Move Over, Martha Stewart

Just kidding. I am no domestic diva. Martha Stewart has nothing to fear. Now, my husband? Well, he did vow for better or for worse.

Even though I hate to cook—and let me emphasis hate—my awesome husband would say I’m a great cook. Then again, he is stuck with me for life, so …

On the whole, weekends at my house are wonderful. Friday night is date night, followed by Saturday morning breakfast at my favorite coffee shop, complete with gingerbread lattes all year, not just the holidays. Our family makes an event of weekend sports … on the field and in front of the TV … and we enjoy them together with our favorite take-out food. Weekends equal no cooking, and that’s a win for everyone.

I muddle through the weekdays dreading the three o’clock hour when I’m forced to ask myself that age old question: “What am I going to fix for supper?”

Recipes are not the problem. I have a million. (okay, that might be an exaggeration) With Pinterest, Facebook, and food blogs all over the internet—information that Professor Google will find lighting fast—I have plenty of options. But there’s another problem …

Grocery shopping. Yeah, I hate that, too. Dinner time is a scramble to defrost something, gather ingredients, and pray everything is still in date.

For me, it’s inevitable. I decide what dinner is going to be, begin preparation … and it happens. Something vital to my recipe is out of date. I close my eyes, breathe a desperate “please” and then, “Yes”! It’s a “BEST BY” date, not an expiration date! (come on, I can’t be the only one!)

On our way to church a few weeks ago, that phrase made its way into my thoughts. Best By. It occurred to me that perhaps I have reached my Best By date. Still usable but, maybe I should step back and let those in their prime do the teaching, the singing, and the leading. Sure, I could stay ready to step up when there’s a temporary need to be filled.

Best by

We age and begin to notice changes, aches and pains. But God does not put us out to pasture. He makes that clear in His word.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.” ~Psalms 92:14

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16

No, God does not stamp us with a Best By date. Our usefulness has no expiration date. It’s in Him that we “live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

“I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.” ~Psalms 146:2

We never stop serving. We never stop loving. We never stop … period.

The world may want to retire us and put us in the back seat as we age, but it’s no mystery that God never calls it quits for us.

Walk through every door He opens. Step up each time He calls. God will strengthen and give the tools needed to accomplish whatever He calls us to … no matter our age.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” ~Isaiah 40:31

Christmas … Where are you?

Nothing says “Christmas” more than screaming kids, crowded malls, angry faces, and my personal favorite … traffic. Ah yes, the joy of Christmas wrapped up in stress, debt, exasperation, and exhaustion.

Oh Christmas … Where are You?

Someone on Facebook asked, “What is your most memorable Christmas?” One from my childhood jumped to mind.

As a band geek from fifth grade, Christmas parades were a big part of the holidays for our family. Back in ancient times, when I was a kid, our town’s Christmas parade was on Thanksgiving night. Year after year, Mom and Dad would rush me to the band room, I’d march in the parade and afterward we would go back to my aunt’s house for dinner with the leftovers from lunch. Such grand memories!

The flute was my instrument of choice, and all I wanted before starting high school was a piccolo. I mean, the cool flute players had piccolos for marching season and I had to have one too. I asked and asked for a piccolo for Christmas, but feared it wouldn’t happen. Finances were tight and instruments were expensive, but a part of me thought maybe, just maybe.

Christmas Eve came and our family attended the annual midnight candlelight service at church, then home to bed. My parents put our “Santa” presents under the tree after we were asleep, so we’d wake up and rush to the tree with all the anticipation a kid feels on Christmas morning. But this Christmas I woke up in the middle of the night. I just couldn’t wait and slipped to the tree for a peek. And there it was … a piccolo! I could have screamed from the excitement.

I took that piccolo into my bedroom, and there, hidden in the dark, I softly blew air through the precious instrument with an unspeakable thrill. I got it! I actually got my piccolo!

I never told my parents what I had done. Never told them I already knew they made my dream come true before we ran to the tree that Christmas morning. If they knew, they never said a word to me. But that piccolo was a great investment. I played it through high school, college, years of church music ministry, and still play it to this day.

Grown now, with a son of my own, I understand the sacrifice my parents made to get that piccolo. Sacrifice isn’t a word we like to use, especially at Christmas. Christmas is a time of extravagance, not sacrifice, right? It may have become more about indulgence, but that’s not where we’ll find Christmas.

Christmas is life, joy, twinkling lights, and laughter topped off with scents of the season. Christmas is the carols we sing only once a year. Christmas is the hugs and love we can physically feel and remember from loved ones who have passed.

But the true meaning? Christmas is Jesus

I’ve struggled the last few years to find joy in the season. We all have, haven’t we. But there is joy—real joy and blessings beyond all we can ask or think in knowing Jesus and his great love for us.

Christmas, where are you?

Christmas is where it’s always been … there in the manger, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Jesus … born to be the greatest gift of all. Jesus …  come to be light, life, and joy. Jesus … come to bring salvation.

So, let’s light that Christmas tree. Let’s sing those Christmas carols at the top of our lungs. Let’s fill our homes with memories around those we love—and tell them we love them.

Are you looking for Christmas? Celebrate Jesus. Because Jesus is where we will always find Christmas.

Closing the Gap

One moment can change your life forever. The mystery is navigating your next steps.

It all started on a cold November evening… but, let’s not go there. 

January 2019 began with a bang. I made a major move to Colorado, and this little southern girl was in for the ride of her life—part good, part bad. It was uphill. It was downhill. Perilous one day, victorious the next. 

Okay, okay, you get it. Moving on… 

In a nutshell, 2019 was the best and the worst. The move to Colorado was an amazing moment in life full of hard truth, restoration, reconciliation and healing for my husband and me. Through it all, I’ve learned to live with a grateful heart for the smallest of blessings. 

Continue reading “Closing the Gap”

I’ll Take What’s Behind Door Number Two, Monty!

Doors shouldn’t be hard to open.

We push or pull them and walk through, right? The mechanics of operating a door is easy.

It’s what’s on the other side that can get tricky.

Continue reading “I’ll Take What’s Behind Door Number Two, Monty!”

To Tree or Not To Tree, That is the Question

Every year, the week after Thanksgiving, I start the same routine. Although there’s no need, it’s marked it on my calendar.

This year was different. You know, life happens. Destruction, mayhem, chaos. Call it whatever you wish, the result was the same; I didn’t put up the Christmas tree.

A week crept by and still no glorious, festive, glowing fake tree in the corner. No angel forever frozen in mid “Gloria” peering down on our bright faces.  I decided it might not be worth the trouble this year.

Until the next morning.

I awoke to find my son had moved all the furniture in our living room. It takes rearranging to create my joyful holiday concept each year. His attempt to persuade almost moved me.

A few days later, I awoke again. (Yay!) On this day, I rose to find our tree, and all needed Christmas adornment had appeared upstairs, placed in front of the fireplace. They sat waiting for me to get to work. It was a mystery! (Not really)

He was determined.

It got me thinking, “Just who started this Christmas tree thing, anyway?” So, I researched and learned a few things:

  1. The origin of the Christmas tree began in Germany in the 16th century. Christians from Northern Germany performed mystery plays that featured an evergreen tree called a “paradise tree” decorated with apples. They plucked one apple, depicting Adam and Eve.
  2. Puritans celebrated Christmas with mass, but having decorations could be punishable by death. (That’s a game changer!)
  3. Many American colonists saw the Christmas tree as a pagan symbol.
  4. If you B-R-O-A-D-E-N your thinking, you could say a Christmas tree helped George Washington and the Continental Army defeat the German Hessians (who fought for the British) in 1776. Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River into Trenton, NJ on December 24-25. While the Hessians celebrated Christmas with eating and drinking, singing and decorating trees, they made themselves an easy target for Washington’s surprise attack.
  5. It wouldn’t be until the 1830s that Americans first displayed Christmas trees in the United States although German settlers had displayed Christmas trees since the 1700s.
  6. Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, gets credit for being the first to put candles on Christmas trees.

Having a Christmas tree is more modern than earlier pagan use of evergreen. Don’t confuse the use of Christmas trees with the pagan use of evergreens for decorations, or the Egyptians and Romans use in Winter Solstice celebrations. 

Christmas trees have come a long way from their origin in mystery plays to the prominence they enjoy today. Still, I don’t know… to tree, or not to tree?

So did I, or didn’t I?

I’m a mom…of course I did!







Wait! Did Life Just Bite You?

Sometimes life falls apart. Completely. Falls. Apart.

Real life can come hard and fast. It becomes difficult to keep up with change, stress and loss—the shock as things pile one on top of the other.

Then comes that one thing that makes life stop. Literally stop. It’s earth shattering, heartbreaking. All the things that were important become nothing. Everything becomes nothing.

Raging fire surrounds. We can’t move forward or backward. We’re just plain stuck. What do we do when we’re stranded?

Go back to the basics.

1. Get into God’s Word

It may have been awhile, but dust it off, crack it open and get into that old Bible that’s been up on the shelf.

My pastor calls God’s word “the only change agent on the planet”. Within its pages, God has given us the words we need for healing, for strength, for empowerment. He gives us direction and hope in every situation.

“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.”
~Psalms 119: 50

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
~Psalm 119: 105

2. Let The Music Play

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”  ~Victor Hugo

Turn off that television! Yes, I know it helps shut down the mind and keeps depressing thoughts at bay. But instead of mindless drivel, let’s fill our hearts and minds with music—worship music.

Let the Holy Spirit invade with His presence. Worship and God will take us to that place where we can find Him. Where God will touch us and our situation. God will energize us and our thoughts. As His Holy Spirit covers us, here is where we find hope. Here is where our faith will grow. In this place chains are broken.

And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.”
~1 Samuel 16: 23

3. Find a Community

Reach out. We must find our people and let them help! God has embedded these people into our lives for a reason. They will hold us up when we can’t hold ourselves. 

I’m a loner, so this one was a challenge for me. But I did it, and you know what? My people were there, and they WANTED to help me. To love on me and pray for me and with me.

Our people. FIND OUR PEOPLE!

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”
~ Galatians 6: 2

4. Pray

I put this last on the list for sheer emphasis. These gut retching, heartbreaking, life-altering things will slap us silly and knock us face down on the floor. These situations drive us to our knees. Perhaps that’s what they’re meant to do.

Like it or not, these are the situations we have no control over. We can’t pick them up like a puppy chewing on the furniture and say, “No! Bad boy!” then give them something else to play with. We can’t change things that easy, this isn’t kid stuff.

Our only remedy is prayer. The old saying is still true to this day, prayer changes things.

When we fall to our knees in prayer over a situation, we enter the arena of battle. We are now on the front line. What we cannot do in the physical, God can and will do in the spiritual. As followers of Christ, we know this is where every battle is won.  

We must become prayer warriors. It will be on this battlefield that strongholds are broken and walls fall. So get down into that trench solider and PRAY!

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.”
~2 Corinthians 10: 4

Life can break us. Those we love the most can wound us. Get back to the basics. God is there, and He is our way out.

My Little Dream Man

Dreams are silly, wonderful, surreal things, aren’t they? Dreams wrap us in meadows of bubblegum flowers beside streams flowing with chocolate. They put us into intergalactic transports or walking with giants. Maybe the guy from the vegetable market will join the family for Christmas dinner, where your mom and sister-in-law are wearing hats after arriving home from the royal wedding. We wake from horror-filled nightmares with bloodcurdling screams.

Or, maybe we kick our husband. (Sorry babe, my dream made me do it!)

At one time, tornadoes awaited me beyond the border of my REM stage every night. If you put stock in dream analysis, tornadoes mean what you expect: havoc, self-destruction, turmoil and danger. It was a difficult time in my life.

Once after taking melatonin, I had such an intense realistic dream; I went days with the feeling my close friends had robbed a bank and were in prison. It was so real I reminded myself it was only a dream throughout the week. I’ve never taken melatonin again.

Everyone has off-the-wall dreams. We wake asking, “Where did that come from?”

Sometimes dreams are subconscious longings that bring moments of joy we carry in our hearts throughout the day, and perhaps longer.

I recently had such a dream. A friend of mine called it a God hug. Perfect! A God hug. A dream about my Ty Beau.

Ty3

Ty Beau was an exquisite seven pound Pomeranian. Ty was my heart-dog. He was handsome, intelligent and behaved. We were a team, competing together in Rally Obedience competitions. He was top notch—regal some have said.

I lost my Ty Beau on February 6, 2015, when he was five years old to complications stemming from an autoimmune disease—IMHA. (See previous post: https://cozyintrigue.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/the-mystery-of-the-killer-letters/)

Ty was a great hugger. I know, I know—he was a dog, dogs don’t hug. But I stand by my statement, he was a GREAT hugger. There aren’t enough words for how much I loved my little man’s hugs. I miss him, and his hugs, every day.

I can’t recall much about the dream. Ty was back with us, and he was playing chase with his sister again. I felt such happiness. Such contentment.

I remember with vivid clarity that in the moment of my waking from the dream I was hugging my Ty Beau. I felt the hug. I felt joy. I’ve dreamed about Ty many times since he passed, but I always felt sadness and pain when I awoke.

This dream left me with happiness. For the first time after a dream about Ty, I awoke with a smile on my face. How I miss my little man.

A God hug. Yes, please!

Have you ever had such a realistic dream?

Stan…By Me

Sometimes God will use the unusual to remind us to pray for those we don’t know, like the kids in our neighborhood and the family down the street.

It happened a few years ago at the house down the street. You know the one. The creepy one. No one knew for sure what was going on inside that house. Continue reading “Stan…By Me”

Who Put The Dog In My Cozy?

It’s a well known fact that dogs are the best, smartest, best – oops, I already said best – greatest animals on the planet. (FYI -it won’t do you any good to argue this point with me)

Dogs are so awesome they can even solve crimes! K9 units play a vital role along side law enforcement in the investigation of criminal activity. Continue reading “Who Put The Dog In My Cozy?”

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