Traveling Through

I am very blessed to have married a guy that loves to travel! Since we married 32 years ago we have seen some absolutely incredible places and have been blessed to take our kids on some pretty cool adventures! One of my all time favorites was a sloth encounter in Honduras! We were on a cruise and chose this as one of excursions. We checked in to all our options, read all the info and were on our way! Our adventure took a turn when they had an extra stop on the tour. You may not know this about Honduras but they are known for their iguanas. You also may not know this about me, I do NOT do lizards of any kind , not here on US soil and certainly not in a foreign country. I am NOT impressed by how big they can grow nor am I impressed by how fast they can travel on land (we saw both of these points in action during our surprise visit on our excursion). Just picture your worst nightmare walking literally everywhere around you. TERRIFYING!!

I spent the entire time trying to protect my younger kids from what I was certain would be the death of us all while I was about to pass out! Just picture a mom with four extra humans attached on every side walking down the street literally surrounded by iguanas of all shapes and sizes. We could hear their tales scraping the ground as we walked. It was AWFUL! My sweet husband, in true dad fashion walked up several times with small versions of said creatures clipped on his ear, he thought this was awesome. The children were not impressed! There were multiple shops along the way selling green leaves to feed the iguanas… um no thank you!! We were so very thankful to get back on the bus and head away from this part of our adventure!! On to the sloths!!

My heart was so happy that we had just been “traveling through” this part of our day! We had not asked for it, sure didn’t choose it and we were so thankful it was over! Kind of makes me think of our lives from time to time. Circumstances come our way in life that we sure would not have asked for and sometimes we are not prepared for and quite honestly some can rock your world. Becoming a believer does not mean life will be free from trials and troubles, sadness or grief, but it does promise that the giver of eternal life will be with you. Psalm 23 says “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me”. Two words in that verse that we can to cling to as Christians are “walk through”. God did not breathe scripture into the hearts of believers for us to stay in the valley. He gave us His word so that we can walk through valleys and sadness and heart ache and in the darkness, in the sadness He is with us. He comforts us and and we do not have to fear.

So I will end this with two questions and a thought for you… How big is your valley? How big is your God? Just this week I have watched some very incredible people go through the loss of a loved one that will be greatly missed in many circles, THAT my friend is a BIG valley. BUT… (not good writing but it fits!!) WE SERVE A BIG GOD. God’s love and His peace is big enough to sustain a soul that is hurting and a heart that is breaking. I am so thankful that we are just “traveling through” this world, it is not home. Sin and death are part of this fallen world but take heart believer, we are just traveling through!!

10 Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

How many of us make and fail to keep some of the same resolutions over and over?

Did you raise your hand? Diets, health and fitness, self improvement plans, education or career intentions, or spiritual growth commitments usually top the chart. Sound familiar?

As we head toward New Year’s Day, why don’t we plan some resolutions we can actually keep this year?

Sounds good to me too!

So here’s a quick list of 10 ideas that may get you thinking. Chose one and keep this resolution in 2022.

  1. Smile once a day, even if it is when you look at a child or a sunset or smiling to yourself in the mirror.
  2. Learn one new thing each day.
  3. Pray a simple prayer each day. It can be I need You, Jesus. Teach me, Father. Help me, Lord. Or even Forgive me.
  4. Laugh once a day. Find a lighthearted, humorous website that makes you laugh and visit it once a day for a few minutes.
  5. Read a verse a day. A good way to do this is to to get a scripture verse calendar and read the verse as you plan the day’s agenda.
  6. Hug someone. It will encourage them and you.
  7. Write down one thing a day for which you are thankful (maybe put it on your Bible verse calendar!)
  8. Keep a video diary this year. The “1 Second Everyday” app is an easy way to document your life.
  9. Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers for yourself once a week.
  10. Put $1.00 in a container each day. Use the money at the end of the year to do something nice for someone. (Don’t dip into it during the year!)

Use your scripture calendar as your check-off place to hold yourself accountable to your commitment.

Wishing You a …

May your heart be filled with great joy today at the Good News that never grows old!

May you praise God as the angels did.

May you worship Jesus as the wise men did.

May your remember the greatest gift of all as you exchange gifts today – the Gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

And just as Mary did, may you ponder and treasure all the glories and blessings of Jesus this Christmas Day!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:1-20

Born Hope

We have a radio at work that we turn on sometimes. Mostly it is background noise and there are times I hardly notice it playing. It has been present over the years and like myself, over time it has shown its age. It lacks an antenna. Its dual tape deck has long been defunct, and the number of stations that can come in clearly have been reduced dramatically. When I was younger and friskier, firmer and less arthralgic it played the latest hits of the time, top forties and stuff you can dance to, but it’s music selection has never been at my discretion.

I am not the boss of the work radio, or the work thermostat for that matter. I have rarely if ever touched  either. 

At Christmas the dial is always tuned into the Christmas radio station channel – the radio, not the thermostat, although those forever freezing coworkers may disagree with a Christmas themed thermostat setting. 

The station is one that plays Christmas tunes 24/7 in the time leading up to Christmas. Sometimes the songs have a tendency to repeat. 

One year a coworker and I played a game revolving around the aforementioned repetitious songs. Every time a particular song made it into the rotation we would agree to nap. It was a joke, obviously. We were not napping on the job. However, to this day when I hear that one song I always find myself asking whomever is near if they’re up for a nap. 

Recently the radio music has begun to give way to static more than melody. On the busy work days it is less obvious that the ol’ faithful radio looks like an awkward dinosaur sitting on the desktop. I have said before I am not a music person, music does not always speak to me, not like it does some people, but as I have aged I have noticed that perhaps I pay attention just a bit more, the words more valuable than they once were. They mean something to me now. Where they once just occupied space in my mind, now the words inhabit my thoughts. As “Silent Night” was sung from the speakers, between static crackles the words of “Christ the Savior is born” and “Jesus, Lord at thy birth” swirled in my mind, and I began to wander and managed to meander down lanes of history and what I know. 

I like a good backstory and “Silent Night” has one. Silent Night, is the most popular Christmas song in the world. In 1816 Joseph Mohr penned the words in a poem as he nursed a case of tuberculosis and cared for his parishioners in snow laden land. It was a time known as the dark years that were notoriously made cold because of a volcanic eruption.

Two years later His friend Hans Grueber developed the iconic tune for the guitar, because rumor has it the church rats had eaten through the pipe organ rendering it useless to play that Christmas Eve Service when it made its debut. I have often wondered if those trials and difficult circumstances had not played out as they had, would we even know the beauty of “Silent Night.” 

In those days, famine and disease were prevalent, and hopelessness pervaded the mind and assaulted the senses. The two men were nearly lost to history as “Silent Night” made its way to world renowned recognition. Yet because of their perseverance in difficult times “Silent Night” became what it is today, a song of universal recognition, connecting hearts together just as it did the Christmas Day Armistice of World War I ushering in peace in the midst of literal war.

When I hear “Silent Night,” I am reminded of those two patient-in-affliction fellows and what the result of that suffering and hardship became, and I am inspired to press on in times of trouble. And then I reflect on My King, born Lord at birth, born with a destiny to die for all mankind. Born babe, born humble, born Love, born Hope. 

Do You Show Who Jesus Is?

“We didn’t know you’d come to save us Lord, to take our sins away.  Our eyes were blind, we could not see… we didn’t know who you were”

These lyrics from “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” made me think about how most of us in The South have heard about Jesus and know Him and who He is, but would we recognize Him if we saw Him today? Do others see Him in us?  

You know there’s a show called “Undercover Boss” where the CEO or manager of a company dresses as a rookie new employee to see how the company is doing and to check morale, etc. Sometimes people recognize the boss even if he’s in disguise but, most often when he’s revealed, it shocks everyone.  

Do people see Jesus living in us or when we say we are a Christian? Are they shocked because of the way we have disguised Him in our lives? 

Do we recognize Him in the things that happen in our lives? Do we give God the credit or do we count it as luck? Do we see Him in the smiles of others, in the voices of the children we see each and every week, or do we overlook Him because of the stress in our lives or because we have our focus elsewhere? 

John 13:35 says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Take some time to reflect and see if you have been showing the love of Jesus, and take some time to really see Him in the smiles of others, in the laughter, in the delay to work that kept you from being in an accident, in the blessing someone gave you that you had been praying for.  

Show Jesus and know Jesus this Christmas and in the coming year. 

A Broken Lamb, a Missing Baby, and a Crippled Camel

When kids are little, moms know to put the breakables out of reach. This necessitates some changes in decor around the house.

My Little Ones, loved my Precious Moments nativity set. Adored it actually. So when the shepherd’s little lamb got broken out from under his arm, mama made some changes. I made a quick trip to the local Christian bookstore and picked up a kid friendly plastic nativity set and put my precious fragile set out of reach of toddler hands.

Through the years that manger scene has been arranged and rearranged, fought over, and cuddled, and pieces have been lost and found again. Most notably, Baby Jesus, who disappeared after Christmas leaving His family to worry over Him in the cardboard box for a whole year. Baby Jesus mysteriously reappeared in the Lego bin just before Christmas the following year.

But the most notable manger issue was one poor deformed plastic camel. He wasn’t destroyed by my lively children. From the time he came out of the kid-friendly box, he was misshapen. Somehow in the factory His legs had become permanently bent and crossed, so that no matter how often you bend and heat and prop him, he never stands up for more than a short time. Yesterday, our now adult daughter had a friend come over. As we sat chatting Brodie began setting up the kiddie nativity set that I now leave out for the grandkids. She worked with that poor camel, but alas, this morning he had fallen over, and he took the two good camels down with him.

I tell you all this to remind you of some Christmas lessons.

Let the Littles play with the (preferably plastic) manger scene.

Don’t worry about a broken piece here or there on any of your decorations. It really won’t matter when they are grown.

Like my little porcelain lamb, you may feel broken. Remember that Jesus came to rescue, redeem and heal the broken.

Like my camel, you may feel crippled and useless. You aren’t. As long as God has you on this earth alive and breathing He has a purpose for you. Find that purpose: praying, encouraging, giving, writing, teaching, singing, baking, painting,… there’s something He has for you to do.

And last, but most importantly, about my missing Baby Jesus, don’t let Jesus go missing from your life for a whole year! Seek Him every day. Obey Him. Love Him. Talk with Him. Walk with Him. Enjoy His presence.

May the Spirit of the Christ child be with you this Holiday Season!


Do you ever see something and think “There’s a story there.”

I thought just that when I looked up and saw the sign stuck on the ice machine of the hospital waiting area. The permanency of the sign made me do the double take. I was in a bit of a hurry and I tend to go through life sometimes oblivious of my surroundings especially when I don’t think things pertain to me. It was in that second glance I saw the sign and actually read the words.

“Don’t put hot chocolate in the ice machine.” 



I looked around, there seemed no abundance of hot chocolate, not even a little bit of hot chocolate which would have been nice and comforting on the chilly morning in the hospital waiting area. I scanned again, looked the ice machine over and tried to figure out how this scenario had even come to be and more importantly how it had made a mark so indelible it required a sign, a permanent sign stating not to do it. 

In my overactive imagination I imagined a toddler slinging packets of chocolate powder to and fro, a brown haze softening edges, dusting flat surfaces, a world of sepia tones making the toddler look like a mini rock star walking through a fog machine. 

Perhaps someone had pulled a step ladder up to the top of the ice machine climbed upward and dumped hot chocolate into the ice holding area. For months every dosing of ice was chocolate flavored. That particular ice machine makes the “good ice.” Ice connoisseurs know exactly what that means, those tiny flakes or pellets that make for good snacking, how could that be a negative I wondered. I thought a bit more, copious amounts of frozen brown pellets… never mind I get it. 

I was still pondering on it when I decided I wasn’t going to be able to figure this one out, I’d have to ask someone or do some research to determine exactly what the story behind the sign was. 

Sometimes our walk with the King is like that sign. Indelible moments that mark us, mark periods of time and circumstances, markings of permanence, leaving a story in their wake. Sometimes we can try and figure out those things, try and understand why something like this would have happened, how this, the  unexplainable could be. Sometimes we want to make sense of a situation, find a way to justify all the hurt, brokenness, disillusionment and the reality is, we can’t.

There are some things this side of Heaven we are never going to be able to understand, to reconcile or to figure out.

We can however choose to trust that God is good. He is good on the good days and on the bad ones. God is in control and He can be trusted to use all the things, the ones we understand and the ones we do not, for our good, and for  His glory.

We can do so knowing that He is writing a beautiful story of us. Maybe, one day,  others will look at your walk, my walk with Him and the testimony of what He’s done and think, “There’s a story there.”

An Ornament a Year

When you get married three days before Christmas it naturally creates a priority on the season! That year was a whirlwind of finishing up a college semester, last minute wedding preparations, and all the normal Christmas festivities. We split our honeymoon in two parts to make sure we were able to celebrate with both families. And that year we received two “1st Christmas together” ornaments.

Those ornaments set a tradition in motion. Every year afterward we got another ornament to add to our tree: Our Second Christmas… 10 Years Together… Silver Wedding Anniversary… and on the Christmases rolled. Sometimes we both bought each other one, and sometimes it was only one family ornament.

The ornaments are a visual diary of our family. Besides four Baby’s First Christmas ornaments, our visual diary commemorates family trips to Georgia, Texas, and California. Looking at the tree each year we see reminders of our little soccer stars, pianist, gymnast, and Disney and Star Wars fans. We can know the year they each started college just by checking through our Christmas ornaments, and when each child left home to start life as adults they have had 20-plus ornaments to start with at their own home – reminders of their life so far.

Among these ornaments that are joyous symbols are also reminders of the difficult years of life. The “Chemo Angel,” the ornaments commemorating our parents the years they passed, and even a blue, teardrop shaped ornament for a season of tears in our family.

You may find that odd, commemorating the bad times, but there is healing in facing the hard times. Those ornaments are like Ebenezer Stones reminding us how far the Lord has already brought us and that He has always been with us and carried us through some rough waters and fiery trials. We cherish these ornaments even more than the rest.

This year consider starting an ornament tradition in your family. You will be surprised with the memories they bring in years to come and the way they strengthen your faith.

Welcome Home

Several years ago we took our children to Disney World. It was amazing. We made memories that we still hold dear and close, and we still proudly display family photos from that trip. We met some friends there in a once in a lifetime encounter and circumstance.

Even still as a family we play the “Disney” game I made up at the dinner table. It’s an imagination game. Each member is asked the same question, “If you were at Disney where would you be, what would you ride, and what would you eat?”

Some of our players’ answers change each game; some you can predict, as the answers are all always the same. 

I think of that trip often and apart from a few sour notes those days are full of good times and happy thoughts. 

One such thought comes to mind when I think of our return to our lodging after our long fun filled days. We would ride on a bumpy bus, rocking tired children to sleep on a nearby adult lap. Those rides back were always so much quieter than the excited chatter-filled bus rides in the early morning to the park. As we would pull into the drop off destination the bus driver would flip on the automatic voice which had spoken through speakers all day warning to keep loose extremities inside the vehicles until they came to a complete stop or to stand clear of the closing doors. Throughout the day the voice reminded us to pick up packages or fasten safety devices.

At the end of those fun-filled, memory-making days, the voice would say something about I don’t remember what, and then it would say something about waiting until things came to a complete stop or letting certain individuals disembark, and then it would say, “Welcome home.” 

Some word phrases just resonate with me, “Welcome Home” is one of those.

I recently received a piece of mail inviting me to a church body and it grabbed my attention because on the front it said, “Welcome Home.” I used to think when I entered Heaven I would like to hear what most folks say they want to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.” But the older I get and the more I long for Heaven, the longer I feel like a stranger in this land, growing evermore and more cognizant that this world is not my home. 

I long to hear the King say to me, 

“Welcome Home.”