Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

       1 Thessalonians 5:11

Vol. 2, No. 5: December 9, 2011      Editors: Nancy & Bronwyn      Design & Production: Harriet

Merry Christmas!

Christmas wreath

Contents

Click links below to access specific articles.
Rappin’ With Nancy Favorite Books
Upcoming Events Serving the Needy
Sonbeams by Bronwyn A Christmas to Remember
Wendy’s Favorite Quotes What Is Your Most Memorable Christmas Tradition from your Childhood?
Sista Picture Corner Aaron’s Sleep Over
Devotion by Gail The Little Things
The Blessings of Wearing “Spiritual Antenna” How Did Christmas Change after you became a Christian?
My Story Another Year is Dawning
The History of God’s Project

 


Rappin’ With Nancy

“Illness can make your world a lot smaller…………… ”

Nancy
Nancy

At 70 my body is slowing down but it is my multiple auto immune diseases that really are ageing me. I have lived with these debilitating diseases for 30 years but since having a stroke 6 years ago….this disease has taken its toll on my health and my lifestyle!!

I think it is having to surrender my lifestyle, hairdo and clothes/shoes style that has brought me the most sadness. For 64 years, I prided myself on being PHYSICALLY FIT and on the cutting edge of trendy regarding fashion and hairstyles. Now I am blessed when I can still get up and put on some WARM LAYERED…yes long johns and all…add a layer of fleece and then a down vest and my FUNCTIONAL clunky shoes…and hit the floor running.  🙂  Of course I am dragging an oxygen tank and my spinal stenosis doesn’t allow speed walking anymore…but I AM UPRIGHT and WALKING!

Picture me in my leather boots, skinny jeans, form fitting leather jacket and asymmetric curly hair style and then re-read the “layered clothes and clunky shoes above” and you JUST HAVE TO SMILE don’t you??? I was on a mission trip 6 years ago to Kenya and after returning I gave all my good coveted jewelry to my 4 children and grandchildren. I also chose to give up my cell phone and material things. It is much easier to give up material things and stylish things to support those less fortunate than it is to have to bow down to illness when YOU have NO choice. Doing both around the same time has made it easier to handle emotionally and spiritually.

I DON”T want my disease to DEFINE me so have put my energy into being “the best I can be for God and how HE wants to use me.” THIS is where the peace and serenity comes in. This is where the calm and zest for life can be expressed and the long johns and vest can and WILL be over looked. I CHOOSE to TRY to not feel sorry or embarrassed but to thrive on and enjoy the gift of serving that God has so enriched me with. Some weeks it is hard to NOT have a PITY party though. God has shown me that it is NOT how I look or how trendy I am that makes me successful or admired. God has grown me on the inside…so my life will remain valuable and important to me and at the same time bless God and those He brings me to mentor and support.

God has given me a new “challenge” to struggle with this year and it is actually harder than giving up my leather boots. 🙂  Being the independent, super self sufficient, cocky lady that I am….it has been a BIG deal for me to admit “I” sometimes need help too. For 70 years I have helped others and thrived on it!! Today a dear friend asked to do my laundry for me and I fought that like my 2 year old granddaughter having a tantrum. Today I also had to admit my health has deteriorated more and that this IS MY NEW normal. Today I had my groceries carried up the stairs by another dear friend…and both ladies made it SO easy for me to submit…and enjoy the love God has brought me through them.

My world may be getting smaller but my focus will be on the love and support that God has blessed me with through these dear Christian friends. I am choosing to grow in God from the inside out and not to worry about the broken body and those darn old leather boots. I thank God He is healing me from the inside out!!!

Living in Color With God,

Nancy

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Upcoming Events

“A Christmas Together”

Christmas concert

A FREE Concert at:

 Overlake Christian Church

9900 Willows RD NE, Redmond, WA US 98052

December 15th, 2011, Thursday 7:00 PM

Featuring: Jadon Lavik, Tyrone Wells, Evan Wickham, PawnShop Kings, Molly Jenson, Roy Schenkenberger, Drew Bray and Tim Timmons.

Singing Christmas Tree

Singing Christmas Tree

Life Center

 1717 S. Union Ave, Tacoma, WA 98405

December 3rd – December 21st, 2011

For tickets, click here.

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Sonbeams by Bronwyn

Bronwyn
Bronwyn, age 8.

(Current missionary to Arizona, helping the caffeine-deprived Arizonans understand that real coffee doesn’t necessarily taste like bitter charcoal water.)

Jerry and I stood in a long check-out line at my favorite craft and home décor store, Hobby Lobby. Although there were four check-out stands, only one had a cashier and the other three remained vacant. Many people–five, six, maybe ten–stood in line ahead of us. Just as many stood behind us. The line crept slowly, then stopped. Our cashier apparently had a problem with a transaction. She held the phone to her ear, her eyes darting anxiously around for assistance. Finally I had to break my 2011 new year’s resolution to not complain.

“Only one cashier and all these people waiting!” I said to Jerry with aghast emphasis.

The lady standing behind me picked right up on my complaint. “Look at all those employees over there, standing around and doing nothing,” she said, appalled at the sight. Another lady further down the line, said, “If this line doesn’t start moving, I’m going to leave.”

An angry mood began to brew.

Suddenly a Hobby Lobby employee strolled over to one of the empty check-out stands. Everyone stirred with anticipation. Excitement grew as the employee carefully took out the cash tray and slid it into the register. The employee flipped on his check stand light and said, “May I help the next person in line?”

Like a cannon blast, the person at the head of our line shot toward the newly opened check stand in a blur of motion. A stampede ensued as customers standing in line ahead of me and behind me manically rushed to get into the new line. Jerry and I remained in the old line. We had a cart full of stuff so it wasn’t as easy for us to move quickly to the new line. The chaos of the stampeding mob reminded me of Black Friday when someone gets trampled while others fight to get their hands on a $200, 52-inch TV.

Everyone seemed only aware of their own frustration, and not aware of the feelings and needs of others. The saying “every man or woman for themselves” seemed to apply.

The remarkable thing about this: Jerry and I didn’t acquire any injuries during the raging rush of customers. Even better, we instantly moved to the front of the old line. Moments later, I’m paying for our merchandise (pinch me, pinch me! Am I really paying!) Customers who had waited in line ahead of me, continued to wait in the new line as Jerry and I merrily skipped out the door.

I’m sure everyone wanted to just pay and get out of there so they could get home and cook salmon burgers for dinner. (Oh wait, that was Jerry and me who wanted to get home and cook salmon burgers–which we did, by the way. Delish!)

Oh yes! Here’s what occurred to me as Jerry and I headed home.

When we have our own needs in mind above anyone else, we can get further behind than ahead. Doctors, for example, have the highest suicide rate compared to people in any other line of work. All those years of medical school to get ahead, then end it all with a self-prescribed overdose?

But what stands out to me even more than this is our human nature to satisfy our own wants and needs. Maybe more times than we would care to acknowledge, we put ourselves first.

Perhaps it’s a desire to live a happy life that keeps us ever mindful of ourselves. I just read an article stating that happiness lies in pizza, love and starry skies. Maybe so, especially if it’s the Chicago-style stuffed pizza with crisp, but not crumbly, crust and meltingly soft mozzarella cheese.

However, in my life I’ve discovered something greater than chowing-down on pizza while contemplating the Big Dipper and other constellations.

That discovery is this: our true witness to our Christian faith shines brightest through our service to others.

And the irony is that the more we set ourselves aside to consider others, the more joyful lives we lead.

***

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”     Ephesians 6:7,8 (NIV)

*** 

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Nativity

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).    Matthew 1:22-23   (NIV)


Wendy’s Favorite Quotes

curlique

God has a plan for the life of every Christian. Every circumstance, every turn of destiny, all things work together for your good and for His glory.     ~Billy Graham

When we are in the presence of God, removed from distractions, we are able to hear him more clearly, and a secure environment has been established for the young and broken places in our hearts to surface.     ~John Eldredge

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.     ~Corrie ten Boom

Measure the size of the obstacles against the size of God.     ~Beth Moore

Faith is not merely you holding on to God – it is God holding on to you.     ~E. Stanley Jones

 

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Sista Picture Corner

santa hats on cactus
Christmas in Arizona

 

Sistas, send us your travel pics, pet pics, kid pics, favorite pics. We want to print your pics in our new Sista to Sista magazine. E-mail pictures to:

email address

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Devotion

by Gail

Gail
Gail

 

As a Christ follower, one of the blessings we receive is His protection. Like being under God’s “umbrella” we are protected from the devastation of major storms in our lives. If we go through life without being underumbrella God’s umbrella we can be crushed by loneliness, death, illness, divorce, job loss, etc.

If we stay under His umbrella, these things will still come but they will make puddles on the ground and God will walk with us all the way through it. What a blessing!       (Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4, 12)

God Bless you all.  Gail.

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Bethlehem shepherds

 

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”    Luke 2:8-12 (NLT)


The Blessing of Wearing ‘Spiritual Antenna’

by Sheryl

Sheryl and Chris
Sheryl with her husband Chris

I was given a gift of ‘Spiritual Antenna’ for which I am forever grateful. The antenna came in two forms; one a literal pair of fluffy, pink and purple, feathered antenna on a head band to wear on my head. The second was in a verbal mission statement from the queen of ‘Spiritual Antenna’ my friend Nancy. She encourages our Bible Study members to wear either literally or figuratively this antenna where ever we go. ‘Putting on’ the antenna will cause one to be in tune with people around us and to be ready to offer whatever God directs us to do in any given situation, (i.e. an act of connection caused by God to touch lives with His goodness and love). Thus my story…

I found myself in the local blood bank preparing to give my fairly consistent donation of blood. I was a little leery as my last two donations did not go well, so I asked a group of prayer warriors the night before to pray for me to have a successful draw. I mentioned to the tech, taking the pre-donation details, my concern and kindly she stuck by my side the entire time and YAHOO – God answered the prayers and full draw was made without any bruising or clotting. As my, oh so kind, tech stayed by my side I praised the Lord aloud and thanked Him for seeing me through this event. Tech Sandy* calmly asked “Where do you go to church?” So started our conversation about Overlake Christian Church (OCC), upcoming Steven Curtis Chapman (SCC) concert and Sandy’s daughter who loved SCC as a child. Then came a moment of quiet until Sandy shared her daughter was going through a difficult time. Not much more was said, but I knew this single mom was struggling and so was her daughter. In comes the ‘Spiritual Antenna’. As I left Sandy and thanked her for helping ME through a tough time…God said in my head ‘let’s help HER through a tough time…she and her daughter need tickets to SCC concert.’

I did as Nancy taught our Bible study, present the opportunity to help to others and let them, who have eyes to see and, who want to help with this Divine assignment, to do so. So I approached my church friends; Bible study #1, offered $10 and an OCC commitment to upgrade tickets from general to top tickets if general ticket price is collected. Bible study #2, threw in $10, and they only heard about the need I had not asked them. Bible study #3, made a donation of $20, plus my $10 and we had the general ticket price for two tickets covered. With OCC upgrade donation $$, I ordered the tickets.

Here is the fun part. I go back to the blood bank, tickets in hand, and catch Sandy’s eye…she remembers me and waves. As she approaches I tell her I have a surprise for her and her daughter…two tickets for great seats at SCC concert in 6 days! She looks at the tickets, she looks at me, she burst into tears and said ‘Who does something like this?’ I said 3 Bible study groups and OCC. There were more tears and an invitation to coffee where I learned more of Sandy and daughter Casey’s story. Casey is a young woman who feels she is a young man. Sandy is a single mom who loves her child. Both have attended and served in a church home. Sandy LOVES the Lord. So with a listening ear and a big hug I prayed the gift of the tickets and the words of SCC would be a blessing to this family. And it was, by the grace of God and the gift of many!!

Through a series of events Sandy has been put in touch with an OCC parent who has a gay/transgender child and is meeting regularly with her. Together they are growing Sandy through her life situation with loving counsel and the Lord’s help. Sandy calls both of us her angels. I look forward to meeting Casey someday and giving her a big hug.

What I learned…

  • God used His blessing on me to reach others near me.
  • With ‘Spiritual Antenna’ I’m learning to look for opportunities to reach others with love of Christ.
  • The ripple effect of God’s work is AMAZING…just take some time to observe it and say WOW!
  • God’s people are generous.
  • Don’t leave home without first putting on my ‘Spiritual Antenna’!!

*Note: The names in this article have been changed to protect privacy.

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My Story

by Angela

angela and familyI accepted, came to Christ as my savior at 5 years old. After many talks with the pastor and going through survival training, I was baptized. I continued to grow through my childhood. In high school, I accepted Christ as Lord of my life. In college I discovered why I believed what I believed and made my faith my own. Now I am working on following God and giving him my whole self and trying to let God be Lord of my life every moment. I grew up Southern Baptist. I feel very blessed to have grown up knowing God’s love and grace. In 7th grade my parents started working in a children’s home. I got to see them demonstrate God’s love to many children. It showed me how God must look at us sometime. God loves us so much and wants the best for us, but He cannot make us choose the right way. God is always there for us waiting for us to come to Him.

Now I am a wife and a mother. My husband works at Microsoft. We have been married for 14 years. My daughter is a kindergartener. I was really struggling with her being at school all day when I was offered a job at her school. Now I am a teacher’s aide three days a week at her school. I am not in her class, but the separation is not as hard. I also get to volunteer in her class once a week. I love working with children and being in the class room. I still struggle with Elizabeth being at school all day, but God really provides, comforts and strengthens me all the time.

This past year has been a little hard, because my mom died in January. I know she is in heaven and singing with the angels. There are times when I miss her. Just last week I was buying Christmas presents, and the sales person told me if I got one more thing it would be free. I picked up my mom’s favorite lotion and did not realize what I had done until I was driving to my next errand. I think God is teaching me to rely on Him for peace and to go to Him for comfort. Every time I do I remember a song, a saying, or a verse my mom would say. I praise God the she gave me so many tools to deal with life. Even when she is not physically here, the God she taught me to love is.

 

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Christmas music

The History of God’s Project and how He wove a desire into my heart

by Gail

At a Christmas party on December of 1978 I had prepared songs for us to sing with the scriptures that corresponded with them.

Twenty years later, a friend blessed me by recording the music on her piano, on cassette tape to accompany the singing.

Shortly after, two women came into the bookstore where I worked one day requesting exactly what I had put together and it confirmed I was on the right track.

Several more years passed and I felt led to have it all recorded, but having “zero” musical ability or background I didn’t know how to pull it all together.

Nothing seemed to work out until the fall of 2008.

God made it happen!

He brought to mind four women who had sung together before and they were all interested and available.

A new acquaintance that had just moved to the area said her husband might be interested in accompanying the women on the piano. He was thrilled to be part of the project.

It was difficult getting studio time to do the recording. Our new accompanist offered the name of a new friend with a studio who would love to help us with the project.

What a gift from God that was.

While having lunch with a friend, I mentioned the project and the need for someone to do the graphics. She had just spoken with her sister that day, out of state. Her sister shared with her that she had just prayed, two hours earlier, that the Lord would show her where He could use her abilities.

God’s timing is perfect.

The church I attend was able to do the duplicating.

Everyone agreed to do a live performance at a local assisted living facility where my dog and I visit on a regular basis. Each attendee received a free songbook and a CD.

God is so good!

I hope and pray that this blesses you as much as it has blessed me and all the others involved.    Gail

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Once upon a time plaque

Favorite Books

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

Reviewed by Tori

This is the story of Jaycee Dugard who was kidnapped when she was eleven years old near her home in Lake Tahoe, CA…….although this was one of the most difficult and disturbing books I have read, I found myself profoundly touched by it. I learned an immense amount about human compassion, resilience and survival. What this young girl went through would have put hate and hostility in most people’s heart, yet she found a way to actually have compassion for her captor….to actually feel sorry for him at times. Most would have given up on life, yet she found a way to not only survive, but to raise two very sweet, functional children. I still don’t understand how she survived her ordeal or how she found a way to somehow sympathize (in some way) to her captor. I am truly amazed and awed by her ability to move forward and to have compassion to those who harmed her in ways that most of us can’t even imagine.

It resembles the compassion that Christ has for us and the compassion he desires for us to show others…ALL others; even those we don’t think look right, or smell right, or act right—a tough thing for many of us to do. Do I recommend this book for others to read? That’s a tough question, as it really is a difficult book to read due to her very graphic details of her captivity and what she endured during that time; but if you can get through those parts, I think that you will be touched by this book as I was…first, very angry at what she endured and was allowed to endure despite several incidents that could have ended her ordeal; and second, amazed at her ability to move on and show compassion to those who hurt her most. I was surprised at the ways she found to get through each day. If you choose to read this book, I hope you are touched by it as I was.

 

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Serving The Needy…God will bless you abundantly!

by Nancy

Union Gospel Mission seattleOur Bible Study group voted to donate $150.00 to our local Union Gospel Mission to feed 180 people in need. This year I was impressed to receive a thank you note and want to share their statistics with you. In King County alone there are 8,000 homeless men, women and children on any given night.

The Union Gospel Mission has served in King county for 79 years and their shelters and programs serve an average of 1,200 meals a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Our Bible Study gifting help groups like the mission shelter to do what we as individuals can’t accomplish. You can also serve by donating your time or family time to help cook and serve all these people. For more information go to UGM.org or call 206.723.0767.

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A Christmas to remember

by Tori

Christmas pageant in Yuma
Christmas pageant in Yuma

Over the years, my two daughters have always participated in church Christmas pageants. One year, while we were stationed in Yuma, AZ, I got talked into heading up that year’s pageant. It had a lot of singing involved—something that I have no talent or experience in at all!

After I cast all the young children into their roles, we began the weekly practices to prepare for the big night. Having no idea on how to read music, I floundered my way through. Thank goodness they were all under the age of 10 so they had no idea how bad my singing was. 🙂

On the actual day of the performance I had a couple of my “little angels” acting up and not wanting to cooperate; so I found myself dressed up as an angel myself and right up there on stage performing with them. Although not what I had planned, it was a very memorable experience for all. 🙂 If you look closely at the photo, you can see me in the far right next to the sweet little angels—the one on the left is my oldest daughter, Shelby.

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What Is Your Most Memorable Christmas Tradition from your Childhood?

Christmas scene from 1956
This is Christmas morning at Bronwyn’s house when she was a child. Out of sight to the left is the kitchen where Bronwyn’s mom is busy whipping up hot chocolate and warming Van DeKamp’s cinnamon rolls.

Marty – Laying under the Christmas tree and looking up at all the lights and reflections bouncing every which way and being filled with wonder and excitement!

Tori – Christmas Eve at my Grandma Elsie’s house-it was always so magical. She always had a flocked tree.

Mary – My most memorable Christmas tradition, when I was a kid, was dinner out with the family then the tree. We always read the Christmas story and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Wendy – My childhood was filled with memories of Christmas. I’m in the middle of five children with my oldest sibling three years my senior and my youngest sister only three years younger. On Christmas Eve we always went for a car ride to look at all the pretty lights. When we arrived home Santa had left an early Christmas present for each of us. New p.j.s were a real thrill back then. All five of us slept together on Christmas Eve in one double bed. My one and only brother, the oldest, always went to check to see if Santa had come yet. He often had to check numerous times. None of us got much sleep but we all quickly ran down stairs as soon as he gave us the go ahead. Stockings were filled with the usual tangerine and nuts. Then wrapping paper flew everywhere.

Bronwyn – My mom always gave my sister and me new flannel pajamas every Christmas Eve. We hung our socks on a wrought-iron end table in the living room, since we didn’t have a fireplace inside our Southern California home. Oh yes, and we hung real socks from our chest of drawers. No fancy red felt, name-inscribed socks for us. Plus, we got to choose one present to open before going to bed. Every Christmas morning my mom served hot chocolate and warm Van DeKamp’s cinnamon rolls (we didn’t concern ourselves with health food on Christmas Day). But the most memorable Christmas tradition I can recall is that we didn’t have the tradition in believing in Santa Claus. My mom, a Baptist minister’s daughter, wanted us to focus on the miracle of Jesus’ birth. In addition to decorating the Christmas tree, my sister and I set up a ceramic nativity set atop our T.V. set. Often people will tell me I missed out on the magic of the season when I tell them I didn’t believe in Santa as a child. Maybe I did. Even so, I didn’t miss out on the joy of a personal relationship with the living God, born in a manger in Bethlehem long ago.

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Aaron’s sleep over!!!!

by Nancy

Aaron, as most of you know by now is homeless because “he chooses to” live in a tent and understands the social rules of the homeless and abides and respects them. The Redmond Police Department works well with them. The Police chat with them, give them gift cards and keeps track of them, using a very healthy, positive approach. Aaron really respects them.

Aaron has 2 sides to his personality….agitated, loud, obnoxious and rude….OR lovable, debonair and a polite Casanova. He can be downright hysterical to listen to. He attends church with me and loves God with all his heart. He is 51 and has had a hard life. He has lived in a home, mountain cabin, tent, on a piece of cardboard and has been in and out of jail. Being Aaron’s friend has taught me a lot about “how we relate to and judge others.” My friendship with Aaron is rare and I have a love hate relationship with him because I have taken on the parent role and have needed to set strong, healthy boundaries for us both. Don’t get me wrong…I truly love Aaron and can spend hours listening to his stories…and then he can get really nasty and I have to ask him to leave until he mellows out. I have to give Taco Time on Redmond Way LOTS OF CREDIT for allowing me to “entertain and feed” the homeless there. The staff know I have rules and they are to not give them any free food because they abuse it. If they need him to leave they come to me and I take over since it really is MY problem…not their’s. Taco Time gives me LOTS of slack while I am in MY “Taco Time Corporate Office” which is turning into a daily occurrence. 🙂

Today Aaron came in squeaky clean and overly giddy. My first thought was alcohol but today it was a Spirit Led AWESOME encounter at the 6:00 church service at OCC. He also went with me to the 11:00 service so I was REALLY surprised he made that LONG walk AGAIN from Town Center to OCC on Willows. He met a family there who he enjoyed talking to and they asked him to spend the night with them in their home. I tried to not look shocked or concerned but I am not sure that was a wise decision on their part with a family. The lady insisted on him sleeping in the guest room on a real bed with clean sheets, gave him a moo moo to wear while she washed ALL his clothes and asked him to take a shower and to clean his dirty fingernails. Obviously she was setting healthy boundaries for him like I do. I had the biggest grin on my face as I listened to his experiences. I just can’t see Aaron putting on a moo moo let alone wearing it in front of their family.

He said “do you know how many noises there are in a home???” HE couldn’t believe how loud it was, especially during the night. He said the air was tight in there…and he just kept looking at the clock to see if it was morning and time to go home. He couldn’t imagine how people could sleep in a house all the time. He said in my tent I hear birds, squirrels, dogs and deer. Aaron’s eyes got real big as he described that she not only washed his clothes but she took his hat after he went to bed and scrubbed all the grime off of it. He thought the water tasted strange and like chemicals. She (they) served him dinner and breakfast but his homeless stomach couldn’t handle healthy home cooked food and he got sick. His new backpack was stolen so they gave him one to use. The older son didn’t want anything to do with him which Aaron understood. I am trying to listen without smiling but he was so cute that I just had to LAUGH out loud at times. 🙂

Aaron DID enjoy the adult conversation and said the lady talked a lot to him which he REALLY VALUED. She drove him to a bus stop and then he came and in an excited silly voice we talked for 2 hours. He loved it and also disliked it but mostly LOVED the fact THEY CARED ENOUGH TO OPEN THEIR HOME AND THEIR HEARTS TO HIM and TREATED HIM WITH RESPECT. He had value to them…enough value to invite him into their home and to treat him like they would have treated JESUS if HE had knocked on their door!!!

Then Aaron told me another story that made me cry. I also serve as a drop off for the needy and had gifted him with 3 brand new long sleeve turtle neck shirts, tee shirts and a coat that my 90 year old neighbor gave me from her son. Aaron went to a shelter when it was snowing recently and met 3 men who had no warm shirts to wear so HE gave away all 3 warm shirts…because they had less they he did. Aaron believes in sharing his wealth with other homeless people.

I guess what I want you to hear in this story…is not that Aaron is weird, doesn’t have rules and doesn’t want to work…hates the establishment or likes to beg, wear dirty clothes and not shower. Please LOOK past that outer shell and stigma of the less fortunate or the homeless. Aaron has a big heart and gave all he had while some of us that have an abundance, give very little to others. Aaron is not emotionally able to work but he does have morals, values and a big heart. Aaron will tell the world about HIS GOD that he loves from deep inside his heart…but some of us can’t even do that. Recently Aaron was in jail and when he got released he (of course) came to Taco Time to tell me all about what he had ACCOMPLISHED while he was in jail. Surprise…he did Bible Studies and the jail gave him certificates to show he had completed them. He has a pile of Bible Study papers several inches high. He was SO proud of himself and wanted me to know about his great feat. My question to you is “when was the last time you were excited about doing a Bible Study and got a certificate?”

I ask you to look at life from a different viewpoint this Christmas. I agree all homeless are not like Aaron but some are or could be under the guidance of a new friend. YOU! Step out of your comfort zone and make a new friend this Christmas…you just might be surprised at how wonderful and kind they can be.

I Praise God that He gave me the gift of service and the courage to have no fear saying hello to a stranger. I thank God that he is my protector, my strength and my best friend!!! God has set me free and my life is wonderful because I hear the Spirit and I obey…and I have the ride of my life thru Him! Thank you God for all you send me in your name.

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The ‘Little’ Things

As you might remember, the head of a company survived
9/11 because his son started kindergarten.

Another fellow was alive because it was
His turn to bring donuts.

One woman was late because her
Alarm clock didn’t go off in time.

One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike
Because of an auto accident.

One of them
Missed his bus.

One spilled food on her clothes and had to take
Time to change.

One’s
Car wouldn’t start.

One couldn’t
Get a taxi.

The one that struck me was the man
Who put on a new pair of shoes that morning,

Took the various means to get to work
But before he got there, he developed
a blister on his foot.
He stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.
That is why he is alive today..

Now when I am
Stuck in traffic,
Miss an elevator,
Turn back to answer a ringing telephone …

All the little things that annoy me.

I think to myself,
This is exactly where
God wants me to be,
At this very moment..

Next time your morning seems to be
Going wrong,
You can’t seem to find the car keys,
You hit every traffic light,
Don’t get mad or frustrated;

It may be just that
God is at work watching over you.

May God continue to bless you
With all those annoying little things

And may you remember their possible purpose.

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How Did Christmas Change after you became a Christian?

shining star

Marty – Christmas had meaning! The nativity, the songs, the tree, wreaths, etc. All the symbolism came to life, even candy canes.

Tori – Christmas became much more meaningful and even more magical after becoming a Christian.

Wendy – When I became a Christian in my early twenties with my own two children, Christmas magical times were still there but I was changing in my heart and mind of what Christmas really did represent. Over the many years since then I’ve viewed Christmas as a fun time but lacking the true deeper meaning for me. So I found more ways to change my attitude from one of hustle and bustle to meaningful. I start reading, about God’s preparation for his son to come into this world, in my mornings starting in December. First Old testament prophecies and then New Testament fulfillment. This focuses me to filter my mind and heart in light of God’s truth and still enjoy the wonderful traditions of this season.


Nativity

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called

 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6  (NIV)

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Another Year Is Dawning

Another year is dawning,
Dear Master, let it be,
In working, or in waiting,
Another year with Thee.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face.

Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

Another year of service,
Of witness of Thy love,
Another year of training
For holier work above.

Another year is dawning,
Dear Master, let it be
On earth, or else in heaven
Another year for Thee.

Francis Ridley Havergal (1874)

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