It's the wee hours of the morning. The sky is a deep midnight blue with sparkling stars shining brightly as far as the eyes can see. I stepped outside with my dog a few minutes ago. I didn't stay long, as the temps are right around zero, but it makes for an amazing landscape across the sky.
I sit here in the silence. The only noise I hear is the fire crackling in our wood stove. I am in the dark, with our Christmas tree lights giving off a warm glow across the room. I have been placing ornaments on it the past few hours. This year, decorating has been a chore. I haven't wanted to do it at all, which is not me. One reason, I started working part time, and life has been very busy. My mom-in-law's health has drastically gone downhill the past few months, and her life has changed as she is now in a care facility recovering from some health issues. Her care team told us a week ago that she will not be able to live alone again. Life is drastically altered for her, and really for us as we now need to adjust to her being dependent, which she doesn't do well. Many friends & family are dealing with some difficult life events and it's just been a rough season to walk through right now. My emotions got the best of me earlier in the day, and I just sat in my car and had a little cry.
Another reason decorating has been difficult is that pulling ornaments out of their boxes floods my thoughts with memories, and fills my eyes with tears. There are numerous ornaments from my Gram, my Grandpa, handmade ornaments from my father-in-law. They have all gone on and are celebrating Christmas with Jesus, but their memories flood over me tonight. I laughed as I pulled out a miniture wooden antique coffee grinder ornament that my Gram gave me when I was probably 12. I told my husband she must have known that I would turn 40, and love coffee. When she left this earth, I still thought coffee was disgusting. Now, I have a bit of a love for a good cup of coffee. Our tree isn't a fancy tree. It's filled with ornaments of love, many handmade by my mom, all with a memory attached. I would rather have a tree like ours any day than a fancy tree. This tree represents the love and memories in our lives.
Right now, I need to quiet my mind and my heart, and have a silent night, a Holy night. All nights are Holy when the focus is clear. Right now, I need to laser focus on Jesus. I need to focus on the fact that He knows life is difficult, but this life is not all there is. I need to remind myself that He is walking right beside me, never leaving my side, or the sides of my loved ones who are dealing with difficulty, loss, and pain. When following Christ, life beyond this earthly journey has no more tears, death, cancer, sickness, sorrow, or pain. But, beyond all that sorrow, pain, hurt on this journey, there is always hope, always love, and faith. That is what I cling to. I pray you do, as well. Find Jesus this Christmas season. Even if you walk with Him, it's easy to lose sight of Him in the busyness. Take time to sit in the quiet as I am doing right now, and be still. Connect with the One who loves you through it all, and never leaves your side. Just like I wouldn't trade in my tree of memories for a fancy tree, I wouldn't trade my walk with Christ for anything this life has to offer. He is my hope. He alone can quiet my restless soul and overwhelm me with His peace.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
As I finish up the 30 days of thanks, having missed a couple days because I have been spending the time with family, I want to challenge each one reading this to live a life of gratitude and thanks each day. Look for the gifts around you, and be thankful. A life of gratitude makes the heart be filled with joy. It puts our focus on the good in life, not the bad. I am not saying to live in a false reality and pretend tough times aren't happening when they do. I am just challenging each one of us to find a daily gift, a small joy, to see the blessings in life despite the difficulties we all face.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Today I am thankful for laughter. Just shared a lot of 'from the toe' giggles with my nieces. Laughter is great for the body, mind, & soul, and it's completely free, no long shopping lines required to enjoy that gift!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Today I am thankful for sunsets and lakes, both of which help me to relax and unwind, and focus on how God truly blesses my life in the simplest, most beautiful ways.
Monday, November 25, 2013
Today I am thankful for the 4th/5th grade girls group that I am working with at church. They are truly a wonderful blessing and I am loving working with them and getting to know each one of them.
Greed seems to be at a whole new, out of control level this year among the retail industry. Instead of seeing who can open first on Black Friday, retailers are now having a race to see who can open first on Thanksgiving. Think of the poor people working who are missing time with their loved ones because of greed. It makes my heart sad.
What happened to a day to spend with family and friends and give thanks? Thanksgiving isn't about grabbing the biggest deals, standing in lines to buy things. Thanksgiving is about, hmmm, giving thanks. Being grateful. Spending time with loved ones. Instead of going out to the stores, spend time playing games, talking, laughing, watching a movie, even start decorating for Christmas. Make a statement, and stay out of the stores. Spend some wonderful time with your loved ones and enjoy giving thanks!