Friday, June 12, 2015

the solitary

Psalm 68:6--"God setteth the solitary in families; he bringeth out those which are bound with chains; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land."

Words of praise, truth, and warning to me early this morning.

Praise, because I know the truth of what He does personally and can do nothing but praise Him as Sovereign. Years ago, I had a plan. Life had been somewhat cruel in those early years so I decided to work hard, start a career, go far away into the world and work alone, escaping from all I had known. Well, that didn't go too far. Darkness descended out of nowhere and I began dealing with the ever consuming shadowy gloom of depression. He altered my life for the next five years. Once that darkness evaporated, I found myself married and expecting a child. So much for that isolationist lifestyle. Oh, how He knew what I needed better than me! He sets the solitary in families and one marriage and five children later...thanks and praise be to Him only!

Truth, because anyone who's been bound by the ever suffocating fog of depression and then relieved from its weight knows about being freed! Freedom, after being constrained by anything, opens the airways of sweet flowing life. Whether gloom, sin, sorrow, or burdens...where there is freedom at last, there is hope from then on.

Warning, because dare I go back. When darkness looms again overhead, years later, after I have experienced His faithfulness and tasted His goodness, do I dare to walk in the ways that again would lead me to a dry land? The One who kept me from the solitary life I thought would solve life's problems never led me to a dry, empty life. Do I allow circumstances to lead me there? Or do I stand still and know who He is. It's worth it to daily stop everything, pause life, and consider His ways and seek to follow diligently whether I'm feeling it or not. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

broken cisterns or living waters...

Jeremiah 2:13--For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

An old Irish hymn says what I'm thinking today. Teenage girl sang and played this one recently (after a few nudges in the rib cage by me, a little parental coercion). Priceless words, reminding to keep Him as the ever constant thought throughout my days. It reminds me of why His words need to "be as frontlets between thine eyes" nothing else takes His place and becomes what I actually worship.

Be Thou my vision, O LORD of my heart
Be all else but nought to me save that Thou art
Be Thou my best thought in the day and the night
Both waking and sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my wisdom, be Thou my true word
Be Thou ever with me and I with Thee LORD
Be Thou my great Father and I Thy true son
Be Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be Thou my whole armor, be Thou my true might
Be Thou my soul's shelter, be Thou my strong tower
O raise Thou me heav'nward, great power of my power

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Be Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Be Thou and Thou only the first in my heart
O Sov'reign of heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of heaven, Thou heaven's bright sun
O grant me its joys after victory is won
Great Heart of my own heart, whatever befalls
Still be Thou my vision, O Ruler of all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

the kaleidoscope

As a raggedy ann-type little girl, I had a kaleidoscope. I can't figure out why, but it was my favorite toy. We didn't have much so maybe that little thing is all it took to amuse me. The colors combined to give me something different to look at each time I picked it up.

People are kind of like that to me, especially lately. I've been thrown (or maybe I jumped) into the company of such a variety as I'm not used to recently with my involvement in some community events. Mind you, I realize everyone else is constantly around a variety of people, but I'm not. I've spent the last nineteen years in a very small world of raising little people to be big people that will be lights for Him in the world. So my recent interaction with the variety has been new to me.

I've seen the hasty judgemental side of me come to life and been quite ashamed of it. I've seen me quick to defend myself and feel overrun when not given the chance to explain myself and later realized I should just allow time to prove my character to others instead of trying to prove it with words. I've had my heart touched by the acceptance of some who I would not have befriended weeks ago because our social circles usually don't intersect.

He has amazed me with His variety lately. He designs the personalities just like He designed the fingerprints.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

spontaneous smiles

Sometimes they just happen, these smiles prompted by His blessings all around me.

Sitting in church, I see oldest daughter ahead of me and remember the night before staying up late, listening to her thoughts pouring from her, thoughts that are pleasing to Him and me.

Sometimes I must appear odd when a smile just breaks out on my face for apparently no reason. But there is always a reason. He gives me plenty.

Last weekend, Sweetman and I went on a brief exploration of historical St. Marys, GA. We were fortunate to find a sweet January deal on a Bed and Breakfast, two nights for one (Emma's Bed and Breakfast--recommend it to anyone!). Had some spontaneous smiles there too. We decided to hike Cumberland Island while the temps were in the forties! So covered in our layers we set off on the ferry, then stepped onto the island and explored the old Dungeness ruins, all the while surrounded by wild horses. Lots of smiles on this trip.

Smiles continue sometimes when I'm alone. Anyone peering into my vehicle while I'm driving must think me nuts. But He gives me moments with others He has put in my path, moments that I cherish and think about when I'm by myself. Like someone I dearly love sending a "just thinking about you" email or someone who answers the phone when I call and the tone of their voice clearly states that they're glad it's me. Lately, a conversation with one I love dearly, a conversation that prompted plans for coffee. So Debbie, if you read this, I'm still planning on Friday!

And one more spontaneous smile for this morning as two year old asks older sister "Will you put your cat up so she won't eat my mom?" This as Sota, the house cat, nibbles at my feet.

I'm enjoying the spontaneous smiles prompted by His goodness to me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011's still here!

Amazing how something like a blog can be left unattended for months and when you return, it's waiting right where you left it.

Started New Years with no resolutions. I've decided resolutions make little sense due to the fact that I don't know what the year may hold so why begin it with my own plans. The slightest thing may come along to beset my goals. My best bet is to start the year asking something very simple from Him. My request? For Him to help me face whatever He plans for me this year with unwavering faith. That will be an improvement from last year!

I did actually attempt to begin the year well, spending the entire day with every financial document from the last year sprawled on the living room floor with me. Trying to organize things I (we, actually, can't leave Sweetman out where he, too, deserves credit!) let become somewhat chaotic last year. So hopefully we will be slightly on the organized side as we begin this year.

I consider the day a great success, not because I accomplished all I would have hoped, but because just a matter of minutes ago the precious two and a half year old, who's helping to grow our character daily by her own struggles in learning how to live within our boundaries, told me "Good job, Mom." I have no idea what she thinks I did a good job at, but that matters little. They were sweet words and I could not have appreciated an applaud more from any other person.

Psalm 65:11--"Thou crownest the year with thy goodness..."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

if i listened to the world

If I listened to the world, I would have raised my children quite differently.

I would have respected their space and let them live to themselves. I guess that would mean letting them spend a lot of time by themselves searching for who they were, allowing them to isolate themselves in their bedrooms and delve into whatever media they preferred.

I probably would have just assumed that disrespect and disobedience were normal behaviors at certain ages and simply held my tongue and walked away quietly when that happened, gritting my teeth and hoping I would survive those times until they grew up.

I would have allowed them to search endlessly until they found something to follow in this world, something they would want to anchor themselves to, no matter where it brought them.

I'm glad for my rebellion. I'm glad I've always found the world's way to be unsteady and unreliable. I'm glad I've never listened to the world because...

yesterday I spent the day with two people who are my favorite company, my most encouraging companions. He is eighteen and she is fourteen, ages traditionally joked about because of behaviors thought to be "typical". But kids are not typical, they are what they are taught and what they choose to be. These two don't drive me crazy, they make me laugh with their humorous ways. They don't bring me sorrow, they overload me with joy when I see their thoughtfulness with me, each other, and others who they don't even know. I don't experience regret for choices their dad and I made in raising them, instead I am quite grateful that we listened to a Greater One and used His words as our guide.

I'm amazed by what happens when in our smallness we simply made an attempt to go against the common tide of the world's ways and followed the unpopular method of the All Knowing One.

I spent the day with the very two people who are my favorite company and I'm glad I never let the world advise me on how to raise them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

enjoying the preserved

So thankful for what is left after the garden has been tilled under. Though it appears an empty mess, there is evidence of the incredible life once there. The frozen vegies in the freezer, canned salsa, or pickles in the frig all stand as reminders of the faithful times of sewing the good. Even in the midst of a desolate looking patch of ground, I can taste the good.

The good is listening to a fourteen year old girl who refuses to wear the label adolescent because she has much higher ambitions than just being a typical teenager. She intends to walk along the narrow path even if she walks it alone.

The good is hearing a two year old sing songs for the first time, seeing her smile that spreads across her entire face, and watching her eyes light up as she hears the words "Has anybody seen my mouse?" while reading her favorite poems. She was a surprise child who was put here for such a time as this.

The good is reminding a nearly grown son that he dare not cross the fine line to disrespect in pursuit of adulthood and having him come back and accept the correction like a man. Though he may not try to be a "people pleaser", he will please people and find favor.

The good is listening to a seven year old who catches his breath in amazement when he sees a wrong being committed by a family member. He has been taught the right way over the years and just assumes all would follow it.

The good is putting arms around the ten year old in church while standing to sing and feeling the vibration of his chest and knowing that although I cannot hear him...he is singing. He reads the words on the screen, sings them, and lets them sink into his heart.

The good is all around me everyday even though I sometimes feel like I'm standing on a desolate patch of ground. I'm enjoying my preserves and thankful for my life garden.

Monday, July 12, 2010

the pollinators

The okra is as high as my elbows, as are some of the weeds, but I wade through quite content, bugs and all. I'm so thankful for our garden that refuses to quit giving this year. Tomatoes, corn, peppers, squash, zucchini, pattypan, cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant, peas,'s all been in there. Today I picked peas and okra amidst mosquitoes, (which I tolerated since the enjoyment of being in the garden is greater than the disturbance the mosquitoes cause me) but also in the company of many hardworking helpful insects. As I finished up, a rain shower came along to cool me off and relieve me of the pesky mosquitoes. I walked back up to the house with my horn of plenty...tonight's dinner and some for the freezer.

In recent years, it seems we've had a shortage of the "good" six-legged critters to help keep our garden healthy, but this year they returned. Every morning when I visit my thoughtful spot to pick our supper, I've shared that space with tens of tens of bees, buzzing from one flower to another. As I disturb them, I watch their fuzzy black pollen-covered bottoms fly away and I learn to appreciate pollen.

Pollen causes so many people such problems, but I am immensely thankful for the stuff. Those little critters certainly don't realize what they're doing as they search for their nectar, flying from one source to another, depositing what each of my garden flowers needs for growth, but I know they are making food grow in my garden and I welcome them.

People are like that too, at least a lot of them I know. My children benefit from many of them. Just people buzzing about doing what makes them, well, them, not realizing the effect they have all about them. Depositing little bits of what He put in them on others which starts a chain reaction of blessings for the unsuspecting. I'm so thankful for the pollinators.

Friday, May 21, 2010

"I took big gulps of Scripture, I'll be fine"

Homeschooling is different. The tendency to question one's self becomes a way of life. Prayer becomes vital. The "typical" becomes nonexistent. Assuming an "authority" is always right on many subjects disappears as thinking for ourselves takes over. Selfishness bit by bit, year by year becomes replaced by self-sacrifice in order for harmony to be found. Perfection is never reached, but contentment is.

Today was graduation day for us. Highschool man had to take a college entrance test to see if he qualified for the college program he chose. I was nervous. I admit my anxiety had more to do with how the results made me look. I have been waiting for this test simply to tell me whether I have taught him well enough over the last 12 years for him to continue in whatever field he chose. Again, I was nervous. He is an amazing person, but I have not been an amazing teacher.

So I sent him to bed early. Woke him early and placed a good breakfast in front of him, but he insisted he could not eat that early. After a not-so-well delivered speech about the importance of eating so a hungry stomach wouldn't distract during testing, I walked away...angry.

He left without another word and I was almost disappointed until I found the note he left. I have received many precious notes from some of the dearest people, but this one will stay with me always. It was written in his horrible manuscript he inherited from me. It simply said "I took big gulps of Scripture, I'll be fine".

So we all prayed for him and let go of the worries. He did very well. These years have been blessed by One who has plans for highschool man.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

life with a snake

I'm not actually referring to the slithering creature that has found a safe haven in our home. This time I'm talking about the woman my husband lives

Yesterday, I sat across the desk from someone who said they admired me because of the choices I've made. Aaaahhhhhhh, crushing blow...some people have no mercy! Ever have that happen...people saying kind words lifting you up when unfortunately you know too well the individual they are speaking of?

People say kind things sometimes--as difficult as it may be to swallow them when they are about you. I've been guilty of saying some kind words to people myself! I say them because there are people whose very existence I have benefited from because they minister to my children or they have shown love to me in one form or another. So I dare to say those sweet words to them...knowing, however, even as I say them how humbling it can be just to hear kind words about oneself because not one of us is actually good and we know it...hopefully. (I suppose it's those who really think those adjectives pertain to them that we should be worried about.)

So as the kind words came across the desk yesterday, there came another dose of humility. But not as great a dose as flooded me later that night when sitting on the couch with sweetman. We were discussing--okay, arguing--about some schooling issues...sore subject for me lately. I ended the conversation by pointing out some short comings on his part. Why is it when we say what we are really itching to say sometimes it feels so bad afterwards? So in one day I go from someone saying extremely kind words about me to me doing something to prove I'm not worthy of them. I really already knew I wasn't worthy of them...why did I have to prove it again?