Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year Meditations at Laurel Wreath's Site!

Two years ago Laurel Wreath hosted a lovely time of posting our New Year Meditations. It was one of the highlights of my new year and something that I look forward to continuing. This year she is back again! Here is her invitation. I hope you will join me here the first week of 2009 as well as joining her at her site to get 2009 off to a great start of what we dream God will do in our lives.


Who: Everyone is invited

What: I would like you to post on your site about your hopes, dreams, and goals for the next year. What would you like to see God do in your life? How would you like to see Him move in things? Make this as general or as personal as you feel comfortable. What are your goals for next year? I am not looking for the “lose 10 lbs this year” answer, something a little bit deeper. When you look back to December 2009 where would you like to be?

When: Come back the first week of January 2009 (January 1 through 5th).

Where: I will put up a Mr. Linky beginning January 1st through 7th 2009, so you can link back to your blog post (not just your blog). I am not really one to make “New Year Resolutions” (in fact I dislike them), if I make them I break them. But I am one to think about what my dreams and desires are at the time, and see where the Lord leads me. Sometimes it is exciting because the Lord has so much more in mind, sometimes it proves to be a difficult year because He had a lot to teach me. Either way it is exciting to follow God’s leading and plan for my life. How about you?

Feel fee to grab the graphic and include it on your blog.I’m looking forward to seeing who will take me up on this challenge!

As an extra incentive, anyone who participates and advertises “New Year’s Meditations” on their blog I will be sending one lucky participant a $25 gift certificate to I’ll do a random drawing from the names of everyone who does a post and leaves their link here (beginning Jan. 1st) via Mr. Linky

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Christmas!!

Sorry not to get this posted until Boxing Day, but there were

princesses to celebrate with

and gators to ride.

We are having a magical Christmas. Hope you are as well. See you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Other Words-- Re-visiting Favorite Quotes

You may have stumbled over here today in search of Tuesday's In Other Words. For the next two weeks we are doing something a little different. Loni, our coordinator extraordinaire, has given the hostesses two weeks off. Instead she has asked us to:

share what your favorite quotes were or a specific post shared by a hostess that touched you, encouraged you, etc.

I have been participating in In Other Words since I began blogging, so I have almost three years worth of material to use. There are many posts from others which have touched me in spectacular ways. I don't know where to even begin with that. So, instead, I decided to repost one of my previous posts (from October 31,2006) that still gets an amazing response. Apparently it spoke to some of you out there. Perhaps, it will again.

One more thing, Loni's 12 year old daughter has had heart surgery this week and is currently in hospital recovering. Please keep Loni and her family in your prayers during this time. Have a blessed day! You can go here to see what others are re-visiting today.

"Like the proud mother who is thrilled to receive a wilted bouquet of dandelions from her child, so God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude."
~ Richard Foster~

She was four years old.

She was at granddad's house.

He had a brand new car.

She had a nail.

And she scratched her name on the back of the car.

She ran to show granddad her act of love.

Her parent's freaked out.

But granddad swept her up in his arms and hugged her and exclaimed, "she's four years old and she can write her name."

He didn't see it as destruction---he saw it as love and accepted it as such.

This story was told at my grandfather's funeral in 1996. I was 28 years old. After the service, my great aunt came to me and said, "we still have that car." My grandfather had given her to car to use twenty years before but it was always a "loan." She was not to sell it. Twenty-four years my grandfather kept that bouquet of dandelions. Twenty-four years kept that signature. Twenty-four years.

And so it is with God. He stores up our bouquets of love and cherishes them. He chooses to forget our sins and he chooses to keep the love. Go offer Him some love expression today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Other Words--Just Obey


“You’ve stood where Joseph stood. Caught between what God says and what makes sense. You’ve done what he told you to do only to wonder if it was him speaking in the first place.” … “If you are asking what Joseph asked, let me urge you to do what Joseph did. Obey. That’s what he did. He obeyed. He obeyed when the angel called. He obeyed when Mary explained. He obeyed when God sent.”

Max Lucado from “Joseph’s Prayer” in The Heart of Christmas

Joseph is my favorite person in the Christmas narrative. To me, he represents the one who was called upon to exercise the most faith. I realize that all of the characters exercised faith, but Joseph's call was the most "unverifiable."

Mary not only knew that an angel had come, but she also knew that she really and truly had never been with a man. Yet she could feel the baby kicking in her womb. She had confirmation of the life growing and an absolutely clear conscience.

But Joseph... Joseph too had an encounter with an angel. But it was in a dream and maybe he was tempted to say his mind was playing tricks on him. He could see Mary growing "great with child" and he wanted to believe her, but it would have been so easy for him to doubt. After all, this had never happened before and could he be absolutely certain she had been faithful? I'm certain the villagers were of no help either. Shaking their heads and whispering "poor Joseph" behind his back or even more brazenly asking why he didn't "do something" about that bride-to-be of his. It would have been much to take.

But Scripture tells us that Joseph was a "good" man and he wanted to do what is right. He believed the angel and he acted in an upright manner. In other words, he demonstrated tremendous faith in action. In those few sentences of Scripture saying that he took Mary as his wife we find tremendous obedience. It would not be the last time he was asked to obey quickly when an angel came. His obedience to the next angel preserved the baby Jesus' life as they escaped to Egypt. In what seemed like impossible circumstances, Joseph simply chose to obey.

What about us? We rarely get visits from angels, but we do "hear" calls from God to take action. Sometimes they just don't make sense. Nearly three years ago, we began to understand that God was leading German to leave the company where he had worked almost nineteen years and "trust God" for the next job. It made no sense. You don't leave a reliable job, in a foreign-to-your-birth country without another job lined up. But we were certain that was the call. Via German's leadership, we obeyed. He resigned. He interviewed for a job and we were certain God was still leading. He worked out his six week's resignation, ending his career with that company on May 31. He started his new job on June 1! God was absolutely faithful! The leap from "obey" to "reward" seemed like an eternity; yet, we never missed a paycheck. Furthermore, the economy led to major changes in his previous company that would most likely have been devastating to us. God protected us from the future, but we were required to obey even when it made no sense and many people around us doubted that God would have asked us to do something so "risky."

Many of the times God asks us to obey when it does not make sense are not huge decisions. They are the simple decisions we make everyday that set us apart from the rest of society. He asks us to step out, to live differently, and to trust Him. If you believe God is leading, do what Joseph did....obey. The big picture may not come into focus immediately, but never doubt that God sees the big picture. Even if it doesn't make sense, even when you begin to hear voices that say "God wouldn't ask that," even when it gets difficult, just obey. The reward comes from obedience.

"If you love me, you will obey what I command."
~John 14:15~

Thank you for joining us this week for In Other Words! Please write your own reflection on today's quote, and then return and post your link so we can come visit you! God Bless you today and throughout this Holy Season!

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Other Words Host


It is my turn to host "In Other Words" tomorrow and I've chosen the following quote by Max Lucado. Please reflect on the quote, write your own reflections and then come back tomorrow to post a link to your post. I can't wait to see what God is saying through you all!

“You’ve stood where Joseph stood. Caught between what God says and what makes sense. You’ve done what he told you to do only to wonder if it was him speaking in the first place.” … “If you are asking what Joseph asked, let me urge you to do what Joseph did. Obey. That’s what he did. He obeyed. He obeyed when the angel called. He obeyed when Mary explained. He obeyed when God sent.”

Max Lucado from “Joseph’s Prayer” in The Heart of Christmas

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

In Other Words--Just a Bit More

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I love Dr. Seuss! Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was a brilliant scribe and a master of painting word pictures. Who could not enjoy the cadence of his writing or be bemused by his wonderfully zany animal creations? I love all the stories. But, the thing I love most about his writings is that they are filled with theology. Every writer understands that the words used tell the reader something about the author as well. He knew this. His writings tell us much about him, and about what he believed.

"A person's a person, no matter how small." Horton Hears a Who
"Thank goodness for all of the things you are not! Thank goodness you're not something someone forgot." Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?
"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!" Oh the Thinks You Can Think
"In the places I go there are things that I see that I never could spell if stopped with the Z. I'm telling you this 'cause you're one of my friends. My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends." On Beyond Zebra
"So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act." Oh The Places You'll Go

And then, of course, there is today's quote:
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn't come from a store.” “Maybe
Christmas...perhaps...means a ‘little bit’ more.”
~Dr. Seuss~
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

See the essence of the gospel story in the climax to this little story? The Grinch thought that he could kill the joy by taking the "stuff" away. No tree, no presents, no meal, no lights. NO STUFF.
But Christmas still came. Because Christmas is a state of the heart, not the wallet. No matter what LIE the retailers will tell us, you can't buy Christmas. And as the Grinch met the LOVE of Christmas, his heart grew to embrace the TRUTH of Christmas.

It is "a little bit more."
....A bit more time,
.......A bit more joy,
............A bit more consideration
................A lot more Saviour.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

~Luke 2:4-14

Praying you find "a bit more" this Christmas and well into 2009 as well!

Lori, at All You Have to Give, is our hostess this week. You will be touched by the story of why she chose this quote. Please come and be blessed.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In Other Words---Love


"Remember this December, love weighs more than gold."
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

The gifts were wrapped and under the tree. We kids were on the final countdown until Christmas Eve when we would get to open the majority of what was under the tree with my maternal grandparents.

Then, just a couple of days before Christmas, grandad's brother died. Unexpected. It sent things into a turmoil. His funeral was on Christmas Eve. I don't remember a lot about that day; I didn't really know this uncle well. We stayed with my paternal grandparents while Mom and Dad went to the funeral. They came home, collected us and whirled us back to our home for our normal Christmas Eve activities.

Only this year the activities were in an uproar. Mom was rearranging tags on gifts and wrapping gifts for unexpected guests. My great aunt and uncle were returning with my grandparents (my grandfather was one of 11 kids, so I had lots of aunts and uncles!). Mom took a gift out from under the tree from her best friend in the world. She and this friend always exchanged lovely gifts. She made the comment "Jo won't mind" and changed the tag to reflect my great aunt's name.

I don't remember any gifts we received that year. I don't remember if we had our traditional ham dinner, or if it was just sandwiches due to the circumstances. I have almost no memories of that night. Except for a great aunt, hundreds of miles from home who had just buried her brother, opening a lovely ornament that had been chosen for my mom and then lovingly sacrificed by mom. It is one of the most unselfish memories I have of my mom. And I cherish the memory.

Love truly does weigh more than gold....or any other material thing we have have.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
~Matthew 6:19-20~

Denise is our hostess this week. Join her at Shortybear's Place for more reflections on this quote. Have a wonderful week!

Marriage Monday---Refuge

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
Want this button?

Marriage Monday (on a Tuesday), because yesterday was...well, a Monday.

This month's topic is "Sanctuary of Marriage" and I've been so excited about writing on the theme.

Sanctuary. The word conjures up feelings of warmth, safety, refuge, and peace. And those are words that we should be able to associate with our marriages. They should be places that we take refuge from the craziness of the world. It can be a cold, harsh environment out in the work place, or school, or playground or where ever you spend your time. But our marriages should provide a place of warmth.

A month ago, in speaking to my church, I said "My comfort zone is being with German when I am out of my comfort zone." That is my definition of the sanctuary my marriage to German provides. It does not matter how far out of our comfort zones we are called to walk, we are comfortable and safe because we are together.

Last Tuesday we celebrated our thirteenth anniversary. Prior to meeting German I had traveled a few miles into Mexico and a few miles into Canada and nowhere further afield. If you had told me I could find comfort in traveling the world, I would have laughed. It was something I wanted, but not something that I thought would be easy. But, German has shown me the world and except on one occasion (Egypt), I've never felt unsafe. And I felt the most unsafe there because German felt unsafe! He is my sanctuary. Being with him is safe. Being anywhere else is not a refuge, it is hard work and can be scary. I'm thankful that God has given me a place of refuge in my marriage. I pray that German can say the same. It is one of the greatest privileges I have, being his place of safety.

For other reflections on the topic of Sanctuary in Marriage, please visit Andrea at Embracing Him.