Practicing what you (don’t) preach

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Practice what you (don’t) preach.

I saw this saying the other day and immediately liked it. It makes sense — much more sense than “Practice what you preach,” mainly because most of us are not preachers, and even if we are, we are rarely on a platform where we are expected to preach. That’s something that people don’t like about preachers is that they have a tendency to preach all the time. They like to speak loudly and make a point about everything. They carry around a portable pulpit. Most of the time we are in relationship with people, not in church, and preaching just doesn’t work in a relationship.

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Born and born again

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I am finding out that Christmas is a lot more fun after December 25 than before. Before, there is so much angst. It’s a time well known for the stress of shopping, trying to anticipate expectations, planning, missing deadlines, packages that don’t come, last-minute pulling rabbits out of hats, and the inevitable disappointment of someone. Even in church, we celebrate the advent — the coming of the savior of the world. It’s a longing — a waiting. Each Sunday we light another candle leading to that final one on Christmas Eve. That’s all well and good, but is it ever going to get here?

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Forced slowdown

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It’s great to hear from a number of you who still have your tree up. We’re not the only ones. I’m gathering strength over that. And most of you have the same reason — it went by too fast and you didn’t get a chance to enjoy it. If you have a fireplace, building a fire is a good way to force you to slow down. Especially if it’s a real fire since you don’t want to leave it unattended. We don’t have that many fires over the rest of the year for the very reason that a fire says you’re going to sit there for a while. With the tree still up, there’s more of an incentive to do that.

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‘Not gonna do it!’

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Yesterday was trash pickup day and the last day to get your Christmas tree disposed of for free. It’s a conspiracy. Apparently the city thinks you should be done with Christmas by now, but I’m not giving in. I’ll just have to use one of my two annual free bulky item pick-up days. I’m not bending under the pressure. They can’t make me. You should have seen our street yesterday. It was a Christmas tree burial site. Brian’s tree across the street was brown already — all the green drained from its needles. It was shameful. It should have been covered. No respect for the dead. At least our tree is not brown yet. True, the tips of some of its branches are starting to curl under, but that only makes it look like it’s being weighed down by invisible snow.

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Some of Christmas is still up

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We’re still not taking Christmas down. At least not all of it.

We need to hang onto a few things. Here are some things that should bleed over into our lives from Christmas, and keeping a few decorations out might just help us remember.

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A smile that could light a candle

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Marti heard about my day today and that I was just starting the Catch at 2pm and suggested I write about a “normal” day in the life of John. My plan was to be writing the Catch this morning at a snowboard destination in the southern California mountains while Chandler and his friend were snowboarding. We left at 6 this morning for an hour and forty minute trip, so I figured I would have plenty of time to write the Catch and get it out by 10 or 11am at the latest. That would have been a reasonable plan in anyone else’s normal day, but my “normal” day included something quite different.

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Waiting for Candlemas

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Though we’ve taken some of our Christmas decorations down, the tree is still up. Part of the reason for that is that Christmas seemed to go by too fast this year, or at least we were too busy to enjoy it. By “enjoy it” I mean build a fire in the fireplace and sit and study the tree. (Some of our ornaments, like “Baby’s First Christmas,” go back almost 40 years — 39 to be exact. They carry lots of memories.) On top of that, our tree was near perfect this year; I hate to take it down.

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Why fairy tales are like the Gospel

happy new year!
In case you missed it, over the weekend and the New Year’s holiday, we ran our annual end-of-the-year campaign. It covered the brief span of 4 emails in two days, and since it went by so fast, we decided to revisit it over the remainder of this week, not because we are still fundraising (although we will certainly be happy to receive your gifts into this week should you be so inclined), but because we loved the little story we created around the traditional Cinderella theme, and, though the story was just for fun so as to entertain you along the way, there are always elements of truth to point out, and even learn from, especially in fairy tales, otherwise, we would not relate to them like we do. Certainly Cinderella is arguably the most relatable of all. It encompasses the dream of every girl to be a princess, and every boy to be a prince. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so here is the whole story in one place, along with a new commentary, at the end, just added today.
 
I also want to give a big Thank You to everybody, listed below, who took part in our campaign. As soon as we get the newly remastered digital copies of Inside and Naphtali, up on our website, we will be forwarding you instructions on how to download your free copy as our “Thank You” to you. By the way, we will be extending that free download offer through to the end of the week.
So now to our story …

 

 

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