December 20

r_20_firesky

Earlier today I was ready for the DPP to be over. Like… Okay, we’ve had twenty days and I am done. There are no more things to shoot. If I have to shoot a closeup of my toaster then I am beyond all saving. I saw the light vanishing on the western horizon and went to grab my camera thinking I could salvage something from the Christmas lights hanging in the dining room. I took my shots and moved on to another task. And then the sun began to set. And crazy vibrant colors filled the sky. I caught it, and my heart just filled with the beauty from my back deck.

I’m finding that our march towards December 25 feels just like the DPP. I’m kind of slogging towards it. My semester ended last week and I feel fairly worn out in body and spirit. I want to rally but my pep is low. Still, there are these moments of amazing glory like what I experienced in the sunset tonight. I found such a moment reading the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Luke this morning. After a semester of studying the world of the New Testament, Luke’s words jumped at me from the page.

We read about shepherds so often at Christmastime, but this morning I tried to imagine the scene in more detail. First one angel visits the shepherds and the glory of the Lord was intense! The humble shepherds were afraid, as is frequently noted in the Bible when a human comes face to face with these supernatural beings. What happened next must have absolutely shattered their minds. A whole host of angels lights up the sky and praises God with these words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). Angels are made to praise God, and for a brief moment those shepherds are privy to what hardly any human has seen. They witness the worship of the Almighty God by the ones who are allowed to worship Him day and night, always. No wonder the shepherds then head over to Bethlehem fast to see this Savior! What a sight to witness.

We’re made to worship. Sometimes we get a little drum of worship in our hearts, a little stirring that makes us feel small. For me, it’s the Tunnel Walk just before a Husker game—there’s nothing like seeing that in person and feeling the amazing excitement from the crowd. It’s overwhelming. At other times I feel that sense of worship during a really good concert. My heart and mind both swell with joy. I can sense that same joy, only a thousand times greater and more powerful, when the shepherds personally witness all those angels worshipping God in the skies that day. Every week when we sing songs of worship to our Creator at church, we join with those angels, and all the saints that come before us and behind us, in worship of the One most deserving it.

Today I get a small glimpse of glory in a sunset, but one day I’m gonna get the real deal and I’ll be joining those angels for all eternity. Slogging through the present, even as I move towards something as great at Christmas Day, I’m reminded that I’m made for something much greater.

December 19

r_19_mytwo

Showing Dad *exactly* what she wants for Christmas. Which is only six days away. And I’m pretty sure we’re celebrating it a day early. But whatevs.

Sometimes I marvel at the way God gifts us differently. Looking at a million pictures of longed-for presents would not be my cup of tea, and yet my husband stands there patiently, listening to his daughter’s interests and kindly scrolls backwards and forwards at her whim. When I want to speed up, he is fine with slowing down. Thank the Lord for this man! And this girl. I’m blessed with these two!

December 18

r_18_bakingextras

Leftovers from baking cookies.

December 17

r_17_cat

When you’re doing the December Photo Project and you’ve been home all day, you just might haul a camera out in 6 degree weather and photograph a [clearly starving] cat eating his food. He’ll stop and look at you, perturbed that you’d be so bold as to document him slurping down his kibbles. And then you won’t use the shot of his face because it isn’t flattering. Nor will you use the images of your husband diligently salting the driveway while holding today’s mail with his teeth because the shot turned out too blurry. (You didn’t grab the good camera, knowing you’d be skating on ice and might fall on your way to shoot cats eating food.) Such is the life in the day of a DPP participant. December 17 in a frozen tundra equals dragging a camera to the home where you’re cat-sitting.

December 16

r_16_coffee

As I was brewing coffee this afternoon all I could think was, It’s five o’clock somewhere. And then I laughed because I’m ridiculous and it was 5 o’clock here in Lincoln and I was making a fresh pot of coffee. Oh these days of short sunshine and lots on my to-do list require coffee to make it to bedtime. Well, coffee or a nap. So today it was coffee right before my self-designated caffeine cut-off. And—right on cue—I’m now fading at 10:00pm.

Goodnight, friends. Happy Friday to you all!

December 15

r_15_pears

Funny how a bowl of pears can delight me so much. There’s something about the glass, the fruit, the light that captures my attention over and over.

The Hair Adventure

hair_01

Sometimes gray hair sparkles. It shines. The light hits those silvers and just gleams off the top of a head, but the trick is when your friends are getting older and you’re not sure if they’re going gray and you just feel kinda awkward about saying anything out loud so you don’t. (Which is really the perfect thing because if you can’t say something nice we all know it’s best to say nothing at all.)

I’m here to say that I’m done coloring my hair. Yes indeed, that is gray hair you’ll be seeing on my crown.

I reserve the right to color my hair again someday. I may hate the silvers and decide to go deep brunette again. I may love the silvers and accentuate the whole noggin with purple stripes. Who knows? The world is my oyster! But for today, I’m done coloring my hair.

I’ve been covering up gray hair for around seven years now. In my early 30’s gray equaled shame in my mind. I’m not even sure why I bought into the message that gray was shameful, but I did. Each offending hair was first plucked out and then later covered with a mess of hair dye. I love my hairstylist—she’s a longtime friend who always makes me feel like a million bucks in her chair. She’s done a terrific job of coloring my hair all these years! But I am just over it. I don’t want to spend the big bucks on it anymore. I find it’s hard to match my dark color as time goes on. I’d like to skip the chemicals on my scalp. But most importantly, I’m not ashamed of the gray any longer.

Why did I fear the change in hair color years ago? Everyone says it’s because gray makes you look old. But NEWSFLASH, I wasn’t old then. I’m not old now. And WHAT’S WRONG WITH OLD? For real people, what is wrong with age? We have got serious problems in our society. We’ve got 50 year olds trying to look like they’re 25. For what and why???

I love being a woman. I really like lipstick and have no intention of giving it up in order to go au naturel on my lips. While I’m fine with the natural color God gave my lips, I do like to jazz it up a bit. Hair is no different. Silver stripes are a choice I’m making and I’m cool with that. I’ve read up quite a bit on going gray young and it’s fascinating to me how many women are insulted for making this choice. Hear me now: you don’t have a say in my hair coloring choices, friends. Do what you want with your own head. Too many women are treated rudely for this choice in particular and I think that kind of commentary needs to end. One gal was called a witch the other day! (Be careful who you call witch, right? You may just end up with a spell cast on you; I’m thinking some sort of animal tail or your mouth closed a la Neo in The Matrix.)

Men tend to be called sexy when they go gray—think George Clooney—and women are called witches. Let’s change the dialogue here, people. In so many ways, let’s be kind to one another. You can start with me.

PS: One last weird thing I’ve noticed when I’ve mentioned I’m letting my silver hair grow… Almost every woman then talks about her own choices, often with defensiveness. Listen to me when I say that I’m really not judging you or staring at your head—you do you and I’ll support you in it.

hair_02

December 14

r_14_popcorn

First opportunity for Christmas treats and I pick caramel popcorn. Yum.

December 13

r13_snowflake

December 12

r_12_matthewhenry

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible is what you grab for reading material when you’re leaving your parents’ house and your child wants to go swing at Pioneers Park. The swing, you know, is a magical place for singing and exploring miles of imaginary worlds. It takes some time to swing. As it turns out, it also takes some time to read Matthew Henry’s Commentary on THE WHOLE BIBLE.