Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringing in the New Year

After nearly 7 days, 30+ hours of which were spent in the car, Kevin and I are back from our whirlwind tour of the Midwest. Everytime we go to see our family for Christmas, we swear the next year will be more relaxing. But truth be told, I don't think we would want to miss out on any of the gatherings! The sweetest, by far, was our day with Clarice and Gracie, our 5 week-old twin nieces. They are so beautiful and precious. Nothing beats babies at Christmas!

On another note, I received a gift that will keep on giving: a Cuisinart slowcooker! It's the Mercedes-Benz of crock pots, and I've got a fabulous Tarragon Chicken dish simmering as I type. Mmmm...A tasty New Years Eve dinner awaits...

A happy, grace-filled New Year to all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

No One is Immune...

It's official. I fell into a state of Christmas Freak Out. In a previous musing, I peacefully contemplated our lack of time to prepare for Christmas and what a gift that has been to our prayer life. Well, for the first time in a month, we spent the weekend at home, and what did I do but make ridiculously long lists of Christmas tasks to accomplish only to end up in a puddle on the couch on Monday night with 7 sealed Christmas cards, two wrapped gifts, half-finished mint brownies for the neighbors and my loving, patient husband to console me.

So what did we do? We decided to send Epiphany cards, wrap most presents when we arrive at my mother's house, and finish the brownies at some point before we leave. It is time to let go.

Giving up control is an on-going theme for me this Advent. From Christmas preparations to travel plans to my own interior thoughts and emotions, I have been called, repeatedly, to give control to God and trust that He will lead me by the hand to accomplish the necessities of life in a loving manner (i.e. refrain from sitting my husband down to tell him how inconsiderate he is for not helping me with a list of To-Dos he was not even aware of). In contemplating the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus, I am continually reminded of Mary's fiat, her yes, in which she trusted God to conceive our Lord within her, for the life of us all. And as hard as it is, I want to be the handmaid of the Lord as well, living on His terms.

So to all of our family and friends, you can look forward to receiving some Epiphany-love in the next couple weeks.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Car By Any Other Name...

Friday started out as any other wintry work day for Kevin and me. Bundle up, scrape the cars, make the slushy commute into work, rustle up a parking spot, settle into my desk for some emails and toast. It wasn't long before things got interesting.

"Good morning, this is Andrea Lynn"

"Hi, it's me."

"Oh hey, you forgot your lunch this morning! I hope you can find something else besides The Smasher's* sandwiches."

"I don't think that'll be a problem. I'm at home."

"What? Why?"

About half way into his drive to work, Kevin started feeling queasy. (This isn't terribly unusual since he has a sensitive stomach and takes a vitamin the morning.) Then he got a funny taste in his mouth. And before he knew it, there was vomit everywhere. The dash, the steering wheel, the vents, even the windshield, causing him to have to lean over to see out of the passenger's side. Somehow he had the gumption to get Scooter**, our blue Ford Escape, into a parking lot to turn around and make the stinky drive home.

We talked numerous times throughout the day. How do I clean my clothes? What should we do about the car? Do you have a fever? But the biggest question lurking in our minds, even now, is what could have caused this?

Here are three probables:

1. One of Kevin's coworkers was sick last Tuesday and missed an important meeting with a "stomach bug."

2. Kevin took his vitamin too long after he ate, and the queasy feeling was just too much.

3. Kevin, in a effort to make sure I could use my windshield wiper fluid for the slushy commute, used his tongue to melt the ice that was covering the wiper fluid valve on the hood.

It remains a mystery what really caused this impromptu Cookie Tossing, but #3 is pretty suspicious. However, I'm glad to say there was no subsequent vomiting and he's felt like a champ ever since.

Scooter is another story. In the Bible, certain characters undergo name changes after significant events. Jacob becomes Esau after wrestling with an angel. Simon becomes Peter when Christ makes him the leader of his disciples. Saul becomes Paul as he embarks on his life as an apostle. And after Friday, Scooter becomes the Vomit Comet for enduring such a fate.

*The Sandwich Smasher is an employee in the cafeteria at the lab where Kevin works. For some reason, this person flattens sub sandwiches as she assembles them and cuts them in half. She is now infamous among Kevin's coworkers.

**I always name my cars and Kevin has followed suit.

Love in Action

Thank you Kev! I love you too.


Happy Gaudete Sunday to all! This is one of my favorite Sundays of the year. Why? Pink vestments. I know they're technically "rose," but let's be honest. Pink is pink. It's an attention-grabbing color...especially when a priest wears it.

So let us rejoice this Gaudete Sunday! Our Savior is soon to be born!


Our tree is finally up and preparations continue. This is the first weekend we've been home in a month! A breath of fresh air...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Love Until It Hurts

Here is a wonderful post from one of my favorite blogs. A beautiful reminder to love always, especially when it hurts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

80 Years Young

On December 2nd, Kevin's grandmother marked her 80th year. As you can tell from the picture below, she is very envogue!
(I hope that I can pull off luxe animal print when I'm 80 years old!)

More importantly, the celebration of Grandma's 80th birthday was a tribute to her gift of love and sacrifice that has shaped every one of us, even those who married into the family. (Like me!) Thank you, Grandma, for your love, patience, and support. We pray you will have many more years of blessing!'s what's for dinner

Kevin is the Grill Master at our house, but I had my turn at the Lumber Baron's Restaurant in Bay City, Michigan a couple weekends ago. I chose my own juicy filet and grilled it to my liking over an open coal fire pit. It was fun and satisfying to prepare my own steak...maybe I'll have to take on the Weber when the weather is nicer!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Season of Expectation

During the past few weeks, I have been duly reminded of the need for the Advent season. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle, lights, tinsel, presents and food that the approaching Christmas holiday brings. And this year, it seems I haven't even had time for that! Kevin and I made our long trek to Michigan for Thanksgiving only to turn around and fly back the next weekend for his grandmother's birthday party this past weekend! (More on that later.) And this weekend, we are heading up to Lake George for a youth retreat. (Picture me hyperventilating into a paper bag.) All that being said, we haven't even had the time to be franticly preparing the house for Christmas, purchasing Christmas gifts, writing Christmas cards, or making travel plans. Life is full, but not in the usual December way.

Though visible preparations for Christmas have gone by the wayside, our inner preparations have begun to blossom. Advent is a time of prayer and expectation; a time in which we prepare our hearts to receive Jesus, to experience the miracle of his coming to earth in a deep way. Here is a prayer* that Kevin and I are offering each night:

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"

So let us prepare our hearts, that we would be more open to receiving the miracle of Jesus' birth into our lives this Christmas.

*Prayer written by Father Henri J.M. Nouwen