Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Semi-annual Ellis Backyard Mud Run

Inhales sharply, "Ooooh, I look just like Christopher Robin!" Indicates her overall shorts and rainboots. "Now I can pash in puddles!" And she's gone, out the door and into glorious mud...

The last hour feels like a special gift from God. Not just in the category of "every breath is a gift," but a sweet blessing to a stressed family.

A sweet, filthy, muddy blessing.

The semi-annual Ellis Backyard Mud Run is in full swing...


Our backyard floods every spring creating a small system of lakes. If our grass is going to suffocate anyway, we might as well enjoy it.
 She tells me, "It floats!" No sooner are the words out of her mouth then...


Here's what really kills me - the first mud run, they looked like this...

Where is the boy? He should be enjoying the muddy fun as a rite of boyhood. Unfortunately, Carrick is recovering from a double ear infection. He will just have to wait for another steady rain to join the fun.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Stalled

So... This is our hallway in preparation for the big move.

But... The big move is on hold. The bank is not so sure of our housing choice.

Therefore... If you are of the praying persuasion, we could use prayer as we decide whether to pursue this house further or find a new one. Either way, we are living on hold for the next few weeks in a house full or boxes. You can also pray for our sanity as the rain returns, and we lose our outdoor time.

I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

All Things

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
This afternoon I am breaking from packaging tape and cardboard. I took a break yesterday too. But that was a different type of break. Yesterday I was on a mini strike, a passive housewife tantrum because the home buying process jumped off the pleasant track it was on. We were closing tomorrow. Now we are not. Hopefully we will close some time in the next two weeks, but even that is in jeopardy. Yesterday I expressed my frustration by unpacking a few boxes and cleaning the house we are still living in {most pathetic protest ever!!}

Today is different. My head held a fury storm all day which was raging strong this morning, threatening to blow my day to pieces as I vented my irritation to a few loving listening ears. Out of daily ritual {lest I claim extraordinary wisdom}, I sat down to my Bible only to find my mind so tumultuous that it would not adhere to the task at hand.

From a heart desperate for quiet, I cry:

Lord, our compounded trials are not under your radar any more than Carrick crying through my "quiet" time again. I want to give obvious, public glory to you in this situation. Then I don't mind the difficulty. Your glory is worth it. Especially your glory declared!
{Aha moment} That's what Paul means, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." I can be content in all these things: in fixed cars that immediately break again. In the other car that joins the fun and breaks too. In homeowners that don't want to sell. In challenging lender requirements. In our rental house full of boxes. In the fixer upper that won't be fixed up as soon as we thought. In the house falling through. I can be brought low, I can abound, and in all things I can be content in Christ.

Blogging is the cheap literal answer to my prayer. There must be more. A personal manifestation of holding onto the "sure and steadfast anchor of the soul," Jesus Christ.

Might be it starts with an end to the mental tantrum and a return of my sense of humor and patience with my family. Might be I turn my thoughts to praying for my friends {multiple} struggling with babies in life-threatening conditions. Might be I use my words to find reasons to thank rather than supplicate our great God. HOnestly, I'm not sure what this contentment looks like {I haven't practiced it often}, but I am certain of the source.
In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.

Monday, March 17, 2014

I'm watching things grow


In honor of the great green day, I’m making corned beef, just like my grandmother used to cook for our family. The nostalgic smells have me thinking about legacy and what a blessing my grandparents, especially my grandmothers are in my life. Not just childhood memories, the things they’ve passed on to me, practical and spiritual, that I see everyday. Regular Bible study. Scripture memory. Love for and loyalty to their families, especially their husbands. The universally appropriate advice, “take a minute away to read a book - you’ll feel better.” I am blessed, my children are blessed by their lives.

I see this blessing in Gwennan right now. Her four-year-old brain is processing the complexity of God in ways that astound and encourage me.

Just last night while we were praying, she says, “Dad, I mean God,” then her head pops up. “Oh, I have two dads! You, Daddy, and God is my dad.” Bows her head again, “God-dad...”

My heart is still smiling at that recognition. Especially on the heels of this conversation...

The house is quiet while the two little ones sleep. Gwennan is up from her nap early helping me in the kitchen. “Mother, when does God stop looking at people?” 

I’m caught off guard for a moment, “Are you talking about our prayer, ‘the Lord turn his face toward you?’” 

“Yes. When does God stop looking at people?” 

We embark on a long discussion about common grace (in 4 yo terms) and heaven and hell and who goes where, when they go, how we know we are children of God. She receives it all with her deeply thoughtful expression and sums it up, “Because I have a new heart, God never stops looking at me.”

She understands better than I do somedays.

I think to quiz her and ask, “What is the place God’s children go when their bodies die?” 

“Heaven.”

“Good. And what is the place people go when they don’t love God?”

“Hilton.”

“Nope. That’s the neighborhood we’re moving to.”

“Oh... hell.”

As I’m sure it was for my grandmothers and mother before me, the greatest blessing in my life is watching my little ones turn their faces to the God who always looks at them. Seeing the truth we daily repeat take root and grow. Witnessing the people you love best in the world learn to love the One you love best. Grace upon grace.

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