an early new year

new years eve

We celebrated the new year at 6pm tonight – midnight in Spain. My sister-in-law did it up right and had us over to celebrate the Spanish way. We watched the countdown in her native country, we ate 12 grapes in 12 seconds and shared a toast in fancy glasses. I think a 6pm New Year’s Eve is my new favorite: I was alert, the kids got to play along and still be in bed by 8.

Perhaps starting 2010 six hours early will be a good sign for the new year. Only time will tell. I have so enjoyed chatting it up with you in 2009 and look forward to another year of celebrating the gifts of the everyday, even in the midst of the crazy.

the climb

Last night, I stayed up too late watching a show about climbing Mount Everest. Let me first say that I balk at climbing the hill every morning on my way to walk the girls to school, so mountain climbing is like, the last thing on my list of things I want to do. Right below get a root canal and drill a hole in my head.

Still, it was fascinating to watch people who know what they’re doing make their way to the top. It was freezing and dark and they had all this stuff they had to carry. One man was battling a stomach virus. And at nearly 28,000 feet, they could hardly breathe. At one point, one of them said that the key is to look no further than your feet. Really? That’s the key? Because I thought the key might be take a crazy pill and wash it down with a glass full of Superman juice.

They reached the summit just before dawn. But when the narrator darkly announced that is only half the climb and the descent is more dangerous than the ascent, I turned it off. The only kind of mountain descent I want to see is on one of these.sled

This morning, I read in Habakkuk chapter 3, where even in the midst of great despair, the writer admits that the Lord is the origin of strength. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights (v. 19).

Then, in one of my favorite devotional books, Jesus Lives, Sarah Young says this:

Awareness of your need for Me is what creates a strong connection to My Presence. My Power flows into you continually: It gives you strength to take the next step, strength to resist discouragement and despair, strength to know Me in intimate dependence…Though the way before you may be steep and rocky, it is nonetheless the path of Life. It is where you encounter My luminous Presence – radiating peace that transcends all understanding.

As crazy as those mountain climbers seem to me, perhaps we have more in common than I first thought.

at (in)courage

bethlehem

I was living in the middle of another December. Behind the wheel of my minivan, Christmas to-do’s were on the list but my mind was distracted with brooding introverted things: life meaning, love longing and tired regret.

I was stuck somewhere between cloudy mood and daily task when the second verse to an old familiar Christmas hymn made its way up from the background..

I’m writing at (in)courage today. Join me?

my, how things change

christmas forecast 2

At the risk of forcing a local weather update on you for a state you don’t live in, I’m posting this to simply say expectations are everything. I’m glad I got the screen shot of Christmas snow predictions last week. Twenty minutes after I posted that, the forecast changed to rain.

As we enter into this Christmas week, I’m reminded how expectations play a vital role in my holiday experience. Snow or no snow, I’m encouraged to remember simple truth this week: Jesus came.  A thrill of hope for a weary world, He was born and He lived and He died and He rose up again. Snow or no snow, that is a truth I can grab onto.

wrap up

flowers

Once again, I have found some treasures on Tuesday this week. Here are a few highlights for you to peruse. Though I will continue to post and unwrap moments over the next few weeks, the Tuesdays Unwrapped linky will be on vacation until January.

Our Angel, God’s Gift @ Girls to Grow, because she has walked the road of deep despair and still says God is good.

One Moment, of the Well of Life to Taste @ Zizzivivizz, because doing what you love makes the work worth it.

Time With My Sister @ Somewhere Between Serious and Silly, because I’m a softy for anything having to do with sisters.

Hope @ Boy Crazy, because her perspective on the light of hope in the midst of the darkness is breathtaking.

Ours @ The Extraordinary Ordinary, because she puts into words how I felt, too.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes and visit these lovely blogs. As always, thanks for reading and participating in unwrapping and celebrating the everyday gifts.

gifts on a tuesday

home

The shelf in my parents garage holds little pieces of home. I’ve never read any of these books, but their bindings are comforting and familiar. Dad has books everywhere, stacked and organized by an invisible system. Sitting in his home office over Thanksgiving, he pointed to a row of books behind his desk and said those were the ones he couldn’t live without: Understanding and Applying the Bible by Roberston McQuilkin; The Saving Life of Christ by Major Ian Thomas; a well-read copy of the Bible; a few presidential biographies.

As I bent low to read their titles, I thought of how the words in those pages have mentored and taught him. In turn, they have taught me as well. Pieces of home, glimpses of Jesus, stories of truth passed on from author to reader to daughter and more. I couldn’t help but wonder which books I would put on my own life-giving shelf. I also couldn’t stop myself from celebrating those writers, in the quiet of the office, for their work and willingness to receive words and inspiration and for passing them on through the pages of their books.Picture16-11

Do you have a piece of home to share? A glimpse of heaven? A moment to celebrate? I invite you to do so here, either with a new post or one from your archives. Don’t forget to use the permalink and to link back here.

christmas tour of homes

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Welcome and Merry Christmas! It’s time for the annual Christmas Tour of Homes at my sister’s place, the one she so happily inherited from BooMama. I’m so naggy and little sistery to be first on her linky (tee, hee!) I always look forward to walking through other people’s houses for these tours because it satisfies both my creativity and my nosiness. Here’s to hoping no one spots the blanket fort I forgot to clean up before I took the photos.

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Thanks for nosing around my place. You’re always welcome here. Feel free to find out a little more about this space, but I have a feeling you are busy breezing through other people’s houses. I know I am.

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Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

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*The mini pre-lit tree, the Jesus sign and the Christmas cards are all from DaySpring. The kids table I got at a yard sale, chairs from TJ Maxx. The color on the walls is Tobacco Road. The fort was free.