An Afternoon with Asher

An Afternoon with Asher

ruthducharme.jpg

by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 1/22/15

It has been awhile since I had a toddler in my house for any length of time, but this past week I got to spend the afternoon with my two-year-old great nephew, Asher. I was in charge of Asher while his mom attended a baby shower here in Macon. I had eagerly anticipated our afternoon together and was excited about spending time with this sweet, energetic, bright-eyed little boy.
 
Asher had no qualms about being left in my care and was eager to explore the things in my house and yard. I had forgotten what it is like to explore a yard with a two-year-old. Nothing goes unnoticed and there are many treasures to be found if you just pay attention. Asher and I stopped and noticed every bug, every leaf, and every acorn. There were birds to listen to and squirrels to laugh at. Our greatest treasure was the goose feather that we found on the ground in the side yard.
 
My experience with Asher was also a spiritual exercise for me. Right now I am engaged in the reading of Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, An Altar in the World. In her writings, Brown is guiding her readers to find the sacred in the ordinary. She suggests that our spiritual life can be enhanced by paying attention to the simple things in life. In the introduction of the book she says, “No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it. The treasure we seek requires no lengthy expedition, no expensive equipment, no superior aptitude or special company. All we lack is the willingness to imagine that we already have everything we need. The only thing missing is our consent to be where we are.”
 
What treasure are you standing right on top of? What is right in front of your eyes that you haven’t even noticed? God is calling to us through nature, through the arts, and through our relationships. How does God get your attention?
 
God got my attention through the eyes and ears of a two-year-old, and through that experience I received a glimpse of God’s presence in my world that had gone unnoticed before.

Looking Beyond Ourselves

Looking Beyond Ourselves

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 1/15/15

Do you ever find yourself taking one of those online personality tests? I have to admit, they are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. Maybe you, too, are a personality test junkie who is ready with the click of a mouse or the dot of your number-two pencil to answer nearly any series of questions that promise to tell you more about…well… you. If you are like me then you know your Myers-Briggs type (ENFP), which character from the Lord of the Rings franchise you are most like (Gimli) and whether you are a winter or autumn in fashion (neither). We like to quantify our lives through these fun, quasi-factual, somewhat facetious tests.   

Our Journey Begins Again

Our Journey Begins Again

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 1/8/15

The journey of Epiphany begins again. During this season after Epiphany we are challenged to see our own star in the east and to search for Christ's presence as the wise men. For all who find themselves on a journey, consider this reflection by Jan Richardson:

For Those Who Have Far to Travel: An Epiphany Blessing

If you could see the journey whole, you might never undertake it; might never dare the first step that propels you from the place you have known toward the place you know not.

The Family Christmas Tree

The Family Christmas Tree

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 12/18/14

"I want to see my family!" Logan said. I hated to tell him that they had just left. The party was over. For seven hours last Saturday, nearly every family member who bears his last name was present. The Halls were decked in the usual way: Christmas ham, smoked turkey, homemade dressing and desserts. Logan's uncles and cousins and his very own "Big Mama" prayed for the family for which they were thankful. Presents were opened and thank-you’s proffered in return.

When Christmas Gets Derailed

Comment

When Christmas Gets Derailed

By Carol Brown

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 12/11/14

My Christmas has been derailed. I was moving along at a pretty good pace, checking things off my list, and feeling satisfied with my progress. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I made a good dent in my Christmas list by clicking “Place My Order” on Amazon, Steve hauled all the Christmas boxes down from the attic, and I decked the walls, mantel, and tables with Christmas decorations. During the first week in December, I put the finishing touches on plans for the Elf Workshop, began preparations for the Family Night Christmas Party, and ordered my family’s Christmas cards.

Comment

Claiming Joy

Claiming Joy

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 12/2/14

Stewart Brandon, a quiet kid, always hated singing Christmas carols. It wasn’t because he hated Christmas. It wasn’t because he hated singing. It was because of all the attention that his big sister received during the season, or at least it was the attention that she feigned receiving as the whole congregation stood to sing, “Joy to the World.”  Stew could never understand why there was no “Stew to the World,” as his sister grinned ear to ear as “her” hymn was sung. She literally claimed joy as her own. If only joy could be so easily claimed in all circumstances.

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 11/20/14

Thanksgiving is both a Christian practice and a holiday. I love Thanksgiving—the turkey, the family gatherings, the parade. It is a great day that happens once a year that requires planning, hospitality and love.

Good Ole Poncho

Good Ole Poncho

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 11/13/14

Poncho, our church’s Live Nativity donkey, died last week. He was 50 years old! Poncho had been in our nativity for the past 15 Christmases. One year, he even starred in the show and told the story himself about the angels, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, and the Wisemen. Well, he did have a little help from Jeff Browne, of course.