Something Sweet

When I close my eyes, I can remember what it was like to smell those crisp, powdered sugar cookies.  I must try not to salivate while explaining this childhood treasure. Tears flow down my cheeks as I type this because I realize that I will never get to taste those special Czech cookies again. But for now, I  would like to go back to that moment…

Me: “Baba, can we make cookies now?”

My grandmother: “Let me make sure we have everything Misa and then,…Yes we can start to make cookies.”

Me “Baba, how come you have to put so many things into the bowl to make a cookie?”

My grandmother: “Well, every ingredient is necessary to make the cookie taste the way you like.”

All the ingredients were carefully poured into the mixing bowl by Baba and I was there determined to help her as best I could.  I was not old enough to crack the eggs, but I was given the opportunity to roll the dough and poke holes in the cookie balls. I took my position very seriously and I even refrained from eating the cookie dough (my willpower has diminished over the years). Baba had an old a scale in which she carefully would weigh each ingredient. Every Christmas the scale came out for the first time, I felt like a dog hearing kibbles of food being poured into her dog dish and I would immediately ask if I could help her make the special Czech cookies.

I miss Baba and I enjoy remembering our precious baking time together.

In His Arms

I remember when our family would take off for Mammoth during Christmas break. My dad, being an avid skier, got us all started on skiing at the early age of 3.  By age 8, I was tearing down black diamond runs.  Interestingly enough, I did not mind skiing down practically vertical slopes, but I was terrified of a particular chairlift…Chair 23.  The name still sends chills down my spine…

Dad: “Misa, come on, let’s go. We need to get on the chairlift otherwise we can’t ski the mountain.”

Me: “But, daddy, the chair scares me and I am afraid of falling off.”

Dad: “Nonsense, I got you.”

I begrudgingly moved to the chairlift and as soon as we got on it, my dad wrapped his arms around my shoulder and placed the pole like a seat belt in front of me.  “You see,  he said, “I have got you.”

I think back to how many times our Father in heaven sees our fear and wraps His arms around us and secures us where we are.  So many times, I have feared falling, but like my dad, God has protected me each time.

How has God protected you from falling or wrapped His arms around you?

The Warmth of Christmas

It’s freezing outside–okay not freezing, but pretty darn cold. The other day a good friend of mine came over to help me hang up Christmas lights.  For three years I have avoided hanging Christmas lights because it felt strange to put them on a house that is not my childhood home.  This year I felt the spark again so I rummaged through our garage in search of our Christmas lights.  I managed to get two very heavy boxes of lights down from the a shelf and I meticulously reviewed the lights to see which ones would make the final cut.  After tossing out about three-quarters of the lights, I looked down at the strand of shimmering lights that did work and I the tears starting to flow.

Where was she?  Why couldn’t Baba make it to this Christmas or any of the past seven?  Doesn’t she know how much she is missed and needed?  As I placed a strand of lights around my shoulders like a boa, I became that little girl again…

“Baba, can we put up the lights now?” “Na ya. Let’s have daddy get the heavy boxes from the garage and we will put them up.” My dad would then take down the boxes I have waited to see since the prior Christmas.  I can hardly wait!  Baba and I carefully test each strand of lights.  I climb up on the ladder and she hands me the lights to carefully lace over the old rusted nails.  After about an hour, I am on may last strand. “It is almost done,” I shout with complete excitement.

My favorite part of hanging up the Christmas lights was when we were able to step back and admire all the beautiful lights shining as brightly as ever!  Even though it was very cold, the lights warmed our souls.

What Christmas treasure do you have that warmed your soul?

Christmas Treasure Chest

I thought this Christmas season I would do something a little bit different with this blog.  My grandma, Baba, passed away a little over seven years ago and since then I have struggled year after year to find joy and celebration in Christmas.  I know Jesus is indeed the reason for the season and that should be more that enough to celebrate, but I have come to learn that you can do very little with a broken heart.

I remember when my mom came to pick me up after school with huge sunglasses. It didn’t take much to see that something was definitely wrong. She told me that this would be our last Christmas with Baba. Stop for a moment and imagine what would it be like to hear that this will be your last Christmas with your loved one who part of the reason Christmas was special when you were growing up. Looking back on that day, my mom gave me a ruby of wisdom. She told me to close my eyes and imagine Baba. Then she told me that all those memories will live forever inside means; no one can take them away. She told me that Baba will always be with me. All I had to do was close my eyes.

The other day, I closed my eyes and allowed myself to meet Baba during Christmas time. In that place, I realized how precious my memories of Christmas are and how important it is to allow them to be shared with others. This Christmas season I welcome you into a treasure chest of Christmas memories that may  encourage you to open up your chest of memories and share with others. I hope you do.

A Powerful Piece by Joyce Books

 

Hello Everyone,

It is an honor to be able to post such a powerful piece written by Joyce Books.

I pray that this piece will touch your heart as it did mine.

 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance.

He went without knowing where he was going.

Hebrews 11: 8

The key phrase to lock onto is …. ‘He went without knowing where he was going.’ Abraham was a man of deep faith. He stepped out into the unknown a number of times leaving behind familiarity and relying on faith.

So often we’re inclined to focus on the where, when or what the Lord is calling us to. We’re usually more prone to hear and take notice of all sorts of accounts from individuals about how God has called them to something or somewhere.

In a turnaround process, let’s fix our thoughts on the being called from aspect for a few moments, which prospectively puts a whole new slant on our obeying the calling of God.

We can all agree that obedience is important and vital to our walk with the Lord. We sincerely desire to have a level of obedience that will keep us on the righteous path God has planned for us. We intently seek out the directions in which we can be of most usefulness to the Lord and are in constant pursuit as to God’s calling. However, the question is… what about when we’re called out of somewhere/thing?

 Whether it is pleasing or displeasing,

we will obey the voice of the Lord our God ….

Jeremiah 42: 6

 Isn’t it interesting how we seek out to know where God is calling us to and what it is He wants us to accomplish. Yet, accomplishment is not ever first on God’s list … it’s more of a heart change so we can be more like His Son Jesus. When we let the Holy Spirit within be the dominant factor, it becomes much more likely we’ll be obedient in wherever or whatever God is calling us from so we can move forward with faith, confidence and trust without apprehension about what we’re heading into.

When the Lord calls us from something or somewhere … He doesn’t necessarily let us know exactly what He is calling us to, or even what the next step might be after we leave what we know to be our comfort zone; He might simply put us into a period of waiting and resting. Quite possibly, we may not immediately move on to the next season; perhaps God wants us in a place to just listen for a time where we are to simply be peaceful and nourish our Spirit, or maybe we will be in a training-up phase to ready us for our new season of calling.

At times we can be confused when called to a particular direction by the Lord ; and it can be totally baffling and bewildering when God calls us from a thing that we felt we were not only good at, but were accomplishing great works for in His name! In our humanness we have a propensity toward success and our logical instincts get in the way of our Father’s divine purpose for our lives. Our yearning is to continue doing good where we’re at; as a matter of fact, it can become an obsession if we’re not careful. So we doubt and question the Lord on His calling us from something,,,, pouring our weak earthly judgments into the mix. 

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55: 9

….’we ought to obey God rather than men.’

Acts 5: 29

We prefer to know what is next before we leave what is familiar to us or what gives us [in our eyes] purpose. Most of us aren’t big on having mystery in our lives ~ we much prefer to have a knowable plan. Conversely, one of the major tests in our level of faith is when we are dealing with the unknown. Therefore, let us rest in the assurance that God is working out His purposes according to His plan and His ways are always in our best interest.

A number of Biblical figures were called from by God before they knew what they were going to; some accepted it easily such as Abraham and others balked at first, than obeyed such as Moses. Whichever you might be, always know and remember without the shadow of doubt that God knows us better than we know ourselves, He will always prepare us for whatever we are called from and He never gives us more than we can handle.

Let us also do well to remember that when the Lord called Abram from what was familiar, he was 75 years of age!! This too is a great lesson in that one is never too old to learn new things and venture out from our comfort zone for the Lord’s sake.

Now the Lord had said to Abram: get out of your country,

from your family and from your father’s house,

to a land that I will show you…..

So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him …..

He pitched his tent… and called on the name of the Lord….

So Abram journeyed …..

Genesis 12: 1, 4 & 8

 Many years ago a Pastor used an excellent analogy I’ve always remembered~ when driving home from church at night your headlights only illuminate a short distance, but you still continue driving as new areas become illuminated until you arrive home. You don’t say, ‘I can’t see the entire way home, therefore, I shall not move forward’ … you go from somewhere without seeing all that is ahead of you.

Quite possibly we need to apply this mindset to situations with the Lord when He calls us from something without entirely illuminating the path to the next thing.

 You don’t need to know where you’re going if you know God is leading.

Daily Bread quote