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Thursday, December 31, 2009

All About Love

Today is my fifteenth wedding anniversary. And it's fitting that today I'm finally ready to share my word for 2010, a tradition started years ago.

Unlike other years, we haven't spent a lot of time this holiday season looking back over 2009. It was a hard year. One better left in the hands of God as we trust Him to take the last 365 days and continue the quiet work He was always about.

My word for 2009 was PEACE. The oddest of all the words God has given me to reflect on for the coming year.

But it was the good way God showed Himself in the midst of multiple hard things. He was our peace. Both felt and not realized until well after the fact.

When I do look back on 2009, PEACE is what covers everything.

I pray I'll say the same this time next year, because the word for 2010 is LOVE.

Fitting for today, the day David and I said I DO to whatever God had in store.

Like 2009, our wedded bliss has been a challenge, more like a roller coaster ride of high heights and deep drops that God has covered in His grace.

And God has always been at work teaching us about His love.

Sometimes we've listened.

Sometimes we've touched heaven. We've held three precious gifts of God in our arms and released one straight to God's arms.

We've stood in awe when our Heavenly Daddy became our daughters' Heavenly Daddy too.

We've celebrated birthdays and Christmases and anniversaries where love was the focus.

But as God whispered my 2010 word, it was clear there's much more to learn.

I have so much more to learn.

Especially in everyday moments. Those small flashes of time where God is always there, always speaking, and where we make choices which seem small, decisions that don't feel like big things. But they change the course of our lives.

Sometimes, in those seemingly small moments, I don't listen. School, work, even serving others creates a static that drowns out God's words. But God doesn't give up on us. He continues drawing us closer, opening our eyes and ears.

In one of those everyday moments full of big potential, God got my attention and I listened to a set of verses that my whole family got excited about.

Since then, we've started saying these verses together, the verses God used to turn my heart to thoughts of 2010 and LOVE.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Sh'ma Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.

Barukh sheim k'vod malkhuto l'olam va'ed.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.

V'ahav'ta eit Adonai Elohekha b'khol l'vav'kha uv'khol naf'sh'kha uv'khol m'odekha.
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

V'hayu had'varim ha'eileh asher anokhi m'tzav'kha hayom al l'vavekha.
And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.

V'shinan'tam l'vanekha v'dibar'ta bam
And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them

b'shiv't'kha b'veitekha uv'lekh't'kha vaderekh uv'shakh'b'kha uv'kumekha
when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.

Mark 12:29-31

'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

These verses jumped off the page as God reminded me that it truly is all about love. So that's my prayer and my hope for 2010: that all we say and do be all about LOVE.

Speaking of love.... Happy Anniversary, honey! I'm more in love with you today than on that extra-special day fifteen years ago when my heart was more full than ever before. I love you. Always.

And Happy New Year, everyone!

May your 2010 be filled with LOVE. A love that wraps around your heart and soul and warms you in the cold moments, calms you in the tough moments, thrills you in the joyous moments, and comforts you in every moment.

May you love as Jesus loved~ with all that He is. Enjoy 2010 and love well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Gifts

The stockings are hung, the decorations are out, and like many of you all I'm almost too exhausted to enjoy the fruits of the labor.

Except that God keeps taking me back to a few simple things...

We celebrate Christmas because of one reason: Jesus came.

Everything else is icing.

So instead of focusing on the icing, I wanted to share some of the good stuff God has been showing me about the Christmas story.

The First Christmas Gifts

Salvation~ Jesus came to make a way for us to be reconciled to God. He came to be the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb of God, on the cross. I wonder if that's one of the reasons the angels proclaimed the first birth announcement to shepherds.

Peace~ After God's glory was proclaimed, the angels spoke of peace to men on whom His favor rests. That's us, His children. He is our peace.

Hope~ Jesus was born into a dark world, a world where many had given up hope. But because of His birth, centuries later we can have hope. Hope that all the trials and hardships have a purpose and that this life is not the end. Because of Jesus, we can anticipate heaven and spending forever face to face with the One who loves us more than we can ever comprehend.

Purpose~ From shepherds to prophets and wise men, in our uniqueness we can proclaim Him and share the good news that sent wise men journeying far, prophets shouting out praise, and shepherds telling everyone they met about all they had seen.

I hope, as you open other gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, that you'll remember these first Christmas gifts too. And rejoice in the truth that God's gifts are life changing. They're never too old or too used to unwrap and enjoy year after year.

May your Christmas be full of awe and wonder as you worship the newborn King, God with us~ Immanuel!

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Noel with the Novelists

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I'm thrilled to be among a group of Christian fiction authors opening our homes for a special holiday tour and our personal wishes to YOU.

The awesome Marlo Schalesky has linked to me, so if you're stopping by from her blog, a special welcome to you!

Enjoy the video below and then continue the tour by hopping over to my friend and historical fiction author and beauty expert, Ginger Garrett, and her festive video.

Next stop, Ginger Garrett's blog~ Happy Christmas to all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Making a Difference

Christmas is an amazing time of the year when many turn their focus outward and see how they can show kindness to neighbors and complete strangers.

Because of thankful lists my family made this Thanksgiving and an offhand comment about making our lists come true for others, we're entering this holiday season and 2010 looking for ways to spend time, treasure, and talents to help others.

I have the beginnings of a list for ways to serve others, but would love to enlarge it. Maybe one listed here or hopefully in the comments will start your heart to pumping faster and you'll know you've found a way to make a difference this holiday season and on into 2010.

One person can make a difference. One family even more.

What about you? Who will your life touch this December and New Year?

Ways to Make a Difference:

Give the gift of hope

Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree:

Harvest of Hope: give gifts that change lives

Give the gift of food

Heifer International: giving families a source of food rather than short-term relief

Give the gift of security

Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian charity organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

Give the gift of respect and health

Secret Angels Project: provide gift cards for moms and grandmoms who care for children born with HIV. Your gift also provides warm clothing, coats, socks, underwear and a toy. Secret Angels Project has offered crisis support in Christian love for the past ten years.

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