Welcome

Why a blog from me, someone who has never been a writer, someone who has never been articulate or had a solid grasp of the grammar world. Because God told me to write. Several years ago a life storm invaded my family. God kept telling me to write it all down. I argued, but He would not let up. This went on every day for a couple of weeks until one day out of frustration, (I'd like to say it was out of obedience), I picked up a pen and paper and wrote for 7 hours straight! Do you think maybe I needed therapy and God knew it?

I've been writing ever since and have learned to love it! I started out sharing my stories with friends and family. I've now been published in a Nashville church paper, Our Daily Journey (a devotional site of RBC Ministries), PCCWeb Daily Devotional, Ruby for Women Ezine Magazine, and I am a contributor in the book Alabaster Jars, Life in Abundance Collection 2.

Why Ponderings? During this life storm, God led me to a pond in the woods behind my home. There He met me each time, teaching new lessons, reminding me of old ones, showing His presence and allowing me to feel His love through the surroundings of that pond. I found myself returning over and over to ponder, pray and praise. A healing of my heart took place and out of the experience came my first book, Ponderings From the Pond, then a second book, Ponderings From My Porch, and now a third book is in the works along with a memoir about my storm.

Why am I making myself so vulnerable? Because God has done so much that I cannot keep quiet. I have to share. Jesus's last words to his desciples were, "Go,tell." We are his disciples too and this is just one of my ways of telling.

I'm no scholar but I have heard God's voice in my spirit, experience His love daily, and have a desire for others to experience this also. I would love to share with all who visit and I would love to hear from you. If my sharing gets just one to ponder, to be quiet with the Father, to see and hear from Him or to be reminded of something from Him, then this is worth my vulnerability.

As you visit me, sometimes we will be at the pond, sometimes we will move to the front porch, and sometimes we will just be here, there, and yonder. Thank you for coming and please feel free to come back anytime, you are always welcome here.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

*****EXCITING NEWS*****

My first book, Ya Know What I'm Say'n, has been released.


Ponderings

Ponderings

Friday, December 31, 2010

Thoughts from 2010


  1. A broken arm really, really hurts.  ( Jan. 1, 2010)

  1. An allergic reaction to surgical tape is really, really horrible.

  1. Dermatologists are really, really wonderful!

  1. You should not climb attic stairs with slippers on, especially when there is a hard, concrete floor beneath you.

  1. You really can let your child go across the seas without hyperventilating.

  1. You don’t have to keep telling your child about things about his passport, especially when he has one and has used it and you don’t.

  1. A tie blanket is cool and yet so warm.

  1. When Ms. Sue says we are going to make a 1000 pairs of mittens, she means it.

  1. You can befriend someone 42 years older and develop a special bond.

  1. Sometimes the best conversations happen because you let the quiet moments happen.

  1. Faith needs to be unbending, but love should beam forth on every side and bend to every necessity of our brethren.  (someone else’s words)

  1. Sometimes faith can feel like a whole loaf of bread, and some sometimes it can feel like the bread crumbs.  But the Bread of Life will always be there.

  1. There will always be someone who does not agree with you or understand, and that’s ok.

  1. The ‘least of these’ are a potential masterpieces in the making.  Look at them as the latter.

  1. Thankfulness and praise gets rid of the pity party bugs.

  1. I did not understand what the big deal was about texting until someone texted me, saying “You’re awesome!”  People will text words they won’t say with their voice.

  1. Sandpaper people need to be loved too.  Maybe even more so.

  1. God can even use a rooster to get you to thinking, pondering…

  1. We need to make sure our decisions are Spirit led and not people pressured.

  1. Politicians need a LOT of prayer!

  1. When you’ve got tendons popping in the left knee and in the right foot, it’s hard to know which way to limp.

  1. Chocolate and other goodies just seem to call out my name when I walk by…Kris, over heeerrreee…I swear, there is a magnetic field between sweets and me.

  1. Some birds chit-chat, some nag, some caw, some sing, some crow…kind of like people.

  1. When you get the doldrums from being in the hospital too long, blow through one of those blue rubber gloves the nurses wear.  You can’t do it without laughing.

  1. When you sit 9 hours in an emergency room and think you can’t go on one more hour, you can.

  1. Blessings come in many disguises. (they may even glow in the dark)

  1. People can pull your strings, but it’s up to you if they break.

  1. A parent should not chase a prodigal.  That marathon is for the Holy Spirit.

  1. You really can trust the Heavenly Father to watch over  your earthly loved ones.

  1. Becoming vulnerable on a blog can be scary, great therapy, and in the end makes me merry.

  1.  I have an incredible husband who so readily goes anywhere, at any time with me to help a homeless person.

  1. God blessed me this year with a new friend who has a huge, compassionate, servant’s heart.

  1. This new friend makes the best chocolate, mint candies I have ever had and I SWEAR, they call out my name!

  1. Radical living is a challenging and exciting way to live.

  1. Becoming observant of my surroundings on a daily basis brings me closer to my Lord and lot of stories to my mind.

  1. You don’t have to be an expert writer to be a story teller.

  1. People can say what they want about FB, but it brought 4 lovely, Illinois people into my life, and for that I will always be grateful…yes, that’s you David, Brenda, Lori and Susan J…OH, five…Jena, who reminded me that I can be silly while still being a grown upJ

  1. I have a Heavenly and an earthly shepherd who leads with a staff.  I don’t ever want to be without either one of them.

  1. My husband’s camera taught me to not just look at the big, unassumingly empty view but to zoom in on the beauty of that one small thing God put there, whether it be a beautiful Queen Anne’s Lace (weed), or the beauty of a human being surrounded by filth. The beauty may not seem obvious at first, but zoom in to the delicacies of the subject and you get a whole new picture!

  1. I believe God delights in bringing joy and surprising us through simple things like colorful sacks, footie pajama’s, shooting stars, stars found under the covers that glow in the dark, shooting stars in the sky and many other things…may I always have eyes to catch these surprises and never overlook what is right in front of me.

  1. How it made me smile to hear about the young Muslim man who became a Christian through our church and hearing him exclaim right after thoroughly enjoying pork for the first time… “THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN MISSING ALL THIS TIME!”  J

  1. We do not need NEARLY as much as we think we do!

  1. The humbled aweness you feel as you lay prostrate on the floor of your prayer closet is more than I can put into words.  If you haven’t done this try it. . .(let me just say if you have young kids or animals, keep them out or they will crawl all over you.)  I have gone into my prayer closet, literally, on bended knee for 15 years, but as I age and knees hurt to sit on them now, going prostrate is not only more comfortable but even more humbling.  I get goose bumps every time.

  1. Helping someone who may take advantage of you is still worth it…you never can imagine how God will take over.

  1. I discovered sugar free chocolates are very good!

  1. I learned how to play Bocce Ball and never even held the ball!

  1. Wearing footie pajamas and playing video games is fun…you just don’t want it to become your life.

  1. Sometimes it pays to turn off the cell phone for awhile.

  1. Paying 40 bucks to have your dog groomed is just a waste of time when you live in the country.  They find something dead to roll in and all the pretty smell is gone.

  1. I need God a whole lot more than chocolate. If I HAD to, I could live without the sweet, gooey, creamy, milk chocolate delicacies,  but never the sweet presence of my Lord.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Golden Ornament (Christmas is Over...or is it...)

As I contemplate taking down the Christmas tree and all the decorations; packing and putting away, I wonder about the New Year and what it holds in store for me.  What circumstances will I be a part of, what people will come into and or leave my life, how will the Devil try to attack me this year?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not worrying, just wondering.

As I see the packaging boxes in my garage waiting to be filled with Christmas, it’s always a little sad.  So last year I kept one of the golden ornaments out and kept it hanging in my entry way all year.  It will stay there from now on.  Even though the Christmas holiday is coming to an end, the Christmas spirit can go on forever and the glistening of that ornament is just a symbol of that.  Again, don’t get me wrong, I never need a reminder of my Lord, He is with me always, but when those hot, humid months roll around, the feeling of Christmas, good tidings, good cheer, the giving spirit that we feel in December, sometimes, somehow gets lost by June. 

I must not be the only one with these thoughts because of the quotes I found.  Here are just a few. . .

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”  Charles Dickens

“Christmas is not a time or a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”  Calvin Coolidge

“Keep your Christmas heart open all the year round.”  Jessica Archmint

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”  Charles Dickens.

Christmas is not just a time on the calendar, but is the baby in the manger who came to save mankind.  Peace and joy is not just for December but for always if we accept the one who came to offer it.  As I think about the coming New Year, I look at that golden ornament with the light flickering from it and know that the true light of Christmas is within me, so I look forward with anticipation and eagerness to start it, knowing that Christmas is with me always.  Let’s not say farewell to good tidings, Christmas cheer, a giving spirit, peace and joy.  That can be with us for 12 months, year after year. 

I have seen people I know along with strangers come together in love and compassion to help the less fortunate this Christmas season.  My heart leapt for joy every time I saw a new donation for the homeless and needy children.  That is truly a gift; a compassion flowing forth to those who need help, need love spread all over them, need the touch of Christ from another fellow human being.  May this keep going on month after month.  And if I ever start to forget, may the Lord use the sparkle of light from my golden ornament to remind me of Christmas, Christ in the every day, of giving, spreading good cheer, feeling joy that only comes from Him, and peace that passes all understanding; reaching out and loving the lovables and the unlovables. 

May you all have a bright and shining New Year.  And don’t be surprised if you hear me say “Merry Christmas” in June.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Just Wanna Be A Big Kid Now...Part 2


There have been many, many things that have brought healing to our sad hearts from the storm that we have gone through.  And it is so interesting to see what God will use on a daily basis for that healing.  His Word says that laughter brings healing, and I can attest to that. 

Our household for about 4 years became very serious, very sad, very hurtful, with no fun, no laughter of any kind.  This way of living can make a person sick, and it did for our family.  After about three years, the three of us left in our household, were on the mend, good things were happening, and we were moving on, but still not much laughter had taken place.  Then God stepped in in such an unlikely way.

Jena, a facebook friend who I have never met, posted pictures of herself and her little boy in footie pajamas.  They looked like they were having so much fun.  I didn’t think too much of it until not long after viewing those pictures, I was at Target and saw footie pajamas that would fit me.  On a whim, I bought them.

I came home and put them on. I was all alone in my closet, looking at myself through the full length mirror in those silly pajamas with space ships and stars all over them. I busted out laughing.  Here I was a grown woman in her mid 40’s wearing these ridiculous pajamas, although they are very comfortable!  I decided to have some fun and went and found my teen-age son and husband who is always carrying a camera.  I asked him to do a photo shoot.  I told my younger son to look like he was disgusted but I noticed he had a hard time keeping the grin off his face.  I could not, and neither could my husband.  This is the first time I remember the three of us having such a good time together since our first born had left.  It was a good evening!  But it got even better later!

It was late when my husband and I got ready for bed.  Yes, I went to bed with these pajamas on, my husband actually likes them!  I had gotten ready first and climbed into bed and pulled the covers up to my neck as it was December and a very cold night.  My husband came in about 15 minutes later, turned the lights out to where it became totally dark.  He yanked the covers back to climb into bed exposing my new pajamas, and WOW, what a surprise we had.  I did not know when I bought them, that when exposed to the darkness of being under the covers what would happen.  It had activated something.   He pulled those covers back in the pure darkness, and all the stars on my new duds from neck all the way down to my toes, were glowing brightly.  It was such a sight, and caught us both off guard so that we busted out laughing, laughing hysterically, the kind that brings tears down your face. Oh my, that kind of laughing hurts, and yet it felt so good.
 
Our home had been so serious for so long. But all because a girl hundreds of miles away decides in her good humored nature, to wear footie pajamas and post those pictures on facebook, God allowing me to see those pictures, leading me to Target, a place I don’t go to very often, leading me to those silly pajamas, leading me to buy them, something I wouldn’t have normally done, kept me from seeing the truth of those delightful stars at the time, gave my husband, younger son and I a fun evening filled with laughter.  Just what the doctor ordered; no, just what God ordered and filled; SO much better than prescriptions from the pharmacy.

The depression has lifted, life is good, not perfect, but getting better, and I will always be grateful to Jena, to God, for laughter, and soft, warm footie pajamas with space ships and glow in the dark stars.

You just never know who, what or how God will choose to work around and within you, so always keep your chin up, your eyes open, and be ready to go anywhere he leads. . .even if it’s to Target.

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy and they said. . .The Lord has done great things for them.”
Psalm126:2







Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Just Wanna Be a Big Kid Now

Yesterday I didn’t have any responsibilities.  I didn’t have to be the one who sees everyone is on time, everybody’s birthdays are taken care of, the checkbook is fine, and all the bills are paid.  I didn’t have to think if my son’s homework was done, to have dinner prepared.  I laughed and ate chocolate till I was sick.  I jumped in puddles and didn’t care how I looked afterwards.  I chewed gum and blew bubbles and didn’t care what people thought.  I went swinging on swings and slid down slides.  I ate crazy flavored ice cream instead of a well rounded meal.  I jumped on the bed and rode in a balloon.  I went piggy back riding and sat on my roof.  I crawled into a lap and was rocked until I went to sleep.
            Yaawwnn…I’m awake now.   I must have been dreaming. How fun!  I was wearing footie pajamas and had changed from being a grown up to a kid again.   But the dream ended with me wanting to grow up.  Being a grown-up seems so neat to the child.  Being a grown up, sometimes I think it would be neat to be a child again. 
             Jesus is recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke as saying, “Let the little children come to me.”  I think he liked their childlike wonderment.  And he was telling “the grown ups,” “have faith like a child”.  We are not asked or expected to be childish or immature but we need to trust Him and come to Him with the simplicity of a child.        Adults are just like children in we want to be loved, protected, to be trusting, to be told we are special.  There is so much out there in the world to harden the heart, the spirit, the soul and can damage what trust we may have had. I have seen this.  But God can provide the love, protection, give us trust once again and definitely show we are special.  How do I know this…read what Ezekiel 36:26 says…”I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”  I’ve seen this also. How does He show we are special?  Just remember what happened on the cross all those years ago.  If that doesn’t say we are special, I don’t know what would.  And don’t you just know, after receiving a new heart and spirit, how it would feel so freeing  and wanting  to dance and run like a child again. I did!  How wonderful to feel that freedom. 
            You know what?  I like being an adult.  I really don’t mind the responsibilities God has entrusted me with.  It is a joy and a privilege to take care of what God has given me. This is the natural progression as we grow.  We are instructed to mature in our understanding.  Hebrews 5:13 14… “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature…”  It’s wonderful to have experienced that saving grace but don’t let it stop there.  There is so much more to experience.  Will we take little bites or will we feast? The more I learn, the more I grow, the more wonderment I have of this great big, awesome, loving God of ours.  You can feast on the meat and still have joy in the dessert.  I have discovered you can be mature and responsible and discerning and still have a child like wonderment. You can be an adult and still swing and slide down slides. You can be a Christian without being a stick in the mud.  If you’re ever on the street with me and there is a puddle in front of us, watch out!  And I’ve learned something else.  You can be a grownup and still wear footie pajamas.




Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ultimate Mission Trip

Christmas - The Ultimate Mission Trip

John 1:14 - The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Can you imagine how Mary must have felt holding the Word, full of glory, grace, and truth in her arms?

Luke 2:19 - But Mary treasured up all those things and pondered them in her heart.

Let's be like Mary and treasue the Word in our hearts and ponder on all that this means...grace, truth, undeserved forgiveness, freedom, absolute, reliable, steadfast, exilerating, dazzling glory...all in a baby, all in a Savior...Jesus.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Are You Ready?


            I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked in the last couple of weeks, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  What they are asking is if I have all the presents bought, wrapped and under the tree, is all my grocery shopping and baking done.
            But, when I close my eyes, I can hear my Lord’s voice asking “Are you ready?”  I don’t believe He is wondering about wrapped gifts and food.  He wants to know, am I ready to celebrate His Son’s birthday, no matter what.  Is my heart prepared?  Have I kept Him in my mind during the shopping trips, driving through traffic, going to shows?  If the yule log wasn’t ready, or if I couldn’t find that one particular gift, or if my loved one did not show up, would I still be ready?
            One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary, Did You Know?”  I can just hear that unmistakable voice whispering to me,
            “Kris, do you know, that when you’re in the traffic, I am with you too?
                                    Yes Lord, I know.
            “Kris, do you know when people get impatient, I will give you grace to handle all situations.”
                                    Yes Lord, I know.
            “Kris, do you know when you are missing loved ones, I am here to comfort you?”
                                    Yes Lord, I know.
            Kris, do you know when you are weary, I will sustain you?
                                    Yes Lord, I know.
            “Kris, do you know no matter how many sweets you eat, they can’t fill you up like the sweet love I have for you?”
                                    Yes Lord, I know.
            Kris, do you know that when the tree comes down and all the wrappings are thrown away, when those things rust and fall away, my gift to you will always be?”
                                    Oh yes Lord, I know. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the depths of my soul.
                       
            Kris, do you know…the babe in the manger grew up into a man, died and rose again and is here for all mankind?
My gift is for all but they have to be told, everyone…young and old.
            The people need to feel my love
            Please be my hands and feet and tell them it is from above.
            Tell them I am here for them if they would but just look
            Share my words with them, give them my Book.
            Tell them the greatest gift is theirs, just believe
            All they have to do. . .just repent and receive.
            Kris, do you know…
                        Yes Lord, I know. . .I will.
            Oh reader. . .do you know?   Are you ready?


           

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Gift


I learned from Community Action this year how to make plarn, yarn from plastic bags, to which then crocheters come in and use the plarn to crochet mats to be given to the homeless.  It takes hundreds of bags to make the plarn.  I was given big, black trash bags filled with WHITE, plastic Wal-Mart bags.  I folded, cut, stripped, and rolled WHITE bags over and over and over again.  In time it began to get very monotonous, working with WHITE bag after WHITE bag.

Then last night, my dear, sweet neighbor brought over her bag of bags she had been saving for me.  Later I went to the kitchen to begin working monotonously again on this project when lo and behold, I opened her bag and pulled out a GREEN bag.  My heart fluttered.  I looked again, reached in and pulled out a BROWN bag, and then a BLUE bag, and then RED,WHITE, and BLUE bags.  Oh, the joy of colors!  I was so giddy folding, cutting, stripping, and rolling all those beautiful colors!  Who knew colored bags could make me so happy?

Oh, the simple pleasures.  I think God must have smiled seeing me get such joy out of this “gift.”  The gift of color just when I needed it.  The creator of color gave me a gift and used my dear neighbor to deliver it.  It renewed me, revived me, and I was ready with zip and zing to make more plarn.  I found myself humming, smiling as I pulled out yet another colorful bag…what joy!

I think there are lessons here.  I’m just going to let you ponder on that for yourself.  I’m going back to my “gift” bag and see what color I pull out next.  I can’t wait!

What fun!  What joy!  What a gift!  All from a plastic bag.

Thank you Father.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Silent Night, Holy Night. . .

There have been several silent, holy nights in my life, but the one that stands out the most was back in 1985.  I had not seen or talked with my mother for nine years.  (That story coming later)  On this still, silent night, I was a young married woman of 4 years.  My husband was working late at a store and I was in our apartment this early evening dusting my bedroom dresser.  I had not been thinking of my mother at all.  All of a sudden there was that still, small, unmistakable voice that said to me, “It’s time to call your mother.”  Without hesitation, I went to the telephone, picked it up and called her.  I don’t remember how I knew the number after 9 years, but I did.  I said I was ready to see her.
            This night was a holy one to me because 1.  I heard His voice 2.  I immediately obeyed after not wanting to see her all that time.  3.  I knew the number somehow.  4.  The presence of God was all over the place and became one of the most beautiful evenings of my life.  She and I talked, played the piano and sang together for hours.  Forgiveness was never mentioned, reconciliation was never mentioned, but both had happened.  No talk of the past came up. . .it wasn’t needed.  We were moving forward that night.  It was a silent, holy night outside and in.  Miracles were taking place.  My mother and I had been given a second chance.  There could have been bitterness, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, but there was none of that.  God had taken care of it all.  The perfect reconciliation had taken place.  Yes, indeed it was a holy night!
            I will be eternally grateful to that holy infant so tender and mild, who grew up to willingly take on the cruel death, so we all could be redeemed if we so choose to take the gift; for gaining victory over death; for always watching over us, choreographing situations to happen in His timing; for looking down on a child who needed her mother and a mother who needed her child and finally said, “It is time!”
            Sleep in heavenly peace?  Before this reconciliation, I ground my teeth so hard my jaws would stick and sometimes not open for half a day.  This went on every night for 9 years.  Afterwards, my jaw never stuck again.  Yes, I was now sleeping in heavenly peace.
            Thank you Father, for the Christ Child, for mothers, and for those silent, holy nights.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

I find it unusual that the words of this often favorite Christmas Song, written in 1858 by Edmund Hamilton Sears, still hold true today.  I also find it interesting that the song does not mention anything about the birth of Christ...only an Angelic request for peace on earth.

Today, when so many people want to remove ‘Merry Christmas” from the Christmas season and replace it with “Happy Holidays”, a rather generic catch phrase, I find it troubling at the very least.  Christ is what Christmas is all about…not a non-descript generic holiday greeting that could refer to any holiday.

It seems to me that if the world would “lay in solemn stillness” they just might begin to hear the voice of God or at the very least begin to sense his presence.  The second verse of this song speaks of peaceful wings unfurled and the heavenly music floats all o’er the weary world.  It doesn’t take much to realize just how weary our world is today.  I’ve been weary about events in my own little world.  But, I’ve also experienced the peace the Angels sing about.  Oh what would the world be like if everyone heard the angels sing on high…Peace on Earth, goodwill to men!  Understanding that this request comes from heavens all gracious King, and delivered by his messengers, the angels, it seems to me that everyone would want to say “Merry Christmas” with a renewed spirit.

There is a stanza from this song that is usually omitted from most hymnals…but one that is so fitting for today’s weary world.

            Yet with the woes of sin and strife|The world hath suffered Long|
            Beneath the angel-strain have rolled|Two thousand years of wrong|
            And men, at war with man, hears not|The love song which they bring|
            Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,|And hear the angels sing!

Christmas is a time of Peace…the words “Merry Christmas” speak about what all men should instinctively know but oh so often fail to see.  When the Angels speak of Peace on Earth…it is a Peace that surpasses all understanding.

One day all strife will end for all believers.  We will all hear the Angels sing…and I’ll bet we’ll join in praising our Father who sent his son on that first ‘Merry Christmas’…a son whose mission was to bring peace to all.  Until his return, lets continue to speak those two simple words...not just as words, but from our hearts about a Peace on Earth that is to come…and someday…everyone will hear the angels sing on another midnight clear.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

O Holy Night

God brought a special little girl into my life several years ago when I was asked to become her mentor.  When she clung to my leg and begged me to come back, how was I going to say no to that pleading face…I didn’t.  We’ve had fun over the last three years and one such time was about this time a year ago. 
            My husband’s and my Sunday School class had a cook-out at one of the members home out in the country.  My little friend had just had a hard, emotional week and I thought it would be good for her to get out and have a change of scenery and have some fun.  I asked her if she would like to go to this party which included a hay ride.  She asked what a hay ride was.  Oh, the simple pleasures we take for granted, even a lot of children, not realizing that a lot of other children do not get to experience such things.
            My husband and I took her to this party and it was a night full of firsts for her.  She saw her first bonfire which our host provided.  It was a huge one and so were her eyes because of it.  She took her first hayride, which she absolutely loved.  She was able to get up close to some horses, another first and was amazed at how big they were.  And her eyes couldn’t believe all the thousands of stars she was seeing in the huge, black, open sky.  She had never seen stars like this, having lived in the middle of town where all the city lights are always shining.  She had never seen, didn’t even know what a shooting star was.  As my husband, I and our little friend were standing on a hill, in the dark, with the smell of the bonfire going, Keith proceeded to tell her what it was.  Just as the three of us looked up into this magnificent universe, God did the neatest thing.  He sent the most brilliant, bright shooting star across the dark sky that lasted longer than Keith or I had ever seen.  It lasted a good 6-7 seconds.  The expression on this little girl’s face was priceless! 
            Many years ago…a holy night…our dear Savior was born.  On this night at the friend’s farm, I believe was another holy night.  There were at least a hundred people at this place and yet I think no one knew except for me observing my nine year old friend.  Her short life has been hard and so this one particular night I believe was a holy one, because in her sadness, God let her experience her first hayride, seeing horses up close for the first time, her first bonfire, and her first and the most glorious shooting star ever. This night was for her.   
            That first bright star that led the shepherds must have been an awesome sight.  It led them to the Christ child.  This night of first experiences for a little girl was topped off with another bright, glorious star…another awesome sight.  It gave a brief but poignant and holy moment to mention Jesus to her.  I pray it will be a stepping stone for this child being led to Christ, the One who saves souls and brings joy to the joyless.  She went home this night with a bigger smile than when she came.
            Thank you Father for not just one holy night, but two…not just for one bright, shining star, but two.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining…..


Monday, December 6, 2010

I'll Be Home For Christmas

            I was born, raised and married in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  So even after moving to Arkansas, and later to Kentucky, I would always refer to home as back in Oklahoma.  After all, that is where I grew up and all my family and my husband’s family still live there.
            But as I was re-reading the book of Ruth, I ran across something I had underlined 29 years ago:
            “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.  Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” Ruth 1:16-17.  These words were a part of our wedding vows.  I was reminded that wherever my husband was, that was my home.  He and I became one all those years ago and as fond as I am of Oklahoma, my home is wherever he is.
            When my husband Keith asked me 6 years ago how I felt about moving to Kentucky, I cried. After leaving Arkansas, we moved back to Oklahoma in a town just an hour down the road from Tulsa.  For thirteen years it was easy to make week-end trips there and the family up the road to see us.   When I learned there would be 700 miles between me and the rest of the family, I thought it might as well be at the other end of the world.  No more week-end trips.  More like one week out of the year!  But there’s that leaving and cleaving thing, and I took it seriously when I made those vows.  While still upset about moving, I went to my Bible and read the Ruth verse again.  I took a deep breath and said, “Ok Lord, I’m ready to go.”
            Home is right beside my husband, wherever that is.  So yes, I’ll be home for Christmas…right here in Kentucky beside my sweetheart.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

(White) Snow (White)



No, not snow white, the fairy tale princess. We had a snow fall today and it was so beautiful. I’m not a cold weather lover but I do admire the beauty of the snow.  I’ve heard every snow flake has its own pattern…just like people.  That’s just like God to be so creative. Only one verse came to my mind about snow, which you will read at the end of this, but I did think of the white horses at the end of the bible.
            In Revelation 6:2, John writes,
            “I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, ‘Come!’ I looked, and there before me was a white horse.  Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
            In Revelation 19:11 John describes this,
            “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True…then down to verse 14,
            “The armies of heaven were following Him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.
            It sounds like a prince charging in on his white horse to save the damsel.  Actually, the rider called Faithful and True had written on his robe and on his thigh the name King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Even better!
            His entrance here signals the end of the false powers.  A great battle will ensue and we know the ending.  He will conquer, will take his bride and ascend to the New Earth.
            Revelations describes a perfect city with no evil.  Paradise is re-created in the New Jerusalem.  I bet there will be ponds there, but I’m not sure about the snow.
            Snow White had her prince.  But again, that was just a fairy tale.  She was not a real woman, but if she was, I think she would be in Heaven.  Any woman who could live with, work with, and clean up after seven men, and with names like Grumpy, and Dopey, and still whistle, has to be an angel. OK, all kidding aside, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords charging in on his white horse and taking his bride, the church, to a paradise like place is no fairy tale.  It’s the real deal. 
            The bible says our sins are as scarlet but Jesus makes them white as snow.  I smile as I look out at the clean, pure snow, thankful that I took that step of faith and knowing how He sees me, white as the pure driven snow.  Because of this I will be in paradise with Him someday.  I hope you will be there too.
            For us believers, I guess you could say,
            “And they lived happily ever after.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Maryellen

One day my next door neighbor, Maryellen, called me up and said, “Let’s go walking out by the pond.”  I not being a cold weather person, replied, “It’s freezing outside!”  She responded with, “It’s only 40 degrees.”  I responded, “Right, its freezing!”  She said with exasperation in her voice, “Layer up and come on girl.” Only for a good friend would I do this.  I donned my layers of clothing including coat, scarf, and gloves.  I noticed the smirk on her face when she saw me.
We went walking, me shivering in the wind.  My friend is full of life, and conversation always flows with her.  There is never a quiet or dull moment with her around. Laughter flows from her often and she can turn my tickle box over when others cannot.  She has a big smile always and a huge heart to go with it.  She hugs me big time every time she sees me.  She hugs just like my mother, who I miss since she lives 750 miles away.  So God provided me a hugger.  He provided me a confidant, and a friend who brings smiles to my face and giggles to my heart. As we walk down the paths, sharing about our families, and our lives, I start to warm up.  We reminisce, share thoughts and ideas and laugh some more.  We stop and admire the beauty of the spot we’re at, taking it all in.  We both love nature and all that God has created.  After breathing it in, we head back home.
Coming near the house, I realized I did not feel so cold anymore.  I was quite warm in fact.  I removed my scarf and gloves.  I’m not so sure it had to do with the five layers of clothing though. It just may have been the wonderful warmth of friendship that permeated me on the walk.
One of the best friend stories in the Bible is one of David and Jonathan.  In l Samuel 18:4, Jonathan took off his robe and gave it to David along with his tunic, sword, bow and belt.  Guy things.
Maryellen offered me her pretty jacket that cold day as we headed for the pond. I let her keep it since I had adorned myself with so much. There are beautiful pearls to go around my neck given to me by her.  And she has given me pretty things for my home and garden.  Girl things.
But the most important gifts she has given me are laughter, companionship and someone to share our love of the Lord.  Our personalities are as different as night and day, but our souls have been bonded in such a way that I know it is from the Lord’s hand.
I learned from the Mayo Clinics website that friendship not only enriches your life but improves your health.  Here’s how: During hardship, they are a source of comfort and strength, helping you weather the traumas in your life, they are there to share in the good times, boosts your happiness, reduces stress, increases your sense of belonging, and decreases your risk of serious mental illness.
There is no chance of that here with all the wonderful friendships God has given me.  I am thankful for all of them and the special way in which they give. Remember, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”  The next time that new neighbor moves in, don’t ignore them, just watching from behind closed curtains.  Go greet them, and give them a hug; they just might become your new best friend.  They just might save you.  You just might be the one to save them.
Maryellen came to me at a time when my life was cold, cloudy, and gloomy.  She comes over always with sunshine to spread all around and lightens up any dark day I might be experiencing at the time.  She is not a fair weather friend; she is an all weather girlfriend.
I read on a sign once. “Friends are to us as bacon bits are to a salad.”  Bacon bits bring zing to the salad.  Maryellen brings zing to my life.  I only hope I can bring a little zip to hers every now and then.  This day started out cold but ended warmly with her friendship.  I love her.  She is not only my neighbor and friend, but also my sister in Christ.                                                                
When the house became empty next door, I prayed the Lord would bring me a neighbor who would love me, that I could love her, and that she would have a love for the Lord as I do.  He brought me so much more!  When I told Maryellen I prayed for her to come, she responded with, “I got here as fast as I could!”

“A friend loves at all times”
Proverbs 17:17

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Neighbor Dogs


(from The Front Porch...)

As you pass us by on the road, you would think our family was bigger than it really is.  A lot of times you would see Keith, I, and our dog Sadie…along with Bella and Myshka.
            Bella and Myshka are our next door canine neighbors.  Bella is a very friendly, high energy, playful, black lab.  Myshka is a more reserved, layed back, beautiful, husky/collie mix.  They are very different from one another, just like people.
            Bella became our friend right off the bat.  Myshka took about a year to get close to us.  She would come over but not close enough for us to touch her.  We let them know they were welcomed on our front porch.  After about a year, Myshka decided we weren’t so bad and one day came all the way to us and let us pet her.  Now we felt like we were a second family.  Every time we came out to our porch, here they would come.  Our own dog Sadie, part golden retriever, was skittish around them in the beginning, but over time they got to know each other and became friends.  Keith always said Sadie didn’t know she was a dog, or how to be a dog, until Bella and Myshka taught her.  Sadie never left the perimeters of our yard until the canine neighbors showed her the world was bigger than our yard.  She discovered the woods and the tall grasses and now she comes back from romps very happy and covered in stickers.  Sadie never used to like to get her paws wet, let alone her whole body.  Bella loved the water and would jump into any pool of water on the side of the road or into a pond.  One day while Keith and I were walking with Sadie, we came upon a pond and she dived right in.  I couldn’t believe it!  When a deer was hit on our road and died, Sadie learned to roll around on it getting herself very stinky with her friends, and discovered new bones to chew on.  Oh brother!  She was a full fledged dog now, thank you very much Bella and Myshka! 
            But you know what?  She was just being what God created her to be, a dog.  And since befriending her new neighbors, she seems to be a much happier dog. 
            God said it was not good for man to be alone.  He knew there needed to be companionship.  I think it’s the same for dogs.
            Even though I now have to brush her more, pick off hundreds of stickers from her coat, bathe her more often, she is one happy dog.
            We all need friends to romp around with, to learn from, to teach, to splash in the puddles with and just be ourselves.  God has blessed me with many wonderful friends who have all been such a blessing.  They have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and are still around.
            They have romped with me, taught me, picked off the stickers of doubt, sadness, and depression and have shown me a bigger world than what I had known.  One of my dearest friends is Bella and Myshka’s human mom.  She is a real treat!  You will meet her next time.
            I am a happier person because of my friends.  I am very blessed, just like Sadie.
So if you are skittish about making new friends, to open up with someone, don’t.  Jump out there in the pool of life and take a risk.  Discover all the blessings you not only will receive but you yourself can be a blessing to others.  Isn’t that, after all what Jesus wants us to do?
My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who's Coming to Dinner?



The first supper we read about in the Bible is in Genesis, chapter three.  The appetizer, main course and dessert were all wrapped up in one juicy piece of fruit that was “pleasing to the eye.”  Who was on the guest list?  Adam and Eve of course.  They didn’t pay money for this dinner, but oh, how they paid!  The cost of this dinner. . .destruction, sin entered the world, which led to death, nakedness, shame, fear, broken relationships. . .disastrous!

Far down the time line was another feast, known as the Last Supper.  The guest list here was Jesus as guest of honor and His twelve disciples.  The menu. . .unleavened bread, lamb, bitter herbs, and wine.  The cost?  The ultimate sacrifice was coming to pay for the cost of the first supper. . .victory over death, the gift of forgiveness, the chains of shame and fear and broken relationships broken and freedom restored.  Hallelujah!

In the New Earth will be another feast.  In the book of Revelation we are told the guest list here will include all believers.  We will be invited to eat from the tree of life.  Interesting.  The Garden of Eden had a tree of life but two were told not to eat from it.  Disobedience brought on sin.  We are told as depicted in Revelation we believers will be invited to eat from the tree of life because our sins have been removed.  I’m definitely no bible scholar so this may be literal or symbolic.  But it just goes to show that there was a plan in place even when the first two diners committed the first wrong.

I don’t know about you but this gives me comfort.  From beginning to end we see God and His plan.  He is just and He is loving.  The two go hand in hand.

The first supper involved selfishness and disobedience.  The last supper involved unselfishness and obedience.  The first supper, Satan slithers and misleads.  After the last supper, Jesus crushes the serpent’s head. 

In the New Earth feast, our dining clothes will be robes of righteousness.  The cost of this feast?  According to Revelation 21:6, there will be no cost…He says, “To him who is thirsty, I will give to drink without cost from the spring of life.”

Dining with Jesus, can you fathom it?  As believers, we already dine with Him, we just can’t see Him face to face, but He is with us always.  Do we act like He is with us at our dining table, our restaurant table, at our picnics?  He not only feeds us with food and drink, but also feeds us with forgiveness, peace, joy and unconditional love.

Who’s coming to your dinner tonight?  Will there be a place for the one called “The Bread of Life?”  If so, let us remember to say “thank you” for all the nourishments in life He provides for us.  After the prayer of thanks and gratitude, let’s “eat, drink, and be merry.”