Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year that Was

2010-how did you get here? Wasn't I supposed to have my flying car by now and spandex suit?
But, here we are rocking the 2000's.

Some things that stick out as I look over the year are,

Celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary
Speaking for the first time as the "Lessons from Aisle 12 Lady"
Sending my boy off to middle school (and surviving-both of us!)
Showing my kids the ocean for the first time-and them loving it as much as I do
Staples in the back of two kids heads
Dental work
Buying a popup camper-and being excited about using it
Camping with my little people and enjoying the quiet evenings around the campfire
Great Movies
J riding on two wheels-or should I say FLYING on two wheels?!!?

J heading off to first grade, and being gone all day for the first time in his seven years.
Seeing B in her first ballet outfit and crying through her first recital.

Making new friends
Watching old friends leave for places far far away to serve Jesus

God's constant provision
God's constant presence
God's constant protection
God's constant peace

And God's amazing grace! I said earlier this month that the older I get the more I say God's grace written on every page of my life-and that is so very true.

What about you? What sticks out to you as you look over 2010?
Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To Resolve or Not. . .

I took a very informal poll on facebook the other day about New Year's Resolutions.

The general consensus was, no resolutions. And I think I probably fall into that camp as well.

For many years I've made them, only to face February all ready in defeat.
I'm the kind of the person that once I fail, I have a REALLY hard time mustering the courage to start again.

The other side of the coin is: It's good to have goals, something to aim for.

So what about you? Do you set New Years Resolutions?
Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

We are at the Grandparents house for the rest of week, so far today we've played about 40 games of Memory, made cupcakes for Jesus birthday, built the worlds largest Hot Wheels track and now the littles are taking a much needed nap while I finish wrapping presents.
Tonight we will partake of my favorite Christmas Eve tradition-a candlelight service at our church.
Then home for snacks, games and the favored ONE present to open. I love that even though 2 of my kids know that it's their Christmas pj's they are still excited about that one gift!

But, while surround by those I love today, my heart cannot help but think of those who are hurting. This time of year seems to bring those hurts up front, even for those who wounds turned to scars long ago.

So, to those who are hurting and feeling alone, know that I am praying for you today.

Jesus came to heal the hurting, everyone of us. I pray you find Peace in Him this Christmas season!

A very Merriest of Christmas to each reader and even in your darkest hour you can cling to the promise of Emmanuel-God is with us!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Everything Means Something

I believe God does everything with a meaning and purpose.
I don't believe God deals in the random.

So with that in mind, these are always a few things about Christmas that I love to reflect on.

The Bread of Life was born in Bethlehem, The House of Bread.

The Lamb of God first visitors was a group of Shepherd's.

The Light of the World had only a star to guide seekers to him.

The Great Shepherd was born in a lambing cave with only their feeding trough to lay Him in.

There are many more and feel free to leave one that is special to you.

When I reflect on Christmas the thing that sticks out the most is this thought:
The only reason why Christ came is because of love.
Love for you and me. Love undeserved.
Love poured out over and over again from the beginning of time, but fully manifested that night in Bethlehem and ending on a cross on Calvary that lead to an empty tomb.

I pray this Christmas season you have felt the presence of Emmanuel, God with Us.
And, if you haven't I pray you will call out to Him and that you will look at every corner of your life and see Him there in every part.

Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do You Hear What I Hear?

We were taking my oldest to basketball practice tonight.
Couldn't find my keys so as usual we were rushing, rushing, rushing out the door.

Traffic was crazy and there were sirens in the distance.
My mind was swirling with all that needs to be done before we head to Grandma's house on Thursday.
The news came on our local Christian station and distractedly I heard the news of the day. None of it good.
I really paid it no mind though, as those I know who are hurting began to enter my thoughts and silent distracted prayers went up.

But, in the midst of the noise and chaos and clutter of my mind, I heard a little voice from the backseat, sweetly singing "Do you hear what I hear".
She'd been singing for awhile but I had just put it in the noise category that was swirling around me, until I heard that precious tiny voice singing the line:
A Child A Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light.

A tear sprang to my eye, as I thought about how distracted I can become by all that is going on around me that I forget the Child sleeping in the night.

He's here now, just like He was then.
So many missed Him then because they didn't stop and listen,just like so many miss Him now for the same reason. We don't listen, or see because we're so distracted.
I know I can be.
Often the things that distract us are important.
The sirens were going to someone who needed help.
My friends are hurting and in pain because of real things in their lives.
Things really do need to get done.

But, if I can stop and listen and remember the One who came to bring Peace-who is Peace himself suddenly I can see what this life is just a temporary stop on our way to live in Peace with the Prince of Peace someday.

A little tiny voice in the backseat during rush hour, reminding me what the season is all about.
Of course, of course that is what it was. And I am so grateful.
Monday, December 20, 2010

Lamb of God

Once upon a long night after a hard cry Somewhere in bethlehem
A baby graced the silence sweetly he's crying I AM EMMANUEL
Then angels gave him music
Shepherds gave reverensce and a message to the land
A widow held and cherished the god who became a man

Oh Lamb of God
Oh Prince of Peace
What tribute shall I bring to worship thee
I have no gold to lay at your feet
So lamb of God I offer me

Can you see the wise men?
A star did guide them searching all the earth
Till they found the one child the very godchild who ruled the universe
Did they know the lady's little baby was God and fully man
And everything they gave him he himself had made with his hands

I bring you all my hopes
I bring you all my dreams
I give you all my soul my mind and all my strength I wrap them all inside my heart to give to the
And I come
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him
O come let us adore him Christ

Oh lamb of God oh Prince of Peace
What tribute shall I offer thee
I have no gold to lay at your feet
So lamb of God may I offer me

See I have no gold to lay at your feet so lamb of God
Please let me offer me

Lamb of GOD I offer me

Written by David and Nicole Mulluns
Saturday, December 18, 2010

Around the World and back again. .

I was looking over the latest stats from the blog last night.
I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude! And grace. Sweet sweet Grace.

So, I just wanted to thanks to every reader, from Thailand (thanks Lanie!) to Russia to Slovenia to my facebook peeps-the ones I know and the ones I don't, those who've come over from other blogs.. .
Thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to read, to pass along to a friend, to leave a comment.
I don't ever take that for granted!

Thanks for helping to make this a great year!

Peace and Joy to you and yours in the New Year!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2 years and a 1000 prayers

Two years ago tomorrow our precious little girl went into our local children's hospital for kidney surgery.

Here's a pic from that day

and another

Here she is today

There were many highs and lows in those days before Christmas and I'll never forget that terrifyingly long week in the hospital.
Turning my baby back over to God for what seemed like every hour.

But He is good and kind and faithful, and with us every step of the journey- whether on the mountain top or down in the valley.

I've had to remember that again the past few days as some precious friends have walked a road of their own with their sweet 7 year old.

And then I think about Christmas, when God sent his only son to us to ultimately be our sacrifice so we could live with Him someday.
He is intimately and acutely aware of our pain and sadness as we watch our children struggle.
He is not unaware or unmoved by our feelings of grief.

What an unspeakable gift.

I pray you receive it this year.

So, two years and a 1,000 prayers later I am reminded once again of His love for us.
Thursday, December 9, 2010

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

One of the best versions of this song there is-make me teary every time I hear it.

Do you hear the bells?
Like the Angels singing
Open up your heart and hear them

Peace on earth
Goodwill to men
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Heart of Merry Christmas

I originally wrote this two years ago.
Although the world is a darker place now than it was then, I still stand by what I wrote.
Feel free to let me know what you think!

Let me say two things right up front.
1) I do think there is a cultural 'war' on Christmas. In our quest to make everyone happy and comfortable, many have taken things to a ridiculous level.
2) I LOVE Christmas! I mean, I love everything about Christmas!

So, that being said, the whole 'We Say Merry Christmas' thing often leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Not that I don't think we shouldn't say Merry Christmas-- at our house we say it to all we greet this season. (note I do make an exception to those CLEARLY of a different religious belief)
And not that I don't think it's just plain silly to say 'Holiday' tree and the like. Seriously, I think everyone can agree it's a Christmas tree.

My problem with the whole thing is the attitude behind it. If you are saying Merry Christmas to prove some kind of point- The point you are proving is that you have attitude. Wishing someone Merry Christmas should come from the heart! That you do want them to know the true meaning of Christmas not that you have an agenda.
Never once have I found someone not respond back to with a smile and a "Merry Christmas to you too!" when saying it to them.

I know we've drifted far away from our founding principles as a nation and I know that is scary thought for so many of us. But, I want to teach my children and show others around me that Jesus came so long go, because He loves us.
I'm not sure you can do that with a chip on your shoulder.

When I think back to that cold Bethlehem night in a stable far away, I think of the love and compassion of a God who sees us and loves us anyway.
I have a hard time believing He would want us to use that night so long ago as weapon for when the "World" acts like the "World" always will.
Jesus came to be the Light of the World and calls us to be light in a dark place.
I'm not sure how much light we're putting off while tearing someone else down.

So, I'll say Merry Christmas to the overworked check out person at Wal Mart and to the diligent bell ringer as I drop in some change, to the tired waitress who messed up my order, not because I'm proving a point, but because I do indeed hope they know the peace, love and joy of a very Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 6, 2010

Hair today Gone tomorrow

Maybe you're not as shallow as me. Frankly, I hope you're not!
But, I love a good hair cut and color and I especially love highlights.
I've always had a thick, full of body hair. Without fail, every time I've sat down in a hairdressers chair she has said.
WOW! You have thick hair!

I've always loved my hair.( I know that sounds so vain doesn't it??) It does what I want (usually) and can adapt to just about any cut. When you are the round shape and wear glasses, well, let's just having great hair is blessing you cling to some days.

Recently, I began to notice my hair was falling out. And not in strands. In Clumps.
I've known for awhile that I have a thyroid problem, but have basically ignored it even though all my nurse friends have told me that is bad bad idea. I have serious needle phobia and the other side effects of the non working thyroid I felt I could live with-that is until the hair started falling out. That got me on the phone faster than you can say " I'll take the blond highlights please!"
So, on the medicine I've gone and really I have felt so much better and have confessed to my nurse friends that yes, indeed they were very right.
But, the hair hasn't stopped falling out yet.

And let's just say I was having a fit the other day between flat ironing attempts.

It went a little something like this:

" Please, Lord not my hair! I've given you everything else haven't I?? My marriage, my kids, my ministry. What else do you want from me? My hair, are you kidding me? That's the only thing I've got going for me-really my hair too? You want my hair too??"
And once I shut my mouth long enough to hear, in the quiet of my soul, I heard:
"And why not your hair? Can't I use anything I want? You say you've given me your life, but you can't spare your hair?
How many women are sick and have lost their hair? How many vain women need to know beauty-all beauty is from within? Give me your hair and let me show you what I can do with anything!"

I know it may sound silly to some, but right there in the bathroom, I gave God my hair. The Bible says you know every hair on my head. You created me, I belong to you, all of me. Whatever it takes to bring you glory, I give to you. Whatever you need to remove from my life, I give it to you.

I wish I was deeper, but I'm not-God wanted my hair that day. I have no idea what will come and you know, still not thrilled at the pile of hair I see in the sink each day, but have come to the place of knowing God is the master of all and only has my best in mind.
And, I really hope he doesn't ask me for chocolate and Diet Coke next. :)
Friday, December 3, 2010

Selah - Light of the Stable

Another one of my Christmas favorites. Think this will stand the test of time and become a classic!
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Desperate to be Real

I've never seen an episode of Desperate Housewives.
Wish I could say it's because my viewing habits would never permit such a thing.
But, really it's because the name really hacked me off when it first came out.
Many a stay at home mom has felt the need to 'defend' herself and her calling to be at home with her kids.
I didn't/don't need the TV telling me I'm desperate too.

However, if you are an avid people watcher, like myself, there is something compelling about reality tv. And besides all the cooking/fashion competitions, I have found myself drawn the the 'Real' Housewives series.

But, as I was watching a recent episode, with yet another fight between the women. I was trying not to laugh as I realized that unless you could hear the words they were saying, you would have never known they were angry, because their faces never moved.
The eternal quest to stay young, has caused them the inability to express their feeling in any other way besides shouting.

Lest, you think I think I'm so above that, let me just state that I've got some major areas where I could use a little botox -but seriously have you seen the SIZE of those needles???
Chicken I am. Needles and you know, that whole putting a flesh eating bacteria in your face have steered me away from that path.

But, I got to thinking how in my circles we may not Botox, but we certainly can be just as plastic. Ok, perhaps I shouldn't speak for others and only for myself.

It seems to me though, that often where you should find the most genuine people is where you find the most plastic, fake people.
Never a fight with their spouse. Children who never roll their eyes or talk back.
Bank accounts always full. Fulfilling jobs. Extended families that there is never any conflict between. Pornography, never heard of it. Lose my temper, why I never heard of anything so outrageous.
Everyone and everything in our lives is fine, just fine, thanks -and you?

Not that we need to verbally throw up on everyone we meet and tell them every struggle we are having whether it's major or minor.
But, we've got to come to a place were we are real.
The world doesn't need any more plastic fake people.

I've heard my whole life how Christians are to be 'set apart' from the world. We are not to blend in but stand out. Be different.

Yes, we are set apart. Maybe one of the things we should be most set apart about is our genuineness.
Be the kind of people that when someone is in need or trouble we are the first people they think of talking to-not the last.

The older I get the more I find myself so desperate to be real. Maybe it's because real is so rare.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Downhere-How Many Kings

One of my favorite Christmas songs.
Happy Dec. 1!