You Say It’s Your Birthday?

It’s my birthday, too. And, oddly enough, I’ve discovered many folks I know who either share the same day or the same week. So, happy birthday to all of you.

Craig gave this to me for my birthday (the story behind the art is here):

God's Story

He gave it to me early because he can’t stand surprises, and also because we needed to hang it right away – we both need to be reminded daily that we are not, indeed, stuck in the fall anymore, which is the way I’ve been feeling for much of the, well, fall.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed. His compassions never fail. Great is His faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:23

Home Stretch

We just returned home from what could possibly be the last place in America where you can leave your purse with all pertinent forms of identification, all your grocery and gasoline money for the next three weeks, and your new-to-you Nano iPod in your unlocked van with your husband‘s keys still in the ignition for two whole days and walk out to find everything exactly as you left them.

We had a good visit with Craig’s family, ate lots of pie (surprise), and worked a lot on our project (which we formally present next Monday). During the time, I came across this quote from James Hudson Taylor yesterday and it seemed particularly fitting:

“There are three stages in the work of God: impossible, difficult, done.”

I think it’s safe to say we are well into the difficult stage. It no longer feels impossible, but it is far from done. Here’s the proof we worked this weekend:

Proof We Worked Over Thanksgiving
I turned Charlotte’s lovely dining room table into a version of my desk for two days. I’m sure she was glad to get her unpiled table back when we left today! Here’s proof we did more than work this weekend:

Great Grandpa's Birthday Party
Craig’s grandpa turned 95 on Friday. Guess who still hasn’t outgrown her disdain for group pictures? Ah well, such is life. So, we’re back, but in the final push for the project. If you hear from me again this week, it’s because I’m putting off working on what I’m supposed to be finishing.

Happy Thanksgiving

Katurkey

Pictured above: Katie when she was 1.5yo – Man that feels like it just happened…

We’re off this afternoon in search of pie, cold games of Horse in the barn with the basketball hoop, a few afternoon naps, and lots of catching up with Craig’s aunts, uncles, cousins, et al.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

In the Holiday Mood?

Ed came to town briefly last week, and we saw him for a little bit over dinner on Thursday. During the course of the conversation, he said he guessed I’d be the type who, when trying to avoid a writing deadline, would take up cleaning instead. I wish it were so.

Instead, I’ve currently got laundry in various stages throughout the house – piles to carry down to the basement, piles to carry up to the living room, piles in the living room to be hung and carried back upstairs, an ironing board in the living room (not its normal place) with clothes hung around like a sink skirt and other piles folded on top. This look has been gracing our home for the past 24 hours.

Then I switched to cooking. Seven-layer Jello salad for Thanksgiving? Three layers done. Two chocolate pies? Done, and one half-eaten (not entirely by me).

Then, because this was oh-so-high on the priority list, I switched to mix-mastering a pretty great Christmas CD, as my true calling was to be a DJ, and I missed it somewhere along the way.
Because I know you are aching to know what has been oh-so-important as to cause me to 1) leave the laundry scattered all about the house as described above; 2) leave $10 worth of chicken on the counter last night (oh, did I fail to mention that? Made me cry, that did); and 3) put off further work for my project which is due, oh, really soon, below is my playlist. Bring on the season; we’re officially ready (as soon as I put the laundry away).

  • Christmas Time Is Here Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Anthem For Christmas Michael W. Smith
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan
  • Jesus, Oh What A Wonderful Child Ed Cash, Allen Levi & Bebo Norman
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Xmas Frank Sinatra
  • Sleigh Ride Relient K
  • Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing Vince Guaraldi
  • Little Town Over the Rhine
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel Matthew Smith
  • It Came Upon a Midnight Clear Sixpence None The Richer
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Jack Johnson
  • Santa Clause Is Coming To Town Bing Crosby
  • Little Saint Nick The Beach Boys
  • Sleigh Ride Ella Fitzgerald
  • (It Must Have Been Ol’) Santa Claus Harry Connick, Jr.
  • Do You Hear What I Hear Martina McBride
  • One Olive Jingle Over the Rhine
  • Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing Sufjan Stevens
  • Come Thou Long Expected Jesus Derek Webb, Sandra McCracken

Congrats, Tim and Amy!

My dear friend, Amy, from Colorado Springs had a baby girl last night. Little Isabelle's entrance to the world is especially sweet for this family and for all who know them. Isabelle, we are all thankful for your safe arrival and may you fill a very tender place in the hearts of your parents.

I Understand

We have lots of pumpkin bread right now. I made four loaves last night and only one got eaten (out of the two that we took) today at the school feast, which means we had pumkin bread for breakfast yesterday and will continue to have it for breakfast for the next four months days.

This morning, I had some sliced pieces on the counter next to the butter and it sat there for, oh all morning. I was working on something upstairs and Millie was watching a movie downstairs (at least I thought she was).

When I came down, I saw four pieces of bread in a row on the counter, covered in what appeared to be a 1/4″ thick layer of butter and the remaining butter in the dish had finger impressions in it.
I looked at her. She looked at me. I said, “Millie, why did you do that with the butter?” Her eyes got big and she said, “I don’t know. I couldn’t help it.”

Gotta give points for honesty. I understand, Millie. I understand.

My Name Isn’t Jenny, But He’s Still Got My Number

I’m not the type to see demons around every corner. In fact, I don’t see them at all; they are totally off my radar screen. So keep in mind that I’m rather conservative in this department as you read the rest of this post.

This has been a hard fall for me. As I recap it in my mind, I can probably pinpoint things further back than the fall. I experienced probably my first real bout of depression when we got the $7,000 hospital bill from Illinois for Millie from last November (which still hasn’t been resolved, btw). There was a definite moment of joy when I was offered the job I’m currently doing for GWN with the possibility of further writing with/for them in the future. But it really seems that as soon as I signed on for this, we (I?) began to take a pretty significant spiritual hit.

I don’t think I’m necessarily that big of a threat to all things evil, so the fact that I’m feeling the arrows flying at me is surprising me. Maybe it shouldn’t.

We’ve had some pretty major relational struggles with one of our kids this fall. It is killing me to watch her walk through this and know that I really can’t do anything about it. In fact, my responses to her sin is almost always to sin right back at her. And that’s killing me, too.

Resolved that I can’t resolve to do anything about this, I began really praying this week. Not just sort-of praying as is my normal custom, but really praying. And reading the Bible, not just with my kids for the Bible portion of our school day, but reading it again because I need to read it again. On day two of this, I was rewarded by probably the worst day with this particular child I have ever had.

When Craig came home I did my little whine routine, where I said something stupid like, “That’s what I get for reading the Bible again,” and, “if this is how caring gets rewarded I think I prefer apathy.” Good, godly truth flowing out of me right there.

He looked at me and said, “I think your week has been pulled up in Satan’s Rolodex.”

Craig’s not a demon-hunter either, so when he said that, we both just laughed. But the more I’m thinking about it the more I’m thinking he’s right: somehow my number has come up in the queue, and I’m getting all kinds of crank calls.

I think it’s time to change my number and report the perpetrator.

Update to add:
I’ve had “867-5309” playing over and over in my head ever since posting this.

How to Spend $68 for a Can of Pumpkin

The girls are having a medieval feast at school tomorrow, and I signed up to bring wheat bread, a pumpkin loaf, and cloth napkins. I made the bread this morning and will dig out the cloth napkins two minutes before we leave tomorrow. I didn’t have a single can of pumpkin in the house which is weird because I usually stockpile that stuff when it goes on sale and then never use it. Looks like I used it all last year.

So on the way home from choir practice tonight I stopped by the store to get a $0.67 can of pumpkin, only I really needed two, so twice that. While in, though, I thought, “Hmm, I wonder if they have turkeys on sale.” Sure enough they did, but the catch was that you had to spend $50 in other items to get the cheap turkey. So yes I did. I ran around the store with three kids (did I mention we had someone coming over to our house to meet with us and I was afraid he was going to beat me there?) finding $50 of stuff we actually needed so that I could get the cheap (cheap is relative; in Colorado Springs they always sold turkeys for a flat $5 with an additional purchase. Here they go for $0.67/pound which adds up to a lot more than $5 per turkey, but I digress…) turkey.

We checked out and made it home with a whole stash of unplanned groceries exactly 45 seconds before one of our church elders pulled up. Whew!

And that’s how you spend $68 for a can of pumpkin.

Sour

We began the day in a way that would make even Alexander shudder.

I was given a sour dough starter this week by a friend. This morning it fell out of the fridge, the lid popped off, and it splattered all over the kitchen. The bottom shelf of the fridge came out at the same time, sending salad dressing bottles skidding around on the mess – a very sour start to the morning.

Chloe came in to investigate and I snapped at her, continuing with my soured start.

The soured theme seems to describe me this week. I don’t normally get cantankerous on my blog about things like alcohol and the SBC or an improper view of Christians and culture. I’m sour this week.

I’ve got other issues going on that are causing the curdling. I think that since I can’t really discuss those, my crankiness is coming out in different ways: snappy and cynical about everything else.
It’s time, yet again, to regain some proper perspective. I’d better do it quickly before I become something to eat with crackers (I’ve never liked being cheesy).

Putting the “Sub” in “Sub-Culture”

I so wish I could convey to everyone I’m hearing from as part of our How Kids Think surveys that things aren’t “Christian,” people are. So many parents seem so very afraid of interacting with anything that doesn’t have a Christian label on it.

For instance, to make his/her point about why offering a movie review with a discussion question supplement would be a bad idea, one parent asked, “If Christ were here on Earth today, could you recommend any [movies] to Him?”

First things first: I don’t think there is anything I could recommend to Christ, but I’m absolutely certain there are aspects of our culture He would recommend to me – even ones without a Christian label on them.

I’m not afraid of things labeled “Christian,” but so much of life just isn’t labeled that way. Do we only shop at Christian grocery stores, eat at Christian restaurants, buy our clothes from Christian shopping malls, or fill up our cars at Christian gas stations?

Do I think Jesus would watch honest movies on the big screen depicting real life, and then interact with others about them? Absolutely.

Do I think he would be found in church basements playing sanitized versions of PS2 games with his youth group buddies? Not so much.