Thursday, November 26, 2009

No More Blackberries

I have been rolling around in my mind this one piece life that Ann talks about. Joy posted about the divided life this week bringing it to my attention again. If only I had a brain that didn't forget and a heart that didn't stray.

I started blogging and writing to record, reflect and remember the gospel in everyday life. It wasn't until about 7 years ago that I understood the gospel in its entirety even after being a Christian for almost 12 years. I had heard only part of the gospel. The cross was not central, it was my ticket to salvation but not my sustenance for daily life.

As I have grown in the gospel, doctrine has become my friend. The sound teachings of God's truth are an ever faithful and safe companion in life's ups and downs. What I am finding as time goes on, is there is more to this then just doctrine and clear truth. Not an addition to the truth but a widening of it. There is a beauty to the gospel that I have not seen so clearly. I have been equipped with truth, with sound thinking (most of the time and not perfectly), and a love of His ways but there is something more. Where Ann speaks of the one seam life, the lack of divide between the scared and secular; seeing, being and worshiping in those mundane moments of life.....this is grace, beauty....the gospel in the everyday. Being thankful for THIS moment, being present right NOW. Relishing in a child's story instead of thinking about my next chore, seeing the task before me as worship instead of dread.

Tonight I had a small glimpse. As I cleaned plates after dinner I was overwhelmed with gratefulness over those four dirty forks and plates. My cleaning them meant we were full, my children are here with me.....they are content and laughing in the other room. Beauty in the mess and dirt of life.

These moments are few and far between. That I see clearly the gift of God's goodness and grace in the mundane repetitious moments of life. I long for more of asking to see more often and more clearly. For the gospel, for truth to run so clean and fresh through my life that there is no sacred and secular....that all would be worship.

I can know all I want about doctrine and the word. But living it out and the application of it is where life gets ugly. Finding the beauty and grace in each day, in each moment is making things mesh between what I know, how I live and who He is.

This particular part of Ann's post struck me:

Too often I fear I miss the burning bushes and just eat blackberries.

“Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it and Pluck blackberries.”
~Elizabeth Barret Browning

Do I see the presence of an ever-present God in the now and take off my shoes? Or do I sit around eating blackberries, oblivious to the holy ground of this moment?

Exasperated, I raise my voice to holler for kids to come... and stuff my mouth with blackberries. As I mutter over mittens and boots dropped at the back door, I tear the seamless weave. As I lecture in disgust over beds unmade, juice runs from my mouth, dripping on the torn scraps of my life. Do I not think that God is here, present with me? Do I forget that this moment is worship, as meaningful as Sunday morning in the sanctuary? Why do I rip up the fabric of my life, tearing God into a scrap there, so I might do as I please in this fragment here? Sunday mornings find me unfolding my seamless white prayer shawl, spreading it over bowed head.

I yearn to be done with the insidious plucking of blackberries off burning bushes. They stain the white of one pieces. I desire to live bare foot: all is holy ground. Time to forsake the scissors and give up cutting and piecing. I am taken with the wonder of white stitches on seamless white cloth.

With a one piece shawl wrapping me, I set out for a one piece life.

Reading the entire post is well worth your time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So, the Book

You might expect it to be a heavy theology book that made such an impact on me during my retreat. Far from it. Yet it is something I think is of great importance, as well as a form of daily worship. The book I read is called In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan.

When I mention a form of daily worship don't think I've gone off my rocker. What I mean is how we eat and what we eat has a direct effect on how we function and live. Should we not see those choices as part of an opportunity to do the best for our bodies in order to do our best for Him? In North America especially, Christianity and food have no connection except that there is food at every event ( at least in my church). I would say this extends to North American culture as a whole. We have so much food, that little is considered about that food. We have what we want, when we want it and in abundance. We of my generation know little of food except the food industry. Food comes from the store and fast food restaurants. We consider little how far it traveled, if it was ripe when picked, or how the animals we eat were treated or raised. We have no clue where our food comes from or who is growing it.

Now, Mr. Pollan's book has nothing to do with Christianity and food. It does have much to do with knowing where your food comes from, how it is processed and those effects on your body. He also very effectively addresses the marketing plans of big food companies looking to make food about money and not health.

My eyes were so opened to how I view food and it's packaging at the store. Though I buy our meat at a local meat farm where I see the cows living in fields and eating real grass and buy our produce at a spray free local farm (as much as possible) I still was being swayed by the marketing ploy of "nutritionism". I was not looking at food as well....whole foods but the little parts they might contribute to my health. So I would be sucked into buying a food that tauts a certain type of nutrient instead of realizing that eating whole food is more important. If it has more then 5 or so ingredients then it probably borders on the line of being a food product and not real food.

His advise is too shake the hand of those that feed you. This got me to thinking. Though I do this in some ways there are still more ways to work on this. Like eating in season instead of buying green house grown modified distance traveling food. How this will actually look day to day I haven't totally figured out. Now that we are moving much of this will be delayed till we get settled.

But over my retreat weekend I did make a 4 week rotating menu plan that I come across in blogland. More on that later and the link to where I found the idea.

I do recommend reading this book if only for the eye opener. To be more aware. I also want to add that I don't think you are missing heaven if you eat beef from the grocery store and processed food. Just last night I was trying a new failed disgustingly and we went to Wendy's. Aaron was working late, we had just spilt hot chocolate all in my silverware draw, all over the floor and stove top and everyone was just grumpy. I was done...those are the times we eat junk because it's easy.

Bit by bit I hope to make more changes. For me there is such a connection between living wholly for Him and eating whole food. It's not the gospel by any means but it's important to me and a gift I can give my family. Especially my one child who seems more sensitive to additives and preservatives. I have a long way go especially with my carb and chocolate addiction and my tendency to eat when bored or stressed. All material for another discussion. :o)

Let me know if you do read or have read this book. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Steadfast Love

41. Constant patients from above

42. Faithfulness not based on my faithfulness

43. Hope

44. Never failing forgiveness

45. Ever comforting truths

46. Warm breezes for cold hearts

47. Full plates carried by another

48. Sight to know this is not my home

49. God's sovereignty even in the choices of others

50. A great helper in my time of need.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guess What?

If you happened to read #40 on my One Thousand Gift list this week you might have a clue.

I am still in shock myself.....we are moving again. This is our 4th move since 2006. As a renter you are forever at the mercy of other people's choices. Our landlords want to live in their house so we move on.

I was planning to start a new series of posts related to the book I mentioned reading on my retreat. Now that chaos has descended I will postpone that till things settle.

Things will probably be quiet around here for a while. Not only do I have normal life to live, which alone can be challenging, now I am in hot pursuit of a place to live. own! That is my dream.

Monday, November 16, 2009

1,000 Gifts

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,

give thanks in all circumstances;

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thess. 5:18

31. honesty

32. quiet

33. hard work

34. good friends

35. good books

36. time to think

37. watching the wheels of discovery in my children

38. yummy homemade bread

39. community worship

40. sturdy apple boxes for my beloved books (see next post for why)

To start at number one.

holy experience

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


My weekend away was a great time to rest and think. This is my first time ever going away alone. My husband has gone to visit his family with the kids so I can school plan and get some house cleaning projects done. This weekend was for me to just be and wait on the Lord. A real gift!

One of my favorite parts was the uninterrupted reading times in the chair above. I devoured a book in three hours with out having to stop once except for a bathroom break :o) I plan to share about that book later this week. It is something I have been working to change much of over the last year or two and really enjoyed this read.

I also enjoyed extended times in the word and prayer. Something I so miss in the early mornings and late nights of homeschooling, small children and long houred jobs.

To simply wait on the Lord. To listen. To pour myself out.

I have come to understand that I spend little time asking for help. I have a helper who is ready. A helper that is willing and waiting...whose sole job is to show up for me and provide what I need for whatever is in front of me. I am on a learning curve to access that help. There is something in the asking, in the needing, in the letting go that comes in no other way. It isn't since the death of our son Jonah that I have felt so desperate, walking with Isaac in his struggles. Even though I can still despair at times.....God IS bigger!

This Psalm was a big part of my meditation over this weekend.

My Soul Waits for the Lord
Psalm 130

1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!

2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?

4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning,

more than watchmen for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!

For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.

8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Plentiful Redemption leaves me with much to think on.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to come away. It's owed all to my very kind husband who man-ed the fort while I was away.

I have recently been listening to a song based on Pslam 130. Get a taste of the song here.
Click #9.

The munchkins had to check out the bed and make sure it was fit for mama to sleep on.

Monday, November 09, 2009

1,000 Gifts

21. Hard morning hugs from my son

22. Eli's baby dancing

23. My cozy blanket in my favorite chair

24. The branch and twig shelter my kids built in the front yard

25. Chocolate milk

26. Early morning boy smile

27. Powerful impacting quotes

28. Nice pens and paper

29. The beauty of cursive writing

30. Tomorrows

To start at the beginning go here.

For an opportunity to be thankful with your kids this month take a peek at my friend Cara's blog.

holy experience

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Real Life Around Here

It's been a bit crazy around here to say the least.

My father in law is on the mend. They took the vent out almost two days ago. He sat up in bed and called us on the phone last night. Nothing but the kindness of God. Thank you for your prayers. We are grateful to have more time to spend with Papa.

We finished up our Occupational Therapy appt. this week. On top of ADHD and ODD Isaac has Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). This understanding has been the most helpful to date in affecting daily life. I am just beginning to understand what is it, it's triggers and how to help him. So much more to this but little time to share right now. Honestly, I am overwhelmed on a day to day basis but fully trust that God in his kind wisdom has a plan in all this. It is SO difficult to watch your child struggle like this. Please pray for our family.

Eli is REALLY walking. He does an awesome crab walk across the room. He still falls over but is becoming a toddler minute by minute. Where has my baby gone! He is such a happy and cuddly baby. He has a very soothing effect on us all. No matter the kind of day we have, we all gather at night to laugh and play and giggle with him. He is a true joy!

My sweet Journey has decided she wants to be a Zoologist or Animal specialists of some kind. She wants to volunteer at the shelter and a place called Dog Town where they rescue dogs who need help. She also is a blessing to her brother Isaac. She has amazing patience with him and tries very hard to help him succeed. Not a hint of resentment so far...and trust me she would have grounds for it at times.

Aaron is working LONG hours building his department at work. I miss him but in due time things will settle down. Grateful he has a job.

Me, well I am off tomorrow afternoon on a 2 day personal retreat. I am going to a place that has solitude rooms...doesn't that sound nice. I will add more tomorrow if I have time, if not see you next week.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009

1,000 Gifts

11. 1 Peter 1

12. The availability of God's word at my fingertips and eye shot EVERYDAY!

13. Color ~ especially brilliant earth tones

14. Tomorrow's filled with fresh mercy

15. Isaac reading ten sentences with ease and joy.

16. Drooly baby faces

17. The bright red and orange of fall leaves. Just so peaceful to me.

18. The wind as it blows those fall trees

19. My husbands job

20. My local church (they are a bunch of amazing god loving people)

To start at the beginning go here.

holy experience

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Choosing the Better

I had a choice this morning during the baby's nap to vacuum, clean, fold and organize which has such a sense of satisfaction to me. I can easily confuse that feeling of peace associated with a job well done, with the eternal peace that passes all understanding. They are not the same.

Choosing the first over the later, is being too easily satisfied. Being lulled into rest by this temporal and visual satisfaction is a cheap substitute for the real amazing peace provided in grace. A rest you can't find anywhere else.

So, by grace I made my way up to my bedroom crawled into my comfy chair under my favorite fleecy blanket and RESTED. Yes, my body ceased moving but this rest was for my soul. Drinking in the word, the truth. Pouring out my heart. It felt like a water fall, all those things gushing from my heart, yet I landed in the warmth, safety and comfort of His hands. He carried the burden and care of my ill father in law, my husband, my sick kids, my tired body.

When I came down stairs the house was still a mess. Cheerios on the floor, dust bunnies in the corner, laundry on the couch and toys on every flat surface.......and all it did was make my heart glad. There are toys everywhere because I have three healthy children. Those same children have been provided clothes to wear and food to eat. We have a warm pleasant home to sleep in every night.

So bring on the dust bunnies and cobwebs because not only does a family live here but the Lord of heaven and earth who provides all we need for life and godliness. He truly is our peace and provision.
Thank you Lord, that for this day in your grace and mercy....I chose the better thing.
My prayer is that I do the same each day knowing full well when I don't, your provision of mercy is enough.