Our Right Jolly-old Selves

The countdown is on and pace is stepped up. The weekend was a whirl of busyness and it’s Monday already.

I’d like to say, “Stop. Just for a moment. Deep breath in, hold for 7, out for 8. Be still.” 

But I know better because I know me and I’d think, “Are you crazy?

So go ahead and get your rush on. Start your day feeling behind and plunge headfirst into a week that will spin faster and faster because, ’tis the season.

to you from me

JOY wreath

Before you do, bookmark this page because I’m going to share some jolly with you. Yes, jolly. The word only used at Christmas and most often when reading The Night Before Christmas.


employee xmas luncheon

Randall and Jenny

Tree topper made by Randall

Tree topper made by Randall


Here in our palm tree decorated part of the world, in our community of men trying to sort out life and understand what this season is really about, in the midst of life, we’ve been jolly. And we want to share some of it with you. Most of it in pictures.

Our nostalgia tree complete with working train

Our nostalgia tree complete with working train

Randall completed our program over 5 years ago. He works for us with the title of “Special Projects” which, in large part, means he’s my right hand man. He is responsible for all the decorations. A florist by training, he puts great care into all he does. He adds a lot of jolly along the way.

"My sweater's uglier." No, my sweater is uglier!

“My sweater’s uglier.” No, my sweater is uglier!

employee xmas luncheon


This year’s ugly sweater party looked a little like an explosion in the Christmas department at Michael’s. Then there was the After Party when I took leave of my senses or succumbed to peer pressure or just wanted to show I can be fun (when I choose and on my terms ;)) All I know is our store supervisor walked in with a box of new shoes that had been donated, shoved them in front of me and said, “Here, try them on” and a chorus of voices sang out in unison “Put them on, put them on!” So, yeah, I did that.

red platforms

Trying to keep my balance

Trying to keep my balance

Sitting seems safer.

Sitting seems safer.

And then Sunday, when we celebrated JOY in our Advent service and it filled the room and our hearts and we knew this Christ Child came to show us joy is what stays when happy is fickle, playing hide and seek with our emotions.

I want you to know joy can be found. Sometimes it’s jolly and silly and sings horribly off-key while touching the hearts of old people bed ridden in a nursing home. Sometimes joy is found among the animals in a smelly stable. And sometimes it’s found in a rehabilitation program at The Salvation Army.


Jolly ol’ joy for all who believe.

For a look at some of our celebration, check out our YouTube videos. I promise, it’s all joy.

Advent Week 2: When Love Comes to Town

nativity when love comes to town

We talk about childbirth, the hours in labor, the pain that is soon forgotten for most. We share our stories of being 3 weeks overdue or a month early. Of how unprepared we were and the wonders an automatic baby swing can do to induce sleep.

We are filled with questions the books don’t seem to answer and can we trust the advice of an earlier generation?

What we do know, is that in the midst of sleep deprivation, smells you thought impossible from someone so little and cute, and the 5th time you’ve wiped spit up off your shirt in one day, in the midst of all this chaos and mess, love has come.

You are smitten beyond words. There aren’t enough synonyms to describe the deep feelings you have when you look at the, sleeping, face. The eyelashes that are as delicate as snowflakes. The skin softer than any silk you’ve run your hands across and those fingers….especially the crooked pinky fingers like your dad had. Those. The visible sign she’s mine. Ours. Love has come and won’t let go.



Neighbors have wrapped palm trees in lights. Inflatable Santa’s and Snowmen list in the wind. A few have nativity figures on their lawns. A display is advancing down our street. Signs of a season begging for signs of love.

It’s been a tough week in our country. Violence, protests, sadness and grief and questions of why. Love seems silent.

At times, the silence is closer. Grief and loss, unanswered questions that strike deep in our lives. Cancer, addiction, divorce, Alzheimer’s, death, financial devastation, job loss. Our hurts scream louder than love. We want a Jesus, a Savior who will save. “Save us from our hurt and pain and disappointment!”, we cry.

We want that magical love that grips our hearts like the way our baby took hold and never let go. The love that could kiss away the tears and scrapes and make it all better. That’s what we want from this babe, this Christ child on that silent and holy night.

“Jesus didn’t come to fix it all. He came to be with us in it all.”Jamie Wright

Love is here. Quiet, in hushed tones, begging our cries to soften so we can hear love’s presence. Immanuel. God with us. 


We will celebrate this with our men today. Another candle will be lit and words read. John will make his offering as he rat-a-tat-tats  on Little Drummer Boy.

This is our worship, our ushering in Love not just in the decorations but in our lives. Right into the chaos and pain we will pause to still ourselves and welcome Love, Immanuel, God with us.