Friday, December 19, 2014

And Then There Are Christmas Cards ...

...I still send those. Though not as many as in previous years, but still, Christmas cards are a delight, especially when you find beautiful ones like these at Dollar Tree:

Lots of people no longer send paper cards, (the way I've ceased decorating for Christmas) which is fine, of course! But I hope their only reason is not because card-sending is expensive. It isn't. My pretty cards cost a scant .07 cents each, plus the affixed .49 cent stamp and since when will .56 cents shove you into the streets and homelessness? Since when is .56 cents too costly a way to remind someone they're remembered, appreciated and loved?

Even when Tom was out of work, I mailed out Christmas cards and enjoyed imagining the smiles they'd create at mailboxes. In our 36 years of marriage God has consistently provided money so we can share good things with others. Always He makes certain funds are available to bless folks with and always He restores back to us '30, 60 or 100 fold' just as the Bible says.

Even in 2014 it is still in giving that we receive.

And yes, of course we now have e-cards. I've sent scads and it's easy to include encouraging words with those as well. But maybe it's that word 'easy' which troubles me sometimes. Is easy giving the best kind, I wonder?

All I'm really blogging today? If the old-fashioned mailing of paper cards still delights you, but you're concerned about the cost--don't be. If Grace is nudging you to go ahead! well, go ahead. Obeying Grace is wisdom. 

Cards mailed today or tomorrow have a good chance of arriving 'on time', but really, even if they're a few days late, which of us hates receiving kind, loving wishes after Christmas?

Always is a perfect time to show people they are loved. Any day of the year is the right time for that.

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma."   ... Ephesians 5:2

"Spend and God will send."                                          ...... Author: Unknown Authors

"I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare."
    Author: C.S. Lewis


Awww... if this story doesn't warm your heart, well, you uh-oh! Just might be dead. heh.  :)


Free Kindle books:

Butter in the Well

A Christmas Peril

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Finding Holiday Magic in the Baking Aisle ... And Beyond

"We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."  ...   John 1:14


Very early Saturday morning I stepped into the baking aisle of our supermarket, then stopped my cart (you can pause safely only when you beat the crowds) and spied this sign over a cake mix pyramid:

Share The Holiday Magic.

Oh my, the baking aisle always feels like 'holiday magic' to me. More than usual this morning, even, because Josh Groban began singing O Holy Night (have you heard him?) when I spotted the powdered sugar and remembered French toast with Tom on dark mornings in California. I glanced at the baking cocoa and recalled making brownies in a floury apron, then setting them on a plate for an 11-year-old Naomi after school in Nevada. 

All those lemon meringue pies I made for Tom's birthdays. The cakes I baked for families we invited over to dinner in my 20's and beyond. The sugar cubes I bought one year to add tiny frosting flowers to as decor (but never did). The Christmas cookies Naomi and I baked together, the spiced nuts I placed in decorated canning jars for friends.

Every Saturday I step into that baking aisle and all those memories greet me, bursting upon me like silent, warm sunlight.

I stared at that sign some more. Holiday Magic? No, mine is 'Everyday Holyday Magic' and it's not confined to the baking aisle or December, either. Everyday Holyday Magic cannot be crammed into one month, nor rushed through a blur or bought with money. It's best experienced at a peaceful heart rate while taking only peeks at the Past, but never lingering there until regret seeps in.

No, God dwells in Today. On far-off yesterdays we knew Him not as well, nor walked closely enough to touch His arm and--for that reason-- yesterday was poorer and Today feels richer. 

At least, that is how I've found it to be.

Today is better because we know Him better...


"Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God ..."   ...Psalm 84:10

"My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.  Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?"..... Bob Hope, who brought love and hope to service people throughout the world every single year of his long career

"Peace on earth will come to stay when we live Christmas every day."
... Helen Steiner Rice


Free Kindle books:

It Came Upon a Midnight Crime

The Christmas Shoppe

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rudolph: He Was *Always* Special

Here we go again. Why Rudolph's story makes me, let's say, ill. Though some would say it's a story of redemption, I'm thinkin' it's not God's kind. He doesn't make us prove we're remarkable before He calls us worthy. Godly redemption is nothing like that.

(Yeah, yeah... I'm over-thinking this, but hey. We all gotta take a stand somewhere.)  :)

Posted yearly since 2006:

The movie, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer bothers me and I roll my eyes each time I hear the song on my kitchen radio.

I mean, think about it... Here's this adorably-cute reindeer who just happened to be born with a bright, red nose. As if he could help it! And suddenly he grows up, goes to reindeer school and gets ridiculed (dare I say bullied?) by his intolerant, bratty little schoolmates just because his bright, cherry-red nose isn't small, dark and boring liking everyone else's.

And because of that one little difference, he's laughed to scorn and the majority don't take the time to discover that, really, Rudolph is a darn nice kid... uh, reindeer. He loves his parents, he's sweet and he just wants to be accepted like everyone else at reindeer school. But no, that's asking too much. Even his teachers laugh at him (shame on them!).

But then, poof! Suddenly, Christmas Eve rolls in all foggy-like and since Santa can't see to drive his sleigh, Christmas is nearly cancelled. But then someone remembers that goofy little kid, Rudolph, the one with the nose like a huge red lantern, and Rudolph is whisked to the head of the reindeer pack and Christmas is saved, thanks to that funny little kid... uh, reindeer, who, just the previous week, was considered a royal loser.

Oh but now--now!--Rudolph is a hero. And then how the reindeer 'loved him' (if that's love, I'll take spaghetti). They even shouted-out with glee, because of course, now, Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer is going down in history.

But only after he proved himself a useful member of society. Only after his 'disability' saved Christmas for all of mankind. Only after Rudolph became a valuable asset, a famous reindeer and a credit to his family and the entire world at large.

Give me a break.

Right there is the kind of stuff which is messing us all up, stressing us out and making us appreciation-hungry nuts. The fact is, Rudolph was valuable before that foggy Christmas Eve. He was a creation of God, a son, a friend, a member of woodland society and just a sweet little deer. And here is the truth:

Today you are valuable to God.
Today God loves you just as you are, famous or unknown. For you are not unknown to Him.
Today God would have sent Jesus to die for you, to redeem you, even if you were the only person on Earth.
Today, with God, you are a winner, not a loser.
Today, you do not have to prove yourself to God. He knows your weaknesses and He's standing ready to give you His strength in those areas.
Today, even if you overcame all your weaknesses, God would not love you any better than He does right this minute.
Today God is thrilled that you are His child and He wouldn't trade you for all the perfect, got-it-all together, famous, Christmas-saving people in the whole World.


And I hope you'll remember that.


If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."   ... 1 Corinthians 13:1

We are too much haunted by ourselves, projecting the central shadow of self on everything around us. And then comes the Gospel to rescue us from this selfishness. Redemption is this, to forget self in God.
    Author: Frederick W. Robertson

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, 
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, 
Because Thy promise I believe, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come! 

Just as I am, Thy love unknown, 
Hath broken every barrier down; 
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

... Charlotte Elliott


Free Kindle books:

Hazardous Duty

A Portrait of Dawn