Thursday, December 29, 2011


We're at the in-between time. The major holiday is over; another one is around the corner. I'm tired of Christmas color & glitter but not ready for glaring winter white.  

So over the next few posts, I may put up some pictures I took during one of the last warm days of fall, of a fading little town nearby.

Who knows what commentary they might trigger as I stop to reflect on the passing year and ponder the fresh one to come?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Grinch Experience

Last Thursday, before everyone left for the Christmas holiday, was my turn to give staff devotions (remember, I'm on staff at a church). We prayed then I approached the podium and said, "you're all familiar with this passage..."

 Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling:
How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more." 

By now you're probably thinking, "yeah, yeah, here we go. Jesus is the reason, blah blah, blah..." Stay with me. I'm not as uber-spiritual as you might assume, given Who I work for. For the truth is, I was not feeling the Christmas Spirit this year. In fact, the last few years, it has been something I've come to dread.

October is actually my very favorite month of the year. Once that calendar turns over to November 1, I go into Holiday Denial. It disturbs me how fast time has gone (didn't we just put all the decorations away?! didn't we just do an outreach? didn't we just finish up a Christmas production?! it can't be that time again!) 
I dread the idea of the upcoming Christmas Culture with all it's various kinds of pressures and deadlines.

But usually I get over it and holiday warm fuzzieness overtakes me. One year it happened when I was decorating the tree and the ornaments brought back so many wonderful memories. Last year it happened when I put up The Whimsical White Tree and it made me smile every time I saw it. But this year, the days went by. And the days went by. And IT wasn't happening.

The grinchie-ness reached a peak when my boss came to me and said, "we need you to make graphics for 3 songs; the other plan isn't coming together (for the Christmas production)"

REALLY. Two days before dress rehearsal? I haven't been in on the production planning. I don't have a feel for it. I'm working on Jan-Feb events. I'm mentally already in 2012. Wasn't it enough I ordered fabric & made the curtains at the last minute? Gripe. Grunt. And Groan.

Production plans changed again. Now a background was only needed for one song and the director said just a text, maybe "King of Kings." Ok; some pressure relief.

I opened Photoshop. A white page stared back at me. King. Purple. Replaced the white with purple. Typed "King of Kings". Well, that should be an Old English font. Needs to be gold; bevel's starting to look like metal. I think I have another purple background with a crown of thorns on it. I like the contrast. Voila! 

Well, we can't just have one graphic for a whole song. How boring! Let's do....

 Prince of Peace naturally followed.

And by this time, all my years of making beautiful banners for praise & worship came flooding back. All the Word study, the symbolsim of colors and precious stones, the meanings behind His divine titles and the scriptures they're found in. It all came flooding back, inspiring me with creativity, giving me energy, and more followed....

Savior. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11

Him God has exalted to His right hand [to be] Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31

Paul says Jesus saves "to the uttermost" - meaning completely, perfectly saved in body, soul and spirit.

RedeemerFor I know my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. Job 19:25 [As for] our Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 47:4 

MY Redeemer - the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity not only paid my ranson, my debt, and saved me from eternal separation from God, but now lives in me. My Redeemer is...

Messiah: The Anointed One.  The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming who is called Christ. When He comes, He will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." John 4:25

He has come and He is coming again. Very soon, I feel. He's coming for me, my King, my Beloved, my Savior. And if you've asked him to be your Lord, He's coming for you, too.

Emmanuel. God With Us. He is WITH us, not against us!

And finally, Jesus. The name above every name. The name the angel announced before He was born, spoken 700 times in the New Testament. His name proclaims both WHO and WHAT He is.

By the end of the day, I created not just one graphic, but eight! It was one of the best days ever. I was bouncing off the walls. Just meditating on, being absorbed in and totally focused on Jesus had so refreshed my soul and lifted my spirit.

And what happened then...?

Well, in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day!
And then the true meaning of Christmas came through,
And the Grinch found the strength of ten two.

Merry Christmas
to anyone who might be reading this.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lovely Satin

My living room looked like Christo had been there. Draped in 32 yards of beautiful champagne colored crepe back satin.

It was an easy project. Just hem & make rod pockets for stage curtains. Not really an exciting blog story but I thought this picture was fun.
I still haven't gotten out any Christmas decorations! Oh my. I think Christmas should only come every 18 months.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Decorating!

Time to get out the stuff!

 It's that season...

 Wait...what's he doing here?

 This guy I can understand. He usually shows up on tv this time of year.

 Yeah, these little guys turn up, too.

Ok, I confess. This isn't my house. Like, you know, everyone has a carousel in their living room.

These are pictures from my church's children's building.

Volunteers came in Saturday and transformed it into a colorful world of Christmas fun!

 I'm not too sure about this next guy. He looks kinda mean. Maybe he's just impish.

You know what? I bet it's the RED m&m's that have all the calories!

Tomorrow, it's time to transform my house. Mickey won't be there but I do have some other whimsical characters who wander out of the attic at Christmastime.