Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ugly Apples


I have an apple tree. I am not sure this qualifies as a garden yet because I have done nothing to it except pick the apples (not sure I should be doing that yet, but they taste pretty good are are starting to fall off the tree). I love this apple tree because it has been totally neglected yet it is producing fruit. But, the fruit is really ugly. All the apples are really odd looking and some have spots and others are rather hunchbacked, but the fruit is sweet.

Today Laine and I made applesauce from these apples and froze it for sweet Annabel. I was filled with a sense of awe as I realized that this lonely tree with the ugly apples will feed my dear love-y lady her first apples. The humblest of trees will nourish my dear tree.

Last week in church, we discussed the idea of servanthood. I love the idea of this tree being a servant called to bear fruit unaware of who will be nourished by it. I am not called to do more than my dear tree. I must bear Godly fruit so that God may use it to bless others.

New Things

I promise I have not fallen off the planet. We are just doing some new kinds of growing. Sinking our roots in and letting the dust settle. Ordinary time at its best. Fall is going to be busy at church. I am soaking up the sweetness of summer.

Being a parent has taught me the beauty of slow. It has also brought more joy than I have expression for.

Peace be to you.
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Why I Stay Home

This week has been brought to you by becoming two. Laine is struggling to transition from complete dependency to partial independence. He is a delightful little twirp and I find it both exhausting and fulfilling to help him grow up. I am committed to staying by his side as he struggles through immaturity to adulthood. I love him deeply, but I now understand why my mother used to say she was my parent not my friend. It is a pleasure to enjoy my child's company, but I must fight to maintain my individuality so that when he is disobedient or makes a poor choice, I can parent him without emotional entanglement. It is so tempting to become dependent on my children for joy and happiness, but it is not fair to them or myself.

By the way...I really hate disciplining. I never knew that moms participate in the agony of time out quite so deeply.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Wash me in the Water

After a truly exhausting week we took a few minutes to release stress in the river.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finally, a thought about gardening

So, I originally started this blog to talk about my gardening attempts. Obviously, I am pretty terrible at gardening because there is literally nothing to talk about. I have a lemon tree and a tomato plant. Neither have born anything yet. Probably there is still hope for the lemon tree.

I have been trying to feed my family fresh, local vegetables during the summer, but our budget is pretty tight these days. One day recently, our crisper was bare and I didn't have anything left in the budget for fresh vegetables. I sent up a simple, short prayer for "daily bread." Within 8 hours I had tomatoes, green beans, peaches and blackberries. God blesses us indeed!

Of the Father's Love Begotten














Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He, Of the things that are, that have been, And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were fram├Ęd; He commanded; it was done: Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one; All that grows beneath the shining Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing; Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King! Let no tongue on earth be silent, Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee, Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be: Honor, glory, and dominion, And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

Are You My Mother?

We have been reading Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastmann. A lot. There is an airplane in this book. We like airplanes. Every time I read it, I remember a sermon that Luke preached several years ago. He used this book as an illustration of our search for God. There were many points that were made, but I remember Luke talking about the significance of the baby bird walking right by his mother because he didn't know what she looked like.

Right now, I am pretty sure I don't know what God looks like. I am tired, weary and distracted. The one thing I do know is that I see the reflection of God in my family. I see God's work in the life of my husband. I see God touching Luke's heart and guiding him through this new appointment. I see God in my children. Every time Laine is tender toward Annabel my heart melts and I see the grace of God.

Lord, help me know you in a new and fresh way. Help me to rest in Your grace even though my body is weary.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Wonder

I don't wonder enough. Annabel, thanks for reminding Mommy to wonder. God is awesome. God, help me notice.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

We are having fun

taking the week to soak up the fun of having a friend in town.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

I love my Incredible

Posting from my phone. Makes me feel awesome.

Going to pick up my dear friend tomorrow. God has truly blessed me with her friendship.

Breathe in...out...all is well.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Galactic Blast

Today we started our VBS. All new faces and personalities. Same frantic beginning. I think I have been a part of more VBS's than most people have fingers and toes, but each one is a miracle. I am startled every time at the number of people it takes to put on a VBS. To me it really shows the value of the Body of Christ. I love the way that a community opens its arms to children and works together to create an adventure for them.

I still tear up almost daily. I still miss the comfort of my old home, but now I see that I haven't really left. The church is a universal family. I have to learn the names and faces, but the people of EUMC are my family. They are part of the body of Christ.

Now we just have to make it through 5 more days...

Entrelac

Trying out a new technique. I love the pace of this project. I also love the yarn I am working with. It is comforting to know that no matter where I live I can start a new project. :-)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beauty

For The Beauty Of The Earth Hymn

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon and stars of light,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
Pleasures pure and undefiled,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For each perfect gift of thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

For thy Church which evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love,
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our grateful hymn of praise.

Vinyard

Tomorrow Luke is preaching on the vine and the branches. John 15. I love this passage. Maybe it is because of the gardening analogy. I also like to return to it during Ordinary Time. This is the quiet growth time. All of the planting of Advent and the pruning of Lent has led to the growth of Ordinary Time.

What I like about this passage is that we are not told that we are the plants that are sown but rather that Christ is the plant and we are merely the branches. We are not plopped down and told to struggle through our lives in isolation. We are connected to Christ and through his love and God's grace bear much fruit.

I have a tomato plant this year. Laine and I planted it in a pot since we would be moving and we dutifully watered and fertilized it. It has grown from a three inch seedling to a large bushy plant. It has beautiful, fragrant leaves and a thick strong stem, but no fruit. None. Not even a flower. I am sure I did something wrong. Fortunately, everyone else I know seems to have avoided that problem this year and are blessing me with their tomatoes. I seem to have a distinct talent for growing stems and leaves but never any harvest.

James says that faith without works is dead. I say Amen. A tomato plant with no tomatoes is virtually sterile. Our faith is sterile if we leave the vine. In John, Christ says that apart from himself we can do nothing. O Lord, keep me close to you and to your love. Help me to bear your fruit.

Nature Points

This week I have been walking with Luke to try to shed a few of the pounds I gained over the last few years. Mostly I attribute them to babies but a few of them are nursing school and a few are aging and a few are a relaxation of my eating habits.

We found a great park to walk in in Brevard. It is a rails to trails affair, and I love the vehicle-lessness of it. I also love that it winds through some woods and over a creek. Luke and I vie for "nature points" won by correctly identifying something along the way. I am winning 6 to 2. Luke said he would have gotten five points for catching a snake, but I scared it away (I got one point for correctly identifying it as a snake).

I am scared that someday I will forget these moments. How gracious is our God that God gave us abundant life! How gracious is our God that God gave us memory.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick yet deep-ish

Quick thought from a conversation with the hubby last night...

Question: Does God do things because we pray or would God have done them anyway?

Thought: Probably God will provide for us, but prayer allows us to experience the grace of God in a full and powerful way. Prayer is not so much a means of request as a pathway to experience the richness of God.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Adventure



Why is it that we have to grow up? Wouldn't it be better if we could exist in a perpetual state of Peter Pannic youth? Today I finally realized the tragedy of the fall. I knew about the entrance of sin into the world and grieved that, but I never understood the weight of the loss of innocence. When Adam and Eve became aware of their nakedness, they had lost the joy of innocence. Laine and Annabel have shown me the beauty of innocence. The utter joy of experiencing life without any cognition of how he or she appears to others. True, at times, Laine will notice others watching and step up his act, but overall, he lives abundantly without giving much thought to others.

Today we went to Hooker Falls. It was a 1/4 mile walk on a gravel path. The lush forest on either side provided shade and created a tunnel of growth for us to pass through. I had one of those awesome moments when I could watch my son discover new things without worrying about traffic or sharing or being too loud. He was entranced with the rocks, the mountain laurel, the river and the waterfall. He would run joyfully then skid to a stop to pick up a fallen leaf. If we met someone on the path he would confidently declare that he was wearing his "no fussing adventure shoes." It was a lovely walk.

Then he learned about skipping.

He and Luke were holding hands and Laine started cavorting a bit, and Luke asked if he were skipping. Then it was, "Daddy skip." "Laine skip." A reciprocation of joy. My overworked, overburdened, worn husband was skipping along a path with his beloved child. Laine would giggle as Luke skipped and Luke would chuckle at the "skipping" of a toddler. Innocence was a great loss. How the Father must grieve for us.

Lord, in your mercy, return us to the innocence of a child.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NO FUSSING Adventure Truck

Let's focus on the No Fussing part of that phrase.

“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14.

I totally forgot the no fussing part today. I have learned two things from today. I let myself get tired and cranky for the sake of being able to do everything. And, my former level of daily occupation had covered up some fundamental questions I need to answer.

Lessons number one. I put Laine in his crib during Annabel's morning nap because I was getting fractious. Sometimes Mommy needs a nap too!

Lesson number two. Much harder to tackle. Two questions revolved in my head today.

First, how do I want to engage in ministry? So far, I have been able to accompany Luke to his place of ministry and make it mine taking on projects of my own. Now, I have two fantastic little full-time jobs that need almost 24-hour attention. I also can choose to facilitate Luke's vocation. I ruminated over this today. I have no problem saying that my kids and husband are a great ministry, but I want to make sure that my heart is open and soft to the fullness of God's calling. I have made the mistake of dwelling too long in a season to which God originally called me and then urged me to leave. Also, I have utterly failed to wait for God's permission before opening my mouth and deciding to start some project (talking ministry not knitting or sewing--pretty sure Luke and God are resigned to crafting). So, I am waiting this time. Really. I am. I have stopped just short of volunteering to do about fifty different things, but I am waiting. Really. I am.

Canidates: Children's Choir, Adult Choir, afternoon tea, covered-dish Sunday School, women's Bible study, Meal-on-wheels

But I am waiting...Really...I am.

I have not forgotten how unpleasant it feels to get out in front of God. Even to do "good works." I am waiting. I am waiting for my soul to catch up with my body. Maybe when I am able to keep my disciplines in the hereness of now, I can go on to my list.

I am waiting.

Second thought. Why do I so desperately want to have a milking goat? Or a sheep or cow or whatever. Why shouldn't I go ahead and try it out. If you are reading this AND have room on your property for a goat AND live pretty close to me AND can help me learn the basics, can I have a goat?

I had a pretty tearful day today. It is going to happen. I am starting to love where I am. I even love the quiet little neighborhood where I live (it is sweet). But, I loved where I was and I miss it. It is always better to miss where you have been than to be glad when you leave. I think Philippians 3:13-14 was written for such as me. I can't say that I am going to forget what is behind me...that would be disregarding the lessons and love of the past, but I must allow it to enrich me without overwhelming me. I must remember that "no one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is worthy!" I must remember that I am straining forward toward the same goal in Etowah as I was in Hillsborough. Christ Jesus is my goal. Praise God he is here too!



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Fussing Adventure Truck


Welcome to life in the no fussing adventure truck! Luke quoted Luke 9:62, Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." in a recent sermon. It struck me that that is true not only for those called to vocational ministry, but also, to those following them about.

We are in Ordinary time again. I guess that is why I began thinking about blogging again. It was about this time last year that I had my blogging experience, and I remember thinking about the significance of Ordinary time. With a year to reflect I think Ordinary time is my favorite time of the year. I dearly love Advent and the depth of Lent is profound, but Ordinary time is when serious growth happens.

That's why I think the No Fussing Adventure Truck is such a great illustration for today. Last night our family went on an adventure in the Excursion and Laine and I dubbed it the No Fussing Adventure Truck. The phrase tickled something in his toddler fancy and he woke up on repeat. As I listened to him chew his verbage, I pondered the words. The No Fussing Adventure Truck is the symbol of putting your hand to the plow and not looking back.

As I unpack boxes (bock-uhs) in Etowah, NC, I know I am continuing the great adventure of life. My thoughts centered around the idea that getting things done is not why I am a SAHM. I stay home to unfold the universe before my children. I have to fight the urge to put Laine and Annabel on pause until I am "done" with the move. But that is not living into the day. Allowing chaos to rule my home is unacceptable, but neither can order. This is an adventure truck that gets messy. I finally had a day when I can say I looked my children in the eye while we played. For those who are interested, I am also in bed with my daily load of laundry put away, my sink shined, and the toys put away. (www.flylady.net) God requires that we do what he has called us to do now. Not when we have our closets organized.

I will continue to struggle with wanting to accomplish tasks, but hopefully I can remember the musings of the day and learn to embrace the abundant life that Christ brought.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 18

Got up before Laine this morning and was able to read my Bible before starting the day. I think that pregnancy brain is hard on meditation, because I am so darn tired all of the time. I wonder how much of my exhaustion is mental fatigue and how much is body fatigue. Today I am noticing that I carry fatigue around in my heart. I think that I will clean that one out. If I am tired, I should rest, and I need to continue searching for what is causing me to be fussy about my daily tasks. Once I figured out that planning for Sunday mornings and giving up trying to make choir practice could change my inner dialogue about my husband at least once a week, I have learned to dig deeper when I start to be grouchy.

Upon reflection, I have decided that my family eats well and plenteously, so if I spend a few more cents on bananas to make sure that they are fair trade, God can be honored in that decision. I think that is how I am going to tackle this idea of stewardship from now on. Does it honor God or make me feel "conscious?"

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Although we are not supposed to pray to be seen, I am going to keep my Lenten journal on this blog. Mostly because I am sure no one is reading it!

My thought for Ash Wednesday is this: I always get excited at the beginning of a new church season. I really think the first Sunday in Advent is more enjoyable than Christmas for me. To me, Ash Wednesday represents the beginning of the most honest time of the year. A time for me to clean out my spiritual closets.

I love the scripture from Joel for today (Joel 2:1-2, 12-17). This year for Lent, I want to reflect on my heart instead of my offering. Instead of giving up chocolate, I am going to evaluate each little thing I am keeping in my heart and decide if I should hang onto it.

Today I went grocery shopping and realized that I have trouble staying on my budget because I am a food snob. I want my family and myself to eat healthfully and responsibly, and this can be a huge burden. What aspects of this mission is God calling me to, and what parts am I making into an idol?