Sunday, January 27, 2013


Patty played Mary at the Christmas Pageant at Church in December.

     Did you know that God has over 200 names in the Bible?  Each of them reveal a facet of His character and lovingkindness.
     Here are just a few:
Elohim: Strong CreatorEl Shaddai: God Almighty
Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide
Jehovah- Nissi: The Lord my banner 
Jehovah-Shammah - The Lord is there 
Jehovah –tsidkenu: The Lord our righteousness
Jehovah-Ore: The Lord is Light. 
     Beautiful, aren’t they?  The Name that I have been holding close this week comes from Isaiah 7:14.
The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel: God With Us.
    Immanuel means that God came to dwell with us.  The Great I Am has walked where we walk.  Immanuel means that God is with us in every situation: when we are in pain, suffering from loss, poverty or illness.  When we are bankrupt or bullied at school.  When we get divorced or have a sickness unto death. When we have done the wrong thing.  Immanuel means that no matter what happens God surrounds us with His love, His presence, and His Holy Spirit.   Immanuel means that we are not forsaken or alone.  God takes pity on our weaknesses.
     Immanuel, God with us, showing us hope, grace, and faithfulness in the midst of our failure and sin.
     For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~Romans 8:38-39 
 Immanuel revealed. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.   ~Psalm 23:4  
There’s Immanuel.
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:20 
     Jesus said to the crowds following Him in John 6:29, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
     Do you see your Immanuel?
     Do you see that even in our weariness, hurt, despair, illness, or sin that God is in the midst?  Immanuel - God With Us the King of Glory.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


My windows are clean on the inside!
Cats never strike a pose that isn't photogenic. - Lillian Jackson Braun

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fiddler on the Roof

     Recently, Pat and I went to see the play Fiddler on the Roof at the Evening Dinner Theatre with my brother John and his wife.  It was a very special treat.  The play is set in a small village in czarist Russia.  The main character is Tevye, a Jewish dairy farmer who has a wife and five daughters.  Change is coming to this very traditional man.  During the course of the play, three of his daughters will marry and he and the other Jews in the village will be evicted from their homes.
    The play opens with a melody played by a fiddler sitting on the roof of a small cottage. Tevye shares with the audience.
“A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? but in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask, why do we stay here if it’s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevaka is our home.  And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in a word--TRADITION--Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything---how to eat, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our head covered and always wear a little prayer shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you---I don’t know.
But it’s a tradition. Because of our tradition, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."
     Throughout the play we hear Tevya sharing comfortably with God his happiness and complaints about the way his life is going.  
     Tevye pulls a cart full of milk pails across the stage having a conversation with God.
     “Today I am a horse. Dear God, did you have to make my poor old horse lose his shoe just before the Sabbath? That wasn’t nice. It’s enough you pick on me, Tevye, bless me with five daughters, a life of poverty.  But what have You got against my horse?  Sometimes I think when thing are too quiet up there, You say to Yourself: Let’s see, what kind of mischief can I play on my friend, Tevye?  (Tevye pulls his cart farther down the lane, silently, looking toward heaven and continues talking) "As the Good Book says, Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed. In other words, send us the cure, we’ve got the sickness already. I’m not really complaining---after all, with Your help, I’m starving to death. You made many, many poor people. I realize, of course, that it’s no shame to be poor, but it’s no great honor either. So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"
     Tevye had an honest relationship with God.  He did not share only those emotions and words that he thought God would find pleasing and acceptable.  He recognized that God could handle his anger, frustrations, and pain.  Tevye went to God with his real emotions, with his brokeness and pain.  He wore no mask of cleanliness.  He shared all of himself, the good as well as the bad, with God as one shares with a good friend.
     Psalm 130 is a psalm of ascents.  It climbs in a mere eight verses from the depths of despair, to forgiveness, to the steadfast hope of the redeemed.  The psalmist holds nothing back.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness;
therefore you are feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
     God our Father desires a relationship with Him that is like breathing.  A longing to share our fears and hopes with Him.  We do not need to fear that God will sternly look down on us and think, “Oh, it’s you again.  You have piled up a disturbing list of sins.  What do you expect me to do about it?”  God’s forgiveness is accomplished through His Son Jesus.  His forgiveness is unconditional, undeserved, and complete.  With Him is full redemption.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Wedding Anniversary, 33 Years

     Today my husband and I are celebrating our thirty-third wedding anniversary.  When I spoke with my parents earlier, they asked me again, "What were you thinking getting married in January?"  I answered, "I was too in love to wait for warmer weather."
     Thirty-three years.  12,045 days ago.  On a freezing cold and windy, but brilliantly sunny day, Pat and I married in a church filled with Christmas poinsettia and candles.  Both of us wobbly-kneed and looking back, so very young.  I stood, face blurred beneath a veil, breathless with anticipation and pledged forever.  Pat's eyes locked with mine, and he promised forever in return.
Posing with my Mom and Dad and brothers.
     We were positively certain.  We said, "I do," not really knowing what we were getting ourselves into - just knowing that we wanted whatever life would bring, to meet it together.
     During our vows we pledged to take each other.  Pat was mine and I was his.  To hold each others heart in our own.  To know each others needs and wants.  To know what makes the other laugh and cry.  To know the past and to hold each others future.  We promised to love unconditionally.
Posing with Pat's family.  
     Nothing in life is more valuable than a loving relationship with your spouse.  There is honor is serving them.  In performing a chore, washing socks, preparing food, changing the oil in the car and in going to work each day.
     Sometimes, Pat has to decide to love me.  There are times when I am not particularly lovely.  Even the children know to give me space until I've had my morning coffee.  Pat has loved me through vacations, pregnancies, car trouble, surgeries, pets, and cancer.  He has loved me through arguments, lost keys, driving in snowstorms, times of great loss, and dangerous boat rides.   I've loved him through computer glitches, stock market ups and downs, mud puddles, and cozy nights.
     The relationship a married couple have with each other is the same relationship God desires with each of us.
     But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says: "Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.  When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!  When you walk through the fires of oppression, you will not be burned up: the flames will not consume you.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.  ...  you are precious to me.  You are honored, and I love you. ~ Isaiah 43: 1-4
     So, to my dear husband, you are precious to me, and I love you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Comes in With a Sparkle

      A picture of the table centerpiece for New Year's Eve.
"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.  ~Isaiah 43: 18-19
     May the year 2013 be filled with warmth, wisdom, and just a bit of sparkle.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Believe Notebook

     I elevated a plain black moleskin notebook into a fun place to record notes about my word for the year, "Believe."
     I love moleskin notebooks.  I had a package of three 3.5 x 5.5 inch notebooks in black.  They are a convenient place to jot down ideas, sketches, and to do lists.  I usually have one tucked into my purse.  But for my word for the year, I wanted something with a little more personality. So I transformed one of them.  I delved into my scrapbook paper stash and found a paper with selected verses on it from the Bible.  I cut it to the size of the outside of the cover and modpodged it on.  Then I embellished with a stamp in blue chalk ink.  The words, "to Believe is to have Faith," are a sticker.  I also added the butterfly.  Everything was topped with another layer of modpodge.  When the modpodge dried the cover curled a little bit.  I tucked it under a heavy book and it straightened right out.
     Decorating my notebook was quick and easy with materials that I already had on hand.  I've already begun to fill my notebook with ideas.
     Do you use moleskin notebooks?  Have you ever decorated one?

Updated:  So flattered that this post was featured at Create With Joy.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One Little Word for 2013: Believe


         With the hopeful fragrance of a new year upon us, many review our accomplishments and bad habits, in order to make plans and set goals.  We make resolutions to be kinder, stronger, healthier, and better.  And we want to accomplish these things with a flatter tummy and thinner thighs.
     For the last several years, I have changed from making a list of resolutions to choosing a word to frame my year.  My word has been a reminder to invite specific things into my life and to eliminate others.  Past words have been “Make room,” (Technically, that is two words, but I used it for two years.) 2011 was Kindle, and for 2012 my word was Dwell.
     Last Sunday, I just wasn’t sure which word I was going to chose for the year.  I felt a little impatient with myself.  I had a few words in mind, but I needed to think and pray it through.  Imagine my surprise when Pastor Mike announced his word for the year - Nevertheless!  That’s a great word.  I am looking forward to seeing where it takes him and our church family this year.  So following Mike’s lead, after our service, I hurried home and got to work.
     My word for 2013 comes from the best loved and most well known verses in the Bible.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16.
     My word for the year 2013 is believe.  Some form of the word “believe” appears over 320 times in the Bible.
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is...” ~ Hebrews 11:6
The Phillipian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs,what must I do to be saved?’  So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  ~Acts 16:30-31
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established.”  ~2 Chronicles 20:20
     According to  to believe means:
to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.
to have confidence or faith in the truth of something.
to give it credence.
to have a conviction that a person or thing is, has been or will be engaged in a given action or situation.
to entrust in something
to be persuaded of the thing to be believed
       I also looked believe up in the Strong’s Concordance.  The Greek word for “believe” used in John 3:16 means “to fully commit oneself to.”
     So John 3:16 says:  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever fully commits themselves to Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
     So I ask myself, if believe means to be fully committed, do I believe?  Like the father in Mark, my response is, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!
     Believers walk by faith, not by sight. Believers trust in the Lord with all their heart and lean not to their own understanding.  Believers are fully committed.  Believers believe!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Do Believe!

     A single word can be a powerful thing.  A word can comfort, bless, warm, scold, pray, or motivate. It can cause an action to ripple out like a drop of water in a pond.  It can be a resolution that enriches your life and causes you to grow and stretch.
     A few years ago, I began the tradition of selecting a word for the year.  In 2009 and 2010 I wanted to "Make room."  Technically, I guess that's two words, but I used them for two years.  In 2011, my word was "Kindle." In 2012, I chose "Dwell."  These words blessed me as I considered them throughout the year.  I continue to hold them close.
     My word for the coming year of 2013 is "Believe."  Believe means:
1.  to have confidence or faith in the truth of something; to give credence to.
2.  to have confidence in the assertion of ...
3.  to have a conviction
4.  to suppose or assume;  to understand
5.  to have faith
     I'm excited to see where this word will take me.
     Did you notice that beautiful Believe button?  Melanie at Only a Breath is sharing her talent by creating one word buttons for people for free.  If you are interested, please visit Melanie here.  I love mine.  She is also hosting a one word linky party to introduce your word.  If you haven't decided on a word, visit and you'll see many ideas.
     There is also a year long class at Big Picture Classes called One Little Word.  This is my third year participating in the class.  There is a fee of $36.  It is worth it.  The class is wonderful.  (This is my opinion.  I am not compensated in any way for saying this.)  Big Picture Classes has many free and low cost classes for scrap booking and photography.
     Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.  ~Saint Augustine

Visions of Sugar Plums...

     Riley and her Christmas present dreaming under the tree.
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