Gratitude Day 178 – Nativity

Sat., Dec. 15, 2018

Luke 2:7 –  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.

There are so many fun Christmas decorations: trees, wreaths, bulbs, garland and such. My favorite Christmas decoration?

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The Nativity.

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For me, the Nativity draws us back to the reason we even celebrate Christmas.

Would you like to see some of the Nativity’s we have at our house?

Good. Let’s take a tour.

This was my first Nativity. My Mom gave it to me for Christmas many years ago. I love the stick-like figurines. It’s made of wood and a bit more rustic, which I love.

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This year? I now am using her creche.

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My Mom also gave me this Nativity. Notice how Mary cradles Jesus so tightly and how Jesus’ hand rest just above the Son of God’s head.

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This one hangs on the wall. Isn’t the rustic wooden frame super cool?

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I’ve always loved this particular Nativity. I loved it enough that I gave a couple of these away as presents one Christmas.

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Some are a little more cutie.

And then, there are the ornaments. I picked up out a couple favorites to show you.

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Many years ago, Rick made several of these outdoor cut-out Nativities. He gave them to our parents and other people. We still love to put it out ever year.

Why are Nativities one of my favorite symbols at Christmas? For me, they represent the crudeness of the stable. The humbleness of the first visitors, shepherds. The simplicity of how a King would be born into this world.

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Mary, Joseph, the baby. Possibly some shepherds and sheep. Maybe three kings with some gifts in hand. Nothing more complicated. Yet, these figurines tell the story of how a Savior came to save the world.

Thanks be to God.

 

For Nativities around us this Christmas, I am grateful.

Lord God – while we don’t know exactly how that first Christmas looked, we certainly like to guess. I pray the many nativities round us draw us back to this story: the stable, the shepherds, the Savior of the word. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 177 – Be Still

Fri., Dec. 14, 2018

Psalm 46:10 – He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

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It often feels like I go up and down these stairs no less than a hundred times a day.

In our 110-year-old Victorian Farmhouse, our bedroom and my office are on the second floor. The kitchen, TV room and other main living area are on the first floor. Laundry is in the basement. This means I haul clean and dirty laundry two flights of stairs. (We’re working on an alternative which will make laundry easier.)

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Coffee is downstairs. My computer is upstairs.

Food is downstairs. The printer is upstairs. (I don’t have wireless.)

Mail comes in downstairs. Financial records are upstairs.

Multiple times a week, my phone is on one floor and when it starts ringing and I’m on the opposite floor.

I’m heading out the door. Something I want to take with me is upstairs. I’m putting on my coat downstairs.

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Up and down. Down and up. You’d think all this going up and down the stairs would keep my legs in better shape, right? Wrong.

Hubby Rick and I have often said our house is not set-up for “old” people. We’re trying to kid ourselves into thinking we’re still not old, in spite of Grandson Dylan thinking Rick was alive when the dinosaurs were.

 

20181209_151828Recently, a group of friends invited me to participate in a sign-painting class with them. A few weeks earlier, I had my first experience with creating a painted sign. It was a great experience and I love how the sign fits into our remodeled downstairs bathroom.

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This sign-painting experience was different. We went to an actual business that helps people create beautiful signs. The business guarantees customers will love their completed sign THEY will remake the sign for you.

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While making our signs, my group of friends created our signs while stationed at the same large table. Basically, everyone else knew where they were going to hang their sign and how it should fit in with their decor. Me? Not so much. I was happy that I’d found time to go on the shop’s website (which has a whole bunch of sign options), pick out the sign I would make and get this information submitted before the deadline.

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I chose to include words from Psalm 46:10 on the sign: “Be still and know.” I had not particular reason for choosing these words. It was this sign that resonated with me the most at the time I was picking the sign.

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While making the sign, I still decisions to make: what color to stain the board? Did I want another material painted over the stain, which would allow for more potential effects with the board? What colors did I want to use? Etc., etc.

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Eventually, I chose a dark stain for the background board. Wanting it to look more rustic, I painted a lighter grey paint over the stain. The main letters became an eggplant color while “Psalm 46:10” was painted in black. I left the border boards dark to create contrast with the main body of the sign.

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When I left the shop, I still didn’t have a clue where the sign would go. Once home, I leaned it against a blank wall by the front door where it would be out of the way. For the next several ways, as I saw it every time I walked up and down the stairs. Then, I realized: why not hang the sign on the wall where I would intentionally see the sign every time I go up and down the stairs?

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So, this is where I hung the sign. Every time I come running down the stairs, I will not miss seeing these works:

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“Be still and know.”

Be still and know that whatever is going on in your life today, God is there.

Be still and know that when you walk out the door of your house, God is with you.

Be still and know that every conversation you have today, God will be present.

Be still and know there is nothing impossible with God.

Be still and know that God has your back.

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Just be still and know.

 

Now, this sign has become something I look at all the time. It’s a simple reminder every time I run up and down those stairs, I can be refocused on the One who is always with me.

Be still. Know.

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Not bad words to include in our daily lives.

For words to shape my day, I am grateful.

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Holy God – may your words be ever present and a part of our daily lives. May they shape our words, actions and deeds. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 176 – Blue Christmas

Wed., Dec. 12, 2018

John 11:35 –  Jesus wept.

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Today, I want to be real. I want to dig a little deeper. I want to address the Christmas elephant in the room:

For some people, the holidays aren’t all that holly and jolly. Some people would love to just skip from Dec. 1 right to Jan. 2 or 3 and forgo all the merry-making.

“Can this be true?” you wonder.

You bet.

For someone else, you may be thinking, “Finally! A word for those of us who have little or no desire to tackle all the Christmas traditions that everyone else just SEEMS. TO. LOVE.”

There can be a variety of reasons why people feel the holidays are just one hot mess waiting to happen. Maybe it’s the first Christmas without a loved one. Possibly, the holidays brew up a whole bunch of memories of past-Christmases-gone-bad. For those who feel very alone or isolated, everyone’s cuter than Pinterest Christmas cards and perfectly decorated cookies and houses are JUST. TOO. MUCH.

For some people, the holidays are one big pot of anticipation that only ends up in let-down, disappointment and anxiety. I can’t say that I know how you might feel. What I can say is your feelings and emotions are very real. No, you aren’t crazy if you’d rather keep Christmas wrapped in a box shoved to the back of a closet rather than letting it be something wrapped and under the tree.

So, what is a person who feels the only possible Christmas this year is a Blue Christmas to do?

Breathe. And then breathe some more. And then, rethink your approach to the holidays. The worse thing to do? Plow right through the holidays, thinking “everything will be just fine …” when you know they won’t.

Your best opportunity to make it through the holidays in one piece? Do some pre-thinking and pre-planning to prepare yourself with a possible game plan. Decide in advance how you might best cope. And then, live out our ideas to the best of your ability.

Here are a few suggestions for trying to live through a Blue Christmas:

  • Decide that everything doesn’t have to be the same as it always has been. In 2000, Hubby Rick’s eldest son was killed in January. We were married in August. Come December, we would celebrate our first Christmas together as a married couple. However, Rick was in a funk. The one-year anniversary of Nate’s death was approaching. He was reeling in grief, just trying to make it through each day. Throw in a whole bunch of holiday anticipation, I knew we were in for a disaster. What did we do? We decided that we would only do the things that we wanted to do over Christmas, not what had always been done previously. Ironically, we cut our tree during a perfectly nasty snowstorm. We invited Rick’s family to our house on Christmas Eve. We decided not to purchase gifts for each other and began our long-standing tradition of giving gifts to needy families instead. We lowered our expectations to what seemed manageable. And we survived. Rick survived. We decided in advance what to do and not do. When an emotion came up that we hadn’t planned for, we punted and came up with a new game plan. We built space into Christmas week when we could just be together and watch the lighted tree. And nothing else.

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  • Add something which help you remember a missing loved one. Every year, I take a wreath to the cemetery and hang it on Nate’s grave. We hang this ornament we received from the funeral home in honor of Nate on our tree. Light a special candle or sing a favorite carol in honor of someone. Make this tradition something special and meaningful, if only for you. I make rosettes every year because my Dad loved them. Making them is a little “gift” I give to myself to honor and remember my Dad.
  • If being with certain people is a challenge, be realistic about time together. Establish a timeframe which is doable for you. If a big gathering is overwhelming, plan smaller, shorter get-togethers with people important to you.
  • Be mindful of how much you drink and eat. Go for a walk and get some exercise. Plan time to clear your head.
  • Share stories and memories of a missing loved one. Often, it’s difficult for families to talk about a person who is missing. I think it’s often therapeutic to recall things rather than avoid sharing them.
  • Give space to others who might be dealing with loss or disappointment. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary. Being present is more important.
  • Allow yourself to be sad and disappointed. Sometimes, we forget that even Jesus wept. When his dear friend Lazarus died, Jesus chose not to rush to be with his family right away. Instead, he waited three long days. When he finally arrived in Bethsada where Lazarus lived, he was ambused by Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. John’s gospel records a so-important detail of this story: Jesus wept. We see the Son of God expressing his emotions and grief in the truest of ways. Give yourself permission to express your emotions and grief as well.
  • Have something to look forward to in the New Year. Plan a trip, an outing or something that you know will lift your spirits. Have the time established and in place, so all you have to do is go through with your plans.

Grief and disappointment at the holidays can come in many ways. We often think it’s a person who as passed away. However, this disappointment can also come because of a fractured relationship, knowing that “things aren’t the same as they used to be,” or a variety of other reasons. Whatever the reason for your Blue Christmas, give yourself permission to acknowledge your feelings and emotions. Lower your expectations. Take bite-sized bites of the holidays this year and let this be enough. Read the story of Lazarus and see Jesus’ emotions. They were very real.

For the possibilities of dealing with a Blue Christmas, I am grateful.

Almighty God – while this is often a fun and exciting time of the year, you know those people who really aren’t looking forward to Christmas and the reasons why. Pour out an extra dose of grace upon these people. Surround them with your love and peace. Help others recognize their reason for a Blue Christmas and allow space for this. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 175 – Christmas Cards

Tues., Dec. 11, 2018

Jeremiah 29:25a – “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You sent letters in your own name to all the people in Jerusalem, 

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This is a fun time of the year to go to the mailbox. Why?

Christmas cards.

Do you like receiving Christmas cards?

I do.

And this is why I send Christmas cards.

Each year, I look at the Excel spreadsheet where I keep names and addresses of those families, I have historically sent cards … and promise myself to cut the list down. And every year, I end up adding more to the list and justifying those on the list.

Yep, there are many names on this list I only hear from once a year. People who have been in my life for awhile and who I just don’t have as much contact. And there are names on the list who I do not receive a card back. Yet, I still want to send them a Christmas greeting.

Yes, there are some families I would like to share more of my life. But in an interest to get the cards out before Valentine’s Day, I only write in a few cards each year. The rest? They get the computer-generated and Walgreens printed card with a few pictures on it.

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Yet, I try and take a few minutes and remember each family as I put their card together. As I put the address label on the card, our return address label as well as the stamp, I say a quick prayer for this family. It’s probably less than a minute … but I way that I lift each family up.

On Saturday, Hubby Rick and I attended a grandson’s wrestling tournament. I brought along a bag with boxes of cards and envelopes as well as sheets of stamps and labels. The middle-school boy just down from me on the bleachers kept looking at me. I think he was trying to figure out what I was doing, as I sat there putting together my Christmas cards and praying for each one as I did so. I think I was the only one out of hundreds, and I mean hundreds, at this tournament who was putting together their Christmas cards. I call it planning ahead.

Christmas cards are not as vogue as they once were. Some people feel they connect with people on social media and thus, no cards are necessary. Or don’t feel or want to take the time to send.

Personally, this is one Christmas tradition I enjoy and want to continue. Why? Because I pray this is an opportunity for me to connect with as well as bless each family, I sent a card to as well as each family I receive a card from.

Today when I got home from work, Rick had a stack of cards on the coffee table. Today’s haul of Christmas cards. As I opened and read and looked at the photos in each card, again, I said a quick little prayer for each family. Whether I know everything going on in this family’s life or not, God does. I can simply ask God to pour out a special blessing on each family and ask God to be with them, whatever they may be experiencing. And I’m thankful these families took time to send us a card … because they mean the world to me.

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For Christmas greetings and cards, I am grateful.

Lord God – 2,000 years ago, letters were how people communicated. We have these letters in our New Testament yet today: Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians and others. I pray as we prepared, send and receive cards we can create holy moments of blessing and connection with these families. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 174 – Worship

Sun., Dec. 9, 2018

Psalm 122:1- I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let’s go to the Lord’s house!”

The Rookie

In the movie The Rookie, Dennis Quaid plays Jim Morris. Based on a true story, Jim coached high school baseball. When his team makes the state high school playoffs, he fulfills a promise to the team and tries out for a major league baseball team. Never mind that Jim is in his 30’s and has a family. When he consistently throws the ball 98 mph at a try-out, he is signed to a minor league team.

It’s a tough summer for Morris. He’s traveling in a bus with a bunch of college kids, while his wife and family are home, barely paying their bills. He’s questioning why he’s pursuing this dream. After an opportunity to remember why, he walks into the locker room before a game and approaches another player, Brooks. Morris says to Brooks, “Today is going to be a good day. Today, we get to play baseball.”

Today is Sunday. Today is going to be a good day. Today, we get to worship God.

A little over a year ago, I stepped down from serving two churches as the pastor. After planning weekly worship for 18 years, Sunday mornings have been very different the last year. Yes, I have had the opportunity to fill the pulpit many times. Some Sundays, like today, I will provide music for a worship service. Whether I’m the pastor leading worship or the pianist sitting behind the piano, I look forward to Sunday because this is the day we get to worship God.

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I’ve been asked whether Hubby Rick and I have found a church home. Quite honestly, we worship in a variety of churches. Most months, we worship at a different church every week of the month. This has been a big change for both of us. Our Sunday morning routine is very different than it was for the previous 17 years of our marriage. I don’t leave home before Rick. We go to worship together. Sometimes, we even get to sit next to each other for some or all of the worship service. Every Sunday, we get to worship God.

Believe it or not, worship is the single most popular act in the United States on a weekly basis. Even in a time of declining church attendance, more people will attend worship service today than will attend a professional football game. More people will take time to gather with other people of their particular religion than will go to a theater production.

 

I know, you may find this hard to believe. But it’s true.

In the many years I actively served faith communities and congregations, more than one person approached me and shared their reason why they did not attend worship on a regular basis. It was the only day of the week they could sleep in. They needed a break. They had gotten out of the habit of going to worship. They can’t find a worship service that “speaks” to them. They don’t want to be hypocritical and go to church when they aren’t sure what they believe. And the list goes on … and on … and on.

Here’s the deal. Worship is not something we do because we feel like it. There are many things we do, even if we don’t always feel like it. Do you only go to work when we feel like it? If most of us only exercised when we felt like it, there’s a whole bunch of people who would never exercise again.

Here’s the truth: feelings can be great liars. Feelings allow us to justify anything, if we allow it. If we only do things when we really feel like it, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that would never get done, including worship.

Too often, we talk ourselves in or out of something because we don’t feel it. We justify our actions by declaring that it would be inauthentic to do this task if our heart isn’t in it. Here’s where worship is different: worship is an act that develops a feeling for God, not a feeling for God that is an act of worship. Through worship, we begin to feel things of and for God that we would not experience unless we worship God.

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What about those people who say they can’t find a worship service that speaks to them? There will be days when worship is going to resonate with you more than other worship services. Unfortunately, we’re not all on the same page at the same time. You WILL attend a worship service that is a dud. I’ve been to these worship services. I’m confident I’ve led some of these duds. Worship is not just about style or a particular kind of music or liturgy. Worship is not about us. It’s about God. It’s looking beyond whatever happens in worship and finding the One True God who created you, who loves you and who deeply wants to be in relationship with you. This is worship. Period.

Instead of the line he said in the movie, think of Dennis Quaid saying these words to Brooks, “Let’s go to the house of the Lord!” Let’s discover who God is for us today, whether we feel like it or not. Let’s look beyond the worship elements and simply meet the Lord. Worship is a matter of the heart; our heart being open to discovering God anew today. And when we open ourselves to God, I believe amazing things can happen.

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For the opportunity to worship today, I am grateful.

Holy God – Advent is such a special time of the year. A time for us to prepare for the coming of the Christ child. I pray we make regular worship a part of this preparation. Help us be on a journey to Bethlehem with Mary, Joseph and the angel. May we be amazed what happens to our hearts when we worship you. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 172 – Right “Nutrition”

Thurs., Dec. 6, 2018

Matthew 6:25 – (Jesus said,) “I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat or drink. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than eating? Aren’t there more important things for the body than clothes?

Earlier this week, I went to donate blood. I had this appointment set-up for a while.  The American Red Cross said that my blood type “is in high demand.” I think this simply means they are running low on blood.

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I donate blood regularly. Basically, it’s an easy way to help someone else out. And gives me a good excuse to indulge in foods I usually avoid.

I planned my afternoon around appointment. I arrived early to the donation site, as I had some business to attend. I signed-in to give blood at the appointment desk. While I waited for someone to help me, I held the completed rapid pass in my hand.

Early in the initial exam, blood is tested to make sure there is enough iron. There have been times when my blood has been borderline low for iron. For the last number of months, I have increased my protein intake and lowered my carb intake. This seemed to help my iron levels, as the last time I donated blood, the person who tested my iron was mightily impressed. I was way over the minimum.

I didn’t think much about whether or not I would have enough iron this go around. Until I was tested … and I didn’t pass. The woman kindly suggested she take a blood sample from a finger on my other hand. I quickly obliged. And once again, my iron level was too low. This time by a measly 0.1%.

Just 0.1% that stood between me donating blood and being differed. A little sliver of iron that kept me from making it onto the next station at the donation center.

I was shocked. Just a few weeks ago, my iron levels were, well, amazing. How could of they changed so quickly?

Yes, I was highly disappointed as the woman threw my rapid pass in the garbage while I went to find my coat.

We feed our bodies with lots of things: some good things, some bad things and a whole bunch of things in-between. I am not a rigid diet-follower. I know what foods I should avoid or eat in moderation … and which ones are calorie dense.

So how could it happen that I was low on iron?

When we let something go off of our radar screen, it just slips away. Just like my earlier noteworthy iron levels. They were great … but not this donation day. I kept thinking, “If I only had eaten a peanut butter sandwich or an egg an hour earlier …”

“Nutrition” and what we feed our bodies comes in many different ways. Food and drink are obvious. Jesus acnowledged that our bodies need more than just actual food. How do we feed our spiritual needs? Emotional and mental needs? What about physical needs? These are all very real needs in our bodies. Do we provide good nutrition in these areas as well?

Like many people, some days I do better in all nutritional needs than others. Some days, I just blow it.

These days, I don’t subscribe to a specific diet, which I know I will fail. Rather, I aim to eat healthy 80% of the time and allow some cheating in the other 20%. The challenge is keeping the 20% in check.

We look for “food” in our lives in many different ways: real food, drink, movement and activity and stretching. “Nutrition” can be games that activate our brains, reading, a great conversation with someone or a bubble bath. We can feed ourselves through worship, mediation and spiritual practices.

Do you spend as much time “feeding” the other need areas of your body as you spend feeding the nutritional side of your body? Or do you skimp in this area? How can you best “feed” our brain, soul and body?

If I’m low on iron in my body, there’s a good chance I’m low on some other “nutritional” need my body has. I just didn’t get tested for it. Do I listen to my body enough to know when I need to “feed” my body emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically? And do I make this a priority?

Yes, I was a bit embarrassed to leave the donation site so quickly. As I drove towards away, I was given the opportunity to ponder whether I’m feeding all areas of my life. And I know I’m lacking in more than just iron.

How about you? Are you getting the nutritional needs you have? Or is something lacking?

Just like my need for iron could have been easily fixed with a little attention, often other “nutritional” needs can be easily remedied. It’s making these nutritional needs a priority.

It’s the season of Advent. A time of waiting. A perfect time to take just a bit of time and assess your full nutritional needs. And commit to just a couple simple acts to feed your body every day.

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For a reminder to pay attention to “nutritional” needs, I am grateful.

Lord God – thanks for another little life lesson which taught me more than I anticipated. Help me to think of the unmet nutritional needs in my life … and discover a way to fulfill them. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 171 – Humor with Honesty

Wed., Dec. 5, 2018

Genesis 30:33 – My honesty will be a witness about me in days to come. 

Today, the 41st president of the United States will be honored and remembered. President George H.W. Bush’s life of service will be recalled.

When I think of his most famous quotes as a president, this is the one that comes to mind:

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Don’t you love his honesty?

His other most famous quote might be: “Read my lips. No new taxes.”

Unfortunately, #41 would later come to regret saying these words.

I think this President would say words mattered. This is why he wrote so many letters throughout his life. He wanted people to value words like he did.

This is a man who believed in and dedicated his life to service. Service to his country, his wife, his family and his values.

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Somehow, even his service dog understood President Bush’s value of service. And now, he follows his master’s model of service.

Honesty. Service. Dedication.

Not bad traits to embody.

All wrapped together with his honest words.

For humor with honesty, I am grateful.

Holy God – I pray we value honesty, service and dedication to the same degree that you do. May we be inspired by those who have lived these examples and choose to reflect these values which we learn from you in our daily living. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 170 – Peace at Home

Tues., Dec. 4, 2018

Luke 1:56 – Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she returned home.

I’ve had so much fun decorating the inside of my house for Christmas this year. Would you like to see some of the ways I’ve transformed my house into a peaceful Christmas place?

Good. I’d like to show you.

Just like the outside, I have some things old, just a few things new and all things simple and easy.

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Let’s begin with the tree. I’m a fresh tree tsar. Only real trees in my house. Years ago, my Mom wanted to switch to an artificial tree. She was afraid I would not come to her house for Christmas if she had an artificial tree. Yes, I still went. But in my house, I like the real deal.

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For years, I have used mismatched ornaments. A bit of this, a bit of that. Many that were given to me. This year, I didn’t plan on using new ornaments … it just kind of happened. My sister Debbie had some in her car. I had a few that I bought at Target. Soon, these were the only ornaments on the tree.

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Except this one. This ornament will ALWAYS be on our tree. It’s an ornament Rick received the first Christmas after his son Nate was killed. The funeral home had a special service for families who had lost a loved one in the last year. There were snowflake ornaments for each lost loved one on a tree, which were given to families at the service.

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On the banister going upstairs, I like to hang greens. Yes, these are artificial. (Sigh.) I haven’t figured out how to have fresh greens inside a month.

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This is the original front screen door for our house. Hubby Rick found it in the carriage house, covered with chicken poop. He power washed it, I put a coat of polyurethane on. It’s been on the stair landing since. It’s super easy to change out the decorations throughout the year.

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My Mom had a huge Christmas village. Last year, which was her last Christmas with us, she gave away pieces to her family. I’m enjoying having them out this year.

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My florist sister helped decorate my house. A bonus for me? Lots of fresh evergreen arrangements. Here’s my favorite, which is in our formal parlor.

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These decorations match nicely with the black tin on the table.

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In our dining room, Debbie made another fun arrangement for the table.

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We created a little village here, with fresh greens in the old milk bottles.

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While I prefer to decorate with burgundy over true Christmas red, we did incorporate a few red items. With the evergreens and the teal, it all fits together.

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In our television room, we have a fun centerpiece with a strand of little lights going through it.

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I’ve had this statue of Mary, Joseph and the baby for years. And I still love it.

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We decided to add just a bit of Christmas to our remodeled downstairs bathroom. The candles were given to me last year by a dear friend. They fit in perfect with the brush broom trees, which are all the rage this year.

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When I look out the kitchen window, I see these two ornaments, part of the bargain shopping I did at Target. And looked … it snowed!

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My favorite Christmas decoration of all? The Nativity. I have two in the formal parlor. This is one that my Mom gave me.

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The peaceful Nativity does not show us the wide range of emotions Mary experienced the months before Jesus’ birth. She was so unsure of everything that she stayed with her elder cousin, Elizabeth, for several months. Even though Elizabeth was too old to bear a child, she did. Shortly after Elizabeth’s son John was born, Mary returned to her little village of Nazareth. It was time to go home and prepare for the birth of her son. Did she know she would leave Nazareth again, this time for Bethlehem? Rather than giving birth at home, Mary was in a village where she knew virtually no one.

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Mary knew home is wherever you feel close to God.

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I feel this when I walk into my house. It’s a place of peace, calm and comfort.

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I pray your home will be a place of peace this Christmas; a place where you can discover anew the miracle of Christmas.

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For a home where I feel God’s peace, I am grateful.

Lord God – those months preceding Jesus’ birth were filled with so many emotions for Mary. She lived and stayed in many places. I’m confident, they all became a home for her. I pray we find your peace and calm this Christmas season in a special place; one where we can discover You anew each day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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