Sunday, January 31, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
And a few pictures of things getting a little bit better...
5. We have small group tonight, which is a good thing, but this last week held a few a surprises with that, as well. I'm looking forward to spending some time with friends and hearing a new friend's story, but I wonder how or if we'll talk about any of the other things. And I'll have to try to stay awake.... but they usually don't mind if I'm drowsy.
Okay, that's it for me! (It's only taken me a few hours to get this post done from start to finish, with student interruptions and a class to teach.)
Monday, January 25, 2010
I went to first service (8:15!) because I wanted to hear the pastor's sermon and I was working in the nursery during second service (ummm..... I haven't ever been motivated enough to go to that service, so that tells you how excited I am about our new pastor).
Erik, our youth pastor, was at the Junior High School retreat, so I taught Senior High Sunday School between services. As mentioned, I worked in the infant nursery during second service- a quick aside on this- I do not love it when parents write down that it's not okay for their babies to cry at all, because I mean, at all? Can they not cry for a minute while I try to figure out how to get them to stop? I had one of those babies yesterday- fortunately, she didn't start crying until the last song at the end of the service, so I felt justified not calling the mom right away.
Anyway, back to my church-y day- Husband and I had a nice lunch together and then I put laundry away while he prepared to lead high school youth group - worship and teaching- and then we each went back to church- him to youth group and me to the Annual Meeting (my first one as I decided I should be a grown up now).
But here's why I'm writing.
I continue to be amazed at how when God wants to make a point, He does.
He makes sure you hear the point every way possible.
I told you about how our pastor had really challenged me to not let control and order be my idol- good things that I turn into ultimate things, making them bad things.
Yesterday he gave another good sermon continuing with the same overall vein, concluding the four week series on idols.
But here's where God really got me- in high school Sunday school, we were reading about Hezekiah. The moment he became king, he re-opened the temple, prayed for healing, had a big Passover party where worship was the focus of it all, and then went around smashing all the idols and pagan altars that had been set up.
After we'd gone through the passages and were identifying some big themes (worship, repentance, seeking God, etc.), I asked the kids to think of some application to themselves. One boy, who never fails to think deeply and provide insight to us all, really nailed it. Here's the gist of what he said.
So here's to smashing idols all week long. May you and I continue to grow closer to the One we worship, may we seek him with our everything, and may we make Him our only ultimate thing.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Note- as I wrote this- one of my students, who works in our school's coffee shop, just brought me a cup as a thank you for something else. Hooray!
Anyway, a while ago I wrote about how Rachel Anne inspired me to make my Home a sanctuary. Since then, I've been doing my minimal maintenance as often as possible and really, overall, having a great attitude about the house. I've also been reading at lots of other people's blogs about what they do, too, and getting very inspired and encouraged.... isn't bloggie world wonderful? (I only wish I had a little more time to spend visiting!)
Dining Room, pre-floor face lift
notice the boxes of laminate flooring waiting to be installed
Kitchen- alas, we can't replace the counter with the broken laminate, but it's minor
We're taking the 1985 linoleum out of the kitchen and the carpet out of the dining room and putting in wood-laminate floors, we're painting the cabinets and adding hardware so that not every smudge of yuckiness shows on them, and, the coolest of all cool things, getting a new sink to replace the old yucky ceramic white one that has chips and rust and is impossible to keep clean.
our 1985 linoleum kitchen floor that has gouges in it and is impossible to keep clean
But money is tight. So all we asked for for Christmas was the Home Depot, which is what we got- well- gift cards, anyway.
With that money, we've already bought the floor, which is in boxes in the dining room to be installed after the painting happens, and Husband just started working on taking the cabinet doors off and removing the old paint. We're still working on picking colors and hardware, but that will happen soon. The sink, although I really wanted one, was at the bottom of our list, because we couldn't really afford one and ours works fine, but Father-in-law, a contractor, found us a new stainless steel single basin (what I really wanted) $500 value sink for $90. Can you believe it!!!!! Thanks, Father-in-law, and God!
Back to my original point. I've been trying to make my home a sanctuary. Right now, it's anything but a sanctuary, and I can only imagine it will get a little (or a lot) worse before it gets better..... but I'm going to be pretty excited about the end result.
When I came home from work yesterday, Husband had already started the project- tomorrow I'll put away all my "trinkets" so they don't get yucky.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Or at least, I thought I did well.
Let me back up.
This weekend I went with our church's youth group on our annual retreat, High Altitude. You can read what my initial post before we left here, or read my good friend Kerri's post about what happened here. Hopefully I'll get some pictures soon (I didn't have my camera, so I'll be facebook stealing them as soon as others post.)
It was everything and more than I expected.
Highlight- one of my favorite high school friends, whom I've known for about four years, decided to accept Christ as her Savior and Lord!!!!! She's been pursuing God for a couple years, but on this retreat acknowledged that she'd never actually given her life to Him and she wanted to put aside her fears, questions, and doubts, and do it. It was beyond awesome!
(Sidenote- I've never been the person to pray for new life with anyone before this time- I wanted to run out of the room we were in whooping and hollering and dancing with excitement- but of course I didn't since she wasn't really quite ready for me to do that- but the next day she let me share it with everyone at our last chapel, and you bet there was some cheering then!!!)
Anyway, the retreat was great- we played, talked, ate, and learned, and did it all some more. But I digress. My point is about on planning.
See, our new Senior Pastor came up on Saturday to talk to the us about three things:
1. growing (by being in the Word)
2. connecting (to others in our circle)
3. serving (those outside our circle)
And with each step, he reminded us that we need to have a plan when it comes to each of these things.
Now, I'm a planner and an organizer and I like to be in control (see my recent revelation on that topic - our pastor is really challenging me- here). I have schedules and order and when I wake up in the morning, I immediately am planning the day.
But when it comes to growing by reading the Word, when it comes to connecting to other people in ways that I need, well, I don't plan that so very well. I'll say, "I need to read more," and that's that. Or I'll say, "I wish my friend so-and-so would call me because I could use some connection time," but I don't call her. Or I'll complain, "There's nowhere for me to really connect at my church," but I won't go to a Bible Study..... well, it turns out folks, I need a plan.
A plan will help me figure out what I really need and want to do.
A plan will help me decide what I most need in my life.
A plan will help me actually follow through on making the necessary changes.
So today, as I'm unwrapping the gift of planning and linking up over at Tuesdays Unwrapped, I'll be thinking about how THESE plans are pretty much way more important than the what's on the menu for this week or how I'll get my grading done.
These plans are going to help my heart.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
For my college best friend's family.
for Husband and myself
about teachingNext I'm going to borrow some thoughts from my new bloggie friend Southern Gal, who wrote and inspiring post about colors. You should check out her thoughts here.
Try it! It's pretty fun- you just need some paper and some markers, colored pencils, or other coloring utensil of your choice.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
I didn't know that was my title, but it is.
You can read about it over at Home Sanctuary.
But here's why I'm really writing this morning.
Since I'm trying to do this whole "find joy in making my home a sanctuary" thing and also learning to do minimal maintenance, this morning I found I had already completed Rachel Anne's small thing for today without knowing it.
See, we've been doing some painting, sanding and re-finishing of old tables, hanging drywall in the basement where it was torn out because we had a leak last May, etc., and there have been tools and cans of finish and painters tape and etc. etc. etc. all over the house. This morning, I scooped them all up and put them into one handy bag and put that bag aside so we could use the things again, but didn't over-obsess and put them all away in their proper places. Then I read Rachel Anne's post about doing something "good enough," and thought, "hooray! I just did that!"
Boy, am I starting to feel pretty good about myself!
Sunday, January 3, 2010
But. I feel a little bit like this picture that Husband took of a local sunset.
Even though it's a sunset, not a sunrise, this picture makes me think of the possibilities. It makes me think of what's new. It makes me think of what's coming.
A new year always makes us think about what we hope life will be like. I tend to operate on a school year more than a calendar year, but this New Year feels a little different. There's a new reality on the horizon.
See, grad school is over, and I'm already beginning to feel the effects of my "free time"- I didn't think it took that much of my life over, but it did- the pressure of always needing to check in and contribute to discussion forums and getting assignments figured out and readings done and papers written in addition to my regular teaching day job and grading to do- well, I feel pretty free right now.
So with the New Year comes a feeling of possibility, of time.
I don't want to fill it with (excuse me) crap. I want to fill it with meaningful things.
Meaningful might mean watching a favorite tv show with Husband.
It might mean actually scrapbooking my honeymoon (from a year and a half ago).
It might mean reading a good book (and I already went to the library and got a few!).
It might mean going for a run (and by run I mean jog).
Perhaps meaningful means reading the Bible. (duh!)
Or engaging in my new favorite prayer time, praying in color (more from me on this when I get my camera working!).
It might mean joining a women's Bible study (although the one I really am interested in is during the morning- which doesn't fit a full-time job).
Regardless, I want this year to be meaningful.
I don't expect it to be perfect.
Hang in here for a minute- I'm processing, and I think this next thought relates to a meaningful reality... I think.
Today in church our pastor (we have a pastor!!! We've been without one for a year) was talking about how we have a tendency to turn good things in our lives into the ultimate thing, thus idolizing them.
As he was talking, I knew instantly what my potential "ultimate thing" is: my need for control and order. Being on top of things isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing. But I think I border on (if not fully embrace) a semi-insane need for control and order. Even just thinking about it for a short while today, I was able to see how that control keeps me from letting God be my ultimate thing, and ultimately, even results in my losing control over many areas of life.
I think the connection here is that if I want to fill my new reality meaningfully, then I need to make sure I am relinquishing control and putting God at the top, making Him the ultimate desire of my heart.
Still working on this, but would love to hear your thoughts.