Forced to Slow Down

My forced slow down continues, but I’m on the recovery path with my broken foot. I hit a much-needed milestone this week. I can now drive. Short distances, mind you, but it’s a step in the right direction. Of course, I pushed my limits early in the week and had to slow back down as my foot complained. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing I’ve noticed as I spent the last month (!) as an observer instead of major participant in the running of our household is how much the kids have been affected by the shifts in our routine. I already knew they needed routine to feel safe, but it’s different when you observe it happening. At a time when we needed cooperation most, they became more difficult. This week, I’ve seen occasional improvements, but in small doses.

Amari seems to be pushing back against the changes by whining. A. LOT. We’re talking multiple meltdowns in the hour between getting up and going to school, and then a repeat of this in the hours after school until bedtime. Luckily, this isn’t happening at school. I wish I knew what was going on in his head.  I’m sure there’s some worry that he can’t express to us driving him to these actions.

When he keeps whining, we get frustrated, and our patience runs thin. And that brings Victoria into the picture. She starts yelling at everyone. We’re already dealing with the adolescent onset of negative attitudes and tones from her, but she’s taking it to a whole new level. The weird thing is she sounds like she’s mad at us, and we’re just trying to get everyone moving and on track toward school or bedtime. She told me this morning, she’s not mad at us, she’s mad at her brother. Great. We’ve asked her to stay out of things because it makes it worst, but I feel like we’re talking to a wall.

Since I’m stuck working from home, I often spend some time after they leave sitting quietly. I need to get my heart and mind in a good place before I tackle anything else. First, I pray for their day, the safety of our schools, and any other issues I want to discuss with God. I’ve been better at really focusing on this in the past month. Then, most mornings, I listen to my Bible app while I sip on my tea. If a particular scripture intrigues me, I listen to different Bible versions of it while I get ready for the day. It does help, and I eventually come back down to earth.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
    a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105


Before I dive into my paid work, I create images like the lantern one above and post them on social media. These seem to be a result of the time I’m spending in prayer and scripture. The response to my posts tells me people need these inspirations during their day, too. I’m doing them for me, but it’s nice to know they’re impacting others.

There’s a lot I’m seeing and trying to understand these days. The situation has forced me to observe. Even though I can’t act on most of what I’m observing, my gut is telling me that I need to pay attention to the clues. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find some answers or gain some insight during this time. I’m frustrated, but I’m trying to make good use of my enforced rest.

What about you? Have you ever been forced to slow down? What did you learn?


Memorial Day: Respect and Acknowledgement

Sometimes others say it better than me. I ran across a moving story today and decided to share a link to it instead of my own post this week.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but the one in this story has generated much more than that. It’s a story about an impromptu photograph, a veteran’s grave stone, and an eagle.

See it HERE.

Hope everyone has a safe and blessed Memorial Day!

A Celebration of Christ’s Birth

A hushed anticipation of Christ’s birth settled over the sanctuary as we entered.  The stained glass windows appeared muted without the day’s sunlight to shine through them.  The lanterns hanging from the rafters cast a diffused glow over the assemblage, not quite illuminating the entire room.  The majesty of the moment held me in transfixed anticipation.

Soon, the chords of the first Christmas hymn rang forth
(select each song to share in this experience):

O come, o come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel...

Midst the reading of the story of Christ’s birth, we sang the songs related to each part of His coming:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:1-7

Away in a Manger,
no crib for a bed…

O Little Town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:8-14

The first noel, the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields way they lay…
(Be sure to click play with this link)

Hark the herald, angels sing
Glory to the newborn king…

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Matthew 2:1-12

Joy to the world, the Lord has come,
Let earth receive her king!

And finally, as the joy and reverence and awe crescendoed in the night, ushers turned down the sanctuary lights, leaving the minister at the front of the church holding one lit candle representing Christ who came to be the Light of the world.  Two ushers came forth and each drew light from the one, and row by row, Christ’s light passed from person to person.  From candle to candle.

The beauty of the candlelight drew us deeper in the reverence and awe of the birth of  Christ.  We sang:

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

We sang all of the verses, the glow of the candle flames dancing in the breath of our hymn.

At the end, the minister told us to:  “Go in peace and spread the great tidings that Jesus Christ was born.”

We exited, a profound hush settled over us.

This is how I spent my Christmas Eve’s as a child.  The candlelight service at my church grounded me in the truth of the season.  For a time, I forgot Santa Claus and the gifts under the tree.  The holiness of this service held me in its splendor well into the evening.


As you go into the night, remember:

Peace on earth and great joy to men!

Christ is born!

Note:  I Do NOT own the copyrights to any of these songs.
Thank you to all who have posted links to these beloved hymns.
Please support their work.

If you only watch one clip, watch the one for The First Noel.

Apologies for any ads that appear in the video links.
I tried to use links without them.