Wednesday, December 31, 2014


On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me six geese a’laying …

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       12-31        

Don’t you think six laying geese are a bit much? They have overwhelmed my small fowl pen, and my cook Matilda has to carry a huge basket out to gather so many large eggs. At her advanced age, this is an absurd burden. Also, their appetites (and the accompanying problem) are proportional to their large size. Please, Jonathan, I’m already convinced of your good will. I need no more evidence.     

Desperately, Alicia.



Tuesday, December 30, 2014


On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me five gold rings…  

My dear Jonathan,                                                                       12-30     

Thank you so very much for your gift of five gold rings. I wore them all, but couldn’t decide which hand, or which fingers to wear them on, and they caught at my needlework so. But I’ve solved ALL my problems—except for the poor partridge’s dilemma. I pawned the rings and bought birdseed and hired my neighbor’s stableman to build a bird pen and clean my front lawn. The aroma lingers, but I can step outside again now, if I wear my galoshes.

Love, Alicia.


Monday, December 29, 2014


On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me four calling birds…

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       12-29

I miss you so. I was thrilled when I heard the postman at the door again. Alas, instead of your calling card, he brought me your gift of four calling birds. They fill the whole neighborhood with the loveliest of music, my dear, but… I hesitate to trouble you with such a small problem. These birds all have prodigious appetites, all but the poor pining partridge, and have almost emptied my larder. Alas again, another problem accompanies this. My lawn is beautiful, almost like real snow, but the aroma, Jonathan! Need I say more? I think these are enough birds for me now. 

Love and longing for you, Alicia.



Sunday, December 28, 2014


On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me three French hens…   

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       12-28

Thank you for your most recent gift of three French hens. At first I was hopeful for the poor partridge—his loneliness is made more acute by the presence of these shameless turtledoves—but none of the three hens will have anything to do with him, since he isn’t of their race. I’ve taken him in with me.    

Love, Alicia.   



Saturday, December 27, 2014


On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me two turtledoves…

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       12-27

The partridge seems less lonely now that the turtledoves you sent today have joined him—but I miss you, dear Jonathan. I look forward to your next visit.          

In sweet sentiment, Alicia.


Friday, December 26, 2014


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree.

Dearest Jonathan,                                                                       12-26

I was overjoyed with your companionship at my Christmas table yesterday, and with your most thoughtful gift. The pear tree is lovely where I had it planted by my front step—but seeing the partridge alone in its branches has quickened my desire to see you again.                                               

Yours, Alicia.


Thursday, December 25, 2014



Thursday, not my usual day for posting, but I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. For the next few days, starting tomorrow, I’m planning something a little different. While the subject of these daily posts might not seem to fit the theme of my blog, I think humor always helps to ease our burdens. Hope you enjoy.

And yes, I know the total count is wrong, but this is the only way it would work out.





Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV

The Greatest Story of all time. First chapter, except for backstory, is Christmas. Baby Jesus in a manger, wise men and shepherds, running for His life from Herod. Then His journey, His ministry, more enemies, the drama of His death and resurrection.

But the Story doesn’t end there.

Get this! You and I—and the sweet old man next door, and that brother-in-law or coworker nobody can stand—are chapters! We’re in the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Famous—at least in Heaven.

When an author gets a live idea and lets the characters tell the story, it draws readers into can’t-put-it-down sleepless nights. All we authors have to do is edit and polish.

Jesus, Master Author, does that with us. He lets us choose our paths, backtrack, stumble, make U-turns—but He’s there, watching over us, rooting for us, rescuing, weaving us into the Story, editing, polishing, making everything work together for good to us who love Him.

Me, a story—and I get to choose what I say and do. Will I be bold and decisive, or wishy-washy? Will I be kind or cruel? Hurtful or helpful? Will I live with purpose, or squander my days? Will my words be honest or contradictory? Rambling or straight-on? Better choose wisely. After all, I’m the only Bible many people will ever read.

Sometimes I choose well, sometimes not. Don’t know about you, but I need to go back to the Author pretty often for some more editing. When He’s finished, though, when I’m complete and polished, I’ll be a masterpiece within the Masterpiece.

And the Never-Ending Story still doesn’t end. Home—and the sequel begins.

Avi, my Creator, I want to write great stories like none that have been written before, stories that will reach deep into the heart of seekers and show them who You are. But even more than that, I want to be an amazing story, a word of truth written by the Word who is God. In Your holy name, Amen.






Monday, December 15, 2014


Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Em=with; anu=us/we; el=God. God with us.    

Whole self-contained worlds built within geodesic domes. Gardens, streams, waterfalls, flowers, shrubbery. Beautiful—but incomplete. Did you know you can’t grow trees safely in geodesic domes? There’s no wind, and without the struggle of standing against the wind, the trees grow spindly and weak, but are still tall enough to fall and break the dome.

Did you know if you try to help a chick hatch by breaking the shell open, it will die? Without that struggle, that exercise, it will be too weak to live.  

Did you know if you try to spare a kid any pain or responsibility or accountability, he’ll be too weak to take his place in society?  

Me, I’d rather be strong, because it’s coming. Whatever it is.

Christians have faced persecution, are facing it, will face even more in the future. Beatings and beheadings and everything in between.    

What is my own struggle to that? A broken childhood, an abusive marriage, half a mortal lifetime of lonely search and struggle. I can rejoice in my trials—this side of them—because I value the strength they built into me.

But can I face something like what’s going on in the Middle East even as I pen these words? Can I stand? Not in my own strength—but I have the promise of Romans 14:4. “He will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” I have the promise of Hebrews 13:5. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I have the promise of Matthew 28:20. “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” I have the certain knowledge that I’ve already been through the worst I’ll ever face, because I’ll never again have to face anything alone.

God is with us.

Avi, Immanuel, You are here with me, have been here, and will forever be with me. You will never leave me nor forsake me. If I'm faced with what I cannot face, help me to stand, and give me time to remember the cost of denying You. In Your holy name, Amen. 




Tuesday, December 9, 2014


The eyes of the LORD are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. Psalm 34:18 NIV

Anybody see the moon Sunday night?

Imagine a clock face, hands radiating from the tiny dot in the center. That was the size of the halo around the full moon, straight overhead, not one star within its circle. It was like a porthole in the heavens, opened to allow my heavenly Father to watch over me.

I stared back as long as my neck held out, my heart filled with gratitude.

My dogs circled around me, searching the night for elusive prey. Then, completing our bedtime walk, we rounded the house and started down the driveway. A darker shape moved in the darkness ahead of me.

Too far.

I called to her, strained to see. The electric gate stood halfway open. My little black runner was out. I ran to get leads and high value treats, then ran back down the drive. What was that white shape there, just across the road? “Ruthie?”

The shape moved.

“Ruthie! I got bacon.”

The shape ran to me. One on lead. One who could see/smell/hear in the darkness, lead me to the invisible black dog.

A shadow moved from the roadside bushes. “Misty! I got bacon.”

The shadow moved down the road. Yeah, bacon’s great—but not worth losing this moment of freedom. Ruthie strained at her lead; I followed. Misty circled my neighbor’s house, sniffing, sniffing.

“Misty! Bacon!”

No dice.

Near enough to toss a yummy in front of her. She snapped it up and kept going. Another piece. A third. Snap. Snap.

Finally I sat on the concrete drive and waited, breaking off bits of bacon to feed to Ruthie. That was the last straw—and Misty was there, accepting her treat, safely on lead.

How could I be so calm (relatively) as my desperate prayers fountained upward? Why was I not furious with my husband for not making sure the gate had really closed? With myself for failing to check? These are my friends, my responsibility, my canine anchor babies holding me to this halfway-house world until my assignment here is finished.

Could it be the peace of that porthole moment still bathing me?

Avi, thank You for the difficult times You’ve brought me through, the lessons in trust, the reminders of how close You always are to me. When I am afraid, help me to remember that You are the God of forever, faithful without fail. In Your holy name, Amen

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.   Hebrews 10:25   (NIV)

There’s a place of gentle hills where a highway crosses a wooded stream, where the air currents are powerful and varied enough to delight the kings of the air. On a blue morning of sunlight and white clouds brushing the treetops, I saw a congregation of hawks in a dance of praise to their Creator.

I couldn’t begin to count the tornadic cloud of their main body—50, 60, possibly more. They soared and swirled and banked, riding the wind on outstretched wings. Then one or several would glide away to circle one of the smaller updrafts surrounding the main column. Others would leave their smaller circles to rejoin the congregation, over and over and over.

How like Christ’s church! We come together to worship and praise God, return as families to our lives in this world, then gather again and again. Is our praise as pure and instinctive as theirs is? When the hawks separated, they continued their dance. Do we? Do we continue to celebrate our Savior, making those who do not know Him hungry for the Bread of Life, thirsty for the Living Water? Do we by our eagerness to return to the House of God make others wonder what’s there? 

Or do we slip back into the world, forsaking the assembly of saints, compromising our witness?

Avi, our Father, thank You for the joy you give us, for the peace that passes understanding. Help us to set aside the world with its cares and temptations, and praise You with our whole hearts, untainted by the world. In Your holy name, Amen.