Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ready To Ring In A New Year

I'm not gonna lie. 2016 was the worst year of my life. But it was also the year of grace that I spent with my daughter before she died, so I'll cherish that forever. Even so, I'm ready to rip 2016 from the calendar and get on with 2017.

My prayer for you, dear reader, is that 2017 will be filled with blessings…and when trials come, as they always do, you’ll seek the solace of Christ’s peace (John 14:27) that carries us even in the hardest of times. God bless you all.

In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be. 
         ~Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1809–1892~

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV 

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NKJV 

Do you have a favorite Bible verse or poem that inspires you? I’d love to hear it! Share it in the comments for everyone to enjoy.

If you have a prayer need, please leave a comment or email me confidential requests.

Happy New Year!

God bless,

FREE Kindle download December 31, 2016 through January 1, 2017.

From the time she was a child, Carly Shepherd has gazed at the silent stars in the night sky of her home town of Bethlehem, North Carolina. With her childhood overshadowed by her father’s abandonment and mother’s alcoholism, she wonders how anyone can believe in an equally silent God. After all, she’s not felt his presence any more than her earthly father. Though she remembers Christmas pageants and attending church as a child, she no longer has any use for what she considers fairy tales.

Drew Middleton is seeking shelter from a rain storm when he walks into Carly’s vendor tent at a fall festival, but he’s quickly taken with the talented artist and her creations. Feeling an instant connection, Carly is confused by her feelings, especially when she realizes his spiritual commitment.

Dealing with a wayward brother and career opportunities that may require relocation, Drew knows now is not the best time to begin a relationship, especially with someone who doesn’t share his faith.

Carly’s past and their chance of future together collide when she’s snared into refurbishing sets for a Christmas pageant with Drew’s help. Will Drew’s love and their shared experience bring about a spiritual awakening in Carly this Christmas? Or will time run out as the stars continue to shine silently over Bethlehem? 

Click here to get your FREE kindle download now. 

Fireworks Celebration and the City Night Light image courtesy of Areeya/

Thursday, December 8, 2016

My Dr Seuss Tree

I made a pact with myself today.

I’m not going to cry. For one day. No tears.

After thinking about Christmas and what it’s always meant—the family traditions and celebrating Christ’s birth—I decided maybe I could do a Christmas tree after all.

Trouble is I didn’t want to put up a big traditional tree so late. It’s a lot of work, and my energy level is unpredictable from one moment to the next.

So in the pouring rain, I decided to go to Lowe’s and see if they had live trees. Maybe even a Charlie Brown tree. J I could picture in my mind what I wanted, and when I walked through the front door of the store, there on the left sat a display of live Norfolk Island pines almost four feet tall. Glitter had been sprinkled their branches.


I hefted one into my shopping cart, added a $2 strand of lights to the purchase, and headed home.

After finding something to place the tree on to give it more height, I went up into the attic and sorted through our ornaments. I carefully selected a few that held special meaning. An angel Josh bought me when he was about ten years old, little wooden ornaments my in-laws bought us when Lindsay was just a baby, some from Pigeon Forge that Lindsay had helped pick out when she was six, and a few others that would hang gently from the small branches of our Christmas tree.

I stood back and surveyed my work. My throat ached, and those dreaded tears threatened to spill. Then I thought about what Lindsay would say about my abstract, nontraditional, wacky-looking tree. My Charlie Brown tree. Although looking at it now, maybe it's one the Grinch or the Cat-in-the-Hat would've picked out. It's very Dr. Seuss-ish, wouldn't you say?

Even though she loved Cinderella as a child and still believed in fairy tales, Lindsay had grown to be a minimalist. I could hear her saying, “It’s perfect, Mom. I like it.”

Her laugh filled my mind, and I smiled.

And my pact?

Well, a few tears did fall, but they didn’t just reflect my sorrow.

I choose to celebrate the joy of my Savior’s birth and the joy of having a beautiful daughter, even if it was only for thirty-three years. I savor the memories of her child-like approach to Christmas each year and how, in the end, she chose to see joy in simple things.

Boy, do I miss her.


©Laura Hodges Poole

Friday, December 2, 2016

Grieving Through The Holidays

I thought I'd try something different this time by sharing a video—my first. I hope you find it encouraging if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, as my family is this Christmas.

God bless you all,
©Laura Hodges Poole