A candle in a dark world

manger scene
manger scene
Source: Pinterest

Tonight is Christmas Eve. I just went to our church’s Christmas Eve service. It was beautiful. 

The church sanctuary was decorated for Christmas with soft colored lights and a Christmas tree. We celebrated the Lord’s Supper (communion), partaking of the bread and wine (grape juice in our church!) that represents the broken body and the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice of Love for us on the Cross over 2,000 years ago.

communion
communion
Source: http://images.wisegeek.com/communion-bread-and-wine.jpg

At the end of the service, everyone gathered in a circle holding white candles and Pastor Jeff lit his white candle first. He then lit the candles on either side of him, and everyone lit their neighbor’s candle until all were lit.

This was symbolic of Jesus Christ being the light of the world and how we are His ambassadors and are to share that Light and Love with others in a lost and dying world.

When I left to go home, one of the elders offered to take my candle, but I asked politely if I could keep it. If he had said no, we might have had a wrestling match right then and there, LOL! I was determined to keep this candle for tomorrow, when our kids and grandkids are coming over for our family Christmas lunch. I plan to light it before we eat, explaining about Jesus’ light and how we’re to be His vessels of Light here on earth–a candle in a dark world!

white candle from church
white candle from church

I pray you are having a blessed, happy Christmas Eve with your family and friends. I’m very excited about having our kids and grandkids over here tomorrow for Christmas lunch to celebrate and open their presents.  

Since my husband Ray is in Texas right now after his stepfather Leonard’s death this week to support and help his mom, our family is having a non-traditional dinner, and are ordering Chinese food! It will be so fun.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”–John 8:12

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”–Matthew 5:14-16

I pray

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Star Wars movie and VIP Writers’ Day

I hope you had a blessed Christmas with your family and friends. We had all our children and grandchildren over for Christmas Eve dinner here at our house; on Christmas Eve, Ray, Heather and Leah traveled to Texas to visit Ray’s mom Judy and stepdad Leonard.

I didn’t go this time, but stayed home and prayed, ate Mexican, read, and watched chic flics…don’t you feel sorry for me, lol? I’ll try to post pics this week of our family Christmas together. 

One of the gifts I bought Ray for Christmas was tickets to see the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. He’s been talking about seeing it for weeks.

I also bought him a Star Wars, “The Force Awakens,” t-shirt (he wore it to see the movie today, too!). 

Ray in his Star Wars t-shirt
Ray in his Star Wars t-shirt

This isn’t a spoiler alert, but I’ll just say I thought the original Star Wars movie was MUCH better (aren’t they all?). But we had fun going out.

Ray & me at new Star Wars movie
Ray & me at new Star Wars movie
The Force Awakens

 

Ray & Leah at Star Wars movie The Force Awakens
Ray & Leah at Star Wars movie
The Force Awakens

I loved the white lights on the trees there at the shopping center. 

white lights on trees in the snow
white lights on trees in the snow
white lights on trees
white lights on trees

By the theatre the sidewalk had these words engraved: “May the force be with you.” I snapped a pic of Ray standing by the words. My prayer is that in 2016, the force of God’s power, authority, and anointing will be with and upon Ray! Amen!

Ray--May God's force be with you and upon you in 2016!
Ray–May God’s force be with you and upon you in 2016!

Are you ready for 2016?

Meanwhile, tomorrow I’m planning to go through our house and my office office, organizing, sorting, throwing away, and filing things to prepare for 2016.

Image by surasakiStock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image by surasakiStock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’m also gearing up with aspiring authors for my VIP Writers’ Day on January 5, 2016 at 10 a.m. Central Time. If you want 2016 to be your best, most productive writing year yet, join us!

If you can’t make the live virtual event, the call will be recorded and the replay emailed to you. I’m also offering a private Facebook group for writers for support and motivation, and a downloadable PDF with a list of the resources I’ve personally used to write my 10 books. To learn more, just click here.

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random thoughts

www.lightstock.com
www.lightstock.com

I hope you had a blessed Christmas with family & friends. I had one of the best, most peaceful ones I’ve had in a long time!  

This year we had our family Christmas dinner at our oldest daughter Heather’s house. Everyone brought a cooked dish (instead of me cooking everything and hosting it at our house!): Ray’s infamous holiday ham that our kids always request at Thanksgiving and Christmas, my sweet potato casserole, Heather’s green bean casserole, Eden’s creamy mashed potatoes, and apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream. We opened gifts Christmas Eve with our kids and grandkids.  It always makes me happy to see them open presents. 

The best gift of all is Jesus and my precious family.

I am eating too much lately, and Ray buying me delicious chocolate-covered cashews for my Christmas stocking, with other candy bars, doesn’t help. They are addictive. 🙂

chocolate covered cashews
chocolate covered cashews

I’ll have to do a detox to start off the new year. I have a recipe that I found online:

  • 1/2 cup pineapple
  • 2 large cucumbers
  • 1 bunch kale without the stems (4 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/4 inch ginger
  • 1 bunch mint (1 1/2 cups). Blend together.  

Are you excited about 2015? Personally, I’m so glad that 2014 is almost over. It was a hard, challenging year.

God showed me ahead of time before 2014 hit that it would be hard, and a friend confirmed that when she was praying for me at the end of 2013. But she encouraged me God would strengthen me through it. And He did.

I believe I obeyed what God told me to do and as a result of that, it was a fruitful, productive year. I hope that I’ll obey Him as well in 2015.

Valorie Burton
Valorie Burton

In speaker/author Valorie Burton‘s ezine today, she wrote: “Every year, we are bombarded with “Year in Review” headlines. The best dressed, the top songs, and most fascinating people of theyear. But I like to do my own “Year in Review,” a self-reflective recap that helps me see how much richer I am at the close of another year. “Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold,” Proverbs 3:13-14. So at the end of eachyear, you ought to find yourself a little richer. Whether you view the experiences you’ve had this year as good or bad, each one offers an opportunity to become richer in wisdom and head into the New Year better prepared than ever to live wisely and be resilient.”

She then asked what you learned in 2014. I think it’s very important to reflect back on your year at the end of each year. See what went well and what didn’t. What you learned. What mistakes you made.

What successes and accomplishments you achieved. How you grew.

What things you checked off on your bucket list. You do have a bucket list, don’t you? If not, then start it today!

Maybe one thing on your bucket list is to write Morning Pages. While I don’t agree with all Jennifer Blanchard or Julia Cameron say, Jennifer writes about the benefits of Morning Pages in her post here.

Or maybe in 2015 you want to write a fiction book (my client and friend Dana Arcuri just wrote the first chapter of her fiction book, whoo hoo!). Start writing!

One thing I am doing is decluttering: going through my email inbox, closets, and drawers. Making room for the new.

I believe God has shown me that 2015 is a pivotal year (of crucial importance) for me and His people.

Do you have your “one word”, your “theme,” and/or your scripture for 2015? I encourage you to pray, asking for His protection, wisdom, and blessings in 2015 over your and your family and loved ones.

I’m taking the next few days to just pray and get God’s wisdom and direction for 2015.

Do you have your yearly planner/calendar yet?

I found one at Walmart with these beautiful yellow daisies on the front cover and this scripture, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” (Exodus 33:14)

Vision Publishers planner/calendar
Vision Publishers planner/calenar

We don’t know what the year ahead holds. Let’s approach it prayerfully and with an open, trusting, faith-filled heart. Sometimes God does unexpected things in our lives.

An entrepreneur friend of mine recently took time out to fill out her yearly calendar, scheduling teleseminars, local live events, and quarterly coaching programs, and was so excited about these plans…then she was hired for a J-O-B she’d applied for (outside the home, due to financial pressures). I believe the J-O-B is just temporary. Sometimes for a season we may do something that we don’t want to do, but God has us there for a reason for His unseen purposes and glory. 

Sometimes we are shaken. Right now my father is experiencing health issues. He’s been fainting. His diagnosis: syncope (fainting), which may be caused by irregular heart beat or blood flow.

 Last year he had a 92% blockage in his aorta, and this year he had a 83% blockage in his aorta. They just put in 3 stents and did an angioplasty. This past week after he returned home, he fainted at dinner time, and had to be taken back to the hospital. He was just released yesterday. 

Here is a picture of me with my dad several years ago.

Daddy and me, Valdosta, GA
Daddy and me, Valdosta, GA, a couple of years ago

It’s unsettling when your parents are aging and/or have health issues. It’s an acute reminder of your own aging and mortality. None of us like to think about these kinds of things, especially around Christmas time when it’s supposed to be fun and full of joy. But these things are part of this drama called life.

I saw a sign in town today which read, “Collect moments, not things.” Wise words. Make precious memories with those you love. Never taken anyone or any day for granted.

And enjoy it, and use our gifts for God’s and others’ joy. For Christmas, one of the gifts our daughter Leah requested was watercolor paints. She is an amazing graphic artist, but wanted to try her hand at watercolors.

This week she painted a sun and blue mountains picture. I think it is beautiful and am going to frame it and hang it up on a wall.

Copyright 2014 Leah Jones
Copyright 2014 Leah Jones

One of the gifts I received, that I’d requested from Ray and our daughters, was a Blue Snowball mic to make better audio quality podcasts, webinars, telecalls, etc. Ray said, “It’s a strange looking thing.” But I’m so happy I got it!

You can subscribe to my podcast here at Itunes. The “No Place For” podcast series from Galatians 5 is wrapping up soon.

me and Snowball mic
me and Snowball mic

 I’m also booking speaking engagements for 2015 and 2016. You can contact me here if you’d like me to speak at your event, or know someone who needs a speaker.  I love encouraging women to fulfill their purpose and use their gifts. I will go wherever God wants me to go. 

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Our daughter Heather bought me the Cinderella glass slipper that I saw and asked for, to use as a visual aid when I speak at conferences in 2015. (My signature talk is The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes about women walking in their unique purpose.) You can see the glass slipper on the right in the pic below. 

Glass slipper
Glass slipper

This post was just some random thoughts.

me - 2014
me -2014

 I want you to know how much I appreciate you. Thank you for coming by my website and joining me on this wonderful, sometimes scary and uncertain, but always adventurous journey called life.

I’m looking forward to seeing the great things God will do in 2015. He is good. He is worthy to be praised.

I’d love to hear how your year went and what your plans are for 2015. Leave your comments below.

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