Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In the spirit of Christmas, and remembering why that baby boy came after all...

Jesus Paid it All (lyrics, copyright, etc)

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Just a friendly reminder that true Christmas only makes sense in light of Easter. May God bless the rest of your holiday season and start you off to a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Came Early

I didn't appreciate how much of a gift it was to be home full-time until I wasn't. I've really been grateful for the opportunity to work this fall (and into the spring), but it hasn't come without a price. The house is a mess, the laundry's behind, and we've eaten countless meals of food that can best be described as junk. The trade-off has been our ability to buy our little house and get on secure financial footing before Baby comes in May. It's definately been worthwhile, but I've so missed my home.

But Christmas came early this year!

Due to the way my company pays holidays, we each got an extra day off this week. We always get Sunday-plus-one; this week we get Sunday-plus-two! And, I took a double shift for Wednesday, so I actually get Sunday-plus-three this week. I'm beside myself with joy. Today (Tuesday) is my first home-day in literally months. No errands... no classes... no commitments outside my own four walls. The big plan? Wearing a skirt (only my wrap one fits right now, oh pregnancy), wearing an apron, baking cookies, folding laundry, scrubbing the floors and the kitchen, maybe even finding a little time this afternoon to curl up in front of a movie and work on kitting Blueberry's blanket (thank goodness I have until May!). I'm cooking a big, healthy pot of soup and relishing in the gift that is today.

I'm off Thursday, too, when my sister is coming to spend the day with meand receive her early Christmas present: instruction on how to plan a menu and grocery shopping. She moved into an appartment in August and has been trying to figure all that out in addition to being a senior in college. I've planned her a couple menues of Once-A-Week cooking of her favorite meals. I haven't decided yet if we'll test run the cooking Thursday or just talk about it theoretically, but it's sure to be a wonderful day.

It's a gift I couldn't have known I needed: the gift of time. Time to appreciate doing the things I really love to do. Time to work on making my house into a home. Time to renew a special relationship with my sister. Time to just breathe.

I pray that this crazy, busy holiday week, you have an opportunity to think on the best gift we've been given: our Savior Christ, whose coming as a baby is celebrated at Christmas, but even more upon his sacrifice as a man at Calvary. And, I pray that your heart is nourished in the way you most need so that you can enter the new year refreshed and filled with supernatural joy.

God Bless!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Facing the Consequences

It's been a challenging week in Springfield. Tuesday morning, the mayor of our city committed suicide. He's always been a Springfield boy -- several of my coworkers at the bank were personal friends of his. One had even just gone to dinner with him over the weekend. No one knew anything was wrong.

Part of why no one saw this coming is Mayor Davlin's suicide isn't like many others: he wasn't caught in a mire of depression and loneliness. No... I truly feel for those people whose world has grown so dark they see no other way out. I've been there. Mayor Davlin's case is quite different. Over the past few weeks, it has come out that he has been embezzling money from an estate he had power over, as well as evading federal taxes for the past several years. Tuesday morning he was due in court to face the music; when he didn't arrive, police were sent to his house to investigate and found him dead. He killed himself because he didn't want to face the consequences for his actions.

Every action has a consequence. If I go to bed very late, I will wake up tired in the morning. If I overeat at the many Christmas parties we're attending, I will feel uncomfortable and face indigestion. If I embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars... I should expect to get caught, expect to have to repay the money, and expect to be shamed.

He didn't want to face the consequences.

The sad part is that this earth isn't all we have. Our own life isn't the only one we affect. He may have avoided having to explain himself in a human court of law, but now he must stand before the Eternal Judge. He may have avoided personal discomfort, but he leaves behind a family -- including 4 young grandchildren -- who have to navigate not only the legal issues he left behind but also the emotional damage of losing him a week and a half before Christmas. He left behind a city that truly loved him... a stack of half-finished projects. Was it worth it? For money, and the risk of embarrassment?

No matter what, on earth or in heaven, you can't avoid the consequences.

Monday, December 13, 2010

18 weeks, and all I want for dinner...

This baby is strange. For the past several weeks (turning into lots), food just isn't appealing. None of the casseroles I've made for hubby; nothing from any restaurants; just... no food.

All I eat is fruit, snack foods, and popcorn. And tea... mmmm, tea. Of course the child would choose exotic fruits, too. I'm blowing through several pounds of kiwi, pomegranets, and grapefruit every week. And pears, but those aren't exactly exotic.

You'll laugh -- I know I did. Last Friday night, I spent hours cooking a big pot of chicken and dumplings, per special request of Hubby. It smelled excellent... the whole house smelled warm and homey. I lit a couple candles, dished up a couple big bowls, sat down with him at the table, took one bite... and that was it. It smelled awesome but just didn't taste right to my hormonal tounge. Shaune verifies it was as good as ever ; he ate his bowl, mine, and went back for more. I had a kiwi and 1/2 a pomegranet. And a mug of goldfish snack crackers.

I think the best thing about pregnancy so far is it's taught me that things don't make sense, and that's ok. I can't control everything. In fact, I can't control anything! I just have to make peace with whatever God throws my way, roll with the punches, and eat what I can. I have to trust that He's got it all figured out in the end. In the mean time, Baby and I are going to go grab a pear and just sit around -- when I'm still, Baby dances all over my belly. It's a glorious feeling :)

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Getting Back on Track

Do you know what the hardest part of a routine is? For me, it isn't setting it up in the first place. No. In my house, the hardest thing is when I have a brilliant (or at least functioning) routine down pat and then for whatever reason, I stop. Starting AGAIN is more challenging than anything the first time around.

That being said, this fall has been chaos. Not a single routine I had in place in August is occuring this first week of December.

To be fair, my reasons for dropping routine have been good. We *did* after all move into a new house (which immediately became a construction zone). Our new house is missing the dishwasher I had come to rely on at our apartment. I did start a nearly-full time job and a new ministry position that puts me out of the house, together, nearly 50 hours a week. Oh, and did I mention? On top of all that, I'm pregnant and that 1st trimester is a *real* challenge.

So my Christmas gift to my husband, my child-to-be, and myself -- more special and important than anything material available in any store -- is to get back on track with routines. I'm going to make an honest effort to get at LEAST back to where I was over the summer, and hopefully improve even further in a few key areas I've always struggled with (oh, laundry...).

So Sunday afternoon, I dug through all the boxes of books (which are still waiting for their shelves to be finished) to find my cookbooks. I brewed a pot of tea, grabbed my calendar and a blank notebook, and curled up to plan the menu for the week. This has got to be my favorite routine ever! I wrote up the grocery list, as well as a task list for the week. Tuesday mornings are my only home mornings (until I quit my job in the spring) so I made a jolly mess of the kitchen and cooked 3 days worth of dinner plus one extra for the freezer. It's been soooooo nice this week to have healthy, homecooked, tasty meals ready to be warmed up when I walk in the door exhausted at 6:30pm. I can't believe I went so long (cough... like, almost all 17 weeks of this pregnancy...) without a plan for the kitchen.

One routine down, and it's one of the most important! Now that we're fed, next week I'm going to add on laundry so we stop the morning scramble for work clothes. I've got to start it over the weekend tho, with finally -- FINALLY -- moving in the dressers from storage and unpacking all our clothes from the suitcases and laundry baskets and moving boxes they've called home for the past 2 months.

I'm curious: What's the most important routine in your household? What routine are you still trying to accomplish? And, once I have both cooking and laundry under way, what should I tackle next?

Friday, December 3, 2010

What a busy week!

Guess what I'm doing tonight! I'm moving into my house!

Now, you're saying, "Wait... didn't they move way back in October?" Yes, we did. WE moved into our house, but none of our stuff did. It got stacked precariously in the garage out back while we did some substantial cosmetic rennovations to the interior. I've been living with a grand total of 4 pieces of furniture... in the ENTIRE house. One bed, one dresser, one comfy chair, and one kitchen table (and two kitchen chairs at it... so 6 total). Everything we need (ie, clothes) has been stacked in various moving boxes and laundry baskets or simply piles on the floor. Utter chaos.

And, as I'm increasingly preggo (17 weeks all the sudden), my tolerance for mess has steadily decreased. I want my little nest to actually have a place to sit :( BUT! Last night, my dearest darling husband finished painting the living room. This morning he got up early to remove the tarps and tapes. I'm ALMOST done cleaning the hardwood floor back to what it looked like in October. And tomorrow! Tomorrow my couch is coming in! And my books (have you ever gone 2 months without any books? Not even cookbooks? I'm glad it's over)! AND MY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS!

I'm so grateful to Hubby. He's worked hard to get us to this point. There's still a ton to do, but I'm calling it quits until after the first of the year. It's time to relax and enjoy being homeowners!

Pictures soon :) I'm waiting til the "stuff" is in place :)