My mother was a part of the Greatest Generation – those who held tightly to their spiritual beliefs, weren’t afraid to go to war to defend their country or to stay at home and work for the war effort – people cared about each other in a way that has long since disappeared.

She was only 20 years old the day after Pearl Harbor.  At that age, many of our young people today, have never experienced the ravages of war.  Many have lost their patriotism, given up on their country, are afraid to stand up for truth for fear of offending anyone. There is no longer a fear and awe of the One True God.

My mom would’ve been 95 today.  I wish we could still be celebrating her birthday with her, but  I treasure the precious memories she gave me.

My parents never had much materially.  Dad held two or three jobs to make ends meet and my mom could stay at home and raise the family.  We always had a Christmas tree – even if it was the last one on the lot.  There were handmade ornaments, tons of tinsel and popcorn on a string to finish it off.  Christmas cookies were made from scratch and decorated with great care. My sister and I were always beautifully dressed for the church active Christmas activities.  Mom curled my hair with rags and transformed my naturally straight hair into lovely, golden locks, held tightly in place with a ribbon that matched my dress.

At times that hairbrush turned into a weapon.  Though she never raised a hand to spank us, we knew that brush could do a pretty good job of scaring the pants off of us.

My mother was the most beautiful woman I knew.  She worked at having perfect eyebrows until the day of her death.  An eyebrow pencil was a regular resident in her purse and she often said, “don’t let me go to the hospital or die without my eyebrows.

She made the best soups with homemade dumplings and noodles – hand shredding vegetables and simmering the brew over the stove.  She rolled dough for the noodles and placed the dough over the back of the kitchen chair and then cut it into yummy pasta.

I thought more of her as an older sister.  Our twenty year age difference allowed that.  She had an amazing faith and she and my dad made sure we had a Christian education, even though it meant more jobs for dad and a reluctant agreement that mom would  work to help pay for it.

The most wonderful memory she gave me was to have a patient love. She showed that in her relationship with my dad, my sister and I, but she also was incredibly thoughtful and had a genuine concern for other people.  I guess that’s what endeared her to everyone.

My mom, my daughter and granddaughter all have birthdays in December so this month is extra memorable for all of us.  Mom taught me what Christmas really meant.  It wasn’t the pretty dresses or presents – it was about sacrifice at the highest level.  That was all I needed to know.  She lived as a follower of Christ and as a servant of Him and others.




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From the icy mountain,

Through crevices in the face of granite,

Water flows to the Jordan River,

Fresh, vibrant, clean, restorative,

John, the teacher of repentance,



Touches souls,

Cleansing all who repent to be prepared,

To wait,


Anticipate with excitement,

The coming of the Savior of the world,

It touches many,

The Son of God,

Meets His baptizer,

John is deeply humbled,

The effect of that rippling water flows out,

Unto the ends of the earth,

The Savior will come again,

We will meet Him face to face,

Let us share that good news,

There are still those who have not yet received it,

The most glorious message ever to be told,

Wash your sins away in the blood of Jesus,

Be cleansed, refreshed, restored in the water of baptism.

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Fears, depression, loss of hope, destitute, paralyzed,

Lost, lonesome, anxious, set aside, deterred,

Uncertain, worried, in the wilderness,

Yet, even then, we are surrounded by the love of God,

His might acts as a protective shield,

His power defends us against all enemies,

All of our negative thoughts disappear,

Our hope is restored, our faith renewed,

Knowing that we will never walk alone,

We will feel His presence,

As He enfolds,


Spreads His powerful wings over us,

He conquered death itself,

So we,





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My mom had recently discovered that she was pregnant with me. She and my dad were excited, yet wondered how they would support a family on such meager earnings.  Only two years prior to her 18th birthday, she and my dad were married.  Now they, along with an  unsuspecting nation, would wake to news that shook our country to the core.

The United States had resisted entering World War II, but the events of that day, meant we could no longer be uninvolved.  Japan sent waves and waves of planes across the Islands of Hawaii, bombed the American ships in Pearl Harbor and Kamikaze pilots plunged into the sea, destroying themselves along with unsuspecting sailors.

Because information couldn’t be transmitted with speed – no CNN – no internet – difficult communication on all levels; it took  a while before all the details were sorted out and the news reached President Roosevelt.  Our nation was devastated.  Our navy  crushed.  2,403 dead and 1,176 wounded.  Our resolve was to “Remember Pearl Harbor” as involvement in this war was inevitable.

The next day, my mother turned 20, I would come into the world 6 months later, my dad would not serve in the war because of a physical disability.  They continued their lives as planned, but this interruption in their journey would forever live in their hearts and minds.

Unprepared – unsuspecting – thinking we’re beyond something like this ever happening again, our country was attacked almost 60 years later by a group of terrorists.

Being unprepared leaves us wide open for vulnerability.  We can never be ready enough.  The same is true on a spiritual level.

This is the season of repentance – a time to lay all our sins on the table and turn them over to the Savior.  As we “Remember Pearl Harbor” today, let it be a constant reminder of the importance of being ready.

We must be watchful, diligent and prepared in all areas of our lives – especially when it comes to eternity.  Our souls are at stake.



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Wood Santas Carved by Paul T. Boecher©

In the past several years, my husband has laboriously carved a collection of wooden Santas for me.  Each year I carefully placed them on the mantle amidst lights and decorations.  Each one is different.  One is shaped like a jalepeno pepper.  Another tall, skinny and green- I call him the pickle Santa.  There’s one that’s about 3 feet tall and he sat in front of the hearth.

We have since moved from that house and no longer have a mantel, so I have wondered where I would place them this year.  Now another dilemma has occurred.  I’ve discovered most of the Christmas decorations, except for my Santa collection.  I’m sure they’re tucked safely away in a cardboard carton, but I can’t recollect  where it might be stored right now.

In a way, some of the greatest treasures of Christmas are often tucked away and forgotten in a world so busy and focused on material things. Those who know the true meaning of this special holiday realize that the true gift was Jesus, the Savior of the world.

We may hide Him away from time to time and even forget where He is, but He never leaves us.  He’s always right there beside us, encouraging, inspiring and relieving our anxious moments.  That tiny baby – God incarnate – placed in an animal feeding trough so many years ago.  He worked beside His step dad as a carpenter.  He studied the scriptures and grew into a man.  He walked across rough terrain and gathered a flock of followers and eventually took on the sin of the world on the cross.

At that moment in history, the world might think that Jesus was lost – nowhere to be found – just another religious fanatic, but He returned in a renewed body on Easter morning to prove to His followers that He indeed was the Son of God.

As His children, we too will never die.  When our lives are snuffed out, we will see Him and life will go on forever.  Through His life, we have been adopted into His family.

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He was a carpenter by trade. His hands were likely rough from chiseling away at a piece of wood all day, but they were also strong from handling that same wood. In his time a carpenter would have been considered an artist, because there was a shortage of skilled craftsmen.

Being married to an artist who often works with wood, I know what it takes to create something out of a hunk of nothing. It takes hours of dedication and hard work.

Joseph was used to working hard. He probably had been doing it since he was a boy himself. Things undoubtedly were going well for him. He was engaged to a young woman; he had a trade; he was a man on the move. Life was good. Then something happened that would change his life forever.

The angel of the Lord appeared to this average “Joe” with an announcement that would change the course of history. Like Mary, he accepted what the angel told him with a heart of faith even though the whole idea was incomprehensible to him.

There are so many times in our lives that we feel secure and then something happens to completely throw us off guard. I pray that I could have even an ounce of the faith that Mary and Joseph displayed when being confronted with such shocking news.

God, give me strength in the knowledge that you control my life and thus give me peace because I know you are the best one to be in charge.

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Another one from last year.  Originally posted 12/15

If you’ve ever read, “The Best Christmas Pageant, Ever!” by Barbara Robinson, you’ll remember how the nativity was portrayed by the five Herdman children –  the worst kids in town.  The only reason they came to Sunday School was for the snacks.

Gladys, the youngest, wanted to play the part of the Angel of the Lord, because she figured it was the best part.  After all – out of nowhere – there she was in the middle of everything – Shazam!  Kind of like a super hero with magical powers.

It makes me wonder who was the Angel of the Lord anyway?  How do you refer to this angel?  Do you simply call her “Angel of the Lord.”  Do you greet her by saying, “How’s it going, Angel of the Lord?”

As this story unfolds we see a little family who has been deserted by their father and their mother works two jobs to keep them alive.  They are well known by the welfare department as well as the police and fire departments.  This tight knit group of hooligans is bound together tightly and the Christmas story is new to them, but it kind of fits their lifestyle.

Jesus was born in a difficult time – in poverty – in a time in history filled with sin and corruption.  His little family was cast aside by relatives, who thought Mary and Joseph had betrayed their premarital vows of chastity.  They had no money, no one to turn to and yet they faithfully carried out the work God.

Angels don’t speak to us today like they did before the Bible was actually written, but if they did, you can bet we’d sit up and take notice.  Still I wonder what it would be like to talk to the Angel of the Lord.  Someday, I’ll get the chance.

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Days of yore may long be gone, but memories linger on,

Of Christmases of yesterday, of years that since have gone,

My youth no longer dwells in me, though memories stay strong,

Of times we spent together with caroling and songs,

Of fresh baked cookies, still warm unto the touch,

Of chocolate and marshmallows, and eating way too much,

The fondest recollection is the time of peace and joy,

When into church we’d enter and greet a baby boy,

Who softly in a manger lay, so sweet and of good cheer,

A gift that I remember with a fondness pure and clear,

That little child reminds us all of God’s enduring love,

As we prepare for heaven and our real home up above.

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A young girl of about 13 is about her duties in the house. She’s possibly weaving cloth or sewing items for the humble trousseau she would bringing to her pre-arranged marriage.  She was used to working hard.  Everyone had to pull their own weight in her tiny village.  It was part of her upbringing to be busy from morning to night with hard work.

It was a poor community.   The inhabitants hadn’t a king they could call their own for over 500 years.  This tiny little town in the hill country, had been the sight of many battles in history, including Pharoah Necho and Nebuchadnezzar. The fact is it was an insignificant city and a most unlikely place for the mother of God’s own Son to reside.

As she busied herself with daily tasks, a stranger entered and greeted Mary as highly favored and blessed among women.  She must have wondered who he was talking to.  Here she was, a lowly servant with absolutely no status in the community and she was being referred to in such a way.

She most likely was taken back and surprised, but also afraid.  I can’t imagine what was going through her mind at that moment, but she sat quietly as the stranger laid out God’s plan for the next portion of her young life.  She didn’t throw her hands up in disbelief, or pass out in shock – she listened quietly, digested what the angel was telling her and then asked the one logical question – how can this be, seeing I know not a man?  The astounding answer would boggle the mind of most of us today, but Mary accepted it with complete faith when she said, “Let it be to me as you have said.”

This is one of those events in the Bible that makes no logical sense.  We, like Mary, have to give in completely to God’s plan and accept it based on faith.  We need to ponder all the events leading up to the Nativity and see how God uses even the least of His people to accomplish His greatness and love for all of humanity.

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A child just turned a woman, became the chosen one,

To hold the Son of God within – to be her firstborn Son,

She wasn’t someone special – a lowly servant girl –

But God had wondrous plans for her and also for the world,

Through Mary’s contemplation of this exalted state,

She knew that God would come to earth to wipe away all hate,

To bring to man forgiveness from every single sin,

Fulfill His word of promise and make us clean within.

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