Friday, October 29, 2010

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

This is in Strasbourg, France...isn't it all purty Christmasy?!

My body has decided it’s Christmastime. And who can argue with that, right?


Turns out my sickness of the week is a viral infection. Wednesday night I noticed a weird red spot on both of my legs. I thought it was strange, but chalked it up to dry skin (or a little internet diagnosis, but I’ll spare you on that one…). Then Thursday morning I noticed my back, tummy, and arms were covered with these same spots. I convinced myself said internet diagnosis must have gotten out of control and doused myself in my heavy-duty, dyshidrosis lotion attempting to remove the spots. I mentioned it to my mom, who then urged me to see the doctor knowing it could be related to my sickness, such as scarlet fever or something. I was perfectly happy to avoid a doctor visit as I’m pretty sure my doctor thinks I’m a wee bit nuts based on the plethora of bizarro diseases/issues I’ve had.

Nonetheless, I decided to listen to my mom and my doctor squeezed me in yesterday afternoon. Yep, mom was right. I have a particular viral infection that creates a non-contagious rash. Thankfully it’s all coverable and won’t spread to my face. Sadly there's no way to cure it since it's a virus so it has to run its course and it may or may not hurt/itch soon (fingers crossed it stays dormant!!). But my favorite part is the pattern this rash creates on a person’s back, including mine, is a Christmas tree!

Therein lies why my body is starting to celebrate Christmas.

I will say, I won’t miss this October and the surplus of incidences. Bring on my second favorite month of the year, November! (In case you’re curious, December is my favorite. I generally like all months of Ber, with each building to the bestest one).

One funny doctor's office visit adventure, I swear there was a couple in the waiting room on a first date. It was a little awkward listening to them converse and they talked loudly. All I have to say is, I certainly would not find a doctor’s waiting room a stellar first date…

And finally, it’s a little weird today. All student ministry folks are prepping to head to the Hideaway retreat and I’m not joining. I’ve been every year, but considering we really only have one and a half girls going (one girl is heading there tomorrow) and I need some rest time, it’s for the best. But it’s still weird since it’s senior year. I plan to squelch that weirdness with a whole lot of creativity, though. Gotta get started on Christmas presents since my body says it's time! :)

So have a happy Halloween and an early merry Christmas!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Month of Challenges

This week, I got sick. Not the end of the world, I know, but it came at an obnoxious time as it collided with a month of hard things. Realistically, that’s probably why I was more susceptible to sickness as my lovely dyshidrosis also decided this week would be a good time to flare up, but nonetheless, obnoxious. Although I’m not a 100%, I’m feeling better today, which is good. And I am thankful to have had two solid days of pretty much just sleeping knowing I have good teams at work who gladly pitched-in when I was under the weather.

Anyway, that’s not the purpose of today’s post. Over the past few days (well, excluding the sick days), I’ve been thinking about a few things. The first is a saying my college creativity professor said quite frequently (yes, I took a creativity class in college…it was for my major): some people die when they’re 25 but aren’t buried until they’re 75. The second is how to relish the beauty of each day as I’ve realized the majority of our lives is full of the day-to-day mundane, so obviously God wants us to use those moments to bring him glory and to be thankful for those, not just the weekends or big things. The last is an inspiration from an incredibly creative mom who I don’t know, but adore following her blog. Although most of her entries are child-related, they burst with fun and creativity and I love seeing how she inspires imagination in each day (side note: I fully recognize that a blog only shows one side of her life, but that is the side I’m inspired by :)).

So, the combination of these things brought me to an idea, one that both excites and terrifies me. For the month of November, I’m committing to doing something each day that challenges me. Now, since that’s a little on the ambiguous side, I had to create a few rules:

1. Each day, I have to implore the Lord to lead me in the day’s challenge as I ultimately want whatever it may be to be about him and richen my relationship with him
Yes, some of these challenges will be fun, but God created fun so I know that blesses him!
2. The challenge can be big (such as bungee jumping, which will not happen…) or small (such as trying a new recipe)
3. The challenge can take different forms: it could be physical, emotional, creative, spiritual
4. I cannot do the exact same challenge more than once in the 30 days
I.e. I cannot try a new recipe two days; however, if it’s spiritual, having a hard conversation or sharing Christ with two different people does count (don’t ask me why, but it does :))

The purpose of this month of challenges, in my mind at least, is to see the beauty in and learn to better walk each day with purpose as opposed to “saving it up” for the big stuff (events, weekends, retreats, vacations, what-have-you).

I’d like to blog about each day, but realistically that may not happen. So I’ll blog as often as I can.

Friday, October 22, 2010

In Paradise

Today my aunt, Ulrike, went to be with Jesus after fighting the evil disease of cancer for over two years.

You may be thinking, Ulrike is a different name. Well, it is in America, but Ulrike grew up in Bremen, Germany. She married my mom’s older brother, Blair. They have three precious girls: Bonnie and Anna who are in college, and Georgia, a junior in high school. They are three exceptionally intelligent, creative, talented, and spirited girls who are very obviously the joys of Ulrike’s life. They also all speak German, which is super cool! I remember when they were little and when they got into trouble, Ulrike would reprimand them in German and often they would respond in English, “no Mama!” which always left me curious what they had done!

Much of my memories with Ulrike center around games! It didn’t matter if we were at Mammy and Granddaddy’s house or somewhere else, my family spent hours sitting around the table, laughing and playing countless hours of games. From Rummikub to cards to my brother’s goofy childhood game, Omega Virus. Ulrike is wicked smart (she taught high school math!) and used her smarts in combination with her seemingly quiet spirit to be sneaky and kick everyone’s tail, even if one of my cousin’s or my brother cheated… :)

Ulrike is also incredibly talented, always creating, sewing, and knitting the most beautiful things. My freshman year in college she gave me a super creative and fun Christmas gift. It was a college survival kit complete with ramen noodles, a little laundry money, a calling card (do they even make those anymore?), hot chocolate, and a few other college necessities. It was so fun and the thought she put into it always touched my heart.

But most of all, Ulrike loves deeply and serves fervently. She is one of the kindest, humblest, servant-hearted women I have ever known. Her life most definitely exudes the Proverbs 31 woman.

We are thankful the Lord gave her these two years. I know she is in Paradise now, out of pain and hurt, but I know Blair and her girls especially, are grieving the loss of their wife and Mama.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised. Job 1:21

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blurry Blob Baby

Meet my newest niece or nephew! To be honest, he/she looks more like a blurry blob than a baby to me, but I'm most definitely not trained in the sonogram viewing. Baby is 12 weeks old, due in April right around Easter! We'll find out if McKenzie has a little brother or sister on December 1st...just in time for a little Christmas present for the little one! (yes, I know giving a Christmas present to an unborn baby may seem bizarre, but I'm a present-giving lover and already have some ideas in the ole brain...just need to know boy or girl!)

My brother is convinced the baby is a boy. And that he is giving the antler sign for the Rangers in this picture. He has also already decided that he will follow in his big sister's footsteps (who's five mind you...) and become a Red Raider. McKenzie can be the masked rider and Baby Boy can play football. Yes, he's officially out of control. And you can bet your bottom dollor baby will get something with a little orange in it... ;)

All that to say, I'm excited to meet the little one in what will likely be a few short months. And seeing him/her for the first time, even if the picture does look like a blurry blob, was a sweet gift for our family today.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Invitation to the Thirsty

Isaiah 55

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.

2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

3 Give ear and come to me;
hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.

4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.

5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor."

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

9 "As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD's renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Les Chansons Francaises

Aujourd'hui est un jour de musique francaise ou je peux etre perdu dans la beaute de la langue. Ceci est ma chanson francaise preferree. Elle est tres belle.

Translation: Today is a French music day where I can get lost in the beauty of the language. This is my favorite French song. It is beautiful.

Coeur de Pirate Comme des enfants from Dare To Care Records on Vimeo.