My Apologies

So sorry.  We’ve been slammed lately.  Who hasn’t?  The beginning of summer always seems to be a busy time.  I don’t know if it’s my excitement about all the potential jam-packed into those sunny days, or if I feel the need to get things done before I get to “summer.”  I spent most of last week making gifts for some of my favorite littles.  (Although, some of them aren’t littles anymore.)  We get to go camping with our family next week, and I wanted to make little gifts for all the nieces and the nephew. 

This is for Taylor’s iPod:

This is for the little girls:

I got the idea from here.

And these are for the boys video games:

I’m still working on sweet baby Ava’s prezzie, but it has something to do with this little refresh I did on this shirt:

That now looks like this:

And, these “new” barrettes we made:

Which are a variation of these.

So, I can see now that the busy-ness of last week was probably my fault.  It wouldn’t have been that bad on its own, but I did have lots of fun making it busy.  And, who doesn’t want to be the aunt that makes random homemade things? 

P.S.  If you happen to be one of my relatives, don’t tell the kids what they are getting, and let me know if YOU want something. 😉

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Do you see it?

I promise, it’s there.

See it now?

“Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You.”

You Never Let Go, Matt Redman

To Walk Humbly

About a lifetime ago, we lived in a lovely little neighborhood, where the streets were lined with old trees, and monstrous apartment buildings.  It was hard to estimate how many people lived on any given block, because you could never see where the apartment buildings started, or ended.  This was frustrating on street sweeping days, because the endless amount of cars needed to be shoved onto one side of the street.  This inevitably resulted in a long walk home after parking.

But, if you were lucky enough to come home at dinnertime, you would probably meet half of the neighbors on the walk home.  It was the tradition in this neighborhood, to go for an evening walk, after dinner.  Sometime around five or six o’clock, people would start passing by in couples, or in little clusters.  They would meet up at stop signs, or on corners, and have little chats with one another.  It was our favorite thing about our little neighborhood.

We started to do it too.  After we finished up dinner, we would walk together and talk about our days.  These walks have become treasured memories.  We would let our son ride his little trike in front of us and we would stroll along behind him.  Don’t you love going on a walk with a friend?  or even better, your lifelong love? 😉 

Our neighbors taught us lessons with their walks.  They taught us about community, about walking side-by-side, and about how two are better than one.  Who are you walking with these days?

“. . the Lord has told you what is good,
      and this is what he requires of you:
   to do what is right, to love mercy,
      and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8

Old Things Made New

Don’t you just love when old things are mixed in with the new?

In this city, if you nurse your coffee long enough, you can watch the whole history of transportation cruise by.

I love that these beauties share the streets with all the shiny new hybrids, and monster SUV’s.

There are so many different ones, we made it a scavenger hunt!  Not so easy, with the Iphone camera.

Couldn’t you just fall in love?  Makes a girl want to give up the gas guzzler and buy a fastpass. 😉

The Daily Battle

photo credit: weheartit.com

At many different places in life, I have had one friend, or another, tell me that they were annoyed by my optimism.  I remember in high school, and even in college, being made fun of for my cheeriness.  One time, my husband and I were building houses in Mexico, and it was a miserable day.  It was hot and dusty, and nothing was going right.  I found it ridiculous, and decided that I would not let the bad day have the last word.  I started to cheer on my co-workers in an absolutely over-the-top sort of way.  I really made a fool of myself.  I wanted to, at the very least, give my team members something to laugh at.  The leader of our team, turned to my husband, and asked, “Is she always this encouraging?”  Please read that with sarcasm.

The truth is I’m not a naturally positive person.  I’m quite the opposite.  Ask anyone who’s ever lived with me. 😉  It is a battle that I fight.  Every morning, as I sip my coffee, I wage war against myself, and my own pragmatism.  I see all of the mess.  The ugliness, the evil, the injustice, that, like a gravitational pull, draws us down into the grimness of this world.  And, like, gravity, there are days when it has more power than I would like it to.  But, we must at least, try to fight it.

Bonhoeffer says, “The believer is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. To be either is illusory. The believer sees reality not in a certain light but as it is, and believes only in God and God’s power towards all and over all that is seen.”  It is my battle, and yours, to believe, and keep watch for the good things that God is doing.  Some days it is such a fight, isn’t it?  But, I refuse to only see the work of the evil one.  I am convinced, as was our brother, David, that “I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” 

So, I don’t know where you find yourself today, but “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”  And, when you read optimism on this blog page, know that it was a gift given to a grumpy, miserable war wager.

 “For in the day of trouble
       he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
       he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
       and set me high upon a rock.

  Then my head will be exalted
       above the enemies who surround me;
       at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
       I will sing and make music to the LORD.” 

(All verses are excerpts from Psalm 27)

Busy, Busy Bee

These last few days have been so packed, but I have nothing to show for them.  Okay, not nothing, but do you know those jobs that you do that seem to be undone before you even finish?  (Best example: laundry.)  I’ve been doing those kinds of things.  In fact, I’ve been doing so many of those types of things that I had a little meltdown.  A girl needs to see some results every once and a while. 😉 

So, I’ve been backing away from some of the thankless jobs and started tackling things that seem to make a difference, like doing the dishes. 😉 Hey, you’d be surprised how encouraging an empty sink can be!

But, speaking of making a difference, we’ve started a new fitness program.  I think we should call it a fitness lifestyle, because it has TAKEN over.  It’s forcing me to eat three times more than I normally do.  Which you think would be fun, but it’s not.  A person can only take so much protein!  And, as it turns out, I’m completely addicted to carbs.  This program only lets me have one carb portion a day.  Can you imagine deciding between oatmeal for breakfast or brown rice with dinner?  How am I supposed to make a call like that?  When all I really want is some Doritos. (Not on the list, surprisingly.)  So, we have decided, for ourselves, that we must have a cheating day!  It really is the only way.  As my husband puts it, “This program was not designed for foodies.”  Since Sunday is our Sabbath, we decided it is the perfect day for us to “rest” from portion counting.  This works out perfectly, because there is a built-in day of rest in the workout program too.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the workout program!  I am so glad I’m building new muscle, and my energy level has definitely gone up, but the soreness.  Oh, the soreness.

Well, that’s enough of that, see what I mean about taking over?  I have a fun new idea that I’ve been working on.  It involves reading an old favorite, and typing away, all day, on the laptop!  (Part of the reason I haven’t blogged lately.)  So you can just picture me, hobbling around like a sore muscled, old woman, eating scrambled egg whites, and typing away on my computer. 

All photos from: weheartit.com

Glasses and a cardigan, do not a librarian make

I’ve been drowning in a sea of books.

These are my parent’s books.  Well, let’s be honest, these are my dad’s books.  I’ve wanted to organize them for him, since we’ve been here.  There are books in every room of the house, but this room is lovingly named the library, because shelves line each wall.

First, I wanted to get all the books from the other rooms and have them all in this one centralized place.  I have “sort of” done that.  There are shelves in the master bedroom that I am ignoring, because it all got a little overwhelming.

Do you see these boxes in front of FULL bookshelves?  They are full of books too!  I’m praying for a small miracle, and the organizing prowess of Martha Stewart. 

We weren’t smart enough to do anything but alphabetized by author, but that is not as simple as it seems. I mean, where do I put the book by St. John of the Cross?  Under J for John?  Under C for Cross?  I put him in S for Saint. 🙂  But, over half of these authors are saints!  I had no idea this project was going to become theological.

Before you judge me and my simplistic organizing, I should tell you that I have a friend that organizes his books by height!  (Yeah, judge him. 🙂 )All I know is, next time someone tells me they have their PhD in library sciences, I will bow at their feet in reverence.  It’s not easy people.  We need librarians.  In fact, if you know one, send them over!

P.S. How many Heidelberg Catechisms do you think one person should have? 5? 10? 15?

Even gypsies can get homesick

This is confusing to try to explain, but we are not living in the city that we call home.  We are living in the city that I grew up in.  We were given the opportunity to live in this beautiful city for six months, and we took it.  It was has been a blessing and a huge answer to prayer.  It has been so fun, and it has also been difficult. 

We pretend we are tourists.  This city was made for tourists.  Every Sunday, we go gallivanting and exploring.  Imagine being given a vacation that you can enjoy one day a week, spread out over six months!  Incredible.  It is such a gift.  One that we didn’t see coming.  One that we didn’t know we needed.

Then there is the hard part.  We miss our home.  We miss our friends.  We miss our church.  We miss our stores.  We miss our weather.

It seems such a shame to be homesick in the midst of such goodness, but in the truest version of the story, it is there.  It is not to be ignored.  I am grateful for it.  I am grateful that there is a place we call home.  I’m grateful for the way that our loyalty to home makes us great tourists here.

Don’t worry.  On most days, we are enjoying the best of the gift that has been given to us.  We work, we play, and we learn new things.  Then, randomly, the homesickness shows up, like a string is being pulled ever so gently, reminding us that our hearts are tethered to another place. 

This road leads us home

 

Find me faithful, ever faithful

I make this the goal of my life

Through blessings and sorrows

To the end I will follow

I make this the goal of my life

I fix my eyes on the prize

The author of my faith, my life

Help me keep looking straight ahead

And on this long and winding road

I’ve strayed, I’ve traveled on my own

It’s only in surrender I can stay upon this road

That will someday lead me home

lyrics to Find Me Faithful, by Tommy Walker, Photo taken via iPhone at Point Reyes

Beginnings

C.S.Lewis said, “With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.”  Of course, this is true, but the beginning can be so intimidating.  Especially when we create a beginning.  A beginning that others don’t know existed.  A beginning that is just an annoying “what if” in the back of your consciousness.

“When Thomas Edison worked late into the night on the electric light, he had to do it by gas lamp or candle. I’m sure it made the work seem that much more urgent.” (George Carlin)  I can imagine him sitting there in a dark shed, twisting wires and soldering little metal pieces together, squinting by a small dripping candle.  (The drippier the candle, the more nostalgic the picture)  What do you think Thomas Edison was thinking as he whiled away?  How do you think Thomas Edison answered the question, “What are you doing these days?”

Oh, I don’t even pretend to think I will accomplish what Thomas Edison did, but I do have dreams.  Dreams that are annoying “What if’s.”  Don’t we all?  I love the encouraging picture of good ol’ Thomas sitting with glass and metal, giving definition to what never was.

May your “What if’s” annoy you today.  May they grow and grow, until the weight of them causes you to give them wings.