Sunday, January 20, 2013

January Recap--bring on February

Here we are on February 1st.  My enthusiasm for fresh starts never fails.  I love the first day of the new year, the first day of school, the first day of the week and the first day of a month.  I was enthusiastic a month ago when this new year started that it would be an improvement on the challenging 2012 with the very challenging last couple months of 2012.  At first it seemed to be going well.  We were enthusiastic about possibilities, Jake was home with us for a week and we had a wonderful visit, we were ready to take on the world!  Then something happened, they call it "the flu".  And between the 3 of us that was the rest of January.  I continue to cough as I type but on February 1st my energy and enthusiasm for this fresh new year seems to be returning.

Since my word of the year is "Watch" I thought I would report on a couple things I have seen God do this month.  Of course there are the typical things like taking care of us while we were sick, keeping our bills paid another month, classes going well and general safety.  But here are a couple fun ones:


At the beginning of the month I was complaining about my desk.  Now that I work from home I am sitting at it A LOT.  And the plywood board on top of a couple random peices I found around the house and shimmed to be level weren't really cutting it.  While the top was large I had a ton of stuff on top of it because I had no desk drawers.  And my shims had made it just a little bit taller than what was really comfortable.  John thought he could make me a new one and although we really didn't have the money we love to talk about it those kind of projects so one day John came in to discuss my desk needs.  As we talked he said it would be easier to modify an exisiting desk than to build one from scratch.  So to Craig's list we go.  There we find a perfect desk, in perfect condition FOR.FREE.  Free.  Yes, you are reading that right.  And then John goes to get it and it is still perfect and still free.  A ministry was closing their office and giving away the excess furniture.  They desired to bless others with it rather than sell it or scrap it for cash.  We ended up with 2 L shaped desks that come together into a U shape.  One for me and one for Isabelle.  And then another square table for the printer which we put another drawer stack under.  My office feels more professional than it has ever been, I have plenty of drawer space and I am feeling set to work in here for many years to come.  God totally provided.


It was a chilly January in Minnesota.  Actually today, February 1, continues to carry the cold.  It was -3 when I went to the grocery store today with a -30 wind chill.  So wishing I had stocked up last week when it was a balmy 15 degrees.  Anyway...I hop in my car a couple weeks ago to run a few errands.  You know that feeling when you are barely out of your driveway but you know something is wrong with the car.  However, you are  not a car expert, you don't have time or money to deal with a car problem so you keep going and hope it will go away.  But it doesn't.  By the time I get 1 mile from home I am positive I have a flat tire.  I pull over to confirm.  Now there I am 1 mile from home.  It is 10 degrees out and I have 3 options.  #1, change the tire myself.  I have done this before.  #2, wait for someone to come and change it for me, we added this service to our insurance last year for Jake and still have it.  #3, drive the 1 mile home on a flat tire.  Guess which one I chose?  Yep, #3.  John was not amused when he got home and saw it but loves me anyway.  Turns out the spare is also flat.  I haven't driven it for a couple weeks now and a second tire has gone flat.  So we are 3 flat tires.  However, this is not a story of watching God give us flat tires so we can't drive our second car.  This is a story of how God provides.  My parents are in Florida for the next 3 months.  While Jake was home over Christmas we decided to pick up their extra car so he would have something to drive and we wouldn't be inconvenienced.  We really only ended up needing it one time while he was home and I sort of wished I had just inconvenienced myself that one day because after he was gone we had this extra car in the driveway and would have to get it back out to their house at some point.  But, that day after I drove the mile home on my flat tire I got out of my car, got into their car and never missed a beat.  And while we do intend to fix those flat tires the beauty is we don't have to be in a hurry, we don't have to do it miserable.  We can wait til it gets back into the 20's or even 30's.


This month John entered his 4th Semester as a full time student.  In May he will have been 2 years at our 2-year community college.  As he was registering for this semester we were thinking he would be about a semester shy of having enough credits to actually complete a 2 year degree.  We had decided to still pursue moving to a 4 year university next year but I was disappointed that we couldn't celebrate this milestone with that piece of paper.  Deep breath, keep going.  This is a 6 year journey not a 2 year journey, it doesn't matter, it will all come in time.

BUT, we are trying to re-finance our house and the bank asked for a school transcript as proof that John is in school and that is why his income has dipped in the last couple years.  When John went online to print it out he discovered that significantly more credits from his previous schooling had transferred and he will actually have more than enough credits to get an Associates Degree!  We didn't get the re-finance but we are going to get a degree!  The one caveat is he needs an exercise class so he signed up for snowboarding.  Poor John has to spend Sunday afternoons for the next 6 weeks on the slopes.  After a very stressful and challenging fall semester that is a blessing from God if there ever was one.

So to recap:  While I watched God gave me a desk, provided a car and helped John complete the first 1/3 of his education.  He also gave us a great time with Jake while he was home, lots of rest via the flu along with the Peace and Joy which only come from God.

What January didn't have was much forward progress.  At least for me.  I wrote almost nothing, read little, no exercise, no interesting thoughts.  I know it was the flu, it seriously sucked the life out of me.  But today is February 1st!  Fresh start.  Fresh chance to think big.  Take chances.  Live life!

I do think the winter funk is on me a little this week so tomorrow Isabelle and I are heading to to either the Como Zoo and Conservatory where they have animals and warm greenhouses full of tropical plants or the Art Museum full of inspiring art.  If it works I will report back on how my creativity was awakened while there.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Role Model Reality

I have been thinking about this whole Lance Armstrong thing.  I find that I am happy to see him come down off the pedestal.  Not because I didn't like him but because in some weird way I like to see people fall.

I am a big fan of the whole hard working athlete thing.  I have watched various portions of the Tour de France several times.  I also love to watch the Olympics, to see the competitions, to hear the stories of training, discipline and sacrifice that each athlete made to reach that level of success.  And I will point to those accomplishments and those people both for myself and my children as examples of what you can do with hard work and discipline.   But does success in one area of life mean success in all?

As a culture we put people on pedestals and then act shocked when they turn out to be imperfect.  We watch those same people on the pedestal fight in an attempt to prove they deserve to be there.  I think I am happy to see them fall because it is real.  Only one person can stand on the pedestal and not fall, Jesus.  He is the only one who will never disappoint us, whose example we can follow fully knowing it is the best example.

With fallen Lance there are plenty of other hard working athletes out there to replace him.  Michael Phelps comes to mind.  Big goals, big success, lots of hard work.  With all his press and endorsements he is definitely on his way to having Lance's level of media success.  But before we pop him up on a pedestal we need to remember that we don't know everything about him.  Could he disappoint us in the future?  Ryan Hall, US Olympic marathon runner, godly Christian man who does missions work in Africa on the side.  Gabby Douglas, Gold medal gymnast and another Christian athlete.  How about them?  Can we put them on the pedestal?  Unfortunately history tells us that men and women of Faith fall to the same temptations as those who do not know Him.  We cannot know what choices have been made or will be made in the future.  Only Jesus was tempted and stood up to Satan.  "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom 3:23

So, What?  Should we not have any role models but Christ?  Should we constantly look upon people with doubt and assume disappointment?  Not at all.  People are complex.  We both fail and triumph.  I guess that is what I like about this fall of Lance Armstrong.  The reality of an imperfect yet complex person who has done both good and bad.  We can be inspired by his success and learn from his failure.

I will always look to be inspired by people, the choices they make and the triumphs they achieve but I will always remember that they are just people, like you or me.

Friday, January 4, 2013


2013!  I made it!  2012 was a year of growth, which is really just a euphemism that means it was hard and sucked but, we persevered while God taught us hard lessons.  The last couple months in particular were filled with trials at our house.  We made it through and didn't just hide while hoping the hard things would pass.  We faced them, did the hard things, had the hard conversations, faced the hard situations.  I wrote this fall about wanting to skip over the holidays yet knowing we couldn't go over or under them so we would have to go through them.  I believe the peace we have experienced as we started 2013 is the result of not running away from our troubles but going through them and surviving.

Look out 2013 her we come!  Lessons learned, new roads taken, a whole world sitting before us.

I have a new word for this year.  As you recall from my last post, I am going to be spending my year with Isaiah 43:18  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."  My word is "Watch".  I am going to watch and see what the Lord is dong in my life.  He is doing a  new thing in my life (New Thing!) and I am going to be watching.  Watching to see Him work in my life and the lives of those around me.  Watching for His truth, His power, His will.  Can't wait!  New Thing!

I am also working on some changes in my blogging for this next year.  I can tell you for sure I am going to bring this one to an end sometime in the next month.  Don't worry, I plan to create a new personal blog so you can continue to enjoy my every random thought but I am also working on some structure as well.  For instance, I am hoping to do a weekly post related to my word of the year and share what I saw of God and his power while I Watch this year.

And along with my new personal blog I am also going to be focusing on writing about my continued transition from homemaker to working mom over at From Homemaker to Working Mom.  Add it to your reading list. Yesterday I wrote about getting organized at home and work.  Some good stuff if I do say so myself.  In many ways I am starting over as I add work to my life but that doesn't mean I don't have anything to bring to this new life.  I did used to be organized.  And I will be again.