Monday, December 22, 2008

Joy, Joy, Joy

You are looking at my Christmas present. I have a brand new smile! Three years ago I received the gift of new bridges for my teeth. I lost so many teeth while I was in Mexico. I was thrilled to get the bridges. I did have the smile I wanted. Then a little over a month ago, one of my teeth broke and had to be pulled. Since I had no more anchors for the bridge, we decided to have the few remaining pulled and get an upper for me. I've been walking around for abut 6 weeks with only my two front teeth showing. Saturday morning that all changed. The last 5 teeth came out and in went my smile. I am deliriously happy. I actually cried when I saw myself. Praise the Lord that my gums haven't been painful. The best thing . . . the doctor (oral surgeon) who took care of me on Saturday was wonderful! I told him it was a miracle that he got my teeth out so fast and he said, "Not my work, not a miracle, all credit goes to the Lord". Is that cool or what?
This week is also the week of Hanukkah. This celebration of the Festival of Lights is important to all Jews. A couple of years ago, I told the history of Hanukkah as I found on the internet. It wasn't just one day out of many, but a time when the Temple was returned to the Jews after a long time of suffering and oppression. They had only enough oil to light one of the eight lights on the Menorah. However after the first night, they found they had enough to light the second and so on until the eighth day. This was a miracle wrought by God to His chosen people. I want to say Happy Hanukkah to all of you who celebrate the Festival of Lights.

I can't believe that Thursday will be Christmas already. We have invited another guest, made her stocking and purchased small gifts for her. Rob's sister may be joining us as well. She's been super depressed. Christmastime depression is all too common. We talked with her and prayed with her on Saturday. Later, a very good friend of our offered to pay for the train ticket to get her here for a week or two. Perhaps time with family will be good for her. I called with the news, but she hasn't given us her decision yet. If y'all would pray for her and for our Christmas guests, I would really appreciate it. Their names are Timothy, Dora, Tina, Shawn & Denise. It will be our great pleasure to share the Christmas Story from the gospel of Luke with them all.

Tomorrow I will be making/baking the pumpkin roll. I hope I can still find the recipe. The roll is so decadently delicious that Christmas cannot pass without me fattening up on it. Besides, it's a hit with everyone. Ham is ham and pies just pies, but that dear pumpkin roll lights up their eyes!

As always you are all in my thoughts and prayers. If I am not able to post before then, Merry Christmas to you all. I posted to my other blog Blessings by Day today as well. Drop on by . . . it's a divine appointment.
Blessings and love,

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


This is a story I posted in December 2005. I think it deserves repeating.

This is more of a woman’s story than a man’s, but I hope men will read it as well. When I was 15 years old and thought I knew everything, I slipped into the back seat of a butter yellow Chevy Super Sport Impala. The rest is history. With that one little action, I changed the course of my life forever. The chance to be a little girl again was gone. A life grew inside me.

How many teenage girls can say with a certainty that getting pregnant is their first option? And those that actually do . . . how many are prepared for the awesome responsibility that goes along with being a mother? I know I wasn’t prepared. No way. I was immature and irresponsible, spoiled and a few other adjectives that come to mind. Mother material isn’t one of them.

Immediately after my experience in the back seat, I was ashamed. My mother had taught me better than that. I didn’t listen. A few days later, I knew with a certainty that I was pregnant. I had to get the word to Mom and disappoint her. It was a very tearful time.

There was life inside me. Swimming around in there was a child. Wow! From the moment my flat little belly began to swell, I loved him. Unless you are a parent it’s hard to understand that kind of love. I loved my precious child enough to give him up for adoption.

But this isn’t my story. It’s her story. I can’t adequately tell it, but I’m going to try. It was a different era altogether. There weren’t any cars and people mostly walked to get where they were going. Most teenage girls were betrothed (engaged) very early. There were rituals to betrothal and young couples were never unsupervised. It was a time of innocence, I believe.

Come back with me to the road in a little town. A young girl is walking there. Possibly she is picking wild flowers or kicking stones, thinking about her betrothed. He’s a handsome man and already has a trade, so will be a good provider. She’s got her head down and she’s in sort of a dream world. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an angel appears! He’s huge and glowing and she is very frightened. Her eyes widen and she trembles. One can only imagine the thoughts racing through her young mind.

“Greetings to you, woman of favor. The Lord is with you,” he says to her. Favor? What have I done? I’m just a simple girl, she thinks. Then the angel tells her the most unbelievable thing. She’s going to be pregnant! Even back then girls knew you had to be intimate with a man to get pregnant and she certainly hadn’t been. What’s up here?

“Me? I’m still young and a virgin! I am just betrothed. I cannot have a child!” Mary exclaims. (You knew this was about her didn’t you?) The angel explains that the Holy Spirit will overcome her and she will have the child of God. He told her not to be afraid.

Not to be afraid? They stone women who get pregnant out of wedlock! What will she say to her family . . . to Joseph? How will she do all of this by herself? I’m not sure these were her thoughts, but can you imagine trying to explain this to people? Oh, my God!

Yes, we are talking about God here aren’t we? And it’s known that Mary was faithful. How much faith? You know her response. “Do as you will unto me.”

There is no place in my mind where I can fathom this response. I probably would have run the other way. But not this girl. What did she do? Shortly thereafter, she probably walked the approximately 90 miles to see her pregnant elderly cousin. Now that’s obedience for you. It doesn’t say when she told everyone about her condition. She had great courage to do so. It turned out well. Joseph saw an angel in a dream who told him that it was okay and to marry her anyway.

I wonder how it must have felt to Mary to place her hands on her belly and know that God was growing inside of her? I know what it feels like to have life inside me, to feel the first fluttery movements, to be kicked, hiccupped and somersaulted. I know the pain of childbirth and the joy of holding my still-wet child in my arms. How much more must Mary have felt? I wonder if she worried as I did about the future of her child? Did she consider whether she was ready for this responsibility? Did she think she’d lost her girlhood? I guess we’ll never know. I kind of doubt it, though. I think if God gave her the willingness to bear the Christ child, He must have filled her with the confidence (faith) she needed to face any struggle.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us take time to remember what a miracle life is! Let’s not shortchange His life or God by saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” We got the best gift of all when a teenage girl said:

“Do as you will unto me.”

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last night, Andrea called. I love when she calls. I answer and hear a very cheery "Hi, Mommy!" She's going to be 15 in March, yet she holds on to that little girl in so many of her ways. She lives with her older sister and family on top of a mountain called Dun Moodie (sp). The first thing Andrea said was . . ."it's snowing~we have about 8 inches" We talked then about school, it's finals week, and her friends. I worry about them this year because Heather and Jason have decided to build a home on his property there. So far, they have a nice warm school bus for the kids, a 5th wheel (too crazily cold) and the use of a small cabin. the foundation will probably be laid in the spring. UGH!

Heather just called. She sent this picture of Andrea and Zach. It snowed all night ~ last measurement was 17" but they are going out to measure again. That's Jason's truck next to Andrea. Don't people usually take such pictures when they go visit the snow? And they wanted me up on that mountain with them. No way. However they will now have a white Christmas. Lovely to look at, God's beauty unfolds, Oh! How they love it, For me it's too cold.

For those of you who live with snow year after year . . . I get it. It's home for you. I grew up in Southern California. The snow we see here for the most part is in higher elevations and only during ski season. It is wonderful to see the peaks shimmering with white. I don't go there anymore. Snow hurts my body.

I had another thing to post today . . . maybe later. Until then, I love you all and keep you in my prayers,

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Needle Threader

I love the Christmas season! With great joy we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Right between our two small trees we have a manger scene. The other holiday stuff ~ Santa, elves, nutcrackers, etc., are among our decorations. Having an empty nest is tough for us and I usually get depressed near Christmas. This year we decorated the inside of the house to the nines. All the lights we would have put outside are in the living room. We decided to keep the cheer inside with us this time. Most of our Christmas e-cards have been scheduled and the few snail mail cards are ready to be sent.

Yesterday, I decided to get the stockings ready to hang by the chimney. We have invited our guests from Thanksgiving to join us again on Christmas. We have been having fun looking for trinkets for the stockings and a couple of practical gifts for each of them. I pulled out my box of sequins and embroidery threads and set to work. I had one needle already threaded with red. I looked at all the colors and got so excited! I haven't decorated a stocking in years. Then I looked for my needle threader. It was no where to be found and I can't see the hole in the needle. Frustrated, I waited until today to go get one. Since I was going to the store anyway, I stopped at the back where they keep scissors, needles, etc. I expected to find a packet with 2 or 3 threaders. Nope. Gotta buy thread and needles to get a threader. I bought the smallest package they had . . .$2.39 for 12 rolls of crummy thread, 3 needles and 1 threader. That's a lot to pay for a little piece of aluminum with a wire attached.

Home at last, my first project was to make ribbon loops to hang a curtain over our window. I threaded my needle with the right thread at which time the needle threader broke! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I couldn't cut the ribbon ~ it was a silvery shimmery one . . . with wire on both sides. I pulled the wire . . . perfect!!! It's just the right size to fit through the eye of most needles :-) I think I'm set for life. I just need to get to thse stockings . . .

Blessings to you all . . .

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remember . . .

I was actually going to whine today (thinking I deserved it), saw the date and changed my mind. There are so many of us who remember Pearl Harbor only through the memories of others, through photos and stories. I cannot re-tell those stories. I was thinking about the service those young men and women offered. . .

They enlisted or were drafted and they pledged to protect the U.S. and its constitution with their lives. I wonder how many of them actually thought their lives would be required? How many generations will honor them? Is it almost over because more of these veterans die every year? I certainly hope not !It's been over 60 years for Pearl Harbor Vets, but there are those of us who have heard the stories and there are veterans from each of the successive wars, popular or not, who are willing to carry Pearl Harbor's history and their own histories as long as they live.
This is a picture of the USS Arizona as it burned and sank.

And this is a photo of Hickam Field. I stood on the USS Arizona Memorial and watched as long-ago oil still bubbled from the sunken ship. The bones of the men on the ship are there in a watery grave. I was young then, but it touched my heart in a deep way ~ I was freshly married then to a Navy man and had many friends who were heading into VietNam. The Arizona's history was not lost on me.

Today, as you go about your business please take a moment to honor the heroes who gave their lives for our freedom on December 7, 1941. If you have already done so, thank you and bless you.