Thursday, December 18, 2008

Long time...

Apparently I am horrid when it comes to posting. The problem is, I never can really latch onto a subject I deem worthy of writing about.

Please forgive me if you've been checking this blog hoping to find something new for weeks now, only to be disappointed... or maybe you've stopped checking; how sad...

I have rediscovered the joy a candle can bring. Have you ever sat back to just enjoy a candle? (Yes, guys can do this too.) I have one on my desk at work (I only burn it when I'm going to be sitting at my desk for awhile, no runs to the closets or basement or anything - saftey first!) and it is wonderful. It has a nice subtle scent: something berry-ish, and sort of Christmas-y... maybe pomegranate something? I can't remember the exact name it had on the long-gone label. But, this evening as I waited for choir to begin, when I have to rush downstairs (in approximately 30 seconds from now) I have enjoyed this little pleasure in the warmth of my office. What a great little treat.

Pick up a candle, think about things, and check back soon. I may have thought up a little more from my candle-time to share. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Wonderful Thanksgiving is over... comes CHRISTMAS!!!!

I, personally, was jumping for joy as it started to snow on me when I was walking into church yesterday morning. Not outwardly, of course, that would make me look ridiculous. But inwardly, I was jumping higher than the moon.

Many of my friends, and most of the people I work with (not all, mind you, but most) wish the snow was over already - the plowing, the scraping, the brushing of snow off of cars. Well, I suppose there is one weekend in December for which they will allow and even pray for snow (and it isn't surrounding Christmas), but other than that, they wish it was closer to 90 degrees again. (no thanks, yuck.)

Of those people, many of them have no good excuse! They've grown up here, in the midwest, with crazy-long winters that linger forever (not my favorite, but not unexpected) and no excuse to behave like they came from Florida or California. But they do. You'd think they'd just moved here. oy. There are a couple who legitimately have that excuse (I know from the experience of watching my mom that although you may have lived in the midwest for several years, you never really get used to it if you grew up in a warmer climate), however, I just can't understand it.

It isn't that I enjoy being cold. I don't. I like to be warm & cozy. I enjoy it in the spring and summer when the sun is out and I can be outside alot. BUT: what better time to be bundled up in a blanket (coziest thing ever) than when there is snow outside and the temperature is around or just below freezing? Does a fire ever feel better than then? Does a cup of warm hot cocoa ever taste better? I think not. Plus, I just don't like it when you're uncomfortably warm and can't do anything about it. When it's cold you just get to add more comfy blankets and drink more delicious tea. It just makes me so happy! Add a good book into the mix, and I may never leave.

So, if you are one of those who are wishing it were June already, just let me give you this bit of advice. We're just at the beginning of winter (don't let that depress you). Don't be discouraged, don't be sad, or angry. Just give in to the wonders this season brings. I encourage you to look out your window at the branch of a tree covered in icicles and snow and look at the amazing designs - they are so delicate and so beautiful, and this is the time of year to take it in. You can't stare at snow in June, or even March* for that matter. Enjoy the snow while it lasts. Go sledding with family or friends. Curl up with a hot drink and a book. Spend some time thinking about the wonders of winter. It's a magical thing.

*I realize that last year, this was not entirely true. There was snow on Easter Sunday, in early April. But, really folks, that's not common, even here. So- take this for what it was meant to be, ok? ;)

(Did you find the secrets? It should please you, Haggis boy,
aka. Duggert...)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Christmas Tree?

Today as I was looking for a picture of a "whimsical, chunky Christmas tree" for some publications at work, I came across this item. I can hardly believe it even exists...and it made me wonder if anyone actually ever bought it. And, assuming since it's "out there" that someone did, I wonder how many bet is no more than 5. Have a look:

So, as you can see, this tree is "green," but not the color. And, really folks, does it even look like a tree??? Not unless you are looking at it in a modernist or maybe artist type of way, if at that. Sure, the shape is similar, but really?

Is this what you want to see in your home on December 25th?

No, I didn't think so.

This does NOT look like Christmas to me, and I've felt it was Christmas with a pure white tree, decorated with nothing but lemons, tied on with white bows, and (if I remember correctly) white mini lights (or no lights at all). That's artistic and different. That I can handle, even like. BUT, if you ask me, this wood thing (a plywood tree, I believe they called it, ugh) is just ridiculous!

When I saw it my reaction was, "huh?" followed quickly by "Really?? Oh, no way." In fact, it was actually a little frustrating after I'd been looking at it for far too long (about 7 minutes). Well, if you'd like to check out more about this green tree, feel free, but if I come to your house for Christmas and see that in your living room, I may just have to turn tail and run. This is Christmas folks, let's do it right.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I went on a retreat in Wisconsin this weekend, and it was a fabulous time. It was windy and quite cold, but very refreshing...and not just weather-wise. While others were getting frustrated at the tiniest bits of snow that could barely pass for air, I was excited. I love the smell of cold air. I love the smell of burning leaves. I love the smell of water (i.e. a lake). All of these things were present this weekend. PLUS, there was a good speaker who was encouraging and had some good insights and new perspectives on several ideas that were familiar to me. Some of these insights came from others who were on the reatreat with me. It was a good time of worship, reflection and communication with God.

I also had a fabulous time with friends - old and the only 'difficulty' is figuring out how to keep connecting with the new ones, as I didn't think to get anyone's email address or phone number...let's hope facebook can live up to it's growing reputation for connecting and reconnecting people! :) We were able to share the discussions after each session, worship time, as well as games, meals, and just sitting around talking and connecting with eachother.

I know this post isn't the most exciting or funny or have any kind of anecdote, but it is worth a lot, I think. Let it remind you to take a look around you and remember that those around you have a different (and worthy) perspective than you do. We all come from different 'places' in life - even if they may seem to be the same on the surface. These differences (which include thought processes, insights, and ideas that I may never think of on my own) can be very instrumental in guiding us on our personal road with God. I encourage you to allow Him to use you and to use those around you. And, that may mean someone you are only in contact with for 2 days ever in your whole life. That doesn't mean they can't be part of the growth process, and it doesn't mean it was a waste of time to talk to them or pray with them. You will see each other again in Heaven and be able to talk for ...well, pretty much as long as you could possibly want... catching up on what God did throughout the rest of your lives on Earth. That's something worth the effort.

How amazing those tales will be, and this past weekend, and these friendships - however short they may end up being - were a part of that journey.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So, as my last post could be perceived as negative, and I'm sorta having a rough day (still), I've decided to post some of the items that are scattered around my desk at work, which are supposed to help me be encouraged, and remember why I do what I do.

Some are verses, some are quotes, some are poems, some are thoughts...
Here it goes:

"But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, & the One Who lifts my head." Psalm 3:3

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love." 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14

If you remove the idea of God [i.e. there is no God] there is no reason to live.
monk in ... I can't remember where...Germany or Austria, maybe?)

If someone really knows God, there is no reason for disquiet.
(same blind monk.)

peace. it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. it means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. (unknown)

"Be still and know that He is God." Psalm 46:10 ("my" verse from my mom)

I follow a leadership blog from a former teacher/coach of mine (read it here) and there is a post about the magic of leading that I have printed and stuck on my bulletin board because it encourages and inspires me as I work through each day and circumstance.

I find encouragement that at work, every so often, people just drop absolutely everything in the middle of crazy times just to pray over someone or something that is going on. It is truly great to work with other believers. However, as I have not always had this in my life, I learned what it really means to pray without ceasing. I often find myself talking to God in my head (or even out loud) about whatever is in there.

every situation: good or bad. funny or sad. hard or easy. scary or just because. Trust me, talking to God "all the time" is easier than it sounds, and it helps you to realize that He really is there all the time with you. I leave you for now with one question to ask yourself constantly. I have it written in a place that I see everytime I leave or enter my desk area (which happens quite often in the course of a day).

Are you following His plan?
It's the best one there is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


or the lack thereof.

This will be very short, I promise.

Just wanted to state that there are some days where I lose hope. I feel utterly hopeless. It will never end, it will end too soon, it won't happen right, it can't be done, I'm not good enough to do it well, or maybe at all. I fear so many dumb things but no matter how much I tell myself they are dumb, I can't seem to shake the hopelessness. I know others feel this way as well, and thus, I know I'm not as alone as I feel. (You should take this as a good thing, because when you feel this way, now you know that you are not alone either.)

All I can think to do is pray. So...

...pray I shall...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Getting excited about...

Yes, I admit it.

I am already getting overly excited about Christmas. I smell the scent of burning leaves (prompting the desire for fires in the fireplace), the crisp fall air (yay!- although some would simply say "cold"), and wake up freezing in the morning because I have left my window open overnight. I have been fighting the very strong urge to listen to Christmas music all the time. Not just one or two songs here or there, but to indulge in the joys of listening to it and (almost) nothing else. Not quite there, but almost.

Wow. I think I may have a problem.

In fact, tonight as I was trying to decide what movie to put on while I was cleaning my house, I seriously contemplated putting on the VHS tape with all the children's Christmas movies that I love so much.

Well, I talked myself out of that, and ended up watching something that was on...while I figured out how to start my "automatic" gas fireplace. (I had to cave into something!) It was fabulous! Never having had a gas fireplace before (shoot me, I've had real ones, where you actually use wood), it was quite interesting. I was actually a little afraid to light a match near it (it is gas, which is extremely flammable, in case you were wondering), but didn't really know what else to do. So, I turned on the gas, hoping it was actually as low as I thought it was, and proceeded to light a match. Whoosh! Flames! Ah! However, they were not as big as I feared, and (as this thing is obviously designed for this) it immediately calmed down and became a nice, warming, comforting fire. And yes, I cross-stich, crochet, & embroider while I sit by the fire.

And in case you were wondering, it seems that I am an 80-year old-woman. Who likes Christmas alot.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wondering is the beginning...

Today, as I sat in my office, I found myself wondering something: how could I feel so restless right now, in this time in my life? I am self-supported, doing well at work (today held a few instances that were definitely good), I have friends who care about me (& whether I drop off the face of the earth or not), and I am in relatively good health. Thus, my restless, anxious feeling - which I just cannot shake - begs the question: why??

Now, I readily admit that the good things at work today were not at all my own claim entirely. There were MANY people without whom, I could never have accomplished what I did. However, I did have a large part in it, and much of the responsibility was mine. And, I did well. Despite all this, and the positive comments that were made to me and about me, I still felt like I'd rather crawl into a dark hole and hide for awhile. I think I was fairly pleasant to those with whom I had interaction, and even can recall a few laughs throughout the day. Why then is there this restless, uncomfortable feeling?

I can only guess what is going on here. Either God is trying to teach me something, to prepare me for something in the future; or the devil is trying to disrupt everything and get in the way of me doing the best I can for my Lord. I'm pretty much hoping it's the first option (wouldn't you?).

SO, as I type this out, I see that I am no closer to knowing "why" than I was at 9:00 this morning, but I do know one thing: God is bigger than the boogie man, and He will win this battle I am fighting. That is the only way I have hope for tomorrow. And because of Him, I can rest easy, put my restlessness aside for the night, and have faith that He will show me the way... His time.

And I want to wake up "kicking and screaming", and lift my eyes to Him, and no one else.