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Archive for December, 2010

Dear Santa…

As we get ready for Christmas this week, I have a confession to make…I generally find myself all caught up in my enormous lists of things to get done, just as Missy referred to in her last post.  Do I love the season?  Yes, I do… I love spending time with my family, I love being able to reflect on the birth of Jesus and all that means to us.  I love giving to those I love.  But, just like most of you, I have a list of things to get done a mile long and I get very overwhelmed by it….

Well, I read something the other day that stopped me in my “list crossing-off” tracks.  Something that brought me to tears…and I’m going to share it with you today.

     This is my 7 year old son’s “Dear Santa” letter from school.   I found it in his backpack a few days ago.  I cried.  I mean real tears down my face cried. 

    Then I tried to somehow collect my thoughts to figure out why I was crying…so bear with me. 

    I think it was a two-fold tear shedding….

    First, as a mother, I was overwhelmed at getting a special glimpse into his heart and his thoughts.  Dallas and I have always, always prayed and talked to our children about how to be Jesus with skin on to people – in the ordinary parts of their day as well as in the big stuff.  We do Light the Night every year and talk about being Jesus’s light…we have family worship night before a new school year starts and talk about people God will have cross our paths and what we can do to love on them.  This year, we have talked alot about people who are less fortunate and what we can do to love on them, we’ve done Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, we volunteered at the Food Bank…but it was in reading Will’s letter that I saw that he was actually taking all of that to heart, that he wasn’t concerned about “stuff” or himself, that God is beginning to speak to Will’s heart and in that, Will is content…is that a glimpse of the “joy” we’ve talked about before? My mother’s heart melted…

Second, I think I was convicted.  I was convicted at getting all caught up in my “to do’s” and making sure every person had the right present and worried if my wrapping job on the presents looks jinky and if my Christmas goodies will taste as good as so and so’s, etc.  You get my point.  I may not be all about getting stuff, but I’m being a Martha – all caught up in doing stuff.  Where is my contentment this Christmas season?  When am I going to stop and spend time with the one the season is all about?  The second part of Will’s letter – asking about how Santa flies all around the world in one night – I think I see that as wonder.  Will is amazed by something and wants to know more about it.  Exactly how I should be…I should be filled with wonder and awe about how God sent His son to earth as a baby to bring us, as Phil preached yesterday – NO FEAR, GOOD NEWS, JOY, PEACE, GRACE (good will towards men)….

So, that’s how the Holy Spirit spoke to me the loudest this week….through my sweet William’s Dear Santa letter…How about you?  How is God revealing himself to you this Christmas season?  Through a kind act of a friend?  Through music (I saw an AMAZING Christmas concert this last week – Future of Forestry – and God spoke to me through their use of Christmas songs as worship)?  Through your family?  Take just a minute to reflect and share with us.  We’d love to hear. 

– Kacey

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CHRISTmas

We are sharing a poem from Missy Caporale that gives us a needed reminder as we draw closer to Christmas, and it becomes easy to get caught up in the chaos of the season.

Unbelievable!!!
It’s that time of year again?
My schedule’s full already
When will this madness end?

WHAT? Decorations!!!
No ~ you CAN’T be serious
It comes earlier every year
Forget “MAD”, I’m Delirious!!

Xmas party Chair?
Kindergarten and 4th grade?
Sure I can, what’s one more thing
It’s the “Perfect Mom” charade

Madrigal Dinner?
Absolutely, we will go!
Employee X-mas party?
My boss will not take ‘No’

PLAY THE PART OF MARY?
But you’ll have so many lines!
Your science project will be due
And basketball starts at that time!

WHAT? They’ll ALL be here?
How long do they plan to stay?
My home’s not “In-law ready”
THAT will take more than a day!

Shopping left to do
Teacher gifts will have to wait
X-mas cards have not been mailed
Your recital! Oh MY! We’re late!

What am I thinking?
Saying ‘Yes’ to everyone
Spending money I don’t have
I can’t get everything done

If I had more time
And more money wouldn’t hurt
If my family would just help
I know I could make it work

I remember when
I looked forward to this time.
I’m not sure what was different,
Have I completely lost my mind?

Seems as though the joy
Has been lost along the way
So focused on my list of “do’s”
In preparation for this day

What now is missing?
Can I fit something else in?
X-mas shouldn’t be this hard
How did this all begin?

Something about a Little Town
And a star that led the way
Mary, Joseph, 3 Wise Men
And a manger filled with hay

Shepherds and an angel
Good news and peace on earth
Heavenly hosts were praising
A little baby’s birth

Yes, there was a baby
And a reason why He came
He came because He loves me
Christ Jesus is His name!

That’s it! Christ is missing
From my worldly X-mas list
How obvious it is now
The One thing that I missed

My Savior, my Redeemer
Immanuel, God With Us
My Lord, My King, My Jesus
The Reason for CHRISTmas

While reading this, I thought of Jenny’s “I am” from the women’s retreat in which we thought of characteristics we tend to dislike about ourselves and prayed to see how God sees and uses them positively.

Can you find a way to take a part of this Christmas time that you dislike or dread, and see how God can use it for His good by and put Christ back in Christmas?

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Who Gets Out First?

Today, Micki Jackson is sharing with us all the way from Chattanooga, Tennessee as we prepare for Christmas….

While putting out my Christmas decorations just today, I realized that when I was setting up my nativities (and I have quite a few), that I get Jesus out first.  I don’t recall a moment in my life when I was set aside and taught to get Jesus out of the box first; however, I do know that this is how my mom does it.  My metaphoric mind began to race (come on, you knew where this was going once you read that first sentence). I realized that in life I don’t always get Jesus out first.

Sure, at church, where Jesus is already out there, or should be, it’s easy for me (and for most people) to get Jesus out first.  I get him out there in my conversations, my worship, and my singing.  I’m almost positive, short of a couple of trying Sunday over the past few years, Jesus has come out first.

However, at work…at the store…and, my favorite, on the road, I do not get Jesus out first.  I know this, and yet on a daily basis, I can look back at my day, and see where I’ve pulled the donkey out first, if you get what I mean. 

At work, I try copping it up to the burdens of working in such a harsh environment.  Working in child support is not a very easy job.  The whole concept is wrong.  We shouldn’t live in a world that needs child support services, but that goes way back to Genesis doesn’t it?  I have talked under my breath at the person who I just spoke on the phone with.  I have rolled my eyes when my back is turned.  I have even laughed with the co-worker who was telling her “story of the hour”.

At the store I can get so self centered that I just want to get my things off the shelf, check them off the list, and get through the checkout line.  Isn’t that what the whole grocery shopping experience is supposed to be?  I will see a line that is open, and instead of proceeding in a “lady like” manner, I rush to make sure the lady with the huge basket, and 5 kids hanging from it, doesn’t get there first.

And on the road…have you not seen at least one of my Facebook statuses were, I have commented on how great life would be if we could transport to work.  I am not a polite driver. I confess I have been that tailgater who is miming the words, “don’t you know this is the fast lane, can you move over” (all while listening to my praise and worship in the back ground).

I have no idea why I don’t get Jesus out first in these situations.  The words I often hear are these, “you are a horrible person, and since you are already a horrible person, continue acting this way, ‘cause there is no hope for you”.  However, we know that this does not come from our Jesus.  The great thing about faith is that even if we get Jesus out in the middle of the mess, we have redemption. 

Each time, I get in this rut of true selfishness, I get Jesus out.   I am working at making this be my first action.  We, me and Jesus, are working on me with this.   

I purposely count to 5 after hanging up the phone with a client at work.  I have taken painstaking measures of not make that mad dash to the register.  I have taken the first strides of getting up early (enter shocked faces here) to drive patiently (new word to my vocabulary) to work, without being in a rush.

This is my daily challenge, I have to die daily to my selfishness, and get Jesus out first.  Luke 9:23-24

23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

So how about you?  Where do you struggle with getting Jesus out there first?  Where or when is it easy and where or when is it more difficult for you?

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My Petition

And our winner determined by a random number generator is… #9, Myra Sines!!! Congratulations, Myra! You won the movie theatre gift card! There are some great movies out now and more coming out over the holidays. What a great time to enjoy this giveaway! There will be more giveaways in the future. Keep  a look out…

This morning Missy Caporale is sharing with us a poem about wanting and its relation to this holiday time of year. Thanks, Missy, for sharing your beautiful gift of poetry.                                                               – Cathryn

My Petition 

I want a heart that knows you

The way that you know me

I want my eyes to see you

With undeniable clarity

 

I want a mind that seeks you

And understands Your ways

Gaining wisdom in Your truth

While growing in Your grace

 

I want my ears to hear you

Each time You call my name

Quick to listen to Your words

Holding fast to what You say

 

I want my lips to praise you

Bringing honor to my King

Speaking life and words of truth

Of Your love and mercy I will sing

 

I want my soul submitted

Belonging only to you

I want a steadfast spirit

Willing and renewed

 

I want a heart like yours Lord

And eyes that are fixed on you

Living out Your Word each day

Lord guide me in Your Truth

 

I’m seeking You with all my heart

Face down before Your feet

I want a heart that knows you Lord

               The way that you know me                

 

As we enter the Holiday Season, we also seem to enter a season filled with “I want”. When reading over this poem, I realized how many times I used the phrase, “I want” and thought, “Wow, I sure do want a lot!” These are not bad things to want but just wanting them isn’t going to make them happen. What am I doing to obtain or become these things that I want? Do you want some of the same things? Or, maybe your “want list” is completely different. What are you doing to get the things you desire? I encourage you to comment on what you are doing/going to do to obtain the “non-buyable” treasures on your “want list”.

 Blessings,

Missy

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Monday Morning Giveaway

Monday morning, December 6th.  It’s my birthday.  Really.  It is.  I don’t like Monday morning birthdays.  Friday birthdays are much better.  Or even Tuesday birthdays.  Monday birthdays are no fun…EXCEPT that on my birthday, I get to have another GIVEAWAY on Still Waters!  Woo hoo!

Here’s the dealio:  Post a comment to the question I’m about to ask.  I know, you are on pins and needles wondering what I will want to know today.  Must post your comment before Wednesday night, 9 pm.  Winner will be randomly selected using a random numbers generator and announced Thursday morning on the blog.

Want to know what you are playing for? 

MOVIE BUCKS….yep…a $25 gift card to the movie theater closest to you.  I’ll wait to purchase it until we see who the winner is and what movie theater chain is best.  If it’s one of our out of town or out of state (Micki!) readers, I’d want to make sure they could use the gift card!

So, here’s your question:  Name your favorite movie/movies.  My husband has like a top 5 rule.  List as many or as few as you like. 

Here are some of mine:   

Lonesome Dove (technically, a mini-series, but I still love it!)

Steel Magnolias

A Time To Kill

Honorable mentions:  We Are Marshall; Gone with the Wind; Zoolander (had to have some comedy in there!)

Ok – peeps – let’s hear all about your favorite movies.  Ready, set, go….

 – Kacey

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Well, God’s not going to let me slip out of this one today. I’ve tried to find something else to post, but we are out of our “supply” of posts. Believe me, I’ve tried to find one buried deep within my email inbox; I even checked and double checked my trash file, but it looks like I will be sharing this morning.  In all honesty, I don’t want to. I’m having one of those days where all the things that I’ve been bearing up under crash in on me, and I feel weary and lonely. I try to just hide out on these days so that no one can see me lik this. I hate for people to think I’m a drama queen or looking for attention. But here I am, with nothing else to put on the blog  today but me; sorry, it’s not pretty or inspiring this morning.

A little explanation may be necessary. It not like anything catastrophic has happened. I’m just worn out from saying “no touch, Elizabeth” to my very skilled crawler and fishing out whatever she has decided to put in her mouth this time. I’m missing time with my best friend, my husband, as he is swamped with teaching ungrateful and disprespectful midde schoolers in a tough part of town and also works to finish up his masters degree.

As I sat down to put up today’s post, I though about the last post, Paula’s. In my comment to her post, I talked about wanting “the joy of the Lord is my strength” to be my “mantra” for the week. Now a wake up today justfeeling ikky, and I try to refocus on what it means to be joyful. I know it does not mean I have to plaster a smile on my face pretending everything is fine or just grit and bear it. I know that I am grateful for a healthy baby girl that is capable of getting into all sorts of trouble and for Jerod’s job which provides for our family and his opportunity to take graduate course to get a masters degree, but it doesn’t seem like that is really joy.

Suddenly, I’m struck with a realization: it is not my joy that I need to find, but the joy of the Lord. Unfortunately, I am really not sure what that means. What is the joy of the Lord? and how in the world can I get some of it? I don’t have the answer to these questions yet, but if you have any thoughts, please, please, please share with me.

So there it is, the not-so-put-together or pretty side of Cathryn. I don’t know if anyone else is in need of the joy of the Lord, but I sure am.

If you would like to comment, feel free to comment on whatever the Lord puts on your heart.

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