Monday, December 29, 2014

Multitude Monday, Take 340

Thanking God this Christmas season for so many wonderful gifts, including...

6914. "We are not just given pardon and freedom but love and delight" (Tim Keller, Encounters with Jesus)
6915. friend texting me a photo of her little guy enjoying the dinner I made them
6916. boys playing surprisingly well together while Elijah is off school
6917. long, thoughtful, vulnerable emails
6918. my husband's beautiful heart and desire to glorify Jesus

6919. cute Christmas coloring pages
6920. mercifully dismantling idols, not letting me vainly seek happiness in frivolous things
6921. Christmas: "God's great confirmation of all His promises" (John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy)
6922. extended early morning quiet time while school is out
6923. Jude baking with me

6924. pretty red filling in cranberry crumb bars
6925. Steve loving me in the midst of my mess
6926. his vision for God's glory in the midst of struggles
6927. the way his hope and determination are contagious
6928. the way I feel safe with him

6929. Jude helping me put stamps on Christmas cards
6930. best Christmas Eve Cornish hens ever (brined in Steve's homemade apple wine)
6931. roasted marshmallow-y sweet potatoes with Thanksgiving on top

6932. family dinner by candlelight, Advent wreath blazing
6933. Steve making coffee cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning

6934. boys excited about their new footie PJs

6935. gas under $2
6936. Emmanuel: God has come to live with us!
6937. the joys of giving and receiving gifts
6938. Christmas cookie decorating traditions

6939. honeybaked ham
6940. the way my aunt looks and sounds more and more like my late grandmother
6941. the inspiring growth and hope I've seen in a cousin this year
6942. family gatherings
6943. time to sit and read for pleasure all day long

6944. Daddy building epic train tracks for the boys

6945. Daddy playing games with them

6946. Jude frequently inviting adults to play trains with him
6947. my aunt making grasshopper pie for me after I mentioned missing an old favorite

6948. a lunch date with Steve

6949. the Word became flesh
6950. the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Multitude Monday, Take 339

Thanking God the past couple of weeks for...

6879. Jude's eagerness to bake with me
6880. quarts upon quarts of homemade stock
6881. apple butter simmering in the crockpot
6882. this old video of Elijah reciting Luke 2 when he was three
6883. packages piled up at our door

6884. dancing with Steve for the first time in ages
6885. the way Kroger is always adequately prepared for huge crowds of shoppers
6886. Steve putting up with my grumpy funk and snappishness
6887. his company putting on a generous party for their employees
6888. date night

6889. a dear friend so generously babysitting for free
6890. photobooth with superhero masks to delight our boys

6891. backup pants for the boys when the Christmas outfits I bought last January didn't fit (GRR!)
6892. ladies at our church who worked hard to organize and put on a Christmas Feast
6893. Elijah and Jude doing great with their recitation of John 1:1-18 (starts at 8:58 here)

6894. a giant pot of chicken tortilla soup, plenty to share with lots of friends
6895. a friend's beautiful two-week-old baby girl
6896. boys being brave at the dentist
6897. strong, healthy teeth
6898. a family outing to Opryland Hotel

6899. tens of thousands of poinsettias
6900. my own words published on a day when I desperately needed to hear them
6901. free latte at Dunkin Donuts
6902. enough hair to donate to women with cancer
6903. compliments on my new haircut

6904. huge price drop on boots I've been eyeing for a year
6905. men in Steve's life who sharpen, challenge, encourage him
6906. FaceTime with my mom on her birthday
6907. dinner with dear friends
6908. adorable hand-me-downs for my handsome boys

6909. the hopeful promises embedded in the Ten Commandments
6910. Elijah wanting to buy a present for Jude, shopping with Daddy
6911. our pastor down on the floor playing with our boys after church

6912. Jesus' condescending to come to Earth
6913. all the rich music that proclaims His beauty and glory this time of year

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Parent Tantrums and Merciful Love

Six-thirty a.m. on a school day. No amount of sugar-coating will make it less ugly, so I'll just be frank: I threw a colossal temper tantrum. Complete with name-calling and kicking a kitchen cabinet. I yelled. I slammed dishes around. I shamed and belittled a seven-year-old. Just seeing this description of myself in black and white makes me want to crawl in a hole...but there it is.

By the time we needed to leave, I wasn’t yet truly feeling sorry. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t have a sincere desire to repent and reconcile with my kids. I was still angry—a combination of anger over the original trigger, and anger at myself for acting so irrational and out-of-control. Mercifully, I had a moment of clarity, realizing that if something happened that day, and the last interaction I had with my son was this shameful tantrum, I’d never be able to live with myself.

So I knelt down and looked in his eyes. I told him that although I had been angry, that didn’t make it OK for me to yell at him and call him a baby, and I was wrong to treat him like that. I apologized and asked him to forgive me.

Elijah didn’t hesitate to extend forgiveness. It frequently blows me away how quick my children are to accept my apologies, even when I’ve been horrible to them. I hugged and kissed him, and also hugged and kissed my four-year-old (who had suffered collateral damage from my tantrum, receiving a few harsh words of his own for minor things that ordinarily wouldn’t have been such a big deal), and we got in the car.

While the instant forgiveness was beautiful and impressive, that wasn’t what struck me hardest. The really remarkable thing happened later that morning.

[Head over to Ungrind to read the rest!]

Monday, December 08, 2014

Multitude Monday, Take 338

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
—G. K. Chesterton

Exclaiming "Grace! Undeserved gift!" in thanks to God for things like...

6853. a sweet neighbor who will pick up a package delivered while I'm out of town and drop it off when I get home
6854. a glorious hour of worship at the (FREE!) dress rehearsal for the Behold the Lamb of God tour
6855. the musicians who sacrifice to bless audiences with this every December
6856. Andrew Peterson's incredible giftedness
6857. the worshipful way the show ends

6858. hundreds of voices singing "O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!"
6859. the stunning beauty and glory of Jesus
6860. the gospel story only God could have dreamed up
6861. songs that move me to weep
6862. the friends who told us about this opportunity after we decided not to buy tickets to see it at the Ryman this year

6863. instrumental Christmas music
6864. knockoff candy cane joe-joes
6865. awakening me to discrimination, racism, injustice
6866. the promise that when He returns, ALL wrongs will be made right
6867. Jude playing Legos in his underwear

6868. Elijah raving about how much he loves his school
6869. first Christmas cards received in the mail
6870. Steve playing games with the boys

6871. girlfriends gathered around my table
6872. getting lost with a dear friend = extra one-on-one time with her
6873. freedom to be real and vulnerable
6874. our church's culture of celebrating life, embracing big families, throwing showers for fifth babies
6875. hearing a friend pray

6876. feeling refreshed, encouraged, fed, lifted from my funk
6877. Steve smoking turkeys
6878. pictures of Jesus in the Old Testament

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Things I Learned in November

Well, that whole NaBloPoMo thing ended well, huh? Sheesh. I did not have posts scheduled ahead of time before a trip out of town. I made a conscious decision to go to bed after a long road trip instead of staying up to post something on the 21st, acknowledging that I didn't have to be enslaved to the challenge. And then knowing I'd already missed it diminished my motivation to get something up the last two days. I worked quite a long time on a couple of posts, and I still have plenty more unused material, but I've learned the hard way not to make any ambitious remarks about how soon that stuff will appear here. We'll just hope it's before November 2015. In the meantime, I'll be too busy with online shopping and Christmas-gift-creating to be blogging much this month, I imagine.

In the meantime, here I am to share what I learned last month. Actually I learned a TON of important stuff this month, some of which I've already posted about and more of which can be found in my Twitter favorites. But all that is way too deep and significant to get into for this monthly meme. Instead, I give you some lighthearted fluff and random trivia, inspired by Chatting at the Sky:

1. You'll have just enough pumpkin puree leftover from this baked oatmeal to make pumpkin scones. And the perfect use for the leftover spiced glaze from the pumpkin scones is to put it in your coffee along with the leftover half-and-half. You know, I'm just all about conservation and using up leftovers. You're welcome.

2. Stabilo pens are as much fun to write with as Staedtler pens, but they lack a clip on the cap, which is super annoying. They also, like Staedtlers, lack a satisfying pink color.

3. The easiest way to tell the difference between a leopard and a cheetah is their spots.
A leopard has clusters of black spots with a dark brown spot in the middle; the cheetah's spots are solid black dots. Other notable differences: build (leopard built for strength vs. cheetah built for speed) and sleeping habits (leopards are nocturnal).

4. We've been misquoting that old proverb about eating and having cake.
I've only ever heard it said "have your cake and eat it, too," but it turns out that's backwards. It makes more sense the way it originated, which is more like, "You can't eat your cake and have it, too." I discovered this from Mocha Momma, in the midst of a much deeper post in which I learned far more significant things (in the midst of a binge-read of her 13 Essays About Race, which are highly worthwhile). More background on the proverb here.

5. Frog blood is green.
Or at least the blood of one kind of frog is green (also, its bones are turquoise). This and the next one courtesy of Ranger Rick, Junior (which would make a great Christmas gift for a kid in your life, FYI).

6. Hippo sweat is red.

4. I like bibimbop with pork belly and miso-glazed green beans.
Steve and I tried a new-to-us "Asian Fusion" restaurant last week when we had free babysitting thanks to grandparents. I had to google "bibimbop" after seeing it on the menu as a specialty; apparently it's a signature Korean comfort food, and the word means "mixed rice." I ordered mine with pork belly, which I'd also never tried...oh my goodness. Melt in your mouth goodness reminiscent of bacon. I think the bibimbop would have been bland with any other kind of meat, but with a tiny piece of pork belly in every bite, it was delicious. Steve's entree came with miso-glazed green beans which were also fantastic. Fun to try new stuff. Still boggles my mind how much more adventurous my taste buds are now than 10 years ago :)

What did you learn in November?

Monday, December 01, 2014

Multitude Monday, Take 337

Thanking God for...

6805. wishlist books coming up on PaperBackSwap
6806. friends with whom I can share my ugly and ask for prayer
6807. the assurance that He is FOR me and plans hard conversations for my GOOD
6808. a friend's courage to speak hard words
6809. recognition of my need and grace to cry out in dependence

6810. new Christmas music
6811. the year's first listen through Behold the Lamb of God--tears every time
6812. games of "guess that Bible character" on long road trips with the boys
6813. Steve's encouragement and perspective
6814. time in Ohio with family and old friends

6815. getting to curl up on the couch with Steve and watch Buckeye football
6816. the gift of having dear friends read my writing and say "Yes! That expresses my feelings/experiences in a way I could not put into words!"
6817. children's ibuprofen
6818. getting to see my precious college roommate perform in Shrek: The Musical

6819. the fun of surprising her
6820. her driving hours to catch up with me the following evening
6821. pizza with extended family
6822. safety through hundreds of miles on the road
6823. Grammy making a tent with the boys, then climbing in and reading books to them

6824. the privilege of only having experienced the police as the good guys
6825. not having to teach my sons how to protect themselves from racism, not having to fear for their lives
6826. people of color who keep fighting, keep speaking out, keep telling their stories
6827. white people who are listening and loving
6828. cold bedrooms + heavy blankets

6829. a lunch date with Steve

6830. adventures in trying new foods
6831. deep conversations about things that matter
6832. my six-year-old niece missing her top front teeth
6833. my one-year-old niece lifting up her shirt for me to tickle her belly
6834. Grandma playing Legos and trains with the boys

6835. Steve's granny's frosted pumpkin cookies
6836. snow flurries
6837. Elijah learning to play Uno
6838. hot cocoa
6839. the empathy and compassion the Spirit has worked in my heart as only He could

6840. great discussions with family 
6841. pizza subs with my BFF

6842. late night theology discussion with Steve and his brother
6843. Steve's wisdom and powerful speaking of the gospel
6844. so much evidence of His grace at work in these brothers

6845. lunch at Qdoba on the way home
6846. Steve challenging, sharpening, gently teaching me
6847. evidence of His grace at work in my own heart
6848. growing me in empathy even for the hardest to empathize with
6849. the ability to learn from my mistakes

6850. Steve not getting snappy with me when I snap at him undeservedly
6851. Christmas tree up!
6852. twinkly lights