Christmas in July?

As a child growing up in a pastor’s home, Church, God and The Bible were always topics of conversations and a way of life. I can remember, maybe being 13 years old, and one summer a project our church undertook was creating & giving Christmas gifts to missionaries who served in various occupations & locations globally. This was a fun time for all of us and it got us all thinking about people around the world who may celebrate Christmas at different times than we would in America. What a great teaching lesson.

As a believer in Christ, I am aware that Christmas is more than just a day on the calendar. Christmas is more than gifts under a tree decorated with lights & colored ornaments. Christmas, to me, is not just a day full of partying or feasting. Christmas is about a God who loved His people on earth so much, He gave us His son Jesus. Christmas IS Jesus and He is the GIFT of Christmas. With this gift of the birth of Jesus, there comes a bright hope for living today and tomorrow; if we choose to believe in who Jesus claims to be.

So, for me, Christmas in July is a great reminder that Gods’ promises, in His Word The Bible, is true. God’s character can be seen in one of the many names that define Him for us ; Emmanuel, God with us. What does Christmas in July mean to you? Is there any hope or joy in the meaning of this to you? For more answers read, John 3:16, The Holy Bible.

What’s True

What’s True

Sharing a poem by my brother David. We share a love of poetry; reading it and writing it! 🙂

David's Place

Don’t
want this battle,

Can’t
fight this fight.

Hiding
in the darkness,

Cause
I’m scared of the light.

Fallen
in the shadows,

Like
all is lost.

But I
see a little hope,

At the
foot of the cross.

I’m
running blind,

I forget
I’m free.

Straight
to the chains,

They want
to put on me.

I feel
a little weary,

Like a
wayward son.

He whispers,
I’m here,

Til the
day is done.

I finally
remember,

Whose
I am.

All
the power I need,

Is the
blood of the lamb.

It’s
no game,

To seek
what’s true.

Forgive
me Jesus,

When
I run from you.

D
Buie

08/19/2019

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Summer’s End

Labor Day Weekend is upon us all and this always starts the “un official” end of summer. While just taking a moment to reflect on my summer here in Greer, I found the most simple way to explain what my summer months were all about. So, presented below is a short poem written July 25, 2019 while I enjoyed a morning in Greer City Park. If you are local to Greer then, you know what beauty there is in this unique place. Feel free to leave a comment about your summer, “like” “heart” or share this post with others. I would enjoy hearing from you. So, here is my poem aptly entitled, “The Park”.

My breakfast in the park A great way my day to start

This peace stills my heart and sets a healthy mark

I need some time to “be” I have been so tired you see Just craving time with me and Thee

The summer has come and is almost gone; no regrets for what’s not done. God will surely lead me on.

Though I cannot sit here long my time with you will our song.

Like bottled hope this view I scope will be my joy; So that I have no time to mope.

God is good you see with all the world in front of me, how can I but believe in Thee.

Many birds around me sing sounds of nature they do bring.

Thank you God for my time in the park, a great way my day to start.

Invitation

Photo & Poem by Diane Buie

Refreshing

Greer City Park, Summer of 2019

One of the places I enjoyed visiting this summer was the local park where I live in Greer, SC. This is a place near where I live that offers me a lot of comfort when I visit here.

Taking a walk before the heat of the day was one of the many things I appreciate about our city park. The swings by the water fountain are another favorite spot in the park that I find relaxing and peaceful. I can often sit here among the birds, water, flowers, and sunshine and I will find myself immersed in writing a story, poem, or an article of some kind. The noise of nature is calming and peaceful to me. It is here that I find rest and I can talk more intimately with God. Soon, whatever troubles I am facing will often find an answer or a solution when I seek solace here.

What about you? Where do you go to find peace and contentment? Do you have a favorite spot in your community that really speaks Gods’ wisdom to you? Is there a verse of scripture that seems relevant to you in your special place? If so, please share it below. I would enjoy hearing from you.

When I spend time in my local park, I think of Psalm 23. These words are just as cleansing to my soul as the sounds of water is refreshing to my mind.

I hope you will take time today to enjoy something in your part of the world that brings your soul some care. This may be the greatest gift you can give yourself and one that offers your life renewal.

Coloring Summer

Summer is a lovely season where we can be more active outdoors, enjoy more water sports & games, vacation to far away places, and so much more. Despite the heat of summer being, at times, quite hot; summer is a fun month.

My time in summer has been bittersweet. I finally made time to have knee replacement surgery so, recovering at home for a few months was my major task in this season. Being a “captive” in your own home can be an exciting adventure, if I choose to make it so. Well, when you have lemons in life you make lemonade, right?!

In summer, I had time to read more, rest physically more, exercise & physical therapy, color and be creative more, as well as just “be” present to hear God more and to pray more in my days. I had some wonderful experiences this season that gave my life a plethora of color or excitement. I participated in an online Bible study called, Soul Care for Writers by Edie Melson. This was so fantastic for me to enjoy as being home was where I would be for a several weeks and driving would be out of the question. The Bible says in Romans 8 that, “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose..” I may not have wanted to spend all summer cooped up in my apartment but, I truly needed to be.

I am grateful that God promises so much hope amidst pain, struggle, or obstacles in life. Without the love of God, I would not enjoy the rainbows after rain, so to speak. I don’t know that I would see much color or light in dark seasons of my life. Yet, this is what God says He can do. He can bring good out of difficult things, people, situations, or problems. For me, God brought healing to my life both physically & spiritually. What joy in this season of summer.

What about you? How would you describe your summer? Are you waiting or have you waited for God to “make all things work for good” for your life? Are you trying to bring some of Gods’ light to color your world that seems gray? Be encouraged; there is hope and love for life that God can offers to each of us. Talk to Him about it today. He promises to bring “good in all things”.

On a Summer Tide

written by, Suzanne Woods Fisher

Book Review by Diane Buie

One of the most fun things I experienced this summer was meeting with friends for a Book Club “Meet & Eat”. 🙂 I am a great fan of Suzanne’s works and have read many of her Amish based novels like, Phoebe’s Light and Anna’s Crossing, just to name a few. Reading her most recent novel, On a Summer Tide, was simply refreshing to me. If it’s true that books can be their own “vacation’ for us then, I spent time in Maine on Three Sisters Island and it was tremendous. I wish I did not have to leave.

I found the characters on Three Sisters Island to be realistic, flawed, and in need of God’s grace with new beginnings and in letting go of past hurts or disappointments. As I read this story, I laughed with the characters. I cried with them and I was joyful with them when something wonderful was taking place.

If you need a novel to “take you away” so you can be renewed then, this book is for you. You will not be disappointed in taking time to enjoy the many happenings on Three Sisters Island. On a Summer Tide could be your “book-cation”. Enjoy!

Christmas in July: My Journey to Bethlehem

The night was cold. Crisp and cold as Roman soldiers on horseback rode near the entrance at the main gate. It was time for the census and it seemed the earth, in our little square of the world, teemed with people from the entire globe. It was crowded as I lingered too near the officials’ table where everyone brought their coin to pay the tax. The soldier on the great stallion saw me but, he really didn’t. See I was just one of those Hebrews with whom those like him usually did not like to converse with. So, he looked at me but saw through me as though I was nothing. Still, I did not desire his attention any longer than necessary.

Gathering the sides of my long robe and pulling up the hem a bit, I was able to walk faster towards the stall where my friend and I were going to be selling jewels and beads. Passing among the many clusters of peoples in Bethlehem, I was delighted to see other sellers in the market who were ready for customers. I could smell the bread from the brick oven and I could almost taste the moist delicious dough. My mouth watered, of course. The Hebrew bakers were extra busy on a night like this one. I would be lucky if I could find even a morsel of their loaves left at the end of the night.

Smells of sheep mixed with dust from the road were also a pungent scent that the light winds carried towards our stall. The night air was getting cooler and I was grateful that our stall was near the towns’ fire pit. I could see many laughing ladies in the soft glow of the fire light. Their voices were loud enough for me to hear as I finished arranging the beads on our front counter. ” Have you seen the latest sandal from the tanner down the road? It has bright beads, like turquoise, on the side. He says he can add any color jewel or bead you like.” “Why, I simply must go by his stall tomorrow,” said another lady to her friends.

Hearing their voices blend in conversation was almost like a song being sung. Their laughter broke in at times like a chorus of birds. A true treasure to listen to as I worked.

The evening was really busy now. Many tourists and fellow countrymen continued to pass through our small corner of the world. Our beads and jewels were selling nicely. An impatient yet, caring voice drew my attention away from our stall. It seemed a young couple were in need of lodging for the night and this inn had no more room. The young groom urged persistently and gently; “But sir, my wife is near birth and we must find a dry place for this child to be born.” “I am truly sorry for you and your little wife but, I am booked solid. You know, there are a few caves just outside our city gate. This may be a place where your family can rest for the night.” His strong arm pointed towards the end of village; past the fire pit and a few stalls of sellers. Past them, lay open fields where shepherds would be hard at work watching over their flocks. The young man left with a handshake and gentle words to his wife; her body quite plump with child. Leading their donkey further down our dirt laden street, I saw them take a slow deliberate stride towards the caves. I prayed Jehovah would grant them a safe night. It may not be the best place to sleep but, it would be warm from the cold.

The night in Bethlehem continued to grow colder. I left my friend, for a small moment, to stop by the baker’s tents. I hoped I had not missed their breads. Seeing their basket of samples on their counter, I drew out a piece. The spongey bread had been drizzled on top with hot butter and warm honey. My favorite. Yum. My tongue enjoyed a party; all I could do was stand there and savor the sweetness and light saltiness of this creation. Yum. Glancing up from my snack, I could see how clear the night sky was. Stars twinkled and seemed to dance as they glittered around the moon. I cold not help but think of how great Jehovah is to have created such beauty.

The sights and sounds of Bethlehem continued along our street and though it was late in the night, many sellers had decided to keep their shops open. The census had crowded our town to its maximum and no one wanted to lose any customers at this time. I had to hurry back to Deborah, my friend and partner, in the jewelry shop. “Ruth,” called the baker. “Ruth, here take this to Deborah. Thank her for the necklace she made for me. I love it,” Anna shoved a small package of treats for us into my hands.. Anna was one of our best customers and we loved her breads and pastries too. I gave her our thanks and almost ran back to Deborah. She would be so surprised at such a warm, sweet gift as Annas’ breads.

Much later in the night; well after midnight, our little town of Bethlehem had grown quiet. The crowds had thinned now. A few stragglers and travelers still were awake and enjoying the embers of the fire pit. Even Deborah sat in the corner of our stall and had begun to snore slightly. Suddenly, our street was awakened by shouts, “Glory. Glory to God. Glory to God in the Highest.” Shepherds had come running from the fields and were exclaiming a miracle of a messiah who had been born that very night. In fact, they had seen him and his parents. Stunned, both Deborah and I were quite awake now and trying to grasp the witness of the shepherds. My friend and I could only stare at each other; “the Messiah? here? now?”, was all we could say as we stammered to speak to the shepherds. A crowd had begun to form beside our stall. We heard more of the shepherds story as they told of angels who sang to them about this child’s birth. All I could think was, “the Messiah? now? in my own lifetime?” Faces of dismay were all around us; in and outside of our stall. “Could it be? God had sent the Messiah?” Shock led us to surprise and surprise brought us joy. What a gift. We must tell our friends in the village here in Bethlehem.

Well, dear reader; did you catch that my journey to Bethlehem came from an experience at one of the best live nativities I have ever participated in? Yes, it’s true. My journey to Bethlehem that cold, December night about three years ago, was from a play; a live nativity called, A Journey To Bethlehem (Greenville, SC). This story is my simple attempt at capturing, in words; all I saw, heard, tasted, smelled, and touched during that wonderful experience. Yet, these words communicate only part of that extraordinary evening. So, what does Christmas mean to you?