Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Few Of My Favorite Things!

Minda, Tofer, Cassia, Cricket, and my VERY favorite ~ James *sigh* Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Contender

Our Pastor Brice is a legend in his own time. He delivers Knock Out punches right between the eyes every time he preaches. He graciously wears velvet gloves - which basically means the impact is the same, but doesn't leave a visible mark. Using Jabs (A quick, straight punch thrown with the lead hand) on Sunday as a set-up for power punches, gauging distance, & keeping his congregants wary then Feinting a punch to induce the congregants to open up into a vulnerable position, Pastor Brice delivered astounding upper cuts that would leave us reeling.
"What are you dedicated to? Dedication can also be defined:
Devoted, given over to, surrendered, saturated in...
What have you been saturated by? That is what you are dedicated to."

"There are 3 kinds of people in this room ~ "
(I'll paraphrase)
1. the Undedicated - 'never surrender' 'Hell no, we won't go!'
2. the Dedication Wanna-be's - 'When the going gets tough, the tough haul *rump*'
3. the Truly Dedicated - 'God's grace is sufficient', 'Laying a hand to the plow, dont' look back'

I am very humbled. There are areas of my life I know I am dedicated. I can see the fruit of that dedication. There are places, however, that I struggle in because I look behind me ... I would be a pillar of salt by now if I was running away from Gomorrah.
My symptoms ( tender soft tissue, restlessness , rapid pulse, shortness of breath, skin that is pale, nausea, excessive thirst) seem to indicate internal bleeding. Hurts So Good.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Dream Away

It is amazing to me how things birthed in us as small children stick with us our entire lives. My mom worked graveyard shift at a sherrif's office as a disbatcher when I was younger than 4. It became a 'wee hours of the morning' ritual for me to wander out to the livingroom to find Mom watching an episode of M*A*S*H. One night Hawkeye was reminscing about his hometown of 'Crabapple Cove', Maine. The way he described it drew the romantic out of my naive, 3 yr. old heart & I longed to be there, and I decided then and there I would go one day. There is no Crabapple Cove, however. Not one to be dissuaded, I researched where the writers patterned Hawkeye's hometown after! No luck. I know girls who have longed to go to Paris, or Venice there whole lives. To this day I still want to go to Maine more than anywhere else in the world... (the Greek Isles run a close 2nd though).
When my children were growing up I read a book that quickly became a family favorite. "Miss Rumphius", written by Barbara Cooney, made us dream and ponder in the warm glow of her illustrations. She was known as the 'Lupine Lady'. Why, you must find out for yourselves... Because we loved this book so much, we went hunting for others by her at our library. We discovered a little known book entitled "Island Boy". We treasure it. Matthias lived our dream. Both of these books take place in Maine. Ms. Cooney loved these 2 books the best out of all her works because she felt they described her hope for children and her love and gratitude for Maine. They have fueled my callow, sentimental dreams.

Hope burns bright. Hope that began in a Korean War camp and a nightly ramble in search of a Mother's snuggles.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Conscious Idle

My pastor and his family just left for a 3 month sabbatical. It's the first time, in the 17 years I have known them, that they have taken one. (he has been in full time ministry that entire time) I put some thoughts into writing about this time of rest and restoration... I need to be reminded as well!

Consider the word "restoration." A definition for restoration is: "The act of returning to an original state or condition." In adjective form it means, "A reinvigorating medicine; anything that reinvigorates."

Our world is one of cycles. Tides ebb and flow, one season gives way to the next, night follows day. In our own lives, we have periods of great activity and periods of rest. Just as high tide is no better than low tide and summer no better than spring, activity is not, in itself, better than inactivity. In fact, these times of rest and rejuvenation, idleness and dreaming, help us connect to ourselves and to our God.
Our culture tends to applaud action and achievement. We are often most comfortable with ourselves when we are clearly traveling toward a goal. During these times of striving, we direct our energy outward. We take action on the vision and follow the steps that lead us to our goal. But there are moments in this process when the urge comes to take a break, retreat, or just lie low. The tendency is to judge ourselves negatively as we are less comfortable with these moments of down time. Where are our hearts in wanting to take a step back? Are we trying to re-invent ourselves or are we wanting to re-invigorate who God created us to be? Being aware of intentions behind the action of 'lying low' you can gain a higher perspective on it. The urge to have down time is a natural part of the process of achieving goals. What appears to be a deviation from the path may actually prove to be a shorter distance in the bigger picture.
Go Ahead! Practice the great cultural taboo of inactivity. Curl up under the covers with a favorite book. Soak up some sun or daydream the day away. Allow yourself to simply be - alive and at ease. Give God time to work His wonders on your behalf.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Weekend Outlook

Saturday & Sunday
Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a shower; breezy.
Winds from the S at 10 mph.
High: 65° F
RealFeel: 62° F

A 5 senses idea for a wonderful, drizzly, Autumn weekend(without droppin' major cheddar or havin' to flash any benjamins...):

*While indulging your sense of hearing with George Winston's Veleteen Rabbit or James Taylor's October Road indulge your taste buds with a steaming hot mug of White Cocoa.

*White Chocolate Hot CocoaRecipe

4 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces milk
2 ounces cream
3 pieces star anise
Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan heat together milk, cream and star anise until boiling. Pour over chocolate and whisk well to melt. Strain into mugs to remove star anise.

*Now grab your warmest, softest, most cozy blanket (sense of touch is probably my fave!)& sip your cocoa
and watch the leaves fall through the tracks of the raindrops on the windowpane while James croons out 'Mean Ol' Man' in the background. (Did ya'll catch the sight sense there?)

*While still in your slippers, peel and core some Granny Smiths for apple crisp. Finish you CD while it fills your house with spicy scents.*Slip into a pair of comfy cords, and a turtle neck sweater, put on your Shearling and pop up the umbrella for a brisk walk with your puppy. Hop in the Acura and buzz up to Starbucks with your very significant other and return with your Triple-Venti Cinnamin to chase down a piece of that freshly baked Crisp and laugh together!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Mother Culture

I have not always been , and still am not, the best of mothers. I love being a mom, however. I always have wanted to be looked on like one of the serene ladies in a Fredrick Morgan painting. But alas, I think I shall be an attendant in the courts of Heaven before I have a countenance like an angel. Charlotte Mason believed that this countenance of contentment, of serenity, can come about even during stressful times when a mother learns to occasionally do for herself what she does for her children - go out to play.
I feel very guilty when I do something like this, and very lonesome. The only time it feels right is when Jim takes me to Starbucks once in awhile for an hour! I guess it's my playground!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Grateful Dead

"A mouse was caught by its tail in a trap the other day, and the poor creature went on eating the cheese. Many men are doing the same. They know that they are guilty, and they dread their punishment, but they go on nibbling at their beloved sins."
C.H. Spurgeon
I came across this quote while I was looking at a doctrine known as the "total depravity of man." "Why would she be looking at that? That doesn't sound like a pleasant way to while-away the hours."
Well, I've been feeling rather depraved lately. You see, I've been waking without a thought of God as my head swims with worries and wonderings of how life is going to pan out.
This quote reminded me of a motto I heard several years ago from a lady I dearly love named Marcy Willis. She preached on the fact that we, as Christians, are supposed to be dead . Christ is the one living inside of us. (Gal. 2:20) The blood that courses through our veins was transfused through His sacrifice on the cross. Our brains comprehend this, but day to day our hearts trust in our own strength and abilities. Marcy would say, "die now, die quickly!" True knowledge of ourselves destroys self confidence. I am never sufficiently affected by the consciousness of my abased/plebian state until I have compared myself with God's perfection. When my corruption and degenerative state does come into clear focus I again want to allow the cross to work it's ascendancy & influence over me.
Romans 14:23 says, "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." This is a severe denunciation of all prevalent "virtue" that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God's grace. I so often step beyond that grace, and therefore into sin. I am ruined unless God awakens my conscience and turns me from my manifest ingratitude. I want to 'die now, die quickly' but find myself in the typical Christian-zombie state of 'the undead' instead of the 'grateful dead' in Christ.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On Being Good - a few thoughts

"Be Good and You will be lonesome."

"Everyone is a moon, they have a darkside."

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief not even afforded in prayer!"

"All good things come to them that wait - and who don't die in the meantime."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."

"Well behaved young ladies seldom make history!"

"What is to give light must endure the burning."

"Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water!"

What I hope: part 1

Theodore Roosevelt taught a Sunday school class at one time in his younger days. When a boy showed up late, with a shiner, and admitted he'd been fighting (on a Sunday no less!), TR asked what had gone on. The young man looked boldly into the eyes of his teacher and bravely told how he had tried to protect his sister from a bigger boy who was pinching her. It had turned to fist-a-cuffs. TR gave him and dollar and told him he had done "just right". He didn't leave it there though. For a full two months following that black-eyed Sunday, TR trained the young man in the 'discipline of protection'. (He taught the kid to box!)
My hope is that my son becomes this picture of masculinity (both of them: the protector and the encourager/trainer). The vestrymen at TR's church thought he was wrong in what he did and asked him to 'step down'. How sad. The men out there who set an example of friendship, courage, faithfulness, and integrity are few. Those who are willing to encourage a young, chivalrous heart onward instead of tying their hands is a form of faith. Faith looks past the surface of the shiny, blackened eye to the hands that were quick to defend and the love that wanted to protect. Like the sculptor that looks at the enormous slab of solid marble with flaws but sees with eyes of faith the 'David' inside.
My hope is that James and I can be the TR or Michelangelo in Tofer's life.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Books! Books! Books!

This is the kids' book cupboard. As you can see, every shelf is lined two rows deep. The funny thing (actually there are 2 'funny things') is that when we began homeschooling my husband's first comment was, "I want our kids to love reading." For a while it didn't look like that was going to happen. I resorted to bribery (an American Girl doll) in order to get Cassia to read her 1st 'big' book. But since then she hasn't stopped, and the others seem to have followed her lead! Here's funny thing #2 ~ What you see above aren't all there are in our house. The girls have their own stash in their room (on shelves, window sills, dressers...) and so does Tofer! James & I have the entire top of our closet lined with 'grown-up' books, and then there's the school cupboard too...
I mentioned in the last few posts that I am a sucker for kids' books, & that I entertained the thought of being a writer at one time even ~ so, maybe this is my way of living vicariously. I am seldom without a book in hand or close at hand. They are in the bathroom, on the nightstand, the coffee table... and stacked here and there and everywhere when I am in the middle of 3 or 4 at a time! Old bookstores are magnetized to the core of me, even stronger than Starbucks!
Tofer and I have a dream of owning a chunky, old brownstone book store where he can play guitar in a corner and people can wander into another era just by walking through our door. (He's drawn out the plans.) Cobbled walls, hardwood floors, sconces at intervals along arched, cherry shelving. The floors scattered with handwoven wool rugs, and big, over stuffed, gentlemens' club-style chairs with little round tables to set your espresso on while you peruse one of the volumes. Did I say espresso? (it's tucked into another corner of the shop!) Spiral staircases that lead to more books and more cozy nooks... I'd even have a kitty curled up somewhere if I wasn't alergic!
I think James got his wish!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Time with Dad

My hubby and son went off on a little adventure together Monday afternoon. Christopher treats any one on one time with his dad like its an ice cream sundae - he eats it up! When you throw discovery and the rugged outdoors into the mix, it's more like a Woody's Boston Shake (Peanutbutter ice cream, chocolate syrup & fresh banana, blended & topped with whipcream and a cherry!) He's happy, full and content afterwards. I, as a mom, am amazed by the almost instantaneous change that comes over him just from hangin' with dear ole dad.

Monday, October 03, 2005

God of Wonders...

I love space. When I was a little girl, the only thing I wanted to be besides a wife & mom was a space explorer! (okay, and a vetrenarian, & an artist & a writer... but a space explorer the most!) Wouldn't homeschool in space be a blast?!
For me, space communicates just how vast and unfathomable my God is. There are so many wonders that can't be explained, so many galaxies that stretch beyond what our 'time-imposed/itional' and 'spacial-sensative' minds can comprehend. Take a planetary nebulae for example. A nebula is, supposedly, a star's last gasp of life before going out. The star is so hot that the gases around it are illuminated with this final burst of energy. The strength of it's magnetic field, supposedly, keeps the spherical shape of that gaseous cloud... ONE PROBLEM... old stars do not have a strong magnetic field! Scientists really have no idea why!
On top of this, space is constantly creating new worlds and obliterating old ones in a flash. Supernovas and black holes continue to stump our 'great brains' of the scientific community. We know how they happen theoretically but how they sustain, if there is a way to navigate them, if they really are a hole or just and indentation... all of these have no answers. There are even questions as to whether they exist within the star before it implodes and thus the implosion just expands it... They also have come to realize that the universe is ever expanding, & that there is no way to map it because of the constant change.

How can a world with so many questions, with inumerable unanswered phenomena, & who are so small in the greater scheme, doubt that God exists and is much greater than even the unexplainable heavens? All creation cries out its testamony of Him, and yet we look with wondering eyes, and tightly shut hearts.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

High Rhulain

One You Otter Read!
16 years ago, before I had kids, I came across a book with a cute mouse in a green munk's habit on the cover. He was holding a sword aloft in his right hand and a round shield in the other. I was captured by the wise & determined look in his soft brown eyes. Little did I know the adventures I would set forth on because of that one small, furry creature who tripped over his sandals and into my heart.
I'm a sucker for children's literature. When I can't find something to read in the house, my husband jokingly says, "Why? Haven't the kids gotten any new books lately?" It's an unspoken contest to see who can keep the new books away from Mom the longest. They usually give in after a couple hours of being duct taped to a chair and a steady drip of water pelting their little noggins. Works like a charm and doesn't leave any marks!
Jacques books are hard for me to put down. My kids make their own meals, tuck themselves in at night and walk around speaking in hushed tones when I am in the middle of a Redwall Saga.
This is BJ's newest tale. I can't wait to read it, but it is only available in the UK right now. After 17 novels you would think that some of the romance would be gone, but every adventure finds me deeply entranced.
In this lateset epic Young Tiria Wildlough is an ottermaid touched by the paw of destiny. Her epic adventure takes her on a journey from Redwall Abbey across the Great Western Sea, to the mysterious Green Isle. There she must fulfill an ancient prophecy and gain her inheritance.
Go ahead, I won't tell. Forget those hard, crusty grown-up novels or self help books. Martin awaits.