Saturday, November 28, 2009

With a Thankful Heart

Have you ever seen the Muppet Christmas Carol? If not, you should. It's my favorite version of the Christmas Carol EVER, and my family watches it on Thanksgiving Day every year, and then a couple of more times during the season. At the end of the movie, Scrooge and company sing a song about having a thankful heart, and I love it, and it's perfect for this week. I've had a lovely week off, visited with my bff-cousin, enjoyed two Thanksgiving dinners with my two families (mine and Husbands), sewed a quilt (pictures to follow soon), and more.

Becca cracking up about something John said or did.

Sisters. Gotta love it!

So, it's with a thankful heart I get ready for another week!

With a thankful heart, with an endless joy
With a growing family, every girl and boy
Will be nephew and niece to me (Nephew and niece to me)
Will bring love, hope and peace to me (Love, hope and peace to me)

Yes and every night will end, and every day will start
With a greatful prayer and a thankful heart
With an open smile and with open doorsI will bid you welcome, what is mine is yours
With a glass raised to toast your health (With a glass raised to toast your health)
And a promise to share the wealth (Promise to share the wealth)
I will sail a friendly course, file a friendly chart
On A sea of love and a thankful heart
Life is like a jouney, who knows when it ends?
Yes and if you need to know the measure of a man
You simply count his friends
Stop and look around you, the glory that you see
Is born again each day, don't let is slip away
How precious life can be
With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise, every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise (Used now to sing your praise)
And to beg you to share my days (Beg you to share my days)
With a loving guarantee that even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart

I will hold you close in a thankful heart

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Going on a Visit

Good morning, Company Girls! Don't really have much of a chance to write right now, because as soon as I'm done teaching my 2nd period class, I'm heading straight to the airport to fly to Virginia! I'll just be gone for the weekend, but it's going to be fun...

This is my cousin Caroline and I about a year and a half ago at my wedding. Caroline (Linie) is exactly 5 months older than I am, to the day, and since our mom's are best friends (sisters), we've been besties our whole lives, too. Couldn't imagine life without her!

We've been talking for years about me coming out to see her for a visit, but never could get our timing right. This year we decided it was just time to make it happen, so here I go!

Looking forward to a fun-filled, laughter-filled, talking-filled, walking-filled, incredible weekend, followed by a week of from teaching!

Hope your weekend is wonderful, too.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Today I'm joining my friends over at Chatting at the Sky, where on Tuesdays we think about the little things we're thankful. According to Emily (who writes Chatting at the Sky), November is the official month to be thankful for the small things, but she (and I agree) thinks it's pretty cool we do that every month. (When I say "we," I use the term relatively... I've only been joining in for a few weeks now!)

Lately I've been working on a journey (because for a little while, I'm pretty sure I was standing still if not moving backwords) towards knowing God as Lord and King. In the last week, Husband and I have been spending more time with God separately, and then sharing about what we're learning with each other, and that in and of itself is an incredible gift to unwrap. I feel like I have a long, long way to go.... but just as I am seeing the Lord and King in the sights around me, I'm learning a little about who He could be (and will be) in my life.

But, today I'm going to be thankful for what, to some, would seem like an pretty small gift, compared to the richness found in things of God..... but I think most of you will agree with me that the gift of laughter is indeed one of the best gifts God gives. Today I celebrate the laughter my family got as we looked a this series of photos that Husband and I took of ourselves at a baseball game this summer. We didn't realize what was going on until we looked at all three pictures in succession..... and then we laughed and laughed and laughed as we joined in on the joke.

Darn, didn't really get into their picture....

Now I'm in!

Guys, guys, I got into their picture!

Whether it's laughing so hard you make the crying face, that milk comes out your nose, that you can't breathe, or that your face hurts, laughter is indeed one of the best little gifts I can think of. Hope you laugh today!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baking 101

This is the story of how I today, for one of the first times in my marriage, I acted like I never had baked before.... and how Mom-in-law and Dad-in-law got to be a part of it.

Let me back up. Last night, while putting on our Night of Neon dance at school to raise money for the food drive, it began to snow. And not just a light, fine snow, but snow. And this was like no snow I'd ever seen. Should have gotten a picture. It was like the stuff that's inside a bean bag chair. Small round grains of snow. It was crazy! We ended up shutting down the dance early, because the roads were getting worse and worse and worse. When the last students had been picked up and I had set the school's alarm, I ventured out to my little car....

crunch crunch crunch, went the snow, as I tromped through three inches of this weird, slippery, bean-bag-filling snow. It was an interesting drive home.

Anyway, I tell you that story so you'll understand why I was excited about this morning. You see, Husband had a long week at work, and even worked all day Saturday, so it was a huge blessing to have a "snowy Sunday" where we wouldn't feel bad about sleeping in a little and having breakfast at home and missing church.
Anyway, I got it into my head that it would be fun to make my mom's biscuits. They're delicious. And I've made them before, I promise, and they've turned out fine.

So we invite Mom and Dad-in-law to come over for biscuits since we haven't seen them for a week or so, and it's going to be very cozy and happy. I made a pot of coffee and timed it perfectly so that the biscuits would come out just as they got here, and be hot and fresh. There was even honey butter to go on top.

Of course I served everyone else first. That's polite, right? In this case, wrong. I should have tried the biscuits first! I thought they looked a little flat, but I figured I'd just made them too small. And I've been having trouble with my oven, so I wasn't surpised they looked a little crunchy on the outside.

Mom-and-Dad-in-law spread the honey butter on top and start eating, and didn't say a word. Finally, I got around to putting butter on mine and taking a bite. It was HORRIBLE!

I insisted they stop eating them, although they kept trying to be polite, even as I was going on and on about how disgusting the biscuits were. Finally, I convinced my family to throw them all away, and we had pancakes instead.

Later, I called my mom to discuss my disaster. She asked, "Did you put the baking powder in?" And I said, "no, you said baking soda." Well, it turns out, nope, she definitely said baking powder, as can be clearly seen by the notes I myself wrote. I just wasn't paying attention.

Rookie mistake, some would say. I suppose it's futile to argue that I'm not a rookie.... but after today's episode, who will believe me? :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

With My Eyes

Yesterday, with a Gingerbread Latte in hand (brought to me by one of my students), I meant to link up with the Coffee Company Girls to share. Sadly, even though I was three quarters of the way finished with my post, the rest of the day got away from me and I didn't. So I'm "linking up" today anyway, even though nobody might be there. :) If you stumble upon this, thanks for coming on my journey with me! Enjoy!

Lately I've been re-reading journal entries as I try to embark on a new stage of my journey. In them, I write to God using all sorts of God names. "God." "Father." "Jesus." "Savior." "Holy Spirit." "Lord." And I wondered, do I really KNOW God in those ways? Father? Yes, He's held me in His arms several times. Savior? Yes, I learned a lot about Him and grace during "the bad year" (which I might write about sometime). Lord? I don't think I know Him well. And I think, that at this stage of my journey, He- the Lord and King- is who I need to know.

So I started looking for Him. And I realized, how could the Being that created this NOT be Lord and King? Many people look but they do not see. I want to see.

And this. The vastness of the ocean makes me bow down in awe. How could someone NOT see God here?

So. It is my goal to see how God is Lord and King, but not just to see with my eyes..... but also with my heart.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Little Sip Of Heaven in the Midst of Chaos

Man, life is busy.

As Christmas decorations go up (who are we kidding, stores have had decorations and holiday stuff since before Halloween!), festive feelings are supposed to abound. And don't get me wrong, they do abound. I LOVE the Holiday season. Thanksgiving to Christmas is perhaps one of my favorite favorite favorite times of the year.

BUT. We all know that it is also one of the most stressful times of the year. As a teacher, I have to somehow get my students ready for their final exams, which means reminding them of all the things we've been working for the last semester and getting them to the point where we're supposed to be, in the midst of all the typical end-of-semester interruptions- assemblies, snow days, Thanksgiving break.... all wonderful, but all adding to the stress level. Then there's the whole Christmas-present-shopping and we're-out-of-money thing. Husband and are I trying to be good stewards of our money, but that always seems to fly out the window when presents are expected. And the whole two-family thing is always a bit stressful to manage, too. We love both families and want to spend time with both families, but it's hard dividing the time and being willing to compromise on some traditions.

Needless to say, even amongst the festivities, there's some stress.

And that is when I remember that God has given me a gift. Well really, two gifts. The holiday season is always an excellent reminder of what He's done for us and the gift of His son and my new life. Which, let's face it, is the greatest gift we could get and we always need the reminder.

But God is super nice to me and, during this season, gives me a personal gift. Seriously, I tell everyone that I consider it God's personal gift to me, Beth. What is it, you ask? A little sip of heaven...... the Gingerbread Latte at Starbucks.

Seriously, I love it. I wait for it ALL year. No matter what mood I'm in, the first sip of one makes me happy happy happy, puts a smile on my face, thrills me.

Today I'm linking up with my friends at Chatting at the Sky, where on Tuesday's we Unwrap different presents, be they big or small. Today I'm unwrapping the Gingerbread Latte.

And yes, I'm drinking one RIGHT NOW.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A New Journey

Good morning!

Photo by: Jonathon Fashbaugh

Even though I didn't take this picture, I could have a dozen times. Sunrises in this state are often colorful, creative, welcoming, inviting.... on Friday we had a BEAUTIFUL one, that, on my way to work, I was wishing I'd had my camera. My friend Dawn captured a snapshot, though.
Anyway, it's been a week since I've written. I've already mentioned I'm an external processor, but I didn't mention that writing has been one of my most effective and meaningful ways of dealing with life. When I was in school, I wrote stories, stories that were real and stories that let me imagine how life could be. As a college student and adult, journaling keeps me focused, processed, and usually, in check and in balance.

So why haven't I written in this new little processing venue? Well, there are lots of reasons, I suppose.

On Monday my cockateil, Taylor, who has been chirping and whistling welcoming greetings in my home for 15 years, whistled no more. I cried and cried and cried and cried, even though I felt sort of silly for being so upset over a bird. I cleaned the bird cage and put it away, but every time I go down to my living room, I look for the birdie. Sigh. This picture is from an old scrapbook and is about 10 years old. The caption in the scrapbook read "Look, we're related!"

On Wednesday, my sister and I went to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra. She won tickets off the radio, which was quite exciting, because she'd been wanting to see them for years. If you've never heard of them, first, be warned- they're basically a rock orchestra, and it's loud! But also, they're incredible. You've probably heard their Christmas music, or seen the video of that house all lit up to the tune of one of the songs. Anyway, their concerts ROCK. (Literally.) And they have major light shows.

The rest of the week was busy, too. Small group, college football game, high school musical performance..... not to mention teaching and working on grad school.

So there could be lots of reasons I didn't write. I was busy.
But I've noticed, in my life, that when there are big gaps in the dates of my journal entries, it usually means I'm in a spiritually dry place. There's a big correlation between how much and often I write and how much and often I spend time with my Father and Lord. If you were to glance through the last pages in my journal, you'd see that the dates of the entries span months... a sure sign I've been dry.

Today I started a new journal (it's symbolic) and wrote several pages to my Lord, mostly just telling Him where I'm at and asking for His help to begin a fresh journey, one where I spend time with Him regularly. While I may not be able to find time to blog and journal, I want to make sure I am writing, because writing helps me process, and processing helps me connect to the One whom I most need to connect.

So here's to a new journey and a new journal!

One other thing that happened this week is that Mom-in-law gave me a Willow Tree statue as a present because she knew how sad I was about Taylor. I LOVE Willow Trees. They make me happy. This particular Willow Tree was a girl holding a bird. It's called Peace. I thought it was interesting that she towers above all my other Willow Trees (learning, celebrate, and the angels of love, heart, and wishes), because it was a visual reminder to me that PEACE is something God desires for us above all else. Regardless of whatever we're facing, He brings us PEACE.

Isn't she beautiful? I think so. A perfect representation that the God I seek to know more seeks to bring me peace, something I have been feeling without. Beautiful.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Trick or Treat: Sisters

My sister (we'll call her Hermanita- "little sister" in Spanish) and I are the only children in our immediate family, and we're nearly six years apart in age. Bummer, some might say. Are you crazy? I'd reply. Being six years apart made it so that we didn't fight nearly as much as sisters do who are closer in age. Don't get me wrong- we still fought- but it wasn't that often-territorial-rooted-in-jealousy-mean kind of fighting that leaves scars on the relationship. Hermanita has been my best friend for her whole life.

Last night we popped by my mom-and-dad-in-laws on our way home from seeing the musical "Wicked" in Denver. Mom-and-dad-in-law live on a street that goes INSANE for Halloween, somthing Hermanita doesn't really get since she spent most of her childhood living in a forest neighboorhood- it was a long walk to trick-or-treat, so there weren't ever many people out. Last night she was astonished to see that in five minutes, the doorbell rang more times in five minutes than in an entire year or two of Halloween at our house growing up. We took a walk up the street where some of the neighbors had transformed their cul-de-sac into a Pirate Cove- complete with HUGE ships. (Regretting that I didn't have my camera to show you the pictures..... they even had about 20 people decked out as pirates as the "cast" of the street.) Anyway, Hermanita was feeling a little as if she'd missed out on what trick-or-treating could be like, so I reminded her of a few different costumes we had.

Here Hermanita and I are dressed up as nurses. Hermanita's about 3 years old and I'm about 9. (Notice that she's wearing sweatpants and I'm wearing tights and a sweatshirt- it's always cold at Halloweeen here.) We've been princesses, angels, and a variety of other fun "girly" type things. We've trick-or-treated in big neighborhoods and little neighborhoods and we've had "fall parties" with neighbors. We've gone trick-or-treating for canned goods with the youth group instead of for candy (except peope always gave us candy, too). We, as my students would say, are "BFFs"(best friends forever). Hermanita teases me and calls me "Hermanita mayor"- which means "little older sister," because there have been many, many times in our lives where she has been more like my big sister, than I have been hers. We trade roles.

Almost 20 years later, here we are again, just yesterday standing outside the theater where we saw "Wicked." We may not be dressed up in costumes, but we had a ton of fun, as we almost always do when we're together.

Having a little sister- trick or treat? Well, I'd say it's a treat, at least 99% of the time.

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