why lent?

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my husband and i reflect often that these are the

“weary years”

we both work

we have four children

two are teenagers

we own two homes

not selling the home we do not live in means we can not accomplish what we desire in the home that we do

working  parents, every week day, come that  witching hour of 5pm, have been upright and doing for 11 hours

now we must rev up for the next four hour job

rev up, when mentally, physically, emotionally we naturally should be winding down

it seems like harsh unfairness

but it is life:

ergo, i love wine

 

declaring, “man i need a drink”

is politically incorrect in evangelical christian circles

but i do

and the grace of the Christ covenant is this:

He reigns in authority in all spheres in my life including relaxation and pleasure and use of stimulates

now there is always the tension between holiness and grace but i rest in the reality that since i willingly bow my entire life to Christ I can trust being led by His Spirit in how to walk out my daily life

i feel no grievance of the holy spirit for drinking wine,

for declaring,

“man, i need a drink”

what does this have to do with lent?

i gave up wine for lent

not because wine is bad

rather,

i desire to deny what i have a natural right to, so as to make myself that much more dependent on Christ-my strong man- to do what i cannot do very well,  in my flesh

for me, my flesh is weak at the end of the day

i have been upright and doing for 11 hours

my family has to be fed

my dog has to be walked

our family is together under one roof

my inner man has to preform the balancing trick of relaxing just a bit, so as to charge up to keep working

because that witching hour of 5pm:

it is the starting gun BANG!

it is ringing out now is the start of the few hours in which we as a family can simply be and do life together

they matter enormously 

these are the few hours my school-aged children are

at my fingertips,

under my feet,

asking me questions,

pushing my buttons,

need to be corrected,

need to be listened to,

need the kindness and grace of Christ modeled,

need the righteousness and authority of Christ modeled

need to be told “get over it, the world does not revolve around you”

need to be told ” don’t listen to those lies, you are loved and matter”

these are the fleeting hours of the day where my mate and i can talk and laugh and discuss and co-labor for our beloved children, in our beloved home, together

and yet,

i am weary

i want to order dinner, flop down, put my feet up, and read a book till the girls need to go to bed

but of course i cannot and i feel bad for wishing so

being caught in these late-in-day-cross-hairs every single day seems

harsh

unfair

impossible

and demoralizing

all at the same time

so let me repeat:

“ergo, i love wine”

wine biologically floods the weary chaos with a deep lungful-breath of well-deserved relaxation that energizes me enough to switch gears, to end my day well

however, believers for the last two millenniums have observed lent because life in the kingdom of Christ now has us walking a life that is a spiritual battle, in addition to the everyday, common to man, stress of relationships and finances

confession:

since ash wednesday i have not been pleasant to be around come 5pm

i guess i am not as uber spiritual as i think i am, eh?

i have questioned, constantly these last 10 days:

“why am i doing this?”

“what is the point since after lent i will go back to drinking”

then i remember Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness to be tested in matthew 3:

He was recently given public supernatural approval of  being “beloved, the Son of God, and well pleasing” in matthew 2

He did not suffer those 40 days to become better

He suffered those 40 days to crystallize where the real battles lines are drawn:

satan assaulted Him with half truths about what was the purpose of the kingdom, the new Kingdom that Christ had been charged by The Father, to bring in

those 40 days of lowly weakness were refining fire to bring forth the good glory of God that Christ already possessed inside of Himself, through authority

how much more do we, his “peculiar people” and “sojourning strangers”, need to be refined so as to bring forth the good glory of God’s kingdom that we possess inside of ourselves, through grace

why lent?

sleepy, dulled-over eyes needs be perpetually made open and sharp

soft, weak, pampered flesh needs be hardened and strengthened by breaking the inner man fibers through a process that is uncomfortable

i practice lent NOT to prove some theological point, achieve some spiritual special-ness to boast of

i do lent to keep humble

to stay wise

to the hills

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This is my longest post by far since getting back into posting once a week.

But Lent is vague and confusing for lots of people; both for evangelicals and the non-religious.

Most assume with a shrug, “it’s like a Catholic thing, right”?

I was one of those until a few years ago.

I really wanted to skip Lent this year, but I kept being drawn to it.  So I did what I always do when uncertain how to proceed, and spent purposeful time praying about it. Because one thing I DID KNOW for certain, I did not want to do it out of performance or duty or superiority.

This long post is my attempt to answer the question of why? Why I, or anyone else, would bother in the first place.

Cheers.

 

 

selah

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Madeleine L’Engle called it “a circle of quiet”

a space for one’s own

in the many spheres of one’s life:

family

home

work

service

finances

pleasure

labor

creativity

having a tiny slice that consists of simply being without distraction or duty without even onesself clouding over and sullying up that circle is unheard of

our previous home was a bungalow of many tiny rooms all with firmly shut doors

we added on square footage with cathedral ceiling and open floor plans to accommodate our growing family and my desire for a large lovely house

but i kept going back to the pokey dated room with the old wall paper and drafty windows because it was small and mine

our new home is a sprawling mid-19th century farmhouse

big rooms

but i miss a pokey simple little space

ten months in our new home and i did not have my own space and so for ten months i seldom sat and rested in peace in my home

my eye can not stop roving on stuff and need and people

i needed a space that i did not have to maintain

though i love to keep house

needed a space of silence

though i love interacting with my family

so i made my own

with the help of husband brawn

and 24 hours of daughter, cleaning, cooking, neglect

a craft room that is twice as long as it is wide was cut in half

cut in half by:

gray sheer curtains

pink walls

removed closet doors

one $10 salvation army vintage chair

hand-made pillows i quickly hot glued and badly hand-sewed together in a single night because i only had a single-fueled-by-caffeine-night, while the family was asleep, to be crafty

a curtain made out of a pillow case

a drop ceiling swathed in 8 yards of tulle

and four sections of wall paper that took four days to put up properly

i call it my “Selah” room

“selah” is a very ambiguous, mystifying hebrew word that biblical scholars can not agree upon

it could come from the hebrew word calah, which means “to measure or weigh in the balances.”

or the two hebrew words  s_lah, “to praise”; and s_lal, “to lift up.”

or simply a musical notation signifying a rest to the singers and/ or instrumentalists who performed the psalms.

i like the ambiguous, the mystifying, and seldom agreed upon

it keeps man’s pride in his proper place

being a good mom

being a good wife

being a good christian

having the nice

house,

body,

vacation plans

occupies my brain a lot

it occupies yours too i know

not because we are horrible

but human

driven to survive, do well, and achieve better than others, better than the other you of yesterday

the problem is:

it starts to reek of vanity, every time

but in those quiet, undistracted spaces i can lose my well-intended, often moral and noble pursuits only when i ask God to speak so i can see His Kingdom, not my own.

what his kingdom looks like,

what it sounds like,

how it walks,

how it talks,

does business

does family

does pleasure

does labor

when I string enough of those moments together in my “circle of quiet” in my “selah” room with its ambiguous meaning and purpose

i always, always

see Christ

He is the only one devoid of that stinking vanitydscn1983

Cheers.

After months and months of not blogging this is my third post in three weeks.

My goal is to post on my one day off a week.

Something relevant in my life right now, written in prose with reflection and also a bit of  humour and with lots of photography.

“music” 2.21.17

a sports pub friday night

an arena sunday night

about 50 people

about 2000 people

after work crowd drinking

believers praising

there were those moments that bothered me at the bar even though I was there because my husband was singing and playing

and enjoyed myself

there were those moments that bothered me at the concert even though I was there as a believer at a Christian concert

and enjoyed myself

we live in a fallen world

filled with fallen people

we are all looking to feel something real

from pub revelry

to concert emotionalism

all were there to feel something

all were affected by the experience of the music

in a world gone numb

tunnel visioned by scrolling screens

tumbled vice in a  glass

the music still plays

and God still speaks

always

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I can’t play a thing.

I can sing okay…when I have a stronger voice and a melody to fall behind.

But I married a muscial guy and we made musical kids.

I have come to appreciate the flowing power of music to make one feel and remember.

I am better for it.

Cheers!

sing

 

 

02.13.17_snow day

the dog woke me, rudely, at 6am

only minutes before my alarm was programmed to wake me, rudely

neither dog nor alarm were a necessity turns out

he was just torturing the cat, again

we had another snow day from school, again

but who does not love a monday snow day?

even one that starts rude

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outside with the white stuff

 

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inside with the wii…

escaping in the music room

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It has been about a five-month pause for me on “many slices”.

Lots of reasons; none I have any desire to explain.

I just know life gets lackluster and tedious without some sort of creativity.

Then there is social media; dangling just enough of a hunk of vanity to keep my public blog up.

In attempt to stay organized and purposeful I have always subscribed to the practice or perhaps better stated, the discipline, of keeping hard edges to my daily schedule.

I practice this in my spiritual life, marital life, parental life, my exercise, my nutrition, my job.  Why not with my creativity?  Since my “hard edge” of my work life is to not work on Mondays, it is a natural segue to snap photos,write a few lines, and post on Monday too.

We shall see how long it lasts.

Here is one of my favorite photo edits…

 

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Cheers!

 

 

five_five minute friday post

Five

Such a small number

The just enough number

The digit of fingers attached to our hands to hold and do

Five years of life is deemed the best age for tiny humans to pitter-patter off to school with backpacks wider than the width of their rib cage

Five Minute Friday was imagined and birthed and carried out by Lisa Jo Baker because she is among “those who have ears to hear”

Hear the importance of silence over the din of doing

Hear “be brave”

Hear “stop worrying about perfect”

Hear ” social media stats and likes and follows are chaff  blowing in the wind…here today gone tomorrow…unremembered”

Five Minute Friday is a lot of things but I say what stands out the most is that it is genuine.

Stop.

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Linking up today with Kate Motaung who took the Five Minute reins from Lisa Jo Baker a while ago.

I am so thankful I “so happened to stumble upon” this weird hard to explain thing called Five Minute Friday.  I confess, I always go over five minutes….I have not even posted in nearly three month due to our moving to the sticks and now have the world’s worst internet connection, and being in my own season of waiting silence.  Also, I don’t even do twitter or instagram!  Yet, I have stuck around.

 It keeps pulling me back because it is my online tribe: women who doggedly listen then write about life in between living life.

I am amazed at the broad spectrum of women who contribute. Their life experiences, ages, demographics.  It is another reason I stick around.

I was nerdily excited when I found out that one of my Five Minute Friday posts and photography was selected to be in Susan Shipe’s new book, coming out next week.  I am probably the least visible contributor not only because of the whole “our internet now sucks” thing but because I find the social media world much too loud.  I don’t do any of the things one is supposed to do to increase readership.  Well, I should clarify that: I have started doing all those things one is supposed to do to find your stand out twinkle in the vast black hole of the world wide web…for about a week.  Then I get in a very bad mood.  The cynicism  I constantly keep in my back pocket gets pasted on the front of my T-shirt. No one in my family likes me like that. I don’t like me like that.  For reasons I can’t quite articulate The Holy Spirit starts to get muffled in my inner man.  I begin to feel I am playing a part in someone else’s money-making-scheme, not being genuine. I begin to feel angry about things that are not worth getting angry about. I begin to feel bad about myself over things I should not feel bad about.

********************************************************                             So read this plug fast and stick it good to that swollen memory bank of yours because the chances are high I will not get around to plugging it again! ************************************************************

 

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Go to katemotaung.com on September 26th to treat yourself to a copy!

Knowing Kate she will be doing lots of give a ways and fun stuff at her site that day.

Who knows the stars and my moods may just so align that I get in on the promotional action and give some copies away here at many slices too.

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Here is to five!

Cheers

PROTECT_five minute friday

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When I think of protection I think of prayer

not because prayer is a superstitious good luck charm for a life of no pain

but a covering that simultaneously gives pin points of clarity

what humans are in most need of is protection from ourselves, or maybe better stated:

the human condition

being the 4th of July holiday there are always a plethora of platitudes about patriotism

yet, the founding  father’s, in their divine given wisdom, pinpointed the greatest threat to this newborn nation would come from within:

it  is where the novel idea of checks and balances was born into what we now call democracy.

praying will not guarantee to eradicate terrorism, cancer, or unemployment

prayer will slowly reveal the closer –than- you- realized –hand- of- God ; making us:

wise

tender-hearted

a  paradoxically thankful overcomer

in the worst thing that has even happened to you.

When I think of protection I think of prayer.

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Stop.

Linking up late in the day with the listening writing crowd over at Kate’s place for another  installment of Five Minute Friday.

Click on the link to read some more honest, brief, brave posts of the word: Protect

Or get brave and write your own.

I promise it won’t hurt.

Cheers.

Pregnant;  newborn; toddler; pre-schooler- PARENT

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We got a puppy.

His name is Pad-Foot Canis in honor of the dog characters in Harry Potter and The Sister Grimm books.

A big deal for a family.

Yet, not such a big deal to write about here at my space.

And yet.

This being our first ever canine member of the family I found myself not knowing what to expect at all. This not knowing and acquiring a puppy had quite the domino effect on the equilibrium of our family that I think is worth sharing.

{I bet the farm someone has written What To Expect When You Are Expecting: Puppy Edition, by now.}

The following is the bizarre feeling of deja`vu I experienced the evening prior to getting the puppy and lasting till the second day with him.

Pregnant:

Pregnant how?

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*Me spending hours at Barnes and Noble browsing and comparing expert puppy advice books and taking detailed notes on the book I finally settled on, to make me feel more prepared and in control of something new.

*Me spending hours and hundreds of dollars at TJMaxx on cute yet chic stuff “we need” for the newest edition to our family.

*Me getting a late night whirlwind of energy of the psychopathic variety to “get everything organized”.

*Me nesting by re-arranging where the puppy pillow bed and accessories would go then spending an hour turning a simple dog leash hook into a mixed media craft complete with quotes from literature.

*Me being mean because I am stressed declaring “I’m the only freakin’ person getting ready!” to my family.

*Me feeling like this is a big mistake, convinced I am not cut out for this.

Total flashbacks of my pregnancy-persona.  

Newborn.

Newborn how?

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*Pad-Foot crying and whimpering all night the first night.

*Me feeling guilty for not getting up because I am exhausted.

*Me getting out 12 seconds after I decide I am not going to get up.

*Tim sleeps through it all which pisses me off.

Total flashback of my newborn-in-the-house persona.

Toddler.

Toddler how?

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*Pad-Foot examining, turning over, chewing, trying to ingest everything in his line of vision and grasp.

*Me saying “No!” 97 times an hour, but always, always hesitating the moment before wondering if this is a bad behavior or just mere young curiosity.

*Me hoping I am doing this right and not causing terrible habits or setting wrong precedents.

*Me too tired to worry about such things come after dinner.

*Us having way too many conversations about pee and poop.

Total flashback of my second-guessing-exhausted-toddler-training-brain.

 Pre-schooler.

Pre-schooler how?

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*Pad-Foot following me around everywhere.

*Pad-Foot looking around frantically if he can’t see me.

*Pad-Foot’s presence making laundry a twice as long chore because of an intense fascination with baskets holding clothes.

*Me enjoying it despite.

Total Pre-schooler-not-letting-me-get-anything-done-persona.

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This was such an unexpected experience. {Despite my efforts to be prepared reading the experts; just like with babies!}

It was five years of stages coming into sharp memory focus in the span of the first 48 hours with our puppy.

I can see why couples chose pets over children, man. I really can.

One gets the thrill of newness and sweet relationship and shopping binge of a baby coming, but without all that fussy eighteen years of development thing dragging your life to a halt.

Reflecting on this I noted another superior advantage to canine over human:

The likelihood of others judging you for the rest of your natural life if your dog does or does not do brag-worthy tricks, does well or not so well at obedience school, what he eats or does not eat, acts like at Target,- is very, very low.

The likelihood of all of these judgments on you from people who do not even know you or your child and all the subsequent life long guilt over it- is unavoidable.

However, I am still completely happy and without any regret with us having four daughters in seven years {which equates one quarter of century of child rearing} prior to being “parents” to a puppy.

I cringe thinking about how much worse of a mood, how much more our stress would of  flowed, run over, should we have simultaneously raised little humans and a dog.

I would like to write it was because I was just smart or lucky it did not work out that way or something to that effect and leave it at that.  But really it is not my smarts and there is no such thing as luck. It comes down to a single reality:

Wisdom.

Summed up, I chose to seek God and know myself. In seeking God in every single aspect of our unceasing rotating door of life little pictures of what will bless what will not bless us started to take shape. Understanding and wisdom rose slowly, broke the surface in the waters of our swirling minds.  It is then that one gets real pragmatic about self.

Know thyself.

The pregnant/baby/toddler/pre-school years were really hard on me.  I did not take to it gracefully, thought it was always the desire of my heart, and I love having children.  Sin nature is keenly seen and felt. Sanctification must happen or sin becomes choke hold.

Pad-Foot could not be thrown into such dicey waters. It would of been bad for him and us.

Of course, the struggle over letting Christ nature wash and renew over sin nature never ceases, but the seasons change.

It seems this is our both working, raising older kids, homesteading, dog season. But I have the summer completely off; thus the puppy now {wisdom}.

Next on the list: chickens.

Cheers