Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall break-- a list


I love this old screen door. It's hand-forged
and a little tattered, but it stays.
 It's the last day of fall break.

Here's what I have done this week:

* Read two books
* Made lunch and supper several times (Don made breakfast most days :))
* Made several attempts at cleaning the house
* Went shopping a couple of times (except that I'm really, really cheap, so I never buy anything really)
* Slept in
* Prayer team
* Coffee on front porch with Don
* Started a cool project for Christmas (more on that later)
* Spent a day at school, working in my classroom. I love working in my classroom when no one is at school.
* Front porch with friends (almost chilly enough for blankets a couple of times!!)
* New baby niece was born (baby Caroline to join Ella)
* Almost nothing else that was productive :)







It was so warm all summer-- I'm wondering how long I can keep these ferns alive. I want to see how much bigger they can get, too. I'm going for EVEN BIGGER next year! It is important to note that until the last couple of years, I have not
been able to keep plants alive. The fact that these ferns are alive is a big deal-- the fact that they are nearly three times the size they were at the beginning of the summer...we could practically apply for "miraculous holy site"...
  
One of our fall traditions: Mums go into planters the first weekend in October!



The trees are finally turning. I was so worried about these trees in the intense
heat of their first two summers, but they're thriving!

Don, carrying tools to what will soon be the fire pit.


We have a fantastic plan for this old shed. When we first bought this place, it was crammed full
of all kinds of crazy stuff-- some treasures, mostly junk. But look at it! It has so much potential!
I wonder sometimes if God sees parts of my life that way... Hm...


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Trusting Jesus 101

Being pregnant this time feels like those dreams where you find out you have to go back to kindergarten or ninth grade because someone lost your transcripts, and you're squeezed in with all these little kids, learning the alphabet all over again, or some crazy grammar, and you realize that you've forgotten half the rules you used to know.

Every day, I feel like I've been re-enrolled in faith courses.

It's an interesting war that is battling in my mind, and I recognize that the peace that I really am feeling is because the Holy Spirit and I have been walking together for a long time, so I know Him, but He's asking me to learn a new language, or new rules, or new something.... The war over my tendency toward double-mindedness: I know you are faithful, but I thought you were faithful the other time... or... Being pregnant is just a biological fact, so what if this pregnancy falls through? I think I'd be alright if that happened, but is even thinking about it a lack of faith?

I really wish I could hear clearly right now.

So my only choice is to trust.

If you think that's easy, you're only halfway right.

Because on the one hand, it's all I can do-- just trust Him. But it's what I'm "just trusting Him" for that is the kicker. Am I trusting for a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery and baby? Or am I trusting Him to walk me through another tragedy? Because He can do both things. He has shown me that. Am I making gigantic assumptions when I assume that He has allowed and smiled on this pregnancy and will bring me through it? Better women than me have experienced heartache like I cannot fathom-- why not me?

My BRAIN!!! AIGH!!!!

So here's the prayer, again, always:

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus... only You, only You, only You.

Because here's what we know: He is good and He is trustworthy. He is not checked out of my life. I am not a "special study" on his chart of experiments He is performing on humans. I am His daughter. And this life is not all there is. He knows my heart, and He knows what is good for me and for my family.

Breathe.

I spotted during aerobics last night. I spotted with Ben, too, and the nurse told me just to rest, and I did, and everything was fine. No cramping ever happened. I called my friend Sarah F. as I hopped into the car and she counseled me out of freak-out mode. I went home, took a shower, and put myself to bed. The spotting was never heavy and it was totally done sometime in the middle of the night.

Of course, I've run to the restroom a thousand times today. All clear every time, but my mind races.

But here is where our confidence lies: it's not in the getting of what we want. It's not in the keeping of what we've been given. It's in the Giver of all things, with no caveat, no "oh, also's"-- it's just in Him.

No matter what.

So here I am, back in Trusting Jesus 101, but I think He's going to teach me some new things this season. I'm holding out for that.

:)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Something new...

First, let me tell you about my yard.

Gigantic yellow chrysanthemums and blooming roses and daisies and fluffy ferns and a slow burn just on the maple trees all invite you to stay in the rocking chair just a few minutes more. The wind chimes are finally starting to be stirred on a regular basis and if you scoot just past the planter filled with rosemary and lavender, a cloud of fragrance will force you to collapse into an adirondack and just breathe. The climbing roses in the back and along the chimney are starting to reach and actually climb, and sometimes, if you stand in just the right spot --in the driveway-- in the middle of a strong breeze, some mysterious fragrance (smells like jasmine? Maybe rose?) makes you breathe deep, sniffing the air and following it like a bloodhound. I think I found the source yesterday, I think, but I don't know what kind of bush it is-- is there such thing as a flowering jasmine bush? 

Even though it's fall and, technically, everything is about to die, it feels like brand-newness. In the south, we're all headed outdoors. The oppression of the last few months has lifted like a reprieve on death row and you'll find us on porches, at the lake, tailgating, walking to town, and crowding all the outdoor seating at restaurants. The last hurrah of nature will turn everything bright orange and gold and red and we have to be outside to see it.

Because I guess it's not really death, is it? It's more like sleeping. All of nature feels the biting sting of winter coming, so it pushes all its baggage off the end of its branches and heads underground for a long respite, stretching out roots and shoots, snuggling deep down into the warm earth for a restful nap, to dream about spring and new birth and new life. Snuggling deep, soaking up nutrients, hiding the beauty of its perfection until the unveiling begins in April. Nature gestates while life is woven and knit over and over and over again in a womb of dirt and roots.

And it's happening inside our house, too, and the mystery is just as profound.

I am newly, finally, pregnant. My hands shake as I type the words.

You've seen my last posts... I'm only about four weeks pregnant... I wasn't expecting it....I mean, I was hoping, obviously, but had come to a sort of settled peace about the thing...

It's early to share, but how could I not, really? Most people wait, right? Twelve weeks, or at least six, is when most of my friends seem to share their news, but they are better people than me-- I couldn't keep this to myself.

And for me, as my dear girl Sarah said, I must proclaim faith over this little one. I know that I will battle fear over the next few months. Not over the pregnancy-- my pregnancy with Ben was so easy, so uneventful-- but over that last bit of the journey, the doorway between cuddling under the earth and pushing the shoots forth: delivery. I have commanded my mind to stay put, in the name of Jesus, and will continue to as the months push on into the journey. I know my weak points, and I know the weapons of the battle.

God has not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A sound mind.


Here's the battle cry of the enemy:

"What if?"

It's a puny, whiny little voice that creeps and screeches and picks and drags. The battle cry of the enemy is:

"But how come last time...?"


But my God is good.


His battle cry is:

PEACE, PEACE

and Goodness

and Hope

and Charity

and HOLINESS.


God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore I will not fear, though the earth should change
and though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Selah.

Psalm 46:1-7



There is a new baby here within, and I am grateful. And somehow, I am sad about Ben all over again, in a way that I have not experienced before, and while I don't understand it, I sense that it is part of the process.

There is so much more to this story, and I will share more later, but I had to share this news. Praise God for this new thing that I had only hoped for! Praise God in advance for this gift that I must hold with open hands-- if I have learned anything in these last two and a half years, it is that we simply cannot read or comprehend the mind of God. So I accept today and pray for His blessings and trust Him that He is endlessly kind and wise and merciful, no matter what.

But I will not expect the worst-- I will simply sit back and enjoy the colors as nature beats a hasty retreat into gestation with me, and will wrap the two of us in a cozy blanket and enjoy a companionable silence together as we wonder at the silent, dark knitting that is happening in us both, and hope for a blossoming in the spring. Wait and expect new life.

Selah.


3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.


I love You, Jesus. Thank you for today.


1 Peter 1: 3-10