Weekend Update with Seth Meyers

Actually, Seth Meyers doesn’t do Weekend Update on SNL anymore – he has his own show now…just one of the many things that happened during the “February Fog.” But I liked the announcer-style title. It goes.

First, for those that inquired, dad is continuing his reign as Miracle Man and is doing fantastically well. I apologize for the lack of information regarding his condition – I assume everyone can hear my thoughts and thus know that he’s getting stronger and more active by the day. There are still some small bumps along the way that are frustrating for he and mom, but hopefully those will also begin to iron themselves out and he will be on the golf course next month. Please do continue to pray for his progress – he needs to gain some much-needed muscle weight and that seems to be slow-going, so your prayers have been and are still welcomed. Regardless, when we stand back and think about everything that has happened, we’re always amazed and blessed that we had the privilege to witness this miracle.

As his progress continues, the rest of us are also sort-of finding our new ‘normal’ and are all a little anxious for spring (now that the Big Snow is behind us, of course.) Personally, I feel like I’ve sort of come out of a coma – the winter coma I suppose. Or as I mentioned before, the “February Fog.” Apparently this is something that plagues many: our pastor began his sermon a few weeks ago saying that he had once heard that God made February so people that don’t drink would know what a hangover feels like. AMEN to that. My lack of feeling like I accomplished ANYTHING during February must be attributed to said hangover. We just sort of shuffled through the days. A lot happened in February – well, to be clear, a lot happened on TV  – the Super Bowl, awards shows, Jimmy Fallon took over the Tonight Show, and of course, the Olympics (I watched every possible minute of the Games like it was my JOB.) But, like a great awakening, the calendar flip has led to a lot of activity around here.

I attribute at least some of this activity to the beginning of Lent. Not only did I give up shopping on Zulily, but I added doing a Bible study and both are going very well. In spite of the fact that, according to my Facebook feed, some of my MOST FAVORITEST brands have been featured on Zulily just in the last week – Vera Bradley (this only happens once a QUARTER), Athleta, Ugg – I’m sure the list continues, but I just avert my eyes (that are no longer bleeding) when I see the listings and go read my daily Bible selections. It’s amazing how quickly perspective is restored when you add just a little bit of discipline.

Something else that’s keeping me disciplined (and very busy) is participating in the “40 Bags in 40 Days” movement for Lent as well. I stumbled upon this on Facebook just a couple of days before Lent began and was immediately hooked. Even though we have just moved and I try to stay “on top” of keeping things decluttered, and “decrapified,” the inevitable stuff of life still manages to take up residence quicker than we realize. I loved the ‘challenge’ and that even though giant contractor bags are pictured in the post, she states that ‘bag’ can be loosely interpreted to mean just about anything as long as an area of your home (or related ‘area of life’) is dejunkified in some form or fashion. I started small and either cleaned out areas that just resulted in trash or just filled a grocery sack, but have since graduated to trash or contractor bags for larger places. It’s freeing. I’ve even got mom in on the action and we made progress in her attic the other day completely unexpectedly. Once you get a mindset, it’s actually kinda fun! (Yes. FUN!) It’s also a great way to refocus on contentment and sacrifice for the season of Lent and I’m so glad this crossed my path.

Facebook is good for something after all.

So that’s about it for this update. There’s more to come and I hope I can stay dedicated to all I’ve committed to.

I wish I could remember how Seth Meyers used to sign off…

Winter Storm Titan was Totally My Fault

First off, I have to ask, when did we start naming winter storms? Shouldn’t that be something reserved for more devastating Acts of God like, oh, I don’t know, HURRICANES?

No one asked me.

But I take full credit for the onslaught of winter weather we have experienced the last few days and I’m proud of it. All winter, I’ve waited for a “big one” – a snow that was not only beautiful to look at but actually prevented travel and made all the rush for milk and bread worth it. I may have actually prayed for a BIG snow. Sure, we had a couple of minor accounts this winter (hello, Polar Vortex 1), but nothing of magnitude and/or it disappeared as fast as it came. So I was very satisfied to say the least when not only did we dodge a bullet of a dangerous amount of freezing rain (which is SO not pretty and much more trouble), but we have a beautiful coating of white that has stuck around for two days giving our slightly over-zealous landscaper-turned-snowplow-drivers something to do. AND, it even kept Michael at home from work yesterday. I was literally like a kid on Christmas. He laughed when I said, “I finally got the big one I wanted!” to which he replied, “well, I wouldn’t really call this a ‘big one.” I’m not sure what he meant by that because 2-3 inches of sleet and 2-3 inches of snow sufficiently constitutes a ‘big one’ in my mind and I just looked at him and said, “You had to stay home. It’s a big one.”

I don’t know where my love of snow came from. I partially blame my mom who RELISHED in “snow days” and would actually have projects planned for such occasions. Or maybe because dad always provided ample entertainment as he tried desperately to drive out of our neighborhood which was basically a collection of hills. Or maybe it’s just my need for four defined seasons and snow completes winter in my mind. But I think it’s because at some point, I decided snow was one of God’s most beautiful gifts, especially during a season that is typically dull, dreary, and dank. Think about it – when you looked out your window Monday morning, you immediately had to squint because it was so bright, right? Much-needed brightness, even without sun. Beautiful. Then there’s the fact that everything has a blanket of soft, flowing tenderness that eludes a certain serenity without even trying. Beautiful. The red birds are brighter, the trees are strong and firm, holding up their collected powder, and there’s a hush as the whirr of the world was forced to stop and breathe. There’s nothing like it.

BUT, now that I’ve had my “big one,” I’m ready for spring. Let’s get this over and done with and move on toward sunny days, blue skies, and warm temps. I can look forward to it now. (I’m not sure I could say that before this snow because my winter truly wasn’t quite complete.)

One way I always know spring is on the horizon though is with the approaching Easter season. And with that comes Lent.

I included a hyperlink because when Michael and I first got married, as a born-and-raised Baptist, he was not familiar with the concept and practice of Lent. And every time I mentioned it, he was convinced I was talking about the collection of stuff in the dryer vent. I’m still not entirely sure he knows it’s Lent with an ‘e,’ but he can at least relate that people eat fish on Fridays with the Lenten season. It’s a process.

So, I’ve always thought of Lent as a good time to renew the vows of “resolutions” you made at the beginning of the year but failed to keep or, as is intended, a good time to renew your spirit in preparation not only for celebrating our risen Savior, but also for recommitting to serve Him throughout the rest of the year. This often comes in the form of ‘giving up’ something – a vice, a habit, etc. – and dedicating the sacrifice to spending more time with God or in prayer or whatever you should so choose to strengthen your faith walk. There has been a lot of talk this year about “Flipping Lent” where instead of giving UP something, you take something on, like a Bible study or the like.

This year, I’m kind-of doing both.

What I’m giving up may seem silly to some, but for me, it’s vital and this commitment couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m giving up shopping Zulily.

<insert GASP.>

I’m seriously afraid they may go under during the next forty days.

Shopping is my go-to crutch in times of stress and boredom. Sitting in a hospital while your dad undergoes a transplant is a perfect breeding ground for both. Just me and my phone’s Zulily app and I’m a deadly weapon. I even placed a $100 order ON OUR WAY to Louisville when dad was called to the hospital. (In hindsight, that probably should have been the first clue I had a problem, but there was still a lot of hospital sitting and stress ahead at the time, so I didn’t worry about it too much.)

In my defense, Zulily provides good deals on unique stuff, but when it becomes a nightly habit of scrolling through the “Last Chance” items until I feel like my eyes could bleed, it’s time to take a break. Not to mention that we probably should save some money for things like food and shelter. I completely lose my ability to see this reason when a smocked dress with puppies on it for Elly is only $26.99.

So, I’ve removed my Zulily app from my home screen and have replaced it with a Bible study app (the thing I’m taking on) and I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about this venture. Believe me, I’ve “Fat Tuesday’d” myself up for about 3 weeks knowing this day was coming, so I think Zulily may survive with the amount of money I’ve spent during that time, but I’ve also looked forward to knowing that doing more than just reading a daily devotional and briefly praying is going to yield a more dedicated walk that I know will do wonders more for me than the excitement of receiving a navy blue package at my door. And really, that’s the point. Plus, I hope this 40 day break will curb my ‘addiction’ altogether so I can approach my Zulily shopping with a clearer head after Easter.

So I’m off to enjoy likely the last blanket of white for this winter. And to make my eyes bleed one last time.

Happy Fat Titan Tuesday.