Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Leaping lizards (name that movie) and holy cannoli, I cannot believe Thanksgiving is just two short days away.  I know I say this every year, but this has seriously been the FASTEST year I can ever remember.  Perhaps you disagree, but my mama always said time speeds up with each year that you age, and boy, she was right.  But that's neither here nor there as this post isn't about philosophizing time.  I'll save that for another day.

I don't know about you, but I adore Thanksgiving.  I love everything about it.  I love cooking.  I love eating.  I love being with family and friends.  I love crowding around a dinner table.  I love taking a day to intentionally express gratitude.  I love the Thanksgiving parade.  I love having football on the TV (even though I'm never watching it).  I love all things pumpkin.  Okay, I will stop there but just so you know, I could go on...and on...and on.

Since we love Thanksgiving, Sarah and I hosted "Friendsgiving" at the clubhouse on Sunday and it was just the ticket to kick-off Thanksgiving week.  Per usual, Sarah set a beautiful table and we managed to cram in (almost) the exact amount of places.

I was in charge of the bird and praise the Lord, I didn't muck it up too badly. (Do you like the word muck as much as I do? I hope so. It's very British-sounding.)  Iris and I got to know one another quite well during our time together.  I massaged her with a delicious oil and herb blend and she roasted beautifully. 

We had a full house for the potluck, and I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was to have a kitchen full of people -- hanging out, drinking beer -- it was truly a dream come true.

Once the turkey was carved, we set up the buffet and filled up our plates accordingly (and our stomachs subsequently).  Please take special note of the pickle/olive tray next to the flower display.  That is of extreme sentimental value to me as my Mimi always had the infamous pickle and olive tray at her house during the holidays.  I still remember the exact crystal dish that she used and how I would put the black olives on the ends of my fingers and eat them off one by one.

We sat around the table and communed over the delicious meal.  I busted out some Thanksgiving trivia and also mandated that we had to go around the table to say what we were thankful for.  Hey, house rules -- it's my house (with Sarah, of course), so it's my rules.  I was, of course, so thankful to host the dinner and have a table full of friends breaking bread together.

So there you have it, our first annual Friendsgiving.  Now some reader questions: Did you have any pre-thanksgiving celebrations or are you saving up for the main event?  What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?  What is your least favorite dish?  What is a tradition for your family on Thanksgiving?

God's mysterious will.

In sifting through all the junk (i.e. all the random lists I subscribe to and daily emails I receive that are automatically generated) in my gmail this morning, I came across a forward from my dear Aunt Linda and I nearly had to fight back the tears as I read each word. (I was sitting at my desk at work and flagrant displays of emotion in the workplace are typically frowned upon.)

Be that as it may, the topic was a timely one--the mysteries of God's will and omnipotence.  I could not help but share it with you, dear reader, in the event that it might bless you in the same way it did me this Tuesday morning.  Here it is:

268 Of all the divine attributes, only God's omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God's power is loving, for he is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it "is made perfect in weakness."

He does whatever he pleases

269 The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the "Mighty One of Jacob", the "LORD of hosts", the "strong and mighty" one. If God is almighty "in heaven and on earth," it is because he made them. Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will. He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: "It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm?"

You are merciful to all, for you can do all things

270 God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us ("I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty"): finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

271 God's almighty power is in no way arbitrary: "In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical. Nothing therefore can be in God's power which could not be in his just will or his wise intellect."

The mystery of God's apparent powerlessness

272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe."

273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ's power. The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that "nothing will be impossible with God", and was able to magnify the Lord: "For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."

274 "Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God's almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe — even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature."

You see, here's the thing -- I do not know one single person on planet earth (faithful or not) who doesn't struggle with some aspect of God's will. I think C.S. Lewis says it best (at least when describing my particular struggle):
"We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

I consistently repeat (almost in a mantra-like fashion), "Lord I trust you, Lord I trust you"...and then subsequently plead that He would help my unbelief.  I fail daily in submitting to His will.  In my finite human mind, I think I see the most desirable scenario very clearly and when this does not come to fruition, I immediately have "words with God."  We have been having a lot of "words" lately and I can only imagine that He, like a doting father to a small child, strokes my head and finds my immaturity/lack of knowledge to be endearing and how, if I had His wisdom, I would certainly not say such silly things.  And yet, He loves me anyway and is patient while I learn to trust Him.  But, oh, how far I have to go...

Monday, November 19, 2012

all that glitters is gold.

As if celebrating in Italia wasn't enough, I also toasted three decades with a little dance party of sorts.  Since I was 30 on the 30th, it was my golden birthday, so naturally, gold was the name of the game (or theme, in this case).

My hosts did a beautiful job decorating and supplying a delicious spread.  There were also many a corks to pop that evening as the champagne was flowing...but what else would you expect for 30?

But let's be real, the primary purpose for this little shin-dig was to put our wood floors to good use in the way of a dance party.  From the moment I laid eyes on this house, I knew this living room was MADE to be a dance floor and I was only too happy to fulfill it's calling in life.  We danced for probably 3+ hours straight and have to shout out to Meagan and Crystal who held it down the entire time.

A non-stop dance party, champagne, good food, and great company=more than I could ask for.  I am truly blessed and all that glitters is most certainly gold.

And just to make sure all celebrations were documented, I also got to enjoy a birthday dinner the night before my party with those nearest and dearest to me.  It was such a wonderful treat to have this special time and with the way 30 started, it looks to be a great decade.

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

John 10:10b

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11