Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas is Past

Family and friends were gathered around the tree, presents were opened, and everyone ate too much food. Is that how it was for you?

We did have a very lovely day. When we moved into our new home five years ago, we started a Christmas tradition of steak and shrimp. This year we deviated from the steak and tried a standing rib roast (with the shrimp). It was absolutely delicious. We also had baked potatoes, corn, brussel sprouts, and salad. For dessert....a Black Forest Trifle.....can I just say, Oh My!

I did make a snack that I found on my blogging friend, Katherine's, site. They are Spicey Cocktail Nuts and they were such a big hit. You just have to try them. I'll be making them again and again and again.

Now we look forward to 2009. This is usually the time when resolutions are made to either start something....or stop something. Some people vow to loose weight, stop smoking, exercise, be punctual, and the list is endless. What do you want to change?

Me? I'm starting today, This Day, to believe God. I'm taking Him at His word and putting my faith into action. I want it to be a verb instead of a noun. I want my faith to bridge the gap between my theology and my reality, to presently, actively, continually believe that God's power can do exceedingly abundantly above all that I hope or ask. Will you join me in this quest?

Peace and Joy,

Joshua 3:5 (NIV) Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

1 Corinthians 13 - A Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing. If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Merry Christmas and lots of love to you and yours!

Peace and Joy,

Romans 15:13 (NIV) 13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brrrrr, It's Cold Outside!

Happy Winter! Yesterday officially marked the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year. From this point forward, there will be more hours of day light. I say, YAY! This morning it was a crisp six degrees. That's just down right cold in my book. Yet, I am so richly blessed with a warm, cozy home; heavy clothing; dependable vehicle; good employment; and plenty of nourishing food.

The temperatures in the Middle East may not be as cold in temperature this time of year, but I'm sure to them the air seems crisp. Can you imagine being nine months pregnant and having to travel at this time of year? How comfortable do you think it is riding a donkey under normal circumstances yet alone being pregnant? Picture a journey on the back of a donkey over rough terrain, steep inclines, cold weather, pregnant, and no rest stops.

Consider also, the relief you would feel at finally reaching your destination after such a long journey. Yet once you arrive you are told there is no place to stay. All lodging is full. You're tired. You're cold. You're hungry. You can feel that time is nearing for your baby to make its appearance into the world. Finally, a place to's a barn filled with animals (have you ever been in a barn?) but at least it's dry and warm, and you can get off the donkey and rest.

These are the circumstances under which Mary delivered our Lord and Savior when He arrived in this world. There are people all around us in need of warm clothing, nourishing food, a kind word. Share the warmth of your blessings and Christ's love today, This Day.

Peace and Joy,


Luke 2 (NIV) 4So 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. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and 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.

Friday, December 19, 2008


The end of another week has come and with it begins the final stages of preparing for Christmas. The weekend is packed with activities: gift wrapping, cookie baking extravaganza with a dear friend, a cookie and white elephant exchange, and church. Wow! That's almost enough to make a person's head spin. But I so enjoy all the activity and find it to be a great stress reliever.

After the weekend activities have ended, it will be time to begin preparations for Christmas day. Most of the meal items are already ordered, on hand, or require a last minute purchase for freshness. But there are other preparations taking place as well. Preparations of the heart. This is the joy of sharing the Christmas story and the birth of Jesus with our precious family and friends. There are few times of the year when almost everyone's heart is open to receive the truth about Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. It's as though God has prepared the way for us to be the heralders of the good news.

We have the privilege of announcing the joyous news to others that Christ was born. Be like the angels and announce the birth of the Savior. He came to fulfill His promise, He died so we could live, He rose to give us hope. Share that hope today, This Day.

Peace and Joy,

Luke 2 (NIV) 8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Through the Eyes of a Child

One of my favorite things is watching children and their expressions of wonderment and awe as they discover the world around them. Their little faces just light up with a glow that is difficult to describe. Such was the case with a little girl named Allie who God brought into my life last night. Her family is one of many who are struggling just to make ends meet and who would have no Christmas gift under the tree without the help of others.

The person who had originally signed up for the annual "Shop with a Cop" had a last minute change and asked me to go in his place. Some people might think that my meeting Allie was by chance but I see it as a divine appointment. God brought us together on purpose. Allie's family needed to know that He was looking out for them. You see Allie's dad and mom are both unemployed and Allie has health problems.

We walked up and down the aisles choosing gifts and clothing for the young child and talked. We played with toys and read books. We rocked babies and bounced balls. We praised God for things that are and things that are not.

I can still see Allie's little face all lit up as we read her new book together, as she sang and rocked her new baby, as she picked each gift. I can also still see the relief and gratitude in the face of Allie's parents as they received God's love through a stranger.

There are so many families struggling just to put food on the table in today's economy. Companies are laying off people to keep their doors open, or they are shutting down completely. There is a great need today, This Day, to reach out an open hand to our neighbor. If you do, you will be truly blessed and see the true joy of Christmas through the eyes of a child.

Peace and Joy,

Matthew 25:34-40 (NIV) 34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Falling Behind

The last couple days have been extremely crazy busy and I feel like I'm falling behind everywhere; and by everywhere I, home, schoolwork. I just feel completely scattered. Do you ever feel like that? Do you have so many projects going at the same time that you don't feel like you're making headway on any of them? I'm there!

How do you get past that point? For me....I'm asking for help from the only One who can really give me what I need. He is where my focus needs to be....on Him. Isn't that what happened to Peter? Jesus bid him to come out onto the water....and Peter walked on the water! That must have been an exhilarating moment for Peter when he stepped out of that boat. Can't you just see the huge grin on Peter's face as he's walking towards the Lord? But then something happens to Peter. He starts to sink into the water. Instead of keeping his focus on Jesus, he looks at everything else going on around him.....the huge waves, the gusting wind, the boat in the distance (his comfort zone). When they returned to the boat together, the winds subsided.

Today, This Day, I am refocusing on Jesus rather than everything around me that needs to be accomplished. When Jesus is the focus everything else will fall into place.

Peace and Joy,

Matthew 14:30-32 (NIV) Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Are You Missing Jesus Because of Christmas?

That may seem like a funny question. After all, isn't that what Christmas is all about, Jesus? The answer to that question is .....absolutely. But are we so busy baking, decorating, shopping, visiting, and sending cards that we neglect to share the message of Christ's miracle birth? It is so easy to lose sight of the reason and get wrapped up in the season.

The season has literally turned into the "war on Christmas" and it has taken on a life of it's own. Retailers are vying for your every dollar. There are many people out of jobs or facing unemployment in these extremely uncertain economic times. This morning I read in one of the online newspapers that in Amsterdam they are having a "pink" nativity with two Marys and two Josephs to show support of gay marriages. Then there was the Walmart employee who was killed by people trying to save a dollar the morning of Black Friday.

It is sad how the world has turned this from a celebration of Christ's birth to a for-profit, political circus. But Christ told us there would be times like these. Times of tribulation and uncertainty that would test our faith; but He also told us to be of good cheer because He as overcome the world.

Share the message of hope and reach out to someone today, This Day, with the gift of Christ's love.

Peace and Joy,

John 15:5 (NIV) "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Prayer and Something New..."Tag, You're It"

There is a new song by Greater Vision that has really touched me. The message is a reminder to all believers that God hears our prayers and that we are important to Him. I especially like the part where he sings "He will hush the angels' praises, just to hear what you are saying." That gave me a wonderful mind picture of the importance of our prayers, of His desire to fellowship with us, that He gives us His undivided attention.

I love the fact that God's heart is towards us and He wants to grant us the desires of our heart. What is your heart's desire today, This Day? Do you seek healing, salvation of a loved one, or peace from financial worries?Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


I've been tagged by an artist friend of mine and I believe God is going to use this tagging to spread His message through this blog. I'm totally new to blogging. I hope you'll share her site (Diana Moses Botkin) and mine (SusanD) with your friends and have them stop by to introduce themselves. I think this game is fun for everyone and helps us get to know each other across the miles.

So here are some things about me, just in case you've been wondering:
1. I ride my own Harley Davidson motorcycle, and I LOVE it!
2. I used to breed, raise, break, and ride horses. I also had dogs, cats, ducks, and chickens. At times I miss all that, but I'm enjoying the freedom of not having that responsibility.
3. I'm almost three years cancer free! Praise God!!!
4. I love to travel, see new places, meet new people, and watch God work in the lives of others.
5. I have a grown daughter, and I also have two grown step-children who each have a child. Which makes me a grandma.
6. I'm related to Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks.
7. I work full-time and go to school part-time ( six to nine hours per semester) to finish my bachelor's degree, plus volunteer activities.

These "facts" are
perhaps more than you wanted to know about me. Or maybe they answer all those questions you've been having about why I'm the way I am. No? (They don't for me either.) Ah well.. on with the game. Now I'm tagging seven other bloggers; Pam (I love her recipes), Kim Wheeler (she makes the cutest wall hangings for children's rooms), Laurie Pace (who has been such an encouragement and blessing to me besides the fact that she is an awesome artist), Mrs. Peterson (my sister who will be so surprised by this), Vicki Shuck, Nel, and lagirl (who, like me, is brand new to blogging!).

So for the blogs I tagged, here's how you play the game:
1. Put a link in your posting to the person who tagged you.
2. List 7 unusual things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 other bloggers and let them know.

Peace and Joy,

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Miracle of Birth

Yesterday, one of my dear friends delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy. He weighs 9 lbs. 1 oz. and is 20 inches long. WOW! That's a big baby. As the proud daddy held little Ethan and talked with him, Ethan looked up and smiled. Ethan was truly content.

Recently, another dear friend gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. She weighed only 4 lbs 13 oz. She needed to come into the world six weeks early to meet her grandma. You see, her grandma passed away shortly after little Laurel made her appearance. There are bittersweet tears today at the joy of the birth of Laurel and the sadness of her grandma's passing.

I think that's how God must have felt when Jesus was born. It was a bittersweet moment to see His precious Son in human form knowing what He would eventually endure. But His was The Miracle Birth; Jesus who would offer Himself as a gift to you and me.

There is both joy and peace in the miracle of birth; and there is joy and peace at the acceptance of Christ's gift.....salvation. Accept His gift today, This Day, and know joy unspeakable and contentment beyond compare.

Peace and Joy,

1 Peter 1:3 (NIV) Praise to God for a Living Hope: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Traditions

I'm so excited for today. It's one of my favorite traditions. We're be putting up our tree. Our grandson, Jacob, will help us decorate it this evening. I always look forward to this event. Jacob is now seven (and a half) and for the last five years, he has been helping decorate the tree. There are ornaments that are exclusively for him to open and put on the tree wherever he chooses. This makes him feel very special. There is so much joy, love, and laughter, it's a wonderful time and very festive.

Some of our other Christmas traditions are Bible readings about the birth of Christ, the appearance of angels to the shepherds, the gifts of the Magi, and God's provision of hope.

Christmas traditions are carried through generations and remind us of special moments we shared with loved ones who are no longer with us or are too far away to join us for the holidays. The Christmas traditions we pass on to our children and grandchildren will bring to their remembrance the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas.

What Christmas traditions do you enjoy? What Christmas traditions are you passing on to your family and friends? A new Christmas tradition could start today, This Day, to welcome in and celebrate this wonderful time of year.

Peace and Joy,

Philemon 1:6 (NIV) I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Light Within

This morning on my way to work, I was enjoying the Christmas lights. In particular the star on top of a house. The "Three Wise Men" were guided by the star that led them to Bethlehem and the Baby Jesus. In all the heavens this was the brightest star, a beacon.

We are to be a beacon in this present world. A light that brings hope to the lost. We are not the Light, but we are a reflection of the Light. It reminds me of a song we sing with the children at church.....this little light of mine.....I'm gonna let it shine. We are to let the light of Christ so shine within us that others will feel His love and have hope.

It is not always easy to be that beacon. All too often we (I'm talking to me here too) are so wrapped up in our busy schedules, multi-tasking to get as much done in as short amount of time as possible, that we miss an opportunity to extend our hand and share our Light.

So today, This Day, smile, extend your hand in fellowship, and share the Light within you that has given you hope.

Peace and Joy,

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas bring a flood of memories. I love watching all the old Christmas movies like White Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph, and the list continues. There are new movies, mostly on the Hallmark channel, and some remakes of old favorites that I've been enjoying too.

What is the draw to watch those movies over and over.....year after year? Is it the warm fuzzy feeling we get with the "happily ever after" endings? Maybe it's our own desire to have that "perfect" Christmas. I think it's the underlying message of compassion and hope these movies bring into our heart. Isn't that why Christ came? To be our example of compassion.....a compassion so great He gave His life for us, and to give us hope.......hope in eternal life, hope in never being alone, hope that no matter what, there is always Someone in our corner.

So today, This Day, as you make memories of the Christmas season with your family and friends, remember the message of compassion and hope that Christ brings to you every day.

Peace and Joy,

Psalm 86:15 (NIV)But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Most Precious Gift

Today as I was putting on my jewelry, the finishing touches to my outfit, I picked up the cross my husband gave me. It is the first gift of jewelry he gave me and I treasure it. It is beautiful in its simplicity and meaning. I consider it one of my most precious gifts. But is it really? Because the most precious gift he gave me was himself.....his love.

God gave His most precious gift......His Son. This most precious gift came in an unusual form.....a baby. Something no one expected. That's how God is......He does the unexpected. "For God so loves
you that He gave His only Son, so that if you will believe in Him you should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) That is His most precious gift.....His love for you.

Others give their most precious gift every day. They lay down their life so others can live. Soldiers, missionaries, fellow believers in Christ are out there every day putting their life on the line for others to have freedom, and the freedom to believe. There are others out there feeding the hungry, providing shelter or clothing, or offering a kind word. That is their most precious gift....their love for others.

As you consider your gift giving this Christmas season, remember that today, This Day, the most precious gift you can give is your love. Share it openly, freely, in the manner that God has so freely given to you.

Peace and Joy,