Saturday, December 22, 2012

A list to pursue

Earlier this year I was reading about a Bucket List- and thought about how i would rather have a life list- things i want to do with my list.  I am visual and a list maker, I find that when i make a list I accomplish more, perhaps it helps me focus, perhaps it helps me file it in my brain a bit better.

As I publish this on 12/22/2012  I am surprised by all that I have done since first writing this.

1. Run a 5k  (Monte Sano 2012) (UAH 2013- walked it except for photo ops :)  )
2. Raise chickens and get eggs in my backyard ( The Union shop is in full operation with 6 employees)
3. Enter a quilt in a quilt show ( i have sent in submission to be considered, perhaps??)
4. See the grand canyon
 5. Spend a week in a cabin by a lake
 6. Learn to apply makeup, the right way (Youtube to the rescue, why did i not think of it sooner?)
7. Take computer classes
8. Learn how to fully use my I- stuff
9. Visit a zoo (we had fun at the Nashville zoo in October 2012, and hope to go to B'ham zoo soon)
10. Hike part of the AT ( I hiked all 1.3 miles from parking lot to top of spriner mtn GA- woo hoo! 10/12)
 11. Campout under the stars
12. Spend a night in my hammock
 13. Enjoy the aura boreal is
 14. Drive a fun car
 15 go out for fancy dessert
 16 buy a lottery ticket
 17 make a fountain for my garden
 18 lay a garden path
 19 pick berries with a friend ( blueberries last year, blackcaps with my sister this)
 20 learn to grow onions (found mature onions in the garden and did it again this year! yipee!)
21 get a pedicure- (got one for my man's return- lasted almost a month, was kind of fun)
22 get a manicure, not during gardening season
23 read or listen to war and peace, or watch the movie, if one was made
24 make baked Alaska again
25 read through the new testament
 26 learn to do proper situps, and be able to do 25

Still many things to work on, living lots of life these days, joyfully falling into bed tired in the night and doing a bit of dreaming as i find my life no longer full of kinder underfoot or under the roof .  A new season of life awaits ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

grieving for my perenniel

Several weeks ago I found myself in tears with  a  dear friend.  She was tearing up with memories of her love departing.  I teared up from the fresh grief i was  living with.  She spoke of how she had ten years to prepare for K's departure for they knew his illness would end with parting, and yet it was so unexpected.  I have had almost 21 to prepare for my girl to launch and yet that week had been a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts. 

this morning i awoke with the thought of a bird beating against a cage.  watching such activity is hard o the eyes and the heart.  one who longs to soar and has sights beyond their present limits but is still trying to fly within their limited space.  even as 'peace, be still" was spoken, and yet the inner turmoil seemed too great to settle the heart that was full of unrest.  watching a dear one wrestle and struggle and react rather than slow down to consider and respond well has been challenging.  we have had moments of settling and what looked like a return to normal flight patterns and then once again the pressing of limits and flying without reguard to the flight tower counsel would continue.  clouded vision seemed to cause all things to be interpreted on a different plane than those who stood further back.

And so as seasons go we have once again found ourself in a new season. Just as I once anticipated parenting Sam would look one way but it has turned out quite differently, in this season my anticipation has not been much like my hopes and dreams.  And with that dissappointment has come some anger and feeling of being cheated of what I might reap. Ffor now it is hard to see the hidden harvest, but i am hopeful for a later harvest.  i just don't see it blooming this week or this month.  Perhaps a perenniel plan is what i have been investing in, not the showy annuals that spring up and last for a season, perenniels are planted and give us long service and enjoyment for years.  some years they come up differently than anticipated, and then the following year they return to normal patterns.

So, as my bird has flown the coop, launched herself into independent adult living, I now wander the cage she left behind.  it has been stripped of all that she was, a closet and a few bookcases remain of her belongings.  this homne that has not felt like a home to her is adjusting to less members.  we know we cannot hold back adulthood, and so she went, sadly not with our joy and delight and anticipation of what would lie ahead.  Rather it was a sudden departure with only moments notice of its reality in our lives, and then it was. so, we find ourselves prayng and storming heaven that she will find protectin and wisdom amidst the many lessons that adult living brings.

Last night as we escaped the all too quiet house, with the blessed distraction of errands and I found my stomach turn as I ate at a favorite place, i realized that this grief thing will take a bit of time to work thought.  we are in the midst of a season of change, which means letting go of old and growing new.  i told my dear one that i am trying to find my footing.  i am thinking of what this new season will allow, anticipating some of the freedoms to come for us.  i am also seeing that open palms make for great landing spots for birds in flight.

so as the tears come in the days ahead, as i am sure they will, for it seems that my heart was restocked with a large tank last week, i will grieve, pray and cast my eyes to the future.  for now, the new flight patterns may hold joy, but just as this is a season of change for me, it is for her as well, and familiar places are often returned to for comfort and remewal.  so, as I tend the perenniels around me, I will pray for my birdie and trust God to care for her as she explores other gardens.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Changes and transformations

We are in the midst of a season of change here in Toney.  It comes at us all around- children, cars and surroundings.  Change is good, change is hard, change is character building and makes me Christ dependent.  Some days I am overwhelmed and undone, some days I delight in the new possibilities.

Months ago I casaully mentioned to a friend that if they ever wanted to sell their well cared for Camry let us know.  we received a call last month and now own this car- a delight, a good change.  It answered the question of what to do with our "zippy" car- a nissan 240sx that the Mr has been falling into and crawling out of in an effort to save gas.  All that was good, the no a/c not so much.  Zippy is now on the market and we hope the man who longs for it enough to offer more than asking so that we would hold it will soon arrive and take it home. 

A few years ago I saw the writing on the wall that our time was limited with our older children.  Like a slow ticking clock the months and years have passed and the time of departure has drawn closer and come to pass for some.  This week our oldest will move out, thus leaving only one child at home.  We have rejoiced and cheered on some moves, others have been harder to bear, change can be melencholic - sometimes a high, sometimes a low.  We work on leveling out as each settles into young adult living on their own.  We settle into praying for each by name nightly around the dinner table as they spread to the north and south of the US and soon enough some will cross the globe to serve the needs of the soldiers and another may soon be a Marine on duty in remote places. 

As news of rooms emptying began my brain engaged in dreaming of new uses for spaces.  There was anxiousness for change, yet a desire to linger in what was at the same time.  Eventually it occurred to me that I could move forward in each season, as needs arose.  Last week a green room became blue- more neutral, calming and covering where each hole and freshening the space.  We anticipated a new resident to move in, but soon word came that the eldest was on his way to far off adventure and when choice was given the tan room with "cool lights" trumped the new blue room.  So the future guest room is now serving as a temporary room - the boy is like goldilocks as to which bed he will sleep in.  Last night we changed what has been the boys room for 6 + years into a living space.  Futon was installed, wall unit was turned and transformed into room divider and again transformed this morning into a quilt design wall on its backside.  Slowly pictures are going up and I am contemplating how each piece of furniture will work where and how.  Fun changes, simplifying, spreading out and giving dedicated space for interests to be pursued.  I continue to consider and dream of what is ahead for that space.  This weekend it will be the temporary guest room, next week it may well find itself to be my sewing space and a den....

So as I seek the feet of Christ to keep me soft and pliable, willing to embrace this season of change I find the adjustments easier.  When i center on me alone, the cracks come, the sense of loss is heavier, the joy is missed.  This is a season we knew would come, we hopefully prepared the kinder for, and there is much delight as they launch well.  There is delight in the changes we are int he midst of and the ones that lie ahead.  And i find that unexpectedly i am being transformed in the midst of letting go, of releasing, or trusting.  I guess that is the most unexpected part of the changes- i know they were happening, i just did not exxpect there to be change within. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

When did it happen?

When our kids are young it seems that some days last forever and we cannot wait for the evening to come, to tuck them into bed and slow down the pace of life for a few short minutes before falling exhausted into our own slumber.  Folks tell you that the years will fly, but in the midst of the busy seasons of parenting it is hard to see the pages of the seasons turning.

This week my girl turned 21.  Two years ago my first turned 21.  In two short years the next will become an official adult, though in our book he is already one as he is serving his country as a Marine.

As I look back over the years it is hard to know when my girl transitioned  from toddler to girl to teen and now a  young adult.  Was it after falling asleep on her lambie?  Was it after being frightened by her pirate brother?  After the tea party when she dressed like a young lady though still quite young?  After rescuing 100+ worms stranded by a rainstorm or splashing in mudpuddles?  Was it in the midst of a camping trip?  As she dreaded growing up or maybe as she accepted that she was going to grow up and began to pursue becoming a lady with a passion?

Perhaps it came about as she trusted her life toCchrist, reached out to others around her, began to cook and bake and learn to run a house?  Maybe as she joined her brothers in chores and became her daddy's girl yet retreated to good books when the work was done.  Maybe it was amidst school work and learning that she was ok with having curls and dressing to suit herself, and not another. Or perhaps as she looked to the future and began to dream?  As she stepped from high school into the work force, then moved on to college as her main time commitment?  In the midst of summers away, seeking freedom and independence and yet seeing God's provision and protection when she was sometimes not aware of the need?  Maybe it was on the river white water rafting or around a campfire or riding the backroads with fellow campers?  Maybe while traveling and she answered the call to adulthood at the phone booth on the side of the road along a trip while taking a picture? 

I don't know that any of us can pinpoint exactly when we transtition.  Ocassionally there is an event that helps us to move to the next stage of life.  I recall a walk up stairs that preceded a decision of love and movement into a new season of life.  Most of the time I arrive at a new season surprised to wake up and see that the season has changed.  So it has been for me in the past months.  All of a sudden the house is a bit quieter, the exit sign has flashed quicker than expected.  All of a sudden the days of children in the house is waning and we are seeing that which we anticipated come to pass.  The relationships become more precious and we cherish the interactions, as their future quantity is undefined. We adjust to the reality that change happens, that our job as parenting another child has changed to walking through life alongside another adult.

These days we have transitioned to the reality that our girl is no longer our little girl.  She has grown up.   As parents letting go is always challenging, all the more so when it is your first and only- may God bless the hearts of all the firsts and onlies, as we parents learn and make so many mistakes as we learn with them, they pave the way for the siblings who follow.  Our girl is now a young adult, we are learning to love in new ways.  We are learning to rejoice in new aspects of life.  we are learning to step back and allow life lessons to occur, no longer rushing in to intercept a fall and kiss away boo boos, though in our hearts we would love to build protective bubbles about our children, they are no longer children. 

And so we rejoice in the years of the past, the sweet memories.  we rejoice in the gift of children, the blessing of the relationships we have.  we rejoice that each child has been blessed with good health and a life full of loving relationships.  we rejoice that for so many years our nest was not empty, and the possiblity that the future generation may one day come to fill it with noise again.  We live with open palms, open arms, surrendering our blessings to God and the life He would have them live out.  And in the quiet of the afternoon and evening we rejoice to not be battling tired children, but our weary bodies can simply rest and cheer on those yet in the season of intense childraising.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

passions balanced with eternity- how is this possilbe?

I find myself wondering these days how my passion for fiber and visual textiles can be of use to the kingdom.  Why did the Lord put within me a desire to manipulate cloth and fiber and how does it relate to kingdom purposes? 
As I look ahead I see a time when I will have time to spend pursuing my passions.  When stitching and sewing and knitting will be occupations that could be enjoyed and pursued beyond a few found hours throughout the tweek.  When I could kind of seriously study dying of fabric and fiber, seek to quilt for more than pleasure, maybe even teach a class or two.  When I could consider entering a quilt in competition or thinik about the idea of sharing passions in a class or through a book?
And yet at the same time I am reminded that this is not my home.  I am a stranger here on short term mission.  That my purpose for being here is to Glorify God... what does that look like in terms of gifting with cloth and fiber? 

For the present I am playing with "green" fiber- upcycling sweater by repurposing the wool for gifts and warmth bringing garmets.  I am playing with undyed fibers that I have harvested from unwanted garmets.  I am using my skills and talents to bless folks with gifts and objects with purpose or decoration.  And as I work on these I know that often they are a blessing, yet at other times as I stitch or knit or ..... I realize that in the thoughts of Solomon all is vanity, and some is just make work and fodder for the future donate or excess stuff pile.  As I understand that my time is a precious resource I desire to number my days and invest them wisely, not with just make work but with kingdom work.
and so continues the condumdrum of balance between passion and eternal thinking.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New posts

A friend's message has caused movement - a good thing.  I thought that I had not written for months, only to find that the reality is that I had written, just not posted, so today I have swamped the blog with all my old posts that were not seen only written.
As this year begins it, as most, comes with a sense of opportunity and clean slate.  Our christmas letter was themed :change, for that seems to be the season we are in.  As I look ahead I can anticipate what might come but having lived more than 4 decades with many unexepected twists and turns to our story there is much unknown that the year ahead may hold. 
Sunday's sermon spoke to the idea of resolution and how it is so often man centered.  yet we are God created people, and who knows better our center and our needs for the season ahead than our creator.  So, this year instead of trying to determine what I should do I am asking the God of the Universe to guide me in the changes He would have me make.  Just as I found Him to change my heart to exercise, so I anticipate him changing some other things within me in the months ahead.  I am spending the next 40 days rereading and listening close as I work my way through The Purpose Driven Life.
  My husband and I were blessed with a new devotional and we are using that to share life together daily.  It has been good - Love Talk is the title.

This month I anticipate - new information on my husbands brain- it has been a year of knowing he is living with MS and this week we get a "lets see how it is really going" MRI.  Not sure what is ahead but this may be a signposts.  We continue with green smoothies and seeking to increase health naturally along with my periodic opportunities to legeally shoot him!  (talk about God moments - this comes from a needle fearing girl who by God's strength now gives injections!)

This month we also watch our middle son move from boy to recruit to Marine!  He has been away for 10 weeks.  The house has been quiet, peacefully so.  The food lingers in the fridge.  We watch and wait for letters and gather around to savor words from afar.  I think I will miss the letter writing when he is released and has phone privilidges, hmmm may still have to keep it up.  We have heard of heart change and seen it indicated by his words.  soon we shall get to live with him and see how and what the transformation has reprioritized in his head and heart. 

This month our daughter returns to college- only one in college now.  The all too short semester break is soon over and the pace will pick up.  I shall miss having her about the house, watching her creativity flow.  I am sure she brings life to her work and the people there- she inspried a skirt day and word is one of the guys donned a sport skirt jsut for the fun of it- over his jeans!

The eldest is in a season of waiting- college is done for this season and he is waiting for the first real job- thankfully his part time work continues.  He remains creative as he waits- building and creating.  Presently working on motion control switch for our garage streetlight- fun!  (I think he may be tired of stumbling in a dark garage).  He is a published creator- - fun!

And with the new year I must return to my day job.  My student reluctantly awaits the start of his education.  Winter break was all too short for him, he pleaded for another week as the dust was burning off his brain witha  afew math problems.  Time to hit the books hard again and explore ancient history, creation and art!  Time to fill the exercise log that has only seen limited use over the holidays.  Time to live life together as we move through the year ahead!

wounds revisited

One day when I was a girl my dad took my sisters and brothers camping and I stayed home with my mom.  later on that day we visited a neighbor.  Many of the details of that time are fuzzy, I never quite realized that drinks were being enjoyed or what exactly was going on.  What has stayed with me was the mean anger of the woman towards me, the orders and unkindness and all the confusion, panic and fear of that afternoon.  Only later did I realize that she was drunk, that her angry demands were not from her but from the drink.  I recall running home, sad and feeling abandoned, shaking and not wanting to ever go back there again.

Today the memory came back again, unexpected but there none the less.  I have wrestled with the issue of alcohol in recent days.  What is balance, what is out of balance?  How do I, one who does not like the taste in any form, and yes, I have sampled a taste of many, fit in with the many around who seem to daily enjoy a drink or two.  How do I continue to stand firm on my convictions as the drinks come out and I alone abstain.

I had thought that my resolve was to not drink because I had an alcoholic grandfather.  As a newlywed facing hard times of husband deployed and an empty house night after night I resolved that I would endure, though I acknowledged that I could choose to turn to drink, I did not.  As a newlywed I wateched many drink in many levels, and never found need nor desire for.  The environment sometimes was off putting, the taste or smell other times off putting and ocassionally the behavior made me long to be elsewhere.

After a time in life friends changed and drinking was rarely a topic or issue to be considered.  Recently I have noticed that there has been a change.  With gatherings have come brown bottles.  Often its just one, but othertimes they have collected.  Sometimes it is a reward after a long day of hard work, or a refreshment after laboring in the pool tossing kids about to their delight.  Othertimes the beverages have appeared unexpectedly and flowed freely, and I have wondered at their presence.

Today I was caught short by my mmeory.  I believe it is the root of my discomfort with alcohol.  I realize that it has probably tempered my being as wounds can while we live unaware.  When a first experience is strongly negative it establishes a good scar.  I think that I dont regret part of it as it has helped me establish a boundary that has served me well.  At the same time it may have served me poorly as I am not sure that i am balanced and at present I find myself fairly confused as to what balance looks like.

As I reflect upon some of my early adult life wounds there were several, they have had an affect.  i dont want them to reign, yet i also do not want to miss the value of the wisdom that they might teach me.

Heart change makes all the difference

Throughout our married life the issue of exercise has been a sore topic. Paul exercised, I hardly at all. There have been seasons of Jazzercize, a short running class and several months of TTapp. Each has been good, rewarding and yet work without alot of enjoyment.

Last month, after returning from a trip to CA, I had another conversation about exercise with my husband. The reality of the impact of my life upon the family was noted. The need for me to be strong and healthy and his partner in this season of life was revealed. I had not realized how what I did really had a ripple effect. Sometime following that conversation the Lord shifted things in my heart and I chose to engage in exercise.

I have since kept the previously dusty elliptical well dusted. I started slow- 10 min walk,slowly moved up to 12.5 min. I don't rush because I know pain and I are not friends. As the weeks passed I started to post goals on the sliding glass window that I look out as I work. Today I have passed my 15 min goal and once again worked for 20 min, started using a program to increase resistance and went 1.3 miles. No records set, no major marathon run, but a routine is setting in. An enjoyment in rising to the challenge and sweating hard. I find I look forward to M,W,F,Sa workouts in the morning.

There have been other benefits- with my exercise I am now challenging the youngest to work on the elliptical. For him, a challenge is a goal to rise to, competition will drive him forward. My head is now focused upon exercise so it gets proper attention in his life as well as mine. Daily we are working on physical things that have been long ignored.

Heart change- a small thing but a huge in impact. I continue to be amazed at the work that God has done within so simply and quietly.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

moments of gratitude

Every day life can quickly creep in and cause us to forget the moments of gratitude we find amidst daily living.  This morning it was discoveirng my "lost" debit card on third search of my wallet- just before the call to the bank and all the inconveniences that would put into action.

thank you lord for hesitation and eyes to see on the third look.

Last week it was the provision of 2" rigid foam within my budget.  I wanted to make a gap filler for my sewing machine table, a  4 x 6 sheet costs $30.  My budget was $10.  I "just happened" to spot a stray piece at HD and when asked it was marked down to $10 and has now met my needs with leftovers to spare.

Thank you for provision within my means.

For years I have struggled to commit to exercise.  About a month ago my husband and I had yet another conversation about the need for exercise in our life.  At some point following that conversation I sensed a heart change within.  I no longer think of dusting the elliptical, rather I am looking forward to my time keeping it greased.  Compettion between the youngest and I have helped to motivate us both to strive longer and farther.

A new trashcan location greeted me when i returned from vaction- front and center of the kitchen.  Logistically it was great, estecially,not so much.  My can had no lid and was several years old.  Long overdue for replacement so the trash could be covered I balked at the thought of paying $50+ for a nice new metal one with lid.  As I walked through Sam's club i started to consider how high i was willing to go as theirs were right at $50.  Then I noticed a dented one on the scratch and dent rack- half price!  Score- home we went, worked on some dents, found a spot where the dent isnt front and cneter and my kitchen trash can has once again been relocated closer and I am at ease with price paid.

Thank you for timely visits to scratch and dent racks that meet both need and wants and budget.

I have been looking for activities to help us get out of the house routinely now that we are not in a co-op.  Thursdays now have homeschool swim time in the closest rec center, swim lesons offeredn next month.  We begin today and piggyback it with our vision therapy appt.

Thank you for organizing our opportunities when we are uncertain of how to pull it together.

Our daughter has been away at camp all summer.  She goes to school locally and needs a job to pay for expenses.  It was with great joy that after working 4-5 days before camp that they told her tocall  when she was ready to return after camp.  She is back to work again and the schedule seems to be flexible enough to work around her school schedule.

Thankyou for employers that understand summer camp and are willing for wait for you to return.

We were traveling to NY and home again.  The trip north went well and on the first night we found ourselves on the border of NY.  The trip home we were able to make it home in 18.5 hours, thus giving us an extra day of rest before reentering life as "normal" .  Not sure when the roads came together to make it possible but all of a sudden the trip to NY is not the daunting 20+ hours long.

Thank your for road engineers and highways that make passages through Ohio and allowing us to not have to drive through big big citiies and tons of traffic.

Amidst daily life it is easy to develop short thinking- I am happy to pause and think about the many blessings and joys in my life.