Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Art

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, and when I walked into Wesley Hall for the Invitation, I was blown away by a piece of artwork added to the worship space.  A beautifully talented church member, Nancy Collins, painted this...

I am so grateful for the people who can make art like this and for this art being shared.  It is breathtaking in so many ways.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Advent

This year, I am making a concerted effort NOT to be a Scrooge.  I am purposely shifting my focus from commercialized Christmas issues to Advent.  I would like to experience this as a season of expectancy.  Advent as Pregnancy...  being pregnant with Hope.  I always love ruminating on Mary at this time of the year.

For 2009, I am going to step back and look at the ways God is working in my life and the lives of my family and friends.  I am going to be open to what is coming.

Today is the first day of Advent.  Andy preached a wonderful sermon. I scribbled notes while he talked, because images and phrases were overwhelming me.  I am sure, for instance, there is a poem about water coming soon.  I have a list of water symbols in my notebook. (This due to an amazingly beautiful infant baptism).  I also wrote down...

  • "Divine Disruption"
  • "fearsome and cataclysmic events"
  • "A dead false god will never surprise you."
  • "Disruption can be good. Disruption can bring some sense of hope."
  • "God comes in the middle of all this chaos in life."

I cannot stop the chaos that is Christmas in the Ministry.  But, I can remember to "be still and know" in the midst of all the chaos.  I will go to about 5 billion parties, play Dirty Santa, sing carols, watch cantatas, make crafts, write cards, wrap presents, travel to see family, and I will take time to remember why I am doing each and every one of these activities.

Now, hold me to it.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Conversation

There is something about good conversation.  It makes you feel alive and involved in your world.  A weekend with good friends was full of conversation.  Movies and crafts and shopping and cleaning and cooking and driving... and talking.

I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.


Friday, November 27, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Friday Felicities

I am very grateful for this "meme."  It was started by Natalie, who was living a thankful life right up until she wasn't living at all any longer.  And, I am willing to bet, she is grateful in heaven too.  See, the thing about gratefulness is.... it requires humility.  You cannot be grateful to someone else, God or human, unless you humble yourself and admit you need the help to begin with.  You must acknowledge that you cannot do it on your own. 

So, in this spirit, I offer you my Friday Felcitites... Things I am grateful for this week.

Thanksgiving with Amanda and Steven and their family
Taco soup
A day with Leila
Seeing New Moon unexpectantly
My favorite black shirt
Babies and baby bellies
Real conversations with my children
Fun facebook chatter
Dinner with Aimee and Chris and their kiddos


Thursday, November 26, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Stephanie's Blog

Reading Stephanie's blog today and on other days.  So often, she reminds me, in her gentle and genuine way, to pay closer attention to my children, to their words and actions.  Our kids grow up.  They grow up fast.  We need to take the time to really experience them while they are still babies and small children.

Thanks Steph.  I appreciate you.  I am thankful for you.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Early Mornings

I was not a morning person until this year.  I started praying for God to make me into a morning person.  And... He did.  Amazing, right?  My favorite early mornings are when I meet some girlfriends (the Remnant Sistahs) at Starbucks to start my day.  It sets a good tone for all the hours that follow.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Slow Days

I crawled into bed for around 4 hours this afternoon.  I think I am now recovered from the weekend.  There is just something about a nap.  It is different than sleeping at night.  It is a treat, a reprieve from stress and day-to-day life. 

It was a slow day.  Corey and I caught up on DVRed episodes of White Collar and now we are watching Pink Panther with Haydn.  I made dinner, typed a poem from the weekend, watched half of a movie, finished reading I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and started reading Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Camp Food

It has been lovely not having to cook or worry about meals at all this weekend.  Really.  And, ya know, the best meal has been grilled cheese sandwiches yesterday.  YUM!  And we had pecan pie, friday night.  Heavenly.

Last night was a very emotional evening.  Today was pretty relaxed and fun.  Sad that we go home tomorrow.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Song

"How He Loves" by John Mark Mcmillan. David Crowder Band has done a
version but John Mark's is so emotional. We are singing this tonight.

Heather Truett
-Sent from my iPod

Friday, November 20, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Retreat

Don't you just love a good retreat?  I have been craving one lately.  This weekend, I am sort of getting one.  I say sort of, because I will be helping lead the youth on their Winter Retreat, and the boys will be with me.  So, I don't know how much retreating I will be doing alone, and I tend to think of a good retreat as being full of solitude.  Community yes, but also solitude. 

I am grateful for this retreat.  It is the first time I have gotten to go along on one of Corey's spiritual retreats.  I have helped on mission trips, and once I went on a ski trip, but the spiritual trips have never worked out for us.  The boys were so small, and it is hard to do much with two littles at your feet.  However, at 7 and 5, we decided they are big enough to come along this time.  A couple of years ago, they went on a Houston mission trip with us and did pretty well.  Now, they are very excited about Camp Lake Stephens. 

Have a beautiful weekend!


30 Days of Gratitude - Community Theater

This is yesterday's post.  I was going to write when I got home from the play, but I fell asleep.  Meredith had an extra ticket to see Dearly Beloved at The Lyric, here in Tupelo.  This is the play I auditioned for and did not make.  Seeing it, I know that I did not fit a single part.  I should not have been cast, even if my audition had been of Emmy-winning quality (which it was not).  The play was hilarious.  If you ever get a chance to see this performed, please do.  Honey Ray made the show, it seems, but each character was well-cast and talented.  Meredith and I left with sore cheeks from all of the laughing and smiling we were doing. 

Community theater is a wonderful thing.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Romans

I love the book of Romans.  It is the first book I remember doing any sort of in-depth study on.  That was back in middle school, I think.  It was at Mom's church, I know.  David Zeller used to teach it.  I found my notes from that a few weeks ago.  Over the summer, I reread Romans.  This time, I read it in The Message and fell in love.  Every verse seemed aimed right at me.  It was like a direct conversation with God every time I sat down with my Bible. 

I am working on a gift for a friend, and I am using a lot of scripture.  Today, I pulled out my summer notes on Romans to select a few verses.  "I love Romans!"  I exclaimed.  Corey ignored me.  He is, by now, used to my seemingly random announcements.  I am, generally, making them to myself or to Jesus.  LOL! 

Disciple reading has finally progressed to the New Testament.  We are finishing up John, which means Acts is next and then... Romans.  Yup yup.  I am excited.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Small Groups

I am thankful for the wonderful small groups our church offers.  I am doing Disciple with my Remnant sisters.  This group meets early on Thursday mornings, before work and school gets underway.  Last spring, I studied Esther with a small group on Thursdays as well.  This fall, I have joined a group that does Yoga twice a week and a group that is studying the Christian Mystics (today we talked about St Bernard).  Once a month, I meet with a wonderful group of people to talk about books.  On Sunday nights, I lead small group for Junior and Senior girls. 

I have been at churches where very little was offered.  I have been at churches where I could not participate because there was no childcare during meeting times.  And I have been to wonderful churches like this one, where people are hungry for God's word and for community.

Praise God!


Monday, November 16, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Yoga

I am very grateful for Yoga lately.  I did lose a few pounds when I started doing Yoga regularly.  And I have found that I have better posture since making it a habit.  But, what I love about Yoga is how it can be a spiritual experience, a way to involve my body in prayer and in fellowship.  There are some truly lovely women in the class I go to at church twice a week.  I am blessed to get to know them. 

I always hated exercise classes, because I would end up feeling behind or out of step.  It was more work than fun.  Yoga is very much a set-your-own-pace workout.  No one has ever looked at me funny if I cannot hold a pose very long or am too tired and return to child's pose.  I can close my eyes at the start of class and focus on some words of a prayer or an image of God.  By the end of class, by Savasana, I am relaxed.  So relaxed that, sometimes, I feel tears pushing at my eyes as we lie there in silence.  All of the muscles I normally keep tense, keep steady holding myself together, are loose and released.  It's like letting go and crying when you just can't take it anymore.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 Days of Gratitude - Books

Raigan challenged us to start keeping a daily journal of things we are grateful for.  Well, we already do that, as a family.  Before the boys go to bed, we open our Grateful Book and each of us writes down one thing we are thankful for from that day.  And we leave a blank space next to Savannah's name, at the boys' insistence.  This simultaneously warms and breaks my heart.  But, that is another blog for another time. 

I was thinking about Raigan's challenge and also about how I have not been blogging with much passion lately.  I decided to challenge myself to 30 Days of Grateful Blogging.  I will write, each day, about something I am grateful for.

Today?  Books. 

I reorganized my books this past week.  They had been in egg crates, stacked in my craft room.  I turned the egg crates sideways and made shelves.  All of my "To Be Read" volumes are scattered in the closet floor.  I also have a basket full of books to give away, a stack of borrowed books to return and a stack of library books.  Oh, and I have a box filled with Bible Study workbooks and that sort of thing as well.  I am a bit of a bibliophile. 

I somehow doubt this surprises anyone.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Felcities 11/13/09

I am actually considering a volume of poems about the simple pleasures of life.  I would call the book Felicities.  What do you think?

In the meantime, here are my Friday Felicities in honor of Natalie Rose and hosted by Becky.

Friday Felicities

Kettle brand chips
Lisa Frank coloring book
good progress reports from my sons
makeshift bookshelves
predicting the winners on Project Runway
long convos with the BFF
paranoid doggie making me laugh
Corey fixing my vacuum
Breve steamers with vanilla and honey
soft leather journal
Laughing with friends


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Currently: November 2009 Edition

Current Books: I am finally reading I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb. Got my giant hardback copy over a year ago, at the Brandon library, for $1.  I am also reading The Way of the Mystics along with a group of women from my church. I am keeping The Soul of Rumi in my purse and reading in quiet moments.

Current Playlist: I burned a CD for the van with a few songs that speak to me right now.  "Warrior is a Child" by Twila Paris, "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks, "Believe" by Nichole Nordeman, "Only Hope" by Mandy Moore and "Refine Me" by Jennifer Knapp, among others.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: Tostino's Pizza Rolls

Current Color: Candy-Apple Red

Current Fetish: Owls

Current Food: Hubby's fried eggs

Current Drink: Love my diet pepsi

Current Favorite Favorite: Poetry.  Rumi's poetry especially.

Current Wishlist: I want a trench coat or something else casual but not too casual

Current Needs: A buyer for our Brandon house.

Current Triumph: Teaching a complete course at Main ARTery.

Current Bane-Of-My-Existence: My own tendency to worry and struggle instead of trusting God.

Current Celebrity Crush: Kate Walsh.  I love her.

Current Indulgence: Banana Pudding Ice Cream.

Current Mood: Content with streaks of melancholy.

Current #1 Blessing: Genuine friendships.

Current Slang or Saying: eh.

Current Outfit: Black pants and a pink tee.

Current Link: Southeastern Literary Tourism

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Felcities 11/6/09

I look forward to making this post every week.  I have so many blessings.  Please visit Becky and join us in remembering Natalie with our grateful hearts.

Friday Felicities

Lines from Rumi
My writing cubby at church
Texts with Desiree
Feeling a wee bit better this morning
Owl Notebook by my laptop (thanks Ash)
Writing new poems
Crisp cool air
Being able to rant to my best friends
Knowing they still love me
Hot showers
Pizza rolls
Banana Pudding ice cream from Blue Bell
My cute loud doggy
Corey doing the dishes
Haydn's new love for drawing
David learning to read so well
The cooler side of the pillow
Modern Family
Sharing lines from Modern Family with Meredith
Time to read


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still Cannot Find Spell Check

Clergy is a funny word.
It is!
I finished my perfectly predictable fluff book.
It was perfectly predictable.
My throat is still swollen.
I cannot seem to shake this.
I have the best in-laws in the WORLD.
Modern Family is the best new show this season.
Regretsy is the best blog to kill time on.
I did write a letter for a friend today.
Does that make me semi-productive?
Corey took the kids to school and cleaned my kitchen.
I love that man.
I've been looking for Honey Ice Cream.
Mandy found some.
I have had no luck.
In the meantime, I love Banana Pudding by Blue Bell.
Had the best book group discussion Mon night.
I love our church book group.
We read Mudhouse Sabbath, for this past meeting.
Lauren Winner is simply fabulous.
It was my selection for the year and I can't help but be thrilled that the other members loved it.
My reading can be a bit eclectic.
Meaning, it isn't always certain that others will like what I like.
Saw Where the Wild Things Are.
Lots of good talking points with the oldest.
Youngest, as predicted, just thought the monsters were funny.
Haydn brought his sketchbook home to show me.
He draws a ton of tornadoes.
He also draws robots, cars, aliens and fish.
When we buy a house, I may let him have a weather mural painted on one wall.
Can you believe it is Novemeber?
I am not prepared for the holidays.
*deep breath*
And where did the spell check button go?


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Will Goodness Ever Prevail?

November came in cooly and brought strep throat along for the ride.  Gr.  I fought bravely for a couple of days, but yesterday I gave in.  I fought the sick, and the sick won. So it has been a few days of ice cream and books and computer games. Tomorrow, better or not, laundry must get folded and dishes must get washed. 

I am reading a piece of fluff fiction right now.  I would probably be embarrassed, except that I read so much non-fluff that a chick lit novel here and there seems acceptable.  Every once in a while, I like a predictable story.  The main character will have a life changing experience.  She and the handsome and seemingly unattainable man will fall in love and live happily ever after.  The arrogant snotty women who we all love to hate will get knocked down a notch or two, or else reformed.  Goodness will prevail.  At a time in life when it seems to be taking forever for Goodness to Prevail (2009 being my Year of Patience, remember?), I could use a story where everything gets wrapped up just like I want it to. 

My oldest has turned into a little artist.  He took a painting lesson at Main ARTery and then started drawing in his spare time.  He especially loves characters and cartoons.  His teacher is encouraging this, and I am grateful for that.  He needs an outlet and has had no interest in playing sports.  At least, he doesn't want to play them with anyone other than his daddy. I think he will get some drawing books and sketch pads for Christmas. 

Corey's Granddaddy has been hospitalized.  I am not sure of all the facts.  Last I knew, however, he was sitting up and joking around with people.  They are keeping him until Friday "for observation."  I have heard heart attack and stroke and phneumonia and even the word "oncology."  Please pray for Granddaddy.  I love that man.


PS  Why did blogger do away with the Spell Check option?

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