Posted in devotion, discipleship, encouragement, just a thought

so easy to miss…..

I love my son ~ deeply and profoundly and I treasure our conversations….  

I contemplate his words, I am fascinated by his brilliant mind, I am endeared by his tender heart and I am nearly undone by his vulnerability…

He has challenged and enlightened me.  And just when I think I know him, He says somethings deep or challenging or unexpected,  but something that simply reveals a piece of him I hadn’t even realized was there …

And I find pure joy just knowing that I now know him a little bit more…

What a tragic loss if I had never really known him ~ if there had not actually been a relationship. What regret if one day I realized that my time with my son had been limited to concerns with behavior and tasks and accomplishments ~ merely desiring his acquisition of knowledge and obedience to rules, unaware of his lack of understanding….

Maybe the difference isn’t as obvious as I think it is  ~ but I think it’s everything….

Because I think that ‘knowledge’ is useless data without understanding ~ and I think teaching rules without reason is short-sighted and will not endure when tested.

And I think that it requires so much more effort to establish a relationship (as in KNOW HIM, feel his pain that no one else sees, know his fears, and hear His heart)

And I can’t help but see a connection…

What comes to mind when someone says “I really need to try to read my Bible…   or pray…”

or when I feel like the focus of a passage is reduced to “how does this apply to me?”

Something is missing ~ and it’s called “relationship”

Not ONCE in his life did my son come to me to “hear his daily input” and move on…

Nor has he gone days without letting me talk to him

Nor has he ever poured out his heart and then walked away without waiting for a response

My heart pounds with the desire to communicate this truth

God’s word is for me, but it’s about God ~ because He wants me to know Him 

So when I open His word I want to listen…

to contemplate His words and be awed by His infinite mind, to be overwhelmed by His merciful love and undone by MY vulnerability…..

I want to learn and gain understanding so that just when I think I know Him…
He reveals something deep or profound, convicting or comforting or so awe-inspiring that it challenges my inner most being

so I can know pure joy simply because I know that I know Him just a little more ~ and from this, my heart overflows in response and I am transformed…

And what a tragic loss if I don’t seek to know Him ~ if i don’t understand that the God of the universe wants a relationship with me ~ what regret if I my time with my God is  limited to concerns of tasks or merely seeking to acquire knowledge and rules blissfully unaware of my lack of understanding….

I did indeed seek to educate my son, we set boundaries and had rules ~ and I promise, his behavior mattered ~ but without understanding, without relationship what real impact could I have hoped for?  And how sad!  Oh the blessings I would have missed…

It would be so easy to miss, but He wants me to know Him, to have a relationship Him, a relationship that requires submission and surrender, a relationship that provides power and has purpose…

but

a relationship….

Posted in chickens, compost, garden, the farmhouse, worms

country roots…

I grew up in a beautiful country home… a little house nestled amongst rich farmland and a mature nursery ~ no cows or pigs or chickens….  but gardens some seasons, horses and mules others… and always fishing pond, a barn, cats or dogs or other little critters, lots of trees, fresh air,  and more than anything ~ peace and serenity…

And I miss that….

A couple of years ago I started mowing our lawn ~ i know “WOW” *sarcasm*  but actually, it was an accomplishment ~ my husband owns a large lawn care and landscape company and I had to learn to maneuver a HUGE John Deere Ztrac – AND it had to be GOOD!  I did it to help out during an exceptionally busy season, but continued because I LOVED IT.  Everything about my frame of mind improved.  My husband insists I’m solar-powered.  I think he’s on to something ~ anyway, it gave me a taste for what was missing.

*insert another seemingly random thought*  In the last 14 years we’ve added three different and serious autoimmune issues as well as a couple of food allergies to our family, prompting us to research the nutrition world, ad nauseam …. which led to a better understanding of our unfortunate food supply….which lead to my long-standing but never attempted desire to be a part of the rapidly growing “homesteading” way of life… which brings me to the long-time-coming plan…

It’s time to satiate my desire for a slice of country living and respond to our genuine need for better food and build my own version of an “urban homestead”.  Certainly not an original idea ~ but almost every aspect of it is new to me (at least in practice)

So ~ I’m going to have a garden ~ pretty enough for my neighbors…
chickens for eggs (no roosters yet ;p)  ~ so quiet enough to be of little notice…
and horses (strangely permitted in this neighborhood – yay!!) ~
pretty enough to be appreciated….

And somehow the idea of worm farms and composting and the many dirty jobs of the homesteading world are fantastically appealing to me!!  This may be one of those romanticized items ~ but this is why I’m posting

So far I have started planning my gardens and gathering helpful resources ~ including books and magazines and tons of wonderful links!  I am fortunate to have a lot of family experts, including my sister-in-law who actually lives in the country.   She is a PRO at the homesteading gig and, ironically, was a city girl growing up!  You name it, she’s probably done it on some scale, she really is An Accidental Country Girl, but she rocks it, she blogs it and she inspires me!

A budget is next and then the purchasing and planting and building will begin ~ I still have a few weeks before the earliest chance for a real thaw, but I’m guessing I will be shocked at how quickly the time passes!

Posted in the farmhouse

a country heart in the city limits…

My heart longs for the country life.  I believe my vital signs actually improve as I drive to the edge of town…  the sounds, the smells ~ whatever it is ~ my entire being winds down and I truly just feel better!

…but my adult life has been established inside the inside the city limits

neighbors with opinions… what I park in my driveway or build in my back yard…  some really nice people and some not so fun people… but people I must sometimes consider…. even if it’s not fair

My kiddos are grown and this is the house that holds our memories, this is where they visit “the old days” and this is where we continue to make new and wonderful memories… I love this home, but still, I long for the country.

So, what’s a “country girl at heart” to do?

This summer I will embark on an ambitious journey ~ Bring a little slice of the country life here!

I am PRO at romanticizing a great plan ~ but the realist in me is sometimes paralyzed by the unknown…  so here I hope to bring a little balance!  This little series of posts will announce my plans and record my progress – optimistically called “the farmhouse” series, perhaps I’ll find a few accountability partners…

Posted in poems

eeek…. a poem!!!

i love to write ~ about anything i think i know or know i love, just being able to succinctly communicate a thought brings some silly satisfaction ~ in a letter, or a journal, a memo or a professional document, pretty much anything….but poetry?

HECK. NO.

i never understood the appeal… and even if i did, i’ve had no interest in “putting myself out there” like that.

until i did ~ accidentally ~ not kidding

perhaps it was too much Seuss as a kid

but there is was, scribbled out on little pieces of note paper all over my bed, a little stream of thought that ran through my mind with a certain rhythm and rhyme… and somehow, it just said what i was feeling leaving me strangely relieved

like i’d had a good cry ~ as if that’s not an oxymoron…

several poems later, a sister in Christ, whom i have never met (Beth Moore), suggested that poetry is often born from deep emotion or turmoil… so ya…”out there”, in a BIG way (at least to me ;p)

articulating frustrations, expressing joy or grief, finding a place to rest my mind when my emotions won’t sleep, poems seem to put parameters on my scrambled thoughts, the rhythm offering a soothing cadence and the completion quieting the competing emotions…

and maybe most of what i write will only ever impact me…. but maybe God’s way of helping me articulate what churns in my soul could benefit another…

so….. “out there” it is!!

Posted in discipleship, poems

when she stumbles…

a battle rages for her soul
   the siren call
         of this world would pull

her in to its grip
   with persuasive lies
until bit by bit
   inside
     she dies 

she has stumbled
   don’t let her fall
Your voice she hears
    she feels so small

in fear and panic
   she glances up
and grabs a glimpse
   of light and hope 

but at her heals
   a lion roars
emotions surge
  inside
     she’s torn

between surrenders
   to right or wrong
between her longings
   of flesh or soul 

torn between
   the desperate need
for true healing
   not just relief 

the battle rages
   in her mind
from her flesh
   fueled by pride 

does she still believe
  that she knows best
or is she ready
   to truly rest 

safe in Your hands
   with her heavy load
will she walk
   that narrow road

not just her Savior
   will she call You Lord
will she learn to trust
   and surrender more 

to You each day
     as she presses on
in her brightest days
   in her nights so long 

will she embrace this life
     Your way
and live surrendered
   even in
       the haze 

this is a battle
   not of flesh nor bone
a battle to save
   one of Your own

oh help us, Lord,
   to lead and trust
to be prepared
   to do what we must

You love her more
  than we ever could
so we lift her to You
   as we know we should

we trust You in
   our pain and fear
we praise you in
   our hurt and tears 

please heal our hearts
   protect our minds
give us Your wisdom
   help us trust Your time 

we raise her up
   in Your holy name
O Jesus, Lord,
   in Your name, we pray…..

Be sober-minded; be watchful, your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ...”  2 Corinthians 10:5

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.    Ephesians 6:12

All that the Father gives Me will come to me, and whoever comes to Me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it upon the last day.                         John 6:37-39

Posted in devotion, poems

i come to You…

i come to You to soothe my pain
to dry my tears and take my shame

i come to You to calm my fears
to listen when nobody hears

i come to You to guide my steps
to hold my hand when troubles get

a hold of me and blind my eyes
and drown the truth with clever lies

i come to You for me it’s true
but also so i’ll know you too

i come to you and seek Your face
to see Your glory and feel Your grace

i come to hear Your gentle voice
that whispers truth in all the noise

i come to sit in the wonder of
the One with power and perfect love

my shelter and my hiding place
i come to You, my source of strength

for all of this and so much more
i’ll come to you forever more

Posted in poems

as the paper meets the ink…

exposing pieces of my heart
sharing what i think
a piece of me i soon lay bare
as the paper meets the ink

the scraping sounds across the page
dims the uninvited voice
of the editor & judge in me
who questions every choice

sorting out my deepest thoughts
a vulnerable place to be
revealing fear i’d rather hide
as the paper meets the ink

flowing from my pen some days
i write before i know
where the words will take me
~where my thoughts will go

surrendered to the flow of thought
and each discovery
i have found a freedom
as the paper meets the ink

Posted in discipleship, encouragement

not my problem…

that’s not my problem

nothing about that sounds good to me ~ rude, indifferent, uncaring, selfish, wrong…..

but sometimes it is just plain true

For 25 years I did my best to teach and train and guide and prepare four amazing children to be independent, well adjusted, Christ following adults, and although they’re now grown, certain instincts remains ~

The Mama Bear in me still wants to keep them from harm, spare them the frustration of living with poor choices, direct them through the tricky roads of “real life” relationships that come with jobs and bosses or future spouses ~ even their financial decisions can get my wheels spinning  ~ still desiring that they learn from the roads I’ve traveled and hard lessons I’ve learned.

Fair and reasonable concerns and desires ~ unless I tie them to a false sense of responsibility.

I think I have spent their entire lives watching for signs of how they are doing, indications of the lessons sinking in, evidence of preparedness ~ are they ready?!  Letting them go seems like the mother of all tests is before me and I am absolutely terrified at times.  How did I do? Did I miss something?  Will my shortcomings be the root of their struggles?  How will I live with that?  Is there any last minute lesson I can drive home?

OK ~ maybe a little crazy ~ but I also remember this ~

The choices before them are not mine to make, the challenging relationships are not for me to nourish or mend, what God has given them is not for me to steward.  These things are not my problem, and they shouldn’t be.  Not that I am unconcerned, simply that the outcome is not for me to secure.

God entrusted these kids to me for a season, to do what I have done.  Train them in what I have learned, show them what I know, and introduce them to the One to whom they truly belong.  I am finding that it is easy to say, but sometimes hard to live this Truth ~ they aren’t really mine, and they never really were.

I am living in a season of many transitions ~ my life right now is characterized by profound change.  The newness and importance in all of these converge to stimulate my already over-active problems-solving brain.  ~ and this is where things can get muddy, where I can begin to try to take on those things that aren’t mine to take on.

So sometimes I have to ask “Is this my problem?”  Such a blunt thing to say, but it helps me test my thinking ~ and often Truth reveals, “this is not my problem”, or more kindly put ~this is no longer my role ~ and that’s OK, liberating actually!

I may be out of sorts in this new season, but it’s not because I am “out of purpose” ~ and if I keep my heart surrendered to Christ and my role straight in my mind, I might just find out what that is 😉

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.  Titus 2:3-5

Posted in encouragement, poems

my littles are big!

IMG_0001my littles are big
but only moments ago
I nestled them under my chin
my littles are big
but just yesterday
I marveled at their first grin

the days flew by
though I tried to hold tight
and treasure each mark as they grew
these sweet moments in life 
I can honestly say
from the beginning I always knew

to love every moment
even long, tired days
of laundry and homework
the joy with the pain

my little are big!
and OH how I miss
those soft little cheeks
messy hands
sticky kiss

but my little ARE big
and what a blessing I know
to see who they’ve become
as I’ve watched them grow

A bittersweet gift to long for those days
only missing them because
I had them
so I will remember, but live here and now
because I still know now
what I knew then

to treasure these gifts
don’t lose sight in the crazy
of all that comes with what we’re given
enjoy beauty in chaos and never forget
to treasure these slices of heaven

my littles are big and now moving on
having littles of their own
and oh what a treasure
soft cheeks, sticky kisses
this grammy is grateful to know

There are times I am almost completely overwhelmed by what I miss, but then I have no choice but to realize the irony, I couldn’t long to return to something I’d never had.  To have had such a treasure, to have been able to have that season of life, was such an overwhelming gift ~ a gift I always knew was just for a season ~I find that I find deeper understanding to this whole idea of “bittersweet”  ❤

If you are in the crazy fun days of little kids, little sleep and lots of stuff to do, just hang on tight, don’t lose the love under the pile of laundry, it will all be behind you all too soon!!  But no worries, if you keep looking, new treasures are likely just around the corner!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change”  James 1:17

Posted in poems

no end…

there is no end to the string of pain
that those i love endure
health and finance, bad choices and strife
one ends, but then there’s more

there is no end to the suffering
illness, even loss of life
lies, betrayal, selfish ways
cruel men who leave their wife

there is no end to the poverty
and corruption as this world decays
no end to hate and anger
no end to those going astray 

           unless you know

there is no end to my Father’s love
of the pain He feels for me
no end to the mercy and grace He gave
when HIs Son was nailed to that tree

there will be no end to our joy and  wonder
when He takes away our tears
when we join Him in eternity
when it’s forever, not just years

no end to the glorious worship of
the One who gave me life
so knowing this I’ll live this day
with peace, even joy, amidst strife

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”     Philippians 4:7

We live in a world corrupted by sin, ensnared by its power, broken by its lies ~ but, though through one man sin was brought in to this world, through another, it and death have been defeated. “For God so loved this world, He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”  John 3:16

there is no end to my fellowship with God because I am His in Christ

there is no end to suffering and separation from God if I were not

Posted in poems

distractions

You know the chaos in my heart
You know the trials of my life
You know the sins still not confessed
You know the source of all this strife

impatience reigns in my weary soul
frustration has a voice
disappointment speaks her mind so loud
i’m distracted by this noise

search my heart and reveal to me
the ugly i need to see
hold my hand as i pour out
every sinful piece of me

fill me with Your quiet strength
pour in to me again
lead me in Your light and truth
Your freedom I can claim

let me hear Your still, small voice
as I search Your loving Word
transform my soul as i obey
so your Truth can truly be heard

not in what i say, but who i am
transformed, I’ve been redeemed 
You have a plan to use me so
Your glory can be seen

the chaos calm, the trials dim
with You my worries fade
my heart is free, down on my knees
this time, i wouldn’t  trade

to sit with You in quiet peace
and feel Your presence near
to know that in the worst of trials
i can trust You and not fear

show me now, just my next step
as i open up Your word
prepare me so they see You
in this lonely broken world