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Steven and Trixie

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My copy of Robert Frost’s poetry

My husband listens to me. I acknowledge that I am truly blessed with such a man. Our first Christmas together, (dating, not married), he gave me a book of the complete collection of Robert Frost because he remembered that in Sunday School years before we ever dated I said Frost was one poet that I actually liked.

One year, after marriage, in my stocking was a chocolate orange because he remembered that I said we often got oranges and chocolate in our stockings when we were growing up.

And this year, I got four more Trixie Belden books.

The goal is for me to have the whole series. I have through number 15 now (and an outlier, #29).

Trixie Belden books were my favorite as a young girl. When we went to the library I would get as many as I was allowed to check out. They weren’t kept on the main floor of the children’s room, but behind the door of the storage room. I can see it in my head. . .having to take a left after going in the children’s area. The children’s room librarian even came to the point of just waving me into the room instead of asking me which ones I needed. I see young me standing there behind the door picking the next three.

I wanted to be like Trixie and Honey and have my own club like the Bob-Whites with a club house. I wanted to solve mysteries and go on adventures. I wanted to like horses, but I just didn’t really. I hoped bicycles would be a good substitute.

My Trixie Belden collection, minus the four I received yesterday. . .they’re in the bedroom waiting to be read.

Steven knows all this. Cause he listens. He also knows that for my eleventh birthday I asked one of my uncles (who I shall not name to protect) for a Trixie Belden book. I received an autographed copy of Hiroshima Diary. A wonderful gift. . .but I was eleven. I’ve never quite gotten over it.

I find that even though I’m relatively sure that at least one of my gifts will be at least one more book for my collection, I’m super excited to get it. I’m also super excited to read it and remember the joy it brought me as a child. It brings me joy again, maybe in a bit of a different way. {I also find myself amused with some of the cultural things, namely gender roles, that have shifted over the years.} But I like reading them and remembering that little girl and her dreams. And seeing how she turned out and what kind of adventures she does get to have.

PS. Titling this post was super hard. . . .

Hard Candy Christmas

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The phrase “hard candy Christmas” has been running through my head for the last several days. If you’re not familiar with the term, as my husband wasn’t, it refers to a Christmas when parents can’t afford to get their children anything but hard penny candy.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

While the phrase implies lean financial years, I feel it may be applicable to this year another way as well. It’s a very different kind of year for a society that’s used to running itself ragged with Christmas gatherings–immediate family, extended family, extended extended family, friends, Sunday Schools, gym friends, church programs–well, the list could keep going, I’m sure.

Maybe we’re feeling like it’s a bit of a hard candy Christmas because the traditions we’re accustomed to can’t be executed in the same way.

But candy is still candy.

One of the ornaments on my tree.

One of the books we’ve been reading with Peter this week is Angel Pig and the Hidden Christmas by Jan L. Waldron. My dad gifted it to me back in, well, honestly, I don’t know because I can’t read the date he wrote in the front. Here’s one of my favorite parts:

“Giving and sharing and just helping out, That is what Christmas is really about. Look all around you, that’s where you should start. You’ll find the best giving is done with your heart.”

We may not be travelling and gathering in big groups this year. But we have what is right around us. We have neighbors who may enjoy a homemade treat; we have stamps that mail letters to those we love. . .perhaps a hand written note expressing their value is exactly what they need in this very different year. We have the people who live in our household with whom we can celebrate the accomplishments and the victories of this year and maybe start some new traditions.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Yes, Christmas this year will look different. We may need to mourn a bit for what was, but in that mourning, I pray we don’t neglect what we do have.

I pray we don’t miss the opportunity to savor some hard candy.

Cause the thing about hard candy?

It lasts.

God’s Gift: Vision

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Day 13 of Advent and God’s Gift.

Bible Reading: I Samuel 16:1-13

 

Samuel is instructed by the Lord that appearance is not the establishing factor of a king.  David fails to meet the “standard” status quo of Saul.

 

God looks at the condition of the heart. 

When we look in the mirror we are often faced with our physical flaws and shortcomings. We judge appearance without hesitation.

With God’s eyes, His vision, we can see the kings and queens we are in our hearts as children of the one true God.  Our inheritance is greater than the body we live in, the house we live in, or the Earth we live in. With God’s vision we can see not only our impact, but also our future.

Thoughts for today:

What is the first thing you think when you look at your reflection?

How can you readjust that thinking with God’s vision?

What lasting impression do you want others to have of you?  Does it have to do with your appearance or your heart?

It is a true gift to see ourselves through God’s eyes.  It is also a daily practice. . .something we must do over and over to remind ourselves of our value in Him.  In our waiting today, God can help us see through new eyes what our direction is. . .ever closer to Him.

God’s Gift: Restoration

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For the next 25 days, I intend to share with you my Advent devotional. I wrote it to remember God’s goodness and gifts while I grieved for our lost babies.  

I also wrote it with the intention of using it with a Jesse Tree, though this isn’t necessary.

Jesse Tree scriptures are relatively standard across denominations.  Sometimes the order is a bit different or the addition of another unlikely hero may be included.  I used the progression of scriptures included in Jesse Tree Journey by Ann Voskamp and Nancy Rodden from www.aholyexperience.com.  I wrote the scripture references at the top of individual pages in my journal, and then put their words away.

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Bible Reading: Isaiah 11:1-2

When I was growing up, we had a maple tree which my parents decided to cut down.  The stump marked the edge of a makeshift parking spot in our yard. After a season of “stumpiness”, it sprouted.  The maple tree came back more beautiful and full than it had ever been previously.

A stump seems dead, but when we wait patiently, it bears new life.  These verses remind us of the Trinity and the characteristics that are bestowed upon Jesus: wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, loving reverence of God.  We wait expectantly for these traits to appear from the stump of Judah. It is Advent.

We progress through all of God’s gifts, towards the One.

Thoughts for today:

How can you recognize beauty in the waiting? 

Where can you nurture to bring forth beauty and fullness that previously was missing?

Where can you display more patience in your life?

Ask God today to reveal areas where restoration is waiting in your life. Ask God to help you relax in the waiting.