Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Special Christmas Moments and a New Year's Wish for 2011!

This Christmas vacation has been full of wonderful times of family fun, Christmas celebrations and remembering the birth of baby Jesus! Here are a few of those special "memory moments":



It was such a JOY this year to decorate our home inside and out! We made lots of Christmas memories by planting the bulbs for paper whites, making crock pot meals together and relishing those delicious, home-cooked smells that permeated the air. Once again, drawing and making my own Christmas cards was a treat. Lots of satisfaction in these simple Christmas moments!



We celebrated Christmas with the Farrell clan on Christmas eve at our home. We had a wonderful meal, talked lots, laughed often and opened presents. The best present was just being together! It is beyond wonderful to have time to connect with all of them. They all hold such special places in our hearts. 2011 will be a great year for their family as they bring their daughter Sehin home to Spokane from Eithiopia. We can hardly wait to meet her!



We loved sharing Christmas this year with the special Thompson family at Clinkerdagger's restaurant, a Christmas treasure all decorated with trees and sparkling lights! We all had a great time eating a delicious meal, opening presents, and creating new Christmas memories. We were overjoyed to learn on Christmas morning that their baby, due in May, is a BOY! What a special gift it is to await the birth of this miracle!

This Christmas break has also been a great time for Bert and for me to have some re-connection time after a super busy fall quarter of teaching and counseling. We've loved just hanging out, going to church, and having some leisurely time to look at all of the snow that blankets Spokane right now. Talks about our goals for 2011 have also been a priority.

We hope that you and your precious families have also had a chance to kick back and have quality time together, making some special Christmas moments! Also, as 2011 approaches, may you know God's abundant LOVE for you as He is the real "reason for the season!" May 2011 be filled with joy, peace, fun, and His love and grace!

God Bless and Happy New Year!
Love Linda

Saturday, December 18, 2010

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

Since I was a little girl, I have always loved celebrations! Any celebration really. I love the first day of school and the last day of school. I love Valentines Day and Thanksgiving. I love birthdays, Veteran's Day, and the 4th of July. But most of all...I LOVE Christmas!

It isn't the rush to get consumers to buy, commercial-kind-of-moments that I love. It's the snuggle into a warm blanket and sip hot chocolate by the fire moments that I crave. It's the listening to Amy Grant's Christmas CD where she sings "Come Let Us Adore Him" with a new twist that leaves goose bumps-on-my-arm moments that stop me in my tracks. It's hearing the Bethel Choir belt out "God Rest Ye' Merry Gentlemen" with a gospel, praise-to-God intensity that is the real spirit of Christmas for me. It's going to the Tree of Sharing, getting the tags for a three year old girl and boy, and searching the stores for an African American baby doll that this sweet little girly can snuggle. It's finding a monster car and truck that will light up the eyes of that three year old little boy. I LOVE all these parts of Christmas.

Yet as much as hot chocolate, presents under the tree, Amy Grant singing, beautifully wrapped presents, snowy mornings, time with family, and dollies and trucks are a few of my favorite things... what I know for sure is that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without my Jesus.

It's really, for me, all about the babe in the manager.

It's all about the gift of His child. It's all about a love SO great that it leaves me speechless.

Now please don't misunderstand...
It's not that I don't love searching for the perfect, jaw-dropping present for someone I love. I do love doing that.

And I find a huge satisfaction this year in turning our landscape into a winter wonderland of bright sparkling lights.

And I do love watching my precious grandchildren as they stare at the ornaments on the tree in such wonder.

And I do love bringing bird seed ornaments out into our trees so our little feathered friends can have a Christmas treat as well.

And I am adoring all of those moments where life-as-it-usually-is just
...stops.

But none of that is worth a hill of beans for me without Jesus.

I am particularly struck this morning by His gift of total forgiveness and amazing grace. When I don't feel forgiven elsewhere, when I feel so sad or perhaps even unloveable...He comes beside me with a gentle hand. His message is always the same. You are my daughter. I love you completely...no matter what. And He means the no matter what.

In life's twists and turns, ups and downs, He is always the same. He is the constant. He is there.

He is that baby in the manger, God's son, redeemer, forgiver, savior. And boy do I need saving.
His amazing grace saves me.

So as Christmas approaches, I will ooooh and aaaahhh over the delectable goodies at our feasts. I'll sprinkle nutmeg on my egg nog, knowing that egg nog will soon be off the shelves in the stores. I'll find just the right decoration for a package and get my fill of gorgeous Christmas music. I'll love this time of celebrating life, love, and a marvelous season of joy.

And I'll take peaceful moments to remember that the lasting "Joy To the World" is that "the Lord is Come".

I'll remember that it's really time to...

Let earth (and that includes me) receive her King. Let every heart (and my heart), prepare Him room. Let Heaven and nature sing. Let Heaven and nature sing. Let heaven and heaven and nature sing."

...and I am singing for my King!

God Bless and have a wonderful Christmas!
Love Linda


PS. The little seven year old girl, Rhema Marvanne, who sings Amazing Grace (my favorite song) in the clip at the start of this post, lost her Mommy to cancer in 2008, when she was just five. Both Rhema and her Mommy love Jesus!

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