Friday, December 31, 2010

How Quickly Can I Say This

Before It's 2011???

I'm 59.  In 2011 I'll turn 60.  I don't give adamant old age advice, almost never.  I give suggestions.  Hints, ideas about what I've done.  If I've done anything correctly it's by accident or genetics or by God's Amazing Grace.  I know this.  You keep giving it all back to Him if you trust Him.  If you've been "born again".   I don't know what you do if you haven't been given life by the Creator of the Universe and Stars and Heavens and all that is in your sight.  I guess you muster up all that you have left and pull yourself up by the bootstraps, as they say, and "do your best".   My best failed me  a long time ago.  I don't even remember what my best was.  I think I thought I had a lot of "my best" and it didn't work out for me.

Anyway .....  if you are a believer, seriously, are you regarding January 1, 2011 as a day to start over?  Do better?  I mean, it's tempting - to think it's some starting line.  Your starting line was the day you laid down your life.....and gave it to Him.  There is no magic, no power in January 1, 2011.

I mean, it is a new start in terms of Christmas being over -  back to normal - continue to look to Him - for discipline - for shaping - for molding - for normal.  It's a great reminder to "give it all to Him".  The "oh yeah, I want Him to have my life instead of myself having my life".    or....  "I want Him to make me into the someone He wants me to be".

It's like every Monday of our lives.  Weekends get "different".  I like Mondays.  Mondays "reset" the week.  Back to order.

Think of  January 1, 2011 as a great big huge MONDAY.  All we need say is, "What Lord?"  What will you do?  What will you shape?  What will you change?  What will you have me be or have me say yes to or have me surrender?  What idols are in my life?  What things need to go?

Are you a believer?  2011 belongs to Him.  It's His business.  Every single day of each of our lives is the first day of the rest of our life.  Every second of every moment of our lives is the first new second of every time segment of the rest of our lives.

Jesus LOVES YOU.  Are you His?

P.S.  If this doesn't convince you, go Here, to this post on this blog and read this lady's post written after her very beautiful home burned to the ground on an evening in the week leading up to Christmas.  If you want Him to have all of you, He will.  He'll say yes to your request.  Whatever it takes.  I love this post.  She's a solid, surrendered believer.  She blessed lives before this tragedy.  I'd just gotten to know her through her blog.  Yet, God does things in lives which we can't understand.  All to His Glory.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Goodbyes and Pictures

Of course it was hard seeing Sarah go back to New Orleans and Kate go back to Winston Salem, by way of the Birmingham Airport.

Well - maybe that picture is somewhat dated,
but they're still my little girls.

I'm grateful that God is directing their steps and placing them in places that fit them -
but still - I miss them.
and I'm grateful that for a season Ann and her family are close by.  I hope it's a long season.

This crew, below, will be back this afternoon for a few more days.
They won't be quite as dressed as this nor so posed. 
They recently had their family portrait done - right after Thanksgiving.
I liked this one although Ada has her tongue curled.
 There was a whole stack of pictures.

They'll return to McDonough and no more coffee and hugs with Ada early in the morning.
I need John here on a regular basis to get some solid bonding in with him.
Just when I've won him over, he has to leave.

So many goodbyes.

and a huge hello to 2011.

2010, tomorrow is your last day.

But while I'm posting photos of family
look at this one.

and these

Here is the real story of that photo shoot.
Ann, the photographer, Ellie and Luke, the subjects, not really wanting to be serious.
There were more besides these two below not suitable for the Barber Christmas Card.


and then, two more,
of Ada and John,

Okay, I'm done.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trudging Through the Aftermath

I was rather, ummmm, not willing to automatically return to life as usual the day after Christmas.  So much energy put into that celebration - it's a struggle to let it go - especially since we were all trying to really really not make it about the red and green and santa and gifts - and food - yet they continue to be His gifts to us.  Everything is His gift to us.  Even the ordinary.  It's a rest.  It's safety.  A place to go home to.

We're always looking for home.

If we don't find it in the ordinary, we look for it in the celebration, the extraordinary.  Always looking for that eternal place.

What was real on December 26?  People, multiple folks in my home or close by and we all were looking for something away from TV and Food and Laptops and Children who wanted entertainment.  We got that day done - and then there was December 27.   What now?  Snow on the ground still and cold outside.  There's always the mall.  We didn't buy a thing.  But we did go and got home and it's today.

Sarah has returned to New Orleans.

Laura Beth and her crew have left for Crossville.

Kate is preparing to leave tomorrow.

Mary Ann went back to Evergreen.

I am trying to put away Christmas, and find my daily momentum which I had before.

We are looking at Winter 2011.  What momentum can be found in those very cold days of mostly rain, not so much snow, maybe ice, hopefully health - warm fires with real wood smoke - at our house - no new babies until summer - What surprises will we find in 2011?

Monday, December 27, 2010

This Is What I Was Trying to Say in the Last Post

“Christians stand on the very brink of eternity. Jesus Christ, the last Adam, has completed the work of the first Adam and entered the new creation. Because Christ did this for us, we now belong to him and share in the rights and privileges of the world-to-come. We have been ‘justified by his grace as a gift’ (Rom. 3:24

and made ‘fellow heirs with Christ’ so that ‘we may also be glorified with him’ (Rom. 8:17). 

We have been ‘raised with Christ’ (Col. 3:1

and thus our ‘life is hidden with Christ in God’ (Col. 3:3)

 and our ‘citizenship is in heaven’ (Phil. 3:20). 

Because Jesus has ‘passed through the heavens,’ we today may ‘with confidence draw near to the throne of grace’ (Heb. 4:14, 16), 

having ‘confidence to enter the holy places’ (Heb. 10:19). 

We eagerly await Christ’s return from heaven when he will ‘transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body’ (Phil. 3:21

and we will see ‘a new heaven from God … ’ (Rev. 21:1–2).

 In light of these things, God has called us ‘to wait for his Son from heaven …’ (1 Thess. 1:10).”

from Of First Importance

— David VanDrunen
Living in God's Two Kingdoms
(Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2010), 73

Sunday, December 26, 2010

It's Not Over, It's Just Beginning to write a blogpost which noone wants to read.
(at the bottom are pictures of our Christmas Eve and Day)

How are you celebrating the third? or second? day of Christmas?

You might ask, what is she talking about?

(for your convenience I've highlighted the words in red which just might be too much information - you can scroll passed them to just ordinary Elizabeth words)

Well, there's a liturgical calendar which fascinates and intrigues me.  I regret that in our protestant casual expression of faith in Christ we've thrown out all ritual.  I actually think that there is discipline and humility in some ritual when done with a true heart.   It involves boundaries, laying down of one's will, and in obedience speaking truths which we might not speak aloud together in the rush of daily living.

Back to the liturgical calendar.  I don't even know what liturgical means.  Let me look it up.  Hold on for a second.......

she's looking it up......

Here it is.

Pertaining to formal public worship or liturgies.

So, define Liturgy.

again, looking it up....

Here it is.

A form of public worship; ritual
A particular arrangement of services

Litany:  a ceremonial form of prayer consisting of a series of invocations or supplications with responses that are the same for a number in succession

Eucharist:  the sacrament of Holy Communion;  the Lord's Supper; the consecrated elements of the Holy Communion, esp. the bread

We're supposed to have been celebrating Advent - which is the anticipation of the coming of Christ, not only celebrating the coming of Christ in human flesh, but also His second coming when "the wolf shall live with the lamb,  Isaiah 11:6, and when God will have brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly".  Or I like to put it this way, the final redemption when all shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord - and those who have trusted in Him on earth will experience their complete redemption.  No more sin and sorrow - no more struggles with this flesh.  But for those who have rejected Christ - sadly they will live in eternal rejection.  I hate that thought.  

Advent ended on Christmas Eve and the first day of the Christmas season began on Christmas Eve.  The traditional Christmas season begins with Christmas Eve on the evening of December 24 and continues until the Feast of Epiphany and on the calendar which I looked up January 5 is the twelfth day of Christmas.  Either the Sunday before that or the Sunday after is when the church celebrates Epiphany, I think.

The Baptism of the Lord (or the Baptism of Christ) is the feast day commemorating the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Originally the baptism of Christ was celebrated on Epiphany, which commemorates the coming of the Magi, the baptism of Christ, and the wedding at Cana. Over time in the West, however, the celebration of the baptism of the Lord came to be commemorated as a distinct feast from Epiphany.

Wow, it's starting to get tedious.  Still, I find it sobering to think that as a body of believers we might look forward to still more opportunities to celebrate Him, our Redeemer - collectively -

I realize this is one of those posts noone has the energy or interest to read - but, if you're still with me -

I naturally, culturally, think this morning, "Whew - it's over - now back to normal life".  That's my referring to all the colors of the season - or the shopping - or the cooking - the eating - back to trying to shed some pounds - I was having some success until we got into the final week before Christmas Day.  I can't even fathom the amount of calories I consumed yesterday - Heavy Cream in two of my recipes!

(the next part I did in large type to grab your attention before you x out of this blog post. )

I want to stop and absorb - that for the real reason we celebrate Christmas - it is what was born in my heart in 1968 - the Holy Spirit of God breathed life into me - into my soul and spirit.  and He is faithful to grow what He began in me - shaping me and molding me and conforming me to His image.  

All made possible because He planned eternally to redeem mankind and to leave His place in glory to be robed in human flesh and satisfy the righteousness of God - a gift to me - to you who trust Him - He conquered death and has given us His righteousness - and God loves us - 

Can we personally celebrate that for 12 more days? and then another 353 days? and another 365 more days and so on and so forth until we meet Him face to face.  I want to.  I want Him to create in me the heart that loves Him passionately - it's what I've always wanted since I met Him.  He is faithful.  

God's Blessings to Me
in Photos

and more on Christmas Day

I have to take more pictures.

Laura Beth was not in any of the pictures!

It was all quite a hullabaloo - and John was at her knee - so mostly shots of her knee were in the John photos.

I'm taking more pictures on this THIRD DAY of the Christmas season.
and will get some of Charlie and Laura Beth.
He wasn't in them either.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 23 and What Are You Doing?

Apparently most people are too busy to blog - so I assume too busy to read blogs.

I have to take small breaks.

I am no longer a Christmas Marathoner.  I'm not even a sprinter.  I do a little here - a little there - and take a break.  I used to go nonstop - back hurting - it's gotta get done no matter what.  I now know it doesn't have to get done no matter what - Well - some of it - like the laundry - the house staying reasonably picked up because it's just not very festive, to me, if there's more clutter than decorations - or if you can't see the decorations for all the clutter.  But I don't obsess.  I don't think I do.

What about you?  Are you breathing?  Enjoying the moment?  Is it maybe not your best Christmas?  Maybe your worst?  Maybe your best so far.

Things I've especially enjoyed already -

1. Seeing that movie with Sarah and Kate and Charlie - "How Do You Know" with Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson
2. Spending the day with Sarah and Kate in Huntsville yesterday and the other day, last week when Kate went with me to Huntsville
3.  The times Ellie and Luke and Andrew have been here and having them add so much to the season just being my grandchildren.
4.  Anticipating when Ada and John get here on Christmas Day - having that to look forward to and knowing the way Ada will hug me - eventually - after she gets passsed the shy stage that she has been doing, lately.
5.  Being surprised last week when Yonea Chunn and her 4 girls came to my back door - and already expecting Beth and her girls and her grandchildren.
6.  Drinking out of my Christmas mugs.  My Vicki Carroll Christmas mugs.
7.  Having lunch with my friend, Mary Bratton - and having her and Mike and Ben over right after Thanksgiving for Shrimp - and kicking off the holidays with their company.
8. Traveling to Evergreen (I almost forgot) the first weekend in December and having a Christmas Party with friends and family there - and watching the SEC Championship game with them, also - and Auburn winning and looking forward to their playing in the National Championship Game.
9.  Having lunch twice with my friend, Sue Paulk, twice during this season - and she invited me and how nice it was for her to do that - joined by her friend and my new acquaintance, Jenny.
10.  Eating dinner at Ann's last night and so glad we were there especially when she found out that Steve couldn't get home for dinner - responsibilities at work - and our being able to help her with end of the day "stuff" - Ann makes the BEST lasagna.  and Charlie makes the BEST salad.  and being there with her when Andrew tumbled down the stairs.  Awful sound and moment.  He was okay - but so scary.
11.  Each Sunday when I get to church and how nice to have that fellowship and the people there - that connection.  Our Church Christmas dinner and having my friend, Jean, go with me and our sitting with Mary at the table and how pretty it all was.  and the Christmas Program by the children last Sunday - and all that Steve teaches out of Galatians.
12.  Reading in Kate's blog of her trip to New York and how much she was loving it.
13.  Finally knowing that Sarah was getting relief from the pain and sickness of her Kidney Stones and knowing that Charlie arrived in New Orleans safely to get her and when I heard they had made it to Evergreen and when they came in the back door on Sunday.
14.  All the small moments when I've had quiet time to myself, drinking in good health and the life I have, and the safety of it and the love within it.

So - Mary Ann is on her way today - tonight we're eating at Cantina Laredo in Huntsville.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and our Candlelight Service.  Afterwards, soup at my house and the excitement of Ellie and Luke as they open "just one gift".

and on Christmas Day - the Moores arrive with Ada and John - 
and our dinner that evening with the whole family here.

It will be fun chaos, and fun tired bones and eyes, and funny things said and done, and, I hope, yummy food - if I don't mess up the Prime Rib Roast I'll be cooking.

Oh - and I forgot 

15.  I've loved every Christmas Card I've found in the mailbox and every package that arrived on time and the fun of opening what I've ordered.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Good Recipe

Need something easy and hearty?

Buy a 3 - 1/2  to 4 pound sirloin tip roast.
Also, Soy Sauce if you don't have it on hand.
Bouillon cubes.

In a crockpot place roast


1/2 cup of soy sauce
1 beef bouillon cube (or 2 if they are the teensy kind)
1 or 2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon course ground pepper (more 1 tsp. if you like lots of pepper)
1 tsp. dried rosemary (or a few sprigs of fresh, if you have it)
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder (or about 4 large cloves)
Enough water to almost cover the roast

Cook in crockpot, covered, for 7 hours.

Remove Roast from crockpot - shred with fork - strain the au jus gravy -

Serve the roast in Sub Rolls with the gravy in small bowls for French Dip Sandwiches.

Along with Salad and Kettle Potato Chips - very good meal.

Charlie, Sarah, Kate and I had that for dinner last night and then went to see a movie.
Nice holiday night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Isn't Part of the Christmas Celebration for Remembering?

It is.  Definitely.

I've shared a lot of these images before,
but I wanted to do it again,
with a different look.

And there are some others I've added

A Christmas Wish,
to watch my past Christmases on a big screen.
To see Mother moving about her kitchen,
to walk into those adorable small shops with her
that used to be so much a part of downtown Evergreen.

To hear Daddy going into the living room 
to turn on the Christmas lights for us before we went in to see what Santa had brought.
Or, to hear him say, "Okay we can get up now - the house is warm enough".
I think he was really just stalling to let Mother get some more sleep.

And then more of those Christmases 
on Birchwood Drive 
when the girls were all under 10, at least.

Ten and Under - that's when children haven't even thought about leaving the nest,
don't even know they really will.

Gingerbread Village - Christmas 1992
 Ann and Laura Beth - Christmas 1985
All four girls playing on the bed - with Christmas excitement.
Kate with her first tricycle 
Easy Bake Oven Goodies
Sarah singing in a Calvary Christmas Program

Matching Dresses - please - there should have been an intervention
and someone should have told me not to do it.

That dress of mine is still hanging in the back of my closet.

Four more days - until Christmas!