Saturday, January 8, 2011

End of the Road ?

When the words, "Snow" or "Ice" are mentioned on the airwaves in MD everyone rushes out to buy milk & bread. In South Carolina, toilet paper & beer are added to the list. I recall a family having moved here from sunny California asking about the toilet paper. I simply replied, "It doesn't matter if you need it, it's just how it's done. It's part of the preparation & excitement". In MD, everyone waits expectantly to find out if they will "have to go out in this mess". Down South everything closes. With the exception of "essential personnel," God has seemingly declared a free day. Everyone stays in to enjoy the beauty He has created, along with the pleasures of home & family.

It snowed throughout the day on Christmas & on through the night, with little accumulation. The next day was Sunday & we weren't about to miss our time worshiping with God's family in His "Living Room". Few cars were out & the sights were glorious !!! (These shots were taken as Tom drove, using the "behind glass" camera setting.) Those who braved the drive & ventured forth to God's House were richly rewarded by seeing the endless beauty He had washed over the landscape.

As we crossed the bridge passed the lake, my breath was taken away by the unity of snow on the pines & the amount of white in the water which fell across the dam. As a member of the parking lot greeter team, I needed to be there early so chose not to stop. By the time we returned, the sun had melted much of the snow from the trees, which increased the amount of cascading water. I captured the remnants of what will remain a picture for the film of the soul.

As for this blog, I believe it is the end of the road. I have started a new one that will not be posted on Facebook. Anyone who is interested in following can e-mail me & I will send you the link.

Friday, December 31, 2010

White Christmas

Late Christmas morning, snow began to fall on our little home nestled in the forest. This was our view out back which continued all day & throughout the night. Just prior to supper, London went sledding down the hill next door. As he disappeared in the evening light of his last run I feared he would drop over the cliff towards the lake, but he was safe.

Apparently, this was the first "White Christmas" in our area since 1963. What a perfect year to have chosen for our first Christmas at home! The capstone of my day was the following song which commenced just after our prayers as we sat down to enjoy our feast:
"Christmas in Dixie, its snowing in the pines.
Merry Christmas from Dixie, to everyone tonight..."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Traditions

We have always spent Christmas with extended family... scrambling to make the 530 mile trip north, then rushing from one gathering to the next. It was with a surprising sense of calm that I proposed our staying home this year & my husband readily acquiesced. My son was eager to stay home to enjoy his gifts Christmas Day so long as Santa would be able to find him.
I wondered over my impulsive declaration yet it felt right & good. The matriarchs of my family had modelled Christmas traditions for me over a lifetime & I soon realized the brunt of holiday tradition now fell on me... it was my turn to lead the way & pass them along. For the first time in my son's life, he didn't have to pack his gifts away once they were opened. We stretched our gift opening over the course of the day, frequently pausing for him to play. For the first time in over a decade, the Christ candle shone brightly on our advent wreath.

I wanted to show my son, "the other side of Christmas" & planned an outing to distribute warm apparel to people living on the streets. Once assured I planned to bake lasagna for our holiday meal, my brother delivered us a turkey before making his trek to MD. In his usual, generous manner he purchased the 3 of us an 18.6 pound bird! It hadn't completely thawed & took hours to long that it kept us from our outting. We couldn't go help the homeless because we had too much food! There will be other times, but the irony was not lost on me. As I worked, preparing favorite dishes from all sides of the family I felt keenly in tune with the women who had prepared these same dishes before me. It was a lovely, quiet & slow-paced day, full of cozy warmth & laughter. One in which I confidently accepted the Torch of family traditions & took my place among the women of our family.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What If She'd Seen Jesus In My Yard?

Shortly before Christmas, I was surprised to find myself home alone. My mind raced with possibilities for this rare & unexpected time. Not long after the phone rang, I realized this was no accident. I spent hours on the phone with a woman intent on taking her own life. Unable to gather any family contacts, I called EMS when we were briefly disconnected. With contact re-established, I remained on the phone with her until help arrived.
To my delight she called the next evening for directions to our Bible study, but my hopes dwindled as the evening came & went without her. Over a week passed before I learned what happened that night. On her way here, a secular holiday display brought up pain & shame from her youth. She returned to her house to swallow the bottle of pills that would end her life. Thankfully she survived & the Lord worked on me through my rage, enabling me to see the log in my own eye. While the neighbors "never put Christ in Christmas," my garden remained yet unadorned as I hadn't "felt ready" for the holidays. That near-fateful evening, she had been in plain sight of the empty space where my nativity should have been set. Someone I barely knew had come seeking the Lord, but found Him not. Once again, the finger I point toward others returns to me. My Saviour (& the woman) forgive me, yet I am reminded of the saying, "one never knows who is watching".

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Baby Jesus

My husband recently observed, "It is easier for most people to accept the babe in the manger than the adult Saviour who calls us into accountability." The baby Jesus makes no demands on us. He simply seeks our thankfulness & our adoration, beckoning us into joy.
The other evening, my holiday partying was stopped dead in it's tracks when I came face-to-face with a newborn. I was powerless to do or say anything as I fell under the spell of this tiny, new life. The baby Jesus of Christmas calls us into worship & praise~ yet, how much time do we set aside in the holiday rush to sit adoringly at His side to gape in awe & wonder?