Running Toward Christmas

This year, I’m running toward Christmas . . .

Running like crazy, with joy, as a child would run toward a father or a beloved big brother. Running headlong, arms open, as fast as my little legs will carry me . . .

Into joy

With my eyes focused on the Christ Child.I run to remember Bethlehem one star-strewn night.

To remember a hillside of quiet sheep, resting after a shining day full of grazing.

I run to remember . . .

I settle back in against the hard wood pew, breathing in the light pine scent from fresh wreaths of pine boughs that grace the church as Christmas nears.

I close my eyes for a few seconds, thankful for a good year, anticipating the final two holidays before a brand new year.

Reverend Hatch rises and walks to the pulpit.

Like a silent snow, holy quiet falls over the sanctuary

My back straightens as the Holy Spirit nudges me into deep listening. I pull in a breath.

I’m about to hear something wonderful.

Hatchie, as we lovingly call him, looks out over us and smiles and begins

“When God walked down the stairway of heaven with a tiny Baby in His arms, He came bearing the greatest gift the world has ever been given.”

The words race like a gentle fire into my mind, body, soul, and spirit—into the realm of wonder. Brushstrokes of color flow across my imagination.

From impossible white clouds in a star-pierced violet blue night sky, a figure of brilliant light descends a wide staircase.

Within God’s arms, a small, moving, living Being nestles in a blanket of light.

Above them hovers a transparent Presence, crystal waves of movement aglow with a palpable sense of power and love.

The Holy enters Creation.

Everything in me wants to kneel before the Holy Triumvirate.

I cannot move, captured in breathless awe.

The Gift.

Delivered as I was and you were.

The Holy into humanity. Born to fill the void we came into the world with.

Born to fill the emptiness that nothing—no one but Jesus—can fill.

God is love, but He is just.

Born to save and free us from sin, He, the Lamb of God, came to sacrifice His humanity in our place . . .

and to prepare a place for us in Eternity.

God’s offered Gift.

Is our choice.

Jesus told us “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3 NKJV).

An angel spoke to shepherds and to us “. . . and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:9b-11 NKJV).

To the woman at the well “Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life’” (John 4:13-14 NKJV).

Will you run in thankfulness toward Christmas? Will you look up in joy and wonder and remember . . . ?

If you have a special Christmas memory I’d love for you to share it in the comments!

And just in case I don’t post again before Christmas, I’ll leave you with this~

A very Merry Christmas full of joy and blessings to you and those you love!

Love,

Sally

Elegant Staircases     #Christmasjoy    #MerryChristmas

Ray the Shape Shifter

I’m young. Crazy in love with horses, especially my Cindy.

This early Saturday morning shimmers in sunshine and light mist as I walk to the stable. I slow and savor the scent of apple blossoms filling the air from the orchard I stride by.

I love this walk and love having the barn so close to where I live in Richland, Washington.

Ray, owner/manager of The Barn, the local riding stable, slouches against the edge of the huge double wooden doors.

He waves and shoots me a grin, a piece of straw between his teeth, grungy straw hat shielding his sun-burnished face, a not-so-white, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots. Ray’s soft-spoken, generous and everyone’s friend.

Ray’s taught me most everything I know about horses. He let me and a few other teens work mucking stalls, soaping saddles, lassoing horses for paying customers, and more at The Barn.  I’d work for an hour to earn an hour’s ride until I got my own horse. I’m boarding Cindy there now.

A breeze kicks up a dust-devil between Ray and me as I lessen the distance between us.

I’m wearing my crisp new straw hat. I’ve joined the town’s riding group, The Richland Ramblers. My hat’s part of the Rambler “uniform” I’ll wear when I ride Cindy in the Richland Day parade and rodeo this summer.

Ray wears straw well . . . in his hats and between his teeth.

He cocks his head at me and says “I see ya got you a new hat.”

I nod and proudly touch the brim, as I walk into the warm, dusty barn.

Ray arches an eyebrow and shakes his head. “Gotta shape it. Want me to show you?

Shape it? My crumpled pride and I hold my breath as Ray, the hat-shaping cowboy, lifts my new hat from my head and saunters out to the corral . . . toward the water trough.

I follow, close on his heels, trusting, hoping, praying. that he’s not going to somehow totally destroy my brand new hat.

And what in the world does the trough and my hat have to do with . . .

A lot.

I swallow hard as Ray nudges two horses aside, leans over the trough and plunges, no, drowns, my new hat beneath the water. Makes me think he’s done this before a time or two.

And then I watch Ray skillfully roll, push, pull, smooth and angle the now-soft, pliable straw hat. The crown is magically reshaped, the brim, artfully rolled to just the right degree. He works it over until he’s happy with it and hands it to me . . .

now shaped into a hat fit for a Rambler.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV),

I’m like my old straw hat. I was stiff and new and unbending once.

When I opened the door and said yes to Jesus, I didn’t want to be conformed to this world anymore. I wanted God to shape me, mold me, and transform me in every way—mind, heart, body, and spirit—that I might be acceptable to Him.

God does that.

He takes us, raw and unfinished, as we are, and shows us His Way. He loves us through every roll, push, pull, and smoothing we experience, anointing us with His presence moment by moment.

Have you asked the Lord to help you do some reshaping?  Has it been easy? difficult? a challenge?

Love,

Sally

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Ongoing Event: June 26 through July 7, 2015. An interview What Floats Sally Chambers’ Boat? And a Book Giveaway  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Upcoming Event: July 15  An interview with the main character in The Stonekeepers, Lexi Christensen along with a book giveaway. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Upcoming Event: Sunday afternoon, August 16, 2015, book signing. More information coming soon

Visit my Amazon Author Page at https://www.amazon.com/author/sallychambers

Novel – The Stonekeepers

 

Be of Good Courage

The hallway of the nursing home settles into a soft hum of lessening noise with residents getting ready for bed.

A child of God, a woman, sits in her wheelchair, bound up in sadness and loneliness, her countenance etched with fear and tears. Head bowed, chin-to-chest, slender fingers white as she grasps the arms of her chair.

She rarely leaves her dim, quiet room and feels secure only within their enclosing walls. But Light shines through another, an old man with a snowy-white beard. He rolls his wheelchair down the hall and pauses at the open doorway of the woman’s room.

He doesn’t notice as a nurse motions for the aide with her not to interfere. But the two stand and watch as he slowly maneuvers through the doorway and stops alongside the woman, facing her.

For a moment, he simply sits quietly. Then he touches her arm.

His gentle hand stays in place as his still-sweet tenor voice permeates the silence and births music. A song swells from the depths of his heart and fills the room, chases out shadows, melts away loneliness.

Darkness lifts and vanishes before the Light.

Loneliness and isolation had covered a soul with the wide, black brush-stroked paint of fear.

Unpretentious love casts the radiance of His Light to bring moments of comfort—and a tenuous smile.

Two children of age, transformed by time’s passage, one drawn to the other through the heart’s essence of compassion.

Uninhibited, innocent love and mercy pour from a heart where Jesus lives.

♥♥
The nurses where my father stayed for a while shared the woman’s fears and described to me how they’d watched and what they’d seen as Dad visited her room.

In spite of his own suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, he found a way to comfort her through the one gift he could give—a song.

♥♥

A tender song, a heartfelt prayer, a soft touch to a fearful or suffering child of God—if you give those small gifts, how do you know you aren’t bringing the Light of Christ into the world of another?
Watch for what God is doing. Heed the tiny urges to “go” and “do” that you sense in your spirit.

So, go there and do that, and don’t look back. Be encouraged in the knowledge that you’ve entered a dimension where God’s listening children work with Him Hand-in-hand.

Dad loved roses.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.'” 1 Chronicles 28:20

Love,

Sally

Stuck

Unless the Lord builds the house . . .

Such trouble I’m having this week, finding a subject to write about.
A little stressed because of a very busy last week and the time crunch, but trusting, praying, asking for something to write.

I reach for the Bible to search for what God might show me.

The pages fall open to 1Chronicles 22:18-19, and my eyes and imagination are caught up with the words:

“Is not the LORD your God with you?
And has He not given you rest on every side?
Now set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God.
Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God . . .”

So what are we building, Lord?
A sanctuary, a sacred or holy place. A place of refuge.

We’re building a small sacred place, a place of refuge. A place to spend a few moments together in wonder over the Lord and His universe, His creation, His people, and much more. Setting the scenes every week through photos and word-stories to share God’s love with you. And hope you feel free to share your heart too.

I think of those who have generously written articles for me to post here on the blog.

Thoughts of the artisan/craftsman, Bezalel, light up my mind, and some of his story in Scripture.

“Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.” Exodus 36:2

And my mindset changes with a grin of realization that the Lord has just provided all I needed to share with you—

Whether you are a writer, a mom, a business owner, a caretaker, no matter what God has called you to do, if He has stirred your heart to do that work, He has put wisdom into you to accomplish it.

As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Through Him, just as when Moses called Bezalel to make the tabernacle beautiful, we can do what we were called to do.

We’ve climbed a little mountain and looked up and found a crevice of sanctuary. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” Dr. Suess

So if you find yourself stuck for a solution, consult the Master problem-solver and his Manual! ☺

The Lord has joy and laughter—and mountain climbing—ready for you!

Have you been stuck lately?

 

 

Silent Encounter

The glass door of Rhonda’s Travel Agency closes behind me. I squeeze the handle of my briefcase, feeling satisfied that I’d done a good job of explaining her new business owner’s insurance policy. I’m focused on getting back to the office, and my steps are staccato as I cross the sun-heated tarmac of the parking lot toward my car.

A tiny ripple of apprehension comes and goes as a young man approaches me. He’s probably in his late teens, has a beautiful smile, bushy hair, sparkling dark skin, and clear, sincere eyes. He looks harmless, but something hangs around his neck.

I look closer. A little sign reads: “I am deaf,” and something nearly illegible about contributing a dollar.

I smile at him and he stops, still looking at me with his beautiful smile as I move to pass him by—an encounter that could have been—ignored.

He’d held up his sign. Had that been a flicker of hope I’d seen in his eyes?

I didn’t turn back. The moment of choice was gone. I’d chosen to pass by.

My office chair creaks. I stare down at my interview notes seeing a blur, and my heart is pinched with guilt and regret. Why had I walked by? He looked perfectly healthy . . . but I can’t know that.

My actions and justifying them play tennis in my head.

Why does this bug me so much? I could have given him some money, and I had the time. Do two seconds matter?

Other people must sometimes ignore someone asking for money like that young man did—don’t they?

You can’t give everyone everything!

I sit and think and replay and pray, but there is no do-over. I’d given him nothing but a smile and a prayer. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I did as I was supposed to do. Maybe not.

My thoughts aren’t quieted. The scene with Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, walking toward the Temple to pray drops into my mind. They could have passed the lame man by. They didn’t, and because they didn’t just pass by, many people became believers in Jesus.

A busy day over, the house is finally silent. In my cozy chair beside the open window, a soft night-breeze delivers the scent of gardenias and ruffles the pages of the magazine I’m reading:

“When we are caught off guard with the least preparation, some of the greatest things can happen. It’s important at all times that we be ready to act in the name of Jesus. That is why we have been given the name of Jesus to use.

“. . . Interruptions don’t have to be annoyances that hinder, but can be opportunities that bring glory to Christ and miracles to man.”

I lay Daily Blessing with its profound message, on my lap. I shouldn’t be amazed by happening to read this devotion after the “event” this morning—but I am.

There will be more of God’s children with needs. I’ll have more choices to make.

Learning sign language

I pray there’s a difference in my awareness of people and their needs—and through the power of the Holy Spirit—in the precious name of Jesus, I won’t pass by again without reaching out and loving them in the way you show me, Lord. Everything I have is yours, to use to your glory. Help me always to be aware and ready, to be prepared to share with your children. Pour your love through me.

Sally working late

Have you ever passed by someone in need and regretted your choice not to stop?

Love,

Sally

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:3-6)

Read about Peter and John in Acts 3:1-10, 4:4

All scripture is from The New King James Version of the Holy Bible

Welcome to EVERYONE HAS A STORY blog!

[Beautiful photo above is by David Morgan, courtesy Flickr CC]

In the weeks to come, I’ll be posting about down-to-earth, everyday stories,about fun or funny or embarrassing or even scary things from life, mine and other guest bloggers. Check out About Me tab as well as the World of Words page. Enjoy the Photo and Poetry page of short poetry and photos that relate.

I hope you’ll join me as I count the days until the publication of The Stonekeepers,a suspense novel  laced with light romance written Young adults, “New” Adults–for women of all ages. Watch for updates in the Countdown box on the sidebar.

I’m thrilled you’ve stopped by my  blog and that you enjoy the first post on Everyone Has A Story!

Does your life holds close calls? Do you go through instant replays when you mess up? Do you panic at an incoming email?

. . . or am I the only one?

 

YOU’VE GOT MAIL!

Flickr - Image by Freddycat1 https://www.flickr.com/photos/15157516@N02/

Umm . . . You’ve got mail in here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flickr - Image by Derek Gavey

Yep, the cat’s right.

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A funny, or not so funny, tale to share . . .

So, I’m at my computer working, concentrating, minding my own business, my e-mail program up and running in the background as usual.

Flickr - Image by BB https://www.flickr.com/photos/freudianslip/

“On my wish list!”

Earlier I’d sent a serious e-mail to a business acquaintance whose first name is Scott. The Subject line of the e-mail I sent him read: “A Question”. I’d hoped for a quick reply.

No problem.

Except, as my fingers flew over the computer keys, up came the announcement of a new e-mail—from Scott— Wonderful, I think. That was fast!

But—instead of the Subject line reading “RE: A Question,” it says “RE: Blessings and Love!” Gulp. What had I done?

Flickr - Image by Tambako The Jaguar https://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/

She did what?

Had I accidentally forwarded something I hadn’t meant to, to businessman, Scott? No way!

I instantly lose my breath, my composure, and nearly my lunch!

Until I remember that a week earlier, on a special occasion, I’d sent an e-mail to a dear friend who uses her husband’s e-mail address—one that comes into my Inbox showing his first name—Scott!

What had I put in the Subject line of my e-mail to her? “Blessings and Love.” And she was the one who had sent the reply.

Yep. I owned that snowy owl‘s expression for a minute today. It felt like a close call, a reminder to be careful, that sending an e-mail to the wrong person can happen.

And that woman, flat out on the bench on the beach is expressing exactly how I feel now, thinking of the what-ifs.

Flickr - Image by Britt-Knee https://www.flickr.com/photos/lsuchick142/

Whew!

This little event came along moments after fervent prayer over what in the world my very first blog post should be about.

And isn’t that how the Lord works in our lives when we pray and trust?

So, am I the only one who has a mini panic attack when something like that happens?

Or are you, like me, still learning and exploring the depths of the relationship between yourself and God, completely in awe of his patience and love?

What’s your story? Share your comments at the bottom of this post and join the conversation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
 It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8 NKJV