Monday, January 31, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (22-30)

I have been reading A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp's blog, for a few months. Every Monday, Ann adds to her list of One Thousand Gifts and today I'm adding to my list too.

This week I'm thinking of Jesus' command to love our neighbors as ourselves and am thankful for all the acts of kindness I've heard about and seen this week when our area received more than a foot of snow.

I saw a neighbor snowblowing off another neighbor's driveway, sidewalk, and around their mailbox. Also Wonderful Husband and 2 other men helped get a neighbor's car "unstuck" from the snow in his driveway.

#22 - #30 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

22 - red nail polish worn throughout the winter
23 - learning Selah means pause (see Psalms)

24 - a neighbor who calls to check that the "suspicious looking box truck" is in our driveway for a valid reason, and yes it was

25 - Girl Scout cookies (especially Short Breads and Lemonades)

26 - God answers prayers

27 - hair color, hair cut, and a talented hairdresser who always makes me feel lovely afterwards

28 - hearing our son helped his neighbor scrape ice off her windshield before he left for work

29 - my body that can shovel snow and although still healthy

30 - a warm home

Turn on your speakers. Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Tradition

This past December was a strange month to experience in our home. It was the first time that neither of our children were around since our son lives in Virginia and our daughter lives in a nearby town.

I was starting my new job on December 1st, so my goal was to have the inside Christmas decorating finished before that day. Score!

I hung our traditional Advent Calendar that we've had for about 20 years. In the past, one kid would take odd numbered days, the other even. Of course the odd numbers were more popular since the baby Jesus was in the 25th pocket.

I bet you didn't think of that. *smile*

This year I was the only one keeping track of the days. I counted down the odd and even days until the "kids" came home for their Christmas break, then I turned the responsibility over to them.

I had ordered The Way of Light Wreath and it arrived a few days in to December. I moved the votive candle each day and really appreciated the workmanship as well as the quiet, and calm new tradition. It made me start thinking that someday my "kids" will begin their own family traditions and I will probably retire the older, more kid-friendly Advent Calendar and carry on with The Way of Light Wreath.

Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?

Do have a tradition that might change in the future?

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (10-21)

I have been reading A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp's blog, for a few months. Every Monday, Ann adds to her list of One Thousand Gifts and today I'm adding to my list too.

I have prayed for people and have taken meals to some of them too.

This week I've included the link below to Kristen's (We are THAT Family) "Works for Me Wednesday" post on ideas of  "What to Bring to a Friend on Bedrest."

I'm thankful for the ideas on how to make God's grace visible by showing His love and care for others through action. The list could be used for people in the hospital, people undergoing chemotherapy, or someone who is just feeling a bit blue because of frigid/icy temperatures.

#10 - #21 on my list of One Thousand Gifts. I'm thankful for:

10. Kristen at We are THAT Family for posting this list of suggestions on "What to Bring to a Friend on Bedrest"

11. attending a Women's Ministries event at my church called "The Pyschology of the Psalms"

12. The Rev. Dr. Peggy Clark who said, "We don't live in isolation, we are made to live in community" (emphasis mine)

13. hugs and having time to talk with my Bible Study buddies

14. my Bible Study buddies

15. the arrival of Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

16. wishing Happy 28th Birthday to our nephew Mike on Facebook

17. a text message that (our nephew) Nick and Melanie are officially engaged

18. being with our daughter "Young Sweetie" for lunch on Sunday,

19. hugging her, and

20. telling her that we love her

21. words of comfort, "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last." Job 19:25 (NLT)

Turn on your speakers. Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Thoughts

For the second time this week, we've had a weather event.

Picnic anyone?

Tuesday morning we woke up to about 4 inches of snow encased in a layer of ice. Wonderful Husband and I geared up and I was naive enough to think it would be easy going like the last fluffy snow where I didn't even break a sweat.


It was
and slippery.

We finished the job though and since the temperature finally rose above freezing, the wetness left on the driveway evaporated while we were at work.

Good job!

Now it's Friday morning.

View from the back of our house.

View from the front of our house.

Another weather event.
4 or 5 inches.
Not fluffy.
Heavy, stick-to-the-shovel-type of work.

I cleared off the front porch and walkway. Wonderful husband shoveled snow from behind my van so he could pull it out of the garage and reach the snowblower.

We've finished the job again but now I'm wondering....

Are we not shoveling properly so God wants us to have more practice in snow removal?

I miss my "kids" being home since they were the best snow shovelers ever!
Which really means that I didn't have to do it. :)

Any snow stories you want to share?

Monday, January 17, 2011

One Thousand Gifts (1-9)

I have been reading A Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp's blog, for a few months. Ann began a Gratitude Community back in June of 2003. Every Monday, Ann adds to her list of One Thousand Gifts and today I'm beginning my list thanking God for the blessings He's gifted me.

I've come to realize that when I focus on the blessings in my life, I am much happier overall. I am more attuned to God's presence (and presents). Please give it a try and discover if it changes your outlook on life too.

I have been struggling lately with the bitter cold which seems to have taken permanent residence in my area of Pennsylvania. It is freezing: morning, noon, and night. I'm not a coffee drinker but am thinking of taking it up just so I can stick my hands and feet into the warmth. Ha!

#1 - #9 on my list of One Thousand Gifts:

1. a new tradition, recognizing and thanking God for His blessings

2. the new year and the possibilities/opportunities ahead

3. receiving my first paycheck in over two years

4. Wonderful Husband who used the snowblower to clear the driveway

5. bunny tracks in the snow

6. a new treadmill which I laughingly call my best friend

7. New England Clam Chowder that warms me from the inside out

8. reading The One Year Chronological Bible

9. a beautiful ending to a snowy day

Turn on your speakers. Read, enjoy, and thank God for His blessings.
You can learn more about the Gratitude Community here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

My Journey Into Grace

I had a conversation last night with Wonderful Husband about how he thinks I'm angry with a situation and that's why I am blunt when I converse with people about it.

I told him that it seems (to me) like he's sugar-coating the situation and although not is not exactly truthful and kind of smoke-and-mirror-ish in his discussions with people.

I think it was a constructive conversation where we both heard each another, yet it made me think about how different we are (the male/female-ness) and our differences in our journey as a married couple are becoming more visible too.

For years I was the sugar-coater...putting a positive spin on our lives: to my side of the family, to his side of the family, to co-workers, to friends, to my Bible Study buddies.

It was exhausting.

About a year ago, I had used up all my "spin-master energy" and became more truthful.
More brutally honest.
Not mean.
I just had to take off the masks that had been pinching my face and pinching my heart.

And it has been freeing.

My life is not perfect. Why should I put on a faux smile and pretend it is to the world?

So after driving to work today, I sat in my car and read Jesus Calling (by Sarah Young) and what was today's devotional reading about? That my efforts to look good can fool some people. But I don't have to pretend with Jesus. He knows every part of me and will alter my weaknesses into strengths because he saturates me in grace.

Think about that.

Jesus saturates us in grace.

The dictionary defines saturate as to soak, impregnate, or imbue thoroughly or completely.

My prayer today is to be open to his saturation. May my bluntness be replaced with words of grace. Honest still, yet less sharp-edged. More smooth-edged words that bring grace into my soul and into the lives of others. Jesus, please saturate me with grace. Amen.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Struggle Continues

I've written before about my struggle with technology.

The New Year has brought with it a new and interesting struggle:


Wonderful Husband gave me an espresso machine for Christmas. I was really surprised since we had talked about it before the holiday and he went online and discovered that they cost hundreds of dollars.

Enter Mr. Coffee. Not hundreds of dollars and by the way I need to explain that I don't drink espresso in tiny little cups. I use it to make "an iced semi-skinny vanilla latte" from...well, you know like that other place. *wink*

After reading the instruction manual, we successfully made a whopping two ounces of the wonderful elixir. And you know what? My drink wasn't bitter like I get from the other place so it was wonderful in its deliciousness.

The second time I used the espresso machine it wouldn't work. I followed the same step-by-step instructions and turned the knob to brew. Nothing happened. The good news is that Wonderful Husband messed around with it and voila! it worked and gave me two ounces of espresso.

For those who have read about my discovery that by eating less and moving more, I was able to lose weight in 2010 and become more healthy, the sad news is that "my best friend," my treadmill, died at the end of last year. (RIP Tready)

Old Dead Tready

On New Year's Eve, Wonderful Husband, our son "Evil Genius," and I went to the mall to purchase a new tready for me. Our last tready had been loaded up in my van, lugged upstairs by the four of us (daughter Young Sweetie was included), put together and well, you get the picture. It was hard on our bodies and so very good for mine when all was said and done.

The plan this time (since we're all a bit older and wiser) was to have it delivered, pay $10 for the old one to be removed, and the new one would be assembled by "the professionals." Come on, you know you want to pat us on the back at this point. Don't you?

But wait.

Wonderful Husband took off from work and used his one remaining day of vacation from 2010 and volunteered to be at home on January 6th to open the door for my wonderful "new best friend." (Now you know why I use the name Wonderful Husband in my blog.)

I called from my work and was told that they (the professionals) had just arrived so I hung up quickly so he could let them "work their magic."

When I arrived home from work I asked, "Well is my tready ready to go?"

And Wonderful Husband said, "No. Not really."


They lugged out the old tready (best $10 we've ever spent). Struggled up the stairs with the new tready, unpacked it, assembled it, plugged it in.....

and nothing happened.

New Dead Tready

They left the broken tready, and will be coming back this Wednesday, January 12th, to lug out the broken tready, lug up the new tready, unpackage it, assemble it and....hopefully....I will have a "new best friend" this year.

I'm hoping that I don't need to purchase any new appliances ever again for the rest of this year. I don't know if my last good nerve can take it!

Here are my questions for you:
Have you ever struggled with appliances?
Who won?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Losing It - Contest Edition - Week 8

The Contest Edition of Losing It! has been an awesome experience. It began on November 12 and today is the end. I am so grateful for Kathy at House of Hills who challenged us to lose or at least maintain our weight through the holidays and although I did neither, I believe it helped me not totally pig out and put on a lot of pounds.

Here are my results:

Starting weight: 161.5
Ending weight: 162

Yup, I gained half a pound. Darn!

I was pretty focused throughout the first five weeks....then Christmas Eve through New Year's Day I was eating cookies like there was no tomorrow.

By the way, just to let you know...tomorrow comes. Ha!

Even though I was eating cookies like a crazy woman, I should have practiced a wee bit of self control since my treadmill broke during the same time period and I was not practicing my goal of "eating less and moving more."

The amusing part of this story is that Wonderful Husband and I went out on New Year's Eve and purchased a new treadmill that was going to be delivered on January 6. When we were leaving the store, I told him that the timing was a bit too close to the end of the Losing It! Contest and without missing a beat he said, "Well, you'll just have to come home from work and hop on the tready for a good 5 or 6 hours!"

I laughed and told him that I knew that wouldn't be happening. (You'll have to come back over the weekend to see my next post on my new treadmill. It makes for a good blogging story.)

Please head over to the House of Hills to see how the other Losing It! ladies finished the contest. There are prizes for the first and second place winners and I'm so proud of them all!