Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Friendship? Yes, please!"

"Friendship? Yes, please!" said Charles Dickens. And I quite agree with him. My friends and I got together on Saturday to celebrate the birthday of our dear Evangeline. Lots of delicious food, oodles of giggling and chatter, and several hilarious party games. I think I laughed enough to add several years onto my life. It was a great memory, even more special because of our shared love for Christ.

Girlfriends are such a precious gift from the Lord. Yet like with all His amazing gifts, I sometimes take them for granted. I get busy with my own commitments and forget to call this friend or send an email to that one. As we bowed our heads while Alexandra led us in prayer before we ate, my heart glowed with gratitude for the girls God has placed in my life. I sometimes don't realize how much I need them until nights like that. I leave feeling refreshed and encouraged...and very full of sugar cookies and lemon bars.

Thank you, Lord, for my girlfriends.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life is beautiful when...

- Grant will be calling on Saturday from Kuwait.
- my CCD teens rock the class with their attentiveness and enthusiasm.
- I have peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
- my patient at work squeezes my hand for support during an IV needle poke.
- my friends are meeting me for Mexican food tomorrow night.
- the Lord speaks to me through my devotionals on my lunch hour.
-my dog greets me every day after work with unconditional love (and a slobbery tennis ball).
- the trees begin to change colors and my soul dances at their beauty.
- I got a "40% off" coupon for the crafts store.
- the wind blows my hair driving down a country road in the convertible.
- my pumpkin spice candle burns cheerily on my nightstand.
- I feel wrapped in the love of my family and my friends and my Creator.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Am Woman, See Me Cook

I have that womanly pride thing going on right now because I made a quite tasty (if I may say so) supper this evening. I don't cook very often in this season of my life with work and play practice and the church kids and other commitments. But today I had the desire within to take up the spatula and try my culinary skills once again. So I dusted off my apron and got to work. The goal: crispy parmesan chicken, steamed broccoli, fresh pears, and pumpkin spice cake. Score one for me because everything turned out delicious and it was all ready at the same time-- and right on time. (Trust me, I only allow myself these bragging rights because it doesn't often happen.) I should have taken a picture to post.
I did get a picture of how I spent some of the afternoon. It was a rainy day and I was alone in the house. (Sounds like I'm beginning a scary story...) I turned on some music and got out my crafty stuff. There was a sale at JoAnn Fabrics this week and I got some really cute goodies for making cards. Little quote stickers and pretty background paper and pink ribbon with tiny white dots. It was delightful. I think I need to spend more weekends at home like this. Maybe it's the coming of fall and winter. I get excited about staying indoors and working on projects. So anyway, the cards turned out kind of sweet.
Speaking of fall, my sister and her husband had some friends over last night for a bonfire. I just love bonfires. Fall would not be the same without them. We played a game of volleyball and I tragically ripped one of my favorite pairs of flip-flops trying to make a save. Unfortunately, I did not even come close to the volleyball at the time. It's one thing to sacrifice a pair of flip-flops if you feel victorious for your team. It's another matter entirely to make a fool of yourself and come out of it with damaged dignity and flip-flops. Oh well. Life is beautiful.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Thousand Words x 2

Now I have to admit that when I asked Alexandra to take a picture of me and Vange on our girlfriends boating adventure, I did not think she would get a shot of me climbing into the tube oh-so-gracefully:

There. This one is more what I pictured.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thoughts on My Teenagers

Tonight was the first CCD class of the school year. I went early so I could have some time with the Lord in church and clear my mind of distractions. We have a large class this year-- about 30-35 teens if they all come. We had the annual welcome bonfire afterwards. Between the giggles and hot dogs and football tossing and crazy stories, I was able to just sit quietly near the edge of the fire by myself at one point and watch the action around me.
I love these kids. They never cease to amaze me...and amuse me. I laughed as one boy boasted how many hot dogs he had eaten. I cheered when one girl showed me how far she can throw a football. I smiled at the schoolgirl chatter. I listened to another girl share how she is witnessing her faith.
It's funny when I compare myself now to myself at the beginning last year-- my first year of teaching and being a youth leader. This year I feel more humbled and inadequate. I am somewhat sobered by the thought of the responsibility of leading their souls closer to the Lord. Each one is unique and so precious to the One who created him or her. I pray that God sends me the grace and wisdom to share His teachings with these kids. I pray that He uses me as His vessel, however unworthy I may be. I pray that the Holy Spirit will pour out His gifts upon these kids and bring them ever closer to the Lord.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Present Moment

I needed some fresh air and exercise this morning so I put a leash on Micah and we started down the country road. It was a beautiful, classic fall day. We had gone about a mile when I realized once again my mind had strayed from the present moment. Here was a gorgeous day-- just me, my dog, and God's wondrous creation-- yet my mind was dwelling on the past with frustration that I missed Grant's call last night from Kuwait, and the future with mulling over all there was to do and what needed done first.
I remember a quote from Jim Eliot, martyred missionary to Ecuador. He said "Wherever you are, be all there." It's such a small statement, but such a large task! I want to make that my goal, though. I watched Micah as we walked and thought about how well he fulfills that goal. He is full of love and excitement and awareness of his surroundings. He enjoys little things like grasshoppers and butterflies. He turns to me expectantly at the sound of my voice. He fully delights in the present moment, seemingly with no worries of the moments to come.
I continued on my walk with a fresh energy and awareness of the day. I saw the blue sky and fluffy clouds, the golden corn stalks and the waving soybeans, the changing colors of the trees in the woods. I felt the cool, caressing breeze. I heard the twittering of the insects. And once again I arrived at this conclusion: life is beautiful.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Whatever He's Doing

I had the radio on while I was driving home today from work and this song came on. As I listened to the lyrics, I felt a connection to the song to the point that I thought these could be my own words, my own prayer. Here are some of the words:

[Chorus]Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...To...


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

-"Whatever You're Doing," by Sanctus Real

It's such a beautiful song in its humility-- admiting we sometimes don't know what God is doing in our lives, but we know He's there and He's working in us. At this time in my life, I'm stepping back to "reevaluate who I really am" so I don't just "climb aimlessly over these hills."

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Joining the Happy Little Blogging World Again

I've decided to join the blogging world again. I've grown so busy in these past couple years since I graduated and I want to slow down to reflect. Hopefully a blog will encourage that, rather than becoming one more time-consuming pursuit. We shall see.
I'm in one of those seasons of stretching and learning. I feel like the Lord is gently pruning my life. I am beginning to see areas of my life that have become overgrown with business and activities. Even my parents have kindly suggested I cut back on commitments so as to give more fully to just a few. In my heart, I know they are right. And I think that is where the Lord is leading me. True, permanent changes take time. I'm happy to be in the process of this change and to know that the Lord has a plan.