Monday, October 18, 2010

The Sweetness of Fall

I think Fall has always been my favorite, in my heart of hearts. For awhile I tried to tell myself that I liked spring best, with tiny buds of fresh leaves, the flowers, everything bursting forth. New life. What's not to prefer? The new life of spring versus the dying of autumn.

Yesterday, on our walk to church, I breathed deep again the sweet smell of fall, something I missed a lot during our years in Spain. I looked up at the beautiful contrast between deep red leaves and blue sky, and watched yellow leaves drifting down in the sunlight.

Then I realized that the beauty, the sweetness of fall is death, but death of me, so that He can live more. The more of me that turns to vibrant red and yellow, shines for Him. The bits of me that fall off under His loving work smell sweet.

I happily embrace fall in my surroundings and in my life. Bring on the beauty, the radiant colors. Bring the sweet smell of less of me and more of Him.

More counting...

holy experience

342. The older gent in the parka humming to himself as I passed him on the sidewalk.
343. The complete sensory experience of fall...the perfume of drifting leaves, the cacophony of color, the carpets of red and gold to tread on, the satisfying crunch underfoot.
344. Good Earth tea.
345. Finally getting the deposit back from our move.
346. Having a roof over our heads with heat (thinking of the homeless guy that sometimes sleeps in our park.)
347. Kind people at the dentist office and finding out things aren't as bad as I feared.
348. The lightness of spirit Meg has after youth group.
349. A new friendship that give my heart hope.
350. A hug.
351. Looking forward to a visit from a college friend on Thursday.
352. A boy and his Dad working on karate moves.
353. Having the urge to write again.
354. Getting my little notebook to keep in my purse organized.
355. Praying "Lord, have mercy" together in church on Sunday morning.
356. People in Sunday school being vulnerable.
357. Happy memories of my Mom, even though I miss her every day.
358. A hubby who goes to the grocery store for me even when he doesn't feel like it.
359. Naps.
360. Baby steps in becoming more disciplined.
361. Cellphone plan that is totally adequate for us and costs us $19 a month for three phones!

Click on the logo above to read more gratitude.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment", originally uploaded by WorldofArun (busy and way backed up).

I often have trouble being disciplined for more than five minutes consistently. I am really good at coming up with ridiculous, outrageous, unattainable hard goals for myself. I like systems, organization, putting things in place. I like the idea of things. But I am not so good about the follow-through.

I have found this kind of hard in this period of "waiting" that I am in. Part of me knows that I need to recognize that this time and space is a gift from God's hand to me. I arrived at this new chapter of life pretty tired out, both emotionally, spiritually and physically. I know I have needed this time to recharge, process and let my "tank" start getting filled up again.

But I can be lazy, too. There is plenty to do, and sometimes I will blink and find the whole morning has gone by while I surfed the internet, watched TV, dorked around on Facebook, played Farmville, just generally avoided doing anything productive at all. I have MANY great ideas in my head about how I want to spend my time. But often they stay as ideas. Not good.

My spiritual director, Elizabeth, and I have often giggled because I come up with these mammoth to-do lists/expectation that there is NO way I can ever complete. It's like I just set myself up for failure. The thing is, I KNOW I have it in me to "be better". I have the skills, and when push comes to shove I do have the ability to just get things done. But I would feel a lot better if it wasn't feast or famine.

Truth is, I know the right things I need to do to get on track physically, spiritually and in my homemaking. So now I just need to remember this song, and just DO IT!

Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday #10

So apparently I have become a Monday and Friday blogger. Oy vey. I really need to get it together and write something in the middle of  the week! But oh well, here we go...

  1. I have been brainstorming menus and meals for when I start working, because I know that things will run much more smoothly around here if I am organized and prepared. While I was thinking about it, I realized that this is the perfect time to get Meg in on learning to do this kind of thing. I want to help her learn to plan meals and cook, so she'll have regular nights when dinner is her deal, and I'll help her plan, prep etc. 
  2. I haven't heard "officially" about this job, but it seems all things are pointing to a yes. (Unless one of my references makes up a lot of lies about me ;) ) There are some more steps we have to move through but I am hoping that I will start training the last week of October (the person I would replace leaves at the end of the month.)
  3. It was amazing this week to watch the 24-hour process of rescuing the Chilean miners. I cried big fat tears every time another one came up. Wow.
  4. I met a new friend at church this week (after I stalked her on fb first ;} ) It feels really good to be starting to make connections here.
  5. I finally quit procrastinating and took the kids to the dentist this week (since we HAD to turn forms into school by today.) It was a relief to find that the office we chose within walking distance to our house has kind people working there. Hopefully going to the dentist will become less stressful.
  6. Halloween here in America is kind of freaking me out a little. I am somewhat blown away by the extensive decorating people do to their yards and houses, the sheer quantity of costumes at the stores, it's all a little creepy.
  7. We try and use natural cleaners/products in the house and have been trying to cut down on disposal things too (like paper products or wipes) but I have been missing having cleaning wipes especially for the bathroom. So when I saw this post on making your own wipes (that you can then wash) was the perfect solution! I am waiting to get my castile soap (haven't found it in stores around here) and then I'll be mixing up a batch of these :)
For more quick takes and hilarious stories about scorpions, visit Jenn at Conversion Diary.

      Monday, October 11, 2010

      1000 Gifts

      I woke up today kind of stressed because I have been procrastinating making dental appointments for the kids. But push has come to shove now, and I HAVE to turn the paperwork in my Friday to the school, or they can't go until it's done. I don't know why I always do this to myself! At any rate, I had a great skype appointment with Elizabeth, my spiritual director first. Then I sucked it up and made some calls and the kids have appointments for Wednesday. Now was that really that hard?

      I am feeling a bit emotional tonight, but in a good way. God is good. I can see Him working in our lives. Not sure yet what exactly He'll do, where He'll put us, what we'll be involved in. But I know He's got a good plan.

      Without further rambling...
      316. A good visit with Jess.
      317. Finally making dental appointments!
      318. Beautiful leaves, warm days, pure bliss to be outside and enjoy God's creation.
      319. Friends who don't care if you invite yourself over to watch football.
      320. Neighborhood fall festivals just up the street.
      321. A retreat for Meg with kids her age.
      322. Good Greek food.
      323. Unexpected connections.
      324. Conversations on the front steps of church.
      325. The possibility of a job where I can really make a difference.
      326. L buying us dinner at church on Wednesday night.
      327. Challenge to create through loss.
      328. The Daily Examen, the Jesus prayer.
      329. Elizabeth.
      330. Books and magazines from the library.
      331. Hope.
      332. Sweet potato fries.
      333. Finding Coffee Crisp and mint Aero bars at Jewel.
      334. A wonderful husband to do transition with.
      335. These many blessed weeks and hours that I have had to spend with my kids and hubby.
      336. Gorgeous fall leaves against the backdrop of blue, blue sky.
      337. Continued growth in life, and marriage.
      338. Tears of gratitude.
      339. Making someone laugh.
      340. Hugs from my daughter after being apart.
      341. Being blessed by reading what others are grateful for.

      Friday, October 8, 2010

      7 Quick Takes Friday #9

      1. Can I just say one more time how much I love living in Chicago? We drove around today with our niece, Jessica. The city is even more beautiful than usual in the fall. We walked along the lake, hung out with dogs at Foster dog beach. I heart Chicago.
      2. Meg is away with her youth group at a retreat in Michigan this weekend. So glad she has this chance to do stuff like this! Grateful for a good youth group!
      3. So I hung out for a few hours at the health center where I will potentially be working. I enjoyed the people and felt like it would be a job where I can really make a difference. We'll see what happens next!
      4. We are enjoying a visit from our oldest niece, Jessica. Nothing like some girl time :) I'm gonna make her do my hair tomorrow!
      5. Nic started karate last week and he's super excited. Hopefully it is going to be good for his concentration and confidence. 
      6. Whew, Troy and I have both resolved that we need to lose weight! We did OK when we first got back, but we need to put a stop to the slow increase...but not until Jess leaves ;)
      7. I'm constantly amazed at what you can buy on Amazon. So far in my experience, the prices are good, the shipping fast and it's so convenient!
      Stop by Jennifer's blog (click link above) for more quick takes.

      Monday, October 4, 2010

      1000 Gifts

      Troy has been better about writing stuff down in our gratitude book lately, but I am still making mental lists :) I have also started to remember to write things down in a small notebook I keep in my purse.

      From Troy...
      264.  Autumn
      265. Meg making friends with Linnea
      266. Watching Monday night football over at Dan & Kristen's
      267. Playing catch with Nic
      268. Getting a baseball glove
      269. Watching the Blackhawks on WGN
      270. Meeting a new friend who wants to plant a church here in Chicago
      271. Walking a prayer labyrinth at church on Sunday
      272. Reading a good book about how leaders can help their church families to be more emotionally healthy
      273. Unpacking our last box
      274. Heather's interview today.
      275. Meg and Nic getting good reports for their first term of school
      276. (From Meg) For an awesome youth group!
      277. (Troy again) Nic's new class and teacher seem to suit him well
      278. Time to wait
      279. A full moon
      280. Laughter
      281. A phone call from an old friend
      282. Blue sky
      283. Meg and Nic doing the dishes!
      284. Freedom in prayer
      285. Watching my hubby find his niche here
      286. Talking to a great organization (Heartland Alliance) about job possibilities with them
      287. The fact that God ALWAYS knows what is best for me even when I think I do
      288. Beginning to get to know people at church
      289. A three-week series on prayer in Sunday school.
      290. Community and laughter in Sunday school
      291. Changing leaves
      292. Being around older Christians again who set a good example for me
      293. The children "bringing the light" into church on Sunday morning
      294. Really good pot roast
      295. The Awareness Examen
      296. Pray As You Go
      297. Looking forward to visits: Jessica, Eprise, Scott
      298. Being drawn into prayer
      299. Extra money in the budget this month to buy a few more things to help us feel more settled
      300. Nic's excitement about starting karate
      301. A wonderful Sunday afternoon sharing good food and heart-deep conversation about parenting and marriage with old friends
      302. A hubby who will do silly things for me even at inconvenient times
      303. Stirrings of motivation to get organized again
      304. A school break for the kids
      305. Birthdays
      306. Dollar stores
      307. Being content to live on little
      308. Duvet weather and flannel jammies
      309. Pumpkin spice creamer
      310. Catching up with friends in Madrid
      311. Pajama days
      312. Communion, the Doxoly and the Lord's Prayer with other believers
      313. Folk dancing, sweating, laughing
      314. Seeing how much my children have grown
      315. Urges to write again
      316. Connection

      Friday, October 1, 2010

      7 Quick Takes Friday #8

      1. I'm so happy that it's fall! I am soaking it all up! I love the cooler weather, the leaves started to change, everything about it :)
      2. I have been feeling so grateful for these months of not having a job. It has given me the space and time to settle well, to rest both physically and emotionally (12 years of living in another culture wears you down!) When I remembered to trust God for timing and the right job, it has become easier to just "sit and wait."
      3. I can feel my organization/administrative urges starting to kick in again, which is always a good sign. I'm well aware that life will change if/when I start working full-time and I know I need to get some things in place to manage the ensuing chaos.
      4. It feels really good when God continues to confirm/affirm us being here. It's so invigorating when I see God's fingerprints in ever small areas of our life.
      5. It's my hubby's birthday on Sunday. It's the blissful time of year when we are both the same age :) Until November. Hee hee.
      6. I'm having fun with Swagbucks. I'm excited about earning $5 gift certificates to Amazon just by doing a internet searches that I do anyway.
      7. I have had a deepening awareness and heart for prayer lately. So many things to pray about!
      For more Quick Takes, hope over to visit Jennifer by clicking the photo above!
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