Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

uesday, 25 December 2007

  • Christmas through the Eyes of a Shepherd
    Or
    He Found Me.

    I still can’t believe it happened—at all or to me. I never thought it would happen, at least not this way, or that being the second born son of my family it would happen to me. I had better stop a moment to record what happened to me…the second son of my father—and just another shepherd on the hills of Judea.

    “Get up.” Jesse grunted as he kicked my foot in his signal it was my turn to keep watch with the men. I liked the sound of that—with the men. I did not care so much for getting up in the middle of the night. I much preferred sleeping in my comfortable bed on the floor.

    I rose slowly, rubbed the sleep from my eyes and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I willed myself to stay awake as I surveyed the sleeping forms of my family about the room. I stood and staggered sleepily to the door, once outside I could hear the low murmur of the other shepherds.

    I noted with relief and great satisfaction the full moon that hung suspended in the night sky. It is much easier to keep watch over the sheep when the moon is full. When there is no moon it is very difficult to see the wild beasts that would devour the sheep until it is too late.

    “Judah, so nice of you to join us tonight.” The men joked at my arrival. It is no secret I’d rather be sleeping at night. But somehow I think after this night I won’t mind so much.

    I hadn’t been out there long—just long enough though to realize this was just an ordinary night. I soon lost myself in looking at the stars. “As numerous as the stars of heaven, so shall your descendants be.” That is what God told my ancestor Abraham. I have tried to count the stars but have always given up. There are just too many of them.

    As I watch the flock, I dream of adventure. King David had been a shepherd and he became one of our greatest kings, and he was a great mighty hunter. His life was full of excitement and adventure. So far though nothing remotely bordering on an exciting adventure has touched my life. Night after night I sit out here watching the sheep, while I dream of rising up and throwing off the Romans and somehow being big enough, man enough to get God to talk to us again.

    Our last prophet died 400 years ago. Since that time we’ve heard only silence from the heavens.

    I ponder how I can rise up like David when he killed Goliath—only I would rid Israel of all things Roman. As I am planning my battle strategy when suddenly I am blinded…and terrified.

    I fall face down in terror, I assumed all the men did the same because I hear a voice from the area of the most brilliant light I have ever seen, saying, “Do not be frightened.”

    If I wasn’t so scared I would say, “Who are you kidding?” But I’m too afraid. I can’t remember ever being this afraid in my life. The disembodied voice goes on, “I bring you great and joyous news. Your Messiah has been born. You’ll find Him swaddled in clothes and sleeping in a manger in Bethlehem.”

    Just as quickly as he appeared a whole multitude of angels were singing: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men on earth.” Then just like that they were gone. And we were left to find it out for ourselves.

    We ran as though our life depended on it all the way to Bethlehem. It didn’t take long once we arrived in Bethlehem to find the right manger. He looked like a baby, but not just any baby. There was just something about him, something…just what I don’t know—I’m just an ignorant shepherd boy longing for adventure.

    And I think I found it—or rather He found me.

    I couldn’t help running through out the town telling everyone I met, “The Messiah! The Messiah has been born! Come and see.”

    Oh yes, I might have been longing for adventure but He found me!

    © Virginia Garrett 12/23/07

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

DayBook

For Today
December 22, 2009

Outside my window...the sky is white, the world looks deary. But soon it will be looking a lot like Christmas

I am thinking...I should turn on a light, it's getting dark in here. And how much I love hearing my children play together

I am thankful for...a cat sleeping on my knees. My girlies. Friends. Jesus.

From the learning rooms...it's all quiet. We are on school break until January 4.

From the kitchen...I need to start supper soon. I think it will be a great night for soup. Italian Vegetable. One of our favorites.

I am wearing...warm clothes. :) I always freeze in the winter.

I am creating...room in my heart for another much needed silent night. Even in the midst of this crazy busy life I lead, I'm craving a silent night.

I am going...nowhere. I went to the store today so hopefully I can avoid leaving the house until the Christmas Eve service.

I am reading...Raising a Modern Day Princess. I'll review it in January so I don't want to give anymore of it away.

I am hoping...my hurts will find true healing in Jesus soon

I am hearing...the furnace and the start of A Christmas Carol on tv.

Around the house...Christmas abounds.

One of my favorite things...a good book and a good cup of coffee. And time to spend reading and sipping.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Christmas Eve Service on Thursday. Then Christmas day with my family.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

My many thanks to The Simple Woman's Daybook for this!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I should have known.

My dining room chairs are ugly. My dear man's family bought them 30 years ago and have never recovered them. I've been meaning to do that for months...and months and months and months and months.

Since his family is coming for Christmas I thought this was the perfect time to get it done. I had some fabric I wanted to use, it was curtains I no longer liked but the color is a great match for my walls. I bought a staple gun and staples for it.

Why don't staple guns come loaded with staples? When you buy a normal stapler it has staples and even comes with a whole box of staples. Anyway...

I found some cushioning I thought would work just fine. I started pulling off the old fabric, yanked out the old staples and put the new cushion on.

It was too small. Way too small. So I flipped the old cushion over and set to work with the fabric.

Did you know fabric can be too stretchy? It can. I found that out. The hard way. The fabric I have is indeed too stretchy. The new staples are too big.

So now I have to decide if I'm going to spend even more money getting non-too-stretchy-fabric or if I'll just wing it.

It seemed like such a good idea too.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Key thing....

We traveled to be with family over Thanksgiving. Five glorious days of no responsibilities, no place we had to be, nothing we had to do, nothing, nothing, nothing. I was ready to come home though, I watched my sister in law get our her Christmas decorations and I was anxious to do the same. I was thrilled because I was staring down a week with nothing in it.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh the bliss.

Until, of course I got home and checked my email. And remembered we had no food in the house. In my email I found I had a noon meeting. Our contractor called and said his crew was coming over to work on our siding. I didn't think it would be a problem. I could go to the store, get something for lunch, take the girlies to Daddy's office, attend my meeting and go to the store for groceries. Only the construction crew blocked my garage door, with my van inside the garage. So we walked to get lunch and then to Daddy's office. I walked to my meeting and then we all walked home...to Old Mother Hubbard's cupboards. Around 4pm the crew had left...and my van is still trapped in the garage.

I phone dear man telling him I'm still trapped and we need food. Our pastor loans us his pickup so we can go to the store. When Dear man got home I was wrestling with curtains and losing. I left him to curtain wrestle while I went to the store.

I quickly walked the aisles getting things I needed and headed for the check stands. I placed my basket on the conveyor belt and opened my purse just as the checker started ringing up the groceries.

I had no wallet. No money. When I told the checker, "For the 2nd time in 5 days, I'm at the store with no money. Please continue and I'll be right back." She looks at me really strange, so I say, "Boy do you think I'm a bit stressed or busy?" Her brilliant reply? "Yeah, or old." I think she was 10.

I rushed out of the store with key in hand. I unlocked the pickup, hopped in, inserted the key and it would. not. turn. I took the key out, flipped it over and tried again. Nothing. I tried a different key. Nope. Still a different key. Nope. I started over the second key worked this time.

At home I race in, grab my wallet and rush back to the store. By this time it's starting to snow. Once at the store I pay for my groceries and head back home.

Only this time the pickup won't unlock. I go through the same three keys. Of course this time it was the third key.

I love big noisy pickups, just not their keys.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beth Moore called me...


This afternoon while we were eating lunch with my dear man a rare treat for a Tuesday, the phone rang. I quickly answered and just as quickly said, "Can I call you right back?" hung up and quickly resumed my dining.

My dear man asked who was on the phone and I answered, "Beth". My seven-year-old, "Beanie" pipes up, "Moore?"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dismayed?

A few years ago on my blog I went through my favorite Christmas carols. I think this year I'll do it again.

I have never been a fan of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Probably because it wasn't sung in our church that I remember. I remember just reading it in the hymnal and thinking it was a very weird song.

I was just listening to Peter Eide's version and it hit me with its simple beauty. It is so appropriate for today. In our world there is upheaval and uncertainty every where you look. The economy has faltered and faltered again, in fact it has faltered so much most of us aren't sure it will ever recover.

The husband of a friend of mine lost his job the week before Thanksgiving. He was given a nice severance check. And that bounced. They have $500 to their name, rent is $400, plus utilities, not much is left for food and Christmas. This song is for them! It is for you! It is for me!

God rest yet merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day
To save us all from satan's power
When we were gone astray.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!

From God our heavenly father the blessed angel came
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy

To free all those who trust in Him
From satan's power and might

God rest ye merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from satan's power
When we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

It isn't Peter Eide, but Jars of Clay.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So many good books!!!

I have read so many good books recently. I recently read Essie in Progress by Marjorie Preston. Essie tells the story of a mom, with two small children and another on the way, a husband, estranged from his father and not living his dream.

Essie's sister had what appears to be the perfect life and her mother can't seem to find anything Essie does right.

This book is about real life. Essie's husband wants a new car, a very expensive new car. They make a deal and he gets the car. But at the same time he trades in her SUV for a bigger SUV. And she's not happy about it.

Will Essie survive the changes that keep flying at her? Will Jack, her husband, make peace with Ham, his father? You'll have to read it for yourself to find out.

I was quite favorably impressed with Marjorie's book, especially when I realized it was her first one! This does not read like a first novel at all.

Here is the first chapter for you enjoyment! (I received this book from Kregel Publications. The free book did not affect my honest review.)


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Essie in Progress

Kregel Publications (April 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Marjorie Presten for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Marjorie Presten is a native Georgian who has her own fair share of experience juggling career and motherhood. She lives outside of Atlanta with her husband, Tom, and their three children.


Listen to a radio interview about the book HERE.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 082543565X
ISBN-13: 978-0825435652

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

1972

In a thirty-second phone call, Hamilton Wells would make a decision that would earn him more money than he could spend in his lifetime. Everything was on the line, but he was not nervous, euphoric, or eager with anticipation. In Hamilton’s mind, the matter was not speculative, debatable, or anything less than a sure thing. Hamilton had the gift, and it had never let him down. Yet even before he made the call, he knew money wouldn’t cure the unrelenting pain of his grief. He sat at his desk with only a single orange banker’s lamp for illumination and cried silently.

Her death had been inevitable, but feelings of helplessness still overwhelmed him. His young son’s dependency on him only multiplied his grief and anger. Six-year-old Jack Wells had insisted his father do something to help Mama, but the only thing Hamilton could do was sit at her bedside and try not to cry. Now it was six weeks after her death, and Hamilton knew his son needed him to be strong, to return life to normal. A neighbor had enrolled Jack in the local church baseball league. They played a game every Wednesday afternoon. It will be good for him, they’d said. Life has to go on.

Hamilton cradled his head in his hands and groaned. The enormity of the risk he was about to take didn’t concern him. It was purely mechanical. He would surrender all he owned for just one more blissful afternoon at the lake he and his wife both loved, but now that was impossible. His wife was dead. Nothing he could do would change that.

He remembered the book of Job. Would a loving and caring God do this to the love of my life? Well, he did, Hamilton thought bitterly. Earline had lingered for months. The doctors said it was miraculous that she had endured as long as she had. Be grateful for these last days to say goodbye, they’d said. But for Hamilton, the prolonged end only added anger to his bottomless sorrow. Standing alongside his son as a helpless witness to her slow deterioration and suffering in the final weeks was more than he could bear. It was the worst time of Hamilton’s life. Nothing really mattered anymore, and it seemed he had nothing left to lose.

Under different circumstances, he might have played it safe and put the proceeds away for his son’s education, bought a new house, or perhaps invested in a bit of lake property. He could have become like the rest of the players and worn monograms on his starched cuffs so everyone could remember whose hand they were shaking. Instead, he had gone it alone. His brokerage business had few clients. He was the only big player left. Now he planned to risk everything on something happening on the other side of the world.

Ham couldn’t remember exactly when he had recognized his innate ability to pick the winner out of a crowd. It had always been there, ever since he was conscious of being alive. The talent had blossomed in the military when the card games occasionally got serious. Now, with every dollar he had to his name, Hamilton approached wheat futures with that same instinct. The Russian harvest had been a disaster, and the United States was coming to the rescue. The price of wheat was going to go through the roof, and then through the floor. He was going to make a fortune on both ends.

He picked up the phone and dialed a number on the Chicago Mercantile exchange. He listened for a few moments as the connection was made. Young Jack tugged at his father’s shirtsleeve. “Pop? Can we go now?” Jack held a baseball in his hand and a glove under his arm. Hamilton swiveled his chair, turning his back to his son.

A familiar voice announced his name. “How can I help you?”

“It’s Ham,” he said. “Short the entire position.”

“What? Everything?” the voice asked.

“Everything.” No emotion colored his voice.

Young Jack crept gingerly around the chair to face his father. “Pop,” he whispered, “come on, the game is about to start.” Hamilton shook his head and looked away.

The voice on the phone was still talking. “Most folks are still enjoying the ride, Ham. You could get hurt.”

“It’s not going a penny higher. Short it all.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Warn me? My wife is dead. What else matters?”

The voice mumbled something about her passing.

“She didn’t pass. She’s dead. Just do what I ask.”

“OK, Ham.” The phone disconnected.

Jack was standing there in front of him, shoulders slumped. The ball hung loose at the end of his fingers, and the glove had fallen on the carpet. “Pop, can we go now?”

“Sorry, Son. Not today.”

“It’s not fair!” Jack erupted. Hot tears sprang up in his eyes. “What am I supposed to do now?”

Ham looked down, silent.

Jack hurled the ball to the floor, wiped his tears angrily, and stormed out of the house.

Ten minutes later on the futures board, wheat ticked down.

It ticked down again.

And so it would continue. Ham would be richer than he’d ever imagined. He’d never experience another financial challenge for the rest of his life. It was not really important, though. Scripture came back to him: “what good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

He would trade it all to have his love, his life, back again.

But that was not an option.

Out his window, Ham could see young Jack riding his bicycle furiously down the street. He watched with a passive surrender as his son’s small frame shrank into the distance.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Extra little something for you.

Because it's Christmas after all! I haven't read this, but it looks good!!!


Finding Christmas

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I love books, I love Christmas books!


I don't care for dogs. But a book about a Christmas dog..oh yeah. That I like. I recently had the honor of reading Melody Carlson's book, The Christmas Dog.

What happens when you have no Christmas spirit, an obnoxious neighbor, and a step-granddaughter who moves in and a pesky dog? You have Betty Kowalski. Her husband passed away a number of years ago, but her best friend is still happily married and Betty finds it hard to NOT be jealous at Christmas time.

Then there is the new neighbor who lives right behind Betty. She and everyone else in the neighborhood are convinced he is up to no good and what is with the toilet in the back yard? A friend encourages Betty to be kind to the neighbor but Betty is too busy looking at the toilet to think of kindness. And there is the pesky mutt that keep showing up on her doorstep and she keeps returning to her neighbor.

Wanna know how it ends? Click the above link or go to your favorite Christian bookstore and get it. You might want to get a couple of copies, it would make a great Christmas gift.

I LOVED this book. I loved how easy it was to read. I loved loved LOVED losing myself in the pages. I became Betty. She lived in my neighborhood. In fact, Betty lived in my house. I found myself constantly looking out the door at my neighbor's back yard and was continually surprised to not find a toilet in the back yard.

The story is just delightful, truly a can't-put-this-book-down-story. You can read the first chapter below.

The Christmas Dog

(I received this book from Donna at Revell and division of Baker Publishing Group. The free book did not in any way, shape or form, influence my honest review.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Times a comin'


And I am so excited. I have already been reading Christmas books and listening to Christmas music.

I received The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh from Revell Publishing. This is the story of a little boy, who has lost his mother and his father is fighting overseas. The little boy is sent to live with his grandfather, whom he has never seen. It is days before Christmas and the little boy, Ian, only wants 3 things, to leave his grandfather's house, the soldier in his grandfather's attic and his Daddy to come home.

Dan Walsh spins an excellent tale. The book captured and held my attention from the first page through to the last word. This is one book I did not want to end and will be a book I read and reread every year. This book was impossible for me to know the end from the beginning.

I can't recommend this book enough. Click the link above or go to your Christian book store and buy it. You will NOT be disappointed. If you don't believe me, feel free to read the first chapter posted below. I'll bet you'll be hooked.


The Unfinished Gift