Dec 25, 2010

What's So Special About Bethlehem

Abigail and Dolley readers - Merry Christmas!  I love biblical prophecy, of all the proofs that God offers us, the proofs of fulfilled prophecy are some of my favorite.  Today we celebrate Jesus' birth.  Most know that he was born in Bethlehem, but what makes that significant?  What was special about this place.  Let's look at some of the prophecy together.

The Book of Micah was likely written between 735 and 700 B.C. and predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem in Judea.  Mic 5:2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
The New Testament proclaims that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the Old Testament tells us where in Bethlehem he was born.  A place called Migdal Edar, which means Tower of the Flock. 

Mic 4: 8 "And thou, O tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, yea, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."

Migdal Edar, the Tower of the Flock, was where the special passover lambs were raised.  These were not ordinary lambs, these were consecrated and set aside specifically for sacrifice.

Thus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29) was born in the lambing barn of the special passover lambs.  The shepherds which are keeping watch by their fields at night were the shepherds of Migdal Edar.

I could write for days and years on the subject - for the greatness of God is eternal and His mysteries are infinite.  May you be richly blessed this Christmas and may the peace and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon you.

Dec 20, 2010

A Great Christmas (or anytime) Read

I want to wish all of you Abigail and Dolley readers a very Merry Christmas. I hope the blessings of the Lord Jesus are abundant in your life as you remember the greatest gift of all, our Savior.

A few years ago I began reading the writings of Bodie and Brock Thoene. This talented husband and wife have written dozens of books, some of which capture moments in the Bible so vividly you will never read the Word the same way.

Their AD Chronicles are incredible reads as they take unnamed characters in the Bible and write stories around them. The crescendo of the stories are the parts that include Jesus; it touches the believer in a way that mere reading of the facts can not. For instance, in First Light, we meet the blind boy whom Jesus healed and whose parents were questioned and who was himself questioned by the Pharisees. In Second Touch we meet the lepers whom Jesus touches and heals. In Third Watch we meet the man who brings his demon possessed son to Christ who says, "I believe, help me with my unbelief". These passing and nameless characters are given lives, names, histories, and struggles. We praise God anew at the miracles they are the recipients of in the stories.

Beginning in the Fourth book and through the Sixth, we learn about Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and the birth of Christ. While all of these books are good and full of revelation, they are in large part a repeat (over three books, no less) of information we already learned and know about from the last book of the Zion Legacy series, Jerusalem's Hope.

Thus, if you would like to dig down, deep into the symbolism, the meanings, and the foreshadowing of the Christian story I highly recommend these books. Jerusalem's Hope takes you into the world of the Bethlehem shepherds. You learn why these shepherds and their lambs were special and why it was so perfect that the Lamb of God was born there.

If you aren't much of a book reader and would like some juicy facts, check out this web site http://www.bible-truth.org/BirthPlaceofJesus.html

Many blessings to you!

Dec 18, 2010

I Finished It!

Abigail and Dolley readers some of you may recall, that back in March I declared I was writing a novel.  I have over the years put pen to paper and begun three other novels.  The first when I was about 16 years old, another when I was in college, and a third about three years ago.  All of them were victims of either limited life experience, convoluted and way too involved story lines, or just plain full of so many holes and mistakes they were abandoned.  This one, though, dear friends was different.

This book flowed out of me like breath.  I did not spend a ton of time scripting the story, the story just told itself.  Some of the chapters have only been read by me once and I did not obsess on editing what I had already written, I just kept going.  From March through April I wrote feverishly; the story coming to me on my drive to work every morning and when I sat down that night, I already knew what I was going to write.

Alas, life gets in the way and I sent an electronic copy to a friend.  A friend I knew loved to read the genre I was writing and one who I felt would give me good and honest feedback.  Then my work life spun out of my control and the book sat unfinished and untouched for months.  My friend was quiet and I began to fear that it was so horrible, she could not even bring herself to critique it.

Then, as life goes, I was blessed with a visit from her and she sheepishly admitted that she'd only begun to read the book a few days before and it was GOOD.  I was so relieved, because unlike my other attempts she is the only one who has read a word of it.  Even my beloved husband, George, had not read a line.  Suddenly, the story started popping in my head again.  The characters wanted to have their story finished.

Life has calmed down much in the last few months and I finished the book tonight.  As I lay here, with my laptop humming away, I can not believe I actually finished it.  Of course, that is simply the first part of the writing process and because much of the story was written in a whirlwind, it will have to be edited and anomalies corrected.  I suppose if a book is a body, then I have finished assembling the skeleton.  That is the frame though and truly the hardest part.  I have to go back and give it tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin but the story is complete and I am overjoyed.

Dec 17, 2010

Emotional Bank Accounts

Abigail and Dolley readers I am indeed very privileged to have engaged in a mentoring relationship with a very wise gentleman.  Friday afternoons have become the highlight of my week and I have grown tremendously in just a few short weeks.  Being challenged, affirmed, and learning something in the process is one of life's greatest adventures.  We are all in the business of living and if we stop learning we become stale and boring, even to ourselves.

This week, we were discussing interpersonal relationships and I shared one of the insights I gained many years ago.  I believe we have an emotional bank account for everyone that comes into our lives.  Based on the level of importance, each person starts out with an initial deposit.  Subsequent transactions and interactions with that person are either a deposit or a withdrawal on the account.  When we are involved with people that are constantly withdrawing from the account, eventually, the account goes into overdraft and after a period of time the account is closed.

This is true in all our relationships, even with those of your children, who start out with the very largest initial deposit of anyone in our lives. If all someone ever does is take from you and never put anything back, it is time to close the account.  At some point in the future, the person may have a change of heart and seek to reopen the account, but that will require a meeting with the banking officer to determine if the necessary changes have been made in order to justify a reopening of said account.

So Abigail and Dolley readers as we approach the New Year when we all feel we have been given a new lease on life and an opportunity to begin anew, review the bank accounts in your life and close the ones that are in overdraft, send a warning to those who have reached a minimum threshold, and put deposits in the accounts were YOU are overdrawn.

Many blessings to you all,
Dolley

Dec 12, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Abigail and Dolley readers this year, I did my tree in the colors of THE King, inspired by Tudor velvets.  Royal shades of red, blue, purple, green decorated with gold and citrine.  It was inspired by an ornament I have had for years and always thought a tree after that fashion would be stunning..  I spent days getting it just right.  It was a tough one!  I think mostly because the deep purple and the royal blue disappear into the evergreen.  Its actually quite beautiful in all sorts of light and it was a blast putting it together.

I hope you enjoy the pictures.  I told you I have been on a creative tear!  Merry Christmas loyal readers.  You make doing this seem meaningful.  May the Lord Bless you, may He make His face shine down upon you, and give you Peace.  In the Mighty and Powerful Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bless you.

Love,
Dolley

Royal Shades of Blue, Purple, Green, Gold, and Red

I love her, she's singing to herself in the mirror

Butterfly

Purple Peacock on a hydrangea

Purple Hummingbird at his feeder

Blue Peacock looking over her shoulder

The Ruler of the Roost, this is a tough old bird

The Ornament that inspired the tree

I have tried 6 ways to Sunday to get these pictures to upload correctly, alas, we are in sideways world viewing the whole tree! If you click on the pictures, it will take you to a gallery where they are all right side up.



In the Day with no lights, check out the Butterfly!

The Topper
Merry Christmas from Dolley's Haven.

Dec 10, 2010

Friday Evening Ponderings and a Little Pep Talk from Dolley Madison

Abigail and Dolley readers, I have to say I am sorry.  Many of you loyal readers have come to this site for political commentary and it just aint happinin'.  I am sure as seasons go, I will once again pick up  the pen and begin pontificating on the events of the day, but alas, I am tired of it.  I am worn out with watching the left destroy my country.  I am worn out with the daily political action alerts I receive in my email.  I am not listening to talk radio, checking Drudge on the hour, watching Fox for hours on end, and going through my fb pages for interesting political articles and discussions.  I am just not interested in any of it at this point.  The pox on them all!

That does not mean that my brain has stopped thinking, oh contrare!  I have had an absolute creative explosion in the last few weeks; my book, my garden, my house, and mostly my job.  It has almost been a fugue.  Many wonderful things have been born of this episode but the most profound was this statement:

Knowing where you want to go is one thing but knowing how to get there is another.

It came to me in a moment of clarity and suddenly all of the disenfranchised puzzle pieces fell into place and it started clicking.  Everyone has dream, places they want to go, things they want to do, a life they want to live but without a plan, they will never be anything other than dreams.  The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step - I know it is hackneyed and clique but it is appropriate.

Start at the end and work backwards.  Find the half way point and keep going - all the way back to where you are right now.  Look at the difference between right now and your goal.  Determine a time frame and set incremental goals that get you where you want to go.  Write it down.  Share it with others.  Inspire yourself.  Grow, learn, seek, improve but most of all move forward.  No one is stopping you except yourself.  Get out there and do it, you can, this is America, Baby. 

We can still be whatever we want to be!  We can still achieve the impossible.  We can still make it, and rock the World while we are doing it because it is bred in us.  It is in the fundamental DNA of the American Spirit and we are indeed Mighty and Great.  So be a Patriotic American and live your dream, make your wealth, achieve your success.  Take that first step, We The People are behind you cheering you on.

Dec 3, 2010

Take a Stroll Through the Autumn Garden

Abigail and Dolley readers take a stroll with me through the wonders of an Autumn Garden.  It was the day after Thanksgiving and most would have looked at the gray sky and despaired but not me.  I saw it as a perfect back drop for the bright and vivid colors of the Season.
Hibiscus, Balloon Flower, Pansies and others

Mums, Sedum, Ice Plant, and Pansies

Ageratum

Carolina Lantana, Pansies, Hibiscus, Baloon Flower, Dwarf Nandina, and Dwarf Conifer

Wild Flowers from a seed mat

Wildflowers from a seed mat


Ageratum

Ageratum

Carolina Beauty Lantana (it smells like lemons and butter)

Baloon Flower (it turns from green to yellow to orange)


Spirea

Pansy

Autumn Color on a random tree





Arborvite
During the summer these are bright electric blue