Thursday, March 26, 2015

Resting









It can be so easy to get discouraged -
-there is still so much snow
-it is still so cold
-our house's roof desperately needs to be replaced
-our car's engine went and we need to buy a new old car
-a mild flu is making it's way through our family
-Mike has to have another operation, this time to remove a lump in his throat

Or I can be choose to be encouraged -
-the wet snow is great for sculpting and building and it really is melting
-before everything melts, I still have time for knitting
-we are working on a refinance mortgage with cash out so that we can put on a new roof
-the new old car we are planning to buy on Saturday morning is a Honda Odyssey minivan which will be much better on gas mileage than our old Suburban
-I am thankful that the flu many of us have had is a mild one
-the lump in Mike's throat is only a cyst

For today, I choose to rest in the Lord and be encouraged, knowing that His hand is in everything.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Compassion



Often the root of discourse in marriage and other relationships is selfishness.  We seek
to please ourselves first, to try and get from the other as much as we can to feed
ourselves.  This is, of course, a recipe for disaster.

Some would say that we are born this way, and maybe so, but regardless, it is possible
to seek another path - that of compassion.  What makes that so hard, however, is that most
of the institutionalized systems, work environments, and cultural norms in our society
support the "me first" mentality.

We are ranked, graded, promoted, recognized, blasted with media promoting satisfaction
through the acquisition of stuff.  What rank were you in
your graduating high school class?  Were you a star athlete growing up in your small
town?  Did you have a date for the school prom?  Is your chosen profession going to
give you the opportunity to purchase all the stuff that will make YOU feel good?
What happens when you don't get the grades, the "good" job, the attractive spouse?
Often anger, repressed or otherwise results, or perhaps seeking pleasure in harmful ways
to self such as alcohol or drugs, or maybe even resorting to porn to satisfy some sort of "I deserve this pleasure and can dominate" feeling.

The competitive nature of our capitalistic economy encourages us to put ourselves first.
This then leads to greed, envy and ambition.  Wherever there are winners there are always many
more losers.  So often this fulfillment of self first carries into our other important relationships -
partner, spouse, sibling, parent.

The opposite of selfishness is compassion which is something so alien in our country.
It is interesting to note that compassion is the foundation of most religions and spiritual traditions - treat others the way you wish to be treated.

This is certainly no easy task and all the harder when we have been brought up in a culture that sends the opposite message.

I think it is possible to work toward being more compassionate - through growing one's faith, ignoring many of society's messages, being more aware of every word that you speak, strengthening families, and creating a society that encourages the creative genius in each of us.

While I certainly can't change the world, I can change myself.  For today I will strive to
stop and think before I speak.  Am I loving, blessing and encouraging with my words and actions?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Loving More



 Life is short - really just a blink of an eye in the scope of things.

At 45, this realization has become more intense.  There have been more reminders lately of just how precious this one life is.

When Mike was undergoing his double hernia surgery, the anesthesiologist found a lump in his throat.  Actually, he cut him as he was sticking the tube down.

The feeling that I had when the surgeon told me about this after his surgery was overwhelming. 

It turns out after a CT scan, that the lump looks benign, but Mike will be seeing a throat specialist next to probably talk about surgery to remove it as it is about an inch in diameter.

That week between the surgery and the meeting with the doctor was one where my senses were elevated - where I appreciated even more each moment.  

I cried out to God to please heal him as our relationship had only recently been one of mutual intense love and respect.

Our relationship has reached the best it has ever been - ever - we have both grown so much thanks to the grace of God.   What an amazing design that of husband and wife and when it is realized as God intended - what a gift.  (It was not always this way as we have had long struggles that are too personal to go into here but there were many, many times when I was ready to give up.)

I am so grateful now to have this time with Mike - to feel loved by him and to love him - God is good.

If you are in a hard spot, just remember that God is faithful and even though His timing may not be yours, there is a plan and a purpose.  I thank God that I hung in there and stayed faithful to my marriage.

We are hoping that we can encourage other Christian couples by sharing our story.  We will be hosting a twice per month Sunday evening potluck at our home using Matt Chandler's new study, The Mingling of Souls.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thankful for







a deck of cards

that March has arrived after the coldest February on record 

time to spruce up a pantry and that paint is an affordable option to give a fresh look

Emmy's collar bone healing - so well that we have to tell her to slow down now

paint to add color to these gray days

Nolan helping us break up the ice on the roof while Mike continues to heal from his surgery


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Healing and Trusting



So Emmy fractured her collar bone on Tuesday evening - she fell off our bed backwards and landed on her left shoulder (she is a lefty so this is a bit of an inconvenience for her).   She has a little sling - but it is very painful for her if she moves her arm the wrong way.

We will be adding another patient to our house on Friday as Mike is having a double hernia operation.  From what we have read, he will probably be in quite a bit of pain for a few days after the surgery and then it will be a few weeks before he is back to doing the hefty chores around here.

I am thankful that my health is good, nobody is sick, and I am hopeful that we will all work together as Emmy and Mike heal to make the next couple of weeks the best we possibly can.

To that end, with the winter season still in full swing, I decided to change things up a bit around the house.  I added a little art nook to our dining room the other day and that has sparked some new projects.  Sarah is going through a 50 states coloring book and looking up each bird, painting them and writing out a list of them.  

I am working on letting go of my fear of the children choosing to use computers and have set up a little computer nook for them under the stairway.  Computers have been one of those scarcity issues in our house.  Since the younger ones know that the teenagers use their laptops, they, of course, are intrigued and want to use them as well.  (Oh and I use one too!)  No matter how I set limits, I have only found it to lead to them wanting to use them even more.   I have gone back and forth on the computer issue and now I am working on choosing to trust all around and to  honor our children's choices instead.  Not just let them go and do what they want, but instead learn more about what it is they want to do and why and then explore that together.   Check out this youtube video (note:  some minor language is used that some of you may find inappropriate)

(Oh, do you know of a good BBC series or something similar that would be good to download while I am at the library as we will be having quite a bit of down time over the next couple of weeks?)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Knitting and Reading



I am joining in Hat Along No. 1 at Fringe Association.  It is the Audrey hat by Jessie Roselyn and the pattern is being shared there for free.

I am using Rowan felted tweed  (something I had in my stash) which is a 50% merino, 25% alpaca and 25% viscose.

It will make a nice hat on the not-so-cold days and the pattern is a lovely chevron repeat.  I am using my stitch markers to make the pattern easier to follow - I only have to worry about the 12 stitches between each marker!

Mike and I are reading The Nourishing Homestead by Ben and Penny Hewitt.  It is the kind of book you can keep out by the rocking chair, open up to any section and just read.   I agree with most of their views on nutrition and much of their basic philosophy of why they live the way they do.

I hope the Hewitts don't mind if I share a quote -

"The culture of modern corporatized agriculture has directed us away from a holistic understanding of soil health in much the same way that the culture of consumption has directed us away from skills, self-reliance, and community."

Joining in with Ginny.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

One Moment at a Time





With yet another night of frigid cold (-20 degrees F), I push forward concentrating more on 
the very moment right in front of me.  Spring seems so far in the future I haven't even thought much of the gardens I will plant.
There have been no breaks this winter.  I can't remember the last time we saw a temperature above freezing - usually there is an occasional warmer than usual day to boost your spirits and remind you that spring will come.

Another day of jumping on water buckets to break the ice, bringing in armload after armload of firewood (thank you dear husband), trying to think of another creative idea to do inside, warming up every little while by the wood stove - truthfully, it is tiring at this point.  With Emmy coming down with the flu this morning, Mike won't be able to join Isaac and Nolan on a trip to the Boston area to shovel roofs with my father - there is great money in that right now.  I was afraid being on my own here on the homestead would put me past the breaking point.  I was afraid I would have to tell Emmy too many times that I can't snuggle with her because the wood stove needed tended or the animals needed me, or the next meal needed to be prepared.   I was afraid that I would lose it from being exhausted after having to get up every 2 - 3 hours to put more wood on the fire.  Mike and I are a team and this time of the year, truly depend on each other.   The money would have been a wonderful blessing, but we're not doing this life for the money anyway.