I got up early this morning (by myself, like a big girl, since Drew is in Cleveland for work this week) and met Cheryl for a walk. Actually, I got up, had a cup of coffee and watched the news for an hour to wake up enough to go for that walk. Cheryl can roll out of bed at 6:15 and be ready for a 4 mile walk at 6:30. I can't do that. I would be a walking (or stumbling) zombie. No matter, we had a good walk and, as always, good talk.
As I was flopped back on the couch a little while ago, I decided that it would be a good idea to rotate the couch cushions. I could tell you that that is because I'm so studious, but the truth is that my particular cushion was feeling a bit flat and my bum wanted something fluffier. So, I started pulling out cushions on one side of the couch. I expected to find a bit of dog hair (can't have three dogs in the house without a bit of that), but I found much more. I found 19 hair elastics and 30+ bobby pins... proof that that particular corner is mine and mine alone. I laughed at myself and laughed at what I imagined Drew would say about it. The next cushion hid more of a surprise for me... two Spongebob Memory game cards. My sweet Alex and her favorite game. I kept pulling out cushions and kept finding treasures. I guess I haven't moved cushions (or cleaned underneath them) in more than a year, because I found two princess dominoes, a baby doll hair brush, a bracelet, a hair bow and lots of glitter and sparkles. I smiled and then I threw it all away. None of it was particularly special, it was just a happy reminder of Alex. I've vacuumed the entire couch, replaced the cushions and now I'm taking a mental break.
I was thinking about our upcoming trip to Toronto and decided to look up average September temperatures. I was smart enough to realize that it would not actually be 21 degrees Fahrenheit, but... uh oh, Celsius. I'm a tiny bit ashamed to admit that I had no idea what the conversion was and had to look that up, too. Please don't tell my elementary school science teachers. For the record, 21 degrees Celsius is 69 degrees Fahrenheit. I am now happy to know that the highs during our trip should be about 70 degrees, with lows in the upper 40's or low 50's... Fahrenheit, that is.
A dear friend of Drew's gave him a book last week. The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning. On Saturday morning, after starting a pot of coffee, I picked up the book. Four hours later I had read the entire book and taken several pages of notes. I love a book that makes me want to take notes! In the first few pages of the book I read a line that might as well have said, "Hey Mandy & Drew, I'm talking to you!" It said, "You will live with an awareness that the Father not only loves you, but likes you." So, why does that speak to us? Drew and I have this thing that we do. On a very regular (but random) basis one of us will look at the other and say, "I like you." Of course, we say "I love you" regularly, too, but somehow saying "I like you" has a special meaning. I mean, can't you name at least one person in your life (or maybe several) that you love but don't really like? A person that you are connected to and share a relationship with (maybe because you are relatives or old friends) that you can honestly say you love, but when it comes right down to it you don't particularly like them? How else can I say this? Like and Love are not two ways to express the same sentiment. (These are my own interpretations, so someone else may describe them differently.) Love is a bond, a history and a commitment... a person in your life that you have roots with and that you will care for (love) from now until the end, no matter how little you share in life. Like is enjoyment. Sincerely enjoying spending time with and sharing experiences with a person. You can like a person without loving them and that isn't as difficult to explain as loving without liking. Assuming I have adequately explained what I consider to be the differences between like and love, I think it is especially awesome to love AND like someone. It's like saying, "I love you and I really enjoy being with you." That's why Drew and I say it to each other and that is why I found it to be so awesome to think that God not only loves me, but he also likes me.
That isn't totally what the book is about, but it is the first line that made me take note (physically and mentally). It's a really lovely and honest approach to better understanding ourselves (the you that others see versus "the rest of you"), the relationships that we share with others and the relationship God desires to have with us. I highly recommend it. I'm already looking forward to reading some of Brennan Manning's other books. Some of you may have read one or two already, as The Ragamuffin Gospel and a few others were quite popular several years ago.
Okay, break over. Since I already have the vacuum out and the couch has been cleaned, I best vacuum the floors before I put it away.