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Monday, December 31, 2012


Today’s post will be short to reflect how quickly we whizzed through 2012. The good news is that we survived the Mayan end-of-the-world prediction. So no longer do we have an excuse for putting off those things we need to do.

Next year—tomorrow!—will be time to recall 2012 and think about the whole, brand new year stretching out ahead of us.

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 28, 2012


Each month I create prayers for people we love based on the meaning of their names. These additional names are then added to the ongoing list at the tab to the right titled, "PRAYING NAMES."

If you don’t find the name of your loved one listed, please leave a comment below. I’ll research it and create a prayer for a future month.

Amy: beloved

Heavenly Father, I pray that Amy will live the meaning of her name. I pray that she will understand your deep love for her and will see her worth through your eyes. Amen.

Joan: God is gracious

Heavenly Father, I pray that Joan will live the meaning of her name. I pray that she will understand and accept your grace, so freely given. I pray also that she will reflect your grace to others that they may see you through her life. Amen.

Roy: red

Heavenly Father, I pray that Roy will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will look upon Jesus as the source of his salvation through the shedding of Jesus’ lifeblood. I pray that when he thinks of his name, it will remind him always of Jesus’ precious gift to him and the world. Amen.

Thomas: twin

Heavenly Father, I pray that Thomas will live the meaning of his name. I pray that he will joyfully accept God’s twin gifts of grace and mercy and understand that accepting the gift of forgiveness means returning the gift to forgive others. Amen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


On Wednesdays I usually write on the Christian Writer blog chain’s monthly theme. This month it is "Colors, Sounds and Smells of December." But instead, I’m taking the opportunity to post an article that appeared this month on WEUSED2BU. Hopefully it will give you some thinking points as we close 2012 and enter the winter season.



A time of death celebrated as a time for rebirth

Bible historians say that the actual day of Jesus’ birth is not known. Some guess—based on astronomical events at the time in history—that Jesus was probably born in the springtime or summer. Other historians tell us the date of December 25 was selected to celebrate Jesus’ birth because a widely-observed pagan holiday occurred on that date and thus Christmas would already have a popular following on that date and the pagan focus could be diluted.

Whatever day was Jesus’ actual birth day, we celebrate it on December 25. Just days after we recognize the entrance into the earth’s dormant stage, we celebrate the way God brought new life to His people through Jesus. Winter—the day that recognizes the beginning of the earth’s dying cycle—so nicely coincides with the celebration of the birth of our savior, giving us a way for spiritual rebirth.

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 5:22)


An end of the old and the start of the new

God created time in the beginning; right there on day number four of creation.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years" (Genesis 1:14)

God knew we humans need time to mark the passage of our lives. And so we designed calendars based on God’s celestial timepieces and Earth’s place in the solar system. We live our lives marked by minutes, hours, days, months and years. And we give special importance to the ending of one year and the beginning of the next.

We end this calendar year and begin 2013 with a fresh, unblemished page on our calendars. We do so at a time of the year that we also celebrate Christmas—God’s miracle gift to us of His son, Jesus, who makes all things new.


The placement of a miracle

The miracle of Christmas represents our new life through Jesus. We observe it at the same time we observe the beginning of the Earth’s dying season. We observe it as we end one year and begin of the next. Thank you, Jesus for the reminder that life in you is always new, always alive, always a miracle.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Monday, December 24, 2012


It’s December and what a better way to get into the spirit of the Holy Season than with a Christmas carol sing along?

Sing along! Join in! Turn up the volume! Enjoy.

It’s a time for singing Christmas carols. For those of you who can’t get out to sing with a group, here’s Celtic Woman, singing, Oh Holy Night. The lyrics follow so you can sing along.

Oh, holy night, the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world, in sin and error pining
‘Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees.
Oh hear the angels voices.
Oh night divine.
Oh night when Christ was born.
Oh night divine.
Oh night, oh night divine


Friday, December 21, 2012


It’s time for another Christmas carol sing-along. This time it’s Third Day singing Oh Come, All Ye Faithful. Sing along! Join in! Turn up the volume! Enjoy.

Third day

Oh Come, All Ye Faithful

O come, all ye faithful,
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him,
Born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore him,
O come, let us adore him,
O Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.

God of God,
Light of Light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin's womb:
Very God,
Begotten, not created; Refrain

Sing, choirs of angels,
Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
Glory to God
In the highest; Refrain

See how the shepherds,
Summoned to his cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither
Bend our joyful footsteps; Refrain

Child, for us sinners
Poor and in the manger,
We would embrace thee, with love and awe;
Who would not live thee,
Loving us so dearly? Refrain

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing; Refrain

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme for December is "Christmas Sense: the Five Senses." Please click on the links in the right column and see what my friends have to say about our theme.

Our focus today is our sense of hearing because…it’s time for another Christmas carol sing-along; this time Celtic Thunder and Silent Night. Sing loud!

They start singing in Gaelic, but after the first time through they switch to English…just for you!

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm all is bright.
Round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar.
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.




Monday, December 17, 2012

The 10 + 1 Building Blocks Of Relationships: Encouragement

This is a guest post from Chris Vonada. Chris is an aspiring author and professional geologist, and also enjoys reading, running, anything outdoors, travel, family, friends, music and life! He writes about his passions at I’m Just Thinkin’ (  

Encouragement conveys a spirit of hope. Encouragement instills courage in those who receive our words of inspiration. It helps them feel capable, like they have something meaningful to contribute. This building block is another of the 10 + 1 that reaches far.

The Bible says we are to "Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Ephesians 4:29

I tend to thrive on inspiration and encouragement. I know that's a part of my personality, maybe it's the same for some of you as well. Where do I find inspiration? Well, in addition to receiving encouragement regularly from the people who are in my close circles, I also find it every day in God. A daily exercise of this comes through the devotional that I read.

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14

As I mentioned, the people in my life also help encourage me, and I try to reciprocate that effort. Want to be a regular force of encouragement in someone's life? Be their daily devotional. How? This, again, starts with understanding their needs. For most of us, there is something going on every day in our lives. Call it our focus or dilemma, we tend to have some area that has our attention or interest. Knowing what this is can be the key to offering valuable encouragement.

Encourage the act or activity that a person does, not necessarily the person. For example, encouragement would be to say "Congratulations, you've worked hard and earned that good grade!" when our child gets an "A" - as opposed to "I'm very proud of you for getting an A" - note the subtle difference in form... we're promoting the recipient of our kind words to go have at it again, giving them self confidence, instead of continually seeking approval, often the long-term result of the second expression, a praise.

Be strong and courageous... go forth and prosper! - CV

What words or actions do you find encouraging? How do you encourage others?
+ + +
Chris's new book is out and available for purchase. Common Ground...Geology Happens!  Check it out. I have my copy. Do you?

Friday, December 14, 2012


One of my favorite cyber friends is launching a new book. And lucky me—I’ve had a chance to read it already. And fall in love with it.

Nona Mae King’s Searching for Sara, is a historical romance about a young woman, overcoming grief and hardship to set upon a new life in a new country. Outwardly, Sara Little is timid and weak. But inwardly she is strong because she relies on God who has brought her through her trials and blessed her in the process.

When Sara meets the grieving widower, Christopher Lake and his 5-year old daughter, her strength is again tested as she tries to help him face and then move through his pain with God’s help and a mutual love of art.

King uses faith, prayer and artistic growth to masterfully create a story that is both memorable and stirring. King had me in tears a half dozen times as she let me experience what both Sara and Christopher were going through. I loved the characters’ simple breath prayers and their example of looking to God at any moment of the day, reminding us that—whatever our prayers—God can handle them.

Searching for Sarais a lovely and memorable read. It’s also the first in Ms. King’s latest series, Heart of the Blessed. At the front of the book, King has quoted the Beatitudes—Jesus’ blessings given during his Sermon on the Mount. In this first book in the series, King addresses Jesus’ blessings of the meek and those who mourn. I’m looking forward to seeing how she addresses each of the blessings in turn.

Lucky for us, King’s book has been launched just in time for Christmas. If you’re a little behind in your shopping, the book is available, not only in paperback, but also downloadable as an ebook in a variety of formats. Click on a links below and—voila—it’s a "Merry Christmas" for all your friends.


+ + +

Nona King is an independent writing professional for Angel Breath Books. She has dedicated herself to writing true-to-life characters, be they villain or hero, so her readers can experience life and its many passions. All her stories focus on faith, honor, and the importance of communication and trust in our relationships with others.

You can find this and other books by Nona King at these locations:
Fiction URL:
Blog URL:
Amazon Author:
Shelfari Author:
Barnes & Noble Author:
Goodreads Author:
Smashwords Author:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme for December is "Christmas Sense: the Five Senses." Please click on the links in the right column and see what my friends have to say about our theme.

When I was nine, Mom took me to the famous Podesta Baldocci florist in San Francisco. Each year in December, the florist shop created dazzling, fantasy Christmas trees and put them on display for lucky people like us to linger near, joyfully investigating the minutely amazing decorations that sprinkled and sparkled amidst the evergreen limbs.

That year, I saw a Victorian-themed Christmas tree, decked in white and pink. I had never seen anything more beautiful.

Since then I’ve had the chance to create my own memorable Christmas trees. And although I’ve never forgotten that beautiful pink and white tree at Podesta Baldocci, I’ve never created one for myself.

Because as beautiful as a pink and white tree is, nothing says Christmas like red and green.

  • RED—the color of Christ’s blood, shed for us, made possible by his becoming human for our sake.

  • GREEN—the color that represents fresh, new life in nature and thus reminds us of the new life we have in Christ.

Both of which became a reality at Jesus’ birth.

We humans love silver and gold tinsel. We love multi-colored twinkle lights outlining our roofs. And some of us even love pink and white Victorian decorations.

But, nothing can say Christmas like red and green. Because they remind us of Jesus.

PRAYER: Thank you God for color. We are so grateful for the enormous beauty you filled this world with. You have put color everywhere to delight our senses and remind us of you. Help us always be mindful of your glory whenever we see the colors of Christmas. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you go with a theme when you decorate for Christmas?

Monday, December 10, 2012


It’s December and what a better way to get into the spirit of the Holy Season than with a Christmas carol sing along? On selected days, I’ll post a youtube spot featuring a beloved Christmas carol, along with the lyrics. Let’s get the workweek started singing.

You can’t have Christmas without a Hallelujah Chorus sing along! Here’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Lyrics follow.

Sing along! Join in! Turn up the volume! Enjoy.

Hallelujah Chorus lyrics by Handel's Messiah

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!


The kingdom of this world
Is become the kingdom of our Lord,

And of His Christ, and of His Christ;

And He shall reign for ever and ever,
And He shall reign for ever and ever,

And He shall reign for ever and ever,

And He shall reign for ever and ever,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,

King of kings, and Lord of lords,

And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,

King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!

King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,

King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Friday, December 7, 2012


Although much of the historical background of Hanukkah, including the miracle of the oils is part of extra biblical Jewish sources, the following from the Apocropha in some of our Christian Bibles, relates the period of cleansing and rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem following it’s desecration by the Syrians. It is these scriptures which Christians can refer to for an understanding of the joyfulness of the Jewish Hanukkah celebration.

Although Hanukkah is often referred to as "the festival of lights," the original Hebrew meaning of the word is "to dedicate." It was the rededication of the temple in Jerusalem that was the focus of the early celebration. The rededication involved God’s miracle provision of the oil, which allowed the one-day supply of temple oil to burn for the entire eight days required to press, make ready and sanctify the new oil. Enjoy the reading.

The First Book of the Maccabees, Chapter 4

4:36 Then said Judas and his brethren, Behold, our enemies are
discomfited: let us go up to cleanse and dedicate the sanctuary.
4:37 Upon this all the host assembled themselves together, and went
up into mount Sion.
4:38 And when they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar
profaned, and the gates burned up, and shrubs growing in the
courts as in a forest, or in one of the mountains, yea, and the
priests' chambers pulled down;
4:39 They rent their clothes, and made great lamentation, and cast
ashes upon their heads,
4:40 And fell down flat to the ground upon their faces, and blew an
alarm with the trumpets, and cried toward heaven.
4:41 Then Judas appointed certain men to fight against those that were
in the fortress, until he had cleansed the sanctuary.
4:42 So he chose priests of blameless conversation, such as had
pleasure in the law:
4:43 Who cleansed the sanctuary, and bare out the defiled stones into
an unclean place.
4:44 And when as they consulted what to do with the altar of burnt
offerings, which was profaned;
4:45 They thought it best to pull it down, lest it should be a reproach
to them, because the heathen had defiled it: wherefore they pulled
it down,
4:46 And laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a
convenient place, until there should come a prophet to shew what
should be done with them.
4:47 Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a
new altar according to the former;
4:48 And made up the sanctuary, and the things that were within the
temple, and hallowed the courts.
4:49 They made also new holy vessels, and into the temple they
brought the candlestick, and the altar of burnt offerings, and of
incense, and the table.
4:50 And upon the altar they burned incense, and the lamps that were
upon the candlestick they lighted, that they might give light in the
4:51 Furthermore they set the loaves upon the table, and spread out
the veils, and finished all the works which they had begun to
4:52 Now on the five and twentieth day of the ninth month, which is
called the month Casleu, in the hundred forty and eighth year,
they rose up betimes in the morning,
4:53 And offered sacrifice according to the law upon the new altar of
burnt offerings, which they had made.
4:54 Look, at what time and what day the heathen had profaned it,
even in that was it dedicated with songs, and citherns, and harps,
and cymbals.
4:55 Then all the people fell upon their faces, worshipping and
praising the God of heaven, who had given them good success.
4:56 And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and
offered burnt offerings with gladness, and sacrificed the sacrifice
of deliverance and praise.
4:57 They decked also the forefront of the temple with crowns of gold,
and with shields; and the gates and the chambers they renewed,
and hanged doors upon them.
4:58 Thus was there very great gladness among the people, for that the
reproach of the heathen was put away.
4:59 Moreover Judas and his brethren with the whole congregation of
Israel ordained, that the days of the dedication of the altar should
be kept in their season from year to year by the space of eight
days, from the five and twentieth day of the month Casleu, with
mirth and gladness.

PRAYER: Thank you holy God for your miracles and your provision. Thank you for times and seasons that remind us not only of your great power, but also of our need to cleanse and rededicate ourselves to you. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Thinking of lighting a candle or nine to honor God’s miracle of the oil?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Today’s post is part of the Christian Writer’s blog chain. Our theme for December is "Christmas Sense: the Five Senses." Please click on the links in the right column and see what my friends have to say about our theme.


But not real pine. A spray; a candle; dried bark and needles in a bowl. Because our tree isn’t real.

Horrible, you cry. Sacrilege, you moan.

Maybe. Or maybe our family loves to celebrate our savior’s birth so much that we do anything we can to prolong and extend the holy days.

During the first eight years of marriage, hubs and I diligently purchased a freshly cut tree, gathered up our collection of delicate and one-of-a-kind ornaments and lovingly decorated it, despairing over its eventual trip out to the street for Boy Scout collection.

When we moved to New York, we bought our tree the day after Thanksgiving—standard practice in California. By the first week of December, the dry air and baseboard heater had turned the tree into a fire hazard. We flooded the tree’s base with water and prayed daily that our Christmas wouldn’t end up in flames.

The day after Christmas, we purchased a fake tree.

Every year since then—26 years this year—we have dragged the giant box out from under the stairs and enjoyed the daily twinkling lights and spinning ornaments through the end of November, for the entire month of December and past hub’s birthday in January. Without worry of flames.

No, it’s not the same as a "real" tree. But thanks to mankind’s desire to create something never as good, but with a defined purpose, we have more time to celebrate God’s gift to us. Jesus.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for Christmas. Thank you so much, Jesus for setting aside your glorious divinity temporarily and taking on the burden of humanity. Thank you for the many ways we celebrate Christmas and remember your sacrifice. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Real or fake?

Monday, December 3, 2012


Blue Topaz
Each month has a birthstone. The birthstones for the month of December are the blue topaz and tanzanite.


And they both remind me of Jesus.

Blue topaz and tanzanite are popular gemstones used often in women’s jewelry. But did you know that nearly all of the two gems found in their natural state begin as dull, brownish stones?

In fact, the exquisite tanzanite—found at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in 1967 and no where else on earth—was not recognized as a gemstone until a wildfire heated some of the brown stones on the ground and turned them the rich purplish blue color we know today.

It is heat that did it. And heat is also routinely applied to natural brownish topaz to turn that gemstone blue.

Our souls, too—in their natural state—are dull and brownish; filled with unrepentant sin. We need Jesus to clean us up and make us sparkle.

Scripture tells us that Jesus will make us white as snow. But when you think of laundry back in Grandma’s day, you remember that she added bluing to the white load because blue white was even whiter than white.

So, too can Jesus clean up our souls so that they are whiter than white.

Sometimes though, he has to do so by allowing us to go through fire.

This third I will put into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are my people,’
and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’"

(Zechariah 13:9)

And check this out—scripture that combines both a refiner’s fire AND a laundry reference!

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. (Malachi 3:1-3)


God can transform our drab, brown souls into something that glorifies Him. He can turn them into something that reflects His glory.

I said last month that more than any other birthstones, yellow topaz and citrine best represented their birth month, November—a time for autumn and harvest. But December’s blue topaz and blue/violet tanzanite also nicely reflect their birth month, December. The color we humans most generally associate with baby boys? Blue. Appropriate because during this month of December, we celebrate the human birth of the most precious baby boy in the history of humanity—Jesus Emanuel. God with us.

Happy birthday to everyone born in the month of December.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the sparkling glimpses of your glory found in nature. Please clean us up and make us shine—even if you have to put us through fire. We thank you that you are with us always. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Is there a time you felt you went through fire but came through knowing God had been with you?