It's the first Sunday of Advent.
I'm not sure I've ever selected a word around which to organize
my Advent meditations before, but if I were choosing THIS year,
I'd choose "center".
This became clear to me as we began to put this jigsaw puzzle together.
Our usual approach to puzzling is to first piece together the border. 
It clearly wasn't going to work this time!
And so we began at the center.
It was an AHA MOMENT for me as I observed
- and not coincidentally -
it was Jesus who was at the center of the center.
Just where He belongs.
Thinking of Jesus this morning,
I compiled phrases from many translations of the last phrase of Colossians 1:18.
Here is the result:

(in order that) that in all things (every aspect, at every view, everything, in all things, in every respect) He (Himself) might (come to) have the preeminence (will occupy the first place, be first, stand supreme, hold first place, hold the primacy, hold the first dignity, be above all others, be far above, be preeminent, has supremacy, far above, is most important, would be far above everything).

 From the center of me to my "borders"
(all and any of the peripherals of daily living)
may He hold first and final place.
Center of the center.

All Pieces Here

 Thanksgiving Day behind us
and having arrived home at 12:01 this morning 
after a bit of a holiday blitz,
we are taking it easy today.
 Our "Black Friday" will consist of baking a turkey my husband was graciously gifted with
by his part-time employer (Grabill Do It Best Hardware),
balancing the checkbook, football games,
running the car to dealer for a 1/2 hour recall adjustment,
and then taking a nap or two.
I also brought out this jigsaw puzzle purchased somewhat warily at a thrift store.
We'll try to get the border done today.
I found this note on back of the box to be somewhat reassuring...
I find THIS to be so much MORE reassuring --
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  
and in Him you have been made complete
and He is the head over all rule and authority.
Colossians 2:9-10

All pieces are here!
In Him, I am complete.

The Week that Was

 Time flies!  A week ago all my siblings were together as my father preached
at the chapel service of the retirement home in which my mother resides.
 And there was music!
It was a blessed time.
 My husband painted this mirror.  I listed it on a facebook garage sale site.
It sold, and I met the buyer to make the delivery.
 My husband spent a few days in Florida on business,
 and I took advantage of "aloneness" to dally in a couple of my favorite thrift stores.
I was pleased to find a few odds and ends including the bottle of cologne
 and three blue & white plates.
The week concluded beautifully with our first snowfall of the season.
It was a pleasure to look out the window, and the drive to Ohio to be with my parents 
yesterday took us through a virtual Winter Wonderland!
 These were highlights of the Week that Was.
It wasn't a perfect week, but God was!

God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time.  
(Ecclesiastes 3:11, NET Bible)


 A good-sized crowd gathered,
 the Little Big Band played,
 the Cupbearer Cafe served thirsty customers,
 and we were SO glad we yielded to an urge to spontaneity!
 As I told the keyboardist later, "There's NO music like LIVE music"!
Don't you LOVE the line at the top of the menu?

Timely and Challenging

I follow a new person on Twitter.  Mark Batterson.  A pastor and author (apparently).  
I found these particular tweets of his timely and challenging.  Encouraging and incentivizing...

God's gift to us is ETERNITY. Our gift to Him is TIME.
    If you LISTEN TO GOD people will LISTEN TO YOU because you'll have something to say.

As It Should Be

While walking a trail on a GLORious autumn day in November, we spotted this--
an old fallen tree supported by younger ones around it.
Just as it should be.


companions in
 slow walks
down quiet halls
she in wheeled chair
i on faulty legs

 lost in thoughts
each her own
connected by
rare smiles
or raised eyebrow 

When Trains Collided

Trains of thought collided on my mental track this morning, and I paused long enough to take note.  I had written a response to Susan's Home Decorating Fun in Fall  saying:  I enjoy seeing how other people decorate for holidays, too! (Personally, I find myself doing less and less and enjoying what others do more and more!) It was a seemingly innocuous and true statement.

I proceeded to browse a few other favorite blogs, using my sidebar to alert me to postings within the past twenty-four hours.   I basked briefly in the delight of Jan's French Tangerine's october pinspirationI chuckled as I identified her prior post chuck full of ideas and ending with a photo of her single pumpkin and the explanation, "Here is the fall decorating I was able to muster up this year".

I think that's when the trains collided.  I realized with specific and personal clarity that while it may be harmless to live in the realm of pinspiration in the decorating category, it is NOT alright in the spiritual category!

Life doesn't fit neatly into categories like "decorating" and "spiritual".  In fact, all of life is basically driven by the "spiritual"--the very real but but essentially invisible life originating in Him who to know is Life Eternal--life that is not fueled by Pinterest boards and blog posts or nurtured and sustained by bread alone.

I continue to find much enjoyment in the photos of other peoples' decorating while doing less and less around our place, but I refuse to let this practice spill over into my daily experience of  my life in Christ Jesus.  Awareness is the first step in resisting the tendency to live as a spectator or curator of inspiring thoughts.  Then comes deliberate attention to communication (prayer) with the Father and frequent intake of His Word.  This awareness and attention will significantly impact my daily activity.  And though I may never garner notice or fame in THIS life, there remains that promise of "much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world"  (I Peter 1:7).

People cannot live by pinspiration alone....

Destination: Redkey

 Day trips are one of the ways we are spending our recent retirement.
On the way to our destination yesterday, we stopped in Decatur (IN)
at one of the thrift stores we occasionally check out.  
I was pleased to find this unusual small covered dish - for a quarter!

 Then, arriving in Redkey,
we parked the car behind this stop sign,
 stepped onto the sidewalk and took a peek at the street fair ahead of us.

Before venturing forward we turned the corner to check out Jeffrey Miller's shop.
 We were amazed by this colorful display of mid-century modern glassware in its window!
Corner Store Antiques ~ "Mid-centery and Beyond" 
This place was chock full of interesting mid-century pieces!
After a stroll through a couple of other shops,
a walk through the street fair,
and purchase of two amazing taffy apples sold by the local Nazarene Church,
we headed home on country roads.
I asked Gary to back up and stop the car so I could get a picture of this deserted building.
(Not sure WHY it captured my fancy.....)
Banks of beautiful trees in their autumn splendor 
lined fields to our right and to our left as we traveled roads we'd never traveled before.
I am so thankful for this season in our lives 
and the health and resources to enjoy it. 

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, 
who created all the lights in the heavens. 
He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.  (James 1:17)


Today started OUT with a rainbows!
We saw the first one in front of our house as we got into our car.
We were leaving the house soon after dawn to complete a trail walk
before my husband needed to be at his part-time job.
 It was drizzling when we arrived, and we looked with wonder at the rainbow 
that arched over the pathway into the nature preserve. 
 We started out bravely, 
but didn't go too far until my husband decided to return to the car
to fetch an umbrella - "just in case". 
I waited for him under a tree.
My heart skipped a beat when I saw him return to me under the umbrella.
Before long, he folded it and used it as a walking stick.
Later, reflecting on the beauty we shared
and seeing many friends post photos of rainbows today from all over the nation
(Ohio, South Carolina, New Mexico, etc.)
I got thinking about "our" rainbow and my fellow and thought of an old song
I hadn't thought about for YEARS!
  ♪ Look, look, look to the rainbow.
Follow it over the hill and stream.
Look, look, look to the rainbow.
Follow the fellow who follows a dream.
Follow the fellow;  follow the fellow;
Follow the fellow who follows a dream. ♪
 Thanking God this evening for His rainbows and for my fellow...

"Be God's"

"Keep reading," he urged from the driver's seat.
"I CAN'T!"  I choked out.  My tears were making it impossible to see.
I'd been reading the introduction to the book.  Out loud.
We were on our way to a morning out.  
I to a thrift store and then a coffee shop where I'd continue reading.  
He to a golf course to play 9 holes.
I was reading the introduction to this book out loud --
a book I've wanted to read for at least thirteen years.
Maybe longer.
One of the walls at Joanna's Dealicious Treats coffee shop, Kendallville IN
 After the purchase of 2 knit tops at the thrift store,
I headed to Joanna's Delicious Treats.
I ordered a cappuccino and freshly baked chocolate chip cookie
 and settled in to read.
Slowly, of course, because I was furiously copying down quotes in my little purse-sized notebook.
When I wasn't writing, I was photographing larger quotes like this one...
At the rate I'm going, it will take me a while to finish this book.
One of the things I learned about Rich Mullins is that when he signed autographs,
he added these words: "Be God's".

"It's not what you did, and not what you say you're going to do, it's what you do today."
(One of the lines I copied into my notebook.) 

Treasuring and Pondering

 I thought I was finished with my journaling this morning.
I closed my journal and began spending some of my daily 5,000-24,000 
(depending on which source you consult) words on my husband!
Some of my jottings had triggered additional thoughts, and I was eager to share them.
"In fact," I told myself, "I should post some of my profundity on Facebook!"
Almost instantly, a verse from the Bible came to mind.
I googled a few of its words to look it up for accuracy.
But Mary treasured all these things, 
giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart.  
(Luke 2:19, Amplified Bible)
 Instantly instructed and reproved, I reopened my journal to write.
I need to do so much more TREASURING and PONDERING;
so much less facebooking and jabbering. 
I have a small collection of these...this is my latest acquisition.

Friday was our Saturday

 Husband and I spent an hour or so this morning hiking a new trail.
 It was cloudy, damp and cool....
 and there were treasures to be seen.
Some time after a great lunch (chicken salad on a wonderfully soft & toasted croissant roll, 
potato soup and slaw),
we headed to our nearest library branch
 where I picked up two books that should keep me 
happily engaged this evening
accompanied by a cup of hot chocolate.
Friday was our Saturday this week!

Writing a Song a Week #3

Writing a Song a Week #3
♪ I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning ♪ (Psalm 130:5-6)