February

So apparently another month has pretty much gone by?

I wouldn’t say it was the greatest month ever, but it definitely was not the worst month ever. It was just kind of a neutral month, I guess. February can be that way sometimes. I can’t believe I was born in February. It has to be one of the blah-est months of the year.

But it definitely had its bright moments, and I am here to share those with you. =) It’s a big, happy end of month post! I haven’t done one of these for a long time!

I actually took some pictures this month, so we’ll start out with those.

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This picture was taken when I had a cold and spent all my time blowing my nose and eating coffee crisp bites. Cause when you are sick, you should eat sugar. Obviously.

Renee took that picture for me. That kid knows how to drive a hard bargain. She wouldn’t take the picture until I had agreed to post two pictures of her on here as well.

So here are the two pictures of Renee:

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Neither of these pictures is actually accurate, due to the fact that she has grown up so much in the past few months! But on Saturday, I am planning on taking some pictures of her and one her friends, so I will possibly have some of those photos to share, and then you can see her awesome new glasses. I have a feeling that this little photo shoot is going to be full of giggles and inside jokes, cause Renee and Kerra are just that kind of friends. =)

I made soup. It was good. I also made meatloaf and potatoes one time. It was significantly less good than the soup. To be honest, it was bad. But the soup- it was good. One time, I had a dream, that someone was making soup, but wouldn't let me help them make soup. And I just wanted to say that that was a mistake. Because now we know that I can make soup.
I made soup. It was good. I also made meatloaf and potatoes one time. It was significantly less good than the soup. To be honest, it was bad. But the soup- it was good. One time, I had a dream, that someone was making soup, but wouldn’t let me help them make soup. And I just wanted to say that that was a mistake. Because now we know that I can make soup.
See this picture? I took it at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Standing outside. In my socks and pjs. I woke up without an alarm, and I felt wide awake, and I opened my blind and the sky was kinda pretty and so I grabbed my camera and ran outside and stood in the cold taking pictures. And then I came back inside and was freezing cold so I jumped back into my bed to warm up but I fell asleep and slept for the next four hours. So apparently, I wasn't as awake as I thought I was.
See this picture? I took it at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. Standing outside. In my socks and pjs. I woke up without an alarm, and I felt wide awake, and I opened my blind and the sky was kinda pretty and so I grabbed my camera and ran outside and stood in the cold taking pictures. And then I came back inside and was freezing cold so I jumped back into my bed to warm up but I fell asleep and slept for the next four hours. So apparently, I wasn’t as awake as I thought I was.
Me and Kenton’s conversation while driving to hockey:Me- “What a nice day.” Kenton- “I hear it was lovely at 7:30 this morning. Pretty as a picture, one might say.”
I think he was mocking me.
This one was taken once I was back in my room. I really don't know why I randomly took these pictures. I was literally still half-sleep even though I felt awake. Like when I woke up later, I had completely forgotten about it until I found the pictures on my camera.
This one was taken once I was back in my room. I really don’t know why I randomly took these pictures. I was literally still half-sleep even though I felt awake. Like when I woke up later, I had completely forgotten about it until I found the pictures on my camera. Also, leaving a trampoline outside all winter is highly recommended.
Saturday morning at home with the siblings.... craziness. It is actually not at all unusual to see Kenton flinging Wendy around.
Saturday morning at home with the siblings…. craziness. It is actually not at all unusual to see Kenton flinging Wendy around.
Sometimes, Kenton, when I'm telling you that she wants down, I mean it. =)
Sometimes, Kenton, when I’m telling you that she wants down, I mean it. =)
The hallway is a great place to hand out. I've done it a few times myself.
The hallway is a great place to hang out. I’ve done it a few times myself. And some days it is just fun to wear as much pink as you possibly can, huh, Wendy? =)
Trish- she can do wonderful things with play dough. She can make a turtle! She can even almost make a dog. But she's better at turtles. =)
Trish- she can do wonderful things with play dough. She can make a turtle! She can even almost make a dog. But she’s better at turtles. =)
Me: “Wow! I really like how you made a snowman under your bridge.” Her: “It’s not a snowman under a bridge. It’s a snowman under a rainbow.” Duh, Jasmine.
Little Stephanie Taylor. I love her. I love her when she's sitting on my lap accidentally pouring juice over her shoulder  all down the front of me as she tries to hand her cup to me. I love her when she randomly comes up to me and shoves her foot out to me because she needs her shoe tied. I love when she hands me her plate full of food and says "I don't want this." I love her.
 I love her. I love her when she’s sitting on my lap accidentally pouring juice over her shoulder all down the front of me as she tries to hand her cup to me. I love her when she randomly comes up to me and shoves her foot out to me because she needs her shoe tied. I love when she hands me her plate full of food and says “I don’t want this.” I love her.
I love him too. He doesn't talk much. But he's got a great smile. I make a fool of myself trying to get that smile in Sunday school.
I love him too. He doesn’t talk much. But he’s got a great smile. I make a fool of myself trying to get that smile in Sunday school.
What else do I love about Stephanie? I love when she literally crawls over all the other kids to get to my lap. I love that she is so snuggly, even though it makes it hard to turn the pages, and I keep poking her with the book. I love her even when when my legs fall asleep because I can't move them.
What else do I love about this wonderful kid? I love when she literally crawls over all the other kids to get to my lap. I love that she is so snuggly, even though it makes it hard to turn the pages, and I keep poking her with the book. I love her even when when my legs fall asleep because I can’t move them.
Who has the awesomest hat? My sister Wendy. Uh huh.
Who has the awesomest hat? My sister Wendy. Uh huh.
Oh look! More of Kenton and Wendy. And I don't think she actually wants down.
Oh look! More of Kenton and Wendy. And I don’t think she actually wants down.

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My rose. From Tory and God. Via Kenton. So special. =)
My rose. From Tory and God. Via Kenton. So special. =)
What is funny? Funny is wrapping people up in plastic wrap and watching them hop around and fall down. That is funny.
Youth retreat volleyball. I'm the one in the stripey sweater.
Youth retreat volleyball. I’m the one in the stripey sweater.
So every year at the youth retreat, Trish and I sneak out with our pillows and sleeping bags and have wonderfully good talks under the stairs. But this year, Trish wasn't there to do that. So I found new stair buddies. They were good ones, too. =) We talked about our favourite foods. See, some of us like meat (like chicken. Or beef.) and some of us just lean more towards pasta. Yeah.
So every year at the youth retreat, Trish and I sneak out with our pillows and sleeping bags and have wonderfully good talks under the stairs. But this year, Trish wasn’t there to do that. So I found new stair buddies. They were good ones, too. =) We talked about our favourite foods. See, some of us like meat (like chicken. Or beef.) and some of us just lean more towards pasta. Yeah.

And there was some funny, odd conversations that happened around this house in February. There is nothing unusual about that. What’s unusual is that I wrote so many of them down. So here we go.

Random Conversations That Happened Around Our House: 

Me: “I want you to leave this room right now, Renee.” Renee: “See, that’s hard, because I’m running on a fake treadmill right now.”

Then there was the time that I  thought someone knocked on my bedroom door. I opened the door, and there was no one there, so I was like, “Did anyone knock on my door?” And Mom was like “No?” And I was like “Really? I thought I heard someone knock.” And Mom said, “I don’t think anyone did… but if you hear it again, just say ‘Lord, I’m listening.'” That made me laugh.

One time, I was going into my room just as Renee was leaving it. (Yeah… she is in my room frequently.) And so I said, “Renee, what were you doing in my room?” And apparently, she was in there waiting to scare me, but I just wasn’t coming, and she finally got sick of waiting. Ha. Sorry bout that. =)

There was one Sunday lunch when apparently all of us kids were in a crazy mood, and were talking and laughing, and Renee was finally like, “Mom, are we being annoying?” and Mom said, “You and him (Kenton) are…. and you (pointing at me)- you are borderline because you’re egging them on.” So yeah. I’m an egg-er on-er. At least I’m not annoying. Not like some people in this family. 😉

“Please pass the beer. Beef. I mean beef.” -Renee

Renee and Kenton comparing who is sicker: Renee says, “Have you been having migraines?” And Kenton’s like, “I’ve been having mild heart attacks actually.” Me: “Kenton is sicker than Renee.” And Kenton: “Yeah. If you have two mild heart attacks, they cancel eachother out. That’s how I know I’ve been having them. Because I feel perfectly fine.” Yup. Makes sense to me.

“I like pepper, okay?” -Nathaniel, explaining the peppery scrambled eggs.

Things That Happened in February: 

Jason was home! We all ate breakfast together. It was so nice. =)
Jason was home! We all ate breakfast together. It was so nice. =)

We planned a youth retreat. We went to a youth retreat.

At work, the picture on the calendar for February was baby penguins. And Amber told me about a youtube video about penguins flying to a rainforest for the winter instead of struggling to survive the harsh conditions of the Arctic. There was much discussion on the accuracy of this, but after researching it, we concluded that it was just a spoof. Also, in Europe, people chase wheels of cheese down steep hills. They really do. It’s quite ridiculous.

We went tubing.

Trish had her wisdom teeth taken out.

Not a whole lot happened in February, to be honest. I’m really not a fan of February. I actually can’t think of any month that I love less. I still like February. It’s just that there is things that I absolutely love about all the other months, and February is just lacking that. I guess there is my birthday. But that’s not that exciting. If I was a Gilmore Girl, it would be. And actually, I have some friends who are pretty good at birthdays, so I do like my birthday.

I did learn some stuff though.

I learned about planning youth retreats. I almost wish I could do another one next year, because I would actually be a bit more qualified to do it.

And I learned that sometimes, even though I love how Psalms talks about God’s steadfast love so often, I will not be able to bring myself to pick up my Bible and read the words that I usually find so encouraging. Because sometimes, I just don’t want to have to try to believe that God loves me like that. It just seems too hard. And then I feel like the ultimate failure, because I’m failing at everything I try to do, and then I fail to believe in the one thing that is true and unconditional and has the power to make me better and stronger and more confident. But then I remember that verse I read that one time (from Psalms, of course) that said, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” And I realize how very often I go astray after a lie and that I am technically proud, even when I am beating myself up, because when I refuse to believe truth, it’s like I’m telling God that I know better than He does. And I want to change that, but it’s so much harder than just allowing myself to feel what comes so automatically to me. And then I wonder if it’s normal to have trouble believing that, or if I am the only one who struggles with choosing the truth over my self talk. I think I know what my problem is. I think it’s laziness. This is a hard thing to explain.

I learned more about journalism. I learned from my mistakes. A humbling learning method, but most definitely an effective one.

So yeah… February was okay, but not great, and not particularly exciting. May March be more eventful. Easter is in March. I do love Easter. =)

Love and Beginnings (but reversed)

The unofficial beginning of this post (AKA things I want to say that don’t really have anything to do with love but should be said because this is my first post on this blog. I suppose I could have just called them “opening remarks” or something like that. That would have worked too.):

Well.

Here we are.

And now that I’m here… I don’t actually have that much to say about my new blog. Just that I’m excited about it, and I’m going to do my best to post (ahem- semi-)regularly. See, right now it feels like posting regularly will be no problem at all. But I know myself. I know that I am just feeling the “new notebook high”. Is anyone else familiar with the feeling? Anyone at all? You know… that feeling of opening a new notebook and knowing that you get to write on the very first page. And when you press your pen to the paper, you can feel the soft thickness of the pages beneath that very top page, and it is a great moment. See, I love that moment so much that I have a problem when it comes to finishing notebooks. It is so hard to fill those last few pages of the old notebook when you know that such a pleasant moment awaits you with the new one. Don’t get me wrong…. I find a notebook that is full of writing almost equally as fascinating as an empty one. A book thick with handwritten words is beautiful. But an empty notebook, with smooth, blank pages? Now that is just inspiring and motivating. I guess I am a better starter than finisher. It’s always easy to come up with a good prologue for a book, or an attention-grabbing first sentence for a chapter or article. It’s the rest of it that takes some work. But don’t die on third, you know?

So yeah… right now, with my nice empty blog, it feels like it will be easy to post every Monday, (Yeah, I’m going to try to do Mondays regularly. But sometimes, it might happen on a Tuesday. Or a Saturday. Possibly a Sunday. Or even a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.) and to always have something to blog about. I am well-aware that it probably won’t always feel like that. But I am going to try to post regularly anyways. Because it will be good for me. And some bloggers post like three times a week. Surely I can do once a week, right? 

We shall see. =)

The old blog is going to be exactly where it always has been (which is right here- http://autumnbennet.blogspot.com ) if you ever want to go back there for any reason.

Moving on….

to Love. 

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(This post has officially begun.)

Can anybody think of anything more ironic than love?

I don’t know if I can.

Love is one of those things that is capable of being the best thing… and the worst thing. It can bring the greatest pleasure or the deepest pain. It can cause you to anticipate the future or regret the past. It can fill you with confidence or scare you to death. It has the power to make you laugh and make you cry. It can bring companionship or loneliness. Fulfillment and contentment or dissatisfaction.

So love?

It is a funny thing.

But can also be a sad thing.

I’m telling you- the irony is not lost on me. And the thing is, love means different things for different people. Everyone has had their own personal experiences with love, whether they were positive or negative.

I don’t know… but love is not coming across as a particularly stable thing right now. I mean, to me, it is pretty dependable. Because guess what? I have so many good people in my life. I have been blessed with people who love me. And I love them too. This worked out really well. The only times I have experienced the downside of love is through the pain that comes from being loved and loving in return, and then losing that love, due to death. Which is part of life, and cannot be avoided.

But you don’t have to look long or hard to see the pain that love can cause, because the after-effects of the selfishness, deceitfulness, shallowness, and impulsiveness of humans can be seen all around us.

But there is love that is dependable and unchanging…

Steadfast love. God’s love.

Actually, it goes deeper than that. Much deeper. This steadfast love is not just the way God feels towards us.

It’s what God is. The Bible says that God is love. It’s what makes up his very being. One of the things that makes Him tangible to us. Isn’t it awesome that God is the very thing we, as humans, need the most? That He can supply our most basic- and very deepest- longings just by being who He is? That He can comfort and heal aching, lonely, breaking hearts simply by moving close and wrapping us in Himself, if we allow Him to?

This amazes me every time I think about it.

I have been reading Psalms lately, and the phrase “steadfast love” is used many times in the ESV translation. It is a phrase that I am coming to find incredibly comforting and reassuring. So I’m going to end this post by sharing some of my favorite verses from Psalms about God’s love, or evidence of His love.

Psalm 52:8,9- “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.” I love the thought of being a “green olive tree in the house of God”. Doesn’t it just sound so… alive? Green indicates growth and renewal and rejuvenation (part of the reason I love Ireland :)). And you want something you can trust in forever and ever? What better to place your trust in than God’s love? I hear it’s steadfast. You can always trust in that love. This should be simple… but I, for one, know how to complicate things. And for some reason, it’s a whole lot easier for me to doubt love, or mentally go over all the reasons that I do not deserve love, than it is for me to accept it. But really… I might as well get over that. On account of all the steadfast love that is happening around here.

Psalm 56:8-11- “You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Evidence. Cold, hard evidence of God’s love. He keeps track of your tossings. This is so real to me, because when I have something on my mind, the first thing to go is my sleep. And I toss. And turn. God sees that. He keeps track of it. He keeps our tears. He writes them down. I don’t know why. But He sees us cry. He knows why we are crying. And He records that. And maybe someday, when we get to heaven, God will take us to his tear bottle room, and will say, “Look. Look at this, my beloved children. Shelves and shelves of bottles of tears. Your tears. Row upon row of pain and suffering and loneliness and fear and wondering if you were strong enough to survive what you were going through. But we did. You and I did it together, and you were incredible. And wasn’t it completely worth it?”. Because it will be worth it. (Okay, that was completely my imagination. I don’t know if God has a tear bottle room. I don’t know if there are shelves in heaven.)

Psalm 57:1-3,7,10- “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. I cry out to God most high, to God who fulfills his purpose for me. He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me. God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness. My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” A steadfast heart in a world where things constantly change? Beautiful.

Psalm 62:5-8- “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Were you waiting for an invitation? Cause you just got one. “Pour out your heart before him.” He wants you to. He will listen, and you will be safe in him.

Psalm 65 (all of it) is a beautiful picture of how God physically blesses the earth. Also, it contains the phrase “river of God”, and I love that phrase. It reminds me of the song “River of God”, by Meredith Andrews, which I also love. You can listen to it if you would like to. =) Right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGgEvGsZuM0. Also, at church on Sunday, Earl said something really beautiful in his message when he was talking about the growth of the church. He said something about God being like flowing water. And I love that image. It reminds me of movies like Prince Caspian and Lord of the Rings, where the water is like, alive, and has purpose and personality, and comes swooshing around the corner just when they need it most, splashing and consuming and spraying and just generally infiltrating. I love the thought of God doing that to the world. I love the thought of Him and His love washing over us, and trickling down, down, down, to the very last, hardest, driest person.

God’s love is beautiful and perfect. That’s all there is to it.

Well, I believe that I have talked about love long enough now. =) Mostly because it’s bedtime, and I’m tired. Definitely not because I have exhausted the topic!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!