A bit of a confession

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So I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but now it’s super-duper-official: we are uprooting ourselves and moving South… in less than a month. Like, in about 2 1/2 weeks, actually. Good-bye harsh winters, year-round farmers’ markets, and real butter – hello Chick-Fil-A, peaches and Country Crock. (No, I won’t be using that ish. I’ll be bringing at least one case of Kerrygold with me, thanks much.)

During the past month or so that we’ve known that this change was coming soon, I’ve made a much more concerted effort than ever before to spend quality time with my here-friends. Whether it be a magnificent locavore dinner with ingredients obtained from the farm that day, a simple stir fry and store-bought chocolate mousse, tea and cake, ice cream, beer and pretzels, or rock climbing and protein bars, I have had more deep, real-life, spiritually edifying conversations in the past month than I had in the 6 before it. Not that life before was a spiritual desert, by any means – but my interaction with the people I care for was fairly limited to our structured, “churchy” activities and group texts. (I could make the “I have a young baby” excuse, but that’s exactly what it is – an excuse – and it only holds a teensy bit of water.) There is more of a sense of urgency in my desire for fellowship now than there was before, now that I’m counting down the days until I leave these dear friends behind… and that makes me very sad. Sad that I was so lazy and selfish with my time before – without even thinking of myself as being lazy and selfish, but more that I underestimated how much time people would actually WANT to spend with me. It grieves me how much closeness I missed out on with truly wonderful people simply because I was too afraid to put myself out there.

Hard lessons to learn later in the game, but better late than never. And I do have plenty of absolutely lovely memories to bring to Georgia with me now.

Fear hasn’t affected only my social/spiritual relationships, either – it’s affected my professional life (or lack thereof). I attempted to launch my own baking business years ago. I had done okay working out of my home kitchen for a while, but I was itching to go public and in my enthusiasm I overlooked a few important things and, well…

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(As much as I wanted to be the Road Runner, I think I always ended up looking more like Daffy.)

Five years later, I still find myself retreating to my comfort zone of retail whenever the thought of joining the world of grown-up jobs (or giving my own project another try) seems too risky. Once my husband leaves the Navy, however, I may not have a choice but to acquire a grown-up job, due to the pay cut he’ll be taking to enter the civilian workforce.

All this is a very roundabout way of saying that there are things that, even though I’ve come a long way in trusting God as life has continued, I still struggle with fear and doubt – and the knowledge that in just a few weeks I will be in a completely new state, in a new home, surrounded by new people, having to figure out a new way of doing life, though in some ways exciting, is serving as an amplifier for my fear and doubt.

Father, forgive me for every time I have ever doubted You. I know You will be with me and my family during this transition to a new stage of life, and I thank You.

That’s all for today.

Who actually likes small talk anyway?

Hey all. It’s been at least a week and a half since I last wrote, so I feel like I should write again, but here’s a funny thing I want to share with you: as of this moment, I have nothing to write about.

Don’t get me wrong, I have PLENTY on my heart and mind. Almost too much. Maybe that’s the problem; there’s too much so I don’t know where to start. Maybe the problem is that I’m not sure what’s appropriate to share to the general population and what’s not – my husband told me recently that I lack that sort of filter, the thing in your head that tells you when to shut up because “that’s not something you should say in public”. And even if he hadn’t told me that… I know it. I feel like I’ve probably alienated – or just turned off – a number of potential connections over the course of my life because I say the wrong thing (or what might have been the right thing, but at the wrong time).

So what would be a good thing to write about today? Well, to start with whatever the blogging equivalent of small talk is… it’s lovely and cool this morning, and right now I’m trying to figure out what to do with this applesauce I’ve had in the crock pot since yesterday and reading this book by Carolyn McCulley, because I read this other one last year or the year before or maybe the year before that (I forget which) and loved it.

I’m also thinking about foster parenting and human trafficking, but those are pretty heavy so I’ll get to them later.

I brought up the McCulley books (there’s also this one for those of my sisters who are still single – I want to say I was planning to read it, and that’s about when I met my husband) big part of my personal journey with the Lord has been learning exactly who I am as a woman and daughter of His, and what exactly He expects of me as such. I grew up in a household where much emphasis was placed on “doing” – volunteering for whatever ministry came on the family radar; rallying behind cause after worthy cause (though what exactly constituted a “worthy cause” was not decided by us kids); having family devotions, memorizing scripture (not at all saying that these are bad things – it’s more about what the motivation is and whether it causes you to love God more or just get puffed up because of all the good stuff you know/do). Rules were to be followed without question. Wrong actions and disobedience were punished, with little if any thought given to the discipleship opportunities these incidents presented, and little if any mention of grace.

So this is the mindset in which I spent most of my life. It makes one exceedingly insecure and judgmental, as you might expect. Probably an insufferable goody-two-shoes for a time, who eventually gets burned out and either rebels or becomes apathetic towards God and church – or both (speaking of myself, but if that’s your story too, I feel ya). Then, when one inevitably screws up beyond what one feels is redeemable, the outward “purity” one held in such esteem is wrenched away (because yes, me too) and guilt and shame take over… what is one to do?

Let one’s pride (make no mistake, that’s what it is) be slain, and come crawling back to the One who was there all the while – the One who knew that you would eventually end up here. The One who heard your desperate prayers and answered them, even when you thought He wouldn’t because you really only came to Him when you were, in fact, desperate. Those brief moments when the scales of deception fell from your eyes and, like Prince Rillian when he was strapped in the silver chair, you saw clearly for the first time in what seemed like forever and begged, almost to the point of madness, to be released from your bonds. And He released you.

Now, we know that old habits die hard. You didn’t stay free for long, because (as Loki said, in The Avengers I think?) human beings do want to be ruled over, though we don’t think we do. But He released you, again and again. And now, you finally get it (sometimes, at least) and you only want to be ruled by Him, because being enslaved to Christ is true freedom (1 Peter 2:16). When we lose ourselves for His sake, we actually find ourselves (Matthew 10:39). As Uncle Jack put it:

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. . .It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”
― C.S. Lewis

By His grace, that concept has become more and more attractive to me as time has gone on. Even when I stumble, I know now that He is more than willing to cover me with His grace – again and again.

Hey, fellow church history nerds out there – it’s the 500th anniversary of the Reformation… know the Solae? Today I guess Sola Gratia took center stage. Praise God for His unfathomable grace.

(That got pretty heavy, my bad. Stay tuned for next time: human trafficking and foster parenting.)

A quiet fall morning/Memory verses

(Note: I began writing this around 6am)

For a long time, I considered myself a morning person. That definitely changed when I met my husband, however; while we were dating, I remember how he would be on swing shift what seemed like all the time and I would have to wait until he was out of work to see him. Now, for whatever reason, we can’t seem to ever go to bed before 11.

Elliott is currently in the throes of the 8-10 month sleep/nap regression – more accurately, she is developing new physical and cognitive abilities faster than a speeding bullet, and it’s messing with her ability to wind down for naps during the day (because of course, she’d rather be crawling around and exploring, fiddling with a zipper, WALKING with this ridiculous zebra-thing-with-wheels-and-a-bunch-of-crazy-sounds-and-flashing-lights-that-also-counts-and-sings-the-ABCs-because-why-not that she has – nevermind the fact that I’m totally not ready for her to be walking… and doing just about anything else except sleeping). Then there’s separation anxiety, which sets in around the same time and is messing with her ability to stay wound down at night, and my sweet little girl who’s been sleeping through the night since about 3 months of age sleeps through the night no more. Now she gets lonely and starts crying somewhere between 11pm and 12:30am… and if it was just that one I would consider myself fortunate, but recently she’s added a 4-5am wakeup to the mix. Just to keep Mommy on her toes.

This morning, after snuggling her for a while and then putting her back to bed, I attempted to go back to sleep myself… and failed. While I lay in bed, comfy but not by any means sleepy, my mind started to wander to church songs. I began to feel like I should get up and spend some time with Jesus, and write about Him. I resisted for a while, because comfy bed is comfy. But I have in the past resisted things I felt that the Lord was asking me to do, in the name of, for the most part, comfort… so I decided not to resist this time.

Parenting has awoken in me a need for God that I only seldom knew before. There are some days I literally wonder if I would make it through the day without snapping if He wasn’t with me. Here are some of my favorite verses for the more trying moments (and for everyday, really):

Exodus 33:14 “And he said, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Psalm 119:50 “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”

Psalm 119:82 “My eyes long for your promise; I ask, ‘When will you comfort me?'”

Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

Psalm 46:4-7 “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (To remind myself that God is infinitely bigger and more powerful than my parenting struggles.)

Psalm 23:2-3 “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Oh, imagery! Green pastures… still waters… soul restoration… yes please.)

Philippians 4:9 “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (or her – can’t even count all the times I’ve prayed for wisdom over the past 9 months…)

And 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

And 1:19-20 “… let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (This has more to do with my interactions with her father than with Elliott herself, though frustration could lead to anger, and being quick to hear and observe your child can tell you more about what’s going on with them than you think.)

Isaiah 54:13 “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” (I pray sometimes that the Lord would teach Elliott how to sleep.)

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul… You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

I may add more later, but these are the ones that came to me today.

Now I’m going to go have some coffee.

Time marches on/The proverbial “springboard”

So it’s been almost a year since my last post. Taking into account me being myself (not to mention what I revealed in my last post), this should come as no surprise to anyone.

Let’s begin with updates:

Little Miss Elliott (aka Bean, aka the most beautiful tiny human in existence) has joined the outside world, and has taken mine over. She was due in January of this year; however, being a Keebler, she decided January wasn’t good enough, and decided to come a bit early – here’s a shot of my darling “three days before Christmas baby” (brand-new at that point).

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SO SQUISHY.

And here she is now, almost 9 months later… o_O

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I wasn’t kidding… most beautiful tiny human ever. *sigh* ♥

So, there’s that. My husband is still doing the thing where he, figuratively or literally, pounces on me while I’m taking a selfie. In other words, he reminds me daily that life is not about me anymore. It’s about us. And I do the same to him, probably just as often. Since we got married a little older than a lot of couples we know, it’s been interesting to see how expectations, habits, and mindsets we’ve developed over the years – sometimes the decades – affect our day-to-day interactions. I won’t go into specifics, but suffice it to say… we had both developed VERY different ideas about what marriage would be like. We had very different upbringings, very different life experiences, and though we are one flesh we are still two extremely different people. Living life, day in and day out, with someone else with whom you are continually becoming more and more acquainted… there’s nothing quite like it. It’s messy, complicated, and beautiful. Once in a while I miss my single life – I didn’t think so at the time, but things really were so much simpler back then. If I felt called to pursue something, I did it. If there were plans to be made, I made them. But I wouldn’t trade this season, or him, or this beautiful tiny person we made together, for anything. It’s just more and more sanctification.

Note: I may be transitioning off of this blog soon and starting another one… I created this one to be more strictly discipleship-journey-focused, and the new one will most definitely include some of that. But I want to do a more whole-life thing with the next one, incorporating parenthood, discipleship, food (we’re going to go either paleo/whole30/some hybrid to see if it helps resolve hubby’s digestive issues – plus I just have some interesting thoughts on food and nutrition and self-care in general), exercise (we spend just about every afternoon at the gym), my entrepreneurial aspirations, and just the random everyday thoughts of me. All I have to do is come up with a name for the new platform… I’ve got a few ideas but nothing has really knocked me over yet. Until it does, I’ll keep posting here. Stay tuned!

Cheers for now.

Winds of change

Hello everyone! Nice to be back on here… as always, when life gets busy (just how busy, you will soon see), my poor writings are often the first leisurely activity to fall by the wayside.

Let me try to catch you up…

April of last year – I began dating a brilliant young man named Dale. (That delightfully ambiguous post last April about noodles and cider and Cake? That was after our second date. Hehe.)

(End of) August of last year – we traveled down to Florida to meet his family.

(Beginning of) September of last year – he proposed. I said no thanks JUST KIDDING LOL

November through January –  I experienced the deaths of two dear friends, with whom I’d mostly (regrettably) lost touch over the years, except for the occasional interaction on social media.

Note: This period of time (and beyond) was a very dark one for me, especially because these tragedies (and some other personal struggles I experienced but won’t get into here) occurred during what one would think should have been some of the happiest times in my life – I was engaged and planning my wedding, for gosh sakes! But the Lord saw fit to give that sweet time a bitter edge, and whatever the reason, I will trust Him… and yes, it has taken me quite a while to get to the point where I am able to say that and actually mean it.

March of this year – Dale and I got married, and despite all that preceded it, it was truly joyous. We honeymooned in beautiful Québec City.

April of this year – we adopted a puppy, whom we quickly discovered was a domestic terrorist. But he’s adorable, and we love him.

May of this year – we found out I was pregnant. That was way too easy.

June – sickness. Morning, afternoon, evening, overnight. All the sickness. I had to take a few weeks of leave time from work because the hormones were legit interfering with my ability to do my job.

Now – We found out last month that we’re having a little girl (YAY), and at this point I’m quite obviously pregnant. Like, pretty much all I wear is stretchy pants. #nachowouldbeproud

Also now – my sister has gone and moved to Nicaragua and gotten married.

Obviously, if you look at that timeline it’s easy to think, “wow, that’s a lot of big life events in a short time frame”… and DARN TOOTIN’ IT IS. I sometimes feel like I have emotional/mental whiplash because my life has taken such a dramatically different course than anything I could possibly have predicted at the beginning of last year. Sometimes I feel like I’m just barely catching my breath (more so nowadays, because our little Bean is pushing upward on my diaphragm). Change is not exactly my favorite thing – even if it’s good change, it throws off my groove. I need to take time to process it. Over the past couple months I’ve started to really dig into these events and how they’ve impacted me. I feel as though my identity has completely changed – and to a certain extent, it has. The rings I wear, not to mention my ever-expanding belly, signify to the world that there is a whole other component to my world now (namely, my husband – and now, of course, another, albeit tiny, one named Elliott Renee), whether he is immediately present or not. My priories have shifted, as Paul promises they will in 1 Corinthians:

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.

1CO 7:32‭-‬34 ESV

http://bible.com/59/1co.7.32-34.ESV

I have found this to be true, to a certain extent – though, if what pleased my husband and what pleased the Lord were ever at odds, obviously the latter would take precedence; it is the same as the scriptural command to obey one’s parents, or to obey the political authorities, that is to say, our primary allegiance is to a higher authority than all these, and so if there is ever conflict, we, by default, submit to God’s authority first.

This shift has also affected my life’s pursuits… namely, my work and entrepreneurial aspirations, as well as leisure activities. Nowadays, I budget my time very differently than I did when I was single… though this is necessitated in part by the fact that I have about a third of the amount of energy I use to have, thanks to little Miss Ellie. Oh well. I suppose it’s going toward a good cause. ^_^

I think I’m starting to ramble a bit, so I’ll finish up here… all this is to say that I’ve entered a new, unfamiliar, and very interesting season of life, and I’m excited to share what I learn here with anyone who’s willing to listen (or read), just as I loved sharing with you all what I learned during prior seasons. Hopefully I can muster up the self-discipline to write more regularly.

In the meantime, here are some puppy pictures. You’re welcome.

That’s little Moses Puppy, with his head on my lap and his paw on my belly. Such a sweet little guy. He’s an Aussie shepherd + cattle dog mix, and therefore insane. But he’s my furbaby and I adore him.

That’s Zoey… I call her my step-dog because Dale had her before we met. She’s a Great Dane mix and has some kind of oral fixation, which is why in this picture she’s stuffed her mouth full of doggie bed but isn’t chewing it up or ripping it apart; she is also the sweetest, gentlest creature (four-legged or otherwise) in my acquaintance.

And, last but certainly not least, my darling hubby.

He’d just bought this jacket as we were walking around Québec… doesn’t he look smashing?? Like, some kind of men’s fashion model or something. *swoons* And then here’s one of my favorites…

This was during one of our premarital counseling sessions… our friends had just had a baby a few weeks prior, and oy… seeing this guy with a tiny baby was total confirmation to me that I’d made the right choice. *sigh*

And one last…

 I was taking a selfie and he pounced on me. That pretty much sums up our relationship, haha. ❤

That’s all for now, folks!

Cheers to life.

So forgetful.

So, I have the YouVersion Bible app on my electronics. It has these really nifty Bible reading/study plans, which I do pretty regularly.
I just finished one called “Remembering All God Has Done”. Interestingly, the last sermon I heard last time I was at church has a lot to do with this principle… and I recently read 2 Peter, which talks about stirring up our faith by way of reminder (appropriately enough, the title of this blog also comes from 2 Peter). It seems that everywhere I turn, I’m reminded of the importance of remembering.

How appropriate this is, for I am a master of forgetting.

I forget that I am a being that values – no, craves – solitude and contemplation.

I forget that excess consumption of mindless (albeit, exceptionally well-written) entertainment dulls the spiritual senses.

I forget that my soul finds rest and peace in God alone.

I forget that He holds my past, present, and future in His hands.

I forget that He makes things happen.

I forget that He made me, and knows what He made me capable of, what I need… who I am. He knows my true identity, and He knows it at a way deeper level than I do.

I forget the things that God has done for me, even though He owes me absolutely nothing. Just the fact that I woke up this morning breathing is a gift, but I’m talking more about His redemptive work and the fulfilling of His promises.

I forget so much.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”

2 Peter 1:3-9, 12 ESV

So, there’s that.

Thank God that whenever we are forgetful, He has words already set down in scripture to remind us.

What verses remind you of truths about God that you tend to forget? Are there particular seasons of life during which you especially need these words? Feel free to comment and share.

Cheers!

Grateful always

Nothing makes for a great evening like drunken noodles, Angry Orchard cider, and Cake to top it all off.

Cake, you say?

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But it's not my birthday!

No – this Cake. 😀

I’ll write a real post soon, promise. Just had to share.

On the Sabbath, etc.

First things first: Happy birthday Antonio Vivaldi!

Relevant Magazine recently posted an article on one of the 10 commandments: namely, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

The sad fact is that most people who claim to be religious, spiritual, Christian, etc. make a regular practice of disobeying this commandment – myself included. I think I’m probably one of the worst offenders here… there was a time in my life when I had 3 jobs and attended a local community college full-time. Later on, I tried to hold down 2 jobs, run my own business, and attend school (this time, big-girl school – private university) again, full-time. It is only in recent years that I’ve realized the vital importance of being Earnest – I mean, of resting.

I’m talking about real rest here, folks. Not just crashing for 14 hours straight when the candle I’ve lit at both ends finally fizzles away to nothing, burning my fingers in the process. I’m referring to Sabbath rest, the kind our Lord intends for His people to enjoy as a break from our work. The article talked about figuring out what exactly is work for you, and managing your time the other six days of the week so that you are able to come to a good stopping point (going through emails, running errands, etc.) so that you are really prepared to take a day off.
For instance: I work at a grocery store (the most wonderful grocery store in the world, but that’s irrelevant right now). So for me, anything associated with groceries is pretty much work – even shopping for them, even though I looooooove to grocery shop and cook. I even do volunteer work for one of my churches that involves shopping. So, ideally, my Sabbath doesn’t involve food shopping or preparation. I also spend a lot of time using technology, whether it be writing, checking emails, texting, etc.

See how intentional we need to be about this? Those things, even though they are good (well, heh, you know, not inherently bad anyway), are things I do every day that take up my time and use up my energy. I would certainly never check my email/social media for fun or relaxation; some people may, but I do not. But they are so ingrained in my life and my routine that I need to consciously, intentionally not do them. And yes, this may mean that on the Sabbath I eat leftovers – or perhaps some nice bread, cheese and salad or fruit which were conveniently purchased the day prior. I may love to cook, but I have to admit… that doesn’t sound bad to me.

Confession time: the thought of preparing for the Sabbath – before the Sabbath begins – is an aspect of rest that I had never really considered before. Yes, I’ve seen Fiddler on the Roof and read the entire Old Testament multiple times, but despite that, for as long as I can remember, half (or more) of my Sabbath day has consisted of preparing to rest (running last minute errands, tying up loose ends correspondence-wise, tidying up my apartment, SHOPPING – ayyyyyyyyy), rather than preparing ahead of time and actually taking the day of rest to do the resting.

This may be late for a new year’s resolution, but it is a resolution of some sort: I am going to begin honoring the Sabbath as God commands. Those close to me may notice that I disappear for a day (electronically speaking), but part of my preparation will be giving them a heads-up. And yes, I also may end up spending some quality time with them. But a good portion of my rest day must be spent in solitude with God. The sanity of this introvert-working-a-full-time-retail-job depends on it.

This past Monday I took the closest thing to a real Sabbath I’ve had in a while; I drove through some beautifully snow-covered farm country to a cute little town in the Hudson Valley that I’d never been to before, and I sat in a cute little café for a couple hours, observing people, thinking, and journaling. It was unhurried, interesting, and relaxing. I hope to have more days like it in the future. I thanked God for every cloud in the sky, every gorgeous mountain in the distance, every blowing-snow-river rushing across the road, and the gorgeous sunset. I was reminded that all of nature is the declaration of His presence here with us.

And at the end of the day, that’s exactly what it comes down to… experiencing God. Having special time set aside for Him, just like we may for a human friend or family member – except that He’s so much more than either of those, and more important. Our very lives are for Him. I hate to sound cliché, but everything is about Him. It’s so strange to try to grasp the concept that the meaning of life, the be-all and end-all of everything in this amazing universe, the Logos… it’s all a person. Jesus… He IS truth. He IS life. An absolutely amazing person who lived a beautiful – nay, an impossible life.

He’s why we exist.

Cut the Sabbath out of your life, and you miss out on more than simply a relaxing day off. You cut out time that you could have had with Him. You cut out one bit of time you could have spent with the only One who knows you completely, and yet still loves you perfectly and unconditionally. The one who is constantly surprising you with, as Keller says, “the surprises of perfection”.

Think about that for a while. This is why there will be those on the last day who say “but we did all the right stuff!” and yet will be told, “Depart from me; I never knew you.” Sobering thought.

Anyways, I hate to leave things on such a serious note. Here’s a funny article from The New Yorker about online dating.

Cheerio!

On Simplification, Snow, and Enjoying My Own Company

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One of the greatest presents my parents gave me this past Christmas was a pair of gift cards to two of my favorite restaurants in our town. I’m sure they were hoping I would use them to go out with friends or, heh, family… but, in fact, I have used them to take myself out on a few dates. Just me and some yummy sushi/soup/summer rolls, my Bible or perhaps the company of Mr. Herman Melville, and sometimes my journal. It’s hard to fully express how nice it is to sit at a small corner table in a nice, quiet restaurant, all by oneself.

I’m not sure if it’s just because I’m a bit older now, or because I’ve embraced my introverted nature… perhaps both. At any rate, in recent years I’m learning more and more that I simply need to be alone with my thoughts sometimes. People at work probably think I’m a bit odd; I can go hours without talking to anyone (except customers, of course, cause ya know, job), but the wheels are always turning. Sometimes it may even appear as if I’m talking to myself… that’s how I process the stuff that’s going on in my brain. The funny thing is that I transition almost seamlessly from this, like, “background processing” state into a perfectly normal interaction with another person. I’ve accepted this for what it is… part of how I operate. I rather think these little eccentricities add to my charm. ^_^

Snow… ah, snow. There has been quite a bit of that over the past few weeks – and we’re getting even more tomorrow! Hooray… eh. While I’m not opposed to snow within reason, the thing that bothers me about it is mostly how Northeastern dwellers deal with it. They either drive like maniacs in their SUV’s and sporty cars with all-wheel-drive and snow tires and no regard for the state of the nerves of those driving around them, or they drive in a way that indicates that they really think that if they go above 20 mph on the highway, they’re going to slide off and die. That may be true (though it probably is not), but members of this second group are way more likely to get plowed in the rear if they don’t turn their 4-ways on so that the people in the first group know they’re going to need to pass.

Shmurrrrrrrrr.

So, I’m going to wrap this up… but before I do, I want to make a confession: I make life a lot more complicated than it needs to be. I get wrapped up in so many layers of “stuff”, and drama, and I turn things that are obviously on the “want” list into “needs” because I am a ridiculous woman with no self-control.
Those of you who use the YouVersion bible app – go to Plans and look up Simplify. It’s by Bill Hybels, I believe, and though it doesn’t really bring up anything I haven’t read, heard, or thought about before, it makes the points well and gives the reader very practicable lessons and solid guidelines for follow-up. I finished the plan a couple days ago.

I think I may go back and do it again.

The season of life I’m in seems to be one where the universe takes whatever boundaries I attempt to enforce, whatever plans I try to make, whatever order I attempt to put my life in, and pees on it (metaphorically speaking, of course). I’m getting to the point where every few days I’m so overloaded I can’t think anymore. It’s past the point that even journalling will help, because I don’t have enough time to write out all the things that are swirling – or banging and crashing – around in my head. It’s exhausting.

So, long story short, I am making a discipline of simplification this year. By God’s grace, sometime soon I will have a handle on my finances, my time, and my emotions… and it will only come when I remember that all my resources are actually His resources, and He gets priority. Think Matthew 6:31-33 and Luke 12:30-31.

Simple.