Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Welcoming Fall

Hello fall! I love you! I love you! It's my favorite season.

Darcie and I celebrated last night by having her favorite chicken salad (with grapes and celery) on a croissant. I know that doesn't sound very "fallish", but she won't eat the stew I had made. I was in an indulgent mood.

For dessert we made Smores in the microwave. I know that's lame, but who wants to start a bonfire when it's 75 degrees outside? Not I!

The thin, summery clothes are put away. No whites after Labor Day around here! I'll swelter for a few weeks in my fall clothes until cooler weather gets here. I'd rather mark the seasons as I remember them growing up than adapt to this hotter climate I live in now. Call me stubborn. Yes, I am, but that's how I roll!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Don't Waste Your Life

I finally finished reading Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper. I really like his convicting, hard-hitting style.

Here are some portions from the last chapter entitled My Prayer-Let None Say in the End, "I've Wasted It". And now shall we who treasure Christ and know your love is better far than life lay up, like all the world, our treasures on this earth? Would not we hear you say, as you once said, "Fool, will not this same night your soul be taken back? And then whose will these barns of bounty be?" Forbid, O Lord, that while the world is filled with need we would sit down and say, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." A terrible reversal waits such lovelessness. "Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation."

Oh God, such riches are a wasted life. Protect us, Lord. Grant us to hear and heed another call: "Lay up your treasure not on earth, but in the place where moth and thief will never come. Make treasures for yourself that cannot fail."

The answer is that in this life we may begin to treasure Christ, and here gain an aptitude for joy in him. It is delighting in his fellowship beyond all family and friends. It is embracing all his promises that there will be more pleasure in his presence than from all the lying promises of sin. It is a gladness in the present taste of glory and the hope of future fullness when we see him face to face. It is a quiet peace along the path he chooses for us with its pain. It is being satisfied that nothing comes to us in vain.

He calls us now to use our riches for the poor and to join him in this final task of frontier missions. Is not this, then, the way we lay up treasure in your house-to give our money and ourselves to make as many rich with God forever as we can? Grant that we move toward need and not toward ease.

As God lives, and is all I ever need, I will not waste my life...through Jesus Christ, AMEN.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fall Header

I've changed my header photo to be in season. This time of year these spider lilies spring up overnight around one of our pecan trees in the front yard. I didn't plant them; had never heard of them until moving here. But they're popping up in other yards too.

Late one afternoon I was driving Darcie to ballet, when I saw a yellow butterfly poised above the red spider lily. I immediately stopped, attached my zoom lens, and snapped the photo.
I love that it's almost a silhouette with just a touch of color. To me, that's the fun and surprise of shooting film.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I wish these had been around when my children were infants. They're the ticket! Here's Darcie getting in some practice with the new kitten, Belle. She'll sleep for hours snuggled up next to Darcie. She was a stray that was separated from her mama too early. Now she has a new mama!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Proud Sadness

I haven't posted in a while, because we've started homeschooling for this year. This is our first full week, and I'm trying to stick to the schedule faithfully. The hardest thing for me to do is get in bed by 10:00. As you can see, it's 10:51, and I haven't had a bath yet. If I don't go to bed at 10:00 then I can't get up at 5:15. I'll get up instead about 6:15 which will give me time to have worship and exercise before waking Darcie at 7:00. I'll just miss writing in my journal and reading a book on creativity.

I got some bad news today. Garrett called and said he'll be leaving for Iraq on October 2. That only gives us two weekends, and he's not coming home this weekend. He's going to a Clemson game.

He kept asking me if he should go. Of course I'd rather he came home, but I wasn't going to tell him he had to. We'll get to see him for a long weekend the next week.

I hate this feeling of sadness I have. I have to keep telling myself over and over that I believe God is sovereign over life and death, and if it is his turn to die, he'll do it here in the U.S. or somewhere else. It doesn't matter where.

My heart says, "Of course it matters! I want him here in town where I can control things." Like I can! I'm having a hard time letting him go. I guess it's a mom thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Awake My Soul!

In a book I'm reading called Sacred Hearts
by Sarah Dunant, I liked this passage that talked about the 2:00 A.M. office of Matins which is observed in monasteries and nunneries.

This novel takes place in an Italian, 16th century, Benedictine convent. There were many young girls living there, and this passage begins with them: Girls of their age are greedy for sleep, and Matins, slicing its way through the middle of the night, is the harshest of all the convent offices.

Yet its brutality is also its great sweetness, for its very meaning is to coax and draw up the soul through the body's resistance, and when one is pulled from sleep there can be less distraction from the noise and chatter of the mind.

Zuana knows sisters who, as they age, grow to love this service above all others, to feed off it like nectar, for once you have disciplined yourself to transcend tiredness, the wonder of being in His presence while the rest of the world is asleep is a rare gift, a form of privilege without pride, feasting without gluttony.

I found myself thinking, "Yes, I experienced that feeling during the 2:00 A.M. feeding when I had babies." It happens now when I have a sleepless night. I feel like I've been given a precious gift of time and quiet alone with God.

I didn't feel that way with the first one or two. I was mostly aggravated then. It took more precious children, realizing with each subsequent one how swiftly time moves on, to begin to appreciate and cherish those early morning feedings.

And now when I experience the occasional sleepless night, I get excited to have a house that's perfectly quiet. It's a great time to pray, think, and plan. I sit on my front porch swing, turn on the fan to keep the mosquitos at bay, and have a great time alone with my heavenly Father.

And if it's a bright, moonlit night, I might go bike riding...which reminds me of the time one midnight when the moon was almost as bright as day, I woke up my older children to come take a ride with me. Laurel couldn't be stirred, but Garrett came. We made a great memory that night. I'm sure many more memories will come flooding back in this upcoming year when he goes to Iraq. But we won't go there now...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The 'Tween

Darcie in her playhouse.
She just turned eleven; my baby. She wants her own house but is scared to go out of ours at night.
She gives me spontaneous hugs yet moves away if I try to touch her arm during church.

She's a bundle of contradictions. Good thing for her that I've learned over the years not to take these things too personally. For I know that she's instinctively moving toward being her own separate person. Little does she know how much she'll want our closeness later in her life.

So for now, I try not to overreact when she moves away a little. It does hurt my feelings though. But I have to be the adult and look beyond these years to the time when we'll be best friends. I keep telling her now that she's my best friend. She believes it, because she feels the same way. But the tug outward continues...confusing for her and hurtful for me.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Five Questions

Another nugget from When Organizing Isn't Enough-Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life. Whew! what a title!

When trying to decide whether to get rid of an object in your house, ask yourself these five questions: 1. What practical value does this item provide?
2. If I just got rid of it, what would I miss about it?
3. If it was taken away, would I try to re-create it?
4. Is it invigorating to my life right now?
5. As I think about my theme, does it vibrate with relevance?

You were to pick a theme for the next stage of your life before you begin letting go of physical things, scheduled things, and habits you want to break. My new theme is Rediscovery and Exploration.

Asking myself these questions about things I want to hold onto really helped me make the separation. I'm excited about being free from more of my possessions.

I'm tempted to move everything out into the yard and only bring back in those things that I really love..and need. I remember before we moved in how much I loved our house empty. I love the reverberation you get in an empty room. I don't know why I have such a hard time letting go.

One thought I had last night when Laurel and I were mulling this subject over was that I tend to hang onto things in case I'll need them during a "rough time". When I was growing up, Mama always put up more food (canned and frozen) than she needed. She would say, "You never know what kind of crop we'll have next year. We'd better put up more than we'll need."

Other things similar to that while I was growing up have influenced me to hang onto my possessions tightly in case bad times come. I think it's partly from fear and lack of trust in God's provision that I do this. I've never realized this before. This will take some thinking through....

Friday, September 4, 2009

In a Funk

I'm grouchy this morning, because I have too much stuff! After spending a few days in Rugby, TN and the Appalachian Museum in Norris, TN, I've realized on a deeper level that the things I own are keeping me from the kind of life I want; even desperately desire. I'm paralyzed by the unpacking and accumulation of mail and e-mails that stacked up during the week we were gone. It almost makes it not worth it to go away!

I'm really sick of 'stuff'. I'm looking in my jelly cupboard and see 26 different kinds of tea! I would like to keep about five: An Earl Grey decaf, Yorkshire Gold, Sleepytime, Chamomile, and a green tea. It's the cute tins that lure me in to buy. Resolution: I won't buy any more tea until I run out. And then it'll be replacement tea to put in the cute tins I already have.

The house at the top is one at the Appalachian Museum that belonged to one man. It's less than 100 sq. feet; a little bigger than Darcie's playhouse. He had a bed, stove, shelves for his few belongings, and a calendar with a picture of a cheerleader on it. That cracked me up. He had room for everything he needed. He just didn't need much.

Going through the museum, I noticed that whatever the settlers needed they made. If they couldn't make it, they'd trade for it or do without. Their handiwork and craftsmanship were beautiful. These were my ancestors. It makes me proud to come from such hardy and handy folk.

It also makes me ashamed that I've come so far from my roots. I really want to be more like them and start making useful things again. To get rid of all this superfluous junk and have wide spaces inside the house and inside my mind.

This book, Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life, is excellent. She goes way beyond the usual decluttering and focuses on the WHY of your stuff. We keep things for emotional reasons. Once you can figure that out, you're much more likely to kiss it goodbye for good.

I'm going to spend today, Saturday, and Monday asking myself some hard questions and trying my best to let go. I'll let you know how I do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Remember a few weeks ago I said I was doing the Squat Challenge. This morning I passed the final test of 200 consecutive squats. I can really tell that my leg muscles are stronger. Next is the Sit-up Challenge. Now that'll be harder for me. Stay tuned!
i did two hundred