Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The End of NaBloPoMo, Failure, and Success

Well, so much for NaBloPoMo. Seven whole days without a post? Oops. But, I'm okay with this failure. Even with the week off, I think I've posted more this month than the rest of the whole year combined; so, not a complete failure.

Thanksgiving is an obvious excuse. Families, feasts, food comas... I absolutely love that holiday. Thanksgiving means pie-baking time, and I go a little crazy each year. Last year I baked seven pies for that weekend. This year was a little less intense - only three this time - but superior in appearance and taste.

The one on the left is a classic apple pie, with the Greek "pi" cutout. It was Eric's idea, and a big hit with everyone. The middle is a pecan pie, and the one on the right is a frozen peanut butter chocolate pie- kind of like a giant Reese's.

In addition to the holiday, my second excuse for not writing is that I've been reading some dearly missed fiction. A couple Harry Potter books and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, as well as an Advent devotional, Watch for the Light, and As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur- a study I've been itching to read for months. I'm working on a whole post consisting of what I've been learning from them (minus Harry Potter) and how they are all fitting together so beautifully.

And finally, I've been just overwhelmed and exhausted by the barrage of commercials and consumerism that inevitably follows Thanksgiving. I didn't even participate in Black Friday, and it completely wiped me out. Now, normally, I don't have to put up with TV commercials. Since we have Netflix Instant on our Wii and no cable or satellite, that's all we watch besides football. But since it's football season, I now have to endure commercials. They exhaust, disgust, and anger me. The constant, "I want it and I want it now," that's packaged and presented as the good, the normal, the right way to act is too much for me. All the Black Friday ads and the pervasive idea that "we must have all the shiny new things no matter what" just completely takes away the magic and mystery of Christmas.

I felt this not only from TV, but also in my email inbox (with hundreds of sales and deals from Victoria's Secret, Old Navy, Amazon, Threadless, Mod Cloth, etc., etc., etc...), on Facebook, on several blogs I follow. So I unplugged. I just didn't get on the internet; or if I did, I didn't last very long before the exhaustion kicked in.

It was lovely, it was less stressful, it was a welcome break. Carving out a safe place in my recliner under a blanket, with a cup of sugar cookie flavored tea and a good book totally beat the pressure to update my blog again, and again, and again. I'm content with that decision, and the consequence.

As November comes to a close, I'm thankful for the push from Courtney, and everyone's encouragement with the NaBloPoMo challenge. And I've developed the habit of blogging more consistently, and hopefully more clearly. Here's to keeping on!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Goal Reached

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7

That about sums it up.
I'm so overcome with so many different emotions, I hardly know how to begin to express them.
I read Mark and Luke today, finishing this journey I've been on for the past three months and six days. I finished at 1:41pm, and couldn't help but cry. Tears of... I don't even know. Relief? Pride? Thankfulness? Disbelief? I didn't think I could do this; I doubted myself, my perseverance, my stamina, my faithfulness. But God, to his glory, is strong where I am weak, and carried me through.
What more can I say?

Moments of Grace (31)
31. Completing a goal that I didn't think I could

Transcendant by Frail

Monday, November 21, 2011

Approaching the Finish Line

I just finished reading Jeremiah. This leaves only Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then I will be done! God has been so incredibly faithful through this, and I would never have gotten through it without his hand guiding mine. I prayed for focus today. And (surprise, surprise) it was one of the hardest days to keep focused; chores, phone calls regarding my new job, potty training, and the addict's itch to check Facebook one more time kept grabbing my attention.

So I prayed again. And again. And again.
And God was faithful. We powered through and read the remaining 42 chapters of Jeremiah.

And oh, how the suspense has been building! The whole movement of the Old Testament has swept me to this point, and now I get to return to Jesus! I've been saving these from the beginning, knowing how I'd need them after all the darkness of the Old Testament. How exciting to go from the old covenant to the new!

All this is working together with the seasons as well. Advent begins on Sunday, and my excitement continues to build. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, of course, and all I keep thinking is, "LORD, I am so thankful for you, your spirit, your love, your grace, your compassion..."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Moments of Grace

Moments of Grace (21 - 30)

21. Being close enough to the finish line to know that I can make it
22. Knowing that tomorrow I get to see my sister
23. Baking pies
24. Snuggling with Duke, the biggest lapdog ever
25. Riding in the car with just Mom
26. Bear hugs
27. "Fish kisses," "gross kisses," "Eskimo kisses," and "butterfly kisses"
28. The compliments I receive every time I wear Coco Mademoiselle
29. (Correctly) understanding a football play
30. Castle, a glass of wine, and a hot bath

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Love Affair

I'm involved in a love affair. It's a relatively new development, but I am completely smitten.

Mushrooms. Oh, how I've always wanted to like them, but could never get over the chewy texture. But now, after trying and retrying several times, the bond has finally been formed, and I am slightly obsessed. It started with some stuffed portobellos filled with cream cheese, bacon, and chives. Who couldn't love that? And then on the cruise in August, I had a bow-tie pasta with veal in a morel sauce. Heaven. Then a couple weeks ago Dad made some deer steaks with a mushroom and red onion sauce that's pretty much to die for (which Eric replicated tonight). A few nights ago I made this mushroom and brown rice casserole, which turned out as divine as it looks.

I think we'll be happy in this new relationship... my stomach sure is.

Friday, November 18, 2011

First Snow

We had the first snow of the season earlier this morning. Caleb loves to watch the rain and the snow, so that's what we did. It was lovely and peaceful. He was pretty disappointed when it stopped, but I assured him there will be plenty more to come, and probably soon, since it is already more than halfway through November. Now that it's quiet time, I hear a hot toddy calling my name...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How God Keeps Me From Drowning

It may sound trite, or cheesy, or cliche, or all of the above, but it's true: When life is throwing me everything it's got, and I feel like I'm going to drown in it, God sends me a rainbow to tell me otherwise. It started in high school, when I was just learning how to deal with... everything. And then in 2007, I saw them all the time. And now today, when I have six books left in the Bible, and distraction and temptation are at their highest. It's been dark and rainy all week, but just after I prayed for his help in this final push to complete the task he's given me, God gave me the physical sign I've been craving. He is so faithful; he is so good. And during the past few months, it's finally starting to sink in that he really does care about the sparrows and the deer and the sheep and me, Lianne, his daughter and disciple.

Moments of Grace (12 - 20)

12. A rainbow, just when I need it most
13. English sparrows at my bird feeders
14. Hugs and kisses for Mr. Leopard, too
15. Unexpected encouragement
16. Finding the perfect book to give to a friend
17. The way Devotchka makes my heart swell
18. The way thirty pages of hand-written notes feel
19. Rachael asking if my red pen is ready to do some work
20. How Eric's clothes are so much cozier than my own

Thoughtful Thursday Blog Hop

I've been wanting to link up to this blog hop hosted by Melissa for a while now, and finally have something actually thoughtful to add (my post "On Job, Suffering, and Empathy).

Found the Marbles

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not much going on today

 This is what we did during our whole morning- played Warioland Shake It. So much fun, and perfect for a day like today, when it's just on the verge of freezing rain, dark and cloudy, and all-around miserable.

I don't have much to write today; my brain is pretty fried. Yesterday I read Revelation, today Lamentations and started Ezekiel. All those apocalyptic visions paired with Bright Eyes (during quiet time, not around Caleb... though he did accompany me to that concert while still within my womb), I just don't have that much to say. 

These leaf roses sure brighten the kitchen table, though. These are my finished product from the tutorial found on Design Sponge. Since I didn't have a vase that would work with these beauties, I wrapped an empty (clean) salsa jar in florist tape to match to roses. Voila! Instant pretty! (And I'm loving that I am figuring out how to make the pictures I want with my new camera...)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Firehouse Casserole

My apologies for not having photos; I forgot to take them last night.

I made our family's favorite casserole last night. And while it's not healthy by any stretch, it sure does hit the spot on cold, dark winter evenings when we're craving some serious comfort food. Eric's mom gave me this recipe when we first started dating (I would cite the cookbook it came from, but I don't know which one it is). I've made enough improvements changes to call it my own, at this point.

Firehouse Casserole

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or 2, if you want it extra meaty)
2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans condensed soup (I usually use cream of celery and cream of potato, but any combination of cream of vegetable soup will be delicious)
1 soup can milk
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 can corn
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
Chipotle Tabasco, to taste
10 flour tortillas (or 2 dozen corn tortillas; I prefer the flour tortilla texture, personally)
1 pound cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees (F).
2. Brown beef, drain. Season with chili powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, and/or whatever else you think is yummy.
3. Combine soup and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Add in chiles, corn,  red bell pepper, and Tabasco.
4. Cut tortillas into bite-size pieces, and place half in the largest casserole dish you have.
5. Spread a layer of half the beef, then half the soup, and half the cheese. Repeat the layers.
6. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes, or longer if you want slightly burned cheese (which I happen to love, but know it's not for everyone).
7. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then enjoy the gooey goodness, and try not to eat the whole thing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Open Arms Dance Project

This is so beautiful and inspiring. And since I've joined the Open Arms Dance Project here, it gives me so many ideas of how to move and dance with the other members. There are people in wheelchairs, some with Down Syndrome, Alzheimer's, and without people any disabilities all dancing and creating together. The mission of Open Arms Dance Project is to encourage a compassionate community through our actions and our art.
I am so excited and honored to be a part of this community, and am absolutely loving every moment of it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday School Lesson

Today I taught the junior high Sunday school class at church. The lesson was on Psalm 140 and why God wants us to be peaceful people rather than violent. It was interesting, trying to get honest, serious answers out of three boys and one girl that age. The boys who are all gamers and love movies like 300 and Zombieland. But, we all had fun (I think), and while it didn't go as well as I had hoped, I know that at least one of them took some things to heart. Which is the whole point, right?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I didn't forget!

Oh my goodness, I had just gotten to bed when I realized I hadn't posted today! So, it's going to be short and sweet, but I will not fail!

We had another awesome Saturday.

Caleb spent last night at Eric's dad's house, and we had a date night! Then this morning I went with the youth from our church to do Rake Up Boise, and between two houses we filled about 30 huge bags. Homemade cocoa and pumpkin spice cookies were our reward, and man was it good. Eric also did some volunteer bike trail building in the foothills.

When we both finished our respective projects, we met at home and had delicious Italian leftovers for lunch. We picked up Caleb and came back home. Caleb finished his potty chart (!!!), and as a reward he chose to buy a train. (Yes, we are bribing him with expensive toys that he would normally only get for birthday or Christmas, but we're desperate here, and it's actually starting to work!) We went to Toys R Us and he picked out a train, and we had dinner at Chipotle, since it's within walking distance.

We watched some football, and I made these (this is from the site with the tutorial; tomorrow I'll upload my own photos):
I found the project here:
 So much fun!

After Caleb went to bed, Eric and I watched a couple episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which is just ridiculously good for a cartoon we watched when we were kids. 

Okay, I've fulfilled my commitment for the day, and I am exhausted.

Friday, November 11, 2011

On Job, Suffering, and Empathy

Today I decided to tackle Job. I've been putting this particular book off since the beginning. It's never been an easy story for me to stomach, and honestly I get pretty angry with God at what he allows to happen. With this in mind, and all the baggage I carry around, before I even opened my Bible this morning I wrote out a prayer. It's now such a familiar prayer, I've asked so many times over the past few months, for eyes to see and ears to hear, that I might learn what God wants me to learn.

With my hand grasping tightly to God's, I dove right in.

First of all, I love this different format. A prologue and an epilogue? I haven't read those words in what seems like ages. And the setting for these epic conversations between God and the Accuser, with all of the angels standing by- I get so, so excited at any mention of angels. And Leviathan (in Job 3:8), too.

What strikes me the hardest this time around, is not Job's reaction to his suffering, but the reaction of his friends. I've always focused on Job, his righteousness, his faith, his constitution. But this time, I'm learning so much from his friends.

The first seven days of his suffering and mourning, they sit silently with him, participating in his pain. And how heroic! How wonderful! This is the kind of friend I think we all long for.

But then they open their mouths.

And I am so convicted, because I know I've done the same thing. I've been convinced I knew the whole situation, and that I had all the answers. I think of the Christian I used to be, so cocky yet pretending to be humble. I knew just what to say in every situation, and I wasn't afraid to put my two cents in- and then some.

That's the funny thing about suffering, though, isn't it? It gives you a whole new perspective; it teaches you empathy. I am so ashamed of the person I used to be. The selfish, self-centered, know-it-all, judgmental hypocrite. 

2007 was my year of suffering; but through it I experienced the greatest joy as well. I was trying to figure out how to live with vertigo, and seeing every specialist imaginable to find the cause of it. I met Eric, we made some questionable choices, and I got pregnant. My best friend and roommate kicked me out of our house, and our life-long friendship abruptly ended. I also lost my job, and my health insurance along with it. The church I'd grown up in turned its back on me, looking down their noses at me for not "making it right" and marrying Eric immediately, even though I didn't know him all that well yet. We decided to move in together, against the wishes of my church and my parents. Nothing was stable, nothing was solid; the only thing I held onto was that Jesus loves me, and that was enough.

It got better; life leveled out. A friend helped me get the life-saving job at Borders, I qualified for Medicaid and WIC, Eric turned out to be an absolute saint and my soul mate. While we did have some fights, my mom was always there for me. I found an amazing church, that welcomed me for who I am, not the choices I make. And Caleb, my sweet, amazing miracle, was born.

I learned a lot that year. (And continue to learn.) Empathy was the biggest lesson. Rather than looking down my nose at someone, I want to learn their story, who they are. I want everyone I come in contact with to know love, the love that Jesus has for me and everyone else.

I'm learning that it's okay to just sit in pain with a friend who's hurting, and keep my big mouth shut. Sometimes you just need someone to cry with, and that's okay. I don't need all the answers.

Painting above is "Duelo" by ReevolveR 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I'm drawing a blank today.

I think blogging ten days in a row is a record for me. And I feel like my ideas, or the the "easy" ones to write about, are all taken up.

Hm. Still blank.

That darn blinking cursor is taunting me.

Well, I suppose I'll just ask you this, reader. Would you be interested in seeing my recipes? Over the past several years, I've gone from being a totally inept cook to a pretty darn good one. And this year, as I've learned my way around the kitchen, I've started experimenting and improving on recipes. I've been writing the "keepers" down, and am excited about my own, growing cookbook.

I know there are million recipe/cooking blogs out there, with far more experienced people than I. But is that something I should consider posting on here? Or not? I want honest answers. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gratitude for Books

Beth Revis, the author of one of my favorite young adult books, Across the Universe, is putting on this awesome contest, centered on showing gratitude for books. How could I not enter? This is right up my alley.

The "assignment" is to write about the book you are most thankful for. I've been thinking this over since she first posted about it, on October 31, but for the life of me, I can't pick just one book. It's impossible. So I'm going to narrow it down to six. For now.

1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
This novel blew my mind, and made me feel more excited about literature, and the amazing things that can be done in/through/with it. It challenged my faith, my sense of right and wrong, and in the end strengthened both. And her style, her undeniable style, unfolding the story so expertly, so that I was hanging on every word, rereading passages just for the poetry and beauty. It woke me up, and threw me headfirst into the reading frenzy I've been in for the past three years- going from reading maybe fifteen or twenty books a year to over one hundred, easily. This book awakened a deep passion within me.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (Prince Caspian, in particular)
Yes, this is also what Beth Revis wrote about, but I would be doing by self a disservice if I left the series out. It's what pops into my head first when someone asks about my favorite book. I cry every time I read them, and I try to read them once a year. Lucy is my hero, in every way. Just typing the name Aslan gives me goosebumps. It is so purely beautiful, magical, wonderful... Every time I read it, I learn something new. I feel closest to God when I read about Narnia, and I long to bury my face into Alsan's mane. I could go on, and on, and on about these books...

3. Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie
Peter Pan evokes the same emotions as Narnia. And the best, most thoughtful, most beautiful gift I've ever received is the first edition Peter and Wendy. Eric tracked down a copy for me, and it is, by far, my most prized possession. And the love, how he knows my soul, the thoughtfulness Eric showed still brings me to tears. I'm so blessed to have such a man. The two go hand in hand now, the magic of Peter Pan, the beauty, the joy, and the love of my life. With Eric, I've grown up, and don't regret or fear it, like I used to.

4. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
I haven't yet found a more exciting, romantic book than the first time I read Les Miserables in the seventh grade. Eponine is still one of the greatest characters of all time. And as I've moved through each stage of my life, so has this book. Each time I understand it differently, and appreciate it even more (even though each time I didn't think it was possible).

5. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
Apart from the Bible, this book has been instrumental in forming my faith as it is today. It introduced me to Jesus as more than just a good teacher, a good man, a good prophet. It introduced me to Jesus as the creator of the universe, the smartest person/being to ever exist, and therefore worthy of adoration and obedience. It taught me to actually live out my faith with authenticity, rather that acknowledging it but doing nothing about it. And so much more than that. I think just about every page has something highlighted, including the footnotes. It's a wealth of knowledge and insight.

6. The Bible
Because, really, how could I not include this? I probably should have listed it first, but ending the list seems fitting, too. What can I say about it? I think it speaks for itself.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lianne has voted

I get so giddy each Election Day. I love doing my civic duty, casting my vote, dropping the ballot in the box, getting the sticker, and hearing the official say, "Lianne ___ has voted." The photo above is from the first time I voted, the year I turned 18. I was just as excited this morning as I was the first time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Frost, and 1000 Moments of Grace

 Another favorite part of the fall: frost. It is endlessly fascinating to me. And I love that at this point, I have the luxury of being able to stop and take twenty minutes out of my morning to take photos of frosty leaves in the front yard.

I'm going to start something new; not new to the world, but new to me. Courtney has been doing this for over a year now, and for the whole time I've been inspired and blessed by the Moments of Grace she finds in the little things, working up towards one thousand. So since it's November, and everyone else seems to be writing about the things they are thankful for, I'm going to jump in and start my own 1000 Moments of Grace. It'll be beautiful, and encouraging, and will remind me of the things I should focus on, rather than failures, bad attitudes, and general muck.

Moments of Grace (1 - 11)
1. Frost patterns on leaves
2. Hot cocoa made from scratch, with a bit of peppermint
3. Caleb's video game sound effects when he jumps and plays
4. "Jump fives"
5. Comfy pants all day long
6. Waking up with a cold nose, but wrapped in my down comforter
7. Turning the thermostat up to 70
8. French music, and actually understanding the words
9. A well-timed Bible verse, showing me yet again that God knows just what I need
10. Eskimo and butterfly kisses
11. "Manifesto" by The City Harmonic

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just Another Saturday

I'm quickly realizing that writing on Saturday is difficult.

We had a wonderful, rare day as a family today; we were all together for the whole day. For a long time I worked only on Saturdays, staying home with Caleb the rest of the week, until my beloved Borders closed. (But that is a whole blog post unto itself...) But now that it's hunting season, most Saturdays and Sundays Eric is out hunting elk, deer, ducks, or whatever else is in season. And Sunday mornings Caleb and I go to church.

So for the three of us to have the entire day together? A rare gift.

We didn't do anything particularly special, aside from a trip to the pet store. We added a plecostomus and three snails to our aquarium today. The snails are my favorite part of the community, aside from the random baby sunset platies that pop out from time to time.

We also braved the insanity of WalMart on a Saturday out of desperation for more Pull-Ups.  

We had leftover pizza for breakfast, and Eric made an amazing dinner of duck, gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn. Duck is one of my favorite things to eat, so I was in heaven.

We watched Cars 2 and some college football.

Nothing extraordinary, but everything wonderful. Days like this are hard to beat.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Potty Training

It's become my arch-nemesis.
It's embarrassing at this point. Caleb is now four-years-old. This should have been mastered one, even two years ago. Half his entire life!
And I'm at my wit's end. I have tried it all. Everything. If there is some new strategy, new bribe, new method, I will be absolutely shocked.
The hardest part is that he gets it. He really does. He just doesn't care enough to make the effort.

So, I beg you, if you have any brilliant ideas, share them? For the sake of my sanity (not to mention my carpets)?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I love the fall, but...

(tree in our front yard)
I love the fall. It is my favorite season. I love wearing sweaters and long socks and mittens and hats. I love cuddling up under a blanket with Eric or Caleb or even better, both of them. I love pumpkin spice lattes and apple cider and any kind of homemade soup in bread bowls. I love the color changes and the smell of farmers burning whatever it is they burn.

But, despite all the love that I have flying around, days when it is cold and windy and the sky is dark really, really get me down. Days like today. I'm fighting for energy to do anything but huddle on the couch and watch hours of Gossip Girl or Glee or Desperate Housewives.

Filling the bread maker with ingredients for a loaf was a big victory today. (A sad statement.)

I'm stocking up on Vitamin D. That helped quite a bit last year. What about you? Are you affected by yucky weather? How do you combat that?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

On a roll

I'm on a roll today, marking off seven books! Yes, they were short minor prophets for the most part, but still. It was a good push, and much gained ground. The best part is that I actually enjoyed most of it. There are such gems from those prophets, especially Micah, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, which contains probably my favorite verse in the whole Bible (thus far, at least). I even had the constitution to tackle Ecclesiastes and all its depressing "meaningless" passages.

Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Zephaniah 3:17 
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

Amazing, right? I get goosebumps each time I read that one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Challenges

Okay. So. Courtney has invited me to take the NaBloPoMo challenge. A writing challenge? How could I resist? And as much as I've loved participating in NaNoWriMo, this one seems like the better choice for this year. So here I go...

Honestly, I've been a little overwhelmed lately. We celebrated Caleb's fourth birthday four times last week, along with Halloween and a six hour round-trip drive to watch one of the last games of my sister's soccer career. We've been a busy family.

I've also been consumed with a person challenge. It's a big one, and not one I'm taking lightly at all. I'm reading the Bible, the whole entire thing, and nothing else until I've finished. This is, by far, the longest, most difficult fast I've ever done, as a girl who reads at least one hundred books a year.

It came about when praying for God to show me a specific, tangible way to make his priorities my own. And he gave me this challenge. So. I couldn't really say no to that, nor is it even an option to give up. I'm in the thick of the Old Testament, so disobedience to God doesn't look like a good option. At all. No way am I going against the God of Moses, Jacob, and David.

I'm entering the fourth month of this fast. I have twenty-six books to go, which puts me at just over 60% finished. And at this point it is a daily fight to keep going. I'm exhausted by all the fighting and disobedience. And honestly, I am just dying to pick up a trashy romance or Harry Potter or some French fairy tales. But, like I said, it's not even an option. But the temptation... Oh, the temptation is wearing me thin.

I wrote out a long prayer this morning, begging God for his help and sustenance and strength to keep going. I prayed for a better attitude, and refreshed sense of adventure and thirst. I prayed that I would stay focused on him rather than on all the books I'd rather be reading right now.

And, surprise surprise, he is so wonderfully faithful. The next Psalm in line was 69, which he steadily reminded me that I will not drown- he will rescue me. I continued through Psalm 74, which excited me at the mention of Leviathan. And I received encouragement from two people, one with a phone call, one online- without having reached out to them myself.

So I continue, steadfast and determined.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Something Beautiful

"Pocket Dragon" by blepharopsis on DeviantArt

I want a chameleon. Badly. Just look at its face! So cute I could die!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Quote from Henri Nouwen

But Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, "I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits. Do not run away from me. Come back to me - not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How can you ever doubt that I will embrace you again, hold you against my breast, kiss you and let my hands run through your hair? I am your God - the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you, that I cannot stand you any more, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words. I see all of your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love. Do not judge yourself. Do not condemn yourself. Do not reject yourself. Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but that will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, 'I love you, I love you, I love you.' "
-Henri Nouwen, Show Me the Way

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Something Beautiful

Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot."

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.

"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

--Mark 14:1-9

And since the act is all there is of you, since humility has reduced you to this single thing alone and now you are no more or no less than your love for the Lord, you yourself are beautiful and rare and rich with meaning.

You are the beauty of faithful loving.

To those who do not truly love, you will ever be ephemeral or else an offense, either a shadow or an idiot. To me you are a model. You gave up all; you became nothing at all save love for the Lord; and exactly so you are remembered. Here, "wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world," is love's moment!

--Walter Wangerin, Jr., Reliving the Passion

Friday, March 11, 2011


Although my participation in Lent is a fairly new thing (2007 was my first attempt), I take it incredibly seriously. I feel silly when I write that this year I'm giving up chocolate. I feel like that stereotypical stay-at-home mom who grows fatter each day because of her pathetically cliche addiction to truffles. However, I do honestly feel I've entered an unhealthy relationship with food- and chocolate in particular. I've been using it as a comfort. If I'm upset or angry or sad, I eat hand-fulls chocolate chips or whatever other treats we have around the kitchen. Afterward, I feel extremely guilty, and though it's embarrassing to actually admit, strongly consider throwing it all back up. I am not bulimic, nor have I ever been, but I feel like I could easily end up that way if I don't make some changes. I need to learn and know with every fiber within myself that I don't need to turn to food for comfort.

My other unhealthy addiction is Facebook. I've decided to limit myself to logging on once a day. This sounds silly too, but it IS a challenge to stick to it. There are much more important things I need to occupy my mind and my day with, rather than hourly updates on what my friends are doing.

I also have two devotionals for this Lenten season. The first is Reliving the Passion by Walter Wangerin, Jr. I read this last year, and loved the journey it took me on, with Jesus, to his death and resurrection. The second is Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg. I am so, so excited about this one. It came in the mail today, so I have a couple days of catch-up to do. I've always expressed myself better in writing than in speech, and prayer is no exception.

I'm excited about this Lenten season. I know God will help me continue to grow into the person he wants me to be- free of addiction and over-encumbered by unnecessary things. The anticipation towards the celebration of Easter is growing, as is my desire to spend deeper, richer time with my Lord.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just Like Daddy

Caleb wanted to dress like his Daddy today, with a nice shirt and the all-important tie. Maybe in twenty years he'll be an accountant too...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Amazing show!

Last night Eric took me out to see an incredible show!

First was the incredibly adorable Priscilla Ahn.

Then the North Mississippi Allstars were a delicious surprise.

And then DeVotchKa, who made me cry the whole time.

It was SUCH a good night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gift Card Giveaway!

Not here, but here: at Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes! My friend Miriam is a prolific reader and excellent writer, blogging her journey through the writing and publishing world. She's doing an awesome giveaway that you should absolutely check out!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wherein Lianne learns a huge life lesson.

"Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs."
-Helen Burns, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

A. I'm re-reading Jane Eyre, and loving it even more than the first time. I'm reading the same copy that I read the first time, and am discovering the many ways I've changed in those seven years, and how my whole view of the world has changed. Especially in Volume I. Where I once underlined the parts regarding Jane's outbursts and passions, and how she wept (i.e. "...left to myself I abandoned myself, and my tears watered the boards." - Vol.I, ch.8), now I find myself identifying more with Helen, striving to be even more like her. I've nearly memorized the Sermon on the Mount, and it grows ever more familiar; it's settled into my bones. I've learned to forgive.

B. How long did it take me to learn that lesson! Three and a half years I've been working on one situation in particular. I lost who I thought was my best friend in the most hurtful, shocking way I could imagine: she abandoned me and literally kicked me out of the house we were living in together, at the moment I needed her friendship and support the most.

I was hurt, I was bereft, I was angry and bitter.

This fall I went through the Breaking Free study by Beth Moore, and it did indeed help me break free. My main goal in the study was to get rid of that deep anger and bitterness, to finally forgive the girl who caused me so much grief, and to finally move on. It was hard, hard work. Several months of feeling those feelings again, opening old woulds, and releasing it to God. I intentionally went through the steps of grieving to mourn the loss of such an important friendship. And He has turned my mourning into gladness.

Through all that I was able to finally forgive her. I realized that can also be a daily need. But the nightmares stopped. The anger dissipated. My strong desire for closure was met not through anything from her (I so longed for an apology), but from the knowledge that I was doing my part, and peace in God's presence. I let go, and was free of that prison, and it felt wonderful.

About a month after the study ended, I received a Facebook friend request from her. And I was fine- where once I would have had a panic attack, would have been a wreck. I clicked the "decline" button, without fear, anger, or anything but the quiet, inner strength and pride that I don't need to cling to the past or feel guilty about not falling into my old patterns. Test number one? Passed with ease.

Then that afternoon I received a message from her, completely unexpected. She apologized for everything, and acknowledged how badly it all ended.

I am so, so proud of myself for being able to say, my first thought was of forgiveness. And being stunned that that was what I was thinking. I think my jaw dropped, and I stared at the messaged for a while, not quite knowing what to do. I did not freak out, or panic, or anything like that. God's timing is beautiful and perfect, and I am so grateful for this illustration of his love. Yet again, when I let go of this thing I wanted so badly, and finally put all my trust in him, he so generously gave me the deep desire of my heart. It is a hard lesson to learn, but so rich in its return.

I called my mom, took a shower, and prayed. Mom gave me her usual expert, solid advice, and helped me process the whole situation. I waited through the weekend to reply, taking care not to be hasty in my response. I wanted to make sure it conveyed forgiveness, no anger or bitterness, and yet didn't invite further friendship. I wanted to be amiable, but not setting myself up for the same hurt yet again. It was short and to the point.

I'm so relieved and blessed that it's come full circle. I feel as though I've passed a huge test. I thought I'd let it all go, and was at peace, no anger. So God said, "Okay, Lianne. Let's see how you do with this." And my first, and pervasive thought was (and is), "I forgive her."

It's an amazing gift God has given me. I am truly free, like I had intentionally asked him to help me.



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