"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"

Luke 15:4-6

December 10, 2014


Today is Jon's birthday, so I want to wish my sweet husband a very happy birthday!!

I will admit that I still love birthdays. I will celebrate just as long as Jon will let me get by with it. In fact, next year I will turn 50 on July 1st and I've already told Jon and one of my sisters and her kids that I want a huge party. I don't want any of the "over the hill" stuff and black balloons, because I'm not over the hill, I'm just cresting the top. Two weeks prior to my 50th birthday, Jon and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. Since we didn't get married until I was almost 40, I'm not sure we'll make it to our 50th anniversary, so I've told Jon that we're going to have to celebrate in smaller increments. So next year, we are planning on going on a big vacation and travel as a combined trip for our anniversary and my birthday.

My nephew and his wife's first child was born on July 4th. They used to tell her that the whole US celebrated her birthday with fireworks and parties. She was just that special!

Granted, I probably get a whole lot more excited about Jon's birthday than he does. Several weeks leading up to it, I will start asking what he wants for his birthday present..... what he wants to do..... where he wants to go out and eat.... can he take the day off work (if it falls on a weekday).... I love celebrating Jon and want to make his birthday as special as possible for him.

Growing up, Mama always made our birthdays really special. We always got presents, she baked us a cake and bought ice cream. We were made to feel like we were important and all attention was focused on the birthday person. There weren't big parties; in fact, I only remember ever having one party with friends. But it was always a special day with family.

I wonder when Jesus was growing up, how Mary felt each year on His birthday? Did she feel that time was going by too quickly and He was growing up way too fast? She had no idea how long Jesus would be with her. She only knew that God had appointed the Holy Spirit to come upon her and place the seed within her that was Jesus in earthly flesh. Did she worry about whether or not she was doing a good job of raising Him and teaching Him all the right things? Did she struggle with Jesus being her favorite son amongst the other children she conceived from her husband, Joseph, after their marriage? Did the other kids feel like their mama favored Jesus over them? I'm sure that when they got older, they were told the story of the angel that visited both of their parents and that their mother was chosen by God to give birth to the promised Messiah.

When they were kids and argued or wrestled or played games or had disagreements, did the siblings have trouble believing that Jesus really was the Messiah -- the Savior sent from God? I may be wrong, but think that Jesus was a normal child with normal child-like attitudes and whininess; and not an always-perfect child.

My nephew is now twelve years old. Wow, what happens to a boy when he turns twelve?!?! He's a good kid, overall, but has those moments when you just want to smack him. He can occasionally be obnoxious and have an attitude. I've heard many parents say that this is a difficult age for raising sons.

I think that Joseph and Mary probably felt the same way about Jesus when He was twelve. Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. When He was twelve, they attended the festival, as usual. After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, not realizing that Jesus had stayed behind in Jerusalem. They were with a large group of travelers, and His parents didn't miss him at first. I'm sure that they assumed that Jesus was with His friends; and that may have been where He was the last time they had seen Him before heading back home. But when He didn't show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. He probably always showed up at meal time, so when He came up missing when the food was ready may have been their first clue that He wasn't anywhere around. After searching for Jesus, and being unable to find Him anywhere, they went back to Jerusalem to search for Him there. I'm sure that they were in a panic and worried sick that something terrible had happened to Him. They were responsible for the Messiah, and He was missing!

They searched for three days, before they found Him. Imagine how you parents would feel if your child came up missing, and you couldn't find them anywhere and no one else had seen them for three whole days. You would be stressed, worried, scared, emotional, and heartsick that something horrible had happened to them. I would think that Joseph and Mary were feeling those same things and experiencing those exact emotions.

They finally found Him in the temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. All those who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers. But I don't think at that moment, after going through three days of worry and fear, that Joseph and Mary were feeling very amazed.

Mary asked Him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere."

Jesus answered, "Why did you need to search? Didn't you know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Luke 2:41-52)

At that moment, they probably thought He was being a smart-mouth twelve year old. They may have felt like turning Him over their knee and spanking Him for frightening them and not telling them that He was going to the temple. I'm sure that they had told him their plans and He knew when they were planning on leaving to head back home to Nazareth. Being twelve, their words may have gone in one ear and out the other. Perhaps He thought he would be able to run and catch up with them later that day and they wouldn't know that He was even missing; then He got caught up in the discussion and teachings.

After three days, if I were His parents, I would be thinking, "Where had He slept these past three nights..... who was He with..... where was He getting food to eat.... had He been in danger....." But instead of apologizing for worrying them and putting them through the wringer, Jesus responded with, "Why did you need to search for me? Didn't you know that I'd be in the temple?" Apparently not, or that would have been the first place they would have looked.

But scriptures say that Jesus returned back to Nazareth with His parents and was obedient to them. His Heavenly Father may have pricked His heart and conscience about the need and importance of obeying Joseph and Mary. After all, that was one of the ten commandments God had given to mankind; to obey your parents.

I don't know if Jesus remained at home with Mary until He began His ministry at the age of thirty. It is believed that Joseph had passed away at some point during those years, because he is never mentioned during the ministry years of Jesus. Perhaps, Jesus stayed to help Mary and care for her, until time for Him to begin those three years of ministry and traveling with His disciples.

I wonder if every year on His birthday, if Mary realized that Jesus' time with her was getting shorter and shorter; or if she perhaps thought that she would die before Jesus' time on earth was fulfilled. She may never have visualized that she would watch Him being crucified and stand at the foot of the cross while He suffered and died. I'm sure that those three days in the interim between His death and resurrection was worse than anything she felt those three days when He was twelve years old and had came up missing. When He was twelve, she had hope that they would find Him and get to take Him home safely with them. But this time, she knew that He was lying in a grave.

Even if she believed every word that Jesus had spoken and knew that He would rise again in three days, she may have also felt in her heart that He would be leaving her shortly thereafter. She may have known that the time between His resurrection and ascension to Heaven would not give her much opportunity to spend time with Him. Perhaps they had had conversations about this prior to His death. Perhaps they had talked about this before He began His ministry. We have no way of knowing.

But after Jesus returned back to Heaven, Mary had the exact same promise that we have today. The promise that the separation isn't final. For Jesus promised that He was going to prepare a mansion for us, so that where He was, there we could be, also.

This year as we celebrate Christmas, remember Who we are celebrating. The trees, lights, presents, songs, and everything else that makes the holiday fun are all wonderful. But let's not have a party, and leave out the guest of honor -- Jesus!


I think that in the grand scheme of things, that it was very important that Jesus experienced growing up as a human. He already understood what it was to be God or the Son of God, how the universe was created, what heaven is really like, and even watched as God breathed breathe into Adam. But He hadn't actually been an adolescent boy. As the Son of Mary, He experienced being 12-years-old for Himself. I'm sure like most 12-year-olds, He felt like a trustworthy adult, but kept getting treated like a kid. I expect He had the same stage of running awkwardly after gaining an inch in each leg. I'm sure He learned what it was like to have a squeaky teen-aged voice, and all those other things we wish we didn't have to go through.

But isn't it awesome that we can worship a God who doesn't just assign a lot of laws, and expect worship. He actually lived a life with us, lost loved-ones like us, and experienced death like us. He knows what we are going through.


Peanut Brittle

(This was my mom's recipe)

2 cup sugar

2 cup raw peanuts

1 cup white syrup

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup water

2 teaspoon baking soda

Cook sugar, syrup, and water in a saucepan until it spins a thread. Add raw peanuts; cook until golden brown. Add butter and baking soda. Stir well. Pour in a thin layer in a well buttered pan and let hardened; break into pieces.

Microwave Peanut Brittle

(This is my oldest sister's recipe)

1 cup raw peanuts

1 teaspoon butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup white corn syrup

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir together peanuts, sugar, syrup, and salt in 1-1/2 quart bowl. Microwave 4 minutes. Stir well. Microwave for 4 additional minutes. Add butter and vanilla to syrup mixture. Return to microwave for 2 minutes. Add baking soda and stir until light and foamy. Pour onto greased cookie sheet; let harden, then break into pieces. Makes 1 pound.


I recently got a stye on my eye. It was on my upper eyelid and was pretty painful for a couple days. If that should ever happen to you, here are a couple of home remedies that I was told about:

Brew a cup of hot tea; put the warm teabag on your eyelid for several minutes. Do this every couple hours. (I did try this and it seemed to help.... well, I didn't do it as often as I was supposed to because I didn't know I was supposed to do it that often..... but the teabag does seem to work; and I'm sure doing it every couple hours would work better and quicker, than what I did.

After the stye was almost healed, my niece told me of another remedy. Her sister-in-law is a nurse and used to get stye's really bad. She had doctors tell her to use baby shampoo (because it's mild) and wash your eyelid and lashes with it. Since she started doing that, she doesn't get styes anymore. If you have trouble getting styes, it can help prevent them, but also can help clear them up if you do get one.


Procrastination often places undue pressure on others who do not deserve it. - unknown


We love you!

Loretta & Jon