Shopping with HEART and making SMART choices at Christmas Time.

Shopping with HEART and making SMART choices at CHRISTMAS time.

  1. Make your large purchases with small business, and your small purchases at big box stores. That way you are spreading the love around where it is needed the most.
  2. Buy second hand for yourself when you can, and treat yourself to a brand name product once a year (if you absolutely have to).
  3. Write and wrap gift notes for others, and then buy the actual product after Christmas when it is half the price. The amount saved could be given away to a neighbour, or charity.
  4. Decide to watch programs over the holidays that have zero violence.
  5. Boycott watching anything with guns or shooting.
  6. When you realize that means you can’t watch anything – go outside for a walk or call up a friend, and make a snowman together.
  7. Instead of playing a computer game by yourself, get together with a friend and play a board or dice game.
  8. Shut your phone for off for a whole day, and listen to your family. No cheating.
  9. Instead of giving someone money, give them your time and attention.
  10. Invite someone over for tea and dessert, you don’t always have to cook a fancy menu.
  11. Write a list of people you want to get to know in the New Year, and write an annual intentional date on the calendar.
  12. Support home grown talent by buying their music.
  13. Promote purchases and not pirating.
  14. Smile and make a point of wishing everyone you see a “Merry Christmas” (out loud, and not under your breath).
  15. Make time to look up inspirational vignettes on youtube, like Linus’s recitation about what Christmas is all about.
  16. Set up a nativity scene on Christmas Eve.
  17. Purchase a special Children’s Christmas book each year to read on Christmas Eve, even if all the children are grown up.

Have fun adding to this list. Make it your own. And may we truly strive to uphold what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8 and 9).

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Christmas Hope

Everyone needs some.  It is invisible almost all year round, but at Christmas time, if you look carefully you can see where it came from.

I heard about it year after year but never really got it until tragedy struck.  You don’t have to be broken to receive it, but it helps.  Because when we are broken, we realize we need it  more than anything else in the world.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, in fact once you find it, you still need to be reminded it is there.  Life is hard.  I’m not talking about the job you may not like, or the child who is acting up.  I’m talking about the spouse who left, or the child who died.  Maybe you have healed up pretty good and are trying to move on.

I have to grab on and hang on to it really tight, not just every Christmas but every day, and I am never disappointed.

Have a listen and grab onto some Christmas Hope.

 

….at the bank

Returning from a week break, I began to prepare for our worship team practice among other things.  I decided to rally the troops and call in extras in case my voice did not return in time for Thanksgiving Sunday.  After calling a couple of friends and finding out they were going to go home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to leave things as they were.  I had done everything in my power to be responsible, the rest was up to God.  I wasn’t the first worship leader to sound like a croaky frog recovering from an illness, and I wouldn’t be the last.

I put away the church phone directory and whispered a small prayer of trust to Jesus, then off to the bank to run an errand for our daughter.

As I explained to the teller that I was depositing something for my daughter, she made conversation by asking where my daughter was.  Briefly I explained that she was away in another country studying the Bible.  The teller beamed and relayed that she had just finished Bible School in a nearby town.  I was delighted to hear that the new young woman at our bank was a believer, and newly married.  I asked her if they had a home church.  In no time we both found out we were attending the same one!

I croaked out that I would be seeing her the next day, as I was leading worship.  Excitedly she asked about choir.

“Could it be she liked to sing?” I asked myself.

“Would you be interested in singing on the worship team tomorrow?” I asked without hesitation.  In the same spirit, she responded with a jubilant “yes!”.

It never even dawned on me that she might love to sing but not have the ability at all.

“I love hymns!” she chirped.

She didn’t have a problem with the 8:00 a.m. practice either.

I leaned across the counter and said “two strangers in a bank, who’d have thought?”

She leaned in closer too and replied “we’re not strangers anymore.”

I walked out of the bank feeling as if it was meant to be, and do you know why?

Because it was.

 

 

 

The Fairy Tale – or The Real Deal?

People are looking for love…we turn on the television and we see some semblance of it – but that’s not love at all

People are looking for meaning, we right away think “money”, we see the suits and the office towers – but that’s not meaning

We feel driven to see and experience all we can even if it means missing the truth in front of us, because deep down inside our whole being is not engaged in the truth, we’re not sure we really believe all of it?  Do we really want to look like freaks?

And we miss the profound, the children, the moon, the sun, life, breathing…..need I go on?  We miss it!

I found myself thinking of the crowd on Palm Sunday.  They missed it!  Are we any different from they were?  We rally around our heroes, and for what?  For ourselves, as long as there is something in it for us. So sure we know, but we mostly live on the surface of life, not deep down inside.  There’s plenty of spirituality to go around, but no one really wants to know about Jesus.

They thought they were getting an earthly King, the kind that would put an end to Roman rule and really put their nation on the map!  They sang their hosannahs but their tune quickly changed from adoration to accusation.  Doesn’t that sound like us?

I wrote a song this morning, may it bring us all to a new revelation of how not to miss the King, not today, not tomorrow.  Let us be present, with our eyes open to the spiritual truth, the layer just above the one that hypnotizes us to sleep.  Let us shake off these earthly distractions and look into the eyes of our eternal Savior and King.  Then we can sing Hosannah.

“Hosannah” by Cindy Palin ©March 6, 2014

Everybody wants the Ferris Wheel,

it’s all about the thrill,

Nothing much has changed since we sang – Hosannah

We wanted a King, a vindication

A conqueror strong to rule our nation

So ready to spill our enemies blood

We couldn’t see the Son of God

Everybody craves the fairy tale,

the power and the crown.

The roar of the parade, the charade – Hosannah

He gave us a King, a soul salvation

Heaven came down with invitation

and we took his life, we spilled his blood

we still cannot see the Son of God

Unless we bow, unless we woe

Then we can sing – Ho ….sannah

Hosannah

Hosannah

Amen

The Defining Stroke

I reached for yet another generic photo album eager to find something to throw away. Instead, I found a long forgotten door to the past, a colorful vignette of yesterday with the first tiny stroke towards who I am today – a musician.

After our third child was born, I gave myself permission to write again, with the understanding that I would also record if possible.  I had written a song that a fellow musician took a liking to, and he suggested I enter it into a competition in Estes Park, Colorado.

We found a company on the internet that would professionally score and print my song called:  We Are the Church.  I sent my entry application off, and my husband and I began planning a family vacation to Colorado – with the intent to spend a large portion of it at the 1994 music competition.

Inside the album lay several adjudication papers with scores and judge’s comments.  I read through them boldly, unabashed about what I might find.  Writing is much like art – very subjective.  The song or canvas might be a masterpiece to one person, and a scribble to another, regardless of what you the author or artist may think.

Interestingly enough, although composition is still a large part of my life, the old adjudication papers quickly found themselves at the bottom of my waste paper basket.  They had no value left.  I had won no accolades or awards, but took the experience to heart, hoping it would add color to the music of tomorrow.

After the loose paperwork had been disposed of, the plastic pages of the album were revealed – pictures of our trip to Colorado.  Treasures that had lay hidden for over 19 years.  I looked into the eyes of those faces, my 35-year-old husband, our three children and our beloved babysitter Natasha.

Perhaps the most defining stroke of the brush upon my heart,  is the one that spells mother? Is there anything worth writing about if you have not loved?  Is there anything worth writing about if you have not given birth to a child?  And I have three!

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

*I scanned the photos that were most important to me and began a digital album project on http://www.onceuponadigitalstory.com, called; Estes Park, Colorado.  When it is published I will put a link to it on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.heritagemakers.com/projectBrowserStandAlone.cfm?projectId=2895607&productId=44&projectSponsor=299918

Beneath a Paper Lid

the "love man" performance

the “love man” performance

The past peers from beneath a paper lid.  Who I use to be sung by strangers, who I am today strangely lingers on my lips.  Melodies and messages a world apart.  Red rhinestones sewn by hand, nothing we wouldn’t do for our “skater man”.  Silver circles kept from dust reveal but just the start of us.  I gently keep and sort and weep for joy, we journey on.  I smile at God’s promise letters, for we’re getting better.

©CindyPalin Feb.25, 2014

The Temptation: to put the photo box on the shelf with my other photo boxes                                 The Taboo:  taking clutter from one place and moving it to another                                            The Problem:  Having to revisit the clutter at a later date “why put off tomorrow what we can do today?” Thomas Jefferson

The Contents:

  • 10 new DVDs and 1 new CD-RW
  • One Music Disc, Grad ’81, Compilation by “Turntable Terry”
  • Four Music Discs with some of my past original compositions
  • Two Discs with images belonging to our Son who figure skates.  Snapshots from a competition in Lethbridge, and from the World’s Figure Skating Championships – Opening Ceremonies in Calgary – 2006, of which our Son was a part of.
  • One Promise Keepers Cassette called; Wise Choices

Plan of Attack:

  •  throw out old software discs that are no longer compatible with computer
  • download photos from the image discs
  • post a few incriminating images to Facebook and hopefully live to tell the story
  • create new album in i-photo to edit and use at a later date
  • download songs onto iTunes and reminisce
  • Keep and file software that contains license numbers you still need
  • put empty photo box to use, or store where it can be used in the near future

The Challenge: What on earth do I write about?  So many memories in a half filled paper box.                                                                                                                                                                                                       The Question: Where were those pictures when I needed them?

The Key:  Make sure the next item I retrieve is bigger and heavier, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” Proverb, sometimes attributed to Knute Rockne.

I Hear Your Love Song

Since time began the universe has ebbed and flowed with the language of love.  The first syllables spilled forth from the lips of God like a trillion music notes falling from a roofless sky.  And the music, can you hear it?  The stars appeared with epic, thunderous explosions, but from afar may have sounded like a spray of xylophone keys.  The oceans poured forth and lapped on the first shore like a rolling timpany.

I came into the world with a melodic cry, a pitch found somewhere on the soprano end of the piano.  The music of life.  Where would I be without the life-giving refrains that surround my eyes and fill my heart?  It is a language of love that connects the Lord and my soul.  In my sorrow and joy, a song for every moment, every uphill climb, every deep dark valley.  Bursts of joyful horns and strings of cello tears.

As I ponder the rhythm of breathing in and singing out, I realize that for some the melody plays but never reaches the ears of their heart.  The majestic symphonic whispers of a relentless, romancing Savior – never heard.

Is this not the saddest, darkest, most silent realization?  Some will never hear the love song, written in red, drummed out with a hammer mallet on an iron nail, reverberating against the floor of heaven, blasting over the walls of hell – for me, for you!

I hear your love song Jesus – play on!