good words

Johnny and I slept in very late. I considered waking a few hours earlier, but as Harley curled up to my back, I thought otherwise and shut my eyes. When we did finally wake, I made Texas piñon coffee for the both of us; a bowl of stinky Fancy Feast for Harley. I've decided that using the coffee grinder makes for a much better brew. Johnny and I can't get enough of Texas piñon coffee lately, perfect for a tired morning. And we can't thank our brother-in-law, Laurence, enough. He sure knows his way around coffee.

J. and I had such a good, laid-back time with our friends last night. I snacked on hummus and mint chip coconut milk ice cream and things; and we imbibed merlot and eggnog (me), spiced rum (Amy), and Irish whiskey (Johnny and Ryan). We watched a concert Amy recorded for me: Sigur Rós at MoMA. We played the Wii. I sucked at virtual bowling just as much as real life bowling when I worked at a Church day camp (those kids were better than me). But I have to say, the Wii was pretty fun. Oh, and we made plans to have an Easter vigil party at the Simmons' casa with champagne on the menu.

The highlight of New Year's Eve was Izzy's request that I join her Mom for bedtime prayers. Her baby brother, Elliot, crawled around the living room floor near Ryan and Johnny. The rest of us walked back to Izzy's bedroom; butterflies hanging from the ceiling. Is there anything cuter than kids in pajamas? Izzy, Athan, and Ian sat on the bed swinging their legs. Amy and I took the floor.

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen."

[also, is there anything cuter than kids Crossing themselves?]

Amy prayed, then asked what each of her children wanted to pray for. Izzy made sure I could put in a request, too. Then Amy said what she was thankful for, followed by the kids. I wish I could remember their words verbatim, but Athan was grateful for the mint chip ice cream and [gluten-free] brownies at our little party. Ian was thankful - and visibly excited - about the fireworks going on outside. I then received enthusiastic hugs from all three at the same time.

Amy tucked Athan and Ian into their beds while Izzy asked me to pray for her slumber. Humbled, I asked God to place His angels around her bed and guard her sleepy dreams. I pulled a pretty quilt right under Izzy's chin with a silly joke and made her laugh. She used to crawl around my apartment floor as a baby; my how she's grown into such an artistic, beautiful little girl.

After chatting with her parents - some of our favorite people - and feeling pretty good from whiskey and the last sip of eggnog, Johnny and I drove home weary and happy and crashed into bed, muttering our own bedtime prayers.

A brand new year is very good for my psyche, filling me with hope of what might come our way. I say this after a pretty dark week. God help me, I'm a moody soul and my health is still not quite right. I'm for sure healed - this time last year I was much worse off. The Lord has brought me so, so far and I'm forever grateful. But my doctor is still trying to balance my hormones, God bless him. Our bodies are marvelous, interesting creations. Too much or too little hormones can really wreak havoc. Presently, I have painful joints and sore muscles feeling a bit elderly vs. a frisky 34 years old. However, this may not be a bad thing; it may be more progress in disguise. Not only is there much less yeast in my system (yeast toxins block our hormone receptors), but I've also been taking excellent vitamins and supplements lately, so it may very well be that since my body is functioning better, I don't need so many hormones after all. I'd love that.

We shall see, but man, I am not patient. I'm ready to put the last piece of my health puzzle together and move on. I'm more than ready to tuck my own kiddos into bed upstairs. Sometimes my heart aches more than my joints, filled with shameful questions and anger toward God as if I know more than He does. As if my sense of timing is better than His. And sadly, I often take out my immature frustration on my sweet, very-patient husband - for certain the better half. I thank God often that I get to watch Johnny be the man he is every day. I learn so much that I can't even tell you.

I'm thankful for a book I purchased with some Christmas money: A Diary of Private Prayer by John Ballie. I knew I had to own this little tome of wisdom after reading several excerpts on Margie Haack's blog. It was one of those books that called out, "You need me - buy me." It contains beautiful prayers for every morning and evening of a whole month, to be used over and over in any given year. Today's morning prayer was lovely, but as I looked through the book at the tail end of 2008, the following jumped out at me.

From the evening of day 30:

"....I praise Thy name for the gift of Thy holy apostle, Saint Paul. I thank Thee for the zeal with which Thou didst endow him to carry to our western race the lamp of truth which Thou hadst lately lit in an eastern land.

Saint Paul said, 'Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.'

O God, incline my heart to follow in this way."

From the morning of day 31:

"Forbid, O Lord God, that my thoughts to-day should be wholly occupied with the world's passing show. Seeing that in Thy lovingkindness Thou hast given me the power to lift my mind to the contemplation of things unseen and eternal, forbid that I should remain content with the things of sense and time."

From the evening of day 31:

"O Thou who art the Lord of the night as of the day and to whose will all the stars are obedient, in this hour of darkness I too would submit my will to Thine.

From the stirrings of self-will within my heart:
From cowardly avoidance of necessary duty:
From rebellious shrinking from necessary suffering:
From discontentment with my lot:
From jealousy of those whose lot is easier:
From thinking lightly of the one talent Thou hast given me, because Thou hast not given me five or ten:
From uncreaturely pride;
From undisciplined thought:
From unwillingness to learn and unreadiness to serve:
O God, set me free."

If I keep praying such thoughts, this year will be something else.

Lastly, Sandra McCracken posted a great poem by Wendell Berry and interesting info. about the hymn, "Amazing Grace", on her blog. Both are worth your while this January 1st of 2009.


kate o. said...

your new year's eve sounded wonderful. i've been loving the kids in their fuzzy cold weather pjs.

thank you for your honesty about struggles with patience and frustration. the prayers are beautiful and that book seems like something that would really speak to me at the moment.

Laura Leigh Dobson said...

i could really relate to your struggles. i also am thankful for your honesty and that book sounds like something i should check ou as well.

Christine said...

I always love reading your posts about what God is teaching you. It continues to remind me that our struggles are never pointless. Love you friend.

jenni said...

Thanks for the encouragement, y'all! I really do highly recommend that book. Heck, it's only $9.00 (plus shipping).