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My Childhood Celebration of Christmas

    Though I was not raised in a devout Christian home, I have some fond memories of celebrating my early Christmases. On Dad’s last trip to town in the wagon, he took Mother’s list of items needed for cooking our Christmas dinner and for goodies Santa would bring Christmas Eve night. When he returned, Mother cautiously took the fruit, candy, nuts, and other goodies and hid them in a protective place, but soon the pungent aroma of apples, revealed their secret hiding place. It was difficult to wait until after our meal on Christmas Eve, but finally the time arrived and Mother appeared in the room announcing Santa had come and left our treats …

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Family Secrets

        Some families have their traditional holidays.  Some have their own secret family recipes.  This is a good thing.  But, just try and get that secret recipe or secret ingredient that grandma puts in the pumpkin pie and you’ll realize soon that some things should be left alone. There’s no secrets in God’s kingdom.  There’s no mystery in how you can get to Heaven.  God’s plan of salvation is laid out all throughout the Bible. Romans 8:28 – “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are …

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Speaking Words of Encouragement

Recently I went for a much-needed walk around my neighborhood. It was one of those nights when my mind was swirling with the details of life and my heart was heavy. As I walked, I saw an elderly couple that lives down the street. I visit with this couple from time to time, but we are not close friends. We talk about their health (which isn’t good), my kids, and we let our dogs sniff noses.   When I saw this sweet couple in their yard that night, I decided to stop and visit. It was a short visit but …

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Thanks in Action

It’s Thanksgiving season again. The time to reflect on our lives, gather with family and consider our history as a country that was birthed by the drive to live in a new world where freedom and liberty set the foundation for society. As Christians, many of us take time during Thanksgiving to refocus and prepare our hearts for the impending celebration of our Savior’s birth. We will reflect on blessings and hardships, explore areas of Christ’s intervention or answered prayers over the year, and we will look intently and intentionally at what we have. There will be many Facebook posts, …

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Restored and Redeemed: A Marriage Story

We all have a story to tell. I would like to think that mine is not much different than yours, but I know that it probably is. As I think about celebrating 41 years of marriage, I know there was a time that the word “celebration” would not have been a part of my vocabulary in speaking about my life with my sweet, precious, ever patient husband. God knew when I married this man that my relationship with him would be filled with so many ups and downs, so many trials, but also so many joys….and He knew that this …

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly… Birds fly over the rainbow, why then oh why can’t I? These words, from the song made popular by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, were sung to me by my mother when I was a young girl and when I was a new mother anytime I got discouraged or down. No matter what I was dealing with, she knew when to spontaneously start singing, and it always brought even the slightest smile to the situation. Today I don’t hear my mother’s wonderful voice as often…guess we thought I out grew it, …

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God Isn’t Done with Me Yet

To pick one moment and say, “that, that right there was when God wrecked me,” is hard to pinpoint. It wasn’t the moment our 6 month old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, it wasn’t the moment my husband deployed, or the moments I thought he would never return. It was a gradual build up, a gutting of everything I held dear before the final sweep of the wrecking ball knocked through my walls. Our first child was born during the week before finals of my second to last semester of grad school. I was on track for the life I’d …

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The Weather of Relationships

Just like the weather in Arkansas, things change. Sometimes they change quickly. Just this evening the weather was hot and dry with dust blowing in from Africa of all places. The weatherman had warned us, but really? Africa? Sure enough. Then the thunder and lightning began just at dusk. When we went out to wave the last of our children good bye for the evening my hubby noticed the rain gutter bucket was full of muddy water! A relationship that seems clear and perfect can run aground without anyone really doing anything. Personalities, differences of opinions and just plain humanity …

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Love & Sacrifice

Love. We’ve been hurt by it and we’ve been blessed by it. People have even died for it. Love evokes a passion from within us. However, for a lot of us love can be so confusing. How can one fall in love and then years later fall out of love? How does that work? Is love really so frivolous? Is love really that unreliable? Despite the passion that lives in that one little word, we have managed to water it down. Love has become this abstract concept that our culture distorts for its own purposes. In fact, love has become …

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5 Relationship Myths

My kids and I take a summer sabbatical every June to Florida, where I grew up. My husband usually goes on a mission trip and travels to a conference in June, so he kindly allows us to go to my hometown in Florida. Our last week in Florida, he flies down to join us. He loves to enjoy the beautiful west coast Florida beaches I grew up on. We also work in a mini Disney vacation with our little family and spend a couple days away, just him and me, on the beach. I cannot tell you how much I …

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My Dad: Salvation to Service

I was born into the home of new believers. My mother found Christ first and spent a full year praying for my father. He had once said he would go to church but he would never want a Christian in his home. He never did find God. God found him. He found him in his room searching the scriptures for the UFO’s his older brother swore were in there. He found my father wrestling through the Old Testament exclaiming he could believe in Him, it was this crazy Jesus he couldn’t swallow. He found him considering conversion to Judaism. Then …

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Grace Expectations

No human will ever be able to meet our deepest needs. This is something I’ve learned over my life. We often put so much pressure on our husbands, children, friends and family to fill a void in our lives, to be a certain way, or to be who we think they should be so they can meet our needs and our expectations.  Whether we are aware we do this or if we do this unknowingly, it’s wrong. Let me say it again, no human will ever be able to meet our deepest needs. It is Jesus’ job to fill that part of our soul …