Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My baby....

My baby is about to turn 12...! She has been a treasure and a blessing from God since the day she arrived. I love you sweetheart, more than you can know.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Memory Monday

OK, I'm taking the plunge here with this Memory Monday thing.... I'm not good at memorizing verses, but I help my kids with theirs every week, and with Joanne's great example, I'm feeling challenged!

I picked one of my favorite verses, which God has used to really speak to my heart this year. I needed to start with something easy for me to remember. So here's my verse from memory (in black), with corrections (in red):

But Zion said "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion for on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Isaiah 49:14-16 NIV

I don't know how to strikeout the "for", which is what I typed from memory.... If you know a tip for formatting font to include strikout, please let me know!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A photo on my desk

I have a table set aside where I have my morning quiet time and do my Bible study. It's my one of my favorite places, and I have everything arranged just so - I'm a little particular that way.... On my table I have a small photo of my dad and my stepmom. It was taken about 12 years ago; they're sitting on a fence with the ocean in the background, wearing their sunglasses, and smiling at the camera. A pretty typical tourist photo, nothing special.

But there's a reason I keep it right there on my desk, where I see it every time I open up my Bible and journal in the morning. I don't keep it there because we are wonderfully close; sadly, my dad and I have never had a close relationship. No, the reason the photo is on my desk is something entirely different. You see, although my dad is a very intelligent and educated man, he is as lost as lost can be, and for many years, I never understood why. A couple of years ago I got up the nerve to ask my mom about it and what she told me just chilled my heart. According to her, shortly after they were married they decided, as many newlywed couples do, that they needed to find a church. So they started visiting churches and eventually began attending a class for potential members, and that's where the wheels fell off for my dad. See, he asked a fairly simple question, "Why did Jesus have to die? Why couldn't God, who can do anything, come up with an alternative solution?" Apparently my dad's question wasn't answered to his satisfaction, and with that, he gave up on the whole "religion thing", and 50+ years later, he has never reconsidered. Foolish, but that's what happened.

I've always enjoyed Bible studies, but since my mom told me this story, it has become a burning passion for me. I long to know Him, and everytime something new is revealed to me in God's Word, I just want to know more. I believe that deep in my heart I'm trying to compensate for the events that happened so many years ago with my dad. I don't want to be a stumbling block for him, if he should ever be willing to talk about Jesus, and I don't want to be the reason anyone else seeking the truth would turn away. So I pray for my dad, and I keep seeking Him.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas is not in the trappings....

I have a friend who loves all things traditional, especially the traditional aspects of Christmas. Each year she has a beautifully decorated tree, replete with bells, angels, stars, and numerous nativity-themed ornaments. She has an ornate nativity set on display, Christmas carols play on the stereo, and she bakes up a storm. What’s missing??? She has no belief in Jesus Christ, and no relationship with him as her Savior. She partakes passionately in the holiday celebrations, without ever acknowledging what Christmas is all about. This just baffles me. I can’t imagine myself celebrating Vesak, celebrated by Buddhists as the birthday of Buddha, in the same way that she celebrates Christmas. I'm not Buddhist, so Vesak holds no meaning for me. And what gets me is that I know many people celebrate a Christ-less Christmas, focusing on snowmen, stockings, gifts, and Santa, "Happy Holidays everyone!", but it is just beyond my comprehension how someone can display all the trappings of a Christ-centered Christmas, and yet be without Christ. It saddens me to see Christmas reduced to just another set of pretty baubles and decorations, and it breaks my heart to see her missing the best Christmas gift the world has ever known. Your thoughts???

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh to be a mountain!

Psalm 125 - The Message - A Pilgrim Song

1-5 Those who trust in God are like Zion Mountain:
Nothing can move it, a rock-solid mountain you can always depend on. Mountains encircle Jerusalem, and God encircles his people— always has and always will. The fist of the wicked will never violate what is due the righteous, provoking wrongful violence. Be good to your good people, God, to those whose hearts are right! God will round up the backsliders, corral them with the incorrigibles. Peace over Israel!

This was my reading this morning, and it moved me so. I read this psalm in several different transalations, but this version from The Message is my favorite.

How I want to be a mountain! To trust in God, to be totally confident and secure in Him, to be unshakable and immovable in my faith. I'm not there yet, but I'm praying and trusting Him. I love the image of God encircling me, like a ring of impenetrable mountains, always there; nothing can get to me except what He lets in.

Have a blessed, mountainous day!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Siesta Ornament Exchange!

I received this ornament from Sara in MN. It's a very sweet heart shaped ornament, hand-painted with a snow scene. She told me in her note that she picked it out at a Christmas crafts fair. It looks lovely on the tree, and I really like that it is such a nice bright blue.... Really brightens up the tree.

Thanks Sara!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Meme

Joanne had this fun meme posted today... So here goes:

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate, with a swirl of whipped cream on top!
2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? One present for each kid from Santa, wrapped and under the tree.
3. Colored lights on house/tree or white? White
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No, but I would if I had any
5.When do you put your decorations up? Day after Thanksgiving.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Ambrosia
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? The Christmas I got my favorite teddy bear, Charlie! I think I was 7 or 8... He's the only toy/stuffed animal I have left from my childhood and he sits in our bedroom.
8.When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? No clue - and there was no traumatic revelation....
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We let the kids open one present each; the rest have to wait until Christmas morning when Granny and Poppa arrive.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I have a large collection of ornaments from over the years, but my favorites are the ones the kids have made.
11. Snow. Love it or dread it? Love it, especially since here it is not deep enough to be a problem.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes I can!!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Charlie bear, a Mickey Mouse watch, and my mom's string of pearls. It was a gift to her from the school where she taught for years, and she gave it to me one Christmas because I was always begging her to let me wear it. Years later she went to buy a similar necklace for my sister, and she found out it was worth a lot more than she had imagined. She shook her head and said "I can't believe I let you wear it to school all those years!!!"
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you? Jesus Jesus Jesus!
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Fudge
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Just being together with my family
17. What tops your Christmas tree?An angel, which was a gift from Mom. For some reason one of her eyes (angel's, not mom's) is half-closed, which gives her this puzzled expression....
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Love to figure out surprising and well-suited gifts for people, and then watch them open them.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? O Come O Come Emmanuel....
20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck? There are so many things better than candy canes.... chocolate for instance
21. What do you want for Christmas? Time to rest and relax
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? We usually go to 1 or 2 parties, but not the same one with same people every year.
23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's? Dress up for church
24. Do you own a Santa hat? several....
25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? family

Monday, December 8, 2008

Well it's half right, volume II

I receently wrote this post about this bumper sticker, and Cindy at "Life is Good" asked me to share some more of my thoughts...
My first thought when I saw this bumper sticker was "...how ridiculous!" I initially chalked it up as a politically correct sticker, in a misguided attempt to promote acceptance of all religions, increase tolerance, and such. And then I got offended, and frankly, quite riled up. I believe that the message we are supposed to get from this is that all religions are ok since ultimately they are all worshipping the same god, and thus all are valid. And some such nonsense...

But after mulling it over, I think it is more insidious than that. If we push the stated premise just a little further, it falls apart pretty quickly. So, for the sake of argument, let's assume it is true any single religion is too small for God to "fit", and God spans more than one religion, and as implied here, He spans many or all of them. I simply can't reconcile that with the fact that the simplest survey of the major religions uncovers disagreements and conflicts on fundamental premises such as the divinity of Christ, the Trinity, one God vs. multiple gods, the afterlife, the presence or absence of heaven and hell, reincarnation, etc. You can find some info here. Contrary to what this bumper sticker is saying, all religions cannot be right; there are core beliefs about God where there is no common ground.
Secondly, I dislike using the "religion" to describe Christianity. Religion has been defined as man's attempts to reach God, to connect to the divine, whereas Christianity is about God's plan to reach and restore mankind. As many before me have said, Christianity is not a religion, but rather a relationship.

I think what it boils down to is that this bumper sticker is feeding us a lie from Satan, mainly that we can define God to be whatever we want, and make a religion that goes along with those beliefs, and we end up worshipping the God of our imagination. Truly a lie from the pits of hell...

Have a blessed day!

Oh such sadness....

There was much sadness and gnashing of teeth at our house this weekend, as our Arizona State Sun Devils lost a humiliating defeat at the hands (paws) of the University of Arizona Wildcats...
But we'll get 'em next year! Go Devils!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Thou Dost Talketh Too Much...

We were shopping in Target and found this t-shirt on the clearance rack.... Just perfect for the Principessa - it's pink, sparkly, and oh so true!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Bags!

We made these Advent bags at Girl Scouts yesterday, and they turned out great!

Here are the instructions:
  1. You will need a paper lunch bag, a printed copy of the poem below, 25 pieces of hard candy, decorations such as ribbon, curling ribbon, Christmas stickers, etc. For supplies, you will need scissors, and glue gun or glue stick.

  2. Glue the poem on the front of the bag.

  3. Cut a flap or "door" in the side of the bag, just big enough for you to reach in with your fingers and get a piece of candy.

  4. Fill the bag with one piece of candy for each day between today and Christmas.

  5. Fold the top off the bag over and glue it shut.

  6. Decorate with curling ribbon, bows, stickers, whatever you like!

  7. Here's the poem:

From December first 'til Christmas

Is the longest time of year,

It seems as though Christmas,

Never will get here.

How many days 'til Christmas?

It's mighty hard to count,

So this bag of candy

Has just the right amount.

So grab a piece each day,

Just one, and only one,

And when your bag is empty,

Celebrate the birth of His Son!


Have a blessed day!


Monday, December 1, 2008

Well, it's half right....

I saw this bumper sticker on a car this weekend... All I could say is "well, it's half right!!"

I'm sure this was intended to promote tolerance, understanding, unity, blah blah blah, but really, looking past that, the whole premise stated here is just absurd. Does this mean that to truly worship God in his entirety, I would need to follow all religions? And how does that make sense when there are fundamental disagreements, beliefs, and premises amongst religions???

What do you think???

Have a blessed day!