Friday, December 15, 2017

Joyful! Joyful!

Savannah Jane and Alexandra Nancy embracing the first snow flakes.

Psalm 68:3
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

Christmas is right around the corner!  But for our three granddaughters, Christmas comes early with the huge (my word for this soon to be defunct year) snowstorm we have last weekend.  For Virginia Rose, snow isn't an unfamiliar experience, but you'd never know it by the excitement she exudes.

For her little sisters, this is an entirely fresh and unique adventure.  Their happy, joyful expressions say it all.

The light in their eyes and the glow on their faces remind me of children seeing presents under the tree on Christmas morning.  Such excitement!  Such glee and gladness!

Such unbridled wonder at God's amazing winter gift!

My prayer for all of you, dear friends, is that this Christmas will kindle anew in you all the glee and gladness, wonder and joy of a child as we celebrate once again God's greatest gift to us all.

The gift of Jesus.

Our Savior.

Our Lord.

May you all have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!  I will see you again in the New Year!


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Was I Dreaming of a White Christmas?

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
There is no need to write you, friends, about the times and occasions when these things will happen.  For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night.  When people say, "Everything is quiet and safe," then suddenly destruction will hit them!  It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labor, and people will not escape.

As a thief comes at night . . .

It could be said, and then some, about the thief of a snow storm that recently hits our region of Georgia.  Our trusted weather gurus, with all their state-of-the-art computer model predictors at their disposal, completely miss the mark.


With forecasts ranging between a dusting and a possible 1 -2 inch accumulation, we here in Kennesaw end up with eight whole inches!

And that's just the snow that collected on elevated surfaces.  The consensus is that at least eleven inches fell in totality.  Everything "quiet and safe?"  Hardly!

Oh, yes, it starts out harmlessly enough.

But as the day goes on, it's snow, snow and more snow!

We know we are indefinitely stuck in our Little House in the Big Woods, with its Driveway of Death and Cul-de-sac of Doom!

Yet, we feel so blessed.  We have power, while many of our neighbors, unfortunately in these freezing temperatures, go without.  We have the obligatory bread and milk on hand, and thankfully, many other provisions.  And we are hemmed in on all sides by breathtaking scenery.

As I reflect upon the pristine beauty of freshly fallen snow, the unexpected and early white Christmas I always dream about, I'm reminded once again that the season of Advent is not just about Jesus coming into the world as a helpless baby.  It is about His coming again in glory, to rule once and for all as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Coming when we least expect it . . .

So let us be watching.  Waiting.  Aware.  Awake.

For the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  May it not, like the snowstorm, catch us off guard.


Friday, December 8, 2017

The Reason for the Season

Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

When our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, spends this past weekend with us, she is eager to help us decorate the Christmas tree.  She has been asking me since the beginning of November if we'll wait until she visits before we commence this activity, and of course, we are more than happy to include her.

This is the first year we let Virginia hang the breakable ornaments, and she is thrilled with that.  We even provide a stepladder for her so she can place them on some of the higher boughs; these fragile beauties have to be hung out of reach of her younger sisters.  "Ooh, shiny!" is their mantra!

We decorate a little on Friday evening, and finish up on Saturday.  More than hanging the ornaments, Virginia is excited to finish of the job with "snow."

The Christmas tree is glorious!

But you and I know that Christmas isn't about trees and trimmings, stockings and Santa.  And I want to make absolutely sure that Virginia understands the reason for the season, too.  So on Sunday, I take her to see The Star, an animated movie about the first Christmas.

Virginia's enthusiasm for tree decorating pales in comparison to the sheer joy she exudes while watching the film.  She is so enthralled, she hardly touches her popcorn!

And when we are walking back to the car, hand-in-hand, Virginia turns to me and says, "Gammie, now I understand why Jesus' birth is so important."

Mission accomplished!

O, come let us adore Him!

Alleluia and amen!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

God Will Provide

Matthew 6:30-32
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you - you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?"  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

My husband, Danny, retires from work this past August.  Given the health issues he has faced this year (you can read about these beginning here), we both agree it's high time.  Yes, we have both saved and invested over the years, and Danny receives the extra bonuses of a buy-out and unused sick-leave pay when he exits the workplace.  But until his Social Security kicks in this coming February, he is determined to practice frugality when it comes to spending money.

Danny's biggest concern?  Our food budget.  You see, Danny not only shops and cooks for the two of us, but also for my son, Daniel, who is living with us temporarily, and for his mother; we freeze meals for her and carry them to her when we visit.  Our go-to market is the Publix right down the street.  Danny is a savvy shopper, always on the lookout for bargains.  Still, he finds that the items he buys are exceeding the amount of money he's apportioned for the week.

He vents his frustration.  "I plan meals each week, and I try to make things that will stretch.  Still, I'm finding I have to transfer from the cash budget to the food budget every month.  There has got to be some way I can cut down on spending."

Wishing to allay his concerns, I tell him, "Danny, we have more than we need in savings, plenty to get us through and then some until Social Security starts up.  God has provided for us up until now, and He will continue to do so.  Have faith, honey.  He will come through, I just know it!"

Danny listens politely, but I can tell he's wrestling a bit with letting go and letting God.

And then it happens . . .

A postcard arrives announcing the opening of a super-sized Aldi grocery store not four miles from us.  Previously, Danny has been less than enamored by the small Aldis he's visited, but I convince him to give this new one a go on opening day.  "You want to save money, don't you?  What harm can it do to at least check it out?"

Danny acquiesces.  Reluctantly.

But when he returns from his venture, his face exudes a contagious enthusiasm infused with the joy of victory.

"Martha, you won't believe this!  Aldi isn't just bragging about half-off prices, they are for real!  And the meat department is everything I could hope for, and then some.  Oh, and the seafood?  That's great, too.  I'm going through the aisles, comparing prices with Publix, and I can't even begin to calculate how much we can save each month.  This is a God-send!"

I give Danny a big hug and say, "Yes, it is, honey.  Yes, it is."

God provides.



Friday, December 1, 2017

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Luke 18:15-17
Now people were even bringing their babies to him for him to touch.  But when the disciples saw it, they began to scold those who brought them.  But Jesus called for the children, saying, "Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it."

Our three granddaughters, Virginia Rose, Savannah Jane and Alexandra Nancy, are such unique individuals.  Though they hail from the same parents, the variations in their looks and temperaments never cease to amaze us.  The girls give a whole new meaning to the term "gene pool."

Virginia, age seven, is at one point, a silly monkey -

and at others, quiet and gentle, as when she reunites with her beloved cat friend in Oxford, the one she dubbed "Princess" during our last Thanksgiving visit to my mother's.  Let's compare this year's photos with last year's.



My, how she has grown!

Virginia is outgoing, laughs easily, and loves to give hugs even more than she likes receiving them.  And though she talks a LOT, she listens well, too, and is always ready to help around the house.  Smart as a whip, Virginia can whoop me at Uno or Sorry! in a heartbeat!

While all three girls adore their Daddy, three-year-old Savannah is truly a Daddy's Girl.

We worry, however, that by the time she turned three, she is hardly talking; what she does say sounds like gibberish, or perhaps, a language of her own invention.  Thank goodness her speech has vastly improved, although unlike her big sister, Savannah doesn't talk much.

At home, Savannah is just as happy to play by herself as with her sisters.  Her imagination, it seems, runs in overdrive; she can find joy and contentment in her own little world.  If any of the girls has earned the right to be called mischievous, it's Savannah.  Just ask Virginia!  And hugs?  Right now, only if they come from Mommy or Daddy.

Alexandra, at age two, has a mind of her own.  Like Savannah, she's not keen on the hugs from anyone but her parents.  When her Uncle Daniel asks for a hug this past holiday, she simply grins, waves her arms in the air, and declares, "No, no!"

She may be the littlest, but Alexandra isn't shy about trying to keep up with her older sisters, whether it be running around the house or out in Mom's spacious yard.  As you can certainly see in these photos, she is the only brunette in the bunch.  Though all three girls have blue eyes, hers are darker in hue; her candid stare has an uncanny way of peering right into your soul.

But there are two things that all three girls share in common:  Their love for the outdoors -

and kitty cats!

All so different.  All so adorable.  All so precious in the eyes of Jesus.

And you know what, friends?

So are you!


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