Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Star: Bringing together the parts of the nativity story

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.     
—Luke 2:4-7

After viewing the delightful new holiday movie, The Star, with a couple of my grandkids, I decided to incorporate it in my Christmas card and quickly ordered nativity masks.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Like a Pattern: Teaching gratitude to our children

Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
—Deuteronomy 6:7 NLT

The morning air was chilly and the wind howled outside my window, but inside I was cozy, propped up in bed, pillows behind me and a warm quilt thrown over my legs. I sipped hot coffee as I read from Jesus Calling: “A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven. Spiritual blessings fall freely onto you through those openings into eternity. Moreover, as you look up with a grateful heart, you get glimpses of Glory through those windows” (Young 341).

Pausing to ponder those words so fitting on the day before Thanksgiving, I heard footsteps from somewhere else in the house, a sound quite unusual in my home occupied solely by myself. The steps grew louder as they approached my bedroom. The door flew open and my four-year-old granddaughter, Layla, padded to my bed.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Pain in the Chest: What do you do?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
—Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

I can still feel that pain in the center of my chest every time I cough, sneeze, or pick up my grandbaby—even though the injury occurred well over a month ago.

I was working on establishing a regular exercise routine, which included daily low-impact aerobics. One day when my 4-year-old granddaughter joined me in exercising, I found it difficult to keep from stepping on her and quickly adjusted my footing, twisting my ankle in the process. My podiatrist prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a period of rest—no more aerobics. But upper-body exercise was not off limits.

That’s how I found myself in the kayak on a beautiful afternoon in August. My friend, Michael, joined me, and we rented the boats for an hour—an hour that passed all too quickly. Before we knew it, we had overstayed our limit and had to hurry back to shore. I reached the launch first, then turned around to see Michael way behind. I was worried about getting out of the kayak and putting pressure on my injured foot. Although Michael had assured me he would help, just sitting there waiting on him seemed silly. With both hands, I gripped the sides of the boat and attempted to lift my body. At that moment, something popped in the center of my chest, shooting severe pain straight through me. Tears stung my eyes. I couldn’t move.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Good Morning Gratefuls

A little deviation from the usual...a poem inspired by the events of the day

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1

I am grateful for…

summer mornings

my father who still drives at 83

he picked me up at 8ish
and drove me to the auto repair shop

the repair only cost $86

a detour on the way home

the lovely road that wound through lush fields
leading me to the quiet shore

the river’s tongue lapping the sand

a fishermen’s wharf beckoning my feet

lavender wildflowers lining a field of beans

a doe missing my car when she leapt from the corn

a pause at the post office with a wide front porch,
an inviting rocker,
and hours that don’t start till noon

the rhythm of the road’s twists and turns
and ups and downs that lulled my spirit

all these reminders

that when I came to the crossing of Hurry Road
I drove on through

because I wasn’t.

Dear Father, thank You for Your bountiful blessings and for reminding me to slow down enough to notice. May I be forever grateful. Amen.

What will you do when you come to the crossing?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Who Are You: Where are you from and where are you going?

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

My friend was bubbling with excitement over her AncestryDNA results. As she shared her findings, I couldn’t help wonder what my results would show. Would they confirm what I thought? With a surname like St. Clair, I had to have some French in my blood.

When Ancestry advertised its sale price on the DNA Kit, I couldn’t resist and quickly placed my order. Just as quickly, I returned my saliva sample and waited.

Finally, it was my turn to bubble with excitement. I immediately opened the email and scanned the results—98% European with a breakdown as follows:

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mural Madness: Are you living to conquer or living to discover?

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
—Jeremiah 29:13

Spotting another mural, Maryellen quickly jerked the wheel to turn into the parking lot. Just as quickly, I jumped out of the car to snap a photo and then we were off once more to capture another scene.

There were 23 murals pictured on the Hobe Sound Murals Locator Map and we were out to find them all, documenting each with a picture. We learned about the mural project at the local Chamber of Commerce, where a representative told us that the artist had hidden something in each painting.

Searching online, I tried to find out exactly what was hidden, but to no avail. Instead, I would have to search for the treasure in each beautiful scene without really knowing what I was searching for.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Traffic Patterns Ahead

…There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

The looming electronic sign, posted at the entrance of the country road I travel regularly on my daily commute, got my attention.

“New traffic pattern on or about 3/31/17,” it warned.

New traffic pattern on this road? I wondered. What changes could they make to this narrow two-mile two-lane road that meanders through the countryside, skirting farmlands, wetlands, and a couple of small housing communities?

With no sight of construction under way, I was perplexed. What changes can be made in a week’s time? 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Does God Really Love Us All The Same?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
—Romans 5:8

“Pick a sticker,” my five-year-old granddaughter Addie said, holding out a sheet to her father, my son Tim.

“Ok,” he said, as he began to lift one.

“Not that one!” Addie interrupted, “That’s for someone special.”


“That’s for Grandma,” she whispered.

“Ooooh,” Tim acknowledged.

Addie turned toward me. “Here, Grandma. This one’s for you,” she said, peeling off a pink flower sticker.

“Well, thank you! You know pink is my favorite color, and I love flowers!”

“Uh-huh,” she smiled, as she nodded knowingly, her blue eyes meeting mine.

Returning the smile, I pressed the sticker firmly over my heart.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Building Fences: Is restriction good for you?

He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him.

With temperatures in the 60s, nothing could keep me from my walk that January afternoon. I circumvented cow pies and mud puddles as I traipsed through the field and pasture on my way to the water’s edge. But when I arrived, I was dismayed to find fence posts now dotting the landscape.

Why would anyone want to put up a fence to restrict access to the bay?