Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Last Week of 2015

I love the transition week after Christmas.

Hubby and I traveled to our children homes over the holiday, spending time with our five grandchildren. Once again I was fighting  physical afflictions, but joy pressed through via hugs, games, movies, good food and "just the right gifts."

We are home now and I've spent several hours in the office over the past two days, but this afternoon I picked up my knitting and watched the last Christmas movie on my DVR. I will finish reading my final Christmas book this week too. Saturday the tree with its twinkling lights will be undressed and carried away.

I set aside a few hours on Sunday to create Vision cards for the year ahead. In the past, each New Year's Eve I dug out all my goodies needed in making a dream board for the coming year. This year, I opted to begin with large index cards , mini dream boards, each depicting an area of focus for 2016. Actually I let the creative process flow but the finished cards ( there are 10) aligned with my focus areas plus two surprises.

I am pondering how much time I want to dedicate to blogging in the year ahead. As this quiet week comes to a close along with 2015, I plan to spend time looking over my goals and searching my heart for the things I value and love.

Closing 2015, many thanks go out to my few faithful blog followers. Thanks for sticking with me. Rest and regroup with me carrying a grateful heart, letting go of those unwanted weighted thoughts and unhappy memories of 2015, gathering the good ones in my arms and looking ahead with hope.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Falling Stars

I found this card from my daughter on the floor in my office this morning. For a long time I had it hanging with others on the wall but it must have slipped off. Exactly what I needed today! Funny how I barely noticed it in plain sight but when moving a case, the starry treasure jumped out to greet me from the floor.

A week ago today I came down with a cold. I seriously thought I was beating it but every day the cold has gotten worse and feels like its beating me. I spent the past two nights in my recliner, upright to contain the cough. 

I made myself a promise to slow down this holiday season and not stress out, so Ive been working at Christmas shopping etc. at a modified pace. This may not have served me well. Now I have Christmas cards to write ( I haven't even bought them yet), a tree to choose and decorate, gifts to finish and wrap ... well you know the drill.

Instead I've been reading holiday novels, watching a few Christmas movies and going back over my journals of the past year. 

And I haven't finished my shopping! I tried the online thing this week. I had the perfect gift in mind for a grandchild. I even found the color! Alas, out of stock. I tried several other places to no avail. Everyone must have the same idea. Finally I managed to get all the way through to checkout with a second choice only to find they wouldn't ship to me internationally. Internationally? What? Seriously? I'm right here in the States. Hello?!

Here I am on this beautiful unusual spring-like Sunday in northern Maine, housebound, sick and stressed. 

Hence the card.

Perspective, girl, perspective! 

With all that's happening in our world, I count my blessings today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Painted Grace

He canceled the record of the  charges against us
and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 
In this way he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities
He shamed them publicly by his victory over them at the cross.
Colossians 2:14-15 NLT

As I opened Beth's study on legalism, my heart sank. Rules, perfectionism, lack of mercy.
I see my own reflection in the Pharisee. 
The old me, the me who raised her children by mixtures and measures of grace and rules.

Measuring sticks handed out at church combined  with filters lodged in my soul by my own harsh childhood created a lethal combination.

I spent untold hours over the last few years in repentance and remorse until all good of the past is shrouded in shame. 

Sometimes all that is left is to forgive oneself and move on to victory ground. The ground of the cross where the record of our failures was expunged.

I am choosing the solid ground covered in Blood but my heart aches for the mixed message I gave my children concerning God. The God of Love and mercy.

Then I'm reminded of a promise given long ago.

Lord, you promised to paint grace over the canvas of my family's lives. I take you at your Word.

Your faithful love endures forever. 

I forgive me and release myself from blame - solely because of who you are and whose I am.

I believe your grace is huge! 

Paint big, Lord! 

Huge beautiful strokes of grace

reveal the true God of love.

I once prayed a prayer that I would be soaked in grace until I ooze grace.

I want to ooze the colors of grace.

Show us your glory,  O Redeemer and Restorer in this advent season.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ending or Beginning?

The mattering part is never what isn't...
It isn't what dream has been cut down, 
what hope has been cut off
what part of the heart has been cut out.
The tender mattering part is-
you have a Tree.
Ann Voskamp

Another holiday ended in loss and disappointment. It was the first time my girls had both been home in months and months. I looked forward to scrabble games, movies, and art time together. A 3:00 a.m. wakeup sick stomach Thanksgiving morning put an end to all that. I struggled to get through the day and they left early the next morning.

I wrote in my journal - another ending in loss and disappointment. It seems every holiday I  battle sickness. 

I sat with my Bible open in my lap, my despair shadowing the written words. 

Unexpectedly a question dropped in my heart. 

What if this is not an ending but a beginning?

God has always used "what if" questions to get my attention. This thought had His fingerprints all over it.

I carried the question with me through the ending days of November, unfurling into December.

December - the ending of twelve months yet a time to cast forward toward a new year. 

Often we are so caught up in the stress and planning for Christmas that we barrel into January and quickly pen resolutions. 

What if we made space for beginning now?

How can I clear moments today for clarity tomorrow?

I move slowly into this first morning of December even though the day looms mountainous. Two appointments for me and taking my brother for his errands while battling a cold presses upon my weary body and soul.

Yet I hold a handful of hope.

Isaiah 11 focuses me forward. Winter lies ahead but spring will come. 

Hope gazes not on what ended but what begins.