Tuesday

to winter at the ocean

for all my longing to live where it snows and
all of my winter jealousy i proclaim from this little place,
i sure do love my ocean,
that expanse of blue {more like greenish brown},
millions of grains of cool sand between my toes and
the freedom that a breath of ocean air brings.
























 

somebody turned three {yes, his name is moses}
and we celebrated by heading out to the beach.
we started at our typical go-to beach, right over the hill
but it was too windy for the little man and so we drove down
to another beach {this one with a playground} and
spent our day playing, gathering,  and hand holding.

so no,
we can't go out on a winter day and build a snowman or
taste a freshly fallen snow,
but we can
wade in the wide ocean water,
gather sea glass and get our little baby bottoms covered with sand.
and it's days like these that help me breathe a little easier,
that make the acedia flee and contentment settle deeply in my soul.
it's days like these,
when we roam as free spirits,
tied down to nothing but God, His land and each other
that i can fall in bed with nothing but gratitude and
pure joy.
and so i will.
we live this life and it is beautiful.
and now my boy is three.

Sunday

to say thanks to my friends

so grateful for dear friends today,
for those near,
those not so near,
those i have hugged close and
those who i have never physically met.
you all bless me so.
you encourage,
support and
help me grow.
thank you.

to find rest for myself and other weary mamas

Come to me


all who labor and are heavy laden


 and I will give you rest


 Take my yoke upon you


 and learn from me


   for I am gentle


 and lowly in heart



and you will find rest for your souls


For my yoke is easy,



 and my burden is light.



 Matthew 11:28-30

rest,
weary mama,
rest.

Friday

to recap and dream


 




this week we...
ate soup nearly every day,
lit candles in early morning twilight and after sunset each evening,
read piles of books and drank black tea,
took walks in the rain,
snuggled together watching silly videos,
young ones played dress up daily and decided pearl was old enough to join in,
did our lessons very organically,
took care of daddy after his surgery,
woke up early and prayed fervently,
had loads of plans and most of them canceled,
played numerous games and told dreams and stories,
was asked twice if i am pregnant yet {ha! you crazy people you},
watched loads of mr rogers,
danced the chicken dance with my toddlers, 
loved on a hurt chicken,
loved on a hurt friend,
prayed,
laughed,
debated,
dreamed...

now on to the next...

{inspired by my friend hannah's week recap}

Wednesday

to learn from a Texan and a blind squirrel






In one of the many immense California Oak trees surrounding our home there lives a blind squirrel.
Everyday I watch his repetitive scurrying.
He runs down from one of the huge arms,
seemingly flies to the fence,
runs down the fence to the ground, across stones to
our small turtle pond
which he scales his body down and
sips water for about a minute.
He then turns around and runs up the trunk
which is directly behind the pond.
{Why he doesn't just come down that same way,
right by the pond, I have no idea.  Possibly he
likes the adventure, the exercise, hmmmm...}
But it is always the same.
He is not like the other squirrels,
chasing the cats,
yelling at the chickens,
roaming everywhere.
He is blind and he returns to what he knows.
His life is repetitive,
rhythmic,
and in that he survives,
finds comfort.

A lady walked up our driveway today, introduced herself and
told me she was from Texas, visiting here for a funeral and that
she had grown up in our house and just had to come by
while she was here.
It was pretty amazing.
I let her in and we walked through the rooms while she
sighed peacefully at the things that were the same and
told me all about those things that were different.
It was one of those days where I was unbelievably busy and
literally nothing had been done in that whole
cleaning department,
and you know,
it's those days when everything is trashed that
random strangers happen to stop by and
want to come inside.
I made the excuse that I have seven kids and
she laughed and said there were nine kids in
her family when she lived here.  And then she
went in the bedroom where my husband,
who threw out his back and was lying in bed,
was rather confused at the strange woman walking in.
And then she asked if she could take a look at him and
yes, this strange woman who grew up in our house,
popped and massaged his back {apparently she is a
physical therapist}.
It's all rather strange but it was also a beautiful thing.

After she left I watched the blind squirrel {we call him Ray}
make his daily trip to the pond and I was thinking
about his repetition,
his home,
our repetition,
our home.
This house was not always ours and
technically is not ours {we rent} but
we love it, 
we have had a baby born here, in the living room,
we have laughed, cried, loved,
we have {nearly} graduated our first young man from homeschool,
we have lived.
This is our home and it has seeped into us,
with all of it's creaks and leaks and scratches.
And our daily rhythm blossoms in this place.
I thought about how much I hate renting,
how our landlord could one day decide to move in here or
decide to sell and
then,
this place,
our home,
would no longer be ours.
And blindly we would have to set out on
a new path, not knowing the destination but
knowing He did,
leaving {as our lovely strange visitor today did}
a piece of ourselves behind in these walls and
these shadowing Oak trees.

And as Ray the blind squirrel scampered
back up the tree,
I wondered what he would do if one day
someone cut his tree down.
If he drank from the turtle pond and turned around
to run home
and it was gone.
And he knew nowhere else.

This made me incredibly sad.
Because really,
poor Ray would be utterly lost.
I watched the other squirrels running around,
eventually joining Ray in his tree.
That's when I remembered to breathe.
Because it suddenly dawned on me that Ray
wasn't alone.
He may be blind and unable to find his own way,
but he is not alone.  If his tree were gone,
the other squirrels would help him.
And so it was okay.
And when we are blind and the future looms
ahead as the ocean, it's okay.
Because we are not alone and He knows
the destination and how to get there and
where our home or tree is.
So it's good.
All because of a stranger from Texas and
a blind squirrel named Ray.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door. 
Edgar Guest

Monday

to have compassion

As I am desperately needing {and am failing at} being compassionate tonight,
I looked up this old post of mine.  And as it is helping me remove
the plank I thought I would share it... maybe it will speak to some of you too...



Sitting in the living room, clean, perfect, the walls covered with pictures of their family...

His voice talking, constant, passionate... anger, frustration, laughter... all coming from his mouth one after another.

I am literally biting my lips to keep from opening my mouth, to tell him to stop, to tell him he is wrong.


I glance at my loving husband who is looking at me... his eyes filled with understanding but also with a gentle reminder...don't.  Don't open your mouth, don't say anything, I know it's awful but keep quiet.  Don't cast pearls to swine.

These words he has told me often before, I know they are the message he is sending with his eyes.

I sit quietly, I endure...

The father of this home is a police officer...and a christian.  He professes the name of the Lord Jesus.  He is my brother in the Body of Christ.  I do not want to think negative things about him, but...he is making me sick.  His words are making me sick.


He is talking about the people he pulls over.  He tells us how awful they are, the lies they tell.  He takes pleasure in ticketing them.

Next he tells us about the kids he meets in juvie.  About how messed up they are, how they are so disrespectful and nothing will ever change them.

Moving into the gang members, how they are all the same, they don't want to change, they won't change.

My heart is pounding as he speaks....I want to yell at him.  My husband continues to look at me with love, understanding, trying to keep me quiet.

Before the conversation finally moves onto something else, he informs us how pointless jail ministries are.  The prisoners don't care, they only go listen to the pastors because it gives them something to do.  They won't change, they will get out of jail and go right back to their life of drugs and crime, even if they "accept" Christ.

Oh how I am fuming inside.  My heart breaks... I want to weep with the woman who was given a speeding ticket, which now she must pay, though she can't buy food for her family.


I want to wrap my arms around the kids in juvie, the kids in the gangs.  I want to tell them they are loved.  I want to bring them home and let them have a family, let them see they are something, they are special.  I hurt with them, for the lack of love they have been given, for what has drawn them to this life.

I want to go to the jail, tell people there is another way, watch them choose Jesus, be their friend and advocate when they are released.

"Mourn with those who mourn..."

And I want to tell this man how terrible these things are that he is saying, I want to ask him where his love is, where his compassion is, I want to ask him how he can love Jesus and ooze judgment all over His created people, the ones He loves.


But I don't.  I hold my tongue.  I know better.  I have spoken up before, I have been met with arguments, stubbornness, denial.  I know he won't listen, I know it will only cause problems.

On our way home, still fuming, I ask my husband, "How can you listen to him?  How can you sit still and hear him and not say anything?  Don't you feel this anger that I am feeling?  He is awful, just plain awful.  He is supposed to be a christian!  He has no grace, no compassion, none.  NONE!  He claims the name of Jesus, but he has NO GRACE for anyone!"

Kindly, gently, my husband puts his hand on mine and asks, "Where is your grace for him, your love?"

I am silenced.  Oh Lord, how did I miss this?  I was so wrapped up in his lack of grace that I became the one with no grace.  I am no better.  How prideful had I become, taking pride in being compassionate?


Praying for him, asking for God to help me to have grace on this man... asking forgiveness for my own lack of grace, my pride, my foolishness... Oh Lord, help me take this plank out of my eye.  Help me show grace to him, to love him despite all, and when he is given grace, help him to give it to others.