Friday, December 30, 2022

Happy New Year!

 


Wishing all of you God's peace and blessings in the New Year!

Martha and Danny

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Happy Birthday!

 


The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. ~Numbers 6:24-26


My husband, Danny, celebrates his 69th birthday this past Monday.  With all the ups and downs we've experienced in our almost 18 years of marriage, we are both infinitely grateful that he has reached this milestone.  God's face has certainly shined upon him and given to him, as Danny would readily admit, much more than he could have ever hoped for or deserved.

Isn't that how we all should feel when we mark another birthday in the books?

Danny is not one to wait on ordering items he feels he would find useful in his kitchen (yes, he does the cooking!) or in other arenas, but I'm so grateful he resists his "impulse buying" to turn them into suggestions for birthday gifts from me.  Believe me, as well as I think I know my husband, unless he volunteers information about things he would truly like to add to the household, I am clueless.  Sure, I could get him the proverbial shirt or sweater or boring socks.  But I'd much rather have my gifts meet his desires and bring him the joy he so richly deserves.




New tongs for the kitchen



I cut Danny's hair, and we really needed a new clipper set.



What could this be?


It's a new pot that Danny can use for cooking pasta!


Yes, it was a quiet and intimate celebration, but a meaningful one that creates sweet memories for the both of us.

As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of the One who has changed the world forever, may we, without fail, follow His commandment to love one another as He has loved us.

Every life is precious; every moment is precious.  And Jesus tells us still today how to live in His kingdom.

May His kingdom come, and His will be done.

Bless the Lord . . . who satisfies your years with good things. ~Psalm 103: 2, 5

Amen!

Wishing each and every one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2022

To God be the Glory

 


Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. ~Genesis 2:7

At this time last year, I had no earthly idea what my word for 2022 would be.  What becomes my one word is not one I consciously choose; it chooses me.  And this year is the same - no word has yet appeared, although I'm confident it will happen in God's good timing.

That's the way my one word, Breathe, came to be.  As some of you already know, I began 2022 in the hospital with acute pneumonia.  I was placed on oxygen for days, and even then, it was a struggle to get a deep, satisfying breath.  That simple, reflexive act that we engage in repeatedly without giving it a second thought became a laborious effort.  After I recover, I realize that I never want to take the miracle of my own breathing for granted again.  It truly is the gift of life from God.

As we're fast approaching Christmas, the very day last year when I begin to show some respiratory distress, I find myself suffering with PTSD.  I would never, ever want to experience such trauma again, nor would I wish such upon my worst enemy.  But like so many painful experiences we go through, we can't always understand what God's purpose is in all of it.  What is He encouraging us to see?  To acknowledge?  Why has this rotten thing even happened in the first place?  Is there a lesson here just waiting to be learned?  Turns out, there are many positive takeaways from the pneumonia experience that work together in giving me my one word for 2022:

  • Kicking the smoking habit not only allows my lungs to heal and grow stronger, but I am honoring my body as God's temple.
  • I am more prone to give thanks for the smallest of gifts.
  • I cherish each moment and time spent with family more than I thought possible.
  • And, I take nothing for granted even, and especially, the basic act of breathing.
I've also come to understand the solemn truth about our earthly existence - we are here because it's God's will for us to be here in this time and place.  He knows the plans He's made for us; He knows all our steps from the first to the last, and everything in between.  I'm positive that if I'd completed all the works He had for me to do at the time of my illness, He would have taken me home right then and there.

But He didn't.  God gave me a new lease on life, and a fresh appreciation for who He is, and all He has planned for me in the days to come.  I pray that as long or as brief those days might be, that my every breath will be taken in doing His will and walking in His ways, giving all glory to Him alone.

Amen!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

This Little Light of Mine

 


When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." ~John 8:12

One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season is to send, and receive, Christmas cards.  How many of you feel the same way?  In my mind's eye, I can visualize so many of you out here in Blogland raising your hands!

This year, however, due to raging inflation, had me second guessing whether or not it would be economically wise to continue this beloved tradition, at least for the time being.  That's what my head said; but in the end, my heart won out.  Once I find some sensibly-priced, religious-themed cards at Amazon, I go for it!




Mailing Christmas cards to friends and family members takes me back to the "old" days of communicating long-distance through letters, as the cost of out-of-state phone calls in prohibitive.  I'm still wading through the stacks of correspondence between my grandmother and my mother.  When I open up a card that someone took the time to hand-write to me, I am deeply touched, and overwhelmed by a palpable sense of nostalgia and thankfulness for that person.

Their greeting may seem like a small gesture to them as they crank through their annual Christmas list, hastening to get their cards in the mail.  But for me, those little acts of kindness are exactly what brightens my day, and lets me know I'm not forgotten by the people I love.

And that is what I hope and pray the Christmas cards I send do for others - be that little act of kindness that shines the light of Jesus' love into their hearts.

May all our lights, no matter how small, shine in a big way for His glory!

Amen!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Renovations

 



Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. ~Matthew 23:25

Do you own a home?  Have you come to rely on the comfort and security that it provides for your family?  Are you honestly assessing whether or not things are structurally solid and sound when it comes to the skeletal strength of the house?

That's the evaluation my husband, Danny, makes recently when he calculates the health and resilience of our decks.  We already know they are old, 37 years to be exact.  That's a long time for them to withstand the abuse of foot traffic and inclement weather throughout those many seasons.

Upon the advice of a deck-building consultant, he decides it's past time for our decks to go the way of the dinosaur.  In fact, the representative tells us that the oldest deck they've replaced to date was a mere 32-years old.  That makes ours an anomaly, for sure!

Does Danny have any hesitance about going through with this project?  When he's hit between the eyes with cost, yes.  He falters for a moment or two, wondering if we can, perhaps, put this home improvement venture on the backburner for another year or two.  But when he inspects the stairs more closely, noting that the stringers are rotting, his mind is made up.  New decks, here we come!








 

The crew isn't close to completion, but they've certainly come a long way considering how few days they've been on the project.






It's so refreshing in this day and time to see guys who aren't afraid of an honest day's work, putting their all into everything they do for the satisfaction of their customers.
~
During this season of Advent, while we wait with expectation and hope for the coming of the Lord, it would be a good thing for all of us to reflect on the state of our spiritual health and well-being.  Are we as clean and vibrant on the inside as Jesus can make us, or are we holding Him at bay, shying away from the inmost renovations our hearts need?  Our homes can be spotless and bright with Christmas decorations, but if our spirits aren't focused upon the cleansing that Jesus can make happen within us, can we say we are ready for the celebration ahead?

I don't know about you, but I'm certain there are lots of renovations my soul needs that only Jesus can do.  I need Him to continue the good work He began in me.

He has my full permission.

Amen!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Come, Lord Jesus!

 


He who testifies to these things say, "Yes, I am coming soon."  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. ~Revelation 22:20

The Lord is coming, always coming.  When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life.  Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord. ~Henri Nouwen


As we enter this soul stirring season of Advent, have we quieted our spirits and prepared room in our hearts for the impending coming of the Lord?  Are we, as Nouwen states, recognizing Jesus' presence not just in this season, but in all the ordinary moments of our lives?

And if we're not living in a perpetual state of expectancy, then why aren't we?  What would it take for us to do so?

Advent invites us to slow down, to sit in stillness, to allow that feeling of waiting with expectancy to fill us once again.  Is that easy to do in this hustle-bustle season?  No, but we should make every effort to embrace God's invitation to come away with Him for a while and find rest as we prepare for the miracle that is Christmas.

My hope and prayer for you, my friends, is that you will heartily embrace this season and its promise of joy and peace.  The Lord Jesus is right around the corner . . .

Amen! 

Do you have any special Advent traditions?  Please share in the comments.


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