Breathing Expectation


December 2013

For My Sister

Friends and family may be surprised to learn My Christmas Card to You by The Partridge Family is one of my very favorite Christmas songs. You may ask why. In fact, you may ask why more than once.

The answer: Brenda. My only sister. The best ever sister. And while she may not (at first glance) appreciate my linking her to The Partridge Family, she should be assured there are a lot of good reasons for this. All having to do with memories. Good memories. Truly awesome growing up memories.

Christmas break circa 1981:

  • Endless card games.
  • Guiding Light.
  • Christmas TV specials.
  • Shrinky dinks.
  • Bobby Sherman – Think worst Christmas trick ever played on a younger sister who was expecting the latest Billy Joel album.
  • Snowmobiling with a minor crash or two.
  • Ice skating.
  • Hot chocolate in the “new no-drip coffee maker.”
  • Decorating the tree.
  • Stringing popcorn – Not nearly as fun or nostalgic as it looks.
  • The Girl With the Red Glasses – Back in the ’70s, there was a series of holiday specials with this girl named Addie. They were weird but we watched them because–hey–there were only 3 channels. I have no idea the name of them, but we always called the episodes The Girl With the Red Glasses. Anybody else recall these?
  • The Waltons Christmas Homecoming – We could have our own VH1 show with made-up commentary to make the show a lot more interesting.
  • Christmas shopping – Remember when Moose Lake stores were open late on Friday nights and Christmas music played from speakers on the corner by Coast to Coast (now Poor Gary’s)?
  • Gingerbread men. 
  • Codeine – The year I had 4 teeth pulled and was on heavy doses of codeine. Interestingly, it didn’t make me tired–just overly outgoing and very funny. (Blondie – The Tide is High [and so am I])
  • Christmas music.

And Christmas music is where we find The Partridge Family. We listened to a wide variety of Christmas music every holiday season, but only Brenda owned The Partridge Family – A Partridge Family Christmas. Believe it or not, it had some good stuff. 

Brenda may not remember our holiday breaks exactly as I do, but we shared a lot of laughs and lot of love, and woven throughout these times in my memory bank, The Partridge Family is singing My Christmas Card to You.

Brenda – Cheers and Merry Christmas! I miss you and I miss those days!!



On Being a Receiver

It is better to give than to receive. Hmmmm…….

It is fun to plan the gift, give it over with no strings attached, and await the response of the receiver. It is sooo easy to give. Not so easy always to receive. Which is silly. Being a receiver means somebody has something to give us. And we should accept the gift gracefully and with thanksgiving.

I’m learning to be a receiver. A gracious, thankful receiver. 

This year has taught the man and me and our children about receiving. In a difficult year, we have received words of encouragement, handshakes, and hugs. We have been cared for by those who have covered us with prayer. We have been gifted in many ways–a long fishing weekend, a Thanksgiving basket with turkey and all the trimmings left on our porch, and a hundred other gestures that friends and family have offered to us. This morning, I opened the door to find a Christmas gift that changed the season for us. Changed it in what we can do for ourselves and others. Changed it by bringing humbleness to my heart and a prayer of thanksgiving to my lips.

This gift was anonymous. I haven’t a clue who left it or how many people may have been a part of putting it together. 

It. is. humbling. Enormously so.  Because as I was wondering who would have done this latest amazing thing for us, I realized just how many possibilities there are. We have so many who love us. So many who have given to us in ways they didn’t know would touch us so deeply or meet a need we hadn’t spoken.

In this season of miracles, of giving and receiving, put your thanks on.



Physically or Mentally Exhausted? Be Glad!

Why on earth be glad about exhaustion? 

Because the Christmas season goes beyond earth. To take the words of a favorite (well, one of my favorites anyway) Christmas hymn:

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, 
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth. 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining. 
’til He appeared and the Soul felt His worth. 
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices . . .

Most of us know the story about the magnificent star that shone in the East, signifying the holiest night of the year and proclaiming the birth of Our Savior. 

O Holy Night captures what came before. Long lay the word in sin and error pining. The world had been waiting centuries for the Messiah. Waiting while dead in their sins because there was no way to keep the letter of the law and no one to rescue them. They were pining, which means (according to, “yearning deeply,” “suffering with longing.” They were unfulfilled and lost.

til He appeared and the Soul felt His worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices . . .

The change is instant. He appears; the people rejoice. Though they were weary from the waiting, the birth of Christ brings unending hope and eternal joy.

We, on this side of the Christmas Story, do not have to wait. Hope and rejoicing are ours for He has come and will come again.

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