Saturday, November 28, 2009
We spent the day at my sisters and it was a lovely day with sunshine, an amazing feast and happy cousins. By the day's end we were sipping tea by the fire and watching living room dance performances. It can be overwhelming really, how much we have to be thankful for. I'm not sure how to reconcile all these good gifts that I don't deserve. I've noticed that I've been posting more frequently the past two months. The reason is two-fold. One, is that in addition to my husband's teaching job, he has been in not one but two bands not including his involvement in my CD. Needless to say he was gone or occupied many a night as of late and I'm not much of a TV watcher, so I read or write instead. Two, is that keeping with the theme of thankfulness has been easy. If I had the time to write every time the inspiration hit, there would be a post everyday at least. With that said, I may just have to let this theme linger a bit until I can catch up. The husband's schedule has lightened some and I tend to choose him over the computer. Speaking of which he has emerged from our attic studio so I'm off.
Whatever circumstances you find yourself in this year I hope you are able to find something of the blessing that is life itself.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We like to do crafts and art projects that coincide with the season and usually end up ironing leaves between wax paper but this year we tried dipping them in wax discovered over here. I like the chance to find those last remnants of Autumn color and string them in my windows for the sun to shine through. Extending the vibrancy of a season that seems to be over in a blink. This is an easy project though not the best for really little ones. All you need is a disposable pan, a block of wax and some pretty leaves. I gave the kids long stemmed ones and held them tight while near the hot wax. You set the leaves to dry on some newspaper and then they are ready to string. It's also a great way to learn the different types of leaves. After time of course they still fade but I'll take Autumn hues in my house as long as they last.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The musical project that I've been working on with a dear friend and my husband, off and on for the past year, is finally finished. It has been a blessing to find my voice so to speak. For as long as I can remember I have loved to sing. From the time I was really little I can remember singing for comfort and in worship and just because I found joy doing it. So now I have these fifteen songs about nature, my dad, a lullaby I sang to my baby boy, things that speak of the blessings of life, love, and loss. Whenever I open my mouth, I pray that it would glorify God and be a pleasing sound to His ears and yours.
You can purchase it here.
Friday, November 13, 2009
We've had a total of three planned camping trips rained out this Fall. That's right three. It's killing me...I am longing for the woods but it has been one rainy October. Josh had a two day break from school a few weeks ago and since we couldn't camp because of rain we tried to make the most of the time together anyway. We decided to go see our first family movie together. It was a dreary day so I brought Naya's blanket and thought maybe she would just go to sleep since it was her nap time. We went to see UP. It started out with a musical montage following these two little pixar characters that were childhood sweethearts, big dreamers and eventually man and wife. It showed their love for one another and the disappointments they face in a fast moving time line of their life. Since when did kids movies become so sad? I was crying in the first five minutes.I suppose this whole thing would make more sense if you saw the movie. Anyway, it ended up being a really fun, cute movie and a lovely way to spend a grey rainy day. Naya snuggled in my lap the whole time, all of their eyes wide with wonder at the massive screen. The couple in the story were childless adventurers, with dreams of exploring wild terrain and far off places. Real life always seemed to get in the way, always having to take a hammer to the change jar of savings. After the wife dies and the husband is old he finally embarks on his adventure but the gist of the whole story is that it is not about the big and glamorous. The adventure is those simple treasured moments of life, the hand of your love while you read your favorite novel, the soft familiar voice,working and playing and living together. What can I say, it was a kids movie but something in it struck a chord with me.
The other day I came across a daily planner of mine from several years ago(I still have this and I wonder why I seem to collect clutter). I thumbed through it; Dr's appointment here, work schedule there,etc. I couldn't help laughing a little to myself when I saw scattered through the weeks, what I must have written in a moment of playful frustration. In frilly cursive letters written over all the other obligations, Josh and Linda go England, Josh and Linda go to Prague, Josh and Linda go back to 'Jamaican me crazy'(Josh wore a T-shirt that said this on our honeymoon),Josh and Linda go to Hawaii, Josh and Linda go to the holy lands etc, etc. you get the picture. Then I laughed some more when I saw that at some point, Josh and high-jacked it and added his own absurdities.Josh and Linda are taken by hostile unicorns and go gambling at Harrah's.
It made me smile to see Josh hearts Linda forever at the end. I think that may have been a slightly long-winded way of saying I am so immensely thankful for my husband. He's been my companion for the last ten years on our own adventure story. We have seen some dreams come to pass and we've taken a hammer to the savings jar for lots of others. I can't echo enough that it is not about the big or glamorous, our list of accomplishments, successes or lack there of. It is about the steady, quiet, gentle building of a home, a family of broken people learning to work and play and love together. It's about helping equipt compassionate kingdom builders. Our love is tainted and tattered and we've patched it and sewn it back together and ultimately relied on our faithful God to carefully weave his grace through every thread to create a tapestry of oneness. The truth is sometimes we behave dreadfully and and come back again and again to His fountain of mercy. Is that not what is so healing about marriage though? That there is this person who sees you at your brightest and best and also at your worst and they choose to love.
Okay, so this whole thankfulness thing, there is power in it. The Spirit uses it to transform my complaining and fear. Like a strong exhale or a mighty wind it blows, and Satan shudders with dismay. It is hard to wallow in hardships when blessing abound crying out for attention. Here are some things I love that make me thankful... I love that he would much rather snuggle on the couch than have a clean house, I love the adorably awful accents he puts on when reading The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe to Juden, I love how he always makes me laugh, I love how he is a thoughtful,helpful partner, I love that he brought me flowers when I was sad, I love this picture cause it is crazy beautiful
I love how he does things with drive and passion, I love the kind of dad he is, and the kind of worker, I love that he comforts me, I love making babies and art and music together. I love that God loved me enough to give me him.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Today I wandered with my three little ones through the graveyard. The sky was a pensive bluish-grey that leaves you with a feeling maybe a storm is near. The wind was sending what's left on the trees sailing toward earth. There is something peaceful about graveyards. Perhaps a sense of perspective comes as you walk past names, dates, history, so many stories, so many dreams. Of all those stories there are some things that you know bond them all, life, love, friendships, brokenness, dysfunction, desires, hope. I feel so very small and a strong sense of the brevity of it all. It's changed though, everything has changed since five years ago today, when I buried my dad. There was a time when he was my strong hero.. doesn't every little girl want her dad to be her hero? We spent sunny afternoons catching sunnies and he hammered nails in mason jars so I could catch fireflies. He was gentle,rugged and invincible. Then one day he was old, frail, vulnerable and dying. He needed help in ways I wasn't ready to have to help him. I found myself sitting in front of him in his wheel chair. He held his paralyzed hand and I tried to help him finish a painting. Golden light came soft through the window of that Autumn day. I saw a sorrow in my father's eyes I had never seen before. It tore at my soul and it was then that I joined the the family of the wounded. It was not that he lacked faith, for he knew where he was going. It's just that life doesn't always fit into our tidy theology. In his eyes I saw a man who feasted on the stuff of life to his very core, the scent of the earth in his hands as he gardened, the poetry of clouds, the faces of his five children and the faces of the little ones he would never meet... he missed it all...even while he was still here. And I could see it in his beautiful ocean gray eyes. I put my cheek on his and went back to mixing oil paints through tear-filled eyes, while he looked at the canvas with a vision that was slipping away. I'm not sure what compelled me to write about this afternoon. It is not a place I go to often but it is real, raw and human and it changed me. And surely there are those memories and pictures in my head that are painful and sacred and beautiful and I keep them locked up tight like a treasure trove, so that they remain untouched, unchanged by the light and air. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my dad, for everything he was and everything he now is. I am thankful for the healing that God has given me and for the wound that with its bearing allows me to see others' wounds and have compassion. I am thankful for my Savior who will put an end to all death and disease. I'm thankful that my dad is home and enjoying life of which all the beauty he knew here was merely a glimmer. I am thankful for the history and the story I carry with me.
"Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea."
part of Fern Hill
by Dylan Thomas
Friday, November 06, 2009
I am so thankful for my little bug, her spunk and creative spirit. There is something so innocent and whimsical about the art work of a 4 year old. This is one of her self-portraits . I love how she always connects her eyes and it's cute anime quality. Josh is an art teacher and he loves to draw with the kids.I've watched Juden study Josh when he draws making connections. "Oh, that's where the eyes go... that's how you do that." His work changes and grows and matures and I love that. Ella hasn't yet been affected by how things are supposed to be. She climbs up to grab the markers and settles onto her tummy. She makes bold marks with confidence, with out thinking twice.So very in the moment. Paper after paper, rabbits, then butterflies now little Ella's everywhere. I love it. May she always do things with the same resolve, joy and boldness she has now.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
It is our hope that we would always be thankful but this month we are talking a little more about it as Thanksgiving nears. This was Juden's list. I dig my little boys list and am so happy that he can spill over with things he's thankful for. He went on to name every single person in our family,every color of the season and finished with "snow as soft as cat's fur." This seemed odd since we rarely if ever see snow around here. Then I remembered that Josh is reading him The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe and he is quite intrigued with the snow in Narnia. So this month I want to try to post frequently about things I'm thankful for. After all there are so very many.
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
A brand new season called for a fresh look. I thought about adding the tag line, "being made new" and then the same morning listened as my pastor quoted C.S. Lewis from Prince Caspian. The writing of C.S. Lewis always cuts me to the core. Sometimes I imagine chatting over tea like kindred spirits or like he's some long lost uncle. Anyway,it was the part about Aslan cleaning Eustace and making him new again when he could not do it for himself. The imagery is poignant, raw and painfully beautiful. It is my story too. God is completing a work in me. 2Cor. 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." Sometimes I wish I could do God justice. That His spirit inside me would shine through like some tiny glimmering pearl but too often I feel like all my stuff gets in the way, glaring and obvious.When I'm peaceful, joyful and loving, it's because there is less of me and more of him. It is my prayer though, that everyday I would let him peel away those ugly layers and that I would be growing, changing, yielding to the great potter,being washed...being made new.