Saturday, December 28, 2013

Goodbye 2013

Last night I talked with a friend who said she could hardly wait to say goodbye to 2013. To say that this has been a rough year for her and her family would be like saying the ocean has a little water. I can sympathize...a lot of us can. We are all hoping that as December 31st passes by, somehow we will finally be able to put this year and all its ugliness behind us and move forward into a fresh new year.

I admit, I love New Year's Day. It is my most favorite holiday, simply because it represents a new start. I need a new start...again.

For many, 2013 has been a tough year. At times, it seems that the world has gone crazy! All this was on my mind the other night as I went out to do some errands and discovered it was dark. I don't mean your normal, night-time dark. It was DARK! To make matters worse, for some reason it seemed that half the street lights on my route had mysteriously gone out. The headlights on my van seemed to be swallowed up as I drove to my destination. It was more than a little scary...for those of you who might be scared of the dark. 

To make things even stranger, when I got home I started to watch on old Dr. Who episode and in that episode, shadows could creep up on you and eat you! (Well, actually it was some sort of weird "Dr. Who piranha" that lived in shadows, but that's not the point!) It was a REALLY dark kind of night. I posted something on facebook about it being dark outside and a friend sent me a post. It said that this particular night was the darkest night in over 500 years. Some sort of solstice lunar eclipse or something. All I knew was it was DARK! Yet the next morning when I got up, the sun was shining. It hadn't gone anywhere, even if I couldn't see it.

I was reminded of the old saying, "it's always darkest before the dawn!" Okay, maybe that's just a saying, but I like it...and by now you can see where this post is going.

Each day with God is a new beginning. We have not yet see what He has planned, but we have His promise that somehow He will use it for our good and His glory. Each day is filled with possibilities that He has placed before us. Each day is another chance to get it right.

As hard as 2013 has been for many of us, if we look back, we can see how God has carried us through it all. After all, He did not promise us that life would be easy. Quite the contrary, He let us know that life would be HARD, but He did promise that He would go through it all with us...and that He would never leave us or forsake us no matter how much it seemed as if He had.

As 2013 draws to a close, I reflect over the year. For the past four years I have chosen one word to help guide me and keep me focused. One year the word was "hope" and another "anticipation". This year it was "move." As I look back over 2013, I have seen this word played out in ways I could not imagine. There have been times it was easy to see as in my move to another school and there have been other "moves" that fewer know about. As I look back through it all, I can see how God has been there.

As 2014 approaches, it is comforting to know, God is already there. He has already walked through each day of the coming year and He has made a way. It will not catch Him by surprise. Perhaps that explains my "one word" for 2014. But that's a blog for another day.

Goodbye 2013. Can't say I'm all that sorry to see you go, but I will remember you...because in the midst of all that has come, you've helped me to see God. No matter how dark the night, He has been there. Thank you for that.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This Mom's Christmas list

This Christmas, I have decided to make a Christmas wish list.

No, I'm not asking for world peace or freedom from diabetes, although both would be wonderful. I'm also not asking for diamonds, or  a new vehicle, or even clothes (and certainly not a pajama gram!) All those things are nice, but I'm far more realistic with my wishes. Since no one other than a few friends and my husband read this, I feel free to be honest (as if I have ever been anything else!) But this year I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, Santa will read my blog.

This is my version of a mom's REAL Christmas wish list - room by room - but mostly from the bathroom since that is where this random thought began!
      *A new toilet seat. What is it with these? I admit I usually purchase some of the least expensive ones since with teenagers in the house these aren't exactly treated with kindness, but come on! These wear out way too fast. Oh, and by the way, I'd REALLY like to have it cleaned by someone else than me!
      * Toilet paper, soap, and razors. Again, two teenagers in the house....enough said. Not complaining because I love my kids, but seems like I'm having to restock these all the time!
      *Towels that match, or at least that aren't frayed! Having them last more than one bath would be nice as well. Why do kids think that they should use a towel once and then drop it to the floor?
      *Speaking of towels, it would be really nice to have some dish towels not stained from years of coffee and tea spills.
      *A new broom that actually gets put back where it belongs.
      *Trash that gets put in the outside container WITHOUT a reminder.
      * Plastic containers with lids that match and can be found together - no, butter dishes do not count. They only make me think we have butter when we're out...let's go ahead and add more butter to the list!
      * Someone to figure out why we have so many fast food cups would be nice. Replacing them with matching cups would be even nicer...and no, matching fast food cups don't count!
     *Dishes that find their way to the sink without me or my husband helping. Heck, why not dream big. Dishes that actually get washed, dried and put up without our help would be amazing!
      *Food in the pantry two days AFTER I spend a small fortune restocking everything. 
      *Dogs that have already been bathed, brushed, and fed
      *A clean car
      *Laundry caught up AND put away!
      *Pillows that are not too hard, not too soft....just right.  Oh, and not stained from years of use. I'd ask for matching sheets, but no one sees them but us and I'm usually way too tired to care.

Yep, my list just goes on and on. There's one thing that I want more than anything else. It's what every mom longs for. I want to see my children happy with what they receive and I want to hear those four words that I know are meant but rarely heard. "I love you, Mom."

I know it's asking a lot, but I still believe in miracles.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Friday, December 20, 2013

no excuse

Been thinking a lot lately...about things we use as excuses. We all do it. We "excuse" what we do by saying, I can't help it; this is just the way God made me. To coin an old phrase - Hogwash!

Perhaps I can explain in a "gentler" way. I'll use something in my own life as an example of what I mean.

I am a diabetic. People often ask me questions about diabetes and how, at the age of 53 I could be diagnosed with this disease. No, I am not overweight. No, it does not run in my family. No, I don't really know why I have this disease. What they really want to know is "What can I do to make sure I don't get it?" It kind of brings to mind the story of the man that Jesus healed. Everyone around wanted to know did this man sin or his family. Neither - but it was allowed so that God might be glorified.

Now, I'm not sure why I am diabetic...I just am. I could use the excuse that this is how God made me and dive into the disease with abandon. I could eat lots of breads and sweets...I do love chocolate. It calls my name. At times, I am not exaggerating when I say it is all I can think of! If it is in the house, the temptation is greater than my inner strength to abstain. But since this is "how I am made" why not just give in to the temptation. Why? Because it will kill me, that's why.

Remember the scene from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? The white witch temps Edmund with the Turkish Delight. Once he has tasted it, it calls his name. He can think of nothing else. Yeah, that's what it's like.

So, did God "create me to be diabetic" or is this the result of sin? Well, I guess since God doesn't create something that is imperfect, it must be a result of sin....of sin in the world. The flaw in me was dormant for over 50 years, but then life happened. And yes, I admit I helped it along with my choices.

I can go long periods "thinking" I'm okay - then I'll slip and eat the sweet - it's pretty much downhill from there. I can convince myself it doesn't affect me - my sugar can get QUITE high and I don't FEEL it - but it effects my body and little by little it destroys. I may "feel" fine...but this insidious disease is working to steal away my life.

Sin is a disease. Like diabetes, it is carried in the blood...and it destroys. There are lots of sins listed in the Bible that are now "politically incorrect" to believe....but it doesn't change the fact of what they will do. Sin still kills. Sometimes it does it slowly, sometimes at hyper speed...but it still kills.Whether it's gossip or adultery or drugs or lying or gluttony or any of the other sins listed...all will kill. They destroy.

So, do I just give up and do what I want? Do I try the excuse that this is just the way I was made? No. God did not make me to be a diabetic, but I am one...and my choices can kill or give life. Yes, He loves me just as I am...but it won't change the fact that the disease within me will kill.

Maybe it's time we gave up our excuses. They don't really change the truth, they just give us permission to keep on doing what is killing us. None of us is perfect, but facing the truth goes a long way toward stopping the enemy of our souls.

Romans 6:14-18

The Message (MSG)
12-14 That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.

What Is True Freedom?

15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

At Christmas - a stable...

This is a repeat of a post from December 2008....but since it is one of my all-time favorite "Random thoughts", I'm sharing it again.

The following "random thought" actually came to me while teaching in Kid's Church one Sunday just before Christmas. I don't think I've ever heard this fact, I had never thought of it before the words began to come out of my mouth that Sunday morning.

It was a typical Children's Church service a week or two before Christmas. I had a wonderful group of kids, most of whom I had known since they were born. These children knew the Christmas story quite well, so making it real and new was quite a challenge. I had told the story and tried to paint a picture so that the children could experience the story anew. It was then that I asked the question - "Why was Jesus born in a stable?" 

Of course, the response was "Because there was no room in the inn." Then I asked a question even I hadn't considered before. "Why wasn't there room at the inn? Did God forget to make reservations?" Of course, we all laughed at such a ridiculous question. Obviously the birth of Jesus being in a stable was no accident....but why would God allow His Son to be born in a stable?

It's not like God didn't know when Jesus would be born. Yes, the city was crowded, but couldn't God have made room for this family in an inn somewhere? After all, He's God! He knew when the angel told Mary she'd have a son that they would be making this trip 9 months later! He could have made arrangements! I understand that there are many different views as to what this stable might have been, but it doesn't change the fact that a stable isn't a place for a baby to be born! That's where animals are born....animals like sheep. The kind of animal you'd use for a sacrifice. In fact, it has been asserted that it was specifically the place ewes were safely brought to give birth to the lambs. In this sheltered building/cave the priests would bring in the ewes which were about to lamb for protection.

You know, every time I think about that, it causes a lump to rise in my throat. Jesus, the King of Kings was born in a place where sacrifices are born. Wrapped in swaddling cloths, much like the lambs were to protect them from injury. 
He was born in Bethlehem, at the birthing place of the sacrificial lambs that were offered in the Temple in Jerusalem.
 Jesus - born as a sacrifice.

This Christmas, as you take time to read the original Christmas story, may your heart be filled with the knowledge of God's love for you. There is so much more to the "story" than we even know. Merry Christmas.

John 1:29 "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

For an interesting read, check out the article at the following link -  ( It has much more information on this topic than I knew when I wrote the blog!