Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday today to the best Mom I could possibly hope for! Last year I posted this list of reasons that I adore her, but she is a year older now, so I have to add another reason.

64. She broke tradition last year so that our ENTIRE FAMILY could have a white Christmas together in Vermont! It was simply BRILLIANT

I love you more than you will ever know, Mom!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Gracie just cleaned out her school "portfolio" and brought me a huge stack of papers. My favorite is an acrostic of her name:

Games are fun to me!
Rachel is my best friend.
Ace at race.
Curious about everything. (Indeed! :-D)
Energetic at rock climbing. (This makes me giggle. Certainly she is energetic at *everything,* but I don't know why she was so specific about rock climbing since she has only done that twice in her entire life.) Funny kid.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Good List 1-25-12

10. Acai Berry tea. Deliciously refreshing. Also, it's quite a delightful color, so I mean. . . bonus! :-D
9. Constellations.
8. Daffodils in winter. (Thank you, Michelle!)

7. The Ethiopia Yiracheffe coffee Jared received in the mail yesterday as a thank you for a writing project he recently contributed to. Yummy! Smooth and rich.
6. Celebrating all kinds of wonderfulness in the lives of so many friends lately--new babies, new jobs, good health reports (particularly when scary ones were expected), etc. God is good.
5. Macy scored at her basketball game Monday night! Such a fun moment for her!
4. The Gospel Coalition welcomes Jared as one of their contributing bloggers. A new adventure!
3. Happy tenants who have requested to extend their contract on our house in Nashville for another year. So grateful for the provision this is for our family.
2. Our Very Vermont Christmas. What a treasure this will be! Can't wait to have a copy in my hands! (Thanks, Vick, for working so hard to get it finished so quickly.)

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1. Sweet time with Jesus in the middle of the night. Usually what wakes me up or keeps me awake is something stressful, but recently I've been wide awake in the middle of the night for no other reason it seemed than to have Christ hold me close. So good. So so good.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Prayer Time 1-24-12

I am so grateful for those who lifted up my prayer requests last week. Here is an update:

All of Macy's labwork came back NORMAL. This was such a huge answer to our prayers. We are left to believe that she has some sort of minor allergy and will schedule a follow-up appointment with an allergist soon, but she does not have the condition we first feared (angio-edema). So grateful.

Mrs. Daisy is still in the hospital waiting for results from the Mayo Clinic in MN (which she should receive today). She is currently cancer free, which is a huge praise, but they are looking for answers as to how to get her white blood cell counts up and stabilized once she is released from the hospital (she has been there for quite awhile now). Also, through all of this, somehow she never loses her joy. I think this is because she knows Whose she is. Another praise for sure. I would appreciate ongoing prayer for strength and healing for her.

Sweet Mrs. Betsy is healing slowly at home. She did face some infection last week, and this is a slow process for her, but she loves Jesus and depends on Him as much as anybody I know, so that helps her in her journey. But please pray that her recovery will move along rapidly, that comfort and strength will come quickly, and that SOON she will find herself feeling healthier than she has in a very long time.

As I remember these and other requests today, please let me know what I may add to my list on your behalf. It is my honor to pray for you. (As always, comments on this post will not be published publicly for the sake of those concerned with privacy.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Amazing Love

"Amazing Love, How can it be that you, My King, would die for me?"  --Christy Nockels

How can it be indeed. HOW CAN IT BE? I'm simply undone by this thought at 3:39am.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Good List 1-18-12

10. The bags of bagel chips that our local grocery store makes from day-old bagels and sells for just $1/bag. They have plain, sweet and savory versions, and all of them are scrumptious. What a great deal!
9. White chocolate popcorn. If you dig the whole sweet and salty thing, this is for you. Three ingredients and 10 minutes to utter deliciousness. Y'all don't even KNOW! :-D
8. Tim Tebow. To be clear, I don't think he's Football Jesus, I haven't constructed a pedestal upon which to place a portrait of him, I don't think he's perfect or expect him to be, and I don't think or expect that his faith will have any bearing on how many football games he wins in his lifetime. I DO think that he is a genuine guy who is doing his best to honor Christ with his life as humbly and graciously and authentically as he can, and for that I am grateful.
7. Good, THOROUGH doctors whom you can tell really want to help rather than just write you a prescription and rush you out the door.
6. Two hour delays on school days. Not as much fun as getting the whole day off, but at least it makes for a snuggly morning.
5. Lemon-Thyme bread. Y'all. I can't even explain this heavenly treat. It is to be experienced, not described.
4. When our travels take us to old friends we otherwise might not ever get to visit. I just learned that I will get to hug my friend Brianna when we visit St. Louis for an Acts29 conference in April. Awesome.
3. Watching Macy's basketball games. Fun to see her enjoying a new experience.
2. A nice long conversation with my Trish last night. Miss you, girl! COME SEE ME!!!
1. Friends and family who pray. What an amazing comfort!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Prayer Time 1-16-12

As always, I would love to pray for YOU during my prayer time tomorrow, but I also have a few requests of my own if you have a moment to lift any of these up.

First, we are taking Macy to the doctor for some blood tests in the morning to try to determine whether or not she has a rare condition called angio edema. Please pray that this is not the case.

Second, please pray for my friend Daisy, who has been beating cancer for several years now. She is now having problems with her current treatment. Please pray for strength for her, wisdom for her medical team, and ultimately healing, whether it is through a new form of chemo or through a miraculous act of God. (We're not picky. ;-)

And last but certainly not least, please pray for my friend Betsy who had surgery earlier this week. She has had this same surgery unsuccessfully in the past, so please pray that this one will correct the problem with no need for further surgeries. She is the wife of Pastor Roland, who preceded Jared as the pastor of our church here in Vermont, and they are absolute treasures to us.

Please let me know of your requests as well. Comments on this post will not be published publicly for the sake of those concerned with privacy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Good List 1-11-12

10. Homemade ocean water. That drink is really the main reason I miss Sonic, so. . . Problem Solved! :-D
9. This. Why does it make me giggle so much?

8. A brand new box of crayons. Right? I know y'all know what I'm talking about.
7. Downton Abbey. I confess that in the first 10 minutes I was afraid there were way too many characters to keep up with, but it sucked me in pretty quickly. Quality entertainment for sure.
6. The smell of fresh ginger. I have decided to cook with it WAAAY more often than I used to. There's just no reason not to.
5. Snow is coming tomorrow! (At least I hope the forecast is right.) We haven't had nearly as much so far this winter as we did last year, but there's still time. :-D (Sorry, Connie. . . .)
4. Panera finally opened in Rutland during the holidays! And yes, I am currently enjoying their free wi-fi with my coffee this morning. ;-)
3. Dinner party on the calendar for Friday! My favorite kind of night! On the menu: Homemade lasagna, fresh salad with homemade dressing, fresh rosemary bread and gooey butter cake. Also: sweet tea, 'cause I gotta represent. 
2. All kinds of hopeful, encouraging, exciting, fun connections and conversations for Jared in the last couple weeks. So grateful that I get to be along for the ride!
1. This. I've seen it many times. It wrecks me every single time. Well worth 5 minutes of your time. Oh that we all would receive the word of God with such joy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Should be an Interesting Summer

Macy came home from school today with a first draft of a list of things that she would like to do this summer. Apparently, she plans to add to it in the coming weeks, but I don't know. . .  This already seems pretty ambitious to me. ;-)

1. Make a mind challenge puzzle to the extreme.
2. Make a small robot from scratch that can carry a glass of water.
3. Find a hiding spot in the backyard and build a club/tree house.
4. Record radio interviews and songs with Grace and put them on my alarm clock. Listen to one every morning.
5. Sing in church at least twice.
6. Make a board game.
7. Play school with Grace, and teach her how to do long division. (Gracie isn't too sure about this one.)
8. Make a battery operated catapult that can fling things at least 3/4 of the way across the yard. (This is my favorite. It's so specific. And so NOT the typical 10-year-old girl, which actually makes me happy.)
9. Save up at least $40 before buying anything.
10. Edit my blog to make it look more like mine.

I can't wait to see what else she comes up with. Sounds like we'll have a fun summer. :-D

Prayer Time 1-10-12

Please let me know how I might pray for you today. Comments on this post will not be published publicly for the sake of those concerned with privacy.

Blessings to you in the Gospel today!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Skinny Doesn't Equal Healthy and Nice Doesn't Equal Jesus

Before I get into this, I should state my disclaimer that I am no expert whatsoever on health or working out or anything along those lines (or really anything at all for that matter ;-)), so feel free to ignore and roll your eyes at any portion of this you disagree with. I'm mostly just "thinkin' out loud."

Several years ago I had an epiphany of sorts, which I'm sure had a lot more to do with the Gospel than with my ability to actually figure this out on my own. Since I grew up on the chubby side for most of my childhood, I spent many years insanely jealous of people who didn't struggle with that particular issue. It just "wasn't fair" that they could eat whatever they wanted and then lay around and do nothing and never gain any weight. No fair! No Fair! NO FAIR!

But what I came to realize as an adult is that this reality led me to get a handle on my health pretty early in life. This is not to say that I'm a health nut or obsessive about workouts or anything like that. I'm not. I don't treat my body like a science experiment or work out 20 hours a week. But I do try to take care of myself, because my body is a constant reminder that I *need* to. To explain: I'm not necessarily proud of this, but I'm almost certain that if I were naturally thin, I would eat carbs and chocolate all day every day. Literally. Also, I'm pretty sure working out wouldn't be a super high priority. And in that scenario, my guess is that I might stay thin, but that certainly doesn't mean I would be healthy with that kind of behavior. This is why I've learned to be grateful for the way God made me. He knows my tendencies, so I can't help but see this body as an act of love from Him. He gave me a very physical reminder that if I don't take care of myself, bad things will happen. I'm grateful for this because I understand that skinny does not necessarily equal healthy. Thin people can have just as many hidden health concerns as people who are carrying extra weight. And everyone (at least in my opinion) should put forth *some* effort to take care of the one and only earthly temple God gave them regardless of their current size/weight. What's inside our bodies and out of sight needs attention no matter what we look like on the outside. We need to drink water to protect our kidneys, do cardio work to keep our hearts in good shape, eat lean proteins to keep our muscles strong, etc. If I were effortlessly thin, I fear that I would ignore this truth.

And this is how my constantly multi-tasking (or some might say scattered. . . .) brain works---  As I was thinking through this whole situation, it made me wonder if many of us don't treat our spiritual lives similarly. What I mean is that many of us don't necessarily have glaringly obvious sins hanging off of us as soon as we wake up in the morning. We might look pretty "skinny" to an outsider. We're not itching to go murder someone. We don't struggle with an overt addiction. We're not screaming profanities at our parents or breaking into a neighbor's house or area retail establishment to steal what isn't ours. And since it seems like everything is pretty much "fine" for the most part, maybe we don't see an immediate need to exercise our faith, by which I mean pray, dig into scripture, read helpful literature, dialog with other believers, etc. 

Dangerous. Why? Because even if there is no physical evidence of our spiritual sickness, we all need to give attention to what's inside our hearts. We ALL struggle with hidden sins. The Bible tells us so. We all entertain thoughts that aren't pleasing to Christ. We all toy with temptations sometimes far longer than we should. We all struggle to truly *be* the fruits of the spirit. Many of us can put on a pretty good act for our viewers, but our insidest insides can be fatally diseased even while we smile and "be nice" to everyone and maybe even talk about Jesus. This is no more healthy than a thin person with blocked arteries, blackened lungs, or inflamed kidneys. It is a certain path to death. Spiritual exercise and healthy consumption of Scripture is critical to spiritual health just as physical exercise and healthy eating/drinking is critical to physical health. Certainly the routine and specific behavior can vary greatly from person to person, but it shouldn't be altogether absent if we expect to be healthy. It takes work on a regular basis. Not a couple times in January each year. ;-) But all year long every year. 

And that's all I have to say about that. . . .  ;-)

Can my goal weight include me keeping all of my limbs?

A couple days ago, I downloaded an app on my iPod so that I can join the rest of the world in the year 2012 instead of continuing to track my workouts and eating plan via spreadsheets and handwritten notes. It seems pretty cool at first glance, but apparently I need to spend a bit more time with it.

This week I have been in "detox" mode. I'm just kind of tired of eating after all of that holiday-type food, so I've had lots of cereal, fruit and water and not much more. Also, I got an elliptical for Christmas, and I was on hold for a looooooong time today, so I stayed on it longer than usual. When I entered all of my calorie intake and workout info into the plan today, it said to me in these exact words: "If every day were just like today, you would weigh 106 pounds in 12 weeks." And then, "your calorie intake is too low and could be dangerous." HA! I'm pretty sure I would have to lose a limb or two to get down to 106. I guess I should communicate better with my little app, but I don't have the heart to tell it every day will definitely NOT be just like today. :-D

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Good List 1-4-12

10. Gift card shopping. It's so much more fun than spending *real* money. ;-)
9. The Adventures of TinTin. Action PACKED and lots of fun! Also perfectly set up for a sequel. Nice.
8. The scrumptious smell of my new blueberry muffin candle. I want to wear it as a necklace so the fragrance can waft into my nostrils all day long. (That probably wouldn't work, huh?)
7. Watching Drew Brees break the record for total passing yards in a single season. Yes. AND it was on the MNF season finale for this year. Yes again. And as usual, he responded with class. Yes of course. Love that guy!
6. The word "dazzle." I would suggest that it's underused except that I think it might lose some of its dazzle if it were used too often.
5. Midnight in Paris. What an excellent film!
4. Jared's new toy: Kindle Touch. And I'm glad he sees fit to share it with his wife. :-D
3. MY new toy: a *quiet* elliptical. My treadmill served me well for a long time, but this is so much quieter and less abusive to my old house floors than the treadmill. And possibly an even better workout if you use it right. 
2. The mug from my friend Amy on which she hand-painted a scene from some of my recent photography. Coolest gift ever. (I forgot to load a picture, and I'm not currently at home, but I will add one later. It deserves to be admired. ;-) )
1. Watching Leave it to Beaver with Macy and Grace. Somehow all of life slows down when we do this.