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Mercy: A New Way

  Definition of Mercy: not getting what you deserve       Mercy changes how we interact with others. Jacob favored his son, Joseph. It made his brothers so jealous, they sold him into slavery. To make matters worse, he was accused of misdoing and thrown into prison.  But God was watching over him. Joseph was released and even given a powerful position. Imagine his surprise when, years later, his brothers stood in front of him.  Due to a famine, they had traveled to Egypt in search of food. The men didn’t recognize their grown brother in his administrative position, …

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The Edict

My mother loves the McIntosh variety apple. She says it’s full of flavor, easy to digest, and bakes well. When they’re in season, she loads up. I can be sure she will send some home with me because she knows I agree – they are delicious. What makes it good is everything under its skin. The fruit thrives with a strong core, seed, flesh, and stem. Properly grown and harvested, it’s pleasing to the taste buds. Just as God intended. In similar fashion, everything good about us is under our skin in impalpable life sources created by God; wholly designed …

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With All My Heart

My Texas sisters, Carmen, Lynn, and Becky, really know how to throw a party. It was my birthday and what a surprise! The house was decorated luau style. There was even a Tiki Bar for the kids in the backyard. The grill was fired up and the table overflowed with shish kabobs and salads. The display was a huge cocktail glass shaped cake that Becky had baked. Guests wore leis. They handed me a grass skirt and coconut bra to wear over my regular clothes. The kids wore party hats and coconut bras, too. The party was in full swing. …

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With All My Soul

While young, I wasn’t a fan of fishing. Probably because of the wiggly worms and the hooks that stuck in my foot more times than in the mouth of fish. But I loved Daddy, and he liked to fish. My father, Edward, insisted I bait my own hook. “Can’t catch a fish if you can’t bait your own hook,” he’d tell me. After several attempts and words of encouragement from him, I’d finally manage to get a few slips of the hook through the worm. Then, with the pole in hand, I’d head to the water’s edge. A few mishaps …

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With All Your Mind

My grandson, Zakery, has an uncanny ability to draw you into a conversation and build a visual world inside you that is much different than the one you’re actually in. One day, while he was still in preschool, he went with my husband and me to the barber shop. It was a small block building that set just off the highway. A cluster of trees was behind it. He said, “There’s a bear in them thar woods.” “There is?” “Yes. And it’s gonna come out to scare us.” He thrust his chest out and bared his paws. “And then it’s …

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With All Your Strength

Our grandchildren, Ryan and Emercyn, were born thirteen hours apart. I wasn’t able to make it to both birth celebrations, but my husband did. Larry’s scramble from one hospital to the other, one hundred thirty miles away, showed his sincere desire to welcome them into the world. The challenge to be with each baby seemed to set a precedent. The two children battle for his attention. Fascinated, we’d watch the babies as one crawler would immediately notice if the other climbed onto Pepa’s lap. As fast as their little body could move, the youngster would wriggle across the room to …

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Embrace It

A lovely bowl graces the table; filled with chunks of Gala apples tossed in a crisp Waldorf salad. Next to it sets a hot Granny apple pie waiting to be sliced. Rich caramel coated Jonathan apples pierced with a stick and rolled in nuts line the counter next to the stove where a pan of blended Baldwin and Winesap apples simmers, filling the room with a mouthwatering aroma. Chosen from the harvest for their strong core, seed, flesh, and stem, each unique apple variety bursts with flavor and the combined results is a lavish banquet. Just as God intended. “And …

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Focus on the Coming

DAY ONE: ADVENT – Focus on the Coming In years past, the chaotic, commercialized, celebration of Christmas sucked the life out of me. I love Christmas! But, there’s the Final Sales Event of the Season that happens every weekend. Charity drives, company socials, family dinners, parades, church plays, and band concerts fill the calendar. Apparently sleep isn’t necessary the last six weeks of the year. Christmas decorations crowding out pumpkins before the first leaf falls bugs me. Happy Holidays versus Merry Christmas debates on social media are annoying. One Christmas carol per sixty Santa Baby songs on the radio bothers …

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Peace from the Shepherd

DAY THREE: ADVENT – Peace from the Shepherd “Daddy, I’m scared.” The father pulled the tiny balled-up fists from the child’s eyes and wrapped his strong hands around them. “I’m right here. Tell me why you’re frightened.” “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” “It’s going to be fine. I promise.” “But, how do you know?” “I know because I’ve already been there. Rest now.” Our family knows how the child felt. Four years ago, my grandson, Gage, was diagnosed with leukemia. The discovery came fast. In just a few days, Gage went from not feeling well to a trip …

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Joy From the Savior

DAY FOUR: ADVENT – Joy from the Savior Grandma Murphy gave me joy. When I was young, my grandparents were a full day’s drive away, so we didn’t get to visit often. I remember climbing out of the car after the long trip and greeting the stocky woman with a twisted gray bun. She was usually outside watering a grassy patch in the yard. What astounded me was her solid footing in bare feet while bees swarmed around her legs. She didn’t flinch. We’d always enter the house through the back. The wood framed screen door would squeak loudly in …

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Love From God

DAY FIVE: ADVENT – Love from God My parents divorced when I was two years old. Of course, I was too little to remember, but what I know is that I was probably the typical toddler, my sister was a preteen, and my brother was dying from cancer. While sandwiched between one daughter’s puberty and another’s terrible twos, Mom dealt with hospitals, doctors, and her son’s awful disease and ultimate death. She worked hard to take care of the four of us. Money had to stretch and put food on the table. Babysitters had to be arranged. I never remember …

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The Gifts

DAY SIX: ADVENT – The Gifts God arranged the greatest celebration when he sent his son, Jesus, into the world and promised he would come again. How do you take part in the festivities? Are you like Zechariah, the Jewish priest? He was invited to the party. An angel of God told him that he would have a son who would announce the Messiah to the world. Zechariah doubted at first. Are you like his wife, Elizabeth? She was invited to the party. She excitedly participated as she mentored Mary, the mother of Jesus. Perhaps you are like Simeon. He …