Author archive

33

Why having a toddler is like being at a frat party**

{by Brenna at Suburban Snapshots}


10. There are half-full, brightly-colored plastic cups on the floor in every room. Three are in the bathtub.

9. There’s always that one girl, bawling her eyes out in a corner.

8. It’s best not to assume that the person closest to you has any control over their digestive function.

7. You sneak off to the bathroom knowing that as soon as you sit down, someone’s going to start banging on the door.

6. Probably 80% of the stains on the furniture contain DNA.

5. You’ve got someone in your face at 3 a.m. looking for a drink.

4. There’s definitely going to be a fight.

3. You’re not sure whether anything you’re doing is right, you just hope it won’t get you arrested.

2. There are crumpled-up underpants everywhere.

1. You wake up wondering exactly how and when the person in bed with you got there.

** That one frat party I’ve ever been to, having gone to a Very Serious Arts College.

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Brenna writes at Suburban Snapshots.
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Discovered by Story Editor, Robin Dance @ PENSIEVE :: @PensieveRobin

6

Morning rituals

{by Carmi Levy}

~ London, ON, October 2010

To some, it’s just a mug of coffee. To me, it’s coffee that my wife made. Which makes it uniquely special, because to me, at least, it’s far more than percolated beans with a bit of milk and sugar.

It’s a little thing that connects us, a moment between sleep-time and our pedal-to-the-metal day that reminds us why our family matters as much as it does. Because before we had kids, before we needed to shuttle them around town, before we tended to their every need before we tended to our own, we sat together over mugs of coffee or tea at our quiet kitchen table.

Even if not a word was said, the conversation was always glorious. Still is.

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Canadian journalist Carmi Levy  has been weaving beauty in words and pictures at Written Inc. since 2004.  Subscribe via RSS.

Written Inc is also the home of Thematic Photographic, a weekly themed photo share (you’re invited to join).

He’s @CarmiLevy on Twitter.

Story editor, Robin Dance :: PENSIEVE

21

The problem with romance novels

{by Mary of Giving Up on Perfect}

We sat shoulder to shoulder in a tiny dorm room around a tiny TV, watching one of our favorite movies. Just as Johnny marched over to Baby and pulled her out of the corner, our friend Jared walked in the room.

As he took in the room, looking from one girl to the next . . . to the next . . . to the next, he said, “What is wrong with you guys?”

Blinking, we looked up at him and realization dawned. Every single one of us was staring at the screen with a [ridiculous] dreamy look in our eyes. It was like we were in a trance.

The same kind of romance trance I slip into when I read romance novels.

The kind where my eyes glaze over and I forget that what I’m reading is make-believe. It might be grown-up make-believe, but it’s no closer to real life than the magic fairies and flying carpets my daughter sees in Disney movies.

For most of my life, I prided myself on being “a romantic.” I dreamed of receiving gigantic bouquets of roses and daisies, song lyrics made me melt, and I pretended to adore Shakespeare. I ate up any hint of love – or what I thought was love.

But surely it must be! After all, my boyfriend – who eventually became my husband – gave me roses. And wrote sweet letters that included lyrics from our favorite songs. And endured a Shakespeare play amidst mosquitoes and humidity.

The problem is that romance novels (and romantic comedies . . . and fairy tales in general) don’t tell you the rest of the story.

First of all, most relationships don’t follow such a wild path, from meet cute to starry-eyed, tingling toes dates to dramatic tear-them-apart situation to brave, bold, courageous move from The Hero to heart-stopping kiss . . . and fade to black.

Sometimes, you just meet a guy and think he’s all right. Sometimes, you don’t necessarily have the hots for him right away, but he’s got a car and nobody else is asking you out. Sometimes you go on predictable dates and have uninspired conversations with a startling lack of clever quips.

That’s what my first (and only) romance looked like. So you know what I did? I created drama.

I overreacted to every slight and insult. I prolonged misunderstandings and vowed to make him pay for every twinge of hurt I felt. I sobbed while listening to “How Do I Live Without You” and wrote flowery letters professing my undying love until my hand cramped.

Honestly, I deserved to be dumped. But I lucked out. Mark either didn’t know any better or just overlooked my craziness. Because despite my adolescent behavior (for the record, I was an adolescent), he married me.

And that’s where the love story ends, right?

Not exactly. Even though, while you’re spending every waking (and some sleeping) second planning the most beautiful, special, wonderful wedding EVER, it seems like the wedding is the goal, it’s not.

It’s just the beginning of a true love story.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know anything about true love. I didn’t know about compromise and respect and trust and forgiveness. I knew about flowers and chocolates and surprise dates and grand gestures.

Imagine my surprise when married life wasn’t an endless parade of love notes and slow dances and secret getaways. Imagine my disappointment when marriage wasn’t what I expected, wasn’t what I hoped for, wasn’t what I deserved.

SCREECH! {That’s the sound effect for tires squealing.} Hold on! Why did I think I deserved such lavish and loving treatment?

Here’s why: a lifelong diet of romance novels (with a side of feminist influences and a mostly doting boyfriend) had led me to believe that I could behave however I wanted to and still get everything I wanted in return.

I developed a classic case of He needs to change. He’s the problem. I deserve better.

Now, I’m not saying my husband is or was perfect. But had I spent more time showing him love and respect, and less time coming up with reason why he didn’t deserve those things as much as I did, I might have enjoyed the first several years of our marriage more.

My grasp on reality and perspective on love didn’t change overnight. I started realizing maybe I’d had some things wrong when we visited a marriage counselor a few times. And things looked different after we watched several of our couple friends go through divorce. Of course, having a child changes a lot of people, and it certainly changed us.

And now, I have no desire to read a romance novel.

Haha! Just kidding. That’s not true. I still enjoy romance. Most the books I read these days – at least the fiction – are mysteries with a romantic aspect. And you probably won’t ever rip me away from watching Sleepless in Seattle or even The Wedding Planner on cable.

But I read and watch those things with a grain of salt now. Or, as my patient husband says, with a salt lick.

Because the love described in romance novels isn’t real. And it can be dangerous if you start believing that’s how things ought to be.

And that is the problem with romance novels.

Mary writes with heart at Giving Up On Perfect
She’s a contributor at (in)courage
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Featured by Story Editor Robin Dance | @PensieveRobin

6

the girl and the Genius

{by Amber of The Run-a-muck}

the girl
My firstborn, with a shoulder sunburn and radiating roses on his face, is not well acquainted with pain, so his big cousin coaches him with his thoughts.

Sophia is nine. She has known multiple hospital beds, scary chest sounds, needles and nurses, so she says, “Isaac, when you hurt, all you have to do is think of your mother’s smile. When I’m with my daddy and I hurt, I think of my mother’s smile. When I’m at my mom’s, I think of my dad’s smile. It works.”

Then she flits off like a dove.

I watch her all weekend, her unaffected art, the lack of desire for new clothes or a hair-brushing, the freckled beauty of a long, lanky child, and I turn my head more than once for what of her is lost in me. I behold her joy.

Most people carry their souls in a deep pocket at the pit of their stomachs, but Sophia lets hers slip out to her fingertips. Hers rides on easy lips and feathers out from her shoulders to fan air at the disappointed. It is innocence and how it shirks this world, how pain is transformed to beauty.

Maybe it’s the knowledge that her straight body will shortly turn to curve and that her imagination won’t so easily delve to the floor in character play that makes me awe at her on the cusp. Sophia’s arms reach at first guess, and she offers an honest smile to the sun. She sits with paper and draws, snuggled generously with my boys.

We say goodbye to the family, and as our hearts try to pull their hooks out, I look for Sophia and want to tell her how God is a genius in her. I want to hold her face and memorize it. I want to take pictures of her feet on tiptoes and of her hair in knots, how her face is already aiming sharp for envy, and there I find her at the door to the back-porch with her hands full.

She says, “Look! A bird!” And there she cups its heart-throbbing body until it calms in the bed of her hands.

My mouth wants to say “healer,” but instead I laugh deep from the pit of my stomach until it peels through my mouth, and my back, and my hands. Like children, we arch over and study the bird, reviving and forgetting ourselves in such a sacred moment.

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Amber crafts beautiful words at The Run-a-muck
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Featured by Story Editor Robin Dance | @PensieveRobin

31

When Jesus isn’t enough

{by Kristen from We are THAT Family}

When I sat in his closet-sized home in the middle of Africa, I couldn’t take my eyes off the pathetic interior or ignore the dripping rain on my head.

I tried not to imagine the “community toilet” he shared with neighbors adjoined by paper-thin walls or how far he walked each way to school everyday, in the dark, both ways.

The peace on his face was undeniable and the light that radiated from his eyes filled the dark room of his orphan-led home.

I didn’t understand how he could be so content with so little. And I couldn’t stop the question, “Why are you so happy? Why aren’t you afraid?”

He looked at me as if I’d missed it entirely and said, “Because I have Jesus.”

He didn’t say anything else. It was a heavy statement. It was enough.

He was right, I had missed it. Entirely.

I equate Jesus to comfort and blessings. And when I sat in a hovel, a young boy called home, void of every comfort, I was envious of his contentment.

I returned to a lifestyle with every blessing, only wanting more.

I add Jesus like salt and pepper to a tasteless dish.

He isn’t the main course, just an extra on the side.

Jesus isn’t enough for me.

I think about my happiness that is clouded with every storm that blows into my life. I think about my happiness that is contingent upon what I have versus what I want. I think about my happiness and the strings I attach to it.

I think about a young boy who taught me more about Jesus and myself in a single sentence than my entire Bible College degree and 37 years of living.

One of the great lessons I learned in Africa: When Jesus isn’t enough, something is wrong.

I’m on a quest to make it all about Jesus. It’s easy surrounded by the comforts of my American life to melt back into the The American Way-bigger is better, more is what matters.

This is a painful journey, but more than anything, I want Him to be enough for me.

Is Jesus enough for you? If your happiness, like mine, is determined by how much or how little you have or the next exciting thing in your life, can I gently remind you to return to Him? He is waiting to be enough.

Kristen writes with depth and humor at We are THAT Family and has recently co-founded The Mercy House.
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Featured by Story Editor, Robin Dance.

29

Seeing past what it seems

{by Melody at Brave Girls Club}

After a dear friend telling me about a hurtful experience she’d had this week…..I began thinking again about a story I have told a few times….a story that my children will tell to their children, and maybe even beyond that… because it was such a learning experience in our family….maybe even a turning point…it’s a story that I think about often because we were the main characters in it 3 or 4 years ago, and even though it was something that lasted less than 15 minutes….it changed all of us….and now I see others differently, especially when it seems that they might be main characters in the same story…or one a lot like it. I used to be too embarrassed to tell this story….but I am not anymore. This is a human story that everyone needs to hear, I truly believe this…I hope you will stay with it, it’s kinda long.

As we move along…I want you to think about some of the big signs with big messages that I bet you wish you could wear around your neck sometimes so that people would be more gentle….or even that you could put around the neck of someone you love….so that you didn’t have to go into a big long story to defend yourself or someone else….so that people would just stop judging and and just be kind.

First, if you don’t know my history because you are brand new to Brave Girls Club…welcome welcome welcome! I need to start this story by giving you a little bit of background….. you see, my husband had an accident in 2004 that injured the frontal lobe of his brain……it has taken 6 years to get him back……but in the middle there, between 2004 and now…lots and lots of stuff happened. He was essentially out of it…but not just that….he changed to someone else, we lost him. His personality changed completely, he could not work, he was angry and depressed and could not cope with human beings.  He did not feel love or affection, really he only felt anger…rage…and he was suicidal most of the time. He did not remember a lot of things. He could not take care of our family or even himself, really……..(and I want to mention again that through lots of miracles, he is 100% recovered now…we are so thankful….he is even BETTER than he was before his accident)

But……during that time…..he would have these confusing and amazing glitches of time when he would be totally normal. It was bittersweet. They would last for an hour sometimes, and sometimes for days…or even weeks…then he would sink back down into that horrible place. When he was sick, I protected him fiercely. I didn’t want anyone to see him like that…I had faith that someday he would recover….but man oh man it was lonely…I wished every single day that I could just walk around with a sign like this….

….because on the outside…I looked like I had EVERYTHING GOING FOR ME…I looked like I might just have a perfect life….but I was hiding a very painful secret….

Well…a lot of other things happened too………you can imagine what might happen over the years while we have a 7 acre farm, a pretty big international business that we own with lots of employees…..a life that  HE managed before his accident, while he just let me do the fun and creative stuff….now we had lots of medical bills…lots of sorrow and lots of distractions……we also had LOTS of kids…..and no one competent managing the business…

Well…after a few years, I couldn’t hold it all together…our business was suffering for all of the reasons listed above and a few more reasons on top of that……..and we discovered that we were really SINKING. Well……one day when he was partly lucid….he was THERE…he was coherent….I told him the condition of our life.

He kind of panicked and he went straight to work figuring out what he could do. It was insanely heartbreaking when he would “wake up” after weeks or months and I had to tell him how much things were deteriorating financially, etc. It was very hard. But when he could, he did what he could….before his mental illness sucked him back into the prison it kept him in most of the time.

He called a sign place and had a huge sign brought out to our house…the kind that you can put letters on, and it was electric and lit up…….He put it by the road in one of our horse fields……then he drove our Suburban….both of our trucks….my classic Thunderbird that he got me for my birthday a few years earlier…..our tractor…all of our tractor implements…the boat that I worked 10 years to get for him (and that caused his brain injury, incidentally)……….and he lined everything up along the fence and he put a price tag on every single thing. Then, he put the letters on that big huge sign and plugged it in.

You have to understand that we had worked for MANY years for those things. We started a business in our twenties and we sacrificed everything we had for all of those years to make it work. We owned almost all of it outright…….but, when I told him that the business was struggling….this is what he did….

Sooooo…..there it was….all in a row……all of our stuff…..out in our field.

All of the neighbors driving by…our friends…the community…..people who knew us most of our lives and people who knew nothing about us…..we were just the young family who lived in that beautiful little farm house on Beacon Light road with the perfect lawn….or what USED to be.

You see, in addition…for months….our once beautifully manicured yard started to be filled with weeds that were now several feet high. I just couldn’t keep it up. The lawn was a nightmare. Everything was just falling apart all around me and my heart was broken over my husband, too. It was humiliating and exhausting and horrible, really.

Well, the sign was not up in the field for more than a few hours…….when my husband’s phone rang….it was someone who saw all the stuff and my husband’s phone number on the big huge sign. We were sitting out in the yard while he was still coherent and he was feeling devastated about the condition of our lawn…..I was apologizing that I just couldn’t do all of it………..he was so heartbroken at his limitations and that he had left me to try to handle our life alone……we were trying to make a plan…..

He answered his phone…I saw that he was just listening…I could hear that the person’s voice was getting louder and louder and louder………..my husband just listened. He turned his back to me a little so I wouldn’t hear. But I could hear it….It seemed to go on and on and on……..

These were the things I could hear on the other end of the phonecall….

“You are bringing down the value of my property with that ugly sign!”

“What are you doing?”

“That is the most obnoxious sign, do you have a permit to have that out there?”

“Are you starting a used car lot?”

“You have got to get all of that moved and out of here or I am calling the authorities”

I sat there, mortified, embarrassed, humiliated, mad, sad, devastated. I was certain that this would snap my husband back into his dark hellish place.

But, when the man was done ranting, my husband waited a second and then very calmly said something that I will never, ever forget…….

“Sir,” he said, “There was a time in this country, in this community…when if you drove past your neighbor’s house and saw every single thing they own was for sale in front of their house…and that their lawn had not been mowed for weeks….that you would stop and say….WHAT IS GOING ON, SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG, WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU?”

The man was silent…..and then my husband went on to tell him a few details about what was going on with our family….

The man waited a moment and then his tone changed…..he apologized….I mean, really apologized and then said…

“I am going to call all of my friends and see if any of them need any of this stuff….”

***************************************

I wish with everything in me that we could have put a sign up on that big stupid lit up billboard in our field that said OUR LIFE IS FALLING APART….  but all that we really could put up is a sign with the price of everything that we owned that was worth any money…….

WHAT IF we could all wear a sign that said what WE REALLY MEANT? What if we could go straight past the small talk……..or the masks…….and we could actually go straight to the heart of the matter…….what if our friends and family wore signs like this?

…we would treat each other differently.

I think we should just try to imagine it………that when a friend is quiet…or not showing up to stuff she usually shows up to….or acting a little “off”….or a family member is wearing pajamas to the grocery store for weeks on end……or not answering the phone…..or the lawn is not mowed…..

whatever it is……….

IT IS A SIGN. It is not a sign that can be read in words and letters, but it is a sign that someone needs to be treated gently…that they need help….most of all, that they need love, understanding…and that they DEFINITELY DO NOT need to be judged.

Every time I think of this story….I want to be better…I want to do better, I don’t want any silent signs to go unread before my eyes or my heart…..I don’t want to make up my own answers to what must be going on…I don’t want to assume………..

Let’s be gentle with each other.

Let’s read each other’s signs.

Read the original post and comments at Melody’s site Brave Girls Club.

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20

The Traveling Red Dress

{by Jenny from The Bloggess}

My friend (Sunny) is an artist.  She writes and paints and makes beautiful, whimsical dresses out of found objects and magic.  One of my favorite dresses of hers is the red poppy dress and I wanted it the first time I saw it but I knew I’d never get it.  For one thing, it’s not sensible.  It’s impractical.  It’s bright red and vibrant and shocking and “inappropriate for a woman my age”.  And I have no shoes to go with it.  And I have no place to wear it.

And I want it.

I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies.  I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”.  Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better.  Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.

And I am worth it.

And last week…?

…I got my red dress.

I didn’t have shoes, or a party to wear it to, or even a valid excuse to own it, but I had the dress.

And it was everything I thought it would be.

But here’s the thing…you are worth it too. Which is why this week the red dress will begin a journey, traveling from city to city so that other people can wear it and love it and feel as special and vivid and dynamic as they already are.  Because sometimes we all need a little red dress to remind us of that.  So today, think about what it is you need and were too embarrassed to ask for.  And then go…do it. Wear a ball gown to the grocery store.  Invite the neighbors to have a picnic on the front lawn.  Get that novel out of your sock drawer and publish it yourself.  Stand on a bus stop bench and belt out a song for the waiting strangers.  Find a playground swing and remember how it felt to fly.  Find your red dress. And wear the hell out of it.

Read more from Jenny on her blog, The Bloggess.
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0

Hope, full

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine

{By Robin from PENSIEVE}

I’m sure it all started with visions of sugar plums, dancing ’round my head like Coyote’s stars after Road Runner smacks him in the head with a cast iron skillet.

At some point in Christmas Past, these were my illusions of grandeur:

Children (freshly scrubbed, neatly dressed and mannerly) joining my husband (dressed in a crew neck Christmas sweater and slacks) (yes, slacks, that’s kind of important) and me (pearls and a June Cleaver dress, bosoms unnaturally pointed and waist the size of Scarlet O’Hara’s–let’s be realisticafter giving birth to Bonnie Blue) decorating tree and home.  DSC_5651Efficient and precise, my husband, would string the lights as the children tenderly unwrapped each ornament, taking time to recall memories or giver attached to each.  Aussie, head resting on crossed paws in front of a fire’s roar, would gaze sleepily upon our merriment.  I’d stop long enough to serve hot chocolate with mounds of whipped cream and offer home made cookies, each a Martha Stewart masterpiece.  I’d hesitate with intention to capture the moment, wanting to catalog the scene in my heart and mind, not daring to interrupt the feng shui with camera and flash.  There’d be much laughter and story telling, and one of us would eventually find our way to the piano, where we’d all join in a hearty performance of the “12 Days of Christmas”.  They’d always let me sing “Fiiiive…goooolden….riiiiings!” because they know it’s my favorite.

Well, buckets of rain on my delusional Rockwell-esque Christmas parade; the Road Runner must’ve smacked ME upside the head with a skillet! When all is said and done, I’m pretty much the one who does it all.

This year, dripping martyrdom and attitude, I found myself wondering “Is it worth it?“  They’d notice, of course, but would anyone care if I didn’t decorate our home?

I toyed with it.

I dared myself.

I thought “if this isn’t radical Christmas change, I don’t know what is!”

Somewhere between evergreening our mantle and stringing garland on entryway stairs, it occurred to me why I would invest so much time and energy into a holiday tradition.  It’s not tangled in the wrappings of gifts given or received.  And while I so delight in spending time with family and friends…and inhaling the scents and tastes of the Season…I realized my true motive–why I care about serving my family in this menial, thankless, beautiful way–it’s a simple expression to honor a King.

The tradition of Christmas is rooted in the hope
offered by a King who Himself embodies hope…
wh
o not only offers hope, but IS hope.

Last night, I caught the end of “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in particular Linus’ recitation of Luke 2:8-14, his response to Charlie Brown’s meltdown over questioning the meaning of Christmas.  It ends, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The holidays are filled with unending hope because of their genesis.

Believers and non-believers alike are moved during the holidays, perhaps more than any other time on the calendar, to consider and act on the behalf of those in need.  They–no, WE–become vessels of hope because of our investment in other people’s lives.

We manifest hope by ringing bells and dropping coins in red kettles…

…by packing shoe boxes full of gifts…

…by sponsoring a child and releasing them from material and spiritual poverty…

…by praying for our friends, those IRL and those online…

…by being generous…always…

and sometimes by washing clothes for someone else.

~~~~~~~~~~~

So…I decorate our home.  A simple offering for my family.  Delusional ideals of what “Christmas” is supposed to look like have been replaced with remembering.  Refocusing.  “Giving” in the best sense.  These decorations are symbols of hope to me, constant reminders to be hope to those who need it most.

I really should thank my family sometime :) .

~~~~~~~~~~

Tide-Loads of Hope

Loads of Hope for the Holidays

Please join us at Blog Nosh Magazine as we share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Share your own stories of hope, along with Blog Nosh Magazine, Velveteen Mind, and a gathering of inspiring bloggers, and enter your own post link in the blog carnival below.  Visit Blog Nosh Magazine to explore featured bloggers as well as three featured posts selected from carnival participants listed in the linky (that could be you!).

Lend your voices now, then participate live during a two day event in New Orleans, Sunday and Monday, December 13 and 14, as we tweet stories of resilience from laundry recipients and volunteers on the ground.  Follow along on twitter via #loadsofhope and be sure to follow @TideLoadsofHope.

When you join the carnival with your messages of hope, be sure to invite your own readers to participate in this online event by linking to the chocolate-covered center of the carnival here at Blog Nosh Magazine. You are invited to grab any of the Tide Loads of Hope graphics you see here, including the tee shirt badge below (linked to http://tideloadsofhope.com), as all proceeds from sales of Tide Vintage Tees support the truck and keep it on the road, ready to help when disaster strikes nationwide.

Blog carnival hosted by Blog Nosh Magazine, sponsored by Tide Loads of Hope.

How do the holidays fill you with loads of hope?  Do share!

0

Hineni

Religion and Philosophy Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published in Wisdom Pursuit}

I learned a great Hebrew word in my quiet time recently- Hineni.

Hineni means “I’m ready, Lord; I’ll go if you send me; I’m listening, Lord, tell me what you would have me to know.” It is the word Abraham used when God called to him and asked him to sacrifice Isaac; it is the word Moses used as he stood before the burning bush, and it is the word that young Samuel used in the temple when he heard a voice calling to him in the night.

It’s a powerful word. A word that brought life- changing events for each of the people who spoke it. And I bet not one of them would take it back. Not one of them regrets grappling with the fear, but giving in to the will of the God who is Good, who has plans to prosper and not to harm us.

The hard part comes for those of us who are a little more seasoned in life and have seen that God’s ways are not our ways, and that our lives are not always going the way we think He should have them mapped out. His plans to prosper us and not harm us may be in the next life, and not right now. So, to conquer our fears we need an eternal perspective, a reminder that this life is but a blip on the screen of time. God sees it all, and He has a great call and plan for each of us, both in this life and the next.

Since we are but temporal creatures, our job is to be willing, just for today. We are not called to know what God has in store for us in the next life, or even next year or next week. We are called to take one step at a time to seek God’s plan and to follow it with conviction.

Wrestle with the fear, and beat it down if you must. But, if you truly seek God’s call on your life, then offer to Him these words:

“Hineni, Adonai. Here I am.”

Editor’s pick by Robin @ PENSIEVE.  Lisa Scott is one of those writers who gives me reason to read several of her posts in a row if it has been too long since the last time I visited her blog.  She’s wholly devoted to God and that shines through in her words but never in a “holier than thou” kind of way.  She’s approachable and engaging and her posts bring you into an identifiable “very real world”–you, too, may relate to her experiences.   Lisa’s original post deserves a wider audience, and after you spend a little time peeking around her site, I bet you’ll want to subscribe to Wisdom Pursuit and follow her on Twitter.

3

Sangria time!

Religion and Philosophy Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on theRunaMuck.)

I seriously feel like I just had my lights knocked out, and I’ve woken seeing red and dusting off my rear end.

Making pitchers of sangria in kitchen

It’s sangria time, people. Are you raising your cups?

My husband and I can’t stop saying:  we only have this one life.

I’ll say it again - we only have this ONE and it’s riding like a breath on the wind, already in disintegration. So what are we doing here?

If God doesn’t shine through this spot of air He’s given me, may my computer fly to the moon, let the world wide web scramble to a fuzz, and may we meet outside weeping at each other’s necks for what we’ve been missing.

Luke 12:48 (The Message)

47-48“The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!

I have been given much. That is my confession today.

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Orphans and widows, God’s heart is for you, and so should ours be. Here’s to riding this breeze with His breath in our wings, the intentions of His heart moving our feet.

———————–

On Saturday night, we visited World Garden, where the owner shared his vision for business with us. We cried together. Photographs of gorgeous children line the walls. Every meal you purchase there feeds a hungry child or supports a far-away and needy farmer.

Keep your glasses lifted here!

He blessed us, the owner and his vision for service, for selflessness. We decided then to adopt and it settled into me that God’s hands could be weaving her even now. Even now, I think of her mother, and she could be thinking of me. We ate the food, no doubt laced with love more than with the nutrition that whole foods supply, and it was whole food – beautiful and cared-for piles of it, as we have here in America, in abundance. Every bite was a rich, delicious reminder of our great responsibility and of a great inherited Love.

SO let it be that way with us! Let us enjoy this abundance, this ONE life and eat the food that multiplies to the poor. Let us do what gives us pure JOY, what serves the most High God, where he dwells in low-down places, near the broken. There is too much to gain to not eat that way, to not love because He first loved us.

Here’s to World Garden!

Cheers!

Editor’s pick by Robin at PENSIEVE.  Initially, I only knew Amber as the “Mother” of The Mother Letter Project, by helping her husband promote that Christmas-gift-of-a-blog last year.  We exchanged emails, met at BlissDom ’09, and a kindred friendship was born.  Amber’s prose is lyrical and her voice will draw you in.  She lives and loves with passion and isn’t afraid to let you see her from the inside out.  She’s not just an above average writer, her posts will stun you.  Everytime.  She’s beautiful on the outside, beautiful on the inside–you’ve just gotta subscribe to her feed and follow her on Twitter!  Be sure to check out the comment thread on her original post, too!

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