Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Year of Practice

I am going to copy Ann Voskamp.  I'm naming the new year.  2011.  I've never named a year before, though I have made countless New Year's declarations and resolutions.  I like the idea.

I always end up looking at my resolutions like some sort of check-off list.  While I like lists and they have a place in my life, a list of resolutions seems never to be able to get "checked-off".  So it bugs me and ends up feeling like failure... even if I've done a relatively good job of keeping a resolution.  Naming the year, now that is something I can live with peacefully.  When my dear Tobitha wrote Impact, I knew then what I would be naming 2011.

Practice.  The Year of Practice.

You see, I am one of those little people that like to flit from one thing to the next.  I am going on to the next thing before I have even begun to master the last one.  I'm not proud of this.  Some people think I have a wealth of knowledge on a variety of subjects.  It's not true.  In reality, I know a little bit about a lot of things.  In a way, I am a quintessential Jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none.  I'm a curious soul, interested in all sorts of things.  I don't stay on one road for too long.

But I wouldn't characterize myself as flaky.  :)

Anyway, I feel compelled by none other than the Holy Spirit Himself, to rest in the solid and un-shifting for awhile.  For me, it's a shift in from creating and pursuing to practicing.  Practicing what?  The stuff I already know.  This year is one for me to focus on God's perfecting work.

Lest anyone think I really am flaky, and have no clue as to how to actualize this grandiose idea, I will list some practical areas of practice:

remembering my many loved ones on their birthdays and anniversaries with cards and calls
choosing recipes from one of my many cook books as opposed to finding them from the internet
studying scripture
exercising my body daily but not legalistically or obsessively
making music in the way I know how
deep breathing
speaking sweetly
counting blessings

See, I know how to do these things.  I don't have to research how to do any of them.  I just need to practice them.  There is nothing wrong with books that challenge us in a new way, like Radical for instance.  But I don't need to read a book right now about how to arrange my life in a way that will prove what Jesus really means to me.  I know what Jesus means to me and I have at least 19 ways to show it everyday.  This is my basic training, my boot camp.  Anything beyond that is like special ops training, and I'm just a foot soldier.

So I probably won't be learning a new art form this next year.  To be sure, there were some creative endeavors I had in mind that are now on the back burner.   No self-help or how-to or sweeping, this-is-the-new-big-idea books.
There's too much old wisdom I have yet to crack.

I can learn to be faithful in the small and ordinary.

Productivity will be birthed through practice.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Counting 468-484

I had to chuckle yesterday.  At us.  It occurred  to me,  people are funny.  As smart as some of us are, we are still so very feeble minded.
How many times do we get the wrong answer on the test?
Take a wrong turn?
Miscommunicate with our words what our heads are thinking so clearly?

Often we can see a bookishly smart person who is socially inept or vice versa.

Yes, we are feeble minded, no matter the IQ.

And yet in all our creating and figuring and measuring and thinking and analyzing we can fool ourselves into thinking we are starting to figure IT out.

But I think she is asking a great question today.

How are you and the King enjoying each other today?

A question even the most simple of us can ponder.

Let me count some blessings,

a quiet house

the company of a sweet dutch girl
her sharing
me learning

comfort food
that I got to make it

children's cold medicine
snuggling in early morning hours with my girl

dog groomers

giving hearts

despite our best efforts... too many presents
realizing the blessing in that, and
making peace with it

Jesus, our Most Special Gift
being at peace with Him

Monday, December 6, 2010

Counting 434-467

My counting is inadequate.  It doesn't begin to define His grace and mercy and lovingkindness.

But it's good for me, and I hope it blesses Him.

friends that know you are there for them

an amazing story of God's grace in saving a marriage, and a soul

a freezer full of grass-fed, organic beef

a glass of wine and a late night spent with my love

him pulling me close in church

the grace given me from Him, and him and him and her

that our puppy didn't get sick after eating a whole stick of butter, wrapper and all

reuniting with my beautiful persian friend

making friends with a Dutch girl, and

having a Christmas guest

my god daughter praising Him

her sharing that with me

the promise of my oatmeal with apples and cinnamon

that on this cold, blustery day I have

the pup
warm clothes
a stove and oven
gas in the car
glasses with which to see
books to learn from
pencils and paper

and us....
my love and me
we and the kids
my friends and I
the gratitude community