Reflecting on Gifts….

The dog was in and out in a flash this morning. The frost is thick and the air is cold. So I was drawn to this photo of our courthouse taken by my friend Jen. I love how the courthouse is lit up, with a Christmas tree at the top of the steps. Weekends in December, our downtown is transformed into a walking mall. The old library building becomes Gum Drop Square, where children can visit Santa. My friend Jen is one of the volunteers that participate in this community event. The children happily snuggle together after waiting outside in the cold, to listen to Jen, as Princess Genevieve, tell stories we all know and love, like ‘The Night Before Christmas’. This scene is a far cry from my Walmart trip yesterday. As Christmas draws near, the frantic search for the perfect gift becomes heated. More stock littered the floors than could be found on the shelves. Yet perhaps the best gift we can offer is something simple, like quiet time together, or creating a precious memory for years to come. I love cooking with my daughter for the holidays. When she was very young, she was in charge of smashing and stirring. Now, as a young adult, she chooses new recipes and adds her spin to our family tradition. Take time today to consider a way to share your gifts with others. Make up a batch of cookies, using an old family recipe. Take time to read a favorite book to a small child or to someone who is feeling poorly. Sit down together to watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. And remember, when you give of yourself, it’s hard to say who receives the greater gift. Photo by Jen Faulconer, Princess Genevieve by The Kingdom of Azuria


Reflecting on Love….

The mornings and evenings are feeling cooler, and the humidity has dropped as well. We are enjoying a break from the heat, and looking forward to the mild days of autumn in Virginia. The cooler weather turns my thoughts to those who have passed on. It seems most deaths in my life have occurred in the fall, including both of my parents. So I was drawn to this photo of little girls at princess camp. My friend Jen conducts the camp and hosts princess themed parties, where little girls dress up and learn about what it means to be a princess. The girls are eagerly rushing down the stairs for the crowning ceremony. I like the whimsical feel of the photo, as if we are part of a dream or fantasy world. Yet is it really a fantasy? We all yearn to be special, to be called out as the hero of an adventure or the beautiful ruler of a magical kingdom. We love best the adults who allowed us to dream as children, to dare to reach for what we could not see or hear at the time, to hope for more than others believed possible. We learned to have faith in ourselves, because others had faith in us. Yet that gift starts with faith in God. If we seek a perfect love from imperfect humans, we are always disappointed. With God, we know we are all co-heirs of the Kingdom, all princes and princesses. Once we accept the unconditional love offered by the King of the Universe, we are capable of offering that love to others, inspiring each one to follow the path that God has prepared for them. Take time today to truly listen to those you love, to inspire them to follow the desire of their hearts. Call upon the Holy Spirit to give you His words, not your words, if any words at all are required. Crown them with your acceptance and unconditional love, eagerly awaiting the part of God’s kingdom that they will create. Photo by Jen Faulconer, camps by The Kingdom of Azuria


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