Monday, December 26, 2011

12 Days of Ornaments! #12

 My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)



I've included these two ornaments as #12 of my favorite ornaments on our Christmas tree this year.

A few reasons why I love this icicle and bird are:

My husband and I purchased these two sets of crystal ornaments twenty five years ago.

They are pure and clear and bright and reflective.

They freely dangle from thin branches.

They are old and fragile and delicate.

Some have been broken and yet some have survived over the years.





These fragile and delicate ornaments remind me of all the hopes and dreams of my earlier years.  I can recall the various times throughout my life where a shattering  broke in and loss  produced a void.



Relationships were sharply severed, loved ones suddenly died...my heart was left tattered and my spirit crushed.  But, in the midst of the shattering and among the devastation of brokenness there has always been a persevering and a saving Hand.  

While things were breaking there was a re-assembly taking place.  It may not have always been clear at the time.  I needed the hindsight that distance brought to be able to see the greater purposes for the pain.

I take comfort as I pull these fragile ornaments out each year.  I remember the brokenness and the shattering of the past and then I marvel at the clarity and beauty of the re-assembly and restoration.  It is an acknowledgement of my brokenness and God's redemption.  It is an awareness of my pain and a thankfulness for God's perseverance. 

It is a hope - a hope in the One who renews, redeems, reweaves, reorients, recovers and restores.

He died to redeem all that was lost.
He lives to reweave all that has unraveled.
He comes to put back together everything that's been broken.
He loves to restore all that's been taken.

He will return one glorious day to make everything sad untrue.  
To make everything new forever and ever.
Oh Glorious Day!
Come Lord Jesus, come.

12 Days of Ornaments! #11


My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...) 


If you know my husband Peter, 
you understand why 
this is the 
perfect ornament 
for him!  
He can pretty much fix anything, 
even if he's never fixed anything like it before.  
Yep, pretty amazing.  
I'm constantly asking him 
"How did you know how to do that?!?
Love.


12 Days of Ornaments #10


My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...) 

This ornament was given to me 
by a dear friend who
spent many mornings with me 
in prayer for our children.


"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working"
James 5:16

12 Days of Ornaments! #9

My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...) 


#9 is actually a group of three ornaments that are in a word
Simple.




Large gold bows are made of 
rich thick fabric 
tipped with hints of iridescent glitter.  










Dozens of small and large
red balls are shiny
and classic.












The red stars are over-sized and "glitterfied".








I love the juxtaposition of these three:
simplicity and sophistication
rich but inexpensive
beautiful yet common
timeless and timely...
Love.


12 Days of Ornaments! #8


My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)


There is really nothing better than 
a handmade ornament from your child.  
My son made this in first grade and
it is one of the first ornaments
I reach for 
year after year.
Real, honest and precious.
My son.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

12 Days of Ornaments! #7

My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...) 


This is a new ornament but is already one of my favorite!
It was courtesy of the 2011 CRPC Ornament Exchange. 
Good times - laughter, good food and some friendly steals :) 
Yes, I did steal this one!

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Ornaments! #6

My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...) 


This crystal angel was a 2006 Christmas gift from Sara Lemons. 
Sara and I met in a bible study and spent 
several years studying and praying together. 
She was an inspiration to so many - 
fun, loving, beautiful, kind and real. 
She had a smooth southern accent and a smile that would light up the room.

Sara battled breast cancer and passed away 
January 21, 2007 at age 48. 
I think about her often, not just at Christmas, 
and the memory of her always makes me smile.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

12 Days of Ornaments! #5

My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)



It seems like this is what Davin (my now 21 yr. old son)
has been doing all of his life! 
He and a little school friend of his
started swimming when they were seven. 
They swam all summer and when it came time for a swim meet 
his little friend quit the team...why you ask? 
In a word - 
speedo


Saturday, December 17, 2011

12 Days of Ornaments! #4


My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)


Micky has a spot on our tree year after year! 
We bought these (one Mickey and one Minnie) at Disney in Orlando 
shortly after we moved to Florida in 1992. 
If you live in Florida chances are
you have something Disney on your Christmas tree :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

12 Days of Ornaments! #3

My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)


We got this ornament several years ago and we love it!
It's too big for our tree so we hang it 
on the chandelier above our kitchen table. 
I love the doggy dishes :) Ceasar is still with us, but Sash is not :( 
Every time I look at this it reminds me of him - he was a great dog!)


12 Days of Ornaments! #2

My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)



This ornament was given to me by a dear friend 
who was my first Bible Study leader.
She is a faithful woman of prayer and committed wife 
and even though she does not live in Ft. Lauderdale 
I remember her often for her loving and open arms!


12 Days of Ornaments! #1


My 12 favorite ornaments on our tree. (in no particular order...)


I love snowmen and the sillier the better. 
This guy's head twirls separately from his body 
and he just looks goofy all the time. 
It makes me smile every time I see it on our tree!

(I think I bought it for an ornament exchange one year and decided to keep it ;)


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it really true? Immanuel?


One of my favorite names of God is Immanuel. This time of year it is repeated again and again in the songs we sing, the sermons we hear and the devotions we read. It's a familiar phrase - Immanuel - "God with us". It is so familiar that I tend to take it for granted...God with us.

 In my day to day hectic and fast paced living 
I tend to go about my business 
as if God is nowhere nearby at all!

I wrongly act as if I am on my own in this daily tension of living between the here and not yet. If you asked me, I would give you the correct theological response; of course, God is with us. He lives in you and in me if we have been rescued by our Redeemer. And yet, how does that translate to my right here and right now?

It's hard to know he is here with us. At times God seems hard to find, hard to hear, and we end up going it alone as a result.

As I walked by my Christmas tree I spied this ornament hanging among the evergreen branches - Emmanuel. It's barely noticeable tucked in close to the tree trunk. It's difficult to see and it wouldn't catch your attention as you walked by. I was actually looking for something else on our tree when I noticed it - pure white with red letters...Emmanuel. God with us. I [God] am with you.


So many times this is my story. I don't see God in my everyday walking around life. I go about my day and in those moments when I'm not looking for him, he shows up. It's not as if he is just popping in and out of my life. He has been there the whole time. God is teaching me more and more to trust him when I can't trace him. To lean wholly on the arms of Jesus knowing they will be there to catch me...even if I can't see them. Isn't that what faith is? Believing what you cannot see?

Don't despair if you feel far from God. Don't wring your hands or feel guilty or stressed out about it. The truth you can hang on to is the promise God gave you in the birth of his son Jesus. Immanuel. God is with us!

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive 
and bear a son,
and they shall call his name 
Immanuel” 

~Matthew 1:23

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Marriage: What Everyone Should Know About Marriage Before [And After] Getting Married


A recent post (here) discussed marriage and the problems we run into when we try to prepare for, or fix marriage by following five step programs or ten commandments. These prescriptions only serve to address the symptoms. What's worse is the message we end up with - that it's all up to us! We must follow this plan and be sure to complete all the steps and then - and only then - will we have the marriage we've been promised.


The truth is that only the gospel provides what our marriages need because only the gospel has the power to transform hearts and heal relationships.

We don't need more self help guides 
and do it yourself plans.

We need an outside Rescuer.  

Only Jesus can do what we cannot do for ourselves - save!  We don't have to strive and wring our hands.  The burden is lifted...we are free!

Read the full article in the Good News December 2011 Edition here.