Monday, December 31, 2007

Pondering the Outgoing Year

As I sit here watching the clock ticking closer and closer to the end of a year, I can't help but to think back on the events of the year.

It has been a good year.

It has been a hard year.

Caring for my mother-in-law for a few weeks early in the year. I now have a greater compassion and respect for caretakers of sick family members.

Adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom and not having a convenient "title" to define myself. BK and I have laughed and cried...danced and played baby dolls...gone to story-time at the library and to playdates with little friends.

Realizing that I can handle working from home...although my house has suffered from neglect.

Becoming involved again in a church that I left several years ago.

Being made more aware than I ever have been (or ever wanted to be) of the living conditions of the poor in the world...specifically in India...though the travel and ministry of my great-nephew Josh.

Enjoying extended family...welcoming the arrival of a new baby and celebrating in the news of another one on the way...so glad that more family members have moved locally so that we can see them more often.

Celebrating the accomplishments of my handsome, smart grandsons...taking them to church with us...picking them up for one of our many adventures...watching them run and play in my back yard.

Love to you all as we begin a new year...and a new chapter in our lives.

Goodbye 2007...and welcome 2008!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Blessed

My grandson went to see A Christmas Carol this year and now his favorite saying is "God bless us all...every one!" Just like Tiny Tim, his heartfelt wish can't help but put a smile on even the most hardened scrooge.

My family is blessed beyond measure. Are things perfect? No...I assure you that they are not. Are we rolling in money? Nope. Do we all get along...all the time? Umm...can't say that we do.

But we are blessed nonetheless.

Baby girl is feeling blessed with her new doll house. I arranged it so perfectly (or so I thought), only to have her rearrange it...again...and again. Oh well, I guess that shows a creative mind. By the way, mommy doll has spent most of the day in the kitchen, while daddy doll has lounged on the bed. Don't ask me what that's about.

Photobucket

Thursday, December 20, 2007

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I was reading another blog this week. The author was telling anyone who was interested about the exploits of her husband. Not only did she write about how many times he had messed up that week, she went on to number them (1..2..3...) and with great relish she shared how foolish he had been and how much he had let her down.

As I read this blog, it was funny at first. Then I couldn't help but cringe as I thought about the effect that her words had to have on her poor husband. A husband needs his wife's respect...that's how God made him.

The Bible tells a husband to love his wife, but the wife is told to respect her husband. It doesn't say anything about the wife having to "earn" her husband's love...and neither does it say that the husband must "earn" his wife's respect. Like the Nike commercial...we are told to just do it.

You might ask, "What can it hurt just to tell a few friends or family members what he has done this time?" Have you ever noticed that when you are with a group of women and one tells something derogatory about her husband, others feel the need to chime in and try to out-do the others? Before long, we have turned these men that we love into a joke...into bumbling, clueless buffoons who can do nothing right.

Marriages today have a 50% chance of ending in divorce. I can't help but wonder how much disrespectful behavior plays a part in that statistic. With our mouths we can build up...or tear down.

This was a reminder to myself to watch what I say about my husband to others...because it does matter.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Celebrate Him

As much as I love Christmas...carols...parades...good eats...decorations...parties...gifts...I wonder what it would be like for one year to skip all of the "stuff" and just focus on the One whose birth we celebrate during this time. Sometimes, despite my best intentions, it is hard to see the baby in a manger past the big, flashing "Toys - 40% Off!" sign.

We rode around a few nights ago, sipping on milkshakes and looking at Christmas lights. Among the "Oooo's" and "Ahhh's" of the beautiful displays, we saw a cross beaming brightly in one yard. Some might wonder "Why the cross...what does that have to do with Christmas?"

It has everything to do with Christmas. Look beyond the twinkling lights and see Jesus. Christ-mas. The baby born of a virgin. Emanuel. God with us.

As sweet as the scene is with the baby all wrapped in a manger, how thankful I am that the story did not end there. Even as this tiny baby nursed at Mary's breast, the plan was already set into motion. He was born to die on a cross...to save us...from ourselves...to rescue us from a life separated from God because of our sin.

The baby in a manger was a miracle indeed. But the cross is the greatest miracle. To think that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would be willing to leave Heaven and come to Earth...to be killed as a sacrifice...for us...for me. The ultimate sacrifice that would forever offer hope to the hopeless. His blood that dripped from that cross so long ago bought my freedom.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that everyone who believes in Him will not die, but will have eternal life. (John 3:16)

That is real love.

That is the real Christmas.

Celebrate Him.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Direction For The Journey

On the way to church Sunday, I turned down a different street to avoid traffic...and long traffic lights. One of my grandsons in the back seat said, "This isn't the way to go to church Gran D!"

I told him "Yes it is. You can't always tell where you are going just by looking out of the window."

It occurred to me later just how true that statement is. Our life journeys often have twists and turns. Sometimes it seems like we are at a dead end. Often we think that we may have taken a wrong turn, only to find out later that it was the right path after all.

Wouldn't it be great if we had an internal GPS navigation system so we would always know where to go? Well, as Christians we do have one...the Spirit of God that lives within us. He doesn't need a Global Positioning System to know where we are...or where we are going.

I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. (Proverbs 4:11 NIV)

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. (Exodus 15:13)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Baby Girl's Mini-Concert

video

BK just LOVES to sing. I took this clip with our digital camera, so the quality isn't great...but she can belt 'em out can't she?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Superwoman I'm Not

I wonder why is it that this time of the year especially I find myself running around like a chicken with my proverbial head cut off? I tend to do this at other times of the year too. It seems like there are days that just don't have enough hours for everything to fit inside.

Upon reflection, it is not that there is a lack of hours. What really is going on is that I try to pack too much into those 24 hours.

I say yes. I volunteer. I want to help. That's not a bad thing, right? It doesn't seem like a big deal at the time. Surely I can fit that little thing into my schedule. The problem comes when all those little things turn into several big things, eating away at my time and energy...leaving just the left-overs for my family.

It's hard to maintain balance...especially for stay-at-home moms. Because we don't have to sit at a desk at work all day, it is assumed that we have time to devote to countless activities. Throw a home-based business into the mix and the juggling goes to a new level.

I have to remind myself over and over and over that my number one priority has to be my family and my obligations to them. If I am so busy with my "stuff" that my house is neglected (this is a challenge for me), or don't take time to plan our meals so we end up eating out (spending money that we don't have and eating food that is not nutritious), or getting so stressed that I am unable to be the wife and mother that I am called to be, then there is a problem.

When my priorities are out of whack it can cause damage to my marriage, my finances, even my health. I cannot be all things to all people...as much as I might want to try.

So if you run into me and hear me muttering...

"I would love to but I just can't right now..."

"That sounds great, but I just don't have time..."

"I'm sorry...not this time..."

...just know that I'm practicing putting first things first.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Cards

I love Christmas cards. I love to send them and I love to find them in my mailbox. This year I mailed/handed out 85 cards! When I go through my Christmas list, it reminds me of how blessed I am to have so many people in my life. Some are old friends and some are new. Some are family members in other states and some live across town. Some I haven't spoken to in a long while and this time of year makes it easy to keep in touch.

A lot of people don't send out Christmas cards any more...either because of the time it takes...or the cost involved. But I love knowing that hopefully my cards will bring a smile to the recipients and help to make their holiday a little more cheery.

By the way, a friend sent me an email saying, "You know those two or three (or more) extra Christmas cards that you have left over and never know whether to keep or throw away? Here is a very good use for them. The Central MS Correctional Facility is asking that any unused or extra Christmas cards you have to be sent to the chaplain for distribution to inmates to send to their families and children that they are unable to be with this Christmas."

Send cards and envelopes to:

Central MS Correctional Facility
Attn: Chaplain Kelly
Box 88550
Pearl MS 39208

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sweet Smile

I know all the reasons folks warn about posting pics of our kids online...and I agree for the most part...there are some bad folks out there that do bad things. But I just HAD to share this photo of my sweet angel. She is enjoying Christmas so much this year.

By the way...the toy she is holding sings "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"...Sesame Street style. Grouch sings "We wish you a yucky Christmas and a lousy New Year."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bags To Freedom

My nephew Josh is still serving with a mission team in Calcutta. He has been there since August and will be coming home Dec. 15th. He posted something so cool on his blog today. Apparently, Calcutta has a HUGE sex-trade. There is an organization that is offering women a way out of this life...and Josh knows some of the folks involved in this organization. They teach the women a trade and pay them a fair wage. They make beautiful bags...and they are available for sale.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The Freeset Story
www.freesetbags.com

Each Freeset Bag tells a story of one woman's journey to freedom. She used to stand with 6,000 other prostitutes in a small but well known area of North Calcutta. She didn't choose her profession; it chose her. Poverty does that. It robs people of their dignity and children of their innocence.

She still lives in the same area, but instead of selling her body she makes Freeset Bags. Now she has choices, the choice to work decent hours for decent pay, to re-establish her dignity in her community and to learn to read and write. Now her daughter won't have to stand in the street selling her body like her mother used to. Freedom has been passed on to the next generation.
By purchasing a Freeset Bag, you become part of the story of freedom. Thank you!


These bags are available for purchase on eBay: http://stores.ebay.com/Asha-Imports_Freeset-Bags_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZ1QQfsubZ4069909QQftidZ2QQtZkm

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Nothing But The Baby Will Do

We drove to a local church tonight to see a live Nativity. By the time we got there, it was sprinkling a little, so we couldn't stay out very long. We parked and crossed the street. BK was so excited to see Baby Jesus. The live sheep and donkey were nice, but she wanted to see the baby. Mary & Joseph were alright...the shepherds were cool...but she had to see Baby Jesus. Her excitement was contagious. She cried and cried when we left because she just loved being there.

This year, I hope to let Christmas be a constant reminder that the baby who was born so long ago, came to give us life...and hope. I'm thanking Him tonight for letting me see Him fresh through the eyes of my sweet angel.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Luke 18:16-17

Four Words

A king called all of his wise men and counselors together for a meeting. He addressed them and said, "I want you to go and think, read, and research. Consult the wisest and most learned men in the land. Spare no expense."

"I want you to find the ONE statement that will get me through all situations in life. Whether I am on top of the world or in the pits, find that statement."

"I don't want to learn long and complicated philosophies. I want one simple statement. Find it or write it; I don't care, just bring me the statement."The men left and consulted for months. They finally returned and handed the King a scroll. The King unrolled the scroll. On it was written four words.

"THIS TOO SHALL PASS"

That was it.

The wise men explained. When you are on top of the world, that is but a fleeting moment, things change, always remember, this too shall pass. When you are in the pits, all nights are followed by day, at your lowest moments remember also, this too shall pass. All external circumstances and material things change. No matter what your circumstances, remember, THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

The wise men reminded the great King that this would get him through his earthly things but the truly wise knew there were things beyond this earth and life. . .Things that were eternal. True wisdom they reminded the King was in the ability to recognize the fleeting temporal things of the material world from the truly eternal things. O Great King they said, "Most of the things that you worry or gloat about are temporary and our four words apply."

For most of your situations. . .THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

From Mountainwings.com

Helping The Fatherless

"Are you ready to be stunned? The United Nations counts 143 million kids around the world as orphans. 143 million innocent children are waiting for love and support. That statistic simply makes my heart ache. The Orphan Crisis Recognizing that the severity of today's orphan crisis is bigger than any one organization, Focus on the Family has joined together with FamilyLife and Shaohannah's Hope to launch a long term, nationwide campaign called Voice of the Orphan™. This campaign seeks to raise the awareness of the orphan crisis and spur fellow Christians to action." Jim Daly, President and CEO, Focus on the Family

This quote is from an email that I received this morning. Like Jim Daly, it makes my heart ache as well.

If you have ever thought about adopting, but have been intimidated by the process, there are some excellent resources out there. One is the website http://www.voiceoftheorphan.org/Display.asp?Page=AdoptionMain

On this website, there is also a great document to download called The Eight Steps of Adoption. http://www.familylife.com/hopefororphans/AdoptionGuide.pdf

God is calling His people to make a difference in these children's lives...with prayer, giving...and maybe even opening our hearts and homes to offer a child a family.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

'Tis the Season

We had a full day today. First, we picked up the Bubbies (three of my grandsons) and took them and BK to have breakfast with Santa...and later to a Christmas Parade. Tonight, we took BK to the Singing Christmas Tree at Belhaven. The weather couldn't have been nicer. We parked close, opened the back of the van and crawled in to enjoy the sights and sounds. Afterwards, we ended up at Cracker Barrel for dessert...quite a day!

I have decided to end the night with a song.

Everyone...sing along!

On the first day of December...my family spent with me...

Twelve carols singing...
Eleven jingle bells ringing...
Ten pancakes eating...
Nine elves seating...
Eight cycles zooming...
Seven bands booming...
Six Shriner's weaving...
Five thousand cars leaving...
Four children giggling....
Three Santa bellies jiggling...
Two pooped out parents...
And a good night of rest for us all!