Friday, March 29, 2013

The Moon Was Grieving

Our church had a Passover meal on Wednesday evening. I had been to one before, but it was much more like a demonstration than an actual meal. This was incredible. The picture painted for us was incredible. The lamb was delicious. There was so much joy. 

Then tonight, Maundy Thursday service came. It is a tradition of washing of the feet as a reminder of Christ washing the feet of His disciples. At the end of the service, there is a stripping of the altar. Every single thing is removed from the pulpit area. Every vial. Everything. The church goes black and everyone slowly leaves without saying a word. Then, you look back through the glass doors of the church and you see this where the altar was.
As the things were being carried away, I began to grieve and tear up. I cannot imagine Christ being taken from me. My heart was heavy with mourning. On the way home, we looked up to this deep orange red moon that was cloaked in black clouds. It just seemed like even the moon was grieving. I greatly anticipate Resurrection Morning. Come, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Let's Do the Cha-Cha!

Sure, she looks cute, but she really distracts me from getting so much done.
Well, the creek rose a little bit. Have y'all not been holding up your end of this thing? You were supposed to be praying that the creek wouldn't rise. See that door above. It looks harmless, benign, like a regular door. Behind that top piece of moulding is where I found that huge stash of cash. My husband was putting that moulding back up the other day. He had a level on the top part and asked me to hold the side piece at the bottom. The two foot long metal level fell off the top moulding straight onto my head. I started screaming and then every other female in the house started crying because Mommy was crying. The first day I thought I was okay, but the second day I most definitely was not. I have a nice concussion. Pain, pain, pain. I tried to crack jokes about being level-headed to lighten the mood. I didn't want my man to feel bad, but I am definitely hurt. Please say a little prayer for me. No work for me until next week.

We did get a little bit done in the bathroom. The door from the bath to our room has never closed completely because the door frame was not level. My man took the door frame out, leveled it, put the moulding back up and hung the door. Now, my door shuts. Glory! He also put the moulding up around the other door. I can now finish the mudding of the room. It might actually look like a real room soon. Can you even imagine? 
That's my 99 year old bathroom floor. I am quite enamored with it. That's all.
The lovely people at my church sent me a hard hat to protect my head during future endeavors. This is like that scene in Monster's Inc where they had not had an accident in a really long time. Accident free for years and then 2319! Poof, the clock rolls back to Accident Free for 0 days.

Have a blessed Easter, y'all! May all the joy of the Lord Jesus overcome you. Easter means no more death!

Here's my latest painting on Etsy. Buy it and support Gomer's House.
I saw this the other day and I just laughed. I love to cha-cha. I even call my baby Cha-cha. I think I need to hang this in my house to remind me to not fret about delay and just pretend that it's a cha-cha!
Let's dance, shall we?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Donkey Who Carried a King by R. C. Sproul

I love how we stand outside of church on Palm Sunday and all enter together waving our palm branches. The physical picture of the act is rich with meaning. I thought this was such a great follow up to share with my six year old. I always enjoy how R.C weaves words to help bring understanding to such a powerful topic. 

This sweet little book about the donkey spoke even to me. It speaks to the attitude of servanthood that we carry. Even though we are allowed to carry such a great thing, such as the gift of Christ in us, we are to do so with great humility. Carrying a great thing does not make us great, it should humble us to our core. This is an excellent read.

I am also taking a class by R.C. Sproul called Poets, Prophets, and Wisdom. It is excellent. I always enjoy his resources.

Download the ebook or pick up your copy.

This book was graciously provided by Ligonier for review.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Talk to me, Abba

The graciousness of our Lord overwhelms me. My plans, my thoughts, my abilities are so trivial, but Christ in His great majesty speaks into them and begets life. I sink under the weight of my failures. He rises and I fall. Oh, but the grace that catches me. The divine comfort of my Saviour is like a peace no man can give words for. The magnitude is breathtaking. 

Speak through me, Abba. Speak to me, Abba. 

He's still here. Even when I am sure that I have done something to shew Him away, He's still here. The ebb and flow of His mercy is perfect. He is perfect and he reminds me that His desire is to be great in my weakness. I ask, like Dostoevsky, that I may be worthy of my sufferings. May I revel in the glory of all He has done. May my story point you home. 
Cry out to Jesus.

Monday, March 25, 2013

North of Hope by Shannon Polson

I deeply enjoy people's stories. As I was reading the description of this book, it drew me in. I wanted to read Shannon's story. Her memoir beckoned me. Really, it's an unbelievable tale of losing her parents to a bear attack in Alaska and taking her own journey to grieve and make peace. We follow her through white water rapids in the Alaskan wilderness as she travels to the campsite where her family died.

I have read many a biography and many autobiographies. Even though I love hearing the stories that people have to share, they are not always well told. Sometimes a poignant and gut-wrenching tale is told in a shallow way. This is not the case here. Shannon is obviously a woman of brilliance with a rich and deep character. The way she lays out her text is genuinely profound. It takes us through Mozart's Requiem. Requiem meaning rest is the name given to a funeral proceeding or a mass for the dead. Shannon takes us through each of the traditional portions of this service by giving it a life and a definition showing us the stage of grief she was in. In a way, the mass could be compared to the stages of grief. In the end, it all beckons us on this journey towards healing in the tender arms of the Lord Jesus.

This work of literature spoke to the inmost places in me and made me feel more alive upon reading. I connected to her journey. Even though, I have not gone backpacking through the Alaskan wilderness, I understand the need, and I relished her journey. It is an opulent tale of the human heart. We can see through honest eyes how we are brought to deal with grief and the things in our lives that we wish had been different. Exquisite. I can't recommend it enough.

This is my standing ovation. Brava!

This book was graciously provided for review by Zondervan.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Don't Wear It Home.

Do you ever just find your head just swimming over all this nutritional information? I really try not to jump on bandwagons about things. It just seems like everything that the scientific community is so certain about ends up being not right. The problem is that we don't find this out until we've been eating what they told us to for 10 years. I read an article the other day about fish and pregnant women. It said that perhaps they were wrong about pregnant women eating it all along. I think our real problems are just that we feast on processed stuff like there is no tomorrow. Get out of the McDonald's line on get off your derriere and I bet you'll be fine. Pay attention to what makes you feel bad. Eat real food. Make it a priority. 

I signed up for My Fitness Pal a year or so ago. You log your food and exercise on it. I was continually struck by what portion sizes actually were and what was hidden in the food I was eating. For example, it is much better for you to get the Italian Nachos at Johnny Carino's than a salad. Really, you have to check everything. The thing that was so shocking to me, however, was what I was not getting. Now, we ate well before, but I was no where close to hitting the mark of getting all the nutrition I needed each day. It took me months and months to get a good real food plan that we could sustain. There's a goal to start at. Get what your body needs. Keep that liver humming and it will tackle many of those toxins you are worried about.

Don't give in to unhealthy food pushers who try to shove sugar by the bucket down your throat. You know what I am talking about. Remember, you have to wear all the food you eat just being polite. Don't wear it home, love. Eat what you truly enjoy. Eat real food.

Trust Jesus to care for you, friend. We really have no control over many things we would like to think we do. Focus on feeling good and caring for the image of Christ in you. 
Trust Him with the rest.

A few weeks ago, I splurged and went to have some bubble tea with my gal pal, Suzi. I thought that I would share with you the happiness that adorned the top of my cup. The Tea Lounge in Southpark Meadows is great fun!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Fine How Do You Do

Spring is sprung here at Gomer. We celebrated by breaking the high temp this week. I mean, if nothing else, we have that going for us. Ninety degrees in March. Can you imagine? Good thing I decided to work outside that day. I got an awesome farmer's tan working on the farm. We planted five trees, three grapes,  and made our first raised bed of vegetables. I've been wanting to do this for some time, but as you can imagine, we've been a little busy. This year, I scooped up some Christmas money and declared to my beloved that we were starting a farm. He, of course, was stoked. That is, until he realized that he had to carry double digit bags of mulch, soil, and manure to see my dream become a reality. I am already searching out more trees to buy and plants to plant. Groceries are expensive, y'all. Especially when you love to invite everyone over to supper and take food to your neighbors. Oh, and somebody had the brilliant idea to have a mess of girls to fill this house with. My stars, I love my babies, but they do eat.
I am still picking up pecans and they are still good. Can you imagine? This pic below is just one of our seven trees. It's forty-five feet tall. There are hundreds of pounds of pecans on them. I told Denbigh that we need one of those things that you pull behind your mower to pick up pecans. There is no way we can pick all of these up. This will probably not be quite the bumper year since they yield well every other year. This is called alternate bearing. I know, I am quite the botanist.
In our down time, here on the farm, we blow bubbles. We drive our tiny red Viper, take walks, and finger paint. It is quite the lovely existence.
I know that you can barely see it on the picture below, but that's the Crepe Myrtle's first leaf budding out. This has to be the happiest thing to me. All of that dormancy and the appearance of death shaken off in but a moment with rich buds of hope. There is life in there. 
I've been trucking around this joint with my bags of mulch. Gomer's getting a makeover. I marvel over each and every Iris that blooms. The creativity of God fascinates my spirit.
I am still trucking along over here on the guest room floor. This is some tedious stuff, y'all. I fill each of these cracks with twine and wood filler and then clean it up. I've been going at this for at least ten hours and it's just about an eighth of the way done. I am guessing that by the end of it all, I will have clocked over a hundred hours on the floor alone. That should make our guests feel loved. It brings fresh meaning to I will go and prepare a place for you. 
Did I tell you fine people that I found money in the wall? My husband always said there was money hidden in the walls of this old house. As I was texturing the walls of the bathroom, I shouted out to him that I had found it. We hit the mother load. Our ship had come in. Finally. Well, at least we got a good laugh at ourselves. I mean, we live in a mansion and found money in the walls. Love y'all. Have a beautiful Passion Week anticipating the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Sometimes I feel that I am hanging by a thread. The negativity of this life is suffocating. The very people who should encourage you and lift you up into the light are the ones that drag you down. It is hard not to take offense at the hurt perpetuated against us by our loved ones. Even when we know that the offending party is unhealthy or incapable of sharing tender, life-giving words, the sting is still there. That sting must be dealt with so that the bitterness does not drive a wedge between us and those who need an example of Christlike love. This includes those who are supposed to be the example themselves. Don't be fooled or shocked by the bad behavior of Christians. We are to live this life as sinners saved by grace offering it to others.

I know that these hurts must be addressed. The heart of the thing must be put to rest. God can give us clarity on the time. He can give us the measure of grace we need.

Abba, do you see my hurt?

He clearly sees. He reminds us of our tears that He keeps in a bottle. 

Jesus, let me be kind. Keep harsh words far from me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Help Wanted by Darlene Brock

My dear friend Nicole lent me this book that her aunt wrote about raising daughters. I just love the title, Help Wanted. Girl, do I ever want help.

This book is different from most every other parenting book I have read. The author is a Christian, but this isn't really a "follow these biblical principles" kind of book. It's practical, every day advice that is periodically infused with the author's faith.

I enjoyed reading it. As you all know, that is hard to say about a lot of parenting books. It's relaxed, conversational style is easy to sink into. Mostly, it reminds us to relax. We put all this pressure to perform a certain way and God has given us each a unique journey to follow. We each must have grace and give grace for our girls and other moms. I liked the viewpoint because it reminded me to chill out and just enjoy my girls. Love does amazing things in the life of a child.

I had recently been reading in Man's Search For Meaning about the deep psychological need to have meaning in one's life. It propels a person to goodness and hope. Darlene follows along with this concept. Encourage your girls in the things they are good at. Give them hope in Christ. Enjoy their beauty.

If you wonder how on earth you are going to have the sex talk or navigate the junior high years, start here. It's a light-hearted and encouraging read.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Milking It

Did you read about the milk people wanting to put fake sweetener in milk and not have to label it? I do not understand the whole thing. One thing I learned at the dietician was that they add sugar to milk. Why on earth? It has sugar in it. The naturally occurring sugar doesn't get you jonesing though. It doesn't make you crave it. So, they add that lovely chemical white sugar in there and bam, you're on the milk pipe. You're addicted to milk. I used to drink milk like it was going out of style. Then the nice nutritional counselor taught me about the sugar count. It's often higher than juice. And Juice is bad unless you juiced the fruit yourself and added no sugar. Oh boy. Reevaluate the crazy milk drinking. Most juice is some sort of chemical concentrate imported from China with water added to it. It's a crazy world we live in. 

My friend Suzi was telling me that in Jen Hatmaker's book Seven, she did a fast where she only ate seven foods for a month. That sounds interesting to me. I wonder what I might choose. Could I do it? I think part of meal planning collapse is that we have far to many choices and can't wrap our minds around it all. What if we didn't have those choices? What would be in your Seven? I know I would choose the glorious avocado for starters.

If the Creek Don't Rise

There are seasons of life where you feel like you can't get anything done. My problem is that I have to map out my day according to three small children and then I must rely on my husband to do many things. I have sort of figured out how I can squeeze in fifteen minutes of work here and there with the babies, but my husband has been steadily unavailable for months. If it's not work, an emergency, or company, it's illness. On Monday, I had him all set to finish these tiny areas of drywall in the bathroom so I can finish the Italian plaster. That's the exact moment that illness occurred. We had a stomach bug last week and it finally got to taking down Dad. I was thankful it didn't hit him on Sunday and he was able to lead worship. Still, it's frustrating. Man makes plans and the Lord laughs at them. Have you ever heard that saying, "Lord willing and the creek don't rise"? That's where I am at. 

Lord, keep the creek from rising so we can get some things done.

Like I said, I have almost finished the bathroom texture. I have been doing it late at night after the wee babes go to bed. I'm in there with my ladder and my five gallon bucket of mud. I'm really thrilled with this. That bathroom has been a dark spot on the face of the earth for far too long. I also started working on the moulding and floor in the guest room. It's a tedious job and also one I get to do in fifteen minute sections. All of the cracks in the moulding and wood have to be filled in. I read about an old timey trick of putting thin rope in the cracks of the floor before adding the putty to keep it from cracking. My guess is that it is supposed to act like rebar would in concrete. I'll let you know how it goes. 
I'm thinking about buying this bed. ( I haven't completely decided on it. Does it look welcoming and beachy to you or do you think a four poster bed would look better? My heart is to have a guest room that warms and envelops people. What would convey comfort the most? Tell me what you think.

So, y'all, did you know y'all can be y'all or ya'll depending on if you are abbreviating you all or ya all. Anywho, pray with me that the creek don't rise and we can get some things done around here. Summer is just around the corner along with months of traveling. Help us get Gomer gussied up and ready for guests. Amen.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Talk to me, Abba.

Honestly, I sometimes find myself just incensed at the words of others. I can't believe that people say and do the things they do. I wonder at how people can be so outright rude to others. I got tired of being annoyed at people. I got tired of other people being annoyed at people. I didn't want to be in agreement with the negativity around me anymore. I found myself repeating things other people were angry about. The irony was that I did not even care about those things. It was just what came out when conversation arose. Misery loves company and what not. It damages the state of our hearts. It causes us to be in agreement with the devil. 

We all enjoy sharing the hurtful things others say and do to us. The outrage over the thing makes us feel valuable. Christ hasn't called us to outrage. He hasn't called us to gossip. He has called us to grace. As I would find myself sticking my foot in my own mouth, I would feel that gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit that reminds me that I do it too. I say ignorant things. I say hurtful things. I laugh when laughter isn't called for. I hope that you would have grace for me. Why, then, should we ever refuse it to anyone else?

Jesus, I want to speak with grace.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Psalm 103:8

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Man's Search For Meaning by Victor Frankl

When asked what book has changed a person's life more than any other, a recent study reports, that A Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl is ranked in the top fifteen. I have heard is referenced many times and have often been struck by the depth of just a quote from the work. His struggle though four camps during the holocaust and his unique perspective as a psychiatrist are a fascinating read.

I must be honest. So much of this is over my head. It is something that must be read and reread to truly collect the nectar of the work. It is not something you sit down to skim on a lazy afternoon. Many times I would catch myself just sitting int the silence after each paragraph. His work is genius. 

We are not told if Victor is speaking from a Christian perspective.  The book is not a definitive religious work, but in many ways it could be. He speaks to the recesses of the human condition and begs them to thrive. Every person has meaning and we find meaning in moving beyond self-preoccupation to the enrichment that comes from loving another. There is meaning in suffering. 

The author tells us of his observances and personal reflections in different concentration camps. There were certain indications that people had lost hope. He tells us that once that happened they would die within two weeks. They had given up their will to live. One can suffer with great dignity. A person can humbly submit to suffering and find great meaning in it. "What is to give light must endure burning."

“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” 

Friday, March 08, 2013

Nutritional Failure and Grace.

Did you read about what they are wanting to do to milk?

My husband was out of town for five days in California so that he could attend the funeral of his uncle. This left me at home with my three little girls. Since our eldest daughter will also turn six this week, I decided to have lots of crazy fun. We ate out at lunch a few days and spent hours in parks. We made healthy choices and then . . . I started running out of things to throw together at home. You can only convince little kids to eat so much spinach. I never go to a big parking lot with the three of them because I don't want one of them to run in front of the cars, so Walmart and HEB were out. People drive like maniacs. That led me to the decision that I should go to the Dollar General the next town over and see what they had since I can basically park at the front door. If you are wondering what they might have at the dollar store to eat, it's junk. I bought some little pizzas and I laughed at myself. Thank goodness for our livers to process out toxins and for no stress. If the GMO doesn't get you, the Cortisol will. {insert crowd laughter}

All that to say, bring me an avocado. 

I'd stay away from Stevia, Agave, and Honey from the grocery store. Most do not even contain the ingredient by which they are named. Do your homework.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A Real Hootenanny.

We had some Methodist missionaries here over the last few weeks. They did a little taping and floating of the drywall around the house. While my husband was gone, I textured our bathroom with Italian Plaster. I did it from 11p.m. to 1 a. m. each night. You should have seen me trying to open the five gallon bucket of compound. It is one of the hardest things to do. Basically, it's just ridiculous. I also began some staining in our guest room. I really want to finish this room so that we can lavish some serious love on people. If you want in on this, let me know. We need a new bed and mattress in there. She (the room) also needs some work. I wholeheartedly welcome your help. As we come across people who need to be alone with Jesus, to be refreshed by the goodness of the Lord, I always want to have a special place prepared for them.

I have been wanting to start a little farm here. We have a couple of acres. That's all a girl needs, right. I bet that Proverbs thirty-one woman could have fed her whole village with that space. Each year, I have tried some different things to get an idea of what might work well with our soil. This year, I have bought veggies and trees. We bought a Granny Smith apple, a Golden delicious apple, a lime, and our third grapevine. When Uncle Terry passed away, I thought it would be beautiful to plant a tree in his honor so we bought an avocado for him. I don't know about you, but I love trees. We planted a Crepe Myrtle on our eight year anniversary and I am hoping to plant another this year for our tenth. I love the verse that tells us God will give us Myrtles where thorns used to be.

So, we are planting, y'all. May the ultimate cultivator grow these plants for His glory and our provision. 

I am still waiting on a countertop as well. I have the money, but I do not have the okay. You know, that little nudge you feel when God tells you it's time. So, we wait with our plywood. Whatever is He up to?
Denbigh's uncle passing away has really impacted our family. It gives you focus. It makes you want to do things your heart desires to do and to not be afraid any more. I want to make room for people and do things that bring life. To be creative and out of the box in full view of others requires a person to examine what is important and bravely choose to continue on in the face of adversaries. Let's do the thing, shall we? Come here. Let's be courageous together. It might be cheesy, but, I hope you dance. I hope it's a real hootenanny.

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Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...