Counting Down

English: Windchimes.

This is the last day of 2012, another year has come and gone.

All the minutes of all the days are winding down.

The ticking of the clock seems louder than normal.

For better or for worse this year is almost over.

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Today, I am thankful. I’m thankful for all that I’ve been blessed with in 2012 and thankful for all the lessons I’ve learned.

* the opportunity to teach* smiles from my students* kids getting driver’s licenses* getting “first” cars* accidents with no injuries* church family* pets that brings me happiness* summer storms * a clean house* emails from friends* iced tea* flea market finds * ordering out for pizza* long walks on summer evenings* leaves that burn brilliant in Autumn* the quiet of the country* hard winds that blow all my wind chimes down* family* my husband*my children*encouraging words from my mom* baking with my sister* magnificent sunrises* amazing sunsets* watching the horse graze in the pasture*baby llamas* blooming lavender and rose bushes* friendship * The Word that became flesh* God who makes all things possible

As you count down the minutes tonight, may you too, remember all the blessings of 2012.

2013 is a book with 365 pages in it…and tomorrow you open the book to the very first page. Be thankful for new beginnings.

Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

Snowin’ and Blowin’

Going to enjoy a day inside…while there was a blizzard blowing its way across Ohio.  That was my thought Wednesday as I stood looking out my kitchen window. Winter had indeed, arrived.

The pristine whiteness. Crisp cold morning air. Moon light on newly fallen snow.

Each season has it’s unique beauty.

 

 

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Born To Die

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The chubby little hand of the baby reached up and wound his fingers tightly in his mother’s hair. She looked at him, and

smiled. He was beautiful, her son. Amazing. Incredible. Perfect in every way.

Holy. ..

The wonder of his birth, she still did not fully comprehend. She just knew that she loved him, with a deep and protective love. Her first born son. Her miracle from God. The One that had been promised. Her mind raced back to her encounter, months before, with the angel. The one that had told her that she was going to give birth to this baby boy. Jesus. He was both God and man. He would save his people.

So much to think about…

But, not now. Not this night.

On this night so many years ago, the night the angels sang, the shepherds bowed, this woman and her husband brought the Son of God into this world…in the most humble of surroundings. In a stable, the stench of animals strong in the air, the Savior was born.

Born to die…

From the moment He took His first breath, He was walking down a path that led to a place called Golgotha, the place of the skull. The place where the cross was positioned. The place where Jesus died.

The place where Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”.  Jesus, the Word, that had been prophesied about for centuries before His birth, was now hanging on a cross. That baby, in a manger, grew to be a man. The Redeemer. The Ransom from Heaven. The Only Begotten Son.

Jesus, Messiah.

That night, long ago, in a small town in the Middle East, a child was born. Destined to change the world. That was just the beginning of the story. One cannot fully understand His birth, if one does not also acknowledge the importance of His death, and subsequent resurrection….for that brought the greatest gift of all.

 

 

 

Reminded of Time

When bad things happen, when tragedies occur…

Death Valley

Death Valley (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

Shock and grief immobilize us. We don’t know what to think or say.

It seems so unfair and well….just wrong. Wrong that people have died, wrong that some were so young.

These times remind us. Remind us of things we’d rather not think about.

None of us…not one…are promised even another hour, much less, to live to an old age.

It sounds so harsh, to say something like that. No one likes to hear it…or think about it.

Most of us are so cavalier about our time. Precious time. Time we will never get back.

Live life, knowing. Knowing that this life too, will one day end.

What will your legacy be?

How do you want to be remembered?

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4  NIV

 

 

That Friday Morning…

Sherman Oaks Elementary School

Friday morning began like any other day. Parents dropped their young children off at school. Teachers arrived for another

day of workbooks, activities, chubby pencils, and pink erasers. The seconds ticked on the clock as the school hummed with the busyness that only those in an elementary school can fully understand.

He showed up, full of anger…hell bent.

Lives lost. Futures changed. Hearts broken. Tears flowing.

A large, irreparable tear in the fabric of so many lives.

People don’t understand. They want answers to the why. Why did this happen? WHY?!!! They demand someone tell them how a young man could kill? How so many young children could be dead? How teachers are now gone? How did we get to this point?

The pain is raw and gaping. The pictures of those lost, breaks our hearts.

We are indeed, broken.

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Some would say, How can we be thankful on this day? How can we give thanks in the midst of grieving?

It is when we are thankful on the other 364 days a year, that we are more prepared for that one horrible day.

God is still good. He is still here. He has not forsaken us. He gives us things everyday to be thankful for. When we walk with Him on the good days, when we see His hand in the sunshine…it gives us the ability to trust Him in the darkness. When we don’t understand the why’s, when the pain seems unbearable, when our bodies are wracked with sobs…..

We can trust Him.

But, some will say, “Why wasn’t God there?”

To them I reply, “God was there.” He is Emmanuel-God with us.

We live in a broken world, where sin happens. Evil is real. Most days, we as a people, are able to “forget” this. Push it down. Not acknowledge it…but, it is there. Always there.

It is because of that sin…that brokenness…that Jesus came. We celebrate Christ’s birth during this season. He came into this world because we needed Him. We could not, would not, get out of this sinful mess on our own. The gap was too wide, the chasm too deep…between us and God. Sin has a horrible way of doing that. It divides. It hurts. It leaves us empty. Jesus knew this. He knew we needed Him to step into this world. To take our place. To be that bridge between us and God.

God was there on Friday.

Just like He was there, the day His own son died.

For us.

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Today I am thankful for:

* God who is here in the midst

* Jesus, who came as a baby…

* that Christ is the bridge

* for He is the One that redeems

* one day when sin will be no more

* knowing He is there, even in the darkness, when I can’t see Him

* children who make me smile

* anticipation leading up to Christmas day

* movie night with friends

* early morning emails

* rainy Mondays






My Heart Aches

English: Crying boy

I was going to write a post about something else today…something that doesn’t really seem as important right now.

I was working with one of my students when I got the news about the school shooting in Connecticut. The news numbed me. I had flashbacks of my days in the classroom when we prepared (as much as one can) for incidents such as this. Lock down drills were unnerving and those drills were just for “practice”. I cannot fathom the fear of all those involved.

My heart aches for these families that lost young children. Tears spring to this mom’s eyes. My heart aches for the families of the teaching staff at that school–those teachers that aren’t coming home today. My heart aches for all those involved and the terrible memories that will be felt now, because of today’s events, every year right before Christmas break.

This world is broken. It can sometimes be a place where bad things, awful things, scary things, terribly sad things, happen to otherwise good people. It is a place where disturbed young men can take the lives of young children. These children,  today, saw the face of evil.

My heart hurts. A tragedy…and how can one ever be prepared for something such as this?
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9 NLT

I have no more words.

 

 

 

 

 

Made For More…

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Jesuit Priest

I need to remember this…

C. S. Lewis' house (The Kilns)

C. S. Lewis’ house (The Kilns) (Photo credit: MikeBlyth)

This journey, can seem so long on some days and painfully short on others.

I’m reminded, once again, that I am just passing through. This place is not my forever home. I was made for more than this world is able to give me.

When my heart overflows with gratitude…

When I feel the arms of my children around me…

When I gently kiss my husband…

When I receive words of encouragement…

When the music takes me to another place…

When the sunrise is so brilliant that I cannot imagine more beautiful colors….

I realize as much as I enjoy these things—they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what is to come.

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” C.S. Lewis

“…but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And [which] have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9