Monday, November 28

Highlights from the last four days

I had the last four days off, in light of our Thanksgiving holiday this past Thursday. It was a lovely time off. Here are just a few of my highlights:
  • Lazy Thursday morning
  • Enjoyable fellowship and yummy food over Thanksgiving Dinner with siblings
  • 2 hour skype phone call with parents
  • Going to the theaters to see the newest Twilight movie and the Muppet's movie.
  • Finding another espresso stand that can make me a maple latte
  • Adding to my Nativity collection with one of Peanuts figurines
  • Decorating the Christmas tree and our apartment
  • Making cinnamon scones
  • Seeing the Rodger and Hammerstein's Cinderella, in Seattle, with my sisters
  • Teaching Sunday school this week
I love that the holiday season is now in full motion!
Now, if only we'd have snow within the next month...

On a different yet somewhat related note, every holiday time I feel more keenly aware of my singleness. Between movies of Christmas love and miracles to songs to even family time, I find myself year after year grieving that there's no special someone to share the holidays with. Don't get me wrong...I love (and am so thankful for) my family and the friends in my life but each Christmas, for the last 4 or 5 years, I find myself praying that maybe next Christmas I'll get to spend it with my Beloved's family. But Christmas is the time for joy and love, and of course, hope. So each holiday season, I "fight" these "single-awareness" feelings, trying to focus instead on the miracle that God provided us and the opportunity to share that joy and hope with others. And even though the grief/longing is never too far removed, I always end up having a good holiday season...which I'm thankful for. Anyhow, that's all...I just wanted to share this.

Wednesday, November 23

The Cheaper Chicken

There's a scene in Father of the Bride, where George Banks is feeling the increasing burden of the cost of his daughter's upcoming wedding. The house has to be remodeled, furniture moved, swans brought in, then there's all the decorations and the foods to also pay for. And George snaps. (If you haven't seen this movie or if you'd like a little laughter, feel free to watch this youtube clip.) He turns to Franc, the wedding planner and tells him that (instead of veal or seafood) he wants "the cheaper chicken."

This Thanksgiving, my siblings are going to go with the cheaper chicken.

My cheaper chicken

Since the parental unit has moved down south, it's just us siblings throwing together a Thanksgiving dinner. And let me tell you, those turkeys are expensive! So, we are settling for the turkey's relative instead.

Really, under the gravy, who will know?
Yay! I saved money!

Tuesday, November 22

On my potential move east

Boss: Is there anything we can do to keep you here longer?
Me: (long pause).....not really....
Boss: Well, I am praying over this. The Lord sure has answered a lot of my prayers lately.
Me: ummm.....okay.....

Last's weeks conversation keeps rolling around in my head. I'm not entirely sure what to make of that comment. But I'm not worrying about it.

I have my third interview tomorrow (Wednesday) at:
11am, Pacific Standard Time
2pm, Eastern Standard Time
8pm, Western Europe Time
5am Thursday morning for my Aussie friends?

I am still interested in this ministry (a holistic housing ministry for pregnant women) and believe that it would be a good yet challenging experience. However, if God wants to change my plans again (and subsequently answer my boss's prayers), then God's will be done.

Either way some change is a'comin.

**update...the phone interview went fine. There were three of their people on this phone call. I felt there was "connection" with two of the we'll see. No job offer yet. Patience is a virture, they say.

Friday, November 18

To the Holy One of Israel

You have a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.

How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance.

In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.

For You are the glory of their strength,
And by Your favor our horn is exalted.

For our shield belongs to the LORD,
And our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 89:13-18

**This self-assigned task of finding various verses that give glory to God, instead of focusing on myself, has been a good project. Almost immediately on Monday and then again on Tuesday, I found my soul being lifted in praise and worship as I searched for these verses and reflected on them. God is so good! Hope you've been blessed in the process as well!

Extending to the heavens

Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like a great deep.
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.

Psalm 36:5-6

For I proclaim the name of the LORD

For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!

"The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He."

Deuteronomy 32:3-4

Thursday, November 17

But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness

But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13:5-6

The LORD is my strength and song

The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.

Who is like You among the gods, O LORD?
Who is like You, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?

Exodus 15:2, 11

Blessed be the name

Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forever.

From the rising of the sun to its setting
The name of the LORD is to be praised.

The LORD is high above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.

Psalm 113:2-4

Wednesday, November 16

Praise the Lord

Praise the LORD, all nations;
Laud Him, all peoples!

For His lovingkindness is great toward us,
And the truth of the LORD is everlasting.
Praise the LORD!

Psalm 117

The lovingkindness of the LORD

I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD,
According to all that the LORD has granted us,
And the great goodness toward the house of Israel,
Which He has granted them according to His compassion
And according to the abundance of His lovingkindnesses.

Isaiah 63:7

I will give You thanks

I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.

I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

Psalm 138:1-3

Tuesday, November 15

Give thanks to the Lord

And in that day you will say,
"Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”

Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.

Isaiah 12:4-5

O God, You are my God

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise You.

So I will bless You as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.

Psalm 63:1-5

He brought me up

He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the LORD.

How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

Psalm 40: 2-4

Monday, November 14

Indeed, the LORD will comfort

Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion;
He will comfort all her waste places.
And her wilderness He will make like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
Thanksgiving and sound of a melody.

Isaiah 51:2

O come, let us sing for joy

O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods

Psalms 95:1-3 

My heart exults in the Lord

My heart exults in the LORD;
My horn is exalted in the LORD,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

I Samuel 2:1-2

A week of praise and thanksgiving

**This past week I found myself increasingly agitated and annoyed at people. By Friday, I was rejoicing that I had a weekend to refresh myself and "become" normal again. However that didn't happen. I continued to find myself snappy with the people around me. Both Saturday and Sunday, I had a mini time-out which was able to calm my attitude, which was good. However, I'm back at work. And within the first 15 minutes of being here, I felt those agitated snappy feeling resurfacing. Not what I want. At all! So this week I'm going to post different verses on praising God and on thankfulness. Verses that will direct my mind towards God, His goodness, and His provisions and take my focus a bit more off myself. I trust that by Friday, God will have been glorified many many times and that I'll be a more pleasant person in the process. Throughout the week, feel free to share a verse or two that is an encouragement to you!

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30:11-12

Thursday, November 10

Oh. What. A. Day.

Thus far, this is the kind of day where...
  • I wish I had a spouse waiting for me at home where I can unload, talking about thing after thing and having him ask attentive, sympathetic, and wise questions.
  • I wish I had a spouse waiting for me at home who could just hold me if all I want to do is remain quiet and not verbally unload after a day of putting out "fires," which is probably more likely.
  • I wish we could implement Daylight Savings Time so that we can move the clock forward an hour...then I'd only have 2.5 hours left of work.
  • I (partly) wish I could stop a bar on the way home and have a drink or two. I know...not necessarily a good habit (emotional drinking??) to start.
  • I feel justified eating a very unhealthy piece of pie...I know, emotional eating is never a good thing.
  • I wish I was one of those runner types that would pound out all the highs and lows of today. However if I tried that now, I don't think there would be any thought beyond trying to remember to breathe.
  • I find myself daydreaming of warm tropical locations, far far away, when I should be diligently putting out more "fires."
  • the bathroom almost seems like a place of refuge while at work.
Oh man.
The day hasn't been horrible...just a modge podge of good, bad, and ugly. The warm-ish (60 degrees) sunny day outside, complete with blue skies, varies from taunting me to encouraging me...depending on what is going on at my desk. :)

On the plus side, it is now 1:30pm and work is over half way done for the day!
And that pie was very yummy!

**Update: The crazy day ended with laughter. I went to Old Navy to return two shirts, that I had purchased Wednesday, which would give me back $18. As I walked into the store and realized that a couple fixtures had been changed from the day before. So I wondered if maybe some new things were on sale. (I used to work at Old Navy and knew they had a 7 day price adjustment...all you needed was to bring in a receipt.) One cardigan I had purchased the day before was a bit more expensive than I had anticipated. So I walked to where they were located and sure enough it was on sale! From $34 down to $20.50. Sah-weet!!! So I walked up the register, told the girl that I wanted to return the two shirts and that the one cardigan was now cheaper and could I get a price adjustment. SOOO, she scanned in my receipt and hello! another sweater I had purchased was also on sale!!! So instead of just getting $18 back, I ended up getting $46 back! I walked out laughing at how that all went down! A great way to start my evening!

Tuesday, November 8

Thinking through Isaiah 30:15

For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said:
In repentance and rest you will be saved,
  • I once was told, by a person who had been a lifesaver at one point, that the most dangerous person to save was a person who was fighting and kicking, instead of being still. Their flailing put both the lifesaver and the person at risk of not being able to make it to safety. A struggling person doesn't allow for assistance; they are simply continuing to fight, powered by their own fears and need for control.
  • Repentance in its genuine form involves a person completely and humbly releasing themselves and their bondage, into the changing power of God. That bondage can be anything from sinful choices, family baggage, harmful thoughts and such...things that we either choose to partake of willingly or because of addictions, no matter how big or small those might be. Like cords tied around our feet, they may give the illusion that we are free but really we remain unable to move in freedom. And then the moment it is all given to God, the moment we choose God over our own desires, those cords fall off...their power is gone and we have the freedom to walk with God; to be the person that we were created to be.
In quietness and trust is your strength.
  • The person who places their trust in God is like a man who builds his house on rocks. When the storm came, his house endured the storm because the foundation was grounded on something firm.
  • Trust is a confidence in who God is, what He is doing and capable of, and with how He is at work in me. It's an unmoveable, unshakable assurance that regardless of what may happen, God is still in control. This trust allows for a quiet peace to calm your mind (your prone to worry) and your body.
But you were not willing.
  • This is where forgiveness is readily available. Quietness, rest, salvation, strength...all free gifts, always available. May God keep my heart from being hardened. May I have the ears to hear, the eyes to see, and the heart to trust, willingly and faithfully. Amen.

Thursday, November 3

Random thoughts

--I slept in today accidentally. I failed to turn on my alarm clock last night and when I opened my eyes this morning, my first thought was that my room was too bright for 6:15am. Sure enough, it was 8:30am...already 30 minutes late to work. Needless to say I got ready really fast and assured my boss that I was coming! It's amazing how clear the roads are around 8:45-9:00am.

--I love streaming music at my work computer...something to break the silence. Right now on my player are three CDs: India.Arie's Voyage to India, The Civil Wars' Barton Hallow, and Cyndi Lauper's At Last...a wonderful collection of (mostly) calming soulful folksy and jazz songs.

--I purchased 20 lbs of Gala apples and will be picking them up tomorrow. There is a farm in central Washington that grows various crops and each Friday/Saturday, they drive out to various stops on the west coast to sell their products. Pretty genius of them, I think. Anyhow, tomorrow I get my Galas, for which I intend to make and can applesauce, which I'll be doing on Saturday. So excited!

--And then Sunday...will be joyous! I am making a trip up to Vancouver, British Columbia (about 2-2.5 hours north of me) to spend the day with some friends from Germany! A day won't be long enough but their schedule is packed full for the rest of the year and I don't anticipate being here come next year so this one day is what was available! I'll join them for church and then camp out at their home for the afternoon/early evening. (Side note: I don't know how many of you have had this experience but you know when you visit someone in their home and it's just perfect and homey and wonderful. And then they move to another place and you visit that home and find it to be the same perfectness, even though the lay-out of their home is quite's like everything they owned fit perfectly into two different homes. It's both amazing and while lots has changed, some things are still the same. You know what I mean?? Anyhow, such is the case with the couple/family. Love that!)

--Last random note, I'm starting to think about Thanksgiving (Nov 24, for my non-USA readers). My parents are in Arizona, leaving us four siblings to celebrate Thanksgiving together in some way. This is by no means my first Thanksgiving without my parents but I guess it is my first Thanksgiving without my parent but with all my siblings. Anyhow, as the "cook" of us four, I'm assuming most will lie on me, which is fine. Maybe I should talk with my younger sister to see how we could make it special for all of us. I love to cook but presentation and post-dinner activities are not my "specialty." Somehow, I doubt spending the evening packing some of my stuff will make them excited to spend the evening at our apartment. I wonder if they would enjoy pulling out the Christmas decorations and tree???

Wednesday, November 2

a song: sweet and sigh-worthy

To Whom It May Concern

Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be
How long will you make me wait?
I don't know much more I can take

I've missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh how I want to
How I do

Slowly counting down the days
Till I finally know your name
The way your hand feels round my waist
The way you laugh, the way your kisses taste

I've missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh how I want to
How I do
How I do

I've missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh I've missed you
But I haven't met you
Oh but I want to
Oh how I want to

Dear whoever you might be
I'm still waiting patiently

**by The Civil Wars (Joy Williams and John Paul White)