Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring has Sprung

It smelled so sweet when I walked out my front door this morning.

The smell almost knocked me over, and again I was hit with another surge of gratitude for what a safe haven this place has become to me.

I keep having these moments where I cry tears of joy.

It reminds me of when my children were babies and I would look at something on them like the dimples in their fingers, or their chubby little leg, or their fuzzy head of hair and my eyes would well up with tears of joy. I was thankful for their health and the miracle that was their brand new life. That's what I am talking about that keeps happening here. That's what I mean by a surge of gratitude. Do you ever get those surges?

Around every corner I am pleasantly surprised with a new flower, plant, or explosion of color, and I am thankful for the new life.
It has been a HARD winter. Probably one of the hardest I have ever experienced. Of course I know it was hard because of our big move, but more than that there was so much that happened this winter in my soul. I had a kind of a reckoning in a way. I realized some things in my life that I had let die, or I had buried and those things needed to be brought back to life. NO one could do that but the Creator of my soul. At the same time, there were some things, habits in my life that I realized needed to die.
I went around taking pictures of all the new life that is exploding all around me. As I was leisurely walking around I prayed some quiet prayers to my Creator and went on my merry way.

Then, in reading Psalm 23 today (twice) once in my daily readings, and again in a journal that a good friend gave me, and then with Green is The Now- by Chris Heifner, coming on my IPOD while I was driving, well needless to say I got the message. HE has led me beside quiet waters. HE is restoring my soul here. I Shall NOT and am NOT in want of anything more than this.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sundays, Church, Family, and Community

Sundays. The day of the week where most people either go to church or sleep in and relax at home. It is a day for families. It used to be that many families had Sunday dinner at Grandma's house and everyone brings their favorite dish to share. You get a chance to re-group for that day, for a few hours you remember who you belong to in this big world and it brings comfort. You got a taste of community. Then dinner is over and everyone hurries home to wherever they live to begin their week.

To me that is what going to Church is for. A chance to re-group and remember what family you are from. Where you come from, what you believe, and where you are going together. Churches come in many shapes and sizes. Just like families they have different traditions, cultures, sounds, and histories. Sometimes churches aren't called churches. I was a part of a VW church, whose Pastors are very dear friends and have given me and my family a sense of community and belonging that has been vital to our growth as human beings. We didn't meet on Sunday mornings but still when we gathered I felt just as refreshed as I did on any given Sunday morning after church.

For me this idea of church and sunday mornings has changed so much over the years. It used to be that when I was the child, I tried to do everything I could to get out of getting up and going to church with my mom and dad and rest of the family. Now I am the parent who is trying to get everyone up and motivated and out the door in time for church. Sometimes I revert back to being the child, shh... don't tell my children I said that. Really I am not quite sure why that is that I have reverted back to childhood in recent years, but when it comes to going to church, I just know that at some point church became a chore. Something I checked off my list of things to do in a week. It's not a chore but rather a gift that shouldn't be taken for granted.

I remember when church was the highlight of my week and the pinnacle of my social interactions as a teenager. When I was finally able to go to the church of my choice my sister and I would drive 30 miles from Carson City to Reno to go not only to church on Sunday mornings but then again to an evening youth church that night. I met people and families then that I am still friends with today. I met and married my husband with that family or church. Then we moved on to find a church closer to home and one that we chose together.
That family supported us through the early years of our marriage and into the years of parenting. It was a safe haven and a place that we were healed from so much. I am still good friends with those family members/friends. Finally before moving here to Seattle we became a part of a city on hill or the Hillside family and those years...well they were like nothing I have ever known or will know again. Those years taught me so much. I never thought I would find a place like it.

So you see, Sundays for me have never been just another day.

And now as a parent I don't want my children to grow up and think that Sunday is just another day of the week either. However, I don't want them to be the children that dread going to church and so it is hard for me to find the balance there.

Recently, I have been so incredibly blessed to have found a group of people at Bethany UCC in Seattle.
They are a beautiful group of people that come from all over the world. Today I sat with tears of joy for this church and for the churches before this that have walked along side me and my family for many years.

I am a better person because of some of the people that my life has crossed paths with in these churches, families, communities and clubs. I am full of hope that church really is being redefined for my whole family and that healing is ahead because of it. I am thankful for those who spend their days looking for better ways that they can serve their community whether it's through the forum of a church or not. YOU are to be commended if you are counted among one of those people who is serving your community, church, family, club. I pray all of God's blessings on you for this and many more of the things you do to make the world, our world a better place.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Books, Pictures, Gardens, and More Books

I do believe I am having withdrawals from not being enrolled in classes right now.

Hurry Quick, read that last sentence before it disappears forever never to be mentioned again.

The absence of involuntary reading that is imposed on one when they are in school has left me wanting. So I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. I even picked up a copy of my daughters series of the Twilight books (Eclipse) and read it in a day. Those of you that know me, know that was a desperate cry for help. Here is the list of the other books I have read in the past few weeks and my own book review of them;

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Club (*****)

The 13th Tale (****)

Eclipse (**)

Wuthering Heights (*****)

Persuasion (***)

Irresistible Revolution (****)

Those are the books I have devoured recently. And now our newest (friends/neighbors (for 2 weeks)/first members of our community up here) Erston and Blue gave Moses and I gift cards to our wonderful used book store here. We went yesterday on a nice little date while waiting for the kids to get out of school and here is what we picked up;

The Pillars of The Earth

Everything Must Change

A New Earth

Till We Have Faces

Learning Italian

More guilty pleasures. Just for fun here is the list that Moses picked up;

Far Out (101 Strange Tales From Science's Outer Edge)

Choosing and Keeping Chickens

A Diet for A Dead Planet

The picture at top is of Erston and Blue (as promised to Allie)

Middle Picture is my starter plants for my garden that are coming right along. I already have about 8 sprouts. This gardening thing is so exciting. I will be in awe if those tiny seeds actually end up being food we can eat. It's just SO COOL!!

Last pics are of my garden in it's current state and just some of the signs of spring around here.

This flower bush hangs over the garden and the pictures hardly do it justice because the color is just so beautiful. Funny thing about living here is that because of the back drop being gray clouds and mist a lot of the time, colors just seem to be that much brighter.

I hope the colors are getting brighter where you live too. Can't wait for Spring to fully explode.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Monday Afternoon and Simple Pleasures

I made myself a cup of Cinnamon Apple Spice tea and thought to myself, "self doesn't tea just make you feel smarter?"
Somehow it does. Like the English accent. When a person speaks in an english accent to me they just sound smarter doesn't matter what they are saying. Anyway, this particular cup of tea is comforting me in more ways than one. Warming my hands and making me feel as though everything is going to be okay. Do you ever feel that way about a certain food or drink? If so isn't it interesting how food and drink can have that effect on a person?

Simple thoughts like this have been on my brain lately. I have been reading a lot of books (of choice) recently. I am not in school this semester and I am left with the urge to read something, anything, and everything all at once. Some very recent books have been set in a time frame long ago, and so my thoughts have been about what it must have been like to live in the days of the great depression, holocaust, and or even living in this day and age but in a war plagued country.

I take for granted at night that my belly is full, my feet are warm, and that I won't wake in the middle of the night by sounds of bombs going off. Maybe a thought or two has hoped that a tree wouldn't fall on this cozy little cabin in the middle night, but that is a story for another day. Also I don't want to worry my mom if she is reading this so let's move on.

So the simple pleasure of having a cup of tea seemed blog worthy to me today. Thankful for tea, thankful for warmth, thankful for the simple joys in life.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Erston and Blue

They call us Urban Homesteaders.

We call them Hippie Accountants.

We found each other through a mutual friend Craig.

They have a passenger bus, 1940's stream line, fully metal hollow tube, that now holds all they own.

We had some land for them to park said bus for a few days before they head out on the road on their big adventure.

They garden, make their own wine, beer, tea bags, relish.... you name it, they make it.

We want to learn to do these kinds of things.

They have "hello" time. Every night at 9pm they stop what they are doing, whatever conversations they are having with another person and re-group to say hello lover.

We admire that.

They have no children, only a cat named Sketch.

We have 4 children who love them and are already learning so much from them.

The world would say we are crazy.

We say we are new friends and that settles that.

The conversations have been long, inspiring, and helpful.

I will be sad when they leave.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Irresistible Revolution

I can honestly say that there is no other book that has challenged me to the core of my being(other than the Bible o.c.) than Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.

I mean, I thought I was a decent Christ follower before reading this book but after reading this book it made me wonder if I was following christ with a little 'c'. A christ that just fit into my lifestyle and what I thought a "christian" looks like. A little christ that you put in your back pocket and only pull out when it's convient or you are in need of something, like a genie in a bottle. I feel like I have been following a little 'c' christ all these 20+ years after reading this book.

He paints a different picture of Jesus and what it means to be a Christian. A good, beautiful, exciting, but oh so challenging picture of Jesus. This book made me hear Jesus teaching in a different way and he made me fall in love with Jesus even more than I already was. I don't know if it was just that I had the ears to hear this message but I heard it loud and clear.

I warn you now though, don't read this book unless you want to be compelled to help someone, anyone, in need of help.

It's not the kind of book you can read and shelf without doing something about what it says.

Don't read it if you want to still wear Nike shoes and not feel guilty about it or if you want to keep shopping at Wal-Mart.

If you were ever at any point in your life somewhat okay with war, you won't be after reading this.

If you thought the death penalty was a good way to deal with hardened criminals you wont after reading this book.

There are so many nuggets in this book and it has left me wanting more as crazy as that sounds because I do still feel quite beat up by it. But it was the kind of butt-kicking I was looking for. It is the kind of hit in the jaw that makes you wake up and get a second wind. It is what I needed for this time in my life. Just when I thought I had nothing left to lose, turns out there is more I could and should lose. Matthew 16:25
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