The gift of the moments we’re given


We are two days home now, and I’m trying?! to settle back in to some semblance of normal again.

It’s so strange that my brother is not here anymore.

My thoughts seem to be scattered and random and mixed in with finishing up the pickles that got started a week ago and the green beans need to be picked and what in the world are we going to have for supper?! And add to that mix readjusting to life with kiddos who have been out of their normal for a week and wait, WHAT?!!! Chores?!??!!! They are shocked.

However, I can’t say that I blame them entirely.  I would rather not do mine either.  Somehow I would much rather read a book or sleep off the jet lag or do anything but face the things that do, after all, need to be done.

Life doesn’t stop. My brother’s did, but ours hasn’t.

There are lots and lots of people to love and bless. Some of those people happen to be the ones I live with.  But there’s others, too.

Loss is a strange phenomenon. It has surprised me with its intensity and reminded me of what’s important.  I somehow cherish my brothers like I never have before, now that one of them is gone.  It’s crazy how losing someone has the capacity to bring forth a host of grateful feelings and love for the ones who are still here.

What an amazing thing – and another testimony to the truth that nothing’s wasted. Ever.

I think for a long time I kind of thought things would stay the same. That everyone and everything would be always the same. Death or illness really didn’t cross my mind. I’m sure I would have denied it if you would have asked me, because I knew that’s not how it worked. I just never thought about anything different.

And now I’m just contemplating the fact that there is just a wisp of life for each of us. What will we do with it? Will we squander it on self-pity? Anger? Irritability? Full disclosure: I confess that today in the midst of the chore fiasco I was less than my best mom-self. 

So, just a tiny sliver of time. It matters how we live it. It matters that we believe truth. It matters that we understand that there is a God orchestrating the minutiae of our lives. It matters what we do with the breath and words and energy we have been given; these things we often take for granted when we hop out of bed in the morning.

So I ask myself: what will I do with the rest of my life? What will I do with tomorrow’s minutes and moments?

It’s time to send that text, mend that relationship, hug that friend, be patient again with that child, (and myself, too..) and seek the Kingdom of God first above all else.

Because God is good. And He knows. He sees, and I believe He wants us to see just how very beautiful and important the life that He gave us really is.

Advertisements

heart failure

Dear David,

You’re gone. 

It’s so strange, and there’s a thousand conversations I would have liked to have had with you. 

But you’re gone. 

I didn’t really even know you that well, but I knew your walk, and I knew your eyes, and I knew your voice and the easy way you made me laugh. 

I remember well the times you talked so strongly about the way you respected our parents. 

And I remember the times when frustration and anger dominated my feelings for you. 

You were my big brother; biggest brother. 15 years between us and a whole lot of family memories and life experienced that I wasn’t a part of. 

But Mom says you were excited when I was born. That you helped name me, and here we are.  Me, at 35, raising a family and burying my brother. You… well, you’re gone from us now. 

I’m so glad that the agonizing weight of being out of breath is not yours to carry anymore. 

 

They say it’s because of your heart, at least that’s what we’re  all thinking. 

Heart failure. 

Oh David, heart failure. 

I don’t even know a fraction of how broken your heart was. I know it bled with regret. I know it revived and beat strong and hard for your daughter.  

 

You had an enlarged heart, yes. And that’s just appropriate. 

And now you’re gone. 

There’s wilting flowers sitting on your grave, and what’s left of your life is memories and mementos. 

I’m going to learn from this, David. Your life and your death will not be wasted. I promise.

 

I love you. I’m glad I got to be your little sister. 

Deborah

When God Does Beautiful Things + a Birthday Cake to Make

83D7956C-F967-4844-97AD-570BFF2B63C3.jpeg

Today is swim lessons, loads of laundry, and figuring out what to do with the tomatoes on my counter.

Today is the day that the Lord made, and it’s rainy and cloudy and generally wet everywhere. It’s a day full of new opportunities to cherish every moment and be Jesus to my children.

I’ve got a gazillion things to do, prepping for yard sale, (read: going though all my stuff and purging like mad.) keep up with the cucumbers, (yesterday I made hot garlic dill, and kept the other 4 gallons of sweet going… I’m at the stage where I have to boil the brine every day for several days.) and try to make sure everyone gets enough snacks and food in their bellies because swimming increases the appetites around here about sevenfold.

Miss A’s 6th birthday is tomorrow and I tear up just writing that. She came in this morning with her blankie and curled up on my lap, under the quilt, and snuggled awhile.  I remember life 6 years ago today. Regular life, garden growing, little boys playing rambunctiously, and laundry to do.

We heard about Miss A just 6 years ago today, little knowing that the next day we would hop on a plane and discuss names, wide-eyed and heart-breathless while boarding. We heard about her impending birth 6 years ago today, that there was a birthmother who might choose us, and all we knew was…maybe. And that this maybe hopeful possibility of a baby to adopt wouldn’t arrive until August. And it seemed like a tiny, hardly possible ray of hope after losing a baby girl we’d held for just 24 hours and hoped to adopt just 6 weeks before that..

Even if this baby was a possibility, our hearts were weary with the cycle of being chosen, then not.  Even if this journey began, of being chosen, would it end in heartache again?

6 years ago today I had tomatoes on my counters, too, and it was the same July weather. Little did I know then what my tomorrow’s plans would be: I would hold my sweet baby girl for the first time, all the way across the country. That she would be born earlier than planned, that her birth mother would look me in the eye and entrust this precious gift to us.

But the next day, we found out the astounding news: we’d been chosen, and we had just a few hours to pack and get on a plane… because a baby girl had been born and her parents were us.

Our hearts began to heal as we held this sweet, tiny girl in an Arizona hospital in the wee hours of the morning, just that next day after I was planning to can tomatoes. A much better plan God had for us.. to be holding this new girl instead of summer gardening.

God is an amazing life-planner.

The things He is doing that we can see are pretty amazing, even if not in the timing we wish sometimes.

But the things He’s doing behind the scenes? Oh my. I can only imagine the way He is molding me, how He is sanctifying everything that’s hard to swallow.  How He is using the mundane and the painful to create beauty and purpose in my life and yours.

6 years ago I saw His hand clearly work in a miraculous way. I’ve seen it since, of course, it’s just not usually so dramatic.  However, I don’t want to forget that just because I can’t see the miraculous doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

You just never know what kind of miracles our good God is performing right under our noses. You never know what you might be doing instead of canning tomatoes on any given July afternoon. You never know what good things God’s got planned that sanctifies and stretches and fills and surprises you.  Sometimes it’s not even the answer to a prayer you’ve prayed- sometimes it’s a renewal of faith and trust that comes as a result of going through the very thing you dreaded.

That summer of 2012 began all sorts of new things for me… a renewal of my faith that strangely came on the way home from a hospital where we walked away from a sweet baby in Oregon that we’d pinned a lot of hopes and dreams on.  I didn’t expect to experience God loving on me in a way I never, ever had before while my arms were profoundly empty. 

I didn’t expect to appreciate His Word like I never had within hours of the news that we were suddenly …un-chosen. Oh, the grief was there.  It was heart-wrenching and real.  But there was light and a strange hope that emerged in those dark days.

And 6 weeks later, I was surprised by the baby God meant for us all along.

He plans beautiful things for all of us.

So this morning it’s time to get ready for swim lessons, do regular life, and smile to myself because I know that I know that I know, that God is good, and nothing is accidental, and my life is in His hands.

Oh, and I need to get that birthday cake made today.

903A0117-27D6-4C6E-8880-A9A95BF6B1F2

 

Chickens

02B0882E-2497-4BA3-AB8A-731423CE84F8.jpeg8C97408B-5F5A-4C98-AD07-4AB9C4CEDE1C.jpeg5E32F6E5-B584-416F-91EB-9D5337E6ED61.jpeg89847489-B645-4A6F-B9FA-982A4856E6BD.jpeg

Our chickens are so happy.

They have been pecking and bobbing their way around our yard for the last two days.

Always before, they had to stay in the chicken run because our beloved dog, Shadrach, was fond of chicken. And not in a good way.

He had to be put down last month, and while we are all sad to say goodbye, one benefit is that our dear chickies are happy as little clams. Or as free chickens, perhaps. 

They’re much more tame than our previous chickens, due to the fact that we have a regular Fern (Charlotte’s Web reference) in Mr. J.  He is so devoted to his chickens that he announced a month or two ago that he wants to have a chicken dairy when he grows up. We’ve decided that would definitely be a niche market. 🙂

He sits and sits (on his homemade chicken-watching stool) down in the chicken run, just holding them and watching them whenever he gets a chance.

Anyways, the boys let the chickens out a couple days ago for the first time, and they were adorable. Fluffy and pecking and just having an all-out garden party.  Evening came, kids went to bed, and I remembered that we still had chickens out. Not only that, but some of them were up on the porch, and even had the nerve to get up onto the rocking chair and attempt to enter the house by flying at the windows.  My husband was less than impressed. A.) Chickens on the porch.  B.) Chicken poop on the porch. C.) Chicken flying at the windows.

He muttered something about needing to get the chickens into their pen, and next thing I knew, my calm, unflappable husband was on the front porch, sternly informing our rooster in no uncertain terms to leave the premises. I stifled a giggle, and went outside to help with the chicken herding. This involved several interesting and humorous attempts of me, standing at the top of our backyard bank, and sending various chickens reluctantly flying down to T.

I caught the last one, (yes. I did.  Me. I held a chicken.) and we had a nice, romantic walk down to the hen house.  Hand in hand, and chicken in arms, we strolled down to the back yard.  I commented on the romantic moment, and T wholeheartedly agreed (with perhaps a bit of an eye roll.)
They all gathered in to roost, and we went in to drink coffee.

I’d herd chickens and take evening strolls to the hen house with him any day.

Coming Home

Ahhhh.

 

Ahhhh.

 

Laundry going, swish-swishing and the cool of my dark-ish living room is a refreshing alternative to outside.

We are home from a road trip to California for my grandma’s funeral, and so much about the trip and the homecoming was just lovely goodness.

Today was the first day we just haven’t had plans to speak of, and it began with coffee on my front porch and the beginning of another round of laundry.

I picked all the cucumbers in our garden, and so far have accumulated at least two very full bags of them.  I see pickles in our very near future.

Our road trip to CA – (last minute one, at that)was incredible. We soaked in the beauty of a hundred different landscapes.. rolling, green potato fields in Idaho.  Vast endless open land in Texas. Sagebrush and cactus in Arizona. Sun-reddened cliffs at the border of New Mexico and Arizona, where we stopped at a giant teepee and ate chicken tacos from the crockpot for supper. The plains of South Dakota, wildlife in Yellowstone. The canyon that we drove through during sunset from Yellowstone to Cody, Wyoming was unspeakably beautiful.

Less beautiful, yet still memorable was the nausea that was overtaking me during that particular drive, which ultimately resulted in the same stomach bug that had settled in on our family and was attacking one person every three days.  Miss E was first, and it hit her after we had been on the road for one hour from leaving home.  Several days later Miss A got it, then Mr. J, then me on the way home. Not wanting to be stingy, we spread it right on to my niece and nephews.. and my sister-in-law…. and hopefully it’s ran it’s course by now.

My grandma’s funeral was a beautiful tribute to her life, and we are so thankful she could go home to Jesus. It had been a long time for her, her home-going…. years of Parkinson’s disease gradually robbing her body of the ability to function, walk, and talk normally.

So it wasn’t sad, really. Oh, I cried more than I even thought I would at the funeral. It was the ending of an era, the realization that time doesn’t stop, that I am actually getting older, and there are just so many moments to be lived in and enjoyed.

I find myself in a place in life, a time period that I remember my parents being in.  I think it’s sort of snuck up on me.  But it’s good, too, to realize that life is so worth living, and there are just so many people to love on and bless.

And so, we are home from a trip. My grandma has passed on to eternity. I wonder what it’s like up there – my Miss E thinks she must be dancing. I’m inclined to agree. Grandma was barely able to walk for so long, and unable for the past few years.  I believe she is likely singing and praising and dancing with all the joy she never knew even existed.  I’m a little jealous of the face-to-face realization of her faith, to be honest.

But I’m going to live my life now, and make pickles, and take my kids to swimming lessons, and greet my husband at the door with a kiss.  I’m going to call my dad more often and enjoy the conversations I have with my mom.  I’m going to read aloud to my children and make a point to smile widely at them just because.

This is a good life. It’s not easy all the time, but that’s just because it’s the Before. The Prelude. And things aren’t clearly seen in the Before. It’s just a taste, a small window.

Bits of Idaho fields with mountain peaks and rivers winking and glistening below as they wind. Raging-fire sunsets. Wispy blonde curls and husband embraces. The moments where our heart dances and we’re called in beautiful longing for the More that’s coming.

After here, there’s a Story that we’ve barely tasted. Our eyes haven’t seen, our ears haven’t heard, what is coming. What is waiting.

But it is waiting. So we wait, too, in hope. In joy.

Because we will reap, if we faint not.

The half has never yet been told

 

 

Yarn Along : lists + front porch living 

 









It’s a rare quiet moment ‘round these parts and all the kiddos except my oldest is in bed. He is listening to an audiobook, I’ve been crocheting on my granny stripe blanket, and all is well.  This blanket.  I may need to always have one going.  It seriously is the most comforting thing to work on. It satisfies all my need for loud, lovely, riotous color,  and simple, repetitious handwork.

Seems like lately it’s rush, rush, rush to everything with everyone, along with the general eye-widening (read:glazed) overwhelm of child-teaching and child-training etc., and my brain is having a hard time keeping up. So, on Monday, when we already had a babysitter for an appointment, I took the opportunity to go to a coffee shop afterwards for a few hours and make lists of every last thing I could think of.  It was absolutely wonderful.  I reworked our chore list, finished some menu planning, solidified the babysitters we need for the month, made master/weekly/daily to-do lists, and other lists of whatever came to mind.  My mind feels much more free to actually work in any given moment rather than stumbling over all of the to-do’s and random info I’ve been storing in it.

This has been a work in progress, and I do believe it will become a habit I practice regularly.  The other week when struggling, I made a list, jotting down everything that came to mind.  I then divided it into four different categories: God’s Business, To Pray About, Thankful For, Take Action.

And so begins my journey with brain-dumping.  I’ve journaled for years, (as in: since 2nd grade, and yes, I still have every.last.one. of those old diaries and notebooks and journals) and that is a type of brain-dumping.  But this is more organized, and truly does help my frame of mind just to get everything out on paper.

I’m not organized by nature.  I love the idea.  But I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, which = generally not in a straight line. So when I made all my lists on Monday, and actually accomplished some things on them, I sort of couldn’t believe it.  Yay.

On another subject, we are winding down our school year.  We’re all ready to be done. I have things that need to happen around here (yes, they are on a list) besides teaching school, and everyone is ready to not be required to do math/copywork/etc. every day.   It sounds good to have a change of pace.

I got some watercolors the other day, and the girls absolutely love them. We’ve been doing scribble painting – just scribble a bunch on the paper, paint, and the end result looks like stained glass.  Such a cheap and lovely thing to do.

We’ve began our days several mornings lately on the front porch, with me and my coffee and devotions, and children joining me one by one as they get up.  There’s just nothing like the mornings, with its golden light making everything sparkle, and the sleepy, squinty morning-fresh faces all snuggled up in their blankies.  Kitty-holding, playing catch with our dear Trigger-dog, and bike riding.  It’s a good way to begin the day.

We’ve got a fresh batch of chickens, getting about 7-8 eggs a day, and the chicks the boys have raised will be laying soon too.  It’s lovely to have brown eggs and an abundance of them.  They hope to be selling them soon, as soon as we aren’t using everything that comes in.  Miss A’s favorite chore is to gather the eggs, and her and Miss E come in crowing with delight at how many! and oh look!  …Along with several egg misfortunes, due to the trauma of being carried in pockets or by a certain 4 year old who hasn’t quite grasped the concept of Egg Fragility.

It’s a good life we live.  I’m seeing more and more the need to press in to Jesus, to rely on Him for the most mundane things and believe Him. Believe He’s doing good things.  Believe He wants to help me order our days.  Asking Him what I need to do next.  Believing He’ll show me.  Believing He covers me and my days with grace, and shows me how to do the same with these lives He’s entrusted us with.  The picture is so much bigger than what I realize or even remember in the moment.  Soul-shaping, and responding in love, training and guiding, and learning to let go.  What utter sanctification this mothering journey is.  And what a good Father, who gives only good gifts, and knows what we need and how to get us where He has us going.

Joining:

Nicole from Frontier Dreams

Blessed. Especially so since I wrote it all down.

I have been absent for far too long, but there just haven’t been many words I’ve wanted to write down.

Today was a hard day, full of meltdowns and parenting’s dirty work, me fake-smiling and breathing prayers for patience along with hope for things I can’t see. It’s good and right to exercise faith, but my flesh pulls and groans at the thought and the action of it.

Other days this week have been bright and happy, and filled with the stuff I dream of. Reading aloud and drawing pictures and learning, learning, learning all the good and true and lovely things. There were sleepovers and campfires and basketball games and beginning the adventures in Walter Farley’s Black Stallion, learning about geese and singing our hymn of the month: “When I Survey”.  There was even a date night thrown in the mix.  Chinese food and good catching-up conversations and a trip to Walmart where we went our separate ways (yes, this is normal on our date nights).

I find myself so weary and disappointed when there’s days like today, yet isn’t it also good when we have to choose to see the good?

Because there truly

is

so

much

of it. We can let our souls faint and be mired in the yuck of the moments, or we can direct our sights upward at the things not seen, along with the good that is there that we must choose to focus on.

So I choose to look up!

 

God is good.

We have come.so.far.

The relapse Mr. E is in is relatively mild, and he displays none of the usual uncomfortable symptoms.

Coffee is life. Especially when the sun is peeking over the mountains and I sip while it lights up our lawn, our bright green woods, and makes everything shine. Ah.

Cousins to play with and boyhood schemes and dreams are a joy.

Rainbow crochet blanket.

Miss E: “Mommy! It’s a BEAUTIFUL day!”

My dear, dear husband. All rights itself when he walks in each evening.

Surprise candy bars and sodas brought exuberant joy from a certain 12 and 10 yo that I couldn’t have predicted.

Miss A: “Mommy, when I grow up I’m gonna marry the Kingdom of God!”

80 degrees and thriving spring life outside.

Four fresh baby kitties and a purring, devoted mama cat.

Read alouds and the thrill of experiencing them together as a family. Most recently, Trumpet of the Swan, Black Stallion, Just David (by Eleanor Porter, author of Pollyanna), Pilgrim’s Progress, and plenty of other random picture books. Reading anchors our days.

(And for a tip? Keep a book in your car that’s only for longer car rides – where we go to church is 45 minutes from home, and we read this book when we drive anywhere that takes very long.)

 

There’s much more I could name. Honestly, it’s been good just to write down a few of these things and remind myself of the truth.

I’m blessed, and if you aren’t feeling very much so, go tell someone what good things come to mind. It might help you just as much as writing this blog post has helped me. 🙂

 

Wherein I ramble

I’ve been planning on posting for awhile, with side-by-side feelings that I had nothing to say, as well as feeling that I just wanted to write, no matter how random it ended up being.  So here goes.  All the randomness shall now commence. 

It’s a rare moment of quiet this afternoon, with the sun shining bright in the cold and the wind strong enough to be heard outside. My girls are sleeping and I made a pot of coffee.  Cup#1 beside me and it just feels so good to be drinking something warm on this chilly February day.

So much busy, yet there have been patches of rest in between as well.  I rearranged our room the other week, cleaning out, adding some twinkle lights above our headboard, changing where the rocking chair is, and placing my $3 walmart hyacinth bulb nearby to fragrance this fresh space.  My hyacinth is almost done, two beautiful purple blooms that are arching toward the floor, their best life spent, and it was all too short. 

I haven’t been knitting or crocheting at all for the last several weeks… something is going on with my shoulder/arm that makes it tingle/ache/get numb etc.  It doesn’t seem to be as bothered with writing, so I’ve been journaling more, reading more, and that is for sure a good thing.  I do miss it, but it’s been a good discipline to focus on other things.  I really hadn’t read much for myself for awhile, other than the Bible, and I just started “Freckles” by Gene Stratton Porter. A few pages in, (I’ve begun this before and somehow never appreciated it, mostly because I have always tended to read easier books that weren’t old.) and I’m captivated. 

So this month has been a time of reflection amid the going here and there and family get togethers.  God’s good, and He is faithful, and circumstances aren’t what brings me joy.  Not new news, but powerful to dwell on all the same. My soul is so much quieter than it’s ever been.  There is lots of opportunities to practice patience during my days here with school and children and their always-needs. I don’t get it right a lot of the time, but it’s getting easier to let things go and relax and know that God’s got it. Always.  

We are still reading “Carry On, Mr. Bowditch”, and a quote in this book keeps running through my mind. Nathaniel’s mother told him when he was small that she liked to look at the stars.. because  “when you look at the stars, it makes your own problems seem so much smaller.”  I love this thought.  I have had moments like this, when I realize that the Star-Maker is my Father.  And that nothing is a surprise to Him, nothing is worrying Him.  I just love how books do this.  Just at the right time, a quote that brings truth and wisdom, or teaches lessons that are so much better from story than lecture.

Today Miss A suggested that I make waffles, so I’m thinking waffles and sausage will be the supper.  Perhaps apple waffles? We’ll see what I have time for.  So many things I have on my to-do list, and I’m learning that it works a lot better to write it all down as much as possible.  My brain works much better in the moment if it isn’t cluttered up with trying to remember a lot of things.  So at the moment I have curriculum that needs to be researched and purchased for my 6th grader, as well as the next All About Reading book for Miss A – she is flying through learning her letters now, and I’m trying to keep up with her.  To see her begin to sound out words and read simple sentences is incredible.  

I’ve got plenty of spaces that need to be cleaned out, with the motivation of preparing for a yard sale here in a couple months.  A close friend of ours is putting her stuff in as well, as she is planning to move to Thailand for mission work in April.  Exciting changes for her, and we are thrilled to watch it play out before our eyes.  Even though goodbye will be hard….

I’m loving winter, and plan on making the absolute most of all the coziness that I can. More soup is on the horizon, and I’m slowly using the bananas I’ve thrown in my freezer over the past while to make different banana-y breads. So far I’ve made a chocolate chip banana bread (it was delicious.) and another basic banana nut bread. As long as it sort of resembles cake, or is good with butter on it, my family is happy. 

I’m taking a Habits e-course thing with Mystie Winckler from SimplyConvivial.com.  It is just so good.  Seed habits, not making huge changes, but little tiny things in the areas of prayer, health, reading, and a few others that I haven’t gotten to yet. I’m truly seeing the fruit of what happens when I add seriously small changes to my routine.  30 seconds of prayer, every time I make coffee. Doing crunches while I brush my teeth.  Changes so small they almost seem pointless.  But they grow, and foster the desire to make bigger changes once those small ones become habitual.  I highly recommend.

I hear the sound of waking children, so it’s time to get busy.   Happy Friday!

Home + All the Rainbow Projects

IMG_7635

IMG_7636IMG_7637

IMG_7626IMG_7630IMG_7641

IMG_7624IMG_7638IMG_7643

Oh goodness, it’s cold.

I know I’m probably wimpy. But this is cold. 

This morning it was 20… and the forecast said it felt like 3. The wind was howling and it’s supposed to go all day long, at 20-30 mph.

I sent my dear husband off with copious amounts of coffee, and leftover cheddar chowder for lunch, feeling bad for him that he is out in it, but glad it’s at least sunny.

I do happen to be one of those strange sorts who loves winter, as long as I don’t have to go out in it.:)

We got home from our California/Oregon Christmas trip, it was lovely, and now I am just so glad to be home. There is nothing that compares to hibernating with soups and flannel sheets, the fire roaring in my basement, and settling back into a routine.

We took a three week break from school and now we are back  into the full swing of things. It’s been working so well to give my boys their spiral notebook with assignments for the day, send them to separate parts of the house, and proceed with kindergarten for Miss A. She is just barely beginning to sound out short words, and it’s honestly one of the most exciting things to see sounds and letter learning begin to organize itself into bits of tiny word-reading here and there. Every once in awhile I stress a little, she is 5 1/2 and doesn’t know all her letters, isn’t reading quickly, maybe I’m going too slow… then I remind myself that slow is better. I’m not pushing her, I’m letting her go at her pace and working on things as she is ready. When it’s not clicking, we slow down, and when it’s all coming together we speed up again. I do believe from experience that it’s better late than early. Too many of us mamas need to relax and trust the process, rather than all the stressing it’s so easy to do.  Little by little, bit by bit, keeping those fires of learning lit and never extinguishing them with pressure and force.

I have been working on my granny stripe afghan, and occasionally a rainbow-y sock that I started on our trip. I’ve only knit one other pair of just plain socks, but I’m amazed at how fast they go. I don’t consider myself a fast knitter at all, so to have half a sock completed in a week was so much fun! Miss E is fascinated by all things knitting, and wanted to try on this sock… I went to take it off her foot and she said “No, Mommy!! It’s covey!!” (Her word for cozy and comfy all in one.)

I’ve been reading a lot of books, mostly stuff for and to the kids.

We started Carry on, Mr. Bowditch, just finished Little House on the Prairie and started Farmer Boy. Farmer Boy is my favorite book in the series, and I’m cracking up at my boys who are soooo hungry every time I read. The doughnuts! The apple pies! The platters filled with seasoned sausages and bowls of gravy! We had to have an evening snack the other night while I was reading just to tide everyone over until breakfast.

Along with hibernating, I’ve also been motivated to do bits of cleaning out, here and there. I went through the toy closet the other afternoon and it feels so good to have it all organized and swept up, and the kiddos are so much happier with all their things making sense and in their places again.

It won’t last long, and I’m incredulous at all.the.pieces.that accumulate everywhere. Game pieces. Uno cards. Paper clips. Pieces of string. Legos. Baby clothes. Papers. Erasors. Crayons and mostly used colored pencils. They are like a mob that waits until I leave the room and jump out to lay around when I come back in. It’s truly like they have lives of their own.

On a totally random note: I was getting ready for the day a few minutes ago and my very dramatic 3 year old was sitting on a stool beside me for various reasons having to do with not coming when I called her and being disobedient. She is not at all happy about it, and after sitting for a few minutes and whining, she finally said this: “You not WETTING ME GET UP AND IF YOU DON’T I. WILL. DIE!”

Sometimes you just have to laugh.

She’s my ball of fire and sunshine, and I’m thankful for her and so much more on this sunny, cold, windy day.

Happy knitting and reading, friends!

linking up with Ginny’s  Yarn Along   

And Nicole’s Crafting On

on faith and how to please God

There is something amazing about the power of Scripture.

Some days I read it and there isn’t anything that particularly jumps out at me, but there’s a solidness and comfort in simple saturation of God’s inspired Words.

Other days there are things that are so clear and meaningful it’s as though they were divinely highlighted.

For awhile now I have been intrigued and inspired by Hebrews 11 and its list of saints who were unflinching in their faith.
The ones who did the right thing even when it was hard. Who obeyed God in the face of ultimate grief. Who trusted God even when it didn’t seem that He was doing anything. Who were martyred and considered it a glorious privilege.

This is the kind of faith that I want. It’s the kind of faith that makes anything possible and everything able to be borne.

Persistent, determined faith.

I’ve read Hebrews 11:6 before. But this past week when reading these words again, I was impressed with something I hadn’t ever noticed.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 KJV

In the past I have read this and kind of got stuck in my own musings of how small my faith is, and how I’m probably barely, if at all, pleasing God because of that fact.

But this time something new was there for me.

First, in order to have a faith that pleases God there are two things this Scripture details as requirement; they have to do with His existence and His character.

1.) So first, we must believe He exists.

This isn’t that hard for me. Oh, I have had times of really wondering where God is in the midst of hardship. Or why He isn’t doing anything. But as a general rule I acknowledge that there is a God.

2.) The character part. We must believe that this God is the kind of God who rewards those who diligently seek Him.

This is what stopped me in my tracks.

Our God is a Rewarder-God. And not only is He so, we must believe Him to be this kind of God. As in, we can’t please God if our faith doesn’t accept Him as a God who loves to reward us for seeking His face and His heart.

This, I believe was the faith of Noah, the faith of Abraham, the faith of Sarah, the faith of the martyrs. They looked up to the heavens with knowing smiles and acknowledged that, “Yes. There is a God. An unseen, enthroned King. A Maker. An Authority that is unequaled in power and glory, deserving all our worship and praise.”   There. Is. A. God.

And then, a much more personal and heart-expanding truth: this God rewards.
He loves His children immensely. And those who choose diligent seeking, who choose to follow after Him with all their heart, who repent when they mess up… And those who refuse to worship their experience over His promises, these are the ones who please God with faith. They will experience unimaginable rewards. Both here on earth as well as in heaven. And I’m not talking necessarily about rewards you can touch or see (though that’s certainly within the realm of possibility), but rewards from the Spirit in this life that make our hard things possible to be viewed as a privilege.  And rewards in heaven (you know, the kind that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, what the Father has in store.).

This is Martyr Faith.

This is a faith that takes people through prisons, through disease, through fire and persecution.

This is the faith that propelled Abraham up a mountain on a God-ordained mission to kill the son he had waited decades to hold in his arms.
The Son of promise. The one who was the link to sons and grandsons and great-grandsons who would number greater than the stars.

But Abraham knew God was real. And He believed that God rewards those who seek Him. So he sought. He obeyed. He believed in this God so much that He was willing to obey what seemed like a senseless and horrible request.

How else would you do what Abraham did unless you truly believed that your God was capable of anything?

Anything.

And everything.

And sure enough, God proved Himself faithful.

These two truths must be settled in our heart. We must choose them over and over.

Believing God is real.

Believing what kind of God He is. That His rewards are deep. Better than we can imagine. They are for us, here and now- the reward of patience in impossibility. The reward of being able to love instead of reject. The reward of His character and mind thriving inside these flesh-temples. They are Loving. Perfect. Beautiful. We have no concept of the pleasure He takes in us. And we can’t begin to imagine the ecstasy that will envelop us as we stand, perhaps shoulder to shoulder with martyrs and the ancient Faith Heroes, and hear His words ring out across heaven’s majesty:

“Well done. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. ….enter into the joy of your Lord.”

The joy of your Lord.

What an amazing privilege.