“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” ~ C.S. Lewis
I saw the above quote on Instagram this month, and it struck a chord with me. Part of why I write these posts is to express gratitude and praise for the life with which God has blessed me, and doing so seems to complete the enjoyment.
My life is not perfect, and if you read my post, you will learn of a significant loss that I faced this month. But I think that the happiest people are not that way because they have perfect lives (nobody does) but because they focus on the good and beautiful and give thanks to God. So without further ado, here is a peak into Watt’s been up this month.
READING: Much of what I have read this month has been for school. I finished my Art History I class and started Human Biology! However, I am slowly reading a book called How Healing Works by Wayne Jonas, MD and the Springtime in Surrey anthology collection.
LISTENING: My parents, oldest brother, sister-in-law, some friends, and I all went to the Benedum in Pittsburgh to hear Keith and Kristyn Getty, their band, and their special guests, a blind man named Blessing Offor, who had an amazing voice, and Malcolm Guite, a poet. It was a fun night that helped me get into the Christmas spirit.
I also listened to Dad read The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, both of which we finished. We just started a new novel, The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson.
On Libby, I listened to Erasing Hell by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle. It wasn’t a book I was eager to read, but I had put it on my TBR a few months ago and decided to listen to it while I was crocheting. It was written in response to a book promoting the idea of universalism–the idea that everyone goes to heaven and even has chances to accept Christ after dying. Chan and Sprinkle disagree with that idea and use the Bible to explain why. This book is probably one that I’d need to slowly read to take everything in and to see if I agree with all their interpretations of Scripture, but I do recommend it. I think it is important to study all aspects of God’s character, including the ones that might make us uncomfortable.
My mom and I also started listening to Dr. Lee Warren's podcast this month. He is a Christian neurosurgeon, and his podcast is about “self-brain surgery,” his term for neuroplasticity. He releases an episode daily, and they are full of encouragement.
DECORATING: We decorated our home for Christmas and put up two trees–one in our living room and one downstairs in the family room where I have my desk. Many of the plastic canvas decorations on the tree in our living room were made by maternal grandma. She also made our nativity set, and my maternal grandfather made the stable that goes with it. He died before I was born, so it is extra special to have some of his craftmanship.
MAKING: I baked Christmas cookies, pumpkin pie, and cornbread. I also crocheted an afghan using Bernat Blanket Yarn and stitched some plastic canvas elves.
ENJOYING: I organized Christmas caroling at a nursing home, which was fun. We had close to 40 carolers. I also volunteered at a local church plant by helping set up and organize their “Christmas store” for low-income families. The church rents the building of what used to be a bank, and I got my picture in the vault, LOL. I also enjoyed taking photographs of some snow we received around the middle of the month.
FEELING: A friend of mine and the daughter of one of my specialists died in the ICU this month at only 30 years old. We used to message daily and had occasional video-chats. I met her in person once. I am grieving that she is gone and that she never professed faith in Christ.
PLANNING: I’m planning to take my driver’s exam next month as I had to cancel it this month due to a cold. Some online friends and I are also planning to start a Bible study together next month.
LOVING: I loved spending Christmas with my family! My brother Ben flew to Pittsburgh from Chicago, and all of Watt-6 spent Christmas Eve together at my brother Alex and sister-in-law Kathryn’s home. We also went to a Christmas Eve service together, which was my first since 2014 and chatted with friends there. On Christmas day, Mom, Dad, Ben, and I visited my maternal Grandma, and then on the day after Christmas, Watt-6 spent time with some of the family on Dad’s side. Later in the week, we visited the farmhouse where my maternal great-great-great grandparents lived and where my grandma spent her summers. It's no longer in the family, but the man who now owns it kindly let us visit. He has kept it in good condition. I'd never been there before, and it was quite meaningful. On the dining room wall still hangs the photo of my great-great-great grandparents, Kesiah and William Chambers.
EXERCISING: Ben and I went on a 14.31-mile bike ride on Christmas Day. That was my longest bike ride yet, and Mom, Dad, Ben, and I walked 2.26 miles in Kittanning beforehand! In Kittanning, the locals decorated 160 trees along the river that we saw while we walked. We walked across the Kittanning bridge, too, which is pictured as the header of this post. Then while Ben and I were biking, we saw the Youch Ness Monster! The amount of exercise all in one day was a bit of a push, but I wanted to mark Christmas in a way that showed how far I’ve come in my recovery. Plus, the weather was unusually warm for December.
WEARING: On Christmas Eve, we had a hat contest, and Dad's family voted on what hat was, in their opinion, the best. I decorated a sun hat with a Christmas in July theme, and to my surprise, I won. Ben gave me the prize, a green Heinz pickle hat, complete with a stem on the top. Now I am officially a picklehead. ;)
"Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee."
Watt were you up to in December? I hope you all have a blessed start to 2024!