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“Show me what strong looks like,” I said.

The little boy, waiting for his mom to pick him up from our after school program replied, “Why, Chicken?”

He calls me Chicken. This is slightly confusing since this nickname came out of nowhere, but we had a 9 year old boy at our Parents’ Night Out on Friday night who started calling everyone Butt Cheek, so i realize now there are worse nicknames.

“Just…what does strong look like?”

He strikes this pose. Then growls for effect.

There you have it. Five Year-Old strong.

Of course, we all know that strong sometimes looks different than this pose. This represents physical strength to a degree, but we know that strength can sometimes come in the form of mental or emotional determination. Sometimes strength is signified by surviving. The strong don’t always win or have the biggest muscles. Sometimes the strong quietly keep on…keeping on.

Some people are being strong this season. As everyone around them gives into the holly and the jolly, they are the ones just hanging on, hanging in and doing their best to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We don’t always think of them when we’re “acting” strong, but their strength to keep going inspires me.

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I did not bring my laptop home from the church yesterday, so I was unable to do this on Day 15. But here’s a picture for “rejoice.”

Last night, five of us ventured out to take Christmas carols to some of our church members who we knew would enjoy it. I’m so glad we went!

This picture is of our group at Willie Ann’s house. Willie Ann is a saint and no one would ever dream of arguing that she’s not. She’s the kindest, most hopeful, most loving, most encouraging, most wonderful person I’ve ever met. And I mean that. When I grow up, I want to be just like Willie Ann…although I have a long way to grow to be as wonderful as she is.

Willie Ann rejoices. She rejoices every Sunday when she sees each one of us at church. She rejoices over worship. She rejoices when exciting things happen. She even rejoices when life is hard. She is full of joy and full of life and she rejoiced loudly when our questionable band of carolers arrived on her doorstep last night. She loves each of us as close to the way God loves us as anyone can.

May you know the joy of God’s love today!

 

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At our house this year, we’ve gathered around fires a lot.

For Mother’s Day, I was given a firepit in the backyard. In our house, we have a fireplace.

There’s nothing quite like gathering around a fire with loved ones. It’s a tradition as old as…well, fire. In the winter, we gather in our living room and enjoy the warmth of our gas fireplace. It makes winter all the more bearable in my opinion.

 

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Justice. Just-ice. Just ice.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned about the difference between Advent and Lent. I apparently have a lot more time to reflect and be thoughtful during Lent.

I know, I know, that’s the point of this project! But tonight was Parents’ Night Out and Sunday is Youth Sunday and the children’s Christmas play, so you’re gonna have to cut me some slack. And I’ll reflect and try again tomorrow!

Speaking of Lent, I wrote about inustice back then. You can go read about it if you’d like.

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Hope is so important.

When a person has something to hope in, that person can survive even the darkest of times.

Advent is a time of hoping. The people walking in darkness see light.

May you have hope today!

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O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging;
Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when ’tis cold and drear.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy leaves are so unchanging!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!
Thou bidst us true and faithful be,
And trust in God unchangingly.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
How richly God has decked thee!

(Traditional German Carol; Author Unknown)

At the corner of Main and Jackson, near downtown Henderson, this tree stands. All year round, it’s there–evergreen; ever tall. Especially beautiful in December.

Steadfast.

A reminder of God’s steadfast, unchanging love and faithfulness.

A Decided Difference

December 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’ve mentioned before that my friend, LouAnn Clark, has a podcast and a website called “A Decided Difference.”

One day, when LouAnn is evenlouann more famous than she already is, I’m going to be able to say: “LouAnn Clark?!? I know her! I know her! She’s my friend!” (I may have just watched “Elf.”)

She gave me a shout-out in her podcast, released yesterday, and I just wanted to say hi to her readers and provide some links for my friends. LouAnn blogs, speaks and podcasts about coping with depression and anxiety and making healthy changes from right here in Henderson, KY. She has had many excellent insights into my own life and I’m grateful for the things she’s said to me in person or via a speech at Toastmasters or her podcast that have either comforted me or caused me to change my point of view.

Her website is louannclark.com

Her latest podcast is here.

She’s also been taking pictures and blogging using the Rethink Church list like I have been.

Check out her site and give her podcast a listen!

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Earth’s crammed with heaven

and every common bush afire with God;

but only he who sees it takes off his shoes.

The rest just sit around and pick blackberries

and daub their natural faces, unaware…

from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem “Aurora Leigh”

Sometimes, in our attempt to set apart special things as holy, we miss the holy that makes up the world around us.

The Messiah came as a tiny baby, born to common folk among barn animals…and many people sat around, unaware of the holy that was dwelling among them.

There is holiness all around us. Don’t miss it.

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These are 7 of the 9 girls of Troop 1884, the Girl Scout troop I lead.

They are a delight.

And they are delighted that tomorrow, there is no school for the third school day in Henderson County. And it’s not even Winter yet.

Also, they would like you to know that they would be delighted if you planned to buy some cookies from them starting January 1!

If you’re not spend some time this December with kids of any age, you’re missing out! December is much more delightful if you spend it with kids.

Happy Monday! It’s snowy and icy here, with more on the way. Stay warm and safe, wherever you are!

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A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse’s stump, from his roots a budding Branch. The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God. – Isaiah 11:1-2