Monday, 25 June 2012

Junk


It started with a conversation. And that’s how it usually begins…my writing process (if you can call it that.) This is how it went:


I know you’re on the edge of you seat right!

Right??

I’m asked by my second, “Mom, where is my punch card?” “They are in the junk drawer, son,” was my reply.

Junk drawer...

I couldn’t get the out of my head once it came out of my mouth. Junk drawer. Maybe it is because it’s not a junk drawer. It actually isn’t a drawer full of junk. It is actually a fairly well organised (probably the only place in my house that is on a regular basis) “catch all” drawer. Anything that I don’t have a place for at the time (or don’t want to find a home for) kind of gets stuck in here. And the truth is that there are things in this so called junk drawer that I would be lost with out…like the 5th pair of scissors that I can always count on being there when the other 4 that we own are no where to be found. And that red pen I’m forever looking for. And batteries! Those things are a life saver for sure.


Yes, I think I will start to call it a catch all drawer, but then I have to explain that one to the kids…hmmmm…


Oh, yes there is a point to this story....and here it is....

This idea of junk that isn’t really junk. I had this thought:

 I am kinda like that junk in that drawer. No wait, all believers are kinda like that junk.


NO! NO! You protest, “We’re not junk…we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are special because we are made in the image of God himself.” To quote Bob the tomato, “God made you special and he loves you very much.” And you are correct! That is true and an integral to the life of every believer. It is important to know this and live this, and I heartly agree.


And still….

Isn’t it also true that God uses the base things of the world? Isn’t it true that what seems to be unimportant really IS what is important after all? Don’t I loose everything to find Christ…even myself?


This isn’t an issue of so called self-esteem. This is another case of our wonderfully backwards God.


You see…
                 the world tells you to…


…Follow your heart...

 ...you are special in and of yourself …

 …if you don’t feel good about yourself you just need some good ol’ self confidence...

…if you want respect, you go out there and get it, demand it even...

...don’t ever let anyone take advantage of you (and if you do it’s probably because you feel badly about yourself)...

 And yet....
                 God’s word says…

 …your heart is deceitful and wicked above all else (Jer. 17:9)

...what makes you truly special is that God made you in his image and loved you so that you may love him back…(Genesis 1: 26-27, 1 John 4:19)

…the only way to truly have confidence is to find it in Christ and his cross: to take it up daily (Acts 17:11)...

...remember, Jesus washing his disciples feet just before his death…even Judas Iscariot the man who would betray him for 30 pieces of silver? yeah that man…. He washed his stinkin’ feet on the night before his death too…(John 13:1-17)

…only when we loose our life can we find life in the Light of Life…(Matt. 16:25)

 Just glancing down in our junk drawer it doesn’t look like anything special, but it really is an essential part of our house. There are important things in there. They just aren’t hung on the wall or sat on all day long. Though they may not have a place of prominence they have their place and particular purpose.

 And, you know I believe, that this is how God works: backwards.


I confess, again, I spend far too much time wanting to do or be something important when in reality God doesn’t want or need “important” people, God wants us to deny ourselves so in turn our desires become His desires. He wants us to bend ourselves low in service to Him and then to others.

 Now, this is so confusing isn’t it? Bend low in service to be exalted? 


This is totally contrary to everything inside of this heart of mine. But isn’t that the point?

My heart can only fulfil this calling…when it is full of Him: of Jesus Christ himself.



Father, this bending low and serving of the hands is so, very hard. My hands don't want to serve they want to be served. I don't want to bend low, I want to stand tall. Frankly, it's more comfortable that way, Lord. Forgive me for wanting things my way, for buying into the worlds ideas, for wanting a place of prominance and to be seen in the world and appreicated above you. Forgive me for wanting people to see my works and praise me and not you and your son. Thank you for Jesus because only by him and through him are any of us able to fulfil this most high and holy calling of servanthood. ~Amen

567. writing...and being interrupted...and writing some more
568. watching one sweet boy play, carefree in the rain
569. one girl working so hard in the yard she was sore the next day
570. remembering that God doesn't make junk
571. finding the purpose in the simple things
572. journey mercies: to NC to TN and home again, home again jig-a-ti-jig
573. responsibility charts
574. that talk, you know...yeah that girl talk. well we had it and it was sweet and good.
575. God: you are sweet and good
576. FREE, yes, free online photo editing at picmonkey It really is kind of unfair that you can have pictures this good and not be a "professional"
577. a visit to the Creation Museum and a reminder how important the athority of the Word is
578. all that glorious splendor....trees and trees and more trees in TN
579. counting the blessings...one by one
580. bugs in jars







Saturday, 23 June 2012

Because Everyone Needs a Go-To Meal

Aren't crock pots the best? I mean really, I'm not sure what I would do with out mine. I was getting the meat ready for our Sunday lunch tonight (Sat.) and thought this recipe is blog worthy. I don't think that I have ever served this meal with out the other person asking for the recipe. Really, it's that stinkin' good! The best part is that it is EASY and the crock pot (or the oven) does all the work for you. It's also a crowd pleaser and by that I mean...it can feed a crowd. We used to feed this to our small group and let's just say our group wasn't very small....more like mediumish.. sometimes bigger. Oh, how I miss feeding you small, errrr medium group family...

I digress..

Now, if you know me at all you know that I am no original when it comes to stuff like this. I am a good forgery on most things and this is one of them. I am a regular subscriber to Molly Green Magazine written by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I got this one from a magazine awhile ago. Don't be fooled though, it's not just a magazine for homes schoolers. It's basically about saving money. It usually has great recipes and other fantastic ideas. The one from May was about couponing, which was helpful. I it's just under $4.00 a month, and I would say that if you implement some of the ideas promoted you'll make your money back for sure. And no I'm not getting paid to say that. Click the link and see what it's all about!

Anywhoo, here ya go...because, well every one needs a go-to meal...and if ya don't have one...ya do now!

Pulled Pork:

Ingredients: this is for a dry rub

3 tbs. paprika
1 tbs. garlic powder
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. dry mustard
3 tbs. kosher or sea salt (yes, you have to use either of these NOT table salt...I've tried..oops)
1 (5 to 7 lb) pork roast. Works best with shoulder or Boston Butt.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees or ready your crock pot, if using.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a small bowel. Trim the fat from the pork, if you feel that is necessary. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but it really is much better if you let it sit overnight.

Put the pork in a roasting pan or crock pot and roast (or crock pot cook) for about 6 hours or until an instant thermometer (I'm not sure who actually owns these things...but for those of you that do...) 170 degrees. Basically your pork should be falling apart and should easily be shredded with two forks.

Serve with veggies, mashed potatoes or even just a simple salad.

 Delicious.... oh and if you have left overs make some pork tacos the next night. Just add some taco seasoning to your already cooked pork, heat in a pan and put in some warm tortillas. YUMMMM.....



Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Seemingly Insignificant

Here I am, struggling against this post. It seems so insignificant. So small. But because our backwards God is always and forever using the small things in life to make himself big, here I am about to post about: organisation. A topic of which I know little to nothing about...just ask my mother.

In the grand scheme of life this is really nothing and I realise that. I realise that life is more than about organisation and keeping a tidy house. However important this topic may be to you let me just say if you are a mess, like myself, it's ok...and it's really ok if other people know it.

I did want to share with you what I have been using over the past couple of months as a planner. It's kinda genius and doesn't cost a lot. Two of my favourite things: genius and cheap! It might just be what you are looking for. I have had my fair share of planners. Big ones. Small ones. Red ones. Blue ones. I even now have an on line planner from Home Educating Family (who by the way is offering a 50% discount on their fantastic magazine right now...enter coupon code: conv50) which I think will be very helpful for homeschooling especially if we ever live in a state that requires me to tell them what in the world we do for school (sigh).

Not that long ago, I bought a couple of little journals. That is another thing I have a good handful of. Those journals are so stinkin' cute. I started using one for budgeting, my to do lists, to jot down notes and important information to remember, appointments, things I'm thankful for, recipes even. This book has many parts of our life folded with in it's pages.





 There are no fancy tabs, or any organisational markers of any kind which was kind of a bummer for me (and for you, if you love that sort of thing) because I was forever and a day (do people still say that phrase?) looking for the info that I needed. But I kind of liked it too since I'm really flying by the seat of my pants most of the time anyway. And then... Ah! Ha! one of you beautifully, wonderful homeschooling mommas out there had the idea of using washi tape (I picked mine up from walmart) to mark your pages in your journal which was linked into Ann Voscamp's blog, A Holy Experience. The kind I picked up is actually masking tape with prints on it and is cheaper than the actual washi tape. And just in case you're wondering: Yes, I have a "key" in the front of my book that reminds me what tape is for what...cause you know... I need that. :)




Here's to another chapter in my blogging experience: the seemingly insignificant...join me for the ride, dear friends....

Thank you Lord, that truly all is grace.....

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What does it matter?!

I have the on going struggle with wanting things I say to matter. I want the things in this blog to matter. It's not that I don't think that the few number of you out there that read it don't care about my vacations with my family, or things that we are doing at home for school etc. Actually some of you would probably love it if I would just be less dramatic and intense sometimes! And I do have to say that I love reading about other's lives via blogs and facebook. One of my dearest childhood friends, Amy, has such a sweet blog and intertwines her lovely little life with her family and some other very serious topics in the dearest way. She always makes me smile. Lets just say: I heart her blog. I also love keeping up with the Johnsons who are missionaries overseas to military folk like us working with Cadence International and are our dear friends. Nate does a wonderful job keeping me, er I mean all of us, updated.

 It's just when I sit down to do that it's almost like I'm saying to myself (yes, I talk to myself) like Solomon in Ecclesiastes..."vanity, vanity....it's all vanity...." The dilemma here is that there is a lot less that I have to write about because here's the flip side: sometimes this problem of wanting things to matter makes me think that those little things that I'm doing with the kids or at home in general are insignificant.

Isn't it easy to think that since you're not in the middle of Africa feeding starving children, that what you're doing doesn't really matter?

At. All








Yes, yes, in my mind (to which I do talk...apparently a lot) I KNOW what I do at home is important...that it matters, but in my heart of hearts...in my in most being where I am instructed to keep it with all diligence...I'm not sure I buy it.


Then sometimes I'm reminded....


Last night the Children and I were reading mountain born by Elizabeth Yates. I have tried to read this to the kids before and we had a hard time getting past the language. It's not hard. The words are not big. The details are described in such a way that it, in the past, we had tired from the reading of all of them. I'm not even sure that we finished it last time.


It has been different this time. Isn't it funny how God does that?!

Here is a passage from our reading last night that has stuck with me even this morning...

"Benj stretched out by the fire, then he looked up at the sky with its sprinkling of stars. He had one prayer, prayed as long as he could remember, and in it he asked no blessing or protection."

"Thank you, God," he said, and his voice was like Biddy's in it's rumbling tenderness, "for another day."

"To Benj, life was a journey heavenward, and each day was a step toward that whole of goodness which he knew now in part. He closed his eyes and sleep drew around him like a light curtain. A smile bent its bow across his lips. He loved his simple life, unchanging greatly from day to day or year to year, expect as the flock grew and new lambs replaced the older sheep, a life that bound him to the creatures in his care and helped him to understand them." (p. 59 mountain born)









You see, Binj is a shepherd. It is a simple life of sameness. It probably is a stinky job, filled with sheep who, again smell bad and aren't the smartest creatures on earth. Yet, he loves it. He sees the beauty in the simple life that has been handed to him through his Creator's hands.  He knows that his life, his work has big implications that might seem small to the outside world but that doesn't seem to bother him at all. He is a blessed man and he knows it and he is teaching and training young Peter along the same path of praise and thanksgiving. This is wisdom.


There he is doing it again...God, our backwards God

...making the very small into things that might just change the world...

In the midst of potty training, math worksheets, sibling rivalry, walks to the library, reading books, dictation, making breakfast...lunch..and dinner, and then there is cleaning...always cleaning, I can hear this voice bellowing out of my heart, "what am I doing?! what does it all matter?!" It all seems, well small.


Working with people that can hold a conversation. Getting a degree in something that really matters. Being out there, taking on the world. Doing. Something. Sometimes that is what seems to matter most of all.


This story of a simple man with a very simple job is simply convicting to my ever wandering, forgetful heart. Is there anything really any more important than what I am doing now? Is there any degree or work that can replace the things that I am doing at home? Is there any person that knows and can care for my children and husband as I do? Can I really have "it all"?


Is it really about what I am doing or is it really about what GOD is doing through me that matters most of all?






The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not 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; Your 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. Amen. Psalm 23:1-6



Thank you Lord, for this high and most holy calling. Let me not forget how blessed I am to spend this wisp of time with these five loves of mine that I call dearest to my heart. ~Amen






















Wednesday, 6 June 2012

When it seems like it's all falling apart...

I often say to the Lord every morning of my life...my children...my husband, "they are yours Lord, I submit myself to your will," and almost always, I think "but what if you take one of them from me." and then I pray, "please give me the GRACE if that were to happen to glorify you." these are just words, and usually I just go about my day because none of us actually think that something terrible is going to happen to ourselves especially to these little and maybe not so little ones. But what happens when it does? What happens when your world falls apart? What happens when it goes from stomach infection to death in just a week? What happens when they air lift your 16 month old to the hospital and then try to keep him alive after his little heart stops breathing?! What...and why.... This is what happened to the Notgrass family. I don't know these people. I don't even know their first names, but was told their story about through Todd Wilson, of Family Man Ministries, in an This Old Schoolhouse Magazine weekly e-mail. Aparantly, after the life flight and little Avery being on life support there are hefty medical expenses. Would you consider donating here? For some reason this story, though I don't know the people, and know little of the details it resonated deeply with in my soul. Often, I feel stuck in situations like this. What, other than prayer, can I ofer this family? In this case there is something that we can tangibly offer and for that I am thankful. Compassion propells us to do something. Compassion is never stagnant. please prayerfully consider giving... I look around this am at these 4 littles the Lord has ever so lent to us for awhile. We are safe. Safe. But who knows what today or tomorrow holds. Praise the Lord we know the One who holds everything togerther even when it seems as if it's all falling apart...