Sunday, January 15, 2017

No Good Thing Does He Withold! Savoring The Gifts.


Rushing through the crowds of holiday shoppers just a few short weeks ago,  it snuck right up on me, uninvited, yet so very welcome!    It's amazing how one piece of music can flood the soul and overwhelm the senses.  First I heard it playing loud through the mall and then a  joyful tear and a lump in my throat welled up.  Memories of preparation for that exquisite January wedding day stopped me right in my tracks and I savored the gift.....a very special one of a kind gift that required no wrapping, ribbons or even fancy bows.  



The very music (recorded above) that filled the holiday air, just so happened to be the same music that accompanied the processional of  brides maids, flower girls  and yes,  my own beautiful daughter, as she walked her wedding aisle exactly one year ago today.
(perfectly timed out and dramatized for effect--her grand, closed door entrance, happened at precisely 3:33 min) 


Psalm 84:11 says,  "The Lord bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withold from those who walk uprightly.  

What may appear to one as just another arrangement of music, becomes to another,  far reaching passion and emotion during an incredibly beautiful, bridal processional moment....A GOOD THING.    

What may appear to one holiday shopper as joyful music filling the air, becomes to this mother, a gift (of memories) that keeps on giving....A GOOD, GOOD THING. 

This past year as been one of watching my daughter embrace the marriage journey with joy and zeal and tenacity.  So today, just like one year ago...WE CELEBRATE (albeit just a little less exquisite).  The marriage journey is ever filled with new seasons, new hopes and dreams, new goals and purposes, new mountaintops and valley lows.   The memories will always remain our constant joy, but to all that lies ahead, the next year and the next, continue growing in grace, in love and in beauty. 
I'd say there isn't a finer piece of music that represents more completely the both of you, who you are, and what you share. 
THAT MOMENT, THE MEMORIES, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, 
YOUR LIFE TOGETHER....A VERY GOOD THING! 
                                                                                                                                                   
  
         Christmas Eve 2016                   Wedding Day January 15, 2016

HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, TYLER AND SARAH
We Love You! 



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Settling For More in 2017


Reading a "hot off the press" autobiography, given to me as a gift by my daughter (who completely understands my love for really good books), is how I spent much of my evenings in the days following Christmas.

Now, making my way into the office on these final pre dawn hours of 2016,  reflecting on all that has been and all that is yet to come.... these three words (which also happened to be the title of that autobiography) beat lock step with my heart...SETTLE FOR MORE!

More FAITH....because faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
More HOPE....that necessary posture of the mind that keeps us moving forward, sometimes against very difficult odds.
And,
More LOVE....because it is the greatest of all!

Settling for more is not so much an end game, rather it is an active process (and sometimes a daily choice).  Life changes, therefore, it requries that I change too.  The joyful, exhilorating moments that go perfectly and as planned speak for themselves, but when moments of stress and complacency and disappointment and unmet expectations attempt to define me,  may I find courage to risk, stand alone if necessary, shine a light thru the darkness, and SETTLE FOR MORE....a more that goes way beyond anything good that I could ever hope for or imagine.

The passing of time is marked by a turn of a calendar page, but for this moment,  here's to a  NEW YEAR and SETTLING FOR MORE.                                
HAPPY NEW YEAR 
CRYSTAL 
   2017 








Saturday, December 24, 2016

EXPECTATIONS OF CHRISTMAS--HOPE IS BORN and HIS GLORY REVEALED


EXPECTATIONS OF CHRISTMAS 
                              (originally written in 2009 when Sarah was in Africa)                                   (pulled from the archives and slightly revised in 2016 when Sarah was a newly-wed) 

One of my favorite pictures of Matt in 2009
Preparations are underway for another heart warming Christmas Eve Service as well as everything that goes along with our “usual” Christmas morning. The luminaries line the streets and as dusk draws nigh, I reflect on “expectations of Christmas”.

I make my way through the huge wooden doors to the church. Candlelight and carols fill the air, and.... so does the knot in my throat.
This is our first Christmas Eve without Sarah and the “normalcy” of expectations and traditions feel challenged, changed, and taken away. Although I may not always like it, after 40 plus years, I have finally learned (and in some ways am still learning) to “stand still and see His Glory”.
As you read the remainder of this Christmas Day blog and “Expectant Christmas Reflections” I hope you will be inspired to do the same.

For a weary, stranded traveler who exchanges a warm and festive meal around the table with loved ones, for bad weather, cancelled flights and the uncertainty of what tomorrow will hold…....hope was still born and the glory of the Lord revealed.
For the young mother who struggles to comfort the fevered brow of her child, instead of decorating, caroling and baking…….hope was still born and the glory of the Lord revealed.
Unfortunate circumstances give way to broken homes and broken hearts. Any hopes of happy and joyful Christmas times will have to be put off until next year or the next….but even in that, hope is still born and the glory of the Lord revealed.
The missionary family who embraces the “unplanned”, because there is no other choice (or electricity), exchanges fresh made enchiladas and swimming, for a rainy day and dinner out…hope is still born and the glory of the Lord revealed.
Mary and Joseph resort to a Bethlehem stable because there is no room at the inn…. HOPE IS BORN AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD IS REVEALED!! 


I'm sure there are countless other “real life” scenarios we could add to this list. But let me 
we had fun recreating the picture above....in 2016
ask you, what does Christmas look like this year compared to what you expected it to look like?  Maybe everything went perfectly and as planned, but maybe it didn't.  

We have 17 more days before we see Sarah face to face. (Thankfully, this year, in 2016, we'll all be together Christmas Day).   And, although we wait with great expectation, our hearts are learning to take great comfort in the unexpected, in the different, and in the HAND-PICKED, HAND-DESIGNED expectations of the Father (Just like that very first Christmas Night)!
Then and only then, is hope born and HIS glory revealed.
Merry Christmas! 
Crystal