I like to start my mornings slow. Just me and the silence of the house, still dark outside and dark inside, until I flip on a light. I brew my cup of coffee and splash in a wave of sugar-free hazelnut creamer. Strawberries and blueberries fill my bowl and I top it with half heavy whipping cream and half hazelnut creamer.
Dear High School Senior,
By now you’re in your last few months of high school and people are asking you what you’re going to do next. Some of you know the answer with a certainty that goes clear to your bones. But some of you are asking yourself, What AM I going to do next?
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m imagining God’s anticipation 2000 years ago on that night that changed everything. This was the day.! Today God would become a Father to his very own Son. (Weird to think of God having a new experience. ) But even more than that, God was initiating his rescue plan. He loved his creation fiercely, especially humankind. But they had so many problems, all stemming from the same one. Sin. It began with the first couple and had only gotten worse. And now today–today!–was the day he would put his plan in motion to save them from themselves. How he hoped they’d recognize his Son for who he was.
But they didn’t. And many still don’t.
Today I’ll reflect on God’s anticipation of this Advent, the coming of his Son, the best gift ever given. Jesus is a lifeline, a friend, a brother. I pray you’ll accept him as your rescuer, as God intended him to be. Unwrap the gift.
My husband, Rollin, reading Scripture to his dad.
I recently read a post that talked about fame. In it were these two quotes: “The human soul isn’t made for fame,” and “I’ve never met a famous person who wouldn’t be a better version of themselves if they weren’t famous.”
So why do so many people strive for fame?
As I write this today, my 94-year-old father-in-law lies dying in a hospital bed in Minnesota. He’s a quiet, reserved man with a huge heart full of love and faith. There’s never been any fanfare or fame to his life. Apparently, there never will be. But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t famous.
At our house, by summertime, we always had too many toys. Between birthdays, Christmas and maybe a few random purchases, the toy box would be overflowing. What to do? We started every summer with weeding out the toys. It was kind of like a beginning of summer game. Here’s how we did it.
I usually find it fairly easy to listen to my heart. But doing what it tells me sometimes comes a little harder. The last year or so has been a productive time in my life. But with productivity comes busyness, which has led to weariness. Lately, now that all the projects and transitions and changes are nearly through, my heart is whispering to me to rest.
I love hearing it, because that’s exactly what I feel like doing. But still, it rubs against what the world tries to tell me I should do. Will I be perceived as lazy? Lacking purpose? Unproductive?
Maybe. But does that even matter?
Lately, I’ve been carving out time for an afternoon rest. I may nap, play a mindless computer game, crochet, or read. If my favorite team is playing during the day, I may even watch the game on TV. I’m finding that when I give myself some rest time, I am far more productive overall. My soul needs that breather so my mind can think more clearly and I can do the things I need to with renewed energy. I don’t set a specific time limit on my rest. I just get back to work whenever I feel ready.
Obviously, not everyone has that luxury, especially if you work for someone else or have children clamoring for your attention. I understand. I’ve been there, too. But if you can find even a few minutes to clear your mind in whatever way works best for you, do it.
Listen to your heart. Do what it says. And if you can’t do it right then, take good notes so you don’t forget its whisper.
What is your heart telling you these days?
In recently responding to a comment on my 2016’s Most Impactful Book post, I saw that I’d promised one commenter that I’d blog about all the books I read in 2016. That was back in December. Oops. I never did it, hence this late post about said books.
I read only ten books all last year, which I find a bit disappointing. I’d like to read at least one book a month, but some years just don’t allow that. The books I did read are as follows.
Springtime is my favorite season, even though it means a hot Arizona summer isn’t too far away. But I love the warm weather, the sweet smell of orange blossoms in the air, and so many plants in bloom. Here’s a gallery of photos I took on my walk around the neighborhood this morning.
Palo brea tree
Not sure what this is, but it sure was pretty!
Brilliant purple bougainvillea bush
Not sure what this purple bush is.
A close up of the purple bush’s flowers.
Ocotillo in bloom
I love all the babies growing on this prickly pear cactus. It was just starting to bloom.
Is it springtime where you live? What’s blooming in your neighborhood?
As a child, I rarely made my bed, except for when my mom made us clean our rooms. She taught us how to lay the pillow with the open end of the pillowcase toward the edge of the bed. Then we pulled each sheet and blanket up to the top one by one, smoothing out the wrinkles so the bedspread would lie neatly on top. If there were wrinkles underneath, they showed through to the top layer. Mom taught us how to pull the covers and sheets until there were no more lumps. I’m glad she took the time to do that, even though I seldom used the skill regularly until my late twenties.
But now, there’s something about making the bed. I do it every morning. It makes me feel like I’m ready to start the day fresh, like I have at least one thing together. Often, I only make one half of the bed because over the years, Rollin and I have come to each make our own side of the bed. But if he has to rush out to work, I do his side, too.