Saturday, February 20, 2016

Winter Retreat 2016

      It's getting to that time of year again. February is half way gone, the sun is moving in the sky and giving off a springy type of light, the days have been warm and things have been slushy, and Winter Retreat is almost here.
     One of the many blessings in my life is the wonderful church I am apart of. I first set foot in the Bemidji Church of Christ the summer my brother Jordan, friend Emily and I came up to check out the college in town. It was that weekend that I met My Love and his family and started a journey that was about to change my life. The people of the church drew us in, welcomed us, and it hasn't stopped.          This is the church that Luke has gone too his entire life. The small group of people that call the church home are his family and friends. And over the past five years they have become mine as well. These people are a true and beautiful example of what it means to be a family in Christ. I love them.
     One of my favorite times of the year is our yearly winter(though it's almost spring) retreat. The weeks leading up to the big weekend hold potlucks and planning and music practice. Every year since Luke and I got married we have hosted out of town friends and family. Last year was our first retreat in our new home and so we were able to host a few more. I believe we had 7 people stay with us last year. One of the guys had to sleep in the laundry room, but it worked.
    I especially love it because one of our guests is usually my dear friend Polly. Polly likes to take credit for bringing Luke and I together. She and I became friends my first year of Bible college. It was through her that I began hearing stories of the Williams family, this church, many of the people I hold dear, and this lovely little town I now call home.
    So, groceries have been bought, who's staying where has been figured out, and excitement is growing. Happy Saturday.
Polly and I this past Fall.

"Cherish your human connections - your relationships with friends and family." ~Barbara Bush

Monday, February 15, 2016

Beyond My Understanding

      The other day I was thinking about what the Bible has to say about my own understanding of things. It's not very reliable at all. I often have to remind myself of the wisdom of Proverbs 3:5-6
           "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding. But in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
      Trust in the LORD, not yourself. All to often I find myself leaning back on what I think I know or what I feel, but that proves to be a very shaky support system. Our own understanding is wobbly and unstable and all to often, when we lean on it we find ourselves toppling over backwards. We need to lean back on God.
    Then it says in Provers 28:25b-26
"But the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched. Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."
    Here again, it points out the uselessness of "my own understanding." According to this verse, I've found myself to be a fool more often than not. I trust what I think I know, I trust what I feel, but for some reason, it can be so hard to trust in the LORD. But when we do, we come to a place of safety.
    But the Bible doesn't just talk about the uselessness of our own understanding. It also talks about how God's peace and love is so far beyond what our minds can comprehend.
       Ephesians 3:17-19
"So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and the length and height and depth, and to know the love Christ which surpassed knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."
     The love of The One who created this life "surpasses knowledge." His love is so big, we can't comprehend it. It's beyond our understanding. Which is good, because if God only loved me as much as I could understand, than I wouldn't be very loved.
     But there's more. God's in the business of blowing our minds and showing us things that are beyond our wildest imaginations. And not just in how much He loves us, but in the peace He floods our souls with.
    Philippians 4:6-7
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
    The peace of God is beyond our comprehension. And that peace is our safe place. It "will guard your heart and your mind," if you let it.
     If you let God's big love wash over you, and His incomprehensible peace guard your mind you will be in a good place. Because, if you rest in His love and peace you won't be leaning on yourself.
     So today, may you give up trying to understand and simply trust, resting in the love and peace and joy of One who is so much bigger than you.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Honey, Books, Soup, and Snow

      My little sisters Ema and Lucy are here for the weekend. Unfortunately however, Lucy woke up feeling under the weather this morning. So, Luke and Ema went to church and Lucy and I settled ourselves onto the couch.

 We watched a couple movies then I made a big pot of creamy, chicken, noodle soup. I've inherited my mom's inability to make a small pot of soup. So we will be eating leftovers.
      My mom had brought up this fancy honey for Luke and I to try. I had never heard of honey with special purposes but apparently it's a thing. Honey for grilling, honey for cheese, and honey for tea. Naturally I had to sample them to see what all the hype was about. I decided that the honey for cheese was the best. The bonus deal to this was that the honey came in cute jars with bees on the lid. Double the sweetness!

     Despite Lucy not feeling so great today, it has proved to be a good weekend. Yesterday we had a baby shower for Mr. Ephraim. Overall, I do think it was a success.
       It was "Storybook" themed. My friend Emily, found the idea and it turned out really cute. We brought food items that related to different storybooks and then the books went to Mr. Ephraim to start his very own library. I brought the books The Treasure Tree, My Father's Dragon and Curious George. Those first two are books that I have fond memories of from my own childhood. I made my Grandma Shearer's banana punch to accompany Curious George. Oranges went with My Father's Dragon, and chocolates for The Treasure Tree.
    So there you have it. I hope your weekend has been lovely. And oh, it's Valentines Day. On this day dedicated to love, may you remember the ultimate and beautiful love of The One who gave bee's the recipe for honey, puts the smile on a sweet baby's face, and sends the snow to quietly descend on a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

"We do not remember days, we remember moments." ~Unknown

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Mysterious Smell

         Yesterday at school, I made a disgusting albeit hilarious discovery. One day I had notice that one of my students seemed to have horrendous taco breath. When I sat next to her desk I could hardly stand it. It would be one thing if this happened just once, but I noticed it again a day or so later. It was nasty. Then, yesterday the kids were at recess and I was picking up around my classroom when I noticed the taco aura next to her desk. This made me think so I opened her desk and took a whiff. Something horrible was brewing in there. I called her in and told her she had something stinky in her desk and asked her to please check and get whatever it was out. She promptly pulled out a ziplock bag with a chunk of food in it. It was a half eaten piece of Falafel that I had take to school almost 2 weeks earlier for the kids to taste while we were learning about the Middle East. For some reason she had decided to save it and it had gotten forgotten in her desk. I'm really not sure how she stood the smell, because it was totally grossing me out.
        So there you have it. A lesson on the fact that you should never assume. What you might think is taco breath may indeed be some left over surprise hidden in a desk. Happy Saturday.

"There are a lot of funny things that happen in ones life." ~Pierce Brosnan

Friday, February 5, 2016

Just Drink Your Spit!

     Yesterday at work we were getting some maintenance done. Unfortunately there was a mishap and our water was cut for awhile. The secretary came up and informed me that there was no water which meant there was no bathrooms...In a school....With lots of kids. Adventures. They did eventually tell us we could use them just with no flushing capabilities. They managed to get it fixed by recess which was good, but I thought it rather funny when I overheard one of my students getting very resourceful. They were getting their snacks and must have been talking about being thirsty because one of my third graders piped up that they could just drink their spit. So there you go, in a "crisis' situation when you find yourselves without proper hydration, you can just drink your spit.
   Today we had a field trip to the skiing hills. It was fun and beautiful. I like driving a mini van full of students around. I love ridding the lifts and looking out over the glistening white slopes and the blue sky. I like coming home to relax and share a pizza with my love.
      Happy Friday!

"Adventure is worthwhile in itself." ~Amelia Earhart