do not serve a God of unrest, or of confusion. We serve a God of LIGHT, of peace, and of hope.
Archives for January 2013
Andrew’s class watched the following video last week. Even though the speaker removes God from the picture completely, I do think he has some good thoughts and ideas. He explains that whatever our idea of success is, that is what makes us happy. But as soon as we reach whatever our goal was, our idea of success changes. We are constantly working toward, and looking toward, the next best thing. And when we achieve that, it is no longer good enough, our goal changes, and we are still striving toward success, which we believe will make us happy.
This is something I have struggled with, particularly since we moved to Atlanta and Andrew started school. It is hard not to look toward the next thing… not to rush through the time we have here just so that we can go home and start our lives. Because this is our life right now. And it is so full of God’s blessings. It would be a shame to miss them in our waiting and working toward “success.”
As a Christian, I refer often to Scripture when I begin to feel discontent, depressed, or anxious.
Scriptures like these:
- Twenty-one days of Three Gratitudes (Ex: Today I am thankful for good weather, hot showers, and quality time with my husband.) Do not repeat the same thing twice during the twenty-one days. There is no need… we have way too much to be thankful for!
- Next, start twenty-one days of journaling… about whatever. But do it every day for twenty-one days.
- Then… Twenty-one days of exercise. Any kind. But do it every day for twenty-one days.
- Twenty-one days of meditation. For some this may mean something like yoga. For me it means intentional time spent quietly and in prayer. Every day for twenty-one days. No distractions, just quiet.
- Twenty-one days of random acts of kindness. These can be anything: Paying for someone else’s order in a drive-thru, letting someone in front of you in a check-out line, surprising your husband by doing his laundry. There is lots of room for creativity here!
I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.”
Andrew has had LOTS of studying to squeeze in this weekend (midterms are right around the corner), but we have still been able to have a wonderful weekend together. We went to a matinee movie, the farmers’ market, out to breakfast…
Our prayer for this week is that God will give Andrew focus and clarity of mind as he studies and prepares for his midterms!
I guess home means different things to different people. Even when I am away from home, as Andrew and I are now, home fills my heart. And although I am getting acclimated to being in Marietta, there is truly not that a moment that goes by that I do not think of home, either with fondness or longing.
Home means being near my family. Near enough to ride a bike to their house.
Home means knowing my way around the local grocery store like the back of my hand.
Home means being surrounded by the familiar.
Home means knowing I am where God intends for me to be.
Home is spending precious moments with the people I love, as often as possible.
Home means working in a place surrounded by friends and family. I so miss that.
Home means leisurely walks around our friendly neighborhood.
Home means being able to paint the walls of our house whatever color I want.
Home means going to yoga classes with my mom.
Home means meeting my sister for a bite to eat before she heads to work on the weekends.
Or arriving early to work with my dad… before anyone else gets there.
Home means still being able to share clothes with both my mom and my sister… even though we no longer live under the same roof.
Home means going to church together.
And bowling together.
And to the flea market together.
And simply living life together.
Spending precious time together.
And home means so much more… so much that I could not possibly put into words.
Right now, home means something to look forward to.
I think of it every moment of every day. And it helps me make the most of the time I have away. It gives me a goal, a reminder that we are only away for a short season. And we have wonderful things to go back to. Although I do not have definitive proof, it is my belief that we are meant to be near family. Families need to stick together. We have moved quite a few times during my lifetime, and one thing I learned in doing so is that friends, churches, communities… they are great, but they come and go. Family does not have to be that way, and it should not be that way. So far, our short time in Georgia has taught me that I do not want, ever again, to live far away from my parents. I think that, regardless of age, children need their parents and parents need their children. My children need my parents in their lives, and visa versa!
In the words of Dorothy (and who better to quote?) there is no place like home.
I got my first Sara Groves CD when I was eleven years old. I remember because my sister was not a fan, and complained each time I asked our mom to put her CD in the car CD player. But Sara has been a long-time favorite of mine. She writes most of her own songs, and the lyrics are so clever. I have almost all of her CDs (though I lack some of the newest ones), and still love each of them.
Here are the lyrics to one of the songs on that very first CD. They have been my anthem for the week:
Well, today was supposed to be my first day as an official volunteer at the local Humane Society. But, at last week’s meeting with my boss (since I work from home we meet once a week to touch base, and for him to give me new assignments), he asked how I would feel about taking on more hours. This was, in a round about way, an answer to prayer… so I gladly accepted! Unfortunately, in order to work more hours from home, I have to be home for more hours. And that meant having to let go of volunteering there for a little while. It is a good thing though, because I am truly thrilled to be given a heavier work load!
As my work load is getting heavier, so is Andrew’s! We had a wonderful weekend together. Although he had tutoring yesterday, he had the rest of the day off from classes, but spent a lot of the day studying. And now he is back at it with a very busy few days at school.
I feel like we are both finally finding our niche here. It always takes a little while after moving, to feel like you have your wits about you again. It has been months since I have truly felt like myself. And Andrew has been so pre-occupied with schoolwork. But he has finally found a way to balance school work with school friends. We have found a church that we really like, and even signed up last week for a small group that starts soon.
God has given me lots of little reminders that His hand is over our lives. He wanted us here, and He is going to get us through this time. But He does not want us only to “make it through,” He wants us to thrive while we are here. In my mom’s words, “You have been pecking around like a chicken when you were created to soar.” When we received salvation, we received freedom… freedom to soar.
This week has flown by! And
Andrew has Monday off, thanks to Martin Luther King Day… so he is in for another quick week next week.
He has midterms the last week of this month…
Even though lots of good things happened throughout the week (see yesterday’s post for details), it was kind of a touch-and-go week for Andrew. I started off the week with a bit of a sinus infection which subsided quickly. But by Monday Andrew was feeling a little under the weather, and come Tuesday he was totally sick. He still kind of is. And he is not a pleasant sick person. For lack of a better way to describe “Sick Andrew,” he is a BIG BABY.
So we both sipped on this honey, ginger, and lemon tea throughout the week. It seemed to do the trick for me, but I cannot say the same for Andrew, who is still sickly. Regardless, it is a tasty little bedtime treat, or a special something to wake up to:
- 12 ounces of boiling water
- About 2 inches of fresh ginger, sliced into thin coins (I used one ginger root.)
- 2 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice. (I used the juice from 1 Myers lemon… put half in my mug and half in Andrew’s)
- 1 Tbsp. of honey (I used a tad more than this.)
- Put the ginger in a glass jar or pitcher (I used a big mason jar.)
- Pour the boiling water over it and let it steep for about 5 minutes.
- Divide the lemon juice and honey between two mugs, according to taste.
- Strain the ginger tea into the two mugs, and stir, adding more honey or lemon if necessary.
- Drink up!
|Photo from here|
As Andrew is getting ready to wrap up his second full week of the quarter, I can look back on the week with a sense of satisfaction that I have not felt in a long time. It has been hard for me to feel fulfilled since we moved here. I am not crazy about the area we live in, I do not know many people, I am working from home, and all of these things put together make me feel a bit lonely and, honestly, a bit useless.
My mom visited last weekend, and as she has her own special way of doing, she put some wind in my sails and helped me realize that I have got to do SOMETHING… I have to help myself somehow, and find something that fulfills me. And not to mention, gets me out of the house some!
So, with a little bit of renewed vigor (or, more honestly, a new sense of desperation), I stepped even further out of my comfort zone than I already am (because being here in the first place is uncharted waters, and very much out of my comfort zone). Andrew did the same thing, and we have both had some little victories this week:
- Sunday at church we signed up for a “Welcome Reception” that is taking place in a couple weekends. It is just a little meet-and-greet, informational session for people who are new to the church, interested in learning more, and hoping to become more involved.
- I made a friend at Zumba! I guess it is too early to say we are truly friends, but we met Tuesday night and hit it off right away. She is about my age, has been married two years, and just moved to the area from Florida. Icing on the cake: the only exercise she ever does is speed walking. My kind of girl! She is a Christian, and I all but begged her to come back to class next week!
- On Monday night I got online looking for a few places to volunteer. I ended up submitting a volunteer application to Humane Society of Cobb County. They are a non-profit, running on donations alone, and never euthanizing their animals. I went in for a volunteer orientation on Wednesday, and I start volunteering next Tuesday! I am afraid this is gonna be a little tough. I am a life-long animal lover, and it breaks my heart to see so many animals in cages. The woman who led the orientation said that some of the animals have been there since they opened 14 years ago!
- On Tuesday, Andrew decided to stay for a Gonstead Club meeting after school, which was a big deal for him. Tuesdays are a long day for him… 7am to 5pm, so he was hesitant to stay, but really loved it. He came home and practiced what he learned on me!
- Andrew also signed up for intramural basketball!
- I went to a food co-op today. I had never gone to one before, and it was a really neat experience. My goal is to keep going each week, and to slowly begin volunteering. It seemed a little overwhelming, so I think the best plan of attack is to wade into it slowly.
- The Metformin has not made me sick at all so far. Other than the tiny bit of nausea that I experience after taking it, I feel great! It is difficult to be patient and up my dosage gradually, as the doctor suggested. Since it is not making me sick, it’s tempting to go ahead and take the full amount, but I have not yet called the doctor to ask her opinion…
The earliest memories I have of my family are the holidays we spent together. Life has changed so much over the
years, we have all spread out and moved around some, and the whole family has not gotten together for the holidays in such a long time. But time does not erase the many memories I have of the years we did spend together.
Some of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas were made at my grandmother’s house… a house she no longer lives in, but that I remember like the back of my hand. She would welcome all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins into her home, feed us, let us use her kitchen spoons to dig holes in her backyard. She is a fantastic gift-giver, and I always looked forward to watching everyone open their gifts and seeing what they got for Christmas.
I have such fond memories of the meals we all shared together. Granny is a big cook, and there was so much food. But I was always most excited about the rice-krispy treats. I do not even know if she made them, or if it was someone else who brought them over. But they were so good.
Us kids would all sit around a low coffee table in the room adjacent from the dining room, while all the adults gathered around the “grown-table.” While the grown- ups took their time, soaked in one another’s company, and enjoyed food and fellowship, I remember the kids eating as quickly as possible so that we could get back outside and play.
Only years removed, looking back, did I realize how precious these times were. They were such different times, even though they were not all that long ago. Our lives were so different, and so much simpler.
This year over the holidays, although we did not see our whole family, we were able to visit my grandmother again. And I was reminded of all the memories that I associate with her cooking, with sitting around her kitchen table. The feeling was bittersweet… mellow and nostalgic, but mostly thankful.
Thankful for my family. Thankful for what God has done in my life over the years. Thankful for my own parents and sister. And thankful for my grandmother… thankful for her heart, her home, her cooking, her life, and her love.
I cannot even remember the last time I ate a rice-krispy treat, but my grandmother had another treat in the kitchen when we saw her over Christmas this time: Coconut Pie. Since coconut is one of Andrew’s favorite flavors, Granny was kind enough to share her recipe with me. It looked so simple that I was brave enough to try it on my own!
- 4 eggs, well-beaten
- 6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
- 1 Cup sugar (I used this instead, because it it what I had on hand)
- 1/2 Cup self-rising flour (I used whole wheat flour because, again, it is all I had)
- 2 Cups milk (I used 2%, but will probably use coconut milk next time)
- 1 7 oz. can or bag of coconut
- Optional: 1/3 Cup extra coconut (Granny said she uses a bit extra because she loves coconut!)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Grease two 8″ or 9″ pie pans, or one large-sized pie pan.
- Bake for one hour, checking at 50-55 minutes.