Friday, December 31, 2010

Something New For the Blog

I just noticed a few days ago the new pages widget here on Blogger. I like it. I've added a few new pages at the top now that I can that I thought would make the blog more interesting, at least to me, anyhow. I added a page for keeping a list of the books I'm reading, in case anyone is interested. I know I like to know what other people are reading, and I often find good reading ideas that way, too. One caution, though, just because I have a book listed doesn't necessarily mean I'd recommend it. If curious, you can ask if it's a book I liked or not or if I feel comfortable recommending it.

Another thing I added up there is a page for scripture memorization. This is a discipline I want to practice better, and I'm hoping that by having a page dedicated to sharing what I'm working on maybe I'll stick to it better than I have recently. Leslie kindly alerted me to Tim Brister's Partnering to Remember project to encourage us to memorize the book of Philippians by Easter. I'm excited about it and I've got my notebook ready to start along with many others who will be working to hide this passage of God's word in our hearts in 2011. Maybe you'd like to consider joining, too?

Looking forward to what the new year holds. Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blogging Reflections as 2010 Winds Down

I don’t usually make official New Year’s resolutions. The end of the year and beginning of a new year is, however, not a bad time to reflect on things. I find myself doing that this week. I also find that this is probably not a good time for me to be making any major decisions since I’m feeling kind of depressed. I don’t know why exactly, but I can think of a few things that may be working there, but I don’t really need to share them here. Probably shouldn't blog when I'm feeling this way, either.... Funny how dates on a calendar can make you think about things you don't usually think about on a daily basis and can make you feel a little sad for no other reason.

Though I’m not making resolutions per se, there are some things I’m pondering here. First of all, I may need to blog and Facebook less in the new year. I’ve been thinking about blogging and what an odd thing it is. In some ways very personal, sharing my thoughts in my little space here, but in others by necessity not personal at all, being out here on the web and read by people who don’t really know me. In recent months I’ve found more and more that I wrote a post, published it and then decided to take it down. I’m finding that I really need to examine my motives in publishing posts. Sometimes it’s better to give a thought time before writing in the heat of emotion and hitting publish before giving that thought time to settle out. Sometimes the thought should not be published at all. I’ve toyed around with ending the blog altogether, but I’m not sure I’m really ready to do that.

I wrote a rather longish paragraph in the earlier version of this post but again, I deleted it. Another one of those thoughts that maybe didn't need to be published, except to maybe sum up more generally and say that you sometimes need a thick skin when blogging, too, and I haven't always been very skilled with that. That and the fact that blogging and Facebook can just eat up too much wasted time if you let them, too. I’m not so sure that what I’ve been writing is anything anyone else would care about reading, and therefore, what’s the point? If sitemeter has anything to say about it, it's not like many people are even reading anymore, anyhow. I guess I need to be more careful about what I blog.

Something else I’ve been thinking about is my personal time in God’s Word. Leslie wrote recently about how it’s hard to really reflect on what she was reading when she had 6 chapters to get through each day in a strict reading plan. I can relate to that. For the past several years I’ve made it a practice to read through the Bible in a year. It has been very good for me in that I don’t think I had ever read the Bible all the way through and chronologically before that, and it has very much helped me to see the Bible as a whole. But there were times when it became more about getting the daily reading done (check that box) than about knowing Jesus and really thinking about what I’d read that day. I think this year I’m going to slow it down and not be so concerned with getting through a reading plan and focus in on a book at a time and study it. I’m also wanting to focus on memorizing some passages of scripture and really hiding God’s Word in my heart. A few years ago when I was working in Awana at a church where we were members, the leadership challenged us leaders to memorize several scripture passages. I have always intended to work through that list, but I've not yet done it. I'm starting on Isaiah 53 now.

Just a couple of things I’m pondering as we wind down 2010 and get ready for 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Luke 2:14

"The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined."
Isaiah 9:2

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-4

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17

"Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
Isaiah 53:4-6

"For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures," 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Hebrews 6:19-20

"Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." Hebrews 7:25

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" John 14:6

"You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You."
Isaiah 26:3

Glory to God in the highest! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Seventeen Years Ago

My husband is not perfect. Seventeen years ago, he did not marry a perfect wife, either. But he is the perfect mate for me, by the kindness of God. As I look back at the day seventeen years ago today that we said our vows, I marvel today at how young and naive I was, at how much I did not yet know about life. But one thing we both knew was that we were committed to Jesus Christ, we were committing to each other, and not only to each other, we were committed to marriage, as a covenant.

I met my husband at church. All those people who felt the need to repeatedly give me their dire warnings about how I would lose my way if I went off to that ‘brothel’ called the University of Florida, by God’s grace, and only by His grace, you were wrong. God is bigger than the party school every one feared, and He keeps His own. It may not have been love at first sight when I met Drew, but that’s only because I was too stupid to see it. We did grow into a friendship that deepened into love, and really, that’s a good thing. Because today he is still my best friend.

Much of who I am today has been shaped by the fact that God graciously allowed my path to cross paths with Drew that January evening at a small Baptist church in Gainesville, FL. I am so thankful that God has taken these two imperfect people, and by His grace, in spite of our naivete at the time, caused us to grow together and toward Him over these seventeen years.

I love my husband. He works hard to support our family, and he is very good at what he does. His coworkers respect him, and as his wife I know that their respect is well-placed. He laughs with me, cries with me, plays with me, learns with me, prays with me. He is my biggest encourager and best understander of some of my closest held dreams and fears. He knows me better than pretty much anyone else I know, and loves me much more than I deserve. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post today had he not encouraged me to overcome my fear and start this blog a few years ago. It was his idea! He thought I needed a place to write out the things I shared with him that I think about. He was right. I did need this place.

He shares the secret grief, and he understands why a song or a word or a date on the calendar may bring sudden and unexpected tears to my eyes even when no one else in the room has any idea.

He has shared the joyful tears and laughter when our children were born and as we’ve gone through ups and downs of learning this whole parenting thing together. He is such a good dad, and I’m honored to get to parent alongside him.

God gave mankind a good and wonderful gift when He gave us marriage. In a shadow picture, my husband is able to demonstrate just a glimpse of Christ’s love for His Church. I am not an easy person to live with, but Drew loves me, and I’m thankful.

Happy anniversary, Drew. I love you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's Cold, Y'all

My son looked at the thermometer this morning and told me it was 43 degrees. I said, "Sure felt a lot colder when I let Roscoe out a little while ago." He looked again, grinned and said, "'s 4.3 degrees. Didn't notice the decimal." Pesky things, decimals.

Wimpy Florida girl mom drove to the bus stop this morning. "Feels like" temperature was minus 7. That's just too cold to walk up the hill.

Just came in from the grocery shopping. Hands are finally thawing after my second cup of hot tea this morning. Making my third while I put away the groceries and listen to Alistair Begg preaching about thankfulness. I'm thankful for a warm house and hot tea this morning. And I'm thankful that the cold reminds me of my little bulbs freezing away under the ground getting ready to be beautiful come spring.

More than that, I'm thankful for our gracious God who in His mercy and love has saved me from the agony of my sin and reconciled me to Himself. Christmas is such a wonderful time to reflect on the awesome fact that Jesus came and veiled His glory in human flesh, God With Us, Immanuel, born under the shadow of the Cross, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world, the life that is the Light of men, the very Word, and has redeemed a people unto Himself. Glory to God in the Highest!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Practical Mom's Dictionary - Installment #12

Haven't done one of these in a long time.

Futility: Snow has just started. Not much accumulation at all yet, but predicted to snow all day. Neighbor is outside shoveling the dusting off his driveway while the snow is falling harder and harder.

Excitement: Kids watching the snow falling and enjoying its beauty, then running through the house gathering up gloves, snow boots, snow pants, and sleds in anticipation of the coming accumulation on the sled hill.

Weather Day

This is the first time ever that I've experienced a snow day for church. Bummer. The roads are very icy today and more snow - a lot - is on the way today. I'm going to miss being with my church family today. But we'll make it a nice day with the family and pray together. It's also looking like an excellent chance for the kids to try out the sled hill for the first time later on today, too. Better plan to make lots of hot cocoa! This also gives me more time on my new temporary weight loss program since my stepping out of my comfort zone to do something I haven't since I was in high school will have to be rescheduled along with our Christmas concert which would have been tonight. Looking at the bright side, I get even more time to practice my little solo at home now, and seeing as I haven't been able to eat much since I was asked to sing it earlier this week, looking good on the weight loss front - won't be packing on those Christmas cookie pounds this year.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Thought

Has it occurred to anyone how ironic it is that the shop and splurge orgy of discontent called ‘Black Friday’ occurs the day after the day we supposedly set aside to think about thankfulness? Americans don’t know how to do contentment. Though I stay away from ‘Black Friday’ madness - really there is nothing I want or need that is worth getting up in the wee hours of the morning or camping out in the cold to buy, I still need to learn to practice being content better, too.

Just a thought as I was mopping the floor this afternoon and listening to Alistair Begg preach. Carry on.....

Monday, December 06, 2010

Status Report - December 2010

My friend Lisa dreamed up a wonderful blog format when she started doing her status reports. Once again I’m borrowing it. my kitchen where my computer resides.

Feeling...a little chilly. It was a cold one today. May need to move to the living room soon and enjoy the gas fireplace which is keeping the thermostat warm enough that the heat isn’t coming on in the rest of the house, which is why the kitchen is a little chilly right now.

Drinking...the giant diet Coke my husband was so sweet to pick up for me on his way home from work. Yes, he does love me.

Waiting....for my cup of chocolate hazelnut decaf tea to finish steeping. Second one of the afternoon/evening. Yes, it is that good.

Enjoyed....meatloaf for dinner. Aren’t you jealous? drink less coffee. I don’t like it black, so I have to add creamer, lots of flavored creamer, and Sweet-N-Low, which I like, but the creamer adds fat and calories. Gotta cut back somewhere.

Loving....the Go Fish Christmas CD. Especially their arrangement of “Mary Did You Know.”

Reading....Harry Potter out loud with the boys. We’re on book 1. We’ve all read the series, but it’s just fun to read out loud together. They always want one more chapter, no matter how many I’ve already read.

Glad....the boys aren’t yet too old or too cool to enjoy reading out loud together.

Thankful...for grandparents. This is the first year ever that the ONE thing the boys wanted was something that I could not get for them for Christmas. Every single store was sold out as well as all the online sources - either sold out or charging exorbitant prices or backordered until Jan/Feb. When I mentioned this to my parents, they hung up the phone and went to their local store and found just the thing. Yea, Mom & Dad! Now they will also get to enjoy the boys’ excitement when they see them open their gifts in a few weeks. My mom & dad were also glad to hear I'm finally, finally going to take my old Barbie doll house out of their garage where it has lived for more years than I care to count right now. It will pass on to my little girl this year. Oh joy.

Also reading....a book by Ruth Rendell called Portobello. Just as creepy as all her other books.

Liked....the surprise snow we had this morning and early afternoon. Weather people had predicted 0% precipitation. They were not correct. I got to do my Christmas shopping in the snow. It was nice. Enough to be pretty, not enough to hinder things.

Very be done with the Christmas shopping. And without spending too much, that was nice, too. I’m sure there may be a few odds and ends still, but it’s done and wrapped for the most part. I think the kids are going to be surprised. I found something else I wanted to get them for a great price. I’d tell you what it was, but I never know who might read over my shoulder. The computer is out here in the kitchen, after all.

Feeling....better than I have in a very long time. Glad my doctor was willing to listen to my symptoms and see the whole picture rather than only going by the numbers and was willing to try a low-dose medication that is already making a big difference. Starting to feel like me again instead of the tired-all-the-time slug I’ve been for longer than I care to remember.

Thinking....Facebook is a blessing and a curse. Anyone who uses it probably knows what I mean.

Liked....this video that’s going around. I thought it was very cool when I saw it last week. If only all these people really understood the worship and praise these words mean! Such glorious words to sing!! go enjoy my tea. Cheers!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Don't Underestimate the Middle School Band Director

My oldest boy is in the band at school. This is his first year, and he plays trumpet. I love it.

His first concert was Wednesday. There is something almost magical about the way a middle school band director can take a large group of 6th graders, most of whom have never played an instrument and certainly not the instrument they are taking up now, and teach them to make music in a relatively short amount of time. Granted, that first concert isn’t so much about making beautiful music, but the fact that they can play notes in unison and even in harmony after only a few months of working with the band director is really incredible. That first concert is so full of potential. I love it.

It brought back nice memories of my first years in band - and later years, too.

Because after the 6th grade played, we got to hear the 7th grade. Incredible difference, and again I think it’s almost magical how the middle school band director can teach the brass and woodwinds and percussion to make a decent sound together. More complex than that first 6th grade offering, it was really enjoyable, and reminded me again of the potential I heard in my son’s 6th grade group.

And then came the 8th grade. Wow! Quite impressed by now, we enjoyed the band director’s sense of humor as he donned a black robe, wand for baton, and led the 8th grade band in playing highlights from Harry Potter. Because, really, I think you must have a sense of humor to be a middle school band director. And they appreciate him. You could tell by the whoops and cheers as he played the part and got into costume. The final number from the 8th grade band, they were accompanied by the Heartland Brass Quintet. Guess what my son’s public school band played in a Dixie-land, New Orleans jazz style? “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.”

I love band. I’m so glad I have years of band concerts and marching band parenting ahead of me. I sure hope his brother and sister will choose to follow in his footsteps and afford his dad and me even more years of band to anticipate. And can I say again how much I appreciate the middle school band director?