Monthly Archives: December 2012

Poetry from my fridge – Part One

Magnetic Poetry

Some years ago, on one of our many trips to Chattanooga, we browsed through the tiny stores on the north shore of the Tennessee river.  Chattanooga is a great town, with many wonderful places to visit for kids and adults alike.  On the north shore, in particular, there are some fun little shops and eateries – most of which are dog-friendly.  These provide an interesting assortment of art, books, an excellent carousel, and at one time, a shop with a large selection of magnetic poetry kits and unusual cards and paper gifts.

I believe it has been at least 4 years ago we purchased two of these kits, designed to give you words to piece together into poems for your refrigerator.  You just move the words around and make them work together randomly to form sentences of prose or somewhat quirky statements…

We work on these at leisure – with only one real rule… Don’t take apart anything you find complete.  You need to use from the stock pile on the left, and connect them on the right.  At some point, maybe six months later, we had used so many words that I decided it was time to start over.  Problem was, there were some priceless “ideas” up there…so I wrote them down in my journal to keep… for such a time as this!  Little did I know how funny it would be to read them aloud to the family, or that I would discover how poetic my husband could be!

So, here is a sampling of these to possible amuse you…or maybe they might leave you scratching your head, but hey, it’s art, right?

(By the way…I added punctuation for easier reading)

Part One – …

*Go listen and have peace

*Ferocious velvet

*Yesterday, a woman said, was brilliant

*Come, there is fresh cake melting

*Poetry is a lingering, fire-breathing prisoner in a decaying picture

*I am add ed ed ed

*Beat melon or dazzle pie

*Miss a glass of laughter and see some stars

*As west as a cloud

*Men question the universe but do not look to the sky

*Angels of steel, piercing my dark eternity; they bellow down, killing our joy, yet my voice has no desire

*Will liquid perfume heal my green cut?

*Night circles life

*I like cups of steamy coffee

*Two delicious kisses

*Change not though time puts more on you

*God is cool, like always

So, as the years have progressed the children have moved from being in Elementary, Middle and High School…to participants in career, college and college-bound.  Their “art” has gotten a little more interesting… Some day I’ll post Part Two.

Thanks for letting US share!

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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Random Silliness


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Advent – Reflections on Love

advent wreath week 4

Love.  Isn’t that the really ooey-gooey feeling you have when you first meet the man of your dreams?

Love.  Isn’t that the way your heart melts when you hold that new baby of yours?

Love.  Isn’t that a card covered in pasted paper hearts that hangs on your frig till it’s dusty?

Love.  Isn’t that the bouquet of roses he gave me when we couldn’t afford them?

Love is all of those things, but there’s more.

When I asked about thoughts on love around my house, I heard some wonderful answers.  Talk about some loving individuals…I can hardly believe a few of those opinions came from my children that I raised…considering all the mistakes I’ve made with my limited parenting skills.

Ideas like: 

Unconditional – a willingness to give up your life to save someone else.

Caring through medical means or by making someone a meal.

Doing something nice for someone who does not have the capabilities to do it for themselves.

Wow!  I am in awe of such mature ideas and the best part is that I’ve seen them in action first-hand.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

That is where it started and it’s how we know what Love is…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 Tells us that…

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

13 And now these three remain:  faith hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

John 3:16-17

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Love is about the Son of God, stretching out his arms on a cross, reaching as far as they will possibly go and saying “This is how much I love you.”

THAT is the best Love I could ever ask for!

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Posted by on December 24, 2012 in Christmas


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Advent – Reflections on Joy

advent wreath week 3

John 15: 9-11

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.  Now remain in my love. 

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

Joy, by definition, is a source or cause of delight

Joy – fulfilled by obedience, completed in love.  A spirit-filled, God-given gift.

The pages of my bible concordance are filled with topics that are alphabetically poised at the top of each page.  As I flip through looking for joy, I see the subject of joy on every page.

Contentment, judgement, useful, understanding, training, tested, surrounded, purity.  These words jump out at me as I see difficult words like judgement and pleasant words like proclaiming.  All these opportunities and promising words that guide us through to joy.  A complete joy – found in a life lived for our God, our Creator.

Psalm 5: 11    But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.

Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.

May the joy of the LORD be found in you this week!

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in Christmas


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Driving Back the Dark


1 John 1:7

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

Tragedy, we are steeped in it.  It’s all around us whether it just makes the local news or the major world headlines.  It’s horror, near and far.  It can be the fodder for nightmares, for tears, for fear and worry.  That’s Satan’s desire… for tragedy to turn us inside out and upside down.  He revels in the sadness, in the grief, and in the loss of reasonable human behavior.  He delights in our upheaval during bad news whether it’s small or large.  He gains ground when we worry and when we forget to drop to our knees and pray.

God has a different plan.  He suffered a tragedy too.  Jesus, his son, paid the ultimate price for ALL our sin and died for us on a cross.  Even at that very moment, when Jesus took all the sin on himself, God had to turn away because He couldn’t look upon His son, ladened with sin.

But in God’s heart-wrenching loss, and in all tragedy, comes the opportunity for redemption.  It’s our opportunity to take back our God-given hope and give God glory for the great things He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.  Forever and eternity was promised to US, not Satan.  Forever is ours.  Forever belongs to victims, their families, and anyone who chooses to ask the LORD to give them forgiveness and salvation.

Satin is defeated.  We who love God know how the story of the world ends.  Those that put their trust in the LORD our God … they WIN!

Let us take back our light

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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Life, in general


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Saturday’s Sweetness

cookies 2 cookies 1

Oh, the smell…and the warmth!!  My kitchen is a Christmastime delight.  It wasn’t about writing or reading today – nothing came to my mind, or needed to be said when I went to my writing space.  There was, however, a ball of dough wrapped like a gift in my fridge waiting … waiting to be warmed, kneaded, floured and rolled.  Oh, and cut, with the cute little cutters that have been waiting on my counter all week!  The sweet smell wafting from the oven, the timer chiming repeatedly, the rolling, cutting, and placing them on the cookie sheet, all in a sweet dance back and forth about the kitchen.

It was about me, in the kitchen, feeling pain in my neck and simultaneously feeling an exceedingly warm joy inside my soul.  I had arrived – my appointed time and place to make cookies – finally!  It might seem trivial, but on some days this is declared as a major accomplishment in my mind.  Doing something I love to do, regardless of my body’s limitations that nag at me.

Making the kitchen my focus, I listened to Christmas music and ruminated in my mind over the box of old pictures that arrived in yesterday’s mail.  The box contained a collection of photographs which are the last of the parental household belongings that needed to be divided and sent out to my siblings and myself.  Pictures that brought great memories of childhood, birthdays, holidays, old friends and family members.  Priceless memories.

So, somewhere in the midst of this “cookie day” focus in my kitchen, I had time to reflect in the quiet and realize this cookie day tradition was absorbed from my husband’s family.  A merging of family memories and traditions into my own personal household on this day, made me smile.  A deep, fulfilling joy in my soul, which smelled a lot like sugar cookies, was greatly present.

I had to have my hands busy to activate my mind to write what’s on my soul.  Where’s a picture that shows you the flour on my hands, pen and page?  It’s literally here, all over my notebook and on my apron and all over the counter.  It’s sweetness that is being dripped, poured out, measured and flung around till it escapes from my soul through my hand, into the pen and onto the paper…

Tomorrow I will remind myself to “have courage to write, have the courage to remember the memories that seem too difficult to handle, and to have courage to do the things that need to be done.”  Tomorrow will be another opportunity to leave behind a memory or a tradition for my children and their families that are still yet to be…

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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Christmas


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Advent – Reflections on Peace



Language and English skills are funny, especially homonyms.  When you hear the word peace – without any context clues – you could picture all sorts of things.

Piecework, as in quilting

A piece of pie (yum)

Or how about pièce de résistance?  Ok, so maybe French isn’t on EVERYONE’s mind!

And then there’s Peace during the holiday season, which brings the thoughts of peace on earth, good will to men. 

The days drawing close to Christmas in America don’t often reflect peace or quiet.  But, when we lived in Germany, towns stopped, shut down, and became totally motionless – even quicker than usual if there was snow coming down.  Our last Christmas in Germany was exactly like that – but rarely does that occur here.  Even if there’s a huge snowfall, eventually there will be the noise of a snowplow.

But this particular Christmas of 2001, found us experiencing a full-blown blizzard in the late afternoon on the 23rd of December.  We had spent the afternoon out with friends and as we traveled home, the snow blew and drifted across the B-19 highway.  It was a slow, creeping drive home, but thankfully we made a safe arrival.

Anybody could clearly see it was snowing hard and piling up, but it made no difference to the Germans because they were officially on holiday and wouldn’t be plowing anything.  Their Christmas celebrations would begin the next day on the 24th – steeped in Catholic, Protestant, and local traditions alike.

So, the snow fell silently.  The cars that sat parked on the street, began disappearing in the fast-falling flakes.  It was like a blanket of soft peace was being layered over every home.  Occasionally you could hear the muffled sound of a sidewalk being cleared by a lone shovel…

If you stepped outside, homes with lit windows glowed warm and inviting.  Families were together and everyone was where they needed to be.  It was time for everyone to enjoy their privacy and no one left home that night. 

When I reflect back to that December evening, I feel a stirring and a longing in my soul to keep that image of peace and stillness in my thoughts each day.  It truly is a peace which transcends all understanding… Phillipians 4:17a. 

Hopefully, as I grow in my walk with God, I will allow that peace to reside fully in me each day.  Like the warm, quiet, peaceful blanket of a Christmas snow.

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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Christmas, Life, in general


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Laundry and Intercessory Prayer

christmas violin

I’m seriously trying to fold my husband’s shirts as well as he does. But, I have to {humbly} admit – he is the master of his domain! He does it well and I love the fact that he doesn’t mind doing it. He’s a servant at heart – even in this – a gift to me so precious that it boggles my mind. I mean, it’s ONLY laundry!

I related this in my mind today while praying for others’ requests and needs. How often do we try to outdo God in our prayers for others – our intercessory prayers? We can, and do, often pray according to how we see best for a situation to work out for all involved. But, if we truly love our God and love those for whom we pray, then why don’t we trust God to work out the details? I mean, He is the Master of His domain…

A few years ago my friend Lorrie passed away after a long, three-year battle with breast cancer. Constantly taking treatments, striving hard to treasure her time with her family, continuing to show up in all sort of ways to support her teenage children, she forged onward towards healing.

I was heartbroken when I received her Thank You card for the afghan I made her. As part of a prayer shawl ministry, I prayed for her as I made the blanket…. but the card was more than a Thank You… it was her revelation.

In a brutal honesty, she told me how ravaged her body had become from the cancer and that she was in a great deal of pain. After many prayers, several anointings, and a well-lived life in Christ … she admitted that she believed her healing would not come on this side of heaven.

She and I were only friends a short few years, but I know how much she loved her LORD, and I know the healing came – just not how we, in our earthly eyes, “pictured” it.

This taught me that God’s will isn’t always visible or tangible to us. Our Spirit-filled lives need to quiet our human minds occasionally for us to see the bigger picture. God still desires for us to pray, in love, for these requests of ours and others. But I’m certain of this – He’s going to accomplish things the best way He sees fit. He KNOWS how to do this… He is the master of His domain.

Lorrie was an excellent violinist, and for the last few nights and mornings, my alarm clock radio has been playing Pachelbel’s Canon in D on the radio. (by the Trans Siberian Orchestra) I’m instantly transported back to those days in the Giebelstadt chapel in Germany where she played that very song and my heart bloomed with its sweet sound even in the cold, dark days of Winter. Precious memories that forever changed my life… I can’t wait to see her again someday.

Christmas Canon – Tran-Siberian Orchestra


Posted by on December 7, 2012 in Christmas, Life, in general


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Advent – Reflections on Hope

Hope candle

I hope he makes his connections.

I hope the weather there isn’t too cold.

I hope his back holds out during this trip.

I hope they don’t have problems with their rental if they go to NYC.

I hope, I hope, I hope

How many of these hopes of mine are really fears?  How long will I walk along with one hand over my eyes – only wanting to peak occasionally to see if things are going alright “out there.”

I hope he doesn’t bring home the flu – it would be devastating for me to catch it twice in one year.  And NONE of us want to be sick during the holidays.

The scent of my unlit vanilla candle tickles my nose with its sweet fragrance reminding me how powerful it can be when it’s lit.  My fears, when imagined, have so much power over me.  But a Spirit-filled, Christian body can squash those fears!  Right?  Anybody want to help me remember that???  Oh, yes… I should find that in my Bible – how silly of me?!

Read His Word.  Hope is more than something that gets us through our fears and troubles.  Hope is more powerful than that!  It’s bigger than me, my strength, and bigger than my fears.  It comes from Almighty God – ruler of the heavens and the earth!

Psalm 147:  10-11

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

I hope, because He delights in me…Thank you Jesus for your HOPE!

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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in Christmas, Life, in general


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“Free” Time

With his breath reeking of coffee and cigarettes he speaks of God. He attempts to deliver the Sunday School lesson – but I don’t really hear anything he’s saying… I’m just too distracted by the bad breath.  Maybe my Mom could suggest a cough drop – one that smelled better than hers, of course, but something to help this poor guy!

It was a class full of 8th graders – or was it 6th? We were all being confirmed that year so I think we must have been 12 years old. Time to move out of the child-like realm of Sunday School and into the big church. Our rite of passage, I guess?

What a gaggle of preteens we were!  Kids – pure and simple… Chomping at the bit to get outside to wait in the courtyard for our parents to pick us up. I remember having time to kill and if there was snow, there would be snowballs or snowmen. We ran and played but we never strayed far – staying close to the building.  We were just enjoying our temporary liberation from teachers, school, church, and parents. Unstructured time that was just FREE.

I find it odd that as an adult, I lack “free” time. There’s some sort of guilt stamped on the back of my mind – some impedance that disallows unstructured space in my life and in my day. How did that happen? How do I get rid of that? What would “free” time even look or feel like at my age?

I know there would be limitations because of neck problems and chronic pain… but limitations don’t sound “free” at all, do they?  It may be the everyday life of a wife and a mom, I guess, that also holds me back.  It seems like “priorities” are endless – almost like a black hole that just swallows me and all the spare hours in the day.

Last Sunday we decorated our foyer and sanctuary for Christmas with a few little extra ideas thrown in.  We are spending the four Sundays in Advent as a time to throw out the welcome mat and have an old-fashioned “Open House.”  Special music is planned as well as holiday cookies and wassail.  I’m really looking forward to these Sundays to mingle with friends and acquaint ourselves anew with talk of children, new grandchildren and maybe where everyone will spend their Christmas morning.

In the process of decorating, I took directions from our fearless foyer decorator and before I knew it I was climbing up and down a ladder hanging and draping all the sparkly and shiny baubles on the tall Christmas tree.  Never flinching once, never feeling sore or strained, I repeated this over and over and before I knew it … 3 hours had passed.  It was fun and it was free.  Unexpected free time that I consider a gift.

Jesus came as a free gift as well…and Isaiah 9:6 foretold of this precious free gift, and all the magnitude it would entail…

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Maybe the next time I ponder “free” time, I’ll think of how FREE my time is, thanks to a baby, in a manger, who gave his life so freely.

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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Christmas


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