An Advent “Celebration” to Remember

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(Insert bratty 8 year-old girl and 10 year-old boy tone) “Do we REEEEEEEALLY have to do this?” my brother and I whined to our mom as she made us “celebrate” the Advent season. I mean legit Advent – 4 Sunday nights, Bible reading, candle wreath and all.

This was week number two or three, and the whining came right after I plunked through Silent Night on the piano, making more mistakes than there were sheep being watched by shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. My brother was rolling his eyes, while my Dad was gluing his eyes to the football game on the muted TV in the room next door.

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What did you expect?

surprise

In reading the Christmas Story, I’m gripped by the element of surprise that landed on the story’s main characters. These were normal people, going about their day, and BOOM! Great news just happens.

Imagine if you were:

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All in favor of being favored?

mary

She was somewhere between the ages of 12 and 16. Mary had recently become engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. She knew her life would soon be changed, but she had no clue just how drastically it would change – especially after the angel Gabriel showed up.

“Hello, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

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I’m thankful he went for it.

cristian-caryn

It was December of 1991. I had been a missionary in Santiago, Chile for almost a year, and looked forward to spending all of ’92 there as well. My Spanish was quite fluent by then, and I had made some true amigos – fun Chilean friends like my roommate Elizabeth, her fiancé Roberto, and this guy named Cristian, who was a talented soccer player and musician. The four of us spent a lot of time together, as we were all leaders in the youth group, worship band, and evangelistic outreaches.

Cristian had begun spending more and more time at my and Elizabeth’s house. He lived an 8-minute walk away, and he seemed to be ringing our doorbell every time Elizabeth and I were pulling cookies out of the oven. (Which was almost daily, so his chances were pretty good.)

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Is your thankfulness tank near empty?

thankfull

As I contemplated what to write about this month, I thought, “You can’t go wrong with the popular November Thankfulness theme. Plus, four Tuesdays equals four topics. Easy.”

Immediately the “Fantastic Four” I’m most thankful for in life came to mind – God, my husband, my mom and my dad. I’ll be writing about my husband next week, and so this week, it’s God’s turn.

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The Most Thankful Person I Know

caryn_and_mom

At the beginning of “Thankfulness Month”, I googled “Bible verses about thankfulness”. There was a wonderful list that I’ve revisited many times already.

This week, just out of curiosity, I googled “Qualities of Grateful People”. This list was quite encouraging as well. Here are 20 qualities that kept appearing:

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“Too much _____ makes you ugly!”

cuz-caryn

It’s November! “Holiday Season” is upon us, and I love spending the month of November being extra aware of the many, many, many reasons I have to be thankful. Today, I am extra thankful for my dad.

If you don’t have the privilege of knowing him, in a nutshell, He:

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More Than a Job Search pt2

friend-search

So last week, I shared about how I’m in the process of sending out resumes, and how the “we received your resume” automated response triggered a few surprising responses of my own. It read,

“Please accept this as confirmation that we have received your cover letter and resume. You will be contacted should your experience and skills support further consideration.”

As I mentioned last week, I was grateful to know they received it, but then my eyes got stuck on the phrase “should your experience and skills support further consideration”.

“Should?”

“OF COURSE my skills support further consideration! OF COURSE after reading my resume, you’ll love me and want to spend at least 40 hours a week with me.”

And then it hit me.

I had truly forgotten that I was applying for a job and not a friendship.

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More than a Job Search pt1

job-search

Several months back, I made the decision to leave my full time kids pastor job, and find a new job that would allow me more time with my husband, and allow us more time to get started on our journey to adopt some kids. More posts about THAT journey later, but  the field trip I’m on these days is that of sending resumes to various places of potential employment. Some places keep you wondering if they received your resume, and others graciously send you an automated reply. The reply I received the other day really made me stop and think – on various levels.

“Please accept this as confirmation that we have received your cover letter and resume. You will be contacted should your experience and skills support further consideration.”

Wow. My first thought was, “Who was the lucky one responsible for scripting that response? Poor Jane Doe, Human Resources Assistant.”

My next thought was gratitude that they showed the courtesy of removing the “I wonder if they received it” question from my mind.

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Life in Stuckville

stuckville

It seems that my short term memory isn’t scoring the best these days, but I DO remember my senior year of high school and my four years of college oh so well. Maybe not ALL the details. My 75 year-old dad could most likely tell you the score of each of my basketball games from those years, who the referee was, the garbage rebound I missed for blocking out “like a girl”, how fresh the popcorn from the concession stand was or wasn’t…

I don’t remember all those details like he does, but when I look back at that age 17-23 time of life, I DO remember one consistently strong feeling. That feeling was more like a pervasive prayer. “Lord, when I become old, like in my 40s, PLEASE don’t let me get stuck living a comfy American Dream life like I see so many Christians doing.”

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