Friday, January 22, 2016


Yesterday was my 18 year spiritual birthday!  Eighteen years ago I realized that I was a sinner and needed to be saved from my sins.  I realized that the only way I could be right with God and have a relationship with Him was to accept Jesus as my Savior.  And so I did.  In the bathroom in my dorm as a freshman in college.

I was going to let yesterday pass as just a day to celebrate, me and Jesus.  But today I realized that 18, while not an even number, is a significant number.  18 years as a believer means that I have been a child of God for half of my life!  That is so crazy to wrap my little bitty brain around.

So, in honor of 18 years, I thought I'd offer you some Scriptural truths as gifts for your soul today.

1 John 3:1--"How great it he love the Father lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.  And that is what we are!"  This is my favorite Bible verse, because I am so undeserving of God's love and yet He lavishes it on me.  I love the word lavished.  I think it is so descriptive.

Psalm 20:7--"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  This was the first verse I ever memorized.

Psalm 145:3--"Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom."  Can you imagine something so great that you can't even fathom it?  Talk about having a brain too itty bitty to understand!

Philippians 1:6--"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  God has a plan for me and will carry it on to completion.  He won't give up on me!

Colossians 3:2--"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."  This is one of my greatest struggles--becoming too focused on my circumstances and giving in to the emotions of the moment.

Hebrews 4:16--"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."  There is that word confident again.  Christ gives me confidence.  And God is not a Got that is far off, but He wants me to approach Him with my wants, needs, and desires.

Psalm 141:3--"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Not necessarily a touchy-feely verse, but one that I pray for myself often.  Don't let me speak what will be hurtful to others.  And, O, how often I have to repent when I don't follow through on this verse!

I could go on and on, and I probably should list 18 verses, one for each year, but I don't want you to overlook the treasures in these verses, so I'm going to stop here!  Thank you to all those who God has placed in my life over the last 18 years who have encouraged me to seek truth and trust in God!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bosom Enemy

I have slowly been reading through Little Women.  It has been on my list to re-read for the last couple of years, but I've never gotten very far into it.  Why, oh why, does anyone think it is a good idea to make children's books which very fine print?  I have had the same struggle with Anne of Green Gables.  I just can't handle that it takes so long to read one page.  It's a weird ADHD symptom I have, I guess.  I want to make progress through a book and flip pages at a quick rate. I actually first read Little Women when I was in high school, just before the movie with Winona Ryder came out.  I really wanted to see the movie but felt like I should read the book first.  I got through it then, so I feel that as an adult, I can get through it now, by golly!

Anyway, I digress.   Tonight I was reading a chapter, and I was surprised at the clear godly message that it presented.  A little background on the chapter.  Jo and Amy got into an argument and Amy retaliated by burning one of Jo's beloved books that she had been writing her own stories in.  Jo stated that she would never forgive Amy and at bedtime Mrs. March advised Jo not to let the sun go down on her anger.  Jo did not listen and the next day when ice skating with Laurie.  Amy followed and ended up falling into the ice.  Jo immediately realized the error of her ways of not forgiving her sister.  While she waited for her sister to wake up from her resting after the trying events of the day, she and her mother had a conversation about trials and temptations. Jo exclaims, "My dreadful temper! I try to cure it; I think I have and then it breaks out worse than ever."  Her mother tells her to "watch and pray, dear, never get tire of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault...Jo dear, we all have our temptations, some far greater than yours, and it often takes us all our lives to conquer them."  Mrs. March then goes on to tell Jo that she used to have a temper just like Jo's and it has taken her 40 years and she still has to work on controlling her tongue when she is angry.  She calls Jo's temper her "bosom enemy." (which was such a vivid picture because it reminded me of Anne's bosom friend in Anne of Green Gables).  Mrs. March ends by saying that Jo can overcome and outlive the temptations if she learns to "feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one.  The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom.  His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength.  Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hope, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."

It was such a good reminder of the sin struggles I have and how I feel like after 15+ years of being a Christian, I should be done with them.  I know better, but when I get frustrated, I just want them to be gone.  This song came to mind:

All  I once held dear, built my life upon,
all this world reveres, and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss;
spent and worthless now, compared to this:
Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you,
there is no greater thing.
You're my all, you're the best,
you're my joy, my righteousness,
and I love you, Lord.

And my prayer is that I would not hold that bosom enemy, that coveted sin area, as dear in my life, but that I would see it as worthless compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A little something not-so profound

I was taking a break procrastinating at work today, so I checked my blog really quick to see if anyone had anything profound to say.  And they did.  But in the midst of the profoundness, I noticed something not so profound.  The banner (fancy design at the sides of my blog) is one that I have had for multiple years.  I used to change it one to two times a year, but I really like this design, so I haven't changed it.  But because I haven't changed it in a while, I don't really notice it anymore.  But today, today I noticed it, and started laughing.

The picture below is a comforter I have had for years and a sheet set I just bought this year.  Look familiar to anyone?  Apparently I really like the pattern.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Storm/Power Outage 2015

When I went to see my family in the 'burbs, my intent was to come home the Tuesday before New Years.  Monday, Emily called and let me know that with the the ice storm came a power outage through much of Peoria.  It was widespread and no one was sure when it would come back on.  On Tuesday, it was saying that the power was supposed to come back on at 1:00.  So, I decided to head home.  When I got home at 4:00, still no power.  With the sun going down, Emily and I emptied the refrigerator and freezer, packed a bag, and headed for her parents house in Morton.  Good food, a warm house, a fire, light, television, a puzzle.  It was a comfortable evening.  Wednesday morning, the new update was 7 or 8pm that night.  I headed back into town to pack another day of clothes and get some things to do and went to Kari's house to hang out in warmth.  Emily, Kari, Amanda, and I went to dinner.  I packed my bag and hoped that I would be able to head home after dinner.  At 8pm, the update was 11pm, and the decision was made for me to stay at Kari's house for the evening.  Emily headed back to her house.  An hour later, the update changed to 10pm Thursday evening.  I was beginning to think that I would never get to go home!  Thursday morning, the time frame had actually moved up to noon, and I was finally feeling optimistic.  Noon came and went and then it said that the time for the power to come back on was "undetermined."  I decided that I did not want to grocery shop on New Year's Day, so I went to lunch, went to the grocery store to replace some groceries (Kari had said that I could keep my groceries at her house if I needed to), and then headed to the apartment to get some things done while it was light and to pack another bag (at this point, I was not optimistic any longer that I would be able to stay at the apartment).   While I was home, the power came back on around  3pm.  I called Emily and we settled in to settling in for the evening.  Two hours after the power came back on, the heat had caught up, the refrigerator was clean (why not clean it while it was practically empty), laundry was underway, and I had mostly unpacked from being gone for one and a half weeks.

And then the refrigerator stopped working.  Yes, you read that right.  4:30 on New Year's Eve.  I called the emergency number and someone from maintenance called back.  This is how the conversation started, "Ma'am, do you have a husband there, or is it just you?"  Now, I don't know much about taking care of house stuff, but it still made my blood boil.  I told him it was just me, and he proceeded to "teach" me how to check the breaker box.  Anyway, long story short, our refrigerator was kaput.  Dead.  Luckily, they came in on New Year's Day and replaced the coil and we again had a working fridge!  I may have enjoyed New Year's Eve from the comfort of my bed starting at 7pm and going to bed at 10pm, but there is no proof that I wasn't out partying in the New Year.

Now, all of this happened at the end of the year, so I knew I was going to be looking through my blessings jar, so the whole week, I had in the back of my mind to look for blessings in the midst of this craziness.

I had a warm place to stay the whole time the power was out.
I was able to catch up with a friend while staying at her house.
I had people to call when the refrigerator broke.
My apartment was still standing and I was able to go back to it (I was talking to a client this week and she told herself when the power was out that at least it wasn't a fire, or a tornado, or a hurricane, or an earthquake.  Things could have been so much worse).
I have money to replace my groceries and to buy lunch and dinner while the power was out.

So, all in all, the week did not go according to my plan, but I really had no reason to complain.  I did.  I wasn't happy about the situation.  And I had a cold all week, which made me not enjoy the change in plans. But now, it seems like a distant memory.  And one day, we'll look back at "The Power Outage of 2015" and laugh at all the stuff that happened.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The rest of my Christmas Break with the family

Most of my Christmas break was spent relaxing, not getting dressed for the day, no make-up, playing, reading, and lots of other low-key shenanigans.
Several days were warm enough that I could go for a walk in just a light jacket.  Kind of crazy at the end of December in Illinois.
Cats bundled up on beds.  Tabitha loves the Buzz blanket just as much as I do.
Building Legos.
Playing games.  I love the expression on my brother's face.  Is he bored?  Stressed?  Worried his battleship is going to get blown up?  A very intense game of Electronic Battleship!

Coloring.  My mom got two coloring books for Christmas, and I kind of hijacked them (with permission).  And decided to buy some of my own.
More Legos with John.  He got several Jurassic World sets.
Playing.  My brother laid some new flooring in the dining room.  Michael really liked the floor and made it his own playroom the rest of the week.
ZuZu was tired of playing but wanted everyone to know that they couldn't play with her toy while she rested.  Such a cute little pup.
A rare Bucky siting.  Of all the comfortable places he could relax in the house, he chose to lay on the floor and rest against Mom's purse.

That's my trip to my Mom's house in 10 pictures of less!

Christmas Eve

I wasn't very good at taking pictures on Christmas Eve. Which is obvious from the lack of pictures in this post.  But this first picture is super special.  My grandmother hates pictures with the fire of a thousand suns kind of dislikes pictures.  We sneak them.  On very rare occasions, like weddings this year, she will agree to pose for a picture.  Christmas Eve was one such occasion.  A family picture, minus Dan and Paul.  We are a pretty nice looking group, if I do say so myself.

Don't ask me why I took this picture.  I think they were watching the video from Michele and Sergio's wedding.  Before this, we played the super fun white elephant gift exchange (but with real presents).  Jake makes up the rules as he goes along emcee's the event with a unique set of rules.  I was lucky enough to be the first to pick a present, so I had the last opportunity to steal a present at the end.  I chose to give up my microwaveable popcorn bowl (which I really liked) for a framed 8x10 picture of the family at Nate and Erin's wedding.  I win!

Cookie Making Extravaganza

Somewhere along the line, someone at some point in time, decided that making lots of Christmas cookies was a good idea. I've never really been sure why the holidays equals baking, but it does. And our family did our fair share.

Our first endeavor was to make spritz cookies.  My mom borrowed my great grandmother's cookie press and bought a new one as well.  I  must say, the old cookie press worked much better than the new one.

John and Michael used the new one to make Christmas trees, and I made the old one to make wreaths.

Who wouldn't have fun making cookies with a kid with that face?!

The next cookie making experience was to decorate sugar cookies.  Lots of frosting.  Lots of sprinkles.  Lots of licking of fingers, spoons, knives.  Lots of fun.

We made a pirate!
My mom is quite the artist!
I was trying to get Michael to show me his messy fingers and face, but he kept covering his face.

The finished results.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Casual words that mean so much

Yesterday was my first day back after missing two weeks of church.  I was ready to sit and listen to God speaking.  I was rushed and working off too little sleep.  But I was ready to hear from God.  It's amazing what the new year stirs up in me.  A new focus in so many ways.  A new start to the same old thing that I've been doing week after week.  It's almost like a reset.  And so, I wanted to come to church and reset my expectations and focus.  That being said, I was still distracted.  I was looking around to see who I could see while I should have been singing to the Lord.  I was reading my bulletin when I should have been listening to announcements.  But then Don got up for the prayer.  I'll be honest, sometimes it's hard for me to focus when someone else is praying.  My mind often gets distracted.  And it was no different this time as I tried to focus on the words of the prayer.  And then he prayed something along these lines, "Even when we are desiring change in our own lives, we can remember that the Lord's love is steadfast and unchanging."  Life is all about change, and I get that.  But these words struck deep in my soul.  The Lord is our Rock.  He is unchanging.  He is sure in troubled times.  His love for me is steadfast.  I don't always like change, but I do desire change in many areas of my life, and many of those areas were struggles for me in 2015.  So, Don's prayer was just what I needed.  And the words have stuck with me even a day later (which is kind of unusual for me.  I am the person that often says, "That was a great sermon, but couldn't really tell you what the sermon was about.).  May the Lord remind me and you of His steadfast love this week.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas parties

The weekend before Christmas was the weekend of family parties for me. The Forsberg family party is always the Saturday before Christmas. I am usually able to attend every other year (the years that I am not heading to Arizona for Christmas). Much fun is always had!
Santa comes and all the families get to take pictures with him.

There is also much socializing, catching up, and other shenanigans going on during the evening.
We almost got a good picture if it weren't for Aunt Kathy's eyes.  I'm not even sure what happened.  And then it went downhill from there.  These are just two of the pictures, but they are part of a sequence of about 8 pictures.

Most years, we have to re-create a childhood picture of the cousins sitting on the staircase at Grandma and Grandpa's.  We've added spouses and we've ummm...grown in size.  And the staircase is smaller.  And none of this matters because the aunts are a force to be reckoned with when they want something accomplished.
Scott took a selfie of all of us (he's on the bottom stair) but I haven't actually seen the selfie.
Above is the original picture, and the first year we re-created the picture.  Although, we fit better on the stairs because we didn't add spouses into this picture.  It's something to think about, aunts...

Then Sunday we headed to the Koszycki/Kaye family party.  This party is, unfortunately, also held the Saturday before Christmas, so I haven't been since I was a kid.  Uncle Carl decided to move it to the Sunday before Christmas so the Forsberg portion of the family could make it.  I was excited to be a part of the family and be able to catch up with many people I had not seen in way too long.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2015 Blessings Jar

I was driving in my car today and the song "At the Cross/Blood Ran Red" by Chris Tomlin came on.  It immediately made me think of this blessings jar process and the focus of why I do this every year.  Here are the lyrics:

There's a place where mercy reigns and never dies
There's a place where streams of grace flow deep and wide
Where all the love I've ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

At the cross
At the cross
I surrender my life
I'm in awe of You
I'm in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
and my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You Jesus

There's a place where sin and shame are powerless
Where my heart has peace with God and forgiveness
Where all the love I've ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down


Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down
Here I bow down
Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down
Here I bow down

One of the themes of my blessings this year was definitely God's grace, His forgiveness, and His love.  I am so thankful for a God who loves me despite my failings (which often come through in these blessings).One of the reasons I started this project is because, by nature, I am a very selfish person and I tend toward being a realist on good days and a pessimist on bad days.  Several years ago, I decided one way to fix that was to focus on one blessing every day.  My realist/pessimist nature often shines through on cards that will read, "despite [insert negative life event], I [insert small blessing or change in focus]."  I could tell I was really trying this year to ground myself in something more positive on those bad days.  But other times, the card might simply read, "Thank you, Lord, for forgiveness," which tells me that I wasn't able to refocus my mind and chose to be selfish in some way instead, but I could still be blessed with God's forgiveness.

Sometimes my cards still tend to lean toward being more of a diary of the day.  This can frustrate me, because it doesn't really focus on blessings, but when I review the cards at the end of the year, the blessings show through in routines and themes.

Here are some of the themes from my blessings jar for 2015:
safe travel in bad weather
quiet days at home (it amazes me how often this is true.  Sometimes I forget that I am an introvert and need time alone.  This was really true this year, which seemed to be busier/more hectic than other years)
being able to serve at church
Scripture memory and review (Ginger and I have memorized 41 chapters!!! And looking back on last year, we ended the year with 14 chapters, so we memorized 27 chapters this year!)
texts of encouragement from friends
game nights with friends
time with family whether in person, by phone, or through text
weather--sunrises, sunsets, snow, rain, sunshine, cold, warm (glad to see I can enjoy all types of weather)
quiet evenings with Emily
good sermons/convicting sermons
blessings of renewed friendships
God's grace and faithfulness
one-on-one dinners with friends
"And Can It Be" made the list several times again (we even sang it in church on my birthday!)
exercise (this was a big theme the second half of the year as I began to focus on losing weight in July)
making my units at work (always a struggle for me, so it is always a blessing when I do my job well)
"Thank you, Lord, for the body of Christ!" (this came up several times as I spent time with various individuals and groups throughout the year and how God's love shines through in His ability to bring people from all walks of life into my life!)

The other thing I tried to be more intentional about on my cards this year was to write a short, "Thank you, Lord, for..." statement at the bottom.  This again, allowed me to focus more on the blessing even if I was recording more of a diary-like statement.  For example, if I wrote that I saw a movie with a friend, my statement might have been, "Thank you, Lord, for time to spend with friends."  A simple change, but it allowed me to focus more on the Lord and less on me.

Overall, I feel like looking back, 2015 was a hard year for me.  I can't really say why because nothing major happened that was negative.  I think I had many days of discontentment and trying to figure out the future.  This often created frustrations for me.  I also continue to struggle with selfishness and not being okay when things don't go my way.  I know this will always be a challenge for me, but I am trying to work on it and hope it will be a theme for 2016.

I'll leave you with this card from Jan 22, just because it made me laugh out loud:

It made me laugh, because I completely remember the Big Mac.  I have no idea why I was having a bad day, but I remember the decision of "Who cares.  I'm getting a Big Mac for lunch AND a LARGE Dr. Pepper."  And my coworkers who literally came over to smell my french fries.  Some days, you just need really unhealthy comfort food to make it through a bad day!