Saturday, December 31, 2022

Laughing in 2023

This past year I have used a book of daily readings on the lives of Christian women throughout the ages.  It has been most enlightening.  These past weeks have been a concentration on the women of the nativity, beginning with Elizabeth and ending with Sarah.  Wow, what a group of interesting and questionable women.

The point that seems to have resonated with me the most, is that not one single woman found themselves capable of what God had called them to do.  Beginning and ending this series are old women well past childbearing age who were told they would get pregnant by an old man.

Elizabeth, we're told was "very old" and yet God gave her a son who grew up to be John the Baptist, the radical preacher who prepared people for Jesus' ministry.  And the strange thing is that God revealed her conception and even the name of the baby to her husband instead of her.  He didn't quite respond with "You're crazy" but he sure did question how something so absurd could happen.

Sarah's response may be like most of ours has been when God has led us to do something we saw as out of our realm of capability.  She laughed!  Of course she denied it, but God heard her and told her so.

Look at Mary, the mother of Jesus who was told she would become pregnant without ever having sex.  Mary, extremely confused about the angel's message actually had the nerve to ask "HOW?" and "WHY ME?"  Has anyone ever told you to not question God?  Mary proved He is big enough to handle our questions.

What about Ruth.  She had married a foreigner who up and died as did his brother and father, leaving her with her mother-in-law who wanted to go back to her homeland.  Ruth then became the breadwinner with no way to care for her aging mother-in-law.  However, this old woman had a plan that was considered scandalous at the time, and Ruth did what she directed.  And it worked!  She attracted the attention of the chosen landowner, they got married and had a son who turned out to be the grandfather of King David.  Have you ever felt like an outsider being led to do something totally out of your comfort zone?

But wait, there's more.  What about Bethsheba who was basically raped and impregnated by the king, who then had her husband killed, and the baby died?  How did God use her through these sad, tragic circumstances outside her control?  The king married her and God blessed her with another son who later became Israel's most prosperous king and wrote a whole book in the Bible about wisdom.

Women who may have seen themselves, and in many situations society agreed, as inadequate, sinners, totally unqualified, abused, too old, and doubters, were actually chosen by God to be part of His work in bringing a Savior into the world.

Sarah who laughed, later "believed that God would keep His promise" and her son, Isaac fulfilled that promise in her day.  Generations later, another babe was born to a young woman who questioned yet was willing, and His name was Jesus.

As we go into this new year, remember that God can do "impossible" things through you as He has done through other women through the ages.  It doesn't matter if we're too old, too young, too fat, too out-of-shape, too underqualified, or too sinful.  He specializes in surprises.

So let us keep laughing with Sarah all year long as we watch God work in flabbergasting ways.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

After Christmas Hodgepodge Wrap-up

Christmas Eve found our family where we always try to be - celebrating the birth of the Christ Child at our respective churches.  Though a thousand miles apart, this tradition of worship joins us together.

Our Dallas family had their Christmas morning traditions that this year involved our sweet Baby Landon.  I can only imagine the joy they experienced as they watched him.

For us in Indiana, everything revolved around Baby Jax.

Perhaps the sweetest picture of the night was him watching and listening to his Great Grand Da tell the Christmas story.

He listened so intently.

He is such a happy and mild tempered baby and absolutely loved every thing that took place around him.  There was not one single fussy moment all night long.  And why would there be with eight silly, adoring adults around to anticipate and meet his every need.

Here it is the 28th of December and the household is rather quiet.  Savannah has taken her cat Ollie back to Indy, John has gone back to work, final returns made and sales shopped, leftovers eaten, soft music playing on Alexa, and a new puzzle on the table waiting to be finished.

Even the outdoors is quiet and still covered in layers of snow.

Before we close, let's do a quick version of the Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Did you set any goals for the new year this time last year? Did you meet them or miss the mark? Tell us more if you're comfortable sharing. 

I had hoped to paint more in 2022, but again, I failed to live up to my perhaps unrealistic expectations.  My other goal was to love on two eagerly anticipated great grandsons.  Is there ever a point when that has been fully accomplished?

2. What are three words that might describe the kind of person you were this past year or describe in some way how your life looked? 

Cantankerous, Forgiven, Grateful

3. What's something new you ate, saw, heard, or experienced in 2022? What did you think?

A deeper appreciation for God's Word  

4.  Oxford Dictionary has announced it's word of the year for 2022, and it's this-goblin mode. Huh? Have you ever heard this phrase? Used this phrase? It's defined as "a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations." 

This year they allowed the public to choose amongst three finalists. You can read more about that here

If you were in charge, what word would you declare word of the year for 2022? 

Have never heard of or used that phrase.  My word for the year would be "BABIES!"

5. Any special plans for an end of year celebration in your house or town? The travel channel says the world's best New Year's Eve celebrations will happen in Copacabana Beach-Rio de Janerio, the Orlando theme parks in Florida,  London, Sydney, New York's Time Square, Edinburgh Scotland, and Paris. If you could attend any one of these which would you choose? Tell us why? 

We will be closing out our visit in Indiana on the 2nd of January, so our new year celebration will involve packing our car for a long two-day trek home.  Anything more exciting than that is yet to be determined.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Some pictures need no explanation!

And these girls bring so much joy!


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Indiana Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve and what better time to post a recall of our last few days here in Northern Indiana with our family.

We have had a blustery week so far with the appearance of Winter Storm Elliott.  Thankfully, he is on his way out, but not without having made an impression.

We never got the predicted lake affect snow, but we did get snow and high winds that caused near white-out conditions.  Plus, very low temperatures and wind chills.

This picture gives an idea of the depth of snow and the drifts

This visit hasn't been all about the weather.

Great Grand Landon's mom shared some sweet pictures with me this week.  We hate to miss this landmark 1st Christmas with them, but we can't be in two places at one.  Thank you, Chandler for sharing these precious shots of this precious baby.

We hadn't seen Great Grand Jax, now five months since he was a newborn.  My how he has grown.  He is a beautiful chunk for sure and the happiest baby.

He loves looking outdoors so I captured a couple shots of his sheer delight.

On another visit, he let me snuggle and hold him for his long winter nap.  Nothing sweeter.

These two beautiful grands are responsible for the wrapping and arrangement of the pile of gifts over and around the Christmas tree seen above.

As always, Michelle has the house looking so lovely for the holidays.

Hope, peace, joy, and love!
These are gifts You bring from above.
Jesus, Emmanuel, come to be
Light of Your love, reflected in me.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Farewell to November

Welcome to another Wednesday Hodgepodge with questions you may also choose to ask and answer.

1.  Sum up your November in ten words or less.

My favorite month of the year left too quickly and left me one year older.

2.  Are you hosting any holiday parties this year?  Attending any?  Party pooper, party animal, or life of the party...where do you land when it comes to parties?

I will not be hosting any holiday parties because we leave for Northern Indiana mid December for the remainder of the month.  Yes, we will be attending some Christmas parties before we leave that are church related.  I am NOT a party animal - more a party tolerator.  I tend to sit on the sideline at parties and enjoy watching the others.

3.  Do you purchase holiday clothing of any sort (sparkly tops, Christmas jammies, Santa suit, etc.)?

I do not purchase holiday clothing per se'.  I do own one sort-of sparkly top that was purchased years ago that I pull out for the occasional holiday gathering. I am not a sparkle clothing type.

 My Christmas jammies were given to me by my daughters and I love them.

4.  What's your go-to recipe when you're asked to bring an hors d'oeuvre to a party?

I do not have a go-to recipe but recently tried a new recipe to serve at home which was a big hit.  It will also be on our Christmas Eve hors d'oeuvre table this year.

5.  December 3rd is National Play Outside Day...what might you do to celebrate?

National Play Outside Day?  I may walk outside but that will be the extent of my celebration.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Thanksgiving 2022

Christy always hosts our Thanksgiving Dinner with a beautiful table setting, and we all contribute food.  
She went less formal this year with these pretty disposable dishes and we loved it.

Ava Grace enjoys making the place cards every year, and she also makes 
labels for the food.

This little turkey was the chief center of attention and the blessing for which we were most grateful.  Landon is 7 months old and such a joy.

Two of our girls were absent this year, but not far from our thoughts.

The other blessing for which we are most grateful this year, is our big boy, Jax.  His mother sent this picture of him and his daddy Thanksgiving morning.  This rascal is only 4 months and wearing 9 month clothing, and you see they are a snug fit.  Yes, another BIG DAY BOY!

Trust your Thanksgiving was also full of thanksgiving.