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Posts Tagged ‘Gardening’

Today began with so much sameness.

So much of what I faced yesterday.

Last week.

And a thousand days before. 

A crying baby and an aching back broke my sleep,

made it hard to peel back the covers and start the day, 

especially when I thought I knew

just what was coming. 

As I got ready,

stood in the bathroom and smeared cream over my face,

the murky light that crept in from the windows

seemed just like the greyness I felt inside, 

that feeling that I really didn’t want to “do” today, 

that feeling of longing for something

though I didn’t know quite what. 

And then it all happened

just like I feared. 

I realized we were out of yogurt,

and milk, 

and eggs, 

and bread, too. 

And so as I scrambled to make a smoothie with our solitary banana and some berries, 

spread peanut butter over an apple I’d sliced,

it seemed they were all underneath me at once, 

my wee men, 

one complaining about the breakfast, 

one wanting to help, 

the wee-est one digging his fat fingers into my leg and hollering to be picked up. 

And I did think, for that chaotic hour, 

“is this really all there is?”

And I knew that if it was

then I really couldn’t bear it,

and the day would not go well. 

And any sacredness there, any beauty,

in my home, in our lives,

well I didn’t really see it

at all. 

We didn’t stick around. 

I decided we needed out.

Sometimes we all just do. 

And it was cold and grey when we piled into the car,

headed for the museum. 

But when we returned

just a few hours later

the grass was two shades greener 

and the air like a greenhouse of hazy warm light. 

And as we shed our wellies and jackets in the mudroom

I checked my tomato seeds and found a few new sprouts. 

All that warmth and light had done them good. 

Warmth,

and light, 

it does us good, too. 

And for me,

for a follower of Jesus Christ, 

that word is just

everything. 

For light can banish

not only the greyness of sameness and uncertainty, 

but the blackness of tragedy

and every darkest fear. 

And yes, sometimes life is a jumble, 

and you’re waiting,

and you’re feeling how much you really need 

to get it right. 

But sometimes that’s when God is calling

though it can be so hard to see. 

Not just in the tragedy, in the blackness, 

but in the grey. 

And though the waiting is uncomfortable

and we all want answers now, 

the greyness is the time to dig in deeper, 

listen longer, 

listen sharper, 

and persevere. 

Run.

 

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus. 

Hebrews 12:1-2

Run to Jesus. 

Like he never stops running

after you. 

 

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I wasn’t ready for it. A restless night of twisted sheets, being forced from bed to soothe a crying baby, and strange dreams of being a gymnast, practicing my skills on the bars, had left my body feeling tired, my mind distracted and dazed. But it came anyway. The start of the day. Breakfast, and packing lunches, and making beds. Changing nappies, and dressing wee ones, and preparing for the school day ahead.

Before my boys came along I worked as a teacher, but this is my first year of official home education. My first year of adding tutor to my already full job description of chef, maid, nurse, chauffeur, activity director, police officer, and kangaroo (for the Admiral, who, at a whopping 24 pounds, still wants to be carried the day long).

And so an hour later I found myself, still dazed and unprepared for a day of living (let alone living well), trying to have a discussion about odds and evens with the Captain, all the while jiggling the Admiral on my knee and trying to ignore the General, who had squeezed onto the dining room chair behind me and in his very high-pitched three-year-old voice was speaking non-stop about wanting some cake (although I’d told him several times over that he had to wait for elevenses).

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I tried giving snacks, introducing different toys, and even (though I try to avoid it in the mornings) putting on the television so I could get on with the lessons.  But still, each soldier in my little army remained intent on being inches from me, if not in direct contact, each asking for something more or different or better from what he already had.

My head seemed to spin faster than I’d spun round those bars in my dream. I longed to crawl back into bed and find the unconsciousness of deep sleep. Or even the still, quiet surroundings of an empty house, where I could potter about, making sense of my jumbled thoughts.

To my right, the living room was strewn with giant colored cardboard bricks and scattered sofa cushions, the abandoned remnants of my attempt to entertain the younger ones. My mind seemed just as disorderly as the house, and as I attempted to turn my focus back to the math lesson, the thought crossed my mind that it would be awfully nice to have a real nanny and maid, so that I could be left to teach the Captain, and do only nice things with the boys (and perhaps sleep in a little on rare occasion). But of course that seemed as likely as my getting around to organizing some kitchen cupboards and planting the bell pepper seeds as I’d hoped to do that day (not to mention the school subjects we had yet to get through). 

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But unrestricted sleeping hours and empty houses are not some of the frequent luxuries of mummies of armies of wee boys, and in the chaos I longed for some little escape, some little treat to bring me comfort, and temporary escape from the swirl of color and noise that surrounded me. 

A square of dark chocolate, perhaps? 

A cup of espresso, topped up with raw sugar and heated milk?

A few minutes to skim the news feed on my Facebook account? 

These are the things I often turn to bring drops of sanity to my busy, noisy day, but yesterday as I contemplated what method of escape I would employ, I thought of a different way. Down the hallway on my bedside table sat my black leather Bible, which I hadn’t yet touched that day. 

And I didn’t have time,  not just then, to pour over it as I would have liked to do. But I did have the time–as long as it would have taken me to slip into the kitchen to devour a square of chocolate–to flip to the Psalms, and the sweet morsels of goodness found there. 

O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

– Psalm 34:8

And I wondered as closed my Bible,  felt peace wash over me like a cup a chamomile tea, what I’d been missing.

Although there isn’t anything wrong with coffee, and chocolate, and Facebook news, what had I been missing by reaching for them instead of the Living Water found there in the Psalms, so accessible, so available to me? 

For while our SIN can be easy enough to spot (though at times it’s not), there are deeper, sweeter paths of closeness to the Lord which we can go a lifetime and not discover. And what if those paths, those changes I so long to see in myself, can be reached not only through long segments of time spent in the Word, but through little moments of calling out to God for strength, and reaching for little pieces of His word? 

What change could even one pure morsel of eternal truth make to my day?

After taking the time to read from the Psalms, I went on to finish the school day, plant those pepper seeds, and even clean out my kitchen junk drawer! 

What a difference the reminder of Jesus’ love and presence had made. 

In Him is strength, beauty, refuge, truth, and the nourishment I need to help me view my boys, my home, my life in the light of eternity.

The eternity that continues in the next life,

the eternity in which we live today. 

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Happy Little Sigh is now on Pinterest! Join me there? 

http://www.pinterest.com/happylittlesigh/

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A Dozen Cosies to Warm Your Heart  & Your Hands and  Bless Your Week . . .

  1. Spread a blanket and have a picnic lunch inside. Or a candlelit picnic at night when the children are abed?

  2. Buy a bouquet of fresh flowers and divide them up in jars around your house. Don’t forget your bathroom and your bedside table. And don’t forget to give them a smell.  

  3. Rake some leaves and jump in the pile. Go in and warm your hands and your soul with some tea.

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4. Bake something with cinnamon. Apple pie?

5. Go for a walk and pray until your nose and cheeks are red. Then go in and warm up with some tea.

6. Watch Anne of Green Gables and laugh and sigh when Anne is “in the depths of despair.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HZfQ7EqMUs

7. Make a cup of tea and cradle it in your hands while you read the Bible. Psalm 42?

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2042&version=NASB

8. Make a big pot of soup. Calcannon, an Irish favourite?

2 Tbsp butter

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

4 large potatoes, thinly sliced

Chicken or vegetable stock/broth

Herbs and salt to taste

200 grams kale or cabbage, shredded

300 ml cream

1. Heat butter on low. Add onion, garlic, potatoes, cook for 5 minutes without browning.

2. Pour over enough stock/broth to cover, season to taste.

3. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Add the kale/cabbage, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Pour in the cream, ladle and serve.

9. Sprawl out on the carpet and listen to some favourite songs. Maybe this, by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins?

10. Invite some friends over without worrying about the house. Light some candles. Serve tea.

11. Stand under a tree, look up, and watch the leaves fall. Try to catch one.

12. As many times as you can remember, tell your spouse and your children how very much they’re loved. By God. By you.

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I always felt the shadows.

The chill of autumn always felt colder to my soul than to my bones.

But it wasn’t just the cold. It was the light.

At the first leaf I saw wave goodbye to summer, I felt an ache inside. A nauseated, physical ache that felt like a broken heart.

For I knew the darkness was coming. Those days when the sun wouldn’t shine, and the night would come sooner, and the bitter cold would bite.

Those unnatural months of rising in the dark, when the earth seems to say “Keep sleeping,” but the world is waiting for you to be somewhere by eight.

Ever since my teenage years, it was those days that most rumpled the pages of my Bible. Sent me searching for the face of real Light. Reminded me of the world’s empty promises—for in the end, no matter what we do, death will come. It will come to us all.

But I turned to my Bible. I knew its secret.

That Christian’s aren’t buried, they are planted, to one day spring forth with new life.  

Like bulbs. Like the red and white tulip bulbs I planted on Saturday.

In-between the hours of autumn rain there was a window. An hour or two of blue sky and warmth. And so I hunted out my gardening gloves and spent half an hour chatting with the earthworms. Digging holes and tucking those glossy white bulbs into the earth. Imagining the colour they will one day bring.

CAM022151And I don’t feel it as much this year.

The shadows, they don’t seem as dark.

Even though it’s getting on now—nearly November.

But there are days left ahead. Days of colour. Days of mild coolness and sun.

And I’m taking pictures.

Recording blessings.

Eating donuts and apple cider every chance I get.

And when I feel that little ache, that unsettled ripple in my soul that says, “You’re missing something. You’re not getting it quite right,” then I know. I know I have to rumple some pages again. I have to stop and listen to the voice that whispers through the trees, and through the breeze, and through the harvest, “Listen. Listen. I am the Light!”

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Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

~ James 1:17

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They’re a little bit special, these Piano Guys, and if you haven’t heard them, then you really must. Just wait for 0:48

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gosY-UrpHcA

And we thank Thee that darkness reminds us of light.

O Light Invisible, we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory!

~ T.S. Eliot

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Happy Little Sigh is now on Pinterest! Join me there?

http://www.pinterest.com/happylittlesigh/

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