Sunday, December 29, 2019

Weekend Words

Psalm 96:1  "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth."

I knew the Eva Cassidy version, but in searching on YouTube I came across this one.  Audrey is a new to me voice, and I love the images with this...

I've been considering a Bible verse to take into 2020 and decided on this one:

Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me."

I mostly use the NKJV.  Some other versions use the word right or resolute or faithful, rather than steadfast, but I like the word steadfast (def: resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering). 
 That is the sort of spirit I would like to have regarding my Christian walk.

Do you have a Bible verse for 2020?


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

So...this is Christmas?!?!

Another year almost over.  I'm not sure what I did, but I seem to have no trouble filling the days.  I hope 2019 has been a good year for you, and 2020 will be even better.

I did not decorate this year, the house or a tree.  So I am stealing Natasha's house...

I managed to get the family to send me recent photos.  Not an easy task when they are spread far and wide.  

From Canberra...
Jefferson, Rafe, (Santa), Anushka, Jaya

And Adelaide...
Hayley, Hazel, Ben

 On the Vermont ski fields...
Patrick, Zak, Dylan, Natasha, Oliver

And back in Tassie Land...
Marnie and Denver

I hope you all get to spend some quality time with those you love.  

No family around?  Then invite a friend to share some Christmas cheer with you. 

No friends?  Then go out and be a friend to some else who is alone.

No excuse to be alone at Christmas unless you want to.  And that is fine too.  A good time to rest, relax and reflect. On the past year, and expectations for the coming one...

And this morning, this popped into my email box. Stephanie has written a beautiful post.  So if you are looking for something to reflect on, try this...

069: When Christmas Is More Broken Than Merry

I stepped up to the counter as Jenica slid a shoebox toward the Kohl’s cashier. The lady smiled, a quick, automatic reflex, as she greeted us. “How are you this evening?” she asked.

What popped into my head wasn’t the right thing to say, not to a stranger whose job was to give us a pleasant shopping experience. She didn’t need to know that five minutes ago I had leaped to catch my daughter as a seizure took her down. I lowered Tarica to the floor and held her as she convulsed next to a display of Christmas sweaters, while a man and woman on the other side of the display loudly debated what gifts they still needed to buy. What was I going to say—that even though department store speakers were belting out lines about the weary world rejoicing, my own world felt broken?

“Fine,” I said. “And you?” I tried to ask as if I cared about her answer, but a week later, I don’t recall what she said. It was a polite, forgettable exchange.

Forgettable, except for this: It has become my metaphor for a Christmas that feels more broken than merry.

I play Christmas music. I help Jenica make the Christmas fudge that I used to stir up by myself. I belt out lines about the weary world rejoicing. I ask friends about their Christmas plans and brace myself for ours. I pull out recipes for food that appears on our table only during this season. I tell strangers that I’m fine and wish them a merry Christmas.

That’s one part of my Christmas.

I count seizures. I struggle to parent one child on four drugs and three children who act like they aren’t getting enough attention. I contact Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and make a January 10 appointment with their epilepsy specialist, calling it a second opinion even though I know it likely means more than that. I raise my—I lose my—I yell at my boys when they trash the living room during the seven-and-a-half minutes I’m upstairs. I tell strangers that I’m fine and wish them a merry Christmas.

That’s another part of my Christmas.

The contrast knocks me off balance. How can there be peace on earth when I live afraid? How can I sing about a “thrill of hope” when I’m fighting off despair? What does Christmas mean when I’m broken?

But wait.

I forgot.

We are the ones who have wrapped Christmas in merry and bright. We have collected exultant Christmas hymns and carols but failed to remember that we are not angels. In loading our tables with goodness, we have forgotten that this goodness is not guaranteed to us.

In the years when peace reigned inside and out, I have rejoiced in the scents and songs of the season. But when the trappings of Christmas, the human-made additions to our great joy, clash with an internal discord, I don’t know how to celebrate. When everyone is in such good spirits and I am not, I feel worse, not better.

But. He is the Light come to those who sit in darkness. Merry and bright isn’t wrong, but neither is it Christmas. He is. If I can’t celebrate with the intensity our culture demands, that doesn’t mean I’m rejecting Him. I can still celebrate His first coming, perhaps as quietly as He arrived.

Christmas isn’t for the merry. Christmas is for the broken. If we hadn’t needed something more than what we have, Christmas never would have come.

I share a piece of my story because this is the only story I have the right to share. But I know so many people right now who are grappling with a reality that contrasts harshly with the joy of Christmas. A baby in Jesus’ arms instead of snugly tucked inside his nine-month home. A family saying a long goodbye to a husband, father, and grandfather. Health issues that complicate a friend’s daily life. A godly man ravaged by cancer. A marriage torn apart. A family celebrating their first Christmas without their father. Loved ones turning their backs on God and embracing bitterness. When will the pain end?

For those who aren’t sure how to celebrate, I write this. You may have more tears than laughter this season. You may be more weary than rejoicing. You may be sitting in darkness.

The Light has come for you. He does not need you to be merry, but He does want your heart, even when—especially when—it is weary and broken.

Be happy!
Count your blessings!
Enjoy what you have!

Joy to the world...


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Weekend Words

Lo, in the silent night
A child to God is born
And all is brought again
That ere was lost or lorn.

Could but thy soul, O man,
Become a silent night!
God would be born in thee
And set all things aright.

15th Century

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Catching up. Again.

Have been laid low with migraines and headaches due to this hot, windy weather.  Needless to say, summer is not my favourite season...
but this little corner of my garden is looking pretty

Here's a bit of a catch up from the last week...

Finished one lap blanket for Wheelchairs for Kids...
 and started a second

One more square to go, and a bit of rearranging, then to sew it up...

Browsed my bookshelves for something to read and decided on this one...

Cooking stir fries...

And turkey and vegetable soup...
I've also made a carrot cake and date scones...and eaten them :)

Still getting out for my morning walks when heat and headaches permit.  Some recent photos...

Denver had his school leaver's dinner last night.  We went for a few photos before they headed off on the bus to their mystery location...
Marnie, Denver, me

And this morning...the large garden bed of red roses at the river is in full bloom...

Will leave you with this quote I read recently by George Eliot...

"Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns"

My sentiments exactly!!!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Weekend Words

O Holy Night is my favourite Christmas song, and I particularly like the version by Josh Groban.
But I came across this one, and rather than wait till the weekend before Christmas to post it, I am doing so now, as it is very thought provoking...

What can you do for someone this Christmas?


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Weekend Words

Children's Choir

Tonight I heard some children sing,
And Jesus Christ was praised.
I'm sure it blessed the Lord to hear
The joyful noise they raised.
So sweet and dear, all dressed in white,
Their songs have struck a chord
Within my heart, and now I hope
I'm singing to the Lord.

Oh, may my heart pick up the strain,
And sing their humble verse.
And may I learn their simple trust,
That shall all doubt disperse.
The melody of love they sing,
The harmony of praise,
The lyrics of forgiveness,
May I sing it all my days.

I long to bow at Jesus' feet
Along with saints of old,
And sing with them and children sweet
Upon the streets of gold.
I long with them to raise my voice,
With hearts of love to sing 
Our grateful praises to our God,
And Jesus Christ our King.

(Lyndon Christner)

white winter wonderland outside Natasha's Connecticut kitchen window

Friday, December 6, 2019

December Yarn Along

It's Yarn Along time again, but Ginny hasn't put the link up yet, so I will go ahead and publish my post anyway, and add the link when it goes up.

This blanket I was working on in last month's post is finally finished...

Finished reading The Last Runaway and really enjoyed it.  Might search out some more of her books...
and working on  this month's Knit 4 Charities request.  Lap blankets for Wheelchairs for Kids

A selection of books and music I like to read and listen to at this time of year...

And your nature shot...
at the river this morning

Here in Tasmania we have snow on the mountains and cold, gale force winds at the moment. 
 And this is summer! 

 On the mainland they are having drought, high temperatures and horrific bushfires.  
And this is Global Warming!!

Stay safe wherever you are.