Friday, November 30, 2007



And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me -- holy is his name. Luke 1:46-49

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


It is time to get the house ready for Christmas. I used to decorate every room -- even the bathroom. Now the family room is just about it. I put snowmen out and they can stay up until the end of March. Of course the tree. And the nativity. This particular nativity has been a part of 40 years of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

I open the box. Everything is there, just as it was packed away. One sheep has the end of a leg broken off and the manger has been glued a few times, but the pieces are all there.

When Bill and Terri were little, they acted out the Christmas story with this nativity. They would have the Wise Men coming in from one room and they placed the sheep and cow so they could see into the manger. I once found Jesus wrapped in a Kleenex, secured with a rubber band, because they thought the baby Jesus was cold. Yes, memories of Christmas come when I open this box.

Then I pick up Jesus. Gently I hold the baby Jesus and picture Mary ---

Mary looked at the baby, cradled in her arms
Knowing she could not protect him from harm.
Mary looked at the baby, so perfect, so small
Ten fingers, ten toes -- but that was not all.

She saw the gifts God had bestowed upon this child

Eyes that could see -- see into the heart
Hands that could heal -- heal the body and soul
Shoulders that were strong -- strong to carry the sins of the world
Feet that were sturdy -- sturdy to carry him on his planned journey
And Wisdom -- And Compassion -- And Patience -- And Humility.

As she held the baby, she looked closely at God’s Son
This perfect baby, so small to be the Chosen One.

But, with head bowed and love in her heart, Mary rejoiced.

“Jesus will call me Mother!”


What emotions did Mary have? Read the Christmas Story (Matthew chapters 1 and 2 and Luke chapters 1 and 2) and then think about how scared she must have been. (Would anyone believe her story? Would Joseph?) How did she feel when Elizabeth called her 'Blessed among women?' What would it have been like to travel and then find no room? What would it have been like to hold the Son of God? Take time to put yourself in Mary's place. Do you feel differently when you try to feel the Christmas Story instead of just reading it?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Mighty One, You chose Mary to be the mother of your Son. Let me be like Mary and have a spirit that rejoices. Let me be a humble servant. Open my spirit and allow me to feel Christmas. Allow me to feel Christmas in my heart. Then allow me to humbly accept the gift you gave all of us -- Your Son Jesus. Amen

Friday, November 23, 2007


TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 17:6

Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.


It was time for birthday shopping and this year I had two boys with me. You see, when our daughter's boys reach the age of seven, they receive a certificate good for one day of birthday shopping with grandma. Off we go to the big city of Fort Wayne and go to only stores they choose. That usually includes Target, Toys R Us and THE MALL.

Our day had gone pretty much on schedule. We took care of the dreaded "shirt and jeans" shopping first. Then we looked at all the toys -- those that would be good for Christmas and those that had a bigger price tag than the boys had in available spending money. Even then, it was fun to look and fun to dream. All was going great until one boy wanted to continue on to the mall and one had hit the I-am-worn-out point. He did not want to go into the mall and he was not going to get out of the car. Oh, the struggle that went into high gear. "I want to go in, come on Joshua." said Matthew. "I am not going in!" said Joshua.

First, I threatened to take him home. That didn't work, because he said okay. And, Matthew really wanted to go into the mall. Not possessing the wisdom of Solomon, I resorted to, "You are going in and that is that."

Into the mall we went and the first store we saw was a sports store. Matthew kept pointing out all the things that Joshua liked. Joshua still hung back.

Matthew bought some trading cards and then Joshua decided to spend a little of that money that was starting to burn a hole in his pocket. Just for a moment, I saw a spark of interest and I knew he was perking up.

Then we went across the hall and Joshua went into warp speed. "They have a Colts pennant." "Look at this poster." "And here is a Patriots pennant." (The Colts and Patriots were playing the next day and he wanted to have both goalposts covered.) Then it got better! In the back room were some games. "Oh, grandma, can we play these?"

They did. They had a blast. Then we found more wonders in a bookstore.

You see, Joshua acted like a lot of us. We dig in our heels. (I do not want to do that and know I will not enjoy it. So I will just stay put.)

What Joshua discovered, on the other side of the door to the mall, was fun. An adventure began when he relaxed and, because his brother wanted to go in, he opened that door.

(Are you trying to tie the scripture to the story? Give up! It only ties to the story because the scripture says, "Grandchildren are a crown for grandparents" and this grandma has a good time with our grandchildren.)


When do you dig in your heels? What fun have you missed because you just wanted to sit in the car? When have stayed home and missed enjoying time with friends because the activity wasn't exactly what you wanted to do? When have you been surprised by how much fun you had when you said, "Sure I will go."

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Jesus, I am stubborn sometimes. I want things my way. I don't stop to consider other people. Help me change this part of my personality. Instill in me a sense of adventure. Do not let me be afraid to open the door to your mall. You have so many blessing there for me. Peace. Hope. Unfailing love. ………………………………… Amen

Friday, November 16, 2007



And when your children ask you, "What does this ceremony mean to you?"


Oh my gosh! Have you looked at the calendar? IT IS ALMOST THANKSGIVING. That means Christmas is soon to follow. Will it all get done? Watching all those football games and parades. Cooking dinner. Shopping. Putting up the tree. Decorating. Shopping. Wrapping presents. Oh my gosh! I just know I will forget something. I will not have enough time.

Do you feel this way as the holidays approach? If so -- take a deep breath. It will be okay.

Looking back at the first paragraph, do you see anything missing? Look again.

Well, you can tell the priorities are all wrong.

Thanksgiving is NOT about football games and a big meal. It is about being THANKFUL. Thankful for the things in life: family, friends, indoor plumbing, the smile on any child's face. Thankful for the winning team graciously shaking the hands of their opponent. Thankful for a meal shared or the quiet time to enjoy a meal with a table full of memories.

Christmas is NOT shopping, putting up the tree and all that other stuff. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus.

As you look at the calendar and you start to hyperventilate, take a deep breath. It will be okay, because you are going to make Thanksgiving about giving thanks and you are going to make Christmas about Jesus.

Celebrate Thanksgiving. Celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The scripture from Exodus was the beginning of an instruction on how the Israelites were to explain Passover to the next generation. How would God instruct you to explain Thanksgiving and Christmas?


Have you put the holiday celebrations in the proper order? Are you stressing out that there is too much to do? Are you worrying that there will not be enough money to buy all the gifts? Do you dread the holidays because you are alone or have memories of past holidays that were not so great? If so, what can you do to make the holidays good for you?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Jesus, I am thankful for all the blessings in my life. Those I see and those I just walk by without even noticing. I am thankful for __________________________. I am also looking ahead to Christmas. When I celebrate your birth. During this holiday season, let me not forget why I am excited. Let me not forget that I am celebrating the best present ever -- the birth of God's Son. ………………………………… Amen

Friday, November 09, 2007


TODAY’S SCRIPTURE: Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.


Do you love birthdays? I do. When I was a child, we got to pick what we had for supper and dad tried to be home so he could have cake with us. (He drove a truck and we never knew when he would appear and when he would leave.) We did not receive many presents, but birthdays were fun.

Our children never knew what to expect when they had a birthday. I would decorate the whole house and then hide their presents. Or they would have to play a game (Let's Make a Deal or scavenger hunt) to get their gifts. One time our son came home and we handed him a ball of yarn. The yarn was strung all through the house, under beds and in and out of cabinets, with a gift tied in every so often. That was fun. They also got their pick of cake -- peanut butter for our son and our daughter usually picked angel food. There was the one year she wanted chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream and chocolate milk.

My husband is a typical male (sorry for the generalization) and says birthdays are just another day. "Don't get me any gifts. Or cards." But he will always take a birthday pie.

As I write this, I am celebrating a birthday and remembering how much fun we have had over the years. One birthday really stands out -- November 7, 1966. On my 20th birthday, our son was born. What a birthday gift. The best birthday gift I have ever received.

What's amazing is that God already knew this baby. I could feel the baby grow. God had knit this baby for us. I could feel the baby kick. God knew the number of hairs on his head. I saw a beautiful baby boy. God already had plans for him.


How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you look back and remember the birthdays of your youth? Do you look forward to the birthdays yet to come?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear God, To think that you knew me before I was born. To know that you made me. You know the number of hairs on my head. You have a plan for my life. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. .………………………………… Amen

Friday, November 02, 2007



He will not let your foot slip -- he who watches over you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3

The Lord will keep you from all harm -- he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7 - 8


We have had dog-pound dogs, a Basset Hound, numerous Saint Bernards and a Newfoundland. Now we have a Rottweiler.

Gretchen is laying on the office floor sound asleep. That is what she does when you say, "Work." She heads to the office, begs a biscuit and then goes to sleep. Talk about an easy life.

Actually, her life isn't so easy. Gretchen is the first dog we have ever had that loves Bill and me equally. Our other dogs always had a preference. Saint Bernards: Cindy Lou watched over the children when they were little, Priscilla took care of the children in our neighborhood but her number one love was our son, Moses had a special attachment to our daughter and Leroy was always by Bill's side. Wally, a Newfoundland, was my protector. But Gretchen loves Bill and me the same. That is where her troubles start.

Gretchen always wants to be where she isn't. If Bill and I are in the same location, Gretchen is happy and content. If Bill is working outside or in the barn and I am in the house or office, poor Gretchen does not know what to do. She wants to keep an eye on Bill as he works, but she also wants to make sure I am okay. If I am working in the flowerbed and Bill is mowing, she will lay where she can watch both of us. And, if we move, she moves. Oh, the life of a dog is not always so easy.

It does make us feel special that Gretchen watches over us. BUT, we have an Invisible Fence and Gretchen can only keep us in her protective care when we are in the yard.

Isn't it great that there is no Invisible Fence to hold God back from watching over us? God loves all of us equally and he watches over us 24/7.


Do you have a pet that is a companion? A protector? Does your pet make you laugh? Does your pet help reduce your stress level? Does it make you feel good that your pet watches as you leave and waits for you to come back?

Please use this as a beginning of your prayer. Finish in your own words, words from your heart.


Dear Creator of the animals, Thank you for pets. Pets help us enjoy life. They make us smile and they make us feel loved. They enrich our lives. What an imagination you have to create dogs and cats. Frogs and fish. Horses and mules. You have given us animals to cuddle, to hold, to ride. Thank you for entrusting the care of your creations to us. .………………………………… Amen