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indulged without ruin…

We are home! Laundry is in process. Groceries have been obtained. My girls are tired but peaceful. And I am still trying to sort through the beauty of my weekend at Hutchmoot. It’s funny…Walt Wangerin Jr. reminded us that “artists come upon the mess of life and bring an order upon it, and an artist is a heaper into heaps, a piler into piles.” And yet…I can’t quite seem to heap or pile my own thoughts about this weekend. It’s coming…just slowly. And that says much about Hutchmoot. It was so rich, so full that my heart and mind need time and stillness to listen to my Father’s voice as He brings order upon it all.

One thing I do know…I was ready to stop blogging. I really enjoy it, but it does take a lot of time. And then there are those days when I am more concerned with how many views my newest post got than with just sharing what’s on my heart. Ick. Pretty gross. And even though I was ready to stop, I wasn’t ready to close this blog down. I love the title of it:) And I knew I might post on occasion.

Part of my frustration was with the inconsistency of this blog. I started it out to be a place of peace. I had beautiful quotes and artwork lining the sides of it. I would share thoughts as well as many quotes along the way. Then, my life was turned upside down…not long after this blog sprouted. This place became a place of refuge. I would come almost daily and find a quote, a song, a picture that took me either deeper into the chaos eating away at my core or further from it. I shared some of those things here.

Things shifted. I wanted a place to write. I wrote a few things here, but it felt choppy after all the quotes and such. So many blogs that I read are specific. A blog specifically with homeschooling thoughts, book thoughts, spiritual nourishment, family thoughts. Mine is a yarn basket. There are various colours, various textures, some are neatly wrapped, others are spilling over the side. But I’ve realized…this is my life. This past year has been crazy, and I’ve needed to share it in different ways at different times. And that’s ok!

So…one thing this weekend helped me realize is that I don’t really want to stop blogging. I just need to give myself the freedom to share what each season brings.

I’ve also been thinking through some things I am truly passionate about. Books. Film. Quotes. Music. Visual art. Hutchmoot reminded me of all these friends. In the midst of my struggles over the last 12 months, I foolishly set aside a few of these things. Oh, they were always present in some way or another, but I did not allow them to help shape my sorrows each time that I should have. Art has a way of piercing the center of our core like nothing else. Its rays displace the shadows with truth.

I have had so many ideas on how to use some of these gifts/passions I have. But I cannot do them all. Each idea is slowly being chewed upon. Some I will spit out. Some I will swallow. And as I continue to wait for the Author of Story to shape the thoughts in mind and have His way with me, I will leave you with this quote I read yesterday from George MacDonald’s Weighed and Wanting (actually it’s the edited version by Dan Hamilton…On Tangled Paths…sometimes the edited version are more easily come by than the beautiful, Johannesen originals:)

Painful the will of God may be–that I well know, as who that cares anything about it does not! But dreary, no! Have patience, my love. Your heart’s deepest desire must be the will of God, for He cannot have made you so that your heart should run counter to His will; let Him but have His own way with you, and your desire He will give you. To that goes His path. He delights in His children; so soon as they can be indulged without ruin, He will heap upon them their desires, for they are His too.

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a bit more…

I just posted this over at the Rabbit Room, and I thought I would just put it here as well for those of you who don’t read there but are wondering a bit more about what Hutchmoot was all about. I plan to share more soon, but Brian and I are enjoying our last day in Nashville together! Tomorrow we head back to my parents to pick up our girls and then home on Thursday! Once I have some time to reconnect with my girls and grocery shop and do laundry and get back into school…basically once I’m back into life…I hope to share more of what this weekend was and what I learned:)

Here’s my comment from the RR…

First of all…thank you so much to each of you for a beautiful weekend! And especially to AP, Pete, Evie, Kate and all of you who worked so hard to plan and execute this amazing thing that happened! I, too, am still decompressing this past weekend. Everything about this weekend was woven with beauty, honesty, truth and ultimately drew me closer to the Creator.

After a year of many deep and painful thumbprints from the Sculptor, I came to this weekend tired and somewhat emptied. I left (still tired!!) but filled. Filled with the stories of others, the story of myself and most importantly…the Author of Story.

Kim…I like your idea of sharing our art here. I was also stirred to reconnect with my art in order to shape the chaos of my own life and those around me. One thing I wish we could’ve experienced a bit more of was sharing our art forms with everyone. Though I do some writing and song-writing, I also do some work with pieces of nature, and I am raising and homeschooling 2 beautiful girls. All of that is art. My husband is very much an artist, but he does not write. Though he is a storyteller, most of his art streams forth through his hands. He carves wood, he sculpts with clay, he sketches, he forms things from “almost” nothing.

I also heard someone mention they use the pages of old books and form something (I didn’t hear what it was!!). I want to experience others through their art. I want to be stirred by them and see my Maker through their eyes. I want to get ideas from others to better my own art. I hope we can all share this:)

Evie’s art is not only the pieces of work that were hanging on the wall (which were amazing, I might add), but her art was thoroughly enjoyed by each one of us in each bite we took. I had never experienced food in the way I did this weekend. Thank you, Evie!!

And Laura Peterson, I loved what you said about sharing things being your art! I do some of that as well, and isn’t it wonderful?! Really…life is art, and I am so thankful that we were each created with a special way to express our Maker and tell others his truth.

And now I’ve gone on and on:) And there’s so much more to think through!!

Oh…and…to the person who mentioned Muppets in Space and the Gonzos…I totally agree! It was so good to be surrounded by other Gonzos this weekend. I think that played such a huge role in how quickly we all connected. The foundation of not having to explain who our favorite authors are, to not have to define living a creative life, etc…those roots were there, and we were able to branch out quickly and beautiful from that.

Can’t wait ’til next year:)

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giving hope…

what would it feel to lay down at the end of another day with that all-too-familiar gnawing in your stomach, knowing your children feel the same thing because, again, there was nothing to eat?

what would their eyes say  to you the next morning when you awoke, knowing that if you didn’t use them or yourself in unthinkable ways, there would again be nothing to fill those hollow spaces?

or what if you were too old to remain in the orphanage that had been your home and you knew what evils awaited you on the streets because you had no money or learned skills?

what if you longed to save money to learn at the nearby university, yet the only ways you knew how just felt wrong?

would you just become numb to it all? could you still hope for more?

over the last couple of years, i’ve had the honor of learning about and working with some beautiful organizations. these organizations give these women a chance to learn, to dream, to grow, to hope! these places provides a place of beauty, friendship and safety for them to learn and create so they can feed their families, save money for education or whatever else  their desires/needs may be.

i am obviously focusing on the women here, but there are a couple of places i’ve worked with that also aid men. i am sure there are many more out there, but my heartbeat, to date, has been for these women.

………………………….

have you heard of katie? if not, i urge you to spend some time with her over at her blog. her story is absolutely amazing! and recently she has brought together women from various tribes to teach them not only how to make these beautiful necklaces but also what it means to live in community…together!

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have you seen these bags from Timbali Crafts?  or what about these from Haitian Creations? these beautiful women have learned how to create with fabric and threads, and this not only allows them to provide for their needs, but it gives them self-worth.

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and what about Sseko sandals? aren’t they fun and pretty? i hope you’ll take the time to read the stories of the makers of the sandals as well as the story of the founder of Sseko Designs. beautiful and brilliant!

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and the slippers and other goods from Satch & Sol? have you seen them yet? they are so beautiful and sturdy! my girls have had their slippers for over 2 years now, and they still barely look worn!

…………………………..

i was going to share some other organizations that i’ve worked with, but their focus is a little different. i think i’ll just stop here for now. we have been trying to share these types of gifts with friends and families (unless there are needs), and it has been so beautiful and life-giving in so many ways.

do you have other organizations like these that you love? i always love learning of others, so please share!!

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disruption…

Wow. I don’t even know where to start. I have decided this season of my life is just one of interruption. Maybe disruption is a better word. I have been pulled quite thin, and sometimes I feel like I’m gasping for air. And it seems that just when I’m starting to breathe again, I’m pushed back under the rough waters. I have started this post many times in the last week, and my head and fingers just don’t seem to be communicating well. So…I’m just going to babble. There may be no rhyme or reason, but I need to get it out.

Last August, my husband called me one morning from the hotel he was staying in for business to tell me he was resigning from his well-paying, stable job. We had talked about it prior…the demands of his boss were suffocating him, and he was away from home 4 days of each week. So, although I felt a sigh of relief when he called, it was still scary. The position he was in and the company he was with were the best in his field. And the reality of it all was that anything else he did in the same field would more than likely require the same or more of him.

So…he was home without a job or any leads for anything new. Within 2 weeks of that, Brian had 2 offers. The job he chose was in a completely different field and the pay is commission only (if he sells…he gets paid). That has been a bit scary! But Brian is at home most of the time. He goes to a few conferences here and there, but it is NOTHING compared to what we were dealing with. And he very much enjoys what he’s doing. It’s not perfect, of course, but so far it is good! But the transition was a bit of dark, rocky road.

Then in November of 2009, we discovered a mole on our older daughter that was biopsied (read more here). The panel reading the mole was unsure whether or not it was melanoma and recommended that we have the surrounding areas removed and biopsied as well. Due to the holiday season, we had to wait until January to have the surgery. It was a long period of finding the right doctors and then just waiting. We had no idea what path our lives would take. Thankfully, the 2nd biopsy showed no trace of atypical cells or anything cancerous! My daughter does have  rare skin condition, which we discovered from the biopsy. And while treatment is a bit of trial and error, we’re very thankful for it! And we believe our younger daughter has it well. I’m so glad to know what it is.

Two months later, in March 2010, my girls and I were upstairs in the game room of our ASL’s teacher’s home. My younger daughter (age 6) was watching her friend of the same age yell at her dogs on the driveway below, my older daughter was playing, and the teacher and I were talking. A minute later there was silence. The little girl had fallen out of her 2nd story window and landed onto the concrete below. After calling 911 and doing everything I knew to do to get the little girl and her mom to the helicopter, the little girl was life-flighted to a hospital downtown while a friend drove her mom to meet her there. Within a few hours, we heard that many tests concluded she was just fine…no broken bones, no brain injury (she had hit her head). Just a large bump, a black eye and a few scratches. We were so relieved!

However, the trauma and shock of that day took a few weeks to work through. Among other things, I was completely on edge with my girls. I didn’t want them even riding their bikes. I did take them to swimming lessons about 3 weeks ago, and the ropes that separate the lanes hadn’t been set up yet. My 6 year-old can’t touch in the deepest water and uses those ropes if she needs to rest for a moment. She started bobbing up and down, almost to the point of gasping for air, and her teacher was about 20 feet away, out of the pool, helping another child. I saw him glance at her, but I was out of my seat, centimeters away from the edge of that pool ready to dive in. She somehow made her way over to the nearest rope, but I have not taken them back. I think it was just too much for my not quite settled nerves.

Also during this time, I discovered that my daughter’s steroid eye drops were no longer holding her blood vessels at bay. My 8 year-old also has a rare condition where she develops blood vessels on her corneas. If left untreated, the vessels would pool together and form opaque spots on her cornea and eventually she would go blind. She’s been using these same drops for 4 1/2 years, but they are no longer working. Last week we started her on a low-dose antibiotic. I am praying this will work!

And then…last Sunday night, rather late, I received a call from my mom telling me that my brother (my only sibling) had been in a car accident but was okay. He had been texting, not wearing his seatbelt and was going about 50 mph. He ran into a stopped car. Thankfully, the air bag held him in, but his head went above it and hit the windshield. He had swelling and bleeding in the brain and a skull fracture. My mom had gotten the call from the nurse, called Josh’s girlfriend and friends, and they immediately went to be with him. My parents live 15 hours away, and left very early last Monday morning to get to the hospital.

At this point, we were under the assumption that he was doing pretty well and might be able to go home that day. This was not at all the case. When my parents got there late Monday night and actually saw Josh, all he could do was sleep. The nurse and his girlfriend had to wake him up every 10 minutes to assure he did not go into too deep of a sleep and to check his short-term memory (which was not active at that point). My parents were told he injured the impulsive part of his brain, and it would take 6 months to a year before it was healed. They recommended my dad get the power of attorney for everything that Josh owned (including his business), and my dad did so.

On Tuesday, he was able to get his catheter out and walk to the restroom. He stumbled around like someone who was drunk, but he could get there. His knew my parents, knew my voice when I talked to him on the phone, but at this point, he was still sleeping most of the time and had no eye contact.

On Wednesday, things drastically changed. I called to get the latest update, and my mom immediately handed the phone to Josh. He told me he thought everyone was making too much of a deal about him, asked me if I was taking good care of his nieces and told me he loved me. I was excited and astonished! He was much more alert and able to answer many questions.

On Thursday, Josh walked out of his room on the trauma floor and into his room in rehab. He had 3 hours of rehab that day, and the therapists said he was doing so well that they wanted to have a council to discuss when he could go home. On Friday morning, my parents took my brother to his house! He is not to do anything for 30 days but rest and rehab. At the end of the 30 days, he will go back for an evaluation and a driving test, if he’s ready. He is still a bit cloudy and a bit unstable, but hopefully time and rehab will be the tools God uses to heal that. We are heading out there in 2 weeks to see him and do anything we can to help.

Talk about a roller coaster of emotions! I think I’ve felt it all over these past 9 months. I know that God is at work in each of these situations and in each person’s life He’s touched in these ways. I have to wonder what He’s up to! I know, too, that He is up to something in my own heart. And I take comfort. For although He is not safe…He is good!

I also know that these situations are a drop in a bucket compared to what others are dealing with. I learned about this sweet little girl a couple of days ago, and her story is heartbreaking.

And although my circumstances are not to this extent, they are still mine to deal with. And so often right now I’m reminded of what Gandalf said to Frodo when Frodo said he wished the one ring had never come to him…

So do all who see such times. But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that we are given.

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i just started reading Real Love for Real Life by Andi Ashworth. after reading the back cover where she says, i discovered that, with design, intent, and hard work, i could contribute to a story laced with the true, the good, and the beautiful in the lives of my friends and family..., i could tell it was going to be a book that would truly impact me as a mother, a wife, a friend…as a daughter of the Maker.

i’m not too far into it yet, but i wanted to share some quotes from it…just to give you a taste…

caregiving touches many aspects of life–everything from the creation of a meal, to how we care for each other in sickness and old age, to the importance we give to celebrations and hospitality, to the way we live as a friend and neighbor.

………………………………………

to provide means to see needs in advance, to think broadly and work for the benefit of loved ones on many different levels. the basic human hungers for continuity, comfort, connection, security, and beauty are also needs and are met through the details of caretaking.

………………………………………

everything we do, from pursuing the difficult, messy work of forgiveness and reconciliation to imagining and creating a party, is important and worthwhile.

i especially love this…

dreaming, praying, and working for–in a sense, imagining for–a good story in the lives of those whose paths we cross briefly or for the long haul is what we’re made for.

that’s all i have time for right now, but i cannot wait to step further into this book!

(HT: jill phillips)

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from Practice Resurrection by Eugene Peterson…

God. we begin with God. that seems obvious enough. “in the beginning God”…”God said”…”God so loved the world”…God. God. God. God who got the cosmos going. God who sent Jesus. God in whose name we received our baptismal identity. but obvious as it is, it is mighty difficult to maintain a visceral sense of that beginning. God begetting, when we don’t have our Bibles open before us, or are not in church.

we have short attention spans. having been introduced to God, we soon lose interest in God and become preoccupied with ourselves. self expands and soul atrophies. psychology trumps theology. our feelings and our emotions, our health and our jobs, our friends and our families muscle their way to center stage. God, of course, is not exactly sent packing or shut in a closet or close up in the Bible. but God is consigned to the sidelines, conveniently within calling distance to help out in emergencies and be availabe for consultation for the times when we have run out of answers.

our days are busy with little leisure for frills. we have work to do, interests to pursue, books to read, letters to write, the telephone to answer, errands to run, children to raise, investments to tend to, the lawn to mow, food to prepare and serve, the garbage to take out. we don’t need God’s help or counsel in doing any of these things. God is necessary for the big things, most obviously creation and salvation. but for the rest we can, for the most part, take care of ourselves.

that usually adds up to a workable life, at least when accompanied by a decent job and a good digestion. but–it is not the practice of resurrection, it is not growing up in Christ, it is not living in the company of the Trinity, it is not living out of our beginnings, our begettings [God]. if we live too far removed from, or worse, disconnected from, our origins, we will never arrive at the “full stature of Christ.”

 

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a reason to smile…

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