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Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Reminder

First Christmas Adventure with Grandma!

(this is not a personal story, but one someone sent me via email, by an unknown, not named person)

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I
was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to
visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There
is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled
to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.
I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the
truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with
one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they
were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between
bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No
Santa Claus?" she snorted.... "Ridiculous! Don't believe it.
That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain
mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go."

"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't
even finished my second world-famous cinnamon bun. "Where" turned
out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had
a little bit of just about everything.

As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars.
That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said,
"and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you
in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's Store.

I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my
mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.
The store seemed big and crowded, full of people
scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just
stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill,
wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I
thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my
neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my
church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly
thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy
hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.

Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he
never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always
wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all
we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he just
didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with
growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat! I settled on a
red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm,
and he would like that.

"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the
counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.

"Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady
smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed
a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put
the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag
fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible)
in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby,
From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted
on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker's
house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever
officially, one of Santa's helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and
she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front
walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa
Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath,
dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded
his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and
Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the
front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.

Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments
spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's
bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa
Claus were just what Grandma said they were, ridiculous. Santa
was alive and well, and we were on his team.

I still have Grandma's Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: A
$19.95 price tag.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and
FRIENDS that care. And may you always believe in the magic of
Christmas! God gave His own son as the very first Christmas offering.
How can we do any less than give of our best!

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Do You Choose?

Every morning we face a choice. We can get out of bed and see life one of two ways....with the glass half full, or the glass half empty.

We're faced with choices every hour of every day. Choices to growl, complain and criticize, or CHOOSE to be thankful. We can speak words of peace, words that bring life and freedom, words of joy....or we can sow words of doubt, fear and negativity.

There isn't a person in this world, no matter how rich or seemingly blessed, that doesn't struggle with something in their life. It might be a physical problem, a marriage issue, a conflict with a child, sibling or parent. A job that's stressful, a bill they can't pay, or someone who's rejected their love. None of us are immune to stress or trouble.

But each of us faces the same thing when crisis comes. How will we choose to respond? The Bible is so very clear. The words that we speak can bring life, or they can bring death. God works through the words that we speak. He desires to bless us, to bring us the desires of our heart. But are you tying His hands by the words that constantly tumble from your lips? Do you speak doubt and fear? When you pray, do you pray the problem, or pray the answer? Do you use His Word in your prayers, or dig deep into the dung pile and pull out words that are a stench to His nostrils?

I urge you to listen carefully to the words that come out of your mouth. Make it a priority, this next week, to consider what you say when something goes wrong, or when you're troubled or stressed. Are you quick to complain, grouch, find fault, or do you give God the glory, speak positive words of faith in His ability to see you through?

If not, why not? Do you really believe God is able to conquer the giants in your life? If so, being to SPEAK like you believe it. You'll be amazed at the power your words will release....and the way God will move in your life!

Friday, December 5, 2008

So Much To Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving Is Over, But....

Is that any reason to quit giving thanks? We dedicate one day a year to giving thanks, but how many of us do it even on that day? Yes, I know Thanksgiving is over, but Christmas is coming and it shouldn't be all about shopping, baking and decorating. It, too, needs to be a time for quiet reflection on all we have to be grateful for. Here are just a few of mine:

A wonderful family who loves, encourages and supports me, and my writing career

Our home finally sold and we're moving toward closing. Yes, we'll be moving just days before Christmas, which is inconvenient, but I don't care. I'm so grateful we'll only have ONE mortgage payment, instead of the two we've carried for 2 yrs.

My second book releases in late January, with another releasing later in the fall, and yet another contract on the horizon for 2010. Can't say more than that right now, as it's not official yet.

A healthy body and the ability to get out of bed in the morning without the pain that so many sickness, no disease, and a healthy husband as well.

Gas that's now under $2.00 per gallon and still heading down. Talk that it could hit $1.25 by the first of the year. I never would have believed, 8 months ago, that we'd ever see it under $4.00 again. Wow! This is awesome!

God loves me and accepts me just as I am, with my graying hair that keeps wanting to grow out and show the roots, my overweight body, my occasionally crankiness toward my hubby, and my propensity to procrastinate on things that need to be done. I'm so thankful He doesn't judge me the way I sometimes am prone to want to judge others.

See what I mean? And that's only just a tiny bit of what I have to be thankful for. How about you make your own list? It's amazing what writing it down will do for you. Do I have things that trouble me, or that I'm praying about? Sure. We all do. But choosing to put my focus on the good rather than my needs frees God up to do what He needs to do in my life. I'm no longer complaining or worrying, I'm praising Him instead. A good place to be!
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