The Holiday Season Begins!

I love, love, love the holiday season. I love how at the end of the year we spend the last four to six weeks concentrating on family, friends and goodwill to all. At least, (for the most part) that's how we do it in the circles I run in.  Yes, I know,  the world commercializes both Thanksgiving and Christmas but I made up my mind a long time ago to refuse to let that ruin it for me and mine. I refuse to allow all of that other nonsense to steal my joy.

My holiday season started on Wednesday of this week when my Pastor took the church staff out for lunch. It was a bit of a last minute thing but it was a good way for end the two day fast the church leadership had been on and to touch base in what would be a short week. I love that we had Mexican food as a contrast to the ‘traditional’ turkey and dressing and such. I wish I had asked the server to take a picture as this would be the last outing I would have with this small staff.  My tenure as Pastor of Women is almost over.  I am stepping down because just before Christmas I am heading up north to spend some time with my aging parents and I didn’t want to hamstring the women’s ministry with what will likely be an extended absence. I’ve been saying ‘goodbye’ and weeping my way through the last month but finally I am coming to peace with the situation. As the holiday season kicks off I am looking forward to being in my childhood home for Christmas with my parents, something I haven’t been able to do in many years.

Yesterday on Thanksgiving Day my youngest son and I attended Thanksgiving dinner with friends from church, a holiday tradition. I think it’s the third or fourth year we’ve spent Thanksgiving with them and it’s always been such fun and such a blessing. There was, of course, more than enough food and yummy desserts we took advantage of it all. After dinner there was of course the gathering of the women at the dining room table where we laughed a lot and enjoyed each other’s company and conversation.There was also a group of the guys watching the football games on the big screen and the kids scattered around in various places playing video games. It was the best afternoon. Love the holidays among the people I love..

It seems my Thanksgiving celebration is not yet over. My neighbors from across the street are celebrating the holiday today with out of town missionary guests and I just got a call to come to Thanksgiving dinner at one o’clock. As I was planning to spend the morning wrapped in sweats with no makeup, barely combed hair and a pile of books, I need to get moving if I’m going to be presentable in less than two hours! I'll have to post the pictures in another post later this weekend.

Please take a moment and tel me about your celebrations at the beginning of this glorious season. I pray everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and also a joyous first day of Hanukkah yesterday. May you also have a continuously blessed holiday weekend!


FMF on Monday: Trees

When I saw the prompt for trees for Five Minute Friday this week, my mind went blank. Really. Blank. I couldn’t think of a thing to say about trees and what was funny was I spent five whole minutes trying to think of something to say about trees. I decided not to push it. Sometimes the words are just not there. Fast forward over the weekend with a couple of chilly rainy nights to Monday morning when I opened my front door at dawn and saw this:

The crepe myrtles in front of my house had given a very poor showing this year due to the scorching heat of the Texas summer. The blossoms were pale and few from their otherwise luscious mauve and had dropped quickly. The brilliant scarlet and orange of the leaves this morning brought on by the recent cold snap took my breath away. They had more than made up for their poor summer showing. Instead of a blank five minutes of Friday I had a very full five minutes of fall beauty on my chilly front porch this morning.

It made me realize how sometimes the deep beauty of nature can come towards the end of the cycle of life as well as the beginning and the middle. I'm beginning to believe that its true for people as well.

Joining with Five Minute Friday sponsored by Lisa-Jo Baker. On Friday, Lisa-Jo posts a one word prompt and for five minutes we write what the prompt brings to mind. No rewrite, nor editing just letting the words flow.  Friday's prompt was Trees.


Prayer and Thanksgiving

Last Sunday my good friend Ruth picked me up from church, took me to her home, made me  dinner. She pampered me, sat with me and soothed me. I can't begin to tell you how much I needed it because I was so ill with an inner ear infection that I shouldn’t have been at church in the first place.She blessed me, prayed with me and gave me the strength I needed to go on. I thought about her when I came across this quote while rummaging around the blogosphere this morning...

You pray in your distress and in your need; 
would that you might pray also 
in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance."
                                          ~Kahlil Gibran  

The poet is correct. We should also pray in the fullness of our joy as well as our distress so today I am praying in the fullness of  joy. I am posting this little morning prayer following the example of the awesome Barbara Swartz who writes at ‘Morning Prayer’.

Almighty and Merciful God, I thank you for bringing me to the ending of this time of sickness. It’s been hard to bear at times but you placed around me those who have cared for me and shown me Your love in action. For my dear sister Ruth who took me into her home and ministered to me so sweetly, I praise you and am truly grateful. Amen.

Check out Barbara at the link above. You will be encouraged and inspired. And let us know what you are praying about from your distress, your need, your joy or your abundance so we can join our prayers to yours. I am a witness that prayer does change things.


Five Minute Friday: Truth

Joining with Five Minute Friday sponsored by Lisa-Jo Baker. On Friday, Lisa-Jo posts a one word prompt and for five minutes we write what the prompt brings to mind. No rewrite, nor editing just letting the words flow.  

Today's prompt: Truth 
Speaking truth to power.

There is so much speaking about the truth these days and I fear very little actually living it.  In recent years I have been appalled to hear of 'redefinitions' of the word truth, mostly to fit into the philosophy and give credence to the speakers’ position. It is appalling to me that one would even attempt to rewrite its meaning there by negating the 'truth' of the word truth. If you're going to do that, then why use the word at all. It makes no sense.

I have been searching for truth in my life. The truth about me, of who I am and of the life the Lord has called me to live. I have found a measure of that truth, I've hit the surface levels, but I have been increasingly feeling the stirring to dig deeper. To really search out the truth of who I am.  I want to hit the bedrock, the unshakable solidness, unyielding-ness of who I am.  I want to know it to be able to speak this truth to the powers around me that seek to redefine the truth that is me.  Friends, family, society, and church – all who see me filtered through their ‘truth’ and seek to ‘redefine’ me into something that will fit their truth of me. It is a struggle, it is a battle and the greatest weapon I have in my arsenal is the truth of who I really am. The good, the bad, the ugly. I want all of it. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That's what I want. So help me, God.


Five Minute Friday: Grace

Joining with Five Minute Friday sponsored by Lisa-Jo Baker. On Friday, Lisa-Jo posts a one word prompt and for five minutes even we write what the prompt brings to mind. No rewrite, nor editing just letting the words flow. 

 Today's Prompt: Grace
Five Minute Friday


Unmerited favor.

You can’t win it.

You can’t buy it.

You can’t acquire it in any way except to ask for it knowing you don’t deserve it.

To ask for grace means you have to acknowledge that you need it. That you need someone to look beyond who you aren't, and what you don't have and just grant it.


The thought of grace breaks me in ways I can’t begin to describe. Asking for grace brings me face to face with all the things in me I really don’t want to see. All of the things I hide from myself as well as others. Knowing that I desperately need grace but have no right to ask for it is humbling in the extreme. Requesting grace helps me to understand the posture of kneeling in supplication, the folding over, the bending down, taking my body to the low depths* of where the state of my soul is. And in receiving grace, I begin (only begin) to understand the depth of the love it has taken to grant it unreservedly and without measure. 

Psalm 130: (KJV)

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.