Friday, October 26, 2012

Warm and Toasty

Gil is the master researcher. You can give him a topic and he will look into from every angle possible. This skill came in handy when we needed to find a cheaper alternative to heating our house. Filling our oil tank multiple times over the course of a winter gets super expensive, so we knew wanted to go another route.

Through his research, we learned about pellet stoves. For those that don't know about them, like us... pellet stoves are similar to wood stoves in that they burn wood, make a room so cozy and comfortable, and are hard to decorate around. But the difference comes in what they burn. Little pellets...that look similar to the food you get at petting zoos to feed the giraffes...are poured into the hopper, then auger fed into a flame. The fire is super hot. The pellets are cheaper than oil and made from recycled wood, making it a "green" source of heat.

So when you combine buying an old house with installing a pellet stove in your living room, the math adds up to needed some new fire and smoke detectors. Did you know that October is fire prevention month? I didn't either. How convenient!

Coincidentally (or not), someone from First Alert mailed me a First Alert Fire Alarm to try out and said they would send one of my blog readers one for free too! Anyone need a updated smoke alarm?

My new friend, Shannon, will happily mail one of my readers a new First Alert Fire Alarm too. All you need to do is leave a comment below.... tell me about your favorite time around a fire. Was it a camp fire? Did you spend a night without electricity, but bundled warm by the wood stove as a kid (I did!)? Do you have a gas fireplace you switch on?

After you share your stories, I'll put your names in a hat and let my researching husband pick out a reader to win the smoke alarm! Contest is open to anyone and you can enter multiple times -with different stories- until Sunday (10/28/12) at midnight.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

52 Weeks Ago

In case you didn't know I had another blog, I wanted to let you know that I just posted over there... all about our first anniversary of being residents of Connecticut, or Connecticutians, or my personal favorite, Connecticuties. ;-)

Check it out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

26 followers


I was on the platform first. No signs. No train employees. Just a few benches and a smelly trashcan. 
I made my track choice based on the track I arrived on a week prior. Before, I went south and stepped off the train on the far side. So this time, in my limited knowledge of train timetables and track schedules, I assumed I needed to be on this side to return north. I had a 50/50 chance. Now it was time to wait. 
My backup plan: Worse case scenario, I grab my bags and make a mad dash down the ramp, under the tracks, back up the ramp on the other side and climb aboard. After all, I do have my “mom sneakers” on...you know the ones. They are drenched in super powers. 
The a second passenger arrived on the platform and asked if I was going north. I nodded and she sat on a nearby bench. A quick glimmer of worry flashed in my mind. 
Four or five minutes after that, a small family asked passenger #2 is she was heading towards Washington, DC. She nodded, scooted over to the side of her bench and the family sat to wait. 

Then an older lady and her walker made it to the platform. She’s proudly visiting her new grand baby. That quick glimmer of worry flashed again. I assumed passenger #2 could made the dash to the other track with me. And perhaps since the small family was  there, the conductor would wait a few more minutes for them to go down the ramp, through the tunnel, back up the stairs and board the train on other side....you know...in the 50/50 chance I could be wrong? I hope that mom has on her super-power soaked mom sneakers, too. 
I remembered the TED video about influence
Then reviewed the facts on which I based my original track choice. Going south, I stepped on over there; so, going north, I would step on from this side. I assured myself I had made the right choice.
I hope. 
Over the next 10 minutes, 26 more people arrived on the platform. Each asking the first person they see if they were heading north. A quick nod. Drop your bags on the platform and a glance at the watch. For each of those 26 passengers, my glimmer of worry began to grow into a large spotlight on concern. 
Isn’t there a Seinfeld episode about standing in a line for nothing?
5 minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive, a whistle blows and we all look to the right...the far side. It was chugging full-steam ahead and had no plans of stopping at the tiny platform I was leading. 
I prepped for my mad dash to the other side of the tracks. The train went by so fast I thought I might get sucked into Narnia. Passenger #2 looked at me with wide eyes. I gave her the little half-smile to assure her of my vast knowledge of train timetables and track schedules. Fake it ‘till you make it. 
Our train was supposed to be here already. Maybe we were supposed to grab the cargo train door and swing ourselves aboard like the old westerns. That would be quite the workout. But, I do have my mom sneakers on and the super powers might be strong enough to grab the older lady on my way into the cargo doors. As long as she grabbed my arm tight enough. I had a plan. The other 25 passengers would have to fend for themselves. 
I decided I needed to find some support to back-up my decision. So, I grabbed my phone and tried to go online to find a schedule. I mentally pleaded with the website to tell me the train was late and that I was on the correct side of the track. Zilch information about this station. Did Amtrak even know this little half platform existed? 
Suddenly, the hours I had spent with my husband watching survival shows came to use. I clicked open my compass app and waited for it to calibrate. More mental pleading to tell me I had picked the track. It wouldn’t calibrate. The app told me to turn my phone in a figure eight position to calibrate. I tried and tried. Maybe I did really get sucked into Narnia? Does AT&T reach there? 
Finally it surrendered it’s right to not calibrate, pointed north and confirmed my unexperienced choice. 
I was slightly more confident I made the right choice. I prayed I was leading this platform of people boldly. 
The tracks right in front of me began to squeal in a high pitched tone. Whistle coming from the left (which I now know is south because there’s an app for that) and passenger numbers 2 through 26 are now scrambling to grab their bags and toddler hands. 
My prayers turned towards the train staff; “God, please have that guy step down from the train and yell what we need him to yell!” 
“All aboard! Going north to Washington, DC! All aboard!”

This stressful narrative was brought to you today by the super powers in my mom sneakers, my dearly beloved iphone and it’s compass app, and the hours of survival television I have suffered through. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas- a keeper, get your own copy!


I could make this a quick book review and tell you I just finished reading a great book. However, that would be a simple response for something that needs a more complex commentary. 
It re-calibrated my thinking. 
Every Body Matters, by Gary Thomas, is a keeper. He addresses an issue that my husband and I have spent many hours talking about already...the health our bodies, especially as Christians. 
You see, we hear sermons on having a strong faith, sinful behavior like dishonesty and adultery, and how to be great givers; all of which are important topics. But how many times have you heard the sermon about maintaining a healthy body in regards to gluttony? Or what about food as a idol? 
Here’s what I have taken from the book:
-Food is supposed to be a tool, a source of nutrition, fuel for our bodies.... not something we crave, obey, or think about constantly. 
-Hunger pangs before lunch or dinner aren’t life threatening. Duh, right?
-I need to have a solid, strong, and steady body (rather than a soft one) in order to complete the tasks God created me for.
Every Body Matters is not a diet book, health or nutrition manual or condemning for any reason. Thomas clarifies his understanding that we can not and must not judge the outward appearance of anyone for any reason and that fitness is not a measuring stick for faithfulness. 
About his own struggle, Thomas shares, “I sensed a stronger resistance to impatience, lust, and other sins. Confronting excessive, indulgent eating was almost like taking spiritual penicillin or antibiotics in that it seemed to cut the feet out from under other demands.” (61) “With my nutritional needs for the day met, I can focus on other things.” (85) 
He says, “One blessing of sin...is that it can usher us into a new honesty. Our frailty is exposed...[we can] be completely honest with ourselves. (181) Did opening the bag of chips, even though your conscience was telling you not to, really help you feel better thirty minutes later, or did you feel worse? Did blowing off the exercise session- even though, many times before, exercising when you didn’t feel like it made you feel renewed and invigorated- serve your long term goal of better health? Or was it simply a matter of coddling a soft spirit? There a times when it’s wise or even necessary to skip working out, but was this one of them?”(180)
One point Thomas makes that I agree and disagree with at the same time (is that possible?) is that “a soft body cannot carry a hard message; a fragile personality cannot endure a harsh response.” (200) I have met a handful of people who have weak, failing bodies; yet have strong-as-a-lion wills, capable of capturing the heart and soul of individuals many times their sizes or strengths. And on the other end of the spectrum, I know people whom are the perfect picture of health; yet are cowards inside. But I get what he is saying and I agree... I don’t want to intentionally do something to cause my physical body to weaken, hindering my ability to accomplish the tasks I have been made to do. 
Perhaps I should read this book a couple times a year... like right before the holidays! 
Zondervan gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for a thoughtful, honest review...and I am very grateful for that! 

Friday, June 29, 2012

With-ship

"with-ship" of Jesus. No, that's not a typo...it's for real. This morning, I read about this new term. Practicing with-ship of Jesus. Pure and simple, time with Jesus. No agendas, just time with him. What would our hearts look like? What would our schedules look like? I spent 9 days on the road recently and found myself cluttered. I had things I wanted to process and reflect on...I had thoughts that needed to be completed before spoken...and yet, I went from activity to activity without the time to reflect. It's like I needed to sift them or swirl them around, just as one would swirl a pan looking for valuable gold. I wanted to let the "junk" splash out and allow the desirable things to remain. I wanted and needed to just be with Jesus. In my journey along the 7th Year, Chole writes that our top priority, as Jesus taught, is to just be with him. Our actions for him come from our time spent with him. We so often do it the other way around...we work hard for him, then come back and want to see his face. This is my reflection from week 19 of the 7th Year e-journey. If you want more information about this experience, visit www.the7thyear.com and check it out!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Disaster to Delicious

My attempt at creating chewy caramel candies flopped and I was left with a pan full of a floppy mess. I can't stand to waste ingredients, so I risked wasting more by changing it up a bit. I added a few more ingredients and arrived at a delicious surprise....a pan full of Payday Candy bar wannabes.

Homemade Payday Candy Bar Wannabes
PayDay Candy Bars
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
Microwave 6 minutes, stirring every two minutes. Then add: 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups salted peanuts
1 cup crumbled grahams
Stir with strong spoon until it cools enough and becomes too hard to stir with the spoon. Continue to “knead” with oiled hands to ensure nuts and grahams are incorporated thoroughly. Push down into a greased 8x11 pan to flatten. Allow to cool and cut into bars. Wrap in waxed paper squares for sharing. 


Wrapped and ready to share


Have you ever turned recipe wreckage into delicious-ness by accident? 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Great For God, by David Shibley, is a collection of missionary stories. I am unsure of the target audience, but the reading level is fairly low and each story is only 3 or 4 pages. The introduction of the book states that the intention was to chose a handful of missionaries to include in this time capsule in order that their stories might live on- which I agree, they should. I love collections of missionary stories...
Because of the length the author went to in sharing how he picked which missionary to write about and which to leave out, I was expecting to read about the unknown servants. I had my heart set on learning a little about the lives of those that haven’t been recorded before, the never-before-heard “heroes of the faith”. Perhaps I am not the greatest person to make this judgement call, but I was disappointed to see the same people I’ve already read about before. Not to lessen their great works for God or to say that they aren’t worthy of being included, by any means. I was simply hoping for a different handful. 
One missionary the author did include and I hadn’t heard of was a man named H.B. Garlock. I enjoyed reading about his story because he was from Connecticut and met Jesus as a young man. He served the people of Liberia, Ghana and Malawi and faced the kind of dramatic moments read about in the Bible. That’s what I’m talking about! I was also excited to learn about what H.B. did in his later years of life....but I will leave that to you to find out on your own!
Another missionary story that I knew about previously but hadn’t seen documented in print before was WIlliam Cameron Townsend and his ministry called JAARS(Jungle Aviation and Radio Service), which collaborated with Wyclife Bible Translators. JAARS will remain near and dear to my heart because their North American arm, which was in existence up until a few years ago, served my family. JAARS helped relocate ministry offices and missionaries personal items around the world. When JAARS had to refocus their efforts, one of their own men wanted to keep serving ministries and missionaries in North America, so he renamed the branch to Missionary Transport, Inc. One of their trucks and drivers served our family when we relocated from Virginia to Connecticut. When his truck arrived for us to load it, I could see the JAARS sticker underneath the Missionary Transport, Inc. label on the truck. This made my heart happy. 
Overall, this was a good book. I will keep it around to use as a source of missionary stories for my kids. I have an electronic copy and am thankful for that, as I doubt I would give up any bookshelf real estate for it. 

You can pick up a copy for yourself at http://www.newleafpublishinggroup.com/product_info.php?products_id=981 

Thanks New Leaf for a chance to review your book. I was given a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion of the book! These comments are my own. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Noise = Quietness


You can see the water and food splatters and the food-y finger prints.

I have been staring at this folded up sheet of paper on my kitchen window sill for a few months now. I have read it multiple times a day, trying to "wait" for the "Word to renew me". One of my favorite things to do is sleep and somehow I connected "renew" with sleep. They seem like synonyms to me... doesn't that sound logical to you?

This verse also made me think of the other verse that says I will be "cleansed by the washing of  water with the Word" (Ephesians 5:26) since I was often washing dishes while I re-read this verse...

But then it struck me last week.

I had skipped the first part of the passage every time I read it. I skimmed over it in desperate attempts at a desire for renewal....or in my mind, rest.

"You are a my place of quiet retreat..."

When the kids are running laps through the dining room, kitchen, hallway, living room, dining room, kitchen, ....over and over.... God remains my place of quietness.

When the commercials are louder than the news, the dog is asking to be let out, the timer is going off in the kitchen.....God remains my place of silence.

When the phone is ringing and my mind is cluttered and weighty.....God remains my place of retreat.

Despite all the noise-literal, emotional, life- around me, I can find quietness in God.

Since I can find my quietness in Him, I must not need to wait for the literal quiet I seek. I can meet with him right in the chaos of my day.

Oddly enough, when I fight to find my quiet retreat within Him no matter the noise level around me, His words do renew me.






Sunday, May 20, 2012

The 7th Year- Week 13: Put Your Thinkin' Cap On


She mentions that our “God-concepts inform beliefs, and beliefs influence attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. The latter- the attitudes, emotions, and behaviors- are followers, not leaders. They are responders, not initiators. As such, they are manifestations of something deeper, of our working, applied belief system. (Chole, 7th Year, Week 13)

You know it’s deep-thinker week in the 7th Year project when you have to read the same sentence 3 or 4 times. Go ahead, re-read it again, too. Speed reading is useless. 

So, my deepest, gut-level concept of God will drive my beliefs of who God is. And my belief about who God really is will direct my thoughts, feelings, and actions. 
I better have my God-concept right. Better yet, I better allow God to define himself for me. Simply trusting that God is who he says he is should be enough. But we are fickle creatures...allowing our attitudes, emotions, behaviors to sway our God-concept....He is constant and faithful to remind us each day/moment/season who he truly is. 
-------
My family began to wonder why my phone made robot sounds at 8am, noon, 4pm and 8pm for 7 days. Even the girls began to wonder what was going on. Emma started imitating the robotic sounds. After a day or two, I let them in on the secret. Each time my alarm went off, I quickly documented a God-descriptor at that very moment. Every four hours, I captured what I thought about God....then and there. 
I saved the list on my phone and was surprised at how multi-faceted our God truly is. (Duh, Lindsay) In all actuality, we will never know how multi-faceted God is. This assignment shows me that my view of God has so much to do with what I am doing, thinking, feeling, facing at that moment. Yes, I trust God. Yes, I believe God is real and alive. But I can also see that God is all of these things: 
Redeemer
Creator of bugs
Patient
Constant
Awaken-er (this one must have been in the morning!)
Provider
Sustainer
Leader
Step-maker
A proud dad
Rest (Morning, again)
Nourisher (Lunchtime)
Speaker (office hours, prepping for a sermon)
Caller
Constant
Saturator (rainy day)
Planner
Banquet preparer (dinner time, ha.)
Educator (homeschool morning)
Mover 
Healer
Friend
Knower (a lonely moment)
Constant
Nearby
Muscle-giver (After a workout)
Husband, by the agricultural definition- one who gives care, manages (after a conversation with someone about why the field of caring for animals is called husbandry)
-------
Try it. Set an alarm to go off at intervals throughout your day and see what comes to mind when you think about God. Be creative. Be a word-smith....make them up if you  have to. 
I remain grateful for this 7th Year experience. If you want to learn more about it, go to www.the7thyear.com

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The 7th Year-Week 10: Word Cloud

"A word heard is not enough." According to the Parable of the Sower, the difference "in the fourth soil/soul was that beyond hearing, it accepted the Word." (Chole, referring to Mark 4:20) 


A verse memorized is not enough. 
A service attended is not enough. 
A behavior modified is not enough. 
A list of rules followed is not enough. 


This concept has struck me deeply this week because I know so many people that know truths found in the Bible, yet aren't applying it. Some are ignoring it. Some are connecting it with hurtful people and trying to forget it. Some are just choosing an "easier" path. None of us get it right all the time, I get that. But my heart breaks for people that know and turn away...never applying the grace, mercy, forgiveness, healing, truth found in the same passages they memorized as a child. 

*********************************************************************************
 "God, I think you are_____."



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Coffee Roasting

If you know me (or have read my blog for any length of time), you know about my love for coffee. You might also know that my wonderful husband roasts coffee for us at home. Home roasting allows us to get a wonderful quality coffee for a great price. We aren't after cheap coffee or spending loads of money on coffee. We are after the best cup of coffee we can afford and this is the way we've found to make that happen. Thankfully, Gil enjoys the process and has done the best he can without the roaster he would like. After hearing of this, several people are intrigued by this process, so I decided to share! Here goes....



When this box lands on our doorstep, we feel loved...even though Gil just ordered it himself a few days prior.  


Prior to roasting, this is what the green coffee bean looks like. 



Admiring the goodness. 



Loving the goodness. 


Posing with the goodness. Until this moment, I hadn't realized how closely his red hoodie matched the kitchen walls. 


Each bag of beans are different and labeled according to the country and farm where it was grown. The label also includes a description of what the bean should taste like when roasted properly. 


Gil ordered 3 different beans this time. 


Oh, I can't wait for morning! 


Here's the set up: box fan facing outside, popcorn popper, mesh strainer, large bowl to catch chafe. Kids allergy medicine not necessary for this process. 


Fan on. Popper on. 


Beans go in, 3 Gil-handfuls per batch. 


Popper lid on, which blows most of the chafe into the bowl. 





We wait while it roasts. 


And have time to take a few silly pictures. 


Those blue eyes. 



After roasting. 


Unplug roaster, pour beans into mesh strainer for a quick cool. 


Shake to help cool as fast as possible. 


Look at the goodness. 


Smell the goodness. Oh wait, you can't. Sorry. 


He's been through a number of popcorn poppers, but this particular brand and model is the one that's held on the longest. If you ever, and I mean EVER, see one of these at a thrift store, BUY it! 


And the beautiful bean. 


No, I was not paid by sweetmarias.com for all of this free advertising. Would have been nice though, eh? This is just how we do it~ 

Friday, April 20, 2012

The 7th Year- wks 8&9: Monastery or Mission Control


I met a new mom last week at the playground. She has great kids, is married and is seemingly normal. In this society, she’s a rare gem. I was excited to tell my husband about her later that evening. His response poked a hole in my party balloons. 
“Is she a Christian?”
“Yep.”
“That’s cool. But we need to make friends with people that don’t know Jesus yet.”
He and I have talked about this a number of times. We say that it’s a core value of ours. I have written about it and claim/aim/try to live out our ideas of not being a monastery mommy who raises bunker babies. 
Monastery mommies raise their kids in a petri dish or a greenhouse. The perfect environment, watering at the proper time, feeding and nourishing in ideal conditions. Not a weed or other bacteria in site. Safety.
Bunker babies have lived behind a concrete wall of protection, playing and interacting only with others previously approved to also live in the bunker. The only things that leave the bunker are attacks launched toward anyone not in the bunker. Safety. 
Our efforts in living in the monastery or bunker are exhausting and exclusive. Out of the world and nowhere near it. In the end, we end up being a people that have nothing in common with the world....so much so, that we can’t even hold a conversation with anyone outside our walls. We don't even make sense to each other. 
Sounds like Satan’s perfect plan. 
“If Satan cannon succeed in his Plan A of taking your soul to hell with him, Plan B is to ensure that you do not take anyone else’s soul to heaven with you.”- Chole, The 7th Year.
The Enemy loves our monasteries and bunkers just as much as we do. He’s pleased when we keep ourselves so busy gathering with others just like us that we have no more time to meet people who aren’t like us. We have willingly relinquished the weapon we have- relationships. He laughs when we make the rules and spend time enforcing them. 
“Steal them or sterilize them”, Chole says, “might be the kingdom of darkness’ brutally efficient mission statement.”
Yep, we are going to heaven. But we aren’t taking anyone else with us. Ouch. 
Don’t get me wrong. I am total support of having like-minded friends and a support network around your family. We need to brush up against other believers for encouragement, growth, sharpening. I want my kids influenced by great role models and I desperately desire mentors and Christian friends for my family. We need to be in a community of believers and worship together. Going rogue isn’t wise. 
But, there is a difference between making your home (or life) a monastery or making it mission control. 
Mission control preps and de-briefs before and after intentional interactions. 
Mission control sends out. 
Mission control trains. 
Mission control monitors and sends support when extra help is needed. 
Mission control is visited often for resupply, rest, re-evaluation and recalibration of the original mission. 
Mission control is pro-active. 
Are we living to make it through unscathed? 
Are we living to multiple ourselves?
Are we avoiding the thorns because we are afraid of a few scratches and hard work, therefore letting them grow effortlessly?
Are we fighting them back with everything we’ve got so we can see the real life-giver do his thing?
I am glad I made a new friend last week. It’s nice to have people in our lives that we can relax with. But I am also glad my husband frequently reminds me that we are be strategic in who we spend time with. He is a result of a trained agent leaving mission control for a purpose. 
Satan won’t steal us or sterilize us. 
I know it sounds scary. It's terrifying, actually. But that's ok. Mission control has prepped us.
*****************************************************************************************************************************
This is my reflection of the readings from weeks 8 and 9 in The 7th Year, an intentional e-journey of discipleship. You can find out more about it at www.the7thyear.com 
Have a great friday! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The 7th Year- Week 7: God math

"As I consider years past, I see your hand clearly in some spaces.
In other spaces, I acknowledge the presence of your hand by faith, not by sight."- Chole


We began a new section in the 7th Year e-journey. Moving from our own personal life scrolls (seeing God in the past) to a task in preparing to see the current and upcoming movements between God and myself. Prior to starting the task, Chole asked us to spend a few moments in prayer. The quote at the top of this post was part of her guided prayer. This line....."I acknowledge the presence of your hand by faith, not by sight".... stuck with me. 


How many times have we heard (or spoken) stories of knowing God was near because we saw signs and wonders happen? Those times are valid and wonderful, but what happens when we don't see or feel God moving nearby? It might be easy to think that God left us or backed away somehow. But deep faith is evident when we know God is near without the evidences seen by the eye. 


Looking back through my own life scroll, I can see times that I trusted, by faith, that God was near because I couldn't see with me eyes (or brain or skin or heart) that he was around. I depended upon the past history of him being with me and logically connected God's past history with his current activity. 


He was there when I ________ + he was also there when ________ + I trust his word = He was and is there when I can't feel him. 



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thorns


We’ve started cutting through the strong overgrowth in the yard. Ten years without attention welcomes 4, 5, 6 inch thick vines to grow and develop the ability to take down trees. 


The brown and peely is the base of the vine, not a tree.
I was knee deep in chopped up thorny brush, Adison was waist deep in it. Her pants became snagged in the thorns and instantly she was worried. I pulled her out quickly and set her down in a place free of thorns. Then I remembered something. 

They put a crown of thorns on his head. 
A crown of thorns on his head. 
Thorns on his head. 

Thorns poking into my finger and scratching my arms hurt. I can’t imagine them pushed into my head. 
The potential for biblical imagery from this experience is tremendous. But since this is the week before Easter, I have been thinking about the pain Jesus suffered as he went to the cross for us. Surrounding myself in thorns and vines has been a reminder of why Jesus did what he did. 

 Please forgive us, Jesus. 



Tree covered in vines, we question
if it's alive or not. 
All that remains of this tree is the trunk,
everything else you see is vines...
not branches.



My husband snuck in some shots.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

7th Year- Week 6: Hemmed In


You hem me in- before and behind. 
You know me. 
You laid your hand upon me. 
You are there. 
Your eyes saw me. 
You are familiar with my ways. 
You know what I do. 
You are aware. 
(Phrases from Psalm 139)
This week for the 7th year, I added the last layer to my life scroll. I added my questions, revelations, commentaries and overall summary of all the previous 6 layers. I found common themes running throughout my scroll; both in God’s movements and my responses to His movements and other circumstances. I ask(ed) the same questions, or variations of the same questions repeatedly. Yet, through it all, God remained the same. 
He is my:
(ever) present
sustainer
energy
hand-holder
provider
protection
filler
pursuer (as in caller, wooer, chaser)
These God-descriptors all were all woven numerous times throughout my scroll, reoccurring frequently. I know some of the descriptions don’t make sense to others and that’s ok. They don’t have to. At times, this doesn’t entirely make sense to me. But, I know they are true. 
A good hem is turned into itself twice and stitched in a way that is invisible from the outside of the garment. A hem encompasses the fringe of the fabric and ensures future unraveling. A hem surrounds, borders, edges, encircles, encloses, encompasses, corrals. 
Sounds a lot like my cinched-in feeling I wrote about earlier in this process. You can read about that here

Jesus hemmed in my fringe- whether caused by myself or other people- and protected against further unraveling. Jesus hemmed me into himself- before me and behind me- so that his presence was always there. At times, the hem felt invisible- as if one was looking at it from the outside- but it (he) remained present. 
********
I remain thankful for this 7th Year journey and invite you all to begin participating at any time. You can find details on how to participate through visiting the site, www.the7thyear.com 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The 7th Year- Week 5: Space


This week’s layer makes my life scroll stand 6 layers high. I found security while working through this layer as it asked me to describe God during different times in my life. It was comfortable, but my mental list of adjectives is suffering. I wish my word-smith skills were stronger. 
In addition to my life scroll layer, I have been thinking more about space. Just this morning Gil read our Lent devotion to me- Psalm 31. 
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; 
You have made know the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hands of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. (vs. 7 & 8)
One of the phrases jumped out to both of us...you have set my feet in a broad place. We clicked on “broad place” and learned that it is synonymous with spacious place, wilderness, and openness. It’s found a handful of times, a few of the places being scriptures I have already written down; 
I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter the wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you... Live openly and expansively. 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG)
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19
He brought me out into a spacious place. 2 Samuel 22:20
Here is my brainstorm list:
A spacious place is peaceful. 
A spacious place is free. 
A spacious place is wide. 
A spacious place is living. 
A spacious place is life-sustaining. 
A spacious place is filtering. 
A spacious place is welcoming. 
A spacious place is calming. 
A spacious place is roomy. 
A spacious place is healing. 
A spacious place is teeming with life. 
A spacious place is beckoning.
A spacious place is stable.
When you think of a spacious place, what do you think of? 
But this seems to be a linear, a flat-lined, horizontal view of space. 
What if spaciousness is thought of in a 3-D view, a broad and X-Y-Z axis type of picture?
It would be impossible to list all the ways God is spacious in a 3-D view, a broad and X-Y-Z axis type formation, but here are a few I can think of; 
  • God is spacious in his grace and love for us- it is large and unending. 
  • God is spacious in his movement with us- he allows us to move at our pace while inviting us to move at his pace. 
  • God is spacious in his healing- he lavishly provides the space in time and growth for true healing. 
  • God is spacious in his presence- he offers contentment and peace amidst our cluttered world. 
What are some other ways God is spacious in his personhood?
So, if space is so wildly wonderful, why do we- and why did the Old Testament believers- not abandon everything to find it? 
To enjoy space, you have to look up, glance around and soak up the surroundings. You have to look up from the plow, so to speak. You have to stop what you’re doing and take it in. I forget to stop, raise my head and appreciate the space. I get too busy trying to do it myself- checking off the to-do list, finding my satisfaction in accomplishments.