Winter Evening Reads

resized_reading_by_the_fire_books_istockOh, wintertide. I try to love you. I really do. My heart bravely endures the 1.7 days of southern snow and sleet each year, and I semi-cheerfully add a layer of long sleeves to battle the onslaught of below-fifty-degree air.

The struggle is real. I mean, I’m a southern gal for a reason. In fact, could we pause for a minute of sincere silence for the joys of flip-flops, shorts, and sitting on the front porch until 9pm?

Thanks. I just, um, needed a moment.

There is a bright spot in these long winter evenings. We can stoke the fire and curl up with a good book, article, or blogpost. So, while we wait for the much-beloved early signs of spring, grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, light a candle or throw a log on the fire, and grab your favorite blanket. Check out a few favorites I’ve enjoyed these past weeks. Happy reading! Continue reading

The Quiet Place

vinepic

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.    John 15:5

I have the most beautiful place set aside for my daily quiet time. A small nook, alcove, right off the kitchen. Morning sunlight filters in and dances across bare floors. Surrounding windows provide a picturesque view of my tiny flower garden as well as ferns spilling from hanging baskets. An inviting place – lovely really.

I was headed there today when a most important matter caught my attention. Kitchen was a mess and something had to be done. “Don’t worry,” I said to Quiet Place, “I’ll be right there. This is really most urgent.”

With Kitchen momentarily appeased, I eagerly padded toward Quiet Place. “Wait,” I said, “I would be a much better steward of my time if I made a quick visit with Laundry. Then I would be accomplishing a chore while enjoying my time with Devotions.” Good thinking. Brilliant, actually.

Word, Pen, and Journal whispered softly from their special spot in the quiet place. “What about us? We’re waiting, you know.”

“I’m very aware of that. One more minute please.”

And so it went.

Laundry notified Vacuuming, Sweeping and Dusting. Children began their day and needed my attention. Quiet Place watched – quietly. Pen and Journal went silent. They had been here before. They were accustomed to neglect. Word, however, continued to beckon. “I’m still here, don’t forget…”

“I haven’t forgotten,” I stammered with some irritation. “Just a few more minutes, please. These matters really are most urgent.”

Telephone agreed. So did Bills, Groceries, and Yard Work. Even Church Work weighed in and became quite demanding. Fatigue and Anxiousness rang the back doorbell. Are you kidding me? Can someone else answer that?

In frustration I looked to my old friend for help. But Quiet Place wasn’t in his usual spot. Confused, I searched for him, missing him more each moment. I checked with Living Room where Children were entertaining Television and Video Games.

No Quiet Place.

I ran to Bedroom and shouted at Stereo. “Silence please! I’m looking for Quiet Place!”

Meanwhile, Fatigue and Anxiousness had recruited reinforcements. Discontentment and Irritability slipped in uninvited and made themselves at home.

I have the most beautiful place set aside for my quiet time. It’s lovely, really…

Father, please forgive me for not being still before You.Convict me to come to You in quiet and with a humble heart, that I may truly worship You in Spirit and in Truth.

No matter the season of life, there will always be something to distract us from being still and quiet before our Lord. What hurdles do you face as you seek those quiet moments?

Mother’s Day

I love Mother’s Day, if only because the girls’ secretive excitement is so much fun to watch. Okay, so I like the gifts too. I can’t help it; I’m only human and presents are fun. Especially Mother’s Day presents: finger paintings, handprints, homemade jewelry, confections of every sort, pencil holders, place mats. Each masterpiece is crafted with such love that its value is immeasurable.Katie_Thomas 02

The days leading up to Mom’s big event are also exciting. I can’t walk down the hall without hearing “Mama, don’t look!” and then a quick slam of a bedroom door. The last-minute shopping trip with Daddy is also a yearly tradition. One or two days in advance, my family all proudly announce that they need to run uptown to “run some errands.” Grinning from ear to ear, they hop in Dad’s truck waving and blowing kisses, assuming that Mom couldn’t possibly know what they are up to. An hour or two later they burst into the house with shouts of “Mama, close your eyes!” Then they seclude themselves in their rooms among sounds of wrapping paper and tape being pulled off the roll. They emerge sometime later with those same precious grins, their eyes wide with innocence. “Mama, you can’t go in our room, okay?”

“Okay,” I promise.

I hope they have things hidden well. I’d hate to stumble onto something when I check on them tonight. (Big smile)

Lord, thank You for my family. Thank You for special days. Thank You for the sound of little voices and for childish expressions of love.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

(Excerpted from Time Out: A Quiet-time Devotional for Busy Moms)

Update: Gathering with the family tonight at the home of one of the girls. Celebrating mom-hood and grammy-hood!

lauramarykatieatplay