Friday, November 28, 2008

Joy and thankfulness ... right now

Do you ever have those times in life when a certain trial or hardship threatens to undo you and you feel like you just want to shut the world out? You too? *Whew* Actually, it is (I should actually say was) all to familiar in my life. Too often I give in to the flesh, thinking, "I can't do this. Oh Jesus, I can't do this! Why are You asking me to let go? Why are You asking me to give You this dear and precious thing?" Tears flow, sobs come. Sorrow is becoming a constant companion.

Now before you think I need help for depression, let me tell you what the Lord has been teaching me!

It was one of those "said times" when I didn't want to talk to anyone, I didn't want to try to explain why the tears were so near, why the ache in my heart was almost more then I could bear. So I went shopping ... or rather, just went walking around stores, I didn't really have a destination in mind. I walked around for a few hours before returning home. Once back at home mom pulled me aside and asked me what was wrong. Of course I told her ... I tell my mom everything. I told her I couldn't let go. I needed this thing which I was clinging so tightly to.

I could just imagine the pain, the sorrow, the hurt if I did let go ... forever to be single.

But Mom, in her gentle motherly way, spoke the words which God knew I needed to hear.

(I'm kind of paraphrasing because I can't remember word for word what she said. :)) "Ana, joy and happiness doesn't just come when you get married. God wants to give you joy and happiness right now, as you let go, as you give up. Giving up and letting go doesn't mean that is has to be a sad, painful thing. God gives joy ... right now, in this time of surrendering."

Of course I knew that, but I was shocked ... really?

She went on. "I know you think that you can't do this. That you can't go through this trial." (How is it that Mom's always know stuff, even if you don't tell them?) "But God never gives you anything you can't do. He'll give you the victory, He wants you to have victory. You can do this, but only with God's help and strength. And not only can you do this, but you can have joy as you do this!"

As her words sank in and I really thought them over the tears came and my heart cried out to Jesus.

Then Wednesday night Pastor went through some verses to help us with giving thanks. He took us to Ephesians 5:20 ~ "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (emphasis mine) and 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~ "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (emphasis mine).

In everything give thanks? Even in trials, in pain, in hardships? Give thanks? Like to be thankful for them? ... Yes! And only through Jesus, our Lord and Savior, can I do that!

All of this ramble-i-ness to say. Don't loose heart you singles who desire beyond almost anything to be married. God will give you joy, right now ... in this time of longing and unfulfilled desire. He will give you the strength and grace to endure until the time He has planned for you. And be thankful, God always does everything for a purpose. For our good and for His glory.

So pray, dear unmarried ones, pray, ask the Lord to make you truly thankful and give you the joy and strength that only He can give! (Although this post was written to encourage the unmarried, anyone can have joy in Christ ... right now, anyone can fly to Christ for strength and grace to have victory and thankfulness in the trails and situations in your life! Praise the Lord.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope and pray that you all will have a wonderful Thanksgiving ... doing whatever you will be doing. :) I'm spending time with family. Eating turkey (and probably ham), enjoying a day of sitting and doing nothing! Hoping that there will be hot drinks after dinner sometime (preferably hot apple cider!!).

What about you? What did you do (or what will you be doing)? What are your favorite things about Thanksgiving? I've already mentioned some of my things ...

  • Turkey
  • Hot apple cider
  • Cuddling up on the couch with said drink in hand
  • Chatting with family
  • Thanking Christ for the many, many blessings that He's given that I so often overlook
  • Just being with family
  • Not working (at J.'s or teaching piano ... although I truly love both!!)
I'm sure my rather petty list could go on but it won't. :) So, here's wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving, with family, friends and in the Lord, our Salvation!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Check it out!!!

The ladies over at the IDD blog are giving away a basket of tea goodies!!! Do stop over and leave them a comment. Also, check out their old posts. They are such a wonderful encouragement to me in the Lord and I'm sure they will be to you as well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Log cabin cozy

I picked up this blanket at Wal-mart the other day. It's so soft and warm and it reminds me of log cabins and Christmas time! :) I just had to share ... slightly awkward, I know, but I still had to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Unexpected gift of beauty!

*~I told you the family I work for totally spoils me! Thank you, so very, very much Mrs. J.~*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In which we learn the proper process for adding large numbers

Good evening ... er ... morning ... ahhh ... very early morning (happy for me, I haven't figured out how to make the "posted at ..." clock on my blog accurate, so you don't really know what time it is). All you smart peeps out there should have been asleep awhile ago. Me, well, things happen, they run in your mind, they keep you up, you can't sleep, so what do you do ... post and tell people about it. :) So now you all get to read my late-night-should-be-sleeping-way-to-crazy-for-normal-people post. Such lucky peeps you are.

On a different subject, during church tonight a little six-year-old girl sat next to me. As she comes from an artistic family she asked if she could draw, so I handed her my notebook. She drew actual pictures of things for a little while before, when I looked down, much to my surprise, I saw this ... (note: pictures were not taken during church, but after I'd arrived home with said notebook :) )

She was, as you can tell, practicing her math. :) How cute is that!? But as I observed, I watched her try new things such as adding "large" numbers. It greatly amused me how she came up with the "hard" answers. Observe ...

In picture #1 we see the easy problems (thus the texts and lines (please click on the pictures to get a better view)) but the hard problem is what we're looking at ... 6+8=? We see in neon greenish circle the first number is 8. The next line shows that 8 can become two 4's + 6. :) Or thus ... 44 6. (I'm not quite sure what the other 6 is doing down by the ones, but it's there because it needs to be, I'm sure.) We then see that because it is still to hard to add them up that we write the correct number of ones (backward mind you) that equal the two parts of the problem. She wrote out eight ones, then she wrote out six ones and then she counted them all. :) Thus ... 6+8=14. Got that? Good, moving on ...
In picture #2 we see much the same thing, only the problem is now 7+6=? But instead of trying to figure out how to break down the different numbers as before (ex. 8 is two 4's.) we just start writing ones (also, they continue to be written backward, it's easier that way). First seven ones, then six ones. And then we add them all together. Yup, you guessed it 7 backward ones + 6 backward ones = 13 backward ones! And then we discover that if we make one number change (ex. 6 to a 7, figure it out, then change the newly changed 7 to a 8 for the next problem and figure it out) we can easily figure these problems out as well! How fancy is that?!Well, I hope you've all learned as much as I did. But, seriously, I loved watching how she figured it out. I could see her mouthing different things, see her counting, "see" the wheels in her head turning. It was great joy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

*::*A Perfect Day *::*

This morning I rolled out of bed around 7:30, jumped in the shower, dressed, gathered my things and jumped in the car. Once at work I sat, looked at some books, talked, read Winnie-the-Pooh (!!), held M., and ate dinner. Nothing out of the ordinary, just the typical things I've come to love and long for at the J. house.

However, little did I know that today God had something very different in mind. After dinner the oldest J., J. (yes, I did mean to type J twice) decided it was the perfect time for a walk in the woods next to the house, to see "the clearing" in the somewhat softly falling, somewhat large, snowflakes. (And as some of you just read, I love big, slow falling snowflakes.) J. informed me that it was beautiful when it snowed. It would be a very large, over sized understatement to say I was thrilled! Walk, in the woods, in the snow? Seriously!!?? Yes!! (Actually, as we were walking through the woods, and I was observing the barley-snow-covered ground, the not-too-close-together trees, and the lack of large obtrusive plants, I was thinking the only thing (at least that I can mention) that would have made the moment better would have been if I had been dressed in a long, maroon, velvet dress with a long, black, hooded velvet cape (like elves wear) ... simply perfect.)

So after some minutes of bundling various little ones up, waiting for various older ones to bundle up and making sure everything was ready, we headed out. They almost convinced me to wear a pair of their old boots, but they didn't have any that would fit me ... ha ... so I was able to wear my right-sized, more desirable tennies. :)

Out we went, into the snow, complete with a soft wind that blew my loose hair around (two steps out the back door I regretted not putting my hair up ... and about fifty million times of flinging it over my shoulders (which was hard to do with M. in my arms) I regretted it even more, but chose to look on the bright side, I love the wind in my hair ... just not my face). The walk was absolute bliss!! I couldn't have planned it better. Surrounded by the family I've come to love, by the snow, by the openness of the country, by the woods ... yes, pure, complete bliss. (Picture: us starting our woodland bound adventure. There is one little person you can't see, he's at the very front of the "line" but he got behind someone as I snapped the picture.)

(Below: the "woods")

(Below: "Traveling" Buddy)

We walked some time until we came to "the clearing", but as I was contentedly happy to walk in the snow and woods I didn't take much note of time. It was gorgeous! Just as J. said it would be. A beautiful clearing of trees in the trees. Snow covered the ground, snow blew gently in the air and stuck to your hair, eye lashes, face and anything else, the weather wasn't overly cold ... it was just right. (Pictures left and right: "the clearing")

Walking around to different fallen trees, observing icicles on tree branches, looking at tree trunks that had (according to J) developed a "defense mechanism" (the tree had actually grown around the barbed wire that had been put on it at sometime), leaning my head back and closing my eyes to feel little snowflake fingers on my face, I couldn't help but smile. I was thoroughly enjoying myself to say the very least! (Pictures: (left) a fallen tree ... obviously (right) eating snow? ... looking at the sky? ... enjoying snowflake "fingers" on the face? ... who can say. It just totally pictures what I felt like doing (and did do) ... notice also, little pink bundle of baby in his arms :)

(Below: same fallen tree as above)

(Below: said icicles)

(Below: "defense mechanism" tree trunk. Notice, on the left side of the trunk, the barbed wire coming out, yes, o-u-t of the tree.)

As we turned to leave "the clearing", J, who was leading us on our delightful journey, decided to take us for a longer walk in the woods ... or he had until the little ones were getting cold and ready to head for home. So home we headed.

(Below: picture of the sky, courtesy of N.)

Back in the house we unbundled little ones, and big ones :), cuddled under blankets with little ones, and sat around on the couch and love seat. To add to the wonderfulness and to my great delight, at my request we were able to listen to "A Charlie Brown Christmas". It did require some work, some messing around with cords, some changing position of speakers, some "Okay, don't move" time, but we were able to enjoy (or at least I did) a short time of Charlie Brown ... until the kids tired of it and we moved on to something more desirable. But while it played it was such a delight and added such joy to the moment (to the day really) of "thawing" after such a wonderful walk in the woods, that I couldn't help but smile and thank the one who worked so hard to make it work (even though after I found out how much work it was going to be to make it work and I insisted it wasn't necessary he was determined to make it work ... and did). Yes, you know who you are :) ... thank you ever so much!

And, if that wasn't bliss, joy and delight enough, homemade (much labored over) hot chocolate was produced ... complete with a hat of whipped cream! It was delicious!! Just the thing. You know how something just "hits the spot" ... yeah, that's what it was. (Again, you know who you are ... thank you.) (Pictures: (left and right) need I say anything ... but yum!)

As I was on a time schedule I had to drink my hot chocolate in a quick (but not too quick) manner. Upon seeing I had drained my cup L. came to inquire about my having a second cup. I responded that I would love another cup, but had not the time. She then vanished into the kitchen. On my way out of the house I walked through the kitchen and was informed that I was to take a travel mug of hot chocolate with me. :) (Sweet "kitchen help"!) It almost lasted me all the way home, but not quite. How very kind and thoughtful they are to and of me! I'm so spoiled over there!

The ride home was just as beautiful and wonderful. A soft snow fell, making things white-ish, gray and almost foggy looking. I also slowed down (actually stopped) to take some pictures of some buildings that I see every day. They are very happy with snow on them. Don't you agree? A wonderful end to a wonderful day.

But after all that, I think I've officially said all I dare say. There were many more things that made my day the most wonderful and perfect ... but they are un-shareable. So I keep them in my mind, pray over them and surrender them to Christ.

Thank you all (both bloggie peeps and J.'s) for sharing this wonderful, memorable day with me! It truly was perfect! I hope in spite of my rambling, un-logical, unintelligent, overly wordy, rather confusing way of telling you that you got most of it. :)

To see pictures better click to enlarge them.


*I don't know what it is ... the color, the shinning glass, the wood beneath, the flame, the smell ... but something about these pictures just says peace and serenity to me.*

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cold White Beauty

*~::I love snow. It's so cozy, like a blanket, tucking everything in pure white silence. It makes me want to find a big, fuzzy, warm blanket and curl up by a fire with a cup of hot tea, hot chocolate or coffee. I love the way it crunches when it's cold. I love big, soft, slow-falling snowflakes that stick in your hair and on your eyelashes and face when you go walking in them. I love bundling up to stay warm. I love cold nights when you have to pile on the blankets and put on long pants to stay warm. I just love snow!::~*