One Thing

I was reading an article in No Greater Joy this week, about balanced and dysfunctional patriarchal families. Michael Pearl’s quoting a mom in this part of it really startled me:

The only evil influence left in the lives of our children is our church.

First, this doesn’t shock me because of its truthfulness; I know only too well what happens when you mix a foolish girl with a church youth group of other foolish teens. The harshness of the statement to me is the fact that even if I am doing my absolute best at filtering and monitoring and chaperoning and supervising, the steps to their destruction need only be the steps into the church building. Of course, this is not intended to be a doom and gloom post about how my children have no hope of success in their spiritual lives, because that would be false. There is always hope, and God has armed us with so many weapons in His word that are at our disposal when temptation comes. Still, I need a place to start- some principle that will encourage not only them but me that we have a fighting chance, even in a innocent on the surface environment like church groups.
What came to my mind was self control. Self control, though evidenced by me intentionally doing what I should and not doing what I shouldn’t, is only perfected by me actually giving the control over to the Holy Spirit, to accomplish His will through me.
Yes, this is the kind of place we can hang out a while; so many other responsibilities and behaviors hinge on a person having this quality mastered. And a parent need not worry about the darts hurled at their children, if they have been teaching them to use their armor.
I can hang my hat on more than just a vain hope my kids don’t make the same mistakes I did. The promises of our Savior give them wings.
Jeremiah 31:3,4
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again
and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.
Again you will take up your tambourines
and go out to dance with the joyful

What’s Up?

Val, Val, how does your garden grow? Little by little- weekly we start some new seed indoors. So far there are a passel of still hidden onions and some leggy tomatoes. Yes, you read that correctly- Luke got a little craving for some real Early Girls. Ha. Nevertheless, seeing those bright green wisps of life these last days of February does my heart good. More onions, parsley, broccoli and asparagus are up next for their dive into the potting soil this weekend.
Some more crockpot successes- tapioca pudding, ribs, and a minestrone made out of a bag of bean soup mix that was fantastic.
Every few months I am forced to reevaluate my parenting and teaching skills, and these always come up lacking. Luke just bestowed upon me his precious iPod, which now contains every children’s song known to man. I’m excited about this especially helping me teach on spiritual topics like character qualities, Bible stories, and discipline. Before I might have known about the song or story, but wouldn’t usually take the time find the cd and to include it in our day. Now I have no excuse, what with being able to customize my own playlists on iTunes.
I was elated to find Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, at my local library in their new book section. I read this book last summer, and it has had quite an influence on me. Shameful that I still have not gotten around to writing a review here on the blog, but one of the reasons is that it isn’t a book for everyone. Not to sound too ethereal, but I feel like I was at just the right place in life to be challenged by Barbara’s eating lifestyle choices- I’m very excited to start growing my own food and finding as many local producers of the rest of my food as I can. Many other people, however, would look at the author’s foodlife story and shrug in indifference. The present economic times do have many more looking for ways to sustain their way of life themselves, so a book like this should only grow in popularity, with more people than the usual ‘green’ types.
I’m going to read it again, and maybe I will post my thoughts as I go this time through it.
I’ll leave you with a wonderful quote from Fanny Crosby’s Rescue The Perishing. When we sang it one Sunday, I felt so encouraged in my mothering-

Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way patiently win them;
tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died.

That just about covers my job description, doesn’t it?

Narrate Your Art

shellI have this selection of shells on a shelf (say that three times fast!) in my kitchen. One jar is from California, one from Florida, and the biggest haul comes from Nantucket. Crafty gal that I am, I tossed around ideas on how to label the jars, like giving them fun stickers or writing on them. Then I discovered this great quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.” Making a simple label with this on it was the perfect thing for my artistic endeavor to say something more. I’m always looking for ways my decorating can speak about what I value and hold dear. I have started matting and framing prints and pictures myself so that I can add a box for a Scripture verse or quote that goes with it. Things that go on my walls I want to say, “I love Jesus” more than just “I love beautiful things”, for the eyes of any who walk through my door.
Last weekend, Luke bought two beautiful prints- one of Mohican Covered Bridge, the other of the ‘Big House’ at Malabar Farm. Both of these scenic destinations are very meaningful to him, so much so that an added quote or verse will likely be unnecessary. Still, I am thrilled that our walls will continue to share our loves with others. Look around your house at the items you have on display. Is there a way you can give them more of a voice?

Lost Things

This morning, Luke realized his iPod was missing. It was later located in the van, but not before we spent some time fearing the bad (maybe it was in a parking lot somewhere) and the worst (maybe it was in a stranger’s pocket somewhere). Still, even in those dark moments, it wasn’t all that upsetting, because we both knew he’d just buy himself another one if he did not find his toy.
I got to thinking about how this is my perspective on a lot of the things I lose in life. Because they are just things, and are reasonably priced, in my American culture, I never really have to say goodbye.
I’ve discovered that this mindset is one of the reasons a death in the family is such a shock to the system. The loss of a loved one means I have to say goodbye; it means their presence in the rest of my life can never be replaced. I in my feeble ways almost can’t comprehend this those first days of loss since I live such a consumptive lifestyle most other days of the year.
How glorious to know that we will be with Grandma Gertie again in Heaven, and that death certainly does not have to be the end. But now is the time to grieve and mourn for the thing that is lost, only because to be given any length of life is to be granted a most precious thing.