Friday, April 30, 2010

The Gift of Friends

I've been thinking and pondering what to share here. The purpose of documenting answered prayer is, of course, for the benefit of our future: remembering ways God has been faithful, so our faith can be strengthened in difficult circumstances. What do I want to remember?

When I was young, our church was smallish...at least the girl population was in my class. I remember developing friendships with quite a few girls who then moved away after a short time. It hurt to see them go, but Mom would always have us ask the Lord to provide new friends to love. And He always did.


He provides friends for my kids too.

When Megan was very young, and we were just helping begin our church, the preschool class was full of little girls her age and boys Mitchell's age. I was thrilled they would be growing up with such great friends. Within a few years, many of those girls moved away. Megan struggled to find a group of friends to have over for sleepovers, share secrets with, love. I ached for her, knowing the importance of good friendships in the development of emotionally healthy children. And I was tired of her sitting on my lap on park dates.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I reluctantly agree.

But I carefully choose that village.

I think the body of Christ is the best community in which to raise a child. I love our church, where I know the families of my children's friends, and they know mine. We've created a safe place where we encourage each other in parenting and build each other's kids up too. There's accountability in those kinds of friendships, for us as parents, and for our kids. The time to grow deep roots in that kind of community is when our children are young, before the confusion of the teen years threatens to uproot them.

I wanted that for Megan, so I asked the Lord to give her at least one special friend, if not a whole bunch!

Sometimes I ask, and then forget I ever did. I just recently realized He'd answered my request.  Megan no longer sits on my lap at park days, complaining that she has no one to play with. (thank goodness! She's getting rather big for my lap.) She grew new friendships this year getting to know her Bible quiz team. She runs off each Sunday morning in search of her friends, and hugs and promises to plan get-togethers abound.


 I am so grateful that when we ask, He listens and answers. What have you asked for lately?

To participate in this monthly discipline, click on the graphic above and read up on the rules. Then come back and link your post on answered prayer below. I will leave the link open for the week. And, if you don't have blog, feel free to leave a story of an answered prayer in the comments. Thanks!

P.S. Ya like my new button? I took a mental health day today, OK, yesterday too, and we skipped school. I've been running myself ragged and could just feel myself careening to the end of my physical limits, nearly to the point of being sick. I'm pretty sure that if we would have had school, the scene would not have been pretty. And it wouldn't have been my kids making it ugly. So I rested. OK. I blogged. And redesigned my blog template a bit (click on over if you're using a reader), thus the need for a new button. Believe me, this update took much less energy than corralling three kids and convincing them to finish their schoolwork. *grin*



Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rosemary Chicken Sandwiches

3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup mayo
salt, pepper to taste


whole wheat bread
butter
mustard

mix, spread, fill, eat. 

Spring at Sunset


Blooms at sunset and windblown little girls make me happy.

For more captures of spring go here, here, here and yes, here too.
I like spring, can you tell?


Photobucket

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Spirit

Ladies of different denominations, but the same Lord, gathered to listen and learn, sing and worship. The topic was Tending to the Presence of the Lord.

The speakers shared. The women responded.

And I listened and prayed and observed.

Later, I processed.

What does the presence of the Spirit look like, in me, in them? Is He different? Do they have something extra that I don't? Am I missing something?

As always, I turn to Scripture, this day to verses on gifts and fruit. (1 Corinthians 12-14, Galatians 5)

Plum blossoms saturate our farmyard with their heavy fragrance, a promise of fruit.
 
Then, I see my own history with new eyes. The ways He works in me are no less miraculous: supernatural forgiveness offered when deeply hurt, lessons learned and shared in regular conversations with friends, words spoken and written that unknowingly encourage. These are evidences of His Spirit in me.

The vocabulary may be different, and the expressions of worship may vary, but the Spirit is the same. 
(1 Corinthians 12:4)

I resolve to strain my ear for His whisper, and remain vigilant for evidences of His activity.

He is personal. He is powerful. He is alive and at work in my life. And I realize that when I pursue Him with all my heart, I will miss nothing He desires for me.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13


holy experience

*****






 
Ooops, the last weekend of the month just passed me by! I was so busy, I didn't even notice and forgot to post and host  
Filed Under Grace: Documenting Answered Prayer! 
 
Forgive me? 
Let's share our gifts of grace this weekend, OK?
And next month, I'll try to do a bit better!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Sugared Violet


Rifling through science and nature books, I stumble upon a reminder.

A field of violets awaits.

A bit of egg white, a spoonful of sugar, and we taste test the dainty flower.

A petal, gingerly, at first.

Then the whole glittery thing shoved in greedy mouth.


A rush of children head outdoors for more of the yummy delicacy.

And I am left to wonder. Which is sweeter? The flower or the sugar?


Friday, April 23, 2010

Recently Overheard




"Mitchell, fairy wands aren't for attacking people...they're for making dreams come true."
~Madison, age 6     


For more kid conversations check out Moms Without Blogs.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meeting in the Garden

There is something about gardening that is holy.

It began in the beginning.

Creation ended and the whole world began with a man and woman in a garden. They were to enjoy the beauty, eat from fruit (Gen 2:9) and care for the land (Gen 2:15).

Gardening was our first profession.

There seems to be a misconception that the work of gardening is a result of the curse sin brought. I don't think gardening was meant to be considered work, but a place of fellowship with our God. He walked the garden looking for Adam and Eve.

He finds me in the garden, too.

His work grows before me, each sprout a miracle of His hand.  I can work the soil, fertilize, water. Yet, I cannot make anything grow.  He brings life to each tiny, dead seed. He defines the natural law that makes it produce abundantly.

As I work the soil, it stains my hands, roughs them up. Pruning scars them.



My Father is a Gardener too (John 15:1). There in my garden He finds me, reveals Himself. He breaks up the hard soil of my heart, bringing life from my dead places. He binds up my wayward branches. He prunes me, causing me to bear fruit. It's rough work.

His hands are scarred too.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Red Ladies


After a winter of dead ones in the window sills, and an early spring of them waking from their slumber and crawling on my window frames and curtains.

After vacuuming hundreds and giving up, and cursing the fool who brought them here.

After smelling their rank odor and explaining that they do not bite but rather pinch and that those piles of dead bugs may not be dead after all, but hibernating.

And after saying how many times that they are Asian Beetles, not Lady Bugs.

After all this, I was thrilled today to see the elusive red ladies instead of their prolific impostor.






Finding gifts on Tuesdays for Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky.

A little of this and that

Wow! It's been 10 days since my last post! I've no great reason for my absence. I have a few things on my mind to write about, my thoughts are just not yet complete.

I went to a conference over the weekend, had a fun night away in a hotel, and I've been processing...I may share here eventually. This has not so much to do with the content of the conference as the experience of worshiping with a more charismatic group of people. Liturgical charismatics at that. Good stuff. :)

Next week wraps up my Bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit, Bible quizzing, and Jump4Joy. Our family is looking forward to more evenings together as a family. Long evening walks, coming soon!

Robb has been crazy busy, too. He has moved our business storage to the barn here on the farm, and his office has moved a few miles closer to home. He is enjoying being in a business condo in town and looks forward to an increase in friends stopping by for coffee.

The kids and I are wrapping up our school year strong. Besides the warmer weather, this is probably the biggest reason for my blog absence. As much as I love sitting here and sharing deep thoughts and not so deep thoughts, my kids, their education, my husband, and even my dishes come first. Sorry. :)

I did get out today and took some pictures of the garden....

...this makes me sooo happy!


I had a couple friends over this afternoon, and though I cleaned my house and set the table with candles and flowers and tablecloth, I couldn't stand the thought of sitting inside on such a beautiful day.

So we had a picnic, complete with iced peach tea. Under the crabapple tree.
See the hint of red on the grass? That's our blanket.


 While we chatted, our kids turned on the hose and made a river run down the driveway. And threw mud balls at each other. Whatever. Just as long as they don't ever throw mud balls at me...

I am so happy for spring.

Later this week: a visit to my favorite source for herbs. And digging. And tilling. And planting. Can't wait!

photos: asparagus, green onions

Friday, April 9, 2010

Easter Day

We've been enjoying the spring breezes, and warmer air around here. Two days in a row, we've hung out at the park with friends. Boy, does it feel great to get out! The grass is green, the tire swing is blowing in circles once again, and my green onions are ready to be picked. The rhubarb can be seen peeking up, and my garden in planned. I can't wait to get my fingernails dirty and start planting!

I've nothing important or inspirational to say, just thought I'd lay out a few words and say hello.

Here are a few more pictures of our Easter at the lake. It takes a bit of arm twisting to get my dear sweet husband to pose for a picture, but I won this time!


Of course the real star of any holiday now, is this sweet child. Here are my "little" sisters and our new niece:


You all love these eyes, so here's for you! You're welcome.


Laura was playing with my camera, the envy of the family now, 
and caught this handsome kid with his funky hair. 
The two following pictures are to her credit as well.
Not bad, Laura!


Mmmmmmmmm.


Her mouth is full, can you tell? She gets her blue eyes from her daddy. I love that!


The mommy of sweet Victoria, my twin. With her hubby.
No, we are not identical. Yes, we are fraternal. 
(For some reason, we get asked that a lot.)


We had a lovely day....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Accessory Exchange

I love this. 
All you need are some best friends, some stuff (more on what kind later), 
and platters of yummy food. 
Start with a date. And some pretty invitations. 
When that day comes, lay out a beautiful spread.


Hungry yet? Boy can my friend Niki cook! 
Isn't she adorable?

Regretfully, I have no pictures of Lisa, our immaculate host. 
She is adorable too. Trust me.

Begin with eating, because who would want to wait to eat that gorgeous food?


Then relax, munching all the while, and go around the room and share how you each met your husband 
and the story of your courtship. Or whatever. 
(In our case everyone was married.)
This conversation topic was spontaneous in our group - instigated by Buzzy (above)


If food and conversation aren't enough for you to have a good time, then you'll love this! 
For this party, everyone brought accessories they were tired of ~ to share with friends!
Look at those purses!


Nicole liked them!


OOOOoooooo. Earrings!
Necklaces, Scarves.......
Let the shopping and sharing begin!


 I came home with a new pair of earrings and a couple necklaces. 
Works for me!

Click on over to www.wearethatfamily.com for more great tips!


I'm a Lake Girl

The ice is out.
The dock is in.

My sandals on,
Under spring sun, I sit.

This dock is memory full.

At seven or so,
I learn to ski with dad as motor.
I'm sent out.
He runs in toward shore.
Between us a rope.
I stand on water, glide, learn.

Summer after summer,
I think suits are proper attire.
In the garden,
In the house,
On the dock or deck,
In the boat.
All those years,
A suit is my uniform.

Skiing, swimming.
Seaweed fights.
Spearing catfish.
Stupid things.
Tubing, laughing.
Boating, lounging.
I soak up the sun.



Lake sunrises.
Late evening boat rides.
Memories abound.

I'm a Lake Girl and  I've got water in my blood.
Hurry, sun, warm the water.
The dock awaits and promises a new season of wet, sun kissed days.


Unwrapping the gift of my parents' dock and all the screws I stripped making it......


Monday, April 5, 2010

For Grandparents and Such


My littlest bunny...not too happy about being pulled from the playground for a picture....
...you'll thank me later.


Silly girl.....


See, this is fun!


Mads shows off her socks pulled last minute from the dirty laundry. And I thought no one would notice. HA!


Yes, I let her wear those ears in church. Whatever! They fit her personality! 
She was a darn cute bunny!


Hope you had a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 2, 2010

All I need.


After weeks of busy nights, our commitment to date nights is forgotten. Week after week passes without time away, together. In the middle of raising kids. Entrepreneurial endeavors. Stress. Running.

We miss each other.

It comes to a head one night after the kids are put to bed, and my heart feels alone. We haven't meant to, but we've forgotten to fan the flame. To give our best to each other instead of everything else. To encourage the other in this life we've made together.

I cry. I'm confused. Don't know what to say about how I feel. I want him to change. To love me better. To say the right thing.  To do more. To hug and to hold and to make me whole.

But that's not his job. He can't possibly understand my emotions when I don't understand them myself. And I know better than this. My needy heart is not his fault, nor is he the solution. His love is a band-aid to an ache that I know only One can fill.

All I need and trust is the deep, deep love of Jesus. (song #4 on Come Weary Saints album)

I sing it. Do I mean it? Do I believe it? Do I live it?

I know it. And I do mean it and believe it. Obviously there are times I forget to live it. I forget to give grace from the abundance given me. I forget the limitless source of love in the Holy Spirit who promises to fill my emptiness so that I, in turn, may pour love on others.

When the Holy Reminder* does His job, which He never fails to do, He teaches me in my emptiness, and reminds me who I am and Who I need most: my One True Love. The One who gave himself for me and chose me before the creation of the world. The One who longs for me to choose Him above any other. The One who loves me most and loves me best.

*John 14:26
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

(And the Holy Reminder reminds me, too, of what a great guy I have. He does the dishes, cleans the kitchen better than I ever hope to, cooks, puts our children to bed every single night, works hard, provides, loves people and arranges my social life. Yeah, he's got his flaws, but, um, so do I.  *grin*)

With this perspective comes peace, reconciliation, understanding and grace. My unrealistic expectations that pressure and demand are put in their place.  And what is left is love. Unconditional.

And I am satisfied.
And so in love. :)

Thank you Lord, for saving my soul,
Thank you Lord, for making me whole,
Thank you Lord, for giving to me,
Thy great salvation, so rich, and free.