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Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Feast #124

How do you usually celebrate on New Years Eve?
Typically my husband and I (if he’s not working), have a nice dinner together, watch a movie (or two if I’m still awake) and turn in well before midnight. Occasionally the ‘girls’ will wake up to fireworks and we will wake up to calm them and ‘kiss’ in the New Year.

Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.
It would have to be re-developing a relationship with my brother. We hadn’t really been in regular contact until a family crisis and since then we have spoken regularly and realized we have much in common in terms of beliefs and thought process. I decided I LIKE him!

Where was your favorite place you visited in 2006?
Honestly, we didn’t travel much in 2006 due to final year of Paul’s school, but when we went back to Albuquerque to visit we stopped at the ‘tourist spots’ along the way and I really enjoyed the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo. It was artistic and a bit spiritual actually. I also enjoyed the big cross in Groom Texas. We had never stopped and we did and aside from the ‘tick invasion’ it was inspiring.

What resolution is your top priority in 2007?
I don’t ‘do’ resolutions but my TOP PRIORITY without question it is to work on writing a book and submit short stories and articles for publication. Get my writer’s feet wet!

Using Just 3 words, Describe 2006.
Cathartic, closure, overflowing

Have a fun Friday and safe New Years Weekend!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Would You Like Fries With That?

We’ve all heard it before… “Would you like to SUPERSIZE it?” It sounds so wonderful…much more for hardly anything. Supersize has a positive connotation as it relates to the dollar, though admittedly not health wise.

Downsizing on the other hand…not so much. You probably will never hear the person at the drive-thru offer to remove some of your fries or give you half a coke for less and say: “Would you like to DOWNSIZE that?” Downsizing seems to have a less positive meaning.

We have an “efficiency expert” visiting our office right now and she made it back to my little space yesterday afternoon. I knew in a heartbeat upon her arrival to me at 3:30 that I would be ‘working’ late. I clocked-out at 6:30 p.m. She will be making the downsizing recommendations…among other things.

I was very honest with her about my own desires and how they didn’t seem to match up with this position any longer. I gave her recommendations about this position’s future either with me…or without. She seemed surprised that I thought I would already be gone.

Frankly she also seemed a bit disorganized and somewhat abrupt so I waited for her leading on questions prior to giving extraneous information. In my own experience these efficiency experts are a bit ‘black and white’ and she was no exception. She was also taking calls from her ‘regular’ office and that didn’t help with the timeliness.

I think these types of positions are interesting. I also find it very interesting a manager wouldn’t come to the employees, who are more likely the experts about their own work and how to perform it. Not only does it show respect for the people in these positions, but it also gives a better idea of the level of commitment to the employer. The many employees I visit with have some wonderful suggestions for work flow improvement and improving the ‘bottom line’. Sadly most of these ‘suggestions’ will never make it beyond my door.

I’m not saying there isn’t room for an outsider to come and make suggestions, but it isn’t typically received well (by the employees and often the management as well) and often the recommendations don’t make ‘sense’ once implemented, or are just never implemented. This particular ‘expert’ is actually recommending she come in and ‘manage’ the office once a week…or so. I almost laughed out loud as I listened to her phone calls.

So now we’ve spent more money and still have no solutions…hmmm…doesn’t really make sense to me. Additionally, I’m sure her salary for part-time management would probably exceed the salaries of those employees that have been ‘downsized’

It also reminded me the many reasons I stepped OUT of management. I am no longer the person who wants to carry her ‘work’ with her every waking moment. My life is so much bigger than any job could hold and to stuff life full of 8-5 issues seems to be in direct opposition to why God created me.

It will be interesting to see what this person recommends and how it is received from the top down. It will be interesting to see how much the ‘lighter fries’ and ‘half-coke’ cost.

Just observations from the edge of this side of the world! Have a SUPERSIZED Thursday!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Moving On...

Yesterday when I got off work at 4:30 p.m. we were two, possibly three staff ‘lighter’, as the first of the downsizing cuts were made. As I’ve mentioned before I feel a whole lot of peace about the whole thing, but man it hurts to see my co-workers in such strife and uncertainty. I tried to encourage them as they ‘packed’ and remind them that their heavenly Father has something greater and that THIS was never their destiny…but it still hurts.

I’m pretty sure I’ll get my ‘pink slip’ after I complete the year end close on Thursday. I have an interview for Friday and while I haven’t heard directly from God about it…yet…it’s a start in the right direction. Now if I’ll just trust that God’s desire is that thing, the aching in the middle of my heart that screams to get out of the analytical and INTO the more artful. AND if I don’t just accept some ‘replacement’ job that is utterly spirit-strangling and hang tight for the job He is aligning…then it will be all GOOD!

I’ll close with these reminders:

“The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.”
William Faulkner

“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.”
Hypocrites

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”
Arthur C. Clarke

I hope you find beauty in your whole day!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Feeling's Mutual...

I obtained my degree in Microbiology and worked in that field for many years before I got bench ‘burnout’. My natural tendency is to refer back to those lessons as I view my own life and the lives or those people around me. These are my observations as I close the door on 2006 and look out the window towards 2007.

Symbiotic relationships are defined as an interspecific interaction in which one species, the symbiont, lives in or on another species, the host.

There are five established types of symbiotic relationships (depending on which field you examine):

Neutralism: Both organisms are unaffected.
Competition: Neither organism benefits.
Parasitism: One organism benefits and the other is harmed.
Commensalism: one organism benefits, the other is unaffected.
Mutualism: Both organism benefits.

I think part of my ‘issue’ with 2006 was the many parasitic, competitive, and sometimes neutral relationships I not only witnessed, but in which I played an active role. When I think about my natural tendency to disengage from others when in conflict or facing crises, I think of the neutralism that is so easy to try to defend as being open-minded, or easy-going. Yet we criticize openly the politician who does this as a “fence-straddler”. Neutralism kills in its inability to affect or be affected.

I think also of my own natural tendency to compete. I LOVE to compete…unfortunately I also HATE to lose, so competition may not be the best, most profitable relationship for me…or others. In the words of this lesson…neither species benefits. Competition kills in its overwhelming need to win.

I think of parasitism. You may not see this one and if you don’t it could be you are either a host or parasite yourself. You see, the parasite is taking what it needs at a real cost to the host. There are unfortunately many parasitic marriages, friendships, even…unfortunately….parents. Another key problem with parasitism is the host will eventually ‘die’ from the parasite relationship, and not even sense it coming until it’s too late. Parasitism kills in its ‘take-take-take’ mentality.

Commensalism may seem more ‘acceptable’ and I suppose to the extent that no life is taken in the relationship it is less costly, however; it still takes a toll. It’s much like the person who takes and takes and takes; either emotionally or physically or spiritually and rarely or never gives back. The other party may not be harmed (to the point of death), and may think they are unaffected, but I would submit that there is still a cost.

I’m praying for mass-mutualism is 2007. I think the bulk of my marriage is mutualistic (except when one of us, usually me, gets a bit selfish). I hope to improve current relationships and form new relationships that are mutualism at its best. They are benefiting both parties and that benefit is spread to others. I think that’s what Jesus desires from humans.

Here’s to abundance in blessings in 2007…and I hope and pray the feeling is mutual!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Grace Mist

How I wish I could say it was a beautiful wonderful holiday. How I wish I could pull stories and tales of the wonder of my niece and nephew as they opened their gifts or my sister seeing outside the pain of her own holiday torment. I wish I could say it was restful and relaxing and full of photo-ready moments.

All I can say is: I’m glad it’s over. Between one over-tired child, one self-focused teenager, one emotionally detached sister and father, one over-worked husband, completely under-recognized Jesus and then my grandmother having a stroke (or so they thought)…I’m just glad it’s over.

My sister rushed home by 10 a.m. to spend Christmas afternoon with her estranged husband…my parents rushed away by noon to drive five hours away to be by Grandma’s side…my husband had to work yet another holiday shift at his short-term job, and I’m sitting in front of a computer feeling such let-down.

I don’t think I can do it again. That must be why Christmas only comes once a year. I already told Paul I would prefer to go on a vacation next Christmas and just do it alone…just the two of us somewhere away…no presents, no muss, no fuss, just rest, sight-seeing and wrapped in love and joy.

Remember how we learn the life lesson not to have EXPECTATIONS or we’ll always be let down? That’s my problem. I have HUGE expectations about the beauty of this favorite holiday of mine. Unfortunately others don’t feel the way I do. Honestly, not much gives me more joy than to find that one perfect little something for each person I love. I love to see each person receive it with such surprise and joy.

That just isn’t what happened…

It has been a rough few days. I was talking to my wonderful husband and the best way I could describe it was akin to a balloon deflating. I’m sitting here calling on Jesus to let me feel that mist of Grace that overlays and erases the dust and debris of humanness. I’m hopeful for a new year and all the upcoming changes. I’m hopeful that with rest and renewal a new day will dawn and once again I’ll feel the joy of this season.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

In-Focus

I love when Charlie Brown asks Lucy about the Spirit of Christmas...and I so often
thank God that HIS help doesn't even cost five cents....though it did cost a life!

Here is my spirit of Christmas ode:

Twas a few days before Christmas and all through the place
The people were hurrying and scurrying at a much quicker pace.

The drivers were crazy with speeds above fifty,
The lights were distracting, but oh so nifty!

The mall was too crowded to approach without meds
The noise was inducing the throbbing of heads!

The crafts they were started but lacking completion
Glue-gun burns abundant led to silvadene depletion.

The cookies were baked, frosted, and sent out,
They were once again received with a gleeful shout!

Wrapping and ribbon were strewn here and there,
The housework was lacking without even a care.

The presents must be wrapped and labeled today,
Only for ‘so long’ can we keep the ‘children’ at bay!

The lists were reviewed, while filling one more cart,
Another regret uttered about the late shopping start.

St. Nick may be lurking, so don’t pout or fuss,
He can see and hear everything...you better not cuss!

Today find a time to stop and just pray,
Only Jesus can bring true joy to our Christmas Day!

Find the meaning of the season in the middle of your heart,
Feel Jesus there and the spirit of Christmas will get a jump start!

If your heart is still empty, now is the time,
To seek His forgiveness and leave the sublime.

He’s been seeking you all of your days,
Let Him lead you from here and leave the worldly maze.

Have a wonderful, JESUS-FOCUSED Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

#300

Today my blog is 300 posts old! I can hardly believe it. There is some pressure to write something meaningful and thought provoking today, but I’ve never been one to succumb to pressure, so I’ll just give you 30 random questions/thoughts I have at any given moment…I could easily do 300 but that may be somewhat overwhelming.

1. What is desire?
2. Am I the person God wants me to be?
3. What am I taking from yesterday into tomorrow?
4. How am I leaving a positive mark here?
5. What is the purpose of the external ear?
6. Why is so much of the good from the past discarded so easily in the quest for more?
7. What is the purpose of a porcupine?
8. Is 50% of God’s creation just for entertainment value?
9. Why are no new Christmas Carols ever written?
10. Do people still Christmas Carol?
11. Why is it easier to celebrate a sports game than it is to celebrate God?
12. What would worship look like if we had no inhibitions?
13. Who am I?
14. Why Brussel Sprouts?
15. Why IS gas so expensive?
16. Why isn’t their an available alternate fuel source yet?
17. Why are we so apathetic about politics?
18. Why do we choose to ignore child abuse?
19. Why are their starving people in OUR country?
20. Do you hear what I hear?
21. How can people NOT believe in God and creation?
22. Why do we (Christians) allow government to strip away the roots of our country?
23. Would I die for my brother/sister?
24. Would I die for Christ?
25. Would I sing for money?
26. Would I go an entire month without speaking?
27. Is it a greater challenge to be deaf or blind?
28. Are there people without a sense of smell?
29. Isn’t it amazing God knows the actual number of grains of sand!
30. Do the angels sing anything contemporary?

I don’t know if I’ll be here for another 300 but this has been a ride I wouldn’t have missed for the world! Thanks for being here with me!

Have a Wednesday full of questions; both answered and unanswered!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We've Got Spirit, Yes We DO!

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."~ Calvin Coolidge ~ Former President of the United States

I read a bit about this President as I considered my own contribution this week. It is said that Coolidge was a man of few words and when he spoke it was without intonation or inflection. He was also extremely intelligent and wise in words and actions. I don’t know any specifics about when or where he said this, but I have created the story in my mind.

I imagine that he used it in a December address to the public perhaps even at the beginning of the Great Depression. I imagine, much like today, the public was feeling the brunt of inflation-recession cycles and perhaps residual uncertainty about the Dawes Plan in the midst of so much poverty nationally.

Many people have talked about (myself included) the ‘missing’ spirit of Christmas. Is the spirit really missing? Is the spirit misplaced even?

I think the spirit of Christmas is what we make it. If we carry AND cherish peace, goodwill and mercy, all things Christ has admonished, we will ALWAYS have the spirit of Christmas at our disposal to be offered generously.

You see, I’d agree with Coolidge. Christmas is NOT a time, nor a season. Though I would even go a step further and say it’s more than a state of mind…it’s a state of heart, a response to the very seed in our heart placed there when we saw the nativity for the first time as the birth of…not just a darling baby…but our very savior.

Have a spirit-filled Tuesday!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Silver & Gold

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. A circle is long it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

This song was on my mind as I reflected on how to put into words the graduation party. I remembered singing it but I didn’t remember where. Apparently (according to a Google search) it was from my tenure in Girl Scouts. I vaguely remember the circle song and hand-squeezing…but only vaguely.

The party was a true representation of the past 10 years. My incredible Mother and a Cousin came to church to decorate and spared no time or expense in the preparation of the d├ęcor and edibles. We had quite a spread and I realized again what wisdom comes with age, in terms of hosting these events.

I was busy decorating another room at church for the “baby shower” and they created absolute magic when I returned to check in on them. I will add the pictures later…but I wanted to create the atmosphere verbally first.

It was decked out in red and white (school colors of course) and thankfully quite convenient for a December graduation. My husband would say his school colors are Crimson and Cream…but suffice to say…it worked!

I was able to visit with my aunt and uncle for the first few moments as they arrived with my parents to prep the last of the food…just before guests arrived. My ‘oldest’ friend was also there early to help ‘host’ and greet. She stood in the foyer with me as we greeted in the friends and family.

…then they began to come.

Paul and his family came first. They had spent the morning together ‘site-seeing’ and visiting. We did the obligatory pictures with every member of family and then I headed back to the front.

It was a culmination of those moments in your life when you run into someone you haven’t seen in 6 months to many years…and then…there they are! Children have grown, jobs have changed, moves have occurred, and yet the sense that time has been standing still between visits, hangs in the air. It reminded me of that old game show where you hear the voice of someone from your past and you have to guess who they are and the next thing you know…you are standing in front of someone from years gone by.

Hugs were exchanged in multitude and my cheeks were aching from genuine smiles and laughter. I kept many of them too long in the foyer as we greeted each one prior to their entry into the party down the hall.

The reflections came…I remembered meeting each person (when, where and how) and I thought about what they brought (and continue to bring) to our lives during this part of our journey.

God has been so good to Paul and me with our ‘family’ of friends and with incredibly supportive genetic family as well!

I don’t remember my heart being so full of joy and love in quite some time. I joke about how I’m basically not an outgoing and social kind of person. Greeting is NOT one of my spiritual gifts. I can be pleasant and kind and loving…but standing at a door greeting people has never been my ‘thing’. So this was outside my comfort zone and done out of pure necessity.

Don’t tell anyone this…but I had fun. Perhaps it was because I knew each one of these people on some level. Perhaps it was because of the celebration itself and how full of pride my heart was for my beloved. Whatever the case, the greeting wasn't nearly as hard as I expected.

After what seemed an hour (though probably more likely a half an hour) I made my way to the back to visit some more and play my ‘hostess role’. We visited and laughed and I got to spend some more time with many of the guests.

We then had Paul open the gifts and cards and more laughter erupted as he opened his new ‘hobby’ gift from me and some of our best friends. They gave him golf clubs and several accessories for practicing and I got him “Golfing for Dummies”. I figured that’s exactly what he’d want as the ‘engineer’ in my husband comes out frequently in his quest to understand things fully.

Side note: When he started ‘dieting’ some time ago he bought and READ the “Dieting for Dummies” book so I knew he’d put this ‘potential hobby’ book to good use. I have read many of the “God for Dummies” and “No-Brainer's Guide to Christianity” books and they are both informative and entertaining.

It was an absolutely beautiful, wonderful, much anticipated celebration.

As we sit on the edge of this journey’s turning point, basking in the afterglow of the celebration and in the restful arms of God, we dangle our feet in anticipation (and with such certainty) of God’s rise from the place of rest and leading into the next leg of our journey!

Have an expectant Monday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Busy-Busy-Busy

We’re just one presentation and one final away from the last of school days and ‘daze’. My dear husband has been attending school for the past 9 years of our relationship and the past 5 have been full time while working full time. He is such a trooper and I am so proud of his accomplishment. He will have a B.S. in Computer Engineering.

I don’t know exactly what it means other than it is NOT computer science or programming. It is about the hardware and leans heavily toward Electrical Engineering. It’s WAY out of my right-brain mode and beyond the scope of my left-brain understanding.

We are having a celebration on Saturday and many of his family are coming to celebrate with us. Some of his family, who had never visited us in OKC, will be here. It should be loads of fun and a great time just being together and visiting!

My mother and a cousin have taken on the decorations and ‘food’ for the graduation party, as I had volunteered to ‘co-host’ a baby shower that ended up being that same day…in the morning (Yes, I may have bitten off more than I can chew) AND I am also responsible for decorations at our work Christmas Party on Friday pm. Busy, busy, busy!

I’m feeling better and better about the ‘ending’ of this job and just feel such peace about God’s provision and protection of Paul and me. I am listening with all my heart to His words of comfort and assurance as well as His leading towards this new chapter!

I may not be around these next few days as I’ll have company in the ‘office’ at home and I’ll be very busy at work…so I’ll post Monday about my ‘survival’ and thrill of the weekend activities…with pictures of course!!!

I’ll leave you with these….

Top 10 Strangest Lego Creations. These people have WAY too much time on their hands too!

Here are some funny Church Bulletin Mistakes that always make me laugh:

Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.

Bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

The preacher will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth With Joy."

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Shirley Green who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service, we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens.

Thursday at 5:00 PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All ladies wishing to be "Little Mothers" will meet with the Pastor in his private study.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Don't let worry kill you -- let the church help.

Wednesday the ladies liturgy will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing "Put me in my little bed" accompanied by the pastor.

And finally some useless trivia about the USA!

California has issued 6 drivers licenses to people named "Jesus Christ."

In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital suspended workers for betting on when patients would die.

In Utah, it is illegal to swear in front of a dead person.

Salt Lake City, Utah has a law against carrying an unwrapped ukulele on the street.

It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona.

The amount of concrete used in the building of the Hoover Dam is equal to that of paving a 4-foot (1.2 m) wide footpath around the equator.

The first license plate on a car in the United States was issued in Denver, Colorado in 1908.

Austin, Texas has the highest percentage of college graduates, 31 percent. Newark, New Jersey has the lowest, 6 percent.

There is a town in Texas called "Ding Dong."

Rugby, North Dakota is the geographical center of North America.

It is illegal to get fish drunk in Oklahoma.

Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.

No matter where you stand in Michigan, you are never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake.

In 1997, Michigan became the 16th state to allow the blind to hunt.

The official beverage of Ohio is tomato juice.

Have a restful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I Want MORE!

People go to church for many different reasons:

1. Social Hour. (Yes, believe it or not!)
2. Friendship
3. Education
4. Singing songs
5. Get out of the house
6. Everyone else does it.
7. The mall doesn’t open till noon anyway
8. Meet with Jesus.
9. Pray
10. Experience God
11. To serve.
12. To Preach.
13. To teach.
14. Escape
15. …


That’s just a few off the top of my head…I’ve been for many of these reasons myself.

When I go to church these days (granted it’s not as often as I should)…I go for more! I go to experience the very real presence of God and to worship Him in a corporate setting. Honestly, I also go to be recharged for the week. Sort of like a ‘spirit jump-start’. I’m hoping to really encounter the Spirit of the Living God each week!

I am not a particularly social person, so I don’t go to visit or to make or meet friends. I’m just not made that way. But church is one of the places I go to communicate with God… with others or alone.

I’m sure it’s my traditional roots and the idealism I hold from days gone by…but there is at least ONE thing I love about those OLD church buildings on each city or town corner with the giant steeples and the stained glass doors and windows…they were always open (or so it seemed). You could go up to that magnificent door and pull on its heavy handle and enter a place of refuge. You enter the building silently as every step left its audible mark. You could find a calming, peaceful atmosphere. It was ornate and full of ‘awe’.

I’m searching for that ‘door’ these days. I’m searching for refuge…but the doors seemed closed, locked, chained and sometimes nailed shut! I know (based on my own experience) that I can find and commune with God anywhere, even the most unlikely of places (let your mind wander where it will). God is everywhere. Think of where Jesus went!

There is just something really special about those old church buildings. The giant pipes from the organ surround the cathedral ceiling all the way around. What is even more interesting is I am not truly a traditionalist. As a matter of fact I rather prefer the house churches that are trying to blossom regionally, over the traditional church setting. Yet when I walk into an old church…my heart stills a bit, my nerves ease, and I find myself in a truly Holy place.

Am I romanticizing something I want church to be? Yes, perhaps a bit. Am I missing something I only briefly touched the pulse of? Probably. Is my soul yearning for more? Absolutely! It’s no surprise that I’m experiencing these things in the midst of some pretty major changes in my life in the very near future. It is surprising to put into words where I find comfort, and what brings me peace; old churches (and chocolate of course)!

And so I sit here today, Tuesday, waiting, wondering and praying that God would lead each step, each word, my very heartbeat towards Him. That His step, His word, His heartbeat would be mine.

Have a synchronized Tuesday!

Monday, December 11, 2006

This Little Light of Mine...

"SPIRIT CRUSHER!"

In the midst of a Holiday that brings not only joy and celebration, comes also the fog of depression, empty spirit, and skewed or missing understanding of the ‘reason for the season’. Christmas is my favorite holiday, yet I’m finding it hard to find the emotional ‘ups’ so typically accompanied by December amidst the spirit crushers.

I started to reflect on the month so far and in the words of a famous actress who recently split from an abusive husband. When asked what she’s most glad about 2006, she responded without pause: “I’m just glad it’s almost over!”

You know you may not be responding the way you normally do when you get ‘flipped off’ in traffic and take is as a personal affront against your very being. Any other time of year I consider it a ‘challenge’, but this month when someone blatantly ‘flipped me off’ in traffic, I almost burst into tears.

I’ve mentioned before that joy is defined as “emotional stability’ and I think my joy may have gotten wrapped in a gift inadvertently. Somehow the word stability, as it relates to emotion, is a farce!

So…this morning as I try to focus on the birth of Christ and the angel bringing this message of hope to a few select individuals….I hear the tune of an old Sunday school favorite….

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Won’t let satan “phht” it out,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Won’t let satan ‘phht’ it out,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Hide it under a bush, oh no!
I’m gonna let it shine,
Hide it under a bush, OH NO!
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine!

I pray you have a well lit & JOY-FILLED Monday!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Tree Treasures

I love the idea of sharing our favorite & most memorable ornaments on the Christmas Tree. I have been anticipating this post for awhile.

I went to the tree last night to pick my favorites and I realized truly...I love them all. I have weeded down my ornaments over the past couple of years and only hang the ones I really want to hang. Ideally (and perhaps someday) I'd have a decorated tree in each room... large ones...and decorate each one uniquely. That way I could incorporate all styles I love.

I selected 10 favorite ornaments to include in this post.

#10 & #9 is the dragonfly and the beaded 'ring' behind it. I love the dragonfly and have just three of them randomly placed on branches. I have always loved dragonflies and these ornaments just remind me of the little creature. They were a gift from my mother. The 'ring' of beads was a gift from my nephew...I believe he was 6 or 7 when he made it. He actually made us two...the other is on the other side of the tree.

#8 & #7 are the pink rose and the "dream" glitter ornament. I got the dream ornament after ogling it at one of my favorite stores. It's made from antique hollywood glass glitter. I love it. I finally broke down and bought it with a gift certificate. The pink rose is actually broken on the back side. I picked it for my mother and had to buy her a new one. I still love the little 'delicate' rose and it clips on the branch. It reminds me of friendship and how fragile it is. It reminds me to cherish each friend.

#6 & #5 & #4 are the ornaments one of my best friends made us last year. They are snow royalty! I love, love, love them. They are truly precious little snowpeople. Next to the snowMAN...you'll see the "wish" ornament which is another favorite of mine (I told you they were all favorites). I love WORDS (as if you didn't know) and ornaments are no exception. My packages almost ALL have word ornaments hanging from them. Words speak...sometimes better than I could.

Behind the snowMAN is a little bear with a 'topaz' in it. It's the first ornament my mother got me when I was a child, when she started purchasing each of us one ornament a year. That year it was an AVON Birthstone Bear ornament. I put it on my tree each year and remember the year or it's 'birth'.

#3 is the cross. I love what it says and what it represents. Enough said.

#2 is the plastic cup ornament that says: Rancho Snafu. The picture is not as clear as I would have liked. A coworker/friend made it for me in 1997. It is an actual Ranch another friend built in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was her retirement home. A group of them spent a portion of the summer of 1997 in Colorado building the environmentally friendly ranch.

The ornament is especially important to me for a couple of reasons. The girl who made the ornament always includes some 'holy' dirt from Chimayo. It's considered blessed by God and 'healing dirt'. I don't know about it's 'power' but it is something special to go and retrieve this dirt each year.

The second reason it is so important is the friend whose "ranch" it is, died of a recurrence of Breast Cancer 2 years ago. She was a very dear friend and co-worker before we both moved away from Albuquerque. She had passion for life and such fierce love for God.

She really taught me so much about marriage (before I wed) and the art of being a good wife. She taught me so many things, both work related and life related. While she'll always be in my heart and in my memories...I miss her wisdom and smiles and words. I look forward to seeing her in heaven.

I hadn't seen her since she retired in 1998 and moved to this ranch. She was able to live in it for several years and enjoy many a grandchild visit prior to her return to heaven. This ornament will always hang on my tree...as long as I live.

Finally...my very favorite ornament (though it doesn't hang on the tree, at least that I'm aware of....) is this hunky husband o' mine! You already know all the reasons why he's the best 'ornament' in my life. He lights me up like the brightest Christmas Tree and adorns my life with love that shines bright all the way to Heaven!

Have a Friday that is Merry & Bright!

and get over to Morning Glory's place for more of thse Christmas Tree Treasures.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Friend!


T-Truthful
I-Insightful
M-Mother
E-Exceptional

F-Friend
O-Original
R-Resilient

T-Trustworthy
W-Wise
I-Inspiring
T-Talented
T-Thoughtful
E-Empathetic
R-Remarkable
I-Intelligent
N-Noble
G-Gracious

T-Tremendous
A-Artistic
M-Motivating


Everybody help me wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friend Tammy! Go on over there and give her a ‘Happy Birthday’ shout-out today!

Here is a Birthday Quote (or three):

”Live as you will have wished to have lived when you are dying.” Christian Furchtegott Gellert:


“May you live all the days of your life.” Jonathan Swift


“Your life is a gift from the creator. Your gift back to the creator is what you did with your life.” Billy Mills



Here’s
where you can find out a little bit of what was happening on this date in other years…more than just “the day that will live in infamy”.


I hope you have a fantastic day of celebrating the day of your creation. Celebrate your birth and celebrate the Creator for marking this date especially for YOU! This is the day God breathed life into you and said… “This is MY creation! This is the definition of bliss!”


Happy Happy Birthday Tammy! May God bless you with the best year of your life, starting with today! To health, love, joy, peace, prosperity and overflowing blessings coming and going!

And don’t forget tomorrow (12/08/06), over at Morning Glory's place, is the Christmas Tree Treasures. So get over there first thing and … well in her words….

“The idea is to post photos, as many as you want, of the special ornaments that you hang on your tree each year. Share with us why they are special to you. Maybe they are family heirlooms, things your children made you or you had as a child, or special theme collections -- whatever it is that you put on your tree that brings you pleasure each year as you decorate it. Maybe it's the tree topper.”

Blessings on this Thursday!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Am I Irrelevant?

Several months ago my mother said something that has been lying dormant in the ‘lessons learned’ neurons until today.

We were driving along talking about a church she was a member of (at that time) and had been actively involved in for over 2 years. She said: “I feel like what I say doesn’t matter, like I’m not heard because I’m over 60.”

I remember thinking, “How sad to feel like you’re not heard.” If only I knew how truly important this lesson would become in a few months time.

Today I was reading a ‘submission guidelines’ for an e-zine I have considered submitting writing to and it had some information about targeted demographic (20 year olds) and I immediately felt like “I’m too old to be relevant.” And I heard it in my mother’s voice…

I also thought about marketing I’ve seen in the past few years that specifically spoke to and targeted 20-30 year olds. These types of things always incense me. First of all, if that is your lone target market…find out the demographic you’re delivering this information to and skip the homes of the 40, 50, 60 + year olds so we don’t waste our precious (and apparently limited) time on earth reading your unrelated information.

The second and more bothersome truth is the further division of an already severed generational gap. The more each generation tries to separate themselves and identify themselves outside the bigger picture, the less we can relate to one another and learn from one another.

I think of the way the Bible is written and the older men and women were called to teach the younger men and women. I think of the picture of a mentoring relationship and the value in this type of relationship. I think of my own recent feelings of missing leadership and discipleship, without an older woman to communicate with and learn from.

It scares me to think of the cost to our younger generations as they attempt to maneuver through life unarmed with the knowledge, and more importantly, the wisdom available by a generation 10-30 + years their senior. It scares me to think of my own misdirection without the presence of an elder leader.

I wonder if all the energy we expend trying to delineate ourselves and find what makes us different would be better spent in finding unification and using the differences to enhance the overall mosaic.

A quilt of one fabric is just a blanket. A quilt of many fabrics; old, new, colorful, drab, ripped and repaired, is a historical treasure and a real beauty!


Celebrate your elders today! Celebrate the WHOLE picture and have a glorious Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Foolish Fullness


"One response was given by the innkeeper when Mary and Joseph wanted to find a room where the Child could be born. The innkeeper was not hostile; he was not opposed to them, but his inn was crowded; his hands were full; his mind was preoccupied. This is the answer that millions are giving today. Like a Bethlehem innkeeper, they cannot find room for Christ. All the accommodations in their hearts are already taken up by other crowding interests. Their response is not atheism. It is not defiance. It is preoccupation and the feeling of being able to get on reasonably well without Christianity."
~ Billy Graham ~



“Jesus?” I called. “Where are you Jesus?” I was feeling really lonely and had some questions for my Lord and Savior.

I heard much of the regular beating of my heart, along with the buzz of the Christmas activity. I heard the anger of harried shoppers and the pain of many a customer. I heard the rush of my husband’s final school days and the cries of a sister torn in two. I heard my parents doting on this pained sister. I heard my brother applauding my own ‘seeming’ stability during this family upheaval.

I heard the radio blaring another Christmas tune and the lights blinking as I made my way home. I heard the television droning on with yet another commercial counting down the shopping days remaining. I heard the phone ringing and ringing as I chose to ignore it in my search for my Lord.

Somewhere in the distance I heard a familiar voice. I heard the comfort and the love that embodies grace and mercy in speech. I heard love louder and louder as I began my escape to its resonance.

I closed the doors to the center of my heart to stifle some of the noise as I ventured beyond the safety of the rhythm I had grown comfortable and accustomed to each day. I followed the twisting, turning, cavernous space listening for more of the comfort I heard only a decibel of earlier.

The closer I came to the doorway OUT, the stronger I heard the voice…louder and louder with each step.

“I am here. I am right here.” He called.

There at the doorway of escape from my heart was my Lord Jesus.

“Why are you all the way over here, Lord?” I asked with uncertainty.

“You put me here, my child. You chose the shopping, the lights, the music, your job, your decision making, even emotions to be the center of your life.” He answered honestly. How sad is the day when my heart is so overcrowded, Jesus must be forced to the stables…the outer court of my heart, and I don't even realize it.

“Please Lord, Please…come home! Forgive me and come back to the center of my heart, where only YOU belong. Help me see when the light begins to fade and the darkness prevails. Help keep me from getting lost in the deceiving lure of the world.” I pleaded with Him.

The Lord then took my hand and we walked together back to this place. I listened, as we walked, to what He had to say. I listened as He reminded me to renew myself daily with His word, His truth, His love. I listened and cleaned as we walked. The road somehow seemed longer on the way back to the center.

I discarded the music and television. I unplugged the phone. I prayed with Him at the places my family resides and held a little tighter to the hand leading me onward.

Eventually we made our way back to a newly refreshed and newly FILLED heart core. The Lord reminded me to seek Him daily, first thing…to look for Him there in the center and hold Him there in the center…each day.

I breathed a bit easier and more assured as I faced the day before me.
Today I pray that my foolish fullness would remind me daily how easy it is to push the Lord out to the ‘stables’, even when I think He’s in the center. I pray I would always hear His voice over the others. I pray I would seek and know Him more daily. I pray He would so pierce my heart and grow so large that the only way out is through my mouth and onto others.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Snow Daze

Thursday, Friday and Saturday felt like this picture.

The snow and ice are gone (at least off the roads). We left work at noon on Thursday in the midst of it all. Then I stayed home Friday figuring there would be no accounting emergencies.

It was a productive weekend at least. I got 90% of the Christmas cards written AND mailed…WITH the snowflake stamps. Have I told you lately how much I despise boring stamps? I also got all the out of town gifts made/bought/wrapped, packages mailed, with hubbies help of course. I got a birthday gift mailed. I got the house cleaned for incoming graduation family and friends. I got the laundry done (EGAD). I got the church ‘semi-decorated’ with what we had and again with hubbies help. And I attended a baby shower on Sunday afternoon (it was a rough one, #3 of 6), then took mom shopping for a few things.

I woke up exhausted but essentially ready to come in to work and ‘account’ for awhile. I also made a few decisions this weekend. I decided I have been sitting too idly for too long. Yes, a part of it was out of necessity as my husband completed his degree. That time has come. On the heels of his anticipated acceptance of a position (here locally), I have decided it’s time to take a hold of my own destiny.

I have to just let go of this dead-end job that is completely void of meaning for my life. I also have to breathe some life into my own ‘spirit-woman’. She has been choking for air for months now. I still believe they are directly related. I am uncertain if I will just take temporary positions (outside my current field) or seriously hunt for a position in my preferred field and work my way up from wherever I land initially.

I’ve also decided I need to be around some Christian people who will disciple me. I can’t do this self-discipling…it’s just not happening. I don’t know how all of this will play out…but life is in for some changes very, very soon and I’m looking forward to it…for the most part.

I have so much in my head but I’m finding words elusive. I’ll pray, ponder, meditate and hopefully find the answers I seek.

Let the games begin! Happy Melting Monday…

oh and do you remember these guys and their songs?

Snow Miser
I'm Mister White Christmas
I'm Mister Snow
I'm Mister Icicle
I'm Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch
I'm too much!

Chorus
He's Mister White Christmas
He's Mister Snow
Snow Miser
That's right!

Chorus
He's Mister Icicle
He's Mister Ten Below
Snow Miser
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch

Chorus
He's too much!
Snow Miser
I never want to know a day
That's over forty degrees
I'd rather have it thirty,Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

Chorus
He's Mister White Christmas
He's Mister Snow
Snow Miser
That's right!

Chorus
He's Mister Icicle
He's Mister Ten Below
Snow Miser
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch...too much.

Everybody
Too Much!

Heat Miser
I'm Mister Green Christmas
I'm Mister Sun
I'm Mister Heat Blister
I'm Mister Hundred and One

They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I'm too much!

[Chorus]He's Mister Green Christmas
He's Mister Sun
He's Mister Heat Blister
He's Mister Hundred and One

[Heat Miser]They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch

[Chorus]He's too much!

[Heat Miser]Thank you!
I never want to see a day
That's under sixty degrees
I'd rather have it eighty,
Ninety, one hundred degrees!

(spoken):Oh, some like it hot, but I like it really hot! Hee hee!

[Chorus]He's Mister Green Christmas
He's Mister Sun

[Heat Miser]Sing it!

[Chorus]He's Mister Heat Blister
He's Mister Hundred and One

[Heat Miser]They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I'm too much!

[All]Too Much!

I am already counting the days til summer!