"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter Wonderland

The last two days have been lovely winter days (vs. the gray not-so-lovely ones), so we've enjoyed a few walks around the neighborhood.

Our back 10 acres or so are swampy, so when it freezes over, we get to explore areas that are usually inaccessible as well as cut firewood from the dying trees (thanks to beavers). Here are a few shots of our recent explorations:

So, that was our informal nature study lately.

Monday, January 12, 2015

What Counts When Your Child Lies Dying

I hurried into the emergency room waiting area to enfold my friend in a hug, a hug that I wished could take away all the pain. Her eyes were red and full of more tears as she told me that the prognosis was not good.

"Always tell your children good-bye when they're leaving. I wish I had gotten up and told him good-bye," she sobbed as she spoke of her 19-year-old son who had been in a head-on collision with a large pick-up truck on his way to work that wintery morning. He had sustained serious head injuries as well as multiple fractures of arms and legs.

My friend had a good relationship with her son, yet as she faced the possibility of losing him, her first thought was of bettering that relationship by having told him good-bye. I reassured her that he did know that she loved him and she nodded sadly.

Over the next few days as we watched at his bedside and in the ICU waiting room, friends and family gathered and stayed, sleeping on couches, in chairs, and in a house across the street that had been made available. We hugged, cried, and prayed together. We talked over our friend's life and what we loved about him and the great memories that had been made with him. Some people whose relationships had become strained hugged one another and talked like they hadn't talked in a long time. One uncle whose relationship with God and family had been shoved aside for years began to talk with family and said he was going to talk to a pastor for help. A friend whose relationship with God is in question was able to be a little more open about her questioning and we pray that God reveals truth to her and grants her a deep relationship of faith in Him.

The thought that comforted all of us was this young man's relationship with God. He was by no means a perfect young man, but his faith in Jesus was strong. He manifested the fruit of the Spirit, and we were comforted in knowing that God had him in His hands. That was so very important when, after five days of wondering, our young friend went to be with the Lord he loved.

And we are left with the thought - how are our relationships? 

First of all, how well are we clinging to our Savior? How much do we seek to have our minds renewed by Him and the Word He has given us? How much are we obeying His commands? How frequently do we get together with His people in corporate worship? How deep is our personal worship? How full of the fruit of the Spirit are we? Are we walking humbly before Him? Do we love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength? Do we trust Him in hard times like the death of a son and friend?

Then, do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Are we willing to forgive? Are we humble enough to ask for forgiveness? Do we put others first? Are we happy to inconvenience ourselves for the good of others, even in little things? How do we speak to and of each other? Are we looking for the good in each other, or are we too full of criticism? Do we care enough for each other that we are willing to do the uncomfortable and ask each other how we're doing spiritually? If we see someone struggling with their faith, do we condemn or do we seek to lovingly guide them? Are we willing to go out of our comfort zone to introduce the faith to unbelievers? 

So, it seems that what matters most in life and in death is relationships. 

Make them and keep them good.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Reviving the Blog and A Lovely Year of Finishes

The past few months have been a blur of getting back at a regular homeschool schedule as my aunt's health difficulties, summer time, and the realization that my youngest daughter has dyslexia have all changed our "normal" lives so much.

But now I hope to get back into participating in some online creativity parties and conversations a little more, so I'll bring the blog back to life. Perhaps the things we've learned as we have (and still are) walked these paths will bring some depth to the blog. We'll see.

While I did some sewing for Christmas gifts this year, I didn't take pictures of all of them. One gift that I didn't finish yet I hope to finish this month.

This advent calendar was started for my daughter and her new husband. I still need to color in the star on top, quilt, and bind it as well as make a way to hang it conveniently. They have seen this much of it and really like it, so I'm encouraged to continue.

Maybe next time I'll show some of the Jesse Tree ornaments I made for my son and his wife (if I can find pictures).

Till then, may your day be full of happy projects.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pulling It Together With My New Command Center

More than any other single way, the grace of humility is worked into our lives through the Discipline of service… Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition.
~Richard Foster~

That quote is what I now have hanging on the front of the aqua hanging file folder in my new "command center." 

The challenges brought to our schedule and overall lives by my aunt's serious medical concerns as well as the busyness of the summer's beautiful wedding and my husband's erratic work schedule have combined to make my smoothly (or at least not so bumpily) running home not run so smoothly. 

So, after much pinning on Pinterest, and pondering our lifestyle, and snooping through Walmart, I have come up with what I hope will help us not feel so scattered.

We had a big dry-erase calendar, but it was old, stained, and took up too much space, so I bought an inexpensive one at Wally World as well as some frames and went at it.

The hanging paper pockets are a hopeful attempt to plan a Trim Healthy Mama type of menu. The blue cards are "Satisfying" meals and I'm working on pink cards to be the "Energizing" meals. Since I'm not so good at sticking to a regimented menu, I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to pull this off, but I want to make an effort.

This six-part frame holds our daily chores (Round Robin Residence Restoration), weekly housekeeping, and monthly extras. Since they have glass over them, we can use dry erase pens to mark them off as we finish.

I also included some inspirational quotes, which I may change now and then since I love inspirational quotes. :)

The hanging file folder helps control the paper piles and helps me not lose stuff. ;)

Then in a stand-up frame is our daily schedule, in an attempt to get done all that we believe God wants us to do, or at least endeavor to do.

The basket holds lavender that I had cut fresh from the garden and made the corner an aromatic delight. The pen holder was made by Roo in her clay class and adds a touch of artsy character.

It might have been nice to have a small desk here instead of the bookshelf, but I don't really have space for a desk there, and wanted a place to still keep my recipe books and pottery since it's right beside my kitchen. This center has been a help to us already, and we've only had it a few days.

Maybe it will give you some ideas.