I’m a Guest on Denyse Whelan’s Blog in her “Women of Courage” Series

Denyse Whelan Graphic

I am pleased to be a guest on Denyse Whelan’s blog this week in her series, “Women of Courage.”

Denyse Whelan Graphic

Denyse and I “met online” through blogging when she discovered my Sunday Stills photo challenge that I have hosted for over three years. Denyse is a resident of Eastern Australia and survivor of head and neck cancer. Like me, Denyse is a retired fellow educator and we hit it off with our interests in blogging and photography.

The following is an excerpt from her post.

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

I’ve never really been afraid of anything, being raised in nature and the outdoors. My temperament requires that I exist without uncertainty and a lot of structure, so you can imagine how 2020 has treated me (and the rest of us)!

SUP transportation

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that everyone of us has shown immense courage and faith simply by existing in a world-wide pandemic, the likes none of us has ever seen.

But if I could define “courage,” I would describe that over the years, I have taken several life-changing leaps of faith, most recently:

Yellow Ginkgos
Days of campus bliss
  • At 55, having given 32 years of service to my long-term job, I retired with a decent pension while continuing to teach at the university and take on more classes. Have you ever retired? It takes a bit getting used to, even though I considered myself “semi-retired” at the time.
  • But more notably, my biggest act of courage was to buy property in another state, build a new home there and completely retire. Imagine leaving a successful teaching job after 10 years? Imagine packing up belongings in a house you’ve lived in for 32 years? And doing it all during a pandemic where uncertainty was the operative word of the year.
Mountain home
Street view of home

To read the rest, please visit Denyse here. Comments are closed on my post.

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Weekend Coffee Share: That’s What Christmas is All About, Charlie Brown.”

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

If we were having coffee on this fourth and final Sunday of Advent, in which we celebrate love, we would sip a hot beverage while our choir performs.

Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:14

Traditionally the Advent candles are lit, one each Sunday, commemorating Hope, Peace, and Joy. Today the fourth candle, representing Love, is lit. In the middle of the candles is a fifth candle, called the Christ candle, which unites all the candles of Advent.

My friend Janet Sunderland, on her blog Community of the Incarnation, sums up the Advent season so eloquently:

“Merry Christmas. And may the light of the Christ, renewed again, shine from your life to offer the peace that passes all understanding.”

If we were having coffee, I would remind you that this year is the 50th anniversary of the beloved TV show, A Charlie Brown Christmas. I grew up watching this TV show and it is not Christmas for me if I miss this show. Thanks to DVDs and YouTube, I don’t.

Here is the heart of the story, and therefore, my message today.

Poor Charlie Brown suffers depression and the rest of the gang is caught up in the commercialism of the season. In 1965, they embraced fake trees, materialism and distractions from the true meaning of Christmas. Nothing much has changed in 50 years, hmm?

During their Christmas play practice, as Charlie Brown endures derisive laughter over his sad little tree, a frustrated Charlie asks, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?

Linus Tell it Like it Is
image from Internet

Linus begins to take center stage… “sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about…”

“…And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: (Linus drops his security blanket on purpose);

for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'” (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)

Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown, “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

With renewed hope, Charlie picks up the tree and walks back to his house and attempts to place an ornament on the tree as he reflects on the scripture Linus recited. Sadly, the tree bends under the weight of the ball. Charlie dejectedly mopes away proclaiming “Everything I touch gets ruined!”

Linus and the gang follow him and see the poor tree. As Linus picks up the tree, wrapping his blanket around the base, he says, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really…

Wait for it…

…Maybe it just needs a little love.”

Like we ALL do. Just a little love.

Regardless of your beliefs, in a world desperately needing love, ponder these thoughts this holiday season.

We all know the words to “Oh Holy Night.” This is the truth of the final verse: “Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His gospel is peace.”


 

This is my last Weekend Coffee Share post of the year until mid-January.

Please stop by Part-Time Monster’s blog and enjoy a hot beverage with us. You, too can be part of the gang!

Weekend Coffee Share: Waiting for Peace during Advent Season

advent candles for Christmas season

advent candles for Christmas season

If we were having coffee, I would ask you to sit with me for a moment and chat about our difficulties in waiting. How do you like your coffee or tea?

Do you like to wait? I don’t. To me it is time wasted. I usually multi-task while waiting, by reading, doodling, deleting stuff from my phone…you know. I am very impatient. Definitely a character flaw.

If we were having coffee, I would remind you that a host of bloggers have posted about the recent, tragic events in the form of mass shootings and terrorism all over the world. As our hearts go out to the victims and families who have suffered injury and death, we simply long for peace.

Unfortunately we all know the world will go the way it will go, not as you or I would have it. So we must wait.

Along the continuum of religious belief, whether Christian, Jew, Muslim or atheist, or somewhere in between, you and I will wait for peace. We may wait our entire lives. Our children will likely wait their entire lives.

I have no answers for you. Only you can decide how you can find peace.

My beliefs help me cope with the lack of peace in our world, which brings me to this question…

…If we were having coffee, I would ask you if you celebrate Advent? If you do not, take a moment to read the rest of this post.

The advent season is also about waiting. During advent, we’re reminded of all those centuries when God’s people awaited the fulfillment of God’s promises, the years of uncertainty, the time of doubt.

“The time before Christmas is Advent, a season of preparation for Christmas. Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “visit.”

From the blog of Patheos by Mark D Roberts.

On this second Sunday of Advent, as Christians light the second candle, we celebrate and pray for peace. Now more than ever we need peace in light of recent events. Regardless of your spiritual orientation, as humans, we long for peace on this planet.

“We can bring peace to these dark days. We can be a light for others to see by.”

Janet Sunderland. Community of the Incarnation

If you would like to know more about the celebration of Advent, read Fascinating Mystery for more information.

May we all find the peace we crave during this time of reflection, regardless of the wait.


 

WintercoffeeshareJoin Part-Time Monster’s event Weekend Coffee Share and let’s have some coffee (or tea).