I Need a Silent Night #Christmas

While Amy Grant sings,

“I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night,”

…I am driving to work. The rain is falling in gentle sheets and the clouds lay low over the city. My windshield sparkles like Christmas lights, reflecting the headlights of oncoming cars in the rain drops. It’s been a crazy week, and as we near 2017, I can say that 2016 has been hard. A mixed bag of blessings and the death of our dog.

My husband and I have had many conversations in 2016 that sometimes go deep into the night, discussing ministry, being a husband to a missionary, and accepting that, from this point on, nothing will ever be the same. 2016 changed both of us, and I am glad to say, we are growing together as we embrace this new future. As I drive to work, I look over to my left through the wet drivers-side window.

Predawn light hits the low clouds, making a beautiful mixture of pearl gray and dark gray shapes hovering above the casino.

“Thank you, Lord,” I whisper as I focus again on the road. A friend told my husband to take in new experiences, breathe, and remember. Close your eyes, smell the smells, experience and feel the moment you are in. An Andy Andrews webinar said to notice the little things in your life, like the beauty of those clouds and the different shades of gray marked by the glimmer of dawn.

“To end this crazy day with a silent night,” One of the song lyrics say. Silence is overlooked. Being still is almost forgotten. My cat has the being still thing down.

As I make the left turn down a dark side street, I recall him sitting on the arm of our easy chair last weekend, mesmerized by the lights of the tree. He stood there for ten minutes, not moving, being still.

Then, he made me laugh when his little white paw carefully came toward a dangling bulb. Even he has his limits.

This and next week is the deep calm before the rush. As I pull into a parking place and shut off the engine, I look towards my work place. My ministry ends the moment I walk into work and begins again when I go to lunch, when I leave to go home, and when the weekend comes. Investing in online relationships to develop them into something meaningful is time consuming. There’s an urgency here. The church is behind in the digital age. Much work has to be done!

This weekend I am creating two videos on my new desktop: “Miracle on the Mountain,” and a video specific for a church in Chandler (A heart-felt thanks to the folks at Solid Rock Christian Fellowship who contributed to the Christmas Offering. My portion of it helped me get a much needed new desktop that can handle the heavy workloads of online ministry).

I plan on baking this weekend, too. My Christmas Day could be a white Christmas with fresh cinnamon rolls in the oven made from scratch.

Our Christmas was different this year (Grand Canyon backpacking trip) so there are no presents under the tree. Nothing can top the gift God gave us in Luke 2:

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Chaos and craziness will melt into Christmas peace by the time the weekend arrives.

I can’t promise I’ll be still, but I can promise to be in the moment.

Christmas Thoughts

Christmas is slim this year. We had ours early–one big gift so we can get equipment that we need that will be used time and time again. Upgrades are easier to buy than starting from fresh. With IBM offering 25,000 jobs after meeting with President-elect Trump, the economy still feels as if it is rock bottom for us non-profits. Contentment though doesn’t need a lot to be happy.

I’ve always said, Christmas is too commercialized, from Black Friday to Christmas decorations that get put out before Halloween. The tide is turning. 45 stores were closed on Thanksgiving. REI Co-op encouraged people to get outside again this year with their ingenious social media marketing plan, “Will You Go Out With Me?”

We need a bad economy and less money to realize the importance of God and people. Prosperity is always nice and less stressful, but you can forget God. You can also forget the heavy weight of responsibility on the shoulders of those blessed with much. We aren’t meant to hoard our blessings.

Christmas was also not meant to be once a year, but every day for the rest of our lives–living a spirit of generosity. This is why every year we have a Christmas tradition of buying a cup of hot cocoa or coffee for Salvation Army Bell Ringers. They stand outside ringing a bell for hours. Anyone who has to listen to a bell for that long deserves a hot cocoa or coffee, especially on a cold day. Generosity can also be about giving of your time.

I’ve noticed how over-scheduled we are as Americans. Foreigners know us as impatient and in a hurry. Making time for people is not our strength. It’s something we need to work on as Americans. As an over-scheduled and impatient American, the first step towards cleaning up our reputation is attending ERAU’s International Festival on February 25 and the rest of their open-to-the public events.

My goal and hope is to help international students with their needs as newbies in America. With my motor vehicle and administration background, I can help international students with what is needed to integrate here, help them make new friends, and understand English so they can graduate.

Socks For Christmas


My mother-in-law asked over the phone, “What do you want for Christmas?”

“Socks.” My husband replied.

How can we get excited about socks?

If we don’t have to buy socks during the year, we can go on adventures or pay for extra expenses in ministry.

That’s why we love socks for Christmas, and that’ s what we received–great big boxes of socks. 


So I created this for Sunday, December 27 bulletin cover at the church I work at, and I liked it so much that I want to share it with you. I have created two graphics–one with words and one without.

Because December 27 is between Christmas and New Year’s, the photo shows remnants of Christmas–Christmas cards that people sent, a wayward ornament that fell off the tree, and a bow left over from Christmas morning.

So enjoy! This is copyright free.

cover1 coverwithoutwords

Should You Send Them a Holiday Card?

Holiday Card Flow Chart Infographic1

Holiday Card Facts (Graphic and Info Courtesy of Grammarly)

  • Americans send 1.6 billion holiday cards annually [source]
  • Women purchase an estimated 80% of all greeting cards [source]
  • E-cards have become an environmentally friendly alternative to paper cards [source]
  • Christmas cards originated in London, where Sir Henry Cole commissioned the first in 1843. [Source]
    • Two batches totaling 2,050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each. [Source]
  • Despite the separation of church and state, it’s customary for the President and First Lady to send White House Christmas cards each holiday season. [source]
    • Calvin Coolidge issued the first official Christmas message to the American people in 1927. [source]

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