Friday, June 25, 2010

On a more light-hearted note than some of my recent posts, the highlight of my day is going to bed. Why? Not necessarily because I had to work early today. And it's not even because I'm tired. It's because I know that whenever I choose to wake up, there will be a relatively fresh (just pulled them out of the oven) chocolate cranberry scone for breakfast. Thank God for Saturdays.
( I was going to add an image of a scone, but I couldn't find any that did justice to the ones I just made, so you'll have to imagine how incredible they look and smell.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Communication matters.

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place". -George Bernard Shaw 

We often hear of words getting in the way, of how impossible it is to disclose the deeper feelings within.I always figured that I was doing well in that area. I'm fairly verbose, right? I mean, I blog. Really. Clearly I do just fine at promulgating my thoughts and ideas to people. And in his mercy, God chose to show me how just how poorly I've communicated with the people I care about. He showed me how I've become dangerously introverted with my true feelings out of fear; how I'm not wanting to deal with their reactions, or afraid of hurting their feelings that I'm actually not loving them enough to tell them the truth. Beyond that, I'm just not talking to people at all. It's so easy to just feel too busy/tired/undesirous of burdening anyone else. Moving as much as I have has made this something that feels almost natural. I can love people for the time I'm there, then leave. I'm excellent at severing ties and moving on; my heart has grown calloused and cold, and that's frightening. Is that really the legacy I want to leave?  So in the strength of God, I'm working on graciously communicating what's on my mind in ways that edify and inform. And for now, we'll try to hold off on the sarcasm. ;) 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tunage? Please.

Recently, growing weary of listening to poorly written, theologically weak children's Bible songs at work, I've decided to add in some musical variety at work. We now rotate between "Wee Sing Bible Songs" (Admit it: You listened to those growing up), Disney classics, and the jazz station on the radio/Pandora. The kids (and bear-bear, apparently) love the jazz station as much as I do now. It's both exciting and frightening that they are such great copycats.

I used to wonder why young parents had no social lives (not entirely, but still it seems like something that's fairly easy to keep up even with kids, right?). Now, I'm so tired when I get off work, I don't even want to be around people. Getting to know new people takes time and energy, and I often just want/need to sleep. Admittedly, I think I'm still trying to figure out how to go from being surrounded by college girls last year to now spending the greater part of my life with a toddler and an infant. As much as I love my job, it's nice sometimes to be around people who can count higher than 8.  : )

That's one of the reasons I appreciate being able to listen to music at work; it "washes away the dust of everyday life", as Pablo Picasso would say. And when there's good music on, I sing, which brings me joy (not to mention makes me feel ridiculously like Julie Andrews...). I've taken to singing old hymns as lullabies to the infant. Now instead of dreading having to lay him down, I can preach truth to my soul while he cries himself to sleep. Redeeming those moments remind me of why I'm here, where my strength truly lies (hint: it's not in me.).

For the first time in way too long, I knelt in the dark and really poured out my heart to God last night. Today, I haven't been able to get these lyrics out of my head: "What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear! All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer". How many times have you sung those words? Do you feel the wonder of his grace? When was the last time you were amazed that an infinite, holy God knows and cares about your life? You should be.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue; Ne bis in idem

" Doesn't something tell you that suffering is like life: that there is always something unknown beyond it?" 

Alexandre Dumas has done a masterful job of blending a fantastic and engaging story with interesting dialogue and just enough description to satisfy (without getting bogged down in the details in a Tolkienian manner). As George Bernard Shaw was apt to put it, " Dumas was...a summit of art. Nobody ever could, or did, or will improve upon Dumas's romances".  While my thoughts upon completion of The Count of Monte Cristo are not as ludicrously flattering as Shaw, I do now foster a warm appreciation for the man and his works. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of thought provoking sections; those are few and far between in most romantic novels. It made me grieve at the cruelty of humanity, my heart broke at, as Shakespeare termed it, the "frailty of woman", I followed the story with bated breath as the count mysteriously acted both as an agent of providence and revenge (Ok, less than bated breath. I knew how it was going to end, but I was genuinely upset to put it down). All in all, a wonderful summer read. ★★★★

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One of my much-neglected projects was looking up the requirements for my program to graduate and comparing them with what my record looks like now that I've got a year finished. Tonight, I finally got to it.
SO...I've still got 48 credits left:
-9 in Religion (Intro to the Old Testament, Intro to the New Testament, and a senior level course of my choice)
-Intro to Psychology (with the venerable Professor A. Ho)
-12 elective credits in English
-9 credits in Art/Science = More choir!
- 15 credits of "Open Electives"
Needless to say, I'm excited to be just under half finished after my first year. Not too shabby. If I were able to afford to do 15+ credits a semester, I'd be done in no time. I would like to be done by the time I turn 21...but we'll see what God has in store.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Let me tell you about my day...

What have I been up to? Hmm. Well something like this:
6:30: Last time hitting snooze; Roll out of bed, check email (yes, I'm addicted), compose myself for the day and head downstairs for the breakfast of champions: Oatmeal and ginger orange juice (or toast and tea).

8:00: Have finished walking to work; start by feeding the "littler guy" (3 months). We've got between 30 minutes to an hour until the "little guy" (2 years) wakes up, meaning I have no hands instead of just one. I'm really quite amazed at what one can accomplish while simultaneously supporting a child that can't hold his head up...

10:00: With one down sleeping, the older two of us head outside (weather permitting). My main goal: find creative and enjoyable ways to wear him out so he naps better. The damp Washington climate happens to be ideal for slug-hunting, and it's a favorite pastime. Why, just today, we caught over 4 different types of slug. Someday, when he gets older, I'll show him the magic effects of salt on our invasive friends. For now, we content ourselves, he with a stick and slug/mushy pinecone/rock/ball and me with tending to the garden. 

12:00:  Lunchtime! Fortunately for me, the little guy loves to help in the kitchen. And by "loves", I mean the second I start thinking about making something, he pulls his chair over to the counter and asks to be picked up so he can get in on the action. He's quite the stirrer. A bit picky on textures, but once I started blending things with the hand mixer, I haven't had any trouble getting him to eat anything. I started blending healthy things into my own lunches too. ;) We made pasta one day, and the whole time we were boiling the noodles, he kept wanting to sample them. On the first, totally unprompted, he tasted it, then pronounced with a serious face, "Raw" (and proceeded to do so until it was al dente. That takes skills, people.) 

14:00: Swaddled and sleeping boys mean I've got a few hours to catch up on all the messes they've made for the day and do some reading/dinner preparation/organization of the house. I've knocked off quite a bit of reading so far, not to mention the ever-growing flower and herb garden I've got going. It's been fun to do homemaking projects for the mom of the family. 

16:00: The boys are up and hungry, so I try to make sure both of them are fed and have clean diapers and finish all projects before their dad gets home. Throughout the day, I take notes, so I hand those off with any explanation, and tap out for the day on kiddo duty. 

19:00: Supper! (and yes, it does really look and taste that good. I live with a great cook). Several nights out of the week, there are events going on over/after the meal, but I prefer the nights where I can just chill around the house after being away all day. 

23:00: Finally in bed, too late, as usual. Staying up reading will do that...but the sleep feels good. Resting in His grace, and trusting for new mercies tomorrow! 

I've been learning a lot, but I think one of the sweetest (and conversely, most convicting) lessons has been getting to see, through "parenting" these kids, a clearer picture of God's nature. Sometimes I get frustrated, "Why can't this kid just trust that I have his best interest in mind? Why can't he just learn these lessons?"...and then I remember my lack of faith, my stubborn and rebellious nature, and I not only have patience, but a heart to see these kids learn to love and rely on Christ. My correction is needed, but it only fixes behavior; their hearts will never change without the grace of God. How can I thank him enough? Speaking of which, I also have a growing appreciation for my parents and their faithfulness in raising us in a intentionally God-centered home. I'm only beginning to realize the blessings that are coming from their willingness to sacrifice a "normal" life for a wartime-mentality, homeschooled home. (shakes head) I've been so thankful recently; I've never been so tired and yet so full of joy. God is good.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My condolences...

Today, I got to write a letter of condolence for the first time. The very notion seems rather old-school (heck, the fact that I just put a hyphen in "old-school" is in itself rather not in vogue). Really, whatever you seem to write seems trite and inadequate. How does one sufficiently relate how much pain you empathetically feel for the person's loss without sounding like you're being patronizing? How much or how little should you say? Oh, I asked for grace to speak words edifying for the moment. Sometimes, it's easier to just hug someone and hope that the gesture communicates the feeling that your words seem unable to do.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Earlier today, I couldn't get this song out of my head. I wasn't really in a funk, just physically drained. It's funny only took one song on my classic jazz online radio station after work to totally change my mood. Call me lame, but after trying all day to keep 3 people in order and content, it's so refreshing to just cut loose and be mellow. Yes, I'm more mellow when cutting loose. Swinging music, yes. Rockin'? Heavens, no. I should just pull out my knitting needles and check myself into a nursing home now. ;)