Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas thought ... I want to be a stable visitor ...

I want to be a stable visitor ... like the angels ... appearing from nowhere ... content to be nameless ... whose very presence radiated His Presence ... whose voices sing of the manger miracle ... like the shepherds ... walking under the Star of Bethlehem ... guiding ... directing ... caring when even one is lost or hurt ... like the wisemen ... acting upon God’s Word ... caring not about the length of the cost of the journey ... offering priceless gifts in honor of the true King ... stable visitors ... those who intentionally tread Holy ground ... those who know that the ove wrapped in swaddling cloths was meant to be shared ... those who know that Christmas began when the Word became flesh ... and understood that Christmas would continue when the Word lived in our flesh ... Lord, help me to know ... that I need not travel to Bethlehem to be part of Your Nativity ... prod me ... teach me ... to be a stable visitor ... celebrating that cradle turned throne ... for if I did that each day ... in your birth day honor ... Bethlehem could be here ... and now ... and then ... everyday could be Christmas ... (by Karen Anderson ... from "Behold the Gift ... the Blessings of Bethlehem"

Saturday, December 7, 2013

CHRISTmas decorating thought ...

(from “Behold the Gift … the Blessings of Bethlehem" by Karen Anderson a CHRISTmas decorating thought … It is time to decorate, Lord ... please help me so that I do it in honor of YOU ... I have lots and lots of boxes and bows ... but I want to place the important things first ... I want Your light to brighten my windows ... I want Your peace to lay at each doorstep ... I want Your love to fill each room ... I want Your hope to grace each nook ... I want Your joy to linger in my halls ... I want to remember that it is not "what" is under the tree that matters ... I want to remember that "Who died" on the tree is what matters ... come, Lord ... help me decorate ... for You …

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Easter ideas ... sharing the Good News

Easter is a beautiful time of the year. I love waking each morning and being surprised by new leaves on bushes and trees and new budding flowers. New life is everywhere!  The One who created me and you calls these tender new leaves and blossoms into being!  Even more beautiful is God’s loving story of Easter that creates new life for me and for you … God’s sacrifice of His beloved and only Son.  Jesus, who was without sin, died on the cross for OUR sin.  When we believe in Jesus and give our life to Him, we are promised eternal life. Eternal!  Forever! It is hard to even get my mind around the faithful, forgiving and merciful and gracious love of our God.  Perhaps, like me, you are looking for some new ways to honor Him, to celebrate Easter and to remember God’s precious gift of eternal life. Perhaps you, too, are seeking ways to get your mind around the Good News. Below are some thoughts for this Holy Season as we journey, together, toward the Cross ...

- celebrate Maundy Thursday together as a family and discuss the meaning of the Last Supper from      Mark 14:22 …

- create a “resurrection garden” together as a family … use Mary and the angel from your Christmas Nativity, create a cross from twigs, add small, colorful plants and moss … use as your Easter       centerpiece …

- plan a neighborhood or family Easter egg hunt … invite each child to bring a dozen plastic eggs with one letter on each egg: J-E-S-U-S-I-S-R-I-S-E-N … during the egg hunt, each child is to find 12 eggs that spell out “JESUS IS RISEN” … children often end up helping each other find “the letter” they need …everyone gets the same number of eggs … children can decorate an egg carton, brought from home, to collect their eggs … with each space of the egg container listing the letter needed …

- tell the “Resurrection Story” with twelve story eggs … this is something our family began many, many decades ago and we still use that “original set” on Easter Sunday with our grandchildren …

  • take twelve large plastic eggs (numbered from 1-12) and place a trinket in each egg and place the entire scripture that applies inside the egg … after all the eggs have been found, family members open an egg (beginning with #1) and take turns reading the Easter Story to the family … (or the eggs can be left in a bowl on the dining room table and shared prior to or after your Easter meal) …             
egg 1 … small bread piece; “take, eat, this is My body …” Mark 14:22
egg 2 … three dimes; “so they counted out for him thirty silver coins …” Matthew 26:15
egg 3 … small dime store rooster; “this very night, before the rooster crows …” Matthew 26:34
egg 4 … small crown of thorns; “they wove a crown of thorns …” Mark 15:17
egg 5 … nail; “then they led Him away to crucify Him … “ Matthew 27:31
egg 6 … small cross; “carrying His own cross ... here they crucified Him …” John 19:17-18
egg 7 … dice: “let us decide by lot who will get this clothes …” John 19:23-24
egg 8 … spear/toothpick; “and one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear …” John 19:34
egg 9 … white cloth; “took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth …” Matthew 27:57-59
egg 10 … cinnamon sticks; “brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body …”
                Mark 16:1
egg 11 … smooth stone; “make the tomb secure …” Matthew 27:62-65
egg 12 … empty egg; “He Has Risen! He is not here!” Mark 16:5-6

- peek at this lovely website for Easter ideas (and for other family traditions):  (jellybean prayer eggs and Easter Story Egg Ornaments and Devotional)

- send an Easter card to family and friends instead of the usual Christmas card greeting … take a family picture in spring wildflowers … include a scripture verse about new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) …

- host a neighborhood Easter egg dyeing party … each family can bring a canned good for the
neighborhood food pantry … read the Easter Story …

- have an older child tell the Easter story as if he were reporting the news on TV … tell the story from Matthew 26-28 … report what the people must have been seeing and feeling …

- prepare a Easter basket for another family or for someone who might have a need this season …
leave the basket, as a family, anonymously on their porch … include scriptures of His Hope and            Presence …

- serve Easter morning breakfast in an Easter basket … use toothpicks to anchor a scripture in
breakfast rolls …

- make Easter “Promise Eggs” … pierce both ends of raw eggs and carefully blow out the contents ... decorate the egg … write one of God’s Promises on a small slip of paper and tuck it carefully inside the   egg … give the egg (or eggs) as a gift to someone else … as a reminder of God’s great and precious promises …
  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.   John 3:16
  • Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.   2 Corinthians 5:17
  • And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. 1 John 4:14
  • Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has everlasting life.    John 6:47   
  • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.      Ephesians 2:8
  • Know that the Lord, Himself; It is He who made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.   Psalm 100:3
  • For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:38-39
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Roman 5:8
  • I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.   Proverbs 8:17
  • These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but take courage; I have overcome the world.   John 16:33
  • Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.   Isaiah 41:10
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:6,7
  • The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.   Psalm 29:11
  • Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.   John 14:27
  • I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.   John 10:10
  • For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.   2 Corinthians 5:21
  • Draw near to God and He will draw near to you  . James 4:8
  • God is our refuge and strength, an very present help in trouble.   Psalm 46:1-2
  • For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:26
  • The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.  2 Thessalonians 3: 3
  • My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9
  • The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in loving kindness . Psalm 145:8
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.   Matthew 5:6
  • I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13
  • He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Isaiah 40:29
  • If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9
  • Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world gives.  John 14:27
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Proverb 3:5,6
  • Cast all your anxiety upon Him, for He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7
  • Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.   Matthew 28:20
                   Please leave YOUR ideas for sharing the gift of Easter here (under comment) …
                    Blessed Easter to you and yours as you seek to celebrate God’s Good News!
                                                 because HE IS RISEN! Karen

Saturday, March 9, 2013

St. Patrick's Day ... words of faith from the patron saint

This St. Patrick’s Day, may you be blessed by the story, faith and words of

Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick.

St. Patrick was a priest ... and later a bishop ... who risked death by
daring to spread the Gospel. St. Patrick was the first to use the
three-leafed shamrock to represent the Trinity.

The story of St. Patrick can be read here:

Some of St. Patrick’s words can be viewed here:

Excerpts from St. Patrick’s prayers can inspire and encourage us to ask for God’s
direction and to delight in, and count on, God’s Presence in our daily lives …

from St. Patrick
May the Strength of God pilot us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Host of God guard us.
Against the snares of the evil ones.
Against temptations of the world.

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!
May Thy Salvation, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and evermore. Amen.

(and portions from another prayer:)
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength,
the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
              St. Patrick (ca.377)

This St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps you will have an opportunity
to wear “the shamrock” and to give thanks for the blessing of The Trinity …

God's abudant blessings to you and yours today and all the days after …
May His Presence be very near to you and yours today ...
and may you delight in that faithful and loving Presence...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine's Day ... ideas for sharing love ...

Perhaps you have heard of the Legend of St. Valentine: .
It is a story of an oppressive Roman emperor and a humble Christian martyr, Valentinus. Legend says that Valentinus wrote a loving letter, on the eve of his execution, to a young blind girl he had befriended … signing his letter: “From Your Valentine”. It is a sweet story of friendship, commitment to faith and to God’s love.

Valentine’s Day is a lovely time to leave our own touch of love and caring in the life of another. Below are some thoughts that, perhaps, might have some meaning for you …
Blessed Valentine’s Day to you and yours as you celebrate with and among those for whom you care …

May you feel very loved today by the One who loved you first and will always love you best …

• give a Valentine “contribution” gift in honor of someone … select an organization that betters the life of another...
(Ugandan orphans, vulnerable women)
(empowering women)
(small business loans)
(gift animal for a family in need)
(end malaria)
(for children of imprisoned mothers)
(clean water)
and so many other worthy organizations …

• place Valentine’s all over the house after family members leave … some will be found right away while others may not be found for weeks … (if you find someone else’s … shhhhhh ) …

• write scriptures relating to love on family member’s mirrors with lipstick or washable window markers … (Ephesians 5: 1-2, John 3:16, 2 John 1:3, 1 John 4:19, Matthew 22:37-39, 2 Corinthians 13:14, Ephesians 6:23-24, 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) …

• remember people who might not receive a Valentine greeting … the homebound or the ill or a widow or one serving in the military …

• serve pink pancakes in heart shapes for breakfast, scatter red hearts on the table, use Valentine napkins, display red or white flowers in a center vase and place that vase inside a larger clear vase … surrounded the first vase with “red hots” or Valentine “message” candies, light special Valentine candles …

• leave each other love notes under pillows, on the mirror, in lunch boxes, on bikes, in a sports bag …

• make Valentine’s Day breakfast toast … cut a heart shape in the center of a piece of bread with a cookie cutter and then oil pan and place bread in pan … break an egg in the heart-shaped opening …

• bake a special Valentine’s Day cake … a white cake (in the shape of a heart)… add some heart-shaped “message” candy to the batter before cooking …

• pack school sandwiches cut in the shape of a heart … and the colored heart “message” candies for  dessert …

• take a surprise “Valentine” bag of treats to the toll-booth worker … or to the tired “pre-Valentine’s Day” owner of a flower shop … or leave an anonymous treat at the front door for a neighbor, a pastor, a teacher or a coach “in appreciation” ….

• host a girlfriends’ luncheon or mom’s Valentine luncheon (note that dress is “carpool casual) ...

• have all family members “wear red” to dinner … the one with the “most” red gets a little trinket … maybe the “trinket trophy” (or tiara or crown) is passed down year to year …

• send a note of appreciation to someone … your babysitter, a note for the mailman or bus driver or day care provider or others who assist you …

• read books as a family with a theme of “I Love You” during Valentine’s week … ("The Kissing Hand", "Mama, Do You Love Me?", "Love You Forever", "You Are My I Love You", "I Will Hold You 'Til You Sleep", "Mommy, Who Does God Love?" ... google “children’s books about love” for ideas … or visit your local public library or church library) …

• send someone a surprise “singing Valentine” … delivered by your family …

• make homemade Valentines or cookies for family, friends or for those serving in the military …

• host a special “Valentine’s candlelight dinner as our special friend did … invite couples to bring their wedding pictures … after dinner, play the “Not So New Newlywed Game” and decide if husband and wife answers match: “where did you have your first kiss? where did you go on your first date? what was the make of the first car you bought as a couple? what was your funniest honeymoon story? what other profession would your spouse like to have?

• organize a church Valentine’s dinner for widows so that they might have a lovely Valentine’s
Day … the men of the church can serve the meal, single roses and a bite of chocolate can accompany the dinner … school children can make Valentine cards for each place at the table …

• send family and friends a Valentine’s card instead of the customary Christmas greeting … include a family photograph (members could wear red) … include a scripture about the love of Christ …

• google “Pinterest Valentine’s Day” for some great craft ideas and yummy treats …

• give a sewing thimble to your child today (in the book, “Peter Pan”, Peter and Wendy called a kiss a thimble) …

• print out “God’s Conversation Hearts” … Be Mine (John 3:16), All Mine (John 10:27-30), True Love (Luke 10:27), I’m Sure (John 14: 1-3), Be Good (John 14:15), Call Me (Jeremiah 33:3) … think of other “God Conversation Hearts” …

• Invite your spouse on a suprise Valentine’s Day (night) date … maybe a scavenger hunt to meaningful places and locations (your first home, your favorite restaurant, your church, when your first child was born, etc  ... take a photo at each location for a keepsake "walk down memory lane" ...)

• I love this V-A-L-E-N-T-I-N-E from John 3: 16 …

              for God so loVed the world

                     that He gAve

                          His onLy



                                    That whosoever believeth

                                     In Him

                          should Not perish

                       but have Everlasting life.

                     and another from God’s Word …

                               “for this reason,

               I bow my knees before the Father,

                         from whom every family

                        in heaven and on earth

                              derives its name …

                               so that Christ

                       may dwell in your heart

                                through faith …

                                    that you,

                      being rooted and grounded

                                     in love

                             may be filled up

                      to all the fullness of God …

                           to Him be the glory …

                            to all generations

                             forever and ever” …

               (excerpts from) Ephesians 3:14-21

        Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children;
                    and walk in love. Ephesians 5:1-2

I invite you to comment here with some of YOUR ideas for Valentine’s Day!

for life’s moments,