Advent 2014

I have obviously not kept up very well with blogging this fall. While we as a family seem to be getting acclimated to our new home and life, I have found myself still feeling very much in transition. That’s why I am so happy that it is now Advent. I have known that Advent starts the new church year for quite awhile, but this year, I am especially eager to start a new year. I need the chance to refocus my thoughts away from the transition of the last year and on to what good things are yet to come.

One of the challenges I keep facing over and over is “not getting enough done” as a stay at home mom. The days fly by, and it seems like my to-do list at best stays the same length and at worst gets longer. I also find myself focusing too much on the to-do list and not enough on time with the kids, or even concentrating on whatever task I am currently working at. So to get ready for this Advent, I went ahead and made a huge, multi-page to-do list for the next year or so. I divided up the things I wanted to get done into categories (for example, crafts I wanted to make, household chores that needed to get done) and then I tried to choose just a few of the major things to focus on right now: celebrating Advent/getting ready for Christmas, and trying to complete “moving into” our new house. These are two fairly large items, and there are of course other small things that have cropped up and will continue to do so, but I’m hopeful that by focusing on a few things, I can feel less adrift and frenzied. I’m also hoping that this approach will help me to look at the different seasons in the year and in life, and recognize what tasks are appropriate to focus on in this season–and which ones to drop for now.

I do hope to get back into blogging, but right now, that’s not one of my top priorities, so I’m going to limit it to book posts for now. In the meantime, I will be trying to enjoy and do the work of this Advent season.

Book of Numbers

Yikes, it’s almost halfway through May, and I’ve packed about 6 boxes. We did adopt the dog who came to visit us in April, though…priorities, right?

Angel

Angel

The main topic of this post is one I’ve been meaning to write since last fall…but backing up even further, in January 2013, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was the read the Bible straight through–start at Genesis, read a chapter every day until I finished.

Now in May 2014, I’m on the book of 1 Samuel. Not very far in. The Bible is, of course, a very long book, but the main problem would be me not reading every day. Anyway, I have at least kept with it enough that I’m still going, instead of having given up back in Exodus. One of my main reasons for doing this is that I’ve read the whole New Testament (taking a NT survey class in college where it was required reading sure helped!), but there are lots of books in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible that I hadn’t really read before, and I would like that to change.

The book of Numbers is one of those books that I had never read before, and it definitely took me awhile to find it interesting. After all, it’s called “Numbers” in part because the first section of the book is a series of censuses of the Israelites. But it does pick up from there. For one thing, the story of Balaam and the donkey? I had heard that it was in the Bible, but had never encountered it until I finally read Numbers (Ch. 23). It’s a great story, too…not only is the donkey smart enough not to go where there’s an angel standing with a drawn sword, but God lets the donkey talk long enough to question Balaam about beating him until Balaam himself can see the angel.

There’re two other stories that I wanted to mention. One is a rebellion by some of the Israelites in which the ground swallows up the rebels (Ch. 16). Not perhaps the most pleasant story, but certainly as exciting as anything in most novels. The second seems to me like it might be one of the earliest feminist stories. In Chapter 27, daughters of a man who died without having any sons ask that their father’s inheritance be given to them instead of passed over to one of their uncles, and it is! There is still certainly lots of signs of the patriarchal system in Numbers, including that the women have to marry within their own tribe to keep the inheritance from passing to another tribe, but I still found it exciting and fascinating.

So if you are looking to explore a lesser-known book of the Bible, I would recommend giving Numbers a try…just skim all those censuses!