My husband knows that I love puzzles. I don’t do them very often because I hesitate taking up valuable table top space that might become unusable for a while. (Actually, that logic doesn’t really hold up because most of the time clutter is taking up valuable table top space!)
At any rate, he had the brilliant idea to get me a super cool puzzle table for Christmas, along with four new puzzles and a lighted magnifier puzzle scoop to boot! He thought I would be in puzzle heaven!
Of course, I was thrilled by his thoughtfulness, and eager to get started. However, I didn’t really want to start with the Nativity Scene puzzle because it looked really hard and the colors were rather dull. Alas, how could I not do the Nativity first- it WAS Christmas after all!
Like most people, I like to start with the edges and get the outside frame in place before starting on the inside pieces. I just could NOT get the black edge to come together. After two days, I decided to leave it until later and go ahead working on the inside. Do you know how hard that was for me??? I hate not getting something completed before moving to the next thing. Leaving the edge pieces unfinished bordered on feelings of failure (oh the drama!)
I started on Mary’s red tunic first…that should be easy, a color with a pattern! Wait…. don’t we normally see Mary dressed in blue? Oh, who cares! I for one was happy she was in red this time! Who came up with blue anyway?
Anytime I felt like quitting, I was LITERALLY faced with Mary. I thought a lot about what she sacrificed as a willing servant of God. I thought about how she endured labor on a donkey for 70 miles, giving birth in a stinky dark animal stable with no medical assistance. (I wouldn’t even let Robby eat an apple next to me when I was in labor because I didn’t want to smell it!)
Paintings of the Nativity tend to romanticize the birth of the Savior. (I mean, who looks like Mary in this picture right after giving birth?). There was nothing romantic about it! Mary was a teenage, unwed mother who had to put her total faith and dependence in the God who had chosen her for this miraculous birth. As hard as that night must have been for her, it would not even compare to what she faced 33 years later! “Ok, ok", I thought. “I can surely stick with this puzzle until the end!”
The black pieces that made no sense in the beginning, finally fell into place when they connected to the big picture. When you can’t see the big picture, trust that the less colorful moments in life, even the blackest moments, will all play their part in creating the big picture. As my dear friend, the late Janice Gravely, use to say, “There is no waste in God’s economy”. A good reminder for the days ahead!
The holidays usually spark the phrase “Tis the Season”. This year, however, Covid has me repeating a slightly different phrase…“Tis A Season”.
When I am tempted to focus on the losses, or throw in the towel on caution, I actually find this phrase very helpful to say… “This is only a season”.
Everyone has been trying to find their own way of coping with this pandemic. The battle is real!
I myself vacillate between thankfulness, fatigue, and grief…sometimes all within the same moment! Top it off with a heaping spoonful of guilt whenever I allow a sense of loss or frustration to overtake gratitude... this could be a recipe for what Anne Shirley refers to in Anne of Green Gables as “the depths of despair”! However, I find it helps me stay the course to repeat the phrase...
“This is only a season, it’s not forever”.
Words Of Encouragement
At the very beginning of the Covid lockdown last spring, I received an email from a friend with the following quote. Throughout the months, I have found these thoughts encouraging. Maybe they will encourage you too…
It doesn’t need to be said that what we have experienced is nothing like the brutality of "Hanoi Hilton", but Covid can sometimes make us feel like prisoners. Let’s remember…we WILL make it out of this, it just may not be by Christmas!
music to Lift yOur SPIRIT
Whether you are going home for the holidays or having to stay where you are, here is some delightful instrumental holiday music, by independent artists from around the world! CLICK HERE TO LISTEN!
Most of you know my mother died when I was very young. My sister remembers being asked, “What do you miss the most about your mother?” Her words today…
“Your Presence” is the only vocal composition I have recorded. It really does express my greatest desire, for people to experience the presence of the Lord through my music because, as the song says... His presence changes everything.
During the quarantine, I’ve enjoyed seeing some TV personalities broadcasting from their family tables with their kids in their laps! It has gotten me thinking….
”What stories would be told if our tables could talk?”
After 10 weeks of no haircut, I finally took “scissors” into my own hands and attempted to give myself a haircut. If it weren’t for my husband trimming the back for me, I would definitely be sporting a mullet! It reminded me of the time I hid under our dining table and cut my own bangs. Doesn't every kid do this?
For me, this table represents good memories, as well as some painful ones. Nightly dinners and holidays at this table were certainly a source of stabilization in my life. Sometimes however, this table was not only a hiding place for me when being mischievous, but also a place to hide from difficult moments. Like the night, only 3 months after this picture was taken, when we were in the middle of dinner and my father came home from the hospital, knelt down by the table, and told us that our mother had gone to heaven. I crawled under the table and cried.
In some ways my memories around this table similarly reflect what we are going through as a human race right now. While this corona virus is tragically taking lives away from some family dinner tables, at the same time it is bringing other families together around the table in ways they might have never imagined possible. Let’s make the best of what we are given. Let’s laugh, love, cry, talk, learn, grow, and pray. We never know when it may be our last time together around that table.
I'm not sure where this quote originated, but it certainly has been my experience.
Every time I take those somewhat painful and scary steps, something good comes from it and another door of opportunity opens! It's by no means perfect and I wouldn’t say it necessarily gets easier, but it gets more believable!
Many times I get overwhelmed with all that seems unfinished and how much I will always need to learn. I rarely sit back and appreciate how far I’ve come! A friend suggested I write down my accomplishments last year. She said it might surprise and encourage me. What a great idea!
Taking inventory helped me see clearly the great things God has done in my life and also that hard work does pay off! In addition to releasing FIVE NEW SINGLES and TWO NEW MUSIC VIDEOS, I worked harder than ever behind the scenes on the business side, while still working full time to help support this crazy habit! Results?
"So, what's next?"
“So what’s next?”, people ask. Creating more music is what I want to really focus on next year. I’m not entirely sure what it will all look like at this point, but whatever the next step, I think it will be good because you can be sure it will be out of my comfort zone!!! Join me!
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