Tuesday, March 30, 2010

speed bumps, castle & paint

Tuesday is a random thoughts day.

Reasons why I do not miss the apartment:
  • speed bumps
  • hearing perfectly what was said in the living room from upstairs in the bedroom
  • thermostat set at 64 degrees = freezing drafts in the living room
  • everything was painted white (and it was a terrible paint job at that)

Reasons why I like our house:

  • a garage - no ice scraping this morning, praise God!
  • I can play my music as loud as I want at 6:30 in the morning
  • thermostat set at 64 degrees = toasty
  • we can do whatever we want with it (paint!)

I've been rich in visits/conversations lately. Three weeks ago I spent time with my sister in Maine. Mom & Jordan visited two weeks ago. Chris visited that same weekend. Last week Sam came over. Last week Holly & I skyped. Last weekend Charity came to see me from Bethel. This coming weekend my family is visiting. Next week - State of Grace dance company reunion! Amy is flying to visit me in a month. Oh, I am rich in friends indeed!

I think I am officially addicted to the show Castle. Last week was a cliff hanger, so I made Bryce watch it with me last night since I just couldn't wait to watch it on Hulu at work today. (A late night on a Monday? I must be crazy!) And he almost (but not quite) ruined it with all of his "it wouldn't happen like that" and "they're missing ____" comments. Bryce, honey, you need to be on the police force or something like that. :)

Last weekend I tackled a painting job by myself for the first time . . . cleaned, primed a few spots, poured the paint, and started in on the baseboards, door trim & window trim in the living room & library. Terribly tedious and time-consuming but so rewarding! It's amazing what a coat of bright-white can do to change a room. (Thanks for helping, Charity & Bryce!) I'm looking forward to finishing up the main rooms downstairs next week.

This song has been on my mind: Faith without works is dead. On the cross Your blood was shed. So how could we not give it away so freely? Follow You into the homes of the broken. Follow You into the world. Meet the needs of the poor and the needy, God. Follow You into the world. Leeland & Brandon Heath


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Exodus: A Portrait of His Glory

The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant . . . So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them. (2.23-25)
And when they [the Israelites] heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped. (4.31)

I recall a certain theme throughout portions of the Old Testament: the Israelites fall away, God punishes/disciplines justly by subjecting them to the surrounding nation(s), the Israelites eventually cry out to God, and in His mercy He saves them. However in this Exodus instance there is no record of this cycle of falling away & then punishment. Slavery just happened. I find that to be quite interesting. Perhaps an example of how sometimes things just happen in this sinful world and God isn't directly disciplining us?

Moses returned to the Lord and said, "O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people [making bricks without straw]? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all."
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go . . ." (5.22 - 6.1)

I so enjoyed the honest conversations between the Lord and Moses peppered throughout Exodus. Despite the awesomeness of God's presence at the burning bush and many amazing miracles, Moses was not afraid to address God directly and honestly. Perhaps this is a lesson I need to learn? I forget sometimes that I can just talk to God . . . thought-out prayers, long journal sessions and perfect timing are not necessary.

During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds as you have said, and go. And also bless me." (12.31-32)

Also bless me!?! You've plundered my nation; my firstborn son just died; but please bless me before you leave and take all of our free labor with you. How ironic! Perhaps God indulged in a little chuckle at that comment from Pharaoh?

This is what you [Moses] are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (19.3-6)

I love the tender language God uses in this paragraph. Reminiscent of something Jesus said in Matthew (and Luke): as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. Perhaps this side of God is one that I need to better understand?

When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. (24.17)

The only definitions I can find for "consuming" that could possibly work for this context are "to totally destroy; ravage" or "to absorb; engross." I think the second is more fitting. It was a totally absorbing fire, engrossing the top of the mountain - to the extent that the fire seemed to consume the entire area it covered. That is what the glory of the Lord looked like to the Israelites.

On the odd occasion when I think about the Lord's glory, I usually imagine it like a gorgeous sunrise or the view from the top of a mountain or the sound of ocean waves at dusk. Rarely do I imagine myself at the foot of a mountain, staring up at a consuming fire, raging, all-encompassing, engrossing. Perhaps I need to come back to this new mind-picture periodically . . . in order to have a more complete picture of the awesomeness of my Lord.


Exodus: a portrait of His glory

I see God's glory in the concern He showed for the Israelites in their slavery. I see His glory in open conversations with Moses, delighting in personal connection. I see God's glory displayed mightily in His dealings with Pharaoh. I see His glory in the tender language He uses to address His chosen ones, the Israelites. And I see a picture of His glory atop the mountain - a consuming fire.

How awesome is my God.

Picture credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisyarzab/2942945071/

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"being okay with the mess"

On my worst days, I start to believe that what God wants is perfection. That God is a new-house God. That everything has to work just right, with no cracks in the plaster and no loose tiles. That I need to be completely fixed up. I think that God's kind of people are squeaky-clean people whose garages don't leak, but really a lot of the people God uses to do amazing things are people who don't necessarily have it all together. A lot of the best stories in the Bible, the ones where God does sacred, magical things through people, have a cast of characters with kind of shady pasts, some serious fixer-uppers.

On my very best days, as an act of solidarity with my house, since we're both kind of odd, mismatched, screwed-up things, I practice letting it be an old not-fixed-up house, while I practice being a not-fixed-up person. I wear my ugly pants, the saggy yellow terry-cloth ones with the permanently dirty hems, and I walk around my house, looking at all the things that I should fix someday, but I don't fix them just yet, and I imagine God noticing all the things about me that should get fixed up one day, and loving me anyway and being okay with the mess for the time being.

Cold Tangerines

Monday, March 15, 2010

we moved

6 day trip to Maine +
not much sleep +
4 straight days of packing
and cleaning
and moving
and more cleaning
and unpacking +
still not much sleep

=

1 new house (can't believe it's ours)
1 empty apartment (except for a few things)
3 unpacked rooms (yay!)
1 halfway clean oven (more scrubbing needed)
2 cars in a garage (already!)
2 exhausted & sick people (we're "plum" worn out)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

maine

I think Maine is my new favorite place (if only because my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew live there). Highlights: holding Nehemiah a lot, talking with Jess, walking with Bryce by the ocean, walking downtown Portland with everyone, holding Nehemiah some more, shopping with Jess, being with Bryce for 6 days straight....loveliness itself, all of it. And now for some pictures...

me & my manstarbucks, of course

sisters!
look how precious he is!
me + ocean = happy me
holding the little dude
shadow kisses
portland head lamp
downtown
the eberly girls & their men

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I miss it.

Have I ever said before that I love snow? I do. I love snow. I love winter. I love cozy sweaters and blankets and a mug of something hot . . . and snow. I miss it already.

Just in case my lovely readers forget what snow looks like: