Friday, December 25, 2009

No Tree, No Lights, No Presents

So here I am sitting in my living room which has not one single Christmas decoration up and which looks like it would on any given day of the year. WHAT!?! No decorations!!! Why?!? How many people think this way when people don't "do" Christmas? There are a ton of you out there and I think I heard from half of you. Probably some of you would have come over and decorated for me if I lived closer to you just so we would "have" Christmas here. My question is why do we bother really? Decorations, presents and all that don't "make Christmas for us, or do they?

There were a whole bunch of things that made not decorating for the holiday a good idea. This is not to say I found it was not easy. My really wanted the clean house with the beautiful decorations. Lights in all the windows and out on the fence and house, the fresh fir tree all decked out and the piano bedecked with candles and my beloved hillybilly Christmas bear family on display. I wanted it all up really...I just love decorating for Christmas.

There were just too many things getting in the way of it happening this year so it didn't matter how much I wanted "it","it" was not going to happen.
My husband's use our home as his workshop tends to take over our home which was the biggest hurdle we'd have to overcome before decorating. Then there was the new-used entertainment center we were given a week ago that sat askew out into the middle of the living room all week long awaiting the cleaning and installation of the electronics that would reside in it. That kinda put a crimp on things too but the "why" we didn't decorate is not really what this is about here.

All week long I was getting wrapped up in the hope that we might decorate and found myself pretty much suffocating in the reality that it just wasn't going to happen this year. I could not find the strength in this hobbled body of mine to accomplish what needed done and most of it was for Ben to take care of really. This left me staring vain desire right in the eye which which fueled a battle within me that started out as a simmer and finally came to a rolling boil.

I kept telling myself it didn't matter really, that I would survive, which I knew I would...but I wanted "Christmas" here! What is Christmas after all if its not decorations and big family meals and all the presents? I finally got so frustrated in order to not just explode I set about accomplishing a white tornado clean-up/rearrangement job on our living room which I should not have been doing by myself but found quite cathartic. As the pent up energy inside me was focused into the physicality of the job, my frustration melted away. At its completion as I collapsed in my chair I didn't care if we didn't have a tree, lights or presents..I was so glad to have the living room clean and freshly arranged and oh I almost forgot!...While I finished playing the white tornado, Ben finished and put into place our entertainment center.

As I look around today I realize we did get presents...they came in some rather unusual ways and from people who were passing them along. The entertainment center passed along by a friend last week and newly installed, a printer/scanner that we actually need give to us by another friend just yesterday. On top of these were a couple of unexpected blessing from our neighbors and friends. The card from our Vietnamese neighbors who moved in this past summer..."Merry Christmas" sign left at our front porch by the sweet folks at my new church, the little houseplant delivered a couple nights ago in the cold rain by our neighbor down the street and the his&hers watch set, a gift from our young neighbors next door Alex and Irina and their little son AJ. The gift of not having to put away Christmas decorations too. So we may not have had the most traditional Christmas ever...but it is still Christmas...with absolutely no decorations.

Finally, as I watched the sunrise this morning I took a good long moment to thank God for the many blessings we have been given, remembering those imprisoned for their faith, those serving our country and all of the families awaiting their safe return. Then taking time to thank Him for the gift that most freely given yet infrequently received. Given by the one born to live to die that we might be with Him in heaven. This is the only true gift of this season. No lights, no tree, no gathering of loved ones or other presents before or after will meet its worth. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given...He died that we might live...His life for ours...the greatest gift. Thank you Lord Jesus for your priceless gift, the gift of salvation, the gift of Your life.

Merry Christmas Everyone. May God bless you, everyone.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

If you only take the time.

How often do we jet through our days without hardly a pause? Tasks call to us with urgent pleas. Families "need" our attention now! How much do we miss because we are constantly on the run? My guess is we miss a lot.

These days my time is spent fixing meals, encouraging friends, tending my garden, doing daily chores and volunteering. The other thing I do is listen to my husband as he downloads the details from his work day and or how he plans to tackle his next project. I call this sharing "ruminating" and he is "The Great Ruminator". Okay, I need to stop calling him that, but its what I've been calling him because his habit is to share in everything in great detail. Now 99% of this information will I never use and probably 75% I don't really understand. And why do I even bring this up? Because he seems to for whatever reason have a great need to share it with me.

This man is my life partner and I know it would be the loving thing to do to take the time to listen intently, if only to encourage him. This is harder to do than it sounds as he's around most all the time and he is not inclined to share the Reader's Digest version. His preference is the Encyclopedic version with every smidgen of detail spoken as he thinks through the necessary process of these jobs verbally. Don't get me wrong. I love that my husband is so detail oriented. I love that he can fix anything and that others are blessed by this talent he has, but my brain wants to implode sometimes from the vast quantity of it all. And I can hear you asking what does this have to do with my topic. Well I'm getting to that in just a minute but first lets go out to my garden.

I mentioned in my profile I've discovered the coolness of digital here's what I captured this morning after some light freezing rain overnight. The pictures I posted here are a rock in our birdbath with ice creating a pattern on it and the curry plant with frozen rain droplets. I almost missed seeing the way the ice beaded up on the felt covered leaves of this plant!!! I'm sure no one walking by on the sidewalk near where the plant is noticed. You had to stop to see it.

Because I've had an interest in plants and taken the time to study them I've been very aware that plants are really cool! They are made so incredibly; the veining, the roots, the flower stamens and pistils, the seeds, the hairs on the leaves, bark, berries...not to mention their colors, textures and fragrances. But most people never get to see these amazing things because they are always whizzing by too fast to take notice as what they are heading off to do is more important or something they understand better than plants.

Now the connection...because people don't see plants/gardens as important or understand them, they pass on by without even a glance. For me that is how I have been responding to these daily downloads my husband shares with me, his wife, his help meet and not always very graciously too I might add. It gives me pause to wonder what I've missed. What was in all those words he spoke that I waved away dismissively or because I thought I had something oh so important to do? Did I lose an even more important opportunity to encourage him, to respect him and to love him or even to help him in avoiding a possible problem. Yes, yes, yes, to all! (ugh)

As you scurry about this Christmas season I pray you will be able to quiet your life enough to not miss those amazing little moments that God is handing you. That your tasks at hand will not overshadow the really important things around your...and the amazing things God wants to bless you with. Those moments that tell someone you truly love them and that will warm your heart more than the giving of any other present given.

Have a very Merry Christmas Season

Thursday, December 10, 2009


The day around here starts early for me. The street we live on is a constant hum-to-roar of traffic from 6am to well into the evening, making precious the quiet of early morning.

Rising early affords a person the opportunity to watch the the morning sky blush and flair with the touch of the sun's light as it makes its entrance upon the eastern horizon. It is that time before the the pressures of the day impinge upon a person's mind providing opportunity for prayer, meditative Bible reading and time to enjoy a cup of coffee without interruption. It is that time when the heart can be poured out, the ear open without distraction. For me it is that daily space reserved for time with my God and it is guarded jealously.

With each sunrise comes mercy new, by Him who set the bow in the sky and set the sun on its course.