Monday

pray for ezra


a friend's two year old nephew had a large television fall on him on saturday, causing multiple skull fractures.  he was airlifted to seattle where he underwent very risky surgery.  please join in praying for this beautiful boy.


Amazing, beautiful update

Wednesday

to learn how to celebrate lent {from a child}

this, a post from last years lent.
revisiting it,
a reminder on how to celebrate lent...

we sit in living room, seven of us, baby sleeping,
we try to find the silent moment, but it never comes,
young twins whispering "mama" or "daddy" every ten seconds,
so we carry on, talking of lent,
reading devotions, preparing hearts.

i wonder, should we fast from something for lent?
surprised by the affirmations from them,
we give suggestions
what do we fast from?

and witty eldest child remarks,
"let's fast from lent!"
while husband smiles at five glowing faces,
"how about children?"
and we all laugh, for laughter is the key this family uses
to stay close,
make no moment too serious,
we need to feel the joy.
seven year old artist son speaks up,
"we should just be nicer, and think more about each other.
like when i want to play a game with sissy,
instead of asking her to play my game,
i ask her if she wants to pick something to play.
like that.
we should fast from not doing that."





we look at his wise, young eyes,
i smile at his beauty, his understanding that is beyond what so many of us
have,
how he would think of this,
i am speechless,
know nothing but gratitude and awe in this moment

i find words, and words find mouth and mouth finds speech...
"selfishness?" i ask
"you think we should fast from selfishness?"

"yeah."

"you know we will fail sometimes josiah, don't you?"

"well of course.  we're not perfect, only Jesus, you know that mama.
but we can try and ask God to help us right? "

"right.  i think it's a great idea.  let's fast from selfishness," and i whisper these words
because seeing understanding in my children always makes tears come, voice quiver.

and the mood is calm, for once, even twin girls can feel it and they cease talking.
God's beauty has come into the room, and settled, and we find ourselves breathing in the moment.

a fleeting moment, but there nonetheless,
and then it moves into that laughter, that expression of joy we cherish in this home
when that artist child, josiah, speaks,
"and anyway, God would be happy if i didn't eat candy for lent,
but i think He might like it more if i try and be nice!"

oh, how i learn to fast from a child,
to love from a child,
i stand amazed at all i find in the eyes, the words of these children
as i whisper prayers, because it's so hard to do
but i am desperate,
Lord, help me put myself behind me.
help me put all others in front.  help my eyes to see the wants,
the needs of those around me, that i can fill
instead of filling myself.

this is number two



okay, so yesterday i posted the first post on this thing on my heart,
and today i am posting the second.
hopefully i don't get blacklisted for this one...

to turn the hearts of the fathers 2

there's someone at the front of the church,
and i am lost in my own world,
completely ignoring their words.
someone else steps up and
begins his speech,
i try to focus
on him.
he speaks of children in our communities,
lost and alone,
children whose parents
don't care much what happens to them,
or are too busy,
or too poor,
parents who probably weren't parented themselves,
just continuing the cycle
of separation from
child.

he tells of his organization,
mentoring these children,
giving them attention,
showing them kindness they
have never
known,
he asks for volunteers,
people willing to donate their time
to dedicate themselves to
a child,
a teenager,
who will show these children something
they have never
seen before.

and i feel sad.
is this what we do now?
focus on the children,
forget the parent?
how much better if we taught the parent,
if we loved the parent too,
if we showed them how
to love their children
by showing them
love.
couldn't we bring a family together,
parents and children,
instead of tearing them further apart
by building a love/trust relationship
with the child
only,
the child who is desperate for
that relationship,
who will focus their affections,
devotions,
on the mentor now,
instead of their parents.

i think of it again
and again,


He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, 
and the hearts of the children to their fathers
Malachi 4:6 
and why can't this be our focus?
restoring families,
turning them to each other
i watch people sign up in droves 
to be mentors,
and i quietly ask Him,
give the church a heart for the parents too...

Tuesday

to turn the hearts 1 {again}



so there's this thing that consumes a bit of my heart,
something He placed there and i think of sharing,
i've begun to share it
but then i have gotten distracted and stopped.
so i'm really going to try this time,
to do this little series of posts and
share my heart.
i've already written two of them, but they were long ago,
most likely before you were reading here,
and so i will start with them..
this here is the first post,
originally from  2010,
and tomorrow (?) i'll post the second which
was originally from the beginning of 2011,
and after that i will {hopefully}
continue to post some new stuff on this topic
until i've shared this part of my heart and
maybe {just maybe} gotten some of you to think about it
too.

to turn the hearts of the fathers-1

The horrendous musky smell...

How I despise hospitals...

the walls, once white, were now stained yellow.  The room filled with desperate people, somber and pale, no joy, no laughter, not even a light-hearted conversation.  Hospitals fill me with sadness, and the place I had to be this night, the emergency room, saddens me most of all.  In this room time stands still, in this room hope hovers, unspoken, as if to acknowledge hope would make it flee, in this room dreams die.

Those who are there for trivial reasons, like us, join in with the quiet, sullen mood as soon as they enter.  Talking seems taboo, smiling seems heartless.

I whisper prayers for each person there, smile at those I make eye contact with, breaking the unwritten rule.  Husband and I sit, holding hands, his minuscule injury not important, not even painful, but required by his employers to be examined.

TVs in the corners play the same news program, no one is watching.

She catches my eye.  Young mother, 19 or 20, so thin, so pale.  Her long, brown hair in a disheveled pony tail, her face filled with fear and a twinge of annoyance.  On her lap sits baby, 8 months old, my experienced mama self determines.  I can see sweat on his bright red face, as he cries his "I'm a baby and I don't know what's going on or why I feel like this" cry.  And I see this mama struggling.  She struggles to help her baby, to comfort, to calm him.  All alone.

Faded circular clock on the wall ticks slowly by.  You literally live each minute, watching the red hand move second to second.  It feels never ending, and you know you have been here forever, but there are so many more people who have been here longer than you... how long?  ten minutes? two hours?

Sick baby keeps crying, wailing his pain so we can all hear, and no one comes to help them.  It's not their turn yet.  Young mama holds him in her arms, trying so desperately to help him, and I see the pain on her own face... the pain of helplessness.  And I know that pain, I have felt it myself as a mama, but I have never felt it alone.

In my moments of helplessness I have cried, yelled, and questioned but I have known I am not alone.  Remembering the Comforter, the Prince of Peace, the One who takes our burdens upon Himself, I have had His promises to rely on.


28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. 29 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 30
 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11: 28-30
And I watch her, and I see the pain, and it hurts to wonder what it would be like for me to feel the pain of helplessness, and feel it alone.  My throat is throbbing from want of crying, that which I am determined not to do.  And I can't open my mouth to whisper prayers for fear of sobbing, so my mind whispers them for me, and I pray for this mama and her baby.

I pray and I want to run over and hug her.  I want to rock her baby for her so she can rest.  I want to love them, and show this mama she is not alone.  I want...

finally they are called in, and I breathe deep as I watch her carry him through the big doors which slowly close behind them, and my prayers continue...

I think about this mama, I think about her helplessness, I think about her... alone.  

Can I share my heart with you?  It will take me awhile, maybe quite a few posts.  But I would like to tell you what has been breaking my heart lately, the need that I have seen, a way to reach out and be His hands...

If you will kindly bear with me, I will write more at a later date.  Please ponder this scripture, as it speaks what is on my heart...

He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, 
and the hearts of the children to their fathers
Malachi 4:6 


Wednesday

one thing i learned when i got married

i never knew i was so selfish until i got married.

my entire life,
everyone always told me how nice i was,
talking to everyone,
befriending anyone,
always smiling.
yes,
i really was the nicest girl i knew.


and then i got married.
and he doted on me,
telling me the act of love was serving,
and he did.
serve me.
working long hours,
coming home to see what he could do for me,
how he could help me,
he showed me how to love and i
drank it up.
i thought i was such a great wife,
my husband always put me and my needs,
my wants,
in front of his and i thought it must be because i
was
so
great.


but i never asked him what he wanted.
i never paid attention to what he needed.
i just kept on letting him serve me.
and when he was tired and napped i went in the bedroom
and begged him to get up
because i was lonely and
if he wanted to go somewhere or do something
i complained because
i didn't enjoy it and
if he asked something of me that i really didn't want to do
i scoffed, sighed, rolled my eyes because i shouldn't have to do it,
i wasn't the one who wanted it done.

and then one day i heard myself,
complaints rolling off tongue, a knife in the heart,
and lump rose in chest for this wasn't me,
was it?
i thought i was the nicest person
ever
yet here i was discovering the deep pit of
selfishness which lived in me,
breathed in me,
to think i wouldn't even let my hardworking husband
take a nap.

and so i climbed,
ever so slowly,
out of that pit,
trying desperately to let him rest,
to ask what he needed,
to just let him
go,
and it's amazing when you learn that the kindness which
got you through life was
all on the surface;
deep down there are these black stains that reek,
inching their way up until something happens and they
just pour out of you and you see
who you truly are
and why you really need
grace
and for me,
that something was marriage and
those stains are selfishness and
i must drink in that grace in constant gulps or
else i'm black as the abyss.

Monday

i dream of farms and forests

i long to raise my kids on a farm,
with animals to care for and crops to tend,
with hard work combined with love and togetherness,
with my husband, their daddy, working around us
everyday,
instead of leaving and giving his days to
"the man",
to watch the sun rise over corn fields and
children enjoying the fruit of their labor,
being nourished by that which they grew themselves.


i long to raise my kids in the forest,
with trees surrounding home and
acres of mystery to explore,
to play,
to imagine.
where a small stream flows and they
fish there with their daddy,
or alone,
or each other.
where snow falls and blankets the forest
in glistening white each winter,
and snuggling inside by the fire is not just
peaceful,
it's a necessary escape from the cold outside.


and it's funny that i live in a place
most consider paradise,
and yet my dreams take me out of here.
but this is where He has placed us,
for now,
and He tells me to
"be content"and to
"give thanks" 
and when i look at the smiling faces of my children,
the natural beauty which appears
wherever i look,
titmice flying around our garden every morning,
immense california oak trees engulfing our home,
deer walking through up our driveway late at night,
pink sun rise over the hills on clear mornings and
deep fog which rolls in from the ocean consuming all sight
on the others.
when i watch my children study the beauty around us,
use their imaginations, together,
in play,
when we can lie on the grass and watch the birds,
the squirrels
on a february afternoon,
and children can roam,
can be free,
i can't help but be content,
but open my lips in praise for
all
He
gives.


and my dreams of farms and forests may remain,
and may,
one day,
be fulfilled,
but if they are not i know i am blessed,
and i will continue to be content,
for this,
all of this,
 is beautiful.


Sunday

weekending...

this weekend i
sat out front on a blanket,
drinking tea and knitting,
pearl lying by me,
on the grass,
in the warm sunshine while
three littles ran around and played,
rolling in grass, picking flowers and
two middles and the eldest played
survival,
pretending they were stranded,
trying to start fire with moss and magnifying glass,
{no fire started, but they did make smoke!},
purifying pond water by boiling it over fire
{fire started with a match}
and making fishing hook with sticks and
attempting to fish in the pond.
and it makes this mama heart soar to see
sixteen year old playing all day
with nine and nearly eight year old,
and hearing laughter and such
joy,
{and if you're interested the game ended when they were
eaten by a bear}.
husband grilled tri-tip,
and if you're not from california
and have never eaten tri-tip,
this is the.
best.
meat.
and today is another outdoor day,
after church we came home and haven't been in much,
and it's beautiful and
no,
we are not watching the superbowl,
we are just sitting out,
playing,
reading,
husband and eldest are
fixing a car and
ahead of us lies an easy nacho dinner
and lots of love.

**all pictures taken by 8 year old Josiah, and 4 year old Hannah**








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