Monday, December 17, 2012

A Snowball Fight


                The grey clouds rested upon the mountains surrounding the valley of ice keeping in all the warm air.  Corrion looked out to watch the slowly drifting snow fall gracefully to the ground.  The weather difference here amazed her.  In the flatlands of her youth, the wind usually whipped the snow into a frenzy keeping them cooped up in the house and barn with a rope running between the two buildings.  Stories of old told of people getting lost in the blizzards.  She longed to go run and play in the snow.  Instead, she worked on her studies.  Maybe tomorrow the princess would let them out of their comfortable prison. 

                Sarah reached across the table and patted Corrion’s hand.  “I see you would rather be outside.  I wouldn’t mind a bit of fresh air myself.”

                A smile spread over Corrion’s face as a thought popped into her head.

“Would you be a dear and go get the book in our room?” Corrion asked burying her nose back in the book she held trying to look engrossed in the topic.

The other girl looked at her with a bit of mistrust.  She slowly stood and walked across the room.  As soon as she went through the door, Corrion sprinted across the room throwing open the windows that kept distracting her from her work.  On the outside sill, she scooped up a handful of snow forming into a ball.  Pulling her arm back, she threw will all her might as Sarah came back out of the room.  The object hit her in the chest exploding snow flew in her face and against the bedroom door.  She let out a scream of freight.

Within moments the door behind Corrion flew open with Gudrun flying out.  Corrion grinned and grabbed more snow.  She flung snow at her mentor laughing at the look of shock on the older woman’s face.

“What are you doing Corrion?”  Gudrun wiped a clump of snow off of her chin trying to hide the grin behind her hand.

“Getting fresh air,” she fell on the couch laughing uncontrollable. 

Both victims of snow nonchalantly went to the window gathering the rest of the snow from the window.  Together they dumped the icy crystals on top of Corrion.  They joined in her merriment.  The princess may not let them out anytime soon, but they would overcome the obstacle of being held at the monarch’s whim.

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Surprise Christmas Gift


                Yesterday instead of my carpooling partner driving the girls to school, I did the job.  Her husband was out of town and she needed to run an errand.  I was happy to help in a small way.  Instead of going straight home, I drove into town to pick up my son’s uniform at the cleaner and pick up a few groceries. 

At the thrift mart, I was greeted by beautiful Christmas music.  I looked around but didn’t see where it came from.  As I headed to the cereal section, the music clashed with the overhead intercom playing 70’s rock.  I wondered where the good melodies resonated from in the store and anticipated finding it.  As I finished up my shopping, I walked down an isle to the deli and there stood a group of young adults from the local middle school.  They were all sharply dressed in black singing Christmas carols.  I stopped to listen for a while.  My eyes scanned the fresh faces.  Two young men from my church helped round out the harmony.  I smiled at one.  I think he saw me and grinned back.  As I listened, I thanked God for the unexpected Christmas gift he gave me in their voices and one smile.

Their music sang me on my way out to the parking lot.  I noticed my lights still on.  I said a quick prayer hoping my cantankerous battery would cooperate.  Grumbling, I grabbed my rubber mallet and opened the hood of my vehicle.  The engine didn’t turn over, so I called my husband to rescue his DID (damsel in distress).  I marveled and chuckled at my morning.  My errands were almost complete with a Christmas present thrown in to create a beautiful morning when a battery tried stealing the glorious thunder.  I didn’t let this obstacle deter me, my music continued. 

I walked to the nearby coffee shop for a cup of brew.  The barista took my order and proceeded to ignore it for the next customer instead.  I thought about being extremely irritated as she took coffee to that customer who she treated as a friend.  I remained the stranger.  Instead I sat down and waited patiently.  I finally received my coffee taking it out to my pickup to wait for my KICA (knight in camouflaged armor).  He is a National Guard soldier and handsome to bootJ

As I sit here writing my little story, I realize this applies to the cup of God’s love discussed at the Advent Tea on Sunday.  The dead battery and slow barista worked at depleting my cup.  Yet, because I recognized and accepted God’s gift of a junior high choir, my cup stayed brimming over with His love.  The choice was mine.  Hum, my advent is turning out to be glorious.  I hope yours is too.

Blessings to you all.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Begins


                Advent is here!  For the past couple of weeks, I have been dreading the coming of Christmas.  Amazingly enough, I have been waiting with joyful expectation for Advent.  Some of you may be asking, what is the difference?  For me, the difference is huge.  Christmas means a lot of work that needs done.  Advent means spending time with God.  Last night I went to an Advent Tea at the church I attend.  I looked forward to a new outlook on advent and hoped for strategies to keep God near my heart during all the work I need to do for Christmas.  A dear friend and I went together.  The theme for the night was a cup full of God’s love.

I have to admit that the reflection given didn’t move me for a season of anticipation.  The message was very nice, but it didn’t give me tips to help me in my journey through Advent this year.  The talk helped me see how God works in our trials through life, but I really was looking for something to guide me through the chaos of Christmas.

During her talk, she showed us four different cups of hers which represent who she is.  So I started thinking of my cups.  Right now I am drinking out of a cup I received from my Grandfather.  He cleaned out his cupboards and offered me things he wanted to give away, so I took the big mug off his hands.  Come to find out, my two beautiful cousins gave it to him for Christmas years prior.  Thus, every day I am blessed as I think of these three relatives I love so much.  My cup is full.  This didn’t bring me any closer to waiting joyfully for the arrival of baby Jesus.

I started thinking of the cups I have for Christmas.  My boss one year gave me a gingerbread mug which reminds me of all the baking I need to do.  I received a set of snowmen mugs one year for a gift exchange game at work.  All these cups are sitting in my craft room waiting to appear on a shelf somewhere in my house to make the area more festive.  They are empty.  I realized I don’t have one cup that represents the coming of our Savior’s birth.  And this tends to be the problem.  My cups are representative of a consumer Christmas not a faith filled Christmas.  All Christmas we run around shopping for gifts that people don’t need, take piles of boxes to ship out, bake tons of goodies, decorate our homes until they are ready to explode, and a million other tasks that deplete our cup of God’s love.  We stress and stress some more. 

What can we do to actively help God keep our cups replenishing?  Over the years, I do daily meditations out of the “Little Blue Book” if I receive one.  This year I received it at the Advent Tea and am very thankful for the six minute devotions that will help fill my cup.  My daughter and I will read an advent story book.  Each day we read about a young girl and her journey towards the event of Jesus’ birth.  I will light my advent wreath.  This all helps while I make all the preparations for the joyful arrival of Christmas.

I am going to add something new this year.  God has placed on my heart to meditate on Mary these next four weeks.  What did Mary do the last days before her precious baby boy arrived?  As I go shopping for gifts, I will think of her going to the marketplace to buy material for Jesus’ diapers and sleepers.  As I clean house, I will think of her going through the nesting phase.  When I start to stress because we know that will happen, I will think of her riding a donkey to Bethlehem.  I am confident my cup is going to be overflowing this year everyday of advent.  I hope your cup does as well.

Blessings to you all.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Focus


                A new book I am reading is called Talent is Never Enough by John C. Maxwell.  My son mentioned the author to me last spring when his band teacher talked about different aspects Maxwell promoted that could help the students become better musicians.  Clay shared the techniques with me to help me with my writing.  I have finally started reading the authors work.  Today I read a chapter dedicated to focusing on your talent.  The idea sparked a lot of thoughts in me that I thought I would share.

                In our world we have so many shiny things that distract our focus.  My kids and I have a running joke.  When we lose our train of thought we call out “Squirrel.”  Of course, we also say the word when we see a squirrel.  The quote comes from the movie Up.  The dog Doug says this when he sees a squirrel and loses his focus on the task at hand to chase the animal.  We do that as well.  Instead of doing housework, we watch the television.  The lawn continues to grow creating a mini jungle because we go play at the lake.  I lose focus on my writing project because a new idea comes to mind that distracts me.  In fact, with my writing, I feel pulled in the areas of history, fantasy, science fiction, and religion, lot of squirrels.  For years I have thought, why can’t I write for all the genres?  In the last year though, I feel very torn and what I just realized is I am feeling torn because I am not focused on just one.  I need to pick.  I need to focus.

                Our faith life can be just as unfocused.  I am a prime example.  I love learning everything about my faith.  I am always on the lookout for a new saint to study.  For months I have wanted to learn about Padre Pio.  But I keep getting distracted.  Two weeks ago, I finally bought a book about him.  I have read about twenty pages, but the book sits on an end table unopened because I have been doing different reading.  Tomorrow Advent starts, so my focus will switch.  Padre Pio will continue to sit unattended.  My focus has been lost.  This happens for me during prayer as well.  Fortunately, my focus to attend church is strong, but my focus in other areas does waver.

                To succeed in our faith life and all aspects of our life, we need to focus.  Starting tomorrow, I will concentrate on Advent.  Hopefully no squirrels will be jumping in my path, but I think they will in the form of holiday baking, shopping, decorating, shipping, and activities.  In my writing, I am focusing on my fantasy novel, still, forever.  I am sure as I go, squirrels will leap up here as well.  Yet, the further I get in this journey the stronger my focus becomes.  As beginners, focus is hard.  Hours of practice needs happen to become a strong focused individual.  Squirrels jump in our path sending us into the brush, but we can always make our way back to the path and continue on in our faith journey or any journey.  Stay focused my friends.

                Blessings to you all.