Tis the Season to Be... Scammed?

I'm not sure what it is about this holiday season, but I am getting scammed like I've never been scammed before.I've had the occasional security breaches at my credit card companies like everyone else, where they send you a letter and a new card due to 'security reason' (ie someone hacked their system or they think they did) and they didn't really bother me that much. But, after getting sent a few new credit cards from one of my credit card companies within just a 6 month period, I started getting annoyed. And so it began....more

Protecting What Matters Most - Fire Prevention Tips

Yesterday afternoon my husband and I sat on our balcony and watched one of our neighbors burn a huge pile of grass in his yard. It's a very common occurrence in Croatia. Someone told me it had something to do with making the soil more fertile. As we were watching the fire burn, I couldn't help but imagine the worst. Fires scare me. More than anything else.  Maybe because every summer here in Croatia we witness the destructive power of forest fires. Maybe because I remember all too well the news coverage of firemen dying while trying to put out the fires....more

Magic Oil and the Birth of Jesus

On Monday evening, I covered my daughter with a fuzzy blue blanket, gave her a big hug and kiss and said goodnight. This is part one of a bedtime ritual that often includes being called back at least twice for extra hugs, a redo on the covers, a random thought, or sometimes "Mommy I had a bad dream." (Maya does not seem to know the difference between an actual dream and a scary thought she has while lying awake in her bed....more

When Christmas Comes too Soon

As my eyes scan my email inbox this morning, I am painfully reminded that Black Friday is just four short days away.  For many, this illustrious occasion – unofficial holiday, if you will – involves taking your turkey in a to-go box and sitting in a lawn chair outside of Best Buy all night, wrapped up to your eyeballs, bonding with other lunatics over $400 3D TVs....more

Cheese-balls and Matadors of Christmas past: A rant

I'm not feeling it... You know - all jolly and festive. This prior manifestation (or lack there-of) was well before the notice I  got on late Friday night via text, from a so-called 'friend' that Christmas Eve, the Christmas dinner she invited me to (2 weeks ago), infact no longer will take place and they (the family) will not be at home. Said friend said she only discovered this a few minutes before she sent me the text (less than a day in advance)....more

An Idealistic Christmas List

As, I finish the last-minute wrapping, baking, and dream of boxing day sales. I look forward to a Christmas with an open heart, merriment, and wonder of a child.  And with those child-like eyes I’ve made my own idealistic Christmas list: 1.  End World Hunger 2. Free Effective Health Care for All 3. World Peace 4. Equality for All People 5. Good Governance 6....more

Prince of Peace

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.   And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”    (Isaiah 9:6)  I don’t know about you, but I desperately need an extra measure of peace in our day and time, especially during the holiday season.  The biblical key to peace is Christ’s Authority!  Webster defines “peace” in this way:  a state of tranquility or quiet; a state of security or order within a community; a state or period of mutual concord; without strife or disorder…  When the Lord Jesus becomes your Lord and Savior, you gain access to His peace.  The Book of Isaiah uses the word peace 26 times. God promised the nation of Israel peace when they returned wholeheartedly to the Lord.  Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  In 32:17 Isaiah tells us, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”  Again in Isaiah 48:17-18 & 22, “Thus says the Lord, you Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.  Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea’…’There is no peace,’ says the Lord, ‘for the wicked.’”  The apostle Paul concluded the book of II Thessalonians with this benediction, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.”  Ephesians 2:14 states, “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of division between us.”  Paul also says in Philippians 4:7, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” More importantly, Jesus Himself says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  When you have Jesus as the center of your life, He is the “still water” and tranquility you need to sustain you in a world of turmoil and chaos.  He is our example of peace and our inspiration for peace.  When we make peace with Jesus, we are no longer at enmity with God.  Our salvation guarantees us peace forever with our Creator.  Jesus becomes our peace as we bend our knee to His Authority.  Because He is the Vine and we are the branches (John 15), we are to receive that peace from His reservoir.  Peace comes to those who gladly receive downstream, that which Jesus begins upstream.   We find our security in Who He is.  Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”  He is the source of a peace that surpasses all understanding…  ...more

Quick and Simple Holiday Survival Tip

Ok, before the holiday doldrums get you down, I want you to follow these instructions immediately. You need to go and order a food or wine (or other consummable) right now - on the internet so you don't have to get into your car or go out in cold weather. You need to choose something that you love to eat or drink, always wanted to try, and is suited to be consumed by either one person or to share with a group. Then, you need to SEND IT TO YOURSELF. Yes, you! ...more