Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday

That C.S. Lewis quote from a few days ago....that one about the country - I can't shake it.

"If you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.”

When my eyes first scanned those words - a lightbulb was lit.

Everything I see, everything I encounter, everything I feel - doesn't always have to be nettled down into verse. 

Sometimes when I come across something that strikes me - I get stressed.

I get stressed and frazzled because I suddenly feel the pressure to wrap that moment up in a fine tuned sentence to share.

I've heard a photographer say something similar....that when in precious moments, she feels the urge to capture it on camera instead of simply sitting in and enjoying the fleeting thrill. 

And now Lewis is pertaining the same thought to painting.

And I'm sure this is true of other art methods, too.

And this shouldn't be so, really.

Those of us who like to capture life in words, or on film, or on canvas - we will always feel the urge to regurgitate in some way - what we've happened upon.

And this is right, good, and God-given.

Artists capture.

So capture we should.

But when the pressure to pop out something brilliant - overrides our shear awe or shock or pleasure or despair of something.... maybe we should put the pen, the paint, the Polaroid down - and just be present.

Even for just a moment.

Maybe we should allow our hearts to really feel and see and revel in - before we nab it up and project it to others.

Maybe just giving ourselves permission to take things in for our own sakes - before we wrap it up and hook it in for others - is all that's needed.

I know it isn't always possible. I know that this idea can't stand for everything. Sometimes - we are called to capture. The end.

But most often - in gripping moments, in interesting experiences, in sweet holiday unwrappings, in gastly eye-opening situations, in breath-taking scenery, in drives through the country - taking a second to simply see it first for ourselves...

will result in more accurate, more heart-felt, more careful capturing for others.

As you go about your long weekend, friends - really see, really feel, really process - before you put it out or post it up. Stop the panic.

If the art is supposed to transpire, it will.

Especially if you breathe it in good before the making.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday

The cloud cover is thick and white and low this morning.

If I weren't in Texas - I'd think it was cold out.

The scene from my window makes it look as if there's a chill, but opening a door and taking one step into the backyard will prove otherwise...

...a blast of warmth will greet you.

And I love this. Heat, and sun, and sweat make me feel alive.

That's why...after I push publish here...I'm heading out for a quick workout.

This is allowable because today's schedule is a bit tinkered.

We won't be gathering round the table this morning for our lessons....we will be learning and exploring and discovering at the science museum instead.

A lovely luxury offered to homeschoolers is doing school and life and lessons elsewhere.

Dinosaurs, butterflies, animals, instruments - the possibilities for today are endless.

And an added treat? Daddy gets to do it all with us! A rare delight!

Mama here better hussle.

I have about a thousand things I plan to get done in the next hour. If I get half of them done..... I'll be happy :)

May your Friday be blessed and busting at the seems with joy, and grins, and revelations from the Lord. Hugs to you all.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday

I'm sitting down to punch keys this morning a little later than I'd like to.

Because Mama here snoozed a bit longer than usual.

And that's okay.

I'm (slowly) learning to not beat myself up over the occasional slips.

They are to be expected.

Since I failed to stir myself in time to leak out my own words - I'll leave you with the words of others. Theirs have hit me strong lately, anyhow. Perhaps they'll do the same for you?

Be inspired. Carry these memes with you. And have a beautiful day.

“In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.”- C.S Lewis

If you met a truly humble person, you wouldn't think him/her humble, but happy and incredibly interested in you. - Tim Keller


"Religious noise and worship do not necessarily mean the same thing." A.W. Tozer

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. -Mark Twain

'So often, a visit to a bookshop reminded me that there are good things in the world.' - Van Gogh

"If you are interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see the country.” ― C.S. Lewis

Let's really see today, friends. Hugs to you all.




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday

I just wrapped up my reading of Hebrews.

And I'm sad to see it go.

I know that it's wispy pages are forever bound to my Bible - allowing me to revisit it's profoundness anytime - but I won't be sitting each morning and drinking from it's well like I have been.

From the moment I started in on that book - I felt utterly sucked in and smitten and quenched.

Scholars don't know who penned it..... Paul, Apollos, Barnabas, even Priscilla...have been suggested, but no common consensus has been made.

We may not know who exactly wove the words of this book - but we know that they were skillfully wise in their weaving - and that the Holy Spirit was present when the words were crafted.

Yes, crafted. Hebrews is truth art.
It's a feast.
It's savory.

After one morning reading - I jotted down that I wanted to "pick up a spoon and scoop up the scriptures off the page". 

It was that satisfying.

Before this - I had hit a bit of a dry spell in my studying and taking in of the word. For numerous reasons - I hadn't the wherewithal or drive to consume it.

But then I felt lead to head to Hebrews.

And I was fed to the filling.

If you feel the urge to head there yourself -  go into it understanding that it tastes best in small morsels. Resist the itch to plow through. Really chew on it. And persist to the end.

One of the many nuggets that struck me most was this:

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. - Hebrews 10:39

Odd that the day before I read this, a guest preacher stood on the stage of our church and beamed to us all that self-preservation is what will make you lose your life....that making all of your decisions out of fear and preserval of self will only lead you to making bad decision.

And when he spoke this out - it reverberated loud in me.

And it ran so much against my thread.

I have spent my whole life desperately trying to preserve myself (my health, my energy, my safety) - and here swoops in this preacher and this scripture telling me to not shrink back and preserve myself, but to step forward and instead concentrate on preserving my soul.

Yes.

Ah, the sun is peeping once more, friends.

There is much to plate up and pass around when it comes to Hebrews - but I suppose you'll have to go do some munching yourself. Mama here better get moving - or else!

May the Lord speak to you tenderly and intimately through whatever scripture, song, or sermon you find yourself in today.

Lord, meet and feed each one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday

Today will be full.

School.
Piano lessons.
Soccer practice.
Dance class.

I don't usually do well with a plate over piled - but I don't thrive with an empty one, either. So, bring on the runaround.

I'm sitting smack in the calm before the precious storm. It's dim. The sprinklers are on outside. Everyone is still lost in a dream-like state. Shadows flicker on the wall as my lone candle flares. And Mama is wanting to do today.... well. Really well.

I want to smile more than I scowl.
I want to play more than I pout.
I want a soft heart, rather than a harried one.
I want love to shine like a beacon and bounce off these walls and sear their souls.
I want to live in such a way today - that my children desire to join me.

J.C. Ryle - back in 1888 - said this:

"Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to enter into childish joys, these are the chords by which a child may be led most easily, - these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart." - from The Upper Room, quoted in Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay Clarkson.

Just, yes.

I can't even expound.

Oh God - let those things, let those fruits....ring and reign loud and lavishly in this home.

The sheen of light coming from the window, is telling me that day is about to break wide open.

I can sense.... that the blondes will be out of the gate shortly.

Things are stirring....in the home, and in my soul.

Lord fill me and let it overflow.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday

It's barely five hours past yesterday.

It's dark and early here, and Mama is up....feeling the urge and itch to scribble something out.

I just checked all three of the littles - and they are rolled up sweet still, in blanketed bunk beds.

As I've noted here before...there is a type of pureness, stillness, freshness...to the early morning.

All crisp and new and waiting and ready. I love that.

Especially today.

Because after the children rise and dress and tend to chores - our first full day of homeschooling begins.

We have much to discover this year. With a big-guy 2nd grader, my kinder girl, and our 2 year old toddle-boy....our days of learning will be full.

Which hopefully....turns into minds and hearts being full, too.

I've set the stage as best I can...

Books all stacked on the kitchen table.
Chalkboard adorned with date and greeting.
Candles throughout.
Daddy surprising with donuts.
New outfits.
A plan.

And prayer. Lots and lots and lots of prayer.

Because a Mama can plan, and light candles, and leave notes, and prep her precious heart out - and it can all fall to pieces the moment the toddler shrieks and shrills.

It will happen....the shrieks and shrills. Kids will end up complaining, and Teacher-Mama will get tired, and laundry will pile up, and lessons will fall flat at some point.

Preparations and donuts and lit wicks won't make real life go away.

They just make real life feel a little warmer for the woman who is carrying it all. :)

My plan is to visit this spot numerous times over the next seven days. Dare I say it - but in my overly determined heart....my desire is to sit and share here on the blog everyday for the next seven go-arounds.

Because yesterday....I sat in a class myself. Two of the finest artists around - put on a course at our church entitled Arts and Faith.

It was all about  using your flair for the arts - to boost faith and Kingdom growth.

It was brilliant.


Afterward, Pastor Tom issued a commission:

Over the next seven days....let excellent art explode in you. Commit to it and see what happens.

And that's all I needed.

As our resident artists said....'set a deadline and do it.'

Yes. Okay.

With homeschooling, and a dear friend's diagnosis, and long prayer lists, and torture turning up in all parts of the world, and beauty turning up in all parts of the world, and family and marriage and the daily happenings of life - there is much that weighs both heavy and light on my spirit these days.

Sharing here - will perhaps makes sense of the load? And I pray - alleviate it for someone else in the undoing.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gathering our Precious Marbles

 (This post....it leans toward the ladies. All of the following can be said of the male mind too....but from my own recent experiences, and the countless interactions I've had with women on this topic as of late - I feel like I should gear this one in the direction of the gals. 

I started writing this piece last week. Strange and eery that it began just before a storm of much needed awareness erupted over mental health. Love to you all.)



Your mind can become your master.

It can freak you out, and fret your insides, and blow you up, and cause you to seethe.

It can imagine monsters that aren't real, and it can muster up all kinds of untruths, and it can whisper scares, and it can fall head long into every sort of doom and despair imaginable.

It can speak lies, and it can convince you of the worst.

And it can take you right over.

Because we women... the way we're woven - our minds are masterpieces!

They are beautifully laced and wreathed and interconnected. They are sharp and keen and uniquely agog with life.

Yes, a woman's mind is a masterpiece, indeed.

But we often times allow these masterpieces to actually master us....and this shouldn't be so, friends.

As moms, daughters, sisters, workers, aunts, allies,.....we women have got to get healthy in our heads -  if we want to make any kind of a positive impact in this world. In our worlds. In our homes and churches and communities and families.

Because an ill mind can sicken the whole body.

And it can render us useless if we let it.

Uselessness. That's the intent, you know. If the enemy gains ground in a woman's noggin'....a fall is certain. If the adversary of our souls gets any kind of control over a females faculties - she's fruitless.

And this....it gets me fired up.

Do you have any idea how many times I have convinced myself that I have some crazy random illness?
Do you have any idea how many times I have compared myself to other women - leaving me feeling worthless?
Do you have any idea how many times I have supposed that someone has something against me, because for some reason or another I imagined that I was slighted or shoved in some way?
Do you have any idea how many times I have worried myself right into a weary-ridden pit?
Do you have any idea how many times I can replay in my mind the events of my life that make me mad, or sad, or less than?

You are more than certainly nodding yes.

Ah! I'm raging!

We shouldn't be content with this. We shouldn't just accept this as normal. Or hormonal.

Because it's hell.

Literally. I'm not being profane...I'm being prescriptive.

We have got to be able to discern what is Jesus and what isn't.....so we He can turn our heads right side up again.

Enter Hebrews 5:14.

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (ESV)

Yes! To be women....who are so trained and experienced with discernment - that we can know and recognize what is God and what isn't...this is HUGE.

And it's life-changing.

If we ladies could tell the difference between the whispers of God, the sneerings of Satan, and our own flailing flesh...

If we could recognize the voice of the Shepherd, against the ruthless howl of the wolf....

we would find liberty.

We'd sniff out the lies so fast...the enemy's fiery darts would be snuffed and dismissed immediately.

To be able to differentiate and divvy up our inklings and whims and thoughts..... this is maturity.

It's also freedom.

Getting our minds to mind, as I wrote last summer....is victory. 

But this will look different for each of us.

Some of the ladies scanning this post - need professional counsel in this area.
Some might need medication.
Some might need a journal and a pen.
Some of us just need to take notice - that we are often times speaking utter trash to our very own selves.
Some might need to simply wake up and realize that there is another team on the playing field that is vying to dominate our minds, memories, and imaginations.

But ALL of us need to be asking. All of us need to pray, and petition the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and discernment when it comes to our thoughts.

ALL of us need to be ingesting scripture....because we know it's truth.

ALL of us need to be in more situations where we have to hear the voice of God....places where we have gone out on a limb for the Lord.... and we must know what's Him and what isn't. Maybe that's the training the verse is talking about.

ALL of us need to be the gatekeepers of what is allowed in, and what we grant ourselves to entertain.

Because we can't always control what comes to our minds.....but we can control what stays there....by the Lord's power...yes we can.

A woman's mind....her artistry, her insight, her originality, her ingenuity.....

is remarkable.

Let's start walking down a path that will allow us to also describe our minds as.....

 redeemed.

Lord, let us be sheep with the sharpest and most discerning of ears. In Jesus' name. Yes and amen.