A Poem for Relaxing Winter Nights with Family

Food, games, sweets, family.

Christmas movies, cookies, snow.

Naptime, chilling, cold.

 

No school because break.

Video games with in-laws.

Writing, more games, fun.

 

This break seems like forever.

Until it is done.

Then the real world will beckon.

 

But until that day,

Family, games, chilling, bonding.

Watching, playing, chill.

 

Talking, playing, snow.

Winter, headed north, family.

Love to you readers,

 

Anna E. Meyer

he’s waiting for you

I read this awesome post yesterday by my friend Amy that was about drawing closer to God.  In all my busyness and getting ready to come home and DISTRACTION, I kind of forgot that God and his word come first.  I love when people tell me what to do.  I seek their advice before I look for answers from the word.  Advice from people is more likely to be direct: “I think you should do this and that.”  Done.  Advice from the word?  Not as easy to interpret.  There IS a character named Anna, but she was real old and got to see Jesus and praise him.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Anna, go here and do this.”  Which is not so helpful.  But the Word DOES say that God will provide; that he’ll be with us wherever we go, and that he’s got plans for each of us.  He knows what will happen before it happens.  Predestination or not, God already knows what we’ll chose, and what he’ll do next to try and draw our gaze toward him.  God works through people who are also full of the Spirit.  Like there’s this one guy who I’ve talked a lot about here in the last few months, and I emailed him yesterday when he was at work.  And then the Lord was totally working through him as he typed out a reply.  And so I spent some time this morning to draw closer to the Lord.  I’m very self-critical, but God’s all like, “Why?  You are my MASTERPIECE.  What I have given you, such as comfort and blessings, so I ask that you give it to others, that all may know of my comfort and be blessed.  I am stronger than you, because I am GOD.  I made you, that you may love me and praise me and honor me in all that you do.”  So, I’m like, “Okay, God, you’ve got me.  Seriously.  I’m yours.”  But God doesn’t stop, like, ever.  He continues to love on me through people I love in return.  He blesses me and shows me his love and provision again and again.

Many of us are getting home for the holidays or preparing to go.  This season is about CHRIST.  Before we all get so wrapped up in him, I encourage you all to draw closer to him.  Because he is waiting for you.  His arms are outstretched, and he’s waiting for you to run into his arms.  To cuddle and to draw your gaze to his.  But since he can’t really touch us in the physical sense, he sends the perfect people to cuddle with us.  My favorite part of the Christmas season is getting together with family that we don’t get to see all the time.  In the midst of it all is Christ, blessing us and making our favorite parts of Christmas realized.  What is your favorite part of Christmas?  How do you see the Lord working in the midst of it all? 

 

Anna

On graduating for realz, to-do lists, and Christmas!

Everybody: I’m done with college.  I’m filling out job applications and stuff, but I’ll believe it when I hold a diploma.  I don’t quite believe it yet, and I feel like I’m holding my breath.  What is my grade?  Did I remember to do everything?  I didn’t forget anything, did I?  I feel like I’ve been forgetting a lot of things lately.  But, this uneasiness shall pass.  Not knowing what all the future holds?  Not knowing what I’ll be doing next semester or next year when I’m in Kentucky?  For the first time, not knowing is….exciting.  I’m beginning the process of teacher certification in Kentucky, and there are so many things that I also want to do besides be a music teacher.  Maybe I’ll be a writer and give lessons.  Maybe I’ll get to be the chaplain in a nursing home and pray with residents and share the hope of Christ (granted that I don’t actually have to be a pastor to do that) and get paid for it.  Maybe I can do something else in a church where I’ll make money enough to live.  Maybe I’ll do a little bit of everything I love…and still make money.  I may or may not be procrastinating doing bullets on my lengthy to-do list, but I have decided that I can stay here an extra day to get things done before I go home.  (I also put “write blog post” on the list, so there’s my awesome excuse.  ‘Cuz I want to keep you lovely readers up to date on Anna’s life.)  There is something super satisfactory about checking things off of a list.  I’ve also been talking with Doc Wile E. Coyote about organization and stuff, and I keep encouraging him to write a stinkin’ list.  Then he’ll get to check it off and feel that satisfactory.  A tip for others who struggle and have stuff to do: write smaller things on your list.  I have a smaller checklist for each day, and they include things like “Drink coffee,” “stretch,” and “read the Word.”  Now, these are all things I do every day, but these daily checklists both help me to remember things, PLUS I get to check things off.  It’s pretty awesome.

Somebody asked me yesterday why I haven’t been going to first service at church.  Seriously.  I’m done with school.  Pretty soon I’ll be a “real” adult.  I’m sleeping in a lot while I can.  And soon, Sundays will be the only day I CAN sleep in!  I must take advantage.  As the Christmas season approaches supes fast, I pray for safe travels for all who are traveling (and then I realized that I’m driving a lot of places, too), and I pray that it will be a good holiday season, where we’ll remember the reason for the season.

God chose these average-Joe shephards to share the good news with first.  They weren’t anything special.  But neither am I.  Or you.  But God chose YOU to share the good news with, and he is holding out his arms, waiting for you to run to him.  He holds a gift of salvation, and he is waiting for you to take it and rip it open and accept the gift and be greatful.  Then, as we do with gifts that we don’t so much like, re-gift it!  Because the cool thing about the gift of Christ is, once we receive him, he will never be taken away.  This is what the sermon yesterday was about.  So re-gift this amazing gift and share it with people you don’t like that you’re going to re-gift that fruitcake and those awful-smelling..whatever.  Re-gift it and share it with people you love that have received it already because the gift of Christ can go around and around and around.  Anyhoo, I’m babbaling.  Have a merry Christmas, everyone!

Anna

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Easter Thoughts: Seven Words at a Time

It’s Easter, and I’m thinking real deep.  As it is the Easter season, I have been thinking about things deepish for the last week or so.  What else do people think and blog about this time of year?  But really, it shouldn’t just be now, but always!  (We’ll work on that.)

One.  “My God, why have you forsaken me?”  Last week, I watched “Passion of St. Mark” put on by my college incorporating theater, the choir, and faculty instrumentalists.  The people who wrote it are professors.  They did an astounding job.  But during it, that phrase, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” was brought up in thought of tragedies that have happened on earth in history.  Honestly, I don’t think anybody has the right to ask why God forsake them except Jesus, when he was on that cross.  I know bad things happen, and God can seem far away, but he is always there, no matter how hard that is to believe sometimes.  He has his reasons and his own purpose that we may not understand, but that’s okay.  Now, I know when somebody goes through a tragedy, they may not find it so easy to come to the conclusion that God had a plan in it.  Look.

Two. As my cousin Phil summed up Good Friday: “Jesus died, then shit got pretty real.”  Do you realize how real?  The instant Jesus died:

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and[e] went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27)

I hadn’t really paid attention to this before.  I don’t know if I had actually read it myself.  Yeah, shit got real!  Was there any longer doubt that he was the Son of God?  100% man AND 100% divine.  There is NO ONE greater.  Seriously!  Grace was unleashed as Jesus took the punishment of all OUR sins—past, present, and future!  In.Awe.

Three.  “Jesus rose– shit got even more real.”  Um, yes.  The Holy Spirit had been unleashed and now he can dwell in each of us who accepts this divine gift of grace and salvation.  God hates sin, and that’s a pretty big deal.  He can’t look at it.  But Jesus took it all.  So even though we sin and it hinders our relationship with God when it’s there, we can simply acknowledge and thank Christ, that God will still look at us!  It’s amazing.  HE is amazing.  This living God who lives inside us is at work all the time.

We’re to accept and appreciate that gift.  How could we not?  Pastor Phill Tague mentioned in his sermon at The Ransom Church on Psalm Sunday that before we accept help, we have to admit we need it, and that is not always easy.  And how else do we appreciate it but praise the one who gave us the grace?  I’ll admit, I was just looking for seven more words for a conclusion, and “appreciate” is what I came up with.  The verb is inadequate.

How do you “appreciate” the mind-blowing grace and love shown at the cross? 

 

Just things to think about, I guess.

Anna

The Spirit of Christmas

In a heart, dark and messy, there’s a lamp lit.  The loud and angry noises hardly pay heed to the farmer entering in to care for his livestock.  It’s the same every day.  After he leaves, it is dark once more.  Everything likes when the farmer enters in, for he brings food and kindness.  But then he leaves.  One day, in the dark and messy heart of man, a couple approaches the door.  All the animals inside the barn witness a miracle that is unlike one of which they’ve ever seen, and a king enters in.  On one hand there is disturbance, for this new creature must be a threat.  On the other hand, there is a peace in sight of the man who lives in the dark world.  His heart has seen a king, but will he surrender to the new king?  Will he let the babe, the God of all, take the throne of his heart?  Or will he do all in his power to stop such a thing from happening?

Hared heard of this new king, and proactively killed all, just to ensure no such king took his throne.  Jesus wasn’t interested in Hared’s castle or courts, but the throne of his heart wouldn’t be yielded, either.  The magi’s heard of this new king and went to seek him, that they

might praise him.  They hadn’t heard anything else about this babe, but they knew who he was and they offered their hearts to the king to take his throne.

Where are you in this picture?

 

It took me a while to get in the mood for Christmas this year.  I’ve been playing Christmas music and wrapping Christmas presents not so awesomely.  I’ve watched Christmas movies (most of them on Hallmark, I’ll confess) and cuddled up in a blanket, knowing of all the snow outside.  I sit in the kitchen with my laptop in order to smell the delicious Christmas baking being done by my mother (and the fact that the cookies are within reach is just a bonus, really).  What does “Christmas spirit” mean, anyway?

But this year, I’ve been learning more of the Christmas story than I remember knowing in the past.  And it’s more than a story.  It’s Christmas when God becomes man, and the rescue mission to save the humanity that he loves goes underway.  It’s so much more than a holiday.  What begins in a mangThe reason for the season!er leads to the cross.  But it doesn’t end there.  In a few months, we’ll celebrate Easter, the finale of the rescue mission of God in the flesh here on earth.  And the best part is, he’s still moving everywhere, all around still today!

 

In a heart, dark and messy, a savior arrives.  He teaches the way of the Christian life only found in him.  He leads the way, every day.  And somewhere along the way, I’ve found the spirit of Christmas.

 

Anna 🙂

A Music Nerd (me) at Christmas and Bananagrams

I’m a music nerd.  It’s okay; I know it (and am proud of it)!  Usually for Christmas and my birthday, I ask for some high-tech or simply awesome something for my playing (instrumental playing, not messing around playing….much).  Last year for Christmas, I got a Dr. Beat metronome.  And it’s really fun to mess around with.  To see how fast the voice can say, “one-two-three-four” or the different tones that ding or click at you.  And you have NO IDEA how much it has helped me with my practice!  It can sub-divide into eighth notes, sixteenth notes, and triplets!

But THIS year (insert chuckle), oh boy!  SO EXCITED.  I got a xylophone book, a marimba book, two shakers, and three small frame drums!!!  AND I NOW HAVE PRINT MUSIC ON MY COMPUTER!  I totally don’t mean to brag or anything, but my music nerd-ness is quite content and happy to be messing around with stuff and playing with it for the next while.

Oh, and I was using music terms while playing Bananagrams with Christina and Dad last night, I used terms like “MIDI” (a keyboard that hooks up to computer and does technical stuff); “semiquaver” (an eighth note…I only had one ‘m’ so I couldn’t make it any smaller), and “zither” (a Chinese keyboard instrument).  Christina asked why she couldn’t just use Spanish, but I told her, these words are English.  We told Viktoria last year she had to use English while playing, so it’s fair.  Oh, and Dad didn’t know what “oboe” was.  It’s a double reed instrument, in case any of you were also wondering.  So if you have a lot of vowels and a ‘b,’ there ya go.  The funniest part of Bananagrams last night was that dad had mom spell out the word “philanthropist,” and he was determined to spell out that word.  So he spelled it out, leaving blanks where letters he didn’t have went.  He eventually did spell it.  =)

Anyway, our Christmases are just beginning.  This afternoon, the Hansons will be here, and we’ll celebrate Christmas with them tomorrow.  On Wednesday, I’m leaving for TCX!  So excited.  But on Thursday, the Bredlow side will get here and they’ll leave the day and day after I get home (Sunday).  =)

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I hope your Christmas break is fun and family-filled as ours!  (And, if you are playing Bananagrams with some people and you want to use unique music terms to throw ‘em off, just let me know.  I got cha back.)

Anna =)^2

Christmas Spirit!? (Have you found it yet?)

So.  We’re getting close to Christmas now.  Is it just me, or does it so not feel like Christmas yet?  Where’s the snow?  And yes, even the cold?  Things I’ve been doing to try and get in the Christmas spirit:

–          watch Christmas movies

–          read the Christmas story

–          make it snow here, on my blog

–          sing Christmas songs or something unrelated to the tune of Christmas songs

–          listen to Christmas music

–          write about Christmas

–          look at Christmas pictures (all these kids I used to know are growing SO MUCH! Is that allowed?)

–          eating/making Christmas cookies

Oh, during church this last Sunday was the Sunday School Christmas Program.  It was fantastic, and everybody did a great job!  There’s always a kid who yells the songs and it makes me smile.  This girl is gonna be an alto, for that’s about where her notes were.  Too bad she was louder than every other girl in her little group of 4-year-olds and kindergarteners (I think it was that group).  It was apparent when she didn’t know the words, for she would keep hitting the approximate notes and just “ahh” if she didn’t know the words.  I’m not making fun here—it was precious!  I thought it was lovely.  But THAT was a rendition of a Christmas story and it made me smile lots! And going to Christmasy events is totally something else that helps get into the Christmas mood!

So tell me about how you’re making it feel like Christmas without snow!  Christina said something this morning along the lines of “With no snow, it’s harder for people to slow down for the holidays.”  True, isn’t it?  At least that’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

But, I’m smiling, ‘cuz CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE!  Anna =)^2

The Story (A Christmas Blog)

This is a video that helped me chill during finals week (and yes, I did watch this movie a few nights later):

“It is finished.”  Yep, I’m DONE WITH FINALS!  That’s the first thing that popped into my head the other day.  I was like, “When I’m done, it’ll be finished.  Like when Jesus was dying on the cross and we didn’t have to worry about our sins anymore, but more like when I’m done with the semester and I’ve done all I can so therefore I’m just waiting for my grades back.  But wait.  It’s not quite the same.”  So, thinking about Christmas and everything…

Yeah, it’s TIME to be thinking about Christmas.  The Christmas STORY, not the Americanized fairytale, good moral be-nice-to-everyone type of fictional story.  The STORY that can’t be told better by anyone else!  (I know people have interpreted the story and retold it, but it happened once and won’t again.)  The reason Jesus came was so he COULD utter the words, “It is finished.”  DO YOU REALIZE WHAT THAT MEANS!?  It is finished, done, paid for.  When the judge holds up a list of all the sins you have ever committed (for they’re all the same in his book, and there are more than you could imagine—no amount of good deeds cancel them out), your verdict is hell.  Departure from God forever.  But THEN, Jesus comes in the room.  He’s like, “Judge, look at my list.  What is my verdict?”  And the judge is like “Well, it’s perfect.  There ARE no sins here.  Therefore, your verdict is eternity in paradise with me.”  And Jesus turns to you and is like, “Wanna trade?”  WHOA BESSY!  That’s what happens next chapter of the story.  We always celebrate OUR birthdays; they are a day honoring us for us.  Christmas isn’t just a DAY.  Yes, it is a federal holiday we set aside, special for remembering great events.  But don’t you want to live everyday honoring Jesus?  I know I do, real bad.

Okay, so this has turned into a little tangent.  But what blogs of mine don’t in some way?  So, I’m at home now (HOME!), so I wish you all a merry Christmas!

Until later, Anna =)^2 (Smiling Lots)

The Angels and the Shepherds (A Christmas Blog)

“Have you heard?  Jesus is going to be born on earth tonight!”

“Oh my gosh, yes!  Hey, do you wanna go and check it out?  A bunch of us are going to earth tonight.  God’s letting us!”

“How awesome is that?  Duh, I wanna go!  I wanna see him as a human for myself!”

“Yeah!  I’m so excited!”

Meanwhile, on earth…

“Hey, guys, I’m gonna take a quick nap.  It’s been pretty quiet tonight.”

“Say, rookie, you slept all day, right?  This is our job—to watch the sheep when it’s dark, and the wolves might come.  Just because it’s been quiet doesn’t mean that something will come when we least expect it—”

And suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord!”

Cue the multitude of angels putting on the best light show you can picture only better and singing the best most beautiful music you can hear in your head, only better, even if you’re a music major.

“Glory to God in the highest heaven; and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” they sang.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, after all of the shepherds and the sheep closed their codfish-like dropped jaws, the shepherds were all like, “Guys!  We have to get to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us!”  And so they did.  And after they had seen Jesus for themselves, they went and told it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere! (In your head, attune your ear to Cottonwood’s Christ Lutheran Church’s Sunday School Christmas Program….when the kids pretty much yell this song at the top of their lungs.  ‘Cuz I’m pretty sure that’s what the shepherds were doing, as well.)

Okay, so that’s my own interpretation of that part of the story, my own twist.  But it’s WHAT HAPPENED!  So awesome!  Jesus LEFT HEAVEN so that he could COME TO EARTH.  While he was here, he taught and healed and caused an uproar among the Pharisees with his radical-ness.  AND THEN, he left the presence of God completely when he took on OUR SIN.  Think about it—he took on ALL OUR SINS and PAID THE PRICE, giving us the greatest gift EVER—eternal life; getting to hang out with God!

I don’t know when Christmas became so materialistic and politically correct, because that is NOT what it’s about.  And Christmas is more than a break from school, it is more than a story that is reenacted by kids at a Christmas Program—it is REAL.  We celebrate Columbus Day and President’s Day and Thanksgiving, but THIS?  This affects ALL THE WORLD!  It even affects the heavenly relm!

I get so excited when I THINK about it!  Ahh!  I have no good way to end this post, so I’ll perform a recapitulation.

Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains!  And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains!  GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST HEAVEN, AND ON EARTH PEACE AMONG THOSE WHOM HE FAVORS!  Come to Bethlehem and see, him whose birth the angels sing!  Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord the newborn King!  GLORIA, IN EXCELSES DEO!  GLORIA, IN EXCELSES DEO!