Out my Window: looks like an early spring day, foggy, somewhat dreary, quiet

Enjoying: mini space heater fireplace, candles, Christmas lights, family time, flowers, the sky and all its beauty

Listening to/Watching:  I was so excited to see that Sarahwanders on Instagram started sharing poems for Advent. I loved her series for Lent. They can be found on her IGTV page. The first one is here: I finished Funny in Farsi. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America (Audible Audio Edition): Firoozeh Dumas, Firoozeh Dumas, Audible Studios: Audible Audiobooks I thoroughly enjoyed the stories. Some were very funny, but also very enlightening to the Iranian-American experience, and immigrants in general. I would recommend reading it over listening. Her voice was hard for me to listen to in larger chunks, but her storytelling ability is very fun and thoughtful. I also listened to two episodes of The Holy Post Podcast Podcast | Holy Post . I appreciated the thoughtfulness of both on two very hard topics. The first was about ending the war on drugs and the second was critical race theory. Both gave me much to think about. I was reminded the importance of words and defining words. It is easy to not truly listen to an idea because of how it has been defined by certain louder voices . I also listened/watched Christine Caine’s interview with Esau Macaulley about his book Reading While Black which is a book that has been on my list since listening to his interview on the Holy Post Podcast Podcast | Holy Post . The interview with Christine was so good. I highly recommend it. The hope of the Church as a whole coming into its truest identity is exciting. There is power in the gospel that not only saves us, but redeems us. As a family we had our annual viewing of Peanuts Christmas. Still enjoyable and profound, as always.

Reading:  I finished reading Dallas Willard’s Life Without Lack: living in the fullness of Psalm 23. I will definitely come back to it in the future. It was what I needed in this season. Much is underlined, plus some question marks. This book paired with Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund is helping to bring clarity to my vision of God, and spot some of my faulty thinking. I highly recommend both.

We must come to an awareness in our own minds concerning the nature of God. That is we must think about God in ways that match what God is like. Without harmony between our ideas about God and his true character, we will never be able to make the kind of contact with God that will give us confidence, grounded in our experience, in the complete sufficiency of God to provide for our needs.

I also finished C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. This is my third time through. It is such an amazing book. Every time I read it I look at the copyright and think how did he know? Alas, humans haven’t changed much, just the context. It is worth the initial effort of getting used to the language and style. It is a clever book written from a senior demon to his young nephew teaching him the ropes on how to distract and win over humans. This book covers every temptation and deception. There are so many nuggets in this treasure of a book.

Advent Readings: Christmastide: Prayers for Advent through Epiphany From The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle, The One True Gift: Daily Readings for Advent to Encourage and Inspire by Tim Chester these two are my main ones. I also have my well worn copy of Watch for the Light out to visit on and off through the season. I joined Rabbit Room’s Reading Group on The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Farrar Capon. The Rabbit Room | Reading Group: The Supper of the Lamb by Robert Farrar Capon This book has been on my reading list for awhile because so many different writers and speakers that I appreciate reference it. It is very different, but interesting.

On my shelf is a stack of Madeleine L’Engle’s books. I was drawn back to her. I was thinking I was going back to re-read Irrational Season, or Circle of Quiet, but there was another book in my stack that I have not read yet, The Rock that is Higher: Story as Truth. I am so thankful to have stumbled onto this one in this season of continued thinking of Story and the importance of it. L’Engle is weaving her experience of suffering after a car accident that kept her far from home and her people as she healed with the Biblical narrative. This is my carry around book, as well as by my bedside read.

I finally reviewed the Bible Study Habakkuk:Remembering God’s Faithfulness When He Seems Silent from Dannah Gresh for Moody Publishing. It can be found here: Habakkuk (Book Review) – Inkblot Life.

Rambling Thoughts: Grief…. so much grief. This has been a year of deep grief as the backdrop of life that magnifies and highlights all the beauty and joys of this year. I feel like every season has been more beautiful than I remember. The sky has been so much more gorgeous with the pinks and blues. The night sky with its moon and stars take my breath away. But that grief that will not let up is hard. It continues to penetrate each moment. The grief of loss of carelessly going through life, going to the store, or a restaurant, or someone’s house without thinking if it is wise, or how to do it in the safest way for them and for me. How to honor rules, or the spirit of the law without getting all legalistic or rebellious. Then there is the deeper grief of people being alone or separated. The distance in relationships that makes it harder to cope. On top of that every sickness and death feels deeper and harder with all the extra rules and considerations around it. We started the official “Pause” with the loss of a close family friend in a work related accident. The effects of that still ripple through our days. Each death this year feels harder and heavier. Each one has been deeply unexpected. Half have been tragic accidents, and the other half super fast bouts with cancer. Each one connected to me have been people of faith. They are clinging to God to comfort their hearts and souls. They are holding on to what they know to be true in the light, and asking God to help them believe it in this dark space. Last week my father in law passed after a super fast bout with cancer. We were just wrapping our minds around his diagnosis when we received the phone call to come and say our goodbyes. It takes my breath away each time I think of how fast the last few weeks have moved. This is a grief that is still not fully realized as my father-in-law was a man who was there. He added smiles and goofy jokes, he called and cut out newspaper articles letting us know about everything from oil changes to insurance. He was not a wow or bling kind of guy, but a sturdy there and cared in his way kind of man. He will be greatly missed. The thing about grief this week that caught me off guard was how it tugged on old grief. On Tuesday I was having a meltdown. I wanted “my mommy.” I do not have that kind of relationship with either of my parents, especially my mom. She is not capable. She has other issues that block her abilities. I know this in my brain, but in my heart I wanted what I could not have. Meltdown ensued that eventually turned into anger towards her, that eventually turned to anger at myself for all these feeling and wondering where this all came from. Thankfully I have people in my life who pay attention and know me well enough to speak truth. My friend called at just the right time and informed me I was grieving for my old losses. Loss of parents that can’t be what I want them to be. I really didn’t want to be doing this kind of grief on top of this new grief. It felt foolish. It was old, it had been my reality for years. It was not new, but there is something about our hearts that intertwines grief and asks to be lamented at different times. It is not comfortable or desirable, but there is something about acknowledging it and leaning in that adds a new level of comfort and healing. This old grief added to my gratefulness for my father-in-law and the gift of being a dad to us had been even when I wasn’t very good at receiving it, or not preferring how it was given. Having friends who know me and speak life over me is a gift I didn’t know I needed, but is now a treasure in this moment. Grief… oh I never choose you, and yet you seem to find me and usually in most inconvenient moment, and yet you come bearing gifts. May we not run away from grief, and may we take time to lament even as we rejoice. A weary world rejoices.

Fitness and Mental Health:  Getting some walks in and still doing Pilates with The Balanced Life Sisterhood Mental Health: being intentional with my daily gratitude journal, exercise, and continuing to look for beauty are key. Writing the date and day and a brief list of the events of day has been very helpful for my mental health. Numbering my days…

Home: basics

Giving Thanks For: hope, comfort, friends who care deeply about me and my family, family that chooses to show up and be there, laughter in the midst of grief, God’s mercies, people who challenge and encourage me to think deeper and bigger about ideas and life, well cared for, my home, provisions, rest, so much beauty in this world, good books, challenging thoughts, community, grace, moments as a whole family, God ordering my days, His provisions and reminder of His heart for me


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