counting moments

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

The pile of packed boxes is growing. Time is thinning. I notice the shrinking days in a variety of ways. For example, all of our library books are now due “post move date.” Although there are distinct feelings of loss and sadness that have shown their faces over the last several weeks, overall I have found this last month to be one of my favorites. The opportunity to truly “count your days” is often infrequent. As a child I remember counting down to summer break, to my birthday, to a special vacation. As an adult I recall counting down the months and days to college graduation, our wedding, the birth of our children, our move to Idaho. . . While these are all celebratory in nature, many people also experience counting down after they receive news of a poor health prognosis or a foreclosure on a home or loss of a job.  Whether the reason appears positive or not, we are given a unique gift when we are able to number our days.

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traveling light

“Flying is a lot harder than it was before I acquired all these possessions.  The best way to travel, really, is to travel light.” ~Louie from The Trumpet of the Swan

Louie was one wise swan. I can’t think of a better way to word the way that possessions weigh you down. I’ve discovered that traveling light is often harder than it seems. Letting go and lightening the load isn’t difficult if there is no attachment. However, memories and sentiment muddle things for me. I often hold onto to things unnecessarily long. Take my childhood collection of ribbons and trophies as an example. These colorful momentos have been gathering dust in a box in our guest bedroom for over 15 years. When we prepared to list our home for sale several months back I asked myself: Do I look at them? No. Do I display them in my house? No. Do I think about them from time to time? No. Is it hard to throw them away? Yes. Do I have to throw them out? No. Will I miss them if I do? I doubt it. Continue reading “traveling light”

be not dismayed

The sky is my living room.  The woods are my parlor.  The lonely lake is my bath.  I can’t remain behind a fence all my life. ~Louie from The Trumpet of the Swan

Not long ago the seed of an idea started growing in our hearts.  The concept was simply to loosen our grip on the things that claim so much of our time, money and attention in order to open up our hands to more reaching out and our hearts to embracing things with more eternal value. As this thought pattern matured we began praying and asking God to show us how to respond.  Though many prayers and deep soul searching, a collective and consistent series of events pointed us in the direction of putting our home on the market and waiting for God to respond in His time.

And then He did. He waited and chose not to sell our house in the first few days like I anticipated. He waited and chose not to sell it to the first people who looked at our house as I expected. He waited, allowing me to stand on the water and feel the wind and temptation to take my eyes of the Savior. He waited, allowing me to sit in the wilderness for a time and choose to trust (over and over again) instead of fear.  He reminded me that He is in charge. He gets to make the calls. He alone gets to decide the timeline of my life.  I get to follow. I get to obey. I get to trust. Once again He is moving and leading and we are doing our best to step one foot further into His plan. Continue reading “be not dismayed”

warmer together

One thing I would miss, if we ever pack our bags and blow this popsicle joint, is my fireplace. This time of year it is the magnetic glue of our home. We huddle around it, sleep next to it and read by it.  The warmth it gives, both emotionally and physically, simply cannot be overstated.

However, when my mornings get busy and I’m brushing my teeth while making my bed and the kids are hungry and half-dressed, time silently slips past while I forget about the stove in our basement and the embers burn low.

The funny thing about fires is that they can be managed, fed and stoked quite easily while hot, yet they are hopelessly burdensome to resurrect once they have burned low, or worse, gone out.  Not too many mornings ago I chastised myself for lingering too long upstairs before checking on the fire–once again it was on the brink of extinction.  In a desperate attempt to revive the fire quickly, I stacked newspaper, kindling and a few new logs on the embers before I was called away to put out an argument upstairs.  Later, when I remembered my quest, I checked on my fire only to be met with smoldering failure.  You see, you cannot revive a low burning fire quickly, it takes time, attention and just the right kind of fuel.
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The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life. ~Frank Lloyd Wright

Cultivate (verb): to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine.

Not too long ago my husband and I were driving home from a date and discussing things we have recently learned about ourselves.  His discovery was along the lines of musical preferences while mine was steeped in education.  Trent identified a unique musical genre that transports and inspires him while I pinpointed a major player in the reason I enjoy homeschooling: I love learning new things each day. Both were tied to beauty.  Music holds beauty. Education holds beauty. I’ve been thinking about beauty a lot lately.  Most specifically, how easily it can be pushed aside, marginalized and minimized out of our day.  I’ve noticed that raw beauty often cannot be held.  Think sunsets, misty mornings, a moving sonata, children laughing, the smell of freshly baked bread.  I’ve been making mental beauty lists with the intent to keep the beauty around me from slipping through my fingers. I’ve pondered ways to plan, pursue, and practice beauty.  Turns out cultivating beauty isn’t always easy, natural or automatic.

Here is the start to my growing list:

  • nature.
  • prayer.
  • words.
  • actions.
  • art.
  • food.
Taken at face value, these words can seem a bit stale, but unpacking them reveals a deeper level of life waiting to be invested in.
Nature.  When was the last time you observed something in nature for more than 5 sustained minutes? Being surrounded by something can often lead us to take it for granted. My challenge is to notice and appreciate the things around me more fully.

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