Friday, December 31, 2010

2011... Part 1

I love January 1st.

It is, bar none, my favorite day of the year.

I love new beginnings. I love blank slates. I love a white canvas, waiting for color and life.

For Brandon and I, much of December is spent discussing the changes we wish to make in the following year. We look back at the past twelve (and sometimes twenty four) months and determine what we liked - and didn't like - about them. We weave our way through pleasant family memories. We stumble through recollections of arguments or difficult decisions.

2010 has been... easy. Compared to 2009, in which we moved to and from a strange land, redefining ourselves and our family, 2010 was simple.

We worked. We played. We settled into a new groove of American living.

And as we look into, and pray over, 2011... one passage of scripture keeps coming up...

Starting with 2 Corinthians 8:1...

(1-4) Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.

(10)So here's what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart's been in the right place all along. You've got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it.

(9:1-2)If I wrote any more on this relief offering for the poor Christians, I'd be repeating myself. I know you're on board and ready to go. I've been bragging about you all through Macedonia province, telling them, "Achaia province has been ready to go on this since last year." Your enthusiasm by now has spread to most of them.

(3-5)Now I'm sending the brothers to make sure you're ready, as I said you would be, so my bragging won't turn out to be just so much hot air. If some Macedonians and I happened to drop in on you and found you weren't prepared, we'd all be pretty red-faced—you and us—for acting so sure of ourselves. So to make sure there will be no slipup, I've recruited these brothers as an advance team to get you and your promised offering all ready before I get there. I want you to have all the time you need to make this offering in your own way. I don't want anything forced or hurried at the last minute.

(8) God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.

(12-15) Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they'll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!

More to come...

Saturday, December 11, 2010


My little bloggy world feels like a distant memory these days. I could complain about the sickness(es) we've been battling, the stress of basketball season when married to a coach, the endless meetings at my job, and the fact that my house can never stay clean for more than 2.3 seconds.

My life is very full right now. At this very moment, walking through my living room requires crossing a gauntlet of sofa cushions, stuffed animals, crushed cheerios, dress up clothes, and the occasional dirty sock.

The sounds of my house are those of little girls giggling, humming, pretending, and the occasional whining.

My husband is studiously grading papers and gathering up the necessary DVD entertainment for our upcoming trip to Athens, in between filling the alternating rolls of a giant, Prince Charming, and a puppy named "puffy."

The Christmas tree is lit. Last week's "sparkly" sugar cookies are almost gone. A few presents are wrapped (and re-wrapped) under the tree.

The truth is that the last few weeks have felt chaotic. I feel as though I'm behind on all my "should-be-doings" in life. We have battled some rather scary illness. I have felt a lot like a single mom as my superman teacher hubby coaches young boys in basketball and in life. Work has been busy with meeting after meeting in preparation for upcoming changes. And my house has been in a constant state of upheaval in the midst of it all.

But as I look back on the past few weeks, I think about how blessed I really am. We are all healthy and active, despite the sickness. My husband is busy doing what he loves, and what he is called to do - a fact that gives him confidence in himself and closeness to his God. The meetings at work are leading to a new system that will make my job easier in less than two months. And my house? The upheaval is caused by the same two little girls who curl up in my lap at night to snuggle into me while we read the Christmas story. They climb in my bed in the morning and make it so much easier for me to wake up. They tip toe around in their tutus and pajamas, stopping occasionally to hug my leg before they scamper off into their next adventure. The gauntlet that is my living room right now is the very evidence of life and imagination in my house.

I'm busy, yes. Sometimes stressed. Overwhelmed? Often.

But that is to be expected when one's life is full. Full to the brim.


In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
2 Corinthians 8:2

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood