Friday, May 01, 2015

Things I Learned in March and April

HOW is it that time again already?

I missed March, so here's a roundup of two months' worth of random things I learned. (Thanks as always for the inspiration, Emily!)

1. Steve doesn't really like the Psalms.
What in the actual what? This earth-shattering information came to my attention in a discussion around the table with our small group. One of the other guys said he doesn't like them either. They were lamenting being in Psalms for their daily eyes about fell out of my head. How can you "not care for" PSALMS?!?! Does. Not. Compute. This did, at least, lead to an edifying conversation in which we rejoiced that God gave us a wide variety of Scripture to enjoy, knowing that some parts would speak best to some personalities and other parts would speak more loudly to others. (But seriously. How can you not like Psalms?)

2. I can buy my own birthday flowers. 
Once upon a time I believed the entire world should revolve around me on March 18 each year. Turns out I am growing up. I have learned to lower my birthday expectations and embrace what comes, rather than getting worked up about what *doesn't* come. Flowers just aren't a thing Steve does. He's got a million other strengths; bouquets aren't one of them. I went to Kroger a few days after my birthday and realized, you know what? There is nothing stopping me from spending ten bucks and treating myself to birthday flowers. Plus, then I can get exactly what I like. (If only I knew how to arrange them...)

3. Daffodil is the common name for all flowers in the Narcissus genus. 
All jonquils are daffodils. But not all daffodils are jonquils. And buttercups have nothing to do with any of these. OK, so I didn't actually *learn* this--I'm sure I won't remember any of it--but it was interesting nonetheless. Bottom line: daffodil =/= buttercup, and those yellow and white flowers along the side of the road in early spring are NOT buttercups.

4. I, the champion speller, was misspelling two words. 
I probably would have sworn to you it was "miniscule" until I saw this tweet:
Somehow around that same time I discovered that "benefited" does not have two Ts. What?! I would have also fought you over insisting it was "benefitted." The single T actually *still* looks wrong to me.

5. The first major genocide of the 20th century was 25 years before the Holocaust. 
April 24 is known as Armenian Remembrance Day, because on April 24, 1915, Ottoman Turks killed more than 200 Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. More than a million were killed in 1915-16. It seems that pretty much all unbiased scholars confirm this was indeed genocide, but the Turkish government rejects the term and has scathing denouncements for anyone else who attempts to use it (which has caused some controversy as President Obama apparently called it genocide years ago and promised to do as president, but has not actually lived up to that declaration).

In fact, "the man who coined the word genocide, Raphael Lemkin, was thinking of the killings of Armenians in what is now Turkey when he created it." Alarmingly, there's also an infamous Hitler quote regarding this: In 1939, defending his decision to invade Poland and describing his genocidal intentions, Hitler said, "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"

As a direct result of the 1915 genocide, Armenians are one of the world's most dispersed peoples. I had never before heard of any of this until now, the 100th anniversary. More information can be found here: Q&A: Armenian Genocide Dispute

6. If you rearrange the letters in "Presbyterians" you get "Britney Spears."
This little tidbit came from my favorite writing professor, who retired this month--she posted a photo on Facebook of a note she'd gotten from former students long ago, "Things We Learned from Mary Brown," and this was on the list. Ha!

7. Two words: Roasted Broccoli. 
As Jude's adorable little friend would say, "Oh My M. G." I could polish off an entire pound of broccoli cooked this way, all by myself. I first got the recipe here, where it's referred to as Crack Broccoli (it really is that good). My favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, also posted a recipe for "crispy broccoli" just this week. But I think that it can be simpler than either of these recipes.

Contrary to the Crack Broccoli recipe's insistence, the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar is *totally* unnecessary and should be omitted. The salt called for is also way too high (and that's coming from someone who LOVES salty things) and you really don't need to go up to 500 degrees (I'm feeling a little sensitive about super-high oven heat since cracking my favorite stoneware last who wants a 500 degree oven in the summer?). Smitten Kitchen uses a lower temp, but all kinds of unnecessary ingredients. All you really need is a pound of broccoli, 3 T melted butter (I don't think EVOO is  advisable at high temps) and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Toss and roast at 425-450 for about 10-15 minutes or until nice and brown. Devour.

A related sub-lesson: You're supposed to peel broccoli. Who knew? I never did it before. But the outer layer of the stem really is woody and tough, and the broccoli gets much more tender (tenderer?) if you peel it off. Doesn't matter much when you're eating it raw or steaming it to death, but for this you'll want to take the extra step.

Head over to Chatting at the Sky for more fun and fascinating randomness!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Needing to Be Needy and Fighting Together

Breastplate of righteousness. Belt of truth. Helmet of salvation. Shield of faith. If you’ve been in the church a while, you’ve heard more than one call to “suit up” with Ephesians 6 armor. And if you’re like me, you’ve imagined yourself as a solitary soldier, dressed head to toe and ready for spiritual battle.

It wasn’t until much later that the obvious dawned on me: A lone soldier is a sitting duck. 

Last month at Ungrind, I wrote about our need to be honest about our physical needs and the glorious glimpses of grace seen in helping and being helped. Today, I'm over there discussing spiritual battles--because if it’s hard to ask for help with practical needs, it feels downright impossible to reach out for support when we’re emotionally or spiritually low. We’re embarrassed that we’re still struggling with the same old sin; we’re frustrated by how stuck we feel, maybe even too cynical to believe a friend’s words could make any difference. Yet we need each other even more here, in our most tender places of vulnerability.

Click over to read about how I'm experiencing grace when I'm needy and grace to help others fight

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

If You're Needy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands (Or: A Tribute to My Amazing Mother)

I wrote last month on Ungrind about the beauty in helping and being helped--how important it is to be honest about our needs and let others demonstrate Christ's love for us. Then I had opportunity to take my own advice...and oh my goodness, I am here to tell you it is good advice, if I do say so myself :)

They say that God does not give imaginary grace. He distributes it like manna; He provides what we need for this moment and asks that we trust it will be on the ground to meet us tomorrow. So I suppose that when I say, "I cannot even imagine being a military wife or a single mom--I could never, ever do it"...the reality is that if I had to do it, God would give me what I needed.

But I am thankful that to date, my worst solo-parenting challenge has been a two-week business trip. And I am not afraid to admit that His grace to me has come not in the form of supernatural strength and patience to push through on my own, but in the form of humility to ask for help and an extended visit from this beautiful, servant-hearted woman:

When Steve made plans to be in Europe for 13 days, and it became clear that I would not get to tag along, I emailed my mom. My parents were due for a visit this spring anyway--so, "please," I said, "could you come for part of the time I am on my own?"

Her response was to fly down for an entire week.

Grammy landed in Nashville on Wednesday, March 25, a lovely belated birthday present. And the number of mournful "I miss Daddy"s I heard from the mouths of little boys decreased exponentially. She took us out for lunch at Chuy's...


...and, as I rolled my eyes, bought Lego Bionicle sets the boys had been drooling over ("For Easter! Just let me--I don't live close so I don't get to do this very often!"). She played ball in the backyard, picked boys up from school, washed dishes, babysat, even vacuumed my floors. She read countless books; she helped me work on a project for the house; she took us out for frozen yogurt. Perhaps most valiantly, she let wiggly boys take turns sleeping in her bed :)

We dragged Elijah and Jude to a "GIRL movie" and took them on a field trip to Cheekwood.

In between all that, we chatted about everyday life; we delighted in the boys together and laughed at the funny things they say; we exchanged eye rolls at their drama. One night late in the week, after a particularly trying bedtime, I came downstairs, hugged her, and said, "THIS is what every night would have been like for the last week if you hadn't been here. And I would be institutionalized. THANK YOU."

We also spent an evening listening to Vietnam-era recordings of her parents and siblings, which I recently had converted to digital audio files. (The family sent cassette tapes back and forth with my uncle when he was in the Army in Vietnam, as apparently the quality of phone calls and/or opportunity to make them was terrible.) I'd never heard her dad's voice before, and it was fun to hear really young versions of my grandmother, aunt, and uncles.

Then on one of her last days here, when both boys were in school, we did a Stray Boots tour in Nashville! We loved the ones we did in New York a couple of years ago, and we each independently had the idea to try one of the Nashville ones. We had a perfectly sunny day for it and so much fun being tourists.

The only thing I regret is that I didn't do what Jude is inclined to do to me: grab her hand while walking together and say, "I'm so glad I have such a nice mama." :)

So I'm saying it now: I'm SO glad I have such a nice mom. She is an extravagant display of God's grace to me and my family.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 348

Thanking God this week for...

7250. this fabulous blog, where people who don't fit neatly into categories of "complementarian" or "egalitarian" are coming together for respectful, gracious dialogue. LOVE.
7251. Jen Wilkin's fantastic message on Exodus 1-2: "Fight Like a Girl"
7252. theology discussions over supper
7253. precious boys remembering Sunday school lessons, understanding, seeing Jesus
7254. Steve asking them great questions, teaching them

7255. Elijah choosing library books at school that he knows Jude will enjoy
7256. the blush of pink dogwood trees
7257. rain
7258. broccoli salad
7259. emojis

7260. the way others' insights and perspectives help me think about Scripture differently/more deeply
7261. frequent opportunities to discuss it with and learn from other women in person
7262. keeping us to the end--His ability to present us before His presence blameless with great joy
7263. the reality that when it seems all hope is lost and He is absent, the story is not over yet and He is still at work for our good
7264. the thrill of seeing your name in print

7265. the gift of having my name in the Lamb's Book of Life
7266. a dining room full of friends, children, noise, life
7267. homemade guacamole
7268. friends' precious 4yo telling me three times how much she loved my white chicken chili

7269. one friend's honesty about his struggles to understand/believe Scripture
7270. another friend's passionate, confident faith
7271. Steve sitting quietly throughout our intense conversation, then throwing in a decisive insight that blew all our minds :)
7272. this inspiring, challenging, fascinating biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

7273. the gray-blue of a pre-storm sky
7274. the way the neighbors' white dogwood tree in peak bloom glows against it
7275. grace to reach out for help from the pit of despair
7276. Steve speaking words of life and hope to me
7277. teachers and staff at Elijah's school working hard after hours

7278. old journal entries that make me laugh/smile/give thanks
7279. the boys being thrilled about new books
7280. smiles from a friend's baby girl

7281. the boys' faces when we told them we were going to Lego KidsFest

7282. creative, fun-loving husband who's still a kid when it comes to Legos

7283. animal models made of Lego bricks
7284. the anticipation of peony blooms and strawberry season

Thursday, April 16, 2015

After Easter

"Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." (Luke 24:5-7)

Over and over Jesus had told them of His coming death, and they stiff-armed the prophecies. "No, Lord!" We won't accept this. Not what we had in mind. Makes no sense. It cannot, must not happen like that.

If you cannot or will not hear the bad news, you cannot, will not comprehend the good news.

If you do not embrace the painful, the ugly, that which is terrible and does not make sense--you will not be prepared for the weight of glory.

Without the death, there can be no resurrection.

With dull and disbelieving hearts reluctant to accept His statements about His death, they primed themselves for confusion and doubt about His resurrection. "They were perplexed about this" (Luke 24:4).

And yet. This resurrected Lord is the One who opens blind eyes. He does not leave them alone in their confusion; He sends His angels to proclaim holy truth, remind them of what they failed to believe. "Remember how he told you."

Still they did not believe.

So He came Himself. "Jesus himself drew near and went with them" (v. 15).

I'll wait while you go back and reread those words. Let them stun you: Jesus himself drew near and went with them.

"He went in to stay with them" (v. 29). He sat down with them. He ate with them. "He took the bread and blessed it and broke it--" This is My body, given for you.

"And their eyes were opened."

This patient, patient Jesus. The Lord has risen indeed.  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 347

Thanking God this week for...

7220. free iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts on Mondays--great way to start the week
7221. songbirds
7222. carrying sleepy Jude downstairs in the mornings, his arms and legs wrapped tightly around me
7223. redbud trees in bloom

7224. afternoon writing time
7225. Steve telling the boys at dinner, "Not all mamas are good cooks like your mama."
7226. the pleasure of imaging God by being creative
7227. a friend's critiques of my poetry serving as catalysts for revision
7228. Elijah is not too old to hold my hand

7229. his asking out of the blue for a notebook to take notes during the sermon at church
7230. his excitement over a cheap green spiral notebook
7231. friends around our table
7232. Steve's ambition + hard work = 14 tons of gravel delivered to fix our driveway
7233. Steve's humility + wisdom = recognizing it was going to be too massive an undertaking to move it all by hand, and renting machinery instead of killing himself

7234. a friend's hospitality
7235. this strange but delicious creamy kale and Brussels salad
7236. "Fear and Faith" panel discussion
7237. wise and winsome women of God talking theology and pointing women to Jesus
7238. an afternoon at the park

7239. a laptop + camping chair to sit and write while the boys played
7240. Jude telling the truth about his sin
7241. his brokenhearted repentance
7242. a new phone
7243. awesome customer service from Ting, our fabulous + cheap cell phone company

7244. approval from our pastors to extend our new Sunday school class beyond the trial period
7245. one of the women sharing how the class is stirring up her desire/motivation to be in the Word during the week
7246. lovely women around my table last night
7247. getting to snuggle a newborn

7248. Jesus succeeded where Solomon and David and all other kings failed
7249. building a house for His name, not of stone and wood and gold but of living stones, people knit together to display His wisdom and goodness and reflect His glory

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 346

I miss blogging. I don't even know what happened here...but somehow I need to take some of my friend Danielle's advice about making space for creativity in the midst of motherhood. Unlike her, I struggle mightily with time management, and thus find myself mired in a cycle of feeling overwhelmed, escaping, and being ruled by the tyranny of the urgent.

I've been absolutely itching to write lately, and have even managed to scribble out a couple of poems. But I'm also feeling the pull to get back to this blog. I've been somewhat more back in the habit of giving thanks offline, but haven't been able to carve out the time to transfer lists here weekly. Here's to spring and new beginnings, and taking time a day late to thank God for recent gifts like...

7165. my BIL's engagement = a new sister-in-law coming!
7166. being pleased for all His fullness to dwell in Jesus and reconcile us by His blood
7167. we who were alienated an hostile can be holy, blameless, above reproach before Him
7168. running into friends at the park on a sunny afternoon
7169. boys cleaning out the van, actually doing a great job

7170. a spring break outing to Warner Park with friends
7171. boys getting filthy and having fun
7172.  boys' spontaneous gratitude: "That was SO FUN, Mom! Thank you for taking us to the park!"
7173. encouraging feedback about my work on the Simeon Course
7174. free drinks at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts for my birthday
7175. physical and spiritual bread broken with our dear small group
7176. this beautiful moment of Jude and his friend huddled over the Jesus Storybook Bible while we grownups talked about a passage from John

7177. grace to parent patiently, not get irritated, uncover the real problem
7178. rare parenting wins that feel so rich and rewarding
7179. birthday phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, cards
7180. birthday dinner at Mafiaoza's
7181. Jude rapping Shai Linne lyrics while playing with Legos: "C-H-R-I-S-T! We praise! C-H-R-I-S-T! We serve!"
7182. my briefly lost fleece jacket found again, still lying on the sidewalk where I'd dropped it
7183. God is moved to pity by the groaning of His people
7184. full, forever healing for precious Rusty Schultz
7185. his and his mother's incredible testimony

7186. the glorious reality of Heaven that awaits us
7187. Jesus has defeated death--it will be the last enemy to be DESTROYED
7188. a weekend in Memphis with one of my favorite families
7189. coming full circle: Diane's kids babysitting for mine after I used to babysit for them :)
7190. What's App for communication with Steve when he was overseas

7191. adorable golden doodle puppies
7192. grace to cast off anxiety
7193. caring for me and wanting me to cast it on Him
7194. snuggling a friend's brand-new baby
7195. first forsythia blossoms

7196. rich time studying His Word
7197. a week-long visit from Grammy while Steve was out of town
7198. the world turning vibrantly green
7199. Grammy spoiling the boys AND me :)
7200. sweet, precious, earnest time in prayer with beautiful sisters from church

7201. Skype with Steve--and an unbelievable connection when he was in London. YAY technology!
7202. the tremendous affection I feel for my husband
7203. his sending me selfies in front of famous sights in London
7204. listening to an old recording of my grandparents' voices with my mom
7205. a gorgeous day for a field trip to Cheekwood

7206. sunlit tulips, and pansies that remind me of my grandmother
7207. hyacinth for days

7208. tulips, tulips and more tulips--and we barely saw a third of them in bloom

7209. Jude's preschool art fair

7210. Mom and I thinking alike, separately having the idea to do a Stray Boots tour in Nashville while the boys were in school

7211. sweet reunion with Steve after two weeks on different continents, answered prayers for his safety
7212. the way reunions and vacations and homecomings point to Heaven
7213. his bringing me Swiss chocolate
7214. grandparents babysitting so we could have a date

7215. a three-day, low-key weekend together as a family after a chaotic month
7216. an arm band for my phone
7217. poetry
7218. these crazy cuties, and the fact that their wedding outfits still worked for Easter six months later

7218. Jesus' patience with His unbelieving disciples
7219. He is RISEN, just as He said!

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Beauty of Serving and Being Served

In recent weeks, as friends of mine have faced various trials, I’ve had occasion to marvel at the beauty of women asking for, giving, and receiving help.

And I've not always been on the giving end; my servant-hearted husband frequently gives me food for thought and reasons to be thankful as I receive gracious help from him. 

We hate to feel needy; we don’t want to burden others. But when we are ashamed of our weakness, or too proud to admit our need, we commit robbery.

Click over to read my article at Ungrind today about the glimpses of glory that can be seen when we cast off our pride, admit our weakness, and ask for help.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 345

Thanking God this week for...

7133. cardinal outside my kitchen window
7134. my renewed passport, and the power of that document
7135. Steve's ability to listen well and make wise, rational decisions when I'm indecisive
7136. ease of communication with Elijah's teachers and principal
7137. freedom in this season of life to serve friends in need

7138. Jude looking out for a 2yo when he was messing with a plug/outlet, and then telling Daddy about it later: "He was about to get dead but I saved him!"
7139. Chocolate Trinity ice cream from Publix

7140. Steve cooking dinner when I was exhausted and had a lot of other stuff to do
7141. Emily Freeman highlighting one of my #itssimplytuesday photos
7142. beauty to be seen even in traffic and rain

7143. friends who ask for help
7144. hard, good words from Ann Voskamp
7145. leftovers from breakfast-for-dinner = quick and easy breakfast
7146. Steve's gracious, gentle reaction to the discovery that $20 worth of meat got left in the car overnight
7147. friends on Facebook empathizing with my grocery mishap

7148. my husband's patience and lack of condemnation reflecting the Lord's heart toward me
7149. Jesus came to bring JOY
7150. fellowship with friends around the dinner table
7151. the way He put different genres of literature in His word--knowing that while it's all important, different styles would speak better to different minds and personalities
7152. free makeup from Sephora for my birthday

7153. evidence of the Spirit's work in a friend's heart
7154. getting to hear a recording of the testimony a dear friend shared at her church
7155. we have obtained a faith of equal standing with the apostles!
7156. cleansing us from former sins
7157. the fact that entrance into an eternal Kingdom is coming

7158. Yukon Gold potatoes
7159. having mercy on the worst idolaters who turn to Him
7160. circumcising our hearts, that we might love Him and live
7161. Jude telling Elijah in a heated argument: "Brothers are more important than Legos!"
7162. Steve in the kitchen with me, talking and helping make dinner

7163. the insane privilege of being born in America at the end of the 20th century
7164. women at our church rallying to pray for and encourage each other

Monday, March 09, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 344

Thanking God this week for...

7103. Steve talking me down when I'm irrational
7104. the discovery of the deliciousness that is roasted broccoli
7105. when rain seeped right through my shoes, I could go home and put on a different pair
7106. extra snuggles from Elijah while he was sick
7107. reminders that He can and wants to use me even in my messy brokenness

7108. grace to give myself a time out to sit, breathe, be still, give thanks
7109. the means to afford health care, both alternative and mainstream
7110. frosted windowpanes
7111. tiny snowflakes whirling
7112. pre-dawn stillness, wonderland of white

7113. the accumulation of years and years spent reading Scripture = ability to make connections
7114. choosing to make His Name dwell among us and then be sacrificed for us
7115. desiring for us not merely to obey and submit, but to be "altogether joyful" before Him
7116. a few inches of snow to play in
7117. snow crystals sparkling in the sunshine 

7118. homemade cinnamon hot chocolate
7119. dust bunnies vanquished
7120. podcasts and audiobooks to occupy my mind while cleaning
7121. disinfectant spray and wipes
7122. time spent digging into Colossians with beautiful women

7123. the hope laid up for us in Heaven
7124. enabling me to hear and understand the gospel
7125. qualifying me to share in the inheritance of the saints
7126. delivering me from the domain of darkness
7127. transferring me to the kingdom of His beloved Son

7128. forgiving my sins
7129. inviting me into the perfect joy and love and delight within the Trinity
7130. rich conversation about the sermon and marriage with friends over lunch
7131. conviction
7132. how far society has come in its treatment of women


Monday, March 02, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 343

Gosh it's been a while since I've done one of these. OY. Carving out time to give thanks today for a multitude of blessings over the last month, including...

7043. the fact that a suspension rod in our car broke down in our driveway--not while I was driving and not while Steve was going 60MPH down the road

7044. calm, rational discussions with my husband--so refreshing to dialogue with someone logical, respectful, intelligent and kind, in contrast to brutal Internet vitriol
7045. the hysterical Saved By the Bell throwback sketch with Jimmy Fallon
7046. getting to go to a local livestream of IF:Gathering with a dear friend
7047. the ladies at the host church welcoming us so warmly

7048. deep conversations, meals in restaurants, a free hotel room--luxurious day/night away!
7049. gifted women bringing truth so powerfully
7050. fresh grace to fight and hope
7051. Steve serving me by making it possible for me to get away
7052. a friend being honest about her feelings and weakness

7053. another friend's example of courage and humility in asking for help
7054. the privilege of serving her, participating in Jesus' care and provision for her
7055. the incredible reality that by serving her, I was serving Jesus
7056. a friend who called to ask for prayer/help
7057. the gift of fighting for and with my sister

7058. the Spirit's intercession for us
7059. Jesus' intercession for us
7060. a new pack of my favorite cheap ballpoint pens
7061. the #itssimplytuesday tag on Instagram
7062. early morning snuggles unexpectedly with Elijah, and his calling me "my sweet mama" in spite of how snappish I was with him at 3AM

7063. a new, helpful focus for my daily Bible reading
7064. the fact that in this season of life, I have hours to spend studying

7065. all I am learning in the Simeon Course on Biblical Exposition
7066. the way that Scripture is clear and yet fathoms deep
7067. our new women's Sunday school class studying Colossians

7068. men at church encouraging us
7069. the way Elijah still says "Valentime"
7070. his giving his principal a big hug on his way out the door, and the smile that lit up her face
7071. thoughtful texts from friends
7072. a sweet note from an old friend that totally made my day, coming at just the right time

7073. a visit from Steve's cousin and his family
7074. snowed in with them, house full of food and games, laughter and noise, love and life
7075. a three-year-old dish-washing helper :)
7076. the cousins' safety traveling on icy roads
7077. steam curling up from red teakettle

7078. snow falling against a purply pre-dawn sky
7079. no school = boys sleeping in = extended early morning quiet time
7080. boys' rosy cheeks from playing in the snow

7081. long-overdue visit with friends (mine and the boys')
7082. transparency, honesty, vulnerability, confession, forgiveness, sweet fellowship

7083. a retiring deacon at our church and his wife--their humble, faithful service
7084. the opportunity to recognize and honor them
7085. our elders' humility, wisdom, patient love for their flock
7086. friends' testimonies of answered prayers
7087. a free tool for making and customizing word clouds

7088. Christ in us, the hope of glory!
7089. a sweet conversation with the boys about the church and serving
7090. the way their faces lit up when we pointed out how *they* had been serving
7091. cookie-baking with the boys
7092. a year of Southern Living for $2

7093. a lunch date with Daddy on day 8 of no school

7094. the magnificent ending to the Wingfeather Saga

7095. "the stories are true / Jesus makes all things new!"
7096. all the research Steve did in preparation for buying a new car
7097. how well he manages our money

7098. the trusty old car I've/we've been driving for almost 15 years (and getting more for it at trade-in than we hoped)

7098. the means to buy a nice car with excellent safety ratings
7099. boys being incredible, awesome shoppers through a LONG day at the car dealership
7100. glorious sermon yesterday on Exodus 35-40 and the way the tabernacle + furnishings point to Jesus our Messiah
7101. perspective on how long it sometimes takes for His promises to be fulfilled
7102. we have a Home that cannot be shaken


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Things I Learned in February

It's that time again...I apparently can't manage to put up any other kind of content on my blog, even a weekly gratitude list...but I will at least share some tidbits I learned this month, in conjunction with Chatting at the Sky:

1. Nashville's hockey team is pretty good, and when they win, I can get free coffee! 
A friend clued me in on this Dunkin' Donuts promotion, and I've taken advantage of it two or three times already. If you download the DD app and turn on location services, then when you're in the greater Nashville area, you get a coupon for a free medium coffee the day after a Predators win. Suddenly I am a hockey fan!

2. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the 50th anniversary of our nation's birth, only five hours apart. 
This was my final piece of interesting trivia from the John Adams miniseries Steve and I have been watching. I had to look it up after the final episode because it seemed too ridiculously melodramatic--but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction! Sure enough, both our second and third presidents died on July 4, 1826.

3. The Voice of the Martyrs has an app to help you pray for the persecuted church.
OF COURSE there's an app for that. I've been connected to and more committed to caring for the persecuted church in the past, but I confess that over the last few years, I have been lacking in attention and compassion toward my suffering brothers and sisters. After a recent conversation in which I mentioned VOM's magazine to a friend, she gave me the heads-up on this app. I love that it gives you one simple prayer request each day--not at all overwhelming, as this sort of thing can easily be--and you can also click over to get basic information about the country.

4. You should always turn on "private browsing mode" when shopping for a plane ticket. 
When you search for a particular route more than once, the airfare may increase based on the cookies in your Internet browser--the website wants to scare you into booking before prices go up even more. Whoa! This link gives you instructions for how to search incognito, as well as several other tips for finding the cheapest possible flight for your next trip.

5. You can download audio versions of the entire Bible in several translations for FREE.
I know the YouVersion app provides streaming of audio Bibles, but when wifi isn't available, this is a great resource. I found out about it through Margaret Feinberg's website, where I also found a simple plan for going through the gospels during Lent. I have not listened to the Bible very much like this, so I'm using the ESV Audio Bible for this Lent plan.

How about you--what did you learn this month?

Monday, February 02, 2015

Multitude Monday, Take 342

Whew...I've gotten out of the gratitude habit lately. And it shows, if I'm honest. A little catching up with some January Instagrams and gifts I've enjoyed over the last few weeks: thanking God for...

6994. texting daily with my mom
6995. the BUT GODs of the Bible

6996. encouragement and affirmation from Steve
6997. the opportunity to host a going away part for this lovely friend

6998. her example of hard work, trust in the Lord, generosity, joy in hard circumstances, passion to help people and glorify God
6999. a house full of laughter, tears, food, hugs, chatter, love
7000. the privilege of knowing these beautiful women

7001. hearing stories about how they have loved and served each other
7002. Elijah patiently helping Jude build his new Lego dragon (E's Christmas gift to J)
7003. Downton Abbey with Steve
7004. the fact that I don't live in Gilded Age Britain with its ridiculous rules and caste system
7005. Lauren Winner's lovely words

7006. Ohio State's national football championship
7007. the ability to watch the game online for free
7008. dinnertime prayers for Christmas card families
7009. "Christ Jesus has made me His own" (Phil 3:12)

7010. Elephant and Piggie at the Nashville Children's Theatre
7011. the boys' delight and giggles
7012. song lyrics that inspire hope (download the song free!)
7013. seeing my brothers and sisters fight for hope and joy
7014. the way that renewed my own will to fight

7015. the new Lego table Steve built for the boys

7016. friends who hear my heart and love me, quirks and flaws and all
7017. reminders that He is The God Who Sees Me
7018. my friend Ana (pictured above) restoring this antique quilt my great-grandmother made

7019. gorgeous early morning after a light snowfall
7020. a Saturday morning prayer gathering for women of our church
7021. a surprise lunch with Diane, exactly when I needed it

7022. awareness of my own vulnerability to sin
7023. a husband who cares for me, protects me, respects me
7024. his gently helping me see different perspectives, cautioning me against judging and jumping to conclusions
7025. his never saying "I told you so"
7026. our pastors' patient wisdom and loving shepherding

7027. the Simeon Trust online course I have just started
7028. bi-weekly meetings with a dear friend who's going through it with me
7029. Jude retelling the parable of the unmerciful servant with amazing recall--hilarious and precious
7030. the boys' wonderful Sunday school teachers
7031. a Costco trip and lunch with a friend

7032. the ridiculous abundance and variety of food available to us
7033. grace to ask for help
7034. Elijah's readiness and ability to read chapter books
7035. poetry
7036. new friends around our dinner table

7037. the journal that gets sent back and forth between me and two dear college friends--showing up in my mailbox for a happy Saturday surprise

7038. the privilege of being a means of God's provision to others
7039. our pastor's amazing preaching of Jesus in Exodus 33
7040. the Mediator who went "outside the camp" to restore God's presence not only among us, but IN us
7041. a wonderful friend who doesn't merely sympathize but urges me to FIGHT
7042. twelve years with Steve (yesterday was the anniversary of our first date)