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Got homeschool?

Click & peruse my new formed blog, Not A Cog In A Machine, if you too are one of “those type” .

 “children are not a cog in machine” ~charlotte mason

BLOOM_five minute friday

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gardening is a creative trial and error pursuit

it did not come naturally to me at all

for years i had a wide long thatch of dirt with a few perennials that bloomed and then quickly faded, flanked by persistent weeds

decorating however, always came natural for some reason

probably because i can manipulate the real objects in my hands

then i can just “see it” in my mind’s eye how it will look best

i could handle the antique candle holder, the vintage runner, the shabby chic frames

pull this and that till it looked right

when it grew tired-looking i’d move it or pack away- and just like that i have a clean canvas to do just as i fancy

not so with gardening

it took me years and years to understand that the flashy sanguine daffodils of yellow that birth life into the brown dead world of my garden will fade away by mid April, and that is when those strategically place tulips, delicate and pink, come up, to mask the plain green stalks of the daffodils

daffodils that you cannot hack off with those steal sharp clippers, no matter how tempting, or else you will deprive the deep buried bulb of the chlorophyll it needs to come up next year through snow and freezing nights

it took me so many summers to finally get that i need more late blooming perennials or come august:

my front yard is a mass of tired crispy lawn, spent flowers, and weeds

i discovered, so surprisingly & joyfully, that the deep purple spikes of my two butterfly bushes that look like dead sticks in spring, and a boring wonky shaped bush in June and July, is a dazzling eye catching centerpiece in August; complete with a flurry of monarchs that love to feast of them.

i have lots of weeds, because i don’t spray

i have lots of ” wild cottage-y flowers” that fall technically in the category of weeds

but because they are free and fill in the spaces of those $15.00 perennials that never came back

i like them

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no, gardening will not provide instant decorating satisfaction the way a boring, flat, blank, wall turns “accent wall” with a few new over-sized frames and sticker art you pick up at target for 60 bucks will do the trick

my garden has been a long, arduous ordeal

my mind’s eye has never then pushed its way out of the soil…ever

early on i would get so jealous of others:

neat curved edging

those huge hanging baskets placed symmetrically every 3ft around the porch

and of course:

no weeds

but I don’t think that way anymore

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i see those perfectly spaced containers and those razor sharp curved edges

and know that look, more than likely, was not achieved by a woman or man’s own hands from a creative eye and passion

it was hired very expensively to maintain the right image

after 13 years of getting my hands dirty, my knees and back sore, lots of disappointments, lots of happy surprises, and lots satisfaction my weedy, un-edged, pesticide-free, garden has finally got to the point where it is in continual full BLOOM of something i enjoy march to october

then i enjoy the dormant rest

now that i think about it:

my pursuit of gardening perfection and what i have learned, ideas and ideals i have rejected, the hard work i have enjoyed, and the beautiful benefits i reap,

all to enjoy the process of seeing a BLOOM

is a lot like parenting

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stop.

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker this Friday that is perfect for being outside and the garden.

Cheers.

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EXHALE_five minute friday

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the sun is an organge-y impression through the thick green boughs that surround our deck

it is going to be another hot humid july day and i am glad for the force field of maple, walnut, and oak leaves that surround me; 360 degrees

the only sound:

humming of a/cs keeping daughters in bed much later

keeping our electric bill much scarier

it is summer vacation-

really it adds up to eight weeks,

eight weekends

where each hours does not have to be calculated, tweaked, accomplished

i finish not one mug of starbucks, but two-

not even having to stick it in the microwave once for a warm up because i set it down, got busy, and forgot where i left it

the birds chatter

the squirrels chase

the cats stalk

the bunnies twitch in their pens

it’s going to be a good day

and

i

exhale

grateful

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Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker of five minute Friday of course! on this, America’s Birthday, the 4th of July, with a long weekend, a long summer, opening up- lazy, but full of projects and plans all the same- it is what summers are for.

Cheers

 

LOST_five minute friday

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on the fringes

wandering what is going on and how did I get here

have i LOST it?

that is how my head, my heart, my spirit

have felt this passed month

my mind-

brimming over, hovering on the lip of the cup,

“one more drop Lord, and it’s gonna spill over and make a mess”

But the cup holds a good, good thing

and I wonder?

is it me-

just pouring too much too quickly like starbucks in my mug before the daughters are up, and I just want to have it all, yet enjoy it slow, and how exactly does that work?

my heart-

the eyes of it take so much in

my pre-teens and their sass, and cell phone obsession, and they better start deciding exactly Who they want to really follow

my little ones and their needs and innocence and their trying to be so grown up and my saying: oh no you don’t! stay small!

my volunteer work with at risk children, trying to coax something good and simple and worthwhile like getting them to love to read-while in God’s house while others pray for them, so this perpetuating cycle of low expectations and hopelessness some two, three, generations deep might start ascending up; though everyone knows the bad stuff naturally just sinks lower and lower

my spirit-

its torn

jeckle & hyde like

comfort and confidence, encouragement and joy

to suddenly without warning rip away revealing

panic and painful insecurities, despair and exhaustion

And I am feeling LOST

close to being swallowed up some days i fear

and these on-the-fringe-days, those near-broke-days:

my only fall back emergency plan?

the 69th Psalm:

save me o God for the waters are come in onto my soul

i sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; i have come into deep waters where the floods overflow me

but as for me my prayer is unto thee, o Lord in an acceptable time; o God in the multiples of your mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation

let not the waterflood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me

hear me o Lord; for the thy lovingkindess is good: turn onto me according to the multitude of they tender mercies

Feeling like THIS TIME i am going under and be LOST for good this time

peering at myself at the edge of myself, my abilities, my logic, my strength

I LOSE myself enough to being caught by The Father’s Hand.

And in  LOSING we gain the essence of Christ.

Stop.

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So the bulk of the text of this post didn’t go over 5 minutes by too much

The verses of course took time, but they don’t count because they are not my words, I’m just quoting!

It is good to be back to writing and photography again after taking about a month absence of anything creative.

I realized that leaves me feeling too flat:

 Too much like a wind-up toy just getting work done everyday till I wind down and collapse over.

I also got desperate to read some well written fiction, and have found some

{peruse my goodreads review above}

So happy creative Friday to all.

Read in or join in at Lisa Jo Bakers place.

Cheers.

CLOSE_five minute friday

 

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US BEING NERDS, BUT GENUINELY TRYING TO BE COOL, AT CAPE MAY, NJ EARLIER THIS WEEK

We don’t exactly finish each others sentences

but…

we think of the same punch lines at the same time in social situations

we chime in with

“that’s what she said” in the same under your breath grin

we recall lines from favorite british sitcoms and say them with the identical bad british accents:

“well you are incredibly old”

“they are fairly regular, the beatings, yes”              http://www.clickypix.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/The-IT-Crowd-Quotes-Images-1003.jpg

 

we often will text each other random texts, after hours and hours of silence, at the same time

we think 99% of music made after the year 2000 sucks

but music from the ’90s is timeless

we can tell by a slight purse of the lips, narrowing of the eyes, what the other is thinking

we know the precise moment when it is time RIGHT NOW for the kids to traipse upstairs to bed

to leave the restaurant

say good bye and make for the door at friends and families

we know when the other needs a swift kick in the butt to “get over it”

or space

or a long kiss

we have this invisible thread, binding us in shared jokes, unspoken needs, and mirrored tastes

because over the last decade and a half we have fought to stay

CLOSE.

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BURROW DOWN IN COMMON SAND TO NOT GET PRIED APART

Linking up, this start to the long memorial weekend { i love memorial weekend…the unofficial start to summer}

with the ever poetic, spiritual, and wise Lisa Jo Baker.

click on the link to join in or be inspired at what 5 minutes {or so} a computer screen, and a common platform, can produce.

Cheers.

So, what is up with the Monk thing?_{a post in which I write a lot about books}

doing our thing

The last several years have found me gulping down books that called for consciousness in The Church. Challenged me to find The Real in a church atmosphere that felt more and more non-genuine

Books like:

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FRESH WIND, FRESH FIRE BY JIM CYMBALA

Fresh Fire, Fresh Wind  that called the church to take intercessory prayer serious. His story,  or rather testimony of the transformation of a crack corner in the Bronx that two old ladies starting praying over, to the now world famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Church and worship group, is the backdrop to this book.

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Radical  by David Platt that asked the question why does the 21st Century Western Church look and act nothing like the first-century church? Do we not confess the same Lord, and have the same power of the Holy Spirit in us? Then why are our actions and values so different?

http://www.disciplelife.co.uk/images/threads-interrupted-jen-hatmaker-member-book.jpg

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker.  A part memoir, part call of consciousness for modern Evangelicals to start being serving disciples rather than preaching, unhappy, “blessing the already blessed” conservatives. Funny and beautiful. One of the few books I have read twice. Flipped through it just last night to re-read under-lined passages.

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Forgotten God by Francis Chan.  He asks the question where oh where is the Holy Spirit? Total up all our slick Christian merchandise, multimillion dollar church campuses, professional music bands, and over qualified pastors- when put together on the scales of walking in power in terms of personal transformation and conversion of the lost we are not moving the needle much over the zero mark. The Bible makes it plain that without the empowerment of The Holy Spirit we cannot carry out the will of The Father. Chan writes with clarity and clear perspective of why The Holy Spirit is not present in many churches and how to allow Him to draw close to us again.

I loved these books.

They served as a catapult that tentatively launched me into a more mature faith, as I found myself nearing and crossing over into my thirties.   A time where I no longer was on repeat and reload on the pregnancy machine.  {Four children, less than seven years…I would not change a thing about our decision with having our children , but I never want to go through another day of pregnancy again!}. When I turned thirty especially, with The Babe nearing wiping her own butt, high chairs and cribs tossed to the curb with a big ole FREE sign, I got lulled into the wavy tantalizing mirage of seeing “time for me” loom in the horizon of my future.  All these books mentioned above were, for me, a call to action:

“Hey things kinda suck if you haven’t noticed! Are you going to be part of the solution and do something, or NOT”

That is what it seemed to say to me anyway.

That is after all, the way I think; the way I do things.

The only problem:

I was still the same me; just with more head knowledge.

My four girls, even though they wiped their own butts, slept through the night and did not need their wet, sticky, warm body to be attached to my own every waking hour, still needed me. I did not feel like bothering with all that.  I wanted to do big things.

For God of course.

My reading of awesome books that spoke such inspiring truth, did nothing, in truth, to change my sin nature that still gnawed at me every single day.

Like I said:

I was the same me.

Maybe I had a clearer vision of what needed to change in the larger scope of The Church in America, but there were more glaring, more pressing needs that needed to change in my heart- in my home. What these books did do, that I did not realize at the time, is whet my appetite for a real connection with a real God. That is precisely what those books were talking about in the first place.

Which is why…

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Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts found its mark right where all good books are supposed to aim for and sink into:

my heart.

One Thousand Gifts got close and personal, down and dirty.

Which leads me to the Monk Thing.

If you were on my goodreads “friends” list you would note that currently I am reading

http://img2.imagesbn.com/p/9780061432699_p0_v3_s260x420.JPG     http://thumbs1.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/melAmPACPCzs7iJOt-VUqqA.jpg

The Jesuit Guide to {Almost} Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin.

and Tales of Saint Francis: Ancient Stories for Contemporary Living by Murray Bodo, O.F.M.

I am not converting to Catholicism.

I am being drawn, almost accidentally, which is another way to say not looking for it but led by The Spirit of God, to the life and practices and record of words of those called the Mystics of Christianity.

I don’t really know what a “mystic” is- so I looked it up:

mys·tic

a person who claims to attain, or believes in the possibility of attaining,
insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge,
as by direct communication with the divine
or immediate intuition in a state of spiritual ecstasy

Ignatius of Loyola.
Francis of  Assisi.
Christian men who lived during the Middle Ages.
What could that  possibly have to do with a thirty-four year old women living in America in the 21st-century?
Well, a lot.
After all the human heart is pretty much the same, regardless of time, sex, or culture.
God is unchanging.
Humankind’s search for Him because we were made to have a close, shameless, relationship with Him, remains a constant as well.
What these men wrote, their simply lives, revealed to me the same nail hit right on the head by Ann Voskamp:
the problem in society is not this group or that group, it is ME.
Letting go of ME, going lower and lower as my own selfishness, hard heart, prideful sin, began to loom larger than my own demands for fair. I repeatedly felt myself being put into that tedious. awkward position. So Christ Himself  could raise me up.
Remember what all those be the change! books inspired in me:
Do something already, right?
Well that doing something had nothing to do with outward achieving action, but inward receding humility.

GOING LOW IS THE NEW HIGH

Things got so messed up in my life, in my head, that I had to go to counseling last summer.
I found myself on the outs with my family.
No church.
No ministry.
The school system my children were enrolled in went to hell in one year.
We tried to move twice, found a dream house, to lose it because our finances were so terrible.
I felt let down by God big time.
After all, I read the books.
I understand the problem.
I had the solutions.
I was not like all those other lukewarm Christians.
And so He owed me right?
Turns out NO.
But God keeps showing up with open arms like the most patient and lovely mother on earth with each and everyone of my tantrums and incessant questions.
Seeking, continually, God’s presence, daily, minute by minute, is the path to upper mobility in the new Kingdom that Christ ushered in.
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GOING LOW IS THE NEW HIGH

I had to do it initially when everything seemed to go to crap.
It has been a cultivated practice in my life because without His presence I feel like crap.
It’s too hard without constant replenishing and refreshing.
Even on the days I don’t feel like it, or feel nothing particularly spiritual after I slow down and seek God in prayer, reading the Word, or worship.
What sounds like just more religiously motivated guilt turns out to be a God motivated way for you to receive grace by being like His Son.
It is what those Medieval saints learned with their bare feet and their Latin chants.
It is what Ann Voskamp learned with her written lists and her Eucharisteo lifestyle.
It was what I was forced to do when every single plan of action and change of lifestyle turned into a big fat NO!
We stayed in our house in the ‘burbs with neighbors much too close, that is not zoned for chickens or goats.
We had a painful leave in our little “Radical” church, after stepping out in faith to leave a church that we loved. But that year saw me grow more in dramatic and supernatural ways as a Christian, despite our leaving, than any book could.
God led me to another church in one day.  I didn’t recall the Pastor’s name and did not know the church’s name or denomination, but I knew it was where we had to be.
My relationship with my extended family improved slowly.
I started homeschooling my older two girls.  The emotions that followed being a homeschooling Mom were as followed:
terrified
panicked
regretful
discouraged
depressed
acceptance
joy
thankfulness.
Sometimes we have fun.
Sometimes I threaten to hit them with a ruler like the nuns used to do, cuz those sisters got results.
And then, only six months after being in our new, new church-
six months of enjoying just being with a group of believers, worshiping and rejoicing and praying and being taught, God dropped a burden in my heart.
A stone that sunk down deep, rippling waters into bigger and bigger circles till I had to act.
I could not believe I was doing this again.
I thought I was over proving myself.
I liked the new me of contentment and simplicity.
I wake up early and make my own bread, people!
Feeling stupid I went to my Pastor.
Feeling terrified I went to the elementary school that shares its parking lot with our church, and also happens to be the school my youngest girls attend.
Feeling completely out of my element, completely like I do not have the time, or even the desire, I am currently heading up a program called: Keep It Up! {facebook page coming soon!}
It is all about literacy for the at risk children in our church and school neighborhood.
It is about The Church being relevant in the community by providing a need and serving, not just inviting them to church stuff.
Jen Hatmaker of the books Interrupted and 7 calls this “Missional Church stuff”.
It is about serving the teachers at the public school to provide books, and story times, opening the door to the magic of books, the power of literacy during the summer months when the ten months they put into those children immediately start to erode away. It dwindles because more than likely no one else is reading Lady Bug Girl four times in a row, or helping them with the tedious process of sounding out words to form sentences, even when they start to cry fat tears and say “I am just too stupid!” No one is encouraging older elementary students to turn off the TV, youtube, x-box, and get into a chapter book with funny, or inspiring characters we can talk about later.
It is not really a typical church-y thing.
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But starting when I sounded out my first book {the Color Kittens, when I was five} books have been very important to me.
A source of escape when I was young.
A source of knowledge when I became an adult.
Ask any missionary working in impoverished countries right now and the best way to stop the cycle of poverty and powerlessness in a society is to give their children education.
We have education in America.
But unless an at-risk child really grasps and learns to love literacy the probability of them not staying in the same cycle of low expectations, taking the easy yet hopeless route everyone else around them does, is low.
Books just have always been my thing.
We are at our best serving, doing what is our thing.
doing our thing
Just ask my kids who wail every time I say its “quiet time” and they have read. {In the Summer there are book reports too!}
Just ask the local librarians {I think the total money I paid out in late fees last year paid for the new carpet installed in the story time corner!}
And yet.
Every step of planning and going out of my comfort zone has found me in tears, feeling like a fool, confounded at my own decision to start this thing I am not sure anybody else really gives a crap about.
“I can’t do this”
“I don’t want to do this”
“What does it matter really? Reading some books and sounding out Cat In The Hat to a handful of ratty kids whose parents just send them traipsing over to the church for the free babysitting and free food”?
Every panic attack.
Every seizure of self-doubt, self-hate.
The still small voice:
“This low position is best possible stance for you to take to let Me take over completely and raise you up with Me”.
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GOING LOW IS THE NEW HIGH

My way.
My timing.
My methods.
My power.
It’s the same lessons the saints experienced.
I recently read a quote by some French guy named Leon Bloy:
“There is only one tragedy- not to be a saint”
Echoed were the words of the author Murray Bodo.
“Lord let me be small, but let me be Holy”
We just get bogged down in the semantics:
“saint” “mystic” “spirituality” “radical” “evangelical”.
A Saint acts like Jesus, because they got over themselves long enough to admit they need Jesus.
Period
The opening preface to Sarah Young’s devotional:
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Jesus Calling, that my friend just happen to drop off saying that she felt I needed to read it, was a near verbatim confession of what The Spirit spoke to me in my panic and fear these last two months.
And so I am continuing with this Read-To-Kids-Thing.
I even mentioned it to a few people!
I feel good. I feel I am right where I am supposed to be.
Empty and tired and having no clue what is next, but with joy and peace because it is not about me.
Being a book obsessed introvert, into monks, having all your plans thrown out the window, and feeling stupid apparently is not as lame and horrible as it sounds.
**************************************************************************************************************************************
If you made it to the end, congratulations! This post ended up being over 2,300 words long and most people don’t stay on one web page for over 25 seconds.
Now we can both feel good about ourselves!
Leaving for our annual “marriage time out” to Cape May, NJ tomorrow.
Four days, three nights.  Longest ever.
Then it is tying up the last of the homeschool year, and starting up this ministry: Keep It Up!
I always go “screen free” in July and usually just post photos with a line a two in August as part of The August Break flickr group.
So the Summer posts may be few and far between.
I may not visit that many other bloggers, though I shall try, they are always so good.
Those of you kindred-spirit bloggers who have read and “walked” along me these past years or months keep me in your prayers this summer and I will keep you in mine.
Cheers.

GRATEFUL_five minute friday

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Some scraggly grass

Mud where there should be grass

Pea gravel paths in attempt to beat back the encroaching mud

But the sum of those elements do not equal the the sum of all the stuff

In Our Back Yard

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Tee-pees made from free {always free} bamboo fencing that never got put up proper

Camp chairs that never got folded backed up and put neatly away

Toys and library books and blankets and shoes and shirts and little pairs of pastel underwear

Then there is the my old metal bucket {probably also free I can’t remember} turned snake-house, hastily constructed with additional outside debris that collects in piles at the edge of our property- our equivalent to crammed closets found inside our house.

I see it all-

the grass to mud ratio; grass with only a slight advantage

backyard piles of stuff turned constructed play- left standing like a monuments to childhood imagination

I see it from our beloved wrapped around deck-

still not stained and sealed after 5 years

decorated with mis-matched outside furniture {this we bought new with that seducing siren- the target credit card-we can never quite pay off}

covered with mis-matched cushions

remnant quilt sections turned table cloth

tacked on outside fabric literally stapled to an old vintage beach lounge chair I scored for cheap

What separates lounging deck from  messy play land:

My beloved pink fence

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Old, old fencing that once served as the fence wrapped around my childhood pool {we don’t ever, ever throw away raw materials in our family}

That I painted pink

{I love my pink fence}.

All this-

the mashed up

the salvaged

the free

the re-purposed

the messy

the tufts of weedy grass

I am grateful for them all.

Really

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When, and how, and more importantly WHY did we as women start that deceptive train of thought-the runs in our minds like a 8 cylinder engine with a full tank of gas-

that neat,

new,

perfection

is what will make us happy?

County living photo spread

instead of real living comfort.

I still crave the perfection most every day.

But I don’t live in single-minded pursuit of it anymore

And for that I am grateful.

Stop.

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Linking up this gloriously warm Friday with another installment of Five Minute  Friday with Lisa Jo Baker.

Check out or link up.

This writing prompt thing has become a favorite part of my week.

Comforting, creativity producing with real people.

Cheers.

 

things pile up_shadow shot sunday_poetry

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Things pile up

As things often do

 

The lumped the clumped

The unrecollected and the neglected

 

Piles on the chair

Wet towels on the rail

Bills unpaid in their envelopes

Letters yet placed in the mail

 

But never ever let

Me with you & you with me

Be a task shrugged to the corner

Pitiful pile I’d hate for others to see

 

God help us and help us swiftly

The day you and I become

That task we must sort through

And be done with quickly

 

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Linking up with the international crowd at Shadow Shot Sunday

& the sensitive souls at Emily’s Imperfect Prose

I have long noticed that photography and poetry seem to feed off each other in my brain.

It is the light touch, the capturing of ideas without saying a word-

that I want to make more room for here at my spot.

Emily’s spot {the imperfect prose link above} is highlighting Lisa Jo Baker’s and her wise, wise words on motherhood.

As always, I forgot its mother’s day weekend. {not a celebrator of commercial holidays I also forget my anniversary}.

But since writing this poem on marriage, I have been reflecting on the truth that I discovered long ago:

the best things you can do for your children is stay in love with your husband

{and its harder and takes more work than keeping a clean house, or sending your children to school with clean, matched clothes}

So enjoy!

It is after all, finally May, my favourite month, the month of light, color, and joy.

I always think of Guinevere belting out “the lusty month of May” twirling with flowers sewed into her gown and in her hair in Camelot.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MESS_five minute friday

When Not Perfect- Not Spotless Feels Like Broken & Scattered

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Cleaning In A Blur Of Emotions

Mess.

Just the utterance of the word conjures up the visions and emotions of out-of-control:

a great glaring problem to be embarrassed about and immediately fixed.

This passed Wednesday my house was most certainly, room by room, a mess.

I was frazzled from a long day and with nerves stretched tight

so I chose to get loss in some blog writing

let my ten and twelve year old make mac and cheese {with gasp, white enriched pasta and not a trace of vegetables to be seen!} for dinner.

Because I know, know, know through repeated folly and madness that when I tackle a mess, in response to that rising panic in my chest that vapor of panic escapes out through a well- honed tongue of complaining

that whips itself into a frenzy of anger.

After our dinner of gobs and gobs of cheese with pasta bow ties that I had seconds of,

I took my glass of wine and The Babe to the comforts of our old den couch-

the one we got for free and has large ghastly flowers in that ’80s scheme of color and design-

and did the “birdy game”.

It is what we used to do for hours when she was still small and weighed quite a bit less, where I stick my legs straight up laying down, grab her outstretched hands, and in a quick swoop pull her leaping gleeful body onto my own feet, and then hoist her up with her belly resting on my feet.

Of course the “birdy” comes into perilous weather rather quickly and has to do a crash landing

{we like violent games}

Somehow, between crash landings, our conversation drifted into yoga moves she does in her pre-k class and we pushed the coffee table back and did some together on our area rug-

the one that my second born decided to decorate with pastel chalk, that never quite wore off; with bits and nubs of food crumbs poking into my hands with each “downward dog”

and I HATE that feeling

However, oddly, my frustration of earlier went down and my enjoyment went up.

Confession:

Later, I did vacuum the entire downstairs,

dude, it was gross

but without gritting teeth and swearing just low enough not to be heard over the hum of the vacuum.

My messy house and the feelings of panic it often causes will never leave-

my thorn in the flesh if you will-

but the joy of living in the mess, despite the mess perhaps, has become my battle cry I will myself to proclaim

and it resonates with the Holy Scripture given to comfort the Apostle Paul concerning his thorn in the flesh-

My Grace Is Sufficient For Thee

Stop.

Its Friday!

That means our relaxed day of home schooling, the backpacks can get thrown in the closet and forgotten about till Monday morning, dinner will be a leisurely affair with wine and music with Tim doing most of the hands on cooking, and this,

Five Minute Friday With Lisa Jo Baker.

Cheers.

 

 

bloglandia_imperfect prose

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i am feeling  confessional, reflective, but don’t want to go there

i don’t want to admit it- the times when I crack into a long awaited book, freshly shipped in that tantalizing cardboard brown amazon or barnes and noble package and sitting on my porch, and later, nestled, settled in, i begin to read, to only want to throw that book across the room in a curse and in a huff

the reason?

surely, not moral objections

certainly, not preachy agendas

no

it’s much more shallow

it sneaks up and occurs when i read a memoir-like book and the author-always a woman who i think rocks-strings excessive paragraphs, that lead to excessive pages about all her friends

the fun girl night out with wine, food. laughter, coversations

the couples they constantly have over

the stated reality that for them-

on bad days

on lonely days

or crazy days

on bored days

a gaggle of females who know them, really know them, are a text, call, email, or just show up at their door, away

if only

after the eye rolling

comes the accusations

such experiences- being as much a reality in my life as a fairy godmother showing up to make a pumpkin into a coach- are a glaring reflection of what is wrong with me

memories of a  childhood always being excluded by older sisters charge in fast

in the wake laps over plain ole jealously

i am not the social butterfly

i do not possess that magnet personality that picks up friends like gathering berries off a bush

and It has been a life long struggle

i wrote about how my introvert self ( because more often that is where the difference lies: extrovert vs introvert and how it plays out in our relationships} came to a panic head when i found myself heading to conference of 300 women, By Myself and how the book Quiet by Susan Cain came to the rescue giving not only clarity, but PERMISSION to be who you are…not unlike a fairy godmother with a twinkling wand

shauna niequist’s latest book titled bread & wine

made its way to my porch wrapped in cardboard this week

shauna has traveled the world and her book is basically her story of how she loves being around people and has gobs and gobs of friends who are constantly in her home and she in theirs…i read it for inspiration to be more hospitable because my husband and i love to cook good food and share it with friends

however, i relate not one iota to this, in terms of what my life actually looks like

i found myself being really annoyed and kinda thinking mean things about her

i experienced the same feelings while reading jen hatmakers’s book, 7

but here is the thing:

i really liked those books and those women and recommend these books

in my growing maturity in Christ I have seen the absolute necessity to think concretely and honestly about any issue when my emotions and insecurities start to run amuck

so here is what is really going down:

i do not pick up bffs like picking berries because quite frankly i really don’t want a basketful, and if i had a female in my life who called and texted and wanted to hang out every weekend i would run for cover and probably lie and say i contracted the bubonic plague

second, i was engaged at 19, married at 20, got pregnant at 21, had my first at 22, and continued to “multiply and fill the earth” for the next seven years, four times over, all girls, all hideous sick pregnancies throwing up pretty constantly the entire nine months-not a lot of opportunity for socialization and mingling for pretty much my entire 20s!

thirdly, with four other females living under this roof, i can only take so much estrogen, female nuances and let’s just say it- psycho-emotions…in high school i hung out a lot with the guys for the simple reason that i i could not stand most girls {that, and i knew with guys i was instantly excepted because i was pretty, had big boobs and told funny jokes, but with girls, i felt judged..to this day i feel much more comfortable with men then i do with women, but that is for another post}

A GIRL LIVING IN A MAN’S WORLD WITH MORE OFTEN THAN NOT A MAN’S PERSONALITY…THAT’S ME

… overall, i just did not give a rat’s ass about their little hurt feeling over insignificant events…get over it and shut up because no one cares was my go-to advice, but you cannot do that with daughters, or you should not, and so upon motherhood God began growing me to be more of a compassionate, quick to listen/slow to speak demeanor…it is not natural for me and so maybe a gaggle of friend with all those female tendencies would just overwhelm me since i have four already at home whom i am spiritually, physically, and morally responsible for

lastly, and this one just hit me square between the eyes this past week, i have acquired a select group of women who have come into my life, women who think and relate and hurt and strive in this life much the same way i do- a couple of them through what i call bloglandial, that’s right, women who have stumbled into this little insignificant space or i into theirs,  we exchange emails and pray for one another and read eachother’s word and get it, and that is significant. i have a handful of women, sister’s in the Lord who are an important part of my  “real life” let’s call it, who when i am at that lowest ebb, when isolation sets in big time, show up, unexpectedly, without me asking… writing in my ann voskamp-eucharisteo-gift-naming-journal i called it “the distant yet interceding presence of friends, fellow sisters in Christ in my life #1392″

and so there you have it:

my confession, my petty jealousies, my gift of truth and clarity from the Spirit of God

my imperfect prose

linking up with Emily with Imperfect Prose this cold rainy Wednesday where I have turned over the business of making dinner to my ten and twelve year old daughters.

Cheers

GLUE_five minute friday

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Fine China In A Finger Smeared Dirty Cabinet

It’s still cold in the morning and the wind is pulling at my wet showered hair and my toes are curling in cold because I wore my polka-dot flip flops instead of sensible warm socks. But this time of year if the sun is out, I take my coffee out on the deck.

My coffee has prematurely cooled and I am left with just watching the wrens squawk above the bare branches over my head and thinking about today:

Good Friday.

Why good?

How to explain suffering as a happy occasion?

How to wrap your head around that the Christmas birth in stable was only the opening act for Crucifixion on a hill?

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The only way to make sense is to take in the full scope of the brokenness.

Stop long enough from the surface busyness, the shiny imitation tinsel, the garish make-up of a stage performer, and in that stillness you will start to take in the full scope of the brokenness, the non-sensible legacy of violence, and how really, really we humans are part of the problem, even as we genuinely try to find solutions.

When Jesus took His last breath the writers tell us there was an earthquake, and the curtain in the Hebrew’s holy of holies inner sanctuary room in the temple ripped from top to bottom in one clean slice.

All the fissures of this unhappy planet had to get busted open, as He bled out.

And bam! In a moment of real time and space this busted open became not a death wound, but an open door.

God in us, was now possible.

That is what makes Good Friday good.

Glue: it puts US back together again.

But the thing about glue; it always leaves evidence of the patch up, doesn’t?

I am made whole, like a shattered delicate bone china tea cup repaired.

I am filled up, now that I am whole, and can now fulfill my original purpose-to be filled up to the brim with the Holy Spirit so all the goodness and the power of Father, Son, Spirit can spill out like an offering.

But, as D.L. Moody said:

“I leak”

Trying to ignore my freezing wet hair and the fact that I can’t feel my big toe this morning on the deck I thought about this:

I am perfectly fit for heaven, a new creation.

but…

this new put together me feels kinda shabby on lots of days.

More flea market find, less precious heirloom.

Because I still leak out and  mar the white linen table cloth before me.

Because I am not perfect.

Because this life is hard,

Because there is still wickedness and sin and ugly all around.

Oh, what is to be done about this paradox of holy and crude duking it out- invisibly inside of me?

We see it all too vividly in this world, do we not?

Three words came to me as I held my cold coffee mug

Death to self.

Good Friday humility. Not just as show on church days, but on all days, especially when no one is watching, and no one notices.

Not grandiose martyrdom,

Simple everyday sainthood.

The example of the four gospels, empowered by the trinity.

It’s typically not Easter bonnet flashy and pretty.

It’s donning the towel simple and degrading, more often.

But it is precisely the super natural epoxy glue that a broken world needs.

Stop.

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Linking up the talented writer Lisa Jo Baker on this Good Friday five minute friday.

Have a blessed and reflective Easter weekend.

Cheers.