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Showing posts from December, 2009

Influence

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It has been a long while since I have posted anything here. I have been busy completing three years toward my B.A. in English and my senior year is underway. My current class (Creative Writing) has finally given me the space to take off the tight harness of academic writing rules, and it feels SO GOOD!! After reading my first assignment, Mom and Daddy gave it their thumbs up and suggested I make it a blog post, so here it is. It is my story and their story. It's a little longer than my usual posts, but as with everything I have ever posted here, I pray it encourages you to run "up the sunbeam to the sun" (C. S. Lewis).


"Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV


I sat above them on the stairs. Looking down through the window-like openings in the partition between the living room and the stairway, I listened to the basketball players, football players, baseball players, wrestlers, track athletes, both the lettermen and the also-…

Year in the Rear View

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-Time.Impossible to pin down . . . impossible to hold back . . . impossible to hurry . . . impossible to keep . . . impossible to ever have enough. I can't decide whether to be happy to see 2009 flow away or to savor the last few drops of it--so I choose both. That seems to be the way when I'm grappling with mixed emotions. It is seldom a one-or-the-other conclusion. Today I skimmed through the entries of this year's prayer journal where I have poured out my heart to the God who can handle whatever I bring Him. While it is by no means complete, I read with amazement some of my most intense in-the-moment processing of life through 2009, including the ugly, scary monsters in my closet, the ravenous grizzly bears under my bed, and the just plain old ugly things in my heart I had to show my Father. Even more than these, I got to read the answered prayers, the good and perfect gifts, the unexpected Godlight He shone into my days, an…

Life, the Way God Makes It

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--Beloved recipes, generations old, passed down from mother to daughter to granddaughter to great granddaughter. Christmas makes me run to my old rusty, greasy recipe box to find the stained and spattered cards that hold the treasured family recipes for holiday favorites like scalloped corn, the brownies there are never enough of, and Christmas morning coffee cake. The flavors of home are inextricably intertwined with the feeling of being at home with the people I love most in the world. A piece of coffee cake, the way my mom makes it, can make the miles between us feel fewer and smaller and bring home-love closer. That means a lot to this grown-up girl who has been too many years without going home for Christmas. It's more than just a piece of cake, it's a beloved tradition that reminds me who I am and where I come from. All this cooking and baking during the last few weeks has more than once brought to mind a story I read somewhere about a little boy who was surprised …

Generosity Beyond Measure

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--Imagine an edict has gone out from Heaven, putting humankind in charge of determining who is going to receive eternal life. How do you think people would go about it?For a prize so great to be given out, people might hold a contest of some kind, like a beauty pageant or a football game, a singing competition or tennis match. People would have to prove they were the best at something, wouldn't they? There would surely be forms to fill out . . . lots and lots of forms and disclaimers and legal mumbo jumbo--just to make sure it was all handled fairly of course.Or maybe the powers that be would decide to create a difficult quest of some kind and only the people who successfully completed the quest would qualify for eternal life, yeah, that's probably how they'd do it. Imagine the rules that would have to be followed and the entry fees that would have to be paid. I'm guessing there would be major hoops to be jumped through and hurdles to be cleared for anyone who fan…

All He Ever Wanted

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-- "'Dear Santa Claus,' it began. 'You know I have never written. I could never think of anything I needed or wanted for Christmas. But this year I had a different idea. What do you wish for Christmas Santa? You always answer children's wishes, but what about your own? Isn't there one thing in the world that you wish for but do not have? If you will post a letter back to me, I will do all that I can to bring your dream to life. Respectfully, Your friend, Christopher C.'"

In Brittany Ryan's enchanting novel, The Legend of Holly Claus, this child's letter set in motion an amazing adventure of love and sacrifice . . . and redemption.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "What do you want for Christmas?" It's a familiar question this time of year. Lots of you are probably way ahead of me and have your shopping done already. Whether you're wrapping the presents you've bought, or still wracking your brain to find that certain somet…

Incarnation, Then and Now

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-- There is something about Christmas that flat-out refuses to be simple. It just will come with cramped quarters, groans and struggle, hard work and extreme inconvenience--Mary knew all about it, didn't she? Her life, so beautifully planned, suddenly and monumentally interrupted by none other than God Almighty! The angel He sent, Gabriel, told Mary she was favored among all women, and had been chosen to bear God's only Son. Her still innocent child's heart was so trusting, so willing to accept the honor and the profound responsibility of parenting the great I AM. Her faith astounds. "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."Luke 1:38 NIV As if she and Joseph didn't have enough to deal with, what with trying to explain the baby before the wedding and all, suddenly Caesar Augustus had his brilliant idea to call for a census. Not only that, but they had to travel all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem righ…

Just This, Just Now

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Green grass, fresh, dewy, tender, brand new green grass grows outside the window--the kind my horse would have gone crazy for.

A backdrop for Christmas?

Groan . . .I would so prefer a deep, powdery, soft-as-eider-down, foot-thick blanket of snow outside my window. I long for the kind of snow that comes floating down like big lazy feathers, silently, with no trace of wind. The kind of snow that makes quiet voices sound sweetly amplified . . . the kind that makes the air feel warmer, softer than you think it should . . . the kind you simply must go for a walk in, especially after dark, when it really isn't dark at all because the snow makes everything glow. Yes, that is what I would prefer.

But, it's awfully green outside my California window.

I've been in California a long time now--longer than both my snow-blessed homes combined. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but still it's hard for me. There is a gap between what I would prefer and what I get.

Ever…

Traditions and Tiny Obsessions

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--Every year since My Tony and I got married, we have bought a new Christmas ornament . Most of them commemorate some event during the year (like 9/11), some family joke or shared experience that we want to remember. My favorite part of decorating (which I haven't even started yet) is putting the now large collection of ornaments on the tree. Now, my kids will tell you, this wasn't always so much fun . . . FOR THEM. I used to have this THING. You know, a THING, a hangup, an obsession. I was a teeny bit crazed about the necessity (in my mind) to put the ornaments on the tree, one by one, in chronological order. To be fair (and I KNOW you want to be fair) I started this FROM THE BEGINNING when there was only one ornament, then two, then three, and so on. However, by the time my kids were 12 and 7 and each of them had personal ornaments too and the number had grown to more than 25 ornaments, my little ritual had outgrown itself.It no longer served a good purpose.It had …

Deep Faith and Old Hymns

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I went to visit my dear friend Fran yesterday. Late in her 80's now, she lives with her son and his family and she is slowly slipping away. She doesn't really know me anymore, and she doesn't remember 30 seconds after I leave that I've been there, but I go as often as I can because she went so far out of her way so many times for me.

Fran, or "Franacious" as we lovingly called her "back in the day" was the librarian at the Bible college I attended. She started that library from the ground up and she painstakingly logged in every book, and spent countless hours lugging boxes and shifting shelves to put a proper library together for the Bible college students that had descended upon her church.

She was an excellent librarian, yes, but she was so much more--
She was a kind of surrogate grandmother to anyone who needed one.
She asked questions and listened like she really wanted to know . . . because she did.
She comforted all manner of homesickness,…

Find the Perfect Gift

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-- Up and down . . .round and round . . . shoppers search and sift. Hustle, hurry . . . go, go, go . . . find the perfect gift! In all the scurrying activity of Christmas shopping, it's so easy to forget what it's all about. It's so easy to get stressed and grumpy, strained and out of sorts. Your heart is in the right place, but if you're at all like me, before it's all done, your head is throbbing! I pray for each of us this Christmas that we will not do one single solitary thing that isn't a pure outflow of joy and celebration and gratitude for our great Giver-God who has already given the absolute perfect Gift that could ever be given in His Son Jesus. Every gift we ever give should be because He gave. Every song we ever sing should be because He lives. Every light on every house glows the Light of the World. Every tree we ever decorate whispers both rough-hewn manger and old rugged cross. I pray that we won't get stuck on cascading escala…