Saturday, November 27, 2010

Making Time for Christmas

Happy official Christmas Season!

The other day, I told my sister Laura, "You're like the best peson to celbrate Christmas with 'cause we know exactly how each of us likes it." Plus, we grew up together. Funny, isn't it, that Christmas is sometimes best celebrated with family? Family traditions are huge in my heart (though not so huge in my family's heart. Ironic? Yes.). This season, I'm making time for Christmas and here's how:

-I intentionally started with Jesus. Surrendering and dedicating the season to him (which I should do tonight with a little more gumption) is important. If I am not focused on his birth, my moody, human expectations will become big disappointments. My prayer is that I would be able to take in the small moments of the season and make time for joyful things.

-The day after Thanksgiving (yesterday!), I decorated my room. Though the entire house has yet to get its halls decked, my room is beaming with the ever-familiar mini Christmas tree, childhood ornaments, multi-colored lights, and ice skating things.

-I'm on my way to having each and every step for completing the semester (at least school-wise) all planned out. I have a grand list of the homework assignments and papers I need to complete and I have a study plan for each final. Spreading things out into manageable chunks is my style when it comes to school, so I'm doing a little bit every day to prepare for "the most stressful time of the year".

-I made a paper chain. Yup! It's... well yes, it's childish, but in a wonderful way. There is something about participating in the act of anticipation that I'm just sure the Lord delights in. I had my sister write out a small Christmas activity on each day of the countdown and even gave her a list of my stressful days so she wouldn't give me some crazy idea, hehe.

-I'm having a Christmas party: the Sleigh bell Sisters' Soiree next week (Christmas brings out the cheesiest in me). I am SO excited to have my girlfriends over to the house for making merry.

-Warm beverages galore... yes, yes, yes. I really feel Christmassy when I'm sipping something hot. Good thing too, 'cause beverages are portable and perfect for the busy girl that I am.

How are you making time for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Big Decisions

I like making decisions. I almost always know what I want for dinner, I rarely stand in front of the closet door clueless, and I don't tend to find myself bored easily because I have a whole slew of rainy day activities stored up in my head. I like when two people defer to me as they banter on about where to go to dinner. I am grateful for this ability and use it often. However, when it comes to big decisions, I slow down my pace.

Right now, I am looking at two very different options. To continue on with my education at this University and graduate as planned or to take a semester off to work (as in get money, but also to work on my heart) and graduate a semester later. They both sound fine. There are pros and cons. It makes sense to take time off but it would possibly mean facing hard things in my heart, like loneliness and finding my validity only in Christ, not in the exciting things I get to do with my life. (Woah, that's where my validity IS found; too bad I don't always recognize it).

I'm realizing that even through this decision, which I won't be able to make quickly, (ah, that drives me crazy!) God is taking me into a season of dependence. Dependence seems to become a lot more important when you don't know what your life will look like in a month... or six months.

And I know that whatever decision I do make, he will work the "things of it" together for good 'cause I love him and am called according to his purpose.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dorm Room Overhaul!

While I was in Tennessee, I noticed quite a lack of visual pleasantries in Jamie's room. Lucky for me, Jamie is gracious and appreciates my knack for interior warmth (I wouldn't necessarily call it interior design... but I have confidence that I can always make a place feel warm, hehe).

First step, Peace banner:

As I prayed for Jamie that weekend, the Lord impressed the word "peace" on my heart. We were both in need of some good peace. I topped the banner with ribbons, which I latter tacked clothes pins to. Now she can hang pictures, notes, and such on the draping ribbons.

There was also this awful wall above her bed with cracks, bulges, and probably mold growing in it. What can you do? So goes the dorm room experience. But what I COULD do was make a great collage to span the funky wall. I cut out magazine pictures from a food mag, inspiring words, collected and pressed leaves from outside, and used scraps from the peace banner. Jamie picked the images that were most meaningful and fun for her. I wanted to create a combination of texture, comfort, and nature. I think we accomplished just that!

Oh yeah, I figured some make-shift curtains above the window wouldn't hurt either.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Today when I put my pants on, I...

Thank you kindly to those of you who have been praying for me. I sometimes forget that this blog actually gets read! Leave a comment every once in a while, hehe. The entire week was a roller-coaster kind of week. The Lord is faithful though and I am grateful that he's willing to blow on the dusty furniture inside my heart...

So yes, today's title is: today when I put my pants on, I... Every once in a while when I want to write about something snappy or fun but have no ideas, I go to "Imagination Prompt Generator"- >< to find a good idea. When I first read that, I thought, "Icky. No one wants to hear about what I think when I'm dressing." But then I thought, "Well hey, I did have a really interesting pants experience this morning." So there ya go.

Today when I put my pants on, I realized they were too small. Oh, WAY too small. And since I'm going there, I might as well just tell you: I did the maternity, rubber band around the button trick and they were still too small (no, I'm not pregnant). A lot of my pants have been too small lately. AND, I found my first stretch marks last week! I know, I know, some of you must be thinking, "Child, if you're worried about your very first stretch marks, you're doin' all right." I had my first "no, no, no, I just won't buy new jeans if that means trying yet the NEXT size up" experience in the dressing room yesterday.

This is a little dramatic, I know. But it is what it is! Facing the facts of a slowing metabolism is not fun. Lots of deep breaths and big-picture reminders. I'm gonna go out with a bang here:

"I am beautiful no matter what they say! Words can't bring me down! Ohhhhhh, so don't you bring me down today."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I may just be in that valley...

Y'all (yup, I'm speaking Tennessee), it's true. I may just be in that valley. You know the one. The "yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" one. The "oh my gosh. What's going on?" one. I called Jamie in desperation today (and if I was her, I would have been scared)... tears from "hello".

K, here's what's going on: I hit the ground running!

First of all, I HATE goodbyes. So you can imagine that saying goodbye to this dear friend was awful. For the whole ride to the airport, my stomach was in knots. So Jamie held my hand like she'd done many times that weekend and spoke truth and encouragement over me. Long story short, I've gotten used to people in airports seeing me in tears.

I didn't know if I had enough money for gas on the way home so I got just a few gallons... after I found a gas station that was actually open, that is (who knew they could close?). I tried to figure out the math of how far this gas would take me since my gauge is broken, but my body felt like it was 2am. Hungry and nothing to eat but the picked-over peanuts and mangoes.

Yesterday was manageable.

Today was not. I woke up sick, drove to school, and said, "Lord I KNOW there is good in this day... take me to it." I made it through 7 hours and then decided to cut the marathon Tuesday short. I failed a paper. Yes. I've never failed a paper before; I didn't know it was possible to thoroughly complete an assignment and still fail it. This is me, miss lined-up-to-graduate summa cum laude. You can probably imagine my alarm.

There is so much more I could write about that's hard right impatience with being back home, past hurts reemerging, loneliness... But I don't think it would be helpful to anyone, myself included, to go into detail. Instead, I will choose to read the rest of that verse:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." -Psalm 22:4-5

Yes, it is true. This was said to me today: "God's got good things for you. He's bringing you out into open lush places."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tennessee bliss...

"The word of the Lord you have spoken is good," Hezekiah replied. For he thought, "There will be peace and security in my lifetime."...Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Isaiah 39:8-40:1

Last week I asked, "Oh Lord, may there be rest?" Yes... he said yes. He does have good rest for his children. I'm learning that the most important place for rest is in the heart.

So I am in Tennessee with my dear Jamie, experiencing an autumn I've never before laid eyes on. The trees are REAL fall colors, all the scarves and sweaters I brought with hopeful expectation will actually go to use, and my nose is cold just from sitting with the window open. It's the very definition of Christine's bliss, hehe.

Having quite a bit of expendable time with Jamie going about her "normal" (though thoughtfully altered for my sake) schedule, I began thinking of all the things I needed to accomplish this week while away. But there was absolutely no urgency, no anxiety, no rush... I feel like the Lord is telling me to just TAKE this gift. So I'm taking it!

A morning of dreaming, cozy, and pumpkin chai muffins. Thank you, oh Merciful One.