Christmas Thoughts

design (3)There are other things I need to be doing at the moment. Things mostly related to making our family Christmas a joyful and restful day, filled with the warm-fuzzies that come along with a hugely blessed life.

But I took some time out of my day to continue my Advent study. I attempt to do one every year and this year am finally succeeding (although I will go a few days past Christmas, I struggle making this a daily habit). I am blown away at what I am experiencing.

This small study is taking me through many of the prophecies about Christ and their fulfillment. There are so many amazing specifics spoken in the Old Testament that come true in the New that firmly convince me of God’s greater plan. I love reading about the prophecies of Jesus, many of which focus on his birth. This year has been a little bit different.

Generally at Christmas I like to think of the happy stories in the Bible. The story of Jesus’ birth and the miracle of his arrival. The glory of God wrapped in a small babe here to save the world. The heavenly angels singing to proclaim His coming. It gives me joy and happiness to think of Jesus here as a human, experiencing life as we know it.

But the Scriptures that are really hitting home are quite surprising to me. Not that I haven’t read them before or dwelled upon them, but for some reason they are really heavy on my heart. And that is hard for me to admit. I don’t like to share my emotions, especially if they are negative. I tend to keep them hidden, even from myself!

Have you read Isaiah 53? The Suffering Servant? The clearest picture of Christ painted in the Old Testament? It has me in tears. I’ve been reading it every day for almost a week now and I can’t stop the feelings! Besides that portion of Scripture there are many other’s that tell of the suffering that Christ endures.

Christ came to earth as a tiny baby, lying in a manger, born to poor parents that were nearly outcasts. He starts humbly and continues to keep that attitude throughout his life. If you know the story, jump ahead to the end of his life.

Jesus KNOWINGLY faces the most trying experience that anyone could face and he does so with humility and grace. He is rejected, betrayed, illegally tried, falsely accused, abandoned, mocked, beaten to disfigurement, spit upon, and crucified.

This is not just the Jesus of the nativity scene that we admire at Christmas. This is the Jesus that loves us so much that he would endure complete and total rejection from us to save us from death. Wow. I mean, can you even imagine all that? This is not the warm fuzzy story I want to dwell on at Christmas!

But the birth of Jesus is greatly to be celebrated because he is coming into the world to deliver us from death. And there is of course the most amazing ending to the story. Jesus lives again. Although he suffers more than anyone can bear, he conquers the grave and brings us new life.

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His glory shines through the story from the beginning to the end. It is spoken of throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. You can see how God’s Plan is greater than we can imagine. He loves us SO MUCH.

As I continue to think this week about what Christ did for me on the cross, I am going to celebrate his humble beginning all the more. He truly changed the course of history so we could live with him one day. I am so thankful he bore the burden that I couldn’t bear and saved me for a glorious life everlasting.

 

Thursday’s Thoughts – Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my love! Four years ago, we were in Colorado with our families, celebrating this wonderful day.

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cake  I’m so thankful God brought you into my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today without you. Thank you for marrying me Joshua Robertson. Always and Forever, you.

Method or Madness

There is nothing better than the feel of a freshly cleaned house. Everything is put away, the bed has fresh sheets, all the surfaces are dust-free and the floors aren’t crunchy or sticky! (It rarely gets to the point of crunchy floors, but I must admit it has happened.)

Follow me on my house cleaning routine:

La da da, I get out of bed on a lazy Saturday morning. A thought crosses my mind, Oh, I should clean house today. I proceed to make some real food breakfast, typically consisting of random veggies and eggs topped with hot sauce. If I’m in the mood I pull out my French Press and make a delicious, oil infused, flavorful cup of coffee. I find myself sitting on the couch, still in my PJs that mismatch my robe and slippers. Bella (the cutest dog in the world) is continually sitting by the door waiting for me to let her out and then two minutes later bangs her nose against the door for me to let her in. She has trained me well. Between the times I get up to let her out and I’m sitting an enjoying my coffee a thought crosses my mind again, I really need to clean house now so I can enjoy the rest of the day. I reach for a Christmas themed notepad that is sitting in the coffee table drawer and make a list of things I want to accomplish that day, including my cleaning list.

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I will most likely not look at my list again. I might wander back to it to cross off a few things, but it will end up back in the drawer. I find random lists of things from time to time and marvel at myself for my odd listings. My set of cleaning chores is always the same, I really don’t need a list. I always need to dust, vacuum, clean bathrooms, sweep, and mop. Every now and then I’ll throw a deep clean in there such as dust baseboards or wash curtains.

To continue with my narrative (forgive me if I get off track), I wander into my bedroom and change from PJs to yoga pants and a different t-shirt. Washing my face and brushing my teeth are also mandatory for getting myself in a productive mood. My movements form this point on are rather erratic, yet methodical. I go back and forth from one room to the other, always carrying some stray item that needs to go somewhere else. I find some socks in the study and carry them to the laundry room. I find a hairband on the dryer and carry it and fresh hand towels to the little bathroom. I find earrings and leftover Apple Cider Vinegar face mask mix and carry the items to my bedroom and then the kitchen. And so it continues until the random things are moved from one place to where they belong. I wonder to myself whether it would be easier to carry a basket and pile up all the things from one room in there and then go and deliver it as I go. That doesn’t work. For some reason the best way for me to get the house completely picked up is to go from room to room. I don’t like feeling confined in one room, picking up, cleaning it and making sure all the colors are in the lines. I have to wander! But I need my list! I can’t figure myself out!

On to the bathrooms. Using my homemade harsh-chemical-free cleaners I start on the sink, then the toilet, and then I can’t stand cleaning that bathroom any longer and flee to the other one. I start in on the sink, the toilet and then I grab the bath mat and run out the front door! Shake that mat and then I go grab the others from the first bathroom. Back and forth I go all the time wondering, why don’t I just finish up this room and then move on.

That would just be too boxed in for me. Through analyzing my erratic cleaning movements and my insistence on a list that I don’t actually use, I have found that I am part abstract and part concrete. I’m not sure if I just can’t decide in between the two. Or if deep down I’m wired to be concrete and learned my abstract methods from my mother. (Nature versus Nurture?) Whatever it may be, there is a little insight into my cleaning day. I’ll spare you the details about dusting without toxic dusting spray and chasing my dog around with the vacuum. Somewhere before, after, or in between I will add in a run and a bath for Bella. Finally after all the madness of getting the house cleaned I will shower and then enjoy the fresh scent and calm feeling of a clean home. (And then my husband comes home with muddy shoes.)

Thursday’s Thoughts

Clouds and Chewing Gum

It is February. A dull winter month in most parts of the country. A couple of years ago we had our worst winter weather in February. Icy, snowy stuff that made driving difficult, especially for Tennessee drivers. (!) This month has turn out rather mild so far. Today is full of puffy white clouds, blowing gently across the sky. I took a picture on my lunch break and managed to make it look like I was floating in the clouds.

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Puffy clouds like the ones out there today are my favorite. You can find shapes of things in them like rabbits and castles. You can lay in the grass and look up and feel like you are flying away. I felt a strong sense of peace as I was looking at the clouds today.

On another note, I have decided to quit chewing gum. This is not going to be an easy task. I really really really like chewing gum. Especially after drinking coffee and eating lunch. There’s just something nice about getting “a good clean feeling” after various flavors have collided in my mouth.

One thing I am striving toward is to reduce the amount of chemicals I am exposed to. Obviously there are somethings that are unavoidable, such as fertilizers sprayed outdoors or scented air fresheners in public places. But the ones that I can avoid are in cleaning supplies, shampoos, and ingredients in food (and many other various things!). I was recently chewing my favorite gum and discovered the ingredient list.

SORBITOL, GUM BASE, GLYCEROL, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, LESS THAN 2% OF: MANNITOL, XYLITOL, SOY LECITHIN, ASPARTAME, ACESULFAME K, SUCRALOSE, BHT (TO MAINTAIN FRESHNESS), COLORS (RED 40, RED 40 LAKE, YELLOW 6).

Yikes. I’m not a scientist. Or a nutritionist. Or a doctor. But this list does not sound like things I should put in my body. (even if I’m not going to swallow it) I already avoid things like these in my food whenever possible. Why would chewing on them be any different?? I went ahead and finished the pack of gum that I already had bought. I may steal a piece from a friend or co-worker every now and then, but I think my life will go on just fine without a magical little stick of flavor bouncing around my mouth.

Maybe next time I crave a piece of gum I can reflect on the peaceful, fluffy clouds and remember there is more to life than chewing gum.