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Posts tagged ‘religion’

And Now, the Pièce de Résistance…My Dining Room


By now, you’ve seen most of my house, all decorated for Christmas…

The bedrooms, dressing room, and bathrooms only get a few touches of Christmas, so they really don’t need their own post.

But the dining room…now the dining room is another story.

For a couple of years now, I’ve wanted to put a (faux) Christmas tree in there.

I’ve had the perfect plan.

I’d collected ornaments from Goodwill and garage sales.

I’d picked up a Christmas tree from a friend who had decided to give it away.

But last year, sadly, I was just too sick to get all my decorations up, and that tree stayed in the basement.

But this year…

This year is different.

Without further ado, take a look at my dining room Christmas.  A moment of silence to appreciate the beauty…

I could stand here and look at it all day.  Especially from this view…

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Pumpkin Carving: You Are a Work in Progress


Last week, Tim and I were in charge of Gabi’s Confirmation Class Pumpkin Carving and Potluck party.  It was a great time with not only the confirmands but also their parents.

Many of you know me and know that we couldn’t just do a potluck dinner and pumpkin carving…nooooooo.  We had to have more fun than that!

I gathered up a bunch of my Fall and Halloween decorations to add some ambiance to the Fellowship Hall and Library (where we ate).  Our local grocer gave me some dry ice which I put in a bucket with some bottled waters (which I put by a tall witch), and I put some dry ice in buckets by the doors of the church too.

We enjoyed a nice potluck dinner (even though my sloppy joe meat didn’t heat up enough…I’d made it the day before and had hoped to just heat it in a crock pot.  Yeah…note to self…you need more than an hour on high to do that.  Sigh.)

After dinner we went down to the Fellowship Hall to get started on the pumpkins.  The kids also had a choice of a ‘Make Your Own Caramel Apple Bar’ or Bobbing for Apples.  Needless to say, there were some very wet heads and filled tummies.  I’m sure the dentist loves us too. 🙂

Before we started all those festivities though, I did give a little talk, of sorts.  I didn’t want the evening to go by without acknowledging the reason we gather at the church.

I hesitated until now to share it with you.  But something kept after me to share it…call it my ‘inner voice’ or my ‘Jiminy Cricket’. 🙂 (You’ll see the tongue-in-cheek reference below.)

Here’s the talk I had with the kids and their parents:

Let’s talk about these pumpkins for a minute.

Your pumpkin started out as a seed.

Someone, maybe you, nurtured it until the plant grew into beautiful flowers…then those flowers became a pumpkin that grew larger and larger until it was harvest time.  It was taken off the vine, brought to the store where you purchased it.  Then you brought it here tonight, where it will go through its final transformation into a fantastic jack-o-lantern.

Now your once seed, then flower, then pumpkin, now jack-o-lantern will bring joy to not only you, but your neighbors and the trick-or-treaters that will come to visit your house on Halloween.

That was God’s plan for that very pumpkin.

Now relate that story to yourself.

Even before you were born, God had a plan for you.

You were a beautiful baby – a miracle of God.  Then you became a toddler and when you fell, you were picked up.  Then you grew into a teenager…and now when you fall you pick yourself back up.  Your parents, grandparents, and others like Pastor Katie have nurtured you into the person you are today.  They all still guide you, but as you grow older you start to make your own choices.  Now we, as parents, encourage you to make good choices, but we’re not always with you.  So what happens when you’re not sure what to do?

How about listening to your inner voice.  That little voice that tells you what’s right and what’s wrong.

We call it many things…”your conscience, your parents’ voices, your Jiminy Cricket, or Jesus guiding you”.  I believe it’s the last one.

That inner voice will wiggle its way into your conscience and say ‘don’t do it – it’s wrong!’ Or ‘Go for it – talk to that person who’s all alone – they look like they need a friend!’

It will lead you to making good decisions.  If your peers are going to do something you’re not sure you should do, your inner voice might say ‘not a very good idea’…then stand strong and don’t join in!  Or…step outside the circle of friends and be a friend to someone who needs one.

You see, this is where you are different from the pumpkin.

God gave you free will.

You get to make choices.

And, as the pumpkin will become a fantastic jack-o-lantern, you are becoming a wonderful adult through your choices and with Jesus walking beside you along your path.

And He will continue to throughout the rest of your…our (motioning to the parents and myself) lives.

As the Pumpkin fulfilled it’s purpose…we will continue to grow and fulfill ours.

You…we …are a work in progress.

Each confirmand left with a small glass jar which held candy corn, candy pumpkins and a tag that said “You are a work in progress”.

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I hope the message helps you realize that you, too, are a work in progress.

If we make mistakes…

or if we conquer the world…

we’re still a work in progress.

Some days bring challenges.

Some days bring joys.

Some days bring sorrow.

Each night, remember that God isn’t finished with you yet…

We can start anew each day.

We…

are…

a work in progress.

Patty O

When Something Touches Your Soul


Have you ever had a smell, a touch, a sight, a sound, or even a taste touch your soul?  Such a poignant touch that tears start to fall, or you revel in a sweet memory this sense brings back to your mind?  I’ve experienced this before, and I had it happen again on Saturday.

Let me explain and share my moment…

I was sitting with my morning cup of coffee, listening to Sirius XM – The Message and the song ‘You Raise Me Up‘ by Selah came on.  My husband and I were in the middle of a conversation and tears just started to flow down my cheeks.  He looked at me with a questioning look on his face, as we weren’t having any kind of earth shattering conversation, and all I could do was shrug my shoulders.  “It’s the song”, was all I could say.  Why?  I have no idea.  I don’t remember when I last heard it or why it was so poignant to me.  But sometimes we don’t have all the answers, do we?

In His hands…we’re all in His hands.  And what a comfort that is.

Good times or bad, He’s with us.  Whether we feel Him there or not…He’s there.

May God bless all of you on this Sunday.

He sure has blessed me.

Patty O

 

 

Merry Christmas from Motzy and Louis!


Look at these two innocent little faces…

Like they’re the sweetest little puppies in the world…

Louis arrived (along with Alex and Tom) on Saturday and the two puppies ruled the house until this morning when the three of them departed for another Christmas get-together.  It was 4 days of (controlled?) chaos!

I hope you’ve had a wonderful, crazy Christmas – like the one we’ve enjoyed here!

Best wishes to all – and may God bless you with true joy and love.

Patty O

Witnessing a Story of Faith, Love and Support


What child is this, who, laid to rest, On Mary’s lap is sleeping? Whom angels greet with anthems sweet, While shepherds watch are keeping? This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:

Haste, haste to bring Him laud, The Babe, the son of Mary. So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh, Come, peasant, king, to own him. The King of kings salvation brings, Let loving hearts enthrone him. Raise, raise a song on high, The virgin sings her lullaby : Joy, joy for Christ is born, The babe, the Son of Mary.

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In this season, this ‘Christ’mas time, may we all stop our fun preparations: the decorating, present buying, wrapping, and cookie making…to reflect on Christ’s birth. The gift God gave us on this day…His Son.

The babe that would grow into a 12 year old child who would sit amongst the elders speaking wisdom in the temple.  The young man who, when baptized, was descended upon by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and a voice came from heaven, which said, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased”.  The man who would die on the cross to save us from our sins.

And God, the Father, watched from above.  He saw all the joy…He saw all the suffering.  He was there through it all…beside His Son.

On our worst days, we may wonder ‘Where is God?’.

He’s watching.  He’s waiting.  He’s with us, just as He was with His Son.

We just need to have Faith.

I’ve witnessed this show of faith.

First, in my husband’s Grandpa, who passed 12 years ago:  Frank was at home, having fought a good fight against cancer.  He was in hospice care…and he had faith.  In his last weeks he spoke about seeing Jesus there in the room with him.  And we knew…He was there.  He walked Grandpa home to Heaven…of that there is no doubt.

And in the past few months,  an incredible story of courage, faith, and love has filled our small town – pulling it’s people together in a show of support for an incredible young man suffering from leukemia. Read more

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