Friday, December 25, 2009

Cough. Sniffle. Barf. {Merry Christmas!!}

video

Yes, our the numbers that should be at our family Christmas brunch are going to be somewhat depleted, seeing as no one else wants to start barfing. You can hear Glorie's stuffy nose; yesterday I tried a homemade netti pot. (This included Peter's hockey waterbottle, as it was the only squeeze-kind in the house. He was not thrilled about this, and we promised to run it through the dishwasher so he could forget it was ever in contact with my nose) Worked the first time, not so much the second time.

In somewhat related but not exactly synonymous news, I've decided that talking about the Gospel with 3 year olds is definitely one of my favorite things. Yesterday I was talking to Glorie about why we have Christmas, etc., and I love the simplicity. Jesus was a baby. This is important, because He is GOD, but He was a baby! Then he grew and grew and grew. Then He died on an "owwie" cross. He saves us from our sins. Then, He was ALIVE!! And He gives us life!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's that time of year.


So, this picture didn't exactly work the way one might want it to, but I'm going to post it anyways.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today we baked and baked and baked, and my sisters said so many things that I wish I could quote...if only I had the memory of an elephant.

It has been raining. RAINING. In the Midwest. Before Christmas. Today, however, it turned to ice (oh yippee!) and then snow. The current state is snow, and we're under a blizzard warning, so White Christmas here we come!

The past few days have been intense. A close friend of quite a few of my friends died yesterday morning in a car accident, leaving his wife and 10 children (8 of which were adopted). It is so, so hard to process and accept, thus there's not much more I feel I can write at the moment. Please pray for the Loux family.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blessed and Highly Favored

Mary has always caught my attention. In fact, Mary (along with David, and Daniel, and Timothy) makes me not want to grow up. Something about being 14, 15, 16 (and beyond, yes, I'm beyond those now :) made her story so real, so tangible. I still consider myself in the age range of {Imagine me, right now, an angel showing up and saying I was going to have a baby...}

I just want to know. I want to know it all. I know I won't know it all this side of the Jordan, but if I had to make a list of questions to sit down and talk about with Jesus when I go home, I would put "Mary...what was up with Mary?" near the top. What was it about her that attracted the favor of God like that? Why her? How did she walk in victory over shame? Was she scared? What's up with Joseph? Had she read the Scriptures enough to know when she set out on that donkey that she would have a baby when she got to Bethlehem? How in the world did she have a baby alone in a stable?

I mean, imagine! Imagine an angel standing in front of you and telling you that you had found favor with God. We read it like it's another Christmas phrase on par with "All is calm, all is bright" but imagine an archangel standing in front of you and saying: "Annie [insert your name here], you have found favor with the Most High God."

In the past few weeks I've been thinking about how Mary's life is such an example of sacrifice. When her life was no longer her own, everything was surrendered. Her whole life changed. Everyone thought she was in sin; she lost her reputation. She wasn't expecting to be a mom that year, but she was. Giving birth in a barn and putting your brand new baby on straw is not most girls' ideal of 'the good life'. Next up was a move -- a big move -- to Egypt! Then, 33 years later, she would watch her son be killed on a cross. I mean, let's be honest, it doesn't sound easy.

But God came through her surrender! God, and His purposes for all mankind, were welcomed by her surrender. It can be the same for us! When God finds someone who is after His heart, someone who is willing to just believe Him, see how He can move! Mary had no idea what was ahead of her when Gabriel showed up. She didn't know what would happen the next day, much less 33 years later. But the Lord took care of everything, didn't he? We want the purposes of God in our generation and our world; we can take our cues from Mary and just believe. He wants to use you, and you have the favor and eye of the Lord just like she did. Be bold, believe that you have found favor with the Most High God, and believe that His purposes can be birthed through your life.

I want God to come through my life. Mary has always caught my eye because I want to be like her. God chose her, He knew she would believe, and I want Him to know that I want to believe. I want Him to work faith in my heart. In the past few days of pondering this, I've found myself whispering to the Lord: "I will move to Egypt. I'll do whatever it takes, just use me. Find me saying yes." I want to be overshadowed by the Spirit of God. Don't you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Live from Kansas City

You have to admit, live from Kansas City is a whole lot more exciting than live from the library.

How do I look? Less stressed? Big smile? Same sweater? I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!

The more people I hug, the more I realize that it's true. I really am here! I got in yesterday morning (overnight flights are the BOMB! uh, yeah...right...) and spent the whole day at home with family. John-Peter isn't just a picture on facebook anymore, he is wonderful! Yesterday I took a recovery nap and woke up to my sister bringing him in to snuggle with me while she ran over to our other sister's house. He is still in that stage where he has lots of skin but is waiting for the chubs to fill it, and his cheeks win the Most-Kissable-Things-on-Earth award, hands down.

Today I went to IHOP, and my heart smiled a million smiles. People remember me! Yay! I saw Josiah, and Wes, and then I saw my Christina and nearly burst into tears with joy. I love her so much, and just seeing her face and hearing her voice made my day. Just walking through the halls of the base felt so familiar and warm and fuzzy. :) Plus, there was some girl I don't know at my desk doing my job. I guess it's not my job anymore. Oh, I knew that.

Basically, this is wonderful. Tonight, I am going out on the town with my sisters because my brother has been married to Dora for 5 years! He is deployed, though, and asked us girls to take her out to celebrate. Little black dress, I am glad I packed you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

For the Record

I have French final in 40 minutes.

I am [obviously, since I'm blogging] having such a hard time focusing to study, though, because...

I'm going home tonight!!

*do the happy dance*

I guess I'm hoping my French subconscious kicks into high gear during the test. French subconscious? You there?

*****

Addendum: I realized that every time I look at the picture I posted yesterday, I wonder if my blog readers are thinking things like: "Man, that looks like it might be a cool sweater! I wonder what the rest of that sweater looks like. I wonder where she got that sweater..." and on and on, which I guess only goes to show that I like my sweater. It's like my sweater subconscious letting me know it was good buy or something. I mean, of course it was a good buy: I got it for $2. The best things in life are $2. Or something.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coming to you Live from the Library

Here is me. I am in the library. Today, rather than working like mad among the rows of harried students upstairs, I am down in the computer dungeon. Only thing is, it's not really a dungeon because it's full of fancy 20" or so iMacs.

I sat down and realized: hey! I'm on a mac! I could take a picture!

Then I thought: that could potentially be really embarrassing, if someone sees me taking a picture of myself.

Then I thought: nah, it's worth it for the blog.

You're welcome.

I thought about taking a re-do, but then I decided against it. 1) because I look disheveled, and I figured it's okay to give you an accurate representation of myself right now and 2) the only thing more embarrassing than people watching you take a picture of yourself once is people watching you take a picture of yourself twice.

I enjoy this iMac. I enjoy it so much in fact, that I am about to bestow upon it the honor of being where I finish my English paper. It feels so honored; it told me so. Here I go.

Countdown: 18.5 hours until my piano jury, 23 hours until I'm done with my last final, 33.5 hours until I board an airplane, 39.5 hours until sisters.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sing a Song of Jubilation

I would like to say that Kansas City is welcoming me on Thursday with a high of 46 degrees. In the middle of winter - that's amazing! Too add to the joy, weather.com showed me a little picture like this:
Well, hello there little sun! I know Tacoma has been quite sunny recently, but something about leaving the Pacific Northwest, known for its clouds, and arriving at a place with such a friendly sun picture is heartwarming.

I just finished my Statistics final, which means two of my classes are completely finished! I have two sleeps until I get on an airplane and take a red-eye back to the Midwest, where Samuel is walking (he wasn't when I left) and John-Peter is cooing (he definitely wasn't doing that when I left, unless babies have conversations with themselves in utero) and Ariel is dancing, and...and...it's just so wonderful.

I would like to officially declare myself thankful to the Lord for 1) keeping me alive during finals 2) Christmas break and 3) book buybacks! Seriously, someone just handed me cash! Put cash! In my hand! In case I needed a boost of Christmas joy, there it was.

Song of jubilation, indeed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rolling those works...

It's 10:29. The night is young.

In the library. Took ibuprofen. Have the water and the snacks. Last night I brought chocolate but tonight? Tonight I brought a cheesestick, an apple, the chocolate, a peppermint brownie, and a little bag of cold chicken pesto pasta.

I also have a sign. I made it last night, after I google-chatted with Amy about how I really have no idea about the answers to the prompt for one of my final papers, cried a little, and then the Lord nudged my little heart into courage through this verse:

Proverbs 16:3~ Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

So I made a sign of it and propped it up on the computer.

I also have a schedule my friend Helen made me of how to finish everything for my finals. So many people have survived college! I will too, right?

I am so thankful that no matter how many times I say it, no matter how "normal" my struggles might be or "unimportant" as something like schoolwork might sound, the Lord is my helper. Even in this, the Holy Spirit reminds me of things I need to write or where to find information. He sits with me and talks with me and is the reason I can stay awake.

***

Tonight we had a Christmas party and we went caroling! If you have never been caroling before, you must do it! Take small children with you, small children make everything more fun. :) Sing fun songs and the kids will love it and your neighbors will LOVE it. Caleb started walking around singing: "Joy to da wooord, aaah da boys an guhhhs..." Yay for Christmas parties!

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Finals are Coming! The Finals are Coming!

Please tell me at least one of you saw that movie when you were little: "The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!" Maybe me and Laura were the only ones, but I doubt it.

Finals are upon us. Our last classes are this Wednesday (count it...TWO DAYS), and then Thursday and Friday makes up what my school calls "Reading Period." I like to think romantic thoughts about spending Thursday and Friday being incredibly studious and learning everything I could possibly learn about the French language, but I'm guessing those days will consist more of getting some sleep, running a little, maybe an impromptu accompanying to Costco with Jena and the kids, and a little parlez vous Francais? thrown in just for fun.

What did your schools call this period of agony time right before the big week? Chris takes great issue with the fact that my school uses such a lifeless name as "Reading Week." I guess PLU calls it "Dead Week." Those Lutes, always bein' honest.

My friend and I walked into church last night and Chris immediately saw the fatigue on our faces. "What's wrong? You've got that look..." {Can I just say, the people I live with can totally read me? I mean, I know I'm not the hardest person to read, but Chris & Jena can pick up on stuff in an instant!} I begrudgingly answered: "Oh, my paper...it's not going so well."

A few minutes later Lindsay and I were just standing around, waiting for stuff to start and Chris passed us again. This time, a simple one-liner (in a very happy tone of voice, I might add, which was completely opposite of the looks on our faces): "You're being anxious... [and then ever so matter-of-factly:] That's a sin." Then a few minutes later he passed us again with a one-word reminder: "sin!" He was totally being funny, but man...I was convicted! It is sin! Even when finals are coming up! Even when you totally bombed that last test! Even when for some strange reason your fingers just will not move the way Mendelssohn wants them to! Sin! Sin, sin, sin! Anxiety is sin!

~ Philippians 4:6 (ESV)~
"Do not be anxious about anything."

~ 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) ~
"...casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you."

~ Matthew 6:27 (ESV) ~
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to the span of his life?"

I'm fairly sure Jesus knew that finals [insert your anxiety here] would come up when He chose to banish anxiety. Do you think the omniscient God forgot that you would have a hard day on December 7, 2009 or that your job wouldn't pay enough to cover rent or that your child would be away in a far off land when He said that you don't have to worry? You don't have to worry at all. Not at all. He cares more about you than you care about yourself.

So I am asking the Holy Spirit for help to set my mind set on the things of God. He is working something in me during this week of finals, I know it.

If you need me to walk by you and whisper a little reminder about sin, just let me know. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Blog in which I write about nothing in particular, in an attempt to vent my nonsense BEFORE the final paper.

As I begin this blog, the Muppets have begun to sing in my kitchen about the merriness that should encompass your Christmas. Hey, it's Christmas! Merry Christmas!

Can I just put my vote in on something? It's inspired by Emery... I like eggnog. [really like, even!] I also like eggnog lattes, but they're best when you put a little pump of vanilla syrup in them.

Speaking of lattes, have I told you that I'm basically a barista now? The people I live with are big coffee fans, and I've been taught the art of steaming milk and pouring tiny glasses of creamy brown liquid stuffs into said milk. Oh, it is a glorious thing.

Also, I like chocolate. And the strength of my affinity for rice krispy treats is alarming, considering I'm supposed to be somewhat grown up now, or sumfin.