CHRISTMASTIDE: Day 7: A New Thing – Part 1

I won’t make it to midnight….

without a nap….

from about 9:30 p.m. to 11:59 when Tom will wake me up to see the ball drop.

New Years Eve. It’s just not my favorite. I love the idea of it because I love a good party. I love the gathering of friends and family. I love the snacks and drinks. I love it all… I just need it to end around 8:30 p.m. Can I get an Amen?

Despite my inability or desire to actually ring in the New Year there is something I enjoy about the next two days. I find the built in opportunity to look back on what I learned in the prior year and plan for the next to be not only enjoyable but important. A couple of years ago my daughters and I used the earlier hours of New Years eve to create dream boards for the next year. We cut pictures out of magazines and glued them to a piece of card stock. The symbols and words we discovered were a reflection of what we were committed to working towards in the new year.

This year I’ve decided to make two lists and this is where I invite you in to a little New Years Eve homework assignment. I’ve actually done a bit of the work for you but the best results will come when you take some moments to reflect on the following words I’ll share. And to be clear – these instructions are not from me – but our God who promises to give all wisdom in all situations – including the next year of life he will bring to each of us.

If you followed my blog during Lent 2020 you know that each Sunday I provided one verse in several different translations. I encouraged you to read through each one, possibly even write them out on paper so as to slow your mind down for deeper reflection. This is what I will do for you today. As I look back on 2020 and plan for 2021 – I’m using this verse to understand two things – that will grow my two lists.

  1. What has God done and will do?
  2. What is my responsibility?

It’s when these two lists start to mingle that I start to feel overwhelmed. When I start to think I’m God of the Universe things get messy. So here you go…. Isaiah 43:16,18-19 in several translations. As you read through the words make your own lists. The God List and the YOU list. I believe that this is the most important place to start when making any sort of New Years Resolution or Goal Poster. If our direction doesn’t start with God , it is likely it may not be the best idea. We all learned from 2020 that our best laid plans can all fall to pieces with one phone call, one diagnosis, one crazy virus that sneaks into our country. May this time of reflection move us to a place of HOPE in our God that will never change even when everything about us does. Grab a pen, journal, scratch paper…. lets get to list making.

Isaiah 43:16,18-19. NIV

This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea- a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things, do not dwell in the past. See I am doing a new thing! NOW it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:16,18-19 AMP

This is what the Lord says, He who makes a way through the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, Do Not Remember the former things or ponder the things of the past. Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing. NOW it will spring forth , will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43: 16, 18-19 ERV

The Lord is making roads through the sea. He is making a path for his people, even through rough waters. So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through that dry land.

Isaiah 43:16,18-19 GW

The Lord makes a path through the sea and a road through the strong currents. Forget what happened in the past and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land.

Isaiah 43:16, 18-19. TLB

I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters, making a path right through the sea. But forget all that – it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! For I’m going to do a brand new thing. See I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home and create rivers for them in the desert!

Isaiah 43:16,18-19 The Message

This is what God says, the God who builds a road right through the ocean, who carves a path through pounding waves, Forget about what’s happened, don’t keep going over old history. Be alert. Be present. I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.

See you back here tomorrow… with your lists. God’s word can give us such clear direction and peace…

And for this… I rejoice.

Try writing the words – they will come to life!


I knew she would be awake prepping for another day of online teaching. The high school where she has worked for several years had moved to an online format through the end of the year due to COVID. Her story is one of many educators across our country. I am thankful for she and all the other teachers that have sacrificed so much to continue some sort of learning opportunities for their students. On this particular day I was thankful for something else this new format had provided….

She was home.

My friend lives about a block away. I can see her back deck from my front porch. There are a gazillion things I love about our home. The proximity to some of the most kind, generous neighbors and friends is one of them. Today her physical presence was one I needed but did not anticipate enjoying when I sent my text, my prayer request hours before the sunrise last week.

It wasn’t long after I shared some disturbing news via text with Jodi that she sent me a response with beautiful words of encouragement, hope and perspective. I shed a few tears , sent a quick “thank you for being amazing” reply and prepped to hop on my exercise bike. I hoped that riding a few miles and sweating through an old T-shirt would relieve some of the stress I felt in my shoulders. As I was about the begin my ride – I heard my dog whimpering by the front door. When I looked down the hallway he turned, wagged his tail and then looked back again at the door as if to say, “A friend is here- you need to see her.”

My little dog – he was so right.

My friend had made a decision. She did not ask for permission or request a time when we could both be showered and prepped for the day to connect. She followed her gut that said, ” Go see Beth…. NOW.” And she did. She walked right on over and said these simple words…

“I just needed to see if you were OK.”

She hugged me and I cried real tears. We stood in the entry way of my home and talked for, at most, 15 minutes. She didn’t give any answers that fixed the problem….

But she gave her presence……

that brought real peace.

It was what I needed to move through my day. Her response to her NOW nudge enabled me to plow through my year end business to-do list as well as prepping for the Christmas celebration that was right around the corner. This isn’t the first time she has shared this gift with me. She has taught me the power of the pivot when that NOW nudge comes.

2020 has forced us all to change direction on a moments notice. Many of us have acquired a wealth of information and skills as a result of the constant need for learning. The reality of changing NOW has blown in like a cold north wind and does not seem to want to let up anytime soon. Jesus lived his life with a NOW mentality. When he was faced with the sick he would heal physically. He would then use that NOW moment to bring the most important healing – forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. When he was gathering his team of 12 he commanded a NOW response. When he was discovered in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified, he went willingly knowing it was NOW time. When the apostle Paul taught us about seeking Gods presence he instructs us to do so with freedom and confidence – which I translate as NOW.

I will leave 2020 with a new appreciation for NOW. I have learned that when that NOW nudge comes that God is telling me to move, immediately. What is your NOW nudge today? Has something been tugging at your heart? Is there a name you cannot get out of your mind? I pray this message can be the spark that starts your NOW movement. The 15 minutes you take to adjust your life could literally change the course of someone else’s. Put your phone down and go… NOW.

The gift of grace my friend shared as a result of her NOW nudge has made such a difference that it will be the theme of my 2021…

and for this I rejoice.


The picture of “Lets go NOW!”


I get it. At least I think I do. I believe I understand the feeling behind the shift in melody, style and rhythm on Day 5. You know, Day 5, of the song the 12 days of Christmas. I know the tune has popped in your head before you read the next sentence. If it hasn’t… here it is.

Fiiive…. GOOOOOOLDEN… RIIIIIINNNGS!!! Deep, audible breath.

and then the song continues.

The writer committed to penning this tune, gets a good start and then by day 5 he thinks – ” what have I gotten myself into – 12 days of lyrics?” What began as a fun way to walk through this season of christmastide now feels a bit of a burden. Thus the long drawn out phrase and deep breath. Friends- thats me today.

We have enjoyed a whirlwind of activity in our family over the last two days. It has been nothing short of wonderful. This morning as I drink my coffee and ponder the words of what to share, all I could think of was…… Pause, deep, audible, cleansing breath. And I knew that was exactly the gift I would rejoice in today. The ability……

to choose….

to stop.

Yesterday in the midst of a kitchen full of family, my great nephew began to show signs of fatigue. He is a little over a year, so you can imagine what that looks like. His wise mother asked if she could lay him down on our bed for a quick nap before they headed to the airport. The little guy needed a pause and it would serve their entire family well if he got one. It was only a matter of moments that he settled in and his mom snapped this picture. It speaks volumes of the power of the pause. The contentment, the relief, the total peace in his face says “this was a really good idea.”

Do you need a pause today, permission to take some moments to reflect, recharge…… sleep? What will that look like? Will it be a stop of the scroll, the pause in the list making and resolution forming? Will it be a decision to take all the questions swirling in your mind and lay them at the feet of our Savior who has asked us to cast all of our anxiety on him?

You have my full support to enjoy your pause. I know I will …

and for this I will rejoice.

The Henry Pause

CHRISTMASTIDE: Day 4: Weddings

“Thank you for raising the woman that we have prayed for our son to marry since the day he was born.”

I love these words. They always make me tear up. They were spoken to us by our sweet son-in-laws parents on the night of the rehearsal dinner in 2019 and I heard them again last night. One of our beloved nieces is getting married today to an amazing, God loving, fun man of integrity. We are so thankful he will be part of our family. Her future father – in- law spoke those words of gratitude to her parents before we enjoyed the pre-wedding meal. What I also know to be true is that the brides parents have also prayed for the man that their daughter would marry – since the day she was born.

To have the privilege of attending an event that has literally been prayed over for almost 30 years – well – thats a gigantic reason to celebrate. 30 years of communicating heart desires to a God that listens. 30 years of trusting the twists and turns of life of ones child in the hands of their maker. As I prepare to take in all the joy that a wedding day brings I can imagine that God and his angels are doing the same. I can picture them pulling up chairs, grabbing some tissue and readying themselves for the reward that comes when humans on earth enjoy the answers to lifetimes of prayer. I imagine God’s gratitude for the parents that prayed and the people that supported them in those prayers. His people have asked and waited and asked and waited some more and asked…. and God was so good to answer. He always is.

As we head into the end of this year and a page turn to the next – I know many of us are in the middle of some deep prayers for people we love. Many of us feel God’s answers were wrong. Many of us believe his timing is off. Many of us are finding it hard to find reasons to celebrate. And to this I say….

Keep on.

Keep Asking.

Keep seeking.

Boldly kneel at the feet of the one who can give understanding to your situation, patience in the timing, and eyes to see the answers that may be right in front of you. He will never grow weary of our requests and longs to hear your heart cries.

“Lord, in my place of weakness and need, I ask again: Will you come and help me? I know I’m always in your thoughts. You are my true Savior and hero, so don’t delay to deliver me now, for you are my God.” Psalm 40:17

When this drops on Monday morning the wedding celebration will be a memory. The weeks of preparation and the years of praying all wrapped up in this single day of joy. The guests will travel home, the decorations packed in boxes, the leftover food stored in ziplock bags in the refrigerators of family that live close. The happy couple will continue their life journey -together. I can guarantee that they both would say- it was worth the wait. I can promise that they are incredibly grateful for parents that never stopped trusting God with their lives and their future spouses lives.

What is your…. “I have prayed for this since……” statement? What are you continuing to wait for God to answer? What answer can you find to celebrate… today? Who in your life needs the reminder that God is faithful and their prayers are still being heard?

Prayer – the invitation to seek God’s presence on any day at any time. This beautiful, important, life changing gift… I remember its power today….

and rejoice.

The bride- her mother and godmother – aka prayer warriors

CHRISTMASTIDE: Day 3 Baby, baby

The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you- news that will make everyone happy. Today YOUR Savior was born in Davids town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 ERV

But the angel reassured them, saying “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for EVERYONE, everywhere. For today in Bethlehem a Rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord, the Messiah. Luke 2:10-11 TPT

“What do we do?”

My husband looked at me with intense eagerness. I’m not sure if he felt I knew the answer to his question but was just hopeful because I was the only other person in the room. I looked at him with an exasperated look in my eye, one that spoke – “Your guess is as good as mine.” We were sunk. We had, what felt like, the biggest challenge of our lives right in from of us, and neither of us knew what to do. Our sweet little first born was just days old. She was such a good baby, AND cried. A lot. I struggle when parents describe their baby as ” Good” if their child doesn’t give them any trouble – take regular naps, sleep through the night the second they are home from the hospital, latch on to breastfeeding right away… You know. You’ve heard it. So our baby was good – AND left us with numerous questions we felt so very unqualified to answer. It felt hard, impossible at times, to our 27 and 28 year old selves.

Years later, the popular comedy, The Office, depicted our situation with a realness with which most new parents connect. Jim and Pam are leaving the hospital with their first baby questioning why in the world the staff is letting them go. Don’t they realize they too did not have the answers to the questions of all the unknowns that come with parenting? As the exited the hospital doors they looked around as if waiting to be arrested for leaving under false pretenses. Who did they think they were taking a baby into the world with no experience? Get back in there until you’re ready! All parents know that if they did – they would never leave.

Babies. They change everything.


They change the times you sleep and eat. They change your social life, your travel plans, your checking account. They change the TV shows you watch. They can change the trajectory of your professional life. It is almost hard for me to imagine a life before Tom and I became parents – life feels so different.

I was reminded of the impact of these changes on Christmas morning during out church service. I was sitting behind an adorable baby – being passed between her mother and her grandmothers. They were attempting to keep her happy during the hour long worship service. She was CUTE and a bit distracting – ( in a good way.) These 3 adults that had enjoyed quietly sitting in church before baby – now had one goal – keep this little person happy. It was all hands on deck. Babies – they change everything – and everyone around them. These sweet little creatures – they reveal a love we didn’t know we had. They demand attention to the details of their lives and every one of their needs. They impress on us the importance of learning, listening and understanding – all. the. time. 24-7. No down time. No days off. No sick leave.

So… doesn’t it make so much sense that the One who would Change everything for our good, who would flip the worlds idea of hope, joy, peace and love, would come… as a baby? From the moment Jesus was conceived – he was changing peoples lives. Starting with his teenage mother Mary, to his earthly father Jospeh, to the shepherds, the wiseman, King Herod – changed. Unlike the unknowns that come with human births – His birth left us with an answer, the answer. The solution to biggest question we all face – this problem of sin and separation from our Father. Our Savior – taking the form of a helpless little baby – became the period to our question mark. We now walk through this world of struggle with a peace that comes with knowing. In our day to day, trying to figure it all out, life, we rest in the hope that started with ….

a baby.

the baby. The Christ child…

And for this – I rejoice.

our firstborn – just minutes old.


“The Light of God’s love shined within us when he sent his matchless Son into the world so that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9 TPT

“God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9 NIV

It was the perfect plan. I had thought about it for days. I had imagined the moment in my mind and I knew there was nothing that could possibly go wrong. The note was written with my sharpened No. 2 pencil with a very simple yet powerful message. For good measure I had it edited by a writing expert, in this case, my kindergarten teacher. You see, I was a girl in love and on the day I would share this news with the man of my dreams – I needed everything to be perfect.

I was 5.

and the boy – his name was Scott.

I remember this day like it was yesterday. I remember what I was wearing. I remember the smell of my classroom. I remember when my teacher announced that it was time for Show and Tell and the class moved quickly to a circle formation on the carpeted spot of floor. I remember clutching the small note in my hand with the words “I LOVE YOU”, as I folded my legs into the designated criss cross applesauce formation. I remember breathing deep, leaning to my left when I whispered these words to the student next to me…

“Pass this to Scott.”

It was my first time ever illegally passing a note in class. It was a bold move for my little rule follower self but as I mentioned already – I was a girl in Love.

And love –

it can motivate one to do some crazy things.

Up until this year the only attention I gave to the 12 days of Christmas , or CHRISTMASTIDE, was when I would hear the words to the popular Christmas tune by the same name.

On the first day of Christmas my TRUE LOVE gave to me….

It’s a repeating song that can get a bit redundant and not necessarily fun to listen to or sing. ( Unless its the Muppets version – that’s my favorite.) It logs the gifts that one in love gave to his beloved.

A Partridge in a pear true, calling birds, french hens, golden rings…..Don’t you wonder where the recipient kept all these many gifts? Was she convinced by the end of the 12 days that this person really was her TRUE LOVE? There is something so delightful about knowing and living in the peace that comes from being truly loved.

Funny thing about my memories of the revelation of my first love. It stops at “Pass this to Scott.” I have no idea how he responded. I actually of zero memory of him past that day. Some of my kindergarten classmates and I stayed together through our high school graduation, but not Scott. He vanished, or transferred to private school or moved out of the country – who knows. Despite where he landed he played an important role in my life – he introduced the idea of love – outside of the love I knew strictly between family. It felt intriguing, and fun and mysterious.

As I grew up I continued to learn about love. I learned about the love of loyal friends. I learned about love of summer camp crushes. I learned about the love of high school sweethearts. I learned about love through breakups and betrayals. I learned about love through committing my life to someone with no plan B. I learned about love through the three gifts called children. I learned about love through trials and pain. The learning about love – a beautiful process that continues to unfold as life marches on.

On this 2nd day of CHRISTMASTIDE I rejoice in LOVE. I rejoice that the ultimate gift given in love came as a baby. This baby offered his life and his death for us. This baby that grew to a man modeled love in a way the world had never seen – unconditional, sacrificial, for all people.




The Father that was willing to part with his one and only for the salvation of the world set the bar for the way we are to love each other. It is the blueprint for the relationships we enjoy on earth. He just couldn’t wait any longer to pass the news of this glorious love to all who would want to hear. It was such a bold, courageous move…

But Love….

It can motivate one to do some pretty crazy things.

And for this – I rejoice.

5 year old me – young and in love:)

a weary world…. rejoices.

“Would you like a double – shot today, Beth?”

Why yes – yes I would. Yes I would like 2 doses of strong espresso in my simple almond milk latte.

2 shots….. yes, a double.


I love our towns little coffee shop. It’s open 3 days a week and serves breakfast, lunch, coffees and dessert. The limited availability keeps my appreciation up for what has come to be a weekly treat. A Simple Almond Milk Latte often with a muffin or danish on the side. Sometimes I pop in for a quick to – go order and other days I meet up with friends to linger with our coffees and good conversation. I love that the owner knows my name. I love that if I’m not visiting with her at the coffee shop I may see her at the Veterinarians offices on the other side of town where she works on the days when the coffee shop is closed. It’s one of the many treasures of small town life. The knowing of the people.

The day Debbie asked me for a double , I hadn’t even considered that option. I had actually never had a double shot in a latte before. It always felt like it would be too much.

Too much caffeine.

Too much money. ( you pay for that shot- unless you’re a character in a Hallmark movie where it feels like the coffee is always “On the house.”)

Too much of a splurge. A latte was one thing but a double shot latte… just felt excessive.

But on that day, the day she offered… it sounded just right.

Perfect actually.

It was my way to take my weary soul and rejoice.

You see, the night before I had received more disheartening news. It came when it was too late for conversation and the only action I could take was attempt to sleep. The night was long and restless. The day ahead felt daunting as my body felt the effects of the rest – less night before. The weariness felt extra that day. I added the news to a long list of energy drainers from this year.

Weary…… from rule changes.

Weary…. from job loss or pay cuts.

Weary ….. from cancellations, re- schedules only to be cancelled again.

Weary…. from what feels like lots of talking but far to little listening.

Weary…. from all that 2020 has dished out.

But… on this day… the day of the double shot… I made a decision.

SO yes – double it up Debbie.

It was in the sipping of my delicious treat that the words to an old Christmas Hymn dropped into my soul. The tune is not one of my favorites so it was odd that was pulled from my memory. The words though… the words.. that describe the event that many of us will celebrate this week… the birth of Jesus – Our Savior… the words…

” A thrill of HOPE… a WEARY world…… REJOICES”





God saw my sleepless night. He knew my Spirit, soul, body and mind were overwhelmed and he reminded me…

Beth…. You are Weary


You can rejoice.

The weariness does not have to cancel your rejoicing.

The shifted holiday plans do not have to defer your hope

The questions that remain unanswered do not have to steal your energy, your focus, and the gifts of the present moment.

Yes – You are Weary.

and yes, You can Rejoice.

December 25 marks the beginning of the 12 days of Christmas or Christmas Tide. It is a segment of time in the Church calendar when we pause to celebrate the birth of Christ. We Rejoice that our Savior had been born, the Savior who has come offering…

HOPE for ALL people.

PEACE for ALL people.

JOY for ALL people.

LOVE for ALL people.

He came in to a Weary world and he invites us to REJOICE.

That day last week, the day of the double shot. It was important. It shifted me. It reminded me that my weariness is legit but my rejoicing can push through. I can say yes to simple pleasures that come my way. I can open my eyes to the gifts of this season. I can live, love, serve and celebrate.

Let’s do it. Let’s expectantly walk through these 12 days of Christmastide with eyes ready to see light in the darkness and let’s agree to be the light for those that just cannot see.

Oh my weary friends… Let’s rejoice. Shall we?

1 Peter 1:3-6

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us NEW BIRTH into a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. You are being GUARDED by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You REJOICE in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials…”

This sits in the corner of my kitchen counter… Rejoice!

Join me over at where I’ll walk through Christmastide – committed to finding a reason to rejoice each day.