Monthly Archives: December 2013

Cattle on a Thousand Hills

Hey, folks, most people begin their lives when they are born. Right? But Jesus, our Savior, our King of Kings, was present at creation. Jesus, the Son of God, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, burst into humankind as a baby born in a stable to a very young woman, a virgin, with no mother nearby to tell her what to do. And the cattle munched on wisps of hay and the donkey let out an occasional bray. And on a nearby hillside shepherds saw the most spectacular fireworks I think this world has ever seen–yet!

As I write this short Christmas Eve message to you, I hear thuds and pops of fireworks in the distance as some choose that way to welcome Christmas Day. Others are already fast asleep enjoying some rest from all their buzzing preparations. And others are still at it, preparing food, setting out cookies for Santa, feverishly finishing some gift.

We celebrated Christmas with one branch of our family earlier tonight. First, we met at church and enjoyed the Christmas Eve candlelight communion service. My little two and a half-year-old granddaughter sat in my lap and was awestruck by the brass and drums and the beautiful candles everywhere. When it came time to light our candles and sing “Silent Night” she began to shiver in my arms. I thought she was afraid at first. But I decided she was simply moved by the awesomeness of light and sound.

After church we came to our house to a simple meal of breakfast casserole and fruit salad. After that we trooped into the living room to open presents. There are two new step-grands in this group and we didn’t know how they’d respond to our simple traditions–reading The Christmas story before opening the first package, opening packages one at a time, allowing each person who receives a gift to be the one to choose the next present from under the tree and deliver it. They fell right into place as if they’d always been with us!

After dessert and a lot of laughing at our little one-year-old dancing to his big sister’s karaoke music box, the whole troop headed home to make cookies for Santa.

The quietness has settled in. I loved the lights and music and laughter and fun. But I love the quietness too. Imagine how the shepherds must have felt after the angels left them out on that hillside. Their ears must have been buzzing with the spectacular sights and sounds and then–just a quiet Judean night again with sheep shifting in their sleep. As they walked to Bethlehem, just a mile or so away, they must have talked about the mystery of it all and then as they left the stable having seen the very Babe of Whom the angel spoke, they had to be skipping and babbling in their excitement. 

Yes, in the quietness, I can remember again that the Jesus we worship has always been, will always be, and, yes, He still owns the cattle on a thousand hills!

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Christmas Moments

Life is made up of moments, not days and weeks and years as much as moments. At this time of year as we dress our Christmas tree, set candles around the house, stir up delicious scents in the kitchen, deliver little gifts of cheer, ring the Salvation Army bell, open Christmas cards, knit tiny shoes, or wrap gifts for each member of the family, I’m reminded of moments that make me shiver with delight or shed a tear or hum a tune.

The words of Luke 2 play through my mind as I set up a nativity scene: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night…” When I was about ten years old, my Sunday school teacher asked me to memorize and recite Luke 2:8-14 in front of the whole church. A classmate would recite the first verses of that chapter. That was a big thrill to me. I memorized it and have treasured it ever since and am thankful this very minute for that Sunday school teacher, and for that moment!

Tomorrow is December 20, Charles’ and my 48th wedding anniversary. We were married in my home. My Mom worked hard to make everything just right. I had a beautiful wedding dress. We had music and candles and poinsettias and lots of holly! At one part of the ceremony Charles and I stepped over, each holding a lit candle, to Grandmother’s little desk where a large unlit candle waited for us. We said the words from Ruth together about “Your people will be my people, your God my God…” as we very shakily lit that candle and blew ours out. It was a forever moment, a sealing moment, romantic and practical and absolutely dear.

Our first son was born November 25, 1968, and that Christmas, too, was our first one in Cairo, our first one in a house instead of an apartment. It was one of our most special ones. We hardly had anything except each other! But we were happier than pigs in the sunshine! What a fun time we had dressing our first Christmas tree! I made our ornaments from orange juice cans with bits of felt glued on and a yarn loop through a nail hole at the top.

Remember those moments? The instant your children first saw their presents on Christmas morning? The moment you realized you hadn’t turned the oven off when you thought you did and your very best dressing was cooked so hard you almost needed an axe to cut it? The time someone unexpectedly came home and there he/she stood at your door? The first bike, the first guitar, the first Game Boy! The sight of your little granddaughter cuddling her baby doll under the branches of the Christmas tree!

Maybe, as I do, you have some sorrowful moments that come up too. Like the Christmas my mother had just died and we were missing her so much we could hardly sing but we did anyway. Or the first year after Charles’ dad died when we gathered around the tree and gave him tributes. There are moments that jolt the heart like the words “You have cancer; it’s stage two. You will have to have more surgery.”

When I hear “Silent Night” I almost instantly feel the sting of tears, tears of remembrance of times gone by, tears of joy in the eternity of Christ, tears of anticipation, simply tears because, I guess, I’m a woman and I cry easily!

There is that moment when the old year leaves and the new one comes. It’s a second in time, a single tick! Your mind tries to wrap around the bigness of eternity, the reach of time from one age to another, and then you take a deep breath and offer a quick prayer for God to show you the way. Then you eat one more cookie because when day breaks, you’ll be starting that diet!

I pray for you, dear reader, that you will have an extraordinary Christmas full of wonder and delight and that your New Year will bring you peace, love, and joy immeasurable. I hope that you know Christ and will cling to Him. If you don’t, please consider right now seeking him with every ounce of energy you have. Find a believer and ply him/her with questions. Your time will be well spent, every last moment of it!

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Some Christmas Poems

Years ago I received the gift of a Christmas book of nativity pictures–Mary praying, Mary with Joseph, the Holy Family with the shepherds, Mary holding Jesus, a whole book of beautiful pictures with no captions, no words at all. I decided to write poems for each picture. I’d like to share with you four of these poems.

The first one accompanies a picture of Mary wrapping her baby boy in cloths as He lies in a hay-filled manger:

The First Christmas

Just a tiny baby,

And a mother very young.

But the whole world is blessed

Because of this man child.

Men came miles to worship

And Mary, seeing all,

“Pondered these things in her heart,”

And she, too, worshipped.

The second one I’ll share accompanies a picture of the wise men approaching the humble stable:

The Wise Men’s Song

Here’s the Babe we’ve sought so long,

Here’s the newborn king.

Oh, let us shout and praise the Lord!

Oh, let us worship Him!

Here are gifts we’ve brought to Him,

The best we knew to bring.

We’ve gold, frankincense, and myrrh

For the little Jesus King.

Though our bodies are weary of miles

And our feet are very sore,

‘Tis nothing now we’ve found the King

Prophesied so long before.

The third poem accompanies a picture of a circle of children with the happiest faces imaginable looking down on the Holy Infant:

The Children’s Song

Isn’t He a precious baby?

See His little hands and feet!

May I help to bathe Him some?

Can I help Him eat?

All babies are sweet and pretty

And fun to bounce on your knee.

But this Baby is different.

There’s a light in His face, see?

The fourth poem is clipped to a picture of a sorrowful Jesus as He might have looked when he wept over Jerusalem:

The Man Jesus

Such sickness of souls as there is everywhere.

Sickness of souls everywhere.

Could they but see the mistakes they are making

Oh, could they but see!

There is cruelty in their hearts

And lust in their minds

And hatred for all but their own.

But it’s because they don’t understand.

They just don’t understand.

They think they made themselves.

They think they made the world or it just happened.

They just don’t understand.

Searching, seeking people, looking for understanding,

Aren’t you weary of seeking?

Aren’t you ready to trust and to believe?

“Come unto me, ye who are heavy laden,

And I will give you rest.”

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Christmas Bells

Edgar Allen Poe wrote about bells. He wrote about silver bells, wedding bells, alarm bells, and frightful knelling bells of funerals and other solemn, terrible times. Think about all the kinds of bells there are–sleigh bells, elevator bells, door bells, victory bells–so many, many bells. I’ve never ridden in a sleigh. I think it would be such fun. We do have a door bell. When it rings we know that either a stranger has come or the children are playing. An elderly friend has told us about when he was a little boy and lived in this very old log house where we now live. He remembers standing at a northern window and listening to the ringing of the courthouse bells at the end of World War I. What an awesome memory!

But I’m here to remind us of Joy Bells. They’re little knitted Christmas bells so fun to hang on your Christmas tree, wear on your sweater or coat, or to decorate a package, or simply give as a gift. They remind me of the joy God gave us when He sent Jesus, His Son as a tiny helpless Babe to grow to manhood and die to save us from our sins. “God loved us and sent His Son.” (I John 4:10) KJV)

I first learned to make little knitted bells from a very talented, dear lady in our church named Emogene Harrison. It was about 1975 and she, along with some helpers, made bells enough that every participant who came to the international missions prayer meetings received one. The directions were printed in our mission magazine. Ever since I’ve enjoyed making these little bells and giving them away. I’d like to pass along this fun little pattern to all of you who knit. If you don’t knit, you can buy a beginners’ kit from Joanne’s, knit shops, even some Wal Mart stores. It may take a while to make your first one but when you get the hang of it you can make one in minutes. Have fun, God bless, and spread the joy!

Joy Bells

Materials you will need: size 5 knitting needles, red (3 or 4 ply) yarn, a yarn needle (needs to have a very large eye for threading with yarn), a pair of scissors, and a  little jingle bell (such as you might put on children’s shoe laces) for each bell you want to make.

cast on sixteen (16) stitches

Knit four rows

Fifth row: purl

sixth row: knit

Continue in purl/knit (known as straight stitch) for nine rows.

Tenth row: knit two stitches at once all the way across.

Eleventh row: Purl

Cut off yarn about fifteen inches from your bell. Thread end of yarn through your yarn needle. Run your yarn needle through your remaining eight stitches and draw up tightly. Fold bell inside out and sew side seam. Run your yarn up through the seam to top of bell. Attach jingle bell to this strand of yarn. You may have to thread it through the bell opening by hand as your yarn needle may be too big for the bell. With yarn through yarn needle pull thread up through top of bell which you’ve now turned right side out. Make a loop if you want to use it for a Christmas tree ornament. Thread an extra eight inch strand of yarn through the top of the bell making it even on both sides. Tie into a bow. The bell naturally lends itself to having the bottom turned up and your jingle bell should barely show at the rim. Merry ringing of the Joy Bells!!!!!

Questions? Let me hear from you!

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Some Opening Words

To all of you just clicking in to my new blog—-let me ask you to be patient with me. I’m 71 (which may or may not be an excuse!) and I’m almost computer illiterate but I’m an author and I want to write, AND I’m stubborn so I’m not going to quit because our world has swirled into cyber space. I plan to have blurbs about all my published works, eight in all, in due time. Several of them are still available in limited numbers at Two are on e-book lists: Her Name Was Rebekah and One Brown Cow.

I would really like to be of help to you, my friends and readers, in any way I can. I want to respond to your comments, whether questions you have or advice for me! I’d like to do a devotional once a week, one blog spinning off from what’s going on in my life, current affairs, etc., and maybe one blog which could be a tip of some useful info or a recipe or directions for making mittens and other knitted items. That’s three blog posts each week. You will hear sometimes about my grandchildren and great-grands because they are such a big part of my life. You will also hear about my veterinarian husband about whom I’m writing a book. You may hear about some trials and how we got through with the Lord’s help. You will hear a lot about all the things we have to be thankful for and my praise for Lord God Almighty!

My biggest desire in starting this blog is that it will be pleasing to God. In your comments you may ask for prayer, you may criticize or encourage. My prayer is that we will be more in tune with Him for having had these “computer side” chats!

In His Grip,



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