Merry Christmas – Is it hard for you to Get Through It?

This is a very lonely time of year for many people. Some suffer amidst the colored lights, festive music, and celebratory feasts and gatherings this time of year.
Pray for those we know that have broken hearts, better yet, if you can, stop by for a visit or send them a card with many thoughts to encourage them.

I can think of many Bible verses that come to mind. Here are a few in case you may need one for yourself:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

For it is written: “Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband.”(Galatians 4:27)

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” John 14:18

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

We celebrate the birth of the Christ child at Christmas because He is GOD WITH US.
Emmanuel! We never have to be alone. He came to us so he could relate to us in a personal way. He came as a baby to be vulnerable and relatable to his mother.

God knew that the Pentateuch (the first five books in the bible written by Moses I believe) would not be enough. Even though Gabriel showed up at times in the Bible and Jesus himself, God the Father knew man would need more than that to build his church. As prophesied from the beginning, God had a plan of salvation for man because of the sin of Adam, which we are all born with, through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. He is God Incarnate.

God could have just shown up anywhere on the planet, but chose to be fully human for us. No other deity has come to a man that way but has just been made up by a man with stone or wood or gold or another God-made object. Nothing from man has ever been made that has not already been made from things God made.

Humankind made up people to be gods, saying they got some divine message from some angel or something from out of this world. Even their messengers were made by God. There is only ONE true God.

Isn’t it time you have a talk with him? He is listening. He is ever near you since the day you were formed in your mother’s womb. He knows you. He loves you. He has a plan for you that is far better than any plan you have for your own self.

Merry Christmas. Jesus is all I need. No tree, no tinsel, no presents, no cards in the mail addressed to me. All I need is time with him. He is my gift this Christmas.

Today I did THIS

Today I did THIS:

I wrote eight Christmas cards complete with notes inside, not just well wishes for the holiday and then my signature.

I mailed my sister her birthday gift, although late, it was a handmade tote and I had to make some adjustments to it from the original, which would have been sent on time. This one turned out cuter.

I prepared our dinner, even though I only remembered that I was going to make it, once my husband walked in from helping his son. It was still early enough to prepare it and put it in the oven to cook. We will be having chicken thighs with carrots and celery for flavor, cream of chicken soup, and wild rice, which I will soon prepare on the stove. Dinner will just be an hour later than usual, but still yummy.

I made my bed this morning.

I loaded and ran the dishwasher.

My husband and I played a game of cards (Kings in the Corner). I am winning for the month so far. We keep score each month, all year. My husband usually wins the month of December every year.

I started to organize my sewing room….again. I am tripping over things since moving things out of the spare bedroom to make room for guests. Now I need to still find where to put these things so I can find the floor to walk. Grrrrrrr.

I am planning how to make a couple small rugs for our newly remodeled lower bathroom. I have some plush upholstery fabric that could work. Good use of some fabric I don’t need. Am I crazy? YES…the answer is yes, but I spent so much time looking for a rug “Made in USA” to buy on the internet and not finding any I like after hours of “DREARY” and “BORING” searches. I refuse to buy from China!

I read a few pages of my new book that came in today written by Dr. David Jeremiah called, “Jesus’ Final Warning”, hearing Christ’s voice in the midst of chaos (1999).

I opened my mail. Tossed junk. Read some interesting articles in my new AMAC magazine and looked at a Christmas card from a friend (only signed…grrrr).

Today was a good day so far. Tonight we will have a good dinner, watch the “Walton’s”, relax reading in bed and have a good night’s sleep. God is good.

Always, God is good. See the good.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Is it Petty or Power Struggle?

I occasionally have the opportunity to pick up my grandchildren from school because I do some babysitting for them twice a week. This week was not any different but the weather was going to be mild for December, in Minnesota.

I had their baby sister with me today and was careful to bring her coat, hat, and blanket to cover her feet although she had socks on. I didn’t want to hassle putting boots on a nine-month-old. Today I decided to park the car on the side of the school and walk, less than a football field length, to pick up my grandson.

The rules at this school are you need to have a sign bearing the child’s name and teacher and the classroom symbol, in his case, an apple. I have picked up this child on the sidewalk before, where the classmates all stand, awaiting their parents, grandparents, or adult caregiver that picks them up.

I was reading today in bed, as I normally do each morning, but just couldn’t get past the thoughts of what happened at pick up this particular day (yesterday) so I thought I would get it off my mind. Not too many things bother me this much to have this great effect on me, but for some reason this did. It is like when you go through some kind of trauma and at first, you are in shock and speechless. After a day, it hits you and you may cry uncontrollably out of the blue, and then you recall the event.

I am not sure if I am over-reacting to something petty or if in fact, this person wanted to control the situation and take power over the outcome I would have to face. I am being dramatic here. I was well aware of the cute little kindergarteners standing with my grandson so kept my calm, not knowing today, what hoops I would need to go through. This woman was not a familiar face standing with the children. It was not his teacher or one of the subs that had seen me before.

I walked up with my sign in hand, and my sweet granddaughter carefully bundled as we greeted my grandson, her brother. Ready to take him and lead him to the car I was told I could not just walk up and pick up my grandson. “We don’t allow people to walk up and get their students. You will need to get in line.” The woman told me. (I should have gotten her name.)

Perplexed I told her the line (meaning the line of cars on the street waiting to get into the school parking lot) was long and by the time I got up to where I needed to be, the students would be brought into the building. I would be too late and then have to go to the office, show ID, and then be allowed to take my student.

She came back with, “There are two lines. You can get into the Kindergarten line.” I came back with, “But it does not turn into two lines until the parking lot.” (By this time I thought what is the sense of arguing with her. Also, I was not going to make a scene in front of very impressionable youngsters standing by.) I complied.

I forgot to tell her that I had picked up my grandson before on the sidewalk. I understand rules can change from week to week. Maybe it was good I didn’t give her the satisfaction of me being flustered.

Calmly, I walked back to the car with my bundle of joy. I was not going to take a chance of slipping on the spotty places where ice had formed on the parking lot. I was not going to hurriedly place her in her car seat or neglect to buckle her in. We drove around the cul-da-sac so I could turn around and headed toward the direction of the parking lot.

I saw from a distance my grandson still waiting, now the last child to be picked up.
He got into the car lovingly greeting his adorable sister, and the woman said a quick goodbye and closed the door on us. I said no word to her and gave her not even a glance. She had wasted time for all of us and was very inconsiderate in my opinion and judgment that Jesus does not want to see from us.

I am not sure what bothers me more about the situation: the fact that this was all unnecessary and could have been avoided. I could have let my car idle on the road as I inched my way up the line to pick up my grandson. I could have acted perhaps especially sweet (kill them with kindness) or had a better attitude although I did demonstrate self-control (thank you Jesus for that). She could have let me take my grandson. I had all the credentials (sign and baby sister should be proof enough I wasn’t there to kidnap a child or molest them), and give me a warning that next time it won’t be allowed.

I get better treatment from police officers pulling me over for a minor infraction. However once, in this same area, I was pulled over for just two miles over. WHAT???? Who does that???? (But my daughter’s vehicle is pretty fancy so I think I was being targeted.)

I guess, the point I am trying to make is that sometimes things we go through are petty, on our part, but maybe petty, on the part of someone else. So who really is going through the power struggle then? Is it the one who thinks it is petty for how they are being treated? it is the one who is setting the rules we must follow, who are being petty? Maybe we get to decide.

Maybe how we react to a thing, is what gives that thing the power over us in the first place. I don’t know. I just think, if I were in charge, I would have had a little more understanding and compassion for a grandmother holding a small child in her arms and not make a cute 5-year-old have to wait even longer to go home.

I discussed this with my grandson,” I had to follow the rules and leave so I could come back again with the car. Do you think this was a good rule or a dumb rule?”
Even my grandson’s answer proved he is wiser than this woman was.

I didn’t let this small event spoil my day, but for some reason, it came into my head this morning to spoil my reading time. I didn’t like how I was feeling about it and decided to say a short prayer for the woman so I would not carry bitterness toward her. She must have just been doing her job. Still, I was a little disturbed by the encounter. Things never used to be this way in years gone by. There was more love and understanding for each other.

How would Jesus have handled the situation? I think Jesus had his way with a man for the important and big things that were in the way of his mission. I think other things that were petty, he left alone.

 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4: 26,27)

Tenacity Isn’t Counting to Ten

Tenacity is working through a whole lot of suffering, frustration, and impatience without giving up hope. It is what you do about a situation you are in that will make or break any transmission or energy needed to get something to the outcome you want.

If you give up, it breaks the connection to things that could bring you to the next step. It is like a cord in the outlet being unplugged. Like one bulb on a string of lights not working, to cause the entire strand to blackout.

I am not sure but it is definitely a word that works only with action behind it. It is the thing that some people have because they never give up. They never give in just because someone’s words made them doubt what their gut and mind and experience were telling them otherwise. Tenacity is something that is unmoveable.

Tenacity goes beyond counting to ten when you are angry and afraid you might lose your temper. Tenacity makes you hold your temper for weeks, months, and sometimes even years, without giving up hope. What good would it be to give in to anger? It changes nothing but maybe your blood pressure. Tenacity holds on and finds solutions if one thing does not work. You are determined to get the outcome you want no matter how much time, money, research, experience, or how many people you may have to talk to to get the answers you are looking for.

I just had a victory this week. It was a small victory compared to some other things in my life I have been waiting for, for years. I have other things more important, but even so, this particular hurdle I could not seem to get over was gnawing at me and yes, keeping me awake too early in the morning.

I have learned that the longer you wait for something, the more exuberant the joy once you get it. A woman waits nine months for her baby while going through pregnancy and the pain of childbirth. The joy is so immeasurable that she forgets her pains once the baby arrives. And God bless adoptive parents too who finally get to see that child they have been preparing for in their huge hearts of gold.

Imagine if you are a parent waiting for one child struggling to get through high school and then graduation day comes. Think of the wife finally getting to see her deployed husband after his third tour of duty in Iraq, after 18 months. Excruciating painful, sleepless nights worrying about him in harm’s way. You never will really know what he has been through.

So I had one small victory because I refused to give up and had to message someone daily for only two weeks, yet, for me, it was not fun. I would have rather spent the time sewing. I have some things I am working on I want to be finished for a grandchild before Christmas. My sister has a birthday this week and I wanted to make something for her. Now, time is lost, but I am happy this annoyance is behind me.

I am sure there will be yet another thing to come up that bugs me, that I won’t be able to just leave alone. I may be pickier than most, yet, for some reason, I just think people should be treated fairly and not cheated. I demand a certain level of job performance and most importantly, I don’t want to be taken advantage of.

I do believe, if I had the smarts, I would have enjoyed being an attorney but not sure which category of law I would go into. It would be fun to find out. I also would have loved to be a teacher for the most difficult of students I think. I would have loved to turn the little monsters into saints somehow by helping them see the value they are to their Creator.

I am sure everyone has one thing that they wish could be different in their lives. Never give up if it is that important to you. Talk to others, do some research, find a way if you have will enough to stay in the game long enough to find out how it ends. God is with you. He has all wisdom and knows the answer but wants you to find it. Ask him for help. Don’t be afraid to cry. I have, many times, silently and also found myself on the floor pouring my eyes out to Him and not even knowing why.

God is so gracious and good. He loves you so much and wants us to have joy. He cares for you and if someone told you something different it is a lie from the evil one. Listen to the only one who can save you. The only one that can help. The only one that has all the answers for your life. Nothing is too difficult for God. Nothing!

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:2-8)

Wide Awake too Early

I lay in bed thinking about stuff far too long in the wee early hours of the morning.
“Why can’t I just fall back to sleep?” I ask myself. “Cast all your cares on him.” I remind myself from scripture verses put to memory.

Alright, I will at least get up and empty my bladder. Maybe that will do the trick to get me back to my slumbering dreamworld.

Nope, not this morning.

I had too much on my mind. If it were just that I had too many things to get to, that would have been easy.

Just get up and do some of the things on my mind….laundry, dishes, sewing, write a letter (Didn’t I say I was going to write a letter each week to someone, when I made my new years resolution?).

Things on my mind this morning were more about solving problems. How do I? Where can I? What should I? These types of questions. The how is easy enough, just do a search on the internet. You can usually find the answer or a video or at least some advice.

I think at times it is good to just browse the internet. I don’t like to spend too much time looking at the screens. However, this morning, shopping online was worthwhile for me. It also helped me find answers to some of my questions, and get closer to solutions for others.

I ordered some books, I ordered a set of light bulbs for my lamp by my piano, and I decided what I might finally do with all that extra fabric I have in my workroom. By looking around sometimes the answers do start to come to you. Retired from my sewing business, I haven’t been able to find a good use for or a charitable organization or individual that would need or want what I have.

Crossroads are difficult because you have to make a decision or you are stuck. You either sit still for so long bored and feeling useless, or you take the risk of being disappointed, wasting your time, feeling like a failure. But sometimes, the road you take does lead you to some satisfaction and reward.

For me, I am not sure how much I want to put into anything anymore as far as effort. I get motivated if I know someone will really appreciate what it is I have to offer them. Then, it does not matter to me as much, any material gain that comes from it. For me the emotional gain is everything. Just knowing I made someone happy is everything to me.

I hope I can get on with getting on to the next thing I am supposed to pour my heart into as far as work on this planet goes. I made a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and sent them off with my husband for our son’s family who is all home in quarantine, getting over Covid. That will warm my heart some but it isn’t enough for me.

Maybe I will fill up some boxes to donate to charity. At least the sun is shining for my plants today. I may take a nap later. I would rather find a way to wake up completely! My tea just isn’t doing it for me today and I don’t like coffee although it smells fabulous!

The problem with me is that the world around me has such an effect on me. It it isn’t going well, I am out of wack somehow. Music helps. I have been playing my Christmas tunes and practicing the piano more.

Be good to yourself everyone. God loves you deeply. Even if you don’t know him, He knows you since the day you were formed in your mother’s womb!

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)