Celebration!

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Celebrations seem to be everywhere these days.  Everyone is having babies, graduating, or getting married.  At least, that’s how it feels.  It’s been so great!  We love celebrations around here.  I know it seems like such a no-brainer to celebrate good things, but some of us aren’t as good at it.  We weren’t.  We were always too busy, or we pushed it to the last minute.  We used to do this because it didn’t seem as important as the other things in life, like working, ministry, chores.  You know, the “serious” stuff?

Then, a couple years ago, we took on celebration as a spiritual discipline.  I know, awesome, right?  That’s like taking a college class on remedial partying.  But, we took it seriously.  We read books on the importance of celebration and we searched the Bible for instances when God asked his people to stop, and celebrate what He had done.  It’s all over the place!  Did you know that God has asked us to take the time to celebrate?  He has.  A lot.  And, not just the parties that you and I know, he asked Israelites to take DAYS, weeks sometimes.  Don’t you just love that?  And, then of course there is the fact that Jesus’ first miracle was at a celebration.  Remember when his mom made him turn the water into wine?  God loves celebration.

As I’ve taken celebration on as spiritual practice, I’ve learned how much I need it.  Not only do I need the fun and refreshment it provides, but I need to practice the kind of gratitude that looks like dancing around and being silly.  I need to have times with God where we just laugh together.  Times where we can look back on a long day and we can say, “Look what we did there together.  How did you pull that off?”

What do you get to celebrate with God today?  Find something.  And, do it up!  Bake a cake if you need to. 🙂

Comfort

Comfort is such a funny thing. It takes on such interesting forms. Let’s talk coffee mugs, for example.

Over the years, I have acquired multiple chunky white coffee mugs.  They go with all our chunky white plates.  I love them because they feel like the mugs at an All-Night Diner: sturdy, dependable, full of ceramic integrity.  But, in the morning when I reach for a mug to fill with caffeinated goodness, I do not reach for these.

Embarrassingly, I need to admit that we have TWO shelves of coffee mugs.  These guys come from that huge coffee company that everyone wants to hate but secretly loves.  They come from all over the globe.  They are HUGE so they are perfect for the lazy person’s (Me, me!) morning caffeinating, but they are not my mug of choice either.

These beautiful cups don’t even live in a cabinet.  We’ve run out of room.  They were carried home by hand by my loving husband all the way from India.  I love them and all of their artisanal uniqueness.  We serve tea to company in these.  I do not drink my morning coffee out of them.

So, what kind of mug is my favorite?  I, who think WAY too much about warm beverage accessories and must always stop to give a verbal critique of all the new mugs at Starbucks?

This atrocious monstrosity!  I don’t even know how it made its way into our lives.  I don’t normally keep seasonal things.  I like having simple all-year-round stuff (read: lazy), but this guy isn’t even cute seasonal.  It has a scary nutcracker like mailman who seems to be delivering “birdie food” to birdhouses and wrangling them with a candy cane. YET, every single time, I reach my hand into the cabinet, I shuffle past the cute mugs to pull out this ridiculous thing.  Explain it to me.  I don’t get it.

Side note: if you happen to have a collection of these mugs in your Christmas dishes, please don’t be offended.  This is my FAVORITE mug.  So, I get it.  And, I don’t.  All at the same time.  Let’s just celebrate how much comfort they bring us, okay?

Breaking the Rules

What’s In the Case?

I apologize ahead of time.  I’m not going to play by my own rules.  Guess what’s in the case?  It’s empty.  Today, I’m celebrating emptiness!

A wise woman I love once said that we always think of things as having two possible outcomes.  Yes or no.  This happens or it doesn’t.  But, God very often uses a third option that we couldn’t even think of.  On Sunday, we celebrated a world changing third option.  He is risen!  The tomb is empty.

Do you need a third option today?  Are you looking for an answer that is neither yes, nor no?  This morning as I was reading in Genesis.  I witnessed God’s third option for Abraham and Isaac.  God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son on a mountain in the region of Moriah.  Abraham cut the wood and journeyed up the mountain with his son.  He laid his son on the altar and put his hand on his knife.  Then God called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!  Abraham!”, and he stopped Abraham from sacrificing Isaac.  Abraham looked up and saw a ram in the thicket.  He sacrificed it instead, and called that place, The Lord Will Provide.

On the way up the mountain, Isaac asked his father what they were going to sacrifice and Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”  Abraham’s words came from faith in the God of the inconceivably creative third choice.  Hebrews 11 tells us more, “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’  Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”

This week as we live in the glow of Resurrection Sunday, I celebrate the limitless creativity of a third choice God.  I celebrate the faith that was strengthened in Abraham, even to the point of sacrificing his son and his life dream.  And, I celebrate the empty tomb as God’s intimate reminder that his ways are not our own, he has other options that we cannot even begin to conceive of.

“Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?  Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me.  But this is your hour– when darkness reigns.” John 22:52b-53

It did. It came over the whole land.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  The centurion saw all this and praised God, but all who knew Jesus stood and watched in silence.  Did they watch with confusion?  Did they watch with rising disappointment and hurt?  Did they mourn their friend’s death?  Or did they all of a sudden feel as if they never really knew him?

We weren’t there on that day, but we have known darkness reigning.  We have been in the spaces where all that was seen in the light disappears before our eyes, where hurt and confusion, crowd in and shove our knowing to the hidden places.  Do we stand and watch in silence?

On this day, that we remember, we sit with the hurt, and the confusion, and the disappointment.  Do our unspoken voices echo the voice of our brother who said, “I don’t know or understand what you are talking about”? (Mark 14:68)

Our life stuff starts to bubble up to the surface.  Our whispered questions of why, and how, come rushing in.  We replay the moments that look like crucifixions, the seemingly irredeemable and we ask the wordless questions that sit as hurt and brokenness in the bottom of our spirits.  We try not to move ahead to the third day, but we sit with the Son of God that took ALL of it on.

And as we sit, and look up at him carrying all of our burden, we remember.  Not only will he “never leave nor forsake us,” but he has taken on all that we do not understand.  He has held all the hurt and confusion that has lived inside us.  He knows it intimately as he knows us intimately.  Our wounds are no longer our own, but they are his.  And even before the third day, they lose their sting. . .

“How deep the Father’s love for us,

How deep and beyond measure,

that He would give his only son to make a wretch his treasure.”

May there be blessings in the remembering, Treasures!

On the Night in Which He Was Betrayed

I mostly go to churches that don’t openly celebrate Lent.  I have been feeling this lack during this Lenten season.  All this week, God has been reminding me of the symbols, walking me through the ritual, as you would a small child who needs to do, and experience, to learn and know.  Today is Maundy Thursday.  For those, who have never worshipped in this way, Maundy Thursday is the remembering of that last night with the disciples.  They were all reclining at the table that has now become so important to us all.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus.  Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:2-5

Jesus saw the betrayal that was sitting at the table between him and Judas.  There it sat, like the loaves of bread and glasses of wine, between them.  So, he rose from the table to get the basin and the towel.  Then he went from the feet of one who loved him, to the feet of one who loved him, to feet of one who was to betray him.  And he loved, and he washed, and he served equally.

On the night in which he was betrayed, He knelt before his betrayer, took his feet in his hands and washed away the grime and dirt of the day.  This is what Love did on the way to giving his life.  Where you or I would have said, “I’m going to do a big thing for you tomorrow, today I will rest,” Love wrapped a towel around his waist, knelt down on his knees and lovingly washed feet.  This is not the kind of love we know how to do.  We know a friendly, “Hi, how are you” kind of love.  Or even an “I like you” kind of love.  But, this “sit in the stink of feet with hurt piercing your heart, while your hands give care” kind of love is not of this world.

On Maundy Thursday, we ask him for this kind of love, not for ourselves, but to give away to others.  Fill our hearts so that our hands, can serve as yours did.  Fill our hearts, so that our mouths can speak as yours did.  Fill our hearts, so that we can do it again and again, even on the way to giving our lives.

If you would like to journey through the rest of the events of that night you can continue reading here.

What’s in the case?

Hey all!  It’s time to play that game again.  Alright, so I have some REALLY practical friends and they want clues, and they want something real to guess at.  I get that.  So, I will give clues, AND also embrace creativity.  Guess whatever you want to guess.  Play within your comfort level.  ALL guesses will count as an entry and I will figure out how to use random.org.  That’s right!  Guess as many times as you want (See, I can still reward creativity.), just use a separate comment for every guess.  Then Mr.random.org will pick a winner!

This week you are playing for:

These little mushrooms!  I stitched love into them myself.

They have these cute fabrics underneath.

As a mom, I feel the need to say that these are decorative and would not make good toys, for kids at least.  They have cute, but deadly buttons on top and are filled with paper to give them their scrunchy goodness, and cannot be drooled upon.  They are just to keep the wonder alive!

So, here are the clues to what’s inside:

1.  These are entertainment for Cat ladies and their cats .

2.  This scene in Camelot makes me want to make these.  In fact, I really can’t think of these without this song coming into my head.  (I know, I’m a 60yr.old woman in a 30 something body.)

Happy Guessing!  I will post inside pics tomorrow.

P.S. I’m so sorry about all the bad photo quality.  We are a camera-less family and do as best as we can with our phones.  Thank you for understanding!

A.A. Milne’s Words

Spring Morning

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow —
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow —
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You’d sail on water as blue as air,
And you’d see me here in the fields and say:
“Doesn’t the sky look green today?”

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
“It’s awful fun to be born at all.”
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
“We do have beautiful things to do.”

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You’d say to the wind when it took you away:
That’s where I wanted to go today!”

Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow —
Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

–A.A. Milne

I’m trying to convince myself that it is Spring.  It was 100 degrees yesterday. As much as I love summer, I don’t think 7 months of it is a good idea.  A girl could melt away.  (:  I hope you are enjoying cool Spring breezes and sunny, blue skies!

P.S. I’m still working on the appearance of this blog.  If things change over the next week, please don’t feel lost.  It’s still me, Kristy. (:  Thanks for putting up with my technologically challenged ways. 

Friday Fun

For what seems like a million different reasons, I have been feeling crazy ADD this week, so I’m just going to embrace it, and give you a round up of the random goodness I have found lately.

1.  My love for They Might Be Giants started back when I was in Jr.High and my bestfriend’s sister, Anissa drove us around in her cute little VW golf with the sunroof open.  I thought she was the coolest person EVER and she listened to They Might Be Giants.  So, I saved two weeks allowance and bought a cassette tape. (She also introduced me to Annie Lennox, The Cure, and U2, so I am forever grateful.)  Now, I pass on my love to my science learning children:

2.  I am dying to make some fruit leather.  We don’t usually leave TJ’s without a few for the ride home.  So, I have saved this tutorial for the Spring and Summer fruits!

Make and Takes

3.  After several moves, and living in storage for almost a year, our furniture is in dire need of a refresh.  Not only are there dings and scratches, but it doesn’t seem to match us anymore.  So, I’m hoping to make it all ours again with the help of some paint.  I learned about chalk paint via The Nester and want to try what Miss Mustard Seed did here.  It’s beautiful.

4.  Even though I have given up the sweets for Lent, I made a ton of cookies yesterday!  I know, something is wrong with me.  But, my Aunt-in-law, Annie, from Minnesota taught be how to make Norwegian Berliners.  If you haven’t had them, they are like the lighter, butterier, cousins of those Danish cookies that always come in the huge round tin.  I was just too excited to wait!  I didn’t eat any, so I’m not quite sure how I did, but I’m taking a bunch to our family Bible study tonight so that my Father-in-law, the Berliner expert, can give me some helpful hints.  If you want the recipe, let me know.

5.  I think we all know not to be one of those annoying people who say that they liked things before everyone else did (because who cares when you started liking something?!).  But, I also don’t want to be someone who is too cool to celebrate something great, publicly, just because everyone else is. (:  So, without further ado, how great is this song by Mumford & Sons?!?!

Okay, I would love to say that I will be more focused next week, and not all over the place, but I don’t really think that is possible for me. (:  Hope your weekend is filled with so much goodness that it seems random!

~Kristy