Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: December 2009 (page 1 of 3)

dresses and flowers and reception halls, oh my!

what a wonderful evening. after 4 long, torturous days of mum, the facebook status was finally updated and KLM’s engagement was made public knowledge. long story on the mum part, but tonight i saw the shine of the ringy ring ring and there was nothing but excitement and bridal magazines to be had.

in general, i enjoy a good wedding. i love the feeling of hope and promise. i’m not so idyllic to know that it’s all sunshine and roses, but from my 4 years i can tell you that when it’s good, it’s good (and i hear it just keeps getting better). like parenting and families in general, if it’s not hard at times, it’s probably not worth it. love is worth it.

which makes this wedding particularly exciting for me. not only is she a fabulous girl, but i think they have a wonderful relationship to start with. both have experienced enough life to know their own hangups and shortcomings – and to love themselves and one another for it. as they prepare for life together it’s clear that the vows they’ll take are not just words repeated after a man holding a book, but rather promises of how to live and decisions to make.

we’re super excited about mingling the right flowers and avoiding the local caterer chicken breaksts, not to mention my extreme interest in making the reception efficient (take all the time doing pictures you want, but once you enter that reception, you’re on my clock). but i’m also excited to see how they meld together as a couple, beginning to function and make decisions as a unit.

this is where i have so much hope for the church (at work, we’d call this an “area of growth opportunity”). now, i don’t know all the pastors in the world. actually, i know like 5. and of those 5, i know how 2 of them do premarital counseling. so far, i’d give 2 thumbs down. i think we just make the assumption that because 2 adults come to the decision that they want to get married that we should just toss them into the mess and see how they come out. btw, the blame just isn’t on pastors – the church has many more resources to offer couples if we just knew how to bring it together. now, i don’t think we need to go into deep psycological counseling of childhood issues, but i think there are some very fair questions that we need to ask of young couples as they’re preparing to become one. not just “who balances the checkbook” but “how do you spend $$ differently? how do you become ok with the others’ spending habits?” there has to be ways to help couples begin to ask questions of themselves, and each other, that challenge them to open up.

i think our counseling should also challenge us to ask how we might need to change. that’s a very unpopular thought (you’re supposed to just be loved for who you are, right?). but i had a thought pop up in the recent history that said maybe divorce happens because we give up hope – and generally the hope we give up is that God can’t/won’t “change them”. but maybe if we were asking God to change us, some of the problems could be navigated or managed. after all, we can’t control people, but we can control our reactions to them. (**incredible disclaimer: this is not a blanket statement about all divorces or all couples or all situations. especially where there’s abuse involved. it’s just a what-if thought, that’s all.)

so i’m wondering… what questions would have best helped me prepare for life with another? and granted, there’s no way to *really* prepare for marriage. there is an element of “everyone in the pool!” but maybe there are some thoughts to ponder about myself and my beliefs about marriage that would be good on the front end. i’m just wondering what they are.

what do you wish somone would have asked you before you got married?

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the list

i think it’s done. well, the general concepts are… the “how to get from here to there” are still in progress, and they just may be until jan 31, 2010. i’d like to treat the intentionality of the list much like i do running: success isn’t measured by speed but by completion. and, thanks to a wonderful podcast by rob bell, i hope that the list becomes second nature at some point, that i don’t even have to think about it, but it becomes second skin. habit. my daily rhythms.

(btw, i post primarily for the accountability involved. go ahead – ask me in september about my progress. i’d love it. see #2.)

The list: ways to make 2010 better than 2009
(not listed in order of importance)
1. perfect a mac and cheese. i’ve already started with the attempts. jj said, “don’t worry, you’ve got all year”. i’m hoping that book club will come to my aid with a tour of mac and cheese (yes, i was serious!)
2. follow through. the road to hell was paved with good intentions, right? i’m really floundering in everything from printing my cookie recipe to taking friends out for their birthdays. after some consulting with KLM, i think this is closely related to planning ahead. also in…
3. reflect daily. what was good? what was frustrating? how do i need to change my reaction to the uncontrollable events in my life? where in my character is there room for growth? what are my blessings? have i tried to bless? who have i blamed (instead of loved)? what kind of story am i living? who did i hurt?
4. read to henry
5. kiss JJ. daily.
6. connect and contribute to st. paul’s. (as previously noted, no action plan as of yet…)
7. develop 1 spiritual habit (otherwise known as a discipline). no leads on that one yet, either. pretty sure it’s not going to be fasting from food, though, as i’m sure child #2 would throw a fit. this is likely tied to #12, so i may need to be strategic.
8. learn to knit
9. grow another garden
10. run. no stipulations, just run for the love and the benefit of it. a race would be nice. but i will enjoy victory when i just run.
11. go on 5 dates. all with jj. i’ll start a sign up list for babysitters.
12. live joyfully and generously. i think this will involve #3 and #7. since i have no concretes on either of them, it’s just a guess. suggestions welcome: what has worked for you?
13. have wine with a friend on a regular basis. until april the “alcohol removed” version will have to do, but i’m trying to think year-long with the list. hopefully i’ll have plenty of volunteers for this one, too.
14. remove from vocabulary: i’m tired (i always am), i don’t have time (i must make time), i don’t have the money (i chose to spend it elsewhere) and “after XXXX i will…” (carpe diem).
15. throw a good party. we’ll have several reasons to celebrate (a baby, a graduation, hopefully a new job for the hubby, and 2 30th birthdays!). surely a party can result. the way i do birthdays it’ll have to be an overnighter!

actually, #14 and #15 were last minute adds, but i didn’t realize that my list had 13 and that seems inappropriate. i used bullet points in my original list (at the front of my ’10 calendar – ironically, opposite the page with instructions on “daily and weekly plans: tasks and goal planning”).

what’s on your list? what would make 2010 even better than 2009?

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hopeful thoughts

it’s hard to believe, but i do think i’m enjoying the christmas season more and more with age. you love it as a kid because of the toys and the fun and the food, but then there’s a lull and you really only appreciate getting a few new things and getting a break from school. but then you re-emerge as an adult and see beauty in things that you never realized were there before. it’s a good thing.

this morning at church was a wonderful celebration. we did the typical worship songs that i do enjoy, but the worship band is good about tossing in some traditional carols and i LOVe how they’ve done them up. sooo much fun. after the “god rest ye merry gentlemen // we three kings” medley i wanted to say, yes yes, the other songs are nice, but more, more of the carols! however, i’m greatful that they don’t listen to little old me because my own epiphany came during a “normal” song.

the past few weeks i’ve been wondering, “why a baby?” and have had no thoughts. i’ve also done little in the way of research. my intentions were to take some of the Hebrew bible prophecy and see if i could see any reasoning there as to why God would start it all with a little baby. why doesn’t Jesus just show up on the scene to do his thing all grown up? i love the birth narritive, but why do we pay such attention to this?

i started to think about how many of the great stories of dieties coming to earth had to do with taking on human properties, having a weakness and teaching a lesson. i know very little about greek/roman mythology and i just didn’t have the energy to expand my understanding.

but today we sang a song that included in the chorus words from the psalm, “Who is this King of Glory? the Lord, strong and mighty!” i found it quite ironic, especially as i held and saw so many little babies. strong and mighty? i just couldn’t imagine that the wise men and the shepards would have this psalm in mind as they visited jesus in the manger. i imagine there would be great praises of hope along with some coochy-coochy-coo. but strong? mighty? this little creature can’t even hold his head up on his own, let alone the sins of the world.

but then i started thinking about how God is able to see things in a way that humans tend not to imagine. when God picks out a helper, he rarely uses who we think he would. first example that comes to mind is how the people picked the big, strong Saul to rule them first. failure. so God picked teenager David to be great among his people. he was able to see something in him that, as we first read the story, doesn’t appear to be evident.

and God does that with each of us. daily i’m reminded that there has to be something in me that i don’t see, that God does, otherwise he wouldn’t go through all the effort of guiding and keeping and directing me. sure, he sees my every shortcoming. he knows that i’m stubborn and prideful and think about myself waaaay too much. he’s watched the numerous times i should’ve said “i’m sorry” but just cried instead. he doesn’t close his eyes to that. he just sees more.

jesus had the same amazing way of dealing with people. time and again we can read stories of how he sees something in people. a potential. but more than that – a hope.

so i wonder if using a baby as the “strong and mighty” is just another way that God is inviting us to see the world as he does. if we can see the hope in this tiny creature, perhaps we can begin to see the hope in the rest of the world. if God can do such amazing things through tiny little wrinkled hands and feet – such as provide redemption for the whole of the world – then perhaps he can do something amazing through him. or her. or even me. maybe if we start to see hope in all things and situations, knowing God is infinately bigger and stronger and can do anything with anyONE, then perhaps the reason for the season will change the rest of our years.

we can only hope.

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