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Archive for September, 2008

Prayer

I have my thoughts on prayer… how to do it, when, why and it’s impact.  But it’s such a broad and sometimes seemingly contradictory topic.  Most of the christian life seems that way to me at times.  Not in a negative way… just means you have to really dig deep to understand what we’re taught.  Old and New Testaments… in context.  Boy that’s a lot of studying.  But I think it’s worth it.

A few friends of mine and events in their lives have caused me to consider prayer and my prayer life lately.  The way other people react to those events does too.  Imagine how interested I was to see that God has given me an opportunity to study prayer again, in depth, with a small group of mostly people I know and some I believe to be very fruitful in their prayer life.  Let me tell you, that e-mail invitation came at just the right time and found me at just the right availability.  (As an aside, I think you personally need to “feel” available, but I don’t think God requires you to be, for Him to work… I just think it mostly works that way.  What with the free will thng and all.  But that’s a WHOLE nother discussion.  Kind of.)  So I am happy that this time finds me observant enough to understand what I’m being offered and to feel like I can accept it.

So, in order to remind me… some scriptures to look at:Exodus 15:22-27  , 1 Samuel 1: 1-11, 19-20, 27-28  , 1 Kings 8:22-30, 9:1-3  , 1 Chron 4:10  , Ezra 8:21-23, 31-32  , Psalm 5:1-3, 12, 34: 4-10  , Acts 12: 5-17.

Some things I’ve heard about prayer:

  • prayer changes things
  • pray without ceasing
  • it is like an incense going up to God
  • pray expecting things to happen
  • leave your requests at the cross

And I’m sure there’s more.  I’m studying and adding more to this as I go!

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Life with a 3 year old is a life of childish extremes.  Oh! the devastation of a boo-boo or having to go home and leave your friends or a loved one. 

And then there is just downright funny!  Coming home from Sunday school the other day M is asked what she learned about… now, imagine this in a very loud, emphatic voice:  ”  GOD – MADE – US – DIRT!!! ”  The actual lesson was Noah’s Ark.  I am at a loss… kind of.  She did proceed to tell us particulars of the story, so I know she knows what she is talking about.  But I’ll be danged if we do!  🙂

This morning her 13 year old sister tells her she use to have a tail (yeah… we liked pulling that one on the twins when they were little, so she’s passing the fun on).  And instead of disagreeing, which is what the tweens use to do quite adamantly, she agrees.  Her sister tells her that it has fallen off so she doesn’t have it anymore to which she replies that “no, it’s really small in her bottom” and proceeds to pull down her pajama pants and show us.  The “we don’t do that in polite society” lesson followed.  Time will tell if she heard that one.

She’s into licking people right now because, as she says, “you’re really tasty!”

I swear I don’t know where she gets this stuff.

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Campfire Anybody?

Well, not a camp fire… but one in my fireplace in the backyard.  Which makes it almost as good.  Except that you can need to go in the house to escape the mosquitoes and flies (no, this is not another post concerning bug repellants).  Which means you don’t end up getting the full appreciation for just the glowing embers.  Except when you peek out the back window.  haha

Have I told you I’m a closet firebug?  I love to build, light, poke, stoke, redistribute and just basically play in the fire.  And I come away from it smelling like smoke.  Today it was cedar from a cedar shrub cut down out of our backyard last fall.  It REALLY smelled good.  Not good to cook on though, so we just grabbed some burgers out.  Yeah… I know… that’s a GREAT diet for a 3 year old.  Oh well.  You know those things (McD’s burgers) will last forever just sitting out on a shelf.  Apparently pristine condition too.  I’ve not done the background check on that story, but it’s supposedly true.  No wonder it has stayed on my butt for 20 years.

Anyway… back to playing in the fire.  So my Dad and Mom were down again for a few days.  Our dog now has a doghouse thanks to my dad’s great desire to never be idle (well… ok… if you have to have something to do, might as well keep the boy busy too) and my fireplace is sporting a shiney rounded, removable top and door to convert it to a brick oven type thing.  Well, really more like a covered grill because we didn’t mess with the placement of the chimney.  But there is now a brick shelf built up to the side of the chimney, so that would really be more oven-ish.  I think.  The top isn’t fastened down nor the hinges cemented to stabilize it, but it could be used if I wanted to give it a try.  Which I just might do.  Very soon.  I really want to see how a pizza would work.  They’re only supposed to take about 5 minutes or so and be out of this world.  We’ll see.

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Ok… something happened in Sunday school yesterday and I don’t really know what to think abut it.  Took will recognize some of the things going on with this theme… but your experiences or thoughts are appreciated.

First, the teacher felt lonely at the top of the table yesterday, so a couple of us moved closer.  Putting me up front.  With almost everybody else behind me.  Translation: effectively no peer group.  It was just me looking at the teacher.  I usually don’t like not being able to see folks, but it is what happened.

Secondly, I have some sinus issues, so I’m alternately congested/runny when emotional (thanks post poison ivy benadryl weaning).

So the portion of scripture we’re studying yesterday was the foot washing scene in John.  Having only taught a few weeks ago, I’m vaguely aware of where the class is, even though I’ve missed a Sunday or two.  So, upon entering the room and seeing a ceramic bowl with towels carefully protecting something inside, sitting on the table… I have a thought of where this is going.  Since John skips the majority of what we know as the Last Supper, I’m pretty sure of what’s there, but not what part the bowl and pitcher will play in the class.

I have, maybe, been a part of one foot washing.  I think.  I have a viague memory that doesn’t even begin to remind me of the participants.  And this act of relationship, of commitment to one another… of service, has fascinated me for a while.  So, in my zeal and fascination I try to stay cautious of what’s me and what is the Spirit.  Which gets me into second guessing… not always a good thing, but sometimes useful.  Caution isn’t such a bad thing when your trying to seperate your motives.  But I am trying not to start thinking through all of the possible scenarios cause when I do that, I start taking over (something you don’t want when the Spirit should be leading).

So she picks a brother who has done voice for public tv and educational tv and what not, to read the scripture all the way through (usually we take turns and talk about each portion along the way… this way keeps the immenseness of the moment intact, though).  And then she asks the class (remember I’m sitting in front and can’t see the other members of the class), “Who would be willing to wash someone else’s feet in this room?”  I’m assuming from her response that it was most, if not all, of the members of the class, me included.  The she asks, “Who would be wlling to have someone else wash their feet?”  And without hesitation, my hand goes up.  In a minute, I find out that I’m the only one to have responded as such.

And I truly did mean it.  And upon realizing that I was the only one, I start to wonder (here comes that second guessing thing), if I shouldn’t have.  What does that mean about me?  First, though I hope I didn’t, I probably threw a kink in the teacher’s response.  Though she is a preacher, so maybe just a momentary one… hopefully.  I am a “harried, homeschooling, schedule-yanks-me-every-which-way mom”… and a techincal foot rub would always be welcome… but I am totally in the sunday school environment, so that didn’t even cross my mind.  Not even a little.

But am I so different than my peers?  I don’t even know exactly how to explain it.  I’m not really a very good “getter”, though I have learned over the years that I can be happy in receiving if I don’t feel obligated to return.  That’s not to imply that I don’t give back, but it is definitely a different feeling to give out of love and desire than obligation.  I think I’m not always a good giver.  I tend to the “teach a man to fish” philosophy.  Which is not the same as not being generous, but you can get into a rut, seeming almost miserly with your giving, and not realize it.

But I have no second thoughts about what my feet look like (in retrospect, it’s my shins somebody would be scared to touch because of the poison ivy soars – not contagious anymore, but still…).  And I would be a total blubbering fool in both positions, washer and washee.  Never mind that I have those sinus issues going on.  And it would almost instantly forge a connection with that other soul that I would be fearful of overdoing.  “Am I smothering this person?  Does s/he just want me to go away?”  Remember, my Dear Heart has referred to me as his private stalker before, so there is good reason for this fear.  It’s my inclination. 

At the same time, because you never really know where another person is in their walk, a nagging fear is that I’ll be taken advantage of.  And this is the real sticking point… the real “raise” in my hackles.  Because it is a relationship thing.  At least, for me.  So while I wouldn’t think twice about having someone wash my feet, I would be on my guard after I left that moment in time.  For me, it would be the beginning of something.  And I don’t know if that’s something to be concerned about or not.

Some great person somewhere said something about if a person behaved as they should, without desire for position and what not, then they would necessarily bring about their own demise.  Sometimes I wish we could all be confident enough in the one relationship that matters the most, to wish for our own demise.  I’m going to try to start behaving more as if I’m bringing about that kind of destruction on myself.  Honesty.  Caring.  Determination.  To what degree do I already do that?  Is that the difference?  Pride goeth before a fall, but that’s not the kind of demise I’m hoping for.  I’m kind of a surface, in the moment kind of person.  Is that what I’m sensing?

Where do you all stand on the foot washing thing?  Is it just a one time shot for you, or a process?  Are there a lot of me’s out there who just don’t realize it or are afraid to admit it for whatever reason?  Or am I truly a minority?

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Random Thoughts

So, I get an e-mail that says Took has visited me and wants me to “write already”!  What can I say?  I just haven’t been in the mood to get on the computer much lately.  The Drama in History class looks like it’s going to fall through this year – I think that’s at least part of it.  So much of what I did for the class last year was computer based and I was planning on repeating that same kind of thing for this year.  But interest has waned.  Another homeschool group here in the area has decided to do 2 different drama projects this year instead of the 0 they did last year and the 1 in the couple of years before.  So families don’t need another drama class right now, I suppose.  I kind of teeter between being a tad bit bummed about it and being excited that it’s one thing I don’t have other families depending on me for this year… frees me up, sort of.  It’s funny in a way because I really did the class because I am so enthralled by the renaissance period.  It just absolutely fascinates me.  Doing the class gave me an excuse.  Maybe I don’t need an excuse.  Maybe I can just do it because I enjoy it.  I know.  *gasp*  “something purely for Mommy’s entertainment?!?”  And I’m nodding my head.  Yeah, probably.  I’ll miss the “audience” though.  hehe

But until the class becomes an official no-go, I guess I’m steering clear of anything on the computer.  Maybe it keeps me from seeing stuff that would get me excited about the class that’s not going to happen.  I don’t know.  Maybe I just need to finalize that before I can delve back into the cyber world.  Am I that much of a one track mind?  Maybe.

I absolutely love this time of year.  The in-between time, really.  Our weather has been on the hot side lately but a front just moved through that drastically lowered the temperatures.  While the leaves aren’t really changing yet, I can feel it coming.  And I want to enjoy this fall, so I’m hoping for a few things… at least one camping trip, a trip to an orchard for my favorite apples (yorks), a fun 3 year old Halloween, some letterboxing (a friend has a series she is getting ready to plant, otherwise I’m going to have to do a field trip for this) and some backyard brick-oven type coooking.  Maybe if I’m adventurous enough, a brick oven pizza party or two for  some friends.  Some things are already poking into the schedule… I’m teaching M’s sunday school class this Sunday, so I have to stay in town for that.  P has a ropes challenge course she’s going to do with some other cadettes on the 20th and a white water rafting trip she wants to do with her youth group the following week.  The campsite that I really want to stay at when/if we get to camp closes about mid-October.  York apples come in during this time too.  Maybe I’ll have to combine a few things and not cling too much to some particulars.

Ahhhh…. camping.  I really can’t wait for this one.  But since I’m waiting on my Dear Heart, and he’s waiting for cool weather, I guess I’ll have to.  Which sadly means that we probably won’t be taking much advantage of the lake as a swimming destination.  Maybe we can do some bank fishing.  Dare I dream to rent a boat and feel the wind in my hair?  I don’t know.  His family didn’t camp as much as mine did growing up and definitely didn’t have the advantage of a bass boat with a fast motor.  Needless to say, he’s much more of a hotel kind of guy.  Or a cabin.  It’s really the running water and availability of a shower that is his chief concern.  At the beginning of the summer I thought, “maybe I’ll just pick the children up and go for a night or two… just the 4 of us.”  But my rational side kicked in and I knew he’d freak if I did.  Something about being vulnerable.  He’s a bit paranoid… but he loves us.

And I shouldn’t neglect to tell you that I AGAIN have poison ivy.  Yep, second time this year after ZERO problems before.  A few lucky points though:  the minute I got into it, I knew… so I was able to take a shower soon after and start medicating.  Therefore, I think this time around has not been so bad.  I’m actually sleeping soundly and not having to scald the first 2 layers of skin off of my arms every other hour for relief.  Maybe I just know what’s going on now and my tolerance level has expanded.  Week one down… it already seems to be weakening it’s grip on my skin, so hopefully the end is in sight.  A far cry from the 8 or so weeks I felt like I dealt with it before.

But the poison ivy got me thinking the other night… isn’t it funny how  we have to actively know what  we’re doing is bad/wrong/negative before we can acknowledge it and try to correct it?  It’s a little sad that we can’t learn from mistakes that we don’t realize we are making.  I think Paul had something to say about that…. so the flip side is a grace thing – we may have to pay for the act, but unless we know we’re going against the grain and do it anyway, we’re under grace.  Needless to say, I purchased some weed killer the next day and will try to remember to wear skin covering clothing the next time I do yard work instead of the “fig leaves” I’m accustomed to.  Hopefully.  I fully expect I’ll have to be taught the lesson again, to varying degrees, until I’ll know without being told.  I think they call that experience… or wisdom… or maturing.  Feels more like having the lesson beaten in.  Yeah, sometimes I’m that dense.

Good thing to come from this?  The city appears to have marked the road in front of my house for underground electric/gas/water lines… maybe they’ll be graveling over or blacktopping that area in between my property and the street, where the offending weeds grow neck high, so that I won’t have to get out there and rip them up again.  Or maybe they’ll tell me they did it for my benefit and I’ll have to foot the bill and the hard labor to get it done.  Either way, I sincerely hope that area is not a problem in the spring.

And then there’s school…  I did manage to get the homeschool tracker thing at least partially going.  There are a few things I haven’t put in yet.  Mostly seasonal stuff.  Because I still want to acknowledge advent and lent in our school time this year.  But the tweens are picking up on the new system… P better than S, but not because he doesn’t get it.  He’s chosen not to look really hard at some of the particulars of some assignments, hoping I won’t see he’s taking short cuts and then not making him correct them.  WRONG!  So far I’ve been able to stick to my guns and expect more from him this year.  So far.  But it’s still early in the year…

I’m excited to get started with our timeline materials.  Going to let them keep personal ones and we will keep a wall version upstairs.  Which means I have to keep plodding on in straightening and cleaning and maintaining the upstairs so that we’ll actually WANT to put things on the wall timeline.  All of which is just that little tiny bit more frustrating because that bathroom upstairs is STILL NOT FINISHED!  M was not even a thought when that got started.  Now she’s 3.  *tiny arg*  If bathroooms didn’t help sell a house, I’d do it myself.  But I really do not have enough confidence in my plumbing and tiling abilities to put that much trust in them.  No, my Dear Heart is going to need to either tell me flat out he doesn’t care as long as it’s done, or he’s going to be in on the doing.  Which means I’m waiting on his timing.  And he’s got a work ethic to kill a mule!

I’ll finish this never-ending post with some good news.  My friend W went in last night at 3 something to deliver her 7th child.  She has one boy and 5 girls.  Keep her and her family in your prayers and say a special one for the wee blessing!

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