Week of May 28, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

19. Twelve years yesterday…and that I can put in purple today, when it was red in my mind yesterday

20. Reconciliation…

21. Rain keeping us home, when I wanted a break, instead of the boys marching in the Memorial Day parade, but then enjoying a picnic with the Scouts/families

Ten lepers received healing from their horrible skin condition. They could even be restored to a life in fellowship with their communities and families. But only one received complete healing – the one who came back to thank Jesus for the physical healing. The one who would have been an outcast among the Jews even before he was stricken – the Samaritan.

evening: 22. Orange poppies in long green grass

23. Ice cream with my family

24. Ann Voskamp’s struggles with believing in the validity of these lists – reading echoes of my own thoughts

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

a.m. 25. eBible’s “Great Faith Stories” Bible reading plan – I must believe that God IS, and is God. What He says, He will do. He put it together, holds it together, and has a plan.

26. The evening, settling-in songs of birds

27. Pens and pencils…that see

lunchtime 28. Working tastebuds

29. Flowered hairclip made for Nora by a friend and the messy red hair it holds

30. My purple glass pie plate

I have done this before. This list-making. But I failed to keep living in the moments, those moments listed and the others I stopped living in and went back to merely existing in them – or rushing, flailing, resisting, resenting my way through them as my mind was on other things. I robbed my moments of their meaning as I let my world go back to being about me.

evening 31. Sun breaking through clouds

32. God is still God even when I’m cranky

33. Sternum-vibrating worship music on a short drive alone

34. The… I don’t know a good word for it… fluster, bluster… of an approaching storm

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

35. A morning starting out all “wrong”

reminding me that I need You for EVERYTHING

Tired of the roller coaster. Walking on water, then looking away from the One who makes it possible.

Love/hate relationship with expectations/anticipation.

Without anticipation, life is dull, flat, exhausting. But to anticipate opens one up to disappointment, feeling rejected… exhaustion.

I’m tired.

36. Your plans are better than mine, regardless of how I feel.

Looking for the “easy” thing to be grateful for, the thing that doesn’t need red ink because it is not difficult to find the beauty, the blessing in it. But at this moment I can’t see the good alone. There is no birdsong without the growling, moaning heavy machinery somewhere beyond what I can see from the classroom window. A student out-of-sorts and unable to replicate the work done so well after a lesson learned so easily and happily yesterday. There is no sunshine without the possibility of sunburn and the specter of skin cancer. Break time is too short; I don’t have the energy to TEACH. Now the birds sound like they’re arguing. Joel’s birthday is Friday; we are not prepared, Jeff is in pain, and there has been little response from Joel’s friends. Everyone is so busy, and even busier this time of year.

I had great ideas for the summer study this morning. But I fail to follow through on so many good ideas.

I am out of time for this “seeing pencil” at the moment.

And what do I read in Ann’s book when I pick it up for a moment… life is loss. Again I am reminded that I am not alone in my questions and my doubt, that others can see aspects of the gut-wrenching reality and work out the… tension… between being grateful for all of the “small,” wonderful, pleasant blessings in order to learn to live in the moment as we should, while grappling with – not ignoring – the fact that God intends to bring blessings in and through everything He allows to happen in our fallen world.

We are finite. Short-sighted. Generally more interested in comfort in the now than in the big picture. We try to eliminate any source of pain, flee from it when we can, try to bury it, medicate it, distract ourselves from it when we can’t.

But He is THERE, too.

As Ann is still struggling in the book, I do not know how I would thank Him in the truly painful, when the stripping away cuts deep. I have enough trouble remaining thankful in the mundane, the mind-numbing day-after-day. It is these moments that the list is meant to transform, as it prepares us to see the deeper moments from a different perspective, one closer to His.

It is a small thing… that is bigger than I can imagine.

Philippians. I think Philippians should be the book we study this summer while we read the book together and encourage each other to be grateful, to look for the things that will make our hearts sing, that will “anchor” us in each moment and carry us along in grace.

37. Second, third, fourth… innumerable chances.

afternoon 38. Field full of buttercups

Thursday, May 31, 2012

afternoon 39. Indian paintbrushes smiling orange

40. Hey Diddle Diddle, and making up new lyrics with Littlest

41. The Laurie Berkner Band – Nora is enjoying it

evening 42. Salt potatoes… pork chops

43. Kids helping out

44. Evening sunshine through west-facing windows and not needing the lights on at dinnertime

bedtime 45. Memory foam that allows me to wake up with a happier neck and back

46. Cotton clothing that lets my body breathe

47. Hand lotion

Friday, June 1, 2012

48. Joel!! Seven years with my first redhead, second son.

49. Joel being creative, drawing colorful pictures with his first present of the day.

50. Reading Philippians 3 while eating breakfast with Nora, and having Third Day’s “Nothing Compares” play when we turned on K-LOVE.

51. Mismatched socks… They’re helping, but how do we teach them to put more thought and effort into the mundane? I need to.

Yes, pens and pencils have eyes. I learn as I write. Is it, in part, the fact that I have to sit still and spend enough time on a thought to get it down on paper, and the unhelpful thoughts that push in and would more distract have to wait… and when I see unhelpful thoughts in front of me, given shape, I can better see them for what they are.

We need to give God time to speak. Not that He needs us to do something in particular in order to speak to us, but He’s not rude; we get to choose to what we really listen and attend.

…He’s always speaking, isn’t He? Hmmm… I am not usually listening.

“Be still…”

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a, KJV

52. Children laughing and playing together, and a birthday party that went well despite a complete change of plans due to rain

53. A family evening in celebration of my middle child, my red-haired boy, my seven-year-old, my JOEL!

54. Comfy, cozy clothes – sweats on a chilly evening at HOME

55. Family devotions. Reading through the New Testament together. Slowly making our way through Matthew; reading, listening, discussing… trying to learn so we can apply

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why is it so difficult to stay in a place of gratitude and belief in love? To believe that what I see here is True and real?

I need to remember to keep my lens in place – to read, study, learn, meditate on, memorize, internalize, live His Word.

56. Thank You again, Lord, for using Ann Voskamp’s written words to speak and minister to me. Thank You for the wisdom and willingness with which You have blessed her. I love You, Lord.

57. Grilled cheese sandwiches and children smiling when I mentioned making them for lunch

58. Being able to thank God for allowing me to burn the sandwiches to remind me to Whom the glory for anything I do, in this case writing for Ladies’ Retreat, belongs. And then giving me the double blessing of the sandwiches tasting fine!

59. An unanswered message… Another reminder to refocus. I’m trying.

60. Mood swings… when I allow them to remind me I am finite, but God is not. That He is still God even when I founder. That I need Him for EVERYTHING. I hate them, but God intends to use them for my good. So I need to believe through my unbelief. Persist through my apathy. Love when I feel justified to be angry. Bless when tempted to curse. Remember my value when I feel worthless. Know He’s near when He feels far away. Always seek Him and be in His Word when it’s a struggle. Remember that every choice I make affects others when everything seems pointless and meaningless.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

61. Being trusted to share another’s thoughts with my own words.

62. Local men being polite to each other at the gas station.

63. New people at church becoming consistent attendees, growing our church family

64. How green, verdant, full of life everything looks in the rain

65. Purple pen

66. Reflections in puddles

“That leper who had returned with thanks – his faith that gave thanks was counted by Jesus as saving faith. And now this – that faith is not a once-in-the-past action, but faith is always a way of seeing, a seeking for God in everything. And in the eyes gaze long enough to see God lifted in a thing, how can the lips not offer eucharisteo? (One Thousand Gifts, page 114)

67. Blessed be the Lord,

Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;

Therefore my heart exults,

And with my song I shall thank Him.

Psalm 28:6-7, NASB

68. The NASB using a capital letter for God-pronouns

“I’m reluctant to untether from the moon. The world I live in is loud and blurring and toilets plug and I get speeding tickets and the dog gets sick all over the back step and I forget everything and these six kids lean hard into me all day to teach and raise and lead and I fail hard and there are real souls that are at stake and how long do I really have to figure out how to live full of grace, full of joy – before these six beautiful children fly the coop and my mothering days fold up quiet? How do you open the eyes to see how to take the daily, domestic, workday vortex and invert it into the dome of an everyday cathedral? Could I go back to my life and pray with eyes wide open?

Praying with eyes wide open is the only way to pray without ceasing.” (One Thousand Gifts, pages 120-121)

69. From yesterday, Joel’s birthday dinner here withe Grandpa and Mary, the look of pink milk and grape soda in the gleam of carnival glass

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