Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A New Thing

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV)

It's official.  We are moving again.

Todd has been appointed to Neoga Grace UMC 
and Etna UMC in the Embarras River District.  
We will be heading south along I-57 between Mattoon and Effingham.

The girls went through the entire range of human emotion on the car ride down to Neoga for the take in on Friday night. Tears, laughter, nervous excitement.  They felt it all.  And honestly, so did Todd and I.

We were not surprised about being reappointed this year, as Todd will complete seminary this May and will be commissioned in June. But when the reality sets in that you will be leaving friends, family, and familiarity, it's sometimes a shock to the system.  

But of course, we are excited about this new opportunity.  God has some special things planned for us, of that we're certain.  He is doing a new thing in the ministries of our churches, both old and new.

We don't have an exact moving day set yet, but Todd's first day will be July 1.  Please join me in praying for smooth transitions in the coming months for everyone involved at both our new and old appointments.  And please pray for my family, as moving can be especially tough on children.


Today I am...
Praying: For gratitude.
Looking forward to: A spring break trip to MI next week.
Preparing: Discussion questions for my book study.
Watching: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Eating: Leftover sausage and kale pizza.
Wishing: Spring would finally arrive.
Enjoying: Meeting up with two friends in the past two days.
Listening to: Harper crying on the baby monitor {sigh}. 
Blessed by: A sweet card from a member of our new congregation in Neoga.
Thankful for: The beautiful new library across the street, where I can take my children on this icky, rainy day.
Waiting for: Cloth diapers to dry so I can fold them.
Thinking about: All the things I need to sell or give away before we move.
Avoiding: Vacuuming.  
Cooking: Not sure yet...
Finishing: My checklist of what to pack for MI next week.
Wanting: More coffee.
Reviewing: Sippy cups on Amazon.  There are shockingly few non-plastic options.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Crown of thorns project

I saw this idea on Pinterest last week while looking for Lent Sunday school lessons and thought, "Yeah, I can do that."

You know those Advent projects where children add yarn/hay/construction paper strips to a cardboard/play doh manger to prepare for Jesus' birth?  This is like that in reverse.  Throughout Lent, we will try to remove "thorns" from Jesus' crown of thorns by doing good deeds.

Here's what you'll need:
- A grapevine wreath (Lots of sizes to choose from, but I got a 14 in. one at Hobby Lobby for $3.99)
- Burlap ribbon (I used a 40% off coupon)
- Toothpicks

First, I trimmed some of the longer grapevine strands.  Then I started wrapping the burlap ribbon.  I just tucked an end into the wreath and started wrapping.  When I was finished wrapping I stapled the ends together.  Because I'm fancy.

Then I grabbed some toothpicks.  I settled on 50.  You know, 40 days of Lent x 2 kids = Gee, I hope these kids can collectively do 50 nice things in 40 days.  

Then I stuck 5 toothpicks in each ribbon section at different angles. Done. Easy peasy.  

We'll keep the wreath on the kitchen table. Each time I catch the girls doing something nice, they can remove a "thorn".  Let's hope they don't then use said "thorn" as a weapon against each other or drop it on the floor for me to step on in the dark.

But seriously, this project is a simple visual illustration for kids to see how our kindness to others brings us closer to Jesus.  

What Lenten projects are happening at your house?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Do more/do less

Lent is upon us. This season is like a new New Year. It's a time to start fresh and examine the heart. My goal- and list-oriented self gets giddy at the thought of a chance to troubleshoot and problem solve my life.

But I'm not going to lie--Baby Harper has sapped a lot of the energy I usually reserve for goal setting and list making.  This is a GOOD thing, as I am learning to adjust my expectations of what can reasonably be accomplished in a day. I'm choosing instead to focus on my relationships with my husband and children instead of stressing about housework and errands. It's a beautiful mess.  

And so it is fitting that Lent, a season that calls us to come closer in our relationship with Jesus, is here. The age-old Christian traditions of fasting, abstinence, and alms giving serve as a guide of how to serve and see Jesus all around us. 

Growing up in a Catholic household, my choice for a Lenten sacrifice was not taken lightly.  My parents emphasized doing something extra as well. I usually gave up soda, and as a family we said the rosary together on Sunday afternoons. In this same spirit, my family is choosing to do more and do less as a Lenten discipline this year.   

That's sounds confusing.  Let me explain.  Each of us can do something to enhance our relationship with Jesus. That's the "do more" part.  Doing more might be following a Lenten devotional, or choosing a special time each day to pray, or saving all the loose change from the laundry to give to the poor.  Lots of options here. I thrive on doing, so this part is not usually a challenge for me.

The "do less" part goes against my very nature. Doing less in Lent might mean less complaining, less swearing, less sugar, or less caffeine.  This sleep-deprived nursing mama needs her chocolate and coffee to put one foot in front of the other these days, so food restrictions are off the table this year.  But wow, could I stand to do less whining, or comparing, or yelling. This one will be tougher, but more meaningful.

All 4 of us (Harper is, of course, exempt) are thinking about what we are going to do more and less of in the coming 40 days and nights. Our choices will be written down on the family chalkboard in the kitchen so that we can keep each other accountable.  

I'll be back on the blog next week with a quick, easy, and meaningful Lenten centerpiece project.  

Have a fun Fat Tuesday and a meaningful Ash Wednesday!

*UPDATE: Here's what we settled on: