Sunday, January 31, 2010

Keeping our fingers crossed :)!

So much is changin' (not just the size of my belly :)... 6 months down, a few more to go. Then she arrives! But that's not all that'll be taking place this spring. We're heading back to Texas, the land of blue skies with puffy clouds and sunny summer days!

Mirabelle's growin'!

This will be our final summer in Texas for Jose's (my husband's) summer internships... because he graduates next May :)! Yay! Planning for our summer stay in Texas is always an adventure. So many things are usually up in the air (housing, borrowing a car for the summer, etc.). This is partly why I cannot wait to settle down! Ah, it'll be nice to live in a cozy home. Though our apartment here on the East Coast is cozy, we're really looking forward to establishing our roots/having our own place. That probably won't happen for a few years, since we want to focus on paying off student loans first, but we will be able to rent a home when he graduates/we permanently move back to Texas next spring -- and that'll be a nice change.

We thought we'd have to wait until next spring to move into a house (to rent), but it seems it might happen sooner than expected! And it's a cottage! And I want to live in a cottage! I am so excited! So what is all of this about? During our final 7 weeks in Texas, Jose will be interning at a firm in Austin. We were considering living in a furnished apartment (corporate housing)...but, my goodness, that will require us to pay a pretty penny! More like a gorgeous penny made out of gold. So I did some searching on the web a few days ago (ahhh... the beauty of the internet) and I came across this cozy furnished little cottage; it is so so so much more affordable than a furnished apartment (the monthly rate is cheaper than what we pay to live here!). And it's available for rent! Only thing is, it seems we aren't the only ones interested in this cute house :/. But I did get a chance to speak to the owner and the phone call ended on a positive note, so I'm hopeful :). We find out Wednesday if it's ours (for the 7 week period only, of course ;). Oh, but it'll be so fun!

In the meantime, we're just trying to make it through this extremely cold winter. So the crafting continues. It seems Harvey wanted to be in the spotlight again; I found him on top of the crocheted blanket I recently completed, trying on Mirabelle's summer hat ;). This is the nifty tutorial I followed for the hat...

Can't wait to dress her up in this matching set of hat and booties! Crocheting is so much fun :D.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

guilt and anxiety

My name is Sophie and I am a very anxious person (if you haven't figured that out from reading this blog). I know why I'm like this, I've psychoanalyzed myself enough to know why, but that's beside the point now. It's time to get past square one.

I'm the type of person who likes to plan way in advance. The more control I have over a situation, I tell myself, the more relaxed I feel. I falsely believe that when I have this control, I "know" what reactions to expect from myself and other people; I "know" how things will unfold (with my silly schedule in hand, of course); I "know" how I'll be emotionally influenced by decisions; I "know" security. I've noticed that I even make mental lists for myself in the morning each day. I'll get out of bed, eat breakfast, shower, then maybe I'll make dinner early so that I don't have to worry about it later, etc. The minute my eyes open, the process begins.

The funny thing is, I don't have insomnia and it's never really been an issue. I go to sleep feeling good that the day went as "planned". And when it doesn't? Hmmm... the anxiety gets much worse. But it's not the kind of anxiety that exists solely in my mind, as an intangible idea or a negative thought that I keep entertaining over and over again.

It comes to life.

It's an ugly monster.

Actually, I become the ugly monster in my most anxious moments. I mentally rehearse an uncontrolled event that's going to take place (and it will, because life is about following someone else's plans sometimes) and I get... mad? Yep, that's it. I instantly imagine the worst case scenario and then I start behaving as if it's already happened, even though it hasn't. Then, as if that's not enough, I say and do things that are against what I believe (and in that moment, actions speak -- actually scream -- much louder than words and it appears I'm a person lacking morals). I am a false representative of my faith. God gets sad and, eventually, so do I.

I say eventually because when I'm "in the moment", I am so blind that I cannot see or hear how ugly my words and actions are. I get so sucked into the anxiety that my understanding of what common sense is goes out the window. Eventually, I come back to reality with plenty of baggage. More baggage than I'm capable of carrying on my own. It weighs me down, and when the guilt sets in I really can't move. I get stuck and regret replaces the anxiety.

The only thing that can move me at that point is God himself, and he does. His presence brings me peace, but only when I can look at the mess I've made and hand it over to him, and apologize to those I've wronged. But even that is a struggle sometimes. Because I am a control freak, I want to sort through the mess, organize it, label it... and then he says no. He wants me to let it go so that I can receive his peace. When my hands are busy sorting through the mess, I'm unable to focus on the grace and forgiveness he offers. He already sorted through the mess, that's why his hands are still scarred... he did it so that I wouldn't have to.

So why hold on to it? Why hold on to the guilt when I've already acknowledged my sin? And why hold on to the need for control when he's already in the future? There is no need to do either; all I need has already been offered, his forgiveness and his peace.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Craft Update

Say hello to Harvey, my first amigurumi bear! Made especially for hubby, to keep him company on his desk while studying. The boots are from my mom-in-law, they were the perfect fit.

So you'd think that since I haven't been blogging much these days, I must be busy with something! Christmas was a busy time as far as crafting goes, but I've taken on a few other projects since then, like learning how to crochet baby blankets, working on more cards for my empty store :), reorganizing/rearranging the apartment (we've got the crib set up and rented a storage unit--a must when you have 0 walk-in closets and a baby on the way!)...

Finally sold something on Etsy! It's been almost a year, sheesh. I guess it's time to add something new to the store; here's the latest addition. Plump Birdie and Nest button cards (all the birdies look like this around here when it's freezing, so do the squirrels).

Check out our neighbors right below, the squirrel babies. That's a shot captured on Christmas Day, on our morning walk. They are so cute!

I didn't realize crocheting could be so addicting. I have to admit, though, making baby blankets is much easier than making these amigurumi dolls. I'm not very good at keeping count of each round, so usually I deviate from the patterns quite a bit :) (a lot like cooking--can't stick to the recipe!).

The dragon says "JD", it was a gift for my bro. The bear in the middle was for my 'rents :).

Baby blanket for Mirabelle...

It's been freezing lately, literally, so going outside can be kind of painful. We also don't have a car, so that makes going out a little more difficult, when we don't want to wait outside for the bus or walk to the T... so that means no crochet lessons. BUT, thanks to the internet (and YouTube), learning how to crochet at home is a cinch. In fact, I love it more than taking a class. I'm kind of a slow learner with these things, I like seeing things done over and over... just rewind and watch again, no problem with YouTube. This talented lady has a ton of helpful videos and tutorials. I watched this one to learn how to make the blanket/shell pattern above.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Righteous anger: Not an oxymoron after all...

Below is an excerpt taken from a book called "Love Walked Among Us: Learning to Love Like Jesus" by Paul E. Miller. It's such a good good book! I think everyone should read it. Whether you're convinced that Christianity is an unloving religion that a bunch of hypocritical judgmental people follow (and you want to know the truth behind the faith--that it's not unloving), or you're wanting to understand Jesus' love more (and how we can love like him), you'll find a lot of wisdom in here.

Anyway, I've had a really hard time understanding how a loving, peaceful God (lamb) could get so angry at church (the temple). I always wondered how it was that overturning tables wasn't considered "sinning in anger". This side of Jesus seemed kind of scary to me before. But this book does a good job of explaining the situation; Christ's anger was righteous because it was linked to his desire to have ALL people come to know him and not perish.

I had no idea that the outer courts of the temple were reserved for Gentiles. (The outer courts is where people turned the church into a 'swap meet'.) And back then, Gentiles were not respected because they were viewed as "sinners". So the fact that Jesus gets mad at these shop keepers for selling items where the Gentiles worship makes sense--it foreshadows what the purpose of the resurrection is/was: That EVERYONE should be able to come to Jesus and be saved. These shop keepers represented the sin that kept people from coming to God, and Jesus was acting out his anger toward that sin when he overturned the tables.

Also, there was TONS of legalism in the church at this time and the high priests believed that only their lambs were pure enough to be sacrificed; these lambs were sold in the outer courts. But Jesus was the ultimate perfect sacrifice, and the high priests missed the point because they were money hungry and legalistic, another legitimate reason why Jesus got angry.

Anyhow, here's the excerpt from the book, it describes the situation a little better... I think it's quite eye-opening...

Good Rage:
Now let's look at Jesus when he is at his angriest. This incident took place just before Passover, a few days before Jesus death:

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves... He said, Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer of all nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers. Mark 11:15,17

One man, by the sheer force of his anger, kicks over tables, thundering in rage, "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you are making it a den of robbers." The commercialization of religion angers Jesus. The worship of God has been turned into the worship of money. The din of clanking change has replaced the sounds of heartfelt prayer. The kingdom of noise had replaced the kingdom of God.

Jews came from all over the Roman world and beyond to worship in the Jerusalem temple. When they changed their money in order to buy lambs for the sacrifice, the priests received kickbacks. This angered Jesus.

The Law of Moses prescribed that a lamb sacrificed in payment for sins had to be perfect, but the priests said that only their lambs were perfect--so the Jews had to purchase their lambs, giving the religious professionals a tidy profit, as monopolies usually do. This hurt the poor most of all, and it made Jesus angry.

All of this commerce took place in the outer court of the temple, which was reserved for prayer by other ethnic groups. (Only Jews went into inner courts). The ancient prophecies said that one day the Jews would bring salvation to 'all' people. Israel would be the door through which people from all nations would come to know God. But because the priests were using the outer court for commerce, the Gentiles couldn't use it to pray.

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