One Word Wrap Up

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As the year 2011 begins to close, I reflect back on the year and how my one word resolution – engage- has made an impact.  I made a pledge to be an active soul and I believe I was successful.

  • I started a successful Bunco group.
  • I established personal boundaries.
  • I let things go.
  • I wrote a book and it failed.
  • I traveled to Mexico.
  • I became a Vegan.
  • I wrote another book.
  • I started hiking.
  • I prayed more.
  • I made Kale a staple in my diet.
  • I trained for another half marathon.
  • I attended a new Church and fell madly in love with God.
  • I made new friends.
  • I overcame personal obstacles.
  • I became a soul winner for Christ.
  • I ended a 2 year relationship.
  • I found myself facing unemployment yet again.

In the year of 2011, I did a lot of sewing into my own life, the lives of others, and went through many changes.  I am not sure what is in store for the year of 2012, but I believe it is a new year full of new beginnings and fresh prospective.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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The Gift of Brokeness

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“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” – Ernest Hemingway

Last Wednesday during Bible study, I taught the kids ages 3-5.  In keeping with our Pastor’s series on Christmas, I tried (emphasis, tried) to teach them the Nativity Story.  I brought in a baby doll to pose as “Baby Jesus”.  They were so fascinated with the baby that they simply would not pay attention to the story.  So in an effort to save my lesson, I took “Baby Jesus” to the nursery for a nap.  Thankfully, the kids bought it.

When I tried to talk about the Three Wise men and their gifts to Jesus, the lesson quickly turned to their Christmas list. I want a truck!  I want a Nintendo DS!  I want this, I want that.  The mission was soon aborted and I can only hope they retained something of the meaning of Christmas.

I think adults have a hard time focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.  We get distracted by the lights, the parties, the decorations, the many gifts and we lose sight on the real purpose – celebrating the birth of our Savior.

That next Sunday, my Pastor followed up with an “adult” version of the Nativity Story.  He explained in detail the meaning behind the gifts of the Three Wise men.  The gold represents something pure, the frankincense represents something honest, but the myrrh represents so much more.

Myrrh represents suffering and sorrow.  However when broken, a resin oozes from the tree and can be made into ointments or perfume.  Essentially, the best part of myrrh comes after it is broken apart.  Once broken, healing can begin.

Photo credit - simplythebestcreations.com

Pastor went on further to say that teacher, the preacher, the musician, and others whose life purpose is to serve cannot receive their anointing – chosen for a specific purpose to further God’s kingdom – until they too have been broken.

So take heart in knowing that if the world breaks you, your anointing or your healing is closely behind.  Something beautiful awaits you.

“But you belong. The Holy One anointed you, and you all know it. I haven’t been writing this to tell you something you don’t know, but to confirm the truth you do know, and to remind you that the truth doesn’t breed lies.” – 1 John 2:20-21 The Message

Wishing you a very blessed season no matter what kinds of gifts you receive.

One More to My List

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It is declared the most wonderful time of the year and who could argue with all the festivities, the lights, the trees, the music, and the gifts.  You cannot help but get wrapped up in the spirit of Christmas.

One of the highlights for me is to sit down with my niece and nephew and have them write out their Christmas list.  My nephew has made it easier by listing his list in the order of most importance.  I think he is pretty clever.

Today, I was reading a blog titled When Christmas Gets Radical: Whose Birthday Is It Really? For a decade now, this family (in her words) is turning the Christmas tree upside down and letting gifts all fall into the hands of the poor.   She said, “I’d rather only fill a child’s tummy than fill my house with anymore things.”

Instead of her family making out their Christmas list, they thumb through catalog pages of Compassion International, Samaritan’s Purse, & World Vision (just to name a few) and pick out gifts for those less fortunate.

By her inspiring words, I am reminded of this.  As I seek out the perfect gifts, maybe I can add one more to my list.

Happy Holidays!


Standing Tall

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“For a tree to become tall it must grow tough roots among the rocks.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Over the weekend, some friends and I went hiking in the Ramsay Cascades in Gatlinburg, TN.  The features of the trail include an old growth forest and a 90 foot breathtaking waterfall at the very end.

The trail itself is around 8 miles and last about 4 hours.  This was my toughest hike yet.

As I hiked the trail, I got all caught up in the scenery – the trees, the creek, the moss, and the rocks.  This trail houses the largest old growth forest in the national park.  Those that choose to make the journey will encounter tulip-trees, eastern hemlocks, and basswoods.  I had never seen trees of this size.

Literally, I cannot wrap my hands or my mind around the magnitude of this tree (don’t focus on the quality of the smart phone pic, please).  This tree is so tall and strong and had roots so deeply planted into the ground.  I believe that due to its planting, that is why the tree is still standing.  The tree was able to endure the elements of mother nature and its roots endured the trampling of feet as their paths cross.

It’s tough just like some of us.

One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 61:3.

To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion–to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit–that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

When I think about the strength and the age of the tree, I am reminded how important it is for us to be rooted in Christ.  If we are to remain unscathed by the abrasions of life, we have to have a relationship with Him and be well versed in His word.  We have to focus on His promises that He will be there with us and will deliver us from our enemies.  Through Him, we will overcome and will be left standing tall like the tree.

A Cup of Blessing

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“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.

Seasons come and seasons go.  In the spring, we grow, flourish.  New life appears.  In the summer, we enjoy the sun and maintain our growth. We protect ourselves from the “heat” of life.  In the fall, clarity sets in and we prepare to let things go and for the cold winter ahead.  When winter arrives, everything turns cold and stagnant.  Things dies, relationships die.  This can be our season of isolation.

As I sit in this beautiful cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains, I take this time for myself, to reflect on the past, and what I want for the future.  And during that time, I shed the feelings of those things that I have had to let go.  As the tears falls, I make room for the growth, the new life that lies ahead.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside of sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So as I see it, every season is beautiful in its time and I’ll gladly take my cup whether it’s hot or it’s cold.