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Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Today ends November—the month of counting blessings. It’s interesting—from a human point of view—that we set Thanksgiving at the end of our calendar year and just before Christmas.

November is just at the end of the harvest season in the Northern Hemisphere. Here abundance is emphasized. The crops are in. The pantry is stocked and the freezer is full. We face the cold winter months (cold is relative here in California) but we face them at this point in the calendar from the perspective of plenty.

One more month in the year. Some of us look at the calendar and wonder where the year went. What moments slipped by without our even noticing? What things could we have accomplished but didn’t?


...the year is not over. We still have a whole, entire, fresh and vibrant month left in 2011. And in that month, we have the best and most wonderful celebration in the history of the universe: the celebration of God setting aside his divinity and becoming human for our sake.
As we count our blessings this month, we count the past and thank Jesus for his earthly life that made our eternal lives with him possible.
And we count the future for the time of celebration—on December 25 and in the life to come with Him.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your blessings, too many to count. Thank you for the blessings you give us that are beyond our comprehension; blessings that would defy our capacity to understand. Help us to see more of your blessings each day. We thank you for them. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What are you counting?

Monday, November 28, 2011


Baby girl is back at college. Back to her routine that ends on December 17 when she receives her BS in Physics. Back to her routine that ends December 30 when she receives her MRS with Kyle.

I miss her again and still. Miss the little girl she was for those few seconds. Miss the grown-up woman she is now.

But the countdown to the wedding keeps tick-tocking along. Thirty-two days left. Seems like so much has been done already. Yet my 5-page "list of things to do" contains enough things to fill up 32 days several times.

Last minute things, like:

  • All the grocery shopping
  • All the cooking
  • 38 tablecloths and 150 napkins to be ironed
  • 150 water goblets to be washed and packed 
  • 200 drink glasses to be washed and packed 
  • 150 champagne flutes to be washed and packed
  • 150 plates to be washed and packed
  • 600 knives, forks and spoons to be washed and packed
  • Platters. bowls, chafing dishes and serving spoons to be washed and packed
  • Several million crystal beads to be glued onto several dozen birch branches--oh, yeah!

Oh, and isn’t Christmas in there some place? Yep, and Mom’s birthday, hubs and my anniversary, a couple of Christmas parties and at least a cursory "happy graduation" whing-ding.

Praising God for time management!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us to enjoy the moments of celebration rather than being caught up in the "have-to’s" of preparation. Thank you for time and planning but help us to rely on your guidance in all things. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Are you a list maker?

Friday, November 25, 2011


Yesterday was our official day of thanksgiving, but every day is a day to be thankful.

After yesterday’s feast, here are some more things to be thankful for.

Heat and toss storage containers
Roasting ovens that cook a 22-pound turkey in under 2 hours
Non-stick pans and electric knives
Refrigerator space
Elastic waist, stretchy pants and baggy shirts

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for your abundance. As we continue to feast on yesterday’s leftovers, we ask you to watch over those who have no food. Please also pursue the hearts of people who are starving for your love. Be with them in Jesus’ name. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What are you thankful for the day after Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


This month the CW has selected the theme of “nine” as the topic. Please go to the links on the right side of the page and see what my friends have to say about the number nine. 


Did you read my post on November 9? [Timely Blessings] There I explain that—even though November is the 11th month in our Gregorian calendar—its name “novem” means nine because originally, November was the ninth month on the year.  

For me, the word “novem” is all about math. And math reminds me of Jesus. 

When we read scripture, we see the same numbers come up again and again—40 as in the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in the desert; the 40 years the Jews wandered the desert. 

We also see 12s—the 12 tribes of Israel; the 12 disciples; 12 pearly gates; 12 foundations of New Jerusalem.  

Threes, of course, are vital theologically because God is God in three persons—the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit; along with the three days of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. 

Then there’s the number seven. Seven means perfection.

When God created heaven and earth, He took six days and then rested on the seventh. John’s Book of Revelation shows us God’s 7 churches in Asia, 7 spirits before His throne, 7 golden lamp stands, 7 stars that are the seven angels of the 7 churches, 7 trumpets, 7 seals, the Lamb with 7 horns and 7 eyes, 7 plagues, 7 golden bowls filled with the wrath of God.  

Revelation also tells us that the sign of the beast is 666. In Hebrew tradition, because seven is perfection, the number six often refers to anything that falls short of perfection. Like man.  

The number 666 in Revelation is humanity’s number. Is the number six used three times for the sign of the beast to correlate with our falling short of each person in the Trinity? And Satan’s falling short of his creator?  

Why am I talking about six and seven when the theme for November is nine? 

Because of the “new math.” 

When Jesus became the blood sacrifice that made us acceptable to God, the number of the beast was washed from our foreheads. Although we are still one less than God’s perfection, we are no longer marked as sixes. We now belong to Him.

Under the new covenant, Jesus—our heavenly math teacher—gives us new math:

The Trinity                               3

Plus Humanity’s number      6 

Equals                                      9

Math is good.  

Even though November is no longer the ninth month in our modern calendar, each November I’ll still be reminded about the meaning of the month and the number 9. And that’ll remind me to praise God for Jesus’ new math that includes you and me.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, we know that your scripture is full of symbolism and that no one but you is perfect. We recognize that we fall short of your glory in so many ways. Thank you, Jesus for being our sacrifice that washes away the mark of the beast and allows us to join your perfect family. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Want to share another important numerical reference from scripture?

Monday, November 21, 2011


Forty days to wedding day. Three days until Thanksgiving. Five days until Nicole’s shower.

Minus 2 days until Nicole and Kyle have come home for Thanksgiving break.

Every year I give thanks for God’s blessings; most especially this family He has graced me with. This year will be the last year our family of four remains four. Next year, our family will be five plus Kyle’s family, who will be joined to ours through marriage.

That will be more thankfulness. But for this year, I thank God for His blessing me with a fabulous husband and two wonderful kids. I didn’t deserve them. I never will. But by God’s grace and excessive generosity, He gave them to me anyway.

So I will spend the next three days thanking God for family. Then I’ll pack up the roasting pan and the extra turkey napkins; pull out the pink plates, dip the strawberries and praise God for the next phase in the wedding countdown: the wedding shower.

It’s raining blessings!

PRAYER: Thank you, Heavenly Father for showering us with the blessings of family and time together to celebrate our love for each other, based on our love for you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Any special preparations happening at your house this Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011


What does November smell like?

In my house, November smells like cinnamon pinecones because there’s no way I can wait until December to buy them.

In my house, November smells like pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread and pumpkin bars. That means it actually smells like nutmeg, ginger, clove and cinnamon.

In my house, November smells like dusty boxes—the ones that are beginning to make their way out from the closet underneath the stairs and fill the corners of the family room. In a week, the boxes will be open, the tree will be up, the lights will be on, and Mannheim Steamroller will be giving us its lively rendition of Christmas carols we can tap our feet to but can’t sing along with.

Inside, those boxes smell like pine spray and oh, look! Last year’s cinnamon pinecones!

This year, November in my house also smells like vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, and lavender—scents nestled in a giant box, tied with thank you ribbons, waiting for my daughter’s bridal shower in one week.

I’m still looking. If I can find some, I’ll add cinnamon to the box, too.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us so many ways to experience this wonderful world. Liven our senses to experience even more of your glory through the sights, sounds and smells of this harvest season. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What does your house in November smell like?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


This month the theme of the Christian Writers blog chain is "nine" because the meaning of November ("novem") is nine. Please go to the posts listed in the right column and follow along with what my friends at have to say about "nine."

Spot, the Wonder Cat was 20 years old. At least.

He arrived on our patio in 1992, fully grown.

He wandered away from our front yard on October 24, 2011—ancient and listless. We haven’t seen him since. I like to imagine he’s meandering in the nearby field in search of mice, having adventures and stretching sinuously in the sunshine.

I’m not sure if Spot was on his first life or his ninth. But I am sure he lived each day to the kitty fullest.

Spot was my writing buddy. He followed me upstairs every morning and climbed onto the window sill over my desk. He commented on my plots, assessed my research and moaned at my third-grade humor. I miss him.

During one of my book writing breaks many years ago, I wrote this poem to Spot. My daughter always said it was the best thing I’d ever written.

Thanks, Nicole. Spot—I hope you like it, too.

Kitten sitting in a window.
Eyes like slits.
Whiskers twitch.
Gentle motor starts up slow
Singing to the world below.

Oh, to know such kitten pleasure.
Pink foot curls.
One ear twirls.
Dream the kitty dreams you treasure.
Live the kitty life of leisure.

What does every kitten cherish?
Sleep and dream?
Hunt and scheme?
Listen quick to sounds that vanish!
Did you see it? Small and brownish?

Now you have an anxious thought—
Sitting still.
Watching skill.
Spy it now! With swinging swat
Pounce with sharpened claws. 
Mouse caught!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for our lives. Thank you for this life we have here on earth and thank you for our eternal life we will have with you. Please help us live this life in a way that is pleasing to you. Help us enjoy all the earthly blessings that make life here a small glimpse of heaven, including enjoying the companionship of all your creatures—great and small. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Share a story about your pet.



Monday, November 14, 2011


Forty-seven days until the wedding. That’s less than half of 100. Does it send me into spiraling stress over all the things left undone? Not even a bit.  

In answer to the question so many of you have asked: No I have not found the M.O.B. (mother of the bride) dress. But I’ve still got 47 days to find one, right? 

Undaunted, I remain committed to not being the guest who looks like part of the cleanup crew. No offense to the cleanup crew. In fact you guys in those spiffy burgundy aprons I picked out might look better than I’m imagining myself at this point. 

Yes, the bride is supposed to be the focus. And she will be, beautiful as she always is; more beautiful on December 30.  

But I’d like for one or two people to say, “Oh, Nicole looks so much like you” even if just one more time. 

So, after the dress…on to finding the shoes. Ouch!  

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for it all—the busy-ness, the joy, the gotta-do’s—everything; because everything in this world is yours. And it is good. Help us to do it all for your glory. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Any suggestions for formal footwear based on your own experience?

Friday, November 11, 2011


As part of my ongoing ministry to provide a way for us to pray for our loved ones, today I offer you four more names, their meaning and ways you can pray for people who have those names.

These names will be added to the burgeoning list of names and prayers, found on the PRAYING NAMES page of this blog.

Go to the tab, titled “PRAYING NAMES” to find prayers for your loved ones.

If a name is not there, please leave a comment here with names you would like me to research and create prayers for.


Daphne: laurel tree

Heavenly Father, I pray that Daphne will live her name. I pray that, like the aromatic, ever green laurel tree, she will be a sweet fragrance to those around her. I pray that her faith will be ever fresh and always green—sprouting off shoots to encourage others in their faith. I pray that she will remember the laurel wreaths given to winners of Olympic games—and be victorious through Christ. 

Dorothy: gift of God 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Dorothy will live her name. I pray that she will recognize that she is a gift from God to the world and will live an example of a godly woman to others. I pray also that she will live her life in acceptance of the greatest gift from God—salvation through Jesus. Amen.

Lyle: island  

Heavenly Father, I pray that Lyle will live his name. I pray that he will be a place of safety and rest for those around him needing respite from the seas of life. I pray that his name will remind him that although we must live our lives as a separate island one from each other, we are never separated from the love of God. Amen.

Walter, Walt: commander of the army; powerful warrior 

Heavenly Father, I pray that Walter will live his name. I pray that he will live as a powerful warrior for Christ. I pray that he will remember that you are the eternal, heavenly commander of his life and of your divine army, but that you will use him in a strong way in your fight against evil. Amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


"November" means "ninth month." 

Wait a minute. November is the eleventh month in the calendar.

Yes. But it was originally the ninth month when the Roman calendar—from which our present calendar grew—was created.

Way back when, folks didn’t recognize Earth’s position in the solar system. Early calendars were therefore based on the moon’s position in the night sky. One full moon to the next full moon cycled at approximately 29 days. Twenty-nine days equaled one month.

In 753 BC, the Romulus (Roman) calendar contained ten months and a total of 304 days. The year began with the spring equinox generally in March and included 60 days of winter that were not officially part of any month.

Fairly messy calendar, that.

This is what the Romulus calendar looked like:

Martius: We pronounce it March
Aprili: We pronounce it April
Maius: We pronounce it May
Iunius: We pronounce it June
Quintilis: quint means five; this was the fifth month
Sextilis: sext means six; this was the sixth month
September: sept means seven; this was the seventh month
October: oct means eight; this was the eighth month
November: novem means nine; this was the ninth month
December: dec means ten; this was the tenth month

Plus 60 days of winter, sitting all alone and lonely

About 50 years later, Roman King Numa Pompillus added January and February to the calendar and made the year equal 354 days. By sticking January and February at the beginning of the calendar, the names of the months, based on their numerical meaning no longer correlated to their position in the calendar. But the names were kept anyway.

Because, who likes change…really?

Politicians do. And those Roman politicians lengthened and shortened the calendar at will to affect their term of office.

Until the first century B.C., when Julius Caesar began to overhaul the calendar to avoid those political shenanigans. Augustus Caesar finished the overhaul. The month of Quintilis was therefore renamed Iulius (July) in honor of Julius Caesar and Sextilis was renamed Augustus (August) in honor of Augustus Caesar.

This new Julian calendar was based on astronomy rather than a lunar cycle. It thus had a regular year of 365 days with a leap day added to February every 4 years.

That calendar was used until 1582 A.D. when Pope Gregory XIII endorsed a new calendar (ours, the "Gregorian calendar") to take into account 11 minutes per year that the Julian calendar became out of alignment with astronomy. Although 11 minutes per day doesn’t seem like much, it adds up to one day every 134 years.

Maybe you didn’t realize the month of November was named because it was originally the ninth month of the year. Maybe you didn’t care. Or still don’t. But if anyone ever asks, now you know that originally November was the ninth month of the Romulus calendar.

November is also the month in America when we are reminded to be thankful for our blessings. I’m thankful that somebody else is in charge of figuring out our calendar.

More than that, I’m grateful for a God who knows we need times and seasons. And so right there on Day Four when God was creating the universe, He thought of us and created our solar system so we could have our handy calendars. And before that, on Day One, He created time itself.

PRAYER: Thank you, Heavenly Father for time and for creating ways for us to track the minutes, days, years and seasons you have blessed us with on this earth.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What little known fact do you know about the month of November?

Monday, November 7, 2011


It seemed like plenty of time—15 months. Certainly long enough to plan and execute a wedding for under 200 guests. Extra time even.
Fifteen months gave us the luxury of winding through an entire year’s worth of holidays and celebrations; enabling us—should we wish; and we didn’t—to purchase extra heart shaped candies on Valentine’s Day, fizzly sparklers on July 4, and red wax lips on Halloween.

We did wish to participate in two—really two?—after-Christmas sales for glitter covered snowflakes, twinkly white light strings, and crystal champagne flutes.  

But here it is the November 7. Fifty-five days of preparation left. Fifty-five days until I spend the evening—Kleenex in hand—watching my daughter take the hand of her new husband. 

What was it I wrote about in my last blog post? Something about not despairing over lack of time? Guess I’d better go read it again.  

The wedding dress is bought and altered. The decorations are organized. The set up instructions are revised, printed and awaiting lamination (you knew they’d be, didn’t you?). The menu is set and the shopping list is compiling. The tuxes are ordered. The trial hair appointment is scheduled and anticipation is in the air. 

I suppose I can no longer avoid it. It’s time. Time to suck it up and suck it in.

Yep. Time to shop for my dress. <sigh> Fifteen months is never enough time for that.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us not worry too much about what we will eat or what we will wear. Remind us of the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. Remind us that in all areas of our lives, the important thing is that you love and care for us. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? When was the last time you felt like there wasn’t enough time?

Friday, November 4, 2011


As we begin November, we are reminded that this year is coming to an end. Yes, we still have two months left; 58 days left including today. Plenty of time to get plenty of things done.

Still, our human minds look at all the pages of our calendar now on the left-hand side; just one more page to turn and 2011 will be over.

It’s not time to despair over time lost. Rather, it’s time to think about what we can accomplish with what time we have left. It’s God-given time and it can be God-blessed time if we consecrate it and our part in it to Him.

And then we can take it one step further. What can we accomplish for God with the time we have left on this earth?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the time you’ve given us. Help us to use it wisely and for your glory. Amen. 

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What one thing would you like to accomplish before your 2011 calendar expires? What one thing do you intend to do today to work toward accomplishing that?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Each month has a birthstone. The birthstone for November is the topaz. But each month also has a birth flower; some months have two. Overwhelmingly, the birth flower for November is the chrysanthemum. And it reminds me of Jesus.

The chrysanthemum is a member of the daisy family. Remember plucking the petals from a daisy and singing: “He loves me. He loves me not”?

With Jesus, the answer is always, “He loves me.”

The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China 15 centuries before Christ as a flowering herb. The flowers can be boiled to make a sweet tea. According to eastern medicine, drinking this tea improves blood flow, reduces varicose veins and treats influenza.

Tea or no tea, Jesus is the Great Physician, both for our physical health and our spiritual well being.

The chrysanthemum was originally golden in color. It became a symbol of the sun. Jesus is not the “sun,” but the Son.

The chrysanthemum flower symbolizes long life, joy, optimism and fidelity.  In Japan, the chrysanthemum’s orderly petals represent perfection. Like Jesus.

Happy birthday to everyone born in the month of November!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the abundant variety of life on this earth. Thank you for creating flowers that bloom each and every month of the year so that we are never without a delightful bouquet of love from you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? What do you think of when you see chrysanthemums? Mother’s Day? Garden plants? Foil-wrapped pots on window sills?

Here are the links to previous posts about birth flowers of the month:

June - the rose
July - Larkspurs and Lillies
August - Gladiolas and Poppies
September - Asters and Morning Glories
October - the Marigold