Pssst…Do you want to know a secret?

I have a secret, but you must promise to tell everyone you know before I share it with you. You will? Great! Shhh… Churches are open after Christmas! What?! For real? Yes, they are. After yesterday, though, I was kind of afraid some people didn’t know that. You see, a week ago we had five Christmas Eve services with specialized parking plans, a parking lot traffic director, and chairs overflowing out the back of the Sanctuary and the Christian Life Center. Beautiful, stately red poinsettias graced the church and CLC, memorializing or honoring loved ones. An advent wreath accepted the lighting of its candles, each with a different message that was read by families of the church. Beautiful Christmas music filled the rooms, culminating in the traditional singing of the peaceful “Silent Night” as light was shared, one to another, each individual candle illuminating that of a neighbor.  It was wonderful.

Yesterday, the poinsettias remained, and we still sang Christmas songs, but to a scattered congregation, even less than usual for our church, most likely due to holiday exhaustion. To be fair, this is not an admonishment for not attending church outside of Christmas and Easter. Anyone who is acquainted with me knows that I detest mornings. As such, I may have missed a service. Or two. Or three.  (Etc.) Forgive me, Lord, but if I didn’t have to be there to sing, I may have been among the exhausted absentees. More accurately, this is an acknowledgment of the waxing and waning of our spiritual lives that we all experience.

There is a common belief that one does not need a brick and mortar building to have a relationship with God. While I know this to be true, I posit that there is more to the story. God is omnipresent. We can find, worship, and praise Him anywhere we are, that’s indisputable; but there is something to be said for the spiritual food gleaned from clergy, the fellowship of other worshippers, and the satisfaction of serving God, that only a church can provide. We can liken it to the “use it or lose it” theory. If we don’t hone our life skills regularly, we can lose the edge we have on them. The same is true of our relationships with God. The more we practice strengthening them, the more adept we become at being able to hear His guiding voice in our lives when He speaks to us.

Pretty soon, if not already, any signs of Christmas will be carefully packed away until next year, but Jesus never packs us away; He is always with us. Soon the anxiety over decorating, sending cards, shopping, cooking, baking, and wrapping will be nothing more than a blurry memory. Any spiritual highs we felt after attending uplifting Christmas services may now be on the endangered list, but it doesn’t have to be that way. At least once every week the spiritual food kitchens known as churches are open for us to consume as much or as little as we want. Just as we need a regular schedule of healthy food intake to nourish our bodies, so do we need a regular schedule of worship to keep us spiritually satiated. Biblical knowledge, fellowship with other Christians, and service to others are excellent ways to find peace and joy in our lives.

I can unequivocally say that you will find something to feed your soul at church20181230_205326.jpg, if not at any one church, try another one. There is no one size fits all when it comes to churches. You need to find your comfort zone.  Think back a week ago to that light you received from your neighbor before passing it on to the person on the other side of you. Those candles have all since been extinguished, but don’t allow your own light to fade. Go back for more spiritual fuel and share your light with the world. Keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year round. And now you know the rest of the story.

Holiday Gifts!

Hello, friends! Happy Thanksgiving! The holidays are fast approaching and it’s high time we start thinking about gifts. Toys are lots of fun for kids and they love them, but how about considering books? I have written two children’s books that are now available to purchase and will be here before Christmas if you order soon!

The first one, “The Giggle Box”, is a beautifully illustrated, imaginative picture book for children aged 3 to 103! Davey is a little boy who just loves to giggle and laugh. Now he is starting kindergarten and he meets a new little boy, Michael, who is very sad being the new kid with no friends. Davey tries hard to make Michael laugh, but it just won’t work; Michael is still sad. That is, until a beautiful fairy, who lives up in Laughterland, where the tickliest clouds float, helps Davey to share his gift of laughter with Michael through her magic. It’s a story of friendship, sharing, and the healing power of laughter. Published through CreateSpace, it is available on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online retailers.

On the heels of “The Giggle Box” is “The Town of Alpaca”. An illustrated book for early readers, this story is chock full of healthy values and education, brought to you by some same-but-different animals: llamas and alpacas. It has been published by Outskirts Press.

What does a town do when its largest manufacturing company, the biggest business in town, goes under? The town of Alpaca was once vibrant and bustling, but ever since that llama came to town and bought the company, it hasn’t been the same. He didn’t manage it well and now the alpacas are out of jobs, their once beautiful town has become a poor, run-down, dismal place to live, and the Alpackaging Company is on the market to be sold, but no one is looking to buy it. The situation seems hopeless for the alpacas. In addition, they now hate llamas … all llamas, so you can imagine how Albert Alpaca felt when a strange couple showed up at his little “Alpaca Inn and Suites” looking for a room. Llamas!! What will he do?

The story of The Town of Alpaca shows how heartwarming it is when hatred turns into friendship, misunderstandings into trust, and working together works!
You may think that the plot of this book seems like something beyond a child’s understanding, but don’t sell them short; they are smarter than we think, and often we don’t give them enough credit for their savvy. Part of what makes the book unique is that it presents real life issues, simplified enough for a child to understand. Many families have gone through challenging times, but those challenges don’t always wait for children to be old enough to grasp their implications. The story presents a problem and the resolution revolves around healthy values that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. This book is available through outskirtspress.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online retailers.

As a purchasing alternative, you can browse my website, “It’s All Write”, and purchase it through paypal for less. Use the “Shop” link on the top of the page at https://itsallwrite.net/. Books make great gifts and I would love to share mine with you! And please “Follow” me!

20180901_222202  The Giggle Box picture