Archive for the ‘God Things’ Category

My goal for the next 40 days

My goal for the next 40 days (and longer, I hope!)

I haven’t been blogging for… too long. Life has brought transitions and turmoil since my last long-ago post on here. (There has also been much good… I often have to remind myself that transition is not a bad thing!) The last few months have led me to the goal of having more trust, and showing more transparency… and for me, that is easier through writing than talking. SO… I’m trying to find the good — and bring it back here. Whether it is an inspiring quote, a blog post plucked from Google Reader or a tidbit about my day, my plan is to update this blog with positive things to think on. I hope you will join me on the journey!

K is for Kneel

Last night my little boy shocked my husband by announcing that Easter was more fun than Christmas. ¬†ūüôā ¬†(Christmas is a big deal at our house, and we love all of the traditions around it). ¬† When asked why, he listed all of the “fun activities” about Easter. ¬†The last few years we have spent Sunday morning attending a sunrise service near our house and watching that church’s teens put on a short play about Jesus’ death and resurrection. ¬†Andrew loves it (and admittedly doesn’t have much experience with Nativity plays at Christmas). ¬†For him, Easter means jellybeans (and one year an activity that incorporated jelly beans into Lent… which we didn’t do this year), egg hunts on beautiful spring days, and worship.

His comment got me thinking… I didn’t really grow up celebrating the religious aspects of Christmas OR Easter. ¬†I’ve grown to love that side of both of them. ¬†Easter is my favorite as well. ¬†The message of Christmas is hope and God entering the world… and that is amazing. ¬†But the message of Easter is that what began on Christmas has been completed. ¬†Sin has been defeated, creation is being renewed, God’s redeeming work is finished (and yet somehow still working today). ¬†Easter is a time of praise and rejoicing and happiness.

Easter is even more special because it is preceded by days of waiting… by the celebration of Good Friday… by commemorating the silence that was Saturday. ¬†Last night we attended a Good Friday service. ¬†We reflected on what the cross meant. ¬†We reflected on Jesus’ name and his work. ¬†He honored his taking on of sins even yet to come. ¬†We knelt down (admittedly, that was figuratively and not literally) in honor of his sacrifice… and can’t wait to stand up in praise as we celebrate his resurrection on Sunday.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of my blog readers! I love reading all of your comments and reading along on your blogs as well! Thank you for listening to my musings, and responding at times.

Today I am very thankful for the blessings of health, safe travel, a white Christmas(!), family & friends, and especially the gift of hope that we celebrate today. I have been enjoying this song during this holiday season… it reminds me that even when life seems dark and it seems despair and evil are winning that we have hope; that we know that the Good will and has prevailed; and that the hope that comes from that knowledge and the peace it enables us to have and pass along is the true Christmas spirit. Wishing all of you a peaceful Christmas…

Peace Star Scarlet Christmas Card
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(Did you order cards from Shutterfly this year? Post your card on your blog and e-mail the link to shareproject@shutterfly.com to receive $25 off your next order! We loved our Christmas cards this year!)

One Thousand Gifts: #76-88

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

76) The first snowfall of the season… just a dusting (which is still big news here) and even better when it was a complete surprise!
77) Christmas cards arriving in the mail!
78) Christmas lights and decorations around town…
79) and people who put them out year after year as their way of blessing the community… I’m thinking of a display we’ve gone to over the years whose maker just told us he is stopping after 20 years of putting up lights and awe-ing children of all ages. That has been a gift from him!
80) and my family’s holiday tradition of stopping for coffee & hot chocolate as the way to end an evening of light-seeing.
81) The blessing of a new day to be in a better mood or repair a relationship
82) My church’s performance of Behold the Lamb of God
83) … and that they included the kids (even the littlest… well, the preschoolers, who are almost the littlest. There has been a bit of a baby boom over the last few years).
84) … and that browsing for a song from that on YouTube later in the day led me to be reminded of an old Rich Mullins song which was particularly powerful after hearing the tale of God’s love for Israel (and that Rich’s music never fails to inspire, humble and move me)
85) Watching the joy my little boy got from playing with an early Christmas gift yesterday
86) and his joy at walking in the door at church Sunday morning… he never fails to have a huge smile. I love that they love him.
87) At a restaurant after church, an older man walked over to us. He told Andrew someone along the lines of, “Young man, I want you to remember something as you grow up. You have a gift of a beautiful smile that you can use to brighten people’s days.” He is right. While Andrew certainly isn’t happy all of the time… his happiness and joy shines out and his smile reaches other people and brightens their day. I just thought it amazing that he shared that — what an example of encouraging others!
88) Being able to say “thank you” for past experiences (okay, at least some of them) that left me broken at the time… but also irrevocably changed my life… isn’t it great to have a God who can use all experiences?

What are you thankful for this week?

Gather ‘Round…

to listen to the song of the week. I have more Christmas-ish songs that I love than weeks left to share them in… and then this one snuck in earlier this week. ¬† So… since it has been stuck in my head… and because it has a great message… I am sharing it with you!

My church has started a Christmas tradition of performing Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God, which is a lyrical retelling of the story of Jesus’ coming into the world (yes, I took that description straight from the writer). The following song is the introductory song to the story. I’d encourage you to check out the rest of the songs as well.

Lyrics:

Gather ’round, ye children, come
Listen to the old, old story
Of the pow’r of Death undone
By an infant born of glory
Son of God, Son of Man

Gather ’round, remember now
How creation held its breath
How it let out a sigh
And it filled up the sky with the angels
Son of God, Son of Man

CHORUS
So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

Therefore God exalted Him
To the place of highest praises
And He gave Him a name above every name
That at the very name of Jesus, Son of God

CHORUS:

We would sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

So in heav’n and earth and below
Every knee would bow in worship
And ev’ry tongue would proclaim
That Jesus, He reigns with the angels

So sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
He gave up His pride and He came here to die
Like a man

Gather ’round, ye children, come
Listen to the old, old story
Of the pow’r of Death undone
By an infant born of glory
Son of God, Son of Man

Confession

Sometimes I feel like the “me” portrayed on this blog is more reflective… more spiritual… and much less impatient and overwhelmed than I often feel.

So this is more the typical.

Today, I woke up to my husband yelling goodbye to our 4 year old and slamming the door in a rush to get to work. I went back to sleep… only to be awoken a few minutes later by a little voice asking to watch PBS Kids… and I sleepily consented (hoping it was even on, because I had no idea what time it was!) ¬†Got up a bit later to the mass chaos which was my kitchen when I went to bed last night (how is it possible for 3 people to need so many dishes washed so many times a day?)… a husband home for a quick morning break from work… neck pain from sleeping the wrong way…and a brownie for breakfast. TV blaring… incessant questions from the 4 year old… exasperation from me from the noise onslaught… and sudden realization that much of the 5% of things I have left to do for Christmas need to be done in the next 48 hours. A little boy upset at missing storytime because I cannot deal with library drama today… a rush to try to get Christmas wrapping done (only to discover I have no bags to wrap trinkets in), and the realization that it is going to take some creativity to make the food in the refrigerator cover lunch and supper if I really do want to stick to the menu plan.

So I stop the rush… and try to stop the internal frenzy… and try to remind myself that the hustle and hubbub isn’t what Christmas is about… or what life in general should be about for that matter… (if only it were as easy to put simplicity into practice as to long for it…)

With lunch still uneaten but husband back to work and little one having some quiet time in his room, I log on to Google reader for a bit of sanity time… to find my blog friend Jennifer’s post… and a link to tragedy… and a reminder that love and time and letting those around me know I love them *now* is so much more important than getting things done. And yet so hard to balance at times too.

And so I’m about to recall my overtired little boy down from his room… read some Christmas books, take a moment to escape the house for an hour to run a few errands and have a bit of fun. And be, even more than usual, grateful that he is here… and four years old for another few weeks, with all the joys and challenges that brings.

God, help me remember how quickly time passes… and how quickly life can change… and to be grateful for the season of life I am in and the people you have placed in it. ¬†How is it I have to learn that lesson over and over again? ¬†I know how quickly tragedy and bad news can come… and life can change… and yet I am still learning these lessons to be thankful and grateful and appreciate the moment over and over again…

If you are reading this… say a prayer for Dana’s family today… and for so many who are having a difficult time at this Christmas time.

Multitudes of Blessings and Book Club (#56-75)

Linking up a day late… but only because I was in the midst of much to be thankful for!

After missing out on last month’s meeting, I was glad to be able to rejoin my book club last night.¬† Our meeting is about more than books… and leaves me with much to be thankful for.¬† So many in the group are older than myself, and socialize with each other more than just during this meeting.¬† It is a blessing to me to be able to watch them interact, get some perspective from a few years or decades away, and get reminders of how quickly this time of having children at home to love (and hopefully have more of an influence on) will pass.¬† Some days I need reminders to enjoy the journey.

Last night I listened to a heart-felt prayer from one member, which in part pleaded intercession for another member who has been battling cancer.¬† David Crowder’s How He Loves Us, played in the background.¬† (Go ahead, click the link, listen while you are reading the rest of this post!)¬† A double blessing for the ears.

We talked, laughed, settled down to attempt to discuss the book… which, as is typical, several of us had yet to finish.¬† Oh, well… we never have time to discuss the entire book anyways.

And so I am thankful for…

56)  Opportunities to remember the blessings of the time of life I am in now

57)That Mary said “yes”

58) And Joseph, too.

59) The ability to own a Bible (actually, many Bibles… I was searching for one to take with me and realized that although the one I typically use is temporarily missing — which probably means under a coat in my car — I still had an abundance to choose from)

60) And the freedom to read from it and study it… as an American and as a woman.

61) The freedom to discuss my ideas

62) Having the opportunity to be with a group of women (and in a church) that is open to new ideas… to taking in new information and evaluating it to see if traditions or opinions need to be changed.

63) Gena’s prayers

64) Nancy’s faith…. how is it that I can read journal entries from someone fighting cancer… and yet I am the one who walks away encouraged?

65) … and reminders (from the book) that sometimes faith is not being sure… but just committing to try to believe even when we can’t figure out what God (or Jesus, for Mary) is doing and how this fits into what we thought was the plan.

66) Shirley’s hospitality

67) Goodnight hugs & kisses from my favorite 4 year old… who didn’t get them before I left the house but came running down the stairs yelling, “Mommy’s home!” and requesting goodnight hugs & kisses as soon as I walked through the door… WAY past his bedtime…

68) … and the fact that my husband has never, *ever* referred to staying at home while I am out as “babysitting”

69) In a week where I’ve heard of several marriages being torn apart, I am grateful for having a husband who has stayed with me and will stay with me through it all.¬† Although at times I’ve wondered if the reason we are still together is that we are both too stubborn to be the one who walks away… the reality is stubbornness (and commitment) through tough times leads to still being together when life is better again.¬† Marriage takes its own brand of faith.

70) Central heat

71) and my space heater, which I have spent much time curled up in front of this week (it’s COLD!)

72) Having a nice (and warm) winter coat

73) Washing dishes by hand (which I know from experience can grow old fast… but is nice sporadically!)

74) Warm clothes straight from the dryer

75) And that Epson ships refill printer ink for free… because it always seems to take me a week to get to the store to buy it (and then I forget which one to buy!)

What are you thankful for this week?