I Am Enough
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Today I'm grateful for being able to enjoy my faith in a variety of ways. This morning I led a portion of the service, along with the organist. Due to the blizzard, a large number of members were still unable to make it to church. There ended up being six of us at the service. The intimate setting seemed to open dialogue that we don't normally get to engage in due to the sermon. Today we decided to forgo the sermon in favor of singing carols and commentary ensued between the hymns. One of the things that we discussed is how Joseph really isn't mentioned in the bible past Jesus being found in the temple at the age of 12. We wondered aloud if Joseph had a last name that was mentioned in the bible, how old he might have been at the time Jesus was born, and various other things. The open dialogue was like an impromptu bible study and it was if the removal of structure brought us closer to God in that hour. Beautiful!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Traditions Hold Families Together
A thousand times, I've unpacked our Christmas decorations, lights and holiday baubles. Everything in the boxes reminds me of an event, a stage of life, or a small boy's best work.
As each adornment comes to rest in its proper place, something wonderful happens. I start to relive the years through memories of past holiday seasons. There's something about chubby faces framed by Mason jar lids and macaroni angels that loosen the tears and wash the soul.
I'm immersed in the wonder that I've been given another year to know my boys and husband. I recall with amazing acuity the seasons through which we've lived. With 20/20 vision, I see how situations we questioned happened for a reason, trials brought triumphs and little boys became good men.
I force myself to pause momentarily and remember the failures and mistakes. They have a way of keeping things in perspective.
Once the house is properly dressed, it's time for our family traditions to begin. Sweets, treats and delicious delicacies magically appear. Eggnog and hot chocolate flow freely, games and puzzles are called into service, parties planned, calendars coordinated and visits with relatives booked. We've always done it this way. These traditions are what bring a sense of security to our hectic lives.
Our holiday traditions have carried us through difficult times. When there was little money to buy gifts, our unchanging traditions diverted our attention from what we didn't have to what we did.
It never ceases to amaze me that hardly any of us can recall the gifts we received as recently as last year, but we remember exactly what we did, who came to visit and everything that contributed to the warmth and wonder of the season.
If you are anxious to start some holiday traditions in your home, look for guidance in the stories of Christmas or Hanukkah, or the festivities celebrated in your family's country of origin. Interview your parents or grandparents to learn about their childhood family traditions. Resurrect them. Emulate the activities of the happiest people you know. Watch what they do during the holidays and start doing that yourself. If you do something once and plan to do it again, it qualifies as a tradition.
I've never dreaded the close of the holidays or considered repacking our decorations a depressing chore. As I put everything away, I think about how quickly time passes, and how soon I'll be unpacking again. I daydream about what might happen in the next twelve months, wonder what possible challenges or dramatic changes we'll face in the coming year. Our lives could be altered drastically by the time I open these boxes again.
With the joy of the season past still lingering and the promise of the year to come beckoning, I cram the last box into its spot. I slide the door closed, hoping everything won't melt during the summer, haul out the vacuum and replace the furniture exactly as it was before because that, too, is a tradition.
SOURCE: Mary Hunt - Everyday Cheapskate NL
Well Nebraska has gotten pounded with its second blizzard of the month. This one began the 23rd and is scheduled to last through tomorrow. We've had 14" of snow so far with lots of drifting. Travel is pretty impossible and most of the holiday plans required refinement.
Here are a few pics to put it into perspective.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
"The Real Gift"
By Bob Perks
Over the next few days you will...
laugh a little more,
smile at strangers,
employ a little courtesy to others,
be thankful for what you get,
get more out of what you give,
believe more than you might otherwise,
hope more than usual,
try harder to do the right thing,
pray, although you might not always,
find peace in a moment,
and joy in a day.
It wasn't just that on this day a baby was born.
It isn't just that in believing in Him we are
promised life eternal.
By His coming we have learned to live the way
God planned. Not just this one day. This is
the way we should live every day of our lives.
Go back now and read the first 12 lines.
That is the real message. This is "The Real Gift."
"I wish you enough!"
I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.
"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."
I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.
P.O. Box 1702
Shavertown, Pa. 18708
Contact Bob email@example.com
If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit http://www.IWishYouEnough.com
and submit your email address.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
by Bobbi Hahn
It seemed like the perfect gift for my father.
You know how hard it is for adult children to select gifts for their parents. After all, what do they want and/or need, really? Flannel shirts and ties had been given in abundance over the years, and since he'd retired, shopping became even more difficult.
He was passionate about photography, but I wouldn't have had the slightest idea of what sort of equipment he might like.
He was a marvelous gardener, but the tiny garden at their row house in (before they were known as town homes) had no need of plants or seeds in December!
I had discovered a wonderful cookbook called Visions of Sugarplums, by Mimi Sheraton, and decided to make something for him from it because it contained recipes from all the countries that celebrate Christmas. He was of Czech descent, and the recipe for a sweet, braided bread containing almonds sounded perfect because he loved anything I made, and he also had a sweet tooth.
We purchased all of the ingredients, and my husband numbered the braids in the illustration so we'd be able to keep them straight. It smelled divine as it baked, and I was thrilled with its crusty golden color when I removed it from the oven.
We were living in by that time, so I packed it carefully with their other Christmas gifts and sent it off to Philadelphia.
I was not prepared for its reception. My father called with lavish praise for the bread, saying he couldn't believe his eyes when he opened the aluminum foil. With great emotion, he told me that when he and his brothers were very young boys, it was traditional for the bread -- called vanocka -- to be prepared every Christmas Eve.
I had given him back a beloved childhood memory, all without thinking! Legend said that every living being in the house had to partake of the bread before midnight of Christmas Eve, for luck. So all the dogs and cats, the occasional mouse, and whatever other creatures lived under their roof had to have a morsel.
That year, my husband and I began a tradition for our sons by preparing a vanocka for our home, as well. Cats and dogs were treated to a bite, much to the delight of our young sons.
I made the bread each Christmas until my father died. That year, I just couldn't bring myself to make it because it brought back memories of how happy I'd made him with such a simple gift, and it broke my heart that he would no longer enjoy it. I haven't made it in the several years since.
But this year, I'm going to have flour dust all over my kitchen again, and the scent of baking bread and roasted almonds will fill the air.
Our youngest son and his wife will be sharing Christmas with us, and it's time to remember the joy a humble loaf of bread unwittingly brought to my daddy.
-- Bobbi Hahn
Bobbi is a freelance writer, poet and calligrapher who lives with her husband and two cats beside a lagoon on a barrier island off the coast of . She says, "The book is still available, so if you're looking for some marvelous, traditional Christmas recipes, find a copy! It's amazing how similar some of the recipes are from one country to another, differing only by a few ingredients. One country might use almonds, another walnuts. I love these traditions!"
You can find a copy of the Visions of Sugarplums book Bobbi refers to here:
by Brian Tracy
I believe every person has within themselves inexhaustible reserves of potential they have never even come close to realizing.
I believe each person has far more intelligence than they have ever used.
I believe each person is more creative than he or she has ever imagined.
I believe the greatest achievements of your life lie ahead of you.
I believe the happiest moments of your life are yet to come.
I believe the greatest successes you will ever attain are still waiting for you on the road ahead.
And I believe, through learning and application of what you learn, you can solve any problem, overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal that you can set for yourself.
MAP WRAP. Many public libraries sell old books, magazines and periodicals. I buy old maps for 10 cents each and use them as wrapping paper for gifts. I buy plain ribbon from the $1 bin at my local craft store. While some people spend $20 for gift wrapping for the holidays, I spend $2. If only books and magazines are available, buy old copies of National Geographic with maps inside and use those. Melissa C., California
TURKEY TIP. Grocery stores often run good sales on whole turkeys prior to and after the holidays. I remove the legs and wings, and pack them separately in freezer bags. One turkey can make quite a few meals and it's easier to fit in the freezer once cut apart. Jill M., e-mail
GIFT GAME. My daughter started a game with the presents at Christmastime. We wrap gifts without name tags. Each person chooses a gift and, after opening it, tries to determine who it is for. We also wrap "junk" in fancy packages and watch faces as each gift is opened. Then, we hand out the real gifts after the laughter dies down. The important thing is to know your family and what would work with them to make it fun. Veronica B., e-mail
WARM THE SOUL. We fix a large coffee percolator pot of cranberry cider at the office every Friday during the holiday season. Cinnamon sticks and cloves go in the basket, and all clients and visitors who stop by are offered hot cider and donuts or cookies. Everyone loves it! Jane W., e-mail
SOURCE: Everyday Cheapskate newsletter
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Today included a trek to the Mormon Trail Center to take in Gingerbread on Parade. It is amazing to see the creativity involved! Take a virtual trip with me:
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
by Darlene A. Buechel
Last night, on my drive home from work, I heard a Country song that gave me a truly "Aha!" moment.
It wasn't the usual down-home twang, "I was drunk the day my mama got out of prison." No, this song was entitled, "I Get To" and had great lyrics beautifully sung by the group Blue County.
It tells the story of a boy who used to have to go to church, cut the grass, and help his dad. The boy grew into a man and, especially since his father's heart attack, says, "These days helping dad is something I don't have to do... I get to."
When he met his true love he used to have to say "I love you," until he dreamt she died. He concludes, "Now I realize I don't have to say I love you... I get to."
Wow! The meaning behind the lyrics really made me think as I trudged into the house and reached into the fridge for an OJ carton containing... 3 whole drops!
Instead of thinking I HAVE TO run to the store to spend $80 on groceries since Ben chugged a whole gallon of OJ last night, I'll think I GET TO buy groceries for my family because I have the money and I have a family, including 19-year-old Ben who inhales the refrigerator contents in Guinness Record Time
The next time I hear 21-year-old Dani bemoan the fact she "HAS TO" commute to college, HAS TO work part-time, and HAS TO squeeze in time for her fiance, I'll mention this song.
Since I regret the fact I didn't go to college, I'll stress she should be glad she GETS TO go to school, GETS TO work, and is lucky enough to have found a great guy who GETS TO help her make nine million wedding plans for the big day.
As for myself, I work full-time to provide health insurance since my husband is a self-employed dairy farmer. I put in my 40 hour work week off the farm, but Rich easily puts in 13-hour days because you HAVE TO milk those Jersey Cows twice a day along with all the other chores. Of course, he should look at the fact he GETS TO work as his own boss and fulfill his boyhood dream of owning a dairy.
Putting in those long farming days can be a challenge. Take this morning -- a cold December Saturday in Northeastern . The wind howled outside our bedroom window as the alarm clock beeps us awake at the ghastly hour of 4:45am.
After hitting the snooze a few times, Rich finally shut it off, gave me a kiss, and headed to the porch for barn clothes and boots.
But wait. He must have got my message when I talked about the song, since he turned around with a message of his own. "I know I don't HAVE TO trudge through the snow to go milk those bossies... I GET TO," he said with just a twinge of sarcasm.
Oh well. It's a start.
Speaking of starts, the Christmas season is once again starting to frazzle most folks I know. Along with work, school, or changing smelly diapers, they're expected to shop, wrap gifts, trim-a-tree, and bake tasty treats.
This year, I'll try to change my Grinch attitude of previous yuletides. Instead of thinking I was on my feet eight hours at work today and still have to wrap presents, trim the tree, and bake three dozen gingerbread cookies, I'll think, I GET TO wrap these great gifts. I also GET TO decorate this tree that will bring joy to family and friends. I GET TO bake these cookies that might make me gain three pounds, but at least we have enough food that I even have to worry about the zipper on my favorite jeans.
During this holiday season and throughout the New Year I think we should count our blessings and make the GET TO theory a part of our lives.
Remember, we don't have to cook, clean, and wrap in preparation for visits with family and friends -- WE GET TO.
-- Darlene A. Buechel
Darlene, a Wisconsin Cheesehead, wrote this story a few years ago. Since then her daughter earned her college degree, moved out and got married. Her son is still home gulping the OJ, her husband is still milking those cows, and she still GETS TO enjoy reading, writing, and life on the farm.
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.
-- an Irish Christmas Blessing
By S. Omar Barker (1894-1985)
I ain't much good at prayin', and You may not know me, Lord-
I ain't much seen in churches where they preach Thy Holy Word,
But you may have observed me out here on the lonely plains,
A-lookin' after cattle, feelin' thankful when it rains,
Admirin' Thy great handiwork, the miracle of grass,
Aware of Thy kind spirit in the way it comes to pass
That hired men on horseback and the livestock we tend
Can look up at the stars at night and know we've got a friend.
So here's ol' Christmas comin' on, remindin' us again
Of Him whose coming brought good will into the hearts of men.
A cowboy ain't no preacher, Lord, but if You'll hear my prayer,
I'll ask as good as we have got for all men everywhere.
Don't let no hearts be bitter, Lord.
Don't let no child be cold.
Make easy beds for them that's sick and them that's weak and old.
Let kindness bless the trail we ride, no matter what we're after,
And sorter keep us on Your side, in tears as well as laughter.
I've seen ol' cows a-starvin, and it ain't no happy sight:
Please don't leave no one hungry, Lord, on thy good Christmas night-
No man, no child, no woman, and no critter on four feet-
I'll aim to do my best to help You find 'em chuck to eat.
I'm just a sinful cowpoke, Lord-ain't got no business prayin'-
But still I hope You'll ketch a word or two of what I'm sayin':
We speak of Merry Christmas, Lord-I reckon you'll agree
There ain't no Merry Christmas for nobody that ain't free.
So one thing more I'll ask You, Lord: Just help us what you can
To save some seeds of freedom for the future sons of man.
"You made me love you, by just being you."
"I love you and that's the beginning of everything."
"Of all that this life has to offer, the thing I long for is to wake up in your arms...safe, secure, and above all, loved -- without love, the moment means nothing."
Missing you is like being lost in a black and white
world; everything seems so faded and lonely."
"I don't want to dream of you anymore. I want you for real."
"Saying I love you isn't half as important as meaning it."
"For yesterday's memories, today's love, and tomorrow's dreams I love you."
"If there's time for only three words in my lifetime, it would be, I love you."
"It's not my fault I love you. You're the one who started it." Sure happy you did!
"Man loves money, bees love honey, flowers love dew, and I love you!"
"Kissing you is like eating my favorite dessert. Once I start, it is hard to stop."
"If you're asking if I need you, the answer is forever. If you're asking if I will leave you, the answer is never. If you're asking what I value, the answer is you. If you asking if I love you, the answer is I DO."
"My love for you is like the air I breath. I can't see it, but I always feel it, and most importantly...I can't live without it."
"Love gives you courage, being loved gives you strength."
"The best part of life is happiness whereas the best part of happiness is love."
"You have given and taken a lot of things from me. You gave me a reason to smile, and took away my ability to love anyone else. "
"Love me when I least deserve it, because that's when I need it most."
"Never regret anything that made you smile."
"Love makes the strongest man weak and the weakest heart strong."
"I'd rather be missing you than loving someone else."
"The passions of love ignite, the emotions of love kindle, but the actions of love set the heart ablaze."
"When I wake up, turn over, and see you lying next me, I can't help but smile; it will be a good day simply because I started it with you."
"It doesn't make me feel as though you are quite as far away from me when we are looking at the same moon "
"Thinking you are in love is torture; knowing you are in love is comforting; feeling you are in love is to truly be alive."
"Love is like diving headfirst into the unknown, and yet not being afraid to hit the pavement."
"Love is not about finding somebody who is flawless. Love is about finding somebody with a good many flaws and loving each and every flaw as if it were a quality. "
"When you say you love me, the world stops for a moment, the stars stop shining, the moon stops glowing, the earth stops breathing, all that's alive is our love ... I love you."
"I love you more today than yesterday but far less than tomorrow."
"When I think of you...my heart smiles. "
"Love gives us a reason to go after what we want most."
"I'm all bruised up because I keep falling for you."
"I love you more than my teddy bear, but please, don't tell him . ."
An excerpt from
The Strangest Secret
by Earl Nightingale
George Bernard Shaw said, "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they make them."
Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? And every person who discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it out. We become what we think about.
Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety and worry - his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing... he becomes nothing.
How does it work? Why do we become what we think about? Well, I'll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell you about a situation that parallels the human mind.
Suppose a farmer has some land, and it's good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care. It's up to the farmer to make the decision.
We're comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn't care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant.
Now, let's say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand- one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds-one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land...and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.
As it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."
Remember the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants - one corn, one poison.
The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant...success...or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal...or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant must return to us.
You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will return anything we want to plant.
Hidden in the back of the tree, deep in the branches, Little Bell hung out of sight.
Her brass surface tarnished and scratched after four generations of Christmas. The
pretty glass ornaments hung on the outer for all to see, but Little Bell was out of
Little Bell looked through the branches. She saw the other ornaments and was
sad. She saw the ceramic Santa, with the package in his hands. The package was torn by a
little boy, who thought there was a present inside. Santa's head had chips from years of
being hung and put away. The Santa ornament was damaged, but still placed near the
front of the tree for all to see. Little Bell was way in the back - hidden. All the ornaments Bell hung with through the years, were at the front of the tree, but Bell was alone.
Little Bell remembered when she hung at the front of the tree. Christmas came.
Boxes were carried to the living room and opened. The tree was placed in the center the
large room. Hands reached into the boxes. Bell, her brass surface shining brightly, would
be lifted from a box. The hand would shake her, and she would ring with joy. Her sound
brought smiles to those who held her. She'd be placed in the front and center of the tree,
for all to admire.
One year, smaller hands held her. They helped the big hands. The little hands
hung Bell in the right place, but they could not leave little bell alone. They'd touch Bell
to make her ring, but the big hands told them, "No! You might knock the tree down."
Bell was hung higher, away from the little hands.
Over the years, the little hands grew larger, and the big hands allowed them to
touch her. They placed her on the tree and allowed the smaller hands to move her.
A game began. Bell was moved around the tree. The one who found her, got to
hang her in a new place. Bell was hidden in the deepest and darkest places of the tree.
She waited patiently, until the smaller hands found her, made her ring, and then moved
her to a new spot.
Little Bell was the favorite ornament on the tree. She was proud.
After many years, the little hands got bigger. They hid her on the tree, and Little
Bell hung hidden from view - forgotten. The game was over. Bell was sad. She hung
alone at the back of the tree.
Years later, one of the big hands handed Little Bell to one of the small hands that
had grown. "This is yours. Take Little Bell with you."
The next Christmas, Bell was placed in the front of the tree. Her brass was
tarnished, but her ring was pure. She made the hand thing smile. She was happy.
A few Christmas' later, new small hands were putting "Little Bell" on the tree.
They played the game bell loved. Bell waited for the little hands to find her. They moved
her around the tree. Little Bell loved the game. She was the center of attention again. The
other ornaments hung brightly on the tree, but Little Bell, who was hidden, was the one
the hands reached for.
Those new little hands grew bigger, and Little Bell was once again placed on the
tree, her surface dull and tarnished from years of use. She was placed deep in the tree,
hidden from view. The big hands still playing the game, but there were no little hands to
look for her.
Little Bell was sad.
One day, a big hand reached out to her, "This is a pretty ornament! Where did it
The other 'Big Hand' said, "That is the Little Bell. I played with it when I was a
kid. My brothers and I hid it on the tree and took turns trying to find it. Mom knew I
loved it and gave it to me, so her grandkids could play the game I did.
The new "Big Hand" took Little Bell, polished her brass, and hung her at the front
of the tree. Little Bell's brass reflected the lights and glowed with pride. The "Hand"
removed ornaments around Little Bell, so she would have her own special spot on the
tree. After years of hiding, Bell now hangs in a special spot at the front of the tree, but
prays for the day little hands will once again hide her.
Michael T. Smith
Sunday, December 13, 2009
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
We finally got our tree up yesterday and the house now looks ready for Christmas. I might not be, but the house is! I think next year I would like to try my hand at making a tree skirt; one that combines Hanukkah symbols and Christmas symbols. I also want to make David a Christmas stocking that is green and has a rack of billiard balls toward the toe. Alas, lots of ideas and little time.
Today is baking day: orange-cranberry-nut cookies, gingerbread cookies, and white chocolate apricot oatmeal cookies. I have a cookie exchange at work Tuesday so it will be nice to have most of the baking done. The only other thing I'll be making it is my grandmother's poppy cake.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Hello friends from the frozen tundra!
We are still digging out after a foot of snow was dumped on us Tuesday through Wednesday. Some places have 5 foot drifts. We were let out of school, work dismissed us early and the drive home was awful. We had a late start at work Wednesday and David and I made it in OK, but one of my coworkers lives in IA and he headed out to work, forgot his cell phone, slid into a ditch and waited 4 hours for help. The state patrol and the National Guard found him because the snow plows had been pulled off that highway during the time he was waiting.
Three days later and our street still isn't plowed; we're parking 6 blocks away and walking from the house to the car. At least the home is warm and we are safe; that's what really counts.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
1. My soul cries out with a joyful shout
that the God of my heart is great,
And my spirit sings of the wondrous things
that you bring to the ones who wait.
You fixed your sight on your servant's plight,
and my weakness you did not spurn,
So from east to west shall my name be blest.
Could the world be about to turn?
My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
Let the fires of your justice burn.
Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
and the world is about to turn!
2. Though I am small, my God, my all,
you work great things in me,
And your mercy will last from the depths of the past
to the end of the age to be.
Your very name puts the proud to shame,
and to those who would for you yearn,
You will show your might, put the strong to flight,
for the world is about to turn.
3. From the halls of power to the fortress tower,
not a stone will be left on stone.
Let the king beware for your justice tears
ev'ry tyrant from his throne.
The hungry poor shall weep no more,
for the food they can never earn;
There are tables spread, ev'ry mouth be fed,
for the world is about to turn.
4. Though the nations rage from age to age,
we remember who holds us fast:
God's mercy must deliver us
from the conqueror's crushing grasp.
This saving word that our forebears heard
is the promise which holds us bound,
'Til the spear and rod can be crushed by God,
who is turning the world around.
My husband and I had been happily married (most of the time) for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby.
I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.
God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son.
The next year God blessed us with another son.
The following year, He blessed us with yet another son.
The year after that we were blessed with a daughter.
My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and the oldest was only four years old.
I learned never to ask God for anything unless I meant it As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella."
I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs.
I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.
I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks.
I tried to be understanding...when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs .
When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.
In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children.
While I couldn’t keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close... I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.
I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God , and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too.
Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."
My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant.
My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine.
My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes."
But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes."
My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes."
A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing.
I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama."
Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived.
My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur."
The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.
"I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes
"For the rest of my life, I'll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur."
"My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher .
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
Had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
Feel honored to serve such a Leader who loves us
Monday, December 7, 2009
Hello everyone, I hope all of you are enjoying your holiday preparations and time with friends and family. We are slowly pulling things together for Hanukkah and Christmas. I'll get the tree up at some point this weekend but I need to replace lights first. Holiday baking will begin this weekend as well since I have a cookie exchange and Secret Santa at work next Tuesday. I sang in the Messiah yesterday with the Voices of Omaha and it was an incredible experience that I will be enjoying for years to come.
It was gorgeous and the sound in the hall was wonderful. I had never physically seen a harpsichord, much less heard one, before the concert so it was all very neat.
It is definitely a moving piece to sing and challenging to learn. We dedicated the Hallelujah chorus to our loved ones who are no longer with us.
Here are some pictures. I am the 3rd from the left in the picture with just the back row onstage.