Archive / December, 2014

Onward To 2015

Okay, we’re coming up on the hour when you’ll want to grab that bottle of bubbly and pop the cork to welcome in another New Year … or is it the time to give the old year a boot in the rear as it slinks out the proverbial door? Or, maybe it’s both?

happy_new_year_2015_desktop_wallpaperWhatever your understanding is, tonight’s definitely the night and I know there are plenty of people hoping 2015 will be a better year for them than 2014 was. (As my guys sit and watch their football games, I’m hearing this bowl season has turned into a disappointment for SEC hopes. I’m philosophical about it … there’s always next year.) Continue Reading →

Granny Style

When we woke up this morning, it was not to the sounds of an alarm clock. Three-year old V. opened our bedroom door and announced, “It’s seven o’clock. Time to get up!” (I have to admit, it was actually seven thirty. All this recent focus on the cuckoo clock has provided her with a sense of time, but no accuracy yet.)

HogsGameAs to timing and accuracy, the Razorbacks enjoyed both last night in their win at the Texas Bowl. While some sports columnists seemed blasé about Razorback Nation’s 31-7 win, others described it as a “beatdown” with Arkansas clearly dominating Texas. My daughter and her husband enjoyed the festivities and (as always) calling the Hogs. #WPS Continue Reading →

Secondhand Mom

Last week, my daughter-in-law (DIL) scoffed at me. She suggested I had a monumental challenge ahead of me this week:  watching three of my grandchildren while their parents traveled to Houston to attend the Texas Bowl. (The game takes place this evening, beginning at 8 p.m.) With her usual candor, DIL asked, “How are you going to handle three little ones?

2014-12-29 17.06.00When my DIL threw down this gauntlet (as it were), of course I defiantly scoffed back. I reminded her I mothered four children under the age of eight. These three children, ages 9, 7 and 3, could hardly be as difficult, I assured her. (Naturally, I’d never admit to her my high level of anticipatory stress – she doesn’t read my blog! – but I won’t deny it here. I was concerned. One never knows how even the most relaxed children might panic at ten p.m. when it’s finally apparent they’re not going home!)

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Suffering, Womb To Tomb

This is the tenth week for my personal challenge to write sonnets through the Book of Job. I began this journey back in October and ten weeks in, a pattern is emerging. If it seems as though there’s similarity between the chapters so far, it’s because there is! Job’s former life was relatively uncomplicated:  he had wealth, a large (and apparently, happy) family, good friends and a healthy attitude about Almighty God from whom his blessings had been gratefully received.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Then one day, all that changed. His cattle, servants and flocks were suddenly decimated, his daughters and sons were killed by one devastating wind storm (that also destroyed the house where they were gathered). As if these external calamities weren’t enough, Job’s person is abruptly laid low, he’s beset by oozing boils from head to toe. And then, his wife – a traditional source of comfort – emotionally abandons him with the parting rebuke for Job to “curse God and die.Continue Reading →

Time In A Bottle

A number of years ago when my parents traveled in Germany, they sent a gift of a cuckoo clock back to the States for me. Having grown up in a home with a cuckoo clock, I have always loved them! My Beloved … not so much, but like many of my idiosyncrasies, he tolerates them because he loves me. Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve positioned the cuckoo clock – in deference to him – on a wall far enough away that its twice-hourly soundings don’t wake him at night.

2014-12-26 19.42.25In the years since our clock was initially delivered, it has suffered occasional mistreatment as well as the expected insults of old age. (Almost immediately upon arrival, one of the deer antlers at the top was broken and had to be glued.) Pulling the chains to raise the weights is necessary to keep the clock running, but children who watch this being done tend to follow suit and frequently yank too hard. As a result, the clock has required several trips to the clock-maker for repairs.

When I was a kid, the cuckoo in our home had two weights hanging from chains – one to regulate the pendulum, the other to turn the gears (behind the face) that move the hands forward and trigger the cuckoo’s action. It was a relatively small clock but sweet-sounding. I remember many a night in childhood hearing that clock sound as I lay abed. Continue Reading →

Making Room

Christmas 2014! We are blessed far more than we could ever deserve! The Christ-Child who became the crucified Savior is the biggest and best blessing of all.

gustave_dore_nativity

The Nativity by Gustave Doré

We’ve been talking this month about making room … when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem (in order to be counted in the census and register in their home town for tax purposes), Luke 2 tells us the newborn baby was laid in a manger “because there was no room for them at the inn.” The Gustave Doré image above offers one depiction of the scene. Continue Reading →

Birthday of A King

When our children were small, we usually tried to set aside time on Christmas Eve to read and briefly discuss the “real meaning” of Christmas. We understood how difficult it is for children to think of anything else on Christmas morning except for their intense excitement … and the presents!

christmas_angelNo question, childlike exuberance is a sight to behold. Their wonder and unabashed enthusiasm is a gift all by itself. My Beloved and I never wanted to diminish that.

We chose Christmas Eve as a more focused family time during which we’d quietly read the biblical narrative. Our book choice varied. The version might be from a children’s Bible or a modern translation. (Occasionally, we’d choose the King James version which is so lyrically beautiful.) Afterwards, they were permitted to choose one wrapped present from under the tree to open before bedtime. Continue Reading →

Cultivate Generosity

Maybe it’s slightly redundant to talk about generosity within hours of our Christmas celebration. I mean this is the season when absolutely everyone goes out of their way to give cheerfully, right? The red kettles get stocked (as it were) for the coming year. Charities receive significant donations before year’s end.

SantasFactoryPerhaps you’re familiar with the Bible passage that quotes Jesus telling his followers:  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In this particular passage, the Apostle Paul speaks of the moral imperative to help the weak. The blessings of Christmas are best when shared and whether it’s helping at a soup kitchen or delivering a meal to a shut-in, our generosity tends to return to us as a greater blessing. Continue Reading →

Christmas Vision

Traditional Christmas carols have an enduring history. Some are more than a hundred years old. As for the remainder of Christmas music, the songs often don’t enjoy a consistent following or annual play. Achieving Favorite status is a less likely long shot.

MerryChristmasBannerWhen composer David Foster released his 1990 song Grown-Up Christmas List, the song wasn’t a hit … even though it featured Natalie Cole’s mellifluent vocal delivery. (If you click on the link, don’t be distracted by the subtitles.)

It wasn’t until a couple years later – when Amy Grant recorded a Christmas album including the Foster song – that the song earned greater attention. Grant reworked lyrics and added another verse. Her album producer promoted the song as a single to enhance sales of her full-length album and the song received considerable air play.

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Job’s Fatal Flaw

Another Sunday … and another exchange between Job and his not-so-comforting friends. Job chapter 9 poses the monumental question:  how does mortal man bring himself into right standing with the Creator of the universe? Again, Blake’s drawing (below) depicts Job looking upward, entreating the heavens for God’s explanation.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

In this chapter, Job speaks once more, following Bildad’s observations of the preceding chapter. However, except to acknowledge Bildad offered a tidbit of wisdom (verse 2, I know this is true), Job pivots from direct response and delivers an exceptional oratory about who God is. No matter what version of the Bible you read, this passage overflows with elegance in describing the soaring beauty of God’s might and wondrous works. Read it! Then read it again in a different version!

Continue Reading →

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