And All Creation Sings

A New Year

Today is the last day of 2020. I wonder what tonight will bring. Instead of fireworks, will we hear the sound of a collective sigh?

My message at the beginning of 2020 was Choose Joy. What a challenge it would become. But whenever I did choose joy, life became so much easier to bear. This fine year has brought many losses to me and those I care about. Too many to count. If I tried, I’d truly become depressed.

I’m a romantic with an optimistic nature. I tend to look for the good in whatever is happening. There are times when that becomes…difficult. But today, I choose joy. And I choose to count my blessings. I’ll be counting for a while…

Now I can turn the page. My phrase for 2021 is:

Photograph by Aleksey Kutsar via Pixabay

I love this.

If I have learned something well, I can then recreate it. For instance, when I find a favorite recipe, I continue to follow the directions until I have it memorized and can create it on my own, without using the recipe.

That will be my goal. To take what I have learned this past year and share it. As an artist, I love to create. I don’t draw or paint (well), but I love to create stories. The possibility of creating a sense of joy in my writing inspires me!

And I hope this simple message will inspire you, too.

Happy New Year!

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!

Psalm 98:4 ESV

The Beauty That Remains

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.

Anne Frank

Looking back on this year, my heart aches for all the changes and losses. But we’re still here. I’m reminded of the time we visited Mammoth Cave. The tour guide turned out all the lights, plunging us into total darkness. Then he struck a match. That single, tiny flame lit the room.

Sometimes, the tiniest blessings can brighten our day. I was unpacking Christmas decorations, and came across one of my snow globes. When I picked it up, the music box started to play “Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem.” Dozens of childhood memories flooded my mind.

Blessings abound. Schools are closed again in our area. I have my grandchildren two afternoons a week. I love spending time with them, though some of that time, they’re doing school work or otherwise occupied. The two older ones could have stayed home, but chose to come here. That blesses my heart.

These are tiny, match-flame blessings that light up my world. When I’m overwhelmed by the losses, I remember them and allow hope to renew in my heart. Like Anne Frank, I try not to think of the misery. I focus on the beauty that remains. What a beautiful lesson, when we know what her misery involved.

This week’s question:

What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

Hope is Coming!

Hello, Thursday Morning!

In the beginning, I thought it would be easy to write one post per week. Just three hundred words or so. What could be hard about that? At first, it was easy.

Until the year 2020.

Week after week passed, and I had nothing to say.

Nothing.

At first, I tried to force it. I hunted for verses, poems, or photos to fill the page. I even tried to be funny.

Then I realized, I was just filling a page. Maybe, in these overwhelming times, it was better to leave it empty.

You know those front porch moments when you’ve exhausted all the words that can or should be said, so you just sit together in quiet companionship?

They say we’re all in this together. Well, yes, we are but we all handle it differently. Some are strengthened by time alone. Others need fellowship and communication just as much as they need food and water.

I’m a borderline introvert, so I’m usually content being alone. For a while, but not forever. Weeks pass, and I miss my friends. I miss gatherings and visits and dinners out. Phone calls, texts, and online meetings just aren’t quite the same.

Hope is coming.

In the darkest days, hope stirs in my heart. I choose joy. Joy is not necessarily laughter and merriment. It can be—but most often for me—it is quiet exultation blooming in my soul. It feeds hope and keeps it alive. Sometimes the best way to keep it going is to share it. Talk about it with someone.

Let’s talk.

I’ll start the conversation. It can be short, that’s okay. For these last three or four weeks of the year, I’ll end my post with a question. I hope you’ll play along, and please consider sharing so others can join in.

What is the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received, and why is it your favorite?