Thursday, December 08, 2016

The Tale of Two Christmas Trees

This first Christmas tree is where Renee tries to soothe the sorrows of her soul.  She has fallen quite suddenly, yet very deeply, in love with the Daschund down the road.  I'm sorry to say that her love remains quite unrequited.  Thankfully, "Shorty" will only be hanging around in the neighborhood temporarily, as his owner is a contractor here for a short-term job.  This will make it easier for my heart-sick girl.
The second tree is one that I saw on a recent hiking trip deep in the Pacific Northwest.  I believe that it not only strengthens the case for Bigfoot, but shows that even he slows down at this time of the year and takes time to show some Christmas spirit.

Monday, November 28, 2016

We Love The Church, We Need The Church.

A few weeks ago, the pastor of our church, a pretty well-known and respected theologian and Bible teacher, came to our little on-campus Bible Study for a Q&A.  He was asked why the church must be central in a Christian's life.  He answered, not as a theologian, but as a mature man who's experienced both joy and trials in life.  He addressed us as one speaking "from the hearse."  He told the students that for them, the college years are fun and exciting.  The world is your oyster.  You are constantly moving and shaking in college, and there's never a dull moment.  For the most part, college kids are strong and healthy, and have few responsibilities (other than themselves.)  Every night is pretty much a slumber party.  But . . . that all changes.  Job pressures come.  Marriage and family pressures come. You are not just responsible for yourself anymore, your decisions affect your families and friends.  Life becomes full of uncertainty, and you need the wisdom of older people who've been in your shoes, and you need the strong backs and energy of younger people who can help you.  We are all needy, and we need each other.  Thank God that He has given us the help we need in the people around us-the people in our churches who know and care for us.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Playing the Martyr, Telling the Truth.

As I was reading today, I suddenly remembered a scene from many, many years ago.  I was a very young newlywed.  It was Halloween, and a friend of mine had invited me to a small dinner party at the home of a friend of hers.  It would be a small and casual gathering.  I went with my friend, and as the host was introducing me to the other guests, I recognized one of the guests as a guy I had known in our church's high school group.  I hadn't seen him in years, but I remembered the kindness he had always shown me in high school, so I was very happy to see him again.  Upon hearing that I went to church, the host loudly ridiculed me and my faith.  My high school friend, who had long since abandoned the church and her teachings, came to my defense.  He showed me that evening that despite abandoning his faith in God, he had not abandoned the virtue of kindness.  I was so thankful for him that night, and I am still thankful that he stood up for me at that most awkward scene, when I came to a dinner party for laughter and fun, and found myself the target of ridicule and humiliation in the home of a stranger.  I am thankful for the virtue of kindness, wherever and whenever it is shown, by whoever it is shown, and I pray that kindness will grow and flourish in the world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An Exciting Time to be Me.

Of the many passages that I've been meditating on, I want to share this:  Esther 4:14.  Queen Esther finds herself in an unexpected and difficult situation.  She asks her Uncle Mordecai for advise, and he gives her his advise and ends by saying to her, "Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"  My position is not royal, but it is unexpected and difficult . . . it's a sticky situation, to say the least; but God, being all-seeing and knowing the future, put me in this position.  Good came from the way Esther handled herself and her situation.  I pray for a similar outcome.  I pray that, with God's wisdom and mercy, the way I handle myself in this situation will result in good for many.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Giving Thanks

Very unusual for me, I find myself unable to make myself go to bed at 11:51 pm.  Maybe I am just enjoying the sound of the rain on the rooftop too much.  Maybe I just want to stretch out this slow, comfortable night at home with my husband upstairs working and my sweet little girl covering me with kisses on the couch.  Maybe my mind is too full of the many things for which I have to be thankful.  Tonight was the Thanksgiving service at church, which is one of my very favorite services of the year; we get to center our hearts on God before the craziness and  commercialism of Christmas begins.  This Christmas will be like no other before due to the sudden arrival of family in town.  We don't know how the season will go.  It could be great.  It could be disastrous.  What we do know-what Mr. M and I do know-is that we have much for which to give great thanks to God, and that is exactly what we will do.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Current Adventures of Mine

This is a tough season-not season as in the Big Four, but this period of time in my life.  Gone is the carefree life I once led.  Maybe, hopefully, it will come back someday, or at least a semblance of it.  Maybe not.  I will say, though, that this difficult and uncertain season has brought me closer to God than ever.  I've come to the end of myself, the end of my own strength and patience and love and everything good, and all that is left is to come before God and beg Him for help.  I come to Him with so many questions-mostly questions of balance, like, "How do I balance and think and act Biblically about preparing for the future (Pro. 6:6, 31:25), and also not worrying about tomorrow (Matt. 6)?  This is a hard adventure, but with God's grace, good will overcome evil and He will take care of me throughout.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Knowledge is Power . . . I hope.

I find myself in deep water, sometimes barely able to tread the surface.  I have just ordered several books promising help and hope for the particular circumstances in which I find myself.  A friend who was comforting and counseling me about these circumstances said that I would learn a lot about myself through this ordeal.  She was right.  I have learned that I really try and prepare myself for the future by doing my best to collect stories of how other people swam through the same waters that I am in right now.  I am hoping these books will help me stay afloat, maybe even learn to navigate the waters well and swim with grace and confidence.