Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Worship Wednesday: Carol of the Bells

Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells
All seem to say throw cares away
Christmas is here, bringing good cheer
To young and old, meek and the bold

Ding-dong, ding-dong, that is their song
With joyful ring, all caroling
One seems to hear, words of good cheer
From everywhere, filling the air

Gaily they ring, while people sing
Songs of good cheer, Christmas is here
Merry merry merry merry Christmas
Merry merry merry merry Christmas
On and on they send, on without end
Their joyful tone to every home
Ding-dong ding-dong, ding-dong ding-dong
Ding-dong ding-dong, ding-dong ding-dong

Meh... I know this one is not very spiritual, but today, THIS day, I need to hear, "Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells; All seem to say THROW CARES AWAY"  over and over and OVER again!

My days before vacation are going out like a LION!  I am stressed!  Trying to work... the kids let the dog out... didn't listen to me about how to get her back... I had to race out in my pajamas and robe to try to catch her... couldn't get the minivan back up the driveway... foot is ice cold from being in a snow bank... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!  "THROW CARES AWAY!!!!!!  THROW CARES AWAY!!!!!"    My silver bells are screaming, "ONE MORE DAY JAMI! ONE MORE DAY!"

So anywhoos... there is my not very spiritual Worship Wednesday, but WAIT!  I think I just got my spiritual application!!!!

Throw your cares away!  Don't just be "merry" this Christmas but throw your cares away!  Because this isn't just about snow and lighted trees and presents!  The light of the world came to SAVE OUR SOULS!  How can ANY of our cares matter in light of that truth???

Hope you all have a BLESSED Christmas!  I literally have at least three blogs backed up in my heart, but I just have NOT had time to write about them lately.  Hopefully on my vaca I will find time to get them up here.

God bless!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Sacred Marriage:  What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?  Gary Thomas

Haven't read this book yet, but OH how its title has been rocking my world!  On Wednesday, my friend Terri posted this in her FB status.  It has been echoing through my soul ever since, and of course part of why it has been on my mind is that John and I have been negotiating a mine field of struggles recently... and not without stepping on a few mines.

I have always known I would find more success working to make my spouse happy then fighting to get him to make me happy.  But WHAT IF... WHAT IF it isn't about happiness AT ALL???  You know as earth shaking as that question was to me, really it should not have been.  I have long believed and loudly touted, "God cares more about your character than your comfort."  Really that is what this marriage thesis is saying.  That being comfortable (happy) is not as important as building character (holiness).

We can BE happy in a marriage, but I think the point it that happiness comes as a byproduct.  The true goal of every single part of our life is HOLINESS.  Tough to swallow???  A little bit.  Make sense??? A LOT!  Marriage is HARD.  It takes humility and fortitude like I've never exhibited before.  I have to be SOFT and PLIABLE in my compromising with this man but SOLID and UNBUDGING in my commitment to him.  It makes a lot of sense that this thing called marriage is about HOLINESS.    

Now before you go run and grab your spouse and make him/her read this because HE/SHE need to be holier... WAIT!  You need to read this too.  YOU!  It is YOU who clicked on this link!  It is YOU who God is speaking to right now!  Even if what your spouse has done is WRONG... flat out completely and totally WRONG... SINFUL...  guess what?  There is still holiness for you to achieve.  Turn the other cheek... Speak the truth IN LOVE... If you are a part of it, you have a part in it.  So pursue YOUR holiness and let God worry about your spouse's holiness.  That is what God has been speaking (FINE!  SHOUTING!) to me recently.  "KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT OF JOHN'S BUSINESS, JAMI!"  GOD SAYS.  "WORRY ABOUT YOUR OWN IMPERFECTIONS!  PURSUE YOUR OWN HOLINESS!"

So that's what I'm gonna do.  I hope you will too.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Worship Wednesday: Breath of Heaven

I only get to hear this song around Christmas... You know because it's "Mary's Song" and all.  But it grabs me ANYtime of the year.  The story of a faithful servant following God's direction when all those around think that servant is nuts.  The tale of someone KNOWING God spoke, having NO proof but his/her own certainty.  The wonder of the courage of standing against ALL:  friends, family, loved ones, those secular, AND fellow believers, who just don't GET what God has spoken, partially because they didn't hear it and partially because the message from God was so stinking LOONY!  That storyline SPEAKS to me:  Noah building the Ark, Abraham placing his only son on the altar, the virgin with child, the disciple walking on water....

As one who loves God deeply and tries HARD to follow His voice NO MATTER WHAT, I too have been in that place.  The place of KNOWING that God wanted me to do something and FEARING what others would think.  That predicament of KNOWING that I had NO good reason for what I was doing and that "God told me to" sounded so weak.  That terrifying, tumultuous, crazy place of PEACE.  Somehow experiencing BOTH the storm of uncertainty and at the same time the CALM of peace.

That's why I <3 this song!  Because I can SCREAM along with it, "Breath of Heaven, hold me together; Be forever near me, breath of Heaven; Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness....."  But my favorite part.... It is so poignant... it is:

Help me be strong...
Help me be...
Help ME...

Love it!  Love it!  LOVE it!

Whatever God is telling you to do today, no matter how crazy, take heart!  If God is asking you to do something off-the-wall, you are in GOOD company.  You're standing beside Noah, Abraham, Mary, Peter and so MANY more!  Take heart.  Have faith.  But most importantly let Him "hold you together."

Merry Christmas everyone!

I have traveled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I've done
Holy Father, You have come
And chosen me now to carry Your Son

I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now, be with me now

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven, breath of Heaven, Breath of Heaven

Quick Update and a nugget of inspiration...

Mention was made at John's appointment (I am still awaiting contact from the Dr.'s office so I can get my answers "straight from the horses mouth.")  About the possibility that medication caused (or intensified) the problems John faced which took him to the hospital last month.  Therefore, John is on a mission to eliminate all pain meds from his life.  He dropped them cold turkey (but is still taking anti-inflamtory med and muscle relaxers).  So far not so bad... please pray for him in this endeavor.

My doggie has me thinking lately... All the snow combined with the bitterly cold tempeartures are making "doing her duty" not so fun for her.  She races out into the harsh world to "take care of business" and then zooms back to the warmth and comfort of her home.  Jaunts through the neighboring farm are the furthest thing from her mind.  She goes out into the icky world only for what she HAS to do.  Then she basks in the warmth of her family, her home.

Shouldn't we be like that?  Shouldn't all the sin and ICK of this work make "doing our duty" out there not so fun?  Shouldn't we race out into the harsh world to "take care of business" and then zoom back to the warmth and comfort of our Father's presence?  So often during this season, time with God, spiritual endeavors take a back seat to working, shopping, wrapping, etc...  Those "jaunts through the neighboring farm" pull us away from God.  Doncha wanna just get back to basking in the warmth of His presence?

I do.

[Worship Wednesday later in the day... I promise!]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My baby is BACK!

Hey la, Hey la my BLOG is back!!!!!

I logged on this morning and gave it a shot.... "" I typed into my Internet address bar.  I hit enter and held my breath...  and there it was.... the welcome site of that plain white background, the orange of the blog post title popping out at me.... my life as a lesson is BACK!

You know SO many things transpired over the 36 hours when my blog was gone.  (I posted the update e-mail I sent via e-mail in case there are people who are not on my blog update distribution list.)  But here is what I'm pondering the most this morning, "What am I supposed to learn from the disappearance of my blog?"  (You know I don't believe in coincidences, right???)  I'm wondering if I have become too dependent upon this blog, my "free therapy."  I'm wondering if maybe God is asking me to "shut my mouth (blog)" and stop being so exposed and "out there" for a time (or forever).  Maybe it is time to close the doors of my life as a lesson and put my clothes back on (Bare Naked Honesty)?

I haven't come to any conclusions yet.  I'm still listening for His whisper.  I'll keep you posted, but for now:

Hey la, Hey la my BLOG is BACK!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Well I'm not sure what to even say.  The pessimist and optimist are warring inside me.  Maybe I will try channeling the realist in me and just lay it all out there exactly as it went down... 

John went to the doctor appointment alone today.  I wanted to go with, but it is so cold, and I didn't want to drag 4 kids and an old lady out into the frigid temps.  (I made the WRONG choice.)

I sent John with SPECIFIC instructions.  Lists of questions.  Medications to refill.  And a CLEAR directive to CALL ME so I could listen in on the appointment.  He didn't call.  For the life of me I cannot explain why.  He said there was nothing to report.  I said he couldn't have known that until AFTER the appointment.  For any of you who really KNOW John, you know that he does what HE wishes regardless of ANYONE else’s feelings or wishes.

According to John's report, the Doctor came in, tested his strength, said, “Merry Christmas.. see you in February,” and left.  He said the Nurse (or PA) who came in first told him:

The "lesion" was actually the same spot they found on his brain last year (last year they referred to it as an aneurysm not a lesion).  He had an angiogram of his brain before the Chiari Malformation surgery,  and the doctor’s decided to do nothing about this aneurysm.  The doctor (according to John) could not provide a reason for why he was in the ICU a few weeks ago.  They said it was precautionary and none of the tests revealed anything out of the ordinary.   

The optimist in me is screaming, “HALLELUJAH!  There's nothing wrong with him.”  The pessimist in me is muttering, “Darn doctor’s don’t know their heads from a hole in the ground!”  The realist in me just wants to kick John in the crotch for not calling me and letting me hear this report for myself. 
Since I'm currently channeling my inner realist don't be surprised if John is "singing soprano" for the next few days.

As always thanks for holding us tight in your prayers.

[Oh and My life as a lesson has still not been recovered L]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Warm and cozy

It's 4 a.m.  I don't mean to be up.  Disturbing dreams woke me a little over an hour ago, I finally got out of bed when curiosity over the snowfall got the best of me.  At a more godly hour, this scene might be pleasant (even idyllic):  the living room bathed by the light of the Christmas tree, a yummy cup of Sleepy Time Tea to my left, and SILENCE... oh silence, my dear long lost friend how I love thee.

This snow storm is not disappointing.  At least, it isn't up here in Hubbard, WI.  We have at least 6 inches on our back deck already.  The wind is WHIPPING the snow about (in fact I can hear and feel is whistling through that irritating gap in the patio door seal.  Even felt snow coming through into my kitchen again!  GRRRR!) menacingly.  It is too dark to really view the situation, but I know it is NOT good. The DOT is advising drivers to stay off the roads.  Anyone who doesn't HAVE to travel, shouldn't. It's pretty dangerous out there:  icky, cold, snowy.  Yet in here I am snug as a bug:  warm and cozy, tea at my side, therapy tool in my lap.  I LOVE IT!

It draws my thoughts to Him you know.  How the storms of life can rage!  How the wind can whip!  How the snow can blanket the earth!  In storms like these, visibility is reducing to nothing, traction is a distant hope.  We slip and we slide, unable to see the path before us.  Yet there is a shelter, a warm and cozy "home," a place where we are safe when the storms of life rage .  His loving embrace is that place.  With His arms around us, we are warm and cozy.  We can still hear the storms of life raging.  The wind still whips.  The snow still falls.  At some point, we will likely have to clean up the damage the storm is wreaking.  Yet when the storm is too severe, when the roads have been deemed impassable, all we have to do is snuggle up tight in the warmth of God's love and wait out the worst part, warm and cozy.

His embrace doesn't make the storm go away.  God's sovereignty won't keep the snow from piling up.  His great power isn't always for stopping the winds.  Sometimes He DOES calm the storm raging around us, but SOMETIMES He just offers us refuge from the elements.  A warm and cozy place of comfort that gets us THROUGH the storm.

Comfy and toasty in my little refuge....  Hope you're staying safe, warm and cozy too.  God bless!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The devil

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  
Ephesians 6:1

Last night as I raced into town for my sister's bowling birthday bash (it wasn't really called that.... I just made it up... Really it was our crazy family bowling, eating bar food, and singing "Happy Birthday dear Cori" as loud as we could at the local bowling alley), Noah asked a question that chilled my soul.  Before I reveal his question, let me set the stage.  These details are not those I have shared with any yet... even John will be surprised at their revelation.  

For the past two days, Satan has been attacking me HARD.  He has been whispering to my soul that I will soon be a widow.  I know with all of my heart that this is the enemy attacking me.  I know that my struggle is "against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  I know (as I recently wrote in The Gentle Leader), "If Satan can get into your head and make you worry, doubt, or fear... If you give just an INCH of your brain to worry, doubt, or fear... It is over!  The worry, doubt and fear control you. "  I know that since I learned so many lessons (which I am LIBERALLY applying) the last time we went through this brain issue, (especially:  God will provide ALL our physical needs in MIRACULOUS ways) that Satan is just looking for a new way to torture me.  I know!  I know!  I know!  All of this... yet still...

Finally, yesterday  I asked just my mom, dad, and sisters if they would increase their prayers for me only hinting at the way Satan was torturing me.  Then it happened.  We were just driving down the highway, chatting about how shockingly we were going to be late to Riri's birthday party, when after a brief silence Noah asked me, "Mom, can someone die from a Chiari Malformation?"  It was as if Satan himself had punched me HARD in the gut.  I paused a second while I caught my breath, and then replied, "Hmmmm.... I don't think so."  Because I DON'T think so... Death from Chiari Malformation has never been presented as a possibility to us.  

Here's the thing:  I could have dismissed his question as nothing.  I could have reasoned it away with the reminder that just yesterday we attended a gut-wrenching funeral for a six-month old baby.  I could have just told myself it was a coincidence.  However, here's the thing, I don't believe in coincidence.

Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
I Peter 5:8

I believe in the devil.  I believe he is a WICKEDLY smart being.  I believe he wants to destroy me.  I believe this not just because the Bible says it, but also because I have stared him in the VILE face before.  I have felt his sickening breath on my cheek.  I have HEARD his vicious words hurled at me in attack.  I know that "the devil prowls around like a ROARING LION looking for someone to DEVOUR."  (emphasis mine)  

When I heard those words from my baby's mouth, I knew the attack was being taken to a higher level.  Now the worries weren't just clanging around in my own brain.  They were out there ALOUD!  And they were in my child's brain as well.  I immediately cried out to Jesus.  

"Help me Lord!  I can't fight this anymore!"  my heart screamed out. 

Reveal it my child, was His gentle answer.  

"Reveal it???  Are you CRAZY!  I can't reveal THIS!  People will think I'm nuts because I believe in the devil.  People will judge me for fearing my husband will die.  My husband doesn't need to hear I'm afraid of this!"  I screamed from my heart.

Reveal it my child, He gently repeated.

I wanted to fight some more.  I wanted to rail against it.  However, I have known ALL too well the ill-effects of sweeping Satan's attacks "under the carpet."  See what happens when you do that is they get bigger and bigger until they devour you.  See that's what he wants.  He wants us to try to fight Him alone.  He doesn't want to be exposed!  

So guess what???  Anything Satan wants, I'm gonna do the opposite.  I'm exposing that slimy little liar.  I am putting it out there:  I am afraid that John is going to die and leave me all alone.  Truth be told I have been fighting this battle since the moment I received that first call, "John said he feels like when he had that stroke-thing."  I need you to pray for me!  I need help fighting back the enemy because he is NOT giving up.  

One last comment... it is with regards to my fear that "People will think I'm nuts because I believe in the devil."  Here it is... It is not even my words.

It is the greatest art of the devil to convince us he does not exist.
Charles Baudelaire

He is real.  He does exist.  But unfortunately for him, his existence doesn't mean squat up against the power of our God.  So please pray.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Real quick:

We are basically in somewhat of a holding pattern right now.  We really don't know anything new.

***John had that ambulatory 24-hour EEG on Monday (to Tuesday).  [He also had another 'episode' like what happened on 11/19, but it was SHORT lived, and we did not have to go to the hospital for it.]

***We have an appointment Monday with Dr. Ahuja [It is actually a follow-up appointment scheduled back in October when Dr. Ahuja told John, "When you come in December that will probably be your last appointment with me."  Famous last words I guess.]

***John is feeling okay and is working.  However, he is NOT up to full speed.  We are trying our hardest to adapt, but a few things have fallen through the cracks.

Verse for today:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Worship Wednesday: Mary Did You Know?

Last night we watched the Passion of Christ.  Actually, I tried hard NOT to watch it.  I am just WAY too sensitive for that movie!  Even ignoring the subtitles and concentrating on my crocheting with the movie only as background noise, I bawled like a baby.  What my Lord went through for me!  The horror He suffered!  The pain of his earthly mother!  They are TOO much for me to bear!

I kept thinking about the glory set before Him.  Yet, even for the glory set before Him, I could not stop BAWLING over the horror He endured.  As a mother I am always especially hard hit by the focus on Mary.  How could she watch them do that to the Child who came from her womb?!?!  Yet I'm sure she never even entertained the idea of leaving her Child in His toughest hour.

My thoughts turned towards this song.  It has always haunted my soul.  How much of the PLAN did God reveal to Mary?  What did God reveal to her soul?  She knew her womb carried the child of God, yet....  The miracle of the blind seeing?  The horror of the cross?  These details....  What did she know???  When did she know???

It reminded me that we OFTEN do not know.  The wonder of a generous gift...  The uncertainty of a sudden relapse... These details....  We never know they are coming.  But here is the GLORIOUS part!  (...for Mary and for us...)  Mary did not HAVE to know.  As glorious as the beginning of His life was...  As gut wrenching as the end was...  Mary did not HAVE to know!  God knew.  He knew and He would give her the strength to endure.  He knows and He will give us the strength to endure!

Whatever this day brings, do NOT forget He knows!  He knows.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered,
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know,
that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby,
you've kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know,
that your baby boy is heaven's perfect lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding, is the great I AM.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

On making it through Zumba (and life)...

I took a Zumba class once.  It was part of a staff development thing going on at the WAC when I taught there.  They wanted us to take classes we had never done or something.  I remember thinking, "I'm a former dancer.  I coach cheer.  I have taught aerobics for a zillion years.  I can do this."  I was WRONG!  More wrong than any person could ever be.  I have never in all my life felt more like I had two left feet.  In fact, I have never in my life felt like I had two left feet.  I have actually always felt quite coordinated.  But not when taking Zumba!  I remember it CLEARLY that moment where I stood there, surrounded by seventy year old ladies moving their hips in ways that I had never seen before, thinking, "I signed up for the WRONG class!  I need pre-beginner level Zumba!  or Zumba for idiots or something..... because this... THIS is WAY too hard for ME!

I feel like that every now and again in life.  I feel like I signed up for the wrong class.  I look around my life and think this is WAY too hard for me!  I canNOT do this!  I need pre-beginner level life or life for idiots!  Today it isn't really anything Mt. Everest like.  It is just a bunch of Rocky Mountains that have me feeling dwarfed and incompetent.  A $929 ambulance ride bill (which SHOULD be covered by insurance yet is nonetheless still daunting)...  The episode John had last night at my mother's birthday party (which he recovered from after just 10 minutes but nonetheless it scared the peanuts outta me).... The CHAOTIC array in the living room, the few dishes which remain from Sunday's party, the laundry piled up to my gills (which I know will ALL eventually be dealt with nonetheLESS they represent a LOT of work for me)...

I'm trying to remember how I got through that EVIL Zumba class.  I was really having a hard time following the steps.... the people all around me were distracting and the names of the steps were confusing and if I caught sight of myself in the mirror I was MORTIFIED.... instead of looking around at others or watching myself in the mirror, I just focused on the teacher, and then I think I just gutted it out, looking like a fool, and just MADE IT through.  So I guess that is what I should do here too:  focus on the Teacher... gut it out... look like a fool... and just MAKE it through....  Sometimes in life (and Zumba) you just have to make it through.... the victory is sometimes in just enduring...  you don't have to make it look pretty.... you don't have to be the best... you don't have to move your hips in unfathomable ways like those 70 year old ladies who take Zumba every day.... you just have to make it THROUGH!  And the only way to really do that is to get your focus off your circumstances and yourself, and focus in on the Teacher!

More power to all of you... I'm going to go tackle one of those Rocky Mountains now.  Hope you're having a great day!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Instant Karma

Last night we watched our most recent Netflix arrival, House Season 6 Disc 2, which (coincidentally enough) was supposed to arrive last weekend but got stuck in the USPS machines and was delayed in its arrival.  However, House doesn't believe in coincidences, and neither do I.  Granted it is for different reasons that we agree.  See I don't believe in coincidences, I believe in God's providence.  I also don't believe in "Instant Karma" I believe in God's will; however, I do believe in catchy blog titles.  So now I've babbled long enough... I'm sure you're all wondering, "Where is she GOING with this????"

As previously mentioned on this blog, the Kastner family (inspired by DFL - dear friend Lori) has embarked upon an Advent Project this year.  As a family, we talked about what this season REALLY means. What is Christmas all about?  After arriving at the conclusion that it is all about JESUS, we discussed the concept of focusing HARD during these days leading up to Christmas on honoring Jesus, on showing Him we love Him.  We have challenged ourselves, personally and as a family, to seek out ways to HONOR Him with all we do.

So last night we had to pick John up in Hartford (trusty old Buick needs brakes, tires, and HEAT).  We were stalling for time and it was approaching (and passing) dinner time. So I decided to pick up a small snack at McD's.  (Dinner was planned and waiting at home, but kids, and mom, were getting cranky from hunger NOW.) So anyways there we were sitting in the drive thru when I remember our project.  I remember Lori mentioning something about paying for the person behind her in the drive thru.  (I have ALWAYS wanted to do that!  But I am typically counting pennies, paying the lady with handfuls of change when I am at McD's.)  Well we are not rolling in the dough this Christmas; however, we are more "caught up" then we have been in a long time and I decided, "Let's do it!"  

So I presented the idea to the kids.  They were VERY enthusiastic in their answer.  As we pulled up for our turn to order, Noah said, "I'm so excited I'm trembling!"  I'm not gonna lie, I was a little scared.  What if the person behind us was taking burgers back to a houseful of people and I ended up paying thousands of dollars???  I tried to calm myself with realizations that I have A LOT of kids and even when they are allowed to "order stuff that's not on the dollar menu" we don't typically go over $40 at McDonalds.  We pulled up to the window to pay.  

After paying for our food ($5.99), I told the lady, "We would like pay for the person behind us."  

She said, "Do you know them?"

I said, "No.  We just want to do something nice for someone."

She said, "Okay, but I have to tell you, their order came to $26.04."  (Figures!  That is just the Jami-luck at work there!)

I smiled.  "That's fine," I replied.  "We just want you to tell them to 'Have a Merry Christmas.' "  

The kids were staring out the back window at the car behind us.  "They have a girl your age Noah."  Jeremiah said.

"I wish we could SEE their faces!"  Noah added.

It was such a priceless and PRECIOUS moment for us!  Well worth every penny of that HUGE order behind us :)  We were a little stymied in our getaway attempt.  This McD's was under construction, and it was dinner time and we had to weave around cars and then drive 3/4 of the way back around the building just to get out.  I fretted a little over getting caught.  So, ever the teacher (you have to be when you're a homeschooling mom), I started to instruct the kids, "Sometimes the best part of blessing someone is doing it secretly."  FINALLY with all the finesse of Maxwell Smart, we exited the parking lot.  

It was a great life lesson for my children.  They LOVED perpetrating a Random Act of Kindness.  However, that's not where the lesson ended for this family.  Nopes!  This time God had more.

We arrived home to find a riding lawn mower parked next to our porch.  It wasn't just ANY riding lawn mower.  It was the riding lawn mower we had borrowed all summer.  (I tried to find something in my blog about this but I can't.  REALLY!?!?!?  Did I REALLY not blog at ALL about the fact that our neighbors down the street saw us trying to push mow our 2 acres and offered to let us borrow their riding mower, "Any time... As long as you need to..."  How is that POSSIBLE!?!?!  It was one of the GREATEST blessings in the history of blessings!  Regardless, all summer long we had been borrowing this mower.)  As we pulled up next to it, we saw a bunch of stuff on the seat.  John climbed out of the van and checked it out.  It was an owner's manual, cables...  Could it be?  NO!  There's no way!!!  John said, "It looks like they are giving this to us."  We were dumbfounded.

Well he drove down the cul de sac and had a chat with our neighbors and SURE ENOUGH!  They gave us this lawn mower!  The man told John that from the first time we borrowed the mower, God had laid it upon his heart that it would be ours.  All summer long, he planned that come Christmas he would give us this mower.  He said he drove it up to his house, all decked out in his Santa hat, but we weren't home.  What an INCREDIBLE blessing!  How AMAZ-ZUH-ZING!  

Now please do NOT get me wrong.  The purpose of our blessing that stranger at McDonald's was BLESSING SOMEONE!  We had NO hidden agenda.  We did NOT expect (or even necessarily want) to be blessed back for it.  Just the joy of surprising someone unexpectedly like that was enough for us!  Yet still I was VERY grateful.  Not just for the AMAZING, nearly brand new lawn mower that is now parked in our garage, but mostly for the lessons my children had learned this day.  So many their heads were spinning:  

*it's a GREAT thing to give
*giving anonymously and surprisingly is an adventure
*honoring Jesus is not only the right thing to do it is SOOOOO exciting
*when you obey God irregardless of the consequences ($26.04 McDonalds bill behind us) He takes CARE of you (riding lawn mower - Merry Christmas!)

So today instead of just inspiration blanketed in a mumbo jumbo of words, I am also presenting you with a challenge.... a dare of sorts...

Dare to do something EXTRAVAGANT for someone today.  Just for the SOLE purpose of blessing them.  It doesn't have to be monetary!  Answer a grumpy person with an encouraging word.  Offer to help a coworker with their workload.  Stop to help a busy mother load her groceries into her van.  Do it because it is good Karma :)  Do it because it honors Jesus.  Do it because it is the RIGHT, KIND, Christmassy thing to do.  But don't be surprised if it comes RIGHT back to you with lightening speed.

Have a GREAT day everyone!  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Worship Wednesday: O Holy Night

I decided that this month, Worship Wednesdays should be about Christmas Carols!  How fun hey?  I am starting this my new directive with my FAVORITE Christmas Carol of all time....

Not going to really say much...  Today worship is enough.  The only thing I will say is:

THIS is what this season is all about:  the holy, HOLY night when Christ came to earth to live and then die and finally to rise again all for the purpose of saving a sinner like me!

I read a GREAT blog this morning from my friend (the now famous) Lori...  The Kastner's are going to focus more on what this season is REALLY about by starting an Advent Project today too... Thanks for the inspiration Lori!]

Now stop reading my words and focus in on these!

O Holy Night

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Truly He taught us to love one another 
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we 
Let all within us praise His holy name
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