Tuesday, April 13, 2021

on getting vaccinated and other life tidbits

So, I got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine a couple of weeks ago and it was HORRIBLE.  By the evening after receiving the vaccine I had a really, really high fever, chilled, my heart rate stayed at 125 all night (I am usually in the 60's -70's for resting heart rate), and the pain...I cannot even begin to describe the aching pain - I have had the flu (several times) and the flu shot, plus I am up to date on all vaccines...I have never, ever experienced anything this miserable.  Not while being sick, and not after getting a vaccine.  I know other people personally who received this vaccine and were fine...but there is NO way I would get this vaccine again.  It took me most of the week (I got the shot on a Saturday) to feel back to normal.   

I am SO behind on my reading.  I don't know what is wrong with me this year, even the Challie's challenge I look forward to each year, with those tiny circles I love to check off...that hasn't even helped 😕.

My girls and I finally finished Book Four of the Wingfeather Saga (The Warden and the Wolf King), sobbing our way through a large portion of the final chapters.  I HIGHLY recommend this gorgeous series by Andrew Peterson, it is such a beautiful, beautiful set of stories that drives home the message of the gospel. the high cost of sin, and the beauty of forgiveness and love.  

We also finished :

Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr (LAUGH OUT LOUD FUNNY!!!!!)

Betsy and Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

As for me, when my fever was raging and I hurt too bad to even roll over I listened to audible to try to get my mind off of my misery...years ago my girls made their ways through the Mysterious Benedict Society (by Trenton Lee Stewart) and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I never got past book one, but wanted to know how the rest of the series unfolded...so I finally finished book two and book three (they did NOT disappoint!)  Although using audible did not work (I was too miserable to concentrate) and I had to read through them once I felt better, I am so glad I did!

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

Journey to the Cross by Will Walker (still working on this one personally)

The Day Approaching by Amir Tsarfati 

This is it for all of March and the first portion of April.  😞

A few days ago, I pulled out my Bible, a composition book and have begun making my way, verse by verse, through the book of Romans.  I am using the Bible Hub and Blue Letter Bible app/websites to help.  Most of the time when I read through the book of Romans I find myself glossing over the majority of the content and when I am done with either the chapter(s) or the entire book, I am a bit vague as to what I just read.  I don't want to have just a vague notion of this letter from Paul, nor do I want any knowledge I have to come from what others have taught, wrote, and/or preached from this book.  No, I want these words that Paul penned through the power of the Holy Spirit to grab a hold of my heart and shape its landscapes and thoughts and in turn guide my behavior.

Well, that's it.  Oh, we have planted some lilac bushes (a gift from a wonderful friend!) and some irises (also from my friend) and I am SO SO SO SO excited.  I LOVE lilacs and irises (irises were in my wedding bouquet, and I will have to ask my mom, but I think I had lilacs too!!!!) and cannot wait until these take off.  One day, not too many springs from now, my yard is going to be SO SO beautiful and smell like heaven.  My husband is still (mostly) working from home and I find myself crying (pathetic I know!!) when he does have to go into the office.  The one amazingly awesome thing that came from the lock-down was Work From Home!!!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE having my husband home.  Have a great week - 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Why not be wronged...

What do you do when someone is doing something on purpose to annoy you?  

This is after you have spoken to them, to the person(s) in charge, you have taken steps on your part to minimize their access to your property etc; and still...they seemingly go out of their way to annoy/irritate you by doing the one thing that you have asked them not to do, even if it means extra effort on their part to do this???

I have talked to several people, prayed extensively about it, spent money and time putting actual physical boundaries in place...all to no avail.  This comes in the midst of bigger struggles in our lives, that are so much more important.  This is petty, meaningless, stupid.  I know this and still it gets my goat.  I am SO frustrated  - why in the world would someone(s) go to this much effort to annoy someone else?  

So yesterday I googled a verse that God had brought to my attention last year when I was frustrated over a similar situation in which I knew I was being wronged, but there was nothing I could do about it.  No matter how long and how hard I prayed...nothing changed.  One day, last summer, I was reading my Bible and 1 Corinthians 6:7 jumped out at me - and those two questions "Why not rather be wronged?  Why not rather be cheated?" hit my heart like a ton of bricks.  It resonated so deeply with me, and since then has popped to mind over and over and over in my heart anytime I start to utter "This is SO not fair".  So last night, I knew I would likely face this situation again and I prayed that God would give me the grace to rest in Him.  

The more I think about this situation and wrestle with the truth of God's Word vs. how I feel...I realize I have to choose obedience even when everything in me is screaming to hit back, to harbor those feelings of resentment and unfairness, to not rest in God's timing, to not trust He knows what He is asking us to do when He tells us to turn the other cheek (Matt. 5:39, Luke 6:29), to seek everyone's good in a situation (1 Thess. 5:15), to not repay evil with evil (1 Pet. 3:9).

1 Peter 2:21.  I want to follow in His footsteps, more than I want a situation to turn out in my favor, to be what I deem fair.  

Prayerfully, these situations will keep coming and will mold my heart to look like His.  Prayerfully, the icky feelings represent opportunities for my flesh to be crucified (Gal. 5:24) and His Spirit to guide me, counsel me, lead me.  (Gal. 2:20, 5:16, 6:14)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Free Burma Rangers

About nine months ago, my husband and I got this movie and watched it.  Francis Chan posted several posts on Instagram about it, how life changing this movie was...so we decided to give it a shot.  Now, I want to read the book too because this story - this family (David Eubank, and his wife Karen and their children) all they have given, all they have done...it is INCREDIBLE.  

About a month, I guess almost two now, Burma (Myanmar) had a military coup, and the stories that are being posted, they are heartbreaking.  Heart Cry Ministries, Radical, and Crazy Love (Francis Chan), have all posted prayer requests and updates from people inside this country, I cannot imagine the terror the citizens are surrounded by.  I also wonder, how are David, Karen, their children and the Burma Rangers.  What has this been like for them?  When you watch a documentary style movie, at least when I watch one, it is as if I get to know the people personally.  As if I am right there, walking just behind them as they venture from village to village, saving as many as they can, protecting them, loving them, feeding and sheltering them.  

I want to cover the people of Myanmar in prayer, to pray for them as if my friends and family are there, will you please join me?

Hebrews 13:3

Friday, March 5, 2021

February Reading Stack

 February was not a great reading month for me, that is to say, I started some great books, but did not complete any (except for one, and it was a read aloud).  *sigh*  There are SO many great ones in my TBR stack, I fear I have become  "The Boy and the Filberts", greedily grasping, but never finding contentment in what I can get done.  

I want to finish each of these titles before moving on to more. (with the exception of one very important title I am squeezing in: Finally Focused by James Greenblatt, MD)

Journey to the Cross: Devotions for Lent by Will Walker (this actually won't draw to a close until April, as it is meant to be an ongoing book over the forty days of Lent)

The Brave Learner by Julie Bogart - roughly half-way through this one

The Warden and the Wolf King - I am having to balance this book with others for my girls, so that the heaviness does not trigger/overwhelm issues.

The Spirituality of the Cross by Gene Edward Veith Jr. - two more chapters to go.

Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr - reading aloud 

Betsy-Tacy Treasury by Maud Hart Lovelace - reading aloud.  This is one we pick up as we can, slowly making our way through the sweet, sweet stories.

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel / 1 Dog = Chaos by Vivian Vande Velde (this is a FAVORITE of ours.  We have read this book SO many times, when we are having a bad day, I will check to see if it's available at the library - I need to just buy a copy of it, since it so beloved.  This is SUCH a fun, silly book, great for bad days when nothing else is working - this almost always elicits giggles by chapter two.  We finished this in one afternoon.)

The Bookwanderes by Anna James - had to return it to the library before I could finish it and it just came available again, only on chapter three,

Helping Your Child With Language-Based Learning Disabilities by Daniel Franklin, PhD - reading slowly to take notes and work through exercises that Homeschooling with Dyslexia posted when she took her community through the book (two-ish years ago?).  I did not have the time then, nor did I own the book.  So...this is going to take a while, but that's ok - this is too important of a topic to zip through just to check off a box.

And that's it for now.  I am off to squeeze in a bit of reading as I can - I will write about the impact each of the books had after I complete them.  

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Lent 2021

In figuring out how to answer the questions that swirl around this time of year - questions like:

What do you normally turn to instead of Jesus for comfort, commendation, meaning...?

or 

What habits or tendencies of self-absorption do you possess? (I was really embarrassed by what that line of questions revealed.)  

Immediately as I am journaling through these questions, I thought about all of the time I have tried to "fast" from some of my "coping" mechanisms:

No sugar...made it two days.

No chocolate...made it a week.

No instagram...ummm did I even make it two hours???

The list goes on and on and on.  

Epic failures, broken promises, and grand statements of 'I am going to go 30 days, 40 days...(whatever the time set aside was supposed to be), without _____________(chocolate, sugar, social media etc;).  Yet, I did not do it.  Not a single time.

So this morning I prayed a simple prayer - God, show me what grieves You most in me.  And you know what came to mind?  It wasn't my junk food addiction, and it wasn't my chocolate consumption...those are real things, but for me, those are symptoms of something deeper.  

God brought to mind two things:

self-pity (you know the parties you throw and try as you might you pretty much end up being a perpetual party of one...because really, who wants to come to your pity party and listen to you whine?) 

and

worry thoughts (what if thinking...worst case scenario imaginations...)

Digging deeper still, I realized several roots are attached to the fruits of self-pity and worry/anxious thinking.  A sense of entitlement, discontentment/envy, unrealistic expectations, unbelief, and ungratefulness.  

YUCK.  ☹

I am a pro at spotting these qualities in others, but a little (OK a LOT) inept at seeing them in myself.  I wallow in self-pity quite often, I spend so much time worrying about what might happen that I miss what is happening, I do not lay down my life, deny myself, and pick up my cross to run my race because I am so busy and distracted thinking about all that is going wrong, comparing my life to someone else's and asking "well why can't I have____________ or our lives be like _______________?"

So, this year for Lent, I decided I would fast from self-pity and worry thoughts.  I am asking God for a complete make-over in my mind and my heart this lent.  That I would not be the same person forty (ish) days from now.  

And then, after I have dealt with the root cause, maybe I will be better prepared to tackle the sugar and chocolate.  

Monday, February 15, 2021

Have you heard of verse mapping?

Lauren from The James Method has created a GORGEOUS journal for this study method.  If you are on Instagram - make sure you follow her. 

Verse mapping is such a unique way to really draw into Scripture, ensuring that you understand what the verse is saying to you about who God is, what He has done, who you are in light of this, and what He desires from you/what He desires to do in and through you.

Verse mapping is a slowing down, as it can take a week or more, to work through one verse.  I made my own journal, for now, because I wanted to make sure before I ordered one for each of us, we would/could use it.  I totally plan on getting each of us one (maybe a great birthday surprise!).

I really cannot say enough good things about this method/journal.  It is such a beautiful way to dig into the Word of God.  The James Method utilizes multiple pathways to learn, using colors and shapes to further engage your attention and deepen your understanding.  It is completely appropriate for those who struggle with learning challenges, disabilities, etc; 

Here is my first attempt:

I am using 31 strategies for lasting heart change (a list of 31 verses about what God's Word shows us in regards to our heart) from WriteThemOnMyHeart.com for my verses.  I used my study Bible (pictured below) that my mom gave me for Christmas 2019 😍💖😍, Blue Letter Bible, and BibleHub apps & websites.  This list of 31 verses should/could take me the majority of 2021 to work my way through, and I can't think of a better way to spend my time!










Saturday, February 13, 2021

Saw this challenge on Instagram:

 Valentine's Day Challenge - it's a list of questions so that you can tell your love story:


How'd you meet:  We both were professional ballet dancers and met at a dance company 
First date: Pizza Hut
How long have you been together: 22 1/2 years
Hong long have you been married: 20 1/2 years
Kids: 3
Age Difference: He is a little over a year older than I am
Who was interested first: Both 
Who is taller: He is
Favorite TV show to watch together: Mentalist and Castle 
Most impatient: ME!
Most sensitive: Me
Loudest: Our kids!  HA!
Most thoughtful: He is
Falls asleep first: ALWAYS me
Cooks better: He does
Better morning person: Definitely me
Better driver: Absolutely hands down - he is!
Most competitive: it depends
Funniest: HE IS!!!!!
Where do you eat out most as a couple?  Take-out has become my achille's heal, trying to work on this one
More social: hands down - He is
Who is the neat freak: He is
Who plans date nights: We both do
Hogs the remote: I am more than happy to give him the remote because inevitably I hit the wrong button and reboot something that wasn't supposed to be rebooted
Spends the most: Me
What is the furthest you two have traveled together: long nights in a hospital.  I know this is a distance question, but these are the deepest, longest nights you can face together, so to me, the furthest we have traveled is down hospital hallways, that relentless pacing back and forth, back and forth. 

I love my husband SO very much.  He is my very best friend, my safe place.  I am SO thankful God gave us each other!  Happy Valentine's Day 💖