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I just received a late Christmas gift...my devotion on self-esteem has been accepted for publication by Upper Room Magazine! Though I don't yet know when the publish date is, it will be sometime in 2011. Here's to a great and prosperous New Year!

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After spending a fun Christmas holiday with my family, I spent the last two days reminiscing on Christmases Past.

Every December, my mother would assemble the Nativity set to display in a corner of the living room. When I was very small, I would sit on the floor and watch her carefully remove each porcelain piece from the box and place it in the wooden stable. As I grew, I was the one placing the pieces in the stable (with Mom's help). Finally, it became my task to set up the Nativity scene all by myself. I felt honored to be so trusted. It was significant.

My family attended a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service every year at my church. This was my favorite holiday tradition. Yes, I loved getting presents, eating great food and seeing family, but there was something magical about a darkened and quiet sanctuary in the midst of a bustling season. We would dress in our church best and my sisters would curl my hair and gloss my lips. Remember, I was a tomboy.

We would enter the sanctuary and an usher would hand each of us a small, white candle in a cardboard holder. While the choir sang beautiful Christmas carols and the pastor read the story of Christ's birth from the Bible, I twirled that small, white candle around and around in my sweaty little palms. The building was lit only by candelabras circling the room.

At the very end of the service, the pastor would take a glowing taper from the altar and light the small, white candle of the first person in the first pew. Then, as the choir and congregation softly sang the strains of "Silent Night," the candlelight would steadily spread across the room. The last verse was always sung a capella, to simulate the very first time the song was sung. After the last chords died out, a reverent silence enveloped the auditorium. Emmanuel, God with us.

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Momala's Book Club Pick: My darling, wonderful Hubster gave me a Kindle for Christmas. I have already loaded four books on it: "Travels With Charley" and "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck, "Ann Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" and Jan Karon's latest, "In the Company of Others: A Father Tim Novel." So far, I love it! I'll keep you updated on the books.

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Female in Motion Exercise Update: I did three aerobic workouts last week. Plus, a whole lot of cleaning and wrapping and working and running around!

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Notable Quote:

"Everywhere I have sought rest and not found it, except sitting in a corner by myself with a book."--Thomas `a Kempis
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