Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fresh

Yesterday, on a walk in a different street from my usual route, I noticed how a simple ranch style 1950's house looked like some kind of confection with its light cream colored siding, white trim surrounded by pristine white snow and dusted with snow on its roof. Although it could have been bland, it sort of glowed. I don't know if the owners intended it to look so sweet like that in the winter time, or maybe it was just me or the way the light happened to hit it at that moment. The clean simplicity was refreshing to see.

Next month, I'm going to be studying Cynthia Heald's bible study "Becoming a Woman of Simplicity". I'm not sure what to expect, but right now I'm desiring a change in my life towards scaling down on things that are becoming clutter, emotionally and physically.

I'm at the point right now in my life that there is just too much accummulation. I don't know how it all got here (not by me, surely?) but I want so badly to get rid of it. If my pack rat hubby would allow it! This will be an interesting process.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Time to Take a Break


I finished a stretch of work days, including Sunday, in a row. I woke up this morning with a head cold. I needed a day of rest. And today was that day. Right now, the Christmas tree lights are on as the winter's day darkens early. I don't regret my decision at all, except that I have a lot of stuff to do and people to see. It's Erin's birthday and two young women from India want to learn how to bake Christmas cookies (and I want to learn their delectible cuisine as well). Oh yeah, and all those Christmas things that are currently not marked off my list yet.


Charlie Brown's Christmas CD just finished and Yo-yo Ma and his friends are currently on the player with mellow holiday music. Dennis is making chicken stir-fry for dinner (he learned how a few months ago) and I'm looking pretty chic with my hair still sticking straight up from a bad case of bed head. It goes well with my comfy attire--grey cotton pants, black tank top with a black v-neck sweater over it and fluffy baby blue slippers. They didn't have pink in my size at Meijers. But blue will do.


Dennis had a second interview today for a job that we both are pretty excited about. And it sounds like they are excited about him. I guess we can officially say that Dennis will be working at the YMCA (and getting free membership at the gym!! ). In February at the latest, we may be hearing back about another opportunity that might involve us with international students on a deeper level. This would be a step of faith for both of us, as it would mean raising support for awhile.


As for me, I'm feeling better already.
"...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content..." Philipppians 4:11












Beauty with Brains


CBS ran a story on its "Early Show" about the 10 most stupid and the 10 smartest dog breeds. Ginger (our golden retriever) got beat by the German Shepherds, Poodles (!) and those dang Border Collies as fourth most intelligent dog. Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Little Drummer Boy





"The Little Drummer Boy" was the first Christmas song that I remember affecting me when I was a little girl. I didn't totally understand it, but the idea of someone longing to give something of worth to an infant touched my heart. The story's resolution of the baby acknowledging and accepting the poor child's gift of himself mirrored my own longing to be seen and appreciated.

The artist Jeff Scher's rendition in the video's animation is focused on friends and family making connections with each other and re-establishing bonds, what makes us feel loved. It also reminds me of Christina Rosetti's poem "In The Bleak Midwinter" another soul who also had nothing to give the baby Jesus and found his answer in giving Him his heart. And I really don't know any better way to celebrate Christmas other than opening the door of my heart to the Lord and to others.

Jesus often spoke of having faith like little children in order to enter into God's kingdom, and the style of Jeff Scher's animation in this music video evokes that point of view for me. Such a simple song, simply sung and simply illustrated with many layers of spiritual meaning, at least to me.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Reality Check


What is going on with the LeBlanc's right now? We are struggling and getting blessed at the same time, as well as prayerfully and hopefully blessing others.


Dennis lost his job. And it turned out to be not the end of the world. He's studying for selling insurance again, for Aflac, and after the test will be trained in January. There are many more possibilities as well. More about those later. It's been comforting to see God work these things out for good.


Before he was fired, Dennis knew for a long time that it was coming. He was thinking that it would happen in January, but was shocked that it happened a lot sooner. But he saved a lot of money to prepare for a long haul, at least a year. That shocked me. He spent many months telling me we can't afford this or that. Honestly, he didn't mean to be secretive. He just did what he always does--he tells me every once in awhile and I forgot about it.


Initially, I was upset, though, even when he told me we had a financial cushion. We had a nice routine going, and it was a challenge to my sense of security that his paychecks were coming to an end. He was saving money even by walking or biking to work. A few weeks ago, on my way home from work, I was panicing in my car while waiting for a light to turn green. Dennis had no job, bills would be coming soon and how long could our savings hold out if something went terribly wrong? I suddenly felt very vulnerable.


And really, that is the truth, we are all vulnerable. This was not a bad thing to realize. I calmed down with the thought that we would do our best, and that Dennis needed my encouragement. After the light turned, it hit me that I needed to depend on God more than I knew. My focus had to be on God's faithfulness to His children, even if things are really difficult. In the meantime, Dennis and I had to proceed wisely and work hard.


A couple of days ago, we crunched our numbers on our budget status. We made some hard decisions. We are going to do our best to remedy the situation, and trust God for strength to keep going. But all around, we are fine. I am so thankful.