June 26, 2014

my one goal for the summer

I just read about a momma who was feeling discouraged by all the mommy-bloggers who are sharing their goals for the summer.

Well, I can hardly stand for that, can I?

Especially when I just explained how into rest I'm going to be for this season of my life.

And even more especially when we're supposed to be encouraging one another, we Christians.

"Love does not boast ..."

So hear this, precious discouraged momma, just wanting some rest and receiving what looks like law instead:

When you get a moment to sit down and read something (which, okay, never happens.  So go ahead, put down what you're doing and take a moment anyway), flip through your Bible to the Gospels, and you will find Good News:

You'll find that Jesus doesn't offer how-to's on goal-setting or productivity or even organization.  When we are weary, he offers rest and refreshment, encouraging us to choose the "one thing needed" like his friend Mary did - to sit at his feet and listen to his words, to abide in his words.

Let this be your one, simple goal for the summer:  to sit at his feet, and listen.  

The dishes will get done, somehow, sometime.  The laundry will, too.  You'll manage to feed the family.  And the rest?  The Pinterest-worthy living room decor and the photo shoot matching outfits and the extracurriculars for the children and all the rest?  They're optional anyhow.

Take a few minutes at the start of your day - even if it's while spooning baby food into that sweet little mouth - to read (yes, even aloud!) some words of Jesus.

They are your true food.

They will nourish you for your tasks (and help you to discern which tasks to do, and which to let go) far better than facebook or shopping or even texting a friend.

Summer camp (or even VBS) for the children won't do it.  Moms' groups and swimming lessons and dance lessons and summer sports (all fine and dandy things) won't do it.  Hard as it is for me to admit this, even a vacation in the islands won't do it.  Nothing will nourish you, nothing will restore your spirit, like the minutes you spend sitting at Jesus' feet.

And, this:  it is okay to sometimes sit down and gaze at the distant trees, even when your work is not done.  Because let's face it, it's never going to be done, that work.  Never.  And you will wear yourself ragged and wretched trying to stay abreast of it all.  Just stop.  Let it go.  Sit down and watch your babies (however old they are) play.  Go outside and marvel (quietly, tiredly is okay) at something God has made.

Let it feed your spirit.

Choose the one thing, this summer, that is needful:  sit at Jesus' feet, and listen.

< < < - - O - - > > >

[and if you like sentimental rhymes, here's a poem - which I eventually memorized from seeing it so often - from my mother's fridge growing up, printed on the faded front of a card.]


Take time to smell the lilacs
And feel the warm bright sun,
Take time to look at rainbows;
Don't wait till work is done:
There'll always be a cobweb,
Some finger marks or dust,
Weeds to pull, a lawn to mow,
And something gathering dust.
We must remember lilacs
Bloom just once a year,
And you can see a rainbow
Only when it's here.

~ by Shirley Harvey

June 16, 2014

rest & my raison d'ĂȘtre

Epiphany this morning:  all that stuff I've read about adrenal fatigue and what to do for it, what supplements to take, what tests to have done?  Possibly all I need to do is Learn. To. Rest.

As in, "Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

And, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled and about many things, but only one thing [sitting at his feet and listening to Him] is needed."

I used to get annoyed when I worked at a doctors' office and people would call in to make an appointment for their child who was sick, wanting medication so the sick child could still play in their basketball game that night.  I would rage in my head (while politely making their appointment for them) that they should LET THAT SICK KID REST, ALREADY!!!

Now who's caught the busy-sickness?!

Another morning epiphany (see, my Monday has been "productive" already!!):  my reason for being is to observe, and then help others see.  God didn't make me to be primarily a doer.  He gave me eyes to see what not everyone can see, and a desire and ability to communicate what I see.

And [surprised and humbled] - my observations bless people!  Show them God.  Give them hope.

I guess the two insights had to hit at the same time.  I've had people affirm me in my communication ability before, but I've always felt lazy not being a Doer, since observing feels like inactivity.  But this morning I felt like I just needed to take some time before my day's work swallowed me up, to just sit outside with my coffee.  No book, not even the Bible, and just take it all in.  Sunshine, birds singing, children squabbling.... ;)

And while I was doing just that, I remembered a book that I greatly enjoyed - Hal Borland's "Hill Country Harvest" - which is basically one man's observations of the natural world around him.  It's an enormous pleasure to read, and (to pacify the practical side of me) highly instructive as well.  His observations are purely secular (or are they? this is God's handiwork he's admiring, after all ...), but it gives a legitimate pleasure nonetheless - helps me to slow down a bit, to SEE my world better.

That's what I think God put me on this earth to do.  I have no idea how (or when) my observations of life will be shared (I suppose this blog could be a start) - and maybe they'll never reach more than just a handful of people.

It doesn't really matter.  I feel settled now, somehow.  I know what I'm here for!

Then, epiphanies in hand, I went out and weeded.  :)

And then I got sweaty, and my allergy rash got worse, and I started sneezing and came inside.  :)

"... a time to rest ...."

June 4, 2014

"opening the pool" ~ buretachi-style

[Or, "how NOT to open a pool."  And for the purpose of this essay, we will define pool as a 4-ft above-ground metal-frame, soft-liner container for swimming]

First, when you fill the pool at the beginning of the previous season (it wasn't until our second "season" that I caught on to the "season" lingo.  As you will see, there were a few other things that we didn't catch on to at first ...), neglect to observe the placement of the drain plug, and that it is positioned so low on the wall as to be, in fact, on the bottom of the pool.

Second, since, with 5,000 gallons of water on top of the plug, you'll be unable to drain the pool in the ordinary fashion (which, I guess, would be to simply open the drain plug and let 'er rip), procrastinate emptying via bucket brigade or siphon until the "season" is so far gone that you've forgotten the pool is still filled.

Third, having neglected to empty the pool (or "close" it, as the chlorine veterans would say) in either a conventional or unconventional manner, now also neglect to cover it.

Fourth, continue to forget about the pool throughout one of the longest, coldest winters anyone under 20 can remember.  Also, don't observe that while the ice storm brought down some large limbs, it did not overlook the dozens of small twigs available for pruning on the silver maple that partially overhangs the swimming pool.  And leaves, did I mention leaves?

Fifth:  as the weather begins, finally, to warm up in the spring, remember your pool.  Recall the drain plug dilemma.  Recollect the absence of any action to solve said dilemma.  Begin to worry.

Sixth ... take a deep breath, gather buckets and rally the troops with memories of crystal clear, refreshingly cool waters in which to revel at the end of a hot summer day.

Seventh - and this is the ugly one - roll up your pant legs and jump in.  Fortunately, over half of the water has evaporated during its uncovered winter.  Unfortunately, that leaves you with about a foot of something reminiscent of condensed pond water.  With twigs.

Eighth:  bail water like you're in a sinking boat.  Encourage the troops with memories of the pool at its brightest and best, and hope that it really is true that water striders don't bite, as you've been telling them.

Ninth:  when the youngest trooper is clearly losing heart, allow her to leave and trim around fenceposts instead.

Tenth:  know when enough is enough, even if the pool isn't emptied yet.  Cheer everyone with congratulations on how far you emptied it (halfway), what good workers and how strong they all are, and that popsicles will be forthcoming.

Eleventh.  Collapse on overstuffed chair and blog about it, in hopes that this season, we'll do things differently.  Starting with properly aligning that drain plug ....

[p.s. for anyone who's ever wondered about the obviously nonsensical word "buretachi" in this blog's address, it is a Japanization of our last name, meaning, roughly, the Bure-people]

June 3, 2014

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