I bet your world is full of holiday hustle about now, right? Christmas is just a few days away and your life may be crammed with parties and wrapping and baking and caroling and shopping and traveling… and… uh…. deep breath… and more wrapping and more baking and… okay, that’s enough!!
I need to stop and breathe. Do you? I mean, I – we — need to stop and breathe in the beauty, the meaning, the radical impact of Christmas. So, I wrote a simple prayer to center me, and maybe it will help you, too.
I’ve got an old mason jar tucked away in my jewelry chest. Some of my most precious possessions are inside.
Now, if you saw it,you may think the jar is full of dried up, tired, mismatched potpourri, all different shades of faded brown and gray— not very attractive! But I’ve been intentional about what I have put in this jar for the last 30 years.
To me, this old mason jar is beautiful.
Within the antique blue glass are the petals from the first roses Phil gave me on Valentine’s Day when we were dating. Mixed in with those are rose petals from my bridal bouquet along with petals from the roses he gave me on our first weddinganniversary. They are joined by petals from the dozen roses he brought me when our first son was born.
It happened when I was flying to Houston alone. The older I get, the less brave I feel flying alone.
I have to be on high alert, always listening and keeping completely aware of my surroundings. The airlines change gates and delay flights. And there I sit at a gate, alone and having to find a way to adapt. Girl, it is flat out draining.
I didn’t use to, but now I fight anxiety every time I fly alone. (Oh, in case you are a new reader, I am blind. That’s why flying alone is more challenging.)
When I landed in Dallas to change planes, an assistant from the airlines walked me to my gate. There I sat — eating some string cheese I had tucked in my backpack. As I waited, I sipped from my water bottle and prayed for bladder grace. (When you’re blind, you can’t just walk to the ladies room any old time you need to!)
“If you’re struggling with anxious thoughts, your Savior sees you.” That’s what my friend Suzie said, and I said, “Yes! Tell me more!”
And, she did. So, I invited her to coffee today because I want — need — to hear her encouragement and I know you do too. We can all let worry lead us to all the wrong places. So today, let’s put the worry behind us and the hope of Jesus before us – it will lead us to the peace we all need!
Pour your coffee, and I’ve saved you a seat, so pull up a chair. Lean back, relax — we’ll let Suzie Eller do the talking!
I wanted to make it all okay.
The problem is that it wasn’t okay.
I was doing all that I knew to do, and it wasn’t working. We were fighting together as a family, yet there was no formula. There was no set pattern to success. There wasn’t an “I’m out of here” option, because it was someone we loved.
One morning I tried to pray, but I couldn’t sit still long enough. My legs matched my anxious thoughts as I paced the carpet.
When my son Connor was six years old, he wrote a hilarious Christmas wish list.
I still remember his creativity and boldness in choosing the many, many, many, many items. I smile when I think back to the wintery day he asked to get out my laptop and type out his Christmas list for him. He stayed serious and thoughtful as he dictated each item.
When I found it recently, I laughed out loud and thought you may get a kick out of it too.
“Hey Ya’ll!” That was what was painted all cute and crafty on a big burlap bag in my hotel room when I arrived in Pasadena for our last Fresh Grounded Faith of this year. What a way to be welcomed, and what a way to wind up a great season! I tell you, that bag was bigger than I was, but, what did I expect? Everything really is bigger in Texas! That meant the blessings were big, too.
Thank you to Daniel Rivera for the beautiful photos! To see the entire Facebook album, click here. For those of you who joined in the photo booth fun, you can access your photos here.
Forgetful. That’s me! The thing that drives me crazy about being forgetful is that I can’t remember what I forgot! How about you?
I forget my kids’ names. I forget phone numbers and appointments and birthdays. So, I write down all that important stuff (not my kids names, I really do know those) and then I forget where I put the paper. Girl, it’s bad sometimes!
I’ll get right to it. My husband, Phil, has always been a great guy, but there was one big issue with his greatness. He was perfectly capable of dropping his dirty clothes in the hamper, which has always been placed conveniently in our closet. But did he ever do this simple thing that he was perfectly capable of doing? Nope. Most of the time, he dropped his dirty clothes right in front of the clothes hamper. Right in front.
At first, I tried to handle it with humor. I conducted a dirty clothes protocol seminar in our closet.
I invited him into the closet with me, where I used exaggerated gestures while standing varying distances from the hamper, all the while counting out loud how many seconds it took me to toss laundry into the basket rather than in front of it. Of course, I also pointed out that even though I cannot see, I rarely missed.
Have you ever had squeaky cheese? I had my first taste of Wisconsin’s squeaky cheese, plain and fried! Also, we had a dusting of snow while we were there Friday evening – winter is near!
Thank you to Julie Hanson for taking such beautiful photos for us! To see the entire album on Facebook, click here. If you joined in the fun at the photo booth, find your pictures here.
We just wrapped up our fifth Fresh Grounded Faith of the fall season, and it was a great weekend! The Good Lord gave the vision of this conference to a 100-seating-church lady, Jeanne Wagner. She stepped out in faith and found our host venue High Point Church with Heather Thompson co-leading the event with her. It was such a blessing to see how the Lord used them mightily! I am so proud of them.