Advent Devotions 2022

Favorite and Not-So-Favorite Things

Posted by Mandy Rogers on


When the topic of our annual advent devotional was announced, I immediately got that song from The Sound of Music stuck in my head. So in an effort to drown out the repeating lyrics of mittens and whiskers on kittens, I decided delay thinking about what to write for this year’s devotional. That went well for a while.

However, as the deadline to contribute became increasingly closer, I decided to take some time to compile my own list of some of my favorite things. Here they are, for your reading pleasure, in no particular order:

Favorite Things

  • Tennis
  • Pickleball (come see me on Monday nights from 4-6!)
  • Tank tops
  • Laughing till I cry
  • Deep conversations
  • Learning new things
  • Wake surfing
  • Reading on the beach
  • Hamburgers with mustard and onions
  • Audiobooks
  • Iced coffee
  • Pens with colorful ink
  • Feeling the sun on my face
  • Leaves swirling in the wind
  • Beautiful sunsets
  • Quiet sunrises
  • Flying a kite
  • Sweet tea
  • Walks with friends
  • Board games
  • Card games
  • Dancing in the kitchen
  • My birthday

What a great list! Even just thinking about these things makes me happy. These things energize me and fill my cup and, when I make time to do them or notice them, they make me a better wife, mom, and friend. And, in fact, I’d venture to say this list is nowhere near exhaustive. But, the clock is ticking, and I must continue on with my word count, or face the Wrath of Lucinda (*see Editor's Note below).

Which I suppose leads me to my next thought: In order to be really self-aware and well-balanced, perhaps I should create a list of some of my least favorite things. Here’s what I came up with, again in no particular order:

Least Favorite Things

  • The Wrath of Lucinda
  • Spicy pickles
  • Wet socks
  • Cold showers
  • Arrogance
  • Know-it-alls
  • Life-altering pandemics
  • One-ply toilet paper
  • Dentist visits
  • Pens that don't write
  • Stale popcorn
  • Candy corn
  • Tedious tasks
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cockroaches
  • Unmet expectations
  • Pessimism
  • Victim mentality

These things drain my energy. They steal my joy. They get me down and wear me out. They make me drag my feet and furrow my brow. I try to avoid these things altogether or put them off to the last possible minute or get them over with as quickly as possible.

While neither of those lists are exhaustive, I got to thinking that there’s probably another category worth exploring. Sometimes, there are things I do not particularly enjoy or give me energy, but I am better for them. In fact, upon reviewing my previous list, it seems that dentist visits would fall into this category. No, they aren’t particularly fun at the time (sorry to all my dental professional friends), however, they are a valuable tool in my efforts to stay healthy and live well.

It makes me think. What else might fit into this category? Here are some initial thoughts:

My No-So-Favorite Things that are Actually Beneficial

  • Dentist visits
  • OK, the Wrath of Lucinda fits better here, too; in fact, let’s call it accountability.
  • Times of trial/hardship
  • Spiritual disciplines
  • Hard conversations
  • Being vulnerable
  • Taking criticism
  • Letting my kids make mistakes
  • Letting my kids suffer the consequences of their mistakes

As I consider each of these difficult scenarios, I can’t imagine what life would be like without them. The times in my life I have grown in character, it’s been because of something I would have rather not experienced. Someone held me accountable. I had to have a hard conversation. I made a commitment and stuck with it through times I would have preferred quit in the moment. It was in these “fires” of hard times that my character was refined.

When we endure difficult times, we learn perseverance. When we stand up to injustice, we grow in courage and in hope for a better world. When we surrender our control to trust God, we gain peace and ultimately we learn who we are in light of who He is.

I want the same for my kids. I want them to make some small mistakes here and now while they can pick themselves back up under my guidance. I want to teach them in the small things about God’s character so that when the bigger, harder times hit, they will have experience in trusting Him.

It’s not all kitten whiskers and warm mittens; it’s hard. But it’s worth it.

*Editor's Note: We can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any real or fictional force known as "the Wrath of Lucinda." We do commend the wisdom of exercising caution in this regard, however. Just in case.

Grilled Corn with Jalapeno-Lime Butter
Bill Hager

1/2 c. butter, softened
2 jalapeno peppers, minced and seeded
2 tbsp. grated lime peel
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
6 ears fresh corn
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Combine first four ingredients and chill one hour. Rub corn with oil; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Grill corn over high heat, covered, turning often, for 20 min. Baste with butter mixture and serve.



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