Monday, January 5, 2015

The Invitation

Have you ever wondered why we decorate evergreen trees for Christmas?  This was the question skipping through my mind as I sat staring at the glowing branches of my own tree two days after Christmas, trying to soak up the magic before dismantling the whole thing.  

"How absurd," I thought to myself.  "I have a tree in my living room.  Why?"  With a little research I found that there are as many stories about the origin of the Christmas tree as there are ways to decorate it.  Several center around the thought that the evergreen branches represent the eternal nature of Christ and that the shape of the tree is like an arrow pointing to Heaven.  As lovely as that is,  it still doesn't explain why so many of us erect eight foot tall frasier firs inside our homes every year.  It makes me chuckle.  Just the thought of the things we do just because it's tradition.  Cutting down a real, live tree and dragging it into my living room and then covering it with lights and ornaments?  I laugh a little more every time I think about it.  Dragging a fake tree out of storage and fluffing its branches seems even sillier, still.  

As I sat entranced by Christmas lights, my thoughts flitted like a bird from one thing to the next.  Why does the season seem so fleeting, even though the Christmas holiday starts to infiltrate everything as soon as Halloween is over?  Why does it simultaneously feel like too much and yet, somehow, not enough?  Why is everything on the menu filled with guilt and gluten?  Why do people want to pretend that Christmas is not a religious holiday?...................................Why do people want to pretend that Christmas is not a religious holiday?

Pondering on this question, I am even more baffled than I was about the tree thing.  Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Hence the name Christ-mas.  Yet some folks try like heck to eradicate Christ from Christmas.  Why?  You wouldn't have Christmas if it weren't for Christ.  Denying that fact would be like another country adopting our celebration of July 4th and then insisting that it is politically incorrect to refer to it as Independence Day.  What?!?  Seriously?   

Interestingly enough, I don't get angry about non-Christians celebrating Christmas.  Instead, it makes me sad.  They may revel in the glitz, the parties, the traditions, and the gifts, but they are missing out on the most important gift.  The gift of salvation through the Son of God.  And despite all the invitations they may receive through the holidays, they are refusing to open the greatest invitation.  For that little baby Jesus was God's invitation to mankind to spend eternity with him, the God of the universe.  Christ was sent to live a human life and die a sacrificial death in order for us to be redeemed.  All we have to do is accept the invitation.  God loves the people of this world so much that He didn't want to see a single one of us perish.  So He invited us to come to him by sending his own son to pay for our sins.  It seems a little absurd, doesn't it?  That the God of everything wants a personal relationship with each of us.  That the salvation of mankind would be born in a stable.  Absurd, indeed.  But glorious beyond our understanding.  Beautiful, mysterious, miraculous.  Glorious.  

Now I see that tree a little differently.  Maybe it really is a reflection of Christ.  My heart swells and my eyes blur with tears as I take in the beauty, the glory, and the mystery of the absurd.  I feel fully content as I take down my tree, piece by piece, remembering that the gift of Christ doesn't get packed away with the ornaments.  No.  That gift stays in my heart eternally, for I have accepted the invitation.  

Praise God for the invitation of Christmas.  Have you accepted it?  The invitation still stands.  

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


A few weeks ago, I managed to have painted nails for a hot minute.  Nevermind that it lasted only a few short days.  Let this moment be documented.  Let it also go on record that I have no idea how people tend to get such stunning photos of their own nails (and clothes, and hair, and everything else) on Pinterest.  Do they have personal photographers?  Do you know how weird it is to take a photo of your left hand with your right hand? 

It's weird. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


photo by Miz. November
When I say that life has been challenging the past few years, I mean it.  Income has been increasingly scarce.  Depression has been increasingly heavy.  My health has been increasingly perplexing.  Life has been increasingly confusing.  

But I also realize that my problems are pretty shallow in comparison to the problems that others face on a daily basis.  Though I am never sure where my next paycheck will come from, or even if I will have one, I have yet to go hungry.  Though I research continuously to find a cure for my depression and fatigue, I am not in the hospital fighting for my life.  Nor are any of my loved ones.  Though I seem to never know what my next step in life should be, I am fully aware that my hope is in the Lord and He will guide me even when I don't see or hear him. 

It's time to get real with you. 

I am a Christian, although I hate to even proclaim that because to be a Christian is to be "like Christ", and I fall miserably short of that description.  A little over a year ago, the Lord started working in my heart.  That's a very nice way of putting it.  It was more like the Lord smacked me on the back of the head and asked me just what on His green earth I thought I was doing.  That, my friends, is called chastisement.  It's God's way of keeping His children in line.  And I had been ignoring it for far too long. 
But when the Holy Spirit becomes so heavy inside of you that you can no longer ignore it's presence, things change.  Specifically, my heart. 

As a child of God I know that every good gift and every perfect gift comes from Him.  Anything good that I have in my life is only because my heavenly Father has allowed me to have it.  Because God loves every single one of His children, he wants to see them blessed and fulfilled. We are the ones who get in the way of our own blessings.  But God sees the big picture and we don't.  He sees what we really need, not what looks like it would be nice.  Many times God will ask us to step out in faith and put all of our trust in Him, no holds barred, so He can show us just how good he is. 

Although I had been a born again Christian since middle school, it wasn't until last fall that I finally laid everything at my Savior's feet and relinquished control.  I begged to know my Father on a deeper level.  I asked over and over for discernment and direction.  And now I can say that I truly desire God's will for my life over my own.  Why, you ask?  Because pursuing my own will has only led to heartache and hopelessness.  It took me all these years to finally realize that my way was the wrong way.  

Fast forward to this year and my life looks very much like a demolition site. 
I have no job.  I'm getting by on very little.  My eyes are dark and body feels frail.  My mental and emotion state is desperate.  Everything else in my life is in a holding pattern.  No movement.  No progress.  To the unbeliever, this wasteland looks like misplaced faith on my part.  But to those who know the Lord, this empty lot looks like the perfect construction site. 

I am the embodiment of Romans 5: 3-5.
All my false hopes have been stripped away.  My tribulations are building patience in me.  And this patience will be the foundation for experience.  And that experience will be the very thing that makes my hope real.  You see, hope doesn't come from putting your trust in the things that you can touch.  It's easy to believe in the things that you can see with your own eyes.  It's only when you put your trust in the things that cannot be seen or touched that true hope is born.  I have no hope in this broken world.  Every shred of hope that I have is in the hands of the Savior who died for me on a cross two thousand years ago.  And no matter how long my tribulations last, I can glorify in them knowing that God promised that my hope would not make me a fool.  Hope will not make me ashamed.  He promised that he will not leave me nor forsake me.  He will finish the work that he started in me.  This construction site will not be abandoned.  He promised.

And God never breaks his promises. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014


from here.

And this pretty much sums it all up lately.

Monday, November 10, 2014


all pics my own

By now most of the leaves have given up the fight and let go of their branches.  Although they are no longer a fiery orange, the muted blanket of tan, burgundy, and coral pink leaves looks quite beautiful under my maple tree.  With multiple heat sources humming throughout the house, I cringe at the thought of the upcoming winter season.  I can handle nights in the thirties and days in the fifties.  It's when night and day have no distinguishable temperature difference that makes me desperate.

My mood matches the season.  It always does in the fall.  So many things to say and no words to say them.  Thoughts and emotions and memories swirl in my head like the leaves on the ground.  Then they seem to settle in my heart and get wet and heavy.  There they lie, like leaves in the gutter, waiting to be dug out and dealt with.  But who knows when that will happen, or even how it will happen.  Sometimes I will single out one of those thoughts, emotions, or memories like a particularly intriguing yellow leaf that begs closer inspection.  I'll hold it up to the light and examine its veins and spots, smile at its beauty and melancholy and then drop it back into the pile in my heart.

 Things are always changing around here.  Life is in constant flux.  Sometimes I wish things would slow down.  Sometimes I wish they would hurry up.  I think too much about things that I have no control over.  I busy myself with the things that I do seem to have a tiny semblance of control over.  And I pray that my heart finds rest somewhere in between those two places.

This is the pensive nature of this month.  My month.  November.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014



 She was all stardust and tears.  A magic spell that was broken.  A loner in the midst of a shoulder to shoulder crowd.  She was a song that no one knew the words to although they could remember the melody in the back of their mind. 

But she didn't want to be the melody.  She wanted to be the words.  She didn't want to be just the dream.  She wanted to be the reality.  She didn't want to haunt the halls of someones heart.  She wanted to live in their soul. 

So her smile fell hard on blind eyes.  Unspoken words echoed in her ears.  Her heart rattled loudly in an empty ribcage. Prayers floated around her head like promising rain clouds carrying droplets of hope; faith waiting to be made manifest.

She was not to be made a fool.  The sea inside of her would not be contained forever.  From a distance she could see it.  She could see the hurricane that she would unleash, changing everything in its path. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Come Back

I miss blogging. 
I miss bloggers.
 Why did we all stop blogging? 

Of the long list in my Spots of Sunshine lineup, there are now only about four blogs that post on a semi-regular basis. 

I know that we haven't run out of things to talk about or thoughts to share.  Yet, there is no one here.

Blogging has been replaced with the short, spastic world of tweets.  Pinterest has given us Attention Deficit Disorder.  Facebook has put up the false front of being "social", while the people using it forget what being social is all about. 

I miss the connection that blogging brought.  The sense of community and conversation.  I admit that I often felt like the conversation was quite one sided.  But my blog friends always showed up when it counted.  They were always there to offer a word of encouragement.  To make me laugh.  To brighten my day.  Or to offer insight.  

I loved the circle of bloggers that I once counted as my friends.  I wonder about what has happened in their lives.  What are they doing?  Where are they?  And why aren't they here? 

Many times over the past year I have signed in to my blog account and looked around at an empty room, like a party that no one showed up for.  The thoughts in my head that were bound for a post got dropped like a joke that you forgot the punchline to. 

I quit blogging, too.

But I miss it.  It felt real.  Maybe it can again.  Maybe there is hope in the old-school.  Maybe someone else out there is getting tired of the impersonal blurbs and constant flux of new things to keep up with on the internet.  Maybe we could blog again. 

Come back?