Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Christmas Message

His humble beginnings belied the greatness of who He was, and His birth, attended by only a chosen few, was the fulfillment of a promise made centuries before.

There is no photo of Him to accompany this biography. There was never one taken - nor a likeness ever made.

He never commanded an army, was never a head of state. He left behind no great works of art nor personal writings to imprint Himself in history - though the greatest Book ever written was His story, and creation itself His handiwork.

When He was born the nation of Israel was under the rule of Rome and it's emperor, Octavian, better known as Cesar Augustus. Israel was awaiting its promised deliverer.

He grew to manhood and began an itinerant lifestyle. People were drawn to Him, listening to His teachings about the promised kingdom of heaven and it's coming king. He told Israel that this kingdom was at hand. The leaders of the nation scoffed at Him. No one crowned Him king.

Only twelve men belonged to His intimate circle of friends, and even one of those proved disloyal. Children adored Him and were attracted to His loving and joyful nature. The sick and infirmed were not only loved by this Man, but also healed and restored to useful lives.

His life fulfilled over a thousand recorded prophecies that had been given to Israel, not the least of which was that He was the promised Messiah that they were awaiting.

This is the season that we celebrate the birth of this One who was born to give His life as payment for the sins of the whole world. We cannot fully understand that kind of love, we are asked only to believe.

Over two thousand years after His death and resurrection we are still awaiting His return, for that He also promised, and He will surely keep His Word. He proved that when He first walked this earth.

His birth, and His resurrection, was announced by angels, as will be His return:

“For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord...”

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Webshots photos

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My Songbird

There is something heart-warming about having a husband who sings and whistles in the shower. It seems to bless the morning household with a feeling of contentment - an “all-is-well-with-my-world” mentality that is contagious.

My particular “Caruso” has a gifted range from the afore mentioned crooner to the Beatles. Some mornings it is just one song sung with a variety of vocal expressions and other mornings he is a songbird trying a repertoire of songs produced by various artists. I have yet to determine if the difference portends the outcome of the day as a whole, a sort of overshadowing of what is to come. Could it be that the choice of one song, with the exclusion of all others, is the forerunner to a day of determined accomplishment, focused on a singular project that needs to gain ground before night falls again? And could the morning shower that offers a large range of songs be prophetic of a day with a myriad of details relating to numerous projects that all need attention?

Interspaced between songs there is sometimes a moment or two of mumbled verbiage that is unintelligible to this makeup applying spouse at the bathroom mirror. This appears to be the private working out of some issue with another person. Within a few moments the songs start again and it is obvious that he has settled the matter to his satisfaction. Another contentment producer for the lady of the house. Her man is in charge again and in control of his world.

Attitude Checkpoints!

The other day while standing at my kitchen sink I caught myself grumbling under my breath, again, about something my husband did - or did not do. I can’t even remember now what the imagined offense was - but it brings up the point that our internal dialogue plays a huge role in our daily attitude.

Psychologist, Dr. David Stoop, in his book “Self Talk: Key to Personal Growth” (Fleming H. Revell Co. ISBN 0-8007-5074-8) states, “We have been taught to believe that our feelings and emotions are caused by the events in our lives”. He challenges that theory by going on to say that in reality, “thoughts create our emotions”. He maximizes the impact of that premise by sharing that we speak out loud at a rate of about 150 – 200 words per minute, and that some research suggests that we talk privately to ourselves in our thoughts at the rate of about 1300 words per minute.

Dr Stoop goes on, “Many of our thoughts take the form of mental images or concepts, we can think of something in a fleeting moment that would take us many minutes of verbal speech to describe. Even one word in our thoughts can be so saturated with meaning that hundreds of verbal words would be required to explain that one-word thought.”

According to Dr. Stoop, the whole point is that we gain control in our lives by gaining control of our thoughts. Too simple to work? After 20 years of experimenting with this theory, this writer thinks not.

The next time that you find your own internal dialogue turning sour…take control of how you are looking at the problem (or the person!) and choose a different viewpoint. It really can be that simple. My husband is the beneficiary of numerous internal dialogue changes per day! (Smile!)

The Oregon Coast

I’ve never been an “Oregon person”. I was born in Seattle and lived in Washington State for 23 years and in Southern California for about 3 years. Oregon was just a place to pass through, going back and forth between Washington and California.

In 1977 I moved, from the Pacific Northwest, to Dallas, and then to Oklahoma in 1987. I now live in Oklahoma during the winter, and in the mountains of New Mexico in the summer. I have missed the Pacific Northwest with its coastline and rugged mountains. I never intended to stay in the southwest, but when my sons graduated from college and both married Oklahoma girls, and then added grandchildren to the family, I stayed to be close to them.

On vacation in July of 2005 my husband and I drove the Pacific Coast Highway from Arcata, California to Astoria, Oregon and “discovered” the Oregon Coast. Retracing our steps from the previous year we returned for another look in October of 2006, and then drove it again in October of 2007. We stopped at as many beaches as time would allow and drank in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and feel of the ocean. I took full advantage of the photo “ops” and then put the camera away and just experienced really being there.

Being away from the Pacific Ocean for 25 years, not tasting its bounty of fresh fish - the one food item I missed since becoming “landlocked”, not smelling the salt air, or feeling the ocean mist on my face, or watching the movement of the waves and the tides, left an ocean-sized vacuum inside of me. And then being on the coast once again…it was as if my eyes could not drink in as much as I wanted to internalize, nor my body hold all the fresh seafood that I wanted to sample. It was a rediscovery of my place of origin that was long overdue. I encouraged and allowed it to completely fill all of my senses. I was alive again!