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Archive for July, 2015

imageWhen I get to heaven, I know exactly what I plan to ask God:

What, in Sam Hill, were you thinking when you decided that free will was a good idea?

This question has been percolating in my mind ever since I became a mom, and my kids reached the stages when they started to make more and more choices for themselves.

Every choice from the minor ones, like what they will wear?

to more major ones, like whether to use drugs or alcohol, as minors?

has led me back to that theological question that I plan to take to Creator of all.

I think any of us, who are parenting pre-teens, teen or adults, looks back to the younger years when we simply told our kids what to do (and they did it), then shakes our heads at the Almightly.

Then there are those moments when the choices they make, on their own, are good ones.

Remember back to when your kids were little, and they couldn’t wait to wrap their arms around your neck? Remember when you would come home to little ones waiting at the door for you? Remember when a look, or gesture would stop that little one in their tracks, and they would do what was right. What a sweet time of life!

As they get older it is clear that the sun, moon and stars no longer revolve around us.

But, when those young ladies and man-children

make a good choice, on their own …

or wrap their adult arms around us, and whisper that they love us …

on their own free will!

Now that is love worth having!

May God knew what he was doing after all?

(but, I am still going to ask him)

 

 

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Serenity

calm, peaceful, untroubled

“God, give me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.”

A well-known poem, whose words flow off of our tongues without need for brain to be in gear.

The Serenity Prayer is credited to Reinhold Niebuhr, a pastor, ethicist, editor, and contributor to just war thinking.

This Serenity Prayer, when read with all cranial cylinders firing, can appear rather pie in the sky, idealistic thinking (dreaming). It’s author would be the furthest sort from an idealist, for Reinhold Niebuhr was a total and complete realist.

So how could one, who claimed to be a realist, pen such idealistic thought?

Maybe it is because we are really only familiar with the first part of the poem, and not the work in totality?

The second half of the poem takes the lofty idealism, and shares the goals by whose hands they are placed into …

“Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

The other day, while talking with my mum, she shared the sense of peace and acceptance that she felt the day, in April, she was told she had cancer. She spoke of how unbelievable that peace was, how filled with acceptance that this was not something she could change, that she could do anything about.

What she was describing was letting go, surrender. Not surrender to an evil force, but surrender to the only one who we can trust to make all things right, if not in this life, in the forever to come.

It is not an absence of conflict, trouble or stress where serenity lives, but a surrender of our days, our lives to the Prince of Peace. That is true, realistic, serenity.
 

“all to Jesus, I surrender
all to Him I daily give.
I will ever love and trust Him
in His presence daily live.”

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There is nothing like summer break for actually enjoying, revelling in the mundane things of life.

I enjoy doing laundry, even returning to my childhood, hanging my clothes out on a line to air dry. Dusting is an art form. Cleaning toilets becomes a humble expression of love. Clearing unneeded items from closets a cleansing. Getting groceries an expression of love and care for my family.

Maybe it is because there are less demands, there is less to do, little of the “big things” in the back of our minds.

Joan Chittister said:

“The ‘mundane’ is certainly dull, I agree, and may even limit us — not only our perceptions but even the breadth of our questions. At the same time, there is something very freeing, very humanizing about the mundane. Doing dishes and buying vegetables get us back in touch with ourselves, give us time to smell the earth of our lives, give us time just to be. We will go on long after the big ideas fade and the profession ends. The question is, Will there be anything in me then? Will there be a me in me? It all depends on how I deal with the mundane.”

I believe that the greatest adventures in our lives are not found in our jobs, our education, our accomplishments. Our greatest adventures are found in opening our eyes each morning, ready to live fully, whatever may come.

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 I wonder when it begins?

You know the it I am referring to?

looking ahead, thinking about tomorrow, dreaming of the start of school, the new job, the vacation, the completion of school, the wedding, the birth of the baby, the child’s graduation, the child moving out …

I expect it is something hard wired into our human minds, and it is not all bad, as we need to look ahead, to dream, to plan, to stretch beyond our present.

I am gifted, even fueled, by looking ahead.

I countdown to events, breaks, vacations, even possible snow days!

This summer break, I have had the joy of a few days away, the satisfaction of furniture refinishing to satisfy my creative side, the achievement of helping hubby to mend a septic problem, and friends to share our time, our place and our table with. These have all been good things … things that bring me joy.

I have not counted the number of weeks left before work recommences, nor the days until hubby begins his next vacation (though, I am sure he has counted). I have not been eager to get my furniture sold, nor have I started the healthier eating summer goals that I had planned. Heck, I have barely even sat down to write!

I have stayed up late, and slept beyond hubby (this never happens). I have sat and chatted with a daughter, with no goal in mind, other than to spend time together. I have bought veggie plants with another, and we are enjoying their growth, despite the fact that they are in the same containers we purchased in which we purchased. I have taken my son shopping for clothes and we brought home nothing more than soft drinks. I have sat and watched documentaries with hubby.

I have sat … and that’s all I have done.

no goals, no tomorrows

just today, now.

Psalm 90:14 spoke to my heart the other day,

“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy
and be glad all our days.”

I’m loving today, I’m living today, and all it takes is breathing … and that’s enough.

 

 

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The Load

20140512-080237.jpg

The other night I was thinking about a load I was carrying …

and I drifted off to sleep.

The thoughts became a dream.

In the dream I was an old woman,

and my load was what she carried on her back.

She was sitting on the ground,

under a big tree.

The wind whispered,

You must get up,

a heavy load and fatigue are no reason to stop on this journey.

As she slowly rose to her feet she spoke back to the wind,

Take my load from me,

I cannot keep carrying it’s weight.

The wind did not answer.

The old woman inched down the road,

her destination unclear to her anymore.

She started to daydream of her younger years,

when she knew where she was going,

and the load was so light,

she did not feel it’s presence at all.

She remembered the years of living with joy,

unhindered by the heaviness of what she now carried.

Then she remembered,

the first time she felt it’s burden.

A mix of her own errors,

and those of others that were heaped upon her shoulders.

She remembered rearranging them,

adjusting them,

moving them around

in the sack that she carried them,

hoping to lessen her awareness of their presence.

She remembered hoisting them over her shoulder,

and she kept moving forward,

but, over time,

the weight of them grew,

and her strength depleted.

She remembered a time,

years later, years ago,

when she simply could not take it anymore.

The weight was causing her feet to ache,

her back to bend,

her ability to see the road ahead hindered,

for her eyes were always on the road she stood,

no longer the destination ahead.

In frustration,

she threw her load to the ground,

threw herself to the same ground,

and sobbed,

and cried out to the wind,

take my load,

take me,

but don’t make me carrying it anymore.

The wind whispered,

there is only one way to lessen your load.

I’ll do it,

I’ll do anything!

She cried, raising her head,

feeling the presence of the wind all around.

The wind stopped,

the air stilled,

quiet filled her ears, her soul.

You can lessen your load,

but there is only one way.

Yes, yes I will do anything!

The wind blew into her soul,

You must share it.

You must share it with those around you.

You must share it with family and friends

and let them carry it with you.

No! She exclaimed!

I cannot do that to my family and friend,

For they too have heavy loads.

There is only one other way,

whispered the wind.

Walk in the direction I am blowing,

and I will direct your path.

And so she did,

all the days of her life.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet,a light on my path.”
Psalm 119:105

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m home again, and back in my garage, covered in paint, and dust, and sweat.

I am working on a table and chairs that I have been hired to refinish. When completed, my labours will have produced a lovely finished product, that I will have labored on for about fifteen to twenty hours (a rather concervative estimate). It will be complete, I will deliver it, have my pocket padded, and be on my way to begin yet another project.

I am labouring in another way this week …

parenting.

Yesterday, my twenty-something daughter and her friend left for a road trip …

and I had labor pains, as I hugged her good-bye, forced a smile of well wished excitement and fun … and thought of all that could go wrong enroute.

Yesterday, my just-graduated daughter and her boyfriend headed south, across the Canada/US border for the first time (solo), to check out a waterfall, hang out at a park, shop, and have the best pizza this side of Chicago …

and I had labor pains, as I hugged her good-bye, wishing them a great day of fun … and thought of possible dangers of a waterfall, money issues, and car failures.

Today we will pick up our son, after two weeks away at camp, and I already know what he will say when we pick him up,

“I’m only home a week, then I want to go back for the rest of summer”

and I will have labor pains, as he will not be here much this summer … and I’ll miss him.

Never, as an expectant mom, did I imagine that my connection to my children had nothing to do with an umbilical cord. It has nothing to do with anything physical! As can be confirmed by mothers who have adopted or fostered children.

I don’t desire for my kids to live in momma fear. I don’t desire for them to only do that which makes me comfortable. I want them to live their lives within fearless wisdom, pursuing the dreams, desires and responsibilities that God has laid upon their hearts and minds.

A child does not labor for its mother, a mother labours for her child.

Not one book I read, in preparation for birth and delivery, ever informed me that the length of labor for a mom (a parent) never ends.

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The sign, above, will be the only good thing about driving North, this morning.

As hubby and I pack up our bags, and begin the treck out of the tsunami zone my heart will ache.

For about eight years we have been coming to Cannon Beach, Oregon. Most of those trips have been made with at least the younger two of our three kids. We stay at a conference center (www.cbcc.net) where you get fed in every way … as you walk the beach, as they provide two amazing meals each day, as you breathe the salty ocean air, as you have time to reconnect with your loved ones, as you listen to amazing speakers, as you share worship with other Christ-followers, as they provide entertainment and socializing opportunities.

The only negative of the experience is that, while being fed so well, and in so many ways, is that the time here is spent in a Tsunami zone.

According to Geo-scientists, the west coast, roughly from California to Alaska, is overdue for a Megathrust earthquake, which will trigger a Tsunami unlike any other this Earth has yet experienced. This scientific teaching comes to my memory as soon as I see the first sign that declares:

“you are entering a tsunami zone”

As I viewed one of those signs, as we were entering what I like to refer to as eutopia, I found myself thinking,

“why would any person, who knows about the possibility of impending doom, enter into a tsunami zone?”

Then I thought of other risks of impending doom that we drive into, throughout our life:

  • Marriage
  • Raising children
  • Moving to a new town
  • Changing careers
  • Starting a new business

Each one of the choices above can be doors that lead us to tragic ends, yet we humans keep driving into various tsunami zones in our life. Areas that could be the end of us, destroy us.

But, like the possible threat of a Megathrust earthquake and resulting tsunami, the risks associated with major life choices are not guaranteed, but possible. Like the benefit of being fed, and nurtured, and made better by being in a beautiful coastal town, the most major, of major life choices, can also satiate, nurture and make us better.

If we never enter into the tsunami zone, we will never Know the joys of the risk.

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