Monday, December 5, 2016

In One Little Sentence of Mary

In One Little Sentence of Mary

I stood at my ironing board  - it is just the right height - and practiced my 15 minute talk so many times that I started loosing my voice. Therefore, the day before the Christmas Tea I kept quiet. 

This is a gorgeous American patriotic painting of Christmas 1795.

I enjoyed the Tea. It was lovely to have some lady's chatter (a contented hum could be heard) and meet blog readers in person on December 1st. 

Here I share a little of my talk.  

Christmastime is a time of togetherness. Big suppers. Open-house parties. Recitals, etc. And yet, it is also time for solitary reflection. Especially when we are shuffling around regular chores to fit in the Christmas-y ones, we shuffle some more to keep Christ in Christmas.     

I found the best way to commune with Jesus is to open the pages of the Gospels. As simple as this is, it may take some doing if you are surrounded by young children and their ongoing urgent needs. But it is exactly because we are surrounded by people and chores needing our attention, that we also seek to make a little time for ourselves. To be alone with God. 

I went bananas over this gingerbread cookie pineapple a friend made me.
I like having a Bible on my kindle. In the early hours, in the dark hours of a winter's morning, the gentle light of my kindle brings me the Word. I can read while the Man-of-the-House is occupied in the next room. He starts his day earlier than I. 
Eloise examining an acorn in the cardigan Grandma knit.

A girl can glean much in 2 minutes of reading the Gospels while also sharing her deepest longings and cares. And in 5 to 8 minutes a whole chapter of the Gospels can be absorbed. The number of minutes is not of the essence. I bring up minutes here only because I am always amazed at how many of them I had just spent scrolling down my Facebook posts. On Facebook, 20 minutes disappears in thin air. I am trying to remedy this - such as having some Facebook-free days. 

Some girls are not morning-people. If not, then another space of time can be had. You may not feel optimistic. Perhaps you feel that nothing short of turning your day's set-of-hours upside down will enable you fit in time for yourself. May I console you? Less drastic measures will more-than-likely meet your needs. 

I remember something shared by an older woman-in-the-Lord. I was a young mother then. The writer mentioned that she kept a Bible open on her oak sideboard. This piece of furniture was next to the staircase in the center of her house - just where my sideboard was, coincidentally. Like me, she walked passed it often. She would pass her sideboard to carry clean wash upstairs, to set the table,  reach for a jar in her pantry, get to the broom closet. In the midst of her chores and energetic children, she would pause to read her Bible, where it rested on the sideboard, where she had left the satin ribbon between its pages. This gave her something to ponder privately during December's busy days. She could be mindful even if her mindfulness was centered upon a single verse or two.    

Baptist Meeting House built 1806 in Vermont. This is a color photograph. See the wreaths on the door?

If we draw near to God, He draws near to us - in a quiet corner - in a quiet way. If Facebook draws you, momentarily put your cellphone in the garage if you have to - where the Amish keep their phones - where you can't hear it ring. Why the Gospels? It is in the Gospels where we find an intimate theology. 

In the first chapters of Luke, Mary and Joseph are in the middle of an intimate theology. When the shepherds find Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in a manger, they report what wonderful, exciting things they had learned (seen and heard) from the angels.

How did Mary respond to this intimate theology? “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” Here we have a threefold exercise. It is part of the exercise of the spiritual life, really. All, in this one little sentence, “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” - - - we have: 

Memory,  Affections,  Intellect.
Of Memory? – Mary kept what she saw and heard. She reflected. She remembered, and remembered again. Mothers hold onto memories. Mary's memories were extra special ones. 

Of Affections? Some translations say Mary treasured all these things. She approached them with tenderness, reverence and praise. And her treasuring goes along with her Intellect. For, we see that Mary pondered them in her heart. She increased her understanding by lingering and meditating for a while. She wasn’t drawn away or distracted by Facebook or Pinterest's email announcements of new pins, as I can sometimes be.    

It is only as we take quiet moments to read the gospels, God’s perfect storybook of Christ, that by degrees Jesus becomes more and more dear to us. He becomes dear to us - not by emotional appeals –not by any loud orchestra - or beautiful Christmas choir. Although these uplifting experiences are appreciated as they add merriment to the season. Moreover, it is the impressions left by an accurate knowledge of Jesus that He becomes dear to us.  
Eloise straightening the cotton blanket Grandma knit her.

A girl who loves Jesus, does so, because God’s Word dwells in her heart richly.  

She is mindful of Him. 

She can love Jesus and serve others with a servant’s heart, because she’s read and pondered how much He first loved her.  

Charles Spurgeon talks about Mary's three-fold exercise this way. I underlined it in my devotional. “Let your memory treasure up everything about Christ which you have either felt, or known, or believed, and let your fond affections hold Him fast for evermore.”

There are many names for Christ our Lord. Here’s a few.

Prince of Peace
Morning Star
Lamb of God
Good Shepherd
Light of the World

What is the name most precious to me? 

It is the name the angles told the Virgin Mary to give her child. Jesus translated means Saviour. 

The Son of God was coming into the world in human form (incarnate deity) to save his people from their sins. To forgive Karen of her sins. For this, I will be forever grateful.  

Post Script
You know I like making doll quilts. I pre-ordered Kathleen Tracey's newest doll quilt book, Small and Scrappy at Amazon, and I look forward to it coming. 
A doll quilt I made for a special friend. This Raggedy Ann  was hand-sewn in Pennsylvania by a Sunday School teacher

I concocted another smoothie. We've been using our Vita Mix Blender for years. Many are the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. The raw smoothies and cream soups you've seen on this blog, have all been made with this powerful machine (that is easy and safe to clean). Its worth every penny. 

Beet-Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie - Yum 

Winter Purple Smoothie

Place these raw ingredients in Vita Mix in this order and whirl.

a whole orange (peeled, pitted)
tsp of lime (a squeeze)
a good handful of (washed, drained spinach, 3/4 C. loosely packed)
a small red beet peeled and cubed (or half a medium beet)
half C. frozen blueberries
Add a little water or juice from orange (1/4 C if needed.)
opt: I tsp. coconut oil 

To keep fingers from staining I peel a red beet over a strainer in the sink, under slow running water.

A Joyful Christmas Be Yours,
Karen Andreola 



  1. Beautiful, Karen. I knew you would share the beauty and quiet of the Advent season, and so you did. In so many things, good and bad, all a mother can do is ponder in her heart. The same Mary who looked down on the Infant Jesus would look up at Him, suffering on the cross. Her Son and her Savior. I once had a profound moment looking at a copy of Michaelangelo's 'Pieta' and suddenly the lyrics to "What Child Is This?" came into my mind. How strange, a Christmas carol on Good Friday! I thought, How could she bear it? But when she said "Yes" to the angel Gabriel it wasn't a one-time agreement. It was a yes for always, for all the joys and all the sorrows. Thank you for bringing this all back to my memory. It has been a difficult year in many ways and I needed these reminders.
    (The smoothie recipe looks wonderful, and your Christmas header is just lovely.)
    I hope your December is peaceful and I pray for health and blessings in the new year. God bless you, Karen!
    Sincerely, Kristyn

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your talk, Karen. If only I didn't live 7 hours away I would certainly have been there. I will be passing along the link to my young mothers Bible study group as we have recently been discussing how to fit in time with God amidst the chaos of our young children. Your wisdom is greatly treasured. Merry Christmas!

  3. Hello, Karen.

    I am glad to hear that your talk went well. When I am working to memorize something, I have to force myself to think of something else. The words keep rolling over in my mind, over and over and over and...

    There has been a good bit of quiet time for me this Advent season. My back is fussy, and my husband is travelling. Sometimes an unexpected, unwanted time can turn into something profitable.


  4. "What Child is This?" is such a beautiful sensitive song. I can understand your association with it and the Pieta. It came of "pondering." "The King of Kings, Salvation Brings." Lovely thoughts brought together, Kristyn.

    Katherine, I feel honored that you would share my post's link with your mothers' study group.

    I've been able to not treat my back "like glass" these months. It is so nice to vacuum again. I can relate to your fussiness there, Susan. Quiet time. We all need it.

    Thank you for your "Friendship Afar" ladies. Your comments are like a cup of peppermint tea for me.

  5. Karen, So peaceful and uplifting to read this post this morning. Thank you. Like others, if I lived closer I would have been at your talk in person. I often think of Jesus as the "Good Shepherd"—leading, guiding, and protecting.
    Sue R.

  6. Karen thank you for this beautiful post. Advent should be a time of refection and calmness. December always finds everyone just rushing about. I always try to take time out for quiet time.
    Wishing you and yours a Blessed and Merry Christmas.
    P.S. Your granddaughter Eloise is a cutie.

  7. Such wise words, Karen. I love your reflections here...The Gospels do bring so much joy and light viewed at through the lens of this season.

  8. Thank you so much Karen. What a blessing!

  9. As always, your posts are just what I need at just the right time. Everything in this post is so lovely. Our pastor just began a new series on the name of Jesus. A beautiful name. It is so easy to be distracted during the busy month of December, but you have reminded me just how important it is to focus on Him.

    Eloise is just as cute as can be. I know you must cherish every moment with her. How fortunate she is to have a grandmother who makes her beautiful treasures.

    Your blog header is beautiful. Nigel does such a lovely job putting it all together.

    I wish I lived closer so I could have attended your Tea, but Texas is just a little too far to jump in the car for a visit.

    As I write, paper airplanes are flying by my head. The Wright brothers were a part of history this week. It is nice to see even a thirteen-year-old boy still enjoys making airplanes. The weather has been dreary and we are expecting our coldest weather in two years. My two teen girls are riding in the back of a firetruck Friday night with Santa as he arrives to light our little city's Christmas tree. It is going to be quite chilly.

    Wishing your family a very merry Christmas,


  10. Oh how I needed to read this. I am due to deliver a baby any day now. I read these verses on Sunday about Mary and find myself close to the Lord as I prepare to bring a precious child into the world. It's a wonderful time of year to reflect and ponder on our Lord. May the Lord bless you. Even though we have never met, you have changed my life in many ways. For this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Merry Christmas Karen!
    Samantha Allen

  11. I really love this post and your thoughts on Mary and how we, too, can pondering and store these truths in our hearts!

  12. What a wonderful reminder and encouraging post. I actually used to leave my Bible open during the day so I could stop and read a bit as I passed by. I have been thinking about this lately and now that I've also read your post, I think I must do this again. The Lord is ever present with us--how wonderful to hear from Him in His Word as often as we can. God bless you, Karen.

    Marion and family

  14. Dear Karen,

    A blessed and wonderful Christmas season to you and your family! Thank you for the reminder to re-read the Gospels. We were challenged in our church to read them at the beginning of this year, but it's good to read them again and again, isn't it?