Fire on the Stove

The smell of Cinnamon is a delicious smell. I can remember those delicious cinnamon toasts that my mother made for breakfast when I was growing up. We would always eat the parts with the extra pats of butter on them first. I can taste them just by thinking about them.

I had not made cinnamon toasts in a long time. I was changing around the spices in my cabinet and had not replaced the container of cinnamon when my husband came into the kitchen. He wanted to know what I was going to cook with cinnamon. I didn’t have french-toast-995532_1280the heart to tell him that I was just cleaning the cabinet so I asked if he wanted cinnamon toasts for breakfast. At our house, we add extra syllables to cinnamon toast. It’s more like “cinnaminny toasties.” I do not remember how that started but it is still what my husband and I call them.

The next morning I was preparing the cinnamon toasts and I looked at my cookie sheet. It really needed a good scrubbing, but that was going to have to wait. I thought I would just put some parchment paper on the cookie sheet and save the scrubbing for later in the day. I should have just used it. It’s not like it was dirty. It just looked dirty.

I usually make cinnamon toast in my toaster oven, but my toaster oven and I had a parting of the way recently so I was using my oven broiler. Never, and let me say it again, Never use parchment paper when using your broiler. It caught fire immediately. I calmly said, “I need some help here.” Eddie turned to see the cookie sheet in flames as I slid it on top of the stove. Let’s just say that I didn’t need a fire extinguisher, but none of my cinnamon toasts survived. We had a good laugh after the excitement was over and then made new cinnamon toasts. I used to have a smoke alarm in my kitchen but it went off every time I cooked so we moved it further away. I had a sign back then that said “Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off.” I really haven’t had a fire in a long time.

I love the smell of fragrant foods cooking. When I think of the smell of cinnamon I think of cinnamon rolls, apple cider, spiced apples, and apple pie. I think it smells like love. The smell permeates the area and fills the room. I think love must be like that. When someone really loves you, it feels like it is all over you. It is hard to find a place that doesn’t feel loved. I think that is what the love of God is like. He loves us from the outside in and from the inside out. Jeremiah 31:3 ESV says “The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with loving devotion”. Cinnamon draws you in. It brings you to the kitchen from anywhere in the house. Cinnamon leaves such a wonderful smell all through the house. It seems to linger.

I think if God’s love has a smell, for me it must be cinnamon.

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Princesses, Magic, and Broken Graham Crackers

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Disney World. My little girl grew up and married her handsome prince. What can I say? He takes her now. I was going on this trip, but I was going to babysit in the hotel – until they decided not to take the baby. What can I say, my granddaughter only turns 4 once.

disney-2456306_1280There were quite a few differences in my trip 18 years ago.  The one thing that struck me as so cute was all the little princesses that were visiting the park. There were princesses of all ages, cultures, and languages. I saw Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Belle, Mulan, Tiana, Jasmine, Rapunzel, and Aurora. I even saw a few Tinker Bells and a few Simbas. Then there were the Star Wars characters and the Princes. It was precious. The children could be whoever they wanted to be. It’s Disney Magic. We went to the Bibbidy, Bobbidy, Boutique and had a “Fairy God Mother in Training” dress up our little birthday girl. We had a wonderful time watching her as she became the princess on the outside that she is on the inside.

Disney World is definitely a place full of wonder and joy where your handsome prince could be just around the corner. Life is magical there unless you want a snack and your goldfish cheese crackers are actually shaped like goldfish and not Mickey Mouse. Can food-2202364_1280you imagine someone offering you fish-shaped goldfish in Disney World? Is that even allowed? Or what if your graham crackers are not in full crackers but part of them have broken off. How could that possibly happen?

How can anything not be perfect in Disney World?

Imagine reality settling in. Eventually, that is what happens to all of us. What happens when that handsome prince turns out to be the proverbial frog? Or when you lose your glass slipper for good? Or when snacks do not meet your expectations? Or if your job loses its magic? That exciting job has lost its luster. Or the boss says you are no longer needed? What happens when the money runs out? Or maybe sickness has entered the picture. Perhaps infertility.

God tells us in his word to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV.

Philippians 4:6 ESV “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

One of my husband’s favorite verses is Ephesians 3:20 ESV “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” We have found this verse to be true.

Not even Walt Disney, himself, could promise that life would be all Disney Magic. One of his famous quotes is “You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” (Goalcast)

Jesus offers us Life Everlasting. In Matthew 11:28 ESV, Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Philippians 4:19 ESV “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

waiting-71011_1280When life is not what you expect it to be or when your dreams are not coming true, give them to Jesus.

Mathew 6:33 ESV “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Philippians 4:13 ESV “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

 

 

Communications

Sometimes I feel like the shopping is never done. No matter how many times I shop during the week, there is always something else we need. I try to make a list of what we need or what I am cooking because making extra trips to the store causes me to spend money on items I had not intended to buy.

My husband was returning home from being out of town for a week. This had been an extremely busy week for me and I had not been to the store. He stopped by Publix to pick grocery-3802358_1280up a few items he needed. He called me from inside the store and asked me what we were having for supper. He was at the deli and was looking at the soup that they had. He decided to get a bowl of soup and a sandwich. I asked him to bring me a chicken breast. He was at the deli, right?

I put together a salad as I was waiting for him to get home. He brought in his suitcase and computer bag and then went back for the bags from Publix. He pulled out his cup of soup and deli sandwich as he prepared to eat. I began to sort through the few things he had purchased looking for the chicken breast I had requested so I could place it on the dinner table with my salad.  Inside of a grocery bag all by itself was a package of raw chicken breasts. Raw Chicken Breasts!!! He was at the deli when I asked for a chicken breast!! Why would I have said a cooked chicken breast from the deli? When I asked him why he brought me raw chicken breasts he said “Oh! You wanted a cooked chicken breast?” I said, “You were at the deli!!!” What can I say, I love him.

Do we always communicate? Obviously not all of the time. Needless to say, I had salad for dinner and cooked the chicken the next day. He told me later that he could not find me a package with just one chicken breast so he brought me the package that had eight chicken breasts – 8 raw chicken breasts! Needless to say, I now specify exactly what I want when he picks up something for me.

On another trip to the store, I asked him to pick up a dozen eggs for me and he called me from the store. He said eggs were too hard to buy. He said there are too many kinds. You have small, medium, large, and extra-large. Then you have the store brand and the name brand. Then there is another division for organic eggs. We find that it is easier to FaceTime when he shops for me or I will google the image for him so he knows exactly what I need. My grocery list for him usually states what aisle the item is on and where on the aisle it is located.

beard-2286440_1280As we have grown older together, we often finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes it takes the two of us to remember who someone is or what movie we are discussing. We laugh and have a good time with it. Sometimes it is the next week and one of us will say the name of the person we were discussing or the movie an actor was in. The other one knows exactly what is being said.

Communication is not always easy. When we speak, the words we say may make perfect sense to us and not be easily understood by others.

God communicates clearly with us. God’s Word to us is written in the Bible. It never changes.

Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”.

Hebrews 4:12 ESV “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart”.

Isaiah 55:10-11 ESV “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

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Construction Zone: Electrical Outlets

As long as I can remember I have been told to unplug a plug from an electrical outlet by holding on to the plug and gently pulling the plug from the outlet. That being said, my life doesn’t work that way. The only plugs that are gently unplugged are the ones that are in easy reach.

IMG_7344As I was packing my laptop computer recently, I wondered if I would need an electrical strip to give me extra distance for plugging my computer in. I forgot that we recently purchased a different type of electrical strip that the cord came from the side of the plug in the electrical socket instead of the top of the plug. I say that so that you will understand that when I pulled the electrical strip’s cord, it did not come out easily. I pulled with a little more strength and the plug came free along with the broken plate and broken socket. My husband was out of town, so when I called him early in the morning, his first response was not “Hello” it was “What’s wrong.” I told him what I had done and that I was afraid I was going to burn the house down. He assured me that everything would be ok and he could make repairs when he returned home.

Why is it that we do not heed the warning until it is too late? And then when we see the result of our action, we want someone to fix it so we do not reap the difficulty of our action. As a child I was told to come straight home from school (I lived in walking distance), don’t talk to strangers, and don’t get in a car with anyone I did not know. These warnings were to keep me safe from harm. My Mother wanted to be sure that I would be safe when I was alone or with friends.

sign-304093_1280.pngWhat warnings do we receive today? Don’t text and drive! Drive Safely! Observe Caution lights at railroad crossings. Do unto others….

God gives us warnings too. In James 1:19 He tells us to watch our tongue. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” In James 4:7 he warns us to “resist the devil” so that he will “flee from you.” We should heed the warning to confess our sins regularly. I John 1:9 ESV tells us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God also warns us to “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

God gives us a warning to forgive others. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.” (Colossians 3:13) “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14)

Our God is so good. He will forgive us when we do not heed his warning, but we may still have to suffer the consequence. How much easier life would be if we kept close to his word and did things right the first time.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

Leaves

5 Timely Tips for a Successful Time with the Lord

I love the colors of summer. Beautiful green leaves swaying in the breeze high in the trees is such an amazing sight. I love watching the green leaves change from the soft, tiny, yellow-green colors of Spring into the dark green colors of Summer.

Along with the beauty of these wonderful leaves on these tall, stately trees comes my problem. My satellite receiver for my television system is in the only spot it could be placed at my home. Between the satellite that is sending the signal from high above the earth to my personal satellite receiver are these beautiful leaves of summer. My television reception gets bad once the leaves start coming out in spring. Once the leaves satellite-dish-870328_1280are fully formed, my tv reception goes from bad to worse. There are some work arounds but for most television stations, I have very little or no reception. It is not easy to get the tree limbs out of the way. My trees are so tall and stately. There is no easy way to trim back the tops of these trees to get the tv signal through to my home receiver. Oh my! Such a major problem for just a few tv shows. Before you tell me to use cable, I live beyond cable. We are checking into other options but still have satellite tv at this point.

Is there anything that gets in the way of your relationship with the Lord? Just as the leaves get in the way of my satellite system, things can get in the way of our relationship with our Lord. Does your mind ever wander during your quiet time? Do the prayers that you are sending up ever get pixilated like a distorted tv signal?

How can you keep your relationship with the Lord strong like a perfect satellite signal?

1. Get rid of the distractions. Set aside a special time to be alone with the Lord. Protect that time. Make this a part of your daily routine.

2. Set aside a special place to have your quiet time. A special place is important so that    everything you need will be waiting for you.

3. Have a plan for your bible study. Knowing what you are going to study saves time from not having to figure out what you are going to read.

4. Have commentaries or study guides available to help you as you read the scriptures. I find that if I use my phone to do this, I often get distracted and do not make good use of my time. If I need to use my phone for a reference, I try to shut out anything else that is open on my phone.

5. Have a prayer list. When you tell someone you will pray for them, do you really pray? A list keeps these people prominent in your thoughts.

As you spend time with the Lord, remember to keep the signal uninterrupted with nothing in its way. Ask the Lord to help with this so that your time with the Lord is used to its fullest.

Mark 1:35 tells us “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

Luke 6:12 says “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”

Luke 5:16 says “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”

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Don’t let anything get in the way!

 

Respect is Learned by Example

Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:17

We lost another policeman.

I used to ask where did this one happen but it doesn’t really matter where, although this one was close to home. We are losing too many.

I knew the funeral was planned and that there was to be a processional, but I was going to be out of town. When we were headed back to the airport, my daughter showed me a picture that brought tears to my eyes. The picture was of a female deputy in her uniform, standing at attention in the rain, saluting as the procession of her fallen brother went by. 012419-wabc-umbrellaphoto-imgA gentleman had stepped up to hold an umbrella over her to shield her from the rain. Tears filled my eyes as I looked at this picture. To many she is a face without a name, but we know her name. She is a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a deputy. I have loved her since the day she was born. I realize that I do not understand the depth of her loss but I love her dearly. She was not able to go to the funeral but took her break during the funeral procession. As she saluted the procession in the rain, a gentleman opened his umbrella to protect her from the rain. What respect he showed to her. To the dear sweet face in the picture, my prayer for you is that the Lord will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8).

Greater love has no man than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 ESV

I am so thankful for our men and women in uniform whether it be military, first responder, or police officer. I have honor and respect for each of you and your family. I know there were others standing along the procession route in the rain. I am thankful for the respect the man showed this young lady in uniform to hold an umbrella over her to shelter her from the rain. To this young lady whose name I know, I love you and I pray that The Lord will continue to “bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 ESV

“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” Psalm 144:1-2 ESV

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.“ Ephesians 6:10-11 ESV

I Salute You.

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But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

When Order Becomes Chaos

A new Year brings a clean slate with new beginnings in many areas of my life.

Every few years I get a new address book. This had to be the year. My old address book is coming apart, and several people have moved several times.

My creativity for adding new addresses to pages that already have addresses going in multiple directions, and on top of cracking white out, and with Post-it notes that have lost their stickiness, tells me that it is time to retire this address book for a new one. My plan was to actually have an address book that started out in alphabetical order.

I had scanned my address book at Christmas and added extra pages as work sheets for addresses that were in my phone and that my husband contributed, so I decided to make an Excel spread sheet. Great Idea. Since I have a new computer, I had to find Excel (but that is another story). I worked to make sure that all of my lists were included. This was sort of a yours, mine, and ours endeavor, but I felt like I was successful. I finally had all of the names in my list and I printed the spreadsheet.

diary-2080420_1280Now it was time to start the task of entering the names in my brand-new address book. As I completed the first page I realized that the names were not in alphabetical order. I looked back at my spreadsheet and realized that after all the work of getting all of the names in my computer list, I had forgotten to do that one last thing, to press the one button that would have placed all of the names in ABC order.

I had already messed up my address book but I thought I could fix the rest of the pages, just not the first page. Back to Excel I went and highlighted all of the names and pressed that one magic button that made all the names go in alphabetical order. I printed off the names so that they would be ready to be a guide for the order of my task.

After I completed all of the A names, I tried to flip over to the B tab. Little did I realize that my address book had been moved when I was about to begin my task, and all of my A names had been written on the P page. First of all, I am thankful that a friend introduced me to FriXion pens last year in bible study. They help to erase the mistakes I make when trying to write quickly when taking notes. I just decided to erase everything I had done in my address book and start over.

I know when I get to the P page, I will find remnants of the addresses of the people on the letter A pages but that is just the way it will have to be. My names will only be in order until I need to add someone else anyway. I am not going to try to be perfect. I am going to understand that just because it is a new address book, I do not have to have all of my “ducks in a row.” If I had done something wrong, God would forgive me if I asked Him to so why not forgive myself for something as petty as this? I am much too hard on myself. God sent Jesus to forgive me of my sins before I ever did anything wrong. He knew I would never measure up to the standard of perfection.

My address book is really pretty with its flowers on the outside and its beautiful tabs all lined up in a row, but once I spill a glass of tea or Diet Coke on it, the pages will not be so beautiful. It will not matter that the people on page P were once the people who are now on page A. They are just as important to me and will be loved just as much as if they were written there at the beginning.

I plan to spend this year trying to remember that it is important to do my best even if my best is not perfect. God made me and He loves me for who I am. I intend to enjoy this year even when order becomes chaos.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV 

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3:16 ESV 

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So, I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. Jeremiah 16:1-6 ESV 

A Clear Image

Photography is a favorite hobby of mine. The first camera that I ever used was a box camera. I went to summer camp when I was very young and my mother sent her camera with me so that I could record the fun of camp. The Brownie camera had just made its kodak-2627941_1280debut, so my mother sent her old camera with me to camp. I thought my photographs that were captured on black and white film were beautiful. That was the beginning of my quest to capture moments in time. I remember when Kodak had a commercial with a song about taking pictures. The song asked, “Do you remember? Do you remember the times of your life?”

My photography has graduated from that box camera through the years to many other types of cameras. One of the first items that my then soon to be husband and I purchased together was a 110 camera with a flash. We were so proud of our camera. Because it was a cartridge, 110 film was easy to load. No more pulling a little bit of film from the canister to feed it and wind it just a little and then snap the back shut and wind a little more. Later in our marriage we used several types of 35 mm cameras. We have boxes of pictures and a file cabinet of packages of negatives that are a result of our love of taking pictures.

What is film? you may ask. Google it.

When digital cameras were available, we made the move from film to a camera card. Much of that technology has changed since then. We enjoy setting up backdrops in our home and taking special pictures. A lot of planning goes into those pictures.

beach-camera-cellphone-861099.jpgSo why do I like a camera when I have a phone that takes amazing pictures? Most people never think of cleaning the lens of the camera on their phone. Most people have little specks of dirt or grime that they may not see as they take their picture but it is there. Phones go everywhere with us. If the lens is not clean if affects the picture. Even the best camera only takes great pictures if the lens is clean. When we take pictures with our backgrounds and lights, I remember to check the camera lens because of the extra effort it takes to use a camera. I have to be sure the battery is charged and the camera card has enough space for the pictures I plan to take to record special moments. All that effort is for nothing if the lens is not clean.

Our life is like a camera that records the moments we experience. No matter what kind of camera or phone you have or what filters you use, the actual picture is only as good as the quality of your lens.

Is the lens of your life cloudy? When is the last time you have cleaned it?

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Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This tells us that the lens of our life could never be clean enough.

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Scripture tells us that David prayed “Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit in me”. Psalm 51:10 ESV

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Romans 5:8 assures us “that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.

1 John 1:9 NIV tells us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

These scriptures tell me that Jesus will always be there to cleanse the lens of my life. He died for me so that I could live with Him for all eternity.

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The next time you take a picture, remember to clean the lens of your camera and then, remember who cleanses the lens of your life. Take time to thank The Lord for his cleansing and the love he showed us when he died for us.

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Christmas Cards

Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. ~ Titus 3:15

I love to send Christmas Cards!

As I finished my Christmas Cards tonight, I was reminded of helping to get Christmas cards ready as a child. I can remember my Daddy addressing Christmas Cards when I was a little girl. He was the main letter writer of our family. This was long, long before email. Snail mail was the only way to connect with family and friends. My daddy had a brown leather address book that had the names and addresses of all of the family along with birth dates and phone numbers. The address book contained his beautiful handwriting. He was very careful to keep this precious book up to date. He would address cards to family members and then to friends. Some received a hand written note. He had this wonderful ink pen that no one was allowed to use. He had worked the point to exactly the way he wanted it. When he completed each  card he would call me into the dining room where he was writing the cards. He would tell me to stick out my tongue to lick the flap of the envelopes. I always thought that was fun. Then I would lick the stamp and place it on the front of the envelope. Postage was 4 cents that year.

card-celebration-christmas-749362Life has certainly changed just as Christmas cards have changed through the years. The envelopes come with those little strips that you pull off of the flap to keep from having to lick them. Stamps are 50 cents and have a self adhesive backing so they don’t have to be licked anymore. Even with all of the changes the sentiment on the card it still the same. Merry Christmas! Peace on Earth! Joy to the World! Jesus is Born! So why do I send Christmas cards when I can just post Merry Christmas on Facebook. I just can’t get away from my address book. All those precious people who have crossed my path. Yes, I have an address book in my phone but there is something about that precious book that holds the names and addresses of my family and the friends who touch my life. As I addressed my cards I had the opportunity to share a memory about each person or family and to reflect why they were special enough to have a place in my address book. I also had the opportunity to remember those whose names had been gently crossed through because they have gone to be with the Lord. Each card I addressed has been handled with care and a prayer spoken for each one who would receive a special card. For each name in my address book, I love and appreciate you all year-long, but especially at Christmas when your name is lovingly transferred to the front of a Christmas card with tender care.

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The Giving Christmas

As I look back over the years, I have many wonderful memories of Christmas seasons that I have experienced. There have been Christmases as a child and then a teenager. When I was married, Christmas changed from just my family to include my husband’s family. Then came children and grandchildren. Each new Christmas experience has brought its on special times.

Christmas as a child was full of wonder and joy. There were gifts from Santa and gifts under the tree from my parents. I remember receiving skates and a scooter. There was always a doll from Santa. Even when I was too old for a doll, there was still a baby doll for me at Christmas.

I can remember trying to save my allowance so that I would have a little bit of money to buy gifts for my parents and my brothers. The gifts were never large but they were all I hobby-leisure-model-cars-33074.jpgcould get on a small allowance. The gifts would be a handkerchief for my mother and stationary for my Daddy. I would get little metal cars for my brothers. I was proud of my gifts and so happy to give them to each of my family members.

When I was in college, I had a part-time job at a bank. I remember saving back money from my paychecks so that I could buy “real” presents for Christmas. There was a clock that I thought was so beautiful at a store where my parents shopped for special gifts. The clock was encased in a glass dome. I thought it was the most beautiful clock I had ever loricron-anniversary-clock-95592-281x433.jpgseen. I purchased this clock for my parents for this very special Christmas. It was the first time that I really had the opportunity to buy them special gift. My parents loved the clock and kept it in a special place on the mantel even after it stopped working. They thought it was a beautiful decorative piece and kept it because it was a special gift from me.

When we were cleaning my parents’ home and getting it ready to sell after they had both gone to be with the Lord, I picked up the clock and began looking at it. I know it doesn’t work but it is a reminder of when I learned how wonderful it is to give to others. I will always remember that first Christmas that I had the opportunity to give and not just receive. I will keep this clock as a reminder of the love I felt for my parents that Christmas Day that became my first Giving Christmas.  I will always remember the joy that it gave me to give them a gift that for me was of great value. I know that it is not the cost of a gift that makes it special but the joy that it brings. This is a lesson that I experienced that Christmas season more than 45 years ago, but I remember it each year as I plan my gifts.

Acts 20:35b NIV tells us “It is more blessed to give than to receive. ”

As we think of Christmas, we cannot help but remember the most precious gift of our Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

My gift to my parents pales in comparison to the gift that God gave to us of eternal life with him forever. What an amazing God we have. My prayer this Christmas is to enjoy the spirit of giving throughout this season and to never forget the most wonderful gift I have ever received.

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