Positive conversations with old and new friends. I'd love for you to join me on my back porch.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Mary and Martha or Vi and Judy

I read again about Mary and Martha and started thinking about my life. Grandmother Lutz had a sister Judy Hudson. Grandmother raised two boys. She was the more practical sister. She worked hard being a mother, weaving, helping with the war effort and she was active in her church. She touched my heart in many ways. Once when I was in high school, I was selected to attend a woman's conference as a youth representative. My grandmother decided to attend the event because she knew I'd be there. It was so fun to take one of the same classes about women in the Bible.

My aunt was never blessed with children. She and her husband were always around though. Aunt Judy loved to entertain, and she usually hired a couple of people to come cook and serve at dinner parties both small and large. Aunt Judy loved to tell stories and she wanted everybody to feel comfortable in her home.

Grandmother focused on the details and Aunt Judy focused on the people in her house at the moment. Sisters.

Mary focused on being with Jesus. Martha focused on the food and house. Sisters.

Recently, we hosted thirty people at her home for Christmas. These people work with Tim, and we decided to hire caterers. I've never done this before, and now I'm hooked. I deep cleaned my home before the party. It was also decorated for Christmas. I was ready and the caterers showed up. Once our company arrived, I was able to greet each person and have enjoyable conversations with them. We had games and handed out presents. In the past, I've tended to burn the rolls or made some mistake with food because I'm torn between interacting with my company and preparing the food. I always want you to feel welcome in my home and it's a juggling act. The wonderful caterers made it possible for me to be Martha/Vi before the party and Mary/Judy during the party.

When it comes to spending time with God, I want to be Mary. I can't have caterers 24/7 taking care of all the little details of my life so I have more time to spend in God's presence. I must CHOOSE what's most important. I must be Mary. Soaking in Jesus and sharing Jesus with others.

Luke 9:62 says, " Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”"

It's fun watching these two grow up. I wonder if one will be Mary and one Martha. Or will they find a good balance?

I hope in the coming year to be more intentional about spending time with God. How about you? How do you make God a priority in your daily life?

Sunday, December 24, 2017


I've always thought of angels when hearing the word behold.

Last week our pastor, Steve Fairchild, preached on the word behold. I started thinking about this word.

Merriam-Webster defines behold like this:

1 : to perceive through sight or apprehension : see
2 : to gaze upon : observe It was a pleasure to behold the beauty of the sunset. The enormous crowd was a sight to behold.

When God uses behold in the Bible, he's trying to get our attention. It's not just a fluff word. Pastor Fairchild suggested when we see the word behold in the Bible, we need to stop, listen, pay attention and look at what God wants us to see.

Luke 1:26-31

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed[b] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

Matthew 1:20 says, " But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."

John 1:29 says, "The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Luke 2:10 says, "And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

Good news and great joy! How awesome is that? I hope your Christmas is full of great joy! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Brookgreen Gardens Nights of a Thousand Candles

Last year was the first I'd heard of Nights of a Thousand Candles. By the time I came down to South Carolina for Christmas, I'd missed the event. So, Tim and I made sure to get our tickets early for the 2017 event.

We've been to other Christmas light shows in Georgia and Kentucky and we thought we knew what to expect. However Brookgreen Gardens was unique. This event was very well organized. We had volunteers directing us where to park. There was a dinner tent and two concert tents. We saw many of the thousand candles being lit. At Brookgreen you don't ride in a golf cart or your car. You walk through the gardens and experience the lights.

In addition to lights, we got to see a train display and a Christmas village.

We ended the night drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas music performed by the Paul Grimshaw Band and Vocal Edition. As we continue to enjoy our new life in South Carolina, we're going to make Brookgreen Gardens a new Christmas tradition.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Details Part Two

Last week I shared about Philip Simmons creating over five hundred wrought iron pieces in Charleston, South Carolina.

Philip Simmons was born on June 9. 1912 and became an apprentice blacksmith at the age of twelve. He learned the trade from a man who was the grandson of slaves and had himself learned the skill from his family. He spent seventy-eight years working as a blacksmith. He died in 2009 at the age of ninety-seven. He knew the meaning of hard work, and Charleston is better for his work ethic.

Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..."

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's In the Details

Are you a detail person? Do you want everything in your home to look perfect? Cute knickknacks? Are they season appropriate? Do you have decorations for every holiday? You might be a detail person.

On a recent trip to Charleston, SC, I noticed so many extra touches homeowners made to their houses that made them pop. Ironwork doors and gates caught my attention. I did a little research on the wrought iron pieces on display throughout Charleston and discovered a man by the name of Philip Simmons is responsible for over five hundred of these amazing pieces.

Today I'd like to share a few with you. I spotted these while walking around Charleston. They are not all by Philip Simmons, but I thought they were pretty.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Today is the beginning of the Christmas season. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus.

Isiah 11:1-10 says:

1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— 3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5 Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. 6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.

I'd like to challenge us all to not forget what Christmas is all about. Let's keep our focus on Jesus.

What special things do you do during Advent to focus on Christ's birth?

Friday, December 1, 2017

Life Without God is Senseless

In Psalm 127, King Solomon warns us that life without God is senseless.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

As I dove deeper into Psalm 127, it occurred to me everything we do is senseless without God. Big and small. Homes, families, careers and places we choose to live. None of it makes sense if God's is not part of our plans. Our work is in vain if God is not our foundation.

God sent Jesus at Christmas to save us from our sins. It seems like a good season to consider if God is our true foundation. I'd love to hear how you keep your focus on Jesus in the days leading up to Christmas.


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