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When my first son married, I sent a question to the parents and grandparents asking, “When you said, “I do,” what is something you ended up doing, something you’d never imagined, that brought you great joy. I turned the answers to those questions in, “What are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life” (Poem 1). To listen to Frank Sinatra sing the song that inspired this project, click here. My second son married this week with family coming from all over the country – from California, New Jersey, Kentucky – and inbetween – to celebrate. I did the same project with them. Let me tell you, I fell in love with my daughter-in-laws family when I read their answers. This is their poem:

What are you Doing for the rest of your life? Poem II

What are you doing for the rest of your life, Beautiful,” he asked.
“Spending it with you,” she smiled, smiling his favorite smile

Dreams, Expectations, and Love
reshape, re-form
as the rest of your life unfolds

Papaw laughed, saying, “We didn’t know nothing when we got married”
but their house filled up,
creating their own love equation:
1girl + 1 boy + a set of twins
equals 12 grandsons
Who thought a house
could hold so much love?

“Packing and unpacking the good-stuff
about 20 times over 45 years,” mused Papa Bill.

“Savoring the slow grow
from Switzerland to Cape Cod,
France to the New Mexican Mountains,
the slow grow of a life-time of family,
Grandpa Leo, like a story-teller said,
when one day a precious granddaughter
chased butterflies through wildflower
fields
and, in the watching,
I saw the most beautiful
flower
of them all.

“I learned that miracles come in threes
A lifetime is full of blessing,”
explained Granny.
“That love shares
toothpaste
and dreams
growing
so much bigger than your imagination
daily, weekly, yearly
there is always more love
and the idealistic star-gazer matured
understanding.”

“A house on the water filled with grand
children
who ever thought visits could mean so much?”
Queried Grandma Doris
“Weekends, vacations, any time
kayaking, fishing, water skiing and big
waterfront bonfires with those I love so much
roasting marshmallows and listening
and loving every moment

How does I do  make scraps for love story pieces?
Somehow, it does – and out of it comes
garden tulips, little Dutch girls
and farmer boys, soccer balls and
all things Papaw from trucks, tractors
and Apple Tree Swings quilted
and wrapped tight around
so many little shoulders
like hugs and love,” explained Nanny.

“My happiest Days?
A Mama’s Trinity:
babies born,
college graduation,
and weddings,”
misty-eyed Grandmama wistful explained.

His mama gladly
put girly, girl dreams aside
to find joy in boys and their toys:
Whoever thought snuggle-buggles and Nerf-Gun Wars could bring so much joy
Learning to hug
in all the love languages,
the huggable language of each son!
Challenging each other to love
To God’s beard and back

“Who knew?” his daddy said.
“Wiffle ball,  sock wars,
and Friday Three Stooge
Night
could be so much fun,
or watching soccer
under the moon and the sun,
while walking out with each son
the plumb line of dream building”

“Hide-N-Seek
in the dark,
boys sitting on kitchen counter-tops
telling stories big and little,
little and big
and laughing,  a joy unanticipated over 35 years ago,”
his Aunt Sherry said added.

“Rooms filled
with yellow paper
birthday
Stars,” her mama said determinedly,
“every year,
every birthday.”

Who knew how important creating
an environment that grew
a strain of independence
in a three-year-old breakfast-maker
artist, speaker, singer?” said her father.
“Who knew how important that would
become to me, to be an encourager of
independence for you to be
you
following a path all your own
forged with your will,
designed with your brain
out of your own heart
which led you to a volley ball court in Tennessee
where a boy lived who loves you true

What are you doing for the rest of your life?
You really haven’t a clue
about the wonderful details and moments inside the plan
God has in store for you!
Big and Little
Little and Big

I never imagined a son would make me feel so tiny!

I never imagined a son would make me feel so tiny!

(To see the first What are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life, please click here.)

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There are moments when my husband dazzles me, moments when the sun just dog-gone shines brighter because he walked in the room. When I feel slimed by the world, it all washes away with one word, one smile from him.  It’s as though someone sprinkled me with. . . pixie dust.

“All the world [marriage] needs is faith and trust. . . and a little pixie dust” (Peter Pan)

An enchanted marriage? Where there is more to our marriage then two people? More than the strength in our 2 pairs of hands, 2 pairs of feet. Where my guy doesn’t ride a horse – and I don’t have hair as long or as sturdy as a rope ladder – but we survive the challenges that threaten us, yet still retain that dazzle, that enchantment, that love. Retain it despite life’s roughness, imperfection, graceless moments, conflict and self.

I’ve always heard about marriage turning two into one – at every single wedding: “Did he not make them one” (Malachi 2:15).

Yeah – there’s a heap of him and an armful of me (Granny’s measurements) – but it is a secret ingredient that mixes us into one, breaks down the individual ingredients for marriage one-ness – one-ness God’s way. We are a mixture with many things dissolved between us: sweetness, saltiness, spice.  According to Chem4Kids some mixtures are better combined “than any of the metals would be alone.”

But nobody every told me about the other ingredient, the secret ingredient, the more-than-pixie dust ingredient, the not-talked-about part of this transformation into one. I never heard the second part of Malachi 2:15:

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?” (Malachi 2:15)

The Father gives an amazing wedding gift: A portion of the Holy Spirit. The same powerful gift He gave on the day of Pentecost, the gift that enabled Peter the courage to never deny Christ again, the power to overcome adversity, for love to grow big enough that to lay down one’s life for another, faithfulness that never turned away, wisdom to say the right word at the right time, insight to love completely and unconditionally, grace for forgiveness.

I love how The Message translation says Malachi 2:15:  His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage.”

“The smallest details of marriage” – How small can you think? As small as a tear drop? As small as the penny in the bottom of your purse when that’s all you have?  As small as the alone-time with your husband when everybody’s need is so big?  As small as the letting out of the cat at 4 a.m.? As small as the lining of your kitchen drawers? Or the sliver of soap in the shower? As small as the energy left at the end of the day? As small as your confidence in the face of a mighty challenge? As small as your affection in a moment of big anger?

Sadly, this is often the wedding gift most often left unopened. When it is opened, it is a gift no one ever quite knows how to use, so it is shoved to the back of a closet.

It is a gift most successfull when used by both  husband and the wife –  in equal measure. Like cooking, familiarity, skill increases with use. Like spices, the more you use them, the more you understand just how powerful each is. The Holy Spirit is to marriage what yeast is to flour. It enables your relationship to be more than it was. It is the ingredient that dissolves two into one with the strength to maintain that mixture of oneness.

It is a gift that requires interaction. It won’t act until activated – until you mix it into your relationship through prayer, through asking. The Holy Spirit is like a spice in your cupboard. You might have it, but it cannot do anything until you pull it out and mix it in.

It is a gift that requires belief. When both believe  “the Holy Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage.”  The power of 2 married believers (Matt. 18:20) + the Holy Spirit = a blessed marriage.

I tell my sons to pray, ask God to show you the girl He made for you, to pray about it – and to both have God in your marriage. If the Trinity is in it, you can face and overcome anything, your oneness intact.

That special something in your marriage? Not a sprinkle of Pixie Dust. Not that old black magic. Just a powerful portion of the Holy Spirit.  Pull it out of the pantry of your soul and use today! Embrace the Power of One.

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I’m Challenging each of you to a Love Dare – Last week I wrote about the blessing found in choosing to love my in-laws. I’ve noticed that every time I write about in-law relationships – it gets awfully quiet. I’m getting ready to do a couple of articles on how when we honor and reach out to our husband’s family how that allows him to grow into the man he was designed to be. My love dare? Dare to love like you were born to them – like they are your favorites, love like you’d love your children on a bad attitude day. Just in case you missed the hard part of loving an in-law and turning the hard into blessing. I’m writing this to create awareness about the importance of our husband’s position in his family.

 

The Umbrella City my husband's family creates at the beach - 34 - and not everyone could come!

The Umbrella City my husband’s family creates at the beach – 34 – and not everyone could come!

“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep”(Psalm 127: 3-5)

Over 3o years ago, God gave me a priceless wedding present – my husband’s family. This gift – if I chose accept it, embrace it – had the ability to enrich my marriage, my motherhood, my life in ways that at 21 I possessed neither the maturity, life experience, heart-size, or selfless-ness to fully value.

Beside a dirt tennis court and picnic tables – that’s where I first met a good portion of my husband’s family when we were dating. Coming from a matriarchal family (due to deaths and divorce), it was a daunting first meeting – not his mother and father, not his sister and brother-in-law – no – it was the future nephews – all 4 from 1 to 81/2.

I knew nothing about boys: boy jokes, boy antics – boys growing, uninhibited, undaunted in a consistent out-pouring of unconditional love.

My husband loved them – and so I determined I would, too. True Love – or rather, unconditional love does that.

I think one of the great misconceptions of in-law-relationships is that a good in-law relationship won’t be hard or uncomfortable: hurt shouldn’t ever exist.

Why would we expect no relationship bruising from our spouse’s family if it occurs in the family that raised us (remember the growing-into-independence years)? Shouldn’t the same grace and forgiveness, the working through tough moments that leave us scratched, bruised and worn – working through them to forgiveness – shouldn’t that same grace and forgiveness be extended to the new members of this new family.

It’s not just working through challenges in building relationship with this new family, it’s learning to appreciate and value the differences. Just as parents and teens stretch to appreciate and value the differences in each other, so will spouses and in-laws stretch to appreciate each other.

If you accept the marriage gift – God creates something amazing and beautiful. Yes- you and your husband are 2 who become one. Yes, you both leave your family and cleave to each other – but, remember how God works in an Opposite Day Paradigm? You and your spouse  are a single family unit that flourishes best when that single unite fits with others to create a whole family – whole, as in complete – yet ever-expanding.

A heart grows by loving those God gives us. He gave us our birth, or in some instances, an adopted family, our spouse and children – and our spouse’s family, our brother and sister-in-laws. Love is a choice. When we chose to love those God gave us, our hearts grow, eventually uninhibited, undaunted and unconditional.

When this small-town city girl married country boy – we each brought different ways of thinking and doing things into both our families. I don’t doubt my husband’s family shook their head in exasperation but they scooted, stretched and made room for me – just as I stretched an scooted to make room for them.

Some people say, “You don’t know my in-laws. . . . my mother-in-law wants nothing to do with me . . . .they make choices I don’t agree with. . . . “

Nobody ever said love was easy. It’s a choice. It’s rolled together with Faith and Hope. It’s not giving up.

umbrellaIn the story of the Talents, the master gave his servants, 5, 2 and 1 talents according to their abilities. The servants with the 5 and 2 talents worked with what the master had given them, who said, “You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:21).

Shaddai gave you and me our first family – the family that raised us. Then, through marriage He gave expanded our family – to include not only our children but our husband’s family.

How can we go out and save the world if we cannot love what He has given us? How can we maintain the endurance to love and save both the easy and hard in our neighborhoods, towns, country and world if we don’t possess the endurance to not give up on those He gave us through birth/adoption and marriage?

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?;And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt 18:14)

My family – all of them – will probably be the first to tell you I don’t always love well or gracefully. I don’t always have the right words – or even the right dishes for a family event – those 4 boys all grown up now won’t let me forget the stuffed-eggplant I brought to a cook-out. However, I like to think I don’t give up reaching.

This week, I’m at the beach with my husband’s family. Those 4 boys that scared me to death? Some of them have children my boy’s age. There’s 34 of us – from Nanny down to the newest, Maddie. Nanny’s here. My husband’s sister, 7 grandsons from 39 to 13, 7 great-grandchildren, in-laws with daughter-in-laws.

I fell in love with my husband – and then I chose to fall in love with his family. Somewhere between 31 years ago and today – that choice became something real and deep. God’s wedding gift has enriched me beyond measure – all because I never gave up!

It’s not just a southern thing; It’s a Christian, too. A Christian doesn’t try to hide their crazy family members – we take them to the beach, let them crazy run-around and show them off  because something special happens when we’re around them. In this choosing-to-love, Christian-kind-of-thing, when we do it God’s way, we not only do we start seeing others how God sees them but maybe we just start loving Gods-kind-of-way.

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In the previous post on The Mother-In-Law Chronicles, we discussed how the bride and groom each left their family – she legally, he spiritually because he was integral to his family congruity due to inheritance laws. The purpose of  The Mother-in-Law Chronicles is to promote awareness of biblical honoring of the husband’s family community. In most instances regarding biblical families – the husband’s family community/history-was the seat of identity. Generational Curses were passed down from the husband’s sin, not the wife (Exodus 34: 6-7). Blessing was passed down through the husband’s family line. Even Moses had to discover his own family community in order to lead that community out of bondage, to become who he was destined to become. The husband’s family community needs to be cultivated just as thoroughly as the wife’s family community in the 21st century.

and the bride Rachel stepped from under the canopy
back into her father’s community for 20 more years
for mandrakes she sold a night with her husband,
yet demanded this husband give her
a son or she would die
who didn’t know her husband’s community
didn’t know the stories
didn’t know Jacob was conceived
because of a faith prayer
his father prayed over his barren mother
who 20 years later with her husband
left her father’s house with false Gods,
stolen trinkets that couldn’t answer prayers,
had no idea the faith of her husband’s community
blended into her own
and to Rachel Was born
Jacob’s favorite son
a son who would ultimately save
Her husband’s community during famine
A blending of two families
Into one

How are You Leaving?

Entering a new community requires relationship reaching, relationship building, boundary establishment and blending. Before you can blend, though, healthy boundaries need to be established. Incongruous-sounding, yes, but that’s how things with God work sometimes, somehow.

Jacob found himself in a quandary. He had run away from his father’s community and was now ready to return to face his past, ask forgiveness, restore honor, and claim his spiritual heritage and community.

20 years earlier, Jacob had come to his mother’s family community, found a wife, well 2 wives, and, well, he really had no peace. Isn’t that the way it is when you are not where you are supposed to be? Things just don’t go quite right. You can still move forward in your faith walk but it’s just not quite as graceful as it could be? That’s where Jacob was.

His place in his father-in-Law’s community really was not one of honor. He had lived 20 years in his wives community without a wedding contract that separated his wives from their family. Rachel and Leah’s ultimate authority, in many ways, was still their father.

Jacob had worked for his FIL, promoted his FILs interest – and the profit from those interests would be the inheritance to his brother-in-laws – not his wives. Jacob was not in a position of power and authority. As a matter of fact, his position was so weak, his FIL tricked him into 2 wives.

It is when Jacob decided to return to the home of his inheritance, his father’s community, that we start seeing a man of wisdom, power and leadership emerge. It is through his paternal family that he would find God’s plan for his life.

Rachel and Leah had not separated from their community until Jacob returned home. No legal contract had ever been drawn up – and, as such, Laban considered who they were and all they had his.

A healthy boundary situation did not exist until Jacob started the journey to return to his own family community, which really symbolized stepping into the leadership role of not only his family but his community.

Three days after Jacob left with his family, Laban chased down him in the desert. He was mad. He considered Jacob’s wives still his property, albeit his daughters. Laban knew there was no letting-go contract. He knew.

 “Laban answered Jacob, ‘The women are my daughters, the children are my children, and the flocks are my flocks. All you see is mine. Yet what can I do today about these daughters of mine, or about the children they have borne?'” (Genesis 31:43)

Jacob stood up to him, became the man his wives needed him to be. 20 years later, Jacob found himself in the desert creating healthy boundaries with his father-in-law. The marriage journey needed those boundaries, letting the bride become fully her husband’s – a covenant bride.

Laban, Leah, Rachel and Jacob knew it was time to set healthy boundaries for their marriage.

 There was a lot of letting go in the desert that day. A lot of healthy boundaries being set.

“It was also called Mizpah, because he said, “May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other”(Genesis 31:49.) If you mistreat my daughters or if you take any wives besides my daughters, even though no one is with us, remember that God is a witness between you and me”(Genesis 31:50). This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap and pillar to my side to harm me” (Genesis 31:52). Early the next morning Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them. Then he left and returned home” (Genesis 31:55.)

20 years after Jacob entered Laban’s community, in a caravan packed with all sorts of dysfunctions, some hidden, some out in the open,  healthy boundaries were established. Rachel and Leah legally no longer belonged to their family community; they now helped define their husband’s family community.

Would Rachel’s story been different if it had happened sooner?  Would Leah’s story been different? Did they miss out on something better because of delayed boundary setting? Would the dance turned into a more graceful marriage dance?

and the bride Leah, stepped from under the canopy
back into her father’s community
Bought a night with her husband
With mandrakes her son collected
Wanting  her husband’s love,
one way or another
And found God’s
Left her father’s house 20 years later
with faith packed
into her soul
she joined her husband on the road
To his reclaim his community
Where the son born of her faith,
Judah, for whom she praised the Lord
through the line of his family community
would the world be saved
A blending of two families
Into one

Join me next Wednesday for “The Mother-in-Law Chronicles III: Threads in the Tapestry

  • The Mother-in-Law Chronicles: Under the Canopy and into the Community, click here
  • Prayer for My Son’s Wife, click here
  • Gasp! The Mother-in-Law – What to Do With Her, click here

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My assignments in my college comp class always contained a definition paragraph, so we’d practice defining things. Things like, maybe the kind of guy or girl you’d want to marry. It always started with a spirited discussion, which would ultimately have girls rolling their eyes over “stupid” boys.

Candidly, I would just say, “Do you really want to marry someone you think is stupid? No better than a donkey on a good day? Is that what you dream about?”

Our culture wants to pin the tail on our men, literally, making an ass out of them. You see it in t.v. shows, news broadcast banter, and, sadly, even on Christian radio channels. Who wants to marry a dolt? Do you? Do you want your girls to marry brain-less wonders? Are you raising your sons to be brainless wonders?

Did God create man like that?

I like to think God created man to be our knight in shining armour. One poll shows  over 70% of women in America are counting on the government to take care of them. I wondered why women would rely on government, which is really like the buffoon-man stereo-type to take care of them, instead of the man God made to be their champion, their other half?

I am a firm believer in what you speak is what you get. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed [1] in heaven” (Matt 18:18). My words have the power to release good in my life or bad. My words have the power to create an awesome marriage or an awful marriage. My words have the power for me to have an awesome husband or not.

Nan over at Little Black Dress Diaries has issued a 30 Day Awesomeness Challenge about our husbands. This definitely goes with my blog theme: the faith, love and politics of raising boys to men. I am raising my sons to be awesome, Godly men, husbands and fathers – not wusses, dinglehops and buffoons. I want them to be just as awesome as their dad!

And my husband is awesome. I started praying for him when I was 12. God gave me the best.

1) The first time I saw him, he had red hair. I always wanted to marry a red-head. God knew. His hair turned deep auburn after we married. God knew how to present my guy so I would look deeper, look into the kind of man he was.

2) And, God knew legs were especially important to me – and ankles, especially ankles. At home, we joke that any girl they bring home cannot have cankles – it would spoil the gene pool. Ankles are very important – and my guy has outstanding ankles. Yes, God knew just what dazzled me – at least on the outside.

3) God knew that I wouldn’t just fall for a guy with awesome ankles, though. I needed a guy who got my humor, and loved me despite it. When I tried my newly developed pick-up line on him and he didn’t slowly back away, well, I knew he was special. My line? I was taking a freshman sociology class that recently spent time going over 19th century trait factors in criminology: red hair was a predisposition for criminal behavior. When I pointed that fact out to him and it did not scare him away, well, I knew he was someone amazing. If anything, it made him realize there was not another girl in the world out there like me.

4 and 5) God knew I needed someone who could stand up to me, not allow me to bull-doze over them. I had a lot of walls built up around me to protect me. I was a child of divorce – and I never wanted to be a spouse of divorce. I never wanted to go anywhere near there ever again. One of the first times we went out, I made a comment and he challenged it. Not condescendingly. Not in an Alpha-Dog over-powering way. At that moment, I felt that wall go down. I felt like I could trust – in a way I had never trusted before. Here was someone who could see that I was not perfect and it did not take away from who I was. God fills you with that kind of trust if you’re handing out with the guy he made for you. It’s the same kind of trust that you are born with for your parents.

6) When we moved into our apartment when we got married, and we had to carry a heavy, old couch upstairs, he let me have which-ever end I wanted. I switched sides during the process – and he did not mind. He realizes sometimes I am not as strong as I think I am and he let’s me figure it out in my own way.

7) God knew that what was inside was incredibly important. My guy is incredibly loyal and faithful. Even his mother assured me before we got married, “He won’t ever step out on you.” Because of my family history, God knew I needed a guy just like this.

Knights in Shining Armour are not extinct. I think some people just “have not because they ask not” – I asked for the best. And God’s idea of “the best” was even more than I imagined.

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So many Christmas songs are scriptural – at a time when most Christians could not read or have access to a bible, a Christmas song imprinted the story of Jesus on the heart of its singers. How many children know where Jesus was born because of “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem”(1868) or “We Three Kings of Orient Are”(1857)  and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”(15th century). Maybe that is why some Christmas songs uplift and the essence of the joyful spirit lingers – like Belgium Chocolates – pure, rich, true – because the spirit of praise and worship pours from our mouths in great joy. 

Many of my favorite songs stem from the majest, power, mystery, and gentleness of the birth of our Lord.  However, other favorites stem from childhood memories of home, Christmas, and the magic in a child’s belief – the intense savoring of a feeling or image in a song.

Some of My Favorite Christmas Songs are listed below:

1)”Angels We Have Heard on High,” My Christmas, Andrea Bocelli (added boon is “Adeste Fidelis” and “God Bless Us Everyone” from “A Christmas Carol”).  I first discovered Bocelli  in The Mystery of Love presented by Victoria Secrete.  I would waltz my son to sleep at night listening to his music in his little cd player. Magical! His song “Angels We Have Heard on High” allows me a glimpse of the power, majesty, and utter beauty of the music surrounding our Lord on his heavenly throne. I just stop, mesmerized and awed.  When we saw “A Christmas Carol” my crew was booking out of the theatre and I just lingered, listening to “God Bless Us Everyone.”

2) “Ding Dong Merrily on High,”(circa.1500′)s Roger Whitteaker. Bells peel in an everyman song, where everyone has the range to chime in heartily with, “Gloria, Hosanna in excelsis!.” While Bocelli is for listening, this is for joining in!

3) “Sing We Now of Christmas/O come O Come Emmanuel,” Michael W. Smith (12th century for O Come O Come Emmanuel) – For years I have bemoaned the fact that there just are not any new Christmas songs that demand to be included in my Christmas Celebrations. Were all the good ones written before I was born – and then inspiration dried up?  Michael W. Smith rescues my faith with this spectacularly Christmas spirited 21st Century remix. 

3) “Silver Bells,”(1950) Kate Smith – This is where you find out that I am old as dirt.  When I was 4 years old, I sat in my basement beside the record player, constantly moving the needle to the beginning of this song.  I am sure my mother heard it well over 100 times that day. Pre-Mall era, my mother would take me on the city bus down town to marble exterior department stores, mile high glass windows that sparkled with lights to shop – and Christmas shop – “City Sides Walks, Busy Side Walks dressed in a holiday style” sparkled in my mind – with men in red ringing bells on every street corner.

4) “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth,”(1977), Bing Crosy and David Bowie – Though I do not know what buttered rum tasks like, I think Bing Crosy’s voice must be smooth like buttered rum!  “Little Drummer Boy” just by itself is a favorite, but when you add David Bowie’s amazing voice and message of “Peace on Earth” it provides a dichotomy that adds a beautiful layer to the song’s presentation.

5) “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” The Nutcracker,” 1891- Sometimes words just are not needed – and sometimes you need something wordless! This fits the bill perfectly!

6) “Mary’s Boy Child Jesus Christ”, Harry Belafonte, 1956

7) Charlie Brown Christmas – This is the way to my husband’s heart!  He LOVES the music.  We used it on the wedding video I made for my son’s rehearsal dinner (it covered when he was little).  For my husband, Christmas is not Christmas without this show or music! Since he loves, I love it along with him!

8) “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians) Time Life  – Soloists, Glee Club Singers, Orchestra – A definite let’s-decorate-the-tree song – and the best way to hear The Night Before Christmas!

 

 

 

 

9) Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, Lena Horn, Time Life – Nobody sings about snow better than Bing Crosy and Lena Horn. This is one song that follows me into the snowy season of January and February.  However, my sons were appalled when I popped it in last January while it was snowing.  It’s also a great song that less than sterling singers like me can belt out anywhere (lyrics are tremendously easy!).

10) Away in a Manger(1885), Gene Autrey, Time Life – Away in the Manger – a song unto it self – celebrating Christ’s birth and my children’s bedtime lullaby! Last, but definitely not least!

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For the last 20 years, when traveled home to visit family, we passed this house. It is like an old friend you sitting on a porch as you go into town. We watch for each other, greet each other and pass on by. I have seen it in various stages of seasonal dress, warm moods, stormy moods, desolate moods. I always wonder about its heart, about what kind of love lived in there.

What do you see, when you look at this house?

Do you see

this?

houseinfield4

Sometimes, I see Loss

At othertimes, Unsustainable Change,

Isolation

Left-behindness

Not what I asked for

Maybe Life without God

or

do you see

this?

houseinfield1

 Hope of Home Sweet Home

memories

that swirled

within those walls

Laughter wafting out the windows

 opportunity for Shelter

to put down roots

to build a life

out of

abandonment

brokendownness

Opportunity

Restoration

Security

New Life all around

Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Each picture, the same house, one symbolizing hopelessness and confusion, the other hope.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)

Which House are You Living in?

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