First Watch

Good morning!

Yesterday morning I went to First Watch for breakfast. It was an overcast, dreary kind of morning. An inside day. Perfect for breakfast out. Evidently we were not the only ones that thought so. There was a wait.

As we sat on the bench awaiting  available seating, the FIRST thing we noticed as we WATCHed everyone waiting around us, was that they were all on their cell phones. Three different couples were all ignoring each other and giving their full attention to the pieces of plastic and metal in their hands. Oh, one couple was not. They were pleasantly ignoring each other and each reading their own piece of the Sunday paper. That was novel! A real paper copy! No e-edition!

Wow!

It reminded us of a post on Facebook we’d seen earlier that morning.

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How I wish sometimes it was 1995. Life wasn’t so bad back then. Or better yet, maybe what if WiFi would just take a holiday. Not go away forever.

Oh don’t get me wrong. I am as addicted to it as much as the next guy. No internet: No blog. No Facebook. No Pinterest. No online bill paying. No online shopping. No emails. Basically what we’re looking at here is limited communication and no life as we know it. But, just every once in awhile, a break, a real conversation with eye contact with real people would be greatly appreciated.

Then this couple walked in. I caught sight of them through the plant dividing our two benches. And this is what I saw at my First Watch.

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They were different.  They engaged in conversation.  With each other and with us. And they not only made eye contact, they actually touched! They sat patiently waiting for their table hand in hand.  They were too precious for words!

They instilled hope back into my world! People could still engage with each other! I ask each of you to please help me in reaching and teaching our future generations just that! To engage with each other! To cross the barriers of different generations. Different ethnicity. You’ll learn something!
Teach them to touch. To speak to others in safe environments. To share. To love. Those things we learned in pre-K. That’s called living!

If you don’t have a hand you can readily hold as you sit patiently waiting your turns in life, don’t automatically reach for your cell phone for something to hold instead each time. It’s plastic and metal. As much as we all seem to believe it holds the answers to everything, it does not. (Although google is pretty amazing!) The almighty smartphone is really not all that smart. Not by itself any way. We rely way too much on it and give it way too much credit. And attention. Put it away. Engage with others around you. Look and listen to what is going on in our world. It’s so much more fulfilling!

And if you haven’t already, you might want to make sure you’re engaged with Jesus. He’s omnipotent. He’s omniscient. He’s always with us. He’s smarter than any smartphone. No battery or smart card or WiFi or GPS needed. And when it comes to us,
He’s always on First Watch.
And last.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.
Psalm 73:23

Love and laughter,

Sandy

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Bedlam

Good morning!

Last night more orange and crimson could be seen across Boone Pickens Stadium than a forest in autumn.

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It was Bedlam 2015.

Bedlam refers to the athletics rivalry between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys of the Big 12 Conference.

Who were you cheering for?

The stadium was filled to capacity that cold and wet evening.  But the weather didn’t deter the enthusiasm of the diehard Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans. And if you weren’t there live watching from the stadium, I’m sure you were one of the many fans gathered across the state and elsewhere in the comforts of a heated establishment watching it televised, rallying for your favorite team. Your Alma Mater.

I know I was. 🙂 I was sporting my OSU orange.

But, it wasn’t the year for orange. 😦
OU walked away victorious.
58-23
They never let poor Rudolph 
join in any reindeer games. 😦

But that’s okay. It’s just a game. Fun to watch. My state is still a winner either way. May the best team win!

The last Bedlam game I attended there in Stillwater was in the late ’70s, as a student. I remember it well. I can’t imagine the bedlam in Stillwater last night. With the crowds of fans, both young and old, some a little more rowdy than others, I’m sure.

You know bedlam is actually defined as a very noisy and confused state or scene. I’m sure that was putting it mildly on a college campus. That particular campus last night.

You know me, how my mind works. The wheels are spinning. Thinking back to another time of bedlam.

Can you imagine the bedlam in Bethlehem when Joseph and Mary appeared soon to be delivering child with no place to stay? 

And not just any child, I might add.

Do you suppose young Mary, in between her labor pains, was feeling a little confused by the scene of delivering her child in a stable, amongst animals? That’s where her bedlam was replaced by her faith. Faith in her God. Who had sent an angel to tell her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Mary had faith.

Many of us too, have faith. Faith in something.  Whether it be in the Cowboys or the Sooners,  I urge you to grow your faith bigger than just what can be seen with the naked eye.

Have faith in Jesus. After all, He is the reason for the season. He will bring peace to your bedlam. Now go enjoy your holiday bowl games, but look beyond to the battle that’s already been won and offers you eternity. Jesus is your true champion.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Like 2:4–7

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Lights On!

Good morning!

Jenks Christmas lights went on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Philbrook’s Garden Glow this past Saturday. Rhema Bible Church, Utica Square, the University of Tulsa,  downtown Tulsa’s Winterfest, Lights on the Hill at Chandler Park, Riverlights, all officially turned on Thanksgiving evening. Then there’s those private homes whose lights are choreographed to their own favorlte Christmas music. Just tune your radio to the specified channel and enjoy! And don’t forget the helicopter Christmas light tours. They give you a totally different perspective of viewing holiday lights if you want that extra special holiday treat.

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This year it was raining. 😦 That kind of put a damper on the holiday Lights On festivities across our fair city. The temperature read 38 degrees.  If the temperature would drop just a few more degrees down to 32 it would be glorious. The rain would become snow and walking among the lights would become a winter wonderland.

Here’s hoping for that snow. It makes the Christmas season feel alot more like Christmas. Until then it’s perfect weather to cuddle under a blanket with those you love and watch holiday movies with a mug of hot chocolate and a big bowl of buttery popcorn. With the lights off. Just like in the movie theatre.
Until it’s time for Lights On.

Then as soon as it’s dark, go tour Tulsa or your own hometown wherever that may be. Savor the Christmas magic of holiday lights. Lights on.

And while you’re at it, make sure your own light is shining brightly for others to see. Don’t hide it under the stress and turmoil of today’s worldly problems. We can’t solve them. Only God can. Let your deeds glorify Him.

Let’s all be the light of the world, especially this holiday season!

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Matthew 5:14-16

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Black Friday

Good morning!

I’m writing this in the wee hours because I am awake and soon off to find the good deals of Black Friday. 

Not really. Awake, yes. Going shopping, no. I was up to let the dog out. 😦

Been there done that in my earlier years when my children were small, and I just had to find THAT most popular toy. Cabbage Patch dolls, Tickle Me Elmo, Teddy Ruxpin. I no longer get adrenaline rushes from crowds. I can’t tell you the last time I frequented the mall.

I’m more of a cyber Monday kind of girl. I’m an online shopper. I can shop from the comforts of my couch or bed any hour of any day and have it delivered to my doorstep. I don’t even have to get out of my pajamas! 

I could hardly lift the Tulsa Word yesterday with all the black Friday sale flyers in it! Once I was done perusing them, they filled my entire recycle bin!

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I’m a firm believer that Black Friday must have existed in the marketplace in biblical times. Maybe not on quite as grandiose of a level, but the Proverbs 31 woman would have been all about it.

She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
Proverbs 31:15

Now that’s a woman preparing for Black Friday!

On a serious note, I know many are hitting the shops this Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Shop ’til you drop, but don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas. 

As you take your kids to sit on Santa’s lap, don’t forget to hit a knee in remembrance of baby Jesus.

He came to us as the ultimate Christmas gift, modestly wrapped in a manger. No bows or bright wrapping. He left us on another Black Friday. Good Friday. It was black for another reason. He was crucified and died for our sins on that gloomy day. But the tomb could not hold Him. He rose again.

He’s the one that can give you what you truly want and need. Not just this Christmas,  but every day and for eternity. No alarm setting or lines to wait in necessary.

To all you die hard shoppers out there, if you find some great deals out there, feel free to tell me about it in the comments. I’m thrilled for your stamina! As for me, I’m going back to bed until it’s no longer black outside this Friday.  Then I just might venture out for a hot cup of coffee or two shared with a good friend.

Happy Shopping! 🙂  

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Thanksgiving…A Time Of Traditions

Good morning!

Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

Thanksgiving day is considered the most traveled day of the year. It’s the holiday most spent together by families.

Driving is the most preferred mode of transportation to temporarily relocate these family members to their loved ones.

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And turkey is the most preferred food of choice served on Thanksgiving day. (Even though the original Pilgrims more than likely did not actually eat turkey at their feast,  but rather would have been fish eaters.)

Traditions.
Habits we create by repeating our behaviors.
Driving to grandma’s to eat turkey for thanksgiving dinner is one of the finest! ♡

Our family tradition for years consisted of celebrating Thanksgiving around 1:00 p.m. as we ate lunch together as a family. There were grandparents,  parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends present. It always commenced with the entire group circling in prayer, giving thanks for the food and loved ones present and remembering those that were not. Our dear friend, Charlie Chibitty, spent Thanksgiving with us for many years. He was one of the last Comanche code talkers in World War II. He would pray in his native tongue as well.  I’ll never forget my girls as this Indian man spoke in a foreign tongue to them. Then it was, Let’s eat! Finally, the men in the family would retire to the den to watch football or play cards or nap. The women would serve dessert then clean up the dishes and prepare for round two later on that evening around dinner time. As the men played pinochle, the women and children often joined in a friendly game of dominoes. After our second feeding, the women and children would load up in the car and go look at the Christmas lights that were brightly displayed for all to see. This night officially escorting in the Christmas season. Cups of cappuccino and hot chocolate were enjoyed by all. And the little ones would never master the car ride home without falling fast asleep.

There was always too much food! Turkey and dressing, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, pies.  Our family may have been small, but friends were always welcome and included. Growing up, I always had plenty and had plenty to be thankful for each Thanksgiving.

Times have changed.  People have come and gone out of my life. My 3 daughters are all grown up now,  but I’m blessed to have them all here in the Tulsa area. We all seem to go in all different directions. Some traveling with their new loved ones, some working, some spending their time with their spouse’s families. Those long time family traditions I have practiced have died along with those before me. To be replaced by new and different plans. Some harder for me to accept than others. But life is about change. Going with the flow. Adapting.

I’ve finally learned to be content.  Right where I am. I figure it’s where God must want me. That contentment is definitely something worth being thankful for! It’s taken me years to finally achieve it. 🙂

No matter where I may celebrate this day, I can assure you it will be spent with people I love. I’m thankful for that luxury. Some aren’t as fortunate.  They will be spending it alone.

I ask each of you to be aware of those around you at this time of year. Where ever you may be, BE there! Be 100% in. Engage!  Listen to the stories of the young and old alike. Give of yourself to those you see alone. A smile, a touch, a kind word goes a long way to brightening another’s world.

Reflecting back over the years, what are some of your fondest memories of holiday traditions? Those things you’ve been thankful for? What are you thankful for THIS Thanksgiving?

I’m most thankful for all of you, my readers. My family, my friends. The meal (or meals) I’ll be eating today.  My faith. My freedom. My job.  The tradition I have started of writing a blog every day.

Let’s all give thanks to God today for everything we have.  And don’t have. 🙂 Unanswered prayer is not always a bad thing. Then let’s take a moment and tell those we love how thankful we are for them as well.  Then go eat some turkey or pie and watch a little football while you’re at it, and do something totally quirky, original to your particular family. I urge you to go and make some new family traditions all of your own. But most of all, be thankful. ♡

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thesolonian 5 :18

Love and laughter,

Sandy

♡ An Affair Of The Heart ♡

Good morning!

This past weekend was a woman’s fantasy come to life! Three days of unlimited shopping under one roof.
If that doesn’t make a woman’s heart beat a little faster, I don’t know what will! ♡

An Affair Of The Heart Of Tulsa is Tulsa’s biannual extravaganza. It is a unique marketplace of premier  independent artists and retailers. It’s where to go for all your holiday needs, decorations,  food and drink, home decor, clothing, accessories, toys, and gifts. Those unique, one of a kind, creative items that you can’t find in the chain stores of America.

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I don’t know about you, but it definitely warms my heart to go every year! It’s an affair I never miss! ♡

There are dips and soups and pickles and coffees to sample. (Not all at the same time! Yucky!) There are headbands and t-shirts and college sportswear items and jewelry and  anything else you could ever want or imagine to buy there for your choosing . The only thing you will see little of there is men. The River Spirit Expo at Expo Square is definitely progesterone filled that weekend.

Let the Christmas shopping commence! It’s always one of the events I enjoy taking part in each year around the holiday season.  It seems to escort in the holudays and prepare my heart for Christmas. Christmas shopping that is.

Let’s all put on a new heart and a new spirit this holiday season. Let’s not just rush around decorating, shopping, wrapping, mailing, stressing at all the things we need to accomplish with such little time or money to do it. Instead let’s invite others into our homes. Into our lives. Into our hearts. Let’s be of good cheer. Let’s be Marys instead of Marthas. Let’s not worry about the quantity of what we are giving to others or receiving from them,  but rather be concerned with the quality of the time and attention we pay to others.

Just remember as you shop ’til you drop these upcoming days before Christmas,  take time to stop and experience the true meaning of Christmas every now and again. Baby Jesus. Born in a manger. Our Savior. Let’s do a little shopping too for those less fortunate. Let’s have a new heart. A heart of giving. Not just material gifts, but also gifts from the heart. God’s love. After all, God loves a cheerful giver! ♡

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26

Love and laughter,

Sandy

Pilgrims Were Refugees Once Too

Good morning!

In the midst of all the controversy over whether we should or should not let refugees into our country, good ol’ Facebook reminded me with a cartoon on someone’s post that the Pilgrims were refugees once too.

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Where would we be this Thursday if it weren’t for the Pilgrims? What if the Mayflower had been denied arrival into America? Would it still be the land of the free? What if our history books never mentioned such names as William Bradford or Myles Standish?
What would we have to be thankful for any way?

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One Thanksgiving I had the privilege to visit The Mayflower II (replica of the original Mayflower) and Plimouth Plantation outside of Boston in Plymouth Massachusetts. It is a re-creation of the small 17th-Century farming and maritime community that the Pilgrims built along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. Authentic costumed actors that remain in character of that early time period tell you about their escaping England to seek religious freedom, the perilous journey across the Atlantic, the loss of many lives due to extreme weather conditions, and the dealings with the native Indians once settled. It put the shoe (or moccasin) on the other foot. I saw Americans as the refugees.

A refugee is a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.

Just as I witnessed at Plimouth Plantation, refugees aren’t necessarily bad, evil, poor, sickly, or uneducated people. They are usually good, passionate people that stand up for a better way of life. Usually for their loved ones.

Let’s help them, help themselves. So they can help others in return! Matthew 25:40 tells us Christ said to His people “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ WWJD? If we reach out and help them as Christ would, it’s the same as doing for Christ, Himself. Let’s all be refugees or foreigners in this land as God’s word tells us we are. Our true home is in Heaven. Let’s seek Christ to be our refuge, our safety in times of danger. He understands.  Never forget, He was once the refugee Himself. 😦 

O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit.”
Jeremiah 16:19

Love and laughter,

Sandy