Advent …the preparations are already done

Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming.

Matt. 3:3

For years I have missed the meaning of Christmas because I was not prepared

I did not think of saving in my now

so that I could give in my future

this season would come and I would be caught unprepared

like those who did not have oil in their lamps ( Matthew 25:6-12 )

Last year I was so disgusted by my inability to give

and how my desire to give did not match my preparing to give

I grew cynical and irritated

“ Seriously do they have to play Christmas music everywhere and before Thanksgiving day?”

cold …not ready for HIS COMING

ADVENT – Seeing HIS COMING afar off and following yonder star

That is when I realized I must do something different

no more complain and remain as if LIFE is the culprit

the more month than money was on me

I didn’t prepare well for a season I knew  very well was coming

This year I was able to give Rolling on the floor laughing

I felt directed by God to gather up two specially prepared gifts for someone He would lead me to give too. I found her the other day ….her name Julie. She is checker at a store near our home. When I was filling out Christmas cards her face and kind smile came to mind. Then when I was preparing to seal the envelope I heard God say one of those gifts is for her.

We gave it to her the other day

stood in the check out line with nothing but a gift

the look on her face was enough

she felt special and loved

and that was the best sight to see and a blessing to give

Ann asks and will you join in answering

How do the performance bandits seem to target you, especially at the time of year?

Expectations can ride like highwaymen, ransacking joy, killing relationships. Performance bandits can chose mercilessly at the jugular, stealing the riches of His grace.

Ann Voskamp

When is the last time you rested like a child? Take a few moments of true rest today.

Look around you and name the sacred things among the ordinary.

Poem

Have it all together

Be ready for anything

this is the mark of a wife and a mother

but this time of year is my natural resting time

slowing down time…

reflecting time…

preparing for the coming year time…

When I get caught in the what ifs and should be’s

I run harder and miss HIS FACE time…

When I curl up in a cuddle with my children is when I feel most at rest

the sacred is all around

a blanket of ice outside

calling us to stay in and come close to Christ instead of running running

listen to the sound coming from the second floor

drums of praise

and songs of joy

sacred moments

bread rising like hands raising in praise

readying for the breaking of fellowship

sacred moments…everywhere

 

Starla

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Advent…watching for Him who is enough

I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says.

Habakkuk 2:1

we all struggle

fear creeping in

Headlines knocking at our fragile doors

we all struggle

As the cold can move you deeper toward the fire, struggling can move you deeper toward God, who warms you with joy. Struggling can deepen joy….the secret of joy is always a matter of focus: a resolute focusing on the Father, not on the fear.  – Ann Voskamp

ADVENT – the One who came to bearing into our struggles with us

Ann asks and will you join in answering

What are you waiting on God for right now?

Where have you seen blossoms of goodness even in the most unlikely places?

Thank God for the grace to rejoice amid the broken places.

Poem

waiting …

that always the case

waiting

when will it stop

will I ever just be fully satisfied or will I always want more

deliver to my heart and mind inspiration

new and fresh way to go

as you have done before

showing up at just the right time

and even that is in the waiting

blossoms of goodness

His love

joying in those around me

seeing light and life in others

smiling and laughter

togetherness

always a crack of light in the dark cocooned places of me

Than you for the broken places that shine your light

I rejoice in thanks for your grace

I praise your holy name

 

Starla

Advent …looking on hearts

People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Sam 16:7

We do not see how He sees

we think we know what we are looking at

but without His truth we see the cracks only

we see what we think is best

He sees the beauty in things we pass by

we need a washing of eyes …

I need this washing of eyes

we are not to live by what we see but rather to walk in faith

in Faith we see the Love…the joy…the good ….HIM everywhere

and that takes HIS EYES

Advent – Seeing the way He sees …the coming One revealed

Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see. -Ann Voskamp

From Hollywood to Pinterest, the media of this world aggressively schools your soul to see the exact opposite of the way God sees …our seeing must cut through surfaces and down to souls. Is my life about the heart of things? …or is my life a shallow absorption with surface? Its strange how if affects us – from housekeeping to soul-keeping: if its mostly the surface that absorbs us, then we’re mostly superficial.  – Ann Voskamp

Ann asks and will you join in answering

When you look at other people today, how can you concentrate on seeing hearts, not appearances?

What do you want to see with fresh eyes this Christmas?

Ask God to help your life be about the heart of things.

poem

Judging the appearance

only hearing what people say and not understanding why they say it

reacting to the tone or the expectation in the words

rather than the heart of what is said

that is not easy to do

I don’t score high on mercy

I have to work at empathy and compassion

I have to make a real effort to slow the calculations and analyzation’s

my ear bends – weighing the words and the tone and punctuation of words

to curb that natural path to hear the heart under the words is a times a chore

I want to know the hearts of those around me

I want to understand them and care for them

I want fresh eyes and ears to hear and see like Christ this Christmas

I want my life to be about the deeper things

not living by the fear of what another thinks or what it looks like

but by what it is ….GOD in YOU

God at work in you

Love in action

 

Starla