Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yes Virginia, There Is An Emmanuel...

Yes, it really happened....You've seen a've seen a manger.

Imagine Mary....a little less than a week after The Birth of her First Son... Was she wondering why Joseph had not hired a night nurse?
Was she concerned about where to send thank you notes to kings with no address?

I imagine her to have been tired with elation and overwhelmed with gratitude.

She held Him.
He held her...just as He holds us.
She fed Him.
He Fed her....just as He feeds us.
She heard Him cry.
He heard her cry...just as He hears us cry.

She gave Him a place to rest.
He gave her a place to rest...just as He gives us a place to rest.
She changed Him...
He changed her...just as He changes us....if we will just let Him.

She found joy in Him...
He found joy in her...just as He finds joy in us.

God, Thank You for stepping down from Your Throne to come here for us.

In His Dust,

Friday, December 24, 2010

All Things...

He gave her breath before she gave it to Him.

"For in Him all things were created:

Things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,

whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;

all things have been created through Him and for Him.

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

~Colossians 1:16-17

God, Thank You for giving each and every one of us The Very Breath of Life.

In The Dust of His Birth,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Stable and A Manger...

I saw it.
We hiked, climbed, walked, crawled, ran, saw, smelled, heard and felt it.

This hike would have been unimaginable, for a very pregnant, young, scared and thin-sandaled Mary.

We arrived at a cave.

This cave, we soon learned was what they called....a stable.

Yes, a stable.

We went inside where it was very dark...cold...smelly....there were burn marks on the ceiling...from 1000's of years of fires....yes, 1000's! There was 6-8 feet....yes, you read that correctly FEET....of sheep manure.

There was a rocky small partition that was separate from the "main room"

Apparently this is where shepherds might have stayed to watch their sheep. This is also where the Sheep might have given birth to their lambs.

Being that it was slightly separated from the manure-covered floor of the was a place very similar to this, that Mary could have delivered her Baby. "The Lamb of God."

We were also shown a watering/feeding trough, although you may know it by a different name

A Manger.

Mary placed Jesus in a Manger which was probably the cleanest place in the stable.

A manger was used to pay taxes and debts. Our God used it to pay for our debts.

A manger was also used for food and drink. Our God used it to deliver "The Bread of Life" as well as "The Living Water."

I can not wrap my mind around The Love He must have for you, for be born here...
in a stinking' cold lonely sheep lay His Head in a cold rocky manger...

I can wrap my heart around it....because I know Him...
I stood there.

It was Love.
It was Christmas
It was Jesus.

God, Thank You.

In His Dust,


Monday, December 20, 2010

Father Christmas...

Some of us see him and run wide-eyed....full speed ahead- Jump in his lap and with our wish list-a big boy bicycle with training wheels.

Others....not so quickly......we hang on to Daddy for dear life...

Or Mommy....
and then there are those who....well, let's just say...
there very well may be some therapy involved....
All the bribes in the world don't convince you it is safe to go forward....
not brownies, cookies or even juice boxes.

Sometimes the only thing that helps is for you to crawl up in your Daddy's arms....
(and certainly avoid making eye all costs)

"Don't panic. I'm with you.
There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength. I'll help you.
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you." Isaiah 41:10

Before you know are more focused on Your Father than your fear...

and soon you learn, there is nothing to fear when your daddy is there....
the next thing you know you, you are telling your new bff in the red suit, that you want a kitchen...and you might even tell him about 56 times....or 58, but who is counting?

Not sure where you stand on Santa....but what I experienced yesterday....were some Jesus loving peeps that put Christ first and Santa second.

God, Thank You for the visual of clinging to You when we are afraid, tired or overwhelmed.

In His Dust,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Shepherds Girls...

One of the most fascinating things I learned in Israel was about Shepherds.

Silly me, thinking all this time that all Shepherds were long haired- bearded- tired- leathery skinned old men?
Well, aren't they? Not so much.

Adult Bedouin males usually delegated the care of flocks to young boys and girls. This responsibility was learned early in childhood.

Regardless of the conditions, their only goal was to care of their sheep.

Most shepherds tended their flocks by times several days travel from their homes. Not old men.....little girls- traveling days from home...facing burning sun and cold winds...walking in their camel hair coat with nothing more than a simple head cloth protecting them from sunburn.

So, now that we've straightened your "picture of shepherds"...
let's head toward Christmas shall we?

There they were....the lowest of workers...
There they were...doing their everyday jobs...
There they were...the very ones God Chose to Tell First!"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
He is The Messiah, The Lord.” Luke 2:8-12

God, Thank you for using the "average" ones to share The Greatest News of all with.

In His Dust,


Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Miracles...

2 weeks before Christmas....We gathered early...for some serious pajama wearin'- donut eatin'- gingerbread cookie makin'-pre-Christmas fun.

Oh as "relaxing" as this sounds....try not to be jealous....we began with all parties in several rounds of "time outs"...

a few tug of wars over toys and books....some confusion about what sharing really is and isn't....
a punch here and there (not the good kind from the Phi Delt house)...

However, when I may or may not, have encouraged some of the shorter participants, "licks" of the icing....attitudes were adjusted.
It was a true Christmas miracle.

Here you see an actual inmate in his "cell"
(Where his mean mother put him.)
No more tears...just a spoonful of sugar....(helps the punishment go down)

It was time to get down to business...
The foundation was laid...

which is crucial to this project....
I mean seriously....the gum drops ain't gonna stick to themselves.

Some got a little more fired up about the foundation than others...
(which I might add is Biblical-see prisoners CAN be rehabilitated!)

"God has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the earth."
~Ephesians 1:4

Christmas is 2 weeks away....

Don't forget to take time to lick the pan...or the cookie.We are swimming in the blessings of chaos and preparations....

Miracles are happening right before your very eyes.
God, Thank You for pans to lick and Christmas miracles....especially The One in Bethlehem.

In His Dust,


Wednesday, December 8, 2010


As I was getting dressed this am...what to wear...what to wear...
I have a insurance meeting...Christmas lunch with best's freezing this morning...but not this afternoon....things that make you go hmmmm....

So, instead of picking out something to wear...I starte
d reading my morning devotional-It was Paul talking to the church at Colossae.

"Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.
Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.
Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.
Regardless of what else you put on, wear love.
It's your basic, all-purpose garment.
Never be without it." ~Colossians 3:12-14

Looks like God just sent a "Text" message regarding my dilemma.

As we all "head toward Bethlehem" it is clear, exactly, what I should be wearing...what we all should be wearing.
God, Thank You for choosing my outfit today.

In His Dust,

Monday, December 6, 2010


I wonder what Mary was doing a few weeks before Jesus was born.

Clearing out the shelves at Babys R Us?
Figuring out what still fits, to wear to her shower at The Jerusalem Country Club.

Picking out hostess gifts-
Finishing up the nursery?
Running back and forth to the hospital with Braxton Hicks?

Securing 10 South at Methodist hospital of Israel?

I think not....

I imagine she was doing what she did best....
Trusting God with all of her heart.
Storing up moments (not packages) with God.

"Mary kept all these things to herself,
holding them dear, deep within herself." ~Luke 2:19

God, teach us to trust You like Mary did.

In His Dust,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I volunteered with Campus Life for about 15 years.
It seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago that we were packing up for a weekend retreat
at The Boddy's ranch in Boerne... or Landon's lakehouse...or The Peacock's in Rockport...
Thanks to Facebook- I get to keep my eye on most of you-

It's fun to watch my "kids" grow up- they have become graduates, wives, mommys, doctors, nurses, lawyers, jewelers, photographers, EMTs, missionaries, artists, teachers, politicos, volunteers, restaurant owners, etc.....

Over the past few has been heart wrenching to watch you lose paren
ts- to go through divorces-to fight cancer....
I've watched you wrestle with God over SIDS and still births-
I've seen you struggle with the every day battle of having special needs children.

Through it all I've watched you stick together.

You've held hands at funerals- you've prayed for each other-
you have organized and held prayer vigils for each other's sick children-
You have joined forces and become leaders in our community and in our schools.
I've watched you chair events that serve others and fight off cancer and other diseases.
I've watched you speak in public, about your pain and loss to in order to encourage others.
I've seen you head off to poverty stricken countries to share Jesus.

I've watched you be The Hands and Feet of Christ.

I want you to know-I am very proud of you.
I want you to know-I see Jesus in you still.
I want you to know- "you can always come home"
I want you to have been example setters....just like Paul wrote to Timothy about.

God, Thank You for the opportunity to know these "kids" for so many years. For the lessons You have taught me through them, both then and now.

In His Dust,