Welcome to my little bit of cyber-space. It is my prayer that all who enter here may be richly blessed by the God of all grace. All praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Musings--Snow is a Dichotomy

Since this has been the snowiest December on record in Kentucky (and many other places), I've had snow on the brain (and my coat and face, etc.), so want to share some of my conflicting observations.

Snow can be...

pretty and white...or...dirty and gray

soft and fluffy...or...hard and packed

snow day activities...or...plans gone awry

snow day fun...or...an icy nightmare

silently descending...or...blustery and blowing

part of God's creation we should enjoy while we have the chance!

And just this morning, I was thinking of many songs that mention snow--most of them the good side, like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," but there are some that tell us the other view like "the weather outside is frightful!"

Please share any thoughts you have on snow--what you like and don't like! And your favorite songs that mention snow. Happy snow day for most of us!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Guest Blogger--Jennifer Slattery on "What My Husband Wants for Christmas"

Just in time for your holiday giving, I am pleased to share this guest blog on gift ideas for our husbands or other loved ones. Hope you enjoy it, and will check out Jennifer's bio and site listed below for more great info.

Jennifer writes:
My husband is the king of gift giving. I think he makes a game of it, and often he drags our daughter into his fun little plan. The two will look at me, at each other, then explode in a fit of giggles, followed by the familiar phrase, “We have something to do this weekend.” And I play along, feigning ignorance.
This past weekend was my birthday, and as is his way, my husband whisked our daughter off for a day of shopping. They didn’t spend much, albeit more than I would have liked, but their presents were laden with meaning. A leather bound journal for me to take to church so I don’t have to scribble all over the bulletin, three new candles to replace the ones I had burned to a nub, and a beautiful candle holder I casually admired one evening while shopping together.
That night, after spending the afternoon showered in love, I contemplated how I could return the gesture. Christmas will be here in a few short days, and I still haven’t found that “perfect gift” for my husband. What can I give him that will have as much meaning as those special gifts he and our daughter have given to me? Clothes aren’t his thing, nor movies. He’s already got a garage full of tools. I was stumped.
The answer came that night as I watched him recline in his favorite chair, remote in hand. Gifts are great, but there are a few things I believe my husband wants most of all:
1. A retreat to come home to. I’m blessed to work from home. If someone bothers me, I simply delete their email, or don’t answer the phone. My husband doesn’t have that luxury, and his job can get pretty stressful. I may not be able to buy him a home tucked in the hills, but I can give him a few moments each evening of emotional peace.
2. My appreciation. There are so many things my husband does right, yet I don’t thank him near as often as I should. In fact, there are times when I take him for granted. He’s our trash and recycle man. Every Thursday at the crack of dawn, he drags nasty smelling bags and overflowing recycle bins down to the curb. Never forgets. Never complains. He just does it, likely without thinking. And I haven’t changed a light bulb or put new batteries in a smoke detector for as long as I can remember. Each day there are countless little things he does. What if I took the time to notice, then made the effort to thank him?
3. My acceptance. The other day as I listened to someone complain about one of their loved ones, I had a passing thought—would they themselves measure up to the standard they set for others? How often do we raise the bar for our spouse, then lower it a few inches for ourselves? When we’re crabby, we’re over stressed or over tired. When they are, they’re insensitive. This Christmas I’m going to toss out my magnifying glass and put on a pair of rose colored glasses instead.
In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out for that special gift that will make my husband feel like a treasured king, but I’ll also focus on those little tokens of love that help to build his inner man.

Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, freelance writer and columnist who lives in Kansas City, MO with her husband of fifteen years and their thirteen year old daughter. She’s written for numerous publications and has a weekly column on the Reflections in Hindsight website. She is also the marketing representative for the literary website, Clash of the Titles. You can find out more about her and her writing at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review--Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith, The Wives of King David, Book 2

I have loved Biblical fiction since reading Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, and The Robe while in high school. It is hard to find modern day Biblical fiction that melds the great writing and characters that grab your heart while also not straying from the message found in the Bible.

The author has done a fabulous job on both points. Her writing takes us inside the minds of several characters, especially Abigail and David. We can feel their love for each other and also hurt deeply when they disappoint each other.

We watch Abigail grow from a scared and scarred widow to a woman fiercely in love with her husband, David. We also see David as he matures from a king on the run to the anointed King of Israel. And, we get a front row seat at the mistakes each one makes, causing us to identify with and root for them even more.

If you like Biblical fiction, or know someone who does, I hope you will treat yourself and them with this book. And, although the books don't have to be read in order, I highly recommend Michal also by Jill Eileen Smith. These books are both published by Revell and can be found at most Christian book stores or cbd.com or amazon.com.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Musings on Christmas

I am definitely NOT a poet, but as I thought of G words to describe Christmas, several of the verses seemed to beg for a rhyme, so here are my thoughts as my gift to you this Christmas.

Christmas is...

Girls in angel white with silvery wings
Guys in bathrobes as shepherds and kings.

God in a manger with hay for a bed
Glorious angels proclaiming, "Peace on earth," they said.

Grace in human form, a newborn boy
That brought us all the hope of eternal life and joy.

Guests on camels from lands near and far
Travelling along as they followed the star,

Bearing gifts for the King they came to behold--
Frankincense, myrrh and costly gold.

The Greatest Gift of God's own Son...
The Gift that keeps giving on and on and on.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday Musings--December

Thanks to all who posted or emailed to let me know they liked this new format, so I plan to continue it for the forseeable future. Today I want to invite you to join me as we muse on:

December is...

winter solstice

white wonderland

wonderful winter sunrises and sunsets

wrapping paper and ribbon

wonder in the eyes of a child

walking in the snow

wreaths on windows and doors

weekends in your pajamas

welcoming scents of hot chocolate and cookies

warm woolen mittens

worship of the Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)

Can you think of more to add to this "w" list of winter things we might see or experience in December? Or perhaps you'd like to share your own list starting with other letters. PS I decided to share some pictures taken last winter of a beautiful sunrise and also awinter-wonderland ice-covered bush, both taken from my front porch last winter.

Monday, December 06, 2010

New Blog series--Monday Musings

Hi, I am piggybacking on an idea I got from Carole Brown's blog http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com She is posting a list every Monday called "Monday Morning Gratitudes." I really liked the thought and asked if I could do something similar. She replied that she knew several people who do it and invited me to join in. So, I hope you will check out her blog, and I hope you will check back in here on Mondays each week to help keep me accountable. My goal is two-fold: to make me more likely to post at least once a week and to give us a chance to share our musings with each other on a wide range of topics, so I hope you will add yours in a comment. And if you want to be entered in the monthly book drawing, leave your email addy in the comments.

Since we are in the midst of Hanukkah (Dec. 1-9 this year) I decided to do my first musing on that Jewish celebration.

Hanukkah is:

the 25th day of Kislev in the Jewish calendar...the Festival of Lights...the Feast of Dedication...Jesus participated in it(John 10: 22-24)...nightly lighting of the Menorah...foods like latkes...giving of gifts...playing games like spinning the dreidel...a time of celebration...

I hope this short musing helped you know a little more about Hanukkah. Can you see the similarities to our Christmas celebrations? What can you add to these musings about Hanukkah?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

An early Merry Christmas present going out to Karen K...

who won a copy of A Door County Christmas by Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips and Cynthia Ruchti--a wonderful read that is sure to get her in the Christmas mood! And for those of you who didn't win, put this book on your wish list or go buy it as an early present for yourself!

Everyone with a US mailing addy who leaves a comment in the month of December (except for Karen K.) will be eligible to win an ARC copy of Highland Blessings by Jennifer Hudson Taylor.

Here's the back cover blurb to give you an inkling of what it is about:
Scotland, 1473. Highland Warrior, Bryce MacPhearson kidnaps Akira MacKenzie on her wedding day to honor a promise he made to his dying father. When he forces Akira to wed him, hoping to end a half-century old feud between their clans, she struggles to overcome her anger and resentment. Yet her strength in the Lord becomes a witness to Bryce. But there is a traitor in their midst...and murder is the ultimate weapon.

Sounds great, doesn't it?

This book was provided to me by Abingdon Press to use as a giveaway for promotional purposes.