Friday, December 31, 2010

Psalms Devotional

Two years ago, my writers' group embarked on a big task: we wanted to put together a monthly devotional on the Book of Psalms. And just before Christmas, our efforts resulted in a book that we can hold in our hands:

As noted by the title, the devotional covers thirty-one days and can be used repeatedly throughout the year. Each devotional ends with an application portion, which will hopefully challenge you to apply the Psalm to your life.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, here's a link that will enable you to do that.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Letter

Dear Family and Friends,

A friend of mine has a "disclaimer" on her blog that states:
If you read much at this web address, you may be overcome by the warm fuzzy thing. Is my life one big warm fuzzy? Of course not. I would think it would be similar to yours. . . . So for every warm fuzzy moment recorded here, there are 100 other moments that have been messy, forgiven, and washed with His grace.
With that in mind, I'm choosing to focus in this letter on the joyous times that I've experienced throughout 2010.

When I looked back over my calendar from this year, I noticed one overwhelming theme: God provided a year full of special events for me. I met Colt McCoy and his family at the Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner; I cheered while attending a TCU baseball game and a Mavs game; a friend's dad taught me how to shoot a gun; I took Mom to the Orange & White Game at UT on Easter; I attended the Legends Dinner with special guests Troy Aikman and Brad McCoy; I attended a gala at the Modern Art Museum; I watched my friend's kids perform in a ballet and a baseball game; I listened to Beth Moore teach in Dallas; I made a road trip with a friend to Colorado and spent time there exploring Denver and the surrounding area with Mom and Erin; I had my picture taken with Mack Brown at his women's football clinic; Erin and I made a road trip to Lubbock to see the Zac Brown Band and watch UT beat Tech; I celebrated my birthday first with a friend at Carrie Underwood's concert in Dallas and later with more friends over dinner and dessert; I took in my first UT home game and was present for the retirement of Colt's jersey; and I recently heard author Shauna Niequist read portions of her latest book Bittersweet at a book signing in Mansfield.

But more life-impacting than all of these events has been the opportunity to invest in the life of a little girl, whom I've never met. Over the past three summers, my friend Susie has served as a counselor at a camp for orphans in Zambia, Africa. When Susie returned to Zambia this past summer, she was greeted with shouts of "Auntie Susie!" from all of the girls that she has shared Jesus with over the previous summers. Christine quickly commandeered Susie's attention, and pointing to each of the girls in the group, she said through her broken English, "And yes, and yes, and yes, and yes, and yes, and yes, . . . [and then, pointing to herself] and no!" Susie didn't understand at first, but then she realized that Christine was supset that she had not been able to attend the Christmas party last year because she had not been sponsored as part of the Father's Heart ministry with Family Legacy, unlike most of the other girls in Susie's group. Christine had obviously been thinking about that for every bit of the seven months since the party. And when camp wrapped up and she was leaving on the bus, she screamed out the window, "Auntie Susie, remember the party!"

Susie not only remembered the party but also found someone to sponsor Christine before I'd heard her story. Despite the fact that Christine now has a sponsor, I can't get her story out of my mind. There have been many times in my life that I have felt like I was left out of the party. But it makes me smile that Christine was willing to boldly ask for her chance to attend the party, and I can't wait to hear what she thinks when she finds out that she will get to attend this year's party!

I knew that there were other girls who didn't get to attend the party, and so I chose one of those girls to sponsor. Sponsoring Theresa has given me a broader perspective. I've realized that there are those who don't crave a gift but just want the chance to go to the party--a party where God's love will be demonstrated and where the attendees will be reminded of God's gift of His Son and of the party that He is preparing to throw for all of us in Heaven.

That simple message is where I want my heart to stay this season. Joyous times await!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Seat

About two months ago, I saw on Facebook that the band Green River Ordinance would be playing a concert at a small venue here. And since they call Cowtown home, they were planning to record this particular concert for a live DVD. I had just recently heard about GRO from a friend and enjoyed the songs I'd listened to, so I decided to purchase two tickets to the concert and live taping. I thought it would be a fun way to kick off December.

I knew it might be hard to find a friend who would be free on a Friday night in December, but I took my chances because I knew I didn't want to go alone. I talked to several friends about going, but in the end, none could go.

I decided I'd be brave and go alone tonight. I figured I'd know at least a couple of people who would be at the concert. So I got ready and went to the venue. During the time that I was trying to find a parking place, a tidbit of information that I'd learned earlier in the week about the venue came back to me: There are only a few seats at some tables; don't expect a lot.

As I got ready to walk across the busy street in front of the venue, my courage left. I realized that without a reserved seat, I would be on my own. I'd have to stand by myself or hope that I could find someone I knew. And I wasn't up for taking that chance or barging my way into a group. So I left and came home.

Since the tickets were relatively cheap and I wasn't a long-time follower of this band, I didn't grieve not going. Instead, I tried to figure out why I couldn't go to this particular event even though I've gone to plenty of other events on my own. I realized that I need a seat that I can call my own. A reserved spot, even just a small one, that I can call my own.

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about this when it comes to Heaven. Christ has gone to prepare a place for me, and I can take comfort knowing that I don't have to worry about finding a seat there.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Favorite Christmas Song

Each year at Christmas, one song seems to stand out for me. In the past, I've featured "How Many Kings," "While You Were Sleeping," and a list of my Christmas music must-haves.

This year, Francesca Battestelli's "You're Here" won my heart. I heard it several times last year, but this Christmas, it was the song that I wanted to hear again and again. Its message--that God chose not to leave us on our own--is comforting year-round.

I found the song on YouTube set to a scene from the movie The Nativity Story. I hope it blesses you!