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What next?!!

So, it is New Year's Eve already. Personally, the "resolution" thing seems like a set-up for failure. However, this year, in parenting, I have been encouraging my children to set goals. Goals for personal growth should be a high priority, in my thinking. Then I think of my kids and how they are growing physically, emotionally, mentally, cerebrally, intellectually, spiritually, without even trying. What an amazing gift, as a parent, to watch a child grow, and not only that, be excited about what is coming next.

Just this morning, I reminded one child about attitude. As I was talking, I was wondering about my own attitude lately. I encouraged her to go read her Bible or a devotional. She returned to my side with a smile and excitement. Coincidentally, the topic was "Consistency" in living what we believe about God. Who God wants us to be, shining that through our attitudes.

There have been countless incidences this past year where God has ministered to me through my children. I thank God for them!!

So, back to the goal of personal growth. I sometimes push myself to grow up more and more spiritually, thinking I can reach a higher standard. If I do this, this and this, maybe I will be a higher state of being somehow. I really don't think trying to grow works, now that I contemplate this. Just as a child cannot make themselves grow up, it just happens naturally. Growing up as an adult happens through experience, right? Spiritually speaking, I cannot force myself or think all these actions (things I do) will grow me up. That growth I seek can only come through the Holy Spirit.

John 14:15 - 18
Jesus said, "15 If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." (NIV)

It is so hard to trust God at times, especially as a parent. Trusting that He loves me is a battle at times. What is there to love? So too, trusting that He has sent the Holy Spirit as Counselor and Comforter requires me to remember who God is and how He does not require me to be this legalistically-concerned agent, feeling that as a parent, I need to "make" my children understand the importance of going God's way. Though, He has required me to be a teacher and example, this growth cannot be forced down their throats, nor my own. His Holy Spirit continues to work in all His children. Speaking truth and love is pretty much where I need to focus. Resting in God - who He is and what He gives - brings peace.

My prayers are that God's love will prevail in us in the New Year. Being still enough, so His Holy Spirit will work in us and complete what we need in this spiritual exercise we call life. What a work-out that is...being still, I mean.

May God's love and peace reign in your New Year!! More love!!!! Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas!!!

I was delighted to hear the checker at Walmart (don't tell anyone I was there) say "Merry Christmas" to me first this year. What made it even cooler was that she had a half sleeve unabashedly exposed, and the checker on the next aisle had some lovely body art too!! Have not seen any Salvation Army buckets thus far this season.

So I broke out my lovely "Merry Christmas" sweat shirt this year. It feels like I have the whole Christmas thing down. Christmas used to sneak up on me, and I felt woebegone when it came and went too quickly. This year, I wore my red velvet hat with the white snowball like puff on the tip, the first Saturday of the month. Everyone else at my house pretty much did most of the decorating so I could take some pictures, to document our first annual family decorating day. I may get a scrapbook page out of those. Broke out some ornamentation that I have never used, though it has been sitting in boxes, some longer than a decade. The Christmas music has been playing practically non-stop since Thanksgiving. Paula Deen's Pecan Rum Pie is sitting at the ready for Christmas day. The day is almost here, and I feel ready and satiated in the Christmas spirit.

One thing that has been a challenge is feeling that awe-struck wonder of what Jesus Christ means for the world. I have acknowledged it daily for the past couple weeks. I have thanked God for sending His Son, our Savior, to this planet. I even heard and accepted that the expression "Xmas" is not sacrilegious. That the X is not necessarily a deletion of Christ from "Christmas." In Greek, the "X" actually stands for "Chi," and was a symbol used for "Christ." I find that awesome to know!! Even when folks' motives are not necessarily God-honoring, God is in Christmas/Xmas. So with all the nonsensical objections to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, no one can stamp Him out.

Philippians 2: 8- 11
"8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every other name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (NIV)

Luke 1:30 - 33, 37 the angel Gabriel speaking to Mary
"30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.
37 For nothing is impossible with God."

Rejoice!! Rejoice!! Emmanuel (means God with us, or God is with us) has come to us, oh Israel." - John Mason Neale (Jesus birth prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 to Ahaz)



Thank You, my fellow humans!!

Thank you. How do you feel when you hear those words? When I have working hard and trying to improve how I do things constantly, I feel a sense of relief hearing it. It is as though that person is acknowledging my existence. Those words are encouragement. They help me feel like I can continue because what I am doing matters to at least one other soul. Those simple words sometimes help me see my value on this gigantic spinning sphere we call "here."

Thanksgiving to me is a very important holiday. Four days are given to this occasion in the United States. I did not feel the love of Thanksgiving. I spent it with people I love and care about tremendously. The turkey and all the fixings were delicious. I definitely appreciated the time. Disappointment crept in, nonetheless, because I did not get to see all the people with whom I would have liked to spend time. There is one man I really missed, because when I am in his presence, and we do not have to exchange many words, but I feel this invisible cord between us because we are alike in so many ways. He exudes wisdom, though I have not always thought this. So does disappointment help balance thankfulness? The yin and yang of life's balance. We miss certain elements of life, we feel it in human form, but really, we miss the connection we could have with God had Adam and Eve made a different choice. The disappointment and searching we do to try and fill up those missing parts can only fill ultimately by surrendering to our Heavenly Daddy, God Almighty, and not by trying to get the best deals on Black Friday.

This is the lesson I have been settling in. I give thanks to God for all that I have, including His grace and mercy, and the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. Though I feel pain, I rest in being thankful to Him. "...For He is good. His love endures forever."

Thanksgiving can be celebrated everyday, by encouraging those around us by saying "Thank you!" In that acknowledgment, we spread God's love and surrender to it.