Friday, December 30, 2011

You can tell it's the week between Christmas and New Years

...when you are posting videos about the Christmas story from New Zealand.

...when you are re-posting a video you've already posted a few years ago.

...when this makes you laugh every time you watch it.

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

My floor is merry and bright!


An annual tradition at our house is having my brother’s girls over to bake cookies right before Christmas.  This year we made these snowmen (which aren’t baked at all – they’re N*tterButter cookies and I found the recipe at BrownEyedBaker, though hers don’t have the messy character these guys do!).


We also made some chocolate cut-outs and decorated them with LOTS of sprinkles.  LOTS.  There were sprinkles on every surface of my kitchen.


This was very serious work.


Madison is decorating ‘gingerbread Jesus.’


Well, I guess it wasn’t all serious.




We had LOTS of fun!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I couldn’t sleep last night and I’m not sure why.  But I finally got up at about 3:30, turned on the coffee pot and curled up on the couch by the Christmas tree.  I do love early morning (although this was a leettle early – even for me).

I’m in Ephesians right now, trying to go through it slowly, letting God help me understand and apply so many weighty things.  Did you ever notice how God’s word absolutely requires you to spend time in order to even begin to understand it?  I like that.  No skimming with this Book.

Today I read:

“I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of His power.”  Eph 3:7

I serve the gospel.  It doesn’t serve me.  It’s a wonderful master, actually.  The living message of hope and peace and life through Christ.  But I am not the one directing my life, my decisions, my days. 

bond servant:
  1. a slave
  2. metaph., one who gives himself up to another’s will, whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing His cause among men
  3. devoted to another to the disregard of one’s own interests

Mary, Jesus’ mother, probably had some plans for her life, even though she was a young teenager – long engagement to the man she loved followed by a happy wedding with joyful family and then children after they were all settled. I wonder if she wanted a daughter first? I can only guess what some of her plans might have been. And then… a visit from an ANGEL.  

I keep thinking about what my pastor said on Sunday morning when he shared about Mary and her response to the news that her life would not be taking the course she had anticipated.

She trusted – even though she certainly didn’t know all the answers to her questions.  I cannot imagine the things swirling in her mind and heart.

She surrendered and told God “I am your bond servant.” 

She took her hands off the control and ownership of her life and gave it willing to God.  The angel showed up and interrupted her plans.  God gave her a completely new and radical script for her life and she said “I trust You and I’m not going to withhold anything from You.  I’m Yours to use in the ways You decide are best.”

Amazing.  She let her life serve the gospel – literally.  But I know that’s exactly the attitude God expects me to have.  In light of some decisions I need to make, this helps me so much.  I can look at them not so much about how they affect me but how they might line up with God's plans. 

God, I am Yours.  Use me however You decide is best.  By Your power and strength working in me, not mine.  By Your grace, not mine.  If You show me what to do and where to go, You are in charge of making it happen and giving me what I need to do it.

And then she worships! 

Do I worship in response to something God is asking of me? 
Do I worship when my day doesn’t follow what I had planned? 
Do I trust Him enough?

Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. 
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
Luke 1:46


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

All Is Calm

I am looking forward to when all the shopping is done, all the baking is happily sealed up in pretty tins, all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree.
I am looking forward to some time in the living room with only the Christmas tree lights on, Christmas music and a big mug of decaf. Doing nothing but sitting and quieting my racing heart to worship.
I am looking forward to welcoming my kids home, all the chairs full around the table, playing games, noise and laughter.
But THIS day is the one that counts. Right in the midst of lots to do, lists and appointments, a messy desk and unfinished work.
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  
Luke 2:19

I imagine Mary had a few things swirling through her mind as she sat looking at her tiny Son.  I wonder what things she treasured up and pondered.  God had done a miracle in her physical body and He was also working in her spirit… she couldn’t help but burst into praise!

That’s how I want to be – like Mary.

Oh, how I praise You, Lord. 
My spirit rejoices in God my Savior! 
For You chose me, a nobody in the world’s eyes,
and because of You, many can see the hand of God in me.
For You set Yourself apart from every man-made answer, every religious dogma, every prideful theory.
You have done GREAT things for me and in me.
You extend Your mercy down through the generations
to anyone who humbles themselves before You. 
Your mighty arm has done AMAZING things! 
(paraphrase Luke 1:46-51)


Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Past

What Christmas music did you listen to when you were growing up?

For me, it was Julie Andrews.  Yes, that Julie Andrews.  The Sound of Music Julie Andrews.  Mary Poppins Julie Andrews.


My parents belonged to a record club and we got the whole "Firestone Presents" series.

Remember record clubs?  Remember Green Stamps?  Remember the Alamo?

I put a stack of those albums (because in those days you could stack your albums) on the stereo console and danced around the living room to the lights of the Christmas tree.  (BTW, those were the days when you screwed your Christmas light bulb sockets onto an extension cord.  This was such a dangerous practice that I couldn't even find a picture of one to show you on Google images.)  We also had Mitch Miller, Vic Damone and Andy Williams Christmas albums.

So... because I was listening to Julie Andrews Christmas songs on my iPod today, it got me to thinking about Christmas past.  And I thought of these:

I love how she describes the "wholesome blending of whole food flavors."  Wonder why they dropped that as a jingle for Coke?

And who can forget the Norelco ads with Santa riding down the slopes on a shaver?

I always wanted these but never got them...

This cheery ad features ET and a really cool new gaming system...

Speaking of technology...

I'd better stop before I get carried away into Christmas past.

Okay, one more.  Everybody sing!

See what happens when you play Julie Andrews Christmas songs? 

Merry Christmas!!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

December links

Here are a few things I've loved on the internet at the start of this Christmas season...



Brownie Bite Surprises

definition of maturity
Debt Free
I guess this is a pretty appropriate post for this season of shopping.  I love this family's story of attacking their debt with ferocity and the peace that results.  We love Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University - we've had the privilege of attending and of teaching several small groups.  It's made a HUGE difference in how we live.  Check it out if you haven't heard about it!

And last (but most certainly least) I have no idea why I thought this was so funny but I did:


Monday, November 28, 2011

“I do this every weekend.”

In May of this year, my husband had the opportunity to help lead a team of folks from the University of Kentucky on a mission trip to Ethiopia.  He and Mark Wolbert spent a week with the head football coach and his wife, the athletic director and his wife, the assistant athletic director and two members of the Wildcats football team.  They visited the poorest of the poor living at the garbage dump in the capital city of Addis Ababa, where they delivered food and coal, shirts, soccer balls and footballs.  They painted the walls of a latrine that had just been built at a local church.  They visited a village where they delivered shoes to children whose footwear was in desperate need of replacing.



Pretty amazing to see these guys – successful in college athletics and used to a lot of perks – serving and loving on those who have virtually nothing.


The athletic director plans to send athletes to Ethiopia in 2012 on a similar trip. What a great way to give these young kids a taste of life for so many millions of people in this third world country and a view of the world so different than what they know. It’s an awesome commitment on the part of the school to teach life lessons beyond the football field or basketball court.

Fast forward to a weel and a half ago.  Mark and Jeff were given tickets to fly out to the UK/Univ. of Georgia game being played in Athens, GA.  The guys flew from Seattle to Kentucky and spent the night in Lexington.  Friday morning was a team walk-through for the game the next day.  Mark and Jeff were introduced to the football team and presented with UK shirts and jackets and a plaque, thanking them for hosting the group in Ethiopia. They got a tour of the UK campus and athletic facility. 


They wore sport coats and dress shirts (appropriate travel attire) and drove through the Kentucky countryside to the airport.  Kentucky looks a little different than the Pacific Northwest. 


They boarded a charter jet and flew to Atlanta.  There was LOTS of food.  Football player amounts.  More on that later.


They were met by a fleet of buses…


which took them the next morning from their hotel to Sanford Stadium at the Univ. of Georgia.  They had a police escort – lights flashing.  So bizarre.


My text to Jeff:  Wow, VIP status.
Jeff to me:  I will try to stay humble.

The guys had been given game-day gear to wear as well as sideline photographer and all-access passes. 


They headed to the underground parking at the stadium.


Sure, come on into the locker room!


Here’s the semi that carried Kentucky’s equipment…


Here is Georgia’s mascot.  Does he look like he’s got his game face on?


Danny T, a linebacker, was one of the guys who went to Ethiopia with Mark and Jeff.  He has hopes of a promising career in the NFL.


Stuart H, offensive guard, also went to Ethiopia last May.  He is a big guy.  Like 6’4” 295 lbs big.


This stadium holds 92,000 and this was an especially big game for the Georgia Bulldogs – a win would mean they’d secure the SEC Eastern Division title. There were a LOT of people in those stands. Predominantly red and white.


I can’t really imagine what it felt like to be standing on the sidelines with the players and coaches in a game this big. 

Surreal is what Jeff said.


Kentucky Head Coach Joker Phillips…


Mark with Assistant Athletic Director Jason Schlafer…


Kentucky Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart…


Jeff Burns – yeah, just one of the guys.


The Bulldogs won but Kentucky played a great game – one of their best of the season.  


Then, after the game was over, they headed back to the locker room with the team where the team chaplain lead in a prayer...


They got a little box of something to eat for the bus ride to the airport…


because they hadn’t had quite enough sustenance what with the buffet in the press box – you know, turkey croissant sandwiches, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, every kind of chip known to man, Cracker J.acks, granola bars…

They loaded onto the buses and headed to the airport – where each of the four buses was met with a charter jet bound for Kentucky again.  That’s four charter jets.


Of course they were offered burgers and sandwiches for the one hour flight back to Lexington. Jeff said he couldn’t do it - he couldn't fit one more thing in his stomach.  Until the flight attendant came down the isle with D.ove bars.  The guys may not have played any football but they did their best to eat like they did.

I am SO happy that Jeff and Mark got to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Thanks to the great folks at the University of Kentucky for providing it.  Go Wildcats!

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