Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christmas!

 
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Ours was full of loud children, turkey roasted with olive oil and rosemary, 8 different pies, leaf raking, and loud children.

Did I mention the loud children?  Yes.  There were 5 boys ages 6 and under.  And they loved every minute together.

Anyway, let's dive right in, shall we?

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I think I want to rethink how we do Christmas this year. The materialism and sugar rushes and craziness are exciting, but shallow. It fades all too quickly into a stomachache and a need for sleep.

Who am I kidding, I always feel that need for sleep. :)

I just hate that our culture has made it about that first part of the song, and forgotten the second part:

Please put a penny in the old man's hat.

Not only that, but even beyond generosity with those less fortunate, the reason we are supposed to be celebrating is because of this GIGANTIC miracle called our Redeemer otherwise known as God in Son-form sent to us to live our life out and bring us back to Him because there's no WAY we could ever make that happen on our own!

I want SO much for my children to grow up without the materialism focus. Without the bribing for good behavior. Without (gasp!) Santa. I'm not sure how this can happen when we are completely surrounded by these things...but I know we are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. And I know that His truth is worth celebrating more than our pleasure and comfort levels. I want to bring home the truth of this advent season to my children.

This lady has written an awesome post on this...much funnier and more eloquent than I could ever write. If this is something that peaks your interest...here it is.

Please know that I am not intending for our house to be a "no-fun" zone, or for us all to be serious about Jesus' birth at all times.  No! I want joy and awe and wonder at the Christ-child come to us, and stories read and beautiful music, and VeggieTales to make the story live for my littles, and baking for neighbors, and Operation Christmas child.  I want white lights and peppermint, Christmas concerts and snow, choir parties and great food.  But I want the celebration to be for God's love, not for our own satisfaction.  

also...I plan on doing a favorite Christmas song per day leading up to Christmas...will probably post once a week stating all seven songs.  I could love this time of year for the music it produces alone!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanks list

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

For a thought-provoking Thanksgiving post (that won't be this one...ahem) read this.

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This year has been so full, so here goes my list of "thankfuls":

*note: not a comprehensive list...just a list. :)

a warm house

no mortgage

gobs of gluten-free info on the web

grace for a sweet as sugar older boy who struggles to understand the world around him

flashes in the eyes of my younger child

Toy Story 2

a Daddy for my boys

good clean humor

Jeremiah's wonderful amazing kindergarten teacher

support from my school

stretching experiences in teaching

a Masters degree 2/3 done

A chance to perform solo

a wonderful group of singers to help choral music live

a barter system childcare solution

understanding whole food cooking

The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin

coconut oil

parents to stock our pantry, rejoice in our joys and help through our troubles

an amazing church family

new friends who see me

old friends whom I have learned to trust

graceful imparting of wisdom from God

a scattered brain helping me let go

an easygoing eater in my older child

a husband who is willing to eat pretty much anything (even liver and onions!)

stir fry with peanut sauce

Jeremiah learning to play

observing a brother relationship up close

grace for a headstrong little boy of laughter

Jon starting full time seminary (a long time goal!)

a scholarship!

lots of couches in which to build forts

a reading boy

Parenthood

My brother coming into his own

summertime

grace for this flawed girl

composers who have talent in abundance to bring home understanding of God's loving sacrifice and redemption at Christmas

better understanding of colleagues at work

a light in Jon's eyes

a fresh interpretation of the Old Testament

challenging 3rd grade students

always having what we need

sometimes having what we want, too!

local honey from wonderful friends

a very very patient husband

soft, warm baby feet to hold during nighttime wakings

a toddler baby who suddenly settles when I sing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" (he calls it "why oh why" as in the line "If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why can't I?")

Snuggles with my older boy as we read the same book for 4 months in a row for bedtime

The Jesus StoryBook Bible

Permission to decorate

love of an all-powerful, all-knowing Savior

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Hope you have a peaceful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Weightiness

I feel like there is too much, and yet not enough...

time

energy

emotion

thoughts

opinions

knowledge

tasks

advice

beautifying

housework

fellowship

pressure

desire

Things I've been pondering. I wish I was more, but then there would just be...more. I've been reminded by many good people - some I know very well, some I only just am beginning to know - that I need I NEED to give myself grace in the day-to-day grind that is life right now.

Kids

Wife-ing

Teaching

House

Home

Family

Relationship

Singing

Ministering

I feel like I have let go of so much and yet there is so much screaming for more of my intention. I feel a bit purposeless while being driven by every need from place to place. I must work so we can survive and pay bills and have health insurance...I must care for my children physically so they don't get sick, emotionally so they feel secure, academically so they know what's up, socially so they know how to treat people...I must clean the house so we stay healthy and can have a functional home and have people over occasionally without embarassment...I must create a homey atmosphere so we all have a sense of belonging and trust to lean on...I must continue to sing so I don't lose the skills I've worked so hard to hone...I must minister to others as I can because of God's desire for His work to be fulfilled...I must be a loving, supportive wife to a hard-working husband who draws strength from me as I do him...

I must remember when this all too often becomes SO overwhelming that

God has equipped me to do His good work

I cannot possibly do this all on my own strength, much as I constantly strive to (and fall miserably short)

Jesus has asked me to trade my yoke for His - He desires freedom from fear and guilt for me.

Responsibility is something that feels very heavy to me. I do not crave it or desire more of it. I do not ever recall wanting to be the one in charge. And yet, here I am. In charge of so much...but with God's grace.

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Sorry for the somewhat heavy posts lately, friends. It seems to be a valley-like season of life for me, but pleae know that I acknowledge my blessings and have many moments of complete contentment from day-to-day. What I write here reflects the deep murmurs of my heart-thoughts, so things tend to dig a bit deeper. Big thoughts and questions and wrestles with the God of my heart lately. Thank you for your prayers and for simply encouraging me by reading this little blog of mine. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Voice.

Ok. So you knew at some point, on a blog about singing, I would probably comment on the new(-ish) show, The Voice. In my opinion, a much better singing competition show than Idol. And my golly...can these people sing.

I like that, whereas Idol was anybody and everybody singing, and so you felt that the obligatory awful person was thrown in there about every 5th time until the last few shows, Voice has real artists who are a bit established and looking for their first big break. So, regardless of whether you like them or not, they can usually sing. And sing well.

The entire reason I am even taking the time to write on this little blog about such a cultural fad as Voice is because of Trevin Hunte. If you have not been watching the show, then you at least need to click on the links below and listen. to. this. man. sing.

Please, I beg you. You won't regret the few minutes you spend listening. I get goosebumps every time I hear him even start, and by the end, I kid you not - I am choked up with how powerfully he conveys the music. He is up there with Whitney and Mariah.

No judging my musical tastes, please.

AND...no comments about me being overly emotional and chronically tired. While this state might affect me to the point of crying at commercials, this boy is truly phenomenal.

Take a listen.



I laugh every time at Blake yelling at Adam, "What is wrong with you?!" Seriously...I theorize the only reason he didn't push his button for Trevin is because he knew there was nothing he could offer him.

Here's one that's called a knockout round...both singers sing the same song as a duet and the coach chooses which one did a better job.  As you will hear, this was a crazy pairing in which the singers, Trevin and Amanda spurred each other on and on.



Both singers ended up staying, neither was eliminated. Good call, Voice.

And one more, just because he is incredible. This is another knockout round, but the singers sing two separate songs, one right after the other. Trevin begins about halfway through the video.



Who knew a Phil Collins song could sound like that? What a surprise at 2:39! and the end...can you imagine how overwhelmed and blessed he must be feeling?



This boy just turned 18. According to his story from the show, he has had not an easy life. I hope he wins, because the other singers do not even come CLOSE.

not that I'm voting or anything. Just if America has ears at all...Trevin is the Voice.