Friday, December 31, 2010

So I Have This Theory. . . .

It could be waaaaay off. It is based on nothing except my own observations and interactions with people, so there is no "real" research or anything "official" to back it. It is entirely just my opinion and therefore probably wrong ;-), but I'm wondering what others might think. So let me know if you share this opinion or have other insights to offer.

It is the time of year when lots of people make all kinds of new resolutions. And while I certainly don't have a problem with this practice in general, I don't really buy into the whole idea of "New Year Resolutions". I mean, I'm all about making life changes. I think it's critical that we all continue to learn and grow and find ways to improve, but I think this is something that happens as part of an ongoing lifestyle of learning and growing--not so much something you just flip a switch for on January 1st and expect everything to fall perfectly in line. This is part of the reason I think so many people make the same resolutions every single year because they usually abandon them by February. Most of the resolutions I've seen people try to keep require long-term discipline rather than quick "cold turkey" decisions. Certainly strong willpower could overcome this issue, but there is a bigger problem than even this I think. It's about motivation. I am of the opinion that it is pretty much exhausting to worship at the idol of "self." Seems like a contradiction since that behavior results in investing primarily in oneself. But the problem is that human beings just weren't designed to be satisfied with the things of this world. So it's never enough. Ever. No matter how much a person acquires or improves or learns, etc., none of those things are ever ultimately fulfilling.

SO--I'm thinking-- Again, I sure don't think there's anything wrong with making decisions to do some things differently in the New Year. But I wonder if we need to adjust our motivation for doing so. I think we fail because we are not focused on the right motivation OR the right end result. For example:

Rather than deciding to be more frugal in order to HAVE more for ourselves, suppose we desire to be more frugal so that we can GIVE more.

Rather than deciding to get in shape so that we can look better in fitted clothing for people who shouldn't be interested in the shape of our bodies anyway, suppose we desire to get in shape so that we can be healthier and have more energy to serve more effectively.

Rather than deciding to prepare more meals at home in order to save money to spend on ourselves, suppose we desire to prepare more meals at home so that we can help our spouses and children be stronger and healthier through the nutritious meals we provide for them.

Rather than deciding to read the Bible more so that we can check it off our list as something to be proud of and make sure everyone knows we did, suppose we desire to read the Bible more just so that we can know Christ and the Gospel better.

Things like that.

Just some thoughts. Because I have to believe that all of these things would be exponentially more fulfilling (and therefore much more long-term) if our motivation is right.

Whatever idols we pour our lives into can never fill us back up.

But OH how the Gospel sure can.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

"....he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them." --Isaiah 19:20

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stunning Winter

I hope I never stop being stunned by this gorgeousness.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

MSES Winter Concert 2010

Macy and Grace both got to be involved in their school's winter concert this evening. Gracie was the Fairy Godmother in her class's production of "Cinderella," and Macy got to perform 2 songs that SHE WROTE! It was the first time she sang AND played the keyboard at the same time in front of an audience, and it was certainly the first time she performed one of her own original compositions. So sweet!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Good List 12-15-10

10. The fact that Jared and I are the bottom 2 teams in our Vermont fantasy football league and the only two in the consolation ladder (not even the winner's consolation bracket--nay, this is the your-team-is-so-terrible-we'll-go-ahead-and-start-consoling-immediately bracket). I'm talking the very bottom here, people. Awesomeness redefined. ;-)
9. AND both of our (non-winner's) consolation ladder caliber teams got more points than every single team in the winner's bracket. This week. Now that it doesn't matter anymore. Go figure. :-D
8. Cake Mix cookies. Super easy to make. Super yummy to eat.
7. Having the perfect spot for some pretty stained glass. You should see it when the sun is shining.

6. Patriots 45-3 win over the Jets on Monday Night Football. Jared watched the entire game twice. Literally. ;-)
5. The contract my sister and brother-in-law have on their house in Houston!!! Please pray with me that the remaining details of the process go smoothly AND that HER SISTER will have a similar experience with a house in Nashville SOON!!!
4. My friend Anne's amazing collection of Christmas ornaments that you can tell spans several generations just by looking at them. She even pointed out a few that she estimated to be around 150 years old. (They belonged to her grandfather, and she herself is a great-grandmother, so they have had a very long life.) So special.
3. Watching people create art. I could watch someone paint or draw or sculpt for hours. It's fascinating to me.
2. Kindred hearts. I never would have guessed so many of mine live in Vermont, but I'm so happy to have found them. :-D
1. Our sweet and simple Nativity program at MSCC. Love it!

Fluffy Grace

Snow always makes me think of grace. Always. There is something so sweet and gentle and yet thorough and complete about the way it covers ugly deadness with something so gorgeous and startlingly clean and fresh. Beautiful.

It is gentle enough to rest lightly on a tiny little berry or dried up stem. . .

But it is also strong enough and big enough and deep enough to fully cover wherever it lands.

But it doesn't erase what it covers. It just rests there until it eventually melts into its host. And the more it soaks into the ground and roots and stems it settles on, the more spectacular the following spring tends to be--alive with brilliance and color.

Similarly, when we are "under grace," it doesn't dissolve or disintegrate us into nothingness. Not at all. Rather, if we truly soak it in and let it penetrate down to the roots of our souls, we can't help but grow into something so much more vibrant and healthy and alive and beautiful than the withered vine or dried up leaf it found us as when it first settled upon us. Oh so sweet and oh so powerful. Grace.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Good List 12-8-10

10. Those commercials starring Kevin Bacon as an obsessed Kevin Bacon fan. They border on creepy, but they're pretty funny.
9. My extremely well-seasoned baking stone. That baby has seen some recipes, let me tell ya!
8. Small cars that warm up quickly when you crank up the heat. :-D
7. Warm popcorn with m&m's dumped in. Salty. Sweet. Scrumptious.
6. Flash mobs. I want to be in one really bad.
5. The way my house smells when I start the day like this: (I promise you wish you could smell this.)

4. Watching giant, fluffy snowflakes swirl and float around outside while I do my chores. Ironically, it makes me feel all warm inside.
3. Finding random stuffed animals cozily tucked in in various places throughout my house. I have some little nurturers living with me. ;-)

2. Watching the Peanuts characters proclaim the gospel on national television last night. Gotta love Charles Schultz.
1. When prayers for healing are answered with a mighty YES!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Prayer Time 12-7-10

How may I pray for you today? Feel free to leave your requests in the comments field. These will not be published publicly for those concerned with privacy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I Want One of These

That's all. Just wanted y'all to know in case you need Christmas gift ideas.

The Good List 12-1-10

10. That kinda weird but really catchy chant/song in the NFL Play60 commercials. I want to add it to my workout playlist, but I have no clue what it's called or how to find it. Can anyone help?
9. Classy football players like Drew Brees and Larry Fitzgerald.
8. The huge, gorgeous amaryllis bloom currently brightening up my living room. Thanks, Tracy!

7. Christmas specials. It's weird, because we actually own most of our favorites on DVD, but I still get all nostalgic and excited when I see a commercial for one airing during the week.
6. Amy Wright's homemade SEEDLESS blackberry jelly. YUM!
4. Relaxing in the glow of nothing but Christmas lights and candlelight. So warm and cozy.
3. The reaction Macy and Grace had to my wedding dress when we pulled it out of the last stack of boxes. They think I'm a real live princess for ever having worn such a thing. :-D
2. Watching The Fellowship of the Ring with my family during the Thanksgiving holidays. I'm pretty sure that would have freaked me out when I was Macy and Grace's age, but they loved it. Love Tolkien!
1. The Wicked tickets my sister just booked for a "Just the Girls" trip to NYC next April. I CAN'T WAIT!!!