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.