Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Sunday, June 27, 2010

He Is Mine

He sits on the couch and reads, and plays the games and watches the TV, and I think, "why must I have one more person to run for?" I get his sweet tea, and he thanks me. I make supper and think of how much better it would be if he could grill the way he usually does on the weekend.

We pick up every piece of stray paper or toy so that he does not slip. I think, "this is what they did for me not long ago." I open up the bed and adjust his pillows, thinking of the fact that I am tired.

I walk by, and he grabs my hand. He looks at me and blows a kiss. I think, "he loves me." I adjust his leg brace.

He lays on the couch and calls to me. I answer. He is mine, and I am his and we have belonged to each other for nearly 13 years.

"For better or for worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health."

Vows that meant little when said years ago, now have body and are the words that make up our union. This is marriage. Two people. Two different views of life. Two different sets of plans. Two different sets of hurts.

Two made one, and I think "this is what so many wish they had." I am blessed.

He calls me and I go to him because I can, and I want to---because we belong to each other, for now and always. "Til death do us part."

"And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:23,24)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Joy Comes In the Morning

Walking through the aisles of the grocery store I felt a heaviness in my heart. Trying to focus on the best deals, I instead was reminded that life was changing, as it always does. And that knowledge caused me to feel full of sadness. My eyes filled with tears, and sale prices became hard to read.

The week has been a hard one, more emotionally than physically. And emotional weeks are the ones that drain a mother to the core. The security that I, as a woman, crave is threatened. While it is difficult to be injured yourself, as I realized this year, it is harder still to watch the one you count on for security be hurt.

All the possibilities that may result from a husband's injuries play through my head. This together with children's issues that continue to pain, cause me to begin to question--not the love of my Saviour, but my own faithfulness. Do I love Him enough to accept His plan?

The way has never been easy, but He has brought us through. I don't know what tomorrow will bring; but then, I never have. I am choosing to trust. No matter what, I am choosing to trust someone. Myself? My husband? My LORD?

Once again, I hold out a platter---on it my dreams, my concerns, my pain......my heart. Humbly, I present it to the One who gives more grace. No doubt I will attempt to take it back at some point. I always do. But in each moment I have that choice, and the grace He gives is what I need, in this moment, to give Him my life. My husband's life. My children's lives.

He already holds our lives in His hand. I can choose to accept it and trust Him, or I can fight a battle that I will always lose. I am laying it down. Tears may come, but that's alright. Tears are a gift He gives to wipe out the pain and fear. Through tears God allows us to communicate with Him our deepest feelings.

"Put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back; this I know; for God is for me. In God will I praise His word: in the LORD will I praise His word. In God have I put my trust; I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." (Ps. 56:8-11)

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." (Ps. 126:5,6)

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Ps. 30:5b)

I can weep, knowing that the Lord treasures my tears, and I can trust, knowing that my God knows the end from the beginning. He has promised me joy in the morning. Thank-you, Lord.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When Drain Cleaner Isn't Enough

Over the last few weeks I have been experiencing the frustration that results from a bathtub that does not drain. Well, I may be overstating the case just a bit---it does drain, but not until you have showered, wading in water half way up your shins.

While normally I would agree that there should be a fairly simple, though disgusting, solution to this problem, it does not seem so in this case. Maybe I am just being more than a little blond, but I can't seem to find any way to easily clean the drain. It is a closed system from the top---no simple screws to turn. The only thing I can think of is to go down into the crawl space and try to open the trap down there. Uuggg.

I have tried drain cleaner and that has been less than successful. Since this is the only tub/shower in the house it is well-used and definitely needs a working drain. The crawl space is probably the best idea, but never having gone in it myself I am having visions of all the creatures I will encounter while making my way to a trap, certain to contain all kinds of treasure I don't want to find, if I can even unscrew it.

It does seem that my mind works in somewhat strange and mysterious ways, because once again the Lord brought to my mind a comparison. He reminded me of all the years of my life when I struggled to find any spiritual growth. My frustration was frequently great because I felt I should be further along in the life I had chosen as a child---that of a Christian, a follower of Christ.

The verses in Hebrews spoke of my spiritual condition. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again....and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

Repeatedly I asked the Lord to help me grow in Him, but any progress seemed temporary, and my frustration grew. Sometimes to the point of questioning God's love for me, perhaps even His existence, I am ashamed to say. I felt dead inside because I did not have good fellowship with Him.

The Lord had not changed, but something had come between us. Little by little the Lord has revealed hurts and the resulting bitterness that had wedged themselves in between. Most were not affected by my simple, unbelieving prayers, but had to be revealed in all of their ugliness in order to be dealt with. Circumstances that washed over me and I thought had gone down the drain of life, but that in reality never went very far away.

Those things will always block our fellowship with our Saviour. If not dealt with immediately, they just continue to build up. Some I never even realized were issues in my mind. Until we allow Him to open up our secret places, we continue to live as struggling, baby Christians. For how can we teach others if we have not allowed Him to heal us? We can't.

Once we give ourselves over to Him, secret rooms full of hurts and all, He gently shows us where we fail. And then He gives us the grace to hand all of it back to Him---and He takes it away. Fellowship can be sweet again. Sometimes it takes going through some pain for the sweetness to return, but it is worth it.

Now I pray that He will strengthen me to no longer be a babe, but that I might be used of Him in the way that He means for me to be. That I will be able to eat the "strong meat that belongeth to them that are of full age". (Heb. 5:14)

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." (Ps. 51:10-13)

How sad if we live our entire lives and never accomplish the mission God has for us here, because we failed to see the sin in our lives blocking us from His blessing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Integrity---Unbroken or unimpaired

A couple of days ago, I posted a quote on facebook that had to do with integrity. It was a quote by the 19th century educator, Charlotte Mason. In essence she said that everything we do should be our best because it is a piece of us and that equals integrity.

While I do agree with what she said, I have spent quite a bit of time since then contemplating the idea of integrity. Is it simply a term used to describe a collection of other traits? We probably all have pictures that come to our minds of examples of integrity. I can think of many individuals from past and present.

The reality is that there are so many from history that we could point out as examples of integrity, but there are many fewer today. What used to be accepted as the "normal" way to approach life is now discredited by many. The unsaved see little need since many believe there is no true right or wrong. Even sadder, though, are the many of us who are saved who lack integrity in our day to day life.

The same day, someone else posted the dictionary definition of integrity. "Unbroken and unimpaired" were words used in that definition, and they suddenly struck me as something I had never heard before. Now I realize that this is usually speaking of maintaining the integrity of some thing, but I think the Lord closed my mind to that, and all I could see was how far away from that definition that I was.

"Unbroken and unimpaired". If that was the definition then who could measure up? After pondering this for hours, I considered the fact that the definition was not written for the kind of integrity that I was looking for. So I looked it up in another dictionary. "1. The condition of being free from damage or defect; 2. total honesty and sincerity." (Merriam-Webster, 1996)

Again, I felt the Lord showing me something, but I was not grasping exactly what it was. I escaped to the quiet of the green area to try and make sense of my muddled thoughts. As I sat enjoying the peace and lazy summer weather, I looked down at the grass in front of where I sat.

A small branch, leaves brown and stiff, rested on the green grass. It's dark color called my attention to it. It lay under a tree that is a lovely shade tree, and under which we sit to escape the heat of the sun. All of a sudden the connection I had been looking for became clear.

This branch had been part of the green tree above, but at some point it became broken from the larger branch. It did not take long for the death to occur without the life-giving sap from the main tree. The integrity of the branch had been compromised. I understood.

Jesus, the only One who has ever been completely "honest"; the only One never "impaired" by sinful thoughts or actions is our tap root. Connected to Him we become strong and bear fruit. However, if that connection (integrity) or fellowship is broken or becomes impaired, we wither away. The integrity we think we have, becomes hollow without His constant life-giving grace. Soon we lie dead in our own works, calling attention to ourselves but not fulfilling our purpose.

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;" (Jn. 15:4-6a)

Integrity is so much more than being a productive, honest citizen. While many may attempt to imitate the integrity they admire, only those who are connected to the Source of true integrity will ever really have it in their lives.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Promise Series by Dr. Robert Wetmore

While I have no intention of going into full time book review, on occasion a book may catch my attention enough to want to share it with you. That is the case today.

This spring I was introduced to a wonderful series of books called "The Promise Series". They are written by a man named, Dr. Robert Wetmore. I have had the privilege of meeting his sister, Carol Robb, who introduced me to his writing.

Dr. Wetmore was a professor at Toccoa Falls College when he wrote the first book, The Two Trees in 2005, and as far as I know, continues there today. Formerly a self-professed atheist, he presents the story in a way that will appeal to saved and unsaved alike.

He very clearly states that it is fiction, and wants there to be no confusion in that regard. It is Biblically based though, and shows what may have happened from the dawn of Creation.

The reality of sin and it's affect on each one of us is startling brought forth. From God's Promise of a Redeemer in the Garden of Eden, Dr. Wetmore continues the story of men. The Bible is one story, not many. I don't think that I ever truely understood that until reading these books.

I feel so strongly about this that I felt I needed to share it. With my own children I am memorizing the first three chapters of Genesis. I want them to realize that the Gospel did not start with Jesus in a manger or on the cross. It is a much deeper and longer story than that.

If you have an opportunity to read any of the Promise Series, I would encourage you to do so. As long as you read it, not as a history, "but as an illustration." (Wetmore, The Two Trees Intro)

I am anxiously awaiting the fourth book of the series, that I am told will be about Abraham. Thanks for visiting, and if anyone else has read this series, I would love to hear your comments. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ti21mf5bI4I

By His Grace,


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Laziness---Impediment To Growth

My husband and I were talking about our kids the other night. The chosen topic was our sons, who are two totally different people. I mean, they are night and day, black and white, meat and cheese, dogs and cats-----you get the picture.

The one thing they both have in common is being a middle child. I don't know what your opinion on the birth order is, but to me its pretty clear. Kids have certain issues depending on where they are in the birth order. Strengths and weaknesses. This leads to tremendous competition to have the choicest middle child position.

Their stress related to this issue is manifested differently, but recently one of the boys seems to be struggling more. Thankfully, my husband has been willing to put some time in with him. He was telling me that when he was talking with our boy he had tried to build him up and show him his own worth.

Wise man that he is, he explained that while one son has tremendous natural athletic ability, he has a tendency to be little lazy in that regard. On the other hand, the son with a little less natural ability is always learning and listens to all the instruction from his coach/dad.

Both have the potential to do a great job, in sports and in life. But they will have to spend their time working on different things. On thinking about it, I think in some ways I am more like the son with the ability.

I experienced all the benefits of growing up in a Biblical home. Generations of my family had loved and served the Lord faithfully. The Bible was a tremendous influence in my life, as were the Godly testimonies of those around me. Early in life my Bible knowledge exceeded many adults. After graduating from high school I attended a Bible Institute and then another Bible College.

Now, years later (not saying how many) I find that too often I am depending on what I learned as a child to maintain me for the rest of my life. I have become lazy in my study of the Bible. Frequently, I find myself lightly reading over a passage and a little note in my brain, says, "oh, yeah, you know this one"---then I can move on to think about whatever else is spinning in my mind. Unfortunately, that precious time is used up with me gaining little new insight from the Lord.

As a result of this, I decided to begin studying I&II Thessalonians. No particular reason, other than we had a study guide for those books, that had yet to be used. Using that as a guide, I am already learning so much.

Recently I read that often we keep our old Bible because we love being able to go right to the passages that mean the most to us. Our favorite verses are highlighted, and we skip right to them. Often at the expense of other wonderful passages that the Lord would use in our lives if only we would read them.

I believe this is true. I have been holding on to my Bible that I have loved for over two decades, and that is exactly what I do. In my laziness I count on verses that meant something to me in the past---wonderful, often comforting verses. The problem is, the Bible is a living Book. By depending on the mountain top experiences of other times in my life, I restrict myself to living in the past. The God of my fathers, wants to bless me today.

So I will endeavor to study, really study, a little each day. I will ask the Lord to give me fresh insight into each passage, and a new appreciation of the living Word of God. Being a perfectionist often gets in my way, in Bible study, as in everything else. I have to start somewhere.

Maybe it's time for me to start looking at finding a new Bible without any marks in it yet. I can spend the next 20 years loving it. I do know that my current Bible will stay around, where I can go for encouragement on those discouraging days when the Lord seems far away.

Laziness---its a battle I will always face. My son will probably always have to as well (sad, but true). I want to be an example to all of my kids, and I desperately need daily blessings from God's Word for myself. Better to start somewhere and grab onto the Lord there, than to never start at all (my own version of a well-known quote).

A verse I memorized early in life, is a truth I continue to learn today.

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." II Tim. 2:15

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Today's Grace

Grace is an amazing thing, and one that I am sure I do not understand. It is one of those concepts that is so much bigger than we are, we cannot wrap our heads around it. The wonderful part is that we don't have to. God told us, oh so long ago, that our thoughts would never be like His. That He is higher; so much higher.

What a glorious thought! To know that our God is all around us, Master of all. But He is here, and He communicates with me. That He desires me to communicate with Him. Awesome is the only word, but even that is not enough.

"God's riches at Christ's expense." The definition of grace that I learned as a child. But that child had absolutely no understanding of what it meant. As a grown up child, I have only begun to recognize it in action.

I want to describe how I have seen it in my own life, and that I am seeing it in the lives of many around me who are hurting. So many hurts. The terrible adversity that I see now is not new, but I am grown, so I am aware of more. (Why is it we wish so much to grow up?) I would like to adequately picture for you what God's grace is in our today's. I really can't do that.

No words of mine can convey the all-encompassing love of our Redeemer. No song could accurately display the gentle strength He lends us in our hours of deepest sorrow. It is all inadequate. We can't represent it clearly because we can only see through a dark glass.

I see Him, kneeling alone and praying. Moments before His torture began; torture that should have been mine. And He prayed for me. The well known painting is deeply imprinted in my mind as are His words.

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;" Jn.17:20

Even as a child, I knew that He thought of me when He said this. My face came before His face, and He knew me. He knows me still.

Grace. He was imparting it even as He waited to die.

John 17 is the most intimate passage in all of Scripture. I love that His grace even extended to sharing that with me.

He doesn't change. He prayed for me that day, and He continues today.

"It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Rom.8:34

Grace. "God's Riches at Christ's expense."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kids, Summer and Learning---Fun?

I'm trying to think about what school is going to mean over the summer. For some families, it means a break from everything that school is. I understand that, for sure. To have a change of pace, free from grading, schedules and trying to motivate extremely unmotivated children sounds like a brilliant plan. And I agree that "school" itself should be done for awhile.

Our simple plan is to let the kids finish their PACE work and then continue with some group learning activities. We have been using a chronological study of history this last semester. I love the concept, but when something has had to give, that would often be the victim. So now, I am really looking forward to spending a little more time on that interesting and challenging study.

Another subject we enjoy is the Apologia Botany. We all look forward to some exciting and informative nature walks throughout this slower season. Although I am wondering if Zoology might be a better one for us, especially in this bug ridden area in which we live. Insect collection would definitely be an easy project, if a little icky from a mother's perspective.

We will continue to study the Bible because that's just something we do. Maybe we will get done more of the Bible memory that didn't get accomplished during the regular school year. Right now we are memorizing the first chapter of Genesis. I really want my kids to know the story of where we came from, because that has everything to do with where we are going. My goal is to ensure that we all understand that the Bible is one story, not a collection of disconnected events.

I'll have to wait and see what writing we can do, but I know the reading will continue. I'm not overly concerned with what they are reading as long as it falls within the family guidelines. I know they will benefit from pleasure reading and I just try to insert some fun historical fiction (and maybe a biography or two) to beef it up. Our group readings include classics and poetry as well as the Bible. Today my seven year old brought our book of Aesop's fables to me and had a list of requests. I love that!

Oh yes, and math! Who can forget that? Usually my kids leave it over the summer and endeavor to forget as much as possible before picking it up again. This summer the older ones are doing a Business Math course from Simply Charlotte Mason that allows them to set up their own business (on paper) and run it for 12 months. They are so excited about getting their respective businesses going. Now I just need to figure out my end of things!

The idea is to have a relaxed summer, but one that is not without boundaries. They need time to be free and use their imaginations independently, but I find that my children end up bored if left with nothing scheduled. Having a general idea of what I want to accomplish over the summer also gives me plenty to pull from when I want to haul everyone together. Many times I find that I need to bring my children in away from the onslaught of the neighborhood munchkins (they can be fierce). This way I know I have something other than the television to occupy them.

Day trips, Daddy time, church activities, and vacation to Maine--all things we are looking forward to. Now, I just need to get them through those last few PACES so that we can start enjoying the fun stuff!

If anyone else has any summer ideas, I would love to hear about them. May the Lord bless you as you attempt to enjoy and train your children this summer. Whether you homeschool regularly or not, summer is a time for all of us to experience homeschooling at its finest.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gentle Wisdom

I lay exhausted with back against the pillows. What part of my mind is it that thinks I can do this? This life with four children, and all the accompanying stresses. I see other mothers enjoying the ride of it all. Loving the excitement and adventure. I am envious.

Coffee cannot replace the life that has been used up. Thinking of days gone by, when responsibilities were few, leads to strong feelings of discontent. Days of cooing infants, easily pacified by mother's presence, are gone. The infants grow and become complicated people, much like the parents they came from. Drama seems to be a way of life.

Scraped knees to inside hurts---some are easier to comfort away than others. Tears of children cause more tears in me. So hard to see the pain. Knees can be bandaged and kissed. What of the other hurts?

It hurts to watch them because I too have felt that pain. And almost anything is preferable to watching your precious ones endure the same.

So much of this leaves me drained. Can I do what is required? Will I know how to help them as their trials become bigger? What if I am the one that adds to their pain?

Prayers and tears go together more frequently. I think of the Words from the morning, "Wisdom hath builded her house." Do I have her---enough wisdom to train and comfort and love these four? No.

More of the Words come back, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." (Pr.9:10) Aah. The answer is one that I have known for many years, and yet is so hard to grasp. I have been given access to the One Who is wisdom.

What a fool I will prove to be if I do not regularly access that One, in His place. He Who offers that wisdom liberally, if I will simply ask.

The floor beside the bed of a mother should be worn through, and the pillow be wet with tears. Together, they will bear those children through to the One that will carry them. The One Who will provide them comfort when I cannot.

My children are His children, and He does not take lightly the prayers of His saints. The words of Luke 11 bring comfort, but not without conviction.

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.....If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"

And lest I fear that the awesomeness of that wisdom will be too much for this lowly mother, He gives this promise:

"the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." (Js.3:17)

I can always trust in the One Who knew my children before they were formed. Before their natures were pieced together with precision. He dries my tears, and He can certainly do the same for them.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Overflowing Garbage Cans

As I looked out the window this morning, I saw the garbage cans. Driving to and from the library, I saw more. Most of them overflowing with bags of garbage needing to be carried away, especially in these hot summer days of Tennessee.

It brought to mind my own garbage. And I tried not to think of it. For who likes to think of garbage, after all? The awfulness that results from not getting rid of it is repulsive. Stench, mold, drainage, and the worst are the maggots. All reasons to stay on top of the garbage duties.

Today, with each overflowing can, the Lord kept bringing my own garbage to my mind. Not the stinky garbage of our household, but the garbage that I hold much closer. You know--all the little struggles and hurts that happen over time. Things that you live through and develop little bitternesses to. So easy to overlook, like the occasional wrapper or crumbs, but that accumulate into a bitter or angry soul.

So often, upon coming through the trials, I feel that I have learned my lesson. And maybe I have. Maybe it was the wrong one. Each time I become a little harder inside, determining that I won't be hurt that way again. Dropping a wrapper of anger or a crumb of bitterness behind the furniture in my life, but not recognizing it for what it is, I walk on to face whatever is next.

Not until the Lord points out the garbage heap inside, that is teeming with rottenness, do I see what I have allowed myself to become. A garbage can, overflowing with anger, bitterness and discontent. With disgust, I look away from what I am.

How much better to take time to hand that garbage over to the Lord regularly. He is always ready to take it when we offer it---removing it from our lives and leaving clean vessels that are fit to be used. Instead we run around wondering why the Lord doesn't use us more, and never noticing the stench coming from our own hearts.

In His mercy, He allows us glimpses into ourselves from the mirror of His Word---The Holy Spirit inside, waiting patiently. For He will not take what we do not offer.

May I learn to pray like David, "cleanse thou me from secret faults." (Ps.19:12) Over and over through Scripture we see the Lord shining His light on the secret sins, and bringing conviction to the hearts of the recipients of that light. I am no different.

The Lord Jesus died for my garbage. I do not want to hold onto the rottenness that cost Him everything. If we will only humble ourselves before Him and ask Him to show us what needs to go, He will point it out. Scary thought. Why does parting with the garbage seem so painful? Yet it does. We become attached to our sick little sins, hidden away inside. We become so unhealthy, filled with these things.

How much better off would we be if we would just let go. Then we could wholeheartedly say the words of Psalm 32:1-5:

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me; my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah."

"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah."

Show me, Lord, the garbage in my life and help me to let go of it, for you have so much more in store for me. Thank you for the mirror you continue to shine at my heart. Let me see the sin in me, as You do.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Life Happens

I wondered aloud one day to my husband if I might run out of things to write about, since my life doesn't vary that much from day to day. He responded, "Shouldn't be a problem. Life will keep happening." Always the voice of reason, that one.

Today, life continues to "happen." While it hasn't been a bad day, it has had it's challenges. We have what I consider to be very spotty phone and internet provider coverage. With no apparent reason and without warning, I frequently lose the use of both telephone and internet. Sometimes I can fiddle with things until it returns, and at other times it seems to be governed by something else, totally out of my control. Apparently, today it was the latter.

Plugging and unplugging wires. Re-situating boxes, and occasionally growling at the devices, did nothing to return service. Somehow, I always feel out of sorts when these staples of our life are out of commission. After awhile, I finally gave up and realized there was nothing left for me to do but wait.

Thinking I needed to get laundry done, I threw in my next load---darks. Soap in--check. Fabric softener in--check. Door closed--check. Water on--check. Now any mother knows that there is no more feared sound than that of a funky sounding washing machine. Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed that occasional funkiness, but have chosen to ignore it. It has continued to work....until today.

Turning back toward the machine that dared to make that sound, I cringed as water poured out the bottom of the door. While the laundry remained dry, the carpet did not. Oh no. Looking inside, I decided with the eye of an experienced laundress, that something didn't seem right, but that I had no idea what that was.

First instinct was to try and catch my husband on the phone to see if he could lend any insight. Whoops! No phone. No internet. Hmmmm.....Think I'll go reheat the coffee now.

Now, I am not sure there is any special lesson that I am learning, except that my husband knows what he is talking about. Life does keep happening. With all of its twists, turns, bumps and holes, it bears a remarkable resemblance to Maine roads in the spring.

The Lord always seems to smooth it just enough for us to make our way over. Panic, rarely does me any good, so I am going to leave it on the shelf for the time being. I'm letting the washer "rest" for now, in the hope that it was just revolting against one more load.

Obviously, I again have internet service. It came back without warning and without fanfare (well, maybe just a bit of quiet cheering on my part). So there---I am thankful I can contact the outside world, while I enjoy the air conditioning in my home (which I am also extremely thankful for)!

Thankful the Lord always has a plan, even though I am without ideas. I am sure that had I designed my life's road, I would have left out most of the pot holes. But then maybe I wouldn't have that "happening" life that I am blessed to share.

"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places." (Ps. 18:30-33)

"Let the words of my mouth, and meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." (Ps. 19:14)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Simple Pleasures

After what felt like a hard weekend, but was in reality just me hitting a wall after two weeks of being out straight with others coming through my home, I was ready to begin living again today. While no great feats were accomplished, and minimal work was done, my mind was again functioning.

Laundry and dishes could be conquered. Floors could be cleaned, to some extent. And rudimentary social tasks could be looked on with something less than dread. It has always been this way for this "anti-social" wife of my husband. Mental and physical shut-downs occur periodically, but the day always comes when both mind and body come back to life. Today was that day, and it allowed me to focus on how to spend our remaining family time together.

Having recently heard of a used book store in the area, I had been looking forward to a time we might visit and mine for potential literary gems. We found the time today. My heart was light as this family of six made their way into a shop that was stocked, floor to ceiling, with books of all sizes, ages and topics.

Initially, I was noticing vast numbers of paperback novels, which did not light any literary fires in my being. But as I began to browse, and wend my way through aisle after aisle, I became transfixed. This became a treasure trove, that I was desperately trying to get to the bottom of before time ran out (it was nearly closing time).

Excitement ran through my veins as I noticed a wonderful classic, and then I would turn and face another. Beautiful, hard-cover, vintage collections of classic literature adorned these shelves. My husband, monitoring the four in the section meant for them, allowed me these moments of reverie. Books I had read and loved, others that I never had read, but had always wanted to, stimulated my brain. Poetry, mysteries, dramas, English and American literature pieces that deserved top billing, but were instead tucked into a corner of this quiet place.

Dickens, Alcott, Herriot, Thoreau. Authors that I had tucked into my arms. My children came to me, one by one. "Mommy! Did you see this one?" and "Mommy, What do you think about this?" or "I've been looking for these." My excitement and pleasure was mirrored in their eyes.

How blessed I am to have the joy of raising children who love to read. Children whose imaginations are alive. Who love nothing better than a quiet evening of reading a story together. G.A. Henty, Laura Ingalls Wilder, C.S. Lewis are all names they are familiar with and are enjoying as they learn about the world in which they live.

We pour over our purchases (perhaps too many of them), looking forward to the many hours of enjoyment ahead. Such a simple pleasure, but one that creates a bright spot in my life. And one that I pray will result in many bright spots in the lives of those I now lead. Those that I will one day whisper good-bye to, as they stretch out into the world beyond our little home. Someday, their bright spot may come from stepping into a little shop filled with stories. Memories coming back to them as they place their hands on pages that they turned before. Sharing with their own little followers, the literary jewels of generations past, and watching the wonder grow in eyes as stories of yesteryear work their magic once again.