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Posts Tagged ‘#wonder’

What a week our household ended April with! What a wonder-filled week!

The week began with our youngest daughter starting her final practicum, in her quest to complete her Special Education Teaching Assistant (SETA) course. 

This time she is placed in a high school, even working with a couple of students who were actually born before her. Challenge is the key God uses, most often, to unlock our most hidden gifts. I pray she opens her door wide and shares her strength, building her character, and using it as a tool to open the locks on her the students she encounters.

Though she intends to continue her education, she will soon be unleashed from this program, certified to work with those students in the margins. Using what she has learned, and who God created her to be, to do her job. She will do her job so very well, for she has been gifted to see strengths in the weak.

I know she is eyeing freedom, desiring to share an apartment with friends, living her life independent from mom and dad.

Last Monday night I sat in a dark gymnasium, heart in my throat, as I anticipated the start of the high school play in which my son was acting. 

The story, by George Orwell, called 1984, has been a time of stretching for my boy-man. My ‘baby boy’ traded in his sweet and affectionate nature for the pure evil of O’Brian. Each performance he had to get in touch with his carnal dark side … yelling, torturing, destroying. 

A couple of weeks ago it was getting to him, greatly. The character of O’Brian was invading him, extinguishing the light with it’s smothering darkness. I prayed. I asked others to pray. Then, last week, the dark was being pushed out by the light. 

The most heart-warming moment of the week was when, as I was chatting with a mom of another character, who I had not seen or spoken to in months. She asked how my son was, because, just days before, her daughter came home saying that they really needed to pray for him, because his character was getting to him. Is there any greater gift, for a parent, than to be told someone is praying for your child?

His efforts and the cost to him payed off in full, as he interpreted well Owell’s character. His (5) performances were believable and authentic. The entire cast depicted the evils of this story so well, and the entire cast, crew and director were as authentic in their support and care for each other.

He is now, once again, fully himself. O’Brien is gone, may his character be gone forever, may his lessons forever be remembered.

That week ended in an event centre, watching our eldest cross the stage, have her tassel moved from one side to another, receive a diploma, and pose for a picture.

That short walk was the culmination of six years of hard work … her hard work. I found myself hearing the song If it Hadn’t Been for You, from the musical, Anne of Green Gables, as her name was read to cross the stage.

It was she, who earned the double major (Sociology and Psychology) degree, by studying hard, writing mountains of papers, and working numerous jobs along the way, to pay for half of her schooling costs (the government of Canada helped with the rest … but this too falls in her lap).

As Miss Stacey said, “why she did it herself, with imagination and determination”

I hold on to a fair measure of parent guilt, for encouraging her to pursue education at such an expensive university, and having little to contribute to it’s costs. Though I do know she received a wonderful education, by the relationships she has made, and will continue to have with her profs, who educated, encouraged, challenged and cared for my girl.

The world is now an open book to her. She is well on her way, making plans for the future, her future. Her plans, though not solidified, are to move away. This makes my heart ache, and soar all at the same time. For “hope is the thing with feathers” (Dickinson).

These are the memories of that wonder-filled week. That week that was the culmination of much patience, for each of my children. The practise of patience will continue, throughout our lives. May my three have the patience to pursue what they hope for, all the days of their lives.

 

Romans-8.25

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This is a re-post from about four years ago … but the memories shared here are remembered every spring.

I lost it, and I don’t know where …

I lost it, and I don’t know why …

I lost it, and I’ll never get it back …

It was my creation, my gift, and there is no way to ever fully re-create it 😦

Now, if you know me, you might think I am talking about my losing my marbles … and … you are probably right. But the loss I am talking about is my original post called “Love = Pussy Willows.”

I wrote it, as a gift for my parents, who DID both read the original… before it got lost in cyberspace. But, I wanted to keep it … for me, for my kids. So that when my mom and dad are no longer on this earth, we could be reminded of the legacy of thoughtful, kind and even romantic love, that they shared for each other, and left for us to duplicate in our own lives.

And so, here I go, trying to re-create that which I’ve already created, and is now gone. I feel a bit like I am one of the scientists who created/cloned Dolly the sheep. I am consulting my sieve-like brain cells for what I can recall (not much hope there). I am mixing memories, words and thoughts with the hopes of a carbon copy result. I even consulted others who also read my post, for what stood out to them. The problem is, that as a writer/creator I cannot duplicate my creation perfectly – I may have all of my childhood memories, phrases I remember writing and the help of others, but I can not go back in time.

I cannot duplicate the humidity or temperature of weather on the day I wrote it. I cannot duplicate the food I ate, the exercise I did or didn’t do, or my hormonal levels of that day. I cannot perfectly replicate the motivation I had for writing it.

So, all that said … just like Dolly the sheep, I might have all the exact pieces to clone my post … but, me, as the creator, will never, ever feel it is possible to look on the clone as anything but a cheap imitation of the real thing.

But, all that said, her I go … again.

My parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary on July 24 of this summer. I am so proud of them … (I’ve been married about half that, and I know that each day provides a new opportunity to re-choose my hubby … and he to re-choose me … and lets get real, there are many days we would like to return the other for a refund).

Mom and Dad are a fairly average married couple. They have loved, fought, struggled, and survived each other.

I was blessed to know romantic, but true, deep love and affection through them … and pussy willows.

My memories of pussy willows are so vivid, so clear, and they go as far back as when I was four or five … but they happened for many years!

In the spring my dad would be driving down a country road, usually taking out weekly trash to the ‘Dump’, or driving to my grandmothers house. And, all of a sudden he would pull over to the side of the road and get our out of the car.

Then he would be in the ditch, unaware of the presence of water, or spiders or snakes (yuck!). And he would reach out for what he was after … pussy willows.

Now this was the spring time ritual for my dad, And, as an adult, I have to say he has the eye for the perfectly developed (not too soon, not too late) pussy willows. I always seem to find them as they are just opening, or once they have gone to seed!

But the ritual didn’t end with a bouquet in his thorn punctured hands, and soggy wet feet. No, mom had her part to play as well.

When dad arrived home, with his freshly cut bouquet, he would beckon mom to the door.

And, every year her response was the same, “Oh Denny, pussy willows.” and then that ever-embarrassing (for any child who has hoped and prayed that the stork truly was responsible for the reproduction of humans) hug and kiss … and gaze into each others eyes (I can hear the adolescent within me say “blech”).

Then mom would scurry to the ‘special’ golden-yellow vase, where last years bouquet of pussy willows (cob webs and all), would still be. She would discard the old, and arrange the new bouquet to perfection. Then, the special golden-yellow vase would be set out on display.

The whole experience of the the pussy willows sticks in my head because of how they were GIVEN, and how they were RECEIVED, by each of my parents. If my mom had pestered my dad to go get her a new bouquet … the receiving wouldn’t have been as a gift, but a duty. And if my mom stuck the bouquet in just any old vase, and discarded them after a ‘respectable’ amount of time … the giving wouldn’t have been received in the manner they were given.

I love this way that my parents, unaware, taught me about giving and receiving. And I hope they can receive this post in the spirit it was intended … that of a gift to show my love.

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“You could write about something cheery, for a change.”
(insert sword to the gut)

Those were the words of my daughter last weekend, as I was writing a blog post. I thought I had, but maybe the effects of monsoon season in the Pacific Northwest had gotten to me, and I have been seeing the cup half empty far too frequently. So, here goes, sunshine and lollipops are on there way!

As soon as our conversation finished the word ‘wonder’ surfaced in my mind.

Maybe it is a matter of getting back to the things that are foundational, the things that are imperative in my life. Things that make me wonder make my heart skip a beat, put a smile on my face, and breath fresh air into my lungs (and soul). To  be in a state of wonder is to be reminded that someone else holds the reigns of my life, and that He delights in the way small things can bring me joy, can remind me of His omniscience.

Things like:

  • a sunrise or sunset, bursting with color
  • a spider web covered in morning dew
  • spring bulb plants, poking through the soil
  • a shared joke, complete with full belly laughter
  • standing at a sandy waters edge as the tide pushes forward
  • an elderly couple holding hands
  • putting my arm around my beast, and feeling her lean in
  • the sight of an eagle soaring in sky
  • the sound of coyotes at night
  • a spontaneous hug from any of my kids
  • the scent of my mom
  • snow falling

There are many more things to wonder at! These are the things one cannot buy, the things that one cannot make happen easily. These things, experiences that make us wonder, remind us that we know so little, that our world is so vast.

Ray Bradbury said,

“Stuff your eyes with wonder,
live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds.”

The blessing of wonder, is the blessing resulting from curiosity, and from the ability to look for beauty and delight in the world around us.

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I remember vividly, many years ago, being in an elementary classroom, and hearing an adult say,

“This is not right. Bears are not purple.”

I watched the, previously excited and proud, child turn away,

dejected,

disappointed,

disillusioned with her own perspective.

I would guess that what that young child heard was “you are not right.”

My heart sank, as I watched a child lose the wonder, the joy, the colors available through that which the Creator, himself had made available. She also lost confidence in her own perspective of the world in which she lives.

To lose so much, so young, is to have their creativity questioned, their perspective doubted and it diminishes the value and passion for wonder.

As if this blog’s name of itsawonderfilledlife, does not adequately stress how strongly I value the practice of wonder, the following quote is noted on my “About Me” page, and is a reminder to me of how life-giving wonder can be:

“He who can no longer pause to wonder

and stand rapt in awe,

is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”

Albert Einstein

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May we encourage wonder, in children, in adults, in ourselves, so that we see can see how vast, how colorful this created world is for those who choose to pause.

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You know those days when your worst nightmare has come true? When you think you are moving toward freedom, but actually you are just headed for the crap house? When everything seems to be going from bad to worse?

Welcome to my week.

For a few years now, I have had this nightmare that the (original) septic system behind our thirty-five ‘ish year old house would die, needing to be replaced, before we had the chance to move on … on to greener pastures.

You see, replacing a septic field is off the charts expensive. Imagine the cost of a brand new kitchen, with granite counter tops, new flooring, back splash and lightening … now imagine spending that same amount of money on something that deals with human excrement. Though one could not (easily) sell a house with a septic field that needs replacement, the cost of making that replacement does not increase one’s home value AT ALL!

This spring was going to be the time to hire that (freakishly expensive) realtor, post the sign, and try to live in a house that is clean beyond that which is normal or natural.

Then hubby had a conversation with an expert in the field (gotta love humorous puns when life is … crappy), who said that the septic field needs to be replaced.

Though we are now seeking a second opinion, my heart is in my throat, my shoulders are sagging, and my head trying to process the how of this problem … how do we pay for this?

That’s it … no glib clichés, no sharing of Bible verses, no light in the darkness analogies …

Just wallowing, wondering …

It’s a good thing that wondering is one of my favorite things.

(Goodness and light will return, just needed to let my volcano erupt, so that I could see my way through the mire).

 

 

 

 

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Almost four years ago, a friend told me she thought I should write a blog. So I did (this is a rare instance when I did what I was told).

Almost nine hundred followers later, today marks the publication of the one thousandth post at itsawonderfilledlife … wow!

For the past four years I have rambled on about pretty much any stray thought that has passed through my consciousness.

I have been motivated to write by everything from pooh bags, to phrases, to people, to places, to philosophical thought.

I have shared my walks, my work, my MiniWheats (a term of endearment that students use to refer to my kids), and my love of wonder.

I have shared the classroom of my life, on this site, and how I contemplate all that is confusing, inspirational, and motivating about How Deep the Father’s Love is … for me, for we.

I have shared joys, sorrows, celebrations, successes and my loves.

After one thousand posts of bleeding out my digressing thoughts and life before anyone to see and read, what’s the point?

Has it been about dreams of a multi-million dollar book deal? Yup! Who would not dream of such a dream? And, considering my grammatical skills (?) and inability to write a rough copy (ever), that dream will continue to live on … in my dreams.

Has it been about having something to say? Yup! I have been writing blog posts all of my life … in my mind. This venue allows me the space to get my thoughts out, without (much) digression from what I had hoped to communicate. I struggle to communicate clearly when face to face (I am just not great at thinking on my feet). I feel more confident when the only thing staring at me is what I have written, and erased, and re-written, and erased, and …

Has it been about having something to share? Yup! It seems that the things I am most unsure about sharing, the things that rattle in my head, while my fingers hang about the computer keys, are the things that resonate with readers the most. I truly believe, and believe it even more so since writing this blog, that if we are feeling, thinking or experiencing something, there are others who have, are or will be sharing in those things. I believe it was C. S. Lewis who said, we read to know that we are not alone … perhaps we write to know that we are not alone, as well.

One thousand posts … may I continue to learn that, in blessing and curse, it truly is a wonder-filled life.

“Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.”
Isaiah 25:1

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Though hubby would argue that the first day of school is the most wonderful time of the year (cynical man), I know that the season of Christmas is the real thing!

Though the hustle and bustle of shopping, parties, baking, increased Church schedule and all of the regular activities, can usually drive me to near insanity, the buzz leading up to Christmas day does birth an air of excitement that leaves me wonder-filled.

When I can consciously turn off the noise and movement and schedules.

When I can move away from living in the urgent and towards the emergent.

When I can remember the Psalmist’s sage advise to just,

“be still”

Then,

I am freed to be filled with the wonder of the Christmas season.

The mystery of the first Christmas, first draws us in. Angels making announcements of impossible things to come.

The romance is always there in the shadows, as Joseph stays with his lady, and waits until after the child is born, to love her fully (or maybe loving her fully was what he did when he chose to divorce her quietly, or when he chose to obey the angel’s advice).

The drama of the self-centered, egotistical king, determined to go to any lengths to ensure that this Jewish king never steal his throne.

The science fiction of those from the east, the stargazers, traveling to find the king that had been foretold, a long time ago (but not quite in a galaxy far, far away).

The tragedy of no room available for this first family, after having traveled on foot and riding a donkey, heavy in the final days of pregnancy. Sharing a birthing room with beasts of the farmer.

This is the most wonder-filled story ever!

All we need to do is start with “be still and know”

And it will all enfold, as prophesied:

be still,
and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord almighty is with us;
The God of Jacob is our fortress.”
Psalm 46:10-11

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