Christmas

“Do not be afraid for see I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people; to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord! This shall be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger!”

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Light…

I’ve been trying to spend more time looking for the light rather than the darkness these days! Jesus is this treasured holy child who comes as this light in the midst of the darkness who calls us to cling to the light especially when we feel there is no joy, no peace, no hope! Jesus is that joy, that peace, that hope!!

Today as I was driving home for the holidays, I witnessed a moment of light that made my heart “leap for joy!” A black pick-up truck was in front of me as we drove down the road! On the other side of the road, a van was broken down; hazard lights on etc! Before I knew it, the black truck had their brake lights on and blinker as they turned into the other road. I couldn’t figure out what they were doing and then I saw that they were stopping to help the van!

I have no idea who any of these people were but they showed me LIGHT! Thank you strangers for showing me this light!

“The light no darkness can over come!”

Festive Friday Five

RevGalBlogPals writes, “For this Friday Five, let’s have a free-for-all: Write 5 items about anything connected to Christmas, which of course includes Advent! Be personal, professional, spiritual of however you are feeling!

(1) Advent is one of my fave seasons of the church year! There is just something great about waiting and watching! It reminds to look for the light of Jesus especially when the world around us is hurting!

(2) I love giving gifts to others! It’s fun to try to fit the perfect gift for that person! In return, I feel so loved when I get a gift too! So much thought goes into those gifts!

(3) I LOVE sitting in front of my Christmas tree with the lights on and watching Christmas movies! I enjoy sitting there munching on my favorite; cinnamon candy canes! They are so hard to find but I love them!!!

(4) So much Christmas goodies! Not good for the waist at all! I’ve been trying to enjoy the treats but still limit myself!

(5) “And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn!”—Luke 2:7

The Light in the Midst of the Darkness

First off, I want to begin by saying “Thank you”; Thank You to everyone who read my last blog post. I have been humbled by the amount of people who have read it (89 at last count and the blog post hasn’t even been up a week yet). I am glad that my words could touch and bless you. You sure know how to make a girl feel loved!!

I am a daughter of a woman who has lived most of my life with a mental illness! I will ALWAYS be her daughter; a daughter of a mental health patient.

And this woman; my mom has taught me more about life than I can even begin to count! She would totally give the shirt off her back for someone else! I honestly can’t remember her ever saying anything badly about a neighbor either! As a child, I remember her doing simple kind things for others! She is seriously a beautiful kind grace-filled woman of God!

And as this grace-filled woman of God, she has taught me to look for the good in people! That is not at all easy because we live in a sinful world but that’s the beauty we need to look for the light and distinguish the darkness in our midsts! God comes in Jesus as the light in the midst of the darkness!

Let us spend time not letting the darkness overcome us but letting us trust in God and God’s promise to us all! May we continually look for those moments of light and hope especially when we feel like the darkness is overtaking us! I’ve seen lots of moments of light this week: a woman in TX buying all the caskets for the families of the children at Sandy Hook who lost their lives, dogs comforting those grieving in CT, a child sharing their toys with another child who doesn’t have any! And these are only a few moments of light I’ve seen! What is a moment of light you’ve seen today, this week, this month, this year?

“The light comes in the darkness, and the darkness shall not overcome it!”

(Another blogger captures this so well! Read her awesome grace-filled blog post about looking for and bringing the light! You can check out her blog at Looking for the Light)

I Am A Daughter!

I’ve blogged more days in a row the last three days than I can even remember! Today I read a blog post on Huffington post that I can’t seem to shake but then again I don’t want to shake it either! The title of the blog is “I am Adam Lanza’s mother.” It gave me chills as I read it but the writer’s words are so true and hit harder to home for me than I maybe care to admit!

I’ve struggled with whether or not to write this post but I find that I need to write this for all the many who daily struggle with mental health issues. I am not Adam Lanza’s mother but I very well could be his sister!

The words “mental illness” keep appearing as we talk about this senseless act that occurred on Friday! And I believe that is truly a place for us to begin! We MUST do a better job of talking about mental health issues. There is such a stigma associated with mental illness that we are afraid to talk about it. It’s sad to me that we are more comfortable talking about guns and gun control than we are to talk about mental health issues.

I know mental illness all too well. It’s a part of my every day life! I am the daughter of someone who lives with mental illness! My Mom has lived most of my life with a mental illness! Yet she doesn’t let her illness get in the way of who she is! She is one of the most grace-filled and kind women I know…a beautiful woman of God! And I say that having seen her at her highest highs and her lowest lows! She has taught me more about life than I can even begin to count!

(Tears are now beginning to stream down my face as I write these words…tears for what she has taught me, tears for the lives lost in CT, tears for the conversations we need to have in the midst of a scared scarred world)

My mom (along with another family member) are just two of the faces of mental illness! Who are those other faces? They are someone’s son, daughter, mom, dad, niece, nephew, or grandchild. They are precious yet these faces understand what it’s like to live with mental health issues. They know it is not easy living with it. Yet they are able to live good lives when they get the proper treatment!

It’s been difficult for me to write these words yet I feel I needed to share them……..if not for you than for me! We need to talk about gun control but more importantly we need to talk about mental health issues!

Why Won't The Tears Fall?

This afternoon I had the privilege of hanging out at church while the SS kids practiced for the SS Christmas program! As they sang the words “Peace to all the Earth,” I wanted to cry as I thought of the families in CT who won’t hear their babies voices again! Such a senseless act! I want to cry yet the tears simply won’t come! Why?!? Why won’t the tears fall from my face? Is it because I’ve cried too many tears over violent acts like this in my thirty years on this Earth? Is it because I’m numb and cannot understand why 20 innocent lives were taken way too soon from this Earth?

Yesterday and today I found myself thinking about and remembering all my friends who are parents! I can understand why you needed to hug and hold them last night and today! I found myself telling them to give their children an extra hug or cuddle just for me! I’m not a parent myself yet I yearn to be so deeply! And then I wonder do I really want to be? Of course I do!
But what world will my future child enter into? A world strewn with sinful people…a sinful world! Yet what I do know is that love….God’s love…always wins!

I understand that is hard to grasp in light of yesterday’s events! But what I do know and believe with every fiber of my being is that God was there yesterday! God didn’t allow the events to unfold but as they unfolded God was there…holding and embracing each precious victim. God sent Jesus into the world and Jesus proclaims “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these!”

As I write this blog post, I find myself typing as my fingers dance across the keyboard yet I still find that these words are inadequate! Why can I not find the words? Why won’t the tears fall? How do we know that God’s love always wins?

God sent God’s Son as this precious gift who is born in a manger in Bethlehem and then later dies the ultimate death for us and our sins! This child comes as the light in the midst of the darkness and now more than ever we need this light to come!

So even when my words are inadequate I find myself turning to Scripture and letting the sighs rise up to God. “With sighs too deep for words to express….”

Or in these words, Lord listen to your children praying, bring us love, bring us power, bring us peace!”

And finally, maybe, the tears I so deeply want to cry will fall from my face knowing we live in a sinful and sin-filled world but that God in Gods love for us all ALWAYS wins!! Perhaps that is a place for us to begin and cling to in the coming days!

With Sighs Too Deep….

The names of every single child I know is running through my head this evening. I cannot help but think of them and their dear parents. The news out of Newtown CT is absolutely heartbreaking. Such a senseless act. I find myself turning to these words: “Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.” Yet it is so absolutely difficult to see the hope in the midst of the events that unfolded today. I can’t help but think of how each one of these precious children has been called and claimed by God. Jesus says to us in the book of Matthew “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14).”
I can’t even begin to fathom the grief these parents and grandparents and other family members are feeling tonight. How could these innocent lives be taken from us? Why is their still evil in the world? These are only a few of the questions swirling through my head tonight. I find myself clinging to the promise of Jesus who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness, hope in the midst of despair, and joy in the midst of sorrow.
I know that as more information surfaces and the world begins to move on, these families will not. They will forever be changed by the events of this tragic senseless day. Who knows what this person is suffering from? I know some will say it could be a mental illness and that may be true, but the reality is many people in this world live with mental illnesses and are the kindest most grace-filled people in the world (Two of my family members being those grace-filled kind people!) Mental illness can be treated effectively. So often it seems to me the world doesn’t know how to talk about this illness. There is such a stigma associated with the illness but this illness can be treated and people can live wonderful lives.
May our prayers be with all those in Newtown CT affected by this senseless tragedy. And when we cannot find the words, may we simply let our sighs escape and rise up to God.
“With sighs too deep for words to express…..”

Fun Friday Five

I havent blogged in what seems like forever so I thought I would join in with the fun of today’s Friday Five! A little something to brighten my reader’s day. Besides that Im not feeling the greatest today….think I caught the flu bug! Its miserable…chills, fever (currently at 100) and the works! ICKY!!!

These Friday Five questions courtesy of Friday 5:

If you suddenly received a ton of money and could open up some kind of store or service just for the pleasure of having it (assume it wouldn’t have to be too financially successful!), what would it be? Ive always wanted to have my own publishing company!

What service or store that no longer exists do you miss most? Hmmm thats a hard one. I would have to say the Quiznos that closed near my apartment!

What local business do you think you could make better if you were to take it over? Thats a hard one..Walmart I guess if I had to say something.

And if you don’t mind sharing, what changes would you make? I would not make their employees work on Thanksgiving, and would try to get it back to Sam Waltons original view for it.

What spot nearby seems to be impossible for businesses to survive in? Downtown Fargo is awesome and has awesome shops. But it doesnt have the best parking so if there was more and better parking, I think more businesses could survive there.

We’ve all seen stores that combined books and records, beer and laundry, or coffee and whatever. One of my favorite places to get coffee in Honolulu is a cafe and florist, and there is a car garage that’s also a diner in a town nearby. What would be a cool hybrid of two disparate ideas for somewhere you’d like to hang out? Hmmm this is a fun one. It reminds me of an idea some friends had at seminary. They were going to create a pasta/spaghetti restaurant and then have the top be there apartment or a bookstore or something if I remember right. I love the idea of a bookstore and a restaurant together!!!