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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Souvenirs from January 2015

As some of you may remember, I made a list at the start of the year to focus on five goals that I knew would bring memories to tuck away as souvenirs when I think about this year.  This first month has gotten me off to a good start but let me first remind you of my souvenir wish-list.

A. Shop Local
B. Household hop--At least three stops per month in someone else's house.
C. Legit meal--Once a week
D. Trip to Texas
E. Read more

A. Shopping locally
My shopping local this month was to restaurants.  I stopped by New Socials on Burger Night to order a The Texans burger (of course!) which was a half pound patty with onion rings, bbq sauce, fresh
jalepenos, and pepperjack cheese inside and a side of delicious fries.

I also stopped in at the Red Barn Cafe across the river in Vermont, to pay a visit to the wonderful family that owns and runs the business and my (current as well as former) students who work there.  There, I cashed in with some delicious chili (extra jalepenos please) and some baked goodies (Almond Joy scone and chocolate raspberry muffin) to hold me through the following week.

Lastly, I went to Hitchin Post with a friend which is a locally owned and operated business but I totally spaced on taking pictures but local patronage delicious this month.

B.  House Hopping was popping this month!  I actually found myself in 5 different households this month with a few of those being more than one stop in.  After living here in New Hampshire for 3.5 years, my social network here has expanded and people are getting more comfortable with me and having me over so that's been really sweet.  Between playing games with children or adults, watching football, having dinner and tons of sweet conversation, I'd say this point was a success.  Thank you to each of you who have welcomed me into your home.  I hope to claim you again next month!  :-)

C. So honestly, it's been a pretty miserable fail on meal preparation and bringing a meal together all within a relative sitting.  On week one, I had my first success in having a small steak, roasted parmesan broccoli and homemade sourdough toast with strawberry chipotle jam (both of which I got for Christmas from good friends).

Beyond that, most of my complete meals come when I get invited to my friends (see point B above) house to have dinner with them.  Luckily, I have friends who have pity on me in that market.

D. Well, apparently just putting a trip to Texas on my wish list was enough motivation to get up and moving.  I am excited to announce that I will be taking a trip to Texas during my April vacation.  I haven't been back to Texas since 2012 so I miss my family and friends there dearly, and I haven't seen my dad since summer of 2013 so it'll be good to see the whole bunch there.

E. Reading has gotten off to a good start.  I actually received a book as a gift on Christmas and began to read that day, finishing the first eight chapters before the new year and finished the forty chapter book on January 17th.  The book is "Mimosa" and it is written by Amy Carmichael.  If you want to know the basic background of the story and then a poem I wrote about it, I'd encourage you to read my post, "The Well."  It is an excellent book, easy read and compelling story that challenged and encouraged me.  I'd highly recommend it.

I also finally finished reading "Unglued" by Lysa TerKeurst.  I started reading this book last year and got through the first eight chapters so I polished off the remaining four chapters this month.  This was a book that I didn't really know I needed until I'd read it in the midst of life.  Even as I write this, I reflect on how many times just today I've said to myself "feelings are indicators, not dictators" which is a line that repeats throughout the book.  I feel hard and I feel deep but I don't want to be a slave to my own raw emotion so it's important I step back and get some perspective before acting on my intense feelings and really unravel or as the book would say, become "unglued."  It was a good and challenging read.  One that I took a long time digesting but as a former student would say "it's good for ya!"

Lastly, as the month is coming to a close, I've begun reading "In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?" by Charles Sheldon which I received as a Christmas gift this last month and I'm also rereading "How An Economy Grows and Why it Crashes" by Peter Schiff which I like to use for my Economics class.  I'll report on those more once I finish them.

So as a wrap up, January was pretty sweet.  Some of the fun things that don't fall within my list but are still souvenirs for me to keep from this month are going to my students basketball game, playing basketball, two concerts by bands that I know personally and a chili cook off.

So what's your report?  Any progress on your new year wishes?  Any great souvenirs to hold on to from January 2015?  Here's hoping for a memorable February ahead for all!

Until next time,
Joy Lynn

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Well

I'll start with context..... I just finished reading the book “Mimosa” which is a true story of a woman that Amy Carmichael worked with.  The book is great and challenged my heart and perspective on many levels. Mimosa had heard a small drop about God when she was young and missionaries were speaking to her father trying to ask permission to teach the children.  Though that was the only seed that was planted, that seed grew and the roots became very deep even though she knew very little about this God whom she had so much faith in.  She was often shunned by the Hindu culture and caste in which she was surrounded by.  In a desperate time, she reached out to a family member who professed to be a Christian, for just some money and help but was totally shut out by them. One of the quotes from Mimosa after this happened that continued to stick out to me was when she said “Christians! Why were they so different from their God?” 
It was that quote and that context in which I wrote the poem below.  Later in Mimosa’s life, she came to know more about the God whom she so strongly had faith in without book knowledge but it was with no help from this “Christian” family that rejected her.  I don’t want to be a “Christian” in name that pushes people away from knowing and experiencing who Christ is.  I don’t want to see that for the Church as a whole either, and so in this mindset a prayer poem was born.

The Well

There once was a girl with a thirst in her heart,
like a tender seed planted along the way.
She was thrown a bone oh so long ago,
but then another pot of water never came.
She clung hard to life, and through pain and strife,
she continued to grow though storm clouds brewed.
Then the weeds they came, trying to leave her slain,
telling her that all the waiting was in vain,
and that the wishing well was no place to dwell,
she’d be better off casting spells.
But she clung to faith through the stormy days,
knowing that her faith had made her strong.
Her roots went deep and wide through her sacrifice,
even though she only had a seed of knowledge to go on.

But now hopes alive, she can see the well where true life abides,
it is flanked by folks on every side.
She draws close to find, searching for new life
but she’s astounded by the sights of those unkind.
The folks that congregate, oh they have little faith,
and the riches offered here are laid to waste.
The gossip abounds and the judgments prevail,
this well is surrounded by a clouded veil.
Not because the well is trying to hide,
but because the people around it have misapplied.

She pushes through the crowd to finally make her way,
to the well so deep and free.
She takes an empty pail and draws out from the well
and drinks it in so deeply.
All that pain and strife, it was worth the fight,
for the well that never will go dry.
Though the people fail, God’s well will always prevail,
giving life and liberty.

But Church, let’s take a stand, to not limit but expand
His reach to those found deep and wide….
---deep within their hurt and wide from offence of the hypocrisy of our lights.
Let us be the mirrors reflecting His own light,
shining deep into the hearts of men.
Let us not build walls to keep people out
and let not our stench of pride be such that no one wants in.
For His Word prevails, and He calls them home,
so who are we to not let them in?
I pray we lay down strife and seek to love others like Christ,
for it was His love in our most broken state that caused Him to pay the price,
and in His death our punishment sufficed.
I pray all come to this Well, and find life.

Joy Lynn