Saturday, December 8, 2012

day thirty-four through thirty-eight

This week was busy, and not the easiest. After so much rest over Thanksgiving, I'm realizing anew just how critically important sleep is - how my patience and enthusiasm and perspective go so much farther when I've had a good night's rest. How I'm slower to get irritated, angry, or frustrated. I'm also realizing that, while I love to talk about big ideas and work on some projects with people, I also like more independence and autonomy than I thought (I'm sure you're not nearly as surprised as I am). Another big shocker: I like to be the expert, and have this tendency to get irritated and defensive when someone casts doubt on that. Not really fun stuff to re-realize or admit about myself, but I've been wearing a good-girl mask for too many years, and I'd like to try taking it off.

Seeing and voicing God's grace and gifts helps with taking off that mask, because it helps me see how much I'm just simply loved, and somehow gives me more freedom to be where I'm at - to be hurting if I'm hurting, impatient if I'm impatient, joyful if I'm get the idea. But I can be those things because I know that, while I can't see what's next, I can see that God is working, providing all I need. Or something like that...still trying to figure it out. :)

In the midst of the week's busyness - and, honestly, a bit too much TV and Internet trolling - keeping up with the December Joy Dare took a back seat. There are some lovely prompts for this week, but it would feel like too much of a task to be completed to list out all of them, so I'm just going to start writing out what I'm thankful for and see where it goes.

In no particular order, picking up where I left off on Monday, I am thankful for...

#102: car rental insurance. I hit a parking lot pole with a rental car last night: dented the driver's side door and banged up the mirror. The claim process has been surprisingly smooth so's hoping it stays that way!

#103: the chance to attend Amirah's second annual Evening of Hope with two co-workers! If you're not familiar with Amirah, please go check them out. They're fundraising to start New England's first aftercare home for women over 18 who have been trafficked and are coming out of it.

#104: friends and celebrating Christmas with them. This afternoon was a friend's second annual Christmas party, and it was so fun having an excuse to cook together! And to catch up with a few church friends, and to hold a couple of babies... :)

#105: advocates at work who are willing to help me figure out/get where I want to go (hopefully in a direction that won't be so needlessly draining).

#106: walking up to the Somerville Winter Market without a phone (disconnected for a bit!), running into a friend, chatting with vendors, learning about how to make cheese and bourbon-flavored mead, listening to a guy with an acoustic guitar cover a bunch of really good songs, and finding the perfect veggies for my holiday party contribution.

#107: friends who teach me the meaning of love and sacrifice.

#108: laughing about and working hard with one of my roommates on her hilarious contest submission:
#109: Miroslav Volf, and his hard but good words on forgiveness and sin and God's mercy. Check out Free of Charge if you have a chance.

#110: hanging out with MIT undergrads one night this week - they're wicked smart, and gave me a chance to talk about the community finance/data analysis work I used to do for Oxfam. They all thought I was crazy for liking school...but they were still nice. :)

#111: finally figuring out (a few weeks ago) how to keep track of my projects at work. Structure and due dates are an incredible thing.

#112: time tonight to rest, reflect, release, and remind myself that Jesus loves me, despite knowing exactly what I look like behind the mask...and that he's set me free from having to wear it!

#113: this quote by Wendell Berry, posted on Facebook by a friend: "It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

And that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled
is not employed.

The impeded stream
is the one that sings."

#114: all of the impediments, and the singing they inspire.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

day thirty-three: three gifts shiny

I hit 100 gifts yesterday!

After "three gifts bright" on Sunday, I'm having trouble coming up with "three gifts shiny" for here's my best shot:

#99: the beautiful sunshine yesterday. I didn't get to be out in it, but it sure made the view out the window rather spectacular!

#100: two really good phone dates (and prayer!) with old friends. I love being able to pick up where we left off, whether it was a week ago, or a year.

#101: I'm thankful for a job that gives me the opportunity to travel, work with people from all over the world, and grow in ways I didn't expect.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

day thirty-two: three gifts bright

#96: the super-bright spot in my day when I got to hang out with a bunch of babies for an hour (this morning at church) - especially meeting some friends' four-week old! :D

#97: getting to use a work iPad (bright screen) for Kindle reading (Anna Karenina!), recipe-finding (cranberry bubbler, anyone?), and recipe-remaking (Brussles sprouts love). So convenient, and fun to play with!

#98: feeding and catching up with a good friend this afternoon - another bright spot in my day :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

december: continuing the dare

as I wrote this morning, this thirty-day joy dare - this month of counting a few gifts every day - it's been so refreshing and life-giving that I want to keep going. I'll keep posting on the blog until I hit 100 gifts, and then may not post every day, but will keep counting. if you'd like to count along with me, go check out the december joy dare at a holy experience!

today's dare: three gifts white.

#93: what perfect timing - on december 1, we had the first "real" snow of the year! I woke up this morning, looked out the window, saw the snow and started singing "let it snow! let it snow! let it snow!" delightful way to start the day. :)

#94: earl grey ice cream at toscanini's (aka the BEST ice creamery in the world - their front page even says so!). more importantly, the company I enjoyed there, and all afternoon - old and new friends!

#95: not sure what's white about this, but I was super thankful for family Google Hangout time tonight. my family rocks. :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

day thirty: three gifts astonishing!

#90: the gift of health care: a good plan through work, a delightful new doctor I met today, and the realization that I am beyond blessed to have access to such care. Thank you, Lord.

#91: the pretty sunshine all day today. Sunshine in the winter is breath-taking. :)

#92: the gift of these last thirty days! I've told several friends this week how extraordinarily grateful I am to God for nudging me to start counting His gifts. I'm amazed at how freeing and fun and healing it's been this month - how much it's helped me to be grateful for the little things, and to practice being thankful for what's hard (especially day sixteen). But even this week has had it's own painful-hard, and I'm blown away by how much less devastating it is than it has been in the past. Thank you, Lord!

day twenty-nine: three gifts red

#87: Jesus' blood, shed that I might know His peace, joy, and heart-rest always. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord, for this great gift!

#88: This red bag, bought in Cambodia at Rajana, a fair trade shop in Phnom Penh. I'm thankful for it because it reminds me every day how lucky I am that my job takes me to places like Cambodia. I mean, wow. Thanks, Lord!

#89: Ending the day with quiet, then some roommate time, then a lovely glass of red wine. It was something tasty from Portugal via the Wine Cask in Cambridge - a lovely little wine & cheese shop near my house! I love it because they have good quality, cheap wine. Such a good thing. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

day twenty-eight: three gifts in community

Yesterday I was thankful for these great gifts in community:

#83: talking to my youngest brother, Joel, on my way to work in the morning. Dude makes me proud making his own way in the big city :)

#84: the promise of shared community over Christmas: a Boston friend is coming home with me, to spend the holiday with my family! So excited to share them with her and her with them. :)

#85: talking to my brother and sister-in-law after work, hearing about their cows and Christmas tree and a really tasty dinner at The Restaurant (if you live anywhere within a two hour drive of Grand Rapids, Michigan, go to Trillium Haven. I hear it's incredible!).

And #86, because I have so much to be thankful for: a God who brings healing and hope in the midst of heartache. I am so thankful for his love and faithfulness in all circumstances!