started dumping all that wasted materials, time, money and energy in the trash can.


It wasn’t pretty.  My craft or my attitude. 

I go to bed exhausted and cover myself up to forget all about the disastrous attempt, ignore my frustration with myself, and hoped to find joy to start the week in the morning.  Thankfully, God’s grace covered me that night.

In the morning, I opened to Luke 2:10-14

“The angles said to them, ‘…I bring you good news that will cause great joy  for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (emphasis added)

That promise didn’t say “a Savior has been born; he is the Messiah…” 

His Word…His Promise…Jesus, the Saviorhas been born to me and to you.

For you.

Jesus is the perfect gift that people look for everywhere but often don’t find because they get caught up in the commercialization and forget, or even worse ignore and hide in the closet with the gifts, the reason why Christmas is supposed to be celebrated.

This past Sunday, the teacher at the church we attend said at the end of his message:

He said, instead of saying,

“Jesus is the reason for the season,” we need to say “WE are the reason for the season.” 

We are the reason Jesus came to this earth.  He came to give us life, to give us hope, to give us joy.

The reason for this season is to remind us that He came to be our sacrifice and our salvation for us.


This season, let us remember that we are the reason Jesus came to this messed up world.  He still comes every day as a Savior, a perfect gift, in this messed up world…not just that day 2000 years ago.

Well…now I’m off to Target for the umpteenth time…this time for stocking stuffers.


Gladly joining in today with Emily Freeman’s Chatting at the Sky in her Tuesday Unwrapped link up!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A full measure of joy

The sound of pouring rain is about to lull me to sleep.  Maybe it’s the calm I need before I run out in it to get some Christmas shopping accomplished.

On this wet and cold December day, warmth is always welcome.  Reflecting back on some thoughts that might bring warmth…some thoughts of a short post I wrote this time last year about the full measure of joy.

Thanking God for these gifts:


#1790  A white Thanksgiving eve

#1791  A day when you got a lot accomplished

#1792  table of harvest



#1793  the entertainment a one and a half year old niece can give

#1794  the traditional visit to the poinsettia nursery with family




#1795  daughter reading to her cousins and their love for her


#1796  son wanting me to hear a rap song that describes how “once you’re in the zone of being a Christ follower, that’s all you want to be in”. 

#1797  putting on those pajama pants after the Thanksgiving meal

#1798  the smell of the Christmas tree stuck on your fingertips

#1799  decorating the tree even though it’s different this year…an artificial and decorating it during the day…but still thankful for that time


#1800  the sweet little ladybug stuck on the car window beside me

#1801  Christmas lights

#1802  basketball season begins!  Yay!

#1803  Daughter performing in Esno White play

esno white 1

esno white 2

#1804  Unexpected dinner plans

#1805  A new blog created…more to come soon!

#1806  Jesus is the Light

#1807  The flame appearing in the artificial candle on a vase


#1808  Sister and niece coming in the bad weather to see daughter’s play

#1809  Both sets of grandparents coming to see daughter’s play

#1810  Daughter’s confidence growing

#1811  Tollhouse chocolate chips

#1812  making toffee bars for our military friend

#1813  a December night to relax with family by the fireplace





Friday, December 6, 2013

Let it soak


Joining in today with Lisa Jo Baker for Five Minute Friday.  Today’s word is REFLECT.


I’ve slowly been reading over these words:

“The Lord will be all the light I will ever need. Your God will provide your glory...”

Let that soak.

God will provide ME with glory.   We are glorious to Him.

God, I won’t need the sun to brighten my day or the moon and lamps to give me light. You, Lord will be all the light I ever need. You will provide my glory, brilliant for all time. Your sun will never set; your moon will never be eclipsed in shadow, for I’ll bask in Your light, Lord forever! Never again will I suffer the dark night of despair. (Isaiah 60:19-20 VOICE)

I so don’t deserve to bask in Your light or have an ounce of Your glory. But I’m so humbled and gracious that You don’t see me that way and You WANT to share glory and be glorious with be a reflection of You.

Thank You.


God, You’ve kept showing up this week as Light in the Word and as I’ve been decorating for Christmas. It makes me want to say the words in Isaiah 60:5...


“Then you will look and be radiant; your heart will throb and swell with joy.”


Lord, I look to You and feel radiant; my heart throbs and swells with joy because of the love You have for me.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What artificial candles and God have in common

The downstairs looks like a disaster with stuff scattered everywhere.  It’s Christmas decorating time.  It’s when you’re hurriedly taking down those pumpkins, wiping the dust that formed around them to make room for the Christmas decorations.  There’s just something about decorating for Christmas that makes me happy. 


This past weekend, while we began the task of Christmas decorating, my husband hollered down while he was in the attic, “The boxes up here that have Christmas decorations in them take up half the attic space!” 

And although I’m excited to open up those boxes and pulling out those stockings and wreathes to hang on the windows, for some reason this year, I’m not feeling the notion to get everything out of the boxes and use all the decorations we’ve collected through the years.  In the past I’ve kept adding to the collection and I never get rid of any others and end up finding a place to use almost all of them…even though it might be too much.

But not this year.  I honestly feel a little torn wondering if I’m OK.  I mean, I usually go all out for Christmas.  This year for the first time in our 16 years of marriage, we decided not to go cut down a live Christmas tree. 

We’ve always had that tradition! 

It was broken.

We’re using an artificial tree we got for $20 after Christmas last year.

I thought I’d never do that.

But to my surprise, I’m OK with it.  And so are my husband and kids.  My son said he like the challenge of trying to find which “stems” went in which rows on the pole.

I just feel like needing to be more simple.

So, since I’ve decided to be a little simpler this year, this afternoon I was putting a centerpiece on our dining room table and had the idea of just putting a candle in a vase with a little bit of greenery and be done with it.

The candles I put in the vases were a birthday gift I was given last week.  They’re artificial but pretty cool because they came with a remote allowing you to control the time they come on and turn off.  Even though there isn’t a real flame…or any flame at all… you can see a light flickering inside of the candle. 

Today I was reading John 1:9-12 the suggested advent reading for the day from the Good Morning Girl study I’m doing.

9 The true Light, who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos.10 He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him. 11 Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him. 12 But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God;

In the bible translation I was reading, The Voice, there’s a side note saying,

Jesus as the Light does not call out from a distant place but draws near by coming into the world.

As I wrote those words in my journal all of a sudden James 4:8 came to my mind. “Draw near to God and He’ll draw near to you.”

In those verses in John, God spoke of the people who refused to receive Him and those who chose to receive and trust Him...who chose to draw near to Himwho chose to be drawn to the Light.

This evening walking through the dining room, the only light in the room was from the window candle, tree and those artificial candles on the table.  Those candles on the table drew my attention unlike the others. 

It looked like there was a flame coming from the candle, reflecting off the glass.  Shooting out from an artificial candle that had no flame.


I took a double look wondering if I’m starting to need glasses. 

It was only on that one candle where I saw a flame flickering.

“Draw near to Me," the Light calls out to me.

“In this busyness of preparing this month, slow down and enjoy the lights – even more - THE Light.  I’m here and waiting at the table for you."

I had to take a deep breath. 

Be still.

Even for a moment.

And be grateful for moments from God that can be found in something as simple as a gift of an artificial candle that draws my attention to Him in this crazy-busy month.


I’m joining in today with Emily Freeman and Chatting at the Sky.  For the month of December she’s opening the gift to be part of Tuesdays Unwrapped.  It’s where people can write about “the lovely, the messy, and the unexpected gifts of our daily rhythm” each Tuesday in December.