Friday, December 21, 2007

The Jumping Off Point

Have you ever been cliff diving? I went while I was still in high school, you know...youth group age, when I was still bold enough to try something as wreckless as plunging 30-feet-down, feet-first, off a cliff into frigid water.

I recall scaling the slippery rocks of the cliff, clad in my bathing suit and bare feet, waiting in a small line of others my age for my chance to jump into the unknown... I got to the ledge and I had one or two people ahead of me. I watched them each in turn, give a whoop and a yell and jump out from the ledge before they fell away and disappeared with a splash into the dark, cold water.

Too soon it was my turn. People were telling me not to chicken out, "You can do it, come on!" and pressing me closer to the edge in their eagerness to take their turn. "It's easy, just don't think about it too much!"

I took advice on holding my breath, jumping out away from the cliff and on how to point my toes. I knew that if I stared down at the water too long I wouldn't want to jump. There was no turning back. So I gave a leap and a scream, held by breath and jumped out into the air....the water rushed up before me and I remembered to point my toes. The trip from the the ledge to the water was the most thrilling 3.5 seconds of my life. I still remember that day. It was a feeling that left me feeling alive.

There are different jumping off points in our lives. These points are times of inevitable change. Some changes are by choice (getting married), while others are thrust upon us by surprise (injury or illness). One minute our lives are predictable and comfortable, the next they change forever. Some of these points herald momentous occasions in our lives. For good or bad, all changes force us to grow and adapt who we are into who we will become. How we face them speaks to our character and the source of our inner strength. Who we become is up to us.

Sometimes change is gradual and there is time to think and to process what's happening, other times we are in shock, and experience a rollercoaster of emotions.

As I plunged beneath the icy water of the mountain's gully that day, I was instantly surround by numbing cold. The moment I felt myself stop my decent, I began clawing and kicking for the surface to return to the warmth of the air, and the companionship of my friends. I knew that they were there waiting for me, and that at the surface I could breath again. Kick for the surface and breathe.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Movie News of the Year

My friend Nathan said it best:

"Do not pass go.
Do not collect 200 dollars.
Go directly to this link and read the best movie news of the year.

The Hobbit Movie

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If You Would Like to Leave a Comment...


I wanted to make you aware of a change to my site.

From now on, if you would like to leave a comment, you will need to have a registered ID to do so. This is a new step to protect myself from anonymous sniping.

You can have an ID you use on another blog site or you can register yourself as a user. This will allow me to know who is posting on my blog and protect me from spamming.

Thanks for your ongoing interaction and support!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Post and Parcel

Christmas cards...the annual report on "Here's what's happening in my life, and what's not." It's that obligatory time of year when you communicate with family and other people you may avoid talking to the rest of the year, but somehow you owe them an explanation of what's been happening in your life and in the lives of your loved ones, so you tell them all at once exactly what has taken place.

While most people are content to send a simple card with their signature and perhaps a line or two about "how nice it was to see you at Thanksgiving," other people are naturally, more descriptive.

They don't simply include a card with a nice holiday sentiment, they enclose a two page report complete with family photo spread and descriptive exploits over the last year.

"Dear Friends and Family,

We have so much to be thankful for this year. Our son Jim and and his wife Brenda recently had a baby they named Lewis. Jim is still working at the feed plant while Beth stays home and takes care of the children.

Our daughter Beth got married in Vegas to her fiance Terry. They said it was cheaper than a family affair and they'd rather spend the gift money for a down payment on a trailer so they can "take home on the road." We hope to see alot of them this coming spring, but Bob tells me not to hold my breath.

Grandpa Joe had his second hip replacement in February. The first one was only supposed to last for 15 years and he got 25 years out of the first one so he figures he'll be 99 before he'll need another, assuming his other hip holds out and he lives long enough to need another operation.

Bob and I like to stay active and have gotten adventurous in our old age. We recently climbed Mt. Everest with the help of a Sherpa named "Ed" etc. Ed isn't his real name, but it's the name Bob gave him because he couldn't remember his real name and "it was too hard to pronounce anyway." "Ed" is much more memorable for both of us and it suited the sherpa just fine.

We wish you a happy holiday season, (just in case you've converted or remarried and started celebrating Hanukah, Kwanza or Ramadan) and of course, a Merry Christmas!

Love and Kisses,
Aunt Ethel

Prayer, Praises and Perspective

After my last post (which I deleted) I had an anonymous friend leave me a message reminding me that someone always has it worse than you. I thank that person for a perspective check.

At a time in life when it's easy to dwell on what is going wrong or on our own troubles... I think it's appropriate to think about what there is to be thankful for....taking the attention off of worries and putting it where it should be at this time of year...on celebrating Christ's birth and family.

I deleted my last entry in favor of something more appropriate. Now is the time for faith and prayer. In the midst of trials and suffering we look to God for strength and reassurance, especially when we are knee-deep in despair and doubt.

We all have trials that God is seeing us through and he gave us each other to encourage one another and to lift one another up in our toughest times. I'm thankful for each of you.

Let's continue in our faith and in prayer, lifting one another up before God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pray for Nina

Dear Friends,
A young wife and mother to three little girls in her in her mid-twenties is in intensive care at Temple Hospital in Philly. She is in need of a double lung and heart transplant in the next month. Her family is praying that she lasts until donor organs become available. The family is in need of your prayers.

Please pray for God's will to be done and for peace for the family, that God would spare her life and perform a miracle this Christmas.

This woman is my friend and she also goes to our church. She is one of the children of our Pastor and her name is Nina. Her husband's name is Tim. He is a police officer. This is a health battle that has been fought for about two years now. Please keep the Johnson and Wells families in your prayers.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Something to Look Forward to

We've all had that "something" to look forward to... a visit from a loved one, an event, a moment in time when we thought our heart would flutter right out of our chests with excitement and anticipation. I've been thinking.

I know how much I enjoy having something to look forward to, what if I created that "something" for someone I love? What if I got creative and came up with something for someone else to look forward to?

Some people don't really like surprises, but they like to have something to look forward to, so it doesn't have to be a surprise. My challenge for you this week is this...get creative and find a way to provide something to look forward to for somebody this week. It can be a co-worker, a grandparent or parent, a child, your child's teacher, etc. The sky is the limit!

Just a little somthin' somthun'!

Let me know how it goes, if it's fit to print.


Friday, December 7, 2007

New Artist, Christopher Kinkaid

Hey Folks,
I wanted to let you know about a new artist I found on MySpace. His name is Christopher Kinkaid. Check out his Christmas Music on this dude's profile. It's really sweet! You can buy tunes directly from this guy's website. I like his version of Silent Night. He also does well with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

I hope you are well and reveling in the joy of the season. Find something to be joyful about.

Jesus Birth!!!!

Time with Family and Friends

Baking Christmas Cookies


Christmas Tree Hunting (brings quite the pic to mind, stalking an evergreen with a rifle or shotgun)

Singing Christmas Carols

Candlelight Service at Church

Christmas Pagents

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Crafts with Kids



The Beauty of the Season

Handel's Messiah

The Nut Cracker

The Night Before Christmas

The Anticipation of Christmas Eve

Wise Men



The Christmas Star

Monday, December 3, 2007

22 Days Until Christmas!

It's hard to believe that we're in the month of December and Christmas is just around the corner. I've already seen the Charlie Brown Christmas Special and The Polar Express on TV (both sure signs that Christmas is coming).

This past weekend we put up our tree on Saturday and I decorated it Sunday evening. During the church service Sunday morning my in-laws lit the first candle in the advent wreath. After church, I decorated the Christmas tree.

This year is a "white light year." That means we decorate the tree with white lights and silver and gold ornaments (for the most part). This is the kind of tree Jeff grew up with (white lights and all angel ornaments).

I grew up with colored lights and home made decorations. Hence, we rotate decor each Christmas. After almost 7 years of marriage (6.5 really) we had colored lights last year..and just like that, a new tradition of rotating color schemes was born!

After Christmas (2 years ago) I loaded up on half-price decor for my colored tree and we had a beautiful one last year! After last Christmas I bought my Christmas wrap and cards at a discounted price so that I am ready to go this time around. I'm all about saving moola.

I still have almost all my Christmas shopping to do, and I think I'm going to do it all online. A lot of places are offering free shipping. Yeehah! When budgeting for Christmas gifts, this is welcome news!

Jeffrey continues his search for a job. If you think of us, remember us in your prayers...that he would be listening for God's direction and that God would make it clear where he should go and what he should do.
Thank you to all!