Friday, December 13, 2019

Happy Friday reader!

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One of the most meaningful steps in my life was taken this past Sunday. I became Mrs. Settles. The ceremony wasn’t about us, but about how God’s plans come to be when surrendering to Him takes place.

God was present during the pain that preceded before I met Dale. God was present during the healing and He showed up with that beautiful surprise when Dale came into my life. And at the altar, we became one.

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Scratching your head, wondering what to get those on your Christmas list? In this trailer, you’ll hear the inspiration contained in my book. The gift of encouragement is the present that offers a new outlook wrapped in encouragement. That’s what fills the pages of my book, Simply Salsa. Here’s the TRAILER.

You can purchase your copy HERE.

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What a great Christmas tradition!

Cindi, my friend and ministry partner, who’s dedicated to JC Empowerment, is the one who formats these newsletters and blogs for your reading pleasure.

But Cindi also brings a sweet delight to her family at Christmas time. With list in hand, Cindi prepares all materials to craft simple but delightful Christmas items. She gathers the family on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and all work on their own Christmas crafts. With the men working on one project, the women another, and the grands creating their own, you can bet there’s just a wee bit of competition going on.

They work together, laugh, eat and enjoy the product of their own creations.

Rather than unwrapping a gift, Cindi gives her family a tradition that creates memories wrapped in love. Check out the pic below showing the penguins made by the men and the showman goodie holder made by the women.

Interested in doing one of the crafts with your own family? Just use this LINK to visit Cindi's blog where she has posted more pictures along with instructions.

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My Star of Reassurance

Like fog in the morning, the spirit of Christmas was gone that year. Still, I shuffled in the garage. One by one, I pulled the bins off the shelves I’d stored the previous Christmas.

While the aroma of sugar cookies wafted through the air and Silent Night played in the background, I began the decorating.

By then the task was challenging because all I had left of my eyesight was the ability to see lights.

With the Nativity scene at the center, I placed the items which I had memorized through the years—red and green candles, musical boxes with winter scenes, and bright red poinsettias with green garland.

Next, I lifted three stockings from a box, and hung them on marked places above the fireplace. Each was embroidered with our sons’ names. I ran my fingers over the letters. One read Jason, the other, Jeff, and the least number of letters spelled Joe.

Once Jason’s and Jeff’s were hung, with tears burning my eyes, I clutched Joe’s against my chest.

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The empty stocking seared my heart. It had been five years since the Lord called Joe home. Five years that Joe’s absence had left an emptiness we could almost touch. And five years that God’s grace wiped away portions of the grief that ached in our broken hearts.

But the healing came like the warm steam from mint tea—soft and sweet.

It came in a memory: Years ago, when our three sons, including Joe, were still young, I rushed around, getting everything read, I fretted until I became crabby. As a result, little things tended to make me crazy.

One night, while everyone was in bed, I stayed up with important stuff like trying to fix a light strand that refused to shine. One burned-out bulb was the culprit. Annoyed at the glitch, I fussed. I rearranged, and then plugged and unplugged until I was so frustrated, I plopped on the couch. I looked up and glanced at the star atop the tree, shining, glowing, lighting the room.

I sighed with slight shame. I’d done the same with light bulbs that burned in my life—from broken relationships, disappointments, setbacks, failed plans and even deep heartache. But in all that mess, I missed the One who lights the way through the darkest moments.

Trying to fix the strands of my life’s issues, I missed the star—Christ the Lord, who gave significance to my life and joy for my days.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16).

When that void in our heart aches to be filled, it’s The Star of comfort that makes it whole. When bitter sorrow robs the spirit of Christmas, it’s The Star of love that whispers joy. When a health diagnosis shakes our world, it’s The Star of reassurance that shines the certainty of new

tomorrows. It’s the same star that never loses the brilliance of hope, one we can only embrace when all strands of life burn out.

I embraced it as I, with eyes focused on The Star, hung Joe’s stocking along with his brothers’. It’s not empty anymore. Rather, it’s filled with sweet memories—his wit and laughter, his hugs and kisses.

The Star changed all that. Jesus, the Morning Star dispels our darkness, dries our tears, and repairs strands we cannot fix.

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Prayer

Father, no matter what this world brings, I praise You for the blessings You have given me. And I thank You for the boldness to use them to bless others. In Jesus’ name.

How will you use the blessings you have today?

Remember: I love praying for you. Just use this LINK to send me your prayer requests.

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Merry Christmas everyone! I love you all, Janet