Chasing Contentment

Tuesday, February 28

It looks to be a glorious Fat Tuesday around here - the weatherman promises temps of almost 80 degrees! We're going to take the kids to the zoo to spend the afternoon since we're all off today.

This weekend, God answered yet another of our prayers. Initially, I was thrilled, but then I got to thinking about all that had to be done for this to work out, and I freaked out a bit. Almost immediately, I was ashamed of myself. I don't want to be like the Israelites I just spent so much time reading about.

It is easy for me to give God the big picture things in our lives because I don't think in big pictures. I'm the detail girl, and it's harder to give those things over to God. But I'm determined to do just that. My goal is to say a prayer each time my mind wanders into that freaked out place... to steady my thoughts and refocus my heart.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 28, 2006  ]

Friday, February 24

Turns out, being married to a Ph.D. feels just as good the second day as it did the first! Mike's got this silly grin, still, and he's not really a silly grin kind of guy. This is an answered prayer like none other for us.

I didn't quite know how to expect to feel. Mike says this feels just like he'd expected, but I honestly couldn't envision it. In truth, it feels like lightness. There has been this weight on us for so long that we had gotten accustomed to the pressure of it. It never fit us well and was always uncomfortable, but we are used to it, nonetheless.

Without it, I feel positively weightless! I am proud beyond measure of Mike and the work he has done to accomplish this. I am also relieved beyond what I thought possible.

Griff is so excited for his dad. He and Eliza made posters last night to hang for Mike at the house, and Mandy and Josh came down when Mike got home. We all stood on the porch and yelled like silly people. It was fabulous!

[  posted by Chel on Friday, February 24, 2006  ]

Thursday, February 23

It's official... I'm now married to Dr. Mike!

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 23, 2006  ]

Today, between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., our lives will change.

I hesitate before writing more because there is such weight in that statement, such truth in it. It seems that it should be allowed to hover there alone for a bit before I move on. The weight of what today means is hard for me to articulate, hard even for my heart to grasp, in all honesty.

While it seems like a strange statement to make - to say that at a specific hour in the day, our lives will change - it is true for us. Today is the culmination of years of effort, and in many ways, it is a day that I couldn't imagine. It is a day that I had stopped hoping would come because I had hoped for one too many things one too many times and had those hopes dashed, time and time again.

Mike defends his dissertation this afternoon, and if all goes well, he will be Dr. Mike by the time he arrives home. He will receive his diploma and hood in May, and the commencement ceremony will certainly be a time of celebration. But today has more importance to it, at least in my mind.

Today, Mike will complete seven years of work. He will attain a goal that seemed unattainable on too many days. I am astounded at the work he has done, at his abilities and work ethic. He is strong and determined. And he deserves the accolaides for this.

There were bad times associated with his doctoral pursuit, to be sure. Those are what make today so important to me, I think. We did not arrive at this day without paying a price, and the cost was more than financial.

Today is a day of celebration of who Mike is, of what he has accomplished. I am unspeakably proud of him.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 23, 2006  ]

Wednesday, February 22

I'm sure now... church committee work is not for me. We are trying to become more involved in church, and I was asked to chair the preschool committee, and it seemed like a good way for me to be involved. I'm relatively sure I was wrong.

In our first committee meeting this evening, there were five of us... three older women with grown children, one young woman without children yet, and me. And it went well for a while. And then, it didn't.

Our church operates a dayschool for little ones, and the dayschool director was at the meeting. Our parish recently began offering pre-K, and the dayschool numbers are down as a result. The director began speaking passionately about the reasons she believes church dayschools are better for children than public pre-K programs or daycares. The younger woman - a pre-K teacher herself - agreed.

And discussion continued... with talk of why children should be home with their mothers and why parents shouldn't choose public pre-K just because it's free... and on and on. And there I sat... the working mother whose children have always been in daycare. And I was angry that there wasn't any consideration that there might be other options or that children might turn out positively wonderful despite daycare or pre-K.

The dayschool director talked about how the parents of the dayschool children sacrificed so the mothers could be home with their children. And while I respect families who can do that, I also think there should be some acknowledgement that there are lots of families who simply aren't able to do that, even if they made all the sacrifices possible.

After the meeting, I stopped the staff preschool director and suggested that maybe I am not the person to lead this committee as I am not in agreement with the sentiments expressed. And because I was angry, I cried. And now I feel like an idiot.

The preschool director was sweet and kind, and then she told me not to wonder if I was a bad mother, and I was shocked. I don't wonder that. I am a good mother to my kids. I am not like any other mother. I am the mother I am. And that is good enough. In fact, it's just nearly perfect for my kids. We are meant to be together. And we are good enough.

And so now, not only do I feel like the odd girl out on this committee that I'm supposed to lead but I also am embarrassed that I acted unprofessionally and cried in front of this woman. And I am angry with myself that I gave her the impression with my tears that I doubt my abilities as a mother.

Not so much my evening.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 22, 2006  ]

Carnival of Beauty - Friendship
This morning, I found an e-card in my in-box from a friend, thanking me for my friendship. The card mentioned that February is International Friendship Month, a fitting time for a Carnival about friendship.

There are numerous mentions of friendship in the Bible...

Jonathan said, "Go in peace! The two of us have vowed friendship in GOD's name, saying, "GOD will be the bond between me and you, and between my children and your children forever!'" 1 Samuel 20:42 (The Message)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Proverbs 17:17 (The Message)

Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.Proverbs 18:24 (The Message)

If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!Ecclesiastes 4:10 (New International Version)
... and we can do well to remember that the joys of friendship are given to us as gifts of grace by God.

I was delighted to read all of this week's posts, and I'm hoping that we will all be encouraged by what these girls have to say.

Best friends, close friends, church friends, on-line friends and the Ultimate Friend. Read Iris' thoughts on different 'levels' of friendship in her entry "What is True Friendship."

Jennifer of Makarios Moments describes how the blessed gift of time from two dear friends helped this stressed-out Mom in her post entitled, "I Get By with a Little Help from my Friends."

This week at She Lives, Carol looks at famous girl friends and notices her own BEST FRIEND has all the best friendship traits from the whole bunch. Oh yeah, "She's Got a Friend Alright!"

Over at following an unknown path, Amanda looks at the different kinds of "Friendships Needed" in life.

As she flies through life on the tails of her husband's moves in the ministry, Christie from crickl's nest finds she has accumulated "A Fine Collection" of friends along the journey!

In her post, "Marriage: A Lifetime Friendship", Heather of Mom 2 Mom Connection shares about her parents' upcoming 40th wedding anniversary and reflects on the gift of being married to your best friend.

Patricia at Pollywog Creek Porch shares how friendship sometimes means having to tell a friend how her words can be hurtful to others in "A Different Perspective."

Deb at Mountain Musings encourages us to keep in touch with friends through the written word with her post, "The Beauty of Friendship."

Lastly, in my own post - "A Friend in Deed" - I consider the similarities between my real life and my imaginary life and find that there are three commonalities, one of which is friendship.

As always, a big thanks to Sallie for having the wonderful idea of the Carnival.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 22, 2006  ]

Tuesday, February 21

Don't forget to submit your entries to this week's Carnival of Beauty! The topic is friendship, and the Carnival will be hosted here at Chasing Contentment tomorrow. Send posts to my email - createdbychel(at) by 6 p.m. (CST) tonight.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 21, 2006  ]

Monday, February 20

Friends in Deed
There is this crazy, ideal, magical world in my head (come on, admit've got one, too... at least all of the women I know do).

In my ideal world, there are always clean, dry, fluffy towels in the dryer and the washer is always empty. Every time I open the dishwasher, it is empty, so I can load the dirties without first emptying the cleans. We never run out of toilet tissue, paper towels, or Pull-ups. The milk that never goes bad also never runs out. We always have chocolate in the house.

In this dreamland, the kids don't get sick, and it doesn't rain on a big day. I don't have to stop for gas when it's cold outside, and I don't step in puddles up to my ankles when it's raining.

It's a lovely place there, you know, this place in my head. Unfortunately, the reality isn't quite like the place in my head. My reality with my family and friends is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but it's not ideal. Instead, it's fraught with all that reality usually holds for us... struggles and pain and challenges and disappointments and ... on and on.

There are three things common between my ideal, imaginary world and my real world. In both, I have Christ, my family, and my friends. And without any of those, I would be lost.

And while Christ is certainly the ultimate friend, I've written before about how I believe He sends us His little angels in the form of friends, people who give hands and feet to His love here on Earth.

Mike is certainly my bestest friend, without a doubt. And while he's an amazing husband friend, he is a lousy girlfriend.

And I am a woman who needs girlfriends. I'm also a woman blessed with them. These are the angels who step in when the kids are sick and when I'm frazzled and in need. These are the women who remind me to take care of myself and then insist on it. These are the women who reflect the best parts of me in themselves. They are the mirror to what is good in me and the balm for what isn't so swell.

My God provides me with these people to walk with me in His journey. We carry one another and strengthen one another as we endeavor to be more and more of who God would have us be.

I am grateful both for them and to them.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 20, 2006  ]

Last night, Mike was ordained as a deacon in our church. It was a tender and delightful time for Mike, Griff, and me.

Our minister is retiring this spring, and Mike was one of the last two people he will ordain as our minister, and it is precious to me that this gentleman was the one to do this. (He was also the minister who baptized Griff, again, something special for us.)

Mike talked about his spiritual journey, and I was impressed again at his love for the Lord and with his willingness to be a servant to those around him. When the time came for the congregation to lay hands on Mike and the other gentleman who was ordained, Griff was able to participate. And that is the most precious memory of the event.

My little man/boy putting his hands on his daddy's head as Mike kneeled before him... Griff leaning over and whispering in his dad's ear... precious memories.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 20, 2006  ]

Saturday, February 18

Don't forget to be thinking about a friendship post for next week's Carnival of Beauty. Posts may be submitted this Sunday through Tuesday.

[  posted by Chel on Saturday, February 18, 2006  ]

Friday, February 17

I've got countless reasons for needing friends around me, but today, one reason stands out. Sometimes good friends can say something very simple and have it affect my thinking in very profound ways.

My friend, LeeAnn, has known me longer than anyone outside of my family. She and I have been friends for more than half my life... more than two decades... and so she knows me and my strengths and weaknesses well. She knows the ins and outs and the reasons for lots of the fears and worries. (Thankfully, she's also known the great joys in my life!)

Before I blogged about my fears about growing closer to God and changing into someone I didn't like, I told Mike because I think it's important that I share things with him first. Then, I emailed LeeAnn and Aleece to get their input. And, as always, I was blessed by their responses.

LeeAnn is a stay-at-home mom (working on finishing her master's degree) these days with two small children, one of whom has the chicken pox this week, so for her to make the effort to email me back is a precious thing to me. Her response to my worries was simple, and yet, so very important for me.

Michele, I already like the person you are and so do so many people. If you are growing in God, how can we NOT like you? You are only improving when you grow in God, so therefore it would be impossible to not like who you are. I think you might like who you are MORE instead of you not liking the person you become! Look at it that way!

God would not make you a person who puts off people. That would defeat His purpose, I do believe. You will still like you - others will still like you. You have already cultivated a rich and wonderful personality that many love. Now, you are going to cultivate an aspect of your personality more fully with God. I do not think it will change who you already are - it will only enhance who you are.

I'm more than a little embarrassed that it didn't occur to me that if I am growing closer to Christ and asking Him to fill me with Himself, who I am can only get better because He is perfection. I'm grateful, though, to friends who take the time to say things to me that I haven't thought of myself.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, February 17, 2006  ]

Thursday, February 16

I've been thinking about friendship and the next Carnival of Beauty. I'm delighted to have this topic, as friendship is something close to my heart. I need friends around me, and those who love and support me are precious to me like little else.

I did a Technorati search of Chasing Contentment for 'friend' and came up with four pages worth of posts. 'Friends' in the plural sense netted five pages. Clearly, this is something I think and write about.

I'm not at all sure what my entry for next week will be, but I did pick out a few of my favorite friendship posts. (Here and here, too.)

Today, a friend is someone who prayed for me to sleep well last night and not have funny tummy this morning because she knew Mike was flying out early, early this morning for a meeting and that I get nervous with scheduling issues.

Today, a friend is someone who came to my house on her way to work, put on my bathrobe backwards to cover her office wear, and helped me squirt bright red medicine into my sickly toddler.

Today, a friend is a man who may have to come to my house tonight and do the medicine routine in his wife's stead.

Today, friends are a brother and sister-in-law praying for Mike's trip. Today, friends are far-away confidantes praying for my sanity with juggling my job, schedules, and the kids until Mike returns home.

"My friends are my estate." - Emily Dickinson

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 16, 2006  ]

I'm a hostess. How exciting!

I'm hosting Sallie's Carnival of Beauty on Feb. 22 on the topic of friendship.

I'll accept entries Sunday through Tuesday. Sallie usually sets a 3 p.m. deadline, but since I work fulltime, I won't get to the Carnival fun until after work and after the kids are in bed, so a 6 p.m. (CST) deadline is much more reasonable. I'm hoping to get lots of entries and lots of different perspectives on friendship.

Entries may be emailed to me at: createdbychel(at) Any questions may also be directed to that address.

Here's to a lively Carnival!

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 16, 2006  ]

Wednesday, February 15

I wrote a few days ago about my struggle with my perception of a 'good, Christian woman' versus my personality and how I want be (and I received several really lovely comments on that post). I've been struggling with this for the majority of my adult Christian life.

I have been reading "How to Have a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver the last week or so. I've tried to read the book before, but it never spoke to me like it does now (I'm very much the Martha girl.).

Last night, one of the chapters I read talked about how it's sin if we say to God that we'll do this or that but not this or that. And it also talked about how it's wrong of us to refuse God.

And I know that's what I'm doing with this perception thing. I've been putting up this wall and telling God that I'll follow Him right up until that point but no further.

Last night, I felt like He was speaking to me and telling me that wasn't right. And so I prayed and told Him I am willing to be whoever He wants me to be. I know that I need to trust that He wants to use me as He created me, not as He created someone else. I need to remember that He creates each of us uniquely to be used for unique purposes. And I also need to be willing to do whatever He asks, and I'm sorry to say, I haven't been willing to do that before.

And so, I'm going to continue reading and studying, and I'm not going to worry about who I might become. I'm just going to trust that who I will be is who He would have me be.

I know that sounds like a very simple thing, a very simplistic answer to the struggles I've had with this, but I feel such a peace about it. I've been so fearful of getting closer to God and turning into someone I don't like that I resisted getting closer to Him at all.

We have had three very difficult years, Mike and I, for various reasons, and in the first two, my faith was strengthened on a very emotional level. I committed last July to keeping a daily Bible study and prayer time with God, and since then, I have found my spirit both challenged and rewarded.

But periodically, I would find myself confronted with that same old fear of turning into this image I had in my head of someone I didn't want to be, and I would pull back. But I've been uncomfortable with that for some time now, and I finally figured out why last night.

I need to step out in faith and trust that God will use me as He created me, that He won't need to change me completely because He made me as I am. And even if He does change me a whole lot (some change would obviously be good), I am going to trust that we will all still like that person, too.

I am willing.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Philippians 1:6 (The Message)

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 15, 2006  ]

Tuesday, February 14

Ah, Valentine's Day. Mike got me lovely New Orleans-themed cards from R-Nichols, which I adore. And Griff got us all gifts, too, which is lovely.

My Griff. His second grade class made their own Valentine boxes, and they are having a competition at their party today. There will be a prize for the prettiest box, the funniest and the most creative. I'm pretty sure he's aiming for Most Creative.

His box is all black. The only illustration is of one alien giving chocolates to another alien. No writing except his name, which I insisted on adding. But it's got a trap door in the top. He's so excited. He and Mike made it this weekend after a trip to the hardware store.

Clearly, Valentine's Day is a whole different thing to a 7-year-old boy than it is to me. Happy Valentine's Day.

Update... Griff's box did, indeed, win the Most Creative Award. He was thrilled.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 14, 2006  ]

I've posted new jewelry photos to my flickr set, and there is a new necklace at CreatedByChel. What do you think?

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 14, 2006  ]

Monday, February 13

It feels odd to talk about being tempted or prodded by Satan. People just don't much talk about the Devil any longer. It feels embarassing, as if it's something that should be discussed in hushed tones lest anyone overhear.

And yet, I believe that Satan lives and breathes and does indeed tempt and prod us. And I don't think he's all that inventive. Once he determines what our weak spot is, he is just going to keep returning to that tender place over and again.

I know this dear, precious Christian woman who is completely and utterly devoted to her Lord. She is, I know, a blessing to many. There are, however, some aspects of her approach that don't sit well with me. For whatever reason, she is the image I have in my head of a 'good Christian woman.' And I don't see how I can mesh the reality of me with the image of her.

And so, my own unwillingness to become that image kept me for years from studying the Bible, from growing closer to God. I managed to overcome that initial resistance, but time and again, I return to that nagging worry... if I become closer to Christ, will I also become more like that? (Mike assures me that can't be God's wish because he couldn't live with me if I were like that, and he says he's pretty sure God's not looking to ruin our marriage. He's a nice man, my Mike.)

But as I keep returning to this place of worry, I know that I must be growing in my faith if Satan feels the need to remind me of this worrisome fear. And I'm trying to remember that my faith and my walk with God need only to mirror what God sets forth to me. It is okay for me not to agree with this particular woman or with my husband or with my friend or with the woman down the pew in church or with a co-worker or with a stranger. If we all love our God and believe in His power and truth, then it is most likely okay with Him if we each walk a different path.

If we can let Him infuse our lives rather than just our talk, then we're on the right path because we're on His path.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 13, 2006  ]

Friday, February 10

We're finally at Friday again, and for us working girls, Friday is one of our favorite days. It's raining here and dreary, with the weatherman suggesting our whole weekend will be much cooler than usual.

We've got what I hope will be fun plans for this weekend, and I'm already ready for a little weekend laziness. To get that started, I'm not going to write anything myself for today, but instead I'm going to link to a few things I read this week and found to be interesting.

Karama always gives such amazing suggestions at So What Can I Do?! about how we can all make our world a better place. She gives Valentine's ideas for those wanting to share their love while also spreading a little love.

Tempus Fugate has an interesting post on Christian leadership. I think we often get confused about what a Christian leader should look like, getting all caught up in the world's perception of leadership. (Thanks to The View From Her from whom I found this post.)

Christie has a meaningful post about contentment - one of my favorite topics - at Crickl's Nest.

Finally, here's hoping Curious George is as much fun as Griff hopes it will be. Happy weekending!

[  posted by Chel on Friday, February 10, 2006  ]

Wednesday, February 8

One of the reasons that I have felt content in this latest struggle in life, I think, is because I have seen God move in our lives before, and I trust that He will again.

Mike and I aren't very much alike at all, in truth. God put us together, I have no doubt, because we compliment one another. We do that in our marriage and as parents. And it's interesting to me to see qualities from both of us in our children.

Griff is a wonderful mix of the two of us. Eliza, thus far, is mostly me. She's this physical representation of all that I see as both good and bad about myself... running around in this tiny little fiery, independent toddler body. But Griff, Griff. He is this excellent swirly blend of me and Mike.

Last night, he asked me if I watched "American Idol" after he went to bed (he knows there are shows we watch that he isn't allowed to see). I told him it was on while he was still awake, that we just had never watched. He told me that all of the kids in his class were talking about it, and he asked if we could watch, too.

Later, after I had agreed that we could watch Idol, he told me that he understood that it was okay to be different but that sometimes it was good to fit in, too.

And there is such wisdom in that simple observation. And both Mike and I are living in that sentence, in this boy. Mike doesn't much give a rat's rear what much of anyone thinks of him, and he has this confidence level that is just unmatched. I, on the other hand, really want everyone to like me and to be pleased with me.

Mike's okay being different, and I want to fit in. But in all honesty, I'm less that way than I was before I met Mike. God has taught me - through my husband - that it really doesn't matter so much what other people think. I have learned that if I am living in the way that I believe God directs me to live, I am okay. I am so much more confident now in my own abilities, the talents that God gave to me.

I'm still working, though, on some other areas of my life. In those areas, I'm less the strong mid-30s mama woman and more the insecure 7-year-old wanting to watch the same show as everyone else.

My prayer is that God will continue to mold me and to shape me until I leave the insecurities behind and accept that I am completely loved in this very body in this very moment.

I'm grateful to my husband for being willing to be used by God - most likely unknowingly - and to my son for being such a pure reflection of the two of us. And I'm grateful, too, to Eliza for being a mirror of me. The things I admire in her already are things I should admire in myself.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 08, 2006  ]

Bethany has the newest Carnival of Beauty posted at her blog, A Picturesque Life. The topic this week was contentment.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 08, 2006  ]

Tuesday, February 7

I'm not much of a joiner in the blogging world, but I've enjoyed submitting a few posts to Sallie's Carnival of Beauty simply because the effort of writing on a specified topic every now and then is good for me.

I submit my posts and read some of the other submissions, but I'm a bit of a lurker still. I'm not much of a commenter, and I don't link to much. But Sallie had asked for volunteers to help host her Carnival, and it seemed wrong of me to be willing to participate but not to help, so I volunteered. Hopefully, it was a good choice. :)

I'll be hosting the Feb. 22 Carnival on the topic of friendship, which seems absolutely perfect for me. I'm looking forward to it, to reading what others have to say about friendship.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 07, 2006  ]

Monday, February 6

In the service at church yesterday, the congregation participated in a responsive call to worship that focused on Griff's baptism. I was humbled and honored.
Come, let us worship the Lord who is with us wherever we go.
We give praise and thanks to the God of our salvation.
We rejoice that Griffin has chosen to accept Christ as Savior, follow him in baptism, and unite with the church family. What would you have him know?
That we lovingly welcome him as a member of our family of faith. That his needs and concerns will be ours, and that with him we are continually receiving God's grace and seeking to live resurrected lives.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 06, 2006  ]

Sunday, February 5

Living in Contentment
This morning, I sat with family and friends and watched as our minister baptized Griffin. It was a tender and precious and humbling moment. I am honored to have been given the opportunity by God to participate in such a moment. It was lovely.

We went to lunch with Mike's dad and his wife, and in the midst of our good time, Eliza got sick. By the time we got home, she had fever. As I drove to get her more medicine, I noticed the ugly tugging of my car and reminded myself to help Mike get it to the shop tomorrow. This evening, Griff and Mike were playing and Griff busted his lip and bled all over.

On the whole, the day was a good reminder that rarely is any moment or event or situation or phase of life completely good or completely bad (though Griff's acceptance of Christ a few weeks ago and his baptism this morning were both purely good).

In his sermon this morning, our minister said, "faith is at its very best on the edge of exile." His sermon centered on God being where we are at any given moment. "God is in whatever exile His people experience," Dr. T said. And that means the world to me.

Several years ago, Mike and I went through a really difficult period. It was hard to experience then and, in truth, it is hard to think about even now. But it was in that time that I learned a lot about how our marriage works and about about how faithful God is.

It was in that time that I realized that, for me at least, happiness isn't a goal. Happiness, in my perception, is fleeting. I have - and certainly enjoy and look forward to - purely happy moments in my life. But they come and go.

Contentment, on the other hand, is something that resonates with me. Contentment allows me to feel really miserable or sad or angry about something specific while still resting comfortably in the knowledge that God is at work and that God is ... well, God.

Contentment is something that sits with me and feels snuggly around me like a well-worn fuzzy bathrobe. It wraps me in a security that I can find only in Christ.

I seek not happiness in this life but contentment. And I find that the more contented I am, the more happy moments I find.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, February 05, 2006  ]

Friday, February 3

A word cloud for my cloudy, rainy day... It's been a hard week here, with me coming to terms with needing help getting through this situation we're in now and asking for that help. It wasn't an easy choice, but it was a good one.

Even though it's cold and rainy outside, I love the weekends. I sometimes love cold, rainy weekends as much as sunny ones. I get to have my very favorite people all snuggled up in the house with me.

And whether the rain pours or the sun shines, Sunday will be a wonderful day in our house as it's the day Griff is scheduled to be baptized. We are very proud of him for having a heart that is open to the call of God. And we are humble in front of the Lord who tenderly spoke to this little man we're rearing.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, February 03, 2006  ]

Thursday, February 2

This is my latest... I'm very proud of this one. It's got freshwater pearls - in dusty rose, pink, and white - and crystals and Indian lampwork beads. Yum. I've got it for sale at my Etsy site.

I've been really grateful to have had this hobby this last year. It's been a way for me to lose myself in something creative. It's been something that I've been able to see tangible results of my practice, and that's been encouraging.

I try to remind myself that, just like my beading hobby, my spirit and my spiritual life is a work in progress.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 02, 2006  ]

Today, I got a wonderful surprise. It is, in all honesty, quite possibly the very best surprise I can remember ever getting. How fun is that?!

Mike's brother, Chuck, and his wife, Stacy, sent us Royal Riviera Pears from Harry and David, and they arrived today. Out of the blue, for no reason at all!

I adore pears. They are my very favorite fruit, and my brother-in-law and I were talking about them at Christmas, about how I'd always wanted the ones from Harry and David but never had splurged on them. And Mike and I had decided that was what we were going to send Chuck for his birthday this year. But they beat us to it!

Pears! I can hardly wait to get home this evening and eat them. Yum.

Little surprises like this remind me that things are not always going to be as difficult as they are in this moment. I believe that God is working for our good and that if we will continue to rest in Him, we will be cared for and comforted.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 02, 2006  ]

Wednesday, February 1

The newest Carnival of Beauty - on the topic of gentleness - is now up at Iris's Eph2810. Go visit. And thank you to all who have been so encouraging in my struggle with Numbers.

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 01, 2006  ]