May 25, 2014

bits of me

Surrounded by ten little girls in the 3rd-5th grade church club, I tore photos from magazines, chose words and images that appealed to me for any reason at all, glued them to construction paper while they did the same.  A "getting-to-know-you" activity when we began meeting in the fall, it worked well to give us a bit of a glimpse into each other's personalities and preferences.

I had so much fun, I made another one at home.  It's surprising how a collage can capture someone's essence.

It's not terribly grown-up of me, probably, but I wish I had a collage from each of my friends, to help me see life through their eyes, just a bit.

May 24, 2014


In the three years of this blog's life (I don't count 2006, when I started the blog, wrote three posts, and then promptly forgot about it for five years) I've written 297 posts.  Fifteen of those are unfinished, unpublished drafts.

I published one post in March, one in April, and one in May.

In April I saved four drafts; three in May.  Hmmm. . . .  Half of all the unfinished posts on this blog are in the past two months.

You'd almost think I was in some kind of stasis....

I've got drafts on strength, and joy, and sickness.  On Lil' Snip (who had a birthday recently), and God, on standing alone, and being part of a body.

Sometimes I open a draft and add to what I've written .... or delete it entirely.

I wonder what will happen to them, those unfinished thoughts waiting to be born ...

[like this one, a preemie, really ...]  

May 11, 2014

grace for Mothers' Day

Like many church-going moms, I suppose, I find Sunday mornings a little more "get-up-shower-make-breakfast-braid-their-hair-find-church-library-books-and-Lil'-Snip's-good-shoes" than "relax-in-bed-while-we-serve-you-breakfast-y".

So in a rare stroke of genius last year, we decided to celebrate Mothers' Day ... (are you ready for this?) ... on Saturday.

So it was yesterday morning (after a week of hushed planning and negotiations) that I stayed in bed late, as instructed.  My Farmer got Lil' Snip up, pottied, dressed.  I lounged, and read that little book of quotes and verses from the nice people at Our Daily Bread (which we usually keep in the bathroom).  Lil' Snip came and bounced up beside me to try the bed (which he never sees me in, since I get up long before he does in order to keep sane).

Four pages and two visits from Lil' Snip later, I heard an orderly procession of footsteps coming carefully up the steep stairs to the bedroom.  My breakfast had arrived, along with cards and gifts!

Eggs, toast, bacon, coffee, chocolate, a special Spice-decorated brownie, a fragrant posy, cards & coupons galore for backrubs, coffee-making and "anything you want!" all tastefully arranged on a tray for my convenience.  Also two plants started from seed, sugar scrub and lots of kisses.  They left me with my favorite music playing, and a bell - in case I needed anything - traipsing back downstairs to eat their own breakfast now.

(Naturally I had to test the bell, and all three came charging up the steps to hear my request for orange juice, then argued eagerly on the way back down about who would get to pour it and who would get to bring it up to me.)

When I finally reemerged from this delicious little vacation, Spice told me how she had liked to hear my fork clink while she was downstairs eating her own breakfast, because she knew that I was eating the eggs she had scrambled for me.

The night before, my sister and I went to see a movie, "Moms' Night Out" (which I highly recommend if you have in any way helped to raise children, or if you just want a good clean laugh).  On the way home we talked about parenting, and how it reveals our weaknesses.  I told her that Spice, finishing The Little Princess again the other day, had sighed and said that some books are so good that you can read them over and over, and every time you find something new, that you had missed before.  "The Bible", she'd added, "is an excellent example of this."

I could not have said that myself, at Spice's age, being a nominal Bible-reader then, already so jaded that I sincerely thought it would be best if children were not exposed to the Bible until they were 12, so that it would be fresh to them.  (I'm pretty sure I hadn't even read the whole thing yet, whereas Spice is already on her second time through.)

And here is my offspring, so like me in so many ways, saying that she can read the Bible over and over and get something new from it each time.

That, my beloved readers {all two of you ;)} is God's grace.

You and I both know that the few pathetic shreds of righteousness that I may think I have to offer God could not begin to effectively counteract the sinful, self-centered life I lead, that my children are privy to every day as they watch me lose my temper, demonstrate a lack of self-discipline (hello, chocolate?!  unclean house?  unkempt yard?), succumb to fear and depression, and on and on.

My life, in other words, could not naturally produce children who consider God's Word one of "the best books", to be read and re-read so as not to miss the goodies to be found in it.  (Let alone children who "rise up and call [me] blessed", sincerely thinking - until I provide specific & readily-available evidence to the contrary - that I am perfect!)

Only God's grace can do that.  God, who "calls into being that which does not exist." (Romans 4:17)

God's grace may work in mysterious ways.  In the past 12 years I've pondered often the meaning of 1 Timothy 2:15 - "But women will be saved through childbearing - if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety."

I'm no theologian, but I'm beginning to wonder if this verse is more about opportunity than position.  By bearing (and raising) children, God gives me an opportunity to grow in faith, in love, in holiness and propriety.  Do you see it?  Nothing in my life prior to raising these precious (and sometimes infuriating) children has stretched me waaaaaay past my limits in quite the way that they do.

I need more faith, now.

I need Grand Canyon-sized resources of love, now.

I need holiness & propriety more desperately than ever, now, because I want to be a good example for them.  I want the best for them and (scary thought!) I know they're watching me.

So just perhaps, raising these children is a God-given opportunity to "work out [my] own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12, 13

Trust me, there's plenty of fear and trembling involved already.  But I want to stand firm on the second half of that now - "it is God who is at work in you".

Maybe you want to, too?  Let go, trust God, and let Him do His work in you, for His own good pleasure.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For you are with me;
You rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil,
my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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