Monday, December 28, 2009

The Monday after Christmas

Welcome, everyone! I trust you had a very wonderful Christmas, celebrating the fact that God became flesh and dwelt among us.

I had a very relaxing Christmas with my family. It was wonderful to just have all 8 of us together. December has been full of days on end when we never had all 8 of us sitting down together at the same time, so just eating breakfast together on Christmas morning was a gift.

One big reason that we haven't had as much family time this month is because my brother Curtis has gotten a job (praise the Lord!) and because of the shift he works, he's gone almost all the time everyone else is home, so it's been a bit sad, and I have thoroughly enjoyed his time off this week!!! Dad had several days off as well, which is always wonderful.

But, as wonderful as family time is, it isn't the reason for Christmas. Celebrating Christ coming to earth is the important thing, and I'm glad for the time set aside to do so.

Do you remember the Christmas story I posted on here? It was intended for the Christmas Carol service at our church, which was supposed to take place the Sunday before Christmas. Because of the 1.5-2' of snow we received that week, though, services were canceled.

That meant we celebrated our Christmas service last night at church! It was very nice - beautiful music, and a good message.

The King's Strings played one song for the service, and I think it went very well. It was fun to play. We did "Go tell it on the Mountain" mixed with another song.

I didn't get very nervous when we played. It's hard to get nervous with that many people up there with you. Besides, we were enjoying what we were doing.

Then it was time for the dramatic reading...which I had written.

That's when I got nervous.

The man chosen to read the piece did a wonderful, wonderful job. He made the words come to life, and I enjoyed listening to him. He made it sound like he was really Joseph. I liked it very much.

But I still was a little nervous. I had written the story to bring God glory and to make people think of Him, yet a small part of me still had some pride, and still cared about what people would think of my writing, so I got nervous.

It's rough, being human. (It's even rougher admitting it.)

But I didn't need to be worried. After the service many people came up to me and told me they had been blessed by the reading. That, of course, blessed me! I was so happy they had been touched.

Just about everyone who talked with me about the story told me that I ought to publish it. Pastor even said that from the pulpit.

It sounded familiar....almost like what my blog readers had said. :) (Doesn't it make you happy to know I was thinking of you at church last night? :)

I keep wondering if God is hinting to me. In fact, I'm seriously considering writing and publishing a collection of these kinds of stories. Will y'all help me pray about that? I think it would make a good project for the New Year.

I have all sorts of project ideas for the New Year. I hope the next few posts I do will be more structured, and focused on some of these ideas. I have several post ideas running through my mind, on topics like:

~ Time Management; multi-tasking in order to redeem our time

~ Clothes; does the way we dress affect the way we act?

~ The role stress plays in our lives

....and etc. I won't tell you everything I'm thinking of. :)

I must run for now. It's a busy Monday here!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Rambling

Only two days 'til Christmas, and I'm convinced that y'all must be awfully busy because things have been very quiet around this blog as of late. I tell myself that I must not have any readers, but I know better than that. I know you are keeping busy!

I am not exactly bored, either, but things are starting to slow down. I think I'll enjoy my last two days before Christmas very much. :)

In fact, I have enough extra time to think of writing another "rambling" post. ...I wasn't thinking my first one was very exciting, but it was great fun to write, and since I'm not sure y'all have the time to read anything on this blog this week anyway.....why not? :)

You know what I really wish? I wish it was easy to upload pictures onto my computer. I have so many fun scenes from the past weeks that I could share with you! Our almost-2-feet of snow was a lovely fun thing. ...And Heather snapped a cute picture of Lezley and I cutting out Christmas cookies. ...And there are other things I want to show you, too. I haven't even shown you the shirt I made back in late summer!!!

Yikes. How can I call this place The Fruit of Her Hands when I don't even show pictures of my projects? I've got to get better at that.

I wish I could show you the skirt I finished this week! It is a lovely, lovely, grey-and-white wool-y type of fabric. Again, this was from the bags of fabric that were given to me by a wife of Dad's coworker. God is so good to me! I made this skirt for nothing!

It's a 50's style circle skirt...only it's not quite a full circle. But it still has that look of being fitted at the waist and coming out to a lot of fullness at the hem. I debated whether I should make this skirt ankle-length or not, but decided to pull it up six or seven inches. It's amazing what a difference that can make! The skirt went from looking heavy and weighty to being swishy and sporty.

But enough of that. Clothing description is boring without pictures. :) :)

I went shopping this morning with my Dad and two brothers. I'm SO thrilled to have all my shopping done now! I had only two more items to pick up, but my men folk were pretty much doing all their shopping in one trip....two days before Christmas.

I had to laugh. Those dear, sweet guys!

Oh - guess what happened in one of the check-out lines? The cashier noticed my brown corduroy ankle-length skirt and said, "Oh, I love your skirt! Where did you get it?"

"Oh, thank you. I made it." Then, a little shyly; "...I have my own sewing business."

"Really? Here in town? What's it called?"

"I just run it from my home. It's 'Amber's Ambitions.'"

"Amber's Ambitions. Hmm." (Looking at the skirt again.) "It's great. Looks very J.Crew-y."

Amber, smiling; "Thank you."

Maybe I ought to focus more time on making clothing to sell! Have you seen the prices J.Crew charges? :)


It is SO much fun to go shopping with three fellas when you're the only girl along. I certainly feel protected! Walking through the parking lot with Dad and my two bros, (who are all taller than me), I was as care-free as could be.

But it's also fun because the men want your opinion on whether something is "right," and sometimes they need your help to find their way around in the "girly" departments when shopping for sisters or Mom, .....and then they urge you to rush through your shopping. :)

But you know what? I like that about them. I like that my menfolk are menfolk. I like that they are protectors. I like that they want my advice. I like that they care about getting gifts for their womenfolk. I like that they took charge of the shopping trip and knew what they wanted.

Differences are good things. They add spice to life - like speech accents and hair color.

I've been learning lately not to fight against differences so much - not when they aren't important differences. If somebody's wrong about something, that's one thing - 'specially if it's spiritual - but just because somebody likes contemporary home decor, and I like country home decor, I don't have to spend hours trying to convince them to change their tastes. Or if they loooove shopping and I like hiking, I don't need to stress out about it., I think I'm going to end this post abruptly. My brother Curtis just came indoors with the news that one of our pets has died, and I don't feel like writing anymore. I'll pop in later to wish you a merry Christmas on Friday. :)

God bless!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I know I posted this last year, but I just HAVE to post this again, for those of you who haven't seen it.

This is an amazing video. You absolutely HAVE to see it.

You trust me, right? You don't think I'd lie to you, do you?


So watch the movie. It's truly a must-see.

Oh yes....I guess it'd be nice of me to explain the content. I'm just afraid that I won't do it justice.

Let's just say this video brings God glory by reminding me just how BIG He is. And it uses the stars to prove it. In particular, the star of Bethlehem. Did you ever wonder wha -

...Oh bother. I give up. I can't say it big enough.

I could say it's amazing, but that's not quite right. I could say stunning, but that's not right either. I could say it makes hair stand up on my neck...that's be closer, but still incomplete. I could say it makes me weep with sheer wonder, and that's even closer.

Please, please, PLEASE watch this. It won't be wasted time, I assure you. I only posted the first part here on The Fruit of Her Hands. To see the remaining parts, you'll have to follow the link at the bottom. Be sure to watch the extra part at the end of the movie....the story of the stars didn't end at Bethlehem; they proclaimed the gospel even at the day Christ died. I like that part best.

Please, please, please, go HERE to see the rest. That link will take you to part 2, and from there you can find the rest (part 3, 4, 5, etc.). Enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

We're snowed in!!!

As the old song says, "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!" ...If you equate snow with snow with Christmas, that is.

We like that song I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. The only problem is, here in southern Virginia, a white Christmas would not be "just like the ones I used to know." I've known only a few white Christmases in my life, and they were just barely white. But we like the song anyway.

And we just might get a white Christmas this year.

I must gasp for just a few sentences about the weather here. We have over a FOOT of snow! More like 2 feet, now, probably. The snow started late yesterday afternoon, and it hasn't stopped since. I think that's a record. I can never remember it snowing for that long in my life!

Our local "snow brigade," (such as it is), is understandably unprepared for such a dump of snow. Only main roads have been plowed, and all of us who live on roads that aren't highways are basically stuck. We probably would have had our road plowed by now if it had stopped snowing, but I'm sure the continuing snow is keeping the snowplows busy just on the highways and main roads.

My sisters and I went out for some sledding this afternoon. Our little slope in the backyard would make our Northern cousins laugh, but we enjoy any slide that is faster than a walk. The snow is dusty - not packing snow - and works pretty good for sledding! I broke our brand-new toboggan, (the one Dad specifically went out and bought for this snowfall), by sledding over the woodpile, but that's another story. Sigh.


But snow wasn't what I was thinking of when I said it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We've finally decorated our home for Christmas! (Please don't ask. We're almost always this late. It's just the way we do our Christmas decorating. :) Our tree, though it isn't real this year, looks lovely, the snowman candles grin cheerfully, and the garland-wrapped floor lamp sparkles. I can hardly believe it is Christmas time again.

Many good things happened yesterday! Christmas isn't allowed to pass without our making Christmas cookies, and because we've been sick, we hadn't made any yet, but yesterday afternoon my sisters and I rolled out the first batch of cookie dough for this season.

Our special cream-cheese Christmas cookie dough recipe.

Lezley said it best; I had made the dough earlier that day, because it needed to chill, and when I told her that it was finally time to roll out the dough and cut our cookies, she jumped up and down and spun toward the kitchen. "Oh goody - now we get to eat Christmas cookie dough!"

She paused in mid-spin and looked back at me. "That's the best part, you know; that's what it's for."

I couldn't help laughing....because I agree with her. :)

We had the radio playing all afternoon while I was in the kitchen. At first it was just Mom and I, working on supper preparations before doing the cookies with all the girls in the house. The station had Christmas music playing continuously, and although they had a few modern Christmas songs thrown in (I find them a bit annoying) there were lots and lots of goodies!

I love old music. I love voices from the 50's. I love big old bands and orchestras, like on The Lawrence Welk Show. And we got to hear plenty of that. I got to hear songs I recognize and love, but don't know all the words to, like Walking in a Winter Wonderland, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!, and Let it Snow! The swirling snowflakes outside the window, the cheerful atmosphere of hard work inside, and Mom's laughter and smile made my heard sing.

Then it was time to cut out cookies, and I fetched my younger sisters. We switched off the radio and put in a new Christmas CD from our dear lovely friends, The Neely Team.

There was a lot of good conversation and laughter and smiles and eating while we worked. Some of the old cookie cutters I was working with brought back memories of many Christmases past, even way back to when Mom had to help me cut the cookies. Tiffany, was talking about how she's starting to realize more and more the true meaning of Christmas. Lezley was busy helping me by passing me whatever I needed, in between cutting out her own cookies.

A little while later, the noise in the kitchen had died down. Mom and my younger sisters had left the kitchen, the cookies were all cut out, and I remained alone in the kitchen, to rotate the cookies in and out of the oven.

I was very happy. Very content. Very Christmas-y feeling. (Very full, too. :))

The CD player started to play one of my favorite songs on the CD, All is Well. It's a plaintive melody, but full of hope at the same time.

I knelt down to fetch something from a low drawer.

I heard the words, drifting along through the high and sweet tune; "...our God is pleased with man to dwell. Be still my soul; all is well!"

I just stopped where I was, and let that thought sink into my mind. I felt tears in my eyes.

Our God is pleased.

With man to dwell.


God with us.

The evening had just gone from great to wonderful.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I'm in the mood to write a blog post today, but I don't have a specific topic in mind, so if you'll tolerate a bit of rambling, I'll proceed to spill out my thoughts.

That's the thing about liking to write (ahem...loving to write); you get the urge to do it, and can't feel satisfied until you do it.

I'm not a big fan of just "rambling." I'm always sure that I'll later regret something I wrote on the spur of the moment. "In the multitude of words there wanteth not wisdom." (Sorry, I can't give the reference for that Proverb 'cause I don't remember it.) But now and then a bit of chattering is a nice way to make people you care about know you care about them, because you want to talk to them and let them know you are glad they are there. :) :) And I'm certainly very glad you take the time to visit my blog.

I was thinking about that this morning...about why I started this blog. I confess I originally started it with the idea of gathering thousands of readers and selling advertisement space on the side bars as an extra income.

...Now I'm shaking in my seat with suppressed laughter. I couldn't care less about that "goal" today. Instead, this blog has been a wonderful way to meet new friends, a venting place for my writing urges, and a useful place to store photos and stories of my various projects.

But I did love the fact that my blog came up on the first page when I randomly searched for "fruit of her hands blog" this morning. I was just curious to see how many pages of search results I'd have to wade through to find my blog. ...And there it was on the first page! Maybe that was just a one-time happening. :)

Or maybe it was my search engine. OH - by the way, I love the "swagbuck" search engine. I have had it for several months, and have earned over $40 in amazon gift cards. All you do is use the swagbuck search bar instead of your google or yahoo search bar, and you'll be awarded points every few searches you do. (I guess they make their money from the advertising on the search results page.) Those points can be traded for things like gift cards!

If you get people to sign up with swagbucks because you recommended it, you'll make a point for every point they make, for their first 100 points. It's great. I've had 2 people sign up under me, and I made 200 points from them. (That's about $20 in amazon gift cards right there.) ...Of course, now they are past the 100-point mark, and I am back to earning points all by my lonesome self. Sniff, snifff.

At this point Amber shifts a little in her seat, and shyly points to her "swagbucks" button on the sidebar of her blog. She whispers "if you want to sign up under me, just click there. I really would love to earn some more points!" Then she blushes and shakes her head at herself.

Ah, yes. I'm a great self-promoter.


I am involved in 4 different entrepreneurial things here at home, and I KNOW that all of them would be flops if I didn't have my family to help me advertise. I tell very few people that I've written a book, that I teach sewing lessons, that I do custom sewing, or that they should visit the website my sister and I run. My family is so sweet to "brag" on me occasionally. It's the main way I get customers. :) (Not that they really brag, but you get the picture.)

Now I feel like I've done way too much talking, so I'm going to switch formats and just give you a list of things I've been thinking about or wishing for this month. Let me know if you feel the same way about any of these things!

~ The amount of junk email you get in December is awful.

~ I am looking forward to spring weather.

~ Christmas time is waaaaaaaaaay too stressful! (the first half of this month)

~ I'm so in the mood for Christmas! (The last half of this week. :)

~ I'm so glad to have my shopping almost done!

~ I want to make Christmas cookies, and wish I didn't have to wait until our lingering colds leave the house.

~ I've been planning things for a date with my two younger sisters sometime before Christmas. I tell them I'm gonna kidnap them and run off with them some time. We need more time together!

~ I have been thinking of goals for the New Year. One is definitely to wake up earlier every morning. The past two months I've become shamefully lazy about that!

~ Another goal is to help my family more.

~ I'm excited that my older sister, Heather, found a camera for sale for $30 this week. Yay! It's a nice camera. (And I get to borrow it. :) We needed one for our online store.

~ I'm determined to do a better job at running our store.

~ I want to write more this coming year.

~ I'm excited that a package with my name on it arrived today. It's the first of my gifts to arrive. This one is for my brother. I haven't done much Christmas shopping online before, and I'm amazed at how much fun (and how easy!) it is to have stuff delivered to your doorstep.

~ I'm dreading the pile of dishes waiting for me in the kitchen.

~ I have a BUNCH of sewing to do.

~ Today I'm going to start training my younger sister, Tiffany, to help in my sewing business. It will mean a lot less stress on my part, and a little pocket money for her. I'm SO excited to have help! ...And my "little" sister, of all people. :)

~ I got up earlier than usual today, and I'm thinking about how nice that feels.

~ I'm thinking how thankful I am for "little" blessings, like warm woolen blankets and hot rice bags at night, and the good smells of a Christmas kitchen, and the sound of laughter. I'm thinking how nice it is when the family is all together.

~ I'm thinking of friends I pray for, wishing they all knew how much I care....and more importantly, how much God thinks about them, and how involved He is with their lives, and how He plans every detail. I wish they knew how often God and I talk about them.

~ I'm thinking how glad I am that lack of spirituality on my part doesn't change God. Lack of faith on my part doesn't change Him either. I read that today; 2 Tim. ....but I can't remember which chapter and verse. But it said that God cannot deny Himself. He will be Who He will be, no matter who I am.

...Yet He responds to me. He responds differently depending on me. Some days He is the firm Instructor, rebuking my sin with a voice so firm I weep, yet I cannot be angry because I know He is right. Other days He is the mighty Comforter, holding my heart together when it is in pieces. Other days I am dull and spiritually asleep, and He nudges me and bumps me until I wake up. Other days I am so happy I can't help singing and bouncing....and He seems to soar along with me.

But yet He's always the same. His voice is the same, even when the tone and words are different. He doesn't depend on my mood at all. The way I feel doesn't change Him. He's just so big - I can get lost in Him. I wish I could find the right words to praise Him properly.

Boy; now I've got my thoughts spinning so much I can't think of what else to write. I guess I've chattered on long enough anyway. I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying your week so far. Remember to give Jesus praise today, because where Jesus is glorified, that's where the Spirit is, and we are to walk and live in the Spirit.

Tell me how you are doing. I love to hear from you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Joseph's Account

Well, last year during December I thought an awful lot about Mary. This year, my mind is more curious about Joseph. (Though, I admit, I'm still pretty interested in Mary - I just read through that post I wrote last year, and my imagination is whirling again!)

My interest in Joseph could have something to do with the fact that I was asked to write something about Christmas, and my Dad suggested looking at it through Joseph's eyes.

But I'd better start at the beginning.

You see, we have a candlelight service at our church every year on the Sunday night before Christmas. (Well, we call it "candlelight," but because of so many accidents with hot wax in past years we've left out the candles for several years now.) Most of the evening is filled with music; both instrumental and congregational, as well as special singing sometimes. The service is closed with a short message from Pastor. Every year, something is read aloud mid-way through the service. Sometimes it's the Christmas story, from one of the gospels. Other years we hear the story behind one of the Christmas hymns we've sung. Or a moving account of a past Christmas in history, during a war time or something like that.

This year, the father-daughter team who puts together our Christmas Service schedule came to me and asked me to write a short story based on one of the people who was present at the first Christmas. I was thrilled because this gave me an excuse to write another Bible-based story. I've written a couple of those here on my blog. There's my post about Mary, which I already mentioned...and the one about the Prodigal Son...there's the story about Paul and Silas, too, but I left y'all hanging on that one, with the phrase "to be continued." :) :)

I love, love, LOVE that kind of writing. I mean, I just plain love to write anyway, but that kind of writing is my absolute favorite. It reaches down and pulls stuff up from deep inside me. Something about the stories in the Bible inspires me. I hope you don't mind when I let that inspiration take over and write those stories on here occasionally, instead of storing them in my "sheet files" folder on my desktop.

I don't think y'all mind. If you do, you hide it very well. You have only ever been kind and encouraging when leaving me comments. It is with that in mind I have decided to share with you the story I've written for our Christmas Service. I hope it makes you think as much as it made me think! :)


Joseph's Account

Mary was with child.

I couldn't – wouldn't – believe it until Mary herself, unshed tears in her eyes, assured me it was true. We had just finished the evening meal (I often ate with her family in those days) and had been reclining comfortably as we talked. I was unaware of the spear that was about to be thrust into my life.

Mary's lips trembled as she spoke, but her voice was determined. She said she was the mother of the Messiah, and that God Himself had put the child in her womb. She even said the child she carried was the Son of God.

How could I believe such a thing? Her father shook his head as he sat there behind her. If such a tale were true, would not he and her mother know it? It was very unlike Mary to have this far-fetch explanation. ...Yet it was also unlike her to be with child when she was betrothed.

How could Mary do such a thing? Hadn't she breathed out numerous pledges of love to me? Had she not treated all other men with gracious disinterest? We already had plans for the wedding. She had seemed so happy and content. Surely this situation was not her fault. Someone else...? I lifted my face to ask her the question, but her voice was tearful as she insisted there was no one else.

I left her home that night wanting to dash my head against a stone wall. Why did she persist in this wild tale? If only she would break down and admit to everything, it would be so much easier to forgive her.

My strained mind was already searching for a plan. I still had time to break the betrothal without explaining the real reason to our friends and neighbors. There were still a few more months before Mary would be unable to keep her secret.

“God of our fathers, help me!” I pleaded even as I hurried home. “What am I to do?” The scribes would say the law demanded Mary's death, but now-a-days that old law was rarely enforced – only when the husband or betrothed pressed charges. My heart knew I could do no such thing to the woman I had loved.

Did I still love her? My heart screamed yes, but my fists clenched as I thought of her. Then I thought that surely it was not her fault, and I felt no anger - only hopelessness. There was no easy way out of this problem, and I clung to Jehovah God as the only sure thing in my world at that moment.

Several days passed before I made my decision; I would put Mary away quietly. Breaking our betrothal was the only thing to be done. I could not bring myself to have her publicly accused, and yet I could not bring myself to marry her.

I did not tell anyone about my decision. Not yet. It was still too painful. I avoided her family, but I saw Mary's face in all my thoughts. She was there, in my mind, when I worked in the shop. I dreamed of Mary every night.

Every night, that is, until the night he was there, in my dream.

As a little boy I had always wished I had been born during King David's time, as one of his mighty men. I loved to pretend I was a mighty warrior. But never had I imagined any warrior as mighty as the being who was in my dream that night. His splendor and brightness took my breath from my lungs and I was left speechless. His voice resonated deep into my mind;
“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save his people from their sins.”

I woke with a start, breathing heavily. My palms were damp with sweat. So it was true! The idea of doubting that messenger never entered my head. I don't think anyone could have seen him and doubted.

At first, all I could think about was that I could take Mary. He had said so! The LORD would not be angry with me. I ached to see her and tell her I believed her story at last.

But then I shook myself further awake and realized where that child in her womb had come from. For a moment I forgot to breathe. Shivers ran down my spine. After thousands of years of promises, Jehovah God was finally sending the Messiah! What was more, apparently the Messiah was no mere mighty man, as the Pharisees would have us think. He was divine. I could not quite wrap my mind around that thought.

But I understood one thing; I could see Mary again. I sprang to the window and was filled with joy to see the sun was rising. Ten minutes later I was breathlessly entering her father's house and saying, “Mary, I believe you!”

The next six months were filled with every emotion God has given to man. In my first joy at having Mary back, I had not thought about all the difficulties we would face.

First we had to convince her parents that I truly wished to wed her and raise this child as my own. Then the whispers started – my customers in the shop talked to one another behind my back, and dropped vague hints to my face. I had always held a reputation of being an honorable and just man, and I think many of my customers were confused that I stuck by Mary, even in her situation. I tried to explain, but I don't think they really believed what I told them.

Mary and I had so many decisions to make. God was finally sending the Promised One! Such thrilling news I had hoped to hear in my lifetime, yet now it was much more personal than I ever thought it would be. It was also much more intimidating. Should I teach him my trade of carpentry, as if he were my true son? What would this Messiah be like, anyway? What were we expected to do with him? There was a moment of pain when I thought that I would not be able to name him my own name, as I had always wished to name my first son.

“But he isn't your firstborn,” Mary said gently. That always made my brain ache with awe, because it made me remember whose son that baby was.

It was hard, finding a balance. Some days I thought of the unborn baby as my own. Other days he was a stranger – and a very intimidating stranger at that.

During the very last month our situation was made worse by the journey we were forced to take. I worried about Mary. I muttered under my breath a few times, wishing to call our Ceasar all sorts of names, but I kept quiet and focused on helping Mary as much as I could. It was some consolation to remember we would be seeing the city of David again.

The place was packed when we arrived. It was all I could do to find us lodging in the stable of the inn – and I was charged ridiculously high for even that. But I didn't care; Mary was exhausted and I just wanted a place for her to lie down.

It was late that night I awoke to her nudging. Things had happened so quickly after that....and yet so slowly.

And then, there I was; leaning against the wall of the stable while the old innkeeper's daughter tended to Mary. A sudden cat-like wail of a baby filled the stall next to me, and my feet slipped out from under me in my hurry to stand up.

In a moment I was rounding the corner of the stall and on my knees next to Mary. The inn keeper's daughter was tending to the baby, using the swaddling clothes I had managed to find three hours ago. I grasped Mary's hand, but couldn't take my eyes off the child.

He was a perfectly formed little human. So very human. When the woman finished with him and handed him to Mary, I still had not found words to speak. The little one cried just like every baby I had even seen, and snuggled next to his mother so very naturally. It was hard to think he could possibly be divine. Yet the memory of the angel came back to me to assure me that this child was indeed divine – the Savior of our people.

Mary had quieted him, and she looked up at me. “Do you want to hold him?” she asked.

I held out my arms and took him in them. He was so light. So tiny.

“...And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save his people from their sins.” The angel's voice rang in my head.

“Jesus,” I spoke his name to him for the first time. I wanted to tell him how we had waited and waited for him to be there, but I just kept looking at him.

To think, that I had the Son of God in my hands....and was responsible for raising him. I didn't feel equal to the task.

But then the little eyes fluttered open, and Jesus looked at me.

And I knew that the years he spent in our home would be the very best years of my life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I had a lot of trouble sleeping last week. I think my trouble was too much on my mind ( other words, s-t-r-e-s-s).

I was complaining a bit about being tired on Sunday afternoon, and - randomly - I turned to Dad and asked "Do you have any advice for getting a good night's sleep, since you never seem to have trouble with that?" (He sleeps solid for 3-4 hours or so, and then is ready to go!)

I wasn't expected a very profound answer, and I certainly wasn't expecting to hear anything about how my day affects my night.

"Put your whole heart into whatever you do during the day; work hard, and you'll fall asleep easily at night."

My first impulse was to say, "but I do!" ....But, taking a lesson from past instances, I paused to reflect a moment before claiming innocence.

Was I really putting my whole heart into my day? Was I working hard during the day? Physical work, as well as mental work? Was my stress the result of a body too lazy? Was there such a thing as working too hard to have time to worry?

Ugh - don't you hate it when you can't quite honestly say you've been perfect?

Of course, the first verse that popped into my head was that Proverbs about "the sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much, but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep."

Do I have too much abundance?

All these thoughts crowded my head that night. And I knew I have room for improvement.

As the radio commercials say;

..."Something to think about."