Saturday, February 18, 2012

If Only I Could Have A Dog

The last couple of weeks have been pretty cruddy, but I'm starting to pull out of it. I can tell because I'm starting to think of starting new projects. When I'm feeling sad, I look at all of my incomplete projects around the house, and I feel depressed. When I'm feeling happy, optimistic, I ignore all the projects sitting around my house and start to think about new projects I would like to start. Notice, neither state of being gets old projects done. 

Well, really, I'm not as unmotivated to finish projects as all that. It just takes me a while. And I can come up with project ideas a whole lot more quickly than I can finish projects. I don't think I'm alone in that.

Anyway, the whole point of mentioning projects is to say that I'm feeling a little better than I was, oh, a week and a half ago. And my desire to blog has been renewed. The only problem is that I'm feeling slow and dull and can't think of anything interesting in my life to blog about. The dullness probably isn't but feels like it is a result of our sugar detox. I really, really want brownies. I've been thinking about brownies multiple times a day for the last week. Brownies and cinnamon rolls.

But there's no story in that. I wish I had a funny story to share about what my husband and I have been up to, but I really don't. We're planning on starting our taxes tonight, so I may have a funny (or painful) story to share tomorrow, but right now I just can't think of anything.

We're dog-sitting for the evening, for a very kind and generous couple from our church. I've written about this little dog before, here. She's a sweet little dog, and she reminds me how very much I would like to be a dog owner.

I imagine that if I were a dog owner, I would have many interesting things to write about. James Herriot wrote a whole, often hilarious book about dogs. I'm sure I could come up with a few entertaining blog posts.

If I had a dog, I could write an irate blog about coming home from work and finding that he had nosed his way up onto the counter and eaten all of the brownies I had sitting in a pan. (Right now that sounds especially dastardly.) I could write a blog about how when he travels in the car with us, he strikes up a mournful note that he seems to hold for hours on end. I could write about how he's taken a special interest in the little boys who live across the street, and because he always wants to go play with them, we have finally found a way to introduce ourselves and make new friends.

Just think of how interesting this blog would be if I had a dog!

However, I do not. And so, you get to hear instead about how all we really did this week was go to work, come home from work, eat a few meals together, watch a strange movie, and not finish projects. Just the hum drum of two working adults. But for all that, I don't always mind the hum drum. But for the sake of this blog... if only I could have a dog.

Friday, February 17, 2012

In the Spirit of Starting a Book Blog...

And at the risk of showing how truly addicted to books I am, I decided it was time to update my book challenge pictures. You can check back at what my book shelves looked like when I started the project here.

Spiritual Life/Theology Shelf:

Fiction Shelf:

General Nonfiction and Biography Shelf:

As you can probably tell, I have the hardest time sitting down to read theology. I think they are all very good books, and I am excited to read them, but they just take me much longer.

I've only given in and read library books on a couple of occasions so far. A few more months (thinking very optimistically) should fill those shelves in with all black, and I'll be back to reading library books without guilt!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some Thoughts on Love for Valentine’s Day

As I stirred oatmeal on the stove this morning I had an epiphany. Not a world-class epiphany. A me epiphany. I realized something that is vastly important to me.

 Facing infertility and all of the many, many, disappointments that crop up on a daily basis because of it is putting my relationship with God through a test of fire. All my bows and frills are being burned away, pretty ruthlessly. The core of my love for God is gradually being laid bare amid the ashes. Right now, the core does not seem impressive.
In the past week, in the aftermath of yet more bad news relating to our desire for a baby, I sat with my Bible open before God. Impatient. I couldn’t think of a single thing to say to Him that didn’t involve my desperate desire for a properly functioning body and a little one inside of it. I wrote out my prayers, the same, in essence, every time.

Please. Hear me. See me. Give me.

Every time I closed the notebook after time spent in prayer, I was reminded more of finishing a business meeting than of leaving a retreat spent in the company of someone I love.

And that was what I realized while I stirred oatmeal this morning. I haven’t been loving God for who God is. I’ve been waiting for Him to do something for me. Can I love God and want a relationship with Him outside of what He can do for me?

I want the answer to be yes.

So I decided this morning to take a break from asking God for anything. Instead, as I ate my oatmeal, I focused on who God is. And when I stopped to focus on God, I was swept up in the reminder that God is love. God loves me so tenderly and passionately. So much love. Amazing.

I’d mostly forgotten how much God loved me, or at least I hadn’t thought of love in our morning chats for the last few weeks, I think because I’m afraid. I’m afraid He won’t give me this thing that I want so much. I’m afraid He’s withholding something wonderful from me that would make my life better, more complete.

This morning, though, I pondered the verse from 1 John: “There is no fear in love. But prefect love drives out fear.” If I could accept God’s perfect love for me, I wouldn’t be afraid that He’s withholding anything good.

Right now, perfectly understanding God’s love is just out of reach, like trying to catch a seed floating down from a cottonwood tree. I see the little puff of white cotton. I reach my hands around it, but every breath of air that my hands stir up push the seed into a whirling dance, first one way and then another, but always away from my hands. I see it, but I just can’t quite capture it.  And that is why I’m still fighting the fear, still fighting what God is giving me.

I’m not entirely sure where I mean for this to end. Maybe right now these are just the ramblings of a sometimes-sad person who also sometimes understands that she is loved.

I am loved. I am blessed. And the God who loves me is worth every minute spent pursing Him and enjoying His love, not because of what He does for me, but because of who He is.

Correction on New Blog Address

It was brought to my attention that I had not typed the link correctly for my new book blog.

You can find my blog here or follow the tab at the top of this blog page!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Launching a New Blog

For a while now an idea has been bouncing around in the back of my mind, and after a little bit of encouragement, the idea is solidifying into reality:

I’ve started a blog on books! I hope it will be a place to share books that I’m reading, both the books I read as part of my work as a children’s librarian and the books I read for fun. Reviewing (and of course reading) books is one of my very favorite pastimes. My hope is that through my blog I can encourage people to find and read quality books, both to their kids and on their own.

Please come join me at A Steaming Cup of Tea!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Faux Pas: Sharing Dreams

Husband and I both have vivid dreams that we usually remember in the morning. I'm pretty sure this is because we are too well-rested. Hopefully, having children will cure us.

Because we both have such animated dreams, we share an unspoken rule that we will listen politely to the other's dream recitation. I've heard it said that dreams are really only interesting to the person who had them, and my observations lead me to believe this is true. I can work up a faint interest in Husband's dreams, because I'm always interested in hearing how his mind works -- no matter how bizarre -- but for most other people, I would prefer that they keep their dream sharing, if they must share, to one or two sentences.

I did not follow my own golden rule on the subject last week, however, and the result was only embarrassment and awkwardness.

I had had a dream (bear with me on this) that involved one of the pastors from the church where I work, a group project of planting small plants into pots, a waterfall in the church, and the pastor in my dream being angry with me.

For some reason this dream was incredibly vivid.

The first time I saw this pastor after having the dream, without thinking, the words, "I had a dream about you!" popped out of my mouth.

When is it ever not awkward to say that to a member of the opposite sex? Never, and I realized this immediately after the words were out. So, I decided to explain the dream, thinking that would  make me sound less weird and creepy and the situation less awkward. 

This is what our conversation sounded like:

Me: I had a dream about you!

Pastor: (Awkward pause) ... Oh, really?

Me: Um, yeah. Well, it wasn't just about you. It was really about all of us on staff. (trying to make myself sound less like a stalker) In the dream... (blah, blah, blah, me telling about the dream)... And so, you ended up really mad at me because I forgot about helping with the group project. (nervous giggles)

Pastor: (awkward chuckles) Oh... (more awkward chuckles) well, I'm sorry I got mad at you! (a few more awkward chuckles)

Me: That's OK. I mean, it was just a dream. (walking away quickly)

Ugh. Now that I've gotten the story typed, I'm going to blot it from my memory. However, one good thing did come of the event: I was reminded of the supreme importance of not sharing dreams indiscriminately.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hosting is Tricky on a Sugar Detox

 I don't mean the hosting itself is tricky on our sugar detox, but deciding what to feed our guests is tricky. Do we stick rigidly to our detox rules and force our guests to participate? Or do we fudge our detox guidelines and give our guests a more enjoyable dining experience? 

Main and side dishes haven't been too hard, but desserts have been. I'm new enough to cooking on a sugar-restrictive diet that I can't stick to our rules and feed our guests delicious desserts at the same time.

I think we came close with a black bean grain-free brownie recipe that I found a few weeks ago, but the texture still gives the recipe away as healthier than your average brownie.

Ah, well. Either way, we have enjoyed spending the weekend with Husband's parents at our house! Husband and his dad fixed a few pesky problems around our house (a door that didn't latch well, a finicky light switch, and a sticking drawer). We enjoyed introducing them to the joys of playing Dominion and Alhambra, and they treated me to Chinese food for my birthday. Crab rangoon. Mmmm. 

I was reminded yet again that there is abundant joy to be found in the little things.

Wonderful weekend!