Welcome to my blogger page. My professional profile can be found at DeirdreWRussell.wordpress.com and over at LinkedIn.com.
You can also find me at streamofcontinuousness for the fun stuff and fluff....oh and baby pictures.
This blogger page will mostly be devotionals and meditations on scriptures. I'm not promising to be serious here though. I seriously believe that God is Fun.

Enjoy my pages and I hope you come back to visit often.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

christmas hats

okay, we got the Santa photos done, now on to the rest of Christmas.

first off Christmas Eve was great. My church does four services.

  • a 4:00 kids service (usually a drama or something that kids will love)
  • a 5:30 traditional with candle-lighting, choirs, advent wreath, etc
  • a 7:00 contemporary
  • and an 11:00 traditional.

Martin had to be available to work the 5:30 and the 11:00. Now I knew we weren't going to keep Ginny up till the 11:00 service, even though that one is my favorite, so we planned to go to the 5:30 with the whole family (including my parents, my niece and hopefully my brother). It turned out to be just myself, Martin and Ginny, but we ran into some friends and ended up sitting with them. The service was lovely, Ginny enjoyed the candle lighting very much - even though I wouldn't let her touch the flame.

The "O Holy Night" solo was done by our assistant choir director Blair Brawner and it was gorgeous. It wasn't as technically perfect as some I have heard, but it was beautiful. Even the one time her voice broke...it just made it more of a human sharing moment rather than a performance.

the real highlight for me came after the service was over. You see I had to go up to our pastor and apologize. For wearing a Santa hat all during the service.

??? Why was I wearing a Santa hat to a church service when I don't believe in Santa?

Well I was wearing it initially because I was just being silly. Martin wears his a lot, and Ginny looked so cute in hers, so I was wearing mine to fit in with my silly family.

But then, on the way into the sanctuary, I passed by one of the outer doors, the one right next to the "hats, mittens & scarves tree" This is a 9 foot tall Christmas tree that the members of our church decorate with brand new hats, mittens and scarves all through out the holiday season.

As I was passing that entrance a blast of cold air hit me. Really cold air.

I turned around.

there coming in the door was a woman and three kids.

all in shirt sleeves.

I smiled and said "Hi! Welcome!"

She smiled back, glanced at my hat and then at the tree.

"Do you know how we could get a hat or a coat for my kids?"

At which point I realized that I didn't have a clue how those hats, mittens & scarves were going to be distributed. They disappear every year after Christmas, but I had no idea where they went. To the Co-op? To a shelter? I had no clue.

"Tell you what, I'll find out how we can get you some of those hats and stuff. I know just who to ask, okay?" I said.

"How will I find you?" she asked, as people jostled us apart.

without missing a beat I said "I'm probably the only person in that sanctuary wearing a Santa hat. I won't take it off till you find me again and I promise I'll have an answer for you"

So I asked around, and finally the pastor told me "you just march her right up to that tree and let her have whatever she needs."

Well thanks to the Santa hat, we re-connected after the service and as I was walking her and the kids to the tree I figured I should make conversation...so I asked

"Have you ever been here before?"

"Well no, not to a service." she said "But we come to your Journey to Bethlehem thing every year, so I knew you were nice people"


That was worth every weird look I got for wearing the Santa hat during the service, and every time I have had to explain to my boss why I need those days in December off every year to put up sets and then take them down again. Not to mention all the rehearsals.

So thank you to the people at SUMC who gave hats, mittens and scarves. And to all the folks who work hard to make Journey a reality each year - it is worth it. We are reaching people. People who sometimes need hats.

and I dare say, that is a fitting way to celebrate the birth of the Savior.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

all i want for christmas.....

My memory verse for these last two weeks of 2009 is this -

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.

Psalm 27:4

Not a terribly Christmas-y verse is it?

But for me, right now…it works.

See my body has this horrendous habit of getting sick right around the holidays. Sometime in late November or early December I almost invariably come down with a cold, the cold sinks into my lungs and I spend the next two months hacking, sometimes losing my voice, but mostly sounding like I belong in a ward full of consumptives and tuberculosis patients.

This is very very frustrating for someone whose primary avenue of worship is, and has always been, song. Singing to God is my highest joy. Most years, when this sickness hits me I tend to get very angry and frustrated and depressed. This year, thanks to a song and this particular bible verse I’ve got a different outlook.

There is a song on Travis Cottrell’s album “Found” that is called “Rest” One of the verses goes like this –

Cure my heart of chasing whirlwinds

Of needing earth to quake

Of wrestling made up angels to keep myself awake

Oh bid my restless wandering heart

To find its hope in you

In stillness know that you are God

In rest…….

You make me new.

I’ve spent a lot of time this season just letting various songs wash over me. There is a different message that can be found when I am not spending so much time physically participating but instead participating by listening. That seems like such a simple thing to say, but for me it has been a hard thing to learn. In years past my silence has been that of an actively frustrated bystander. Now I choose to deliberately immerse myself in the flood of words and music.

Its kinda of the difference between swimming with the current or being a leaf that the current is moving. The leaf puts in no effort, but is still moved.

I used to think that if I couldn’t participate in the music that I wouldn’t be moved by it.

I am learning differently this year.