Snow, Glorious Snow!

We had our first big snow in December. We had enough snow to sled and sled! For Christmas we all got sleds- they are AWESOME!  Here are our snow poems.

 

Animals leave tracks in the snow,

While I shovel the snow.

Animals hibernate in the snow,

While I play in the snow.

Animals run in the snow,

While I sled in the snow.

I am grateful that God sent snow!

by Josiah

 

Snow is soft,

fluffy

Snow is cold,

chilly

Snow is white,

sparkly

Snow is fun,

joyful

Snow is wet

sticky

by Sophie

 

Being whiped by the wind

Flaking from the clouds

Snow

Being quickly rolled in

Played in by children

Snow

Crystal clear on Christmas morning

Beautiful, white

Snow

by Jacob

Day 5

Before I begin, I must share with you something. I realize that if you don’t know me well, then my blog entry from the other day could have implied a negative perspective of my Nana. So for the sake of clarity, let me say how much I love my Nana.  She is a pretty amazing woman.  I admire many great things about her, but she is 91 and she did grow up during the Depression.  So needless to say, you can imagine she has a few opinions reguarding politics and other things in life that have “changed” over the years.  She is just 91 now and not hiding anything on the inside anymore. Even now, God is using her to teach me a great many things.  Keeping me focused on the life and calling He has set before me.

 

Day 5.

It seems as though one day has passed and at the say time maybe 20.  I have spent much time thinking about every “little thing” I do and don’t do.  And how do these “little things” reflect the condition of my heart.  Of course I would love to say that my heart is always in the right place. But this IS about honesty.  Looking back, it is easy to say that my heart has come a long way over the years. But I desire more than that.  There are times that I am so FULLY aware of just why the song Amazing Grace was written!!!

 

“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see………..

And when this flesh and heart shall fail and mortal life shall cease;

I shall possess within the veil a life of joy and peace.”  -John Newton,1779

It is my sincere hope that you and your families have a blessed and joy-filled holiday this year.

Enjoy EVERY LITTLE THING with your family!

Sit around your tree, sit back, and look around you.  Then, imagine you are 91.  If there is anything that you would change- THEN PURPOSE TO DO IT RIGHT THEN AND THERE!

Merry Christmas!

A Gift to Christmas Future

There’s a funny thing about hanging out in a retirement community- you over hear a lot of funny conversations! There’s a common denominator in them all. Something is missing. Effort. The effort they spent so many years using up. Some have a little more left than others, but still it is slowly disappearing. Their effort has run out.

I marveled over and over again at the things you hear people say! Really? Did that really just come out of your mouth? You actually said that outloud? But if we are honest, we know it has always been there. There was just this little thing covering it up, making it polite. A little thing called effort.

“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”

I sat there, with my Nana, wondering the same question over and over. How do I NOT end up here? For someday I too will be 91 and what will overflow out of my heart through my mouth. What will I not have the energy left to effort in covering, repackageing, ignoring, moving on from, or spinning my wheels for? When I am 91 will I be grateful for that which overflows from me– or when I look in the mirror…..what then?

If we were all 91 right now. If our insides were suddenly spewing out of our mouths. What would come out?
Would it be edifying?
Would it be full of love and Truth?
Would it be full of grace and mercy?

Maybe- just maybe- 91 year olds have it 1/2 right. It is NOT worth the effort to cover up, move on, repackage, or spin our weels toward being “without a flaw”. BUT here’s the difference. There is effort that is worth it- effort placed elsewhere. The effort it takes to go deep within, searching honestly. A little like prepping a garden and digging out out the weeds and rocks. That is a LOT more effort now, but totally worth it.

It is worth the effort, because you will be free. Free from burried things to live cleanly and honestly, standing with integrity. Not worrying or wondering if it will ever leak out. There will be nothing to leak!

“For it is for freedom that you have been set free!”

And then, when we are 91, it will look different because what is filled up and overflowing from our hearts will be Truth. And those that follow us will have no doubts at all, because even then, our lives will be an honest and trustworthy testimony to the Truth.

“My integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.”

My Nana kept joking with us, “Are you going to wish me Happy Birthday 91 times?” “What if I had 91 candles on my little cake?!!?”

Well, here’s to being 91. Here’s to my future. Here’s to my children and my children’s children.

91 days of one thing- EFFORT. Everyday. Efforting to empty out, remove, restore, and repair. CLEAN HOUSE. So that everything left inside is honest and trustworthy. Because someday i will be 91 and it will spew out! And because God already knows! He sees it all already. So why try to hide it? For the sake of others or the sake of self? That is futile effort!

God knows all that’s in there and He still loves us! THAT is WHY he sent Jesus (Merry Christmas!) If we were perfect in our insides (and out) then what would be the point? Seriously, that is WHY we have Christmas–because we desperatly NEED it! And God knew that.

91 days start NOW.
13 weeks until March 16th.
Journey with me–someday you might be 91 too!

Righteousness

Paul writes to Timothy to flee and pursue, and gives a list of things to pursue.  That list begins with righteousness.  Paul gives us an interesting dilemma here.  There is no one who is righteous, no not one.  It is only in Jesus that anyone is righteous, since none of us have a righteousness of our own.  So what is Paul telling Timothy?  Why would he tell him to pursue something that is given by God, not earned in some life pursuit?  I think for very good reason.

 

The word righteousness in the Greek is the same word as justice.  We translate it both ways, but in English we use those words differently.  In reality, they are two sides of the same coin.  We can look at it and say that because God is just, He must require that we are righteous.  His justice requires our righteousness.  He requires us to be like Him.  But knowing we cannot ever be like Him, He provided Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin, thus making anyone who is in Christ a new creation, and righteous.

 

But Timothy was already in Christ, so why would Paul tell him to pursue righteousness?  We are called to continue to pursue holiness, working out our salvation, as long as we are on this earth.  We are to continually be transformed to more fully reflect the light of Christ to the world.  We are to press on toward that goal, pursuing it as we would pursue a prize at the end of a race.  The danger is that if we are not pursuing righteousness we will drift toward unrighteousness.  That is our nature.  That is our flesh.  That is the danger of lukewarm Christianity.  We must pursue righteousness, constantly striving for obedience, not that we earn salvation through it, but that we would be more faithful disciples.  This is what it means to delight yourself in the Lord and nothing else.  Constant pursuit of Him!

Oh! Christmas Tree

We decked the halls and trimmed the tree, but my favorite thing of all is our mantle.  We have so many stockings on there the adults got booted to the railing on the stairs and the dog’s are hung on a door (yes, we have stockings for our dogs, but thankfully not our fish)

 first snow 012

We have begun our traditions and started some new ones too.  Here are a few of our favorite traditions that we “gleaned” from other families.  If you have any great traditions, please add a comment and share.

Top ranked traditions in the Martin house for Christmas:

1.) Christmas Eve PJ’s.  You would think we wrapped us gold and chocolate! A new, special pair of PJ’s for each family under the tree all of Advent just sitting there, waiting, calling your name to be opened. After Christmas Eve service at church we rush home and rip them open, and wear them for days! (yes, they are prewashed)

2.) Getting everyone heir own, personalized stocking.

3.) A family Christmas cookie exchange. When you have a big family it works perfect! Everyone picks a cookie, we bake for two days, and sample till our bellies are full. This year: caramel, chocolate bars; MM choc. chip cookies; brownie cookies with peppermint glaze; Candy cane cookies; traditional chocolate chip; coconut macaroons; and peanut butter balls (unless you are from the semi mid-west and call them Buckeyes)

4.) Advent books.  We wrapped up all of our Christmas books, some old, some new, and labeled each one for a day in advent.  The kids take turns opening one each night after dinner (dishes must be done by kids first) and then we read it as a family.

5.) Christmas Extra, extra, sticky, sticky buns for breakfast. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.