>We will catch up soon

>I haven’t posted in almost a week.. gasp! This past week has been busy, as has everyone else’s with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and who knows what else.

I’ll update, hopefully with some pictures, soon. My sister-in-law Katie and I ran the Schaumburg Turkey Trot 5K on Saturday.. her first race ever and she ran the whole thing! I PR’d and was very happy about that.

Talk to you all soon!

>Beautiful letdown

>These past two weeks have been a let-down, quite honestly, with our answer to prayer about our decision, and also the race.

I’ve been trying hard to keep up whatever “feeling” I had of being close to God. Trying to get into prayer, to Bible study, to want to listen to uplifting music… but what I learned for the bajillionth time is that we can’t do a whole lot to make it happen. And as I’m still growing into maturity in my walk (sometimes I feel like a baby!) I will correlate my emotional response to God with how close I am to Him.

I reach the height of my emotions usually on Sunday morning during worship. On one hand, I am so thankful that I have gotten past the point of worshiping because I “feel like it”. If I still acted that way, I would be a horrible member of the team. I worship with my all every Sunday because 1) I love God, 2) I love music, 3) I love making music with awesome people and 4) I want to see people in the congregation transformed, redeemed, healed, etc. and thus take my role very seriously.

On the other hand, I need to absolutely bring that willingness to worship into my daily life… and I mean every day. We are not given grace for tomorrow, or for six months from now. Only for today and each day we need a new outpouring.

I’ve also been pondering this idea of God’s will, and grace He gives us to do it. If I would have known that Aaron and I would be living apart for two years, I may not have suggested or encouraged him to join the military. But, by God’s grace, I didn’t know that I’d still be here even a month ago. He really does give us grace to do His will.

There are other parts of my life that I want control over. I know that you just can’t believe it, but yes, there are. (Ha.) And I’ve learned that I can’t have control no matter what. I can’t make people accept Christ, because if I could, it wouldn’t really be genuine. All I can do is pray pray pray and extend the invitation to different services and events as the Lord leads me.

Two things I have been convicted on this past week are 1) gossiping and 2) bad attitude. It’s so easy to join in the conversation with something bad to say, isn’t it? It’s like a disease that is so contagious that all you have to do to spread it is think about coughing. I think these two go hand-in-hand.

Strangely enough, and as the devil would love to have it, I refuse to gossip about people at church, at work, basically about anything except my family. With the family, there are “concerns”. I think most of the time it’s baloney. It’s not concerns; it’s gossip and it hurts the efforts of the kingdom of God because none of the words are encouraging or problem-solving. They tear down, separate and start rumors. And I’m done with it.

So I just finished this book today (yes, I actually relaxed on my couch long enough to finish a book):

You may have heard the story about five missionaries who ventured into the Ecuadorian jungle to reach a tribe that has never been reached before by civilization. I knew how the story ended.. they are killed by these murderous and “savage” people. But what struck me was the reactions of the wives when hearing the news of their husbands’ death.

They truly believed it was the will of God. They didn’t let a bitter root grow up in their hearts because of their husbands’ lives being taken. And eventually, the Gospel was brought to these people.

Whenever I start to imagine crazy scenarios in my mind, I remember Philippians 4:7:

“And the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” I love the picture of a divine shield guarding my mind from worry, doubt, anxiety and fear.

>What in the world IS God’s will?

>I like this definition of God’s wisdom, which directly affects His will for our lives..

“God orchestrates only the best possible results by the best possible means to accomplish the highest purpose for the most people for the longest time.” -Chip Ingram

That is God’s will.. to affect the most people possible for the kingdom. Our lives as Christians are included in that. We are not put on this earth to live happy and comfortable all the time. In this country, though, I think many struggle with settling in mediocrity because of society’s expectations. Go to college, get married, have kids, work hard, retire wealthy. Life doesn’t always work out that way.

I’ve mentioned before that I thought for sure I’d have a baby by now. Turns out that that would not have been a good plan since Aaron has been absent for going on two years.

Some days I wonder why in the world I’m working minimum wage when I busted my butt for magna cum laude and a BA. In heaven, no one is going to care about the tens of thousands of dollars I am still paying for my private education. It’s not going to matter. All that will matter is: Did I obey the Lord when He called me out? Was I eager, and not reluctant, to answer the call, like Isaiah? Did I live a life full of the fruits of the Spirit, affecting everyone around me in a positive manner?

There is no way we can plan our lives for the best possible outcome. Even when we have the privilege of the Holy Spirit to guide us, we can’t know what our future holds. All we are guaranteed is right now. Today. Not even tomorrow or two weeks from now. And how much time do we ponder and worry about what will be happening in the future? It’s quite ridiculous if you think about it.

I tell you, the day I realized that my purpose on earth is to glorify God and worship Him, I felt a gap close. An abyss that most fall into, and try to fill their whole lives with…. stuff. Materialism. Workaholism. Alcoholism. Addiction. Sex. Money. Pleasure. Relationships. Things.

The truth is, you (I mean you!) will never be satisfied until you are doing what the Spirit desires to do. Never ever ever.

I have been really thinking lately… with some spare time I have… about life and more specifically what I am doing and who I’m affecting (or whom.. I never really knew the difference). I can see why I majored in Spanish, why I married my husband, why I taught school.

But sometimes about the latter I wonder why it was only for two years. Maybe my work was done there? Maybe it was time for me to move on, Korea or not? At Jo-Ann’s I have new relationships and a new area of outreach. Come June and moving time, where will God place me next? Will it have anything to do with my areas of expertise? Maybe.

I know that God has used my talents for Him. I pray that He does. I have seen that with teaching and piano and Spanish and sewing and running that God has used me to bless others. I have seen that He is giving me a bigger and bigger heart of compassion and empathy. It was good to go to college, but I didn’t need it to learn any of that.

I just pray I don’t fall off the wagon of doing good and doing His will. I don’t want to commit the sin of omission, where if we don’t do what we know we ought to, we sin (James 4). I want to be blameless and be more like Jesus.

It takes a daily drive and motivation. Intrinsic motivation and even beyond that, spiritual. As Chip Ingram said in a recent podcast, God’s grace cannot be catapulted into hypothetical situations. That’s why it’s so silly to worry about the future (Matthew 6). We are given grace for today, and need to seek a new outpouring daily.

>Sometimes we are reminded

>that we are not our own. That our lives do not belong to us and we shouldn’t live as if they do. We have to remember the good things of the past so that we don’t wallow in our disappointment and discouragement. But man, it’s hard sometimes.

I went back and read this blog again.

Please, Lord, take away this spirit of complacency and fill me with the fruits of the Spirit. Yank out this bitter root; I want nothing to do with it. Let me desire what the Spirit desires.

>Peppermint mochas and pastel sunsets

>

It’s only the middle of November, but anyone who has lived in the Corn Belt for any amount of time knows that winter can make an early appearance. Today the breeze had a little bite.. definitely a change from our weather last week.

I have taken a liking to sitting in complete silence when I’m at home. I think it’s mostly because I forget to turn on music, or I’m too lazy to plug in my iPod to the dock.  The crackling sound of a fireplace would complete this moment.

Right now I can see the sunset from my slider window. I love the sunsets in fall and winter. There’s a definite change in the atmosphere, as if everything is crystallized (truthfully it probably is!). I love the pastels and the softness of the colors.. and while I’m not a fan of it getting dark around five pm, I like feeling warm and cozy inside with long pants and long sleeves.

Soon enough it will be snowing, and I’m okay with that. I really don’t share the sentiment of “I’m just not ready for this cold yet!” The earth doesn’t care if you’re ready or not.. it’s a matter of habit when it comes to the seasons. I enjoy every season to its fullest, and then I’m ready for the next.

I have a feeling this winter will be good. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and Skyping with Aaron. I will love decorating for Christmas with an artificial tree. Since Aaron’s not here to help cut it down, Amelia picked up an artificial one for me at a consignment shop in Eureka. She invited me to stay at her house Christmas Eve. This would have been my first Christmas without waking up to others in the house.. thank the Lord for amazing friends who bring us through.

The greatest light in the middle of winter may be Aaron’s coming home for leave. No official anything yet, no purchased plane ticket, but it’s an idea floating around. But I’m already making plans…

Psalm 103 has really been speaking to me lately.. I just love the promises spelled out for us…
 1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
   all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
   and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit
   and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
   so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 6 The LORD works righteousness
   and justice for all the oppressed.

 7 He made known his ways to Moses,
   his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
   nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.

11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

 13 As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass,
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
   the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
   and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
   and remember to obey his precepts.

 19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
   and his kingdom rules over all.

 20 Praise the LORD, you his angels,
   you mighty ones who do his bidding,
   who obey his word.
21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts,
   you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the LORD, all his works
   everywhere in his dominion.

   Praise the LORD, my soul.

>Rearranging and a noo kitteh

>If you’re wondering about my apparent misspelling of “new kitty”, check out icanhascheezeburger.com. You will be amused.

This week, and more specifically today, I worked on unpacking all the boxes I had packed back in April when we thought we were going to do a DITY move to Texas. Ha. If only I knew then what I know now. I will never pack another box until there is a moving truck waiting for me outside. And even then, the Army will be packing our stuff for the next five years.

Anyway. Here are a few pics of the updated arrangement.

New table from Wally World.. I can spread out all my sewing stuff and not have to worry about cluttering up the dining room table! I made new curtains for this room too but the photo wouldn’t rotate for some reason. It’s a cute vertical stripe print with cream, brown and pink. Here’s a swatch..

 New arrangement for living room, which I really like. We have way too many books. It’s funny because only 3/4 of one of the shelves is our collection of DVDs and TV on DVD.

The top and bottom trivets are from my grandma on my dad’s side. I know the top one was a wedding gift to them in 1952! The owl one I got at Salvation Army for 50c.

That’s what I did today, along with grocery shopping, a load of laundry, signing my lease for seven more months (and a reduction in rent since I was on a month-to-month), and playing with Luthor…

If you haven’t read on Facebook already, I got this kitty yesterday from some friends who were feeding him as he was roaming around outside for a few weeks. He obviously belonged to someone because he’s neutered and declawed, and healthy. I took him in since I wouldn’t have the expense of the neuter and declaw surgeries. He’s doing well so far, as you can see. We named him after Lex Luthor on our favorite show, Smallville.

This week was a weird week. I felt so elated from the race and being in Chicago last weekend, and at peace about things. Then Monday through Friday I worked and felt like I had no life because I was sick, too, so I was trying to rest as much as I could. Thankfully I’m feeling almost 100% better today, or at least right now. I didn’t run or exercise at all this week. Cross-training or lifting weights would have been ideal. I didn’t eat well either.

So here’s to a new week… and the advent of marathon training tomorrow with Gabriela. She has a ten-miler planned for us! I’m nervous but know I can do it. Two weeks from today my sister-in-law Katie and I are running the Turkey Trot 5K in Schaumburg. Woot!

>No bitter root

>

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Hebrews 12:14-15 

I have every reason to be bitter about this whole situation. I could name off dozens of reasons about why I could be wholeheartedly disappointed.

I could get a bad taste in my mouth about the Army, especially since this is the first experience we’ve had with the “real” Army (i.e. not in training anymore).

It’s going to have to be an everyday choice. While there is peace, there is a Thief who wants to steal, kill and destroy my peace. And I’m not gonna let ‘im.

Here’s to covering my bitterness with the grace of God.