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Monday, December 26, 2005

Traveling Mercies...

Happy trails and traveling mercies for Tonya! God's Presence with you and yours at this time of journeying and searching.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Prayer Before a Christmas Crib.

A Prayer Before a Christmas Crib

I open the stable door;
I kneel before the infant;
I worship with the shepherds;
I adore the Christ child.
I give my love with Mary and Joseph;
I wonder at the 'Word made flesh'.
I am aware of the love of God;
I sing glory with the angels;
I offer my gifts with the wise men.
I receive the living Lord;
I hold Him in my hands;
I go on my wy rejoincing,
glorifying and praising God.

David Adam
Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers and Readings From the Northumbria Community

A Merry and blessed Christmas and Hanukkah to everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

11:30 p.m. Christmas Eve...

As it was in the stillness of the morning
so may it be in the silence of the night.
As it was in the hidden vitality of the womb
so may it be at our birth into eternity.
As it was in the beginning, O God,
so in the end may your gift be born
so in the end may your gift of life be born.

Saturday Opening Prayer
J. Philip Newell
Celtic Benediction: Morning and Night Prayer

Friday, December 23, 2005

Bethlehem Town

Oh, Mary, Joseph, rest your eyes
Try not to think of the ending
World full of empty , He will die
But tonight he is still just a child

The silent night drifts all away
And the angels are dancing around you
There's the joy of knowing He'll save the world
Overshadowing the pain that He'll go through

Have you cursed at the wind?
Have you cried to the heavens?
Have you fought with this mercy that you don't understand?
When the wise men kneel down
To kiss the hand of this king they found
In Bethlehem town...

Will you hold back the years awhile
Will you dream that this man could always be a child
And never carry all the weight
Of the dirt and the distance and the company we keep

And did the stars shine much brighter that night
You gave birth to the death that would bring us to life
And did the mystery keep you awake
Was the sound of His little heart too much to take

Oh, I don't understand
When the wise men kneel down
To kiss the hand of this king they found

Have you cursed at the wind...


By Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Steve Mason, & Matt Odmark
City on a Hill: It's Christmas Time cd

Thank you. Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Thank you.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Please Pray...

Dear Blog Friends,

God is working with us, our little family, to bring us somewhere. I have in my heart a need to ask that you pray for us. Pray for our strength, discernment, faithfulness...

Something (I am not sure what) is going on... but I sense labor pains and the need for support.

Thank you,
And God bless you and yours this Sacred Season.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

An Invitation...

Yesterday the kids and I went to the library. We have made a habit of looking through the books that the library is selling. I picked up this book, bought it, read it this morning, and was surprised by an invitation. The book is: Baboushka and the Three Kings by Ruth Robbins. It is a small, children's book, so I am going to quote some of it...

"Long ago and far away, on a winter's evening, the wind blew hard and cold around a small hut. Inside the hut Baboushka was sweeping and scrubbing, and feeding wood to the stove. The old woman took pride in the clean comfort of her meager home. The swirling snow drifted and deepened outside. Baboushka's hut felt snug around her; her warm stove was the center of a cold world.

As day turned into night, a trumpet call sounded on the wind. A train of travelers was approaching. Leading the procession was a magnificent sleigh drawn by three white horses. In the sleigh rode three men, splendid figures, wearing jeweled crowns and cloaks of crimson and ermine. Men on horseback followed the sleigh and behind them trudged men on foot.

The procession stopped at the door of Baboushka's hut. Baboushka heard a knock. When she lifted the latch, the three strangers stood in the doorway. The poor woman looked in wonder at their elegant dress, their frosted beards, their kind eyes. What manner of men were these?

In answer to her thought, one of the three smiled and said, 'We have been following a bright star to a place where a Babe is born. Now we have lost our way in the snow. Come with us, Baboushka. Help us to find the Child, to offer Him gifts, and to rejoice in His birth.'

Baboushak shivered in the cold. She hugged a shawl tightly around her thin shoulders. 'Good sirs, come in and warm yourselves by the stove. I've not yet finished my day's work. And I shudder to go out on such a cruel night. Morning is wiser than evening. Rest here this night and I will go with you in the dawn.'

'There is not time to linger, Baboushka,' answered the stangers. 'If you cannot come with us now, we must continue our journey.'

They turned and disappeared into the storm.

The rest of the book finds Baboushka spending the rest of her life (to this day.. it is a fairytale you know) journeying... trying to find the king's path and the Child.

It made me stop and think.

Is there an invitation being quietly asked of me, today? And I am too content with a warm house and peaceful surroundings to venture out into the cold and storm to follow? Am I holding onto those things too tightly?

I have seen a sojourner, recently. I have seen my pastor and friend, Jan, venture out of the warm community of Open Door, to follow the journey to seek the Child. She has gone into the storm.

Lord. Keep me awake. Help me to live, enjoying your gifts and blessings, but ready to leave at a moment's notice. Keep me from taking your invitation lightly. Help me to be sensitive and responsive to Your Will.

Lord I ask for your traveling mercies to be on all who are journeying today.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Reality of Mary...

Labor of Love

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyway that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl
on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph by her side
Calloused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
On the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl
on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love...

Andrew Peterson
Behold the Lamb of God

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It Comes Around Again...

I remember sitting in my school desk in the First Grade at Northmoor Elementary School in Peoria, Illinois, (yes! People really do live there!) listening to Mrs. Syrup (that really was her name, poor lady!) read "The Boxcar Children" to our class. The moment is vivid in my memory. I loved the story. I was absolutely captivated by the idea of making a home in a boxcar. I wanted to do it SO bad.

Now-a-days, I teach my kids at our house. We were at the library, and I found an anniversary edition of "The Boxcar Children". Last week, on Wednesday, we opened it up and I began to read. The kids kept me reading it (with many breaks in between) and at 9:30 or 10 that night we finished it. We had read the whole book in one day. I love the freedom of homeschool!

It was amazing to see how my kids loved the story like I had. How they loved to imagine living from nature and trying to make a home in it.

Now we are listening to "Tree Castle Island" by Gene Craighead George (She wrote "My Side of the Mountain", "Far Side of the Mountain" and "Frightful's Mountain"). It is about a boy paddling off into the swamps in Georgia and living off nature for a summer.

I am, as I type this, realizing that that is a theme in our family. On that same Wednesday night, we "happened" upon a show on public television called "Alone in the Wilderness". It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. It was about a man who, at 51 years of age, walked into the Alaska wilderness and decided to live alone for a year. He brought a tri-pod and camera and filmed his experience. Incredible. He ended up staying for 30 years. He left when he was in his eighties and donated all his cabin and things to the national parks.

He was amazing. He walked into the wilderness with a backpack. When he got there, one of the first things he did was make handles for all the tools he brought. He had just brought the iron parts of the tools because they are lighter to carry. Then he proceeded to build a log cabin. We got to see each detail!! Close up! We watched him figure and measure and then cut out by hand the grooves for the logs to fit over eachother -- Lincoln Log style! We watched him shave the tops of the logs so that they were flat and other logs could rest on them. Then he stuffed between the logs with a kind of moss. We even watched him cut and put a moss roof on top and build a fireplace!! It was amazing. It was so beautiful to see him work so intelligently, simply and well.

My kids were electrified!! They kept insisting they want to live like that. They even told us that they want tools for Christmas. Real tools and they want all the scrap wood from building our fence this year. I told them we are wanting to get a farm to be able to begin to learn to live more like that.

When I was young, I yearned to live on a farm. We did not. That desire still lives in me (it goes down DEEP within me) and I see the desire in my kids. We are pursuing and praying about this dream, but it is frightening to me, because I am not equipped. I have not learned the skills necessary to do it. I am praying God provides them and that we may be able to give our children the tools they are asking for.

Oh God, please hold us and hold these dreams and may Your Will be be done.