Merry Christmas!

I can’t let Toenail Fungus be my last post for 2019, so I’m thinking about Jesus.

nativity scene christmas decor

He was God and with God until the Holy Spirit planted Him in Mary’s womb. I wonder if He knew in there. Did He know He was love? Did He remember the swimming around after He was born? Did He remember hearing the whispers as she walked about Nazareth? Did He remember coming from Heaven?

Or what about Joseph and Mary? They’re both your regular old garden variety people trying to live the lives God gave them. And then Gabriel appears. I slow down from wrapping presents and picture that. A glowing stranger standing in my house or inhabiting my dream. I wonder if Mary reached for a handy weapon or just sank to the floor, shaking. I wonder if she started thinking hard about what she’d learned of the Messiah. Could this really be happening, right now? In her town? To her? And then he was gone. Wait, did that just happen? Now what? Talk about walking with God. Did she hustle right down to the synagogue and ask the rabbi to haul out the scrolls?

I wonder what travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem was like nearly nine months pregnant. Not by plane, but by donkey. I haven’t ridden a donkey, but I’ve ridden a horse, even pregnant. It’s okay, for a little while, but not for miles. Did she get off and walk just for a break, and then get back on when she got too tired? Was she thinking about how the Rabbi said He’d be born in the City of David, or by this time was she wondering if she’d eaten¬† the wrong thing for dinner, or whether Joseph and Elizabeth had joined her in some kind of insanity? Did God encourage her through those days?

Did she think, “I knew it couldn’t be me who’d mother the Savior,” when the innkeeper put them up in the stable? “Surely, God wouldn’t allow His Son to be born in a barn.”

Or what if I were one of those shepherds? I’m beating the bushes looking for a lamb who’s bleating his head off when the night sky lights up with singing angels. Dude, what is up? I crouch behind a tree. Just because they’re singing doesn’t mean I’m not in trouble. My buddies are caught in the open, and the angels tell them to find a newborn baby lying in a cow manger in a barn. Say what? But I heard it with my own ears. We drive the sheep up the road to Bethlehem, through the town, drawing people to their windows to shew us out. But we’re on a mission. There’s light in a cave just outside town. We stop the sheep just outside and hear a baby cry. Must be the right place. We creep up without words and look in. Look in … your turn.

 

The Jewel of California’s Central Valley

filled drinking glasses in tray

It’s going to be one of those over 100 degree weeks in Modesto – where we are known for water, wealth, contentment and health. I bet you’re wondering why I stay here, aren’t you? (Truth is: when I have to get out in this heat, I wonder why I stay here.) However, Modesto is a good town, mostly. We still smile at you on the street, most of the time. We still have an A&W. Our movie drive ins have given way to theatres with recliners. I wonder if that’s a response to the graying of the nation. We have a Costco and a Winco, and what else do you need? Gallo Winery is here and we’re in a valley that grows a good deal of the food consumed in the whole world. We have a junior college and the four-year is right down the road a bit. You can get frozen yogurt to beat the heat or you can swim in one a bazillion pools. And we’ve got a whole bunch of churches, I mean lots. All good.

But why I like Modsto the most, past that most of my kids, my friends, and my doctor are here, is that we look out for each other. I think that has to do a lot with there being a whole bunch of peope who love God in Modesto. We’ve got Love Modesto in April when thousands get together and do projects all over town. But that’s once a year. We also help relocate refugees through World Relief, care for the poor through a bunch of agencies. Lately, we’ve set up MOES, a tent city for the homeless, and people all over town support that, too. The Shower Shuttle folks, who offer free showers to the homeless in these really cool, decked out vans, have just added a laundry van, so the homeless can get their clothes clean. Imagine if you were on the street, how much those two blessings would mean to you. I like this part of us most because Jesus said to look out for the little guy, the one who can’t help himself. The one who, when you do something kind for him, can’t pay you back. We don’t need organizations to help us do that, by the way, or government. We can pull on our boots and do it on our own. Just a thought.

 

Rogue Wave’s Available in Paperback!

After some issues getting the cover right, Amazon now has my new novel, Rogue Wave, available in paperback at this link: amazon.com/Rogue-Wave-Book-Seascape-Saga/dp/17

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97834746/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=Jane+Carlile+Baker&qid=1553128074&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull.

If you read and like it, please leave a review. I’d really appreciate it, and readers often rely on reviews for book choices.

You’ll find in this novel child abduction, sea otters, illegal immigration, Morgan horses and the marvelous setting of Carmel, California on the Pacific Ocean. I hope you like it!

Grace and Truth

I have held many incorrect assumptions about grace and truth. For instance, I believed at one point that telling the truth was wrong in many cirumstances because it hurt people’s feelings. On the other hand, I thought it was a percentage then between grace and truth, like if you have 80% truth, then you have 20% grace.

So, I have been studying the relationship between the two because I suspect that what I’ve thought is incorrect, but I haven’t know how. Here’s what I’ve found so far. I think we can figure out our boundaries using a combination of grace and truth. I believe we don’t have grace without truth or truth without grace. I believe it is loving to speak the truth with grace.

I’m working on this for myself and for the next novel I’m going to write, Queen of the Third Grade. I think the prep work will take a while, but I’m excited. My guide is Jesus, full of grace and truth.

white swan

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

Grace and Truth

I like the concept of blending grace and truth. Favour you can’t do anything to receive, it just is — and the reality at the bottom of everything. I like it, but I’m not sure I’m very good at it, or maybe I should say I’m not sure I even understand how to keep them both at work. I think I may lean hard toward grace, and let truth go begging. That’s probably because I shrink back from assuming I know the truth sometimes, and I shrink back from the possibility of it hurting someone’s feelings other times.

girl and woman sitting on brown rock

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Sooo, I also suspect that my novels may be developing a pattern of exploring concepts I’m not quite sure about when I start them. The last one played around with fear. Whew! That sounded like an oxymoron if I ever heard one. The next one is going to dabble in grace and truth.

Now, if you’ve read this far, I’d like to ask a favor. What do you think about grace and truth? Do you have insights or experiences that have clarified the whole thing for you? If so, please share them in the comments.¬† I’d love to hear them, and thank you very much.