A New Look for Christmas

New Look

Christmas is coming but it will be sad you see

It will seem empty, like the Charlie Brown tree

There will be no traveling or family good cheer

No hugging at church to wish in a new year

But the people of Whoville seemed to have it right

For they dance and sang around the tree so bright

Christmas is still coming even with a virus so bad

It’s coming even though we are depressed and sad

I encourage you to feel the love of this great season

For it was Christ that came to give us the reason

The reason we love to make all this fuss

Is because we believe in the Magic of Christmas

This is a monumental and challenging year especially now at Christmas. But we can’t let this virus and fear define us. We can still wave at a distance, give lots of air hugs, and remember we all have many things to be thankful for. Do I make light of the situation we are in as a world people, by no means. I spent my concerning time in quarantine, I am fully aware of the danger, the risks and the possible outcomes. At my age it is even more dangerous but I refuse to not shine my light of love and kindness in the ways that I can that are safe. This year in defiance of being shut up inside, I decorated two weeks earlier and added another tree…in my bathroom. That brings me to 4 trees. Since my bathroom has a beach theme, so does the tree. So I have posted my pictures below and hope you enjoy with a smile. Do we need to be careful, yes, but do we need to be sad, no, disappointed, yes but this hopefully won’t last much longer. So spread your cheers through the cyber ways, enjoy this wonderful season and always be kind.

Bazar Things That Make Us Laugh

I don’t know if it is because of my quirky personality or just a loose screw but the newer fad of putting googly eye on inanimate objects makes me laugh. Recently a friend of mine, who has the same loose screw, sent me a photo and told me where to go to look up more photos of the same and I did. After a good chuckle, I decided a story needed to be written, to remind us to laugh even when it hard, and for us here to not forget the recent derecho that pushed through Iowa leaving millions of dollars of damage. Some are still dealing with its aftermaths. A derecho is like a short termed hurricane running across the ground. So here you go…as told by the local trees.

The Storm of 2020, In Memory of Slim

Did you hear what happened to Slim
You mean about the storm that tore through here?
I hear he is down for the count.
I saw a lot of good friends go down, some broke in half.
No! Say it ain’t so. Slim was a mighty oak!
I hear tell he just lays there weeping like a willow.
Oh, woe is me. My top notch is gone, limbs are broken, I am doomed I tell you, doomed.
Don’t give up Slim. Look what I was able to do when I go blown down. My limbs are growing strong still. Still try to reach for the sun.
Or you can be like us Slim. When our original tree fell, we became four trees. So don’t ever give up. God always had a plan for each of us.

This silly story does have a heart to heart true message. Life can be hard and can knock you down from time to time. But don’t give up. That life storm may be just the thing to help you be what God needs you to be. Hang on, reach out to His hand and left Him guide you through all of life’s storms.

Let His goodness, love, patience, peace and kindness wrap around you snuggly so that you can show others that God never leaves you alone. He is always by your side. So have faith as best as you can, smile as much as you can and always be kind, even when it is hard.

Names at Christmas

Good evening friends. When we as parents knew a child was coming to join the family, much work went into making sure the name fit the child, that it would carry the child courageously through this life. But then in life, nicknames come about that are sometimes more dear than the actual name and the nickname will stick. Names are just something people call you by. Even treasured family positions get nicknames like Gramps, Nana, Pop to name a few. I like Pop. We think of Pop as a nickname for Father and what better Father do we have other than our Heavenly Father. I think of that nickname lovingly as an acronym when I think of Jesus. Pop – Prince of Peace…

The Peace He brings us with nothing else can, it can’t be measured. Isaiah 9:6 reminds us that even at this writing, Jesus was not born yet but it was no mistake that He already existed. Wonderful Counselor – someone we can go to in an instant for much needed advice or assurance; Mighty God – The all powerful creator of everything, the guider of all paths and the one who creates extra paths for us to travel on when we take a wrong path where He hopes we will get back on His designed path; Everlasting Father – Everlasting, forever and ever, not ending, never quitting, always present Father, ultimate caretaker.

THIS is the endearing reason for this season…

In today’s message Jesus Calling, Sarah wrote as Jesus… “I am the Prince of Peace. As I said to my disciples, I say also to you: Peace be with you. Since I am your constant companion, my Peace is steadfastly with you. When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace.. Worship Me as King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Prince of Peace.”

It is His Peace that allows us to face any given situation with courage, conviction and hope. And with this hope we can then follow His guiding hand with assurance.

I got tickled this morning with my pastor’s morning devotion on having that one favorite ornament that helps you focus on the meaning of Christmas making us revitalize our love for Him. To some of us we can’t just focus on one. It’s like training your dog to sit and a squirrel runs across the yard…as I spot yet another ornament and run across the store to see if it is one I just have to have. For now it doesn’t matter which room I go in, it all makes me smile…even the bathroom. So as we face these uncertain times that are all over the world, remember the true reason for this season. He came because His love for us is overpowering, so and let His love flow over you as you enjoy the symbols we use to honor Him on His celebrated day. 

Now that I am FINALLY through tinkering with the big tree(1 of 4), I give you my sunroom at night. Have a blessed evening and always remember in all that you do show the kindness of Christ.

Evening Encouragement, Peace

Good evening friends. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a predicament, and a lot of times it is self-made. And when we fret over the complications we have made, we lose our peace of mind and our step with Christ. Then we are in a real mess. The way to fix that is to turn and go back the way we know we should go. I have been reading a little book called “Keep it Simple” by Ellyn Sanna. It’s a wonderful little short book of quotes and scripture to help us Find Peace in a Hectic World.  So tonight I am posting a few of her thoughts and quotes.

Take One Day at a Time

When we learn to take one day at a time, one step at a time, we begin to see the beauty in the stillness around us. This beauty was created by God to give us the peace we would need knowing this life would indeed be hectic.

Teach me the art of creating islands of stillness, in which I can absorb the beauty of everyday things: clouds, trees, a snatch of music…Marion Stroud

I believe that in each little thing created by God there is more than what is understood, even if it is just a little ant. Teresa of Avila

Now that we are surrounded by this virus and being secluded in the safety of our homes, we have a tendency to worry about tomorrow and what we need to do to fix things…that we can’t fix. It kind of puts us in a chair in front of the window to wait, watch and trust that Jesus will take care of it all…and He will.

True serenity comes when we give ourselves to God. Ellyn Sanna

So I challenge you to put a small table by your chair at the window. As you watch and wait, enjoy a cold beverage or hot cup of coffee and trust in the Lord to make things right. Enjoy the beauty you see and absorb His peace.

If in the US, I send you prayers for a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are having to be alone this year due to isolation, bring an extra glass to the table for God. I promise He will be with you as well. If not in the US and still in isolation, still bring that extra glass to the table when you eat so God can surround you with His peace.

And as always, I remind all of us the value of kindness in all we do. It may make the difference in one life that is needed.

Enormous Thank You

We all feel this is a year that we would like a reboot or rewind on. Even as careful as we tried to be at our church, Covid still got in. It is the world we now live in and we all need to make adjustments and sacrifices to not only protect ourselves but all those around us. We need to be better than careful.

As many of you who read my blog know that I have been smothered since October with crafts for Christmas and I can now say…I AM FINISHED!!! YEA! Dreams were way too big this year but it all got done and it is all up…on trees(there are 4), on walls, on shelves and yes, on my fence. Tonight I will start showing what I did as some of you have seen preliminaries. But since this is Thanksgiving week, being thankful is first and foremost.

I made a sign for my fence that is 4 feet long and about 2 feet high honoring all of you who have been so important to everyone for the last 8 months. It has 3 Christmas trees that I painted ornaments on it to represent those people and professions that have kept us going and safe. It is not a great work of art but it is a great work of heart and I sincerely thank all of you for being the willing essential workers to keep this world going during these horrific times. I sincerely hope all of you know how much you are appreciated. Enjoy my fun, feel the heart of my thanks and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

And always remember, being kind is a gift to be shared even when it may be small. No gift id kindness is ever wasted.

Evening Encouragement, Thankfulness

While we can’t tell by the temps outside, this is the month of November. Iowa has been hit with the craziest bough of Indian summer that I am still in a t-shirt. I had the AC on yesterday and tomorrow its supposed to be in the 30s. Welcome to the midwest.

November is the thankful month and we all try to focus daily on the many blessings we have and make it a point to be thankful for them. That is something we actually need to do throughout the entire year.

Sometimes when life is zooming so fast around us, we get lost in the “goings on” that we lose our focus and forget to be thankful…in all things. So we need to purposely slow down and be deliberately thankful. In bible study we talked about how we do things sometimes not requiring or expecting a thank you, we do it out of love. But man, how a thank you can make us walk a little lighter, smile a little brighter and be all the more willing to do it all again. It’s the same with God. He knows we are thankful, those who love him, but He still likes to hear it. I look forward to His brighter smile.

Having a thankful heart, brings you peace, it gives you courage and fills you with hope; hope will give you the strength to survive whatever ordeal you face, so then you are able to give thanks in all you do creating a continuous circle with God in the middle of it.

I fully understand we have not had Thanksgiving yet but I am ready for the joy and thankfulness of Christmas. So I am decorating early this year, and the very first thing that goes on the big tree(yes there are more than 1) is The Christmas Nail. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with that tree trimming tradition but I have been doing it well over 40 years. The Christmas nail is a nail shaped similar to the nail used to hold Jesus to the cross. The Christmas tree foreshadows the Christ-tree that He decorated for us with nails like these and the lights we put on the tree remind us of His light that shines for us and through us.

The red ribbon represents His blood that was shed for me. I can not think of anything more powerful to be thankful for…daily. The nail is to be hung inside the tree by the trunk where it is only known by the family who hung it there, whose hearts are fully aware of the significance of why it is there. Especially this year with so much stress, anxiety and uneasiness of tomorrow, the nail’s message is ever stronger for us. So I encourage you tonight to reach out to God in thankfulness for all that He has done for you in the past and will do for you in the future.

And in all that you do, do so with kindness. Kindness reflects the light of God, the love of God and the thankfulness we have for what He has done for us.

Our Firm Foundation

Good evening friends. Tonight we are reflecting on this past year and WOW…what a year. Definitely a year for t-shirt recognition…

Or here in the US we had a toilet paper crisis….even now I don’t understand that and now its all paper products are scarce.

Putting aside all joking, this has been a rough year. The isolation had been detrimental to our elderly, people who are social butterflies have not done well, jobs have been lost and the tensions in our homes is high. But on the flip side there has been some good with it all. We have learned that those who are able can in fact work just fine from home. Some people’s stress level has lowered and they have rediscovered themselves, and gotten reconnected with their families and some have reconnected to or just now connected with God. I have always been a believer that God will get your attention one way or another and while, I do not believe God caused this virus, I do believe God will use circumstances around us to help us learn or relearn to refocus on Him. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he explained that there would be times of suffering but that the Lord would always rescue us…maybe not how we envision to be rescued but rescued nonetheless.

All through the scriptures, we are reminded of the importance of a firm foundation which allows us to stand firm and that foundation for Christians is Jesus Christ. He is the rock that can not be broken.

So I encourage you tonight to stand on the rock we know is firm and stand tall. We will get through this mess, all of it, together, and hopefully somewhere we will recognize God’s might and love as He pours it out for us. Click on the link below and listen/watch the video of a version of Christ the Solid Rock. The song is beautiful but the videos of nature are amazing. I think you will enjoy it and be encouraged by God’s beautiful creation. And as always, remember to be kind.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCuOW6bdfMU

Evening Encouragement, Come

Good evening friends. I want to share a few words from the devotion I read this morning from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. It brought me hope.  This year has really been rough for a lot of people and the last few months in the US with all the political nonsense…oh my goodness. I felt like this country was going to implode. And we are not done yet, still fighting. United States of America…not so much.

Oswald reminds us that even in stressful times we have the essential opportunity to act on the truth of God. It is up to each individual to do so. We can’t do it for someone else and no one can do it for us.
It must be our own deliberate act, but the evangelical message should always lead us to that action. Refusing to act leaves a person paralyzed, exactly where he was previously.  Oswald Chambers

Throughout scripture, Christ told people to come to Him and He would show them a better way.  “Come to me” means “to act“. And He will always makes sure we learn His ways with which to act.

Through the learning and the trials we learn the value of His ways and His truths that set us free. But the truths must be shared. The love of God is cyclical. You are given the tenderness and love of Christ and then you act in sharing it with others, which cycles back to Christ, that shares it back to you, then you shares it onward, circling it back to Christ and then back to you…and so on.

When a truth of God is brought home to your soul, never allow it to pass without acting on it.” Oswald Chambers

Yet sometimes, it’s the last thing we want to do. We don’t want to be bothered; we are fearful, or feel unready to act; or think someone else can do it better than us. All excuses, all weak excuses but I love what Oswald says about the weak saints, of which most of us are. He says “The weakest saint who transacts business with Jesus Christ is liberated the second he acts and God’s almighty power is available on his behalf. 

We are created to act.
And everyone who acts can feel the supernatural power of life as Christ fills him. The dominating power of the world, the flesh, and the devil is now paralyzed; not by your act, but because your act has joined you to God and tapped you into His redemptive power. Oswald Chambers

I love that. It is encouraging to know God fills us with what we need when we act accordingly to His will, like he did with the disciples. 
So as tired and discouraged as you may feel right now, relax, rest and look for opportunities to act so that the supernatural power of life in Christ can fill you and lift you to new heights. And always remember to share kindness in all that you do.

The beauty of Autumn

We all know that each season has it own type of beauty but the reds this year seem to be brighter than usual. Maybe its because we need something better to focus on with all the chaos of the pandemic, the violence and basic unhappiness we all seem to be in. So I give you the beauty of the trees here in the Midwest. I am sure the leaves for you area are just as beautiful, so share those and let us focus on the beauty of nature for a while.

And remember, kindness is usually contagious, so spread it around a little as you go about your day.