Sunday, June 28, 2009

try to put the words all in a tidy row

name of the wind
by one Patrick Rothfuss

Genius
Delightful
Captivating
Maddening
Demands a sequel
Yet such would cheapen its very nature and reduce it to __________.
I would reread it.
I think I missed something subtle and obvious.
It only took a week for this first pass through it's 662 pages and that was in the throes of a week of family camp and with no all nighters.
I would own it.
I don't own much fiction.
Makes me want to know/use better words.
Maeks me want to cook dinner and invite the characters.
Makes me want to write. again. at all. like that.
Makes me afraid to try.
Makes me want to meet the author.
He's probably obnoxious. sarcastic. brooding. elusive. maddening. charming.
Just the sort of fellow I would fall for.
*snort*
It's a good thing I know he's not old.

Excerpts....

I could, but you reading them all alone and stranded here would just be __________.
See. I need better words.
And more sleep.
Just go look it up and read the flyleaf.
If that doesn't make you want to take a vacation or lock yourself in a room with your favorite chair in order to read it, then it's not the book for you. It's even pretty good when read over a smattering of free time throughout a week. Or two.
I never did like analyzing literature.
Go ahead. Say it out loud. "I'm no good at it either."
Never said I was.
Words are never enough to describe what delights us.

Friday, June 19, 2009

bucket list

finish a painting
*check*


counter-intuitive

I'm feeling the restlessness of last night's wee hours. Unless sick or seriously sleep deprived I'm never asleep before at least midnight... preferrably 1 or 2am after all artistic or literary inspiration has worn off. Last night I was tired...sleepy tired at 10:30. I read some George Mueller until I woke up with knuckle prints on my face from having fallen asleep on my hands clasped over my book. It was only 11. I turned out the lamp and promptly went to sleep. I received a text message at midnight....further proof that I am usually awake at such hours. I then proceeded to wake to look at the clock at 2 and 3 and 4 and 6:30. My alarm was set for 7. I also never wake up before my alarm.

All day I keep telling myself I shouldn't feel tired. I'm sleeping...usually, eating fairly well, excercising...sort of... this week ;) and had four previous days of rather mellow activity. But... my mind has been running full tilt....like those rides at the carnival where something sets it spinning happily and the next thing you know you are vertical, plastered to the side of a metal cage, held in place by centrifugal force.

I'm expecting a rather large change in circumstance at the end of the summer. It started out with the epic conversation and has continued through all the turns, shadows and nuances of God changing a heart to rest in His plan. The factor that has added the most weight to the decision is seeking to discern whether or not to go with this plan because its location is just far enough away to indicate leaving this church community that I have become so deeply rooted in during the past three long, full, yet brief years. Layered on the constant feeling of trying to peel myself off the spinning cage and get some solid ground under my feet again is the constant introspection and self-application of a biblical counseling class I am finishing and then the enjoyment of working to engage daily needs and activities of family, friends and ministry. But every few moments I just lay my head back and spin, cause I caught another glimpse of the guy with his hand on the control lever. Jesus has been so present in this. I'm not retreating to all the mental scenarios and what-ifs that are my usual tendency in decision making, but I'm talking it out with every friend and family member close by. Ever try to carry on meaningful conversation during a spinning ride? Much wise counsel and a multitude of passages from Scripture and other books have provided timely insight to uphold my heart.

Through continued conversation with my pastor and the leadership here, the plan is beginning to take shape with purpose, feeling less like an indefinite transfer and more like purposeful move to cross-train in another aspect of this ministry.
Lord-willing I will return to my current site in a few months better, stronger, and hopefully wiser to fill a different role. And instead of an uprooting never to return, this plan C times out to fit needs of several people within this ministry as well as fitting big dreams to live with a friend from church and move even closer to that community as well as to my immediate family. I love how polarized A/B choices are usually neither, but simply the avenue God uses to field conversation and analyses to get us to the third way he desired all along. I'm aware to guard my heart against resting in this change God is leading me to only because I now have a more concrete plan, or because I can envision the possibilities and have vision for them, but because He is actually putting peace in my heart for this. Where there is not yet peace, there is grace for peace.

I got an update letter from another ministry in the mail a few moments ago:
The writer quoted this:
"Both the Scriptures and the history of the church teach that if the Holy Spirit is working, the whole man will be involved and there will be much cost to the Christian. The more the Holy Spirit works, the more Christians will be used in battle, and the more they are used, the more there will be personal cost and tiredness. It is quite the opposite of what we first might think. People often cry out for the work of the Holy Spirit and yet forget that when the Holy Spirit works, there is always tremendous cost to the people of God. weariness and tears and battles."

And added these words that Jesus spoke to him and his wife during an incredibly busy and demanding time:
"You didn't blow it; I asked you to do this. I am in this."

Slowly, delightfully, God is granting me excitement for this next venture. Only in moments of weariness do I doubt. This letter had two sides. Identification with and encouragement where I am currently weary. A pang of dread deep in my belly that I can likely, realistically expect this next season to be just as tiring and wearing, tearful and hard. Sigh. I know it to be true. But....

Someday I hope to be wise enough to realize that enlisting as a Believer means more battle than leave.

Friday, June 12, 2009

processional of life


Congratulations my dear, sweet, wonderful friend. It has been an absolute joy to walk through these last two years with you. All the tears, struggles, hopes, joys and fears have made you who you are today....because God was present with you through it all.

His grace is what has made it all possible.

His lovingkindess and mercy are what have kept your feet from slipping. I am so proud of the way you have grown - received teaching, acknowledged your need for help and opened your heart to love. You have become a beautiful woman inside and out. I have been blown away by all that God has done in and through you so far and am excited beyond words to see what He has in store to bless you in the coming months.

Trust Him - He is good...all the time.
Love Him - He gave His life for yours.
Fear Him - He is holy.
Serve Him - He deserves your praise and there are others who need to know how great He is.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.
I wouldn't be the same without you.
You have been my friend, my sister, my companion.
I love you. Congratulations on a job well done.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

potting shed

A couple times this last week I pressed my nose to the window watching the Noahic rains and had the fleeting thought, "I hope all my newly planted things don't wash away." The clay and rocks that I cursed when the soil was given to us have proved to be a cruel mercy. I stood under a cloudless sky this afternoon and looked down at all the newly planted things in our garden and noted each one to be still firmly entrenched in their dirt home. All the seedlings are fine. The seeds are also sprouting and so are the thistles.

I love to marvel at how nature and gardening...planting, watering, weeding, pruning, harvesting so closely resemble all aspects of life. I wrote this sentence a little over three years ago in a summary of the Gospel of Mark. "Pay attention to how things grow too, it's a sign of what the Kingdom is like." I have old journals out to re-read about seasons where I was at various crossroads. A new one has been presented to me. If anyone ever sits across from you and says, "So I have a proposal for a plan for your life," get ready to do some praying. I'm glad those were her next words. "I want you to pray about considering this....." I've been at similar junctions many times... It's familiar....too much so in parts. I sigh about the weaknesses that still seem unchanged as I reflect on years gone by. Yet I am comforted to find that I am still me. That I am still plodding along in the same direction and that God still has His fingers in the soil of the garden of my heart. That the aspects of His character that I most desired then are the ones I most desire now, only more deeply.

I should have seen it coming. I've met a quite a few new people lately....almost every one of them upon hearing that I spend my days as a housparent to teen moms, asks, "So how long do you plan to do this?" Introductions haven't included this particular question for a while. First of all it's not my plan, so I eloquently elaborate by shrugging and saying, "I dunno. Till God moves me elsewhere." I wonder if I really meant that. I think I did. I guess I'm just surprised by this possibility because I wasn't looking for it. I'm not wanting something more, somewhere new, something....else. For once.

The sun and rain have already faded the empty seed packets precariously perched on popsicle sticks that mark what was planted where. (Is that a zinnia or a pumpkin?) So I stand on the horizon under the cloudless sky of God's lovingkindness and peer into my soul to see if anything has sprouted. So it is that I've forgotten what I planted. So I'm not sure what I'm expecting to grow.

I want to do an overview of all that I've gotten from Shadow of the Almighty. But for now I share that my heart and mind are stilled and resting because of this excerpt that I read the day after the epic-life-plan conversation:

"I have not the foggiest idea where or how God will lead you. Of this I am sure. He will lead you and will not let you miss your signs. Rest in this - it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call, or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond, or what have you. This will sound meaningless to you, unconvincing and 'old stuff,' and that is what it should sound, for it is only a man's counsel. The sound of a 'gentle stillness' after all the thunder and wind have passed will be the ultimate Word from God. Tarry long for it." - Jim Elliot


our garden spot

last Monday's toolbox

my sweet helper


the young upstarts in their new placement


this heap of junk and weeds in the corner of the yard opposite the garden is going to be a berry orchard(?)....soon

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

in the silence there's nowhere left to run

You give and take away for my good.
For who am I to say what I need?
For You alone see the hidden parts of me
that need to be stripped away.

And as You begin to refine,
I’m learning to let go and rely
on One who walks with me.
As hard as it may be,
You’re teaching me all the while to say:

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
All that’s in me bless Your name,
Forget not Your power untold,
not Your glory or Your fame.
For You came to heal the broken,
to redeem and make me whole.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
- Laura Story

Psalm 62:5-8
I will wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart before Him,
for God is our refuge.

I will not give up this fight.
I will not carry this heart of stone.
I will stop wanting to get beyond my need for grace.

Monday, June 1, 2009

personal remarks

My ever so diligent studying habits (cough) were just interrupted by the urgency that I must listen to the following excerpt from a classic work of children's literature....