O Night Divine

 How often do we take the time to listen to the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carols? When do we stop singing from rote memorization and start singing with the realization of what the words truly mean?
O Holy Night 
O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
IMG_1202
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
102_3858
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
IMG_0165
102_2363
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
photo
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine

 The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:1-20 NIV

 

The Struggle Is Real

We live in a world that is broken, where the fissures in life often leak uncertainty. For many, fear is just under the surface. The routine of days can seem so normal… until they’re not.  IMG_1702

Last Friday I spent a sunny, November afternoon, grocery shopping. It wasn’t very exciting, but it was still great. I am one of those people that enjoys being able to stroll the aisles and look at what is new on the shelves, plus I always like a good deal. After the grocery store, I went to Tractor Supply to pick up food for the myriad number of pets my family owns. On the way back home, I listened to the radio and sang out loud. On that day, at that moment, life was good. The mundane was indeed, magnificent.

After getting home and unpacking the groceries I began to make dinner. I remember what I fixed that night. Salmon. Weird how one remembers the small details. As I was in the kitchen cooking, my husband said, “Mom, just emailed me that something is happening in Paris”. We flipped on the TV, like so many others, only to hear of the tragedies as they unfolded. Suicide bombers, mass shootings, hostages. There were people herded out of venues, attempting to get to a safe place. A place that was anywhere, but where they were at.

My heart broke for these people. People that had gone out to eat, to watch soccer, or listen to music. Individuals just like so many of the rest of us. They didn’t know…..how could they have known? That this day, this night, was to be their last?

And the earth spun crazy, on its axis, making us all dizzy with despair.

This life we live, this world we call home, can be scary. There are no promises about tomorrow. We wish we could see into the future, to make plans, to neatly tie up loose ends, to say the words that need to be said, to get things right. We want to be in control, but that is just an illusion. None of us is in control, we never have been.

That is a sobering thought.

But, in the midst of the hard parts and the sharp edges of this world, there is good news. There is One who does know the future. He is in control. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is…..unchanging, undeniable, and unstoppable.

God. The Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end…..and all the days in between.

So, when my days are scary, or the moments turn hard, I lean into the only One who can bring true peace in a world gone mad. My hope is in Jesus.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:13 NIV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.             Hebrews 13:8 ESV

National Day Of Prayer

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who
comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who
earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:16 NIV

 

Prayer doesn’t need to be elaborate, with big words, or have utterances of a certain length.

 

911: President George W. Bush at National Cath...

 

Prayer is talking with God.

 

It really is that simple.

 

He tells us He wants His children to talk with Him. He tells us that in Philippians 4:6-7.  Do not be anxious about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses
all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Today is The National Day of Prayer……and there is much to pray about.

Not just on this one day, but every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning Sunshine!

It’s Monday. 102_3038

Good hair day, Monday.

Clean clothes ’cause I did the laundry, Monday.

Living room needs dusted, Monday.

I hate dust because it never goes away, Monday.

I’m still on my diet, Monday.

The “I don’t know what in the world we will have for dinner tonight”, Monday.

My chicks keep escaping and pooping on the floor before I realize it, Monday.

The I’ve got a couple more weeks of babysitting the chicks before they go outside, Monday.

My bushes are starting to bud, Monday.

It’s sunny, Monday and springtime, Monday and so in love with my husband, Monday.

I was pondering yesterday…how much I have to do over the next couple of months.

The thoughts of it all, piles up in my brain, weighing heavy.

Sigh.

Life can just we whirlwind crazy sometimes, can’t it?

Sometimes the spin gives me a headache.

Time to get off the merry-go-round…

slow down…

and  just say thank you.

****************************************************************************

Today I am thankful…really thankful…

* Cool springtime mornings that feel good on my skin102_2683

* Streaming sunshine

* Sparkling dew on the new blades of grass

* Budding bushes that just scream Springtime is here!

* Chirping chicks

* My husband, my best friend, my confidant

* Safety for my children

* The last few weeks until summer break

* Plans to travel

* Stories to hear

* Finishing my grad class

* Getting a good grade

* Learning new things

* God who created all things

* Christ who deserves all my thank you’s

It really is all good, because all good things come from Him.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17  NIV

 

Right Here, Right Now

The Gypsy Mama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Here…

*******************************************************************

I practice this day, right now, on being fully here.

Not letting my mind replay past regrets, not worrying about the future….Just being HERE.

That is so hard for me. I tend to hang on to things, or plan for tomorrow.

Planning is fine, and not letting mistakes of the past become repeats for today is good,

but living in those two places steals from today, the here and now.

I want the joy of this moment. Right, here.

 

102_4266

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking Free

 Writing Prompt: It’s the last two weeks of Lent. Lent comes from old English word meaning “spring”. Imagine Jesus whispering the word “spring” into your heart. Reflect and share the thoughts and feelings that flow from hearing Jesus whisper “spring”.


Dormant. Buried deep. Covered in darkness.nature_3
The bulbs and seeds are waiting for winter to give way to warmer spring days.
Then they will know that it is time to emerge.

The waiting will be over.

Pushing through the darkness, struggling through the dirt, in order to see the light.

The glorious sun that brings life to what once seemed dead.

Beautiful flowers breaking free from winter’s grasp.

Free.

Turning their faces toward the sun.

***************************************************

Jesus is that SON. He takes people who are dead inside, trapped in darkness, covered in their own sin….

and makes them new. Free. Beautiful, in Him.

Jesus whispers “spring”….

and gives new LIFE.

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NIV

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 NIV

Pulling Off The Mask

She poured her heart out as she told his story. The woman on the screen, giving testimony to the young man’s mask of pain. The ladies in the Bible study listened intently, understanding that all to often, we too, wear the mask. The mask that hides the less than perfect, the heartbroken, the feelings of lacking.

Masked.

Masked. (Photo credit: .Andi.)

Let’s be honest.

But, that is so difficult. It feels wrong to admit.

The mask begins to crack.

The mirror shows the lines that are around the eyes. Every mark on the scale causes anxiety. Too exhausted to exercise. The house needs cleaned and the laundry done. Dishes are in the sink and the family needs a healthy meal. Deadlines need to be met. Bills are due and the cat just puked. I’m up to my knees in mud and the roof has a leak. Kids going here and there and husband just wants some face time. Stress level is high and the report is due. Energy lags and the days can seem so long.

This life will never be in a lay out for Better Homes and Gardens.

Surely, others have it more together than I do.

The ladies in the group, breathe in the confession. They slowly shake their heads. We all suffer from the pinching of the mask, as it covers

who we really are.

Oh, God! Why do we do this to ourselves? Trying to be perfect and have it all together, when the heart feels the struggle?

Help us, Lord to give up the mask. It doesn’t fit anyway.

Love is a better cover.

Love for ones self…and for others.

Because no one is perfect, and it feels good to just breathe.

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:31 NIV

My Big, Fat, Ordinary Life

The Gypsy Mama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Oh and Ahem, if you would take pity and turn off comment verification, it would make leaving some love on your post that much easier for folks!

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Ordinary…

**************************************************************************************

I love my ordinary life.

This life that includes a  husband, children, a house in the country.

Cats, dogs, chickens, and a horse.

Vast open skies and fields for as far as I can see.

A huge moon that lights the night sky, and beautiful sunrises that streak the sky with vibrant purples and pink.

Land dotted with red, and white, and green, and black barns.

Slow moving Amish buggies.

New friends and heart bonding.

The sound of peace and quiet.

And the sounds of a lonely coyote at night or the crowing of the rooster in the morning.

This ordinary life of mine, didn’t start out this way.

I went through a lot to get to this place. The journey was long and sometimes painful.

And yet, here I am.

God, blessed me with this ordinary life…and I am forever thankful.

 

 

102_4344

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

102_4241

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zi6_0166

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

102_3495

 

Dream

IMG_0185

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*********************************************************************

What are your dreams?

What do you want to do, to complete this one full life that God has given you?

How do you spend your moments? Precious, valuable moments sifted through the day to day.

How are you making your journey, not about just surviving…but, really living?

You know that days don’t have to be extraordinary to be exhilarating…

or be momentous to be magnificent?

Eyes that are open to all the wonders,

and a thankful heart that knows no boundaries,

are what make a life meaningful.

 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1: 17 NIV

 

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