Friday, December 23, 2011

Blessings - Giveaway (CLOSED)

It is with great excitement and hesitancy that I'm doing my first giveaway.

From a child, I've been blessed by the daily devotionals in Our Daily Bread.

Discovery House has offered one  reader a copy of  Our Daily Bread 2012 Devotional Collection. This daily devotional with selected readings encourages the reader to spend time with God each day - praying, reading the Bible, and reflecting on how His Word applies to everyday life. It is small and elegant enough to be carried with you on a daily basis.

Basic giveaway information: 

  1. Follow this blog (optional) and 
  2. Leave a comment telling me how you would use this (required); be sure the comment includes your email address.

I will pick a winner using on December 31, 2011, so please get your entries in before then. Winner will be notified and have 48 hours to respond to the e-mail or another winner will be chosen.

I know the winner will absolutely enjoy this gift throughout the year.

The winner of the giveaway is Tina Shoulders.  Thanks to all who stopped by, it's much appreciated.
Have a wonderful New Year when it comes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Day or Two in My Life...

For the past week I've dealt with the flu - I don't know if that what it is, but I seem to have all the symptoms.  On Thursday I went to the doctor as it seems I was getting worse, not better. He prescribed a very strong cough medicine and some eye drops for my eyes.  The medicine was supposed to knock me out, but for whatever reason, I could not sleep. By Thursday, everyone was home from college and I'm officially sick.
Thursday night, we sat and talked, reminisced and prayed. It's great to see children maturing.

During this sickness, I've been trying to work from home - some days were better than others.
On Friday in the middle of the day, I heard my doorbell ring and then quick footsteps. By the time I answer the door, my neighbor is running away in a state of panic. She yells out my name and said she thought someone was trying to break in to her house as she was entering, so she grabs me to come home with her. When I answered the door, I had no shoes on and I still had on my pajamas. I go outside with her, and she is beyond panicked.  We're all standing around because everyone is afraid to go in the house.  I call my husband, who is also home - because I know he's not afraid.  He's not afraid of most things. He was on a very important call for work that just ended.  So he rushes over.  He goes in the house, with my neighbor and I stay outside, keeping an eye out for what, I'm not sure.  In the midst of all this excitement, I remember that the little one is home (now by herself), so I run back home, put on shoes and tell her what's going on.  It turns out that it was a false alarm, but I was glad that she remembered that we were neighbors at this pivotal time. I didn't even know that she knew how to pronounce my name!

The day continues uneventfully and finally on Friday night, the narcotic qualities of the cough medicine kick in.  I sleep until 11:00 am on Saturday, which is unheard of for me.  I wake up to the smells of big breakfast - that's what the children like to do when they come home - pancakes, hash brown, bacon and eggs.  Someone makes me a cup of tea and back to bed I go.

As I'm preparing to go back to sleep my husband says - can I come to the front to talk, it's good news.  My son, home from college announces that he's getting baptized on Sunday.  Just like that.  I don't have too much to add to the conversation, so I go back to bed.

I have a conversation with a friend, and said something that may have offended.  I could blame the medicine but I won't.  Recognizing, what I did, I apologized.  I had a long conversation with another friend, and while on the phone an older friend from the church I used to attend calls just to bless me.  She wanted to bless me with good health and to let me know that she prays for me and my family regularly.  I couldn't believe it.  She couldn't believe I answered the phone. She called it a Christmas Miracle!

At some point I decided to watch my wedding video from 22 years ago.  It still makes me smile in a good way - but the fashions - why did I do that to my bridesmaids??? All the children commented that my husband looks completely different.

My parents are coming in next week, and while attempting to fall asleep (again) the phone rings.  It is now 11:00 pm. My brother is  calling to tell me about their itinerary and plans for the trip. And then we get to talking about relationships and marriages - in particular our parent's marriage. His observation is that he thinks my mom is not often recognized for all the work she does, in particular by my dad.

I eventually went to sleep, so I could wake up for the baptism today. Of course, we were running late. And as we're running late, my husband tells me how he's glad and happy that he married me! I thought it ironic, since he was not aware of my conversation with my brother.

We get to church in time for the sermon, my son walks forward to prepare to be baptized, and the service ends with his baptism. Of course they were tears in my eyes. Happy tears.

And that's why our family motto is:  Never a Dull Moment!!!

The tree will go up and the house will be decorated, but more importantly we're all together at home for Christmas. Home is wherever we all are.

Are you enjoying the holiday season? What's your family motto?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Songs - The 12 Days of Christmas

I've got the Christmas spirit but my body is fighting the flu. Who wants to be sick at Christmas? I don't.
So while I'm recuperating, here's something I learned today while surfing the net, thanks to my blog friend Kathy at A Gentle Answer Ministries.

The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.

The Christmas song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" may sound silly and contrived to many of us. But it actually had its origins in religious symbolism - and with a serious purpose.

It dates from a time of religious persecution. The song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," was written as a kind of secret catechism that could sing in public without fear of arrest - a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact.

The song can be taken at two levels of interpretation - the surface meaning, or the hidden meaning known only to the Christians involved. Each element is a code word for a religious truth.

  1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
  2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
  3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
  4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
  5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.
  6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
  7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
  8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
  9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
  10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
  11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
  12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

If you think Jesus being symbolized as a partridge in a pear tree sounds blasphemous, remember: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so." (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34) The "true love" in the song refers to God Himself.
The "me" receiving the gifts is every Christian.
So that "silly" song we sing at Christmas time has more meaning than we thought.

Did you know this?

I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I had the good fortune of being part of an active youth group.  Unlike many young people today, I actually enjoyed going to church.  The Youth Group was counter cultural - if you didn't fit in with the world, no worries, you definitely fit in here and to a young person that is comforting. This group ranged in age from 13 - 35.  They were young adults who were successful in their lives, for the younger folks to look up to. One year, under the leadership of one of our members, a musical production was created called Maranatha. Maranatha means -  the Lord is coming. It was often a form of greeting in the early church.

The musical production was about Jesus, what He did, how He impacted lives and how He's coming again.
It was set in a modern day setting so that anyone could relate to it.
The music was hip and happening yet not taking away from the message, the sets were realistic (as we had some artists in our youth group) and the acting was superb. It was performed at a local theater for 2 nights and both nights to a packed house. This was approximately 20 years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.
My description may not do it justice as I think it was something that everyone should have seen.

I distinctly remember this poem being quoted by a group of guys during the play set to  a rhythmic musical background.

One Solitary Life

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

Dr James Allan © 1926.

It impacted me then and it impacts me now. Though many wish that Jesus did not exist there is no denying His existence. This is one of the hopeful messages of Christmas - that Christ came as a babe in a manger but He's returning as a King!

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20


Have you ever heard of Maranatha? Does your church do anything special for Christmas? Does your church have an active youth group?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Marinating in Family History

This weekend I went home to attend my uncle's funeral. His wife passed during the summer and on Thanksgiving Day he went to heaven to meet her. He had a debilitating strain of Alzheimers and it was often uncomfortable to see his demise.

At this stage of the game, funerals and weddings are the only times we get together and of late it seems to be more funerals than anything else.  I told my younger cousins that it's time for some weddings and baby showers - hopefully they get the hint.

I learned a lot about my uncle this weekend; I learned that:

  • He was a bodybuilder in his youth
  • He was a  dapper dresser
  • He eloped with his wife of 56 years
  • He had a secret thanksgiving recipe for stuffing
  • He had a bike that he treated like a Cadillac
  • He really loved the Lord and took his Christian walk seriously
  • He sometimes preached at his church

During the burial, I had a chance to sit in my mother's house and think about my life and the people I came from.

A picture of my brother for whom this blog is named

My parents on their wedding day

Our 1st Photo shoot (yours truly is somewhere in there) - that's a picture of my brother and the three girls.

The family photo circa 1983
My brother had recently taken a photography course and had all of his equipment.  I remember him putting the camera on the tripod, telling us all to smile and rushing back over so we would all be in the picture.  We were all excited about his new hobby!

Writing this and thinking about him makes me sad. We were a large loud family, and looking back the good times outweigh the bad.

Ending on a happier note, Saturday evening my sister and I went in to Manhattan to see the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Plaza.

As a Christian, though I'm sad at the passing of family, if they were believers I know that one day I will be reunited with them in Heaven.

Believers Who Have Died
 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

Are you missing someone this Christmas? Are you cherishing the family you do have, imperfections and all?

Secret Santa Smiles!

One of the many reasons I started blogging was because I was lonely. I had moved from one coast to the other and it just seemed like it took a long time to meet new friends and make new meaningful friendships. In the interim, I discovered blogging and thought I'd blog and meet blogfriends!  I have met some wonderful bloggers in blogworld and this year for the for the first time ever I'm participating in a Secret Santa via the blogworld.

I participated on a hunch thinking it would be a lot of fun - we shall see.

Part of my instructions is to blog and give my SS some hints about me.

Well, if you read this blog, you can get a sense of who I am:

  • I'm a Christian who loves to study the Bible and apply to it my life (hope that doesn't scare you off!)
  • I'm a wife and mother
  • I love my children, love my husband, and love life.
  • I love to laugh
  • I love to read
  • and...I have a thing for shoes!!!

Honestly, I'm not picky and I'm just grateful that someone would take a moment to remember me in the form of a gift.

For the person I've selected, I've read your blog and think I know exactly what to get!!!

Ho hO HO!!!