Tuesday, December 29, 2009


For many, Christmas is a JOYOUS occasion, but for some the holiday brings nothing but grief, heartache, the stirring up of bad memories, and perhaps tension and regrets. It's a time when most families gather to celebrate, but some families don't enjoy congregating because of past hurts. Understandable.

Others of you may love Christmas but for some reason battled feelings of sadness or loneliness this year. Perhaps 2009 brought heartache, turmoil, loss of employment, feelings of failure, divorce, ...or any number of things. Everyone suffers periods of pain and sorrow. It is called life, and we all must walk it day by day, moment by moment.

I read something today that struck a chord with me, and here it is:

"Any man can sing in the day. When the cup is full, man draws inspiration from it. When wealth rolls in abundance around him, any man can praise the God who gives a plenteous harvest? The difficulty is for music to swell forth when no wind is stirring. It is easy to sing when we can read the notes by daylight; but he is skillful who sings when there is not a ray of light to read by -- who sings from the heart. Lay me upon the bed of languishing, and how shall I then chant God's high praises, unless He Himself give me the song? No, it is not in man's power to sing when all is adverse, unless an altar-coal shall touch his lip? Then, since our Maker gives 'songs in the night' (Job 35:10), let us wait upon Him for the music."

I guess, then, the test that life throws at us is this: Will you keep singing even when the road gets bumpy and hard to travel, or will you grow silent, maybe even bitter, in your pain? Will you let God help you pick up the pieces of your broken spirit and downtrodden heart, or will you let the pieces lie there until they crumble into dust and your heart turns hard and cold? Will you lean into the Heavenly Father for strength and courage, or will you try to stumble along in your own strength, barely finding the ability to put one foot in front of the other?

GOD IS YOUR EVER-PRESENT STRENGTH. HE WILL NOT FAIL YOU, FORGET YOU, OR FLEE FROM YOU. He promises in His Word that He will carry you through every circumstance of life, no matter how difficult or impossible it seems. Trust Him to take your hand. Reach out. He is ALWAYS there...waiting for you to take the first step.

I love you ALL and welcome any prayer requests you might want to call to my attention. I promise to pray for you.

May 2010 bring abundant joy and God's richest blessings.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I hope you all had a FABULOUS Christmas. Let's share some of our traditions. How do you celebrate? When do you open gifts? Did any of you do something completely out of the ordinary this year? Do your kids/grands believe in Santa? What are some of your favorite Christmas foods?

Ever since Cec and I got married, we've been opening our gifts on Christmas Eve because Christmas morn was reserved for going up to both of our parents' houses. After our kids were born we continued the tradition, and to this day it's remained as such so our kids can have their personal Christmases in the morning and then go to their in-laws' houses after that. First, we attend the 5 o'clock Christmas Eve service, then we come home and read the Christmas story, then we fill our plates with snacks and goodies, and, finally, proceed with the gift-opening.

Christmas Day belongs just to Cecil and me, and we love it that way.

As for food, I LOVE chocolate! Gotta stock up on all the best chocolate treats.

Thought I'd share just a few piccies of my precious grands. Hope you don't mind indulging me!

Here're my three darlings standing in front of the fireplace before heading off for the Christmas Eve service:

Here they are after church in their Christmas 'jammies':

Grandma trying her best to hold the "grands'" attention during the telling of the Christmas story:

My daughters (Kendra on my left; Krissi on my right) and me shopping at one of our local markets where they sell homemade cider and lots of other goodies.

Now that Christmas is behind us, it's time to wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR! May it be filled with blessings from above!

I love you ALL!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I almost lost my CHRISTmas cheer today. I mean, it was a close one. I had several errands to run: a trip to the veterinarian, the bank, the grocery, Sam's Club, the dollar store, and my final stop, the UNITED STATES POST OFFICE, yours and my favorite place to visit this time of year, right?

I pulled my maroon colored Impala right in front of the P.O, found a perfect spot right by the door to park, nabbed my packages from the back seat, jumped out, hit the lock button, and headed across the street. The line, OF COURSE, was excessively long, but I put on my best Christmas smile despite everyone else's frowns. No one was stealing MY good cheer.

((Here's my car, by the way--'cause I was quite sure you'd want to see it!))

Things went amazingly well, and I was out the door in record time considering the line behind me had grown a half-mile. The first thing I noted when I hit the unlock button was the beep sound I made in the car behind me. It's true. I have this uncanny ability to make other horns honk when I use my keys--weird, I know. I once had to use my own key fob to stop some truck's alarm system! I HAVE POWERS, what can I say? (The people passing by were quite amazed I might add!)

Back to my story. The second thing I noticed on my maroon Chevy Impala was a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NEVER BEFORE SEEN, deep, gouged line that went the length of my car, starting at the rear door, going up to the front fender, then circling back again. I ran my hand over it, thinking it would rub right out, but, nope, this was a true act of anger on someone's part. I'm talking the "somebody hates me" kind of rage. I gasped and immediately thought, "Who would do this in broad daylight? And right before Christmas? The meanies." Well, I got inside and sort of looked around. It "felt" kind of different in there, although I couldn't quite put my finger on why. For one thing, my chocolate sucker, which I'd left in the cup-holder was gone. Blast it all! The bums even took my sucker! It wasn't enough that they keyed my car? They had to reach in and take my milk-chocolate sucker--that cost me $2.25?

The next thing I noted was the blanket on the seat. What? Who's blanket is that? Then I turned around and saw a package on the back seat that wasn't mine. And THEN I remembered the beeping sound my key had made on the car behind me when I hit the UNLOCK button. EEEEE-GADS!!!!! I wasn't even in my own car!

I jumped out, made a mad dash for my own car, jumped in, started the engine, and sped away. Looking in my rearview mirror, I saw a young man walk across the road and climb into HIS maroon Impala.

Phew! No insurance calls today--and best, I still had my chocolate sucker. I've lost something, though, in relaying this story to you. Hmm. MY PRIDE. Oh well, I didn't have much to begin with anyway.


I love you all!

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Our 34th Anniversary!

WE'RE OFF TO SHIPSHEWANA, land of the Amish--where the food is old-fashioned and delectable, the shopping is fun, the people are warm and friendly, and the accommodations are down-home. It's a land where the sound of horses' hooves clip-clop up the street and the smells of homemade fudge and pretzels fill the air. Quaint shops line the streets where beautiful handwoven crafts like AMAZING quilts, dolls, jewelry, and other items hang or sit on display. You always come away wishing you'd brought more $$$. Christmas is an especially good time to go, as the streets are lit with an array of beautiful decorations. Not many Santas here, as Christ is fully emphasized--nor will you find anything open on Sundays. Truly, it's a land of old traditions and family fun.

Although Cecil has a bad, bad cold (slept in a recliner last night 'cause he couldn't stop coughing), he still wants to go. I told him he could lie in bed and watch TV, and I'll shop--which I'd be perfectly content doing, but I'm sure he'll want to tag along anyway.

There won't be as much snow there as here, so that will be a blessing, but it will be just as cold. (Glad I'm not Amish and riding in one of those horse drawn carriages with no engine-powered heaters.)

Have a beautiful weekend, everybody.

I love you all. (And now, here's just a tiny glimpse of Shipshewana, Indiana.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hey, Peeps! Check this out!

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Order your copy TODAY!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I've Been Known to Go A

Little Berserk!

Maybe you can't tell by this picture, but I have cut back on the gift buying this year. In the past, I've been known to go a little berserk in the gift-buying department. When it was just the four of us, I always got the girls anywhere from 15-20 presents each. But now with both girls married and three grands (so far), I can't possibly continue with that ridiculous, outlandish number of gifts, and besides, in this economy it's indulgent and excessive. So, I announced there'd be less this year--and it's been so much more enjoyable for me. Thankfully the kids agreed I'd taken this whole gift-giving thing to an extreme level, and it had to stop.

And I'm loving it. Last night I sorted gifts, making individual piles for everyone, switched on the TV to some Christmas specials, and watched and listened with a joyful, thankful heart. I had about 30 different rolls of Christmas paper, multitudes of ribbons and bows, and hundreds of pretty Christmas tags, a collection left over from previous years. I had so much fun making each and every gift unique, right down to the one-year-olds who won't care one hoot about the extreme care I took to wrap their gifts. But it won't matter because I did it out of a heart of love.

As I look at this beautiful "Christ" season, I am filled with such gratitude--gratitude that my children live nearby, that we all attend the same church and gather together most every week for Sunday dinner (how many can say that?); that my daughters married Christian men and that they're raising their children with the same values we instilled in them; that my beloved husband and I are about to celebrate our 34th anniversary (Dec. 20 to be exact); and that the things that truly count in life are the very things we enjoy--jobs, love, health, comfortable homes, plenty of food, wonderful friends, and a loving family. (I could go on and on.)

Here's the thing. Life is fleeting. In an instant, everything could change. But this one thing I know: God is ever constant and true. His love never fails.

Aren't you glad we have the assurance of an ever-present Savior, one who will never leave or forsake no matter what befalls? Count every single blessing you have while you still have it. That's what I'm doing this year.

And as I count my blessings, I count each of YOU as well. I love you all!