Wednesday, February 29, 2012

family matters.

When we were little girls, our mom always told us that our sisters would be our best friends.  And it turns out, she was right.  Each day I am more and more grateful for my family and their support (including the fact that they adore Caleb and welcome him without reservation).  Of course, we are not perfect.  But we do support each other and love each other.  There's simply no replacement for my family and I am counting down the days until I get to see them again!

I've been sick in bed and missing my family a lot.  And as I lay here and gestate think about raising a child, I've been reflecting on what made my family so special so that I can try and give my child the same love and support.


1.  If you start singing, someone (or two or three someones) will join in with the harmony.  Or (more often in my case) tell you that you're singing the wrong lyrics or that you were flat.

2.  We eat yummy food.  Basically, we were spoiled growing up because of Mom's cooking.  It's fun when we get together because we share food.  My eldest sister is the only person on earth who has gotten me to eat beans without gagging because she made an amazing corn/bean salad (and now I eat that salad on a regular basis).  My second oldest sister is always coming up with interesting ethnic food options for us to try.  Even with dumb allergies that limit our options, we always have healthy, fresh food (with an occasional bit of junk food thrown in for good measure, of course)

3.  We debate things.  A lot.  Because we all like to study and we all have different opinions.  But the thing about family is that you can get into a fight over politics, but it doesn't really ruin dessert because you all knew that you'd think differently anyway.  I like being in a family with different opinions because they stretch my brain and make me think about issues in a different light.

4.  We text and call a lot.  I talk to my mom at least once a day, sometimes it's a lot more.  And hardly a day passes that I haven't talked with at least one of my sisters.  I'm a little more sporadic about contacting my dad and brother, but I'm trying to work on that.  :)

5.  We have jokes that are probably ridiculously stupid to anyone else.   The other day I texted my baby sister "Ahh!  My arm!  My arm!"  And she knew what I meant.  That's true love, folks.  The last time we were all together, we had a singalong to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  It was epic.

6.  We make road trips fun.  We listened to hours of Adventures in Odyssey growing up, especially when we were driving.  We played games.  We sang.  We covered our ears and cried as one sister (who shall remain nameless) sang the first line of the Barney song (I love you, you love me) over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.  We got into the car at 4am in our pajamas and looked forward to our morning stop at Cracker Barrel where (if we were really, really lucky) we would get hot chocolate with our breakfast.  :)

7.  We share things.  Like music suggestions, nail polish, scarves, jewelry and sometimes even beds (especially if someone is home from college and we want to have time to giggle and talk under the covers).

8.  We make fun of each other.  And we tease each other about little idiosyncrasies.  But we are also very vocal about our love and appreciation for each other.  There is no question about our appreciation for each other and there is also no awkwardness in expressing it.

9.  We can have fun doing absolutely nothing.  We can sit around for a couple hours but it is always interesting because we're talking, singing, playing games, reminiscing, playing with doggies, etc.  In all honesty, there is never a dull moment.  Something is always happening.

10.  My family is a safe place.  They have been with me as through long, awful medical tests.  They have been there when I've cried about the fact that my health is always going to be sucky.  They have encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to give up.  I've seen them get up in arms when people have hurt me.  When I am with my family, I am free.  I am able to be myself without reservation.

there it is.  my list.  can't wait until the next time i get to see my family!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

lenten quote

"Do not abandon yourselves to despair.

We are the Easter people

And hallelujah is our song."

Pope John Paul II

Friday, February 24, 2012

lenten practice

"I am sometimes asked why churches should observe Lent at all. Well, I certainly agree that of all the seasons of the church year Lent is the most-often trivialized. Consequently, many churches (including some Presbyterian churches) do not observe the season. There are, however, two good reasons for keeping this tradition: First, this is a wise tradition. Realizing that repentance should characterize the totality of the Christian life, we should see the practical wisdom in setting aside time especially for this purpose. Just as a baseball player may work at staying in shape year round but still give special attention to conditioning before the start of spring training, so we may find great spiritual benefits in setting aside a few weeks to give special attention to the state of our souls.
Second, it is right that we honor the traditional wisdom of the church, and Lent is a tradition that the church has observed for centuries. Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit has been present throughout church history, guiding God’s people into an ever-increasing awareness of biblical truth, we believe that it is foolhardy to disregard history and constantly to try to “reinvent the wheel.” We dishonor our spiritual ancestors when we casually disregard their wisdom. Are Christians required to observe Lent? Strictly speaking, no; Presbyterians have long emphasized that our consciences are bound to Scripture alone, and there is no biblical mandate to celebrate Lent. But countless generations of Christians have found this a helpful tool."
by Craig Higgins, pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church
This year I am continuing a tradition I started a few years ago of taking time each day of Lent to read the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.  I begin reading just before the Last Supper and continue on until Jesus is in the tomb.  

And that's where I stop.

In other words, I don't read about the Resurrection during the 40 days of Lent (Sundays are not counted in the forty days as each Sunday is a mini-celebration that points toward Easter).

As a Christian, the Resurrection is the crux of my faith.  Everything else is built upon this point.  

But what I realized is that I take the Resurrection for granted.  It no longer awed me.  It was something I just expected to happen.  

But I don't want to take Jesus for granted.  

As I thought about this I decided that I wanted to long for the Resurrection.  I wanted yearn for Him to arise from the dead and proclaim victory.  

By spending Lent focused on Jesus' last hours, I find that I have an insatiable, voracious hunger for Jesus and for the story of His victory over the Curse of long-ago.  And on Easter when I finally hear the words I have been longing for; when it is proclaimed aloud that He has conquered, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and with awe.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


"My imagination longs to dash ahead and plan developments; but I have noticed that when things happen in one's imaginings, they never happen in one's life, so I am curbing myself."

I Capture the Castle 
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