This Santa was so much fun.
He threw me for a loop when he whispered in my ear,
"Instead of cookies, how about leaving me a piece of your cheesecake?"
I had just baked a cheesecake and I am thinking he must be one of the floor guys who was in the house working that day. When I asked how he knew I had cheesecake he said, "I'm Santa."

We left cookies.

December 30-31
The house is eerie quiet, as all the little ones have gone.  My heart misses them so much, but my brain says...REST.
Yesterday, one of our three year old grands looked up at me and said, "How many more days until Christmas?" I couldn't bring myself to say, "361." Instead, I reminded him we'd just opened our presents and would enjoy them for a long time.
The word that came to me was anticipation.  There is excitement in anticipating the arrival of something. And it's so much fun when you view it through the eyes of a child.

Anticipate- "regard as probable, expect or predict."

I awakened anticipating the work ahead of us regarding taking down all the decorations this weekend.  Then I realized before I embarked on any projects, before the sun even came up, in the quiet darkness of what we call today, I wanted to spend time with Jesus. Watching the sunrise over the mountains with Jesus is a gift, knowing He is with you as he ushers in the day. Ah, yes the anticipation of what today will bring. 
"Let every heart prepare Him room."  Prepare Him room to be Lord of your life with whatever today looks like.

Advent means coming.  It is a form of anticipating.  Like the song lyric, "What child is this?" which reminds us of 2,000 years ago all the people anticipating the arrival of the Messiah, we are anticipating the return of our King.  Jesus has come, and He is coming again.

"When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."  Galatians 4:4-5

A Great Light

December 29
My man tolerates so much.  The other night at about 3:30 in morning, I sensed he was awake as well and said, "Can you believe how bright the stars are?" The response was simply a "huh."  Chatty Cathy here went on to say, "I'm prone to believe with all those galaxies out there and with who God is, that God has intelligent life somewhere else as well.  We are such a blip on the scale of the universe." And on and on our conversation went until I fell back to sleep.

We will have our answers one day!

"...look foreward to when He will come again. When the glory that shined on Israel-the same glory that shines on us-will illuminate everything forever. A place where there will be no night, no need for a lamp or even the light of the sun, "for the Lord God gives them light."  Revelation 22:5

Posted by She Reads Truth

Cookie Art

This daughter is our talented artist. It shows up in her cookie and gingerbread house making!

December 28
Our Merry Christmas photo got lost in the mix and madness around here and is posted down near December 23rd. Sorry.

The timing of today's Biblegateway post is perfect!

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28 

We are on to celebrating with family number two and stopping right now to pray for each of you!


A gift of cardboard building squares....
brought about much contemplation...
and fabulous final results!

December 27

I had a great conversation with an atheist this month. We both expressed why our faiths had taken the various paths they had.  We both left the conversation with a great respect for one another, yet still attached to our convictions. I hoped my inquiries about her faith caused some contemplation.

Instead of following God she has chosen to follow something called "The Secret."
I asked:
Do you worship with others?  "No"
Do you sing praise to the Secret?  "No"
Are there moral absolutes or any accountability of sin?  "No"

No written Word to instruct, to follow, to bring comfort, or conviction.  No Body of Believers to break bread with, sing praise or gather together and pray with.  I think I'll stick with my Jesus who loves me enough to die for me.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you." Psalm 32:8

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" 2 Timothy 3:16 


Sweet having all these girl cousins in the house!

December 26
Last night at bedtime I picked up a book to read to two of our grandsons. It was called The Other Wiseman. Ends up it was a very long book and probably a little deep for a bedtime story, so it didn't make the cut.  We went with a story about following the star!

Everyday we make choices about what or whom we will follow.  The grocery store we shop in and the food we put in our mouths, the type of gasoline we put in our cars, the books we read, the news we follow, the TV programs we choose, the schools our children attend, the neighborhoods we live in and on and on it goes.

Pulling up Chris Tomlin's 2011 song "I Will Follow" immediately brought to mind the mother in law-daughter in law team of Naomi and Ruth.  Ruth had grown to love not only her mother in law, but her mother in law's God!  What a great reminder that others are watching our faith walk.

2018 will be filled with decision making in many forms. Whom will we follow? What will be our guide for the decisions we make?

"And He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'"
Matthew 4:19 

Now Listen! Relate!

Our friends who gave us their townhouse during our floor refinishing adorned their home
with Christmas cheer. The wreath on the door even said, "Joy!"
"Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days."
Proverbs 19:20

December 24
I'm getting such joy from my Advent season and time with Jesus. Reading in Luke 1 where Gabriel says, "Now listen." caused me to stop and listen.  The song "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" was playing and reminded me our faith should be full of action.

We are to come to Him, rejoice over what He has done, bow down before Him in reverence, worship Him with joy, sing praises to Him, and pray without ceasing!  A relationship with Jesus takes time, but when we remember God is the one controlling all of our days that should put a Christ centered perspective on our priorities!

Ann Vosskamp's The Greatest Gift book posed the question: 
"What does it mean to you that God came in the form of an infant, with human skin?"
Immediately, I thought...He wanted to relate..."be connected by blood or marriage; give an account; feel sympathy."
Relate= have relationship!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you from Shiloh!

Because He Will Save.

December 23

There it is again...the reason that Jesus came. "You are to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins." I'm tempted to hit the streets with a survey inquiring why Jesus came to earth.

Even with the pattering of little feet running around the house and packages and cards coming through the door, the greatest thrill is to sneak away and spend time with Jesus.  While in Luke 1:48-54, the actions of God gave me reason to stop and praise Him.
God...looks with favor on us,
       ...does great things for us, us mercy,
       ...satisfies the hungry,
       ...helps His servants,
       ...does mighty deeds,
       ....scatters the proud,
       ....topples the mighty.

What Do You See?

December 22

Here are some December words of wisdom.  December is such a visual month.  The stockings are hung, the tree is adorned, the packages wrapped and ribboned, the cookies are decorated, the glitter is applied and we look for that dress with a little bit of sparkle to be a hit at holiday parties.  And Jesus doesn't care a bit about any of that, for he's looking at the heart.

"People judge on outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

"Our seeing must cut through surfaces and down to souls. It's strange how it affects us-from housekeeping to soul-keeping:if it's mostly the surfaces that absorb us, then we're mostly superficial. When my priorities aren't the things seen-when my priorities are rather the things unseen-it's only then that my life begins to have substance and weight."  Ann Voskamp

So, we slow the pace and have someone sit by the tree and look into their heart instead of at their hairdo!

The other day, amidst our house mess, there was only a couch in our living room. I asked my husband, "Will you sit here and listen to my heart?"  He sat down and prepared to place his ear on my chest thinking I thought I was in Afib and wanted him to hear it.  Instead, I had a proposal I knew he wouldn't be thrilled about, but I wanted him to hear from my heart my reasoning!  We laughed out loud!  Whose heart do you need to hear today?

A Light in the Darkness

December 21
Our neighbor called and encouraged us to join her on a back roads adventure. So, into the night we went. Curvy country roads, with only the stars to light our way, and THEN...WHOSH it appeared..a magnificent Christmas light show out of nowhere!  This truly stopped our car in its tracks.
Light in the darkness is a fabulous sight.

Just the darkness of death over takes us, the greatest light we've ever seen will appear.

"Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, 'I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.'" John 8:12


A live nativity is set up this whole week on Rt. 122 by Kroger in Westlake.
They provide hot chocolate, S'mores and donkey kisses.

December 20
We are treasuring having our daughter and her boys here with us.  Awaiting Christmas with a child adds a special sparkle to the season. There is such a longing for Christmas morning and for me that is a daily reminder of the longing I have to actually be with Jesus. How exciting that moment will be!

A She Reads Truth author wrote: "God knew our distracted and discounted hearts would need to hear a voice to cut through the chaos of this world- a herald pointing to the good news to come, saying, 'Don't miss this!'"  So, John the Baptist was the man chosen to point others to Jesus.

"One who is more powerful than I am is coming after me." Mark 1:7

People are longing to have the void in their hearts filled.  We can be pointers,  like John, pointing them to the One who can fill that longing.

The Fullness of Time

How cute are these two Minnesota grands and their giant tree!
December 19

A couple Sundays ago,  I had to miss church because I was hauling a load of furniture to Charlottesville.  While driving I plugged into Thomas Road Baptist Church live on the radio and heard a wonderful gospel filled message from Jonathan Falwell.

The service started off with the song, "You are what we've come here for."

Can you say that about Sunday mornings. Jesus is what you've come to church for? To worship Him?

The sermon title was "Why Christmas?"  It transformed my Advent.  In past years I've focused on "the Gift we've received" and the emphasis on us being open to giving that Gift away.  This Advent season the reminder in my mind is that my sin is "why Christmas.' My sin is what caused God to have to come to earth in a body and be Jesus to us and die for us.

"But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoptions as sons."  Galatians 4:4-5

Here's another thought.  (How I love getting alone in the Word and learning.) We were all created by God, but the phrase "might receive" in the verse above reminds us, we must accept the Gift to be called Children of God.

Oh, how I love this season and searching the truths laid out for us about what happened in the Fullness of Time.  May each day this week be enriched with truths about Jesus' coming.

The Paradise Tree

December 18
She Reads Truth had an entry about how the first Christmas tree came to be. The story goes that in the 1500's the trees were called Paradise trees and were brought into the house on Christmas Eve and decorated with apples as a reminder of Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden and our need for a savior.

Thinking about our tree ornaments brought reflection. At one stage of life we had a "designer" tree with all the coordinating ornaments and frills.  Each of our children had their own tree growing up (a tradition we started when we had two children, not seven) with their personal ornaments.  Now I've gone back to a tree with more personalized ornaments, especially ones relating to the grandchildren.  But after reading about the Paradise Tree, I've decided that I want our tree to tell the story of Jesus as much as a story of people who have gifted us lovely ornaments with sweet memories.

"Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. he presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway.  We can understand someone dying for a person with dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him."  Romans 5:8

A Message in the Light

Jesus said, "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness.
I provide plenty of light to live in."
John 8:12 MSG
December 15
Tis' the season for lights! This one caught me by surprise.
Walking into the bathroom of our Charlottesville hotel room, I cocked my head sideways to read the quote which lit up on the bathroom mirror.
"You know our practice at placing our guests at their ease."  
Thomas Jefferson

Ease is defined as "the absence of difficulty or effort."  I LOVE that!

Jesus is the Light of the World and he has come to be our ease.  There will not be an absence of difficulty or effort, but the load is lightened by allowing Jesus to walk through it with us.  Call upon His name.

Forever Home

Good-bye Nashville, we are heading to Virginia.

December 14
Twenty years ago my husband, our five sons and I drove away from Nashville, with me sobbing, as we left our first born at Vanderbilt University.  This weekend our daughter will pull away from that exact corner where Lowes Hotel sits and head on a new adventure.  They are leaving so much love behind, but trusting God is sending them on another great adventure and it's so much closer to family!

"I will bless you... and you will be a blessing to others." 
Genesis 12:2
Ann Voskamp wrote: "He will bless you-the God of invincible reliability, the God who has infinite resources, the God who is insistent love. You can always go ahead and breathe-He will bless."

This sweet couple thought they had purchased their forever home, but we all know that is in heaven! 
We also know there is a Body of Believers in Charlottesville, VA just waiting to welcome them in to fellowship and service to God.  And I know I can be there in 2 hours and 20 minutes to help at anytime.

"Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.
Thank the God of all gods. His love never quits.
Thank the Lord of all lords. His love never quits.
Thank God who did it all!  His love never quits."
Psalm 136:1-3, 26 

The Greatest Gift

Our Minnesota grands visiting Santa.

Hope you get to crawl up in God's lap of love today.
December 13
Has anyone asked you what was one of your favorite Christmas gifts?
I remember the year I received skies and boots, another year a new tennis racket, and one year a new sled. As a child, one year I received a doll and a beauty parlor chair. It was so much fun putting rollers in that doll's hair...then out came the scissors for her first hair cut, but that hair never grew back and she wasn't much fun without long hair to brush.

We can't cut up or use up the gift of Jesus. It's the gift that keeps on giving into eternity. God's Word never grows old and unlike a novel we have read, we don't know the details of how it will end, but we do know life in heaven is a never ending story!

A Weary World

This Eiffel Tower lamp made me laugh!

December 12
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn!

She Reads Truth posted this:
"I love this line from the Christmas carol, "O Holy Night." The world was weary, tired, and broken.
Yet, when Christ was born, hope came alive!"

We've been weary in this floor refinishing phase at Shiloh, but we've seen Jesus in the kindness of others. Stopping by to drop something off at a friend's house she said, "Come in and let me make you some lunch." It was wonderful to eat without a mouthful of dust! Then she invited us to their neighborhood Christmas party, which was such a breath of fresh air for these weary workers. Another couple got us out of the mess and we went out to eat.  My walking buddy made us a fabulous dinner and we were able to walk to her home on a very snowy night.  The day which was probably the most discouraging, as I went to leave the house UPS delivered a box of Godiva chocolates from one of you Boojoyful readers. It was as if Jesus himself wrapped his arms around me and said, "I am with you, let's have chocolate!" The Body of Christ is unbelievable! A huge thank you to the feet of Christ!

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."
Galatians 6:9

Ann Voskamp blessed me too with her writing:
"Jesus doesn't show you the steps to get to heaven-Jesus is the steps to heaven.
 Jesus doesn't merely come down to show you the way up-Jesus comes down to make Himself into the Way to carry you up.
Jesus doesn't ultimately give you a how-to, because Christianity is ultimately about Who-to.
Every religion, every program, every self-help book is about steps you have to take.  Jesus is the only One who becomes the step-to-take you...He comes to us not in spite of our failings-but precisely because of them."

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

God's Timing

December 11
Oh my, this transformed Bucket List needs to seep deeply into my heart.
We are living in a mess, but it's no surprise to God.  We had hoped to have our floors refinished in November, but they got delayed until December 4th. Then the floor sander became sick..and on and on we go.  Nary a light, nor decoration is up, just a thick coating of dust covers the whole house and every nook and cranny. Sanding was to be done in one day, but it progressed into three.

While it makes me so sad and overwhelmed to think about putting Humpty Dumpty (the house) back together again, God has provided for us in a most gracious way through a dear couple who has given us their town home to stay in and it's less than two miles away. The same friend gave me the Advent book The Greatest Gift and it really ministered to me in these discouraging times.
The key verse yesterday was:

"Abraham called the place The Lord will provide.
Genesis 22:14
Ann Voskamp wrote:
"You don't need to climb mountains named I Will Perform.
 You don't need to climb mountains named I Will Produce.
 Every mountain that every Christian ever faces, the Lord levels with sufficient grace: The Lord Will Provide...Worry is belief gone wrong...Peace is belief that exhales."

Her challenge was to write 10 different ways God had provided that day. It wasn't even 8 o'clock when I did this.  God has provided:
1) A wonderful warm waterfront place for us to call home.
2) The most patient husband in the world to keep me calm.
3) Three Bible Studies to keep me in survival mode. God's Word is amazing.
4) An encouraging phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in a long time and she said, God
    placed me on her heart with a message on endurance!  Bingo!
5) Hot tea on a cold, cold day
6) Painters to help with what I can't do.
7) A fabulous chiropractor to go to since I have sciatica
8) Prayer
9) Friends and a sweet daughter checking on us and inviting us for lunch/dinner.
10) A decadent box of Godiva Chocolates as a surprise gift from a friend.

Opening my laptop yesterday I saw the news of fires raging in California and people having to evacuate not knowing if the fires will reach their homes.  I thought, "Put on your big girl pants and give thanks. In God's timing you will get back in that house."

Peace with a Purpose

These are just a few of the Christmas lights at the Boar's Head Resort in Charlottesville.
The decorations and lights are beautiful.

"Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying,
 “I am the Light of the world; 
he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  
John 8:12
December 8

Peace:One dictionary defines it as freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.

Why do we desire peace?  It makes us feel better.  We want things to go as we planned. We forget God is up to good weaving things together!
A friend and I were talking recently about choices people close to us make which can seem inconsiderate, leaving a hurt in our heart. That "What about me!" expletive comes out.  She laughed out loud, as she said we must remember..."It's not about us!"

I'm having those feelings right now in the midst of a home improvement project. Paying big bucks for inconvenience after inconvenience and a lack of respect for my time and schedule.  Then somewhere recently I read:
"You need My peace each moment to accomplish My purposes in your life. Sometimes you are tempted to take shortcuts in order to reach your goals as quickly as possible. But if the shortcut requires turning your back on My peaceful Presence, you must choose the longer route. Walk with Me along paths of Peace; enjoy the journey in My Presence."

Whew, that's a doozie I need to post somewhere in my house!  Better yet, on my heart.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

Holiday Grief

A lamppost near the lake!
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
Psalm 119:105 
December 7
The holidays stir up sweet memories and many of those memories relate to a loved one who is no longer here to celebrate with us. It can be a very difficult time of year.
A sweet friend of mine lost her husband last month, another lost her sister this week, for one friend this will be the first Christmas without her mother, while a couple others are approaching the anniversaries of the loss of their children.  Each of you has a story of longing, I feel sure.

Another friend eloquently email me on the topic of holiday grief:
"When I was a child I never thought of Christmas as a sad time until I was 16 and my 7 year old brother died following surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  Now, at Christmas even in the midst of the joy, I think of those I love who are no longer with me to celebrate. It is a joyous season and we wish everyone we love was around the Christmas table."

The girlfriend who lost her husband last month posted this song by The Piano Guys, on Facebook.  It is beautifully presented.  I hope it brings healing to you heart if you are hurting and affords you the opportunity to share a precious gift with someone you know who is experiencing grief.  Let's keep our hearts open and sensitive to the hurt that is around us.

"Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.  Grief is just love with no place to go."  Jamie Anderson


Our son is an amazing home builder in VA Beach.
Last year they finally got to build their own dream home and he built a gym/playroom
over their garage.  This past week he has added a climbing wall element to two walls of the room.
He painted this amazing design himself.  The holds are the next thing to go up.

December 6
I can remember thinking of December as a month with mountains to climb!  Shopping, baking, costume making for school programs, party after party, addressing Christmas cards...whew!  
Yet, the anticipation was so much fun.
An email from Lifeway came yesterday and included this message:
"During this season, we celebrate by remembering something that really happened-the first coming of Jesus Chris, born meek and lowly as a humble king wrapped in swaddling clothes all those years ago in that manger in Bethlehem.  But it is also a time to anticipate something we're still waiting for: Jesus' glorious return as the Mighty One of God with the words "King of kings and Lord of lords" written on his robe."  Rev. 19:16  

"Historically, believers in God are marked with expectation and anticipation.
Abraham and Sarah waited for God to fulfill His promise to give them a son.
David longed for a temple for Jehovah in Jerusalem
The magi followed a star, expecting the celestial sign to take them to the King of Jews.
Since the ascension of Jesus Christ, believers have awaited His return." 

Hallelujah, He is coming again.
I'm ordering a trumpet ornament for our tree as a reminder that one day soon, the trumpets will sound!

"Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."  1 Corinthians 15:51-52 

Once and For All

Tree in the dining room at The Boar's Head Inn, Charlottesville, VA

December 5
After just two days of seeking the Lord during Advent, I'm overflowing from the time with Jesus.
Every radio message, devotional book, study guide and email I've received on the topic has left me enriched.  God has placed on my heart to focus on Jesus as the "LIGHT" of the world this season. So, I will try to bring that theme into the photographs.

The phrase "Once and for all" was my revelation on Sunday.  I had read Isaiah 9:6-7

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
 And the government will rest on His shoulders;
 And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
 Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
 On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
 To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
 From then on and forevermore.
 The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this." 

As I thought about the face that Jesus came as a permanent sacrifice for our sins, I thought he did it,
Once and for all.  Then I chewed on those words in a way I never have.  Previously, when they flowed out of my mouth they were most likely in expletive form. "I saying this "Once and for all." Im cleaning up this mess, "Once and for all."  I think the phrase's emphasis was on done, finished, never again!
But when I say those words in like of Jesus' sacrifice for us I'm overwhelmed with the magnitude of coverage they represent.  Jesus came to earth and died ONCE for ALL of us.  We must only believe ONCE to receive the sacrificial gift to cover ALL of our sins.

Oh, sweet friends, that is really what Christmas is all about.  Who needs to hear this today?
Jesus, died once and for ALL. Oh, how He loves you and me.

A New Perspective-Words that Bring Healing

This is the view from our daughter's apartment in Charlottesville.
It will be a big move for them after 20 years in Nashville.
Lots of new perspectives, new friends, new opportunities to serve the Lord.

December 4
God gifted me a new friend this summer who has been so much fun.  We just clicked and are both members of the NFL, Nuts for the Lord! Although she doesn't live her year round, we see each other at least once a month.
She texted to inquire about my neurology appointment the other day and as I shared my discouragement she wrote back great encouragement. Here is part of what she wrote:

"Oh my dear sweet sister...  This is a Psalm 46:10 time.  Remember the great I AM... Look how far you have come in your healing.  All I can say right now is this... I didn’t know the “Before Boo”.  I know THIS Boo and she is one amazingly wonderful sister who encourages many as she loves them IN THE LORD!!!  See you soon."

It was such a perspective changer. Instead of longing for "before" I need to grasp hold of what God's plans are for me now and rejoice always!  Remembering who is behind our discouragement is also important. Then the flip side is who our Victor is!

"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy.
I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they every dreamed of." 
John 10:10 

None of what happens to our lives surprises God and He works all things together for good for those of us who are called according to his purpose.  Remembering that God's purpose and perspective are way beyond what we could ever imagine affords us the opportunity to lay our burdens down!


Brain Injuries: Put on a Happy Face and hopefully no one sees what it looks like inside your head.

December 1
At the recommendation of one of my physicians, I went to see a local neurologist.  Having had the stroke in Nashville and adoring those docs and never hoping to have a stroke again, I've put off seeing a neurologist here.  It was a discouraging appointment.  Not up for sharing details here, but I want to address how we handle discouragement. Sitting alone in a dark room like I did that first night probably wasn't the best way to proceed, but sometimes we have to get alone and process!

The following morning getting into Bible study was a healthy choice.  Accidentally, okay providentially, I ended up in Colossians 3:12-17 and I found great healing there.

"So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.  Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." 

First of all, who can be downtrodden when you recognize you have been chosen by God and are beloved by Him.
Second, there is great peace, which comes from being part of the love of the body of Christ.
Third, the reminder to be thankful in all things is a very healthy perspective.
Finally, whatever you do, whatever shape you are in to do it, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus for He has done so much for you!

Forgo the Gifts-Get Together

This is our oldest grandchild. He turned nine this month!
Wish I could see him everyday!

November 30

Passing through a town where one of my besties works, I called to see if she could take a lunch break and meet for a quick bite.  It was probably the only time we'd see each other before Christmas.  I told her I decided instead of a gift this year I wanted to foot the hotel bill for us to take a couple nights away this winter.  She said, "That's a great idea, we do not need anymore stuff,  we need the time to be together."

Time and prayer are two of the greatest gifts we have to give away.  Isn't it interesting how the seasons of life change your perspective on what is important.  

This holiday season has the ability to conjure up a deep loneliness and longing for many people.  Oh, what I've give to be able to go sit and visit with my nephew, my brother, my parents and grandparents once again.  When our longings creep in let's commit to look outward and see those who need a simple hand on a shoulder or a table to break bread with a friendly face.  Maybe God is calling us to have a "Get Together."

"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."  Acts 2:42

November Gratitude
Heavenly Father, You are always with us!  Thank You that because of our relationship with You we never walk alone.  Help us to fine tune that relationship and find joy in the simplicity of being with You.  Fill us with You Holy Spirit and direct our paths to be encouragers to others and to offer up not only hospitality, but the gift of salvation available through Christ.  He is the reason for the season. And it's in His name we pray, Amen

Growing Up

This three year old performed a perfect lipstick application!

Keep those kisses coming!

November 29
The grands are growing so quickly, sometimes I think we should just sell Shiloh and make a continual grandparent circuit... Minnesota to Utah, to Louisiana, to Florida, to Tennessee and across Virginia. Then repeat the loop when the weather permits! They certainly all live in fabulous parts of the country.
There is such a desire to be aware of all their accomplishments, whether a first tooth, loosing a tooth, their favorite things and wishes and dreams. There are just so many of them and I must remember it's really all about Jesus, not just about grandchildren. Isn't it an amazing thought that God is omni present and aware of every detail in every life!  For this moment I stop and stand in awe of who He is and all He does.

This has been fabulous month to focus on the One who is the reason for our thankfulness and now we get to enter the precious Christmas season.  May we continue in praise and thanksgiving for our King.

November Gratitude:
"Father God, You have been so very faithful to me over the course of my life, showing Your care and provision time and again. I'm so grateful for the way You have walked with me, sustained me, encouraged me, strengthened me, comforted me, and loved me in every season. Thank You!" ROH

"And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, 'For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel."   Ezra 3:11

Remember the Sacrifice

November 28
Rising early one day last week, I headed over the mountain to the big city for a hair cut and errands.  As seems the norm lately, four hours later my brain was exhausted and I needed to rest. Placing my "Be Still" necklace one of our daughter in laws gave me around my neck, I laid down on our bed.  Then it hit me...with all my "to doing it" I hadn't stopped once to thank Jesus for his sacrifice or to simply say, "I love You." I wished I could call my grandparents and parents and thank them for the monetary and time sacrifices they made for me all those years.

How often do we stop to give thanks for our forefathers and the sacrifices they made to establish this nation?  Do we ever contemplate the conditions on those tiny ships that sailed to the New World? Do we think about all the people who didn't survive the journey or the first winter?

Living in the mountains and being the daughter of a road builder, I often think of the people who cut the trails from settlement to settlement. That was hard work!

What are we establishing that those who come after us will have reason to offer thanks?
Are we leaving a heritage that points to Christ?  It's the greatest gift we have to give away.

November Gratitude:
From Revive Our Hearts:
"For most people, happiness is tied to circumstances—to what is happening in their lives. For Christians, however, happiness or blessedness is not dependent on the weather, the stock market, or how our last haircut turned out.

Real happiness—that unshakable sense of peace, contentment, and well-being—comes as we remind ourselves of the blessings we have in Christ and then respond with thankfulness."

Treasured Times

 A Thankful day at VA Beach

November 27
One of the highlights of our visit to our son's home was taking two nights to watch The Sound of Music with this sweet family.  The two older children had performed a "Broadway Hits" program at their school for Grandparents Day and I inquired as to whether they had seen most of the movies from the hits they sang.  DoReMi was the impetus for the selection for my all time favorite movie!

Before the movie I asked my husband to give our grandson a bit of background on World War II and who Hitler was.  This personality, along with the Baroness who really only wanted the Captain and not his seven children, led into a fabulous discussion on mean people and our propensity to sin.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

 Hands down, "My Favorite Things," with bed jumping and pillow fights was the favorite song.  Buzz, buzz "when the bee stings!"

November Gratitude
I am thankful for the opportunity to invest in the lives of our grandchildren and pray that while we don't live close by, they will always remember how deeply they are loved by their Mama Boo and Papa.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  Romans 15:13


Watching these two maneuver all over this house in VA Beach hanging lights at every level
had me saying "Whoa!"
The end result is enchanting!

November 24
A couple weeks ago we had the Nashville grands at Shiloh for a visit, while their parents parents worked on details for their move to Charlottesville. The first morning they were with us I pulled out their favorite cinnamon minis for breakfast. Then I asked if they would like a banana, pear or apple slices.  In unison their voices cried out..."We never do that!  We don't have to eat anything healthy at breakfast!  Our mom never makes us do that!"

"Whoa! Okay, Okay!" I replied.

What was the last thing that set you into a quick panic, needing to set the record straight?  There might have been stories told around the Thanksgiving table yesterday that needed a "whoa there" and some correction due to a different recollection.

Years ago I remember sitting in a book study on prayer and a women spoke up and said, "It doesn't matter what you believe. whether you are Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, or Christian.  All ways lead to heaven."  I opened my Bible with a "Whoa, that's not what the Bible says," moment.

Lord, give us the courage to speak up boldness with gentleness and love when Your truth needs to be upheld.

November Gratitude from ROH
"One of my friends paraphrases Romans 5:8 this way: 'God demonstrated His love toward us in this: while we were in open, hostile rebellion toward Him, having no interest in Him-not only that, but also actively despising Him and all that He stands for- Christ died for us.' How can we not be inexpressibly thankful?"

"Father God, thank You once again for loving me when I was Your enemy. Awaken my heart to the heights of Your mercy toward me a sinner.  Teach me to cultivate a grateful heart for all You've done and all You are.  Thank You!"

The Shiny Potty

Tuesday night I went from this costumed bedtime, 
to a middle of the night potty hugging with an upset tummy.

November 23
Had it not been for this 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge from a friend, I'm not certain I could have had the attitude I did waiting out an upset stomach at our son's home.
I thanked God:
For a beautiful home in which to feel lousy.
For a private bathroom with clean floors, a cushy clean bath mat to sit upon, and a shiny spotless hug.
For a cozy plush blanket I found to wrap around my shoulders and that I had changed from my spider man pajamas with the long zipper, to PJs that were easy to pull down to sit on the potty when needed.
For the sound of fighter jets (we are in VA Beach) flying overhead reminding me of the incredible military our nation has practicing every day, so they are ready to defend us.  I also prayed for all those military families who sacrifice so much peace and comfort with their loved ones who selflessly put themselves in harms way for us.
For a God who is ever present!

November Gratitude:
The Challenge posted this yesterday reminding us to always give thanks:
  • Morning and evening. David instructed the Levites "to stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening" (1 Chron. 23:30).
  • Three times a day. Daniel came before God at morning, noon, and night, setting aside specific times of day to give thanks for His goodness and faithfulness.
  • The middle of the night. "At midnight I rise to praise you," the psalmist wrote (Ps. 119:62). Moments of wakefulness through the night are calls to be mindful of the Lord, thanking Him again as we settle back to sleep on a soft bed of gratitude.
  • Continually. "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be continually in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1). At every conscious thought of God's blessing, our automatic reflex should be—and really can be—instant gratitude.
And why not? After all, as David said, "I will give thanks to you forever" Ps. 30:12

Proverbs 17:6

Grandparents Day at Norfolk Academy
Impressive public speaking in 1st grade.
November 22
"Grandchildren are the crown of old men..."  Proverbs 17:6

Not saying his old, just crowned!

What a blessing it was to attend Grandparents Day for two of our grandchildren. The program they performed, encompassed Broadway hits and was both entertaining and educational. Sitting in that gym watching close to 1,000 grandparents wave, blow kisses and click away taking pictures made you almost able to reach out and touch the love in the air.

Do you ever stop and consider why God created family or why He chose to create us with this huge capacity to love others and not just Him?

Not everyone has a loving family unit.  Isn't there a song that has the refrain..."Wont you find somebody to love?"  Let's pray for those who aren't finding it easy to be thankful this season.
There are children who need nearby grandparent figures in their live and "old men/women" who could find great joy in fulfilling that role for a child.

November Gratitude
Father, we thank You for the establishment of the family unit and the opportunity to be loved by a mother and father.  We pray for those who don't have that blessing in their lives and ask that others would take them in, making them feel that love and pointing them to You and the love available through You that is greater than any other. In Jesus' Name, Amen