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When Elizabeth was six months along

When Elizabeth was six months along with John, an angel met with Mary who was engaged to be married to Joseph.
Gabriel appeared to her in Luke 1:28 and he said,
“Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Now we must stop for a second and remember she was only 16, not quite a woman; but God knew.
It said she was, confused and disturbed as she thought about what the angel had said to her.
Wouldn’t that be the normal response when hearing a greeting like that?
The other thing to remember; women who were pregnant and not married were often stoned to death.
It was a serious issue not only for her, for Joseph and their families involved.
She must have had many questions and concerns.
Then the angel said,
“Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So, the baby to be born will be holy, and will be called the Son of God.
What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!
People used to say she was barren, but now she is in her sixth month.
For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary’s response to the angel was,
“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true,”
Then the angel left her.
{I truly think the angel brought the news about Elizabeth to Mary, so she would believe more intensely and with more reality.
She knew Elizabeth was old and barren. She also knew she must go see her and see for herself what the angel had said.}
When Elizabeth was six months along with John, Mary went to visit her.

It was all taking place to complete the story

It was all taking place to complete the story.
When I think of the Christmas story; I am in awe and in amazement of the number of players that were used to create the scenes.
It is orchestrated like a screen play with everyone doing every little part, to make the whole, story complete.
God was so wise to use a simple teenager, and a humble man.
Of course, HE was wise, He is God the Almighty Father.
It was perhaps a love story; that would be tested from the moment the angel met with Mary.
She was a teen, so young and being told. “You are to be the chosen one.”
She had a tender heart full of acceptance and honor.
Can you even imagine how it started? Being startled by an angel in the room?
“Don’t be afraid.” (Of course, he would have to say that!) I would be terrified.
I have always been amazed over the fact that the angel spoke in a language Mary could understand.
We don’t think of angels having language or sound other than singing.
I wonder if sometimes WE get an angel among us telling us things that we hear, but not realizing Who was telling us?
Mary was the chosen one to be the mother of Jesus.
In Luke 1: The story is written and played out and it unravels with each and every character.
The beginning of it began with Zechariah and Elizabeth who were relatives of Mary.
It was the miracle before the miracle.
Their son, John would be born before Jesus.
Elizabeth was barren for many years and then Zechariah was told they would have a son.
He didn’t believe the angel and so the angel told him to be quiet until the birth took place.
I don’t blame him for doubting, that would be the reaction of many in the same situation.
But God… can do miracles.
A miracle before the miracle.
When I think of the Christmas story I am always in awe of the details and the obedience.
It was all taking place to complete the story.

The end of the month already

The end of the month already and the year is almost over.
We had our small Thanksgiving meal with family and friends, and soon we will begin to decorate.
Christmas is a fun time of year, but the mess is often not fun to drag out and then put away.
I love the lights in the dark, and our nativity sets.
Oh, and I really love the music and the festive spirit it creates in the room.
We get cards in the mail from family and friends, and we try to write a ‘newsletter’ with pictures.
The end of year traditions.
Each year I think it’s good to re-evaluate how the year went, what did we learn and how could we do better.
Our health was good. No big issues to deal with.
Our family is all well and healthy and the kids are doing good in all of their adventures.
There is very little to complain about.
I think it’s more about giving thanks.
We give thanks for many things both now and in our future.
I am glad we don’t see what could be coming.
Be rested and prepared. Be ready and alert.
My word of the year was comfort and I am not sure why, but the year is not over right?
There is a verse in the book of Micah in the Old Testament.
6:8 [He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God.]
It is a good way to live actually.
I think there are other verses that challenge us and help us to grow more thankful.
It is good, to love mercy. Act justly. Walk humbly with God who knows our hearts anyway.
He has shown you. Meaning We saw, we listened and we learned.]
The end of the month is almost over and Thanksgiving will be put away to make room for Christmas.
We will sing the songs, write the cards, and make the phone calls.
The end of the month already and the year is almost over.

A time for Thanksgiving and reflection

A time for Thanksgiving and reflection is here.
There is so much going on with many people on a personal level and on a statewide level.
Tragedy is the word of the week.
A family in our church lost their oldest son in a car accident.
What a terrible loss and shock.
Then a car smashed into a group of parade band players wrecking so many lives in the middle of carnage.
SO unnecessary, so horrible.
I have few words to share about any of this; it is just too difficult to wrap my mind around the why.
Last night I was getting ready for bed as I was thinking of Thanksgiving and the dinner to come.
Families will have one table setting missing. One chair empty. A chair EMPTY.
What do you do?
The parade could have had multiple kids in a family.
I am not aware of the names or the damage I just know it was horrible.
Thanksgiving, A time for giving thanks.
Can we really do that in the middle of crisis times>
Grief follows those around whose hearts are broken and weary.
No one can prepare you for the loss of a loved one.
It is not in a book that one can read, it is not a class for preparation.
It is in the shock of hearing and receiving the news.
YOUR loved one is gone. Injured. Wounded somewhere in a hospital bed.
Someone who did not know you or them or anyone else, just kept driving.
Someone caused the intensity and the life altering moments forever.
At a time of Thanks giving we are a bit confused how we can do it.
Give thanks with a grateful heart.
But how if your loved one is gone or seriously injured?
Our Pastor spoke on Sunday, how you just have to keep pressing forward.
He is very sad, having lost a lot of those who meant the most to him this year.
It is not an easy job and sometimes your own emotions cannot be pushed down anymore.
A time for Thanksgiving and reflection is here.
Let us take some time for some quiet.

Learn the unforced rhythms

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you will learn to live freely and lightly. Matthew 11:28-29-30

I love this verse.
First of all it sets the stage for us to listen. “Learn” and trust.
Then HE promises us nothing will come at us that is not within our ability to over come, so long as we keep HIS company.
When we have friends we want to spend time with them.
When we know and love the Lord, we want to spend time with him too.
Within this verse.
He is setting the stage for us to ‘keep company’ with him, walk with Him and learn from Him.
He being the Lord Jesus.
He promises we will learn that doesn’t mean, maybe, but we WILL learn so long as we have to keep an open mindset.
The unforced rhythms of Grace.
What does that mean?
I think it is a slow progression.
Rhythms are repetitive, like in music, over and over or like the waves of the sea.
A slow learning, a deep quiet of intentional listening.
A trust that nothing will be so difficult that we cannot make it through without HIS help.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I trusted in the process before me.
It was important for me to center in and not allow fear to over power me.
As we get closer to Thanksgiving and the holidays, I pray we learn a quiet peaceful place.
Deep within our hearts.It allows a slow ministering kind of healing.
The grace is given not because we deserve it or have done anything to have it given to us.
HE gives us grace because that is the KIND of loving Father He is to us. It is a gift.
Learn, means to be open, and be ready to receive, may we grow strong in this process as we learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

It was November 3rd 1973

It was November 3rd 1973.
We were young. We had no idea what we were doing, I was 18 and he was 19.
I could cook Kraft macaroni and cheese and top ramen noodles, oh and hamburger helper too.
We chose a autumn theme with colors of gold, yellow, green, brown and white.
I paid for the wedding. His mom made the wedding cake and my grandma made my dress.
The wedding was simple. The church was pretty.
(probably the last time I will get him to wear a yellow tuxedo)

Our youth Pastor did our ceremony and many years later, we were able to meet him again and give him a huge hug.It wasn’t too long till we had a son who now has three boys and a daughter who has three girls.
Grand children are the best.
We adore each of them and pray constantly for their health and happiness and that they will walk and know the Lord at some point in their lives.
It has been 48 years. Many changes, much growth, many pages turned in a book of life together.
We have lost parents and siblings, and good friends too.
Life is always a series of changes and growth.
Now we enter into retirement and growing old through good and bad.
As the ceremony said, in sickness and in health, richer or poorer till we part from each other.
For now we journey along and thank God for every year we spend making memories. Happy Anniversary to us!
It was November 3rd, 1973.

The last day of October will be here

The last day of October will be here very soon.
About this time I switch my thoughts to the holidays, Thanksgiving and the menu to follow.
We already ordered our turkey from a natural ‘health’ grocery store.
Not really sure who will join us. but I am always up for a good turkey dinner with all the leftovers.
I found a friends recipe for whole cranberries which is very good.
We just have to find our ‘items’ for the dish.
Soon we also will have our anniversary too.
Yes we got married in November using fall colors and fall themes.
I love the autumn colors, so the choice was ok and really it was a pretty picture for the album.
We are planning a little get away in our trailer, the last one of the year.
It should be fairly nice weather and a good time to just ‘relax’.
Although these days of retirement I purposely relax on a regular basis.
I do not like to be stressed or rushed or feeling like I have to do something right now.
Retirement has been a good season and it has given me time to heal from my cancer recovery.
I have actually retired years ago.
My husband retired about five years ago and he really keeps busy doing what he wants now.
We are in a good place in our lives and our hearts are full with ‘feelings of thanksgiving’.
All is well with our grown up kids and their families and our extended family is good too.
So much to be thankful for.
There was a song that became one of my all time favorites, it says, “give thanks with a grateful heart.”
Yes we are grateful. We are blessed. We have nothing to complain about.
The last day of October will be here soon and we can one more time, finish the year strong and healthy.
That is our hope.

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
I have this saying hanging up on a beautiful plaque hanging on a cork board behind my computer.
I actually purchased it from a very special friend, the sentiment was so good.
It has roses and birds on it and it is exactly my ‘favorite’ kind of treasure, her friendship is too.
Also there is a page that I made years ago hanging by my computer.
When I was in therapy we spent a few sessions cutting out magazines and pasting pictures and sayings.
If you have never done it you will find it amazing how the feelings come up when searching for words.
In fact it would be a great activity to do with children who are not always able to ‘share’ what they feel.
The saying is: You can revisit an old friend and see how much it’s changed.
Our friends are with us for specific seasons of our lives.
Have you ever gone back to spend time with some one, who used to be very close to you and it felt odd and different?
It is like going back to a home that once was “your” home but now is just a box full of others belonging.
Time can create a distance and sometimes that is hard.
Another saying is,
“No matter how busy our lives, there are ways to make sure neither distance nor everyday demands, keep us from friends we don’t want to lose.”
It is so important to let others know how special they are and what they mean to us.
Friends are gifts we give ourselves and how we deal with those gifts or moments is extremely important.
Life is short and as I have aged and slowed down I have learned that time spent with someone special is priceless.
Another saying on my paper is this one: It’s friendship – would she be there if you needed her? Yes because she knows you would be there if she needed you.
I think it is such a great reminder for you and I to remember.
A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.

I can’t believe it is autumn

I can’t believe it is autumn already.
We drive down streets lined with trees all colorful in oranges and yellows.
I love this time of year.
We actually got married this season and it was a beautiful time for fall flowers.
I think the fall reminds us that it is refreshing to let go of the heat of summer.
Of course I am by nature a sweater gal and I love flannel pants and warm boots.
I am happiest when I can bundle up and walk outside in the brisk cool air.
I might need my inhaler before I start, but it is so refreshing to go out in the neighborhood.
I am going to decorate our home, I have fake pumpkins and bundles of wheat for assorted vases.
Outside the front porch changes from summer flowers to fall.
I have to put the wheat outside so my cats don’t eat them.
Most likely we will not buy a real pumpkin, that was for the kids and we don’t have any little ones.
Autumn is a time of rest where the trees produce then they lose their natural beauty.
Thanksgiving is also around the corner on the calendar.
Our traditional dinner is with both sets of our kids and their families, but the last few years it’s had to change.
We have had friends over, we have shared a meal with a neighbor, we have made it work for us.
Situations of life require us to adapt and adjust.
I love to cook a natural grown turkey with organic potatoes, with green beans and fresh cranberries.
It is one of my favorite meals and of course you have to have pumpkin pie.
One of my friends told me to try sweet potato pie, but I am not so sure that would be the same for me.
Autumn is here and it’s a time for the furnace and no longer the air conditioner.
If we had a fireplace I would definitely use it every morning.
I can’t believe it is autumn already.
Let’s make the most of these cool days ahead of us.

Are you tired? worn out?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
I love this translation of the scripture found in Matthew 11:28-30 of the new testament.
It promises hope when we feel hopeless.
It promises a solution when we are struggling.
Move away from your normal setting and breathe in the restful moments.
As I type my husband is in a pontoon boat on a lake that he loves.
Getting away and feeling the restful breeze.
Hoping to catch a few fish too but most of all just resting in the setting.
It doesn’t have to be a well planned time of getting away.
It just needs to allow more focus on resting and not doing.
Get away with me and you will recover your life.
Sometimes we need that so much.
The stress of today, of now time can be very hard to deal with.
The pandemic has caused anxiety and issues, we are not really prepared for.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace… Nothing will be too hard I will see to it that you are ok.
Keep company with me and you will learn.
I have watched part of the movie the Chosen and it really does show the way Jesus ministered and dealt with the people.
Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it.
You can do the same.
He tells us these promises so we can not only move forward in hope but have a reason to rest.
I love to rest and regroup and I try to do it often.
Being retired makes it easier but it was always a part of who I am.
I cannot deal with stress that makes me irritable or grumpy.
I am glad my personality requires a time of renewing and restoring what is trying to go dim.
Are you tired and worn out? Burned out on religion?
It’s so easy to do that and feel that way.
Let’s encourage each other to focus on what is good for us.