It Came Upon a Midnight Clear…

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear…
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear…

I have a love of walking at night when the world is quiet, the darkness envelopes me softly and the moon hears my whispers. Many nights I have walked the streets, my soul restless as I struggled with various dilemmas. In the light of day, the details of life take up all my time, but at night, when the stillness settles, my mind once again takes up that endless litany of questions that seem to have no answers.

Yet it is often in those silent hours, when my soul is wrestling, that peace seeps in quietly. The pressing problems that drive me outside begin to slowly fade. As I pour my heart out to my Father above, seemingly impossible obstacles are melted away and I again find faith for another day.

On a recent night, I was again walking the streets. My heart struggled with sadness and loneliness. I questioned my decisions and inspirations I felt I had received. What was I doing in this new place far from anyone I knew right before Christmas? Why had I left my friends and family to go to a place where I was nothing but a stranger to those around me? No answer seemed to come.

Yet, in my melancholy mood, I stopped for a moment and looked up around me. The rains had just blown away and a small, bright moon lit the path. The wet pavement looked like silver beneath my feet and the air was warm and soft. As I stood there, the line “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear…” came to my mind and I thought that the old Christmas carol must have been written on a night such as this.

The beauty of the night lessened my sadness, but I still felt my heavy burden as I walked home. The heavens seemed silent and the peace I sought did not come. I tried to distract myself by remembering the lines of the old Christmas carol, but I realized I didn’t remember them all, so I looked them up when I got home. Little did I know that there were more verses written than I knew. As I read this verse, it took my breath:

“And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing.
Oh, rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!”

I knew that these sweet words were my answer. Realization dawned…I was never alone. The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate at this most beautiful season, was letting me know that I was being watched over, loved and cared for at all times. “Glad and golden hours” were coming “swiftly on the wing” and my weary heart had a place to rest.

It was a simple, tender answer and exactly what I needed. Sweet peace melted away my sadness and I felt loved. Since that night, Christmas joy, laughter, wonder at my beautiful, new home and the hugs of new friends have filled my heart. It has been a Christmas miracle and I have been amazed at the love that has surrounded me. At times, I feel as if I have known some of these new friends for years. What a gift!

To those “beneath life’s crushing load”, let your soul “rest beside the weary road” and remember that you aren’t walking it alone. He walks it with you and that is the best Christmas miracle of all.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

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“Mary Let Me Hold Her Baby”

“Mary Let Me Hold Her Baby”

“So she would not be misunderstood, she told her story every chance she could…”

I don’t often speak of this, because it is something close to my heart that is very private and personal.  I have never been able to have children, though I always wanted them.  I had two miscarriages and at my age, I am aware that I probably never will have them.  I have not adopted nor fostered due mainly to financial situations.  So I have not had that beautiful and sacred experience of being a parent to my own child.  

However, having said that, I have felt that pure love that comes from a parent many times watching my nieces and nephews (and many other children) grow over the years.  Though I was not a mother, I have had the joy of serving as one.  I have had the gift of holding babies and watching them fall asleep in my arms when their mothers or fathers were tired and frustrated.  I have played with the children, tickled them, laughed with them, helped them through their illnesses, listened to their stories and hugged them as they cried.  I have shopped with them as they got older, watched movies with them, worked alongside them and loved them at all times, even if I disapproved of something they were doing.  

Though at times I have wished to hold my own sweet little one, I have felt it a gift to be able to relieve a tired parent and for a moment, experience that sacred feeling that comes from loving as only a parent can.  

I believe this song, Mary Let Me Hold Her Baby, and the lyrics from it say it best: 

Those like me
who can’t have children
Still can be mothers
Something in His eyes
convinced me
I could serve so many others…”

I only hope that you will understand that when I reach out to hold your baby or pick up a child who has fallen, it is through a desire to serve and love that I do this.  For I can and always will serve and sacrifice for the children, small and grown, because once upon a time…there was a Saviour who served and sacrificed for us all.  

“Mary let me hold her baby
Her newborn son
Though I’d never be a mother
I felt like one
Mary let me hold her baby
So she could rest
And ever since that night
I held Him
My life’s been blessed

Those like me
who can’t have children
Still can be mothers
Something in His eyes
convinced me
I could serve so many others
Mary let me hold her baby
So soft and warm
Mary let me hold her baby
And I was reborn

(by Michael Mclean) 

Why I Celebrate Christmas Early

Why I Celebrate Christmas Early

winter-1927427_960_720As my family well knows, I am a lover of Christmas.  When I was younger, I used to drive my siblings crazy by playing Christmas music in September.  As an adult, I still do this at times.  By the time Halloween is over, Christmas is in full force in my house.  The twinkling lights are up, the soft, sweet music is playing, the warm glow of candles are flickering, the cinnamon cookies are baking and I am planning out the Christmas presents to buy.  I do not ignore Thanksgiving, for if you look, you will see my Thanksgiving decorations mingled with my Christmas, because I’m a firm believe that gratitude is in every way a part of this beautiful season.

But why do I do this?  Why do many people do this?  Others might have different reasons, but this is mine: because it is the season of light, of giving, of sharing, of kindness and love. beautiful hugs

When the daily news is filled with the most evil and depressing of acts (like the shooting last night in California), I want to counteract that with everything I have in me.  I want to spread more kindness, more love to strangers, more love to my family and friends…more light.  I want everyone to know they are loved.  I want to hold a friend or family member or even a stranger until their tears are washed away.

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I wish I could do this…I wish I could somehow get this message out to every person…You Are LOVED! How different it would be if all people understood this one thought: you are loved by the most perfect person who ever walked this earth.  If you are worthy of that kind of love, then wouldn’t that change your perspective about your life, your purpose and your actions?

The-NativityIt is the season to celebrate the Savior, the Son of God, and to remember not only His birth, but His life and who He died for.  I celebrate Him and his perfect life all year, but everything about Christmas from the lights, to some of the beautiful music, to the Star and the small manger scene under my tree…everything reminds me of His perfect love.

Love…to me that’s something worth celebrating all year long.

 

(My Christmas playlist for this year…sending you all long hugs and so much love!)

Civility, Kindness, and Love

No act of kindness...These days, watching the news and headlines, I have become more and more saddened and horrified by the awful things that people say to each other.  Anger, vitriol, name-calling, violence, terrorism, shootings and threats seem to have washed over most of the people in this country and around the world.  Common sense has taken a backseat.  Every evil act seems to be splashed over every news station, radio show and internet site. With the midterm elections coming up, we see the hatred grow…and it breaks my heart.

I do understand, because I have watched myself get pulled into these arguments as well, yet when I pause, I realize that most of these people want the same things I want. These people are my brothers and sisters in humanity.  They have the same feelings as me: they feel sadness, happiness, pleasure, love, pain, anger, frustration, depression, and joy.

Young, middle-aged or elderly…we all have something unique and wonderful to offer. Let us seek the greatness in each other and stop letting our differences divide us.  I know my words are nothing but a small drop in an ocean of negativity, nevertheless…maybe my one small drop will join others until we can fight back the rising tide.

And on that note, to spread a little more positivity, below you will find pictures of everyday acts showing the best in humanity, not the worst.  Seek and ye shall find…

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Strangers link arms to help each other across the street in a torrential storm.

shoes

Pizza delivery
A man delivers pizza in a flood to stranded people.

showing love to allflowers

Gratitudeeveryone everywhere download

October Nights

October moon

Lazy summer evenings descend into cold, shadowy nights

Grey cobwebs of clouds stretch across the pale moon

As black fingers claw the sky.

Thunder laughs and lightning flashes from a distance

The winds dance and tease, leaves swirling at my feet.  

And the silence whispers of ethereal voices

Beckoning to join them in the night.

A Happy and Safe Halloween to all!! 

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Daughter of the Storm

Daughter of the Storm

I have felt a strong connection to Nature since I was a young child.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to witness dramatic sunsets, white-sand tropical beaches, lush green mountains, hidden dark forests, sunlit red rock arches against a twilight blue sky and so much more.

Yet there is nothing that inspires me like watching a thunderstorm.  When lightning flashes across a sky or an explosion of thunder bounces off the surrounding mountains, I feel so connected to nature…to the power and majesty of it.  Even during a typhoon, I was the (slightly crazy) woman standing strong against the winds just to feel the rush of adrenaline as I faced a force of Nature. Climbing a wet hilltop in March and feeling the fierce storm blow as I take in the glorious view is more exciting to me than anything that man can think of.

meI’m not sure where this started, but I remember as a young child that my mother actually had to call to me from the house to come inside during an electrical storm.  I just couldn’t take my eyes off the approaching lightning and thunder.  Every moment of it was an adrenaline rush.

Since that time, my passion for Mother Nature’s storms has only increased.  When a hurricane approaches, I watch the news and videos like a weather forecaster (even when I live nowhere in the area).  If a thunderstorm approaches, I will stand outside or at a window and watch the brilliant display until it fades away.  I watch tornado videos and am fascinated with the first snowstorm of the year.

watching the stormI have come to conclude that I am a daughter of the storm.  I was meant to ride the winds.  As lightning streaks across the sky and the thunder shakes the ground I stand on, I feel a sense of power surge through me and I am at one with Nature.  I am not afraid…I am alive!  Alive with a vibrant energy that only comes when the wild winds whip my hair and fly fiercely around me.  It is in that moment that my spirit feels most connected to the powers around me…reminding me of my own inner strength and that I, too, am a force of Nature.

Forget Me Not

Forget me not

So small…barely noticed…I only found you because I was looking down at my feet.  There you were, among the mossy green blades of grass.  You were no bigger than the head of a pin.  I would have walked on by, like all the others, had I not been meandering slowly deep in thought.

You did not stand out like the red poppies, the delicate orchids or the bright sunflowers.  No, you had a quiet loveliness.  But you were there…steadfast and enduring and graceful.

I knelt down and gently touched your petals.  Though small, you were perfectly formed.  Each petal exquisitely colored in a lavender blue with a bright spot of sunshine in the middle.  Tiny mirror images of the heavens above.

You seemed to say “Look at me.  I am here.  I know I don’t stand out like the glorious rose, but I will be there in your darkest moments, growing gently and persistently at your feet.  Giving  you something to smile about…even when you are looking down.”

For some reason, I wiped a tear away as I lovingly touched the blossoms.  “I see you,” I whispered and I realized that you were, in your own small way, perhaps the most beautiful flower of all.