Slices Abroad: getting past my own pie

Lulu-Tree-Prayer-Page

What ever you did to the least  you did it to me.

Whatever you did not do to the least- you did not do to me.

Book of Matthew.Chapter 25.Words of Christ.

I’m part of the prayer team for this Uganda-based mother sponsor organization

founded by Emily Wierenga.   {please click to read more}

 

 

 

  I also serve as a “Rahab Rebel” in The Potter’s Hands Foundation that seeks to rescue girls from sex trafficking in upstate New York…please click to read more

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   {Because my little world

is not the whole world}.

Keep Reading…

 

Toast the moon

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It had been a hot July day.

The kind of day where you better get the housework done by noon, and dinner is put in a crock pot because if anyone turns on the oven in our small kitchen the make up is going to start melting off my face.  The better part of the afternoon was spent in and out of our small above pool we got for free on Craig’s list last summer {that incidentally took most of the summer to assemble and put back up}. I finished Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman in a low slung beach chair with my feet in the pool. There is something about Southern fiction that gets me all romantic and philosophical at the same time.

After three straight days of reading Scout and Atticus Finch I even find the running dialogue in my head to have a slight dra-awl.

I loved the book because it made me laugh and think and recommend you read it, {here is my review on goodreads} before you delve into all the online chatter about it. Harper Lee tackles delicate and controversial topics, and readers deserve the right to interpret a story using their own two sides of their brain prior to reading the two sides of online debates. Including my review!

There is a scene where Scout goes night swimming with her long time beau Henry. Before getting our pool I had not gone night swimming since I was a teenager. The long hot days of summer turns the evenings into a different type of animal:

Darkness is a relief.

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Night sounds of summer bugs are a seasonal symphony.

We drink chilled white wine instead of dry red.

The girls stay up late.

We go night swimming.

One of the best investment I have made is stringed deck lights.

DSCN1088It is the perfect way to stretch out the cool relief of night.

Our deck is our summer living room.

Dinner digests on old deck furniture with our feet up on old weathered picnic benches turned coffee table.

Air conditioner and television not required.

DSCN1072A dull orange glow orbs across the pool deck in a swag of perfect circles and dimly reveals the oily dark waters of the pool looking romantically inviting.

However, come 9:30 at night I am tired and pretty unmotivated. Peeling off clothes and squeezing into a not quite dry Lycra and spandex suit seems like a lot more work than I am capable of doing right now. But the moon is almost full and the breeze has picked up and if I remain seated and still much longer I will probably just fall asleep; and that feels like a waste.

So I swim.

At first by myself as everyone else is occupied in their own pursuits at the moment. It strikes me that there was a time when the only thing I lived for was to get a little bit of alone time. Then, like a sudden shift in the weather no one saw coming, I find myself secluded and tucked with my own uninterrupted thoughts, often. And as human nature always dictates, getting what we always wanted does not really make us happy.

From the pool the back of the house looks like a happy face.

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the face of our home looking at me

The figures of my family going from one room to another blur by between the fabric curtains.

It is easier to pray and take it all in when one is all alone that is for sure. And what is it that I pray and dwell on the most? My family of course. I listed out #2,000 on my gift listing gratitude journal and it did not take me long, as I thumb past over three years of entries to see the girls and Tim dominating the stats.

And yet.

I am incapable of loving them well, of being present and patient, unless I get my scheduled introvert fill of secluded silence. And just like the hot glare of summer sun over the long July days makes the pitch night all the more inviting, my ” I just need to be alone” stretch of time mellows me to love better.

But man was not made to live in the night, now matter how cool and inviting and philosophical.

And man was not made to be alone.

So I toast the moon and walk back inside a noisy, messy, every single light on, home, filled with those I love.

toast the moom

Cheers.

TEN_five minute friday

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I know what is behind me.

But…

“Where do you see yourself in ten years”?

The casual question kept forming, and fuzzy indistinct images would follow.

Then we started reading through Francis and Lisa Chan’s book You And Me Forever: Marriage in the Light of Eternity, and wouldn’t you know that was one of the first reflective questions.

In ten years our first born will be 23: a year older than I was when I birthed her.

The rest of our girls’ ages line up like dominoes in my mind eyes:

21…

18…

16…

I can’t even began to picture adult and near adult children.

What I can picture is the blur of the last 13 and the heavy pressure that sits right underneath my collar bone and steely will calcifying in its place to muster all my Mama Super Power to slow down and pay attention these next 10.

Our moving is not really about:

getting the built up equity out of this first house

a different school district

less commute time

lower taxes

more land so we can plant more tomatoes

it is really about them.

It is about the next TEN.

They need me physically less and less as their legs get longer and longer and their figures more shapely {Tim doesn’t want to talk about it}

But a mother knows they need my light touch of being that blur in the background presence.

Always waiting to come into the sharp focus when THEY decided they possibly might need ME.

Five women under one roof need space from each other with several threads of good connections to others. Other faces than those they see sitting at the kitchen table each morning. They drift in different directions during the day, but at least for the next 10, they drift back, like perpetual morning mist and evening fog to Mom and Dad.

To our home.

I pray for a double spirit of intuition for the next 10 so the blur of another decade has genuine joy threaded all through it.

blur of the past

Stop.

Joining up again with the deep thinking, creative, lovely, crowd over at Kate’s place for another Five Minute Friday.

Join in or simply spend a morning reading other contributions.

I bet you’ll be glad you did.

Cheers.

Steadfast

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Today I have had my husband’s last name for 15 years.

Today I am nearing my #2,000 in my gratitude journal that I started 3 1/2 years ago as a result of reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousands Gifts Memoir.

This week The Babe, the youngest of my four daughters squeezed into a roller coaster seat next to me for the first time, because at long last she is 48 inches {she insisted we measure her at least once a week this winter, for the sole reason to see if she could ride the roller coaster this summer; she hit the mark early spring}.

After spending a year in Sara Young’s Jesus Calling Devotional that emphasized, over and over, day after day, the necessity and need and divine gift of cultivating the closeness of Christ in our everyday mundane and sin-filled existence, I am returning once again to my old stand by favorite: Morning and Evening Devotional written by Charles H. Spurgeon.  I have the updated version revised by Pastor Alistair Begg.  I listen to his podcast from time to time not only because he is such a fantastic teacher of God’s Word but because of his totally cool thick Scottish accent.

Today’s reading, coincidentally on my anniversary, was on the Church being married to Christ-All the privileges and mysteries that entails.  His second reading today was on the crucifixion of Christ-All the privileges and mysteries that entails.

But the North American Church has heard it-our eventual home in heaven because of Jesus’s past suffering- so much it has become like our favorite re-run on television. We keep watching it on Netflix because we love it, but no longer laugh out loud because we already see the punch line coming.  You can not really enjoy things deeply once it becomes so familiar.

I have written before how I am naturally restless.

I need to have a big plan and goal to strive for.

New things excite me.

I see the good in this and pat myself on the back.  Then I see the bad in this and grimace at my childish impatience.

I am at a point in my life where I have never had to struggle with this so much.

It is constant tension. Two people inside of my vying for dominance.

What to do with restlessness in the face of immobility?

What to do with big dreams and no platform?

What to with promises spoken but not fulfilled?

The answer:

“Be Steadfast”.

It has nothing to do with positive thinking or pulling ourselves up my our own theological bootstraps. It has everything to do with reminding ourselves how present our spiritual union in Christ is, that places us in heavenly places, and recalling how Christ’s past death work on the cross is a present practice for us now.

In short it is making peace with the constant tension of living a paradox existence.

Dying to our selfish wants of “fair” now

Living the deep life of faith of what we can not see now.

In the practical and applicable it looks like the hard work of marriage, filled with the pleasures of marriage. It looks like the constant measuring ourselves up, joyfully expecting, like my daughter, to see if we are grabbing ahold to what Christ gave us.

Since the age of thirteen {that is 22 years!} I have been immersed in Christian culture. I am very, very thankful for that.  But all this teaching is nothing if it is not experienced.  I want to experience the out loud enjoyment of being a

Child of God

Bride of Christ

Temple of The Holy Spirit

not just keep being a spectator of lines I already see coming.

The tension will never go away.

But if I keep doing the next thing I know I should do.

If I keep counting gifts

If I keep putting my back against the straight spine of scripture

it won’t matter,

because while it does find its mark and I then:

get discouraged,

let fear run rampant,

sin,

it is not the last word.

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The fiery arrows hit

but get quenched

just as Ephesians 6 promises

when we take our shield of faith.

When we are steadfast.

Cheers.

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee with

#Tell His Story

HOPE_five minute friday

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“Hope is a thing of feathers”

So wrote Emily Dickons:

Melancholy recluse from the 19th century.

Feathers to fly.

Fly away or fly towards?

But it is not the feathers, now is it, that cause the bird to fly?

{Visual metaphors aside}

It is because their bones are hollow.

It is because they are so light.

It is because they have stamped, predetermined, an election of purpose, instinctual, inside of them to take off and defy gravity the moment they spread their wings.

I doubt they doubt.

It is us human, with those pesky brains, that do so.

So, no offense Miss Dickons, but hope is not a thing of feathers

but of

ABSENCE.

A lack of heaviness within.

A determined “I am not going to get bogged down with the what ifs?” inside our heads.

A going out into something new, or as is more often the case, continuing to do what we are called to do, morning after morning, night after night, with the absence of not having all the answers and getting it.

So it seems that to be filled with HOPE is to be okay with not having a whole lot, but knowing you will be carried by something, Someone, invisible and sure and strong.

Stop.empty with flightAnother long ABSENCE of my own of not writing. Mostly because we are, yet again, HOPING to sell our house and move. It’s the third time. And as much as I am praying for a ridiculously quick sale because we feel so sure that things have been happening to get us right up to this point to start a new phase in our lives, what I really need is a ridiculous amount of peace during this process.

Happy Friday to all you out there in Bloglandia as I link up with Kate at her Five Minute Friday writing party.  Poor Emily Dickons, if only she could of been around in the age of blogs.

Cheers!

Unexpected soft spots of color

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Unexpected soft spots of color.

This sentence sums up how I decorate.

My garden and my home.

But I am not really going to talk about decorating because Martha Stewart and Pintrest have got that pretty well covered don’t you think?

Every gardener knows that the majority of plant life is green.

Green is good.

Green is life.

But green on green on green is not so beautiful, especially once the dazzling show of yellow, pink, purple Spring buds and flowers has faded gently away.

It takes years for a gardener to figure out the rhythm of plant life cycles and then how to plan, select, plant, and nurture bulbs, perennials, annuls, herbs, and produce accordingly. And if you are an upstate New Yorker like me, you have less than 20 weeks a year to unfold it all.

I have yet to perfectly master it all {lack of funds and time being the main culprit} but have found that a handful of unexpected pretty objects, well weathered, quirky, pleasing in shape and color, break up my tangled jungle that is a blur of green on green on green.

Every housewife knows that Country Living or Real Simple magazine spreads are about as realistic an ideal as calling Batman in an emergency.

It would be nice, but c’mon!

I stopped reading magazines altogether, even in the dentist waiting room, because it makes me so annoyed. That’s right: I would rather read up on the signs of early mouth cancer!

However, once I chucked out unrealistic ideals I was still left with the conundrum that my house is always going to be slightly messy, with minor but un-going structural damage, yet I still need some order and some beauty without being a psycho about it.

There are a few square feet in our 2000 square feet home that I keep sparse:

Unexpected Soft Spots Of Color.

Pretty things, creative things, good things against the easy backdrop of natural wood that fills our home

It keeps the blur of:

crumbs

papers

books

clothes

licked cleaned chocolate pudding lids

& cat hair

that swim about in rest of the house in a temporary background, at least psychologically.

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Right now you may be thinking:

Wow! You are pretty smart.

You, young lady, have certainly gotten it all figured out.

Or maybe you are thinking:

Hey! I thought you said you were not going to talk about decorating.

Don’t I recall some cynical comment or two about Martha Stewart and Pintrest?

The thing is: in my quest for decorating and gardening equilibrium, that maybe I do have a good handle on-

I still struggle every single day to find inner peace in my life.

And really who cares about pretty gardens and cute window seats if the people who planted the gardens and live in the homes can’t handle what life throws at them?

It reminds me a lot of taking care of the outer man to the detriment of the inner.

All this outer is fading away, like the wild flowers, but our souls we will carry for eternity. Not only our own, but everyone we interact with.

Everyone in our home.

And don’t we all know too well that the condition of our inner man effects those we live with and love the most.

Taking photos this morning in my garden, with all that lovely green sparkling in shiny drops from last nights storm in early morning light, I was thinking about just this.

Does gardening and photography really matter in the light of panic attacks and anger?

Jesus often told parables using agriculture metaphors, as did the prophets.

The outer form can’t help but reflect what is going on in the inner.

Which makes sense because the one who created the soul for eternity also created the daisies that grow for a few days in the ditch alongside the road.

So while trying to catch the light that is filtering between my over grown forsythia and falling on a single delicate strand of spider web that survived last night storm I realized how peaceful and content I am at this moment.

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I know well, that if my life is a simple blur of work- I become a blur of choking emotions.

I forget though.

Then I resolutely go about getting those carved out soft spots of creativity to color my life.

That have nothing to do with making money.

Nothing that will factor into my formula to do and accomplish.

Nothing that most people get or care about it.

Let’s not get whimsical here.

It’s work.

Beating back the black hungry vultures of questions and accusations that whisper:

“this is a waste of time”

“you should be…”

I think about my husband at work.

My children at school.

Other mothers at work.

And I feel like an out of touch, entitled, lazy, teenager bumming away their Summer vacation.

Always, always, I am a woman torn.

I debated taking the additional time it takes to load these photos on the PC. And then the extra, extra time to blog about it. Not even having a clear picture what it is! For a minute scratch of space of the internet next to no one reads. {Just being honest}.

I fought through it.

I remembered again:

the outer form can’t help but reflect what is going on in the inner.

My real need is not photography or blogging or gardening or decorations in small spaces.

My real need is peace.

Just like everyone else on the planet.

It is what every religion promises to give because it is what everyone craves every single day.

Small surprising creative spaces in my life give way to unexpected peace.

It has to stay small though, or it disappoints, then curdles into something nasty.

I know too well from my twenties, that if I make my life all about finding Me Moments I become that spoiled toddler who throws tantrums precisely because she gets what she wants, how she wants, when she wants, much too often.

My husband, my children, the watching world, are not in need of a creative wife, mother, neighbor.

My husband, my children, the watching world, are not in need of a perfect performing achieving wife, mother, neighbor.

No.

What these people in my life, and those is your own, need is:

to be singularly drawn, and slightly mystified at how lightly we take the heavy things of this world because we have peace, and that allows us to love others well.

I believe that is what kept drawing people to Jesus, after the shock and awe of the miracles wore off.

Because He being the Prince of Peace for mankind is the greatest miracle of all.

What a horrible shame if I, who may talk about Jesus and strive to live like Him, carry none of His Peace.

Unlike outer morality, and learned inner theology, there is no formula or lists to check off for peace.

And so I flounder.

Until…

He shows me, in a small quiet surprising way how to simply be.

Season by season.

Moment by moment.

I often picture it like that favorite teacher everyone has from elementary school who would stop, put an gentle arm around, whisper what’s wrong?, then take that extra time to help you, when you were sitting in your chair, close to tears so frustrated and embarrassed that you could not get it; and no one else in the classroom even knew.

It is always a restful surprise and all it takes are “ears to hear” and “eyes to see”.

May you find your personal peace today that will invite others to sit along too.

Cheers.

DSCN0760P.S.

Like most of my rambling posts it was drawn from another blog post that I read and have been chewing on for a few days.

If anything here resonates in your inner man, go over here to Tresta’s space. I also recommend the book she mentions, C.S. Lewis’s The Weight of Glory.

Post Cheers.

BLUE_five minute friday

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All our eyes are blue.

At one point all of the hair on our respective little heads were blond- pure pale blond- that Clairol can never quite duplicate.

Now a days he and I have much darker hair, just about brunette.

The oldest and youngest girls have retained that California blond.

The two middlers- daughter two and three- have a golden ash hue hovering in between, that fluctuates with the seasons it seems.

Some have Dad’s ear and gift for music.

Some share my way at looking at the world and a need to slip away.

Some are exuberant in their feelings and thoughts.

Some have an old soul.

We are all sarcastic.

Genetically, the blue eyes were stamped upon them as their tiny, tiny bodies were being knitted in pools of life giving blood, hidden from the human eye.

Children are interesting creatures of study.

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As every parent knows, despite raising them in the same environment, they each develop in completely different and unique ways.

Their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, talents, and way of looking at the world, vary is subtle complex shades, like the shades of our ash-brown hair.

New experiences really expose this:

like going to the beach this month.

How one handles a long car ride.

How one reacts to not getting enough sleep.

How one burns so much more quickly than the other.

How one can stay in the 50 degree Atlantic ocean for longer than should be humanly possible.

But we all have blue eyes.

A predetermined stamp in our DNA.

This is comforting.

It reminds me of the great truth that all of humanity has stamped upon themselves- all seven billion plus- the image of God.

Abba.

Like father like son.

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Human experience and millenniums ripples over and we wonder that we can really be the same species.

But somewhere, like a long ago deeply buried cord, there is a commonality.

That cord is tethered to heaven.

It has imputed upon it a single bond that simply IS.

Made in His Image.

The divine that goes deeper than DNA.

Blue eyes or not.

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Stop.

Life has been busy and writing has been non-existent for me for nearly a month.

Thankful for a quiet open Friday morning enabling me to link up with Kate at Five Minute Friday again.

Join in or simply peruse some good, straight from the gut, writing.

Cheers.

DOOR_five minute friday

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Every morning for the last two weeks when my feet hit the living room floor, by eyes lift up and search out the front house windows.

My forsythia bush in the front corner of our front lawn sits just in eye view, and each day it gets brighter and denser.

From mellow yellow bits vibrating out of brown sticks

to

vivid yellow, plush and snagging the eye immediately.

It’s more stimulating than starbucks { and that is saying something}.

Like an i.v. hook up of sanguine to drip into and flush through my brain.

If you think about it:

it is stange

yet

universally agreed upon

that bright colors are especially potent in their ability to stimulate positive feelings and hope.

My forsythia bush, for the last 14 years we have lived in this house, is my sign post:

ITS OVER.

Ta-Da!

It makes me happy, and I forget how everything in my life is so freakin annoying!

I don’t know a single woman who does not have the persistent itch of something they need to get through right now, and then it will be better.

Its okay.

We are programmed to look forward to Spring.

If only the sign post of:

“hey over here, this is the way” was as so obvious as my forsythia.

We are taught and we believe that:

“God is in all, through all, and works all things together as good”

Any yet,

_____________________________ {fill in the blank}.

“Lord I believe, but help my unbelief”.

So I took out my camera to take a picture of my forsythia bush, because that is what bloggers do.

It’s so resplendent bright however, zooming in spot on would just create a yellow blur of zig-zag branches and pointed petals.

So I macro zoomed on a

single

tiny

insignificant

stubborn

green

shoot of life.

Growing sideways {not what it is supposed to do}

out of a

rusted

cracked

weather worn

dull colored

pot

that someone else was going to throw away, but was rescued.

The effect was magnificent.

The forsythia bush became glory in the not too far removed landscape.

I’m so restless for the next.

And to a certain point I know I will always will be.

It’s me.

And I want easy obvious picture perfect signs.

But the way to resplendent glory

{which is always summed up in:God’s perfect personal plan to redeem}

is seeing, sensing, focusing on tiny verdant life, not even going in the “right” direction, categorized by many as weeds, but in drawing no attention to itself; it points the way.

The door is sometimes a crack.

the door is a crack

Stop.

Linking up with the delightful crowd at Kate place for Five Minute Friday.

Its the first of May: May Day!

Resurrect the old British tradition of leaving flowers at someone’s door anonymously  {its even more fun to ring the bell and run}.

Kids love to do this because it feels like an obnoxious prank that mom says is okay.

Cheers.

 

new laundry {how we hide behind our labels}

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Girl number three started soccer this Spring.

For the last two years she has been asking to join a soccer league and for two years I have replied, without remorse, under no uncertain terms:

NO.

The reason I, {we} have replied “NO” under no uncertain terms are as followed:

1.   we don’t like sports leagues because of how intrusive the schedules are on family time

2.   it seems a waste of time because kicking/throwing a ball in a certain direction is not a needed life skill, does not increase knowledge, is not creative, and this  household puts a high value on those things

3.  in observing this trend in other families we slowly developed a Pharisaic approach to parenting; we drew that line in the sand and smugly stood on the other side relieved that we had figured it out, and how could the rest be so dumb

 

So, we went to the library, not the athletic fields.

Our girls were enrolled in music, art, and dance, not tee-ball, soft ball, or soccer.

And only one girl at a time, for short seasons.

And it was probably the right thing for our household.

Because I was throwing up pregnant, getting up in the middle of the night, and chasing strong willed toddlers with a baby on my hip pretty much for close to ten years straight. {Four children in seven years, nine months of sickness for every pregnancy, and stay at home mom}. The chances are very high that twice a week tee ball practice with a game every weekend for two or three of my girls, then doing it all over again for the fall sports, would of drove me completely off the deep end, that I was dangerously teetering on.

Then suddenly, the dynamics in our home began to change.

The “big girls” are a teen and tweener.

The “little ones” are in school all day, and like to hang out with each other more than me.

I do not have children attached to my body all day.

So what now?

In all the ups and downs of our family expanding and shifting through stages and Tim and I, blurry eyed, trying to stay one step ahead, one thing has remained constant:

our unshakable knowing of our need to seek God.

And He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. {Hebrews 11:6}.

What He gives is Himself, in the form of counsel and grace at every bend.

And as my children grew to not physically needing me;

i.e.; mauling me and climbing on my lap and sneaking into bed two, three, times a night, and putting my arms around them for twenty minutes for a scrap that is barely visible {beautiful, beautiful times}

He kept speaking over me, in my desperation, to finally “get a life and be a mom”, that what they really need now is my presence, they need my shepherding.

I have no idea how to do that practically.

Because that does not fit into a category, or a parenting philosophy.

And there are lots of conversation with my face in the pillow of:

“wait a second God, wasn’t that You who told me to start ministry work, and to get a part time job, and oh crap I think I am doing to have a panic attack because I just signed up for summer classes, and now I am feeling convicted and stressed about how I am parenting!”

My confident, rock solid title of: stay at home mom, parent-centered, purposeful family time household, no longer drapes neatly over my daughters, making them safe, and making me feel good about myself. Because I seem to living a contradiction of beliefs, that I was 100 percent sure were Spirit led.

I work outside the home and we do sports!

But what plays like a tape recorder over and over again is this:

They are coming into their own, and all I really care about is that when they cross the thresh hold of adult are they going to willingly follow Christ, whose way is narrow.

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Am I really following Christ, whose way is narrow?

Or am I marching into the broad box of titles that has Leah smack in the middle:

stay at home mom

evangelical

social conservative

parent-centered home.

And it’s not that I did it wrong, or that I am wrong in my beliefs. Honestly, if I had to do things over again, I would not change any of the broad strokes of my life.

But no ones gets to do it over again, do they?

We just keep moving forward. And my moving forward can not hide behind self righteous titles, even if those titles represented God’s perfect will in my life.

I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water.

I just feel this restless pulling inside of me.

Like one bright thread of wool tugging and tugging till the whole garment comes unraveled.

I can’t stop thinking about the words of Isaiah speaking of Christ:

He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. and the bruised reed he shall not break. {Isaiah 42:2,3}

And I have swallowed long enough the religion of angry loud mouth, and wounding people who believe differently than me.

And just as I have no idea how to shepherd my children with my presence but start to find a life outside of the role of mother only, I have no idea how to stand for The Truth of God’s Word which is good and kind and life giving, and not steamroll over already hurt, and feeling-condemned people.

And so I guess this post, read by only a handful, most of the time by people I don’t even know, has become a confession to whomever may be reading:

I’m so sorry for judging the mom who puts her children in day care. God is not disappointed or mad at you.

I’m so sorry that I and the church have treated homosexuals like they are a disease to avoid, and not a human being whom God loves. I would gladly sit across the table and share a meal with you, not to debate with, but be human with.

I am so sorry that my first response is to get red in the face angry over and think of good comebacks, that are more like daggers, when people post their beliefs online of evolution and mock creationists. I should of been on my face in sorrow, then turned to prayer, that a human being thinks that they are a detached accident not a loved creation. Jesus said to rejoice when we are mocked by others for His sake. This response should of been automatic for those in my own family.

And so, this household of ours is changing. Because Tim and I are changing.

The change in us is bigger than different stages of parenting.

It is even bigger than our personal growth as believers, as people.

It is something that is stirring in the entire body of The Church universal.

The Bride of Christ getting off those dirty rags of self-righteousness and being made beautiful in Christ. New laundry, not hiding behind our stances.

Because we are part of the greatest paradox and contradiction of the ages:

Jesus: Man of Sorrows and Conquering King.

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This is being posted with the Five Minute Friday link up over at Kate’s blog.

I apologize that I did not stick to the usual format.

I was not going to link up today because all I could think about was her soccer uniform hanging up to dry and that seemed to have nothing to do with today’s word prompt of “hide”. But as  I began to write, for my own post, it came full circle, as things often do.

So there you go.

Happy Friday

&

Cheers.

 

 

white easter_#tell his story

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“Not what I expected”.

Try saying it out loud and I bet your voice dips a smidgen lower and drips a little at the end with cynicism.

We woke today, this Resurrection Sunday, this high day on the Christian calendar, to snow.

A white Easter.

The snow continued and piled and the wind picked up speed and we scrambled for knit tights to go with bright dresses for church.

Just yesterday with the temperatures high and the sun shining the girls and I did chalk drawings on our long stretch of blacktop drive way. I drew a rough sketch of a pink tulip and circled around it, in my messy handwriting, Jesus Is Forever Spring.

Hmmm. Today I am not feeling so sanguine and poetic.

This week for Spring break my husband and I went to NYC. We left a day and half early because I got sick.

And so it seems expectations are a dangerous thing.

One could argue that to play it safe, to guard and preserve yourself from further deflating harm, a wise man would just stop looking forward to things. Life is after all, not a perpetual candy shop-that’s for kiddies. Because there is, after all, something so smugly adult about putting on a good face and just making peace with a world full of disappointments.

There is something so rightly Christian about not attaching yourself and just put a stop to being happy over tangible things in this world, because it just distracts you from the eternal, the spiritual.

I know some people like that and quite frankly, the are horrible people to be around. So that can’t be it.

We had a guest speaker for service today, as we have had for the last three months with our church currently being without a Pastor. He preached on Resurrection Miracle, and my eyes kept drifting to the snow coming down sideways and piling up out the narrow slats of the sanctuary windows.

And all of a sudden, it was right there:

The Struggle.

Not so much to listen to the sermon and stop staring out the window.

Rather, to not allow present circumstances to permeate my spiritual faith.

We know the scriptures by rote.

But we react like everyone else.

But for good reason:

Our world is on a spinning axis.

Our bodies flux to hormones, enzymes, chemicals, adrenalin.

Our minds tilt to the reaction of past experiences, learned patterns, and a constant inundation of emotions, a good many, not even conscious.

And so here I am, on a white cold Easter, on the heels of get-a-way vacation that sucked, and its whispering over me what I truly need isn’t

a perfect romantic weekend,

or green buds swelling under sunny warm skies,

{though both are wonderful gifts I have enjoyed and will again}.

No, I am white-knuckled desperate for something, someone, constant and lasting.

No beginning. No end. Too big to neatly analyze and put into a tidy labeled box.

If I can believe, then recognize, then proceed in THAT-

the suckiness won’t go away, those mild irritations to the devastating news will still find its mark-

but it will not be the ultimate reality.

For a month I keep getting this image whenever I wrestle in prayer of a great river, which is also a song over us all.

It puts into context those old words “when peace like river…”

And as abstract and weird as that may seem, in those whirling moments when I am trying to put the world in some sort of order that makes sense, it allows me to relax my shoulders and exhale.

And my stance changes:

not brimming with self-confidence and knowing it all;

it makes me see clearer and be thankful.

Awareness of the unseen trinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit who are good and in control,  bring into sharp focus those things and people right in front of me, who are good and I don’t need to control.

My last post was about my fractionated mind that I can’t keep neat and orderly anymore, and knowing I need Christ to heal the fissure cracks from the inside, however He may do so. Today I read in Isaiah 64 God’s message and promise to come down flowing like fire and water for those who wait. 

We don’t wait like a sour puss, bemoaning the woes, we wait dogged determined to be filled up with Gratitude. It is the only accepted stance for those who have been transformed, put right, and made whole on the inside. Even though logically and put on paper it does not make sense.

It coaxes the invisible to invade the visible.

Here are a few digital gratitudes from this white Easter weekend.

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frying fat

large quantities of caffeine

hunks in aprons

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paper hats sent home from kindergarten teachers {bless you}

the shirt says it all

chocolate bunnies mauled to oblivion in less than 24 hours

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undaunted daffodils

snow that always eventually melts

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Our tradition of hiding not a Single basket,

but Scads of candy

all over the house

on Saturday morning not Sunday.

 Cheers.

Linking up, two days after Easter (because it takes me forever to get one post completed) with writer and great encourager Jennifer Dukes Lee at #tellhisstory blog link up

BREAK_five minute friday

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I started this blog over three years ago, naming it Many Slices, because I saw my life as a divided whole; and really it was, and is.

Child of God

Wife

Mother

Switcher of loads of laundry

Homework helper

Ministry leader

Writer

Needer of community

Needer of solitude

These neat little labels I give myself:

they are stacking up

spilling over

getting complicated

I try to reshuffle them into neat laminated categories

“Wait I am an introvert, but I am called to lead…”

“Wait I am a Wife first, but I have four daughters who are much more persistent…”

ect. ect.

I find myself trying to operate out of a halved brain.

This halved brain keeps fracturing in jagged pieces.

Most days my life does not resemble neat tidy symmetrical pieces of a lovely pie.

It looks like the crumbs left on the floor after a party with everyone too freakin tired to clean up afterward.

At least on the inside.

That is what I feel.

On the outside I still look stellar.

And it is not even all the time.

It sneaks up on me at odd times and I feel a strange disconnect with everyone important in my life.

This morning, an hour before I went on the blog, I prayed:

“Jesus You said You were healing balm” { I know its in the Bible somewhere…possibly Old Testament prophetic metaphor? I don’t know but I said it anyway }.

“I need my mind healed of all these fractionated pieces I keep trying to keep in rotation…because it is not working”

I know we woman always must wear many hats.

I know part of the promise of having the power of Christ is “I can do all things”. {Philippians 4}

But I don’t know how to do it outwardly, and then maintain a wholeness of  mental peace inwardly.

I do not know how to be praying for 13 millions persecuted Christians, and little girls being sex trafficked and abortion doctors one moment, and then switch gears and help my one daughter with math, then gently but sternly direct my youngest to calm down for the 5th time before bedtime, and then finish a conversation with my husband about his day, the next moment.

Because they both matter incredibly.

But they operate in such different extreme spheres.

I get the need to have a broken spirit, or  “poor in spirit”,

Jesus says we are blessed for having one; in fact it is imperative. {Matthew 5}

But I don’t think we are called for a broken mind.

Because it is said of Jesus that: He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed. {Isaiah 53}

And so there it is:

I do what Christians have always done from the beginning, I wait in hope.

The whole point of the break, is to give room for the heal, after all.

Stop.

fill the cracksLinking up this trying-to-feel-like-spring-Friday with Kate for another installment of Five Minute Friday.

Cheers.