A Love Poem

We learned about Dante this week in history. What an intriguing fellow! Seems he was in love with this girl since he was nine! He would write love poems to her, and after she married- uh, someone else- he would continue to write about her, but not use her name, out of respect. Dante is best known for his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy. This is an epic poem in three parts about Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. I especially liked hearing about how he didn’t even try to describe the Lord in the third part, except by an inexpressible light. Beautiful.
One of the suggested activities for the lesson was to have each child write a love poem. A Major and Big S went to it with great gusto, even after I made the rule that they couldn’t just write, “Roses are red, Violets are blue…” Little S balked at the project, claiming he could never write a poem. I eventually let him write it about his bike, to keep peace. N was the cutest, though- all while he’s writing, he’s under cover and saying the poem, and its recipient, are a “secret”. Then when he was done, he folded his paper up small, asked me how to spell ‘Wayne’, and if we had any stamps. We don’t, so, Nate, your love poem from N is on the island awaiting the next time we see you. 🙂
Big S said at one point, “I know who you would write a love poem to, Mama- Daddy!” Later on that day, I did just that. This is for my love- it goes along with the thoughts I was having in my previous post.

Redwing blackbirds give chase between the trees
I think of how glad I am that stage is past
When we had to wonder where we stood
Times between calls I could not be certain
But have we arrived yet to our nest
Where you are home as well as I
In love
Much work remains to finish this nest
Beaks bearing brush, straw and twine
May I not carry what is not mine
To simply wear the yoke that is offered
By One whose eye is always on me
Less weight gives me freedom to enjoy each flight
Sharing more, having more, pursuing you home

Gardens

Thanks to the hard work of my loving husband, some vegetables got planted in our garden last night. For a while, he wasn’t sure where to plow up the ground and put it in, but finally decided on the far west side of the backyard. I am excited about all the possibilities in the coming years. This year, because of my condition, I am forced to scale back my original dreams for our first gardening season in the new house. This is good for me- I have been learning repeatedly how I can’t do ‘everything’, but should pursue the best things and do them well. Little delights of Romas, onions and potatoes for now. Luke is so great at that- he’s constantly driven to create an excellent product, whether it be a garden plot, website, or VBS program. His example is inspiring.
One area I know I need to work on seeking the best in is our marriage. Sure, I work hard and do lots of things to show that I care about him and our children, but when it comes to really delighting in him, making him feel special, I am often at a loss. I don’t know how to communicate to him how much I prize him above all others, in a way he understands. This kind of expression takes time, thought, and effort that goes beyond the everyday “make sure his shirt is washed” and “fix things he likes for dinner”, and it is a love language I do not know very well. The burden of trying to please him in this way feels staggering at times.
Fortunately, Jesus promises me His burden is light; if I am overwhelmed, it must be something I am getting wrong. Maybe it goes back to what I was saying about the garden- not trying to do it all, but making what I do attempt be the best it can be. Little delights of walks, talks and smiles for now.

your hand in mine
a steady line
drawn on my heart
and deep in my mind
and you walk with me
you never leave
you’re making my heart
a garden
-Matt Maher

A Post About Stuff

My Magic Bullet died yesterday. Can I admit to feeling a little relieved, even giddy at the prospect of throwing it away? Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice gadget to have around for my smoothie making and tomato pureeing, and I have appreciated having such a tool in my cabinet. Problem is, the tool takes up way too much of my cabinet, with its plethora of attachments. I have been looking forward to the day I need to upgrade to some other, simpler food processor. Moving to our new house, with limited space to put stuff, has forced me to think even harder about the things I have, and things I have to store.
It has been fun to open boxes and bins that have been stored away since we moved from Waldo to Luke’s mom’s house. Kinda like Christmas- “Look, there’s those sweet flowers we had up in the girls’ room!”- but kinda like the day after Christmas, too. Some of the things we can and will use now, but what about the rest? I don’t want a basement full of stuff, so the sorting starts today. Hopefully, the two older girls can help me out while earning their own cute mini egg pans (Kroger, $5). The plan is to fill the eight bins I have already with other season/ other size clothing, bedding, and coats, and not have anything left over for which I would need to buy more bins or that would have to sit in a garbage bag. Wish me luck.
The two real challenges for me, however, lie in other parts of the basement. One is in the art/ craft/ scrapbooking department. Some of it I can legitimize easily- “Hey, that watercolor paper cost a lot of money!” and “I have to at least finish one scrapbook before I die- it’s on my bucket list!”- but other stuff I’m not so sure about. How much construction paper, play dough, yarn, and beads do I keep for my kids’ educational enhancement? We’ll need a spot downstairs for all these forms of expression, and I will have to keep the ever- reproducing piles maintained. The other big job is managing all of our homeschool supplies. Booklets, posters, videos, and tons of papers are all needing a new home, never having had a good one yet. Bookshelves? Tall cabinets? Hung from the ceiling dry cleaners style? In addition, I haven’t quite found the balance between what could stay paperless (ie. stored on the computer to read) and what needs printed up. Of course, the printer is out of ink when I do occasionally figure it out- oh well.
Let’s close with a little perspective:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Thank You, Father, for all that I have! Thank You for not being fickle and tossing me when I break or go out of style.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
What can I store in Heaven today? Unpacking those boxes will be even better than Christmas!

Sharing Night

Tomorrow night is the last BSF class of the year for the study of Isaiah. Typically, the evening follows a different routine, where they open up the floor for anyone who wants to share how their life was changed or encouraged from the study. I have been thinking all week about what I want to share- Here are some bits.

Many times during this study, it has become evident that a key component to staying encouraged in the Lord and maintaining joy is to sing His praises. We see Isaiah frequently break out with a joyous song of thanksgiving, of hope, or of victory to God for his many wonderful deeds. I got the idea to make a mix for my iPod that contained songs that made some mention of something said in Isaiah. That is something else neat about this book- I never realized how many oft-used phrases can be found here, like “white as snow”, “mighty to save”, “hiding place”, and “refuge and strength”. I would have placed these in the psalms before I would have thought such wonderful imagery would be found here.
So, from our thousands of collected psalms, hymns and spiritual songs on iTunes, I started culling ones that had these themes. This will be a long process before I am done, but already I have a great playlist of songs that remind me of the things I studied this year in Isaiah. For example:
‘Salvation Belongs To Our God’- Crystal Lewis
-this song describes the praise and worship at His throne at the end of the age, where the redeemed are saying,
“Amen!
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Amen!”
How thrilling for Isaiah to have gotten glimpses of that day.

I also enjoyed ‘looking’ for those key thoughts and themes from Isaiah in my hymnal. The verses from ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ at times read right out of Isaiah’s pages, as does ‘Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart’, and ‘You Are My Hiding Place’. One hymn for which I have a new fondness, because of this Isaiah study, is ‘Jesus Paid It All’:
I hear the Savior say
“My child, thy faith is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in Me thine all in all.”
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete
“Jesus died my soul to save”
my lips shall still repeat
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
If nothing else, I hope this study will have instilled in me a deeper love for my Savior, and a desire to sing for joy at all He has done for me.