tonight i am appreciating the lyrics to the Mumford and Sons song Roll Away Your Stone. the twinkling lights of the christmas tree also make the list. as does the fact that our windows are now SEALED. goodbye, winter cold. hello, cozy big blue house.
today has been a very good day.
and, my christmas cactus has a bud. i hope it blooms before Hungary.
the village (thrift store near our house) is notorious for less than mediocre music choking its way out of low-quality speakers. today, however, they played "When We Were in Love" by Toby Keith--a song I had completely forgotten about (and yes, i realize that for some of you this song doesn't quite rise above "less than mediocre" but whatever. i'm a softy for good country). In fact, i couldn't even remember it was a Toby Keith song until Mariah reminded me. I'm listening to it now. I liked this song very much for a very long time. I still remember when it was on the radio all the time. hm. Transported back to Sonoita, AZ, small town southern Arizona :)
In other news, I discovered Jakob Dylan through a new friend (from pottery). His folksy/bluegrass/country sound is perfect for roadtrips and/or quiet sit-at-home evenings (i know from personal experience!). You should look him up. I'm sure his pandora station is great.
The last several days have been loaded with learning. Not easy learning, but learning nonetheless. Certain experiences, conversations, and seasons of life offer themselves as one insight after another, don't they? Insight into self, into others, into God, into the simple things of life, into the more complicated things of life...hmm. all of it is a great big wonder to me. i can honestly say I am delighted to be exactly right here were I am. my heart is deeply content and full of joy. truly. just a lot of "enlargement" going on.
The snow up north was just beautiful. the space to take it all in and breathe a little deeper was also really wonderful. now i'm back in the cold wet city where it sometimes feels a little darker and life moves a lot faster.
christmas is approaching fast. i hope i can live slow enough to feel the anticipation in this ever-moving, over-bustling city i currently call "home."
Later, if the wind dies down a bit, we're going for a little walk through the wintry woods. Sigh. It's so absolutely beautiful.
Our Thanksgiving was wonderful, how was yours? This time of year is a blessing to me. I realize that for so many the "holidays" mark a difficult time, especially those without family or without the provision that so many of us easily take for granted. I'm reminded often to hold these gifts with open hands, thankful but not entitled. So many have less. May we welcome those who don't have into our lives of "have."
Today, I think my favorite thing is the way the snow piles up heavy on the tree branches. So lovely.
Blessing and hope to you as we enter full swing into the holiday season. Let's keep things in proper perspective, k?...and not get carried away by what the world says is "important."
"Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy which moves the hearts of those who seek him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find him. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen." -an advent prayer
I have to share something from Sandra McCracken's e-news I received this evening. She's right on, articulates it beautifully, and echoes my own learnings of this year:
"I frequently marvel at how creative and how spiritual ALL of life is...song writing, baby bouncing, performing, traveling, and caregiving. It all bleeds together like colors of fingerpaint on a giant canvas. In fact, there is no end in sight to this canvas. And everybody involved is covered in this non-washable paint. But I'm getting the feeling that this art we are making is gonna be beautiful in the end."
Seriously. I couldn't have said it better. Of course, I might change "song writing" to something like letter writing or journaling, "baby bouncing" to conversations with little ones who are trying to figure out the world (or any number of other activities i find myself involved in on a daily basis with the kids that aren't my own), "performing" to interactions with others...the list goes on. The point is, she gets it. all of life is remarkably creative and spiritual and if you haven't figured it out yet, well, i hope you will. because it allows you to understand the simple beauty of life in all of its mundane and ordinary, as well as celebrate the "out of the ordinary" moments. it helps you make it through the pain and the mess and feel the richness of the healing and growth.
hmm. tonight i am so grateful to be alive. i've spent a lot of time this year feeling so unsettled and uncertain about "what's next" and about what my life will hold. right now i am quieted by all the potential--all the unknown. and i feel a rested peace.
I want to make these sandwiches to eat with hot soup...or maybe just by themselves. YUM. lately i've been thinking about how nice it would be to have more people to cook for. cooking for one just isn't as fun or as economical. bleh.
It's been really grey the past few days. oh dear. winter in chicago. the long, long winter in chicago...
i will be in hungary. whew, that's insane. is it almost december already?! where does the time go?
we're coming up on Thanksgiving. i'll be driving to the U.P. to visit grandma and mom. girls weekend! i can hardly wait. it will be so wonderful. it looks like i'll be driving straight on Thanksgiving day, i don't have wed. off. but that's ok. i actually look forward to the drive. the whole thing will be in daylight and i'll have good music, coffee along the way, lots of time to myself, and the enjoyment of the wintry scenes i pass through all the way up. hmm, sounds perfect if you ask me.
last night was our church's annual wine tasting. i really like our church. it was a really fun night--with lots of wonderful food and good wine. it's a fantastic event put on in a rented facility with live (jazz) music. i didn't get to try as many as i wanted to because i was the one that drove but i got to try about six. and the tastes were not just tastes :) props to the french pinot noir, my favorite (and the american champagne). a taste of mariah's sirah near the end was promising. the food was amazing. the people were fun--mingled with familiar faces and met some new ones. all-in-all it was a fabulous night.
i realized at the party, however, that (due to holiday travels, etc.) i will miss the entire advent season at our church. this makes me really very sad. i love that Grace follows the church calendar and i especially love how it carries us through seasons such as advent (lent, etc.). sigh. i am bummed.
tomorrow i finish up my work at the studio. i'll have to go in later to pick it up once it makes it through glazing. i'm so excited to see the finished product!
still busy trying to finish up Christmas presents. yikes, so little time left to get everything done! i seriously cannot believe i leave for hungary in less than 3 weeks. gah! i get to go to Europe. I get to travel. I get to see Jake. so many wonderful things...
C was a sweetheart today. He fell at school coming in from play time and cut his upper lip which, apparently, brought on a lot of blood and tears (the tears were streaming when i picked the little guy up from school and carried on sporadically throughout the evening). he was pretty shaken up and his lip was swollen. we made it home and spent the evening on the couch exchanging stories while icing. in his words, the lip was "blown up." i'm telling you, he was full of memorably lines tonight.
Me: you know, C, one time my sister was kicking a rock and it flew towards the back of my head so she yelled "Andrea, duck!" i turned around in time to have the rock hit me right in the mouth. i lost a loose tooth and lived with a large scab on my upper lip...
C: Andrea, you should have dunked. if it had been me, i would have dunked straight away.
Yeah, you guessed it. i just smiled and kept holding the ice on his puffy lip. as i sat there on that couch with that sweet boy laying in my lap, i was suddenly really excited to be a mom. someday. not now, not yet. but someday. and it will be wonderful.
and the moral of the story is, don't forget to DUNK!
You are the God who is simple, direct, clear with us and for us. You have committed yourself to us. You have said yes to us in creation, yes to us in our birth, yes to us in our baptism, yes to us in our awakening this day.
But we are of another kind, more accustomed to “perhaps, maybe, we’ll see,’ left in wonderment and ambiguity.
We live our lives not back to your yes, but out of our endless “perhaps.”
So we pray for your mercy this day that we may live yes back to you, yes with our time, yes with our money, yes with our sexuality, yes with our strength and with our weakness, yes to our neighbor, yes and no long “perhaps.”
In the name of your enfleshed yes to us, even Jesus who is our yes into your future. Amen.
From Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, Walter Brueggemann
i'm listening to "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus." the line "come thou long awaited emmanuel" strikes me, as it always does. "free us from our fears and sins." i know i've mentioned before how much this time of year begins to grow in anticipation of a needed Savior. "born to set his people free." perhaps attending a church that follows the church calendar helps promote this. or maybe it's just become a part of me and a part of experiencing the coming and going of days and seasons, marked by significant historical events (events, too, that happen to alter the course of the world...the course of our lives...). anyhow, the sky looks like winter today. the clouds have that "heavy" look; that "waiting" look. and it reminds me of the heightened sense of "heavy" and "waiting" that is building in our hearts as we await the one who can make things whole again--the one who will live in our weak, frightened, sinful souls and make us new.
"A world of God's governance ends our weariness and satisfies our longing. Obedience is the daily task of yielding more regions of our life to God's sovereign purpose. We do not yield easily. But this tradition makes clear that if we do not yield, we shall die." (Brueggemann)
when i was little and needed some lovin', mom would say, "your love tank must be empty. let's fill it up!" and we'd sit on the couch or in a chair together and talk, or just be. but she would always hug me. or hold me. and then i learned to go find her whenever my love tank needed filling, "mom, my love tank's empty." where, o where is my mama when i need her? today my love tank's been feeling empty. i'm definitely a person that needs hugs. and i realized today that i don't get very many hugs. this is sad.
i need a hug.
i also need sleep. and i can remedy this one, sooo....goodnight!
i love beans. that's all there is to it. they're simple and tasty and inexpensive and, well, just wonderful. pinto, black, kidney, navy...ahhh. eating them now sauteed/simmered with veggies and some salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, and chili powder. top it with some cheese. so good. so easy!
i've been good about using my farm share veggies this week. sometimes some of them go bad before i get to use them. but not this time. oh, no no. i'm on it. homemade pizza on monday used up a fair amount of the peppers. i've still got brussels sprouts that i think i'll roast tonight. enough about my food supply. you probably don't care.
today has been a good and much needed day. I woke up on my own without an alarm at 7:30 (weird) and decided to get the day going. I caught up on all the bills, etc. (rant: how can ONE LITTLE doctor visit end up costing so stinkin' much? last time i get a strep throat culture. sigh) and then I caught up on emails...
i listened to tim keller's sermon on Sexuality and Christian Hope. it's really good, i recommend it to you. i'm thinking a lot about a lot of things which means i'll probably do some journalling.
the candles are lit. the house feels delightfully cozy.
i have a cup of chai waiting for me and i think i'm going to knit for awhile. or maybe read. i'm reading Peace Like a River.
i hope you're doing well on this cold, grey november day.
and now it is november. can you believe it?? crazy!! i will be leaving for Hungary in exactly 39 days. that's definitely crazy.
our "girls weekend" to the UP last weekend was really fun. so wonderful to get away (and up north!), spend time with Grandma, and explore out-of-doors. i'm finally posting pictures...
this weekend i was in Indianapolis with all the Schnake's (minus Jake and Hannah, of course) at Caleb and Celena's. It was a wonderful time to be with them, enjoy spending time with the kids, laugh together, and get to know each other some more. also, fall is still full of color down there and so time outside was beautiful. Evie and I found the most beautiful leaves. wish i could show you...
regular work this week. both families are back so the week will be "normal" again. in lots of ways i'm actually looking forward to it.
we finally got the heat turned on. yesssssss. i can't tell you how wonderful this is.
what else. hmm. not much. i've almost finished the Brueggemann book I'm currently reading which means I can pick up another from my (long) list...this is a good feeling :)
i guess that's all. a short little update but an update nonetheless, right?! happy november!!