(November 21, 2006)

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. (Psalm 30:11)

Well…I’m not exactly that happy, but I am – for the moment at least – feeling much better than I sounded on my last post.

Yesterday and today I was truly able to focus and work on my book. It feels good to be accomplishing something on it. And if I keep this up, I’ll be able to focus on Christmas, without any sense of guilt for abandoning my book for a while. In the past, I’ve always found that the best way to defeat stress is by just carrying on with the work at hand. Sitting around makes me more stressed because I wallow in my worries, not getting anywhere. When I do something, I begin to feel in control again.

I know I need to take one day, one moment at a time. Once I get going on the preparations, I’ll be ok. I DO love Christmas carols. And I DO love to bake. And I DO love getting together with friends.

This year we’re going to try limiting our gift giving a lot more. We’ll spend the money we would normally spend and buy World Vision gifts for families in third world countries. Perhaps buy a couple of hens and rooster for my mother; and maybe a goat for my son and his wife. I’d feel a lot better about that than wrapping dozens of gifts that we don’t really need. The materialism of Christmas truly sickens me.

I’m looking forward once more to our Living Room meeting on Friday. When I began this group I never realized how much I would look forward to meetings. I love preparing the devotionals and planning topics for discussion. That group really give me joy – a quiet joy – a grateful joy. It’s a mystery how a group where people talk about their problems and where Kleenex has to be passed around, can make me feel that way. It’s good to know that I’m providing a place where people can open up and be real. I’m thankful to God for having given me this work to do.

So, I send you all a big smile and hope that you’re smiling back.