"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Saturday, November 27, 2010

just for fun.

Here I am with my favorite little siblings: Kristen, Daniel, and Timothy.
Don't worry - Daniel had just performed in the musical White Christmas, hence the stage makeup.

christmas decorations.

Christmas has officially exploded at my parents' house.  The day after Thanksgiving is always decorating day - a day when the basement clears of the red and green storage bins, the fall decor comes down, and ornaments, snowmen, Santas, red cloths, carolers, wreaths, stockings and lights fill the house with Christmas spirit.

On the Christmas tree in the family room, are dozens of homemade ornaments.  In fact, there are no traditional colored Christmas bulbs on the tree.  Among the branches lie construction-paper hearts with photos of us as children, bulbs into which we put paint and shook them creating a marble effect, stars made from felt and glitter, candy canes made from beads and pipe cleaners, and so many more personalized ornaments.  This Christmas tree is beautiful in that it holds decades of memories on its branches.  We recall the stories of the ornaments as we put them up.

The best story is of a round, cardboard cut-out with a picture of a candle glued to it.  A hole at the top allows for a ribbon to put it up, even 29 years after it was made.  This particular memory hails back to the year my parents got married.  Too poor to buy ornaments, they made their own out of whatever they had.  Each year, they hang this one up together and remember their life together.  Years and years of memories are found in that small circle.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Winter!

It was coooold today, so I got to wear my cute new purple winter coat.

And thus begins the winter season.  Brrrrrr.

Amazon is offering an album, The 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces, for $1.99.  Let me tell you, this album is wonderful.  Not only do you get 99 songs for $1.99 (amazing!), but it includes symphonic wonders, beautiful music that we sometimes forget about during the holiday season as we usually get lost in the obnoxious, repetitive (yet lively) songs of Mariah Carey and N*Sync.  Here is a link to the album offer.

Enjoy the start of winter!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

establish my steps.

I have always been a problem-solver, a fixer, and a planner, so when I find myself in a place of such uncertainty, my instinct is to make plans.  NOW.

It has always made sense to me:  Make plans for the future, dream big, figure out how to get there, and take the steps necessary to ensure that the goal is reached.  Suddenly, however, I don't know what that big dream is, thus there is no goal.

Living a life of faith means taking the steps when God shows them.  Proverbs 16:9 says "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."  I need to just take those steps in faith, knowing that God will lead me where He wants me to go.  He will establish my steps, regardless where I think they will lead.

Oy.  Lord, grant me faith.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

always watching.

As I pulled up next to a police officer today, I did as I usually do:  Tense up a bit, check to make sure that my phone is put away in my purse, stay behind the crosswalk, and be extra cautious.  My driving isn't normally bad, and there would have been no reason for the police officer to pull me over even if I hadn't been nervous and extra cautious of my driving.

Yet, I took this little momentary thing and worried about it.  I changed my actions instantly because I thought I was being watched.  But are we not always being watched?  Why does knowing that a person is watching elicit an improvement in behavior, while knowing that God is watching merely makes me nod my head and say, "yeah, I know"?

Let my focus remain on the One thing that does matter; on the One person for whom our actions have eternal consequence; on the only One who is worthy of our praise, affection and adoration.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

food therapy

I got off of work early today, and I immediately went to Whole Foods for their orange chicken.  Organic chicken, no MSG, and brown rice, served with Hot and Sour soup.  A no-guilt way to eat completely unauthentic Chinese food.  Mmmm :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

let Him help Himself to us.

Let us be reminded day after day that God certainly is in control.  Through some wise and unwanted, but necessary, words from a friend, I came to realize that there was no mention of God in my last post, which inspired the thoughts behind this one.  While Wednesday night's post is certainly a humorous one with huge exaggerations, it reflects an attitude of despair and of faithlessness.

Oswald Chambers writes:
Is He going to help Himself to us, or are we taken up with our conception of what we are going to be?
"Is He going to help Himself to us"?  Is He?  Will I let Him take all of me and move me where He wants me to be?  Show me who He wants me to be?  Even in those questions, I simply beg for answers about the future.  But who am I now?  How is God using me right here where I already am?  How is He helping me to grow?

I have been so focused on the future that I have not been enjoying the everyday.  Since when did every day become another chance to worry about and dread the future?  What happened to hoping and dreaming?  To radical faith and obedience?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

my life is over.

Is this what seasonal depression feels like?  All I want to do is sleep and watch tv, and I feel awful for only wanting that.  I don't want to be with people, but I want to be with people.  I want to cook but I don't want to cook.  And... oh goodness gracious, I'm going crazy.

All I think of is the next few months and the transition that may happen.  If nothing else, I will simply live out of a bag on the street.  Probably smell like urine and mildew.  And fail miserably at life.  Or maybe just move into another friend's place in Chicago and continue nannying; yet even this transition is not one that I want.  I've applied for so many jobs over the last few days that I don't even know what kind of job I actually want anymore.  Probably none at all, because living on the street sounds ever-appealing and it hardly involves decision-making.  I have applied for jobs in Chicago; jobs in Green Bay; jobs everywhere.  Jobs with non-profits, with dental offices, with youth centers.  Sigh.  What will the next phase look like?  I just want to seeeeeee!

Instead, I wait.  And watch tv.  And sleep.  And occasionally talk to my roommates (probably less than I should.  Sorry girls..).  All this to say... pity me pity me pity me.  My life is awful, yours can't possibly compare.  Everything is falling apart; the world is coming to an end.  Woe is me.  Can someone please hijack a shopping cart for me?  I may need it soon.

I have a lot on my mind.  And to you, concerned reader, I really hope that you understand my hyperbolic sarcasm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

chocolate keys.

On Saturday evening, I packed up for my trip to Green Bay.  Before I left the apartment, I took a few chocolate-covered raisins to eat on the road.  Before I arrived at my parents' house, I stopped at the park to take a walk and look at the stars that I don't usually get to see in a lit-up city.  It was cold outside.  Really cold.  So into my pockets my hands went.

After sitting in the pocket of my white jacket for about four hours, I discovered that chocolate-covered raisins do not survive quite so long.  It was a little embarrassing, then, to find that the chocolate had not only melted into all surfaces of my pocket, but also into the crevices of my keys.  My car key is the kind that you press a button and the key flips out.  But when chocolate has hardened in those little gaps?  Well, let's just say the key doesn't flip out, and I was effectively chocolate-d out of my car.  Ugh.

I was a little embarrassed.  Good thing it was late, dark, and nobody was around as I picked out the chocolate from my key.

Is this not something I should have learned when I was five?  Never again will I put chocolate in my pocket.  Never again.