Monday, December 23, 2013

it's not too late...

If you have not celebrated Advent this's not too late.  Here are all four weeks of videos done by Ann Voskamp to help pave the way and prepare room in your heart for Him this Christmas.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

the heavens can't contain Him...

The heavens can't contain Him
Yet Mary held Him in her arms
Pondering the mystery in her heart.
He chose to come earth
In weakness and in strength
A living Sacrifice for you and me.

As I think about Mary and Joseph being able to hold Jesus in their arms, I am amazed.  Amazed that God allowed His son to come to earth to be our Savior.  Amazed that though the heavens couldn't contain Him, He was able to walk this earth.  He chose to be a Living Sacrifice for you and for me.  As the day of celebrating His birth draws near, I am in awe of Him and of who He really is and of what He has done for us.

The heavens couldn't hold Him
Yet, He lives within our hearts
Covering the whole earth with His love.
Without His hope as anchor 
I'd be lost on stormy seas.
His precious gift of life would not be mine.

Friday, December 13, 2013

holding hands in Paris....

Today we celebrate 32 years of marriage.  Thirty two years of joys and heartaches.  Thirty two years of memories. I am so grateful for the life we've shared...the good and the bad...the 'for better' and the 'for worse'. I wrote this poem one night after looking at photos from our travels this summer. It was such an incredible blessing to be able to celebrate our 50th birthdays holding hands and walking the streets of Paris.   

Holding Hands In Paris
I thought this day would never come
from house to home we've wandered far
Two hearts aglow with flame
Two hearts aglow with flame

You've always been there holding my love
safe in the palm of your hands.
Now side by side and heart to heart
We're holding hands in Paris.

I thought this day would never come
through stillborn love in the Kansas heat
Two hearts impaled with grief
Two hearts impaled with grief

You've always been there holding my love
safe in the palm of your hands.
Now side by side and heart to heart
We're holding hands in Paris.

I thought this day would never come
now here we stand now here we stay
Two hearts enthralled with joy
Two hearts enthralled with joy

You've always been there holding my love
safe in the palm of your hands.
Now side by side and heart to heart
We're holding hands in Paris.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

seeking, waiting, and hoping for joy

A gift born in a manger
A Bright and Morning Star
Joy came to the world that silent night
Enthroned in heavenly peace
Mercy wrapped in newborn clothes
Glory, Hallelujah, pure Joy is mine! 

Joy is deeper and more fulfilling than happiness.  Happiness depends upon circumstances or moods.  Joy, however, is able to sustain us through the darkest of  nights.  As we seek His face, as we wait on His touch, as we hope on His name...may His joy fill us, renew us, and restore us day after day.  May pure Joy be ours during this season of Advent and throughout the New Year.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

A friend of mine posted a photo on Facebook of this holiday treat.  It's a simple recipe in theory.  All you do is melt the chocolate and sprinkle crushed peppermints on top. I know, I didn't pulverize all the candy.  I left some of it in chunks...I liked it that way!!  

I had some white chocolate here at home I decided to give it go.  But, then I read about how difficult it is to melt white chocolate.  Since we don't own a microwave my first attempt at melting white chocolate had to be done using the double boiler method.  It seized up on me because some water got into the chocolate. Thankfully, Google helped me figure out what to do... so I followed the advice to add small amounts of butter until it was back to the right consistency.

I only made a small batch for my test run but it was too rich for Tom and I to finish it off in one sitting.  So it had to be stored in the fridge because the chocolate gets very soft if left at room temperature here in Belize. I will be trying this again.. it was very tasty!!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

a simple advent tree...

I do plan to have an actual Christmas tree...but for right now...I am keeping it simple.  

As the celebration of the Birth of Christ approaches, I am Seeking, Waiting, and Hoping.  I am seeking a deeper connection with the True Spirit and meaning of Christmas, I am eagerly waiting to see how that unfolds, and I am hoping for this season to teach me more about Him.  

In the Christmas carol, 'Joy to World', we find the words, "Let every heart prepare Him room".  O, how I long for Him to find that there is indeed room in my heart for Him.  As I seek, wait, and hope I am reading a couple of Christmas devotionals.  One of which is focused on Christmas carols and the other is focused more specifically on Advent using Ann Voskamp's latest book called, 'The Greatest Gift'.  These ornaments on my little tree came as a free download when I purchased Ann's book.  Each day there is a devotional thought, an ornament, and a verse to go with it.  

Living abroad and being so far from the rest of our family at Christmas time is hard.  As an empty-nester the holidays seem to magnify the absence of Nathan and Spencer all the more.  Mom and Dad (Tom's parents) will be coming to Belize to celebrate with us.  This will be our first Christmas with them since we left the states eight years ago. It thrills me a great deal to get to spend Christmas with family!  But, at the same time it will make Spencer and Nathan's absence all the more prominent as this will be our first Christmas with the grandparents without the grandkids being here as well.  

Following Mary's example of pondering things in her heart I am choosing not to meditate on my losses but on the blessings in these life lessons.  Our children are supposed to grow up and find their own places in the world.  When they get married they are supposed to leave and cleave to their spouses. And we have not been abandoned here... God brought us to this country for a reason.  He has blessed our efforts here in Belize.  We have a home, we have a church family, we have a growing ministry, and we have each other.  And along with the Birth of our Savior these are things worth ruminating on and celebrating!  

Monday, December 02, 2013

HOPE under construction...

Bethel Disciples International Church

not all of the outside walls are finished but the doors are beautiful!

There is a cross in the front of the church and at the back...

Jeremy and Jose setting up a makeshift screen for powerpoint...

It takes all of us to get things set up for the service...

just had time to take a photo of one side before the service started!

Our pastor is still out of the country but members of the congregation stepped up to fill in while he was away.  We were blessed by a word from our brother, Lemuel, yesterday!

The first candle of Advent is Hope.  We felt the Hope of this season as our church gathered for Sunday worship in this unfinished building. The church is just a shell right now and there is much to do before we move in to the space permanently.  A short term mission team is here from the states to do some work on this project and it was a blessing to have them in the service with us.  

During this season of preparing room in our hearts for the coming of Christ may we each seek eagerly after Him.  I trust that this Christmas won't be all about the gifts or lack thereof under you tree because no matter how much or how little you have He is the reason we celebrate!!