Silent Wednesday

Today is Christmas Day.  All around the world, people are celebrating.  Some people are not celebrating.  All I really wish for this Christmas is that everyone who is lost or lonely or sad or angry or hungry or thirsty or cold or ill… or is suffering in any way… will experience some flicker of the Light that is the Christmas miracle.  I don’t know why some people are so broken and bruised and others seem to have an easier time, but I do know that no one is completely unscathed in life.  We all need something…. And we all have something to give. And sometimes what we need is to give. 

I’ve spent a lot of time this season talking about holiday traditions and my own somewhat kooky ho-ho-hoing.  Today, I’m going to let Christmas just be a Silent Night… and a silent morning and a silent afternoon and a silent evening.     It is more important that you pay attention to what is in your heart today than what is in mine. 

Blessed Christmas to all!  May you find peace, love, and joy in your sacred silence. 

My warmest wishes and prayers to all of you this Christmas Day!  May you be blessed with faith, hope, and love at Christmas and always.  Please feel free to leave a comment, sharing your Christmas wishes. 

Merry Christmas!

Terri/Dorry 😊

Jingle Bell Ro(lli)ck

I have been having a rather rollicking holiday season. 

It started in mid-November when I took a quick trip to California to visit some friends and to spend some quality time with my brother.  I refer to this trip as my Christmas store and comfort food tour of Southern California.  I spent only four full days in California.  During that time, I went to two fancy Christmas garden/decoration stores, perused (and purchased) vast quantities of Christmas merchandise at Disney’s California Adventure, had lunch at the favorite pizza place of my childhood, had bagels at my old bagel stomping ground for two breakfasts, and consumed In and Out Burger fare twice.  I also ate gingerbread from several different sources during my trip.  I had to compare and contrast, didn’t I?

When I got home, Thanksgiving was upon us and I hosted a dinner for a family of Florida friends.  We had a great time.  For grace, I asked each person to offer a prayer of Thanksgiving for some blessing within a specific category… friends, family, health, spiritual gifts, etc.  The prayers were moving and true.  I think we all shared a common bond of gratitude, which was a great foundation for a day of food, fellowship, and fun. 

The next day, I dragged out the Christmas decorations and changed the season from harvest to hark-the-herald-angels.  Promptly on December 1, Max began the daily chore of hiding my mini-elf-on-a-shelf, Kringle.  I search for him each morning.  With the first Sunday of Advent, Max and I have lit candles each evening and shared reading devotionals.

A couple of days later, we went on our Christmas sojourn to the Most Magical Place on Earth.  I immersed myself in Disney Christmas magic… brilliant decorations, an over-the-top Christmas parade, breath-taking Candlelight Processional, and mass quantities of gingerbread.  I laughed, I cried, I fell in love…. Not an advertisement, just my very real reaction.

This week, Max and I went to Celebration, a Disney-inspired town just outside the theme park property.  It is a Victorian town built in 1996.  I realize that Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 through 1901, but Disney can do anything… including building a town 95 years too late.  At Christmas, Celebration is special.  There are huge Christmas trees, an ice rink, a snowfield, and quaint little shops.  There is also a company that offers horse and carriage rides.  We had a nice cozy dinner, wandered around the town, and rode around in a one-horse open sleigh. 

Next week, I’m going Christmas caroling and I’m planning two more parties in the next couple of weeks. 

Soon, we will be celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with faith and friends.  Max and I have some traditions that we share together, including church services.  We provide for time with God, with each other, and with family. 

I’m kind of a goofball, I guess.  I’ve enjoyed the schmaltz.  I wouldn’t give up any of my holiday activities.  I do admit, though, that I sometimes turn the corner off Whimsy Street onto Absurd Avenue.  Here’s the evidence:

I’m a grown woman and I search for my elf on the shelf, Kringle, every morning.  Not only do I search for my little elf, I talk to him.  I have whole conversations with him.  He and I have a relationship that may be a little unhealthy.

I feel relieved because the two Christmas trees that are displayed all year in my house finally make sense for a few weeks.

I erect not one, but two additional Christmas trees for the season… one topped with Tinkerbell and one topped with a bear with angel wings.

I purchased light-up Disney Christmas crocs that I have been wearing steadily since I bought them.  In a rare nod to adulthood, I did get them when I was in California where I could take advantage of my friend’s employee discount. 

I came home from the pool this morning a little chilled and decided to don some warm clothes.  See below.

me in my elf comfy
I’m Christmas crazy, right down to my toes!

I rest my case.  Have a holly jolly, everyone!

PS. Kringle sends his wishes for a merry and bright Christmas, too!

Your turn! Have I gone completely around the bend? Please tell me about any of your “whimsical” Christmas activities. Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Terri/Dorry 🙂

Christ-más Traditions

Most of us have heard the slogans “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season” and “put Christ In Christmas.” I first heard them as a child, so they have been around for quite some time. I thought they were snappy reminders that Christmas is more than Santa Claus and eight tiny reindeer.  After all, Clement Moore did not invent Christmas; God did.  And Christmas is just one chapter in the wonderful story of God’s love for us.

I don’t want to dismiss the merry moments that we enjoy as part of our ho-ho-holidays. Most of us cherish memories of family traditions and secularized celebrations of Christmases past.  We also cherish the beauty and mystery of the Nativity- the unimaginable wonder of the birth of a Savior who would bring an eternal Light to a World suffering in darkness.  We understand that the true meaning of Christmas fills the heart with way more warmth than the most sentimental Hallmark Christmas movie.  We understand that the true meaning of Christmas is a more miraculous gift than the most elaborately wrapped Christmas present.  We understand that the true meaning of Christmas is about more pure Joy than the shiniest Christmas tree can provide.  We know that Jesus is the reason for the season, and we put Christ in Christmas. 

I still don’t want to give up my secular Christmas traditions.  It is fun to decorate for Christmas. I get giddy about hunting for my elf on the shelf.  I disregard my regrettable lack of musical talent when I go Christmas caroling. I love dedicating some special festive time with friends and family, allowing overwhelming waves of affection and gratitude to wash over me.  I enjoy giving and receiving presents. I willed myself into believing in Santa Claus until I was eleven years old, so it is unlikely that I will kick him to the curb at this late date.   

I think we can center Christmas on Christ and still enjoy favorite secular traditions.  In fact, I think we can enjoy those secular traditions even more by making them Christ-más (more Christ) traditions.  With a few simple hacks, we can enrich some of our more familiar secular traditions with fortified Christmas spirit. 

For instance, it is easy to add the true meaning of Christmas to our holiday decorating.  There are all kinds of beautiful Nativity decorations.  Also, some families make a Jesse tree early in Advent.  A Jesse tree is named after the reference in Isaiah 11:10 which indicates that the Savior will spring from the root of Jesse.  The tree is usually leafless and scraggly looking, much like a tree in the desert battling against the harsh earthly elements and holding on to life only by a strong root.  It is decorated with ornaments that tell the story of salvation.  The ornaments may include symbols from the Old Testament, like Joseph’s coat and Noah’s ark, as well as ornaments depicting important events in the life of Jesus, such as the Star of Bethlehem, the dove, and the cross. 

If a family likes their elf-hunting or opening boxes on an Advent calendar to reveal candies or toys, it might be a good idea to incorporate other “readiness” activities during Advent. Some Advent calendars reveal Scripture quotes or part of the Nativity story each day rather than candy or toys.  In my case, I have an advent wreath.  Each night, I light the weekly number of candles and read a devotion.  The time leading up to Christmas is about building excitement and getting ready to welcome our Savior.  There is nothing wrong with hunting for elves on the shelves, but why not also spend some time exciting the soul, as well?

There are many Christmas carols that focus on the birth of Jesus.  I think we are sometimes a bit tentative about those songs, as if we might offend people who are not believers.  I guess it is good to be sensitive, but that doesn’t mean we should keep our love of Christ hidden.  I remember caroling one year when we visited a house where a Jewish man lived.  We were somewhat reluctant to sing Christmas songs because he didn’t celebrate Christmas.  We went ahead and I was so glad we did because he was so touched.  He even thanked us for generously sharing our joy and tradition with him.

Spending time with family and friends at Christmas is wonderful.  There are plenty of people who don’t get to share Christmas with loved ones.  We can celebrate Christ-más by enlarging our family circle to include an outsider.  Hospitality is a gift of the Holy Spirit and love is always meant to be given away.  Giving love away to people who are not in our immediate network of friends and family can make our Christmas more joyous and more Christlike. 

There is nothing wrong with presents, either.  I love shopping to find just the right gift for people and I enjoy the surprise of opening a package addressed to me.  I do think it is valuable to add one more gift under the tree, though.  You can wrap up a check to your church or organization that provides comfort to the suffering in the world and open it on Christmas Day to remind you that being able to give to others is a wonderful gift in itself. 

Then, there is Santa Claus.  I’ve always loved the rendition of Santa Claus kneeling, hat in hand, before the Baby Jesus.  It reminds me that Jesus, not Santa, is truly the Spirit of Christmas.  This year, I think Santa is going to bring Scripture cards to stuff in the stockings, in addition to the ubiquitous sugar plums. 

This year let’s take “Keep Christ in Christmas” to the next level.  Let’s infuse our secular holiday with Christ-más

Merry Nativity, everyone!

Precious Lord,

Thank you for all Your many blessings.  Help us to keep You at the center of our Christmas celebrations and the center of our lives.  The only gift we simply must have this Christmas is Your love in our lives.  Come into our lives and share Your light with us.  May we bear that Light to the world, to the glory of Your name.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen

Your turn… what Christmas traditions do you observe? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a joyful day!


Return On Investment

I think I’m going to venture into weird territory today.  Get ready.

Ever since my mother died and, most especially, since I turned 60, I’ve been looking at life differently.  In particular, I’m looking at money differently.  I’m not sure it is healthy.  I’m bringing it up in the hope that you all can provide some perspective to keep me off the ledge.

I am not wealthy.  There have been times in my life when I’ve had to make choices about what bills to pay and what food to buy, based on my financial situation.  I consider myself very lucky because I’ve always had a secure job and a paycheck that represented a living wage.  Despite that blessing, I have never made enough money for finances to be a non-issue in my life.  The good news is that my needs and wants are fairly modest.  As a result, my income is more than sufficient to cover my expenses without privation.  It isn’t that I can afford to do everything.  It is more that my tastes usually fit within the confines of what I can afford.  Also, from my younger years when I had to be careful with money, I’ve learned how to defer gratification and save for big ticket purchases.  I’m very, very grateful for my economic blessings. 

Lately, though, a new sensation strikes me when I think about purchasing big ticket items- a larger dining room set, a new driveway, a renovated bathroom, new kitchen appliances, etc.  I find myself wondering if I will get my money’s worth from the investment before I die. 

I’m not sure why I should limit myself based on life expectancy.  My mother lived almost thirty years beyond the age that I am now.  My father, who died quite suddenly, lived past his 72nd birthday.  I am in reasonably good health and don’t engage in extreme sports.  I’ve no reason to believe that my death is imminent.  Certainly, I could get run over by a bus or suddenly contract some fast-acting fatal disease.  However, those possibilities have existed my whole life and they never stopped me from spending money in my younger days. 

Also, should it really matter how long I enjoy some acquisition before kicking the bucket, if said acquisition gives me pleasure?  First, if it turns out that I don’t get a lot of bang for the buck before the bucket kicking, I’ll be dead and won’t care.  Secondly, as I get older there will be fewer opportunities to enjoy spending money.  I have a secure income that meets my needs. I have a good medical plan.  I think I’m generous to others. I have long term care insurance.  Theoretically, I should not have to rely on the kindness of strangers (that is, the government) to pay for my care if I need to go to assisted living or a skilled nursing facility at some point.  Third, it isn’t like I limit myself when it comes to buying the everyday, routine, unnecessary stuff that I purchase all the time.  When I really think about it, eight or nine trips to Penney’s or Belk’s probably often add up to the same amount as it would cost to buy a new refrigerator.

I understand that it isn’t rational to consider my life expectancy in deciding whether or not to make a large purchase.  I get that.  Obviously, I can make an effective argument about why life expectancy should not be a factor.  However, I still have this nagging doubt when deliberating whether to make one of those major purchases.  In the past year, I did get a larger dining room set and I did get the driveway repaved.  Both were major expenditures.  I love the new dining room set and I love the new driveway.  Still, every time I look at them, I get this feeling that is almost shame-like.  It feels like I had no right to buy them because of my advanced age. Some part of me seems to believe that, if the useful life of the purchase is going to outlast my own useful life, I should not waste the money. 

I told you we were going to venture into weird territory today.

What do you think?  Do you ever feel like you should be considering your useful life when deciding whether to spend large sums of money?  How weird is this?  How do you get past the feeling?  Please leave your perspective by leaving a comment.  In the alternative, you can email me at

Have a useful day!

Terri/Dorry 😊