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Friday, December 28, 2007

Were You Colder Than This?

Another Christmas is over and life is slowly returning to normal. Snow is falling and once again my husband had to plow out our long driveway with our Cat. I'll be blogging more again, now that the stream of family get togethers has slowed. Our son and his wife will be making one more visit before returning to their home in Northern California....but right now they're both sick with stomach flu at her parents house in Portland.

I want to share a short story with you, written by Ruth Seamands. It's touching and very appropriate for the Christmas season.


Were You Colder Than This?

(Written by Ruth Seamands)

It was Christmas Eve in Korea. An expectant mother walked through the snow to the home of a missionary friend where she knew she could find help. A short way down the road from the mission house was a deep gully spanned by a bridge. As the young woman stumbled forward, birth pains overcame her. She realized she could go no farther. She crawled under the bridge.


There alone between the trestles she gave birth to a baby boy. She had nothing with her except the heavy padded clothes she was wearing. One by one she removed the pieces of her clothing and wrapped them around her tiny son - around and around, like a cumbersome cocoon. Then, finding a discarded piece of burlap, she pulled it over herself, and lay exhausted beside her baby.


The next morning, a missionary drove across the bridge in her Jeep to take a Christmas basket to a Korean family. On the way back, as she neared the bridge, the Jeep sputtered and died, out of gas. Getting out of the Jeep she started to walk across the bridge, and heard a faint cry beneath her. She crawled under the bridge to investigate. There she found the tiny baby, warm but hungry, and the young mother frozen to death.


The missionary took the baby home and cared for him. As the boy grew, he often asked his adopted mother to tell him the story of how she had found him. On Christmas Day, his 12th birthday, he asked the missionary to take him to his mother's grave.


Once there he asked her to wait a distance away while he went to pray. The boy stood beside the grave with bowed head, weeping. Then he began to disrobe. As the astonished missionary watched, the boy took off his warm clothing, piece by piece, and laid it on his mother's grave.


Surely he won't take off all his clothing, the missionary thought. He'll freeze! But the boy stripped himself of everything, putting all his warm clothing on the grave. He knelt naked and shivering in the snow. As the missionary went to him to help him dress again, she heard him cry out to the mother he never knew: "Were you colder than this for me, my mother?" And he wept bitterly.
-----

When Christ came, He stripped himself of every royal garment and entered into our world of hatred and cold indifference. Why did He do it? Because He saw centuries of broken lives needing a Savior. And then He died of a broken heart. What broke it? The sin of human hearts. The long history of men making slaves of other men. Centuries of cruelty. Starvation and suffering. The worship of false gods in temples made with hands. War, bloodshed, crime, and greed: those things broke the heart of Christ.

But so did we.

Our coldness broke His heart, and now it freezes Him out. We complacent Americans (and people of all nations) who are saved, satisfied, and sitting. We who pray, "Give us compassion for a lost world," and then "sacrifice" a dollar for missions - we with our elegant homes and brimming garbage cans - we who have the money, knowledge, and manpower to take the gospel to every creature, and yet we don't. We who say we love the lost, and neglect to tell a lost neighbor about a loving Savior.

Jesus' love lies frozen between trestled lips that ought to be warm to speak for Him. Lord, we take off our garments of pride and self-righteousness, glittering but transparently filthy rags that they are, and lay them at Your feet.

In our naked need we cry, "Were You colder than this because of us, Lord?"
And we weep, because we know You were.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Site Up and Running!!!

I'm having so much fun! I just discovered a site where I can design my own products and offer them for sale with my logo, my book cover and lots of other great items....mugs, posters, T-shirts and more.

I'm posting a link here on my blog that you can come back to any time, both in this post and over to the right. I'll be adding new items over the next few days, so check back and see what's available.

I hope each of you are finding time to rest and reflect on the birth of Jesus during this most precious time of the year. Don't let yourselves get too overwhelmed with being busy...take time for yourself and your relationships with the Lord, family and friends. For that's truly what Christmas is about.


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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Whose Birthday Is It???


Christmas is almost upon us, the most joyous time of the year.... Or is it?

For many, it's just a season filled with stress, financial trouble, or loneliness. For others it's a time to visit with friends and family, bake, buy gifts or hope for some new blessing in their life.

What does it mean to you?

In this age of commercialism, are you making the time to celebrate the birthday of our Lord? It's so easy to allow the days to fly by and be swamped with all the chores required by Christmas. Baking, mailing cards, buying gifts, decorating the tree, helping children with programs...all these are good in themselves, but what will really bring the peace and joy to your heart and your family?

Let me make a small suggestion. When you wake up each morning between now and Christmas, don't jump out of bed and hit the floor running...no matter how many chores are begging to be done. Lay in bed another five minutes, and give time to the Lord. Let the awe of Christmas fill your heart and the joy of our Saviour minister to your spirit. Don't beat yourself up for not taking an hour with your Bible & prayer. Do what you're able to do, but make sure your priorities put Him first in your day.... After all....

Whose Birthday Is it, Anyway?

Merry Christmas to all, and Happy Birthday to you, Jesus!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Radio Interview Thursday December 6th

I have a 12 minute radio interview airing on a Christian station out of Missouri tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. Central, 11:00 a.m. west coast time.
You can hear it live at 11:00 (Pacific) at www.kneo.org Just click on the "listen live" link in the center of the home page. If you miss it, you can go later in the day or the following one, and click on "Programming", then choose "Author's Corner" and click on the speaker icon. It may take awhile to show up under the archives, but I've been assured it WILL be placed there if you're persistent.
If you have any problems, let me know....and if you do listen to it, I'd love your feedback!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Blended Family....Managing Your Step Family Part 2

Here's part two of the article about blended families. I hope it will be a blessing to you. Please see the credits at the bottom of the article.

Acknowledge the absent parent

When one of the original parents is absent, the children need a special kind of understanding. An absent parent (who has died or who lives elsewhere and doesn’t visit) is part of a child’s past. The child must be allowed to have memories of this parent.

The children who have access to both of their parents are those who adjust the best to divorce. They should be allowed to regularly speak with, visit, and write to their non-custodial parent.

Help the kids fit in

Children of stepfamilies belong to two households. It is understandable that they have questions about where they fit in. They are usually able to adjust to having two sets of rules as long as they are not asked to choose which is better.

Be clear about the rules

Ideally, both sets of parents should discuss the family rules and what will happen if rules are broken. When the adults agree on the rules, they should explain them to the children.

Most successful stepfamilies have learned that the rules should be decided together in the beginning, and that the biological parent should do the explaining and disciplining. The stepparent may have more involvement after the relationships with the stepchildren have been established.

All of this works best when the parents can agree to be flexible and cooperative with one another. This may be difficult immediately following a divorce or remarriage, but it is important to work toward this objective.

Educate yourselves and seek emotional support

Read books about managing stepfamilies, attend classes, and participate in stepfamily support groups. Seek the help of an experienced mental health professional to help you through the rough spots. Marriage and Family Therapists have specific skills and training for working with families and stepfamilies.

Give the kids their own space

Make physical space available for the children who don’t live with you. Children need a sense of belonging. Creating a room or section of a room for visiting children will help them feel like part of your family.

Expect them to think it’s temporary

Accept the fact that your children may expect you and their other parent to reconcile. They may fantasize that your new relationship with your partner is only temporary. This is especially true in the beginning.

Find a time to sit down with the children and explain that when two people are unable to live together anymore, it doesn’t mean they love their children any less. This is especially important for the parent who has moved away, since the children will inevitably feel a sense of rejection.

Expect resentment

No matter how good a parent you are, you will never be the biological parent of your stepchildren. It is natural for a stepchild to feel some resentment for you, especially when you are setting limits for their behavior.

Show the children love

Sometimes children need love the most at a time when it is the most difficult to give it to them. While bad behavior should never be rewarded, always praise children when they are behaving well.

Garrett Coan is a professional therapist, coach and psychotherapist. His two Northern New Jersey office locations are accessible to individuals who reside in Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County, Rockland County, and Manhattan. He offers online and telephone coaching and counseling services for those who live at a distance. He can be accessed through http://www.creativecounselors.com or 201-303-4303.

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