December 29, 2009

Around the House: Closing out 2009

I am:

~Still enjoying all things peppermint.

~Loving the cold weather. Wrapping up in a soft blanket with a warm drink & a good book. Simply divine.

~Treasuring my quiet mornings with Jesus by the light of the Christmas tree.

~Not even thinking about taking down the Christmas decorations yet. I love my house at Christmas - this year, more than ever. Because I got a late start, I brought out only the pieces that actually mean something. I can tell you the story behind every decoration...from the angel that topped my tree every year growing up, to the nativity my mother painted for me, to the stocking & snowflakes my grandmother crocheted.  It's been a wonderful change, to be surrounded by the things that I love instead of a bunch of stuff thrown together. Decorating was less stressful and the house doesn't feel nearly as crowded. I've decided that whatever I didn't use this year is going to the consignment store next fall.

~Praying for discernment in many areas of my life.

~Looking forward to the Year of Faith and Freedom and to sharing it with the handful of people who read this blog.

~Contemplating some changes here on the blog. Making changes in my life. More to come on both later.

~Anticipating a long weekend, and January. I love January. This one will include a week at, purging, and generally putting our home back in order. Creating a sanctuary. You can do it, too...join Rachel Anne here to learn more.

~Reading Going Rogue: An American Life, and gaining a new respect for Sarah Palin.

~Searching for a Bible reading plan that's not so completely overwhelming. Any suggestions?

~Wondering what's going on around your house these days. Tell me, please!

December 22, 2009

On My Nightstand: December

What's On Your Nightstand

It's that time again...time to show you a peek at my nightstand. Here's what I'm planning to read in the coming weeks.

Going Rogue: An American Life. FINALLY got it from the library!

Anne Frank - The Diary of a Young Girl. Believe it or not, I've never read this book.

How to Study the Bible by John MacArthur. My Christmas gift to myself.

My Best Friend Jesus!: Meditating on God's Truth About True Friendship (Secret Keeper Girl). Looking at this one to host a Bible study for CJ and her friends this winter.

When God Writes Your Love Story: The Ultimate Guide to Guy/Girl Relationships. Checking this out to study with my youth girls.

Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home. Jennifer's review piqued my interest, so I requested my library purchase this book.

How about you? What are you reading these days?

December 21, 2009

Christmas Game - Final Thoughts

I'm taking a computer break this week. Between being sick with a horrible cold and wanting to focus on preparing my heart, I decided to make today's question the last.

This season has been different for us. R says he's more in the Christmas spirit than he's been in years.  We haven't bought many presents or gone many places. What we have done has been unhurried and enjoyable.  We've been more intentional, focusing more on THE GIFT instead of the customary holiday obligations. (And there are no credit card bills coming in January!) As my friend Meredith put it, Christmas feels more spacious. For once, Christmas feels more like a season than an exercise in spinning my wheels to get ready for one day that's over much too quickly.

It may just be the best Christmas ever.

What's most special about this Christmas for you?

December 17, 2009

Christmas Game - Day 3

What's your favorite Christmas special?

This question is easy for me to answer...hands down, The Year Without a Santa Claus.

All because of these guys...

They're too much!

Quiet Time

From my quiet time this morning...

Do we, who are busy preparing for Christmas, parties and presents and decorations and food and church programs - and visitors - do we prepare with equal fervor for the visitation of the Lord? If you are consumed by one more Christmas (one mere Christmas among two thousand) your Advent is fleeting, time-bound, and likely self-absorbed. Desperate preparations often indicate an anxiety about the opinions of others regarding ourselves.
~Walter Wangerin, Jr., Preparing for Jesus

"You are my servant,I have chosen you and not cast you off"; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;I will strengthen you, I will help you,I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, "Fear not,I am the one who helps you."
~Isaiah 41:9-10, 13 (ESV)

Sometimes it's hard to accept that God can bring about His purposes through our trials. It's hard to see past our circumstances to a future that, for us, doesn't exist yet. But God is not constrained by time. He is not reined in by our circumstances. Because of this, we have to trust that our limited perspective simply cannot process His higher purpose...Even when I don't understand and even when it's hard to wait, waiting anyway is part of growing in faith as we simultaneously grow in our relationship with Him. As our dependence on Him grows, so does our relationship with Him.
Marybeth & Curt Whalen, Learning to Live Financially Free

(Links to these books are in my sidebar)

December 15, 2009

A Christmas Game - Day 2

If you didn't play Day 1, please do. Now, on to Question 2 (and I did NOT mean for that to rhyme!)

What's your favorite Christmas tradition?

Individually - I love getting up in the morning, plugging in the tree and grabbing my coffee to spend time alone with my Jesus.

Family - Our Advent readings. (Although I must confess, we don't get to them every night.) I also love participating in our church's Angel Tree and Operation Christmas Child.

Church - Helping decorate the sanctuary, with people I love the most.

Maybe they're all the "churchy" answers, but I promise tomorrow won't be so serious!

A Christmas Game

Not much time for blogging lately, but I thought it would be fun to play a Christmas game. For the next few days, I'll post a Christmas question and you can leave your answer in the comments. I promise, it won't take much thought!

So, for today...

What's your favorite Christmas song?

I'll go first, okay? Except I'm suddenly realizing that it's way too hard to name just one.

~Favorite traditional carol - O Holy Night. When Josh Groban sang it years ago at the NYC tree lighting, I nearly fell to my knees right there in my living room.

~Favorite traditional carol, secular - White Christmas. Bing's is the only acceptable version, thankyouverymuch.

~Favorite "fun" song - Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt. I'm sorry, but whoever told Madonna that singing like Betty Boop was a good idea was just plain wrong. And an outerspace convertible?! (shaking my head...)

~Favorite contemporary song - Light of the World by Michael Tait & Point of Grace. It's from Point of Grace's CD Christmas Story. Love everything about that song, and about the CD itself. If you don't have it, get it. Consider that piece of advice as my Christmas gift to you.

~Then there's December by George Winston, which I can't categorize because it's really just beyond words.

So...what's your favorite? Leave a comment or write your own post & link back.

December 10, 2009

10 on the 10th: The Year in Books

At first, I thought I'd participate in Mer's 10 on the 1oth with some sort of Christmas list. But, in case you haven't noticed, I'm a bookworm. So, I decided to list 10 books I read this year. (Click the titles to learn more)

1.The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What a way to start the year! I loved it so much, I read it twice. In one year. Yeah, it's that good! (You can see my reviews here and here.)

2. Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity. Learning more about the Sabbath really caused me to rethink how we spend our Sundays. (Review here.)

3. Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ. I never reviewed this. If I did, I would say only 3 words. Read it. Now.

4. Feeling For Bones. A haunting, insightful read.

5. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World. Practical advice to change the way you pray.

6. The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary. Another must read. (Review here.)

7.Drowning Ruth. (Review here)

8.Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women. Susan Hunt has given a wonderful, Biblical approach to mentoring younger women and impacting their lives for Christ.

9. Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn. The first two books in a great series by Mary E. DeMuth (Review of both books here)

10.Misplacing God: And Finding Him Again by my good friend, Joanne Heim. (Review here)

What about you? Have you read any books that I should put on my Christmas list?

December 8, 2009


Just some random things I'm thinking about these days.

~Why do I forget how big & how good God is? Just last week, He provided a gigantic blessing that's putting us in a much better position once R's job ends. Even though I'd been praying for it, He still took me by surprise.

~Why do I whine so much? Between the state of my house (please.don't.ask) and the job situation, I haven't felt much Christmas cheer. The decorating and sappy holiday movies are leaving me empty. Maybe God's trying to tell me something about the true meaning of Christmas.

~Why am I blogging? Haven't quite figured that one out yet.

~Why don't I have more patience? Seems I'm either blowing my top with CJ or R, or praying for God to REVEAL HIS PLAN ALREADY.

~Why can't I be content with the status quo? Haven't figured this one out yet, either.

~A self examination both humble and true must cause us to tremble before the living God. - Walter Wangerin, Jr., "Preparing for Jesus"

~It never was what we could accomplish that established a lasting relationship with God, but what God himself promises to accomplish for us. - Wangerin

~Our tendency to self-sufficiency can only be overcome when our situation is beyond our sufficiency. Only then will we learn experientially the sufficiency of Christ. - Susan Hunt, "Spiritual Mothering"

December 4, 2009


The email was from someone I don't know. The subject was "Band A/Band B Concert - Question". (Except the band names were given.) The author greeted me by name. He said his internet research indicates that I'd seen these two bands in concert, and he's looking for information about the date and venue to assist Band A's webmaster.

I immediately freaked out because (a) I did in fact go to this concert circa 1985; (b) I've never mentioned it on my blog; and (c) the email came to my "safe" email...which has no trace of my maiden or married name.

So, how could he possibly know that I went to this concert?

A quick search for Band A's name in my Google reader showed a post that I'd commented on, where I wrote for the entire world wide web to see that I went to Band A /Band B concert when I was in high school. Obviously, the guy read that post & the comments, came over to my blog & emailed me from there.

Maybe you're thinking What's the big deal? Are you so embarrassed that you won't even tell us who the bands are? That's really not the point. It's nothing I'm ashamed of. But the fact that a complete stranger emailed me about it, without telling me how he got the information, seemed sorta' stalkerish & frightened me just a little.

I am very particular about what I share here. I try to blog honestly about what's going on in my life, but I don't share anything that I feel is inappropriate or crosses the boundaries of my family's privacy. Still, it was definitely creepy to have someone track me down based on a comment I'd left on another blog.

This incident has given me much food for thought. As I ponder the place blogging has in my life (and the place I have in blogging), I'm stepping back. Not completely, but noticeably. If and when I figure it out, I'll let you know.

December 2, 2009

Around the House: December

I am:

~On a Facebook break. I challenged my Sunday School class to give up some form of media for a week. Facebook is my offering.

~Slow in decorating this year. I really want to put the tree up this weekend. I was hoping all the contractors will be out this week, but that's looking doubtful.

~Done with my shopping! Don't hate me. We're only buying for CJ and have scaled back considerably, so it was a fairly simple task this year.

~Looking forward to a December with no holiday stress. Cutting back on the gifts, obligations, and expectations is freeing indeed!


~Christmas music, practically non-stop

~All things peppermint (tea, coffee, candy get the idea!)

~The young woman CJ is becoming. She recently called me at work to ask if she could start dinner for me. During our greeting time in worship Sunday, she came up to the choir loft to hug me. Oh, she still has her moments of sass and attitude, but she's a gigantic blessing in my life.


~What the Lord wants to do in our family

~How He wants me to serve Him

~How to make my home more inviting, and to be more hospitable

~My place in God's kingdom, at this place and this time


~For peace and confidence

~To be the helper my man needs

~To be the mother my girl needs

~To be the woman everyone else in my life needs

~For courage to make some much-needed changes

What's going on in your house this month? Settle in for a cup of Candy Cane Lane tea, and tell me all about it.