Elephant in the Living Room

The other day I was visiting a friend in Burlington, Vermont, when I noticed a small dragon in her living room.   I inquired as to the friendliness of this creature in the room and whether or not it was supposed to be “out”.   I was told it was actually sunning itself, so yes – it was supposed to be there. I guess I was relieved – and tried to find solace in the pure enjoyment this dragon displayed while basking in the sunlight.

However, often critters can make there way into our living rooms and wreak havoc – while we ignore them, tiptoe around them or pretend they are not there.    I am speaking of the proverbial “elephant in the living room”.  (Here is a concise definition I took from Wikipedia. “Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.[1] It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.)

Likely, we have had elephants tiptoe into our living rooms at one time or another.  There may even be one currently residing there.

While I think elephants are amazing creatures – I don’t want one in my living room.  Yet, at times I have allowed them to be there out of fear of speaking honestly.  Several scriptures have helped me tremendously that I refer to as my “elephant busters” – (emphasis added)   They are:  Ephes. 4:15-16
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. [16] From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

John 8:31-32
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. [32] Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Mark 12:14
They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

No matter how difficult, I pray to always be honest and to not let creatures take residence in my living room, or any rooms of my heart.

If they move in and we ignore them, they will destroy our living rooms and leave a room full of elephant d.u.n.g.  In order to avoid the refuse there are several keys to be aware of.  They are: Discernment, Understanding, “Niceness” and Graciousness.  While speaking honestly, it is important to discern the best ways – including timing to approach a difficult situation.  It is also important to understand that there may be pieces missing in our understanding.  A tone of gentleness and kindness (or niceness) is also something we are instructed by God to practice.  It is also of utmost important to remember that God is a God of grace and mercy.   While he is just, he is also merciful – a God of grace and truth.  I desperately need his wisdom, power and guidance as I go through life.  May we all find the integrity, unity, freedom and love that truth produces.

Clarence’s Shoebox

Today, during our staff meeting, we had an opportunity to share our appreciation for a dear sister, Laura Webster.  It was Laura’s birthday….and a big one.  An elder’s wife, she is a beautiful woman, inside and out.  As her strong and burly husband, Clarence, shared about her with tears he recounted a story about a shoe box.

As a young man, Clarence assumed he would try to make his life work by entering the military.  His mother became disabled, and called him into her room one day.  Under her bed was an old shoe box, which she pulled out to show her son.  Upon opening the box, and seeing a sea of green, he was dumbfounded to discover that the box was full of hundred dollar bills.  His mom had saved this money throughout her life, and presented it to Clarence.  She implored him to use this to go to school.  He did just that.

It was at university that Clarence met his wife, who impacted him greatly, especially when she became a Christian after they were married.  This led to his own decision to become a Christian.  Clarence recently buried his mother, and even more recently his brother, both of whom had followed suit as they learned the Scriptures.  His sons and daughters- in- law are wonderful Christian men and women as well, and his grandchildren are being raised by faithful, confident parents.  So many lives in many places have been touched by this couple.  For Clarence, it began with the shoe box.

We may never know how an opportunity we afford someone can impact them and countless individuals for generations to come.  Clarence’s mom did not have much money, but decided she would scrimp and save to give her son a chance to succeed.  Similarly, I’m reminded of a woman in the Bible whom Jesus said would be told about everywhere the Gospel was preached.

Mark 14:3-9

    While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

    [4] Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? [5] It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

    [6] “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. [7] The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. [8] She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. [9] I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Her sacrificial giving “what she could”, (though it was not a lot by human standards) had a tremendous impact on Jesus and on those who heard of her actions.  Even today, years later, this woman inspires me to give what I can.  And Clarence’s shoebox reminds me that what you and I may be able to give can have a ripple effect of good that may make an eternal  difference in many lives – in ways that we may never  even see.

Eccles. 11:6

    Sow your seed in the morning,

        and at evening let not your hands be idle,

    for you do not know which will succeed,

        whether this or that,

        or whether both will do equally well.





Telling Brady About Denver

After our women’s workshop Sunday I joined my husband, Wyndham, at our son’s house to watch the end of the Pittsburgh-Denver playoff game.  I’m not gonna’ lie…as a University of Florida alumni,  I’m a Tim Tebow fan.  However, I’m still loyal to my New England Patriots.

Sam (our son) and his wife, Leigh Ann, have a dog named Brady (yes, after Tom Brady of the New England Patriots).  Brady was born outside of Denver, and Wyndham and I brought him back with us, as we returned from a conference in Denver.  So, Brady and I have a special connection.  Wyndham takes him (and his brother Luke who belongs to my daughter and son in law) pheasant hunting.  Brady does not understand that he is too big to be a lap dog, as you can see.   Suffice it to say, we are attached to both Brady and Luke as granddogs.

As Brady ventured into my lap, I told him about his little “half” brother (yes, they both have the same dad) coming to our home next weekend. We are getting a golden retriever puppy from the same breeders that we used before.  How ironic that we have named him “Denver”, and that he will be arriving – along with the Denver Bronco football Tim (I mean team) – this weekend.  I explained to him that he will certainly continue to be the “alpha dog” with Denver, but that he has to make room in his heart for his little brother.  (He wasn’t impressed.)

While I don’t think this little tidbit has any affect on the outcome of the playoff game this weekend, and very little spiritual application – I did think about how good it is to see a man of strong character and convictions becoming a household name .  Tim Tebow is getting people’s attention…that prayerfully may then cause some to explore this Jesus whom he proclaims. While we may likely not agree doctrinally on some important things in the scriptures,  I’m so happy to hear of a popular sports icon that has the reputation for being the “only virgin in the NFL”.  While many may “pay homage” to God, have Jesus’ picture tattooed on their bodies, crosses hanging around their necks…or often point to the sky….so very few have the convictions and courage to live a life that represents the Jesus I know and read about.   Our world is so upside down in practicing what is true and Godly – and in knowing the difference in right from wrong.  As the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 5:20-22

    Woe to those who call evil good

        and good evil,

    who put darkness for light and light for darkness,

    who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

  [21] Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

  [22] Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,


We certainly live in a time where powerless forms of religion reign as described in 2 Tim. 3:1-5

    But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. [2] People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, [4] treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– [5] having a form of godliness but denying its power.  (emphasis added)

I pray that more and more people can come to understand the amazing direction and power to turn lives around… that Jesus really gives.

And…well, I told Brady about Denver’s arrival this weekend.  We will wait and see what happens.


The Power of Music

Have you ever thought about how different a movie would be without a soundtrack?  Watching the scenes, without musical accompaniment, would be sort of like eating  food without  flavor.   I truly enjoy  great soundtracks, however I’ve had to train my ear to hear them well.  So often, I have just taken them for granted, unaware of the mood that they are helping to produce.  We can usually know when something scary is going to happen by the music that’s playing, or when someone is falling in love by the score in the background.   I’ve come to realize the contributing role that music plays in my emotions.

If I may ‘wax philosophically’ for a moment I’ll share a quote:  “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.” (quote attributed to Plato). (Wordsworth Dictionary of Musical Quotations, 1991, p. 45).

God’s creation exudes harmony.  To me, the wind, the waves, the streams, the birds, the thunder and the the crackling of a fire are all parts of this orchestra.

Isaiah 55:12

    You will go out in joy  and be led forth in peace;

    the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,

    and all the trees of the field  will clap their hands.

Somehow, God’s presence within us has the ability to soothe, to comfort and express love- much as a mother does when singing to her child.

Psalm 42:8

    By day the Lord directs his love,

        at night his song is with me–

        a prayer to the God of my life.

 As I read scriptures about songs I found that they were used in so many ways:

To awaken – Judges 5:12 ; to celebrate victory – Psalm 18:1; to express joy and praise – Psalm 28:7; to express love to someone – Isaiah 5:1; to alleviate fear – Isaiah 12:2; to find comfort – Isaiah 49:13; to mourn and bring down – Micah 2:4, etc.

I realize that my personal playlists of songs reflects so many of these areas.  I have greatly increased my use of music over the past year.  I find it helpful it setting my mind.  There are songs I like to wake up to…such as “What a Wonderful World”, “You Raise Me Up”, “Light Your World” (to name a few).  Some songs help me feel close to God (they are on my quiet time play list), some inspire me and help me exercise,  and then there are some (my dancing music playlist)  that help me dance through the kitchen  and laundry room.  I have some that comfort (think ”Be Still My Soul” and “Abide with Me”)…I try to stay away from dirges that bring me down (although I do have quite a long “country” playlist I enjoy).  My favorites are playing now…some nice background music (with a “fair shake” of Kenny G and Il Volo).  I like to keep these songs in the background when I’m at home.  (I rarely use earphones, as I don’t want to shut people out, which can happen when I can’t hear them)

A philosopher (some have attributed to Plato) has been quoted as saying,
“Let me handle the music for one generation and I will control Rome.”

In other words, the things we listen to, and pour into our minds affect our thoughts and actions.  It makes sense to me, in order to help “set my mind on things above”, to have playlists that agree with this desire.

Give it a try.  You may be surprised at the lift that songs bring to your heart, and the pep they put in your step!

What’s Your Caption?

I happened upon this picture a few minutes ago.  My granddaughter is having fun hiding behind a glass pulpit.  I thought this photo communicated a lot with just a few words.

If I were put my face here….would the words shown “‘to’ God Be the Glory” reflect my life?  I pray so.  I want the fruit of God’s spirit to be evident in my life so that God’s glory can be seen and He will  be honored. I love the thought of seeing each of our faces in the background of this picture…reflecting God’s glory.   Glory is sort of a “church word” – where meaning can get lost in familiarity.  I see it most simply as the awesome (in the truest sense of the word) and consuming presence of God!  Imagine with me your face behind this caption.  Does it fit there? Does your expression and demeanor reflect God’s presence?  How about your words…and the tone of your words? Do the choices you are making reflect the glory of God?  What would your caption say?  Our demeanor, words, and choices always reflect something….and could always have an accompanying caption.

After reading many verses about God’s glory….and thinking about my “captions”…I am more keenly equipped to consider what and who I am reflecting as I go through my day.  I’m also grateful, as the scripture below states, that God sees me as a work in progress – that I can grow and change each day.  He is full of grace as well as truth, helping me in my weaknesses to become more like Jesus every day.

16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Cor 3:16-18 (NIV)

16 Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face to face! 17 They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! 18 All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

2 Cor 3:16-18 (MSG)

16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Cor 3:16-18 (NRSV)


Erasing “Not Possible”

Often, during times when I visited Eastern Europe on business, I brought with me a plethora of tasks that needed to be accomplished.  I met with many different people to begin the process of various undertakings such as the summer HOPE Youth Corps, the home for orphans, and even our own adoption experience.  Two words were often repeated – “not possible”.   I would hear the phrase, “not possible” over and over again in response to numerous requests and situations.  Though I realized much of the reason for this stemmed from a culture that had been under a dictatorship for many years… I still despised that phrase.  To me, that phrase sort of “puts its toe over the line” – as if to dare me to try to go forward.  These types of situations get my spiritual adrenaline juices going,… because I know that God specializes in the impossible.  When I hear “it’s not possible” –  it excites me to see what God might do.

I grew up with a dad who displayed a sign on his desk that read, “Now tell me all the reasons why it can be done.”  This exemplified  to me his character and faith.   I also remember a  time listening to my oldest sister recount a conversation with a police officer concerning a ticket she had gotten for going down a one-way street the wrong way.   Instead of paying a fine, she persuaded the court to change the road to become a two way street.  I have been inspired by the faith of so many I have seen around me and read so many accounts of real men and women in the Bible who stepped out on faith to witness God do the impossible.   So, I am well acquainted with examples of those who saw obstacles and challenges as mere “hiccups”.

More importantly, my spiritual Father created the universe out of darkness and void, closed the mouths of lions, and drenched a parched land from a tiny cloud – just to mention a very few feats.  He brought a nation of people from a closed womb, sent his son to be born of a virgin and then raised him from the dead.   His finest work comes from the most unlikely and impossible situations.

Sometimes, it takes tenaciousness and sometimes it requires our stepping out of our comfort zone to be used to change a situation.  I remember one particular (albeit  insignificant) situation like this.  I was pregnant with our first child and decided I wanted to stay (or get) in shape and take an exercise class.  So, I went to a neighborhood gym and inquired about joining a class for pregnant women.  The manager gave me an inquisitive look and told me there was no such thing.  I proceeded to convince him that this was a big mistake for their business and they needed to offer such a class.  In fact, they should pay me to teach it.  Granted, I had no background in this and didn’t know what I was doing.  I probably looked ridiculous.  I wore an old purple sweat suit that I wore when exercising (we had little money so it had to suffice as my exercise wardrobe.)   I looked much like an Easter egg.

Next thing I knew I was the new instructor for the “maternity aerobics” class.  I felt very out of my element…so purchased a “Jane Fonda”  video tape for pregnant women and did exactly what she did (well at least attempted to).  I thrill seeing possibilities unfold from “not possible” responses.

When you are faced with a situation that seems to have reached a dead end it is certainly possible that God is simply saying “no”.  However, it is also possible that He may want to use you or circumstances around you to change a seemingly impossible situation.  In order to find out, it takes our stepping out on faith…most often out of our comfort zones.   What situations do you face that seem impossible to change… even when you know they need to change and it is within God’s plan for them to change?  What are some things that stretch your imagination to envision being different?  Maybe it’s seeing an obstacle be overcome, changing something in your character, or healing a relationship.  You may have numerous “not possibles” in your mind.  As you think of them,  consider the following scriptures:

Romans 4:17-21

  As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed–the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.   Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” [19] Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead–since he was about a hundred years old–and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. [20] Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, [21] being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Ephes. 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

What “not possibles” might you erase by trusting that God is able to do more than you dare ask or imagine?





Conquering the Black Jeans

I have a job to complete.  I’m sitting at my kitchen counter with my “Hello Kitty” sewing machine… hemming some black jeans.   (Yes, I use a “Hello Kitty” sewing machine.  It is simple enough for me to use, and I figured that I could teach my grandkids to sew with it.)   I purchased these jeans for my husband about 3 years ago because they were his size…sort of.  I found them on sale for one dollar.  Yes, …one dollar.  The size was not marked,  but they looked about right for him.  They fit him well, except for the length.  I think that is why these jeans were on sale.  They would have fit well if he were about 8½ feet tall.  He is tall, but not that tall.  Well, I am happy to report that I just completed the job.

For some reason, I have procrastinated hemming these jeans for those 3 years.  I’m ashamed to say that they have been folded in the corner of our room for that entire time.  It actually took me three minutes to get the sewing machine set up with the needed black thread.  It took about another five minutes to hem both pants legs and another minute to put the machine back in the closet.  That’s it. Three years to actually make the decision to act …which took nine minutes to complete.

This new year, I wanted to begin by conquering this silly, crazy thing that had been hanging over my head  for much too long.  It’s eleven o’clock in the evening and I was not going to let another day pass without facing this.  The other thing I put off for way too long was getting rid of a cobweb in the corner of my shower.  It required my getting a footstool and wiping the corner of the shower stall.  Not a big deal, but every day for months  I would look up at that corner and say to myself, “I really should do something about this.”  Well, I’m happy to say the cobweb is gone.   I am quite sure I have spent much more time thinking about “getting around to it” than it actually took to do it.  I had to come to a point where I decided it was time to act on my good intentions saying….If I don’t do it today, then when will I…really?

While these two things are not really important in the big scheme of things they had gotten the best of me.  I just didn’t want to do them….yet.  However, I was always planning to “get around to it”.

Putting off until tomorrow can be a dangerous habit, especially if it effects life issues that are of utmost importance.  Perhaps you have been thinking of pursuing or strengthening your relationship with God….or changing something that keeps you from following him wholeheartedly.  Or maybe it’s just a small task like I mention above.  Sometimes, like Felix in the scripture below…we put something off because of fear of change.

Acts 24:24-25

    Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. [25] As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.”

Other times, it is easy to just get complacent thinking that nothing is really that urgent.  The scriptures soberly speak to this as well.

Luke 12:18-21

    “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. [19] And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ‘

    [20] “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

At any rate, I feel so much better after hemming those “dollar jeans” and wiping away the cobwebs.  What are you procrastinating?  Go for it today.  It could make the difference for the day, the year, or even eternity.

Why I Don’t Like Fishing

As I write this my husband is preparing sixty pounds of cod and haddock filets.  Tomorrow night we will have a fish fry with our family group. The remainder will go to friends, family and the freezer.  Two days after Christmas Wyndham went deep sea fishing and caught so many fish that his hands were cramping from the strain of pulling them all in.  (It might have also had something to do with being out on the ocean during winter in New England during high winds and 4-7 foot waves as well).  He had a blast! I was so happy for him, and I have to say – the fish tastes pretty fantastic!

I wish I could enjoy this sport with him.  However, if someone wanted to torture me they could wake me up in the wee hours of the morning, load me on a boat and take me fishing.  No need to chum for fish…  I’d automatically provide the chum.  I can get sick just looking at a wave.   It hasn’t always been this way.  When I was a young girl, I loved to fish for brim and bass in the pond in my back yard.  I caught fish on bread wads, bacon – and once while using bubble gum for bait.  I never could do the worms, however.  They were just too slimy for me.  I fished day after day and loved it.  However, something happened between now and then.

Today,  I could enjoy about 10 minutes of fishing if I was standing on the ground by a beautiful lake with the air temperature about 72 degrees Fahrenheit… and a gentle breeze was blowing to keep away the bugs. Someone else would bait my hook…I’d catch a fish instantly and then they would also take it off the hook for me (and throw it back).  It would be nice if a tasty picnic lunch was there to enjoy as well.  I could munch on this while I stared at beautiful mountains in the background overlooking the lake.   That would be okay.

I know what happened…..  Shortly after we were married I went deep sea fishing with Wyndham and his uncle (who loved fishing as much as he did).  It was raining and the waves had deep swells.  I turned green and went down to the cabin in order to stay dry while I threw up.  That proved to be a bad idea.  My sea-sickness got worse and worse, so I ventured outside to sit in the rain and hurl over the side of the boat.  As I sat down in the rain …. his uncle began chumming ( putting whole fish..guts and all in a meat grinder to dump in the ocean to attract fish.  That helped…(not so much.)  His uncle then gently put a tarp over me and assured me that we would turn back when the tide changed.  (He was the boat captain so made the decisions.) When I learned that the tide would change in six hours I seriously contemplated the decision to throw myself overboard.  Ever since that day, I have stayed far away from fishing.  It was a fast and firm decision.  I’m not even tempted to try it again.  I don’t want to get close to deep sea fishing…it made me completely miserable.

I thought about two scriptures I read today.

2 Tim. 2:22-23

    Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. [23] Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

1 John 2:15-17

    Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. [17] The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

Every day…from the mall to the television the world tries to lure us with money, things, pleasures and all sorts of distractions from what really matters.  Satan is chumming for our attention and wants us on his boat.  That boat ride ends very badly.  May I (and we) always remember how empty and deceitful the world really is and stay as far away as possible…not setting foot on that boat.  Rather,… pursue faith, love and peace…with a pure heart.  These will not disappoint.

Out of Gas

…Funny  how empty the house can seem after Christmas.  The last of the family members just pulled out of the driveway and the house is suddenly quiet…  No more squeals, pitter patter of little feet, giggles or “Mom…she’s trying to get my stuff!”  I miss that “music”. I’m so grateful that my children and grandchildren live close by…but there is still something a little sad about the day after Christmas.   Part of the reason, I think, is that I’m exhausted.  I love Christmas time and all the music, baking, cooking, decorating and wrapping that goes with it.  Most of the time I love it…but sometimes I’m just tired.  Today, after some cleaning up, to be honest I felt like I was all out of the “giving spirit”.  I then caught up on the on-line news and read about a tragic fire in New England, killing a woman’s three children and her parents early Christmas morning.  I then felt very sad all afternoon.   This made me feel even less like giving.  Frankly, I felt like I was “out of gas”.

Have you ever been driving and run out of gas?   I have.  I remember years ago (pre-children days) when our dog ran away.  I had let him out last thing before going to bed… and he didn’t return the entire night.  I couldn’t sleep from worrying about our little cocker spaniel.  The next day, as we searched the neighborhood I discovered that a neighbor living about a half mile away also had a dog that was missing.  It was an Afghan hound who happened to be  “in heat”.  I put two and two together and figured that my male dog was likely wherever her female dog was.  I called the local animal shelter (local in that it was in the state…about thirty miles away in a rural area) and was told that in fact they had picked up a cocker spaniel and an Afghan hound the night before.  I asked my neighbor if she would like for me to retrieve her dog when I got ours.  She was happy with my offer.   I hopped in my little Volkswagen and drove to pick them up.

After getting them “out of jail”  I began the drive back home when I noticed that my car began sputtering…and sputtering – and then stopped.  In my worry and haste upon leaving to get the dogs I had failed to notice that my car’s gas tank was nearly empty.   I was completely out of gas.  There were no cell phones yet, so I surmised I would need to walk to the nearest phone (which was quite a distance) to get help.  Meanwhile, I had my dog (and the neighbor’s dog in heat) sitting in the back seat of my little car.  Agreeing to pick them both up in my little car was the first stupid thing I did that day.  Not only had I failed to fill my tank, but now that I was on empty – havoc was preparing to rule.  I had not mentally or physically prepared myself for this journey.  I then somehow found some kind of rope (not sure what kind – perhaps it was even dental floss) and tied one dog to one door handle inside the car and the other dog to the other door handle.  They began to howl.  It was not a pretty sight.  I then ventured out (I think with tears) to find some fuel.   Fortunately, I was able to summon some help and received enough fuel to make it to a gas station.

This is sort of what I felt like today.  Out of gas and feeling “on empty”.  I thought about the choices I could make.  One was to get some much needed rest (which I did).   I remembered how Elijah had gone from an incredible day of great victory and rejoicing to feeling weak and “down” the next day.  1 Kings 19:4-5

    while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” [5] Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.

    All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

The rest and some nourishment helped.  I could then choose to think about all things sad and pick up other’s sorrows as well or set my mind differently.  (While it is good to feel compassion…when there is nothing I can do for a situation I realize I “simply” need to take it to God.)   Most of all, I needed refueling.  This meant I needed to humbly seek help and to search for a “filling station”.   It’s not necessarily simple to get there right away.  Sometimes we have to “tie up” the distractions in the back seat and get out of the car to find help and a source for fuel.  So, I tried to “tie up” the distractions that were howling in the back of my mind and searched for spiritual fuel.  I was ministered to by the scriptures I read.  I count on, and prayed to claim the promise in  Ephes. 3:16

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

Then I read some more scriptures.  It never ceases to amaze me how “alive and active” they are.   I prayed that God would fill me up so I could give some more, and he did.  I have been so very blessed by God.   I know if I imitate Jesus that means I need to keep on giving and loving even when I’m feeling tired of giving. Jesus did this again and again, no matter the circumstance.  Amazing!   I’m so grateful that God, through His Spirit, continually fills us so that there is always something to give.  Romans 5:5

    And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.


Through A Mother’s Eyes – Mary’s monologue

…Been thinking today… as I’m busy cooking and wrapping – of the amazing and incredible difference the birth of Jesus has made in my life!  I’ve often thought about what life must have been like for Mary, Jesus’ mother – and the difference his birth made in her life.  I was able to share some of these thoughts for a Christmas service about ten years ago. I found the video footage someone had made for me (amidst some other “antiques”). Though the footage (and acting) is rough…I hope this can help you connect a little more closely to the birth of Jesus.  (Thanks to Ali Mackall, Anthony Ciotti and Diana Mouzakis for the songs they sang – clips of which I included).  Though I left out most of the singing from the program, if I were more technically astute I would have put the remainder of the songs in the background.  (I haven’t learned how to do that yet.)

Click on this link to view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnSrWjLtSds    

(while the script is longer and has a copywrite...I'm eager to share it. Just please contact me. Thanks.)

Have a wonderful Christmas.  May the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord make all the difference in your life as well.