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Monthly Archives: December 2013

15 Minute Art Challenge ~ Luke 2:6-16

This week’s 15 Minute Art Challenge was definitely a challenge.  It’s sort of difficult to get a picture out of your head and on to paper in 15 minutes from a large selection of verses…

So… I grabbed the highlights of the scripture reading and used pen and paper then linked them up at:

http://mavisdavis.wordpress.com/ 

Luke 2:6-16

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

Luke 2: 6-16

 

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Blog Rest? Nope!

Heart Tree

I have to say that I truly need a rest from writing in my blog.  There just never seems to be enough hours in the day to type, edit, and publish.

Unfortunately that idea doesn’t seem to connect with any other part of my brain.  It’s on overload most mornings when I wake up – just raring to go!

On a regular basis now I literally grab my phone on the nightstand beside the bed to type notes.  It’s sometimes too early when I wake up and have thoughts roar through my head that I can’t be trusted to remember them by the time I get to the kitchen table with coffee, pen and paper.  Once my brain has started the download I have to be ready to write down things that I pondered in my dreams or while simply lying awake at 4:30 a.m.

Anxiety usually favors the early hours to startle me awake physically and it usually gets me thinking about stuff I don’t care to think about, so writing helps.  But it’s a chore and a joy and sometimes something wonderful comes out of it.

I clearly heard his alarm, but I tried to roll over and go back to sleep.  Just maybe I could…. but no.

My thoughts were heading down hopeless paths of regret, guilt and sadness simultaneously so I wrote him a letter.  It helped me and later he read it and I think he was good with it too.

I ask a lot from the people I love.  Forgiveness, support, understanding, compassion, and on and on the list goes.

He gives it, unconditionally.

He loves me deeply and never out of pity or obligation.

He understands my pains and my messiness.

He understands my need for a lifting of the burdens from my shoulders.

He reaches into my space – invading whatever emotion I’m holding there – and loves me.

It’s not easy.  I’m feeling unlovable quite often lately.

Some days I feel so distant and weak that I simply can’t lift my hand to reach out to him.

It comes in waves, regardless of my declaration that “today will be better.”

I convey to him that I need to hear …

“We can make it.”  “I love you.”  “I know you’re struggling.”  “I know you’re trying.”

Lately I apologize as often as I tell him I love him and I rely on him to hold me together when it’s easier to fall apart.

We won’t give up.

That’s our LOVE song…we won’t give up.

I’m so thankful for this man that I met at age 15 – That was 32 years ago but it was like yesterday…

I heard a song the other day that said –

“When does a scar become a tattoo?”

“When does the sky turn back to blue?”

“When does this broken heart that I’m holding beat on it’s own?”

I imagine those scars are healing, whether I can see it happening or not.

And I know the sky is blue, even when the days are cloudy and grey.

And that broken heart?

Well, he holds me and loves me and his heart beats for two.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Life, in general

 

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15 Minute Art Challenge ~ Isaiah 9:6

Ok, so I was getting all creative this week and I felt really excited about drawing with colored pencils this morning.

Um, so that drawing?  It’s in the trash … some things work well in colored pencils – dark colors just don’t work well – yet.

So, a drawing pen and the sketchbook and a few new doodles for embellishments that I’m learning and finding that I like to draw.  Like, over and over.

Did I mention I’m REALLY NEW at this????

Our scripture verse was one of my absolute FAVORITES… In fact I sing it all the time and so did Mom

Isaiah 9:6

For to 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.

Isaiah 9 6 drawing

 

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Five Minute Friday ~ Reflect

On Fridays… we “shush” the inner critic and run amok with our words.  Allowing to exercise our free-flowing words with a word prompt from our fearless community leader Lisa Jo Baker.  Then we join together and encourage each other – kind of like a Flashmob for Writers.

www.lisajobaker.com

Reflect

At my age, and with all the places I’ve been and with all the people I’ve met there is always something to reflect upon in my mind.

Many times those reflections are from the happiest of occasions.  Especially at Christmas.

It happens the minute the tree comes out of the box.  It doesn’t have to be strung with lights or decorated … it’s just a signal to my family and me to reflect on the best place we’ve ever lived

~ Giebelstadt, Germany ~

Giebelstadt Zobelschloss

Zoebel -Schloss

There isn’t a single bit of those three years of living there that doesn’t bring happy thoughts and reflections.  And as the calendar pages turn … and it’s 2013 … I can hardly believe that we moved back to the United States in 2002.

ELEVEN years??? Really??? It was just yesterday to us.

Shopping downtown in the cold, brisk air.  Carrying and eating our warm, carmelized almonds or stopping for brats.

That wonderful song from the Sound of Music – My Favorite Things?  We really did love those brown paper packages tied up with strings!  And sometimes those strings had a handle on them – because that’s how you shopped …

Snow Fun  Berchtesgaden, DE

I could go on and on reflecting on the food, the fun, the long and sunny Summer days, and the darkest of Winter nights.  But it was more than that … it was the warmest, homiest place on earth and every Christmas, we dream and remember and smile.

Grüß Gott – A farewell salutation meaning God greets you

 

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Grandma’s House and the Big Flood

The coffee is just short of too hot to drink, but I sip it anyway.  I’m not too crazy about the flavor.  But when Dad dips Grandma’s sugary molasses cookie into his cup – I know it’s for me.  I’m very little and sitting on his knee and enjoying the tiny kitchen and the smells and the family time together after church.

It wasn’t long after this time in Grandma’s kitchen that our town was flooded from a devastating hurricane and their house was ruined and needed to be torn down.  They stayed with us, and eventually we moved what was left of their belongings into their new home.

Dad and Me

Grandma and Me

Somehow my grandparents got very old after that memory.  They seemed more crabby and gloomy after that.  They moved into a nice little ranch house complete with a cozy, little eat-in-kitchen, but I remember, things just felt different.  Everything felt new there.  The carpet, the walls, the bathroom fixtures, even the concrete floor in the basement.  It just didn’t “match” with my grandparents… It just wasn’t “their” house.  It was a radical change.  It seemed too modern for such a turn-of-the-century set of grandparents.

In the next few years we would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and soon after that my grandfather would pass away.  I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap and feeling him cry.  It hurts when you lose a parent.  I know.  I really know too well now that both my Mom and my Dad are gone.

At some point in our lives – in our marriages, or in our family relationships – something brings about change.  It can be a major upheaval, like natural a disaster, job loss or a death of a loved-one.  Small things happen too, and if not handled properly, they can bring drastic and unexpected changes also.

For some of us – it’s at this major turning point in our lives – that the changes grow us and make us different.  For the better OR for the worse.  It may begin small and almost not perceivable, but the change occurs nonetheless.  And the biggest surprise of all???  It can happen AT ANY AGE.

We don’t always have a choice in the fact that we will experience these upheavals, but we do have the ability to direct how we will allow them to influence us.  It can make us BETTER or make us BITTER.

I’ve allowed many things to make me bitter, but I am never going to be too old to re-direct that into some thing better.  I understand all this better today as I finish this blog than I did when I started writing it in the beginning of May – this year (2013).

**I had to clearly identify the upheaval in my life – it can be a little deceiving where the roots of the problems lie…

**I had to figure out how it had changed me in a negative way, and of course, how it was affecting others.  That is usually where we throw our bitterness.  It may grow inside of us, but it spreads like the plague onto others.

Bitterness and all the mess that comes out of it can come from our circumstances – but it’s also inside of us.  We each have a little piece of it.  I’d identify this as original sin.  We need just the right formula to get the black bitterness to grow.

We have the ability to nourish and feed bitterness and take our punches and bruises in the midst of it all and then maybe eventually wallow in self-pity.  I call that depression.  I know that area VERY WELL.

But we also have the ability to lean on the Grace and Mercy of an Everlasting God and have Him nourish our problems and show us the way through the mess – and to be BETTER on the other side of it.

No mystery here though – we will endure some sort of battle, and we will have scars.  The Devil, who is our enemy, will revel in those scars and poke them to get us back on his trail of destruction.  We must continue to stand against him… most effectively by kneeling before God as many times as needed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are hard pressed on every side,

perplexed, but not in despair;

persecuted, but not abandoned;

struck down, but not destroyed.

That scripture didn’t feel real to me a few months ago …

I felt the despair.

I felt destroyed.

I did not, however, feel ABANDONED … In other words, I never COMPLETELY believed ALL of Satan’s lies.

Satan’s lies are like reeds in a basket that are tightly woven.  Those lies and the defeat that they bring upon us are somewhat waterproof and impenetrable.

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay

to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

After many devotions on broken-ness that I have read lately, I believe that being broken is a powerful thing.  And that God uses that broken-ness to show His power.  His power pours out of that clay easier than that tightly woven basket that Satan would have us live in.

In other words?  Jars of clay have cracks and imperfections and they sort of break easily and are more open.

Tightly woven baskets can be symbolic of a closed-off and controlled life that God can’t use very well.

There are some big lies out there.  So this lesson isn’t just for me.  And I don’t have a grip on all of it some days.

Because it’s easier to lie down and take the punches.

It’s easier to accept defeat.

But God desires more than that.  He CAN and WILL pick you up and help you dust yourself off and show you how to realign with him …

To be used by Him …

For His Glory …

Because Satan is a liar and a thief and he is already defeated.  Enough said.

I’d LOVE to share another recipe with you… This one is for a molasses cookie that literally reminded me of my Grandmother’s cookies.  I hope you will try them and enjoy them.  Maybe they will evoke memories of your childhood as well! 

Giant Ginger Cookies

(make them small, or they take forever to cook inside)

 

Ingredients
4-1/2    cups all-purpose flour
4     teaspoons ground ginger
2    teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2    teaspoons ground cinnamon
1    teaspoon ground cloves
1/4    teaspoon salt
1-1/2    cups shortening
2    cups granulated sugar
2   eggs
1/2    cup molasses
3/4    cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

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DirectionsCombine dry ingredientsBeat shortening on low for 30 seconds to   softenGradually add the 2 Cups of granulated   sugar

Beat in eggs and molasses

Gradually add as much of the dry   ingredients with mixer

Add the rest of dry and mix with wooden   spoon

Shape dough into balls

Roll balls into the 3/4 Cup granulated   sugar

Place 2+ inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet

 

Bake at 350 for 12 – 14 minutes

Cool for 2 minutes, remove and cool on rack

 
 

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15 Minute Art Challenge

I’m just a little late getting an artful drawing out this week to link up with MavisDavis.com but today I finally had time to sit and be still and just draw.

I had 2 minutes to spare after using the colored pencils so I did it in ink too…

I’m enjoying this immensely and like to hang these on my wall to see.  My crafters brain wants to be more artistic… so this is really helping.

This weeks verse is Luke 1:26-38.  Verse 34 stood out the most to me..

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

madonna 2  madonna

 

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