Monday, March 29, 2010

a different new life

New life. I've written on this topic before, but today's vein is different. Today is all about where we're at, our maturity, and how it's all interpreted and enjoyed.

Yesterday I was putting my 2-year-old down for her nap and she started playing with my lower lip, pulling it out and letting it flap back, smiling and doing it again. It was classic toddler action. And it made me smile and love her even more. I adore being a part of my children's experiences and their discoveries.

So it got me to thinking, as parenthood most often does, about how God loves to watch us grow. I think that too many times we feel that if we are not completely mature or full of understanding in a certain subject that we are less than others, or even worse, not as important to God or others. Sadly, the latter can be true in our society. Sadly, people don't enjoy stages anymore. We all want everything to be mature, not lacking anything from the start. But the truth of the matter is, NO ONE is complete from the start.

Even Jesus, God the Son, chose to come here, as an infant. People sometimes romanticize his babyhood and tend to think along the lines of the popular Christmas song... "But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes." Of course he cried! Not only did he cry when he was hungry and tired, but I bet he cried when he was bored. Babies do that. And Jesus came here, left his Godhood for a spell, to BE LIKE US. Of course he experienced the same thing we all did. Save sin.

I think of my parents when they got married. They didn't have much, but worked VERY hard to get the home they longed for, and the things they desired (not that they are materialistic, but everyone has material desires of sorts). When I got married, I wanted to have it all right away. That got us into some debt, and put quite a strain on our marriage. Growing up too fast, trying to be complete when the time has not yet come, will always be painful and leave scars.

So, back to the original thought here. I felt the Holy Spirit impress upon me yesterday, while enjoying the lip game Rebekah was playing, that He adores every moment we, His Children, are in. Just as I enjoyed Rebekah yesterday, discovering what sound it makes when my lip smacked back into place, He enjoys us all, as we are growing and maturing in our walks with Him.

Now I will say, that if my 8-yr-old tried the same lip game, I would be slightly annoyed. Of course this draws a certain parallel as well. We should act as mature as we truly are and should be. Every stage of development yields a new maturity, and I believe that God is glorified when we don't stoop to the lower levels of immaturity than where we currently reside.

I've said it before, and I'll say it now: life is a learning experience. I hope I never slide back to my infant or toddler state in the Lord, but always continue to grow and discover NEW things, not rediscover the same old-same old.

My final thought: enjoy the path you are on. Each day brings about a new discovery. Embrace each setback gracefully, for there is a lesson in everything. And remember that just as a new parent enjoys each little nuance of their growing children, I believe that God does all the more. He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). And I believe that He enjoys each stage we are in, His heart bursting with pangs of love for us all the more when we decide to take a step out and discover something new. So? what are you waiting for? Get out there! Get going!

Monday, March 22, 2010

snowy spring

So, the first day of spring came and went... and it was definitely not unnoticed.

Snow! After three exhilarating days of 60+ degree weather... Light breeze, sunshine, and virtually no clouds in the sky. I enjoyed teaching my eldest daughter how to throw a ball properly. And she was enjoying it as well. I remember being her age and starting to play softball for the first time. I fell in love with the game and played for almost 20 years.

So... The first day of spring came. I arose from my slumber, ready to greet my newly-returned companion, the sunshine. With an air of excitement and anticipation for the first true day of Spring, I opened my bedroom door and looked across the expanse of stairs to the window, and straight out into what appeared to be Narnia, circa The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Jadis had come in the night and turned it all back to winter. To freezing slumber. To bitter cold. The White Witch had done her deed and this little Narnian was not happy.

Well, it is two days since that fateful day, and the snow is all gone. The sun is once again shining on the grass and earth, greening the grass, warming the shoots that had sprung before Jadis came and went. So we are almost back to where we were three days before Spring, and I can't help but think of the emotional winters we all go through... and the little patches that resurface even into the better times.

Today has been one of those transitional days for me. It started with highest and best intentions, and has slowly morphed into a cold and dreary place... For the moment. I have every intention of walking through this funk and onward, into the warmth, before this day is out. So I turn my thoughts toward Aslan, and think about what I need to do. Call on Him. Ask for help. It is never, truly our battle to begin with. How arrogant of me to think that it is my place to fight this. Talk about walking in humility. This girl has been fighting for independence for longer than she can remember, and that is without a doubt, the last thing our Father wants from us.

So I will walk through the fields and trees, searching for Him, and when I search for Him, I will find Him. And the plans He has for me will melt away this winter. Melt away the bitter cold, and send Jadis and all her schemes packing. I am thankful I have such a gracious Father. Thankful to be a part of this eternal family. And thankful for new life, new discoveries, and ever thankful for moments like this, where I may ponder anew what the Almighty can do.

Jeremiah 29-11-13

Monday, March 15, 2010


Now if you know me and my typing style, you will know that I am not necessarily the biggest fan of using caps. However, there are times when it is highly prudent. This is one of those times.

I get so excited this time of year, what with the promise of new life--it's everywhere: in the trees, on the ground, under the ground... When a brand new little seedling emerges, the smell of the freshly broken soil captures every neuron within my brain and sends them soaring to a happy place. I can't imagine a world without new life. This is for sure, the number one reason I can think of, to let winter remain one of the four seasons... Because after it is all said and done, the last snowflake has fallen, the last wintery, icy blast has blown, spring gets to dance its way into our lives once more with the promise of NEW LIFE.

And that makes me happy. That brings me joy. I sit here, in my dining room/make-shift computer desk area, inhaling the euphoric aroma of freshly broken soil, smiling like a cheshire cat. It is March. And that means that our dining room/make-shift computer desk area is now also our greenhouse staging area. I seeded about 10 different little types of miracles on Saturday, including Basil, which has always proven to be the earliest riser. No wonder we get along. I, too, love to be the first one up.

Well, I just looked under the hood of my flat, full of what looks like a bunch of brown dirt to the novice onlooker, and began to see green. More than a dozen little Basil seedlings* have already emerged in their little tray, to enjoy the peaceful quiet of their own kind of morning. The seeds are waking up, and as sure as I sit here and type, my eyes are stinging with tears of joy.

Call me strange. Call me sappy. Just know this: if you know me, you'll be calling me when it's time for Pesto. (*The first photo is the actual first day breakthrough. The second photo was added 1 day later for a better visual.)

I think about this new life and the blessing it is to our family... Healthy food, grown honestly and with the care of the one who chose it and bought it when it was yet a seed. An inactive hard little nothing, but under the right nurturing, could feed a family... Of course I am not going to let this one get by. In John 15:1, Jesus says, "I am the true grapevine and my Father is the gardener." I think about how God actually did choose me, and how He did purchase me with His son's blood, and how it doesn't stop there. I think about how when I buy seeds, I know the full potential that is held in each miniscule seed, and I also know what it takes to make it grow, and to make it produce as much fruit as possible.

What an amazing picture we are given by this seemingly mundane example of a garden. Something so rugged, so basic, so rustic, and yet so beautiful and teeming with life! Life that doesn't live for the sake of living, but life that is born to nourish others. To give of itself so completely that at the end of its season, the only thing you can do is uproot it and make room for a new one next year, that is the mark of a successful plant. We all have fruit to bear in our lives, and it is not for our own sakes. We all are grown by the Gardener Himself, and our purpose is to nourish others. But we also have an even greater purpose: to glorify the One who made us. That's why He made us all so unique and beautiful.

Just as I carefully chose my seeds, planted them in some earth, watered and waited expectantly, God is waiting expectantly for each of us, His children, to break through the soil and emerge as the hand-picked miracles that we are. It's time... Are you waking up?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New horizons... new shoes

The sun is shining
The rain has ceased
My mind is clear
I am at peace

My own little poem to commemorate this beautiful season of change! Many things are upon the verge of great change, and I am one of them.

I started going to a gym one year ago to begin my journey back to what I knew before I had put on two babies' worth of girth. Let me say that my mission was accomplished. Let me also say, though, that I have a long way to go. Before those last two children, I had a significant amount of poundage to part with, and so to say my journey is complete would be an out-and-out waste of breath. Breath that could be used huffing and puffing along on the treadmill. There was my problem. My gym had no treadmill. Just a circuit. I began running in the summer, and the weight FELL off! It was miraculous! It was stupendous! It was... tiring. But it was a success. Then the winter came, and with it, the ice and snow-covered sidewalks in urbania. I stopped running.

So I joined a new gym. Got a trainer. This gym has lots of pretty (okay, not that pretty) treadmills and ellipticals and such. I also bought some new shoes. Gym shoes. Ahh, I feel like a schoolgirl! A schoolgirl in love with her new shoes. Pretty little pink swoosh... Pretty little silver streaks dancing around.

All my life, I knew two things: I was not a runner, and I hated pink. Here I am, running in shoes decorated in pink and loving it.

This truly is a time where I am looking at a new horizon--one where the sky is a different shade of blue (or is it pink?), and the birds seem to all sing a new song. Someone very significant recently said that this is a new season. Now you may be thinking literally here, but it was meant to be much more than that. And I believe her. A new season in life for many things. Change is amazing, if we accept it.

I look forward to new things. A new waistline, to be perfectly shallow, a new role to play in life as we know it, to be less shallow... And an opportunity to take others with me up the road leading into this new horizon. Hope to see you there... My mind is clear, I am at peace.

. . .

And here's a little fun for you... my eldest was reading to me about the Potowatomi Indians today and tried to get me to guess the next word in her sentence... "Their goal was to make contact with...." and she looked at me, eyes shining, expectant. I looked back, a bit distracted, truthfully, and said nothing.

"Withhhhhh..." and then she hunched up a bit, wrinkled her nose, made almost claw-like hand motions and said yet again, "withhhhh?"

"Cranky badgers?"

Much laughter ensued from the 8-year-old scholar. And then: "Evil spirits! You were WAY off!"

Enjoy your day and hope you had a nice smile. On the house.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

fog foggy fog

You can hear things better in a fog.

It's true. I walked out of my house last night, heading to my car, and heard a shuffle on the sidewalk. It startled me... I thought that someone was right beside me, it sounded that close. One jittery head turn and awkward body jolt left me feeling a bit ridiculous, as the person I had heard shuffling along the sidewalk was on the other side of the street, half a block away.

It got me to thinking--pondering, really--about fog. We all say things like, "I'm in a fog right now," with certain disdain for our situations. In reality, I noticed that being in that fog last night actually helped me to focus on my task at hand, because my surroundings were being clouded over--quite literally! I was forced to focus on my goal: driving and not hitting anything. :-)

Now I will say, to be fair, that while deep into my pondering, I actually turned onto a street I hadn't intended, as I simply followed the two cars in front of me... Yes, I got into a fog while thinking about fog, while driving in fog...

So here's my point: I experienced two VERY different sides of fog last night and have come to a conclusion. If I let the surrounding fog bother me, I will be clouded in frustration. However, if I allow the fog to draw me into my selected task at hand, it can work for a more positive and efficient experience.

So that's my two cents for the day. I wonder if anyone will be able to sift their way through the pea soup that still hangs in the air today, find their computers and connect with my ponderings... We shall see...

Just remember: fog is billions of tiny water/vapor droplets, so wherever you are going, kick a little harder or bring your flippers. They may be helpful.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

It's in the air...


I felt the first touch of spring today. Ever so slight was its caress on my face... It found its way between my heavy wool scarf and chunky wool hat and kissed my cheeks and it was marvelous!

Now I will tell you one of my secrets. I love the fall. It is, hands down, my favorite--even favourite--time of year. There's nothing like it. But here's my secret: I only like about 3 or 4 days' worth of winter, and so when spring comes along, it ALMOST seems as it is my new fave. It really isn't, and I know no season will EVER compare to my most beautiful and olfactory season as Autumn, but that first few days of spring is intoxicating.

Here is why I love the spring. New life! Watching the crocuses poke their blooms through the crust of the earth that so recently was hard-frozen and heavy in slumber under a bright white blanket of snow... that is beauty. New life that blooms in soft pinks and whites, bright yellows and purples.

More importantly, it is here in March that I will endeavor to build my summer's bounty as I plant the tiny seeds in the soil, keep them moist and warm, and watch them as they germinate and grow into little seedlings. There is nothing like the fragrant and earthy scent of warm, moist soil with little lifelings poking through, making their way into the world to grow and share in their goodness. There is an unspoken beauty there. Something that you can't quite identify, but yet it is so near to all of our hearts. It is the promise of plenty, the promise of life and goodness.

It is also the promise of a spring and summer full of hard work, and prayerfully, bountiful harvest. After all that work, it is such an amazing feeling to know that I have done something to provide for my family in such a healthy and loving way. The fresh vegetables and herbs eaten in the summer, and preserved and dried ones we will consume in the fall and winter are such miracles. To bring forth life to nourish and sustain our own lives, and to treat our little patch of earth with dignity and respect; it is a worthy endeavor. It is rewarding. It produces life... abundant life.

So if you have never known the satisfaction of sweat on your brow, mixed with a bit of soil... maybe this year will bring a new adventure. Think about it. Even if it is one solitary potted tomato. Go for it! There is MUCH to be learned in the life of gardening. It is here where the Lord will come and talk with me and teach me so many relevant life lessons. It is a beauty that no blooming flower or fresh vegetable can ever attain. I still love the reaping, don't get me wrong, but even more, I love the process and fellowship that comes with it.

So if you happen to see me this summer, with a tan line and the opposite of a manicure... remember this blog entry. Remember it is MY time. And this is why I love the fall so much. It's my version of the 7th day. Time to rest.

Love to you and peace... Now go and enjoy a kiss of sunshine this week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Second verse of the Birthday song...

In the search for the age of the earth... Many people are divided on this topic, I agree. And I also agree that I don't have the scientific knowledge that many people--on both sides of this debate--have. There is one thing I do have: faith. I know that not everyone reading this may possess the same faith I speak of, but I have seen, in my own life, true tangible evidence of Creator God. Ask me, if you're interested... And while there are certain things that we just can't wrap our brains around, it doesn't mean that simply because WE can't figure it out, that something is wrong. It simply proves once again that He is God and we are not. I also would like to add that this fact of "faith or not" does not make me love a person any less. I love people because they are ALL fearfully and wonderfully made, and are all individual miracles. And that is what we are called to do: love. Without condition.

I read today about the universe and the galaxies and star systems that are billions of lightyears away, meaning that by the time we see the light, it was emitted from its source billions of years ago. You know what? I believe that. Of course. It's proven... As much as I can tell. However, I can say this: I still believe what the Bible says, because it is the living word of God. Why does the earth have to be the same age as the universe? If you read in Genesis 1, you will see that certain things were made at different times. He did not say, "Let there be everything-right-now-immediately." Everything was "born" in its own timing. And who am I to say that God created the entire universe all at once? In fact, I KNOW that He did not. Why? How? Because science has proven that this amazing universe we live in is STILL expanding. Which leads me to my conclusion that He is still creating it. #1, God is a creator. #2, He is unchanging. Therefore, He is STILL a creator, and STILL creating.

Let me ask you this: if you live in a house and the walls are a pretty shade of sage green, isn't that nice? Sure. But does that mean that the walls are made of green paint? Certainly not. Certain structural elements had to be put into place BEFORE the house was #1, ready to paint, and certainly more importantly #2, inhabitable. Certain things were set in place before the earth and its self-indulgent and self-important humans were created. It's just like our race to think that it's all about us. Like this immense universe that is so enormous is all about them, and therefore, if they weren't around at the beginning, or at least in some form, like an amoeba or some pre-evolutionary humanoid (which I don't believe), then it can't be true, because that would prove it's not all about us. Let me say something here: it's not all about us... but God, in His mercy, created all of these things in such a way that they actually help us. The Bible actually mentions constellations. (Job 9:9, 38:1, 38:31 for example) Why? Because they were useful in the culture several thousands of years ago, before we had certain technologies like satellites and artificial horizons. They were placed in certain places in this vast universe in such a way that helps out the human race. They weren't made FOR us, but they were made to glorify God, for His pleasure, and in a way that brings MORE glory to Him, they help out His most-loved creation that was made in His image. So yes, the universe is VERY old. I believe that.

I hope you were at least educated on how my mind works... And if you still believe the way you believe and that is contrary to the way I believe, well, that is what makes you, you, and what makes me, me. And at the end of the day, this trivial fact is not what is important. What IS important is whether you have decided to enter into a relationship with such an amazing Creator and His Son. And that is not a "debate" as much as it is something as relevant to our life as oxygen. Without it, we die. It's simple truth. John 3:16-21

Lastly, don't we call her "Mother Earth"??? Well then, here is your final answer: you never ask a woman her age. So there! :-P

Monday, March 1, 2010

Larger than Life

So I was reading an email this morning regarding planets, and it occurred to me that some planets are actually comprised mostly of gas. I started thinking... How in the world can something as solid and tangible as a PLANET be composed of gas? Our planet is solid, firm. It is made of metals, rocks, earth, water. All tangible. But these other planets... say Saturn... are largely made up of gas! They have their own gravitational pull, their own storm systems, their own rings... and all they are is a big ball of gas. Like the sun. Like the stars. (Yes, I know the sun is star.)

What's my point? Why is this ball of gas a planet and not a star? How is this ball of gas so successful at being a planet, when all we have ever known as a planet has been hard rock, metal, ice, water, etc.? It doesn't fit our working definition of a planet.

I feel there are so many things in this life that portray this paradox. We see someone functioning in a political position that they don't have the credentials for. We live next door to a family that shouldn't have the things they have, because of their folly. Or, more close to home for many of us... we don't seem to have/do/be what we think we should have/do/be and it frustrates us.

Let me turn the tables on this thought, about 180 degrees... We humans live in a condition that is ultimately flawed. It is ultimately not good. It is ultimately not fair. We are big balls of gas parading around as planets. Yep, that's right. We are trying to be something we are technically not cut out for, and our problem is that we don't have--in our own strength--the gravitational pull to keep it all together.

Let's give this gravity a new name: grace. Truly this is what we need. Truly this is what we long for. Truly this is what we are dying for. Grace is not only what holds us together, but it is also what allows us to BE solid in our not-so-solid reality. It covers up the fact that we are flawed. It allows us to function as we know we should, even though our reality of sin and rebellion have turned us into something that should not ever allow us to be those planets that we were designed to be.

Grace. It's my gravity. And the best part is that because of this grace, my Creator, God, who made all the cosmos and all the elements and knows their potential as well as their limits, has given me a way to break free from my limitations by covering myself with His grace through Jesus Christ.

This is why I am able to say in full confidence that I am what I am supposed to be, even though I have shortcomings. Even though I mess up and sometimes even scar myself. His grace covers me. And it is His grace that He sees when He looks upon me. This is why He can still look down on His children the way He did at creation and still say, "It is good."

Romans 3:21-26