Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1000 gifts: more random smiles

This past week I wondered if I could remember one fun or happy thing to be thankful for each day and write it on my calendar. I'd like to keep doing this, it's wonderful to see my calendar fill up with praises.

157. Kids cleaning the house on their own without me asking
Four year old Annie makes her bed and is so proud of herself she drags me up to her bedroom so I can see. And if this proud mama may so, she does a darn good job of it. Last week, Blaze got into cleaning mode and did the the dishes for me and mopped the kitchen floor. This week she did laundry and cleaned her room, and not only made her bed, but Dreamer's too! Then Dreamer got in on it and helped with dishes, mopped the bathroom floor, and washed the lower parts of the windows that get the most abuse from doggie noses and hand prints. I sure hope this wonderful trend continues!

158. Walking out of the kitchen when you're not hungry
I wish I could say that my short-term goal to lose five pounds in January was going as well as my kids' cleaning, but it's a huge struggle. I have a couple good days, a couple bad days. But I'm focusing on the good days. One night I got home from work really hungry and made myself a burrito. After eating that, I still felt hungry, so I started to microwave some leftover pasta. While the microwave was purring away, I got that little Holy Spirit prick: "hey, didn't you pray to Me earlier today about not overeating?" It was a struggle, but I managed to walk out of the kitchen. After just a few minutes I didn't feel hungry anymore and I was able to put the pasta back in the fridge! Yay! Just need to keep that victory in mind and keep striving.

159. When your kids talk about Jesus
Driving the twins to preschool one day, they started talking about Jesus, and how He died on the cross. I think this is first time I've heard them talking about Jesus without some sort of prompting from me or their dad or sisters.

160. Important truths about cancer.
B. and I went to Stars' granny's memorial here in Laramie. It is possible to be saddened by the death of a friend, and yet be full of praise to know she is in heaven. Beside her picture, her family had also placed a plaque that read:

"Cancer is so limited.
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot suppress memories.
It cannot invade the soul.
It cannot steal eternal life.
It cannot conquer the spirit."

161. Realizing how time is different to God
B. and I watched the movie "Inception" this weekend, a science fiction film about thieves who can get into other people's dreams and steal vital information from people's minds. This was a crazy complicated film, with dreams within dreams and slowing down time. After watching it B. and I must have talked for at least an hour about all the intricacies of the movie and the implications of time slowing down during our dreams - you know how you can be sleeping for just a few minutes, and yet wake from a dream that seemed to last for hours. Well, the theory in the movie was that if time slows down in a dream, then it would slow down even further in a dream within a dream. B. said something really interesting about it: it made him think of how time is so different to us than to God. And that Satan tries to trick humanity with lies like "the Bible and its prophecies can't be true or won't ever come to pass because it's been thousands of years now" - but that's from our poor human perspective of time, isn't it? Great food for thought!

162. Winning small things, like a book
Speaking of science fiction, I won a signed copy of a new book, "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis that was just released. I've been looking forward to this book since I read the first chapter a couple months ago. I entered a couple on-line blog contests to win a copy, but to win a signed copy was an extra special treat. Now I just have to be patient until it shows up....

163. Surprised by Joy
But while waiting for my new book, I've been enjoying lots of other books. While reading "Surprised by Joy" by CS Lewis I had many "a ha" moments and "oh yes, I know exactly what he means!" I finished it and now I'm going back through taking notes. I'll be posting about it soon.

164. Hearing from God after 400 years of silence.
At church on Sunday we had a visiting Bible teacher, Doug Bookman. He visits our church at least once and every year and I love his teaching! He always has so many fascinating facts about the history or geography or culture of Biblical times that enrich the study of scripture. This time he taught about John the Baptist and his father, Zacharias the priest, and some of the old testament prophecies concerned John - for the first time I really understood the excitement of the Jewish people to finally hear from a prophet of God after four hundred years of silence!

165. Clay made of light
Beautiful sunset on Sunday night - the clouds looks like clay swirling around on a potter's wheel, if you can imagine clay made of light.

166. Long distance friends who keep in touch.
Called an old friend and had a lovely long chat and shared prayer requests. Sarah was huge influence in my early Christian days and taught me perhaps more than anyone else to love the Bible. Her husband is in the Army, so they move a lot, but somehow she always come back into my life, even if just for a short while.

167. "I have a dream"
No school/work on Monday because of Martin Luther King day. I love MLK day and references to "I Have a Dream." Nicole also invited me over to her house for a cup of tea and a lovely time chatting about the novels we are working on right now, discussing characters and plot structure and magical devices. Pure delight.

168. Analyzing plot structure is fun
Speaking of my novel, my actual writing progress slowed down this week (last week I wrote over 3000 words, this week just barely over 1000). But I did have some really good plot ideas that I think will help the story along tremendously, and I'm at the right spot in my writing now to implement them. I found a wonderful series on the plot structure of the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" that gave me these ideas.

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