Why a Pear Tree?

In the Christmas carol, A Partridge in a Pear Tree, I have wondered about the significance of the words and why a pear tree was chosen but not an apple or a peach tree. Well, when you sing the song, you quickly realize the words “a partridge in an apple tree” or “a partridge in a peach tree” doesn’t flow. The alliteration of “a partridge in a pear tree” definitely has a nice ring and rolls off the tongue. But, I wondered if there was more, so, I decided to find an answer on the internet.

  • After reading a few articles on the symbolism of each stanza, I finally happened upon a short article by Cherish Flieder that revealed that the pear tree stands for longevity, justice, strength, fruitfulness, and salvation, many of the qualities given by God to those who love him. The partridge, himself, stands for our Lord, Jesus. Why a partridge you ask? Dr. Paul Spilsbury wrote, in an article in the Vancouver Courier, that a partridge will give up her life for her children. Jesus did this when he gave up his life to forgive our sins and give us eternal life. Ah….. so now it was coming together. You may be asking, “Well, what about the rest?” So, from the two authors above, here is what each stanza means.
  • Two Turtle Doves symbolizes the Old and New Testament
  • Three French Hens stands for faith, hope, and love
  • Four Calling Birds mean the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
  • Five Golden Rings symbolize the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament
  • Six Geese-a-laying stand for the six days of creation
  • Seven Swans of Swimming are for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit ( prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy).
  • Eight Maids-a-Milking mean the eight Beatitudes (blessed are the…)
  • Nine Ladies Dancing stand for the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit ( love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control).
  • Ten Lords of Leaping symbolize the Ten Commandments
  • Eleven Pipers Piping are the eleven faithful Apostles
  • Twelve Drummers Drumming mean the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed

So, there you have it. This song, written by Catholics for their children, secretly symbolized their beliefs, in a predominately Protestant England. Most of us, still do not know what these lyrics mean, as we blithely sing along. If you take time to reflect the true meaning of the song, you may appreciate it in a new way. Each stanza represents the gifts, teachings, sacrifice, and commandments of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Christmas is a time for us to reflect on who Jesus really is. It’s a time to invite him into your heart and home. All the glitter and presents in the world cannot give you the peace you long for. Only God can do that. After all the Christmas ornaments are put away and the lights disappear from the trees, depression often hits. This is because we are looking to the magic of the season to lift us from the sadness in our lives. But only Christ can give you the fulfillment you crave. Jesus says, ” I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” Psalm 16: 11 says, ” You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Christ fills that void that all of us experience, at one time or another. Many of us try to fill that void with food, sex, entertainment, or other addictions, but only Jesus can give you that contentment you desperately need. Remember, the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, and peace. Don’t we all need these things? Jesus said in Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Won’t you take some time to be with Jesus, today? Just spend some quiet time with him, wherever you are. If you’re not sure what to say, read the Psalms that I have mentioned, here, and then just talk to him about whatever is on your heart. He loves you, so much, and will be delighted to hear from you. You will be blessed. I promise.

Have You Set Up the Manger, Yet?

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler from Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the ancient past. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the time when the woman in labor gives birth to her son. Micah 5:2

I love the holidays. The rush to buy the perfect gift, the smell of pine boughs, and the sweet taste of sugary treats stir anticipation in my heart. I love the sparkle and shimmer but it is only part of the magic of Christmas. As I prepare for the holidays, setting up the tree, shopping for gifts, and baking scrumptious cookies, a small voice says, “Have you set up the manger, yet?”

When my husband and I were newly weds, he bought me a lovely nativity set. Every year, I pull out each figurine from its foam space, in the original box, and put them in the wooden manger my step-daughter gave to us. Just like when I was a child, I set each piece in its own place. Mary and Joseph are on either side of the baby Jesus, in the manger, and the shepherds are kneeling before the Christ child. The three kings are lined up, outside the stable, bearing their gifts to honor the holy child. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Luke 2: 12 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 11

The simplicity of this ancient scene warms my heart. It never loses its meaning. This Jesus, who God promised to send, to save our sins, was born in a simple stable. Yet, he was God Incarnate, Prince of Peace, and Lord of Lords.

Just as the star of Bethlehem beckoned the wise men to the Christ child and the angels, singing, announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, Christ tenderly calls us to come and worship him. He is waiting. He promises forgiveness and the right to become a child of God. He promises eternal life to all who believe. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3: 16

Have you set up your manger, yet?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6

Be Thankful In All Circumstances

As soon as the leaves start changing into their brilliant colors, thoughts of the holidays come to mind. Years ago, the holidays came one by one and you didn’t see Thanksgiving or Christmas (heavens-to- Betsy!) decorations until Halloween was over. Anticipation for each holiday wasn’t foreshadowed by the push to Christmas that we have today. And why? Because the emphasis wasn’t so much about things as it was about the significance of each holiday and the meaning it brought to our lives.

Now that we are approaching Thanksgiving, I would like to consider what we are, or should be, thankful for. For those of us who have relatively ordinary lives, we should be grateful for our families, our jobs, our home and the many blessings God has given us. As we sit around the Thanksgiving table, with the glossy-brown turkey, savory stuffing, and steaming vegetables, we may joyfully be thankful for all we have, at that moment. But after our stomachs are aching full and the football game is over, are we still grateful? What if you are away from family, or maybe friends, are you still grateful? What if you or a loved one is in the hospital or in hospice, are you still grateful? What if you are very ill and are not sure if this is your last Thanksgiving. Are you still grateful? Some of you have lost a loved one. All you can see is the empty chair where they used to sit. Can you be grateful?

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Notice it says in all circumstances. How is this possible? How can a loving God expect or desire thankfulness to him when things go wrong? We may not be thankful for the hardship, itself. No one enjoys suffering. But we can be thankful for the opportunity to become closer to him because the situation leads us to. We can trust that God is in control of all things and that he has a reason for everything he allows in our lives, even though we may not understand why.

What are your Thanksgiving plans? We are having some of our cowboy friends, at our house, for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I am so happy to have friends to share the holidays with, since we are far away from our family. I am grateful that we have the resources to do this and thankful that our friends want to be here. I am grateful that our families have special plans with their extended families.

However wonderful our Thanksgiving meal is, there is something that will satisfy me long after the turkey is gone, my relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ. There are times when I feel depressed and sad. Even though I have some wonderful events planned for the holidays, I can still feel empty. That is until I sit down with my Bible and spend time with Jesus. He never fails to comfort, strengthen and give me hope. He also shows me, through his Word, any unconfessed sin I may have or what I need to work on, in his strength. But it is this time with the Lord that fills me in a way food, money, or other pleasures can’t. Psalm 107:31 says Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

If you feel you need something else to fill a void in your life, know that Jesus is just a prayer away. He loves you and desires to make you his child. If you want, you can say this prayer: Jesus, I have tried things my own way and failed. I believe you are the Son of God, who died on the cross for me to save my sins. Please forgive me, help me turn away from my sins, and be my personal Savior. I desire to follow you all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

I sincerely wish for all of you to have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family or friends. But more than this, I pray that you will know the love of God and how he can fill you with the most satisfying food, his Word.

The Face Behind the Mask

I think most people want to give others a good impression of themselves. However, showing the “real you” is sometimes risky business. I have heard people say, “If you really knew me, you wouldn’t like me.” Have you ever said that? Not that I am advocating to “let it all hang out”, so to speak but I am encouraging anyone reading this to allow themselves to be open to someone who will always love you, no matter what you do. And that person is Jesus Christ. In the song, I Am Loved by Bill and Gloria Gaither, the following verses show the depth of Christ’s forgiveness to all who seek it.

I said if You knew, You wouldn’t want me. My scars are hidden by the face I wear. He said my child My scars go deeper. It was love for you that put them there.

There may be things you have done that you don’t want others to know about. Many of us have things in our past that haunt us, torment us or just plain make us feel guilty. It doesn’t need to be that way. I have made some serious mistakes in my past, but my faith in Jesus helped me turn from destructive behaviors to a renewed life through Christ. You may be thinking, “But you don’t know what I’ve done or where I’ve been.” It doesn’t matter because Christ paid the price for your and my sin. He calls for us to come to him with sincere hearts. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 And not only does he forgive but he never will hold it against us! As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103: 12

So, you may be hiding your past from others and that may be a wise thing. But don’t be afraid to be yourself with God, because he knows you, anyway. He loves you, anyway. Jesus Christ wants to be Lord of your life. He didn’t just die on that cross. He rose from the grave, appeared to many, and then rose to heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand, where he intercedes on our behalf. He promises eternal life to all who believe in him and surrender their lives to him. For God so loved the world that whosoever should believe in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 But it’s not just that. Christ promises to come into your heart as the Holy Spirit. He promises to guide you, protect you and help you live an abundant (fulfilling ) life. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 According to Wikipedia, abundant means ” abounding fullness of joy and strength for the mind, body and soul”.

So, if you’ve never asked Jesus into your heart, won’t you do it, today? Now is the time. It is no coincidence that you have read this blog. You are being called to become a child of God, a daughter or son of the King. Just say this prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God and that you died to forgive my sins and rose again to bring new life. I am so sorry for some of the things I have done. Please forgive me and be my Lord and Savior. Guide me, Lord, and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name, I pray.

If you have said this prayer, it is important that you find a Bible believing church so that you can learn more about God and what he wants for your life. May Christ redeem and refresh you as you begin to live the life he has for you.

Bordertown Match in Tombstone

The movie Tombstone was immensely popular in 1993, which drew people to visit the real city of Tombstone in Arizona. After awhile, when the excitement wore off, the crowds wore thin and the people of Tombstone considered shutting Tombstone down for lack of funds and interest. Luckily, there are still a bunch of us who have an interest in Tombstone and it’s not because we are in love with the movie. It is because we are in love with the sport of Single Action Cowboy Shooting and love the annual match at the Tombstone livery called Bordertown.

The match started on Tuesday, October 22 with Wild Bunch and Plainsman matches, which Steve and I didn’t do. The next day, which just happened to be my birthday, we arrived to register for the match and pick up our “packet” which included a booklet of the schedule of events as well as a description of each stage. We walked behind the range, where the vendors were, and stopped to visit with a few friends before heading out for our hotel. We usually camp out at Tombstone Territories, but this year we had booked a hotel in Tombstone. Unfortunately, our hotel would only accept cash, so we were then on a quest to find another one. After some unsuccessful phone calls and truck stops, we finally landed a room at Comfort Inn and Suites in Sierra Vista. Exhausted after bringing our guns and other paraphernalia up to our room, we went out to dinner and then headed back to the hotel for the night.

The next day was the Bordertown Blast, the practice match. We had some amazing shooters on our posse, such as Mad Kat and her husband, Ray Heartless, and Whirlwind Wendy. I shot clean, but with a procedural (which means out of shooting order). Most of my times ranged in the 30’s but I had one 26.29 second stage, at the end, which encouraged me. Steve had some trouble on the first stage but then shot clean in the 20’s, after that. It was practice, nothing to get all bent out of shape about. The real deal was the next two days, Friday and Saturday.

Since I share a birthday with another lady shooter, Sly Puppy, I was invited (along with my hubby) to join her along with her husband, Jack Rabbit, and friends at the Longhorn Steakhouse in the city of Tombstone, itself. We arrived a little too early, and after a mix up with the hostess, were seated with friends, including Shamrock Sadie, Knot Barely Done, Lou Graham, Wild Sage, Brett Cantrell, and three other cowboys. The food was good, as was the camaraderie, but we were a bit anxious to go “home” and rest up for the next day. Our comfy beds did not disappoint and I fell into a deep sleep.

You need to know that at Bordertown the targets are set up close so that we can shoot crazy fast, safely, but as fast as we possibly can. I am not a super fast shooter but the competitive bug hit me and I threw caution to the wind the second day of the match. I had had a train wreck on stage 4 the first day, but had quite a few times in the 20’s as well, so I was encouraged to speed up, a bit, the next day. My last stage on day 2 was my best. We had two knock down targets for both rifle and pistol before the linear targets. After saying a prayer for accuracy, I said my line, “It’s a pretty day for making things right!” and started to shoot. With newfound confidence, I flew through the stage and when the TO (timer operator), Barbwire, showed me my time, 19.71, I was elated! Even though there was no movement on the stage (we shot in one place) I had shot a 19.71 second stage and felt like a champion! I even beat my husband who usually shoots consistently in the low 20’s. I left feeling like there was a chance for an award.

Something special happened that evening. Two shooters on our posse were getting married at Wyatt Earp’s house and we had been invited. The bride and groom were already having their pictures taken, when we arrived. The bride, Blue Hare, wore a royal blue Civil War gown and a royal blue top hat embellished with flowers. The groom, Grey Hare, wore a black suit with a long-tailed coat, gray brocade vest, and a top hat. The officiant was dressed in a similar suit and his wife was dressed in a lovely, full skirted, pink calico dress. The radiant smiles told the story of their love as we snapped pictures of them, on the porch, in front of the statue of Wyatt Earp, and under the paloverde tree. Other cowboys and cowgirls, Itty Bitty, her hubby, Matt, Barbwire, Zona, Canadian Two Feathers and her husband joined the group. The last guest, Lassiter, arrived and we all went inside the house to start the ceremony.

The officiant started by telling us a history of the couple. He told the miraculous story of how the bride, Angie, had loved Brett, the groom, since elementary school and how, after many years, met each other, again, at a high school reunion. The poignant story was told with humor and love. There was laughter and tears as the bride and groom gave their promises and vows to each other. Although we had just met the day before, Steve and I felt like close friends and were grateful to have been part of this amazing ceremony. Most of us joined the wedding party for dinner in Tombstone and shared emails and telephone numbers before we said goodbye.

It was the day of the shoot-offs and the awards. We decided not to attend the shoot-offs and to sleep in, a bit, before carting all of our “stuff” downstairs and into our truck. After breakfast, at the hotel, we headed to the livery to get settled in the big, white tent where the awards would be presented. It wasn’t long before everyone was in their seats waiting for the winners to be announced. Sitting tensely, I clapped for each winner going forward to receive their award. How would Muley, my husband, and I do? They finally started calling for Elder Statesman. Muley was called up for 6th place! I was so happy for him. The competition is very tough in the men’s categories, so 6th is darn good. Patiently, I waited for them to announce Silver Senior. When they started to announce the winners in my category, I hoped I wouldn’t be last, or even the middle of the pack. I am embarrassed to say that when they announced me as 6th, I was disappointed. Looking back, I was being very ungrateful and am now ashamed that I wasn’t more appreciative of this honor. We were competing with many excellent shooters, many of whom were champions. In that respect, I feel I shot well and am now proud of my achievement.

We hope to participate at the Bordertown match, next year. God willing, we will be back to shoot this fast and fun match and enjoy the company of our pards on and off the range. However, I do not want to take this for granted. We are not promised tomorrow. Our plans can change in a heartbeat. That’s why I say, “I hope” and “God willing” because God’s plans are not always our plans. I am grateful for the opportunity we had to participate in this match and be a part of our friends’ lives. May God continue to bless us as we honor him.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

With so many people against guns, it must perplex some that many people enjoy using guns to “play” cowboy. When my husband and I first married, we were ballroom dancers. We were not the kind that competed, but we spent hours at the studio trying our best to emulate our professionals. Age took its toll and with aching knees and hips we decided to find another hobby we could do together.

A few months later, my husband found this new sport called single action cowboy shooting and asked me if I was willing to try it. I had never shot a gun or even liked guns but I missed our special times so I said, “Yes.” The beginning was rocky. I liked my pistols and rifle, but I was not fond of my shotgun. I missed a lot and it hurt my shoulder to shoot it. After some further research my husband, Steve, modified my gun, which helped, but I still missed shotgun, most of the time. I enjoyed practice. Shooting my pistols and especially my rifle was fun. But going to the matches were a challenge. Not only were we not welcome at one of our clubs, but my shooting abilities were abysmal. Steve did much better and soon discovered another club that was welcoming and helpful.

Little by little, we improved and after taking a class with the famous Half-A -Hand Henry, I was finally able to break the curse with my shotgun and actually started hitting shotgun targets! I wish I could say that it was easy after that, but I had a curse worse than my inability to shoot shotgun. It was my attitude and temper. When I successfully shot a stage (there are usually 6 per match), I was moderately satisfied. But, when I missed too many targets, had a procedural (shooting in the wrong order), or made some other dumb mistake, I became sullen, teary eyed, and went off to sulk, by myself, until I could regain my composure. This was a challenge for years, even though I learned to hide it, somewhat, as I became more experienced. Holding on to self-condemning thoughts and feelings led to more misses and more train wrecks on the range. It took several more years to learn to let go of the mistakes I make on a stage and move forward to the next, with a clear head and a positive attitude. Satan still tries to break my spirit by tempting me to brood over a bad performance, but I am learning to reject those feelings and get back in the game, more easily.

Maybe you can relate to how Satan tries to defeat us by reminding us of our failures, our sins, and our mistakes. He would like nothing better than to see us not accomplish our goals or our divine missions. He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he comes to steal, kill, and destroy but we have an advocate who works for us, when we choose to put our trust in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). Not that everything will work out the way we may want it to, but with the right attitude we can be a shining light for others to see and follow. A silent prayer and a shifting of attention helps me regain a positive focus and steers me on the right track. Do you struggle with self esteem issues, feelings of failure, wanting to give up? Go to the cross. Leave the discouragement, the failure, and the brokenness at his feet. Let Jesus comfort, heal, and deliver you.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17

My First Blog Post

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

This is the first post on my new blog. I am a Christian wife, mom to three adult children and a grandmother to seven biological grandchildren, nine step-grandchildren, and four step-great grandchildren. I have a background in dancing, singing, and acting but am, presently in church choir and participate in Single Action Cowboy Shooting. My writings are all based on my experiences with a Christian viewpoint.

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.