Double Whammy

Years ago, I learned to balk at a Christmas with more than one big meal. That’s because we spent our first Christmas day together, running from pillar to post, trying to make everyone happy. So Ron, infant Judith and I trailed a mile down the road to my parents for seven am breakfast, drove through a blizzard to Gran’s for lunch an hour away and finally scurried home to serve dinner at our house for all of Ron’s family…..WHEW!!!

And who was cause of all this commotion? Me. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I felt guilty for saying no to anyone, so instead I hurt my own feelings…. and my family’s.

Little by little over the years, with Ron’s encouragement,we cut down to only one or two events per holiday. Today though, I find myself going to the Keenagers catered lunch and the Writer’s Nest home cooked Christmas dinner. WHEW!!!

Why? Because I can. And because all of these dear people are my friends and I love being with them. And because I decided I wanted to, with no guilt involved. It bears remembering that guilt is not from God.

Yesterday the first copy of my first children’s book, The Big Red Chair (CD included) arrived at my door. I’ll be reading it at both events. It is a happy, funny, sad love story about life and death…..

I wrote it because our smaller grandchildren didn’t understand what happened to their Afi. I expect lots of other little ones feel the same. We often unknowingly and unfairly lock them out of our grief.

And yes it is for sale….

What Language Do You Speak?

Hebrews 1:1-2-God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (NASB). Christ, Creator, God, Heir, High Priest, Jesus, King, Lion of Judah, Mediator, Risen Lord, Shepherd, Son of God, Ruler, Holy One of Israel, Life Source, Saver from Sins.


Prayer: Oh God, help us understand this wonderful new language of ‘Son’ and then please fill our lives with his presence. Amen.

about the author: Brenda Wood “I believe Jesus is the answer to every question.”

Brenda Wood is a motivational speaker, writer and author of Heartfelt, 366 Devotions for Common Sense Living. She is also a recovered bulimic who has gained and lost several 1000 pounds over the years! She understands the pain of overweight and the agony of life with an eating disorder. Brenda is known for her common sense wisdom, sense of humor and quirky comments.

Meeting Myself, Snippets from a Binging and Bulging Mind AND….

Just wanted to tell you it has been a very productive week here. Finished Nanowrimo with room to spare AND finished the edit of both The Big Red Chair ( my new story book book for grieving children – which also includes  a CD!)  AND Meeting Myself,Snippets from a Binging and Bulging Mind. I expect to be able to offer The Big Red Chair for sale for Christmas!

Twas the Night before Christmas

I don’t know anything about this author, but I love her truth. I hope she had this poem published as a children’s book. You may not have autism, but you can insert your own problem , anything from grief, to cancer to lonliness and more and find that the same truths hold true. Don’t you judge me…and I won’t judge you….

Autism Night Before Christmas by Cindy Waeltermann

Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through the house

The creatures were stirring, yes, even the mouse.

We tried melatonin and gave a hot bath

But the holiday jitters, they always distract.

The children were finally all nestled in bed

When nightmares of terror ran through my OWN head

Did I get the right gift? The right color and style?

Would there be a tantrum or even, maybe, a smile?

Our relatives come but they don’t understand

The pleasure he gets just from flapping his hands.

“He needs discipline,” they say “Just a well-needed smack,

You must learn to parent” and on goes the attack.

We smile and nod because we know deep inside

The argument is moot. Let them all take a side.

We know what it’s like to live with the spectrum

The struggles and triumphs, achievements, regressions…

But what they don’t know and what they don’t see

Is the joy that we feel over simplicity .

He said “hello!” He ate something green!

He told his first lie! He did not cause a scene!

He peed on the potty. who cares if he’s ten?

He stopped saying the same thing again and again!

Others don’t realize just how we can cope

How we bravely hang on at the end of our rope.

But what they don’t see is the joy we can’t hide

When our children with autism make the tiniest stride.

We may look at others without the problems we face

With jealousy, hatred or even distaste,

But what they don’t know, nor sometimes do we

Is that children with autism bring simplicity.

We don’t get excited over expensive things.

We jump for joy with the progress work brings

Children with autism try hard every day.

That they make us proud more than words can say.

They work even harder than you or I

To achieve something small, to reach a star in the sky

So to those who don’t get it or can’t get a clue

Take a walk in my shoes and I’ll assure you

That even 10 minutes into the walk

You’ll look at me with respect, even shock.

You will realize what it is that I go through

And the next time you judge, I can assure you

That you won’t say a thing. You’ll be quiet and learn,

Like the years that I did when the tables were turned…

Stressfree Christmas Shopping

Think outside the traditional Christmas gift box.   How about gift certificates from a local hair salon or barber?
Or a gym membership for all who are thinking about some health improvement? (Try not to feel insulted if someone gets you one of these! MY first thought would be- do they think I ‘m fat!))

Who wouldn’t appreciate car wash gift certificates? Or hand made coupons for lawn care or snow shoveling or a golf pass? (Don’t give me the golf thing. I think golf just spoils a good walk.)

Do you like to eat? So does everyone else. Swiss Chalet, Wendy’s or even the Keg if you are super rich,all offer gift certificates.

And what about the promise of breakfast, lunch or dinner with the recipient at at the local mom and pop eatery? After all, eating alone is not that much fun.
How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle? Do you have a teen on your list who is saving toward their driving license?

And Moms? Moms would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
If your computer needs a tune-up, you can find some young guy struggling to get his repair business up
and running.( Think Dan Barratt!)

Maybe you can make something nice or buy something unusual at our many local craft fairs.
And, how about taking someone to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre?

The gift of your time will be the most appreciated thing you can offer.

Special thanks to Sharon Greer for the idea of this article…

Holiday Cheer

Ephesians 6:22I  have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we
are and that he may console and cheer and encourage and strengthen your  hearts

Different in some ways, familiar in others, funerals have one thing in common. Most of us don’t know what to say to the bereaved.  Pastor Cliff  Fletcher offers good advice on ways to comfort.

“When in doubt, remember a hug, a firm handshake and ‘I’m sorry’ goes a  long way. Pray before speaking. This is not the time for advice or sermons. Instead, give memories. Mention times shared. Comfort doesn’t end at the funeral. Holidays and birthdays are coming up. Be available.
Send a card. Make a phone call.”

When the next sad occasion happens, let’s make an effort to comfort the bereaved. Why not ask God to watch our mouths and help us do or say the  right thing? There are many opportunities at the Christmas season. Many  people find it to be the most difficult time of the year.

PrayerDear God, remind us to pray before speaking and then let consolation and cheer be our goal. Thanks. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“We’ Projects

It is November and I am NaNo-ing as I mentioned. I had to work this am and so am just sitting down this very minute to write out my heart songs for you.

But first I decorated the little spruce tree on the north side of the yard. One of our trees died and the staff here came to replace it about ten days before Ron died. He was able to sit at the breakfast table and
watch it going in.

I watched too. “We’ll decorate it for Christmas this year,” I said.

Ron didn’t answer, but later I heard him tell his coffee buddy that “Brenda says we’ll decorate it this year.

He isn’t here but that little tree is standing bravely forth in its first holiday suit. Red bows, glittering baubles and lights festoon it into merriness. And I cried when I finished because I had so hoped it would be a ‘we’ project….

Let’s Start a New Cut-off Date.

Are we ever really ready? It’s a good job there is a cut-off date – December 25th- or we would be buying, baking and decorating for ever. After years of learning better habits, I still tend to occasionally fall into the same mess.

Right now I am making serviettes for our dining table. Red with white machine embroidery on each. They will be pretty as is but if the cut-off date doesn’t come too soon, I might also embroider each person’s name on one.. See what I mean?

I wasn’t going to bake much but hubby wanted cookies for his I made one batch of Do-Dos. But one batch alone on a plate looks a little sad and the cut-off date isn’t here yet…—  See what I mean?

I am making a new cut-off date. It is today! Want to join me?

Thank God that He doesn’t make a cut-off date for us. He generously extends and re-extends time for us to ask Him into our lives.

He came into this world as a baby…..God became man…so that He could die on the cross for our sin, our wrong-doing,  and make a way for us to be in fellowship with Him.

But He is a Gentleman. We have to ask Him into our life.

Because what if He suddenly decided on a cut-off date? And we missed Christmas in every way?

Brenda J. Wood