About Me

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Blue Ridge Area of Virginia
Alicha McHugh is author of "Daughter of the Promise" first in her: Numbered Among the Stars series (available on Amazon.com). She is a homemaker to her husband of 15 years, homeschooler to their children. Writing, enjoying tea and creaming Raw Honey are three of her current pursuits. Grabbing time to read is always high on her list of priorities! If you'd like to contact her, she'd love to hear from you! Just email: alichamchugh@gmail.com

Saturday, April 23, 2011

~All in Season~

I love my yard.

 It is full of springtime delights. Every corner of our little space in the city bursts forth with vibrant color. From tulips to wild violets to Dogwoods to Cherry Blossoms and that’s just what I know to name. But, I didn’t plant them...I didn’t cultivate them. From the first, living here reminded me of the promise God gave the Jews concerning the Promised land…

Joshua 24:13 "So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant."

Then, just as it does every spring, the wind wreaks havoc on our lawn and a huge tree fell down onto our shrubbery. (We are very thankful for the way and when it fell, as there was no damage to us/others or home. But it was a royal mess!) Spring is known for its wind. There are many benefits to the land by the wind. It distributes seeds and pollen, breaks off old leaves and limbs, making way for new.

But something my husband said called my attention to a possibility I’d like to share. The wind was fierce the other day, so much so, visiting friends thought of postponing their trip home due to its force. Anyway, we were walking out to the car when my husband said, “Wow, look at all the Dogwood flowers on the ground.” There was a note in his voice which made me glance up at the trees, expecting our Dogwood to be bare. It wasn’t, but he was right, the ground was covered with blossoms. And I had a lovely thought I’d like to share with you.

Easter comes every spring. It's always been there, in the spring for me...so I never really THOUGHT about it. Maybe because sometimes we think of Israel in harsh, garish terms, almost like a wasteland and desert. So far removed from the Americas that it's easy to confuse the environment of Christ death. Yet, 2,000 years hasn’t changed the progression of seasons each and every year. The beauty of the earth coming alive surrounded the cross, if only from a distance. Blossoms and budding leaves abounded! While evil scream death, and LOVE laid down his life, the world was shouting the themes of rebirth, renewal, and most significantly ~ resurrection!

Then the thought came...Where blossoms did not grow, the winds of spring  had a chance to carry them…perhaps, even to the foot of the cross. How much more the tomb, where Jesus took back his life.

He is RISEN...Have a joyful Easter everyone!

Who killed Jesus?

Who REALLY killed Jesus?

Earlier this year, the Vatican absolved the Jews of the guilt of Christ's death. That's nice.

It was their cry for his blood which pushed Pilate's hand...but Romans were the ones actually nailing Christ to the cross. I think it's fair to say both the Jews and the Gentiles played their parts perfectly...that is, their parts were perfectly equal. Though I think it correct to say the responsiblity of Christ's death is laid at the foot of humanity, no man killed the Messiah. Christ's death was an arrangement between God the Father, "it pleased the LORD to crush Him." Is. 53:10 and God the Son, "No man takes my life, I lay it down willingly." Jn 10:18

Do you remember the miracles Jesus did? There were those raised from the dead, no less, but remember the woman who had a blood issue? She was healed by touching the very hem of Jesus garment. "And Jesus felt power go forth from him." Mark 5:30

So, it is no stretch to understand that Jesus did more than restrain the angels, while on the cross. He actually WILLED his wounds to remain open...and his bones to remain separate. He became the Lamb of God by his will..."Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins."

Rejoice beloved of the Lord! Dance for the joy that you are loved with this great love he has loved us!

1 Jn 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.


Some say Christ’s death is “Barbaric!”
It is...at least in part.

Believer's shy away from this. Funny, our reaction reminds me of a particular bus ride home from school. I was about six. Some boy got in my face and accused me of being a VIRGIN! To which I replied "I am NOT!" So the question must be asked...do we know what we're talking about?

Sometimes we get romantic and fuzzy about the details, like an old movie in black and white, the camera shifts to the damsel, getting cloudy around the edges...white-washing the word and work of God cheats us and gives the unredeemed reason to scoff.

Christ sacrifice is barbaric...and beautiful. 

Remember the beginning...Paradise.
Remember the gift...relationships
Remember the fall...pride
Remember the call...evasion
Remember the response...deflection
Remember the punishment...sorrow
Remember the prophecy...hope

Christ matched his life/death to our story, that he may redeem us from what we are. How else could we know the gravity of our sins...there is another way to know...it involves an eternity in darkness and suffering, shut out from the Light offered us our whole lives. The fall formed the terms of our enslavement (for the wages of sin is DEATH) But God made himself the complete "It is settled/finished!" kind of payment~ (but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ Our Lord!) Romans 3:23

Truly, our fall chose the venue, WE are what makes Christ's death barbaric...He is what makes us Beautiful! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Notes on Ps. 22 continued...

In this passage, I'm in awe of the way the David reminds himself of the Lord's deliverance in times past, relays the agonizes of the present and looks to the future with hope, saying "You have answered me!" I mean, really, did you ever think a passage that starts out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" would end with a hearlding shout of praise and victory? But it does...and so will our lives in Christ.

Below is the internet passage for easy reference:

Here are a couple of things I learned from that same sermon several years ago. 
  • Translated vs20b actually says, "my precious Darlings from the power of the dog. 
·     The Body of Christ is the fulfillment of Vs. 22-31 Read all the Promises and Blessings we have Only in Christ.

·       Vs. 31b - "That he has done this!" is the exact phrase Christ uttered before laying down his life, "IT IS FINISHED" There is and can be no more payment aside from HIS PERFECT work on the cross for our sins

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I was listening to a radio message this past week on the suffering of Christ. Something struck me with a fuller force than ever before.

Luke 23 verses 26, 49
~As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus
~But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

There was no friend, or follower, close enough to aid our Lord. Where were the thousands he'd healed, the blind and the sick, the crippled and diseased? The soldier had to grab a perfect stranger, an out of towner from another country, when the Messiah stumbled under the weight of guilt (the cross) that was not his own. Oh how that adds insult to serious injury.

During a dark time in my life about seven years ago, I approached the secretary at my church for help I desperately needed. There seemed to be a question floating in the air around me. I think it was asked 3rd party and related to me later. The question:"Where are her...?"

Think about it. When you're stranded because your car brakes down or, like Nicolas Cage, you're in jail and need a bailout...Who do you want to help you? A stranger who doesn't know you or a friend/family member who does? The answer to that will tell you a lot...a lot about your situation, your companions and your own heart. For, in the first situation, likely a friend is the safer bet...but what about when the cross is your own to bear, beams fashioned and fixed by the rememant of a tree you sowed? What about when the shame's so great, the cost of discovery so significant...you'd rather a stranger's help because strangers don't know you...aren't in your circle. What's it to you if they tell their friends some abstract, unknown, person's problems? Nothing.

Do we have friends/family buckling under the weight of burdens too hefty to bear alone by the actions of those around them or possibly their own? Does it matter to you which? Will that determine the extent of your help, the reach of your hand? Do they have to go to strangers to find kindness?

One of my favorite books of the Old Testament, likely the whole Bible, is Isaiah. But, over and over the phrase, "stretched out his hand" appears for the purpose of destruction and harm...but if you do the same study of the phrase "out his hand" the phrase is prefaced by one very different word, "reached". Again and again, Jesus "reached out his hand" and healed, helped, assisted, SAVES!

I've been acosted several times in the last few weeks, as my own sense of righteousness fought to crowd-out the righteous, right hand of God. I've had to ask the following of my own heart...I offer it now to you, in your corner of the kingdom...Will we be the condeming hand, which God has forbidden us, or the open, outstretched hand, an extention of the grace and mercy the Father has given us?

Remember, we will be in both positions in our lives. May God give us the blessing of repentance and Godly friends during the first and the mind of Christ in the other.

This is possible all because of Jesus, our perfect Lamb, was alone...and yet he has promised that is one thing we, as his children, will never be. Heb. 13:5b “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Even in the darkest of times, there is a "hope that does not disappoint". (Romans 5:5)

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Double Minded Man and...Rapunzel?

Last week Rick was out of town for a day or two, so Arowyn and I had a sleep over in her room! As a surprise I got the movie "Tangled" for us to watch. First off let me just say it was not nearly as stuilly (stupid and silly) as I thought it'd be. I actually laughed at a few parts. Which ever...the point was to have a great time with my big baby girl and we did ~ complete with ice cream. I mean after all, what girlie gathering is complete without ICE CREAM!!

Anyway, there's a part in the movie, actually several I heard myself echoing to my daughter (like Rapunzel being someone worth waiting for :). This part was so profound I've found my mind returning to it several times over the last week. It's when Rapunzel first touches her foot to the ground after 18 years of being up in the tower and never feeling freedom.

She feels elated...she feels fear.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it for the visual aid. It’s like watching a human roller coaster, both emotionally and physically. If you have seen it, YOU KNOW I speak truth! The girl is everywhere. Here are some quotes as she dances and flops her way around...

”I LOVE it down here!”
“I am a horrible human being.”
“I’m NEVER going back!”
“What kind of awful person am I?”

Rapunzel is absolutely torn. An 80’s song just came to mind~ “Should I stay or should I go now? If go there will be trouble, if I don’t there will be double.” But as I was watching it, I thought that’s what James 1:8 person is like, whether on the outside or in…that’s a double minded man!

James 1: 6-8 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

This has personal significance to me. We're changing up the way we do my daughter's homeschooling. I looked at something called Classical Conversations. We went to an "open house", and Arowyn just LOVED the schoolroom feel of it and I loved how much she learned. With a bunch of girls there and all learning and learning well…I went home from it torn…I prayed, took a nap and woke up with complete peace that this was the way FOR ME to walk. And, within two weeks time, I had the way TO the means to provide for the first year of school! Talk about God paving the way! But doubts started. Fear began. I started listening to the chatter around me, the static within me.

Is this just a cop-out?
Maybe the Lord wants to show me his strength through my weakness.
Didn’t I chose homeschooling over the traditional classroom...isn't this just the same as school?
What am I doing! I’m a horrible teacher!
We've made sweet friends at our co-op now...and to have to start over...is that fair?

Can we spell Rapunzel???

Boiled down, I did what James 1 said. I asked God for wisdom believing he would give it, knowing he has more of a vested interest in Arowyn's success than I do...I believe I received wisdom to proceed. But then I began to be the man of James 1:8. Going back and forth like that, that causes more unrest in those around me (ie my daughter and husband) than the change ever would.

Doubt is like mold...it's so easily vanquished in the light of Christ's love and provision...but it so easily returns with stagnant air and rain, the chaos of thunder and lightening. So hold fast, stand firm. Know yourself for the child of The King, the redeemed of the most High!

I love a song by Twila Paris "Every Heart that is Breaking Tonight"  it's an amazing song and if I can attach it I will, otherwise, YouTube it...you're in for a treat. The song reminds me of all that God sees...that he sees each of us, where we're at. When we catch a hold of that truth, oh how the mold of doubt flees and light expels the darkness, bringing hope in our everyday lives.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

~On Going Home~

There’s a joke between my husband, Rick, and I that is so old it makes me smile every time…even as I’m chiding him for bringing it up. It comes up on the drive home from...well anywhere we need to travel to get back home. (This also includes visits to the store in 5 o'clock traffic.) He actually has started to wait me out, see if I'll say it first. I hardly ever do. Wishful thinking has always irritated me. I'm a born realist.

When we go away for a family vacation, no matter how much fun my older daughter’s having, towards the end of the trip she’ll whisper as she's going to bed, “I miss Ember.” Ember is our cat, who, other than an amazing huntress, has little affection for my daughter. For a while Arowyn’s confession puzzled me. Why does she miss a cat she hardly see when we're at the house? But then I realized, likely she’s not missing the cat, she’s missing where the cat is…she’s missing home.

On a different note ~ you'll get it in a second ;) my baby girl, Selah has the worst cry in the world. Listening to that child complain/cry is like attending a symphony of long nailed performers scratching out “Taps” on chalkboard. My Arowyn slept through the night at four and half WEEKS old. Selah is almost thirteen months and she rarely sleeps through the night. It has nothing to do with compassion or will power…I feel like the Grinch laying next to my husband, who's also awake, saying “Oh the NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!” Inevitable I get up.

I go get her. She’s still crying. I pick her up, she stops, amazingly enough (I know, roll the eyes!) She lays her head on my left shoulder. I’ve learned not to hunch them up anymore, but to give her a somewhat flat surface to lie on. She lets out a shuddered sigh, content, as one tiny arm wraps around my neck and I feel the press of her fingers against my hair. Everything about her, in that moment, says she’s “home”. She’s found the place where she belongs.

I was thinking about Selah's nighttime wakings this morning, as last night was particularly difficult, and I realized something very special. My children have given me a great gift. Arowyn, has shown me the urge to remember to yearn to go home, not just when things get tough and heaven seems a wistful, easy escape (like “wouldn’t it be great if God came back this awful day, TODAY!) but even when all is “right” in my world. Because the fact is, it is wrong…the world isn’t whose it should be. It isn’t Christ’s…yet.

And Selah, she reminds me what it will be like to finally get to where I belong. That place where there will be eternal peace and rest from trouble, from the strife God has guaranteed to the children of men. One day, I’ll lay my head down on shoulders that never tilt or falter and I’ll know I am where I belong. I’m home.

We’ll be taking a family trip soon, whether to Richmond or some other place for my husband’s work. We’ll start off on our trip, excited and energetic and who knows where the conversations we have will lead us. But as sure as I’m sitting here, writing this post, I know the joke which almost speaks itself into the waiting tiredness of a quiet car, traveling back to the Blue Ridge area of VA. Rick gives me a look that says, “Here it comes. The moment you’ve been waiting for since the downward slope began."

~“Don’t you ever just wish you could wish yourself home?”

This time I'll remember "the hope that does not disappoint" and this self-proclaimed realist will reply:

~“I do now.”