Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Old Old Story Part II

We pick up the story where we left off yesterday:

     The King was very sad at what had happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but He had already put His plan in motion. Even when they were told to leave the Garden, He knew that He was sending a King from His family, a King who was like Him in every way, a King who would to put things right. The King and His Only Son, who was also a King were so much alike you could not tell them apart. They were like one and the same person. How can that be you might ask? That is part of the wonderful mystery.
    Many years went by. Men and women lived on the earth and continued to do things that were wrong. Yet in every generation there were people who were known as The King's people. These were men and women, who even though they didn't do everything right, still wanted to follow the King. You might have heard about some of these men and women. One man was named Abraham, and he is called the Father of Many Nations. Another was David, the shepherd boy who slew the giant named Goliath. David is known as a man after the King's Own Heart. 

Yet another was Daniel, who went without fear into the den of the lions and survived. In fact, Daniel came out without a single scratch. 

    Then there was a woman named Ruth who would not leave her mother-in-law, even after her first husband died. She is a very special woman who is known for her faithfulness, and she ends up being the earthly great-grandmother to the King's Only Son.
   The King's people knew that something wonderful was going to happen one day. They were waiting for the King's gift, someone called the Messiah. But there was a big problem. Many of the King's people were waiting for someone who would come and change everything around. If they were poor, they wanted to be rich. If they were slaves, they wanted to be free. If they were ashamed, they wanted to be proud. These are some of the reasons that they almost missed the big event. 
   The King knew his people better than anyone else. He knew just what they needed. They needed a King who would change their hearts from the inside out. The King knew that the soul of a man was the most important thing. It was more important than the actual body of the man, or what he owned, or the things that he did. But when Adam and Eve had taken the apple and eaten it, something terrible happened to their souls. Their souls became dark and began to pull away from the love of The King. 
   So The King had to make a way for things to be different. He had to send someone that the people would be able to see was like them on the outside, but who was very different from them on the inside. This person was the Son of the King, and he was just like the King in every way. He was good. He was pure. He was holy. The Son of the King never ever did anything wrong. It is hard to believe that someone could be born who would never do anything wrong, but this was the way that the King wanted it and the way that He knew it had to be. He wanted His Son, to be a human being and to still be The King. And so it was.
    When a king comes to visit a country, there are a lot of things that usually happen. There are parades and special dinners and lots of fancy parties and lots of very important people who come from near and far to see the king. But since this King was coming to change the hearts of men who had become hard and cold and stony, He didn't come like the kings on earth usually come. First of all, He was born in a stable, alongside cows and donkeys and sheep. No one would ever think to look for a king, The King, in a stable, but that was just what the Father wanted for His Only Son. He also sent angels out to deliver a singing message about the baby King who would be born. He did not send the message to the palace or the city or the people who thought they were the most important, he sent the message to some poor shepherds who were watching over their flocks in the field. 
    These shepherds were the first people to get the news about this new King. At first they were very scared when they heard the angels singing because they had never seen angels before. But then they decided to follow the angels' directions, and they went and found the baby lying in a manger, just as the angels had said He would be. The shepherds knew as soon as they saw the baby that he was no ordinary child. They recognized that He was The King. They left as soon as they could and told all of their friends about the arrival of The King. They were happy and excited.
    The Father King also sent a beautiful star to shine over the baby, because after all, His Son, the King, was a star himself. He was the most important person ever born. His name was Emmanuel which means God With Us. His name meant that The King was setting his plan in motion to make things right with the souls of men. 

Part III to follow

Monday, November 26, 2012

Retelling of an Old Old Story

   Do yourself a favor this Christmas. I don't care how old you are or how much you think you know, give yourself permission to become a child again. Be willing to shed your sophistication, your urbanity, your intellectual prowess or your supposed maturity to enter once again into the wonder that is Christmas. Let go of that jaded, self-serving self. The world of mystery is as real to children as the air they breathe. I dare you to become the child again. It's is absolutely imperative if you are to understand what happened then and what is happening now.

  This is a story overflowing with the Glory of God. And I am not talking about Santa Claus. I am talking about Emmanuel, the mystery of God With Us. It's a story that can hold your heart captive if you let it. This is no ordinary story.

   This is a story about a King, the most powerful and most amazing King the world has ever known. This King is more powerful than you can imagine. He, alone of all the Kings that ever were and ever will be, has the power to create: to make something out of nothing. He created all that is natural in our world. Natural means not made by man. He made the perfect mix of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and other gases into the air that we breathe. He is the first scientist. This King understands proportions perfectly. He made the bird to fly and the man to walk and the cheetah to run like the wind. 
    This King created mankind and the marvelous and complex bodies which we inhabit. He breathed life into the first man, Adam, and then drew the woman, Eve, from Adam's body. He gave to each human being something inside of us that would always remind us of our Creator, the King. He gave us a soul. The soul is the part of us that makes us different from all of the other creatures on the earth. Our soul is like a highway to God, a road that calls us back to Him, and forward with Him, and helps us desire to walk daily beside Him. In short, our soul is filled with longing for Him. When the King calls to us and we meet Him, we feel complete in a way that satisfies our deepest longings. 
     It is important to understand that Adam and Eve were designed to live in perfect harmony with God. That means that everything between God and the man and the woman was "in tune," just like the words and melody of beautiful song. 
Source: via Stevanie on Pinterest

Then something terrible happened. The Man and the Woman could not believe that everything was just as wonderful as the King said that it was. They listened to some terrible advice from a serpent, and it caused some things to happen that have made things so very hard since that time. 

    When Adam and Eve first came into the world, no one got sick, no one died, no one got mad, or lost his or her temper. Everything was peaceful and calm and happy. There was even no winter. Can you imagine that? No frosty fingers, frosty toes, or frosty hearts.

But then something horrible happened that changed everything for everyone, even you and me. Adam and Eve ate from the apple in the garden, and things have been going wrong ever since. People and children are selfish and greedy and hurt each other. People and children get sick and die. It is not an easy world.

   Thankfully this King was not satisfied to let things just keep going downhill. From the beginning, He has had a plan to restore things, to make things right. He planned to send His Son, a King of the same family, a King just like Him in every way, to set things right. And that is what He did. 

Part II to follow...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

O Come Let us Adore Him

    Since the Advent of the Christ, man has sought to capture the story of the Savior's birth with music, pen, and brush. I am drawn to the classical artists and their interpretations of the Nativity. I invite you to enter into the scenes pictured below and to become an observer. Perhaps you, too, will kneel in the straw to pay Him homage.

Paintings of the Birth of Christ, 1622 Gerard van Honthorst
Gerard Van Honthorst, 1622

I love this interpretation of the Nativity. See how the light emanates forth from the Christ Child, and how he is the center of adoration. Joseph has laced his hands on the horns of the cow and seems comfortable with what is transpiring; his gentle smile says it all. I love the humble faces of the shepherds, and in particular the boy who is turning aside to say something about the baby while he points his finger at the child they have come to see. I like to think that there are other shepherds standing outside the cave, awaiting their turn to see this Savior whose birth had been announced to them by an angelic host.

Paintings of the Birth of Christ, Caravaggio, The Nativity with Sts Francis and Lawrence, 1609
Caravaggio, 1609
Here an exhausted woman reclines, just having given birth. Mary's weariness is portrayed in the bent of her hands, but her love for the babe she has borne comes through in the tilt of her head and the expression on her face. Note how the angel bends low as he seeks to look into the face of the long awaited One.
File:Georges de La Tour - Adoration of the Shepherds - WGA12348.jpg
Adoration of the Shepherds, Georges de La Tour, 1644

This is one of my favorite paintings. The artist, Georges de La Tour, invites you to become the sixth person in the scene, bidding you to come and worship. All is still and quiet; you can almost hear a pin drop. Even the lamb does not utter a sound. There is such simplicity and stillness bound together with a sense of wonder and awe. Note that the illumination in the painting comes from a candle shielded from view by the left hand of Joseph. I love that Mary's face seemingly has an oriental cast to it and her robe is reminiscent of a kimono.

Here's a close-up of the lamb and the Christ-child who was born to be the Lamb of God. 

The following verse was written in 1656. That year, under the reign of Oliver Cromwell, England was in the middle of the Anglo-Spanish War, which began in 1654. Before it ended in 1660, the conflict had pulled in the Caribbean, the Canary Islands, and the Spanish Netherlands.

Peace? and to all the world? sure, One
And He the Prince of Peace, hath none.
He travels to be born, and then
Is born to travel more again.

~ Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), Welsh physician and poet

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Sweetest Southern Shower

   Ahhh love, sweet love.
The joy between a man and his maid is always to be celebrated.
And we Southerners do Bridal Showers with such graciousness, style, and panache.
Creating a beautiful environment in which to fete the Bride is expected.
Having made that clear, I want to go on record saying that this Bridal Shower has to be
one of the prettiest parties I have ever seen.
Take a look and decide for yourself...
Layers and layers of lovelies....
Linens. Lace. Antique china. Silver.
Everywhere you turned, there were special touches

Little cards where you could write your dreams and desires for the bride and groom.
Tables were laden with lovely food and adorned with beautiful flowers

Tiny cookies in the shape of engagement rings paired with
iced wedding dresses and the palest of pink hearts

A cake to die for

A joy-filled day to celebrate the sweet love between a very special Bride and Groom,
this lovely party is one to long remember...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Love of the Father

Behold what manner of love the Father has lavished upon us
that we should be called the sons and daughters of the Most High God. 
And thus we are.  I John 3:1

Each of us has some experience as a son or daughter. I daresay each of us has had a father or father figure at some point in our journey. For most of us, it is a crucial relationship and one that carries the mark of imprimatur upon our lives.

I lost my father to cancer when I was but a little girl. It was a defining loss for me, and it seems as though I spent a lifetime looking for that Daddy I lost too soon, wrestling with myself and ultimately with God to find the answers for the hole that kept opening up in my life.

Thankfully, I finally was able to obtain that measure of peace that brought me great freedom (see this post entitled David's Daughter) was, at times, a hard fought battle to get to the place where the hurt, the pain of loss, and the deep-seated fear of abandonment would ultimately begin to recede into the distance. It was a long journey, but one that I was required to take in order to move forward as a wife, mother, sister, daughter.

I marvel at times at the different cloth from which each of us is cut. No two alike. Each with his or her own path. His or her own story.

Little One has just turned three. My baby sister was younger than she when our father became terminally ill. It staggers me. I watch Little One as she holds her father's hand. She is so safe and secure in her daddy's love for her. She is totally unafraid when she is with him. She trusts his arms to catch her. His love to secure her. And his faith to guide her to her own.


Only he can elicit shrieking, body-shaking laughter from her. Only he gets the most tender of her secret smiles. She has his heart and she knows it. It is a wonderfully confident and trusting kind of love.

I am thankful for a son-in-law who loves his children without restraint and with grace and hope. It bodes well for their future.

All of these quite lovely photographs were taken by Debbie Barnett.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

All That Glitters

   It's the last gasp of autumn before true winter comes to claim what is hers. The leaves have mostly fallen to become curled and brittle shadows of themselves. Once again, the earth is preparing itself for sleep.
    But here and there the gold and the red still shine. These tender beauties cling to trees that have been protected from the North wind or have been sheltered by other trees.
    Their beauty is haunting.

And fraught with magic and a sense of the Divine.

It is an otherworldly beauty that calls forth the longing for the immortal in the heart of mankind.
Autumn Sunset, Callander, Scotland
photo via lostbeauty
From Blue Pueblo (Callender, Scotland)

I cannot help but be reminded of this bit of poetry from J.R.R. Tolkien, a writer who knew all about the magic of the seasons of the earth as well as the seasons of a man's life. 
All that is gold does not glitter
and all that is long does not last;
All that is old does not wither
not all that is over is past.

Gold and Blue, Casentino, Italy
photo via colorful
Do not grow weary in well-doing. He is coming soon. Just as He said he would.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

In Honor and Loving Remembrance

 Reposted from 2009
  Today I read the Declaration of Independence. As an elementary student I had memorized the famous memorable single sentence of the document that states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights..." Yet I am ashamed to say that I had never read the Declaration in its entirety. When I read through to the last sentence before the signers affixed their names to the document, my heart was pierced:  "as Free and Independent States, they [we] have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." the British the Declaration of Independence was an act of treason punishable by death, so the men who so boldly pledged their Lives, their Fortunes, and their sacred Honor had already counted the cost. From that day forward to the present day, there has been no turning back.
    I am a citizen of the United States of America. I have lived so long in the land of the free and the home of the brave that I have neglected to thoughtfully consider the cost and the sacrifice of those who have gone before me. This is Veteran's Day, the day when we pay tribute and honor those who are called to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. Ponder those words: called to serve. Called to uphold duty, honor, and country. No matter the cost. The cost was high last week in Fort Hood, Texas, for thirteen men and women. The cost will be high today in Afghanistan and Iraq and places near and far when men and women wear the uniform with dignity and pride. In a nation that tends to politicize every action of every sort and thereby polarize the people, I plan today to do neither. I will get down on my knees and thank God for a father, a father-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, grandfathers and countless others who have answered the call of duty to serve our country. I will also thank God for those born and yet unborn who will also serve. I will pass no judgment on those who cannot serve or are opposed to the military for today is not a day to stand on one side or another. Today is a day to stand together and to say thank you....for as long as there remain those who will pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in defense of a country that they hold dear, then you and I will be able to live in this land as free men and women.

In honor and loving remembrance of my father, Thomas David Scofield, United States Air Force (1927-1962), Veteran of the Korean War, United States Military Academy, West Point Class of 1950.
  Thomas David Scofield

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Little Boy Love from Etsy

   I was shocked when I recently shopped for a boy baby doll. There were scores of baby dolls (all girls) in all shapes and sizes, but I scrambled hard to find ONE boy baby doll. It was a revelation of sorts. That's one reason why I wanted to share some suggestions for you for gifts to give the little man in your life!

Who wouldn't love a pair of these darling dinosaur booties? 
They remind me of Max in Maurice Sendak's classic story,
"Where the Wild Things Are."
Dinosaur Baby Booties
I don't know about you, but I could find the perfect spot in a nursery or toddler's room
to hang this adorable poster that can be personalized!
Personalized children art for boys. Baby boy nursery art. Baby nursery wall art. Kids wall art. Boy name art. 16X20 Dog print by WallFry

 Tuck your sweet little one into his bed at night with this rag quilt 
featuring lighthouses and tall ships. He'll dream sweet dreams for sure!
Lighthouse and ships
It's available here:
 This inspired creation turns a balloon into a great safe toy. 
An added bonus is that it can be used over and over again.
...And the price is just right!
BALLOON BUDDIES, Thomas the Train, balloon ball, red, train, fabric, balloon cover, balloon, ball, toy, boy, boy toy, kids
Find it at the Etsy shop: Kids Love Letters
I'm all for this adorable reusable eco-friendly chalkboard mat
Boy Toy Chalkboard Mat Reusable Writing Toy Primary Colors Red Green Blue Yellow
You can buy it HERE
   And everyone knows that a boy and his horse are an inseparable duo
wool felt horse toy Waldorf animal pony soft plush girl boy children birthday wild west native american apache horse

Bring Old MacDonald's farm to life with these finger puppets designed to foster imaginative play
Finger Puppets - Old McDonald's Farm set of 5 in wool felt nursery rhyme toy pretend play story telling
Buy the horse and the finger puppets HERE
Every boy needs a superhero cape.  
This Etsy store has some great options that are reasonably priced.
Superhero cape REVERSIBLE Batman and Superman WITH REVERSIBLE mask
When your little boy gives up his naps (do men ever give up their naps?!),
 this "quiet book"will keep him busy for a bit.
My Quiet Book: Felt Busy Book Pages for Boys Ages 3 and Up

Finally, here is a toy to charm boys of all ages
Sad Face Fire Engine number 9 pedal car.
Buy this collectible toy HERE