Merry Christmas!

Another year. New experiences. Expanded knowledge. A baby granddaughter! Growing family. Curious challenges. Blessing upon blessing.

The conclusion of 2019 brings the same thoughts and questions as every other year end: Where did the year go? For who and what are we grateful? What have we learned this year?

Other years I may have asked myself those questions in passing but immediately distracted myself with other more urgent tasks, like baking cookies or buying a gift. This year I’m pondering.

Where did the year go? It went into work, family, relationships, reading, a little writing, travel, and fun. We forget to have fun sometimes, don’t we? Dan and I went to Austin and San Antonio right after Christmas last year to find some warmer weather and sunshine, which we did. We also took a trip to Washington DC and Kiawah Island in the spring. Fun!

Gratitude for our growing and forever fun family is at the top of our lists. We celebrated Mom and Dad’s 65th wedding anniversary this year by spending a beautiful weekend in Galena, IL. It was awesome, full of games and good food, and we are beyond thankful for our extended family!

Whole clan at the 65th anniversary cropped

 What did we learn in 2019? Some of what we learned was factual or conceptual, but the more important things we grasped were internal, spiritual and relational.

We never tire of learning about our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren as they grow, mature and develop. From the grandson who was practicing long division at the dinner table this week to the son who is working out his calling, and everything in between, we watch their progress with interest. Dan and I are still learning about ourselves too; it never ends.

It’s like considering the hues and shapes of the pieces of a massive jigsaw puzzle before placing them in. We try different pieces, search for the right one, and finally, with satisfaction, fit a piece in its spot. The final picture is beautiful beyond our imaginations.

Who fashioned the grand picture that we are all trying to put together? Who will inform us where we fit in? Why do some people immediately know their place in the puzzle and others struggle much of their lives to find out?

Jesus, the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, is the answer to all those questions.

He created the world, he was born, became incarnate, on that first Christmas to save the world, and he holds it all together to this day. Our human brains cannot fathom the artistry, originality and creativity of the final picture that Jesus created and entered to save. We can only see our pieces and maybe those around us.

I’ve known that for a while, but I am beginning to understand it at a deeper and more personal level.

Celebrate the beauty of the picture that Jesus is creating in and around you. Thank Him for being the artist and for giving you a part to contribute.

Wishing you God’s richest blessings, gratitude, and learning in 2020!

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15-17

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Narratives We Live By

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What is the overarching narrative upon which you model your life? Many of us, consciously or not, run our lives according to the the American Dream. If we get a good education, work hard, save our money, then we will … Continue reading

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God is Working – Even if We’re Clueless

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Recently I’ve had several conversations about the state of our country that have ended with a bewildered shrug. We clearly see a problem or concern, but the answer seems impossible.  No one knows what to do about it. The conversation … Continue reading

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My Eternal Bucket List

Talk of bucket lists elicits thoughts of adventurous activities like skydiving or mountain climbing or traveling to exotic places.

While I understand the human desires and goals expressed in bucket lists, and even the wisdom of writing them down and remembering them, bucket lists seem a little short-sighted to me.

Read the rest of this article here at The Perennial Gen.

 

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Above the Confusion

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Confusion happens. When information doesn’t make sense, when both sides of a story are compelling or when there are too many options to make an easy choice possible, I’m confused. It takes me a while to sort through complexity, get the … Continue reading

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Losing My Voice, Finding Humility

I was studying the Bible, teaching what I learned, leading a class full of people that I genuinely loved and had just finished a master’s degree in Communication and Culture. I felt like I had arrived. I would use my voice to the glory of God.

Then everything changed.

A stroke and a change in my teaching role caused me to lose confidence in my voice. See the full article at The Perennial Gen.

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When the Culture Leads the Church

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Once in a while, the culture arrives at where the church should already have been. The evangelical church tends to characterize the culture as the enemy of truth, and that is accurate in many respects. The world is driven by … Continue reading

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Forgiveness and Hope

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of forgiveness? I tend to think of people who have forgiven the impossible. Usually, we hear of such stories in the news, we marvel at it for … Continue reading

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Do Refugees Cost Too Much?

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Many Americans believe that refugees take jobs away from citizens who need them and take resources away from disadvantaged Americans. Is that true? I started to google “do refugees take our jobs?” and when I entered “do refugees…” the following … Continue reading

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The Good Old Days

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I remember my dad muttering, “highway robbery!” when forced to pay 29 cents a gallon for gas on vacation. I admit to thinking I’ve been robbed when seeing a medical bill. My college statements gave a low four digit number … Continue reading

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