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Name: Linda

Location: Texas


I am a wife, mom and grandma. I am doing what I've wanted to do all my life. I am a Christian and I love the Lord.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006
The Christmas Story


Last month I won a beautiful devotional in a contest that Lindsey had. It is called "The Glorious Coming" and covers the Advent Season from the Story of Creation in Genesis to Jesus' birth.
I began reading today, and it is just beautiful. It is the story of the beginning of time as we know it. The story of how all of God's creation began. It is the beginning of the salvation story.
As I held my Bible in my hands there was a fresh renewal of the wonder that it is truly Jesus' story. From Genesis to Revelation, it is all about Him. As the heavens and the earth were taking form He knew. He knew that He would one day give His life to save the very ones He was creating. And so the story began.
Our choir director reminded us last night before we began to practice for our Christmas Concert that it isn't really about a manger; it is about the cross. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. He loved us so much that He was willing to leave heaven and all of its glory to come and be one of us - so that some day we could be like Him. Did He have a conversation with His Father as they were creating the place we call home? Did the Father talk with Him about the plan? Did He ask His precious Son one more time if He was truly willing to suffer and die and bear our sins in His body? It fills my heart with overflowing love and gratitude to hear Him answer, "Yes. I am willing."
I love Christmas. I love all the things we do with family and friends. I love sharing and giving gifts and decorating and singing carols and baking cookies. But in and through all of that I want to remember that the tiny hands of the infant whose birth we celebrate were pierced for me; that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of my sins. What a precious Savior.
Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 9:35 AM
  13 comments



Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Just a Little Note
Today is our busy day - so I don't have time to write very much. I just wanted to say Happy Anniversary to Barb. She is so special and always takes the time to remember all of us. Have a wonderful day Rob and Barb!

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:10 PM
  5 comments



Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Tuesday Trivia

Since I don’t have any Christmas preparations to write about (due to “the move”), I will just ramble a bit today. Oh – I did write my Christmas Cards last night. That is some kind of record for me. I’m usually scrambling to get them done so they’ll arrive before Christmas actually gets here! With everything else I have to do, it seemed like a prudent thing to do. I got to cross that item off the list.

My Mom and Dad will be moving into their little house this Saturday. They are doing the final packing up. I will be sad to see them leave, but we will be leaving ourselves in a few weeks. Eventually we will be living just a fifteen minute drive from them. It will all be fine. My son and daughter-in-love live in the same town as well. They are looking forward to having us a little closer.

I was supposed to have my little Christmas piano recital today. My piano teacher has several students my age (I guess we could be referred to as the “senior students”), and we were going to have a little get together. We were each going to play our Christmas piece and partake of some goodies. However, I find myself without transportation! My husband is at our daughter’s house insulating the pipes in her attic (we’re due for a possible freeze Thursday night – it is eighty degrees today!). Then he has to go over to the property where they are getting ready to pour the slab for the shop he is having built there. We will store a lot of our things in it while the house is being built. We won’t have a lot of room in the little apartment we plan to rent. Some people have warned him everything will be stolen if we leave it stored on the property. Sigh…. What to do. We will leave the really valuable things at my parents’ house and some at our daughter’s house too. Then we’ll insure and pray.

The inspectors are coming to check things out here on Monday. Since we’re selling commercially, they won’t be as fussy about the house, but the oven is cleaning itself as I write. I can’t help but want everything to look spic and span. All the windows are wide open, and yet I still feel a bit whoozy from the fumes (I probably should have cleaned it months ago).

Enough about the “stuff to do”. I sometimes feel overwhelmed, but I keep praying for a sense of peace and order. It will all get done – one task at a time.

Does anyone know of a miracle cure for arthritic fingers? At least I think that’s what is wrong with my fingers. The top joint on both of my pinkies and the ring finger of my left hand are getting like knots. They are swollen and so sore. I’m afraid all my fingers will get the same way, and then I won’t be able to play the piano any more – and what a loss to the musical world that would be!!

I don’t think I mentioned what a nice holiday we had here. It is always so good to have the family all together. At one point on Friday, when all the grownups (nine of us) were engaged in various conversations and all seven grandchildren were talking at once (loudly so they could be heard over the adult conversation) – I just sat back and smiled. It was such a lovely chaos. Three generations – all laughing and sharing. These are the moments I cherish – storing them away as precious memories. We are blessed.
Have a great Tuesday.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:05 PM
  8 comments



Sunday, November 26, 2006
The Hutch

My husband and I have been working on our house plans. We have been doing so for a long time. He worked long hours reworking the original plans to accommodate our needs and our pocketbook (mostly our pocketbook). We had everything figured out – except for one detail – the Hutch. We couldn’t figure out how to fit it into the kitchen we had designed.

We worked hard on it this morning – measuring and remeasuring, taking out doors, moving windows – trying to find enough wall space for the four and a half foot wide Hutch. At one point I found myself struggling to hold back tears when it looked like there was just no possible way to fit it in. Eventually my brilliant husband figured out a way to rework the window and back door to give us enough wall space for my precious Hutch (sigh of relief and happiness).

Now why, you ask, all this angst over a piece of furniture? We have just come through the season of being thankful for the things that are truly important – and they are not material things. I do believe that with all my heart. However, there are some things that have so much meaning they become something more than material “things”. Such is the case with the Hutch.

My Dad made it for my Mother so many years ago I have no recollection of when it wasn’t part of our household. It held all her special things – the china, the silver, and the special ornamental pieces she treasured. It has been a part of every family gathering I can remember. I can still see myself as a young girl opening the drawer to take out the beautiful silverware to set the table for a special dinner. I have always loved it, and my Mom promised me that some day it would be mine.

When my parents decided to move to a smaller home there wasn’t going to be room for the Hutch. So a few years ago, my husband and I drove the truck all the way to Pennsylvania to take the Hutch to its new home – ours. It fit beautifully in our dining room and now holds all my special things. My tea cup collection fits perfectly on its shelves. It has become the backdrop for all of our family gatherings – the background for so many pictures of happy times.

If you look closely you will see that the wood in the back has separated over time, and there is a mark where it suffered a little accident on the ride home from Pennsylvania. None of that matters. It is a part of me somehow, and I couldn’t bear the thought of parting with it. I hope some day one of my grandchildren will ask if it can become a part of their home. I hope it will always be a part of our family – standing quietly in the background as we love, and laugh, and share and grow old together.

There is room for the Hutch – and I am happy!

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 1:32 PM
  9 comments



Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Psalm 100

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting,
And His faithfulness to all generations."

Happy Thanksgiving my precious friends!
 
  posted at 5:00 PM
  7 comments



Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving.

I have much to be thankful for this year - as always. My heart is filled with gratitude for the answers to prayer we have seen over the past several weeks. I am overwhelmed at the thought that the Great God who created the heavens and the earth bends down to listen to my prayers; that He knows what I will say before the words are even spoken. I am so thankful, so unbelievably thankful, that He chose me to be His child. I, who am so unworthy even on my best days. He calls me by name and draws me close. He wants to hear words from the depths of my heart, and He wants to speak secret things to me. He is so great, and I am so small. He is so holy, and I am so prone to sin. He is so perfect, and I am so flawed. And yet He loves me. I am so thankful.

I am thankful for my family. For the Godly heritage my parents have given us. It is a priceless gift. I am thankful that the gift has been handed down to three generations now. We are so blessed to know our children and our grandchildren know Jesus as Savior and Lord. What greater gift can we have than to know our family will be together for all eternity?

I am thankful for the time of testing that continues even now. I pray daily for deliverance and healing, but I am so grateful for what I have learned. I know that He is faithful. I know that I can trust Him with all that is most precious to me because He is all that His word says He is. His word is true, and it is life-changing. He is a gentle Father, and His love is amazing.

I am thankful for the peace that passes understanding. That used to be just words to me. Now I know that it is true. When I trusted, He gave me peace. There is a sense that I am totally safe in His arms. I have nothing to fear because He has promised He will never leave me or forsake me.

I am thankful for forgiveness and grace. I identify with Paul when he says he is the chief of sinners. I can think of no reason why He should love me and forgive me and bless me beyond anything I deserve. I have known Him since I was a child, and I have been such a wayward child. And yet He extends arms of love and says "Come". In recent years I have run to Him - as though my life depended on it. It did. Never once has He turned away. Never once has He refused to be my refuge and my help. Never once has He withheld forgiveness or love. He is such a loving Father. He is such a Holy God.

My heart overflows with gratitude.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 8:44 PM
  14 comments



Sunday, November 19, 2006
Friends

On Friday, we celebrated my friend Mary’s birthday and my birthday with a trip to our favorite quilt shop – Creations. It is located about an hour north of us in a town in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.

We had a perfect day for it. The sky was clear blue, the sun was shining and the temperature was in the 70’s. We had planned this day weeks ago and were all looking forward to a Girls Day Out!! Mary and Terri arrived at my house at about nine that morning to pick up Mom and me. We then drove to a little town just about twenty minutes from here to meet Abby. Then it was on to the Quilt Shop.

The shop itself is an old house. It has the sweetest front porch with all the gingerbread and room after room of the most gorgeous fabric you’ve ever laid eyes on. I had called ahead to tell them we were coming because they do something special for you when it is your birthday. When you arrive, you and your friends go to the back room where they have all of these wonderful hats hanging on the wall. Everyone picks a hat, and then we go have our picture taken wearing our magnificent chapeaux.

The next order of business is cappuccinos for everyone – on the house! Then, cappuccino in hand, we begin the serious business of SHOPPING! They have so much besides fabric. All kinds of notions and gadgets and pretty accessories, books, buttons, thread, patterns, decorative pieces – just everything you can imagine. We all managed to find something we just couldn’t live without. The other bonus for coming on your birthday is the thirty percent discount they give the birthday person and then a fifteen percent discount for all of her friends. We had a great time. I bought a little packet of precut squares called “Bound to the Prairie”. They are just beautiful muted colors – all different patterns and designs.

After everyone had paid for their goodies, we headed out for lunch. There is an old converted train depot they told us about in the quilt shop. We had never eaten there before, so we decided to give it a try. It was a charming little restaurant, and the food was really good. We ordered paninis (delicious) – and then we each ordered a different desert. It was such fun to just sit and eat and talk. We simply don’t have the opportunity to be together like this very often. We vowed we would do it again before too many months go by.

The ride home was so pleasant – beautiful scenery and more good conversation. Friends (and I count my Mom as my best friend) are such a blessing. These women are the ones I call when I am in desperate need of prayer and encouragement. They are the ones I share my joys with too. Our friendship began in a small group Bible Study. The Lord just knit our hearts together, and in spite of the fact that we don’t get to see one another as often as we’d like, we are very close.

Thank You Father – for my wonderful friends and for the new friends I am getting to know through blogging. They all bless me more than I can say.

Blessings,
Linda

In the front row are Terri and my Mom. back row - Abby, Mary, Me
 
  posted at 2:10 PM
  8 comments



Thursday, November 16, 2006
I Have The List!
I am a fanatical list-maker. I love lists – couldn’t live without them. The past few days I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things we need to do by January 4th. Don’t get me wrong. I am so grateful we have a buyer I am beside myself. However, there are lots of things to do in the next few weeks.

Next week is Thanksgiving. I’m fortunate there, because our dear friend is having Thanksgiving at her house this year. She and her husband and son have become a part of our family. They celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with us every year. So this year she wanted to have it at her house (after my daughter-in-law, her best friend, volunteered her). My assignment is pies. I can handle that.

The day after Thanksgiving we are having the whole family here (that’s sixteen – but who’s counting?). Our son and his family are spending Thanksgiving Day with her family so we will all get together Friday. Of course we won’t have any leftover turkey (see previous paragraph), so I’ll rustle up (that’s Texan for cook) a big pot of chili and all the fixins (Texan again – which spell-check doesn’t seem to recognize for some reason).

Our daughter’s birthday is the 27th – so we’ll have her party that Friday when everyone is here. I must buy her presents and bake a cake. I also need to buy advent calendars for the grandkids because that is what I do every year.

I haven’t started my Christmas shopping (I know you are all rolling your eyes right about now. The more blogs I read the more disorganized and behind schedule I feel.). I haven’t even bought my Christmas cards yet – let alone started writing them (I feel a Christmas letter coming on).

Then my parents are moving from their apartment here in our house to their new house the first weekend in December. We need to arrange the rental truck (and the “volunteer” help to move them), buy a new stove, washer and dryer for their new house, and generally get them resettled.

We need to find a rental place in which to live while our new house is being built. I have to pack up and be ready to go by the 4th of January. And we have to see if we can round up the same “volunteers” to help us move (my son has lots of big, strong friends who will help you move for pizza).

So…as I said, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. That is until I sat down at my trusty computer, brought up Word, clicked on “columns” and typed up my to do list. I can’t tell you how much better I feel. I don’t know what it is, but when I have all that “stuff” buzzing around in my little brain I just feel so weighted down. When I get my list all written up, it suddenly all looks manageable. No problem; I can do this.

Actually I haven’t done a thing – but I have my list and I feel so much better.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 4:57 PM
  14 comments



Wednesday, November 15, 2006
It's Official - I'm Losing My Mind

It’s true – I am afraid I’m losing what I laughingly refer to as my mind! I have been getting rather forgetful of late, but I attributed this slight defect to age. After six decades things do begin to get a bit worn out. I didn’t worry too much about it, because I hear even my twenty-eight year old daughter talk about walking purposefully into a room only to stand there in complete bewilderment as to why she walked into said room to begin with. And I just laughed when I finally did the “look all over the house for my reading glasses which were perched on my head” thing. However, I now fear things are becoming rather dire.

November 4th was my son and daughter-in-law’s eleventh anniversary and I COMPLETELY FORGOT IT!! I mean I didn’t even remember for a minute and then forget later. I just forgot. And here’s the worst part. I talked on the phone with my son about their going out this week for their anniversary because they hadn’t had a chance to do it before. It just went sailing over my empty head somewhere. Somehow the word “anniversary” just did not compute.

It was when I woke up at two a.m. (maybe that’s the problem – I either don’t fall asleep for hours, or I wake up on and off all night – not a very restful night’s sleep ever these days) that it finally hit me. IT WAS THEIR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY SILLY!!! Needless to say I didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night.

I called first thing this morning to apologize and wish them a belated Happy Anniversary. I can’t tell you how stupid I feel. They of course, being the perfectly sweet children they are, just laughed and said not to feel bad at all. I, of course, just felt worse.

If this continues I just may call and make a reservation for the next vacancy at the local rest home – if I can remember how to use the phone that is.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 3:48 PM
  9 comments



Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Search My Heart, O God
For the Fall Reading challenge I have read through “The Zion Chronicles” by Bodie Thoene and am now on the third book of “The Zion Covenant” series. During the entire time I’ve been reading about the events leading up to and following World War II, I find myself asking the question: “What would I have done?” Even my verse in my “Snippets” challenged me today. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts." Ps. 139:23

If I had lived in Germany during the years before World War II, as a Christian I would have had to make a choice. Would I choose to follow Christ or would I pledge my allegiance to the Nazi Party? It would have been a life-changing choice. If I remained faithful, I would meet the same fate as the Jewish people. If I had spoken out against the evil being perpetrated on a whole race of people, I would have been putting my life at risk. If I had raged against the policies that took the lives of those who were deemed undesirable, I would have been put into prison, at the very least. If I helped those who were condemned under Nazi policies, I would have risked being sent to one of the camps with them.
What would I have done?

Would I have somehow rationalized that I could just sign the pledge but in my heart still hold to my faith? After all, I would be putting my whole family in jeopardy if I refused. They punished the whole family if one person was caught breaking the rules. Or would I have had the faith, the grace, the strength, the courage to do what was right?

The questions haunt me. We have things so easy here. Oh – we get upset (and rightfully so) over the way things seem to be going in this country, but we still have the freedom to express those feelings without fear of retribution.

Then I think of my brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith right now. What of them? I have been convicted lately that the very least I can do is pray for them. Some of them are suffering in ways I cannot even imagine.

I haven’t been able to get the question out of my head. I want to believe I would have done the right thing. I pray I would have. I have deep admiration for those who did. I feel as though I need to answer these questions in my heart without any wavering or doubt because the day may come when I will have to make a choice. Let me say without hesitation, “I choose You Lord.”

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 3:43 PM
  5 comments



Monday, November 13, 2006
Urrrgh!!
So....have I ever mentioned how much I hate change? I am an absolute baby when it comes to having things that I have all lined up and under control in my life - CHANGED!! It just totally throws my whole world off kilter.

The internet service provider (affectionately know as isp) I have been using since I first bought a computer has decided to concentrate their business on web design. They sent us all a little notice telling us that as of the twelfth of this month they would be transferring all their accounts to another isp (which shall remain nameless because I hate them - well hate is rather strong - dislike them - a lot!). They also gave us the option of finding a different isp.

Being as inept as I am on the computer I decided the easiest and safest thing to do would be to just do the transfer. So far so good. My little software cd arrived in the mail just as they promised. Good again. I installed it yesterday - no good!!! They don't have an access number for my area. I know we live out in the sticks by some people's standards, but my old isp had not one but two numbers I could use to access the internet.

Now I will have to find another isp on my own. Okay - not such a big deal I guess, but I am not happy. I decided I'd better call and cancel the one they transferred me to right away so I don't get billed by them. Of course not one person I talked to (and I talked to several in a vain attempt to cancel the stupid account) spoke English very well. I did find a moment of humor when the little man with the very heavy Indian accent said his name was FRANK!! What are the odds his name is really Frank?

By this afternoon I had finally managed to make someone understand all I wanted to do was cancel the account - please. The last lady I talked to offered me free service for two months and my own special number. My own special number?! There is no number that works lady!!!

My sweet neighbor gave me her software for the isp they use. Okay - now we're back in business. I called the company and set up my new account. I popped in the cd - did the installation until I reached the final step. THE CD is too old!!! So....call back (and wait through the "we value your business" and all the music) and ask for an updated version.

After all that I am no longer sure what I have - or don't have. It is so hard to communicate. They are so nice, lovely manners, very patient about having to repeat everything a zillion times - but I hang up feeling as though I don't have a clue about what I just did.

I 'm sitting here thinking, now that I've vented about my "big problem", how silly and trivial it all sounds. We have had such a wonderful past few days with all the answers to prayer and all the Lord has done for us. It doesn't take much to get me totally off track. I got panicked about possibly not being able to receive e-mail, and quite honestly upset that I might not be able to write and read posts. Isn't that the limit? I am a totally selfish being. And the Lord is probably shaking His head right now. It will all be fine. And if I am out of commission for a few days - just promise you'll all still be there when I get back.

Thanks for listening.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 4:55 PM
  8 comments



Saturday, November 11, 2006
Honoring Veterans


These are the two heroes in my life - my husband and my father. My father is a D-Day survivor. He landed on Omaha Beach with the 29th Division (the one portrayed in the movie "Saving Private Ryan") and spent the rest of the war fighting in Europe. My husband and I were privileged to attend the 55th Anniversary celebration of D-Day in France with my Mom and Dad. It was an unforgettable experience. The people of the little villages they liberated honor the veterans as the heroes they are. They cannot do enough for them to show their gratitude.

My husband served in the Army in Vietnam. It was a different time and a vastly different war, but he went with the same attitude and commitment that my Dad did. They both wanted to serve and protect the country they love.

They, and all those who have served and are serving, have my deepest respect and gratitude.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 2:21 PM
  11 comments



Friday, November 10, 2006
PRAISE and THANKS (and Happy Birthday to me!)
We have a buyer!!!! We are so thankful. It has been over two years since we began this journey. There were times I truly thought we weren't meant to sell. Then I would see how sad my husband was and continue praying that somehow it would work out. Oh - God is so good!! When He gets involved everything works out so much better than we ever imagined it could. My parents are set to close on their little house the end of this month, and we will close in January. I didn't see how it would all work out a few months ago, but God had a plan for us.

And today is my birthday. Happy Birthday to me!! Kind of takes the edge off of turning sixty. Isn't that just like our Heavenly Father - to have it all come together on this day of all days? We are thankful beyond words.

I had a wonderful birthday celebration with family and friends last evening. My husband took a bunch of pictures, but I'll have to finish the roll of film and get them developed before I can post them. My Mom is cooking dinner tonight. So I get the afternoon off! I don't know if I'll get to spend much more time on the computer - we have some paperwork to do. I want to thank each of you who sent me Birthday wishes. I feel so blessed. This bloggy "business" has added a dimension to my life I just never expected. I have a whole new group of friends who have become so important to me. You bless me!

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 3:42 PM
  12 comments



Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I'm Having a Great Week!!
First of all I just want to thank every one of you who commented on my last post. I just said to my husband, "I would be so sad if I were ever to be without my computer. I have made some of the sweetest friends in the last few months since I began blogging. There would be a huge void in my life if I were to lose touch with any of you. Thank you so much for encouraging me, for praying for me and for rejoicing with me. Thank you for the laughter and shared ideas. You are absolutely the best!!

I won something else today. Am I on a roll or what? We had our final Bible study this morning. We began with a brunch. The gal who decorated our small groups' table made the most adorable center piece. It is a little bale of hay with two of the cutest little scarecrows sitting on it. One is a little girl scarecrow, the other a boy. There are beautiful fall colored flowers all around them. If I had a digital camera, I could post a picture of it. Oh well....you'll have to take my word for it. It's precious. She had us all write down a number from 1 to 100 and she put them in a bowl. Then she said the lowest number would win the center piece. I put down number 3 just because I always pick number 3 - AND I WON!! It is sitting in the middle of my dining room table right this minute. I promise - I never win anything.

And.....here's the big news, our agent is showing our property tomorrow morning. This is the first time anyone has shown any serious interest in it. It is a doctor who would not only like the property but would perhaps use the house as an office. We had always assumed that since we are selling commercially whoever bought it would tear down the house and put up a commercial building. This would be so perfect. When I told my daughter she was so excited. She said she hated the thought of driving by here some day and not seeing our little house. It's the only house she really remembers. She was four when we moved in here, and she lived here until she went to college and got her own apartment. So we're praying this will be it.

Oh Lord, You are so good. I was feeling so down on monday. I just felt so tired of living in limbo. My parents moving out has sort of made me feel a bit sad, and we had no prospect of a buyer at all. You have given me joy in the little things and hope in this big one. Even if this isn't it, I feel encouraged that something will happen soon. Thank You so very much. I love You Lord.

And I am so thankful for all of you to. You are a precious gift from the Lord to me.

Blessings,
Linda

P.S. We leave for choir practice in just a little bit, so if I don't get to read and comment I'll do my best to visit everyone tomorrow.
 
  posted at 5:34 PM
  17 comments



Monday, November 06, 2006
A Christmas Memory
It was a picture-perfect Christmas Eve. The snow had begun falling late in the afternoon, and the world outside our windows was blanketed in white. The tree, decorated earlier in the week, looked beautiful despite the slight tilt to the right. Our stockings were hung, and Santa’s snack awaited his arrival. But something was missing that year.
I was eight years old, a little girl with a huge imagination. My little sister, Marilyn, was three and a half. While my parents very diligently instilled in us the real meaning of Christmas, it was the stories of Santa that made my young spirit soar. I loved everything about those stories and could recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” when I was two years old. However, that year I had to face the facts about Santa. I was feeling sad and a little too grown up.
It was because of those feelings that I was determined to make this Christmas special for my little sister. I wanted her to experience the magic of Christmas. Together we pored over the Christmas catalogue from Montgomery Ward. We spent hours carefully deciding what we most wanted Santa to bring. Then we sent our letters off to the North Pole.
Mom began baking Christmas cookies right after Thanksgiving. We watched, helping whenever she had little jobs we could do. She deftly shaped and decorated dozens of cookies. Tin after tin was filled with delicious treats and stored carefully in the basement.
That year we made our own decorations. We cut out stencils and covered the windows with colorful snowflakes. Mom put out the ornaments that had become familiar over the years. I loved the little Santa figure with his cottony white beard and one leg flung over the little cardboard chimney.
The whole family helped decorate the tree. Dad went up into the attic and brought down the box full of decorations. The most breathtaking were the little candles filled with a liquid that bubbled when it was heated up. By now we were so excited it was catching. Our dog Shep knocked over the tree in his exuberance. He was banished to the kitchen while Dad righted the tree. It looked a bit disheveled and slightly off center, but it was still lovely.
The Sunday before Christmas the girls group I belonged to at church presented their annual Christmas program. I was one of the youngest ones and proudly marched into the church sanctuary at the end of the line. As we stood around the darkened room with our lighted candles singing “Silent Night”, I began to understand the true meaning of Christmas. I felt a different sort of excitement. It was a quiet joy.
The last few days before Christmas seemed like an eternity. We counted down the days until at last it was Christmas Eve. We were overjoyed when we saw the snow begin to fall. I told Marilyn that Santa would be so pleased. It would be easier for him to make his rounds now. We kept running to the window to make sure it was still coming down.
After dinner we made the final preparations for Santa’s arrival, setting out the milk and cookies and hanging our stockings. Then it was time for Marilyn to go to sleep. We sat together on her little bed as Dad read the Christmas story from Luke and the familiar stories about Santa. When he was finished, Marilyn snuggled under the covers, and we tiptoed out.
Shortly before my bedtime, we heard a soft knock on the front door. While Mom went to answer it, Dad walked quietly to the little bedroom Marilyn and I shared and gently lifted her out of bed. He came into the living room as Mom was opening the door. I will never forget the look of wonder on Marilyn’s face when Santa stepped into the living room. I think perhaps my eyes got a little bigger too. He was dressed in his beautiful red suit and covered with snow. He spoke quietly to us. I cannot remember what he said. I know that neither of us could say a word.
With a gentle smile he turned and walked out the door. We all hurried to the window to watch him go. The soft light from the street lamp illuminated him. He walked slowly through the falling snow, bent slightly under the weight of the sack he carried on his back. It was a magical moment seeming to embody all the things that are so special about Christmas: the wonder in the eyes of a little child, the giving of something precious to someone else. It was a Christmas I will never forget.

I wanted to take part in Sandra's Christmas Tradition blog, but I just ran out of time today. This is something I wrote years ago and submitted to a magazine. It was rejected (sigh), but I thought my friends would be a bit more forgiving of my feeble attempt at writing.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 3:21 PM
  10 comments



Sunday, November 05, 2006
SAME GIRL

I am going to by sixty years old in a few days. SIXTY!! That‘s a big number. I never really fretted much about age until I hit my mid-forties. Suddenly I was preoccupied with the way my neck looked and the lines on my face, and we don’t even want to discuss the “c” word (shhh…cellulite). I began to feel rather old and to think about it a lot.

That lasted for several years – until I turned fifty. Then I thought, “You know what? I’m getting old, and I just don’t care! It was somehow liberating. So I’ve been fine with the fifties – but sixty? I think this means I’m officially old by anyone’s standards (except my parents’ perhaps). It’s funny how things you’ve been hearing older people say all your life suddenly have relevancy to your own life. I’ve heard my Mom say so many times she doesn’t feel any older on the inside. She says she looks in the mirror and wonders who that old woman is. I understand.

One of my favorite Christian singers, Twila Paris, wrote and recorded a song years ago that captures all of those feelings perfectly. She is an amazing singer, but I love her writing even more. I can’t listen to this song without struggling to hold back the tears. I always thought of my Mom. Now I think about me too. Here is the song:

“Same Girl”

“Picture with me if you can a little girl in a younger land
Running, playing, laughing growing stronger.
Now the aging limbs have failed and the rosy cheeks are paled
Look behind the lines till you remember.

She’s still the same girl flying down the hill.
She’s still the same girl memories vivid still.
Listen to her story, and her eyes will glow.
She’s still the same girl, and she needs you so.

Picture with me if you will a long white dress and a wedding veil
Two young dreamers pledge their love together.
Now her lifelong friend is gone, and she spends her days alone.
Look behind the lines till you remember.

She’s still the same girl walking down the aisle.
She’s still the same girl with the shining smile.
Listen to her story, and her eyes will glow.
She’s still the same girl – same girl.

She’s still the same girl wiser for the years.
She’s still the same girl stronger for the tears.
Listen to her story, and your heart will grow.
She’s still the same girl, and we need her so.

She’s still the same girl, and she needs you so.”

I know I’m not quite there yet, but I know that feeling. I’m still the same girl – it’s only the outside that has altered. I hope I’ve grown wiser and stronger. I know my Mom has.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 12:02 PM
  15 comments



Saturday, November 04, 2006
Bits and Pieces


Yesterday my Mom and I went to see the movie “One Night With the King”. I haven’t been to a movie in ages. I love going to the movies, but there just hasn’t been anything I’ve really felt like I wanted to see. A few friends saw this one and gave it a great review. So off we went!

I loved it. I am a hopeless romantic, and I dearly love a good love story. I’ll admit there were times I didn’t exactly follow all the political “intrigue”, (lots of underhanded stuff going on in those days). However, Esther’s story is one of my very favorite Bible stories, and the movie stayed pretty faithful to the scripture. Of course they did a bit of “embroidery”, but all in all it was a good movie.

Have you ever read Jan Karon’s books? I have read and reread the Mitford series. Every time she publishes a new book, I buy it, read it, and then go back and read all the others because I just can’t bear to say goodbye to the characters.

The main character is Father Tim – an Episcopalian priest. He is so real. He has become one of my favorite people. Within the books Father Tim keeps a little notebook of quotes that are meaningful to him. Jan Karon put all those quotes together in a couple of books, one of which is “Patches of Godlight”. I thought I would share some of them with you:

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the window which hope has opened.” Charles Spurgeon

“A lie goes half way around the world before truth can get its pants on.”
Winston Churchill

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it, piece by piece – by thought, choice, courage and determination.”
H. Jackson Browne

“Be faithful in the little practices of love which will build in you the life of holiness and make you Christ like.” Mother Teresa

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Many things I have tried to grasp, and have lost. That which I have placed in God’s hands I still have.” Martin Luther

“Quietude, which some men cannot abide because it reveals their inward poverty, is as a palace of cedar to the wise, for along its hallowed courts the King in his beauty deigns to walk.” Charles Spurgeon

“I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.” Florence Nightingale

“I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy; the most profitable explanation is that I was made for another world.” C.S. Lewis

“Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows himself to us. That He answers prayer is a corollary, not necessarily the most important one, from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.”
C.S. Lewis

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
Alexis de Tocqueville

“In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live – time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other.”
Peter Marshall

“Thou has given me so much…Give me one thing more, a grateful heart.”
George Herbert

“How little people know who think that holiness is dull…When one meets the real thing, it’s irresistible.” C.S. Lewis

I think I’d better stop here – or blogger will throw a fit. I have probably written enough to take care of a couple of day’s worth of posts. Have a wonderful weekend!

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 10:54 AM
  13 comments



Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Let's Chat


I just thought I might chat about a few things today (since my little brain is too weary to come up with anything remotely “profound” this late in the day). We only have one more session left in our study of Daniel. The twelve weeks have just flown by. This one has been just as wonderful as all the others I’ve done. I wish I could retain more of what I study though. I look back at the ones I’ve done and realize I don’t remember a whole lot of what we studied. I just trust that the Lord has planted something in my heart that I needed to learn at that season, and that I have grown just a bit. I always think I’ll go back and reread them, but so far I haven’t done that.

Our new study is going to be on prayer. I’m looking forward to it. It’s one of those things that keep coming up, so I just know it’s something the Lord wants me to learn more about. It’s amazing how a certain “something” will just keep coming to your attention in different ways. I usually have to be hit over the head with it – but I do eventually figure it out.

Our small group leader won’t be with us for the next study. She and her husband are moving back to Dallas. They were just here temporarily, and when she first started attending our Bible Study she just couldn’t wait to get back to Dallas and their home church. She took over the leadership of our small group this August and has done such a wonderful job. She is a gifted teacher. When she told us today that they were going to be moving back before our next study began, she started to cry. She said she just isn’t ready to go yet. I think we’ve grown on her. We’re all sad that she’s leaving. It really doesn’t take us girls very long to develop deep bonds. I guess we’ll all just have to go visit her in Dallas.

My parents had the inspection on the little house they want to buy today. Everything looks good except for a few minor things. They are getting excited about moving into this cute little house and making it home. I can just picture my mom’s things filling that place with warmth and love. I’m so happy for them (okay – and just a little bit sad too).

It hardly seems possible that it is already November. I love this time of year. I begin anticipating the holidays and a little bit of excitement starts to bubble up inside my heart. I love everything about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mostly it’s the way everything seems to take on a special glow and warmth. I am just a romantic at heart. I tend to see life through rose colored glasses. All of the traditions, both secular and religious, just somehow fill my spirit to overflowing. I tend to become a kid again when Christmas rolls around.

On a more serious note, I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming election. I feel a bit guilty for not taking it as seriously as I should. There is a huge part of me that just says, “I wish You would just come and take us all home Lord Jesus.” That attitude tends to make me less concerned about the issues of our day. I’ve had to confess that and ask the Lord to give me a heart that is concerned about this country and about those who don’t know Him. I know how important this election is.

We have choir practice tonight. We’re working on Christmas music. Great fun!! It is all so joyful. We will be singing at the Air Force Base again this year. We did four services there last year. It was an amazing experience to see the tears roll down the cheeks of those young men and women, and see them raise their hands to ask Jesus into their hearts. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Well, I’d better rustle up something for us to eat before we head back in to church. This is our busy day – Bible Study, a break for lunch and then back to church to put the music in the folders. After that we head home for a few hours. It’s a full day, but a satisfying day. It sure was good to chat.

Blessings,
Linda
 
  posted at 5:19 PM
  6 comments