Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One Dark Night....

The shepherds were tending their flocks.

They were about their normal business - probably not a career of their own choosing but rather their lot in life. It was a lowly job. Not one to be desired. Imagine stinky, dumb sheep being your companions. Day after day and night after night basically the same thing - with a wolf or a bear thrown in there now and then to add a little excitement!

I imagine it as a still, quiet night - normal in most regards - when it happened. The time when God in His infinite wisdom revealed Himself to the shepherds. With great pomp and circumstance the angels told of the most important birth of all times. And they told it to a bunch of dirty shepherds. The shepherds weren't dressed for such an occasion, they hadn't made a great meal or wrapped beautiful presents. They had done nothing to prepare. But still God chose them to hear of the greatest wonders of wonders.

I cannot imagine the sky that night!

He was giving them, some of the lowest of society, a Savior! As He was announcing to them the birth of the King, Emmanuel, Savior, Redeemer...(etc.) He was also letting them know that they were someone in His eyes. They were loved by Him. He knew where they were and what they were doing. And that this King, this Messiah, was for them too.

And He's for you.

Merry Christmas!

t somehow humbles me...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What I Saw

I saw the crumble coming.

He stood there in the snow not knowing which way to turn with all the commotion going on around him and I saw his face. His eyes were darting around looking for anything, anyone to rescue him. His mouth began to curl down as his eyes squinted and before there was a sound, tears came. I was sitting in the 4 wheel drive pickup waiting because I didn't have the right shoes on to "rescue" the trapped and so I watched.

It was beautiful out, really. The landscape was covered with the white stuff and the snow continued to fall. We had been at a holiday party that the new owner of Yoder Cabinets held at his house - out in the country on the other side of Philomath. The weather hadn't been our friend while we were there and because the road there had taken us up and down hills I was a little concerned about the ride home. I had reason for concern and as I watched Josh and his family try to leave in there 8 passenger van I knew I was not to be disappointed. Rear wheel drive - not so good on snow covered roads that happen to begin up hill for the ride home. The van didn't get any distance from the driveway - as a matter of fact it lost ground so the men decided to leave the van there and half of the family would come with us and half with the host of the party - Jodi, Jake and Max riding in our pickup and Josh,Noah and Oliver riding in the other vehicle - both being 4 wheel drive.

That's when the process of unloading the van started and that's when I watched Jake begin his melt down. Jake was told to stand there while the men transferred car seats and Jodi transferred babies. I saw the fear in his little face and I had an overwhelming feeling of compassion. He was perfectly safe at the moment but he didn't know that. He was afraid of the unknown. He began to cry and I immediately pointed out to Warren what was going on. Warren moved as quickly as he could for Jake, scooped him up, and brought him to the pickup. The adults said what we could to comfort him but he was shaken. Jodi calmly told him why we were safer in this vehicle and continued to talk and console him whenever he needed it on the way home. He mentioned several times that he was holding his puppy. (equivalent to a security blanket!)

Later, safe and warm at home, I couldn't get the picture of Jake standing in the snow out of my mind.

I thought of how often I feel like Jake looked.

I find myself in situations trying to do what God's asking me to do but I'm scared. I forget that I am being watched and that my Father has a better, safer plan for me. I want to stay in what I know to be my comfort zone. (in this case the 8 passenger van) I forget all reason when I stand in fear of the unknown.

I had so much compassion for Jake as I sat there watching and yet he was so unaware that my eyes were even on him.

Lord, make me aware that Your compassionate eyes are always on me.

You are safe to obey

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's in the Air!

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere you go.... (come on, sing along.....)
  • We have snow outside (and more scheduled to come at any minute now!)
  • The stockings are hung (not by the chimney this year, but they are hung!)
  • Shopping is completed and decorating done.
  • The fireplace is burning even as I write this.
  • Presents still need to be wrapped. (maybe this afternoon!)
  • Holiday music is in the background.
  • I have plans to bake on Friday.
  • And BEST OF ALL Jason and Kellie come on Monday!!!!

Yes, Christmas is in the air. And I'm excited!

After all these years of being a parent I still want the season to be special for our children and grandchildren. I don't know that I do things to much different than what my parents did - probably because I have such great memories of those days. And, because we can look back and know what really lasts, we as a family aren't focusing that much on gifts this year. We are just glad to be together and have as much as we do.

We are counting family as our 2nd best gift and

Christ as the greatest gift of all.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rich and Pretty

Maybe I sounded a little whiny, whatever, it worked!

I had commented on Janine's blog that Josh wouldn't even share a bite of his cake from the Arthur's party.


last night, Janine herself, delivered (to my house!) 2 pieces of cake!

It is heavenly!!!!!

I won't tell my grandkids the secret - but in this case - a little whining worked!!

Thanks Janine. We are honored.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Totally unexpected

God has done amazing things to let us know that we are on the right path and yet I asked.

I really shouldn't have had too but I am a woman of little faith sometimes and have a God of big means. So I asked.

Wednesday night at church we had mission night. One of our missionary families from Brazil and another from West Asia shared with us as they are home for the holidays. At the end of the service our mission pastor told of our plans to go to Brazil. Warren got to share a little bit and then we were so blessed by some coming forward and laying hands on us and praying. We left in awe of God.

The next day, as it so often happens after a time of a spiritual high, I was in a desert place. And that's when I asked.

"God, I know that you shouldn't have to keep affirming to me Your plans. I know that You have done amazing things to let us know Your will for us and yet, today, I find myself weak and faithless. Could you give me something of encouragement to let me know we're hearing You?"

I kinda hoped I would hear right then. I didn't. I realized as I was going to bed that night that God hadn't answered that prayer and I was disappointed. I reminded Him again of the request yesterday.

It doesn't hurt to ask.

Then today, when it was totally unexpected, God in His goodness answered that little prayer with a 2 hour phone call from TaLisa! (her and her husband were the first missionaries sent out by our church and they are still in Brazil). We don't communicate that often but when we do I am always so encouraged by TaLisa and God totally used that gifting in her again today. She told me she had felt so strongly that she was to call me and even went to great lengths to get our new phone number. It was totally a God thing that we were able to connect when we did.

I didn't deserve an answer, but then, I don't deserve anything from God.

He just loves to give.

Friday, December 5, 2008

This Time of Year

This is my favorite season.

When we are talking about the four seasons give me summer any day. I love warm weather and the automatic smile that it gives when the sun is shining. I love the satisfaction of freshly mowed grass and the smell that comes with that... the sound of sprinklers spraying on the yard... the long evenings... the smell of a BBQ when out on the patio...the casualness of the time in dress and attitude.... Definitely my favorite of the four seasons.

But Christmas season? The best of all.

I have more memories of Christmas as a child than of anything else. Thanksgiving would come and the countdown would begin - in my mind anyway. Right about that time the Sears catalog would arrive in the mail and with it the game of "picking". It was played with one of my sisters each time and a game it was - there were rules. From each page a favorite thing was picked. We had to take turns from page to page on who got the privilege of the first choice and you could not pick the same thing on any given page as the other person. Eventually it was narrowed down to the one thing that each of us so desperately wanted for Christmas. The main present as it was so called. Why we thought we needed to decide from the catalog what we would request as our main present is beyond me as my mom seldom actually ordered from the catalog but that was how it was done by us kids and I remember literally hours spent "picking".

Shopping is another favorite memory. We, as the children, only went once in order to complete our list. Mom would take us to the "dime store" and there we were given a small amount of money to buy each person in the family a present. Mom would take us around in the store showing us at least 3 things that each person might like that fit within our budget, then she would go to another part of the store (no one worried about child kidnapping in those days!) and we would do our gift buying. I can still remember the excitement of choosing the perfect gift for some one else and believing, somehow, that my mother would be surprised on Christmas morning to see what I had given her! I can't say that at a young age I thought it was more blessed to give than to receive. I'm sure that my parents tried to teach us that but let's face it - opening presents was a big deal!

We usually spent Christmas Eve with family which would add to the anticipation of the big day. We were put to bed fairly late (with our mother hoping we would sleep but knowing it was unlikely) and than it would begin - the longest night of the year. I don't remember ever believing in Santa but we did always have stockings. We knew our parents filled them after we were in bed and we would wait and listen for the sounds of the job being accomplished. At last, the house was silent and then........the sounds of two exhausted parents!

Free - we were free at last! Well, that is, as long as we were quiet and snuck around. Always at least one sister was taken as an accomplice as we tip toed to the living room. I'm not sure if it's the decorator in me or the truth but the tree was always lit up and it was beautiful. Sometimes it was a real tree and sometimes a silver metallic one with a multi- colored wheel that spun around supposedly turning the tree into a different colors as it turned. I didn't matter which tree it was - it was magical! We would check our stockings to see what filled them to overflowing - usually candy, cookies and rice crispy squares along with a few small toys. (One entire night was spent in the bathroom, so as not to wake our parents, playing with our Barbies as we had gotten clothes for them made by our neighbor lady. One of the funnest nights of my life!) Periodically we would check the time and try to sleep as the minutes creeped by. Because of waking my parents one morning very early, they had set a time of 6:00 to be the EARLIEST we could wake them. (Imagine what caused that rule! By the way, I carried down this same time restraint with my own children!)

6:00, at last! We would wake the two of them and than more waiting...could they move any slower? Did we really need the fire in the fireplace BEFORE we opened the presents? Who cared that Christmas music was playing in the background? But these are the things I treasure in my memory and they were all part of it - my favorite thing about Christmas as child - the anticipation.

I remember very little of what the actual presents turned out to be. At the time I thought the gifts were the most important thing but I have come to realize, as an adult, that the best part of the season were the people, the feelings, the sights and the sounds.

The Christmas story being read by my Dad- Programs and plays having to do with the season- Cookies in Christmas shapes and candy that was made only at that time of year- Wrapping presents with the holiday music in the background- Shaking each gift and trying to guess what was inside- Putting tinsel on the tree,3 strands at a time so it didn't clump!- The Santas on the street corners ringing their bells so people would put their change in the red kettles- Driving around looking at "lights"-Wearing mittens and scarves on our annual shopping day to combat the crisp December air- Cocoa and cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning (which is still a tradition at our house)- Hearing my Mom singing quietly as she prepared Christmas dinner- The excitement of getting together with extended family and playing with cousins...
So many memories that fill my heart.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Can I say it enough?

I am a rich girl!

Happy anticipation.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Going, Going, Gone

I can't tell you what we are feeling tonight. Maybe we are just alittle bit numb or maybe, more accurately, we have so many emotions going on right now that it's hard to pin it down to just one.

We've sold the shop. Papers are signed.

We have started this journey of faith and now we are in the thick of things. It's good, it's exciting and it's a little bit scary. It is truly a miracle and it has been amazing to watch God do it.

I am sure the tears will come but right now we are too much in awe.