Oh, how I sometimes feel like life has taken such crazy turns... I really dislike the notion that the word busy equals valid in today's American culture. In my world, busy equals crazy... and I don't do crazy well. Everyone suffers. I am such an introverted soul that without my down time, I struggle to maintain balance. And down time just hasn't been on the agenda. I hate to whine, but the older I get, the more I realize that solitude and silence and sabbath are VERY important to me. None of those three things have been maintained in the past two or three months. So yeah. I'm feeling a little crazy.
And yeah... I haven't been blogging.
I blog best when I've have solitude. And silence. And sabbath.
Moving on... we get to go to a wedding this weekend. Can you imagine? A wedding one week before Christmas! Asia is actually in the wedding - a groomsman for a young man he's been mentoring for several years. So glad it's him and not me. I can't imagine being a bridesmaid at my advanced age. It's going to be a great wedding... they're such dear friends and we have lots of great relationships with this family. Love a good celebration of lifelong love...
Gearing up to make sugar cookies this afternoon, I think. Sugar cookies are just about the only thing I still make religiously every Christmas. No more fudge. No more almond brittle. Just buttery, delicious sugar cookies. I'm thinking I'm going to try to decorate a batch all by myself with royal icing and the flooding technique...we'll see how that turns out. (You can find my recipe here, where I'm just a teensy-tiny bit famous for them, I like to think.)
I really really love my church. Mostly because it's so un-church-y. Asia and I are currently involved in a monthly gathering of folks who are exploring the spiritual disciplines... so we'll try out a discipline the month before, come together and talk about it, then explore a new discipline then next month. We'll end the series with a retreat in April. I love the spiritual disciplines and find myself particularly drawn to prayer... which I got to teach on at our last gathering... I imagine myself someday being that little old lady who prays for lots and lots of people in her little prayer closet. Anyway, I love that my church strives to push the envelope a little bit in terms of tradition, but that they also encourage and embrace liturgy and disciplines and new monasticism... great stuff.
Speaking of cool churches, you really should read this... I think it's SO awesome.
Christmas is being kept pretty simple around here... one present apiece under the tree for the Goins family. In light of our trip and knowing the circumstances of the people we're going to serve in Sierra Leone, it's hard to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. So we're focusing on time together... making experiences and moments more important than stuff. We've made the decision with extended family to not buy gifts for each other anymore as well, so I really have next to no shopping to do. It's glorious. In fact, this afternoon when I push the 'confirm purchase' button on Amazon, I will be done. No crowds. No overextending ourselves. No crazy overindulging our kids... it's all good. There's a LOT of freedom in choosing to acknowledge (and be grateful for) how much we already have instead of focusing on what we wish we could have.
Gearing up to send out support letters this week for our trip... I have a love/hate relationship with formal support raising techniques and sort of see the support letter as a necessary evil... how can people give if they don't know about the need? Frankly, it's a little embarrassing to ask. Humbling for sure. And so old school. I'm inspired by George Muller - who never once asked for money to operate his orphanages... wish I had that kind of faith...
Ethan ended up being home for three days last week (including on his birthday) with strep throat. That meant we had to hold off planning his birthday party... but ended up calling his friends on Thursday night asking if they could come over for dinner and a party after school on Friday. So we had seven little ten and eleven year old boys here for three hours... I made a huge pot of spaghetti (little boys, it turns out, LOVE spaghetti) and they partied it up. I'll admit to having had a little anxiety beforehand about what they would do for all that time, but they didn't need me to plan out their agenda. Give 'em a few nerf guns and some candy and cupcakes and they're good.
It's also evident that when you combine lots of squirrelly boys with low light you end up with quite a few blurry pictures...