Facing the Week

On Sunday evenings, it can feel like Monday morning is right there, breathing heavily in your ear and tapping your shoulder every now and then just to remind you of its presence. We anticipate the weekend, and it comes- in all its blazing glory- but before we know it, it’s gone again, leaving nothing but some sparkles and stale popcorn behind it.

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Now, as a general rule, I enjoy Mondays. But on Sunday evening, it’s hard to remember that. However, I am learning a few things that make the adjustment from weekend to weekdays a bit easier for me. Maybe they can work for you too!

  1. Plan ahead. On Sunday nights after church (or early Monday morning), I like to sit down (preferably in a beanbag in front of the fireplace) with my day-planner and write down everything that is coming in the next week, and everything that I need to do to prepare for what is coming. My mind feels a lot calmer when I get those things out on paper, rather than trying to organize them in my mind. In my mind, those “to-do” or “to-go-to” items behave rather like a flock of chimney swifts, if you can picture such a thing. On paper, they are controlled, contained, and well…. manageable. (One thing to note: give yourself the freedom to be okay with the week not going exactly as planned.)
  2. Just take things one step at a time. So, you’ve planned your week. Now, you need to actually do the week, which you will find takes significantly more energy than the planning stage. One thing that helps me is to just do the thing that I’m doing, and not try to do everything at once, or think about everything at once. Be okay with just doing one thing at a time, sometimes.
  3. Accept what the week holds. Maybe it’s an event that you are dreading, or a responsibility that you don’t feel qualified to handle, or being gone every single night of the week. It’s okay. That’s just the way it is that week. You’ll survive. You might learn and grow. For me, accepting and acknowledging this helps me to move forward in a more positive way, instead of griping and complaining the whole time. Just hold on to Jesus- Grace, Beauty, and Truth- and you will be okay at the end of the day!
  4. Intentionally plan some joyful moments. It’s okay to spend some time relaxing or doing something that you enjoy doing. Schedule it in, if at all possible. If you plan for this ahead of time, you have the added bonus of anticipating it! I don’t think it’s selfish to think, “Okay. What would I really enjoy doing at some point this week?”
  5. Get enough sleep. This one is self-explanatory. But honestly- sometimes I have to intentionally fight the mentality that “I need to squeeze every last second from this day”. Sometimes, if you are tired, it is more efficient to go to bed early and pick up your project again the next day. I’m learning that it’s okay to just go to work, come home, do what needs to be done, and go to bed.

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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.

-Lamentations 3: 22-24

The Glory of It All

There is something amazing about snow.

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It makes the familiar things look different- softer and more mysterious.

It comes to the ground in flakes, but over time, manages to cover a lot of ground (if you know what I mean). To me this is more proof that God is a God of process and journey.

Snow also brings the hope of Christmas.

I’ve been feeling little twinges of Christmas recently.

This came in the mail yesterday:

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We opened the box, with great excitement and expectation. I am a sentimental, nostalgic sort of person, and all sorts of warm feelings were welling up inside me as we began to take out the pieces. This was the nativity set that our children would grow up with. The nativity set that our grandchildren would grow up with. (This is not a pregnancy announcement! This is just me being sentimental and futuristic.)

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But lo and behold, when we began taking out the shepherd, and wisemen, and other figurines, several of them were broken. My warm feelings started to feel just a bit fractured and splintery.

This poor, gentle creature lost an ear.

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Baby Jesus has an unrealistic amount of hair on his head AND he is missing one hand. (See missing hand in the bottom left corner of the photo.)

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Joseph looks like he is shocked or gagging.

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Perhaps the real reason for that expression is because his head is not attached to his body. Which makes it totally understandable!

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We debated returning it. But I think we’re keeping it. I shan’t go into detail about that decision here, but let’s just say that something inside my soul- at some point- began to embrace the idea of an imperfect nativity set. We’ll glue them together, and they will be comfortable in their imperfection, as though they have already been around for awhile. And someday, perhaps little children or grandchildren will break more of them.

The glory of the story will still be there.

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That first Christmas wasn’t perfect.

And Christmas around here isn’t perfect. There is the potential to become tired out, people-ed out, and food-ed out (considering both the eating and the preparing). But there is also the potential for much, much beauty, if we choose to be okay with the on-going imperfection of it.

Everything is okay, because Jesus came and one day, He will come again.

Isaiah 40:9-11

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.

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