Sunday, December 25th, 2011
“The stable stinks like all stables do. The stench of urine, dung, and sheep reeks pungently in the air. The ground is hard, the hay scarce. Cobwebs cling to the ceiling and a mouse scurries across the dirt floor. A more lowly place of birth could not exist.”
“He looks like anything but a king. His face is prunish and red. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. And he is absolutely dependent upon Mary for his well-being.”
“The omnipotent, in one instant, made himself breakable. He who had been spirit became pierceable.”
“How absurd to think that such nobility would go to such poverty to share such a treasure with such thankless souls. But he did. In fact, the only thing more absurd than the gift is our stubborn unwillingness to receive it.”
– excerpts from “God Came Near” by Max Lucado
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
As I found at Easter, reflecting on the people who were there in the flesh can really make these holy days come alive.
Obviously, Mary is a big one at Christmas. But before Jesus was even conceived, she showed tremendous faith and acceptance of God’s plan. When an angel told her how she was going to fit into this miracle, “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’” (Luke 1:38)
She didn’t take the time to make a pro/con list. She said, “Ok.”
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
It’s my birthday!
When it comes to being thankful, it’s always good to go back to basics. Keeping my heart beating is one of those things I can’t do on my own. And since everything else stems from that… I can’t really make much happen, can I? I can choose to let this make me feel powerless – or to thank God for keeping it all going.
Chris Rice’s song “The Power of a Moment” reminds me that “I have no guarantee of my next heartbeat” and God “knows the number of my days.” This song’s message, “right now’s the only moment that matters” and “show me the importance of the simple things,” is great fuel for thankfulness.
Monday, September 26th, 2011
Once again, I could’ve sworn I already covered this one. Today, I salute you, Mr. Contact Lens Inventor Guy! Without you, I would be condemned to a lifetime of feeling like my bespectacled 6th grade self. (Note to her/me: No, the glasses do not need to be half the size of your face.)
Contacts are truly amazing. They are teensy and oh-so-thin, yet they are able to replace even the Coke-bottle thickness of my (abysmally near-sighted) glasses prescription. With them, I can wear sunglasses! Instead of – wait for it – clip-on sunglasses. Oh yes, I did that. As a kid. Which is just sad.
For this, I will gladly reach into my eyeball on a twice-daily basis! Hooray!
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
I picked one heck of a day to work from home. I was sitting at my kitchen table with my computer when I started to hear and feel the rumbling. Thoughts started racing through my mind:
Is that a train? No, I’ve never heard a train that loud… and the ground doesn’t shake like this when trains go by… The house is shaking! Are there high winds? No, I don’t see any wind outside. This must be an earthquake! Should I get in a doorway? I don’t really feel threatened… my teapot is rattling! I’d better make sure it doesn’t fall off the fridge.
“Experience earthquake” was not on my bucket list.
But yes, there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake today. Fortunately, it was mild, as you can see by the photo of “damage” that occurred in my office (added at right).
For some reason – possibly because I have a catalog of songs/musicals in my head – I couldn’t get the minstrel song from “White Christmas” out of my head for the rest of the day. (“Mr. Bones feels rattlin’”)
Many who were in downtown D.C. at the time were relieved it was not a terrorist attack, which shows how relative these things can be. “Oh, it’s just an earthquake.”
These moments when we experience a little rattlin’ – and no major damage – tend to shock us back into appreciating our families, friends, homes and safety.
Thursday, August 18th, 2011
I saw a group of students getting on a Gallaudet bus today. Gallaudet University is a school in D.C. for deaf students. Seeing that bus made me pause and think of all I would miss if my hearing were impaired – the sound of my family and friends talking and laughing; music; birds singing; even seemingly annoying things like traffic.
Our senses are so precious. I’m going to continue in thankfulness for senses over the next five days.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
I’ve mentioned my husband several times on this blog, but today he gets his very own post, as it is his birthday.
I’ve been thinking today about that verse that says God can do more than we can even ask or think. People used to refer me to that verse when I was single, before I met this man. And I am here to tell you I didn’t really believe it.
There’s a line in a song from “The Music Man” where Marian the librarian is describing about her ideal “white knight”: “And if occasionally he’d ponder what made Shakespeare and Beethoven great… him I could love ’til I die.” I used to sing that song and sigh (overly dramatic musical romance? Yes please!).
Yes, wouldn’t that be loverly (ok, getting carried away with musical references ) – if I could meet a man who appreciated music and Shakespeare and had [insert list of other very important characteristics here].
Over the years, I kind of gave up on the Shakespeare and Beethoven thing, because let’s face it, there are far more important things. But something else started to happen: My list of other desired characteristics started to change. Some things I had thought I definitely wanted in a partner dropped off the list, and new ones emerged. This was just proof of God’s timing – I wasn’t ready to appreciate my husband’s unique combination of characteristics yet.
When he did come along, with him came that clarity that so many people had described to me – that this person was completely different from any I had met. His qualities were just right for me. The timing was just right.
And Shakespeare and Beethoven? He knows them better than I do.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
“Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been granted in what He ordaineth?” — Joachim Neander
Sunday, April 24th, 2011
I wrote about Peter earlier this week. This Easter I’m thinking of particular songs that inspire me this time of year and how they refer to the individuals who were living and breathing at that first Easter.
Yesterday’s was from Caedmon’s Call: “It’s like the long Saturday between Your death and the rising day, when no one wrote a word – wondered, ‘Is this the end?’”
A fantastic line. How devastated the disciples must have been on that day. Can you imagine? It brings new humanity to the story.
Another favorite of mine is from Glad: “Mary, Mary, don’t you worry. Jesus is not dead. He’s opened wide the gates of Heaven, just as He said. …You haven’t been misled.”
This song describes the scene when Mary visited the tomb on Easter morning – how she wondered what could have happened, and how Jesus appeared and spoke her name. “And when she heard Him say her name like a thousand times before, she could hardly wait to tell the others, ‘I have seen the Lord!’”
From Saturday’s devastation to Sunday’s rejoicing. What faith it must have taken to get from one day to the next.
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
It’s been sort of a churchy week here on the ol’ blog, but hey, it’s Holy Week. Today is Good Friday, and the Good Friday service has become one of my most favorite of the year.
The sanctuary grows progressively darker as we go through the story of the events leading to the cross. Candles are extinguished one by one. At the end of the service, it is completely dark, and the final candle is carried out of the sanctuary. It’s not extinguished – to signify Christ’s victory over death. In total darkness, the large Book is slammed shut (causing most of us to jump an inch off our chairs), reminding us that “It is finished.” (I learned this is called the “strepitus” – see more here.)
Then, the still-glowing candle is brought back in.
It’s extremely powerful.
“Ye who think of sin but lightly, Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate.”
Saturday, March 5th, 2011
I’ve been thinking a lot lately, for some reason, about things I’m thankful NOT to have. (See Drugs.) I have headaches periodically, and a few other aches and pains like everyone else, but I live generally pain-free. If you have a friend or family member who lives with chronic pain – or you do – you know it’s a blessing to be without it.
I was reminded of this today when I was struck with possibly the worst muscle spasm I’ve ever had, in my mid-back/shoulder blade. Once it struck, my plans for the day went out the window because I wasn’t going to make it much farther than the couch to lie on an ice pack. It brought to mind the countless people who try to make it through each day with similar pain – at a level that I considered knocking me out for the day.