Friday, December 31, 2010

Count Down

Happy New Year!!

Actually, I'm writing this on New Year's Eve. It's after 9:00 P.M. and I'm still functioning. This will surely be a year of miracles! Smile.

Frank and I had several options for the evening. We could have seen the Rogaine's perform at Sharky's. (Not making that up - promise! With the average age in this community hitting 76, there are ripple effects. Smile.)

We checked on dinner at Carney's but they didn't start serving until 8:00. I'm not yet 76 but I don't like eating that late intentionally.

Finally, we spotted a quaint cafe that had tables available outdoors. Jackets made an outdoor dinner possible and brought back thoughts of missions trips we've taken. We savored a delicious meal and rehearsed delightful memories made over the past thirty-one years together.

An after dinner stroll through the historic district capped off the evening. New memories!

But the main message I wanted to share this last night of 2010 involves beginnings more than memories.

Several years ago I read a great story Beth Moore related about cleaning the room of her daughter. As she gathered multiple notebooks from various corners, she realized that they each represented yet one more false start for her scholastically challenged daughter.

Fuming and frustrated, she questioned aloud when this child would finally follow through. "I just don't know if she'll ever get things together and move forward, Lord! What is the problem?!"

Beth Moore quieted herself long enough to hear the whisper from heaven, "How many fresh starts have I allowed you, Beth?"

The message struck her heart! And mine.

So as 2011 rolls in, step up to the new challenges without fear. The Father ordering our steps allows unlimited fresh starts. And who knows but what this is the year for you and the dreams He has for you!!

Again - Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


I'm living in the lap of "generosity"!

(I know, I know. The saying actually goes, "living in the lap of luxury" but generosity describes my situation better. Smile.)

Today marks thirty-one years that Frank and I have enjoyed marital bliss. Granted, some days more blissful than

But after thirty-one years, we're still together, still like each other, still sit on the love seat and snuggle more than we don't. In today's world, that's a WIN!!

On Tuesday, I met "Generosity" head-on and started pondering what a large role it plays in my life. For instance:
  • Tuesday AM, Shirley called to see if I would be attending the ladies' luncheon which she oversees monthly for our church. I hesitated just a moment and said (to be read with a southern, sing-song, drawl) "Ummm, nooooooo? I just hadn't planned on it this time." Immediately Shirley responded, "I don't blame you one bit. Glad you're getting some rest. See you Sunday." No guilt. No loud disappointed sigh. Not even a moment of silence. GENEROSITY!!
  • Later, friends from NC called to say they had driven to Orlando to watch NC State play WV in the play-off. They wanted to see us but understood about rare vacation days for us. "Hey, why don't we just drive over there?" they offered gladly. (Now bear in mind, these people had already driven TEN HOURS the day before.) "No problem! We'll meet you at a restaurant later today." And bonus - when the check came, they insisted on paying for our meals too. GENEROSITY!!
  • Today, Frank and I will travel to a lovely little beach town and spend two days focusing on each other. Our accommodations provided free of charge by a church that maintains a house for the escaping of ministers and missionaries. GENEROSITY!!
  • We will enjoy several meals out using gift cards which dear friends have slipped into our hands during Christmas. GENEROSITY!!
  • We will marvel together over God's lavish gifts of grace and forgiveness that have enabled us to stay happily married these many years. GENEROSITY!!
See what I'm talking about?

Yep, I'm definitely living in the lap of GENEROSITY! Sure hope you see yourself there too!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hawley Randomness

WE MADE IT! Christmas 2010 is passed and everyone has navigated the passage rather joyfully. (Don't I sound a bit like Charles Dickens? Smile.)

This was the first time in 23 years that the Hawley family has celebrated Christmas by ourselves. With extended family living so far away, we've always traveled to them or hosted them. Except for the year Meagan was born.

She arrived December 20, 1987; obviously we couldn't travel. Her premature birth caught everyone by surprise and so none of the family was prepared to come to Asheville (where we lived.)

This Christmas spent alone was different.

With all adult children, our family dynamic has taken a definite shift. We waited until 10:30 to share a big breakfast. Present-opening finally commenced around 11:30. We all moved at the pace of a tortoise and LOVED IT! Smile.

Everyone helped with the dinner feast AND the clean up afterward. "Many hands make light work!" Yes, a lovely time was had by all!!

One of the most delicious parts of Christmas this year? The office is closed for five days!!

(Thank heavens for cell phones which keep us in touch with whomever might need to contact their pastors. Now we can enjoy a few days of real "breathe time". Ahhhh.)

The snow storm north of us brought a beautiful blanket of frost to our yard this morning. Gracie and Bella were in shock!

Bella begged to be let back inside immediately following her........ummm, deposit. And Gracie wandered the patio several moments searching for the least icy spot available for her little princess paws.

Resolution and full kidneys caused her to plunge head-long into the "frozen tundra", tinkle quickly and dash back to the door! Bella is now contentedly curled at my feet and Gracie is backed up to me as closely as she can possibly get without taking over the laptop spot. So funny!

Guess that's probably more generic information about the Hawley household than anyone ever wanted to know. I'll try to have something more significant to post tomorrow. Smile.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blessed Christmas Greetings

On such a wonderful day, "Hi, Ya'll!" just doesn't have the appropriate ring. Hence, "Blessed Christmas Greetings.........Ya'll!" Smile.

I'm aware that I've been extremely negligent with my writing this past week and for that I apologize. But those of you who know me well will be pleased to learn that I made a diligent effort at pacing myself this week.

(The fact that I chose to leave off the baking of a pound cake for today's dinner is real evidence! Time was slipping by and the pound cake - which I dearly love - would have cost me time with family so......the traditional Christmas pound cake will be New Year's pound cake this year. Are you proud of me?! Smile.)

We took quite a bit of time laying out a "flexible-plan-to-be-unplanned-at-any-moment" plan on Thursday. Just something to kind of keep us all headed in the same general direction today.

It got funny as everyone hesitantly gave their opinion then backed up and said, "....only if that's what everyone else would like to do!" The final decision gave John and Joy time at their house together; then everyone gathers at our house for presents and CHRISTMAS DINNER.

Our plans also include the task of developing new traditions for a predominantly adult family. After the Christmas Eve service last night, Joy announced to John that their new tradition would be Christmas morning IHOP! Smile.

I'm sure that each of us is probably facing some situations we wish we weren't this special day: loss of a loved one, perhaps a job, missing family that couldn't join us. But there are also countless blessings in each of our lives that beg to be marked.

As you gather at a table with whatever portion of your family is available. And as you attempt to keep the type A family members from stressing the type B family members (smile); just take a moment and breathe in this truth:

God's gift to us is still the most amazing part of Christmas;
Emmanuel - God with us!

Merry Christmas, dear friends!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Sunday

Whew! Our final EVENTS of the 2010 Christmas season took place yesterday.

The children's presentation in the morning service and the leadership party at our home last night. Both were such fun. You can't miss with children on stage. And parties with real friends are especially nice.

As always, two little guys stole the morning. Donovan (4) really had to go potty after the second song and he could not understand why his mom - who was looking right at him and smiling - kept shaking her head "No!"

Baccarius was on the second row and couldn't make up his mind if he wanted to stand next to his sister (stage right) or his big brother (stage left). So he simply divided his time equally, transitioning with each song then turning to flash a huge smile at the audience! So cute!

We avoided the classic "nose-picking" and "panty-flashing" which seem to always accompany children's Christmas productions. But only because this presentation was abbreviated, I'm sure. Smile.

Then we dashed home for the final whirlwind of preparations, making ready for our leadership teams to come over. I was so very thankful for the extra help of a couple of young friends and Kristin.

Our friends caught the loose ends; Kristin and Frank decorated. I mostly stood in the middle of the kitchen turning in circles and barking orders that made little to no sense.

It's one thing to love having people into your home. It's another thing entirely to be organized enough not to panic just before they arrive! (Regular readers understand my serious lack of organizational skills. That's why we called in reinforcements. Smile.)

Frank's hometown newspaper closes nearly every "society report" with this phrase, "And a lovely time was had by all." That pretty well sums up our party with the staff and church board!

I did find myself caught off-guard by a couple of exceptionally big waves of grief on Saturday.

Meagan and I were on a dual mission that morning. Time-sensitive Christmas gifts needed to be purchased along with the final food items for our party. (Others might say we "went shopping" but for both of us - it was a mission! We're not big pleasure shoppers. Smile.)

We had split up in Wal-mart, maximizing our time. I pushed my cart with purpose while fumbling through my purse to snag the list. Glancing to the left, I caught sight of a top hanging in the women's section and thought, "Oh, Mom would love that. It looks just like her!"

My heart lurched and before I could swallow and check them, tears began flowing.

I took the deep cleansing breath we all employ when crying insists on pushing its way to the surface. But it was no use. For one brief moment, I considered abandoning my cart and making a dash for the parking lot.

But this was the time slot allotted for the "Wal-mart Run" and hiding in the car would only impede our progress. So, I took the one course of action remaining. I found a gently used tissue in my purse and pressed on - wiping at tears and scanning shelves.

I'm sure several people wondered about the crazy lady crying in the frozen food section.

I must say it was a great improvement being able to cry in Frank's arms later while using Mom's recipe for the sausage balls she baked for every holiday party. Sigh.

Joy and sorrow. Tears and laughter. Two equally important sides of the coin called life.

Hope your coin is heavy on the joyful side today!

One final note. Today is the twenty-third birthday of our precious Meagan Elizabeth! We can't believe that much time has flown by. And we find ourselves more amazed every day at the beautiful, confident woman our "little girl" has become. Happy Day, Meagan!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Family Photo

The Christmas photo cards have begun arriving and I am thrilled!

Don't you love them, too?! Especially the cards from friends and family who live far away. It's such a fun thing to open the envelope and be greeted with the smiling faces of people we've not seen in a long time.

I'm also a big fan of the "family newsletter" which allows us to catch up with major events. But there's nothing quite like that first glimpse of the newest addition, the family on vacation, the prodigious pets, the coordinated Christmas outfits..........

"Oooohh!" "Look how cute they are!!" "Good grief, those kids have really grown this year!" "Mmmmm, I don't look too much older than her." (Oh wait, did I write that thought? Smile.)

I've always loved these so much that right after Kristin was born, I launched an attempt to organize what I thought would surely be an annual event enjoyed by the entire extended family - the taking of the official Christmas Photo!

Both my brother and sister were still living at home and I thought the toughest part of these proceedings would be to get an appointment at a studio during the brief period Frank, Kristin and I could be there.

Oh the hardships of the young and naive! Smile.

I'll spare you the horrors of trying to:
  • line up everyone's schedules;
  • encourage the selection of clothing that didn't clash;
  • ignore snide remarks about pointless pictures;
  • endure the long ride with a screaming baby.
The real excitement began when we arrived at the studio and discovered that a "fill-in" photographer was on duty. Apparently her training amounted to snapshots taken of high school friends for the year book fun page!

She didn't know how to reposition the camera for a larger group. Bear in mind there were only six adults and one tiny, crying baby. The photographer (and I use that term loosely) squished us together in an area designed for four children - max.

When our pictures were mailed to us three weeks later, I tore into the package, caught a glimpse of the first pose and gasped. Not in delight but in disbelief!

My tall dad was asked to bend down slightly in order to keep his head in the shot. Mom sat in the center attempting to comfort the baby and appeared to be wearing Kristin like a medallion on her chest. My brother's eyes were partially closed in every shot; giving him the appearance of a teen alcoholic. Vonnie and I sported painfully fixed smiles. Only Frank appeared somewhat normal. Sigh!

Two years later, we tried it again. The pictures were much better. But the tsunami of difficulty that proceeded our arrival at the studio caused me to promise never to attempt an extended family photo again! E.V.E.R.!!

(My brilliant friend, Becky Smith, captures and adds fabulous family pictures to all her blog posts. She is my hero!)

There was also the surreptitious photo session I attempted with Kristin and Joy one Christmas for a portrait to hang in Frank's office. Kristin was three; Joy was twelve months. And they immediately picked up on my anxiety level.

We finally got an acceptable shot. But it does not tell the story of what happens when two little girls decide they DON'T want their picture taken!

(How interesting that Kristin has actually become the photo-journalist for our family. I guess we didn't scar her too badly. Smile.)

So when you open the next Christmas card that contains any sort of group picture, I'd like to encourage you to pause. Take a moment to be duly appreciative of the effort behind said photo. Reverently place it on your refrigerator. Then call your friend/family member and ask the simple question, "What did it take to get such a great shot?"

Prepare to be entertained!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Best Celebrations!

Last night was the kind of evening I love best!

We celebrated Meagan's 23rd birthday and our house was alive with activity. Now, please understand that her birthday is actually next Monday. But because a certain young man (let's just call him a "person of interest") will be flying home on that special day - we had to scramble and find another time that the whole family could congregate.

Several phone calls and one canceled party at the Schreck home later, we had it! A night when all the family (birthed, adopted, married, interested in marrying) could rendezvous at Misty Morning Drive all at the exact same time. Marvelous!

Joy (now great with child) helped me prepare the meal Meagan had requested. Actually, chicken parmigiana is Joy's specialty; soooo mostly I helped her! Ah, the joys of adult children. Smile.

Kristin and Amanda decorated the table with help from Ashley (another adopted one). The guys watched football and tried to NOT hover over the stove asking, "How much longer?" "Can I have just a taste?!"

We finally served the beautiful meal; Dad prayed a birthday blessing for the guest of honor; we ate; we laughed; we all told funny "Meagan" stories; we girls tried not to cry over our memories. Resplendent! Dare I say it again? Absolutely resplendent!! Smile.

As I sat quietly at the same table this morning, rehearsing the evening, smiling, being thankful - I found it interesting that the word "squandered" kept coming to mind. (Believe it or not, I do pray over what to write. It's always my hope that something will be a challenge or encouragement.)

"Why the word 'squandered', Lord?" I thought in my little ole head.

Then it was almost as if I could see other times that I had missed the wonder of such a simple evening with longing for what "wasn't". You know:
  • we were all together but it wasn't her actual birthday.
  • there were a couple of gifts but they weren't all we would have liked to give.
  • the table was nice but it wasn't china and crystal.
  • there was one pregnant lady but no little children to hug and pamper.
  • we managed to squeeze around our table but there isn't a dining room for such
See what I mean?

I sat looking out and asking the Lord to forgive me for the times I've squandered the joy He meant for the moment. I also determined to renew my commitment of living right now; appreciating the current joys; savoring instead of squandering.

Therein, lies the best delight for any special time!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Let It Snow!

Thank heaven for a real Friday off!

Well, what I meant to say was thank heaven for a Friday that doesn't involve any scheduled church activity. Now I can focus on cleaning the house for upcoming church gatherings and Frank can reclaim the yard.

We've lost quite a few plants to this unseasonable freeze. His layered look this morning seemed totally inappropriate for the global warming we are supposedly experiencing. Smile.

I thought it might be fun to share some of our favorite Christmas memories with you over the next few days. We've actually had several Christmas "miracles" take place through the years. And every time we tell these stories, people seem to be encouraged.

Here's a favorite.

When we moved from Asheville, NC to the coast (near Myrtle Beach, SC) to pioneer a church, our girls were very little. Meagan was only five.

The church, which started with thirteen people, was still in the infancy stage our first Christmas in Ocean Isle Beach. Money was extremely tight and everyone was a bit sad for various reasons.

We had lived in the mountains for about twelve years; the girls were all born in Asheville. So not only were we missing friends that felt like family, we were also missing the landscape and we knew there would certainly be no snow that close to the ocean.

Frank and I tried our best to be upbeat and keep everyone in good spirits. In fact, that was the year we came up with the "Dollar Store Christmas" idea. It worked like this.

Because we home schooled at the time, we chose a weekday and had a special breakfast all together. Then Dad and I ceremoniously presented each daughter with five dollars. This seemed an exorbitant sum to our little girls.

We piled into the van and drove to town. Of course, Christmas carols were chosen and performed by all as we drove. Great entertainment!

Once we arrived at the dollar store, the real fun began. Kristin, Joy and Meagan grabbed individual baskets then started thoughtfully casing the aisles for potential gift selections.

The store was relatively small so Frank and I kept an eye on them from a distance. This only added to their feeling of independence. They would settle on a gift item then run to Mom or Dad to find out if we agreed on the appropriateness of said item.

"Don't look, Joy!"
"Turn your head, Kristin!"
"Meagan, stay where you are!"
I can hear their little girl voices ringing through the store even now and it makes me smile.

Check-out at the single register was carefully orchestrated in order to avoid even Mom and Dad seeing what treasures the girls had selected. We headed home and they scattered to hiding places throughout the house in order to wrap their presents then place them under the tree.

Dinner that night was more joyful than any we'd had in a while. The girls' excitement level was contagious. And because we would be traveling to Pensacola for Christmas Day, it was determined that our own Christmas would take place that coming Friday. Squeals of delight!

Friday finally arrived and amazingly, it was cold enough for a real fire in the hearth. Frank had it blazing by the time the girls finished breakfast and we ooo'd and ahhh'd over it's beauty.

Just as we began our normal Christmas morning traditions, it happened. A gentle snow began to fall. Snow at the beach!

We could hardly believe our eyes.

The girls ran outside, laughing and shrieking with joy! It took a while but we finally got them back in to open the few gifts we had purchased. And their eyes twinkled as the "Dollar Store Treasures" were unwrapped. You would have thought we had all shopped at Neiman Marcus!

As the last gift was opened and the paper was being gathered up, Frank noticed the snow subsiding.

"Look," one of the girls said. "The Lord knows what a tough time we've all been having and He sent snow just to make our Christmas more special. He really loves us doesn't He, Daddy?!"

Tears sprang to our eyes as Frank and I looked at one another over the tops of their little blond heads.

We spent five more winters in Ocean Isle and it never snowed another day.

That's why our family marks it as a miracle to be remembered. A special kiss sent from heaven just to say, "I know right where you are. And I'll suspend the laws of nature, if necessary, to tell you of my love."

A Christmas Miracle indeed. And be reminded, dear reader, He loves you just that much too!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Apology

Thank you for your patience!

No, my computer did NOT crash, catch a virus, convulse nor otherwise concede to a non-working status. I just have NOT had time to sit down and put two thoughts together. (Which may not seem necessary when writing a blog post but it certainly helps! Smile.)

Christmas in FL has an added time element we didn't budget for while living in NC. As November draws to a close here, the temperature drops well into the 70's or lower. (Collective gasp!)

It's the first time in months that we're able to get outdoors to walk, bike, garden or do any other outdoorsey type activities without running the risk of collapsing from heat stroke.

This time of year in NC found me bundling up; dashing from store to store; rushing home with the proverbial packages; putting on a pot of soup, chili, or other steaming sustenance; wrapping up in a blanket; watching the latest Hallmark movie and calling it an evening.

While living in the mountains, we would often have the delight of a "snow day". These not only meant no school for the kids; it also meant rest, reflect, regroup day for Mom. Ahhhh, the memories.

Time off in FL during the Christmas season requires all the regular shopping; dashing; rushing. But it also is the perfect time to finally be outdoors catching up on the Vitamin D you couldn't get in September because of the HEAT! (I know, it's terribly convoluted.)

Frank and I have also made it a ministry habit to "load" early December with as many activities (parties, socials, events) as possible in order to leave the last two weeks for family. This year is no different. And that, dear readers, is why I've been negligent in the area of writing.

Yep, more information than you ever needed or wanted! Smile.

We finally squeezed our traditional tree decorating evening into an hour on Tuesday. It was a little bitter sweet as Joy and John opted out this year. They needed to deck their own halls, you know.

Frank and I are acutely aware that soon it will be back to just he and I adorning the tree. We'll gingerly position each hand-crafted, school-glued ornamental treasure. We will sigh, smile, and brush stray tears.

Because whether celebrated in the drifting snow or beside waving palm trees - Christmas is a season of the heart! The real issue here isn't climate, gifts, choirs or meals. It's the love shared - period. And that takes off a lot of pressure.

Hope you are sharing love, taking time and finding joy in your celebrating!

P.S. Funny side-note. I just proofed this post and realized that I have nine "lists" in just twelve paragraphs. Don't know exactly what sparked such a conundrum of continuation - but there you have it! Smile.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Perfect Evening

You'll be happy to know that the Christmas parade was a smashing success!

I'm aware that they did not feel compelled to make the Auburndale Christmas Parade a lead story on the national news, so I'm just letting you know.

It just so happens that this year, Centerstate Bank (where Joy works) was chosen as Grand Marshall. So our very own daughter, Alicia Joy Hawley Schreck - and "Baby Schreck"- led the parade atop an antique fire engine. She did an excellent job of throwing candy, looking lovely, greeting the crowd with the traditional princess wave.

We are even enjoying a serious cold snap here which gave us the opportunity to wear coats, sweatshirts, scarves and drink hot chocolate. Doesn't get much better than that.

John had his picture made sitting in the middle of Havendale Bvld. (The six lane boulevard that the city closed for the parade. Yes, six lanes. I told you this was big stuff! Smile.)

Afterward, everyone came to our house for a bowl of homemade vegetable soup. My brother's family joined us and we all sat around the table laughing, telling stories, teasing. By that time, I was too tired to contribute; but I did sit back with a big silly grin on my face - just loving the moment.

It was completely impromptu. Unplanned. Unscripted. Uncomplicated.

My house was messy, I didn't have saltines or soda, the glasses didn't match, we passed out paper towels for napkins and had to use a couple of folding chairs.....but Martha Stewart has never hosted a more completely perfect evening.

This morning I read the classic verses which detail the benchmarks of perfect love found in I John 4:
  • "This is love; not that we loved God but that He loved us."
  • "...since God loved us, we also ought to love one another."
  • "There is no fear in love...perfect love drives out fear."
  • "We love because He first loved us"
  • "...let us love one another for love comes from God."
And I thought about how so many people are sad during this time of year. (Oddly enough statistics support this as being an extremely depressing time for many.)

We tend to set unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. When things don't follow our "script" or when perfection eludes us, it's easy to become disappointed, frustrated or even depressed.

But the kind of love found in I John sets us free from unrealistic expectations. It also drives out fears, like:
  • fear of being overlooked
  • fear of being taken for granted
  • fear of being judged
  • fear of being taken advantage of; and so on.
Through the years, I've heard it said that fear is the opposite of faith. But after pondering these things this morning, I tend to believe that fear is the opposite of LOVE. And only pure, simple love - the kind that is dispensed by the Father - can defeat fear in our lives.

You, dear reader, are loved this day with a perfect, unrelenting love! Wrap yourself in the warmth of that truth and march into this Christmas season knowing that you can afford to love lavishly because He first loved us!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I have been guilty of seeing vultures instead of eagles!

It's true. Because of the lakes and a nearby landfill, we see huge black birds flying overhead all the time - vultures. And I despise them! Of all the birds God created, I think vultures must top the list of "Despicable Creations". (Not sure if there really is such a list but there should be! Smile.)

Each time I would see them circling, glaring, foraging, fighting - doing what gross, horrid vultures do - I would cringe, make a face and loudly declare, "I hate vultures!"

Several weeks ago, I was working in the back yard when I spotted another of the nasty scavengers. I looked up and prepared to make my declaration to no one in particular when suddenly I took a closer look.

The bird slowly circling overhead was not a vulture - it was a bald eagle! My disgust immediately changed to delight over the sighting of such a rare and majestic creature soaring on the wind current directly over our home.

A few days later, Frank spotted another one and as we compared notes, we realized that there had to be nest nearby. We began searching the skies daily, hoping to spot one of the beautiful eagles.

We also began to glean information about the eagle population in this area. (I had no idea that the little community of "Eagle Lake" near us had been named such because of a large population nesting there years ago. Duh.)

It appears that there is actually a nest due east of us. Just after sunrise, you can often catch about three of the adults flying off to the southwest (to hunt, I suppose). And if we're home, we've been privileged to spot them returning just before sunset.

Frank has always had a love for eagles and all they represent. Some of his most prized possessions are figurines, pictures and books depicting these marvelous creatures. Knowing they are around us in such abundance right now has brought us both great joy!

Now, here's the kicker.

Eagle Lake is about five miles west of us; it's been there ever since we moved here. There is also a county landfill about five miles east of us. It's been there ever since we moved here.

Apparently, Eagle Lake has been drawing eagles to its shores for decades; the landfill has been drawing vultures for just about as long.

I didn't know about the eagles but I did know about the vultures. In my mind, spotting an eagle wasn't even a possibility. So every time I saw a large winged creature in the sky, I was immediately repulsed and compelled to launch into my declaration of disgust.

Now I know that very often I was actually seeing eagles; mis-identifying them; being disgusted; and completely missing out on a moment of joy God had intended for me.

(Do you see the sermon illustration here? Smile.)

Very often God has beauty circling all around us but because we don't think that kind of joy is possible for us, we completely miss it! What a waste!

Yes, I confess to you dear reader that I have been guilty of seeing only the "vultures" and missing the "eagles" both literally and figuratively. But now that I'm better informed, I can promise you - I'm determined to watch for eagles! Join me, won't you?!

P.S. Special thanks for all the words of love and encouragement on this day of remembering. Your kindness helps me keep looking up! Smile.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Christmas Time

Have you put up your Christmas lights?

We just completed ours at the church yesterday. Frank actually spent several hours putting on the finishing touches; he has such a great eye for details.

The tree in our foyer must be ten feet tall and we are all about abundance. It took three ladies over an hour to get the plethora of ornaments in just the right nooks, crannies, branches, bare spots...........

I do NOT have a good eye for decorating details. So I just unpack everything, hand it out to the ones waiting, then come along and say, "OOOOOO!!" "AHHHHH!!" "Beautiful!" "Well Done!!"

Yes, I'm one of the official "Oooo" "Ahhh 'ers" in the Body of Christ!

What?! You've never before heard of this important position? I'm shocked!

Surely you're mindful of the particular people in your family or church who are naturally talented with all things decorative and creative. You know, the women who can take a milk carton, two rolls of duct tape, one Bedazzler and some twine; twenty minutes later they come back with a Tiffany Lamp?

Yeah, well. I'm NOT one of those.

But I AM able to come along; observe the effort; appreciate the creativity; acknowledge the hard work; affirm the artist! I'm an official "Oooo" "Ahhh 'er". And without my gift, the creative people have no real reason or motivation to continue.............well, creating!

It takes us all, friends! (Smile.)

We hope to make the official decorative transition of our home for the Christmas season this weekend. If you hear of an unprecedented power surge in the southeast, don't be alarmed. It will just be us - plugging in our lights!!