Monday, March 31, 2014

Joy Dare - March 29-31

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts of God's Promises
3 Gifts Uncovered
A Gift Heard, Held, Hoped For

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
845. That God never leaves us
846. That, in the end, God wins
847. That we are loved
848. Curbs and street corners when the snow melts
849. Bare arms after a winter in long sleeves
850. A nature center I never knew about
851. Birdsongs at the Nature Center
852. Little fingers
853. SPRING
854. Mane painting at the window
855. Mane identifying birds that I can't identify
856. Seeing a coyote walk across the ice
857. Huge windows letting in the natural light at the nature center
858. The peace that comes from getting away from city scenes for a while
859. A homeschool-y book club meeting
860. Feeling respected by other homeschoolers for how far we've come on this journey
861. Realizing how well so many things *are* working in our homeschool-y world :)
862. Feeling secure enough to read someone else's schooling/parenting philosophy and NOT feel like I've failed somehow
863. Seeing the Robettes win the robotics tournament!
864. Having the tradition of attending the robotics tournament
865. Laughing with the teenagers singing to Sweet Caroline at the Robotics tournament
866. Weather that's spring-y enough to park far away and not freeze!
867. Popcorn on a Saturday night in our little kitchen
868. That we STILL have an extra bedroom with enough space for a bed! Yay!
869. Pasta with chicken and artichokes!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Joy Dare - Entwined

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Entwined

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
842. Colors in a double stranded hat
843. The rose and the thistle on my wedding band
844. All of us in a pile on the couch last night watching Once

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Joy Dare - March 26-27

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Almost Gone
3 Gifts Redeemed

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
836. Refried beans from yesterday
837. Homespun yarn from M. for Christmas over a year ago
838. The beautiful snowflakes of winter
839. Rough yarn, when mixed with fun fur, makes a soft hat
840. An old 50 states coloring book coming out of storage for a new homeschool project
841. The whole world when the snow melts

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Joy Dare - March 25

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
A Gift Sung, Written, Painted

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
811. Dragonfire
812. Blogs!
813. The picture on my mantle that Niteo painted
814. The morning sun coming over my shoulder
815. There really is grass under there!
816. Laughter at seeing so many references to snow in the Morning Blend gratitude list!
817. Mane & J. working on a project together
818. Wind in the trees outside my window
819. Finding old music on youtube
820. The many possibilities for playing music in our house
821. Organized Harry Potter audio books
822. Clean laundry
823. The quilt I made for our bed
824. Reusable drink straws from Target
825. K.'s coffee photos on facebook...thinking of her always makes me think of my mom...in warm fuzzy ways
826. Chicken Soup With Rice - the book
827. Chicken Soup With Rice - the real thing
828. Snippets of poetry on the message board
829. Remembering how much I have loved poetry all my life
830. Remembering what it was like to find GUYS who enjoyed poetry - Mango & his brother...and, later, many others
831. An old friend coming to book club
832. Teddy looking in Mane's bedroom window (he's a dog, not a person)
833. How confused everyone was that I was laughing about someone looking in Mane's bedroom window (it was Teddy, NOT a person!!)
834. Critical Thinking warm-ups
835. Free online keyboarding lessons with student and teacher accounts

Monday, March 24, 2014

Joy Dare - Spoken Edition

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Spoken

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
791. Conversations with Mane
792. Conversations with T.
793. Well...I really like good conversation...Saturday morning conversations with Mango...
795. This American Life podcasts
796. On Being podcasts
797. TED Talks podcasts
798. Harry Potter on audio for Mane
799. Anne of Green Gables on audio
800. Memories of Sandy N. reading Anne of Green Gables aloud to her 2 kids & I when I spent the night at their house many, many years ago
801. Mango reading a magazine article to Mane & I
802. Poetry readings at Bethel years and years ago
803. David Sadaris podcasts...how strange to finally hear his voice
804. Story Nory
805. Classics for Kids
806. My name, when Mango says it
807. A. trying to say some of his first words
808. My mom's voice inside my head
809. Vespera's laugh on the porch when she comes home late at night
810. Niteo's accent

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Joy Dare - March 19-23

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Eaten
3 Gifts that made you laugh
A gift salty, sweet, just right
3 Gifts found in God's word
3 Gifts found in women today

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
756. Reuben Sandwiches made by Mango after a long day of work
757. Donuts at the salon
758. Tacos! in all shapes and forms
759. Photos of babies with pets on facebook
760. Text message from J. telling me about a dog up for adoption
761. Niteo learning to crochet...and he's quite good, actually
762. Cashew nuts
763. Mane's pudding
764. Mexican cheese
765. The humanity of Paul's letters
766. The story of Jesus getting angry...so we know that anger isn't always bad
767. The layers that unfold the more you study
768. Nadia Bolz-Weber
769. Anne Lamott
770. Madeleine L'Engle
771. More than 1000 donations to TeamYarn!!
772. Box of buttons
773. The sunset over Lake Calhoun in my rearview mirror last night
774. That nobody honked at my when I stopped in the middle of the road to take a photo of my rearview mirror reflecting the sunset. Maybe they saw the same thing, too!
775. Time with G. in the salon
776. Photos of tall ships for my computer background
777. Being passed around by phone to all the members of a good friend's family!
778. Planning for Passover
779. Spring break is coming!
780. Crocheting again
783. Crochet flower patterns from the book T. gave me
784. Team Yarn boxes all over the house AGAIN!
785. A peaceful lunch with my dad and S.
786. Folks making friends at the Team Yarn meetings
787. Having so many thanks mixed up with T's thanks that I sometimes can't remember if I wrote it or if she did!
788. Tiger balm...I'm sure I've given thanks for that before
789. Footsteps upstairs
790. Hearing Teddy growl through the floor...makes me laugh


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Joy Dare - March 16-18

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Hard Eucharisteos
A Gift Turned, Folded, Hung
3 Gifts Red

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
736. Growing up
737. More snow
738. Less work, more time
739. New book pages
740. The laundry on Fridays before Shabbat
741. Photos on the wall
742. My mom's ABC Construction jacket, which Mane has been wearing
743. Frozen strawberries
744. The birdfeeder on the clothesline outside the window
745. The Riverview Theater with $2 tickets
746. Seeing Frozen with Mane last night
747. A theater packed with happy kids and parents
748. T.'s homemade pudding! YUM!
749. Pie day last Friday
750. Reading The Hobbit with Mane at night
751. Finding the owner of the lost phone
752. Conversations with the grandparents in the hallway when we happen to be coming and going at the same time
753. Silly stories of Mane's cousin
754. Lots and lots of yarn!
755. I FINALLY made two hats...the first ones since the concussion in November...finally had the inspiration and energy


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Joy Dare - March 14-15

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Found in Silence
3 Gifts Given Away

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
720. Time to think my own thoughts
721. Time to pray
722. The ability to hear
723. Baby dresses for the twinsies birthday!
724. Seashell with the Lord's Prayer
725. Books to the little free library
726. The whole megillah
727. History curriculum at the homeschool book sale for $6!
728. Writing curriculum at the homeschool book sale for $5!
729. Only spending $11 at the homeschool book sale! ;~)
730. A borrowed sled
731. The children coming in SO WET from springtime snow
732. Hot drinks by the fire at Silverwood
733. The wind in my face
734. That sweet feeling of release, of the tight springs inside me uncoiling, with the coming of spring
735. The smell of rain in the air

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Joy Dare - Round Edition

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Round

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
705. The bellybutton song!
706. Bouncy ball at the computer
707. My uncle's photos of the moon on facebook
708. Lego graggers...with...um..round gears
709. Finger puppets for Purim...to go ROUND those little fingers
710. T's mosaic on the bathroom wall! Amazing!
711. Round, sparkly gemstones in the mosaic
712. J's tins for keeping her own treasure trove of gemstones and whatnot
713. 50 state postcards project...passing postcards 'round the U.S. and 'round the world
714. The way Mane is always ready to jump into a project!
715. Nearly 50 degrees today! Such a nice round number!
716. Mane talking about celsius and farenheit on the drive to the Y
717. Mane looking up current events and keeping a journal of them. I think of what an interesting read that might be for her when she's older.
718. Purim ideas on pinterest
719. Mango speaking tech-language I cannot possible understand. He's wicked smart.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Joy Dare - March 11-12

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Read
A Gift in Wind, in Water, in White

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
678. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy - like balm to my soul
679. Pastrix - my mother-in-law's copy, since I bought it for her for Christmas ;~)
680. Iditarod articles
681. The great swish of wind in my ears at Lake Superior
682. The song, I have known the Wind
683. The color "Pass White" that they can mix at the local hardware store
684. Sun coming in the window and pouring over the steam rising up from the artist-made coffee cup
685. Thick coconut milk pouring through the steam into the cup of afternoon coffee for Mango
686. Mango's voice
687. Mango noticing my hair in the sunlight and the steaming coffee cup and the thick coconut milk
688. Mane adding homemade, gluten free meatloaf to her gratitude list
689. Mane and Mango laughing together while he's saying goodnight
690. A. paddling around in his puddle jumper
691. J. accepting my snuggles as good enough while her mom takes care of her brother
692. Good, clean food
693. Time to read a 550 page book in 2 days
694. Hearing about the robins in a friend's yard just 60 miles or so south of here!
695. Twinsies, like little dumplings, smiling on the couch
696. A relatively easy trip to Rochester
697. Enough hats to donate to TWO places in Rochester this month
698. Clearing out the space that all those hats took up in my house...knowing it'll fill again
699. A visit with family at Ronald McDonald house. I never know what to say, but somehow it always goes ok.
700. A friend at Bible study asking how I'm doing with grieving my mom, these so many months later
701. So many people offering thanks at Bible Study this morning
702. Planning for Purim...planning is half the fun, you know
703. Just thinking about camping
704. T.'s listening ears in the car on the way home from Rochester


Monday, March 10, 2014

Joy Dare - March 10

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts in Christ

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
675. The way people can connect around the world when we walk into a church. I'll never forget the church we attended in England...the small country Methodist church that felt just like home. Or Mango's story of the little church in Russia.
676. Knowing that the value of each person is rooted in their creation by God and the image of God in them
677. The historical existence of Jesus as a person here on earth and the stories we have from that time.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Joy Dare - March 9

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Carved

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
669. The aardvark :)
670. Frog that L. carved for Mane
671. Fairy that L. carved for Mane
672. The five-day forecast includes 4 days above freezing!
673. Planning playdates with friends, who also have cabin fever
674. Grocery shopping with Mango

Saturday, March 08, 2014

It seemed pertinant to the discussion of Lent, Suffering & Joy

“If we accept that we have at least an iota of free will, we cannot throw it back the moment things go wrong. Like a human parent, God will help us when we ask for help, but in a way that will make us more mature, more real, not in a way that will diminish us.” —Madeleine L'Engle

Joy Dare - Loud Edition

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Loud

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
662. The little boy's monkey screech
663. The Pines of the Appian Way orchestral piece at MN Orchestra
664. STOMP
665. The kids after they've listened to Stomp
666. The cacophony birds outside my window in the morning
667. The music coming from downstairs - lets me know everyone is happy and alive!
668. The locker room after Otters practice

Friday, March 07, 2014

Joy Dare - March 7

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts in the Kitchen

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
659. Pizza night
660. MORE daffodils from another friend on my kitchen table
661.  A cookie press from the thrift store

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Joy Dare - March 6

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Found
A Gift Bent, Broken, Beautiful

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
645. Enamel bowls
646. Tall chairs
647. Speakers
648. Spoons
649. Wooden xylophone from Romania
650. Cookies from Whole Foods
651. Seeing a good friend that I haven't seen in a long time
652. Noisy children playing happily together
653. Short, silly skits by noisy children!
654. Curly haired little people
655. Public Radio
656. Percy Jackson books
657. Snow melt
658. Temps above freezing

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Lent, Suffering, and a Joy Dare

The thing that "gets" me every time I sit down to really take a look at joy, at what it is, what it means, and how we find it (practice it? develop it? live it?) is the inclusion of suffering in the equation. A discussion about joy only goes so far before one runs into some seriously dark questions. How can I find joy when I lose someone precious? When war erupts? When a job is lost? When trust is broken? When hope seems so very, very far away?

It's easy to be joyful when life clips along smoothly and things go as planned. But is that really joy? I think sometimes it is. We can be both happy and joyful. All too often, though, when happiness wanes, we find that we must dig deep to find an underlying joy.  Walt Wangerin, Jr. says,
"The difference between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief."
Wangerin then draws a connection to the church season of Lent, a time when many church folks mark themselves with ashes and put on grief and mourning, when we deprive ourselves in order to remember suffering and to bring forth...joy?
"In the sorrows of the Christ - as we ourselves experience them - we prepare for Easter, for joy. There can be no resurrection from the dead except first there is a death! But then, because we love him above all things, his rising is our joy. And then the certain hope of our own resurrection warrants the joy both now and forever."
In the same way, the Jews taste the bitter herbs during the Passover Seder, to remember the suffering, to increase the joy. "When Adar comes, joy is increased."

So much of me is still resistant to this idea.  Does this mean that God wills suffering? Even that God allows suffering for our own character development is too much for me. I can abide that God allows suffering because people have free will, and God allows for free will, and free will sometimes means that horrific things happen. But I cannot abide a God who allows suffering for my own character development. Maybe minor suffering - like reaping the consequences of my own mistakes. This is the kind of suffering I allow my children. I want them to learn from their mistakes. So, I don't step in and fix everything for them. But if something or someone else is threatening my child? You better believe I'll step in. You better believe I'll do everything I can to save them.

William P. Young takes on this idea in his book, The Shack, by suggesting that it makes a difference that we are all children of God. So, of course, I would defend my child against someone hurting them. But what if one of my children hurts one of my other children? Am I quite so ruthless then? Will I still go all "Mama Bear" when my child is being hurt? Most likely, the answer is more that I want to save both of them. I want the perpetrator to be spared...in case there's a possibility for a change of heart. I want the victim to be safe. I want them both to know I love them. I hope that my love has the power to change.

But then, the analogy also breaks down when we are talking about God because God has the power to bring about both outcomes, right? And it seems that at least some of the time God has stepped in to save some children, who need saving, and to destroy some children bent on destruction. The Bible tells us so. And then I come all the way back to the original question. Is suffering allowed because it brings about greater joy? Is it really true that we only know true joy in the face of (or aftermath of) sorrow? Is this why some suffering is allowed? I am afraid I don't have any answers. My hands come up full of ashes.

I know for sure that, as a human, I am, indeed, more aware of the joys in life when I have suffered, when I have been wounded. The joys, then, are piercing, poignant. I remember this beautiful scene in Tolkien's book, The Return of the King, when Frodo and Sam return after destroying the ring: 

“And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the Elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.”

 I know that feeling...when joy is like swords.

And I think that maybe this is something we can only understand in stories. It is something we only know in the living out of our lives. It isn't something that can be known in so many words or explained in the theology books. It isn't something that makes sense. It is something that is in the fabric of our humanness, and, perhaps, it is something of God's image in us. Joy following suffering, following the epic drama.

And does God allow it? Does God create it? I don't know. I know God uses it. I think I understand that God suffers, too. That God suffers with us. Mike Freeman in his blog, "wordhavering," sums up some ideas of Nadia Bolz-Weber and Richard Rohr this way (from his blog post: caged god):
"In our suffering we tend to experience God as outside of it all, watching, a omnipotent bystander who by all rights could and should be able to do something, but he just sits there, stands there, whatever, letting it all happen anyway. Helping it all happen anyway? And for his glory? Yes, let me slap that.
And that’s what I appreciate about Rohr’s musing. He taps right into main line of biblical teaching when it comes to suffering – though we seldom perceive it. God participates in our suffering. In all of it. He feels each deep wound, screams in each terror, groans in each injustice more profoundly than we can begin to fathom. We groan. Creation groans. God groans."
 And maybe the knowledge of God's presence in our suffering is where we find our source of joy?

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Joy Dare - Hard Thanks

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Hard to Give Thanks For

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
642. Snow is SO HARD to be thankful for this time of year, and yet I find it keeps creeping into my list in unexpected places.
643. A good visit with my dad and his new wife
644. That joy is known best when one has suffered

Monday, March 03, 2014

Joy Dare - March 3

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Wore

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
631. My old Sorel boots from high school that STILL fit. I remember how much I wanted the white pair, and I still love them so much!
632. House shoes/slippers that my in-laws gave me for Christmas many years ago...still keeping my feet warm!
633. My mom's earrings that I wore to the orchestra on Sunday
634. Turquoise earrings from Vespera's trip to Mexico
635. Phone call from O.
636. Hours of daylight are getting longer!
637. Hats for preemies in Tijuana
638. Seeing Mane organize her time
639. Watching our favorites in the Iditarod
640. Dee Dee Jonrowe's pink coat
641. And her pink dog booties!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Joy Dare - GREEN edition

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts Green (or...um...5 or 10 or more...)

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
613. Tall EverGREEN in the yard. Thanks be to God that not ALL trees lose their leaves and turn brown in the winter!
614. Green beans in the tortilla soup
615. Green Aurora Borealis lights! We love the photos of the Northern Lights from the Iditarod every year.
616. Vespera's photos of green, growing things in Oaxaca...flipping through the photos on her cell phone over breakfast yesterday morning
617. Green Poblano peppers in everything Mango cooks!
618. Green bag for carrying everything the the Y - the same bag that's been on numerous girls weekend AND all the way to Belize!
619. Green Celtic sweatshirt for cold mornings in MN
620. Green handwoven dishcloth from sister-in-law's mom for Christmas
621. Green leaves on the industrial-strength tablecloth that covers the kitchen table
622. Mango's green trenchcoat from our college years
623. The green countertop we picked for our first house
624. Green trim for that same house...to liven it up!
625. Green ink for Mango's fountain pen
626. A love letter written in green
627. Green thank you notes
628. Soft green pillowcases
629. That green, grassy place on the hillside in Scotland that I can still see in my mind's eye
630. Green leafy lettuce plates that we like to use on Shabbat

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Joy Dare - March 1

Today's Joy Dare Prompt:
3 Gifts at 3pm

My list (picking up from the last list - and often adding more than just the prompt):
605. Iditarod Ceremonial Start
606. 129 donated items for Team Yarn! Colorful hats piled high! 4 boxes full!
607. Mane's willingness to tag all the untagged Team Yarn items - 92 of them!
608. The funny stories S. posts on facebook
609. Mane reading National Geographic at the table
610. Iditarod photos for my desktop background
611. Beautiful lamp we got for Christmas shining down on all my little houseplants
612. Mango's text messages full of book suggestions for Mane