breathless

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.

Continue reading “breathless”

still here

I’m still here–both literally and figuratively. About three months ago I came head-on with the fact that in all the uncertainty of our future, my only job was to trust.  I haven’t written in the past few months because my job description has remained the same, the status of our house is unchanged and it isn’t easy to write about nothing on a consistent basis (unless of course your name ends in Seinfeld).

That said, “nothing” is not entirely accurate.  We did have a recent burst of excitement that eventually fizzled into nothing. We had our first (and only) house showing on Halloween and a few days later the same couple came back for a second look.  Leading up to the news of this first showing, both Trent and I had really settled into the fact that this process might take a while, that our house might not sell until spring, if at all.  We had analyzed the situation from every possible angle and carefully chosen the key elements to focus on in order to highlight the benefits of ‘not moving’.  As one friend stated, “mentally, I’ve taken your house off the market”.  Continue reading “still here”

i get to trust

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer. -Corrie Ten Boom

So there is this little issue big trust problem that I’ve been dealing with concerning the sale of our house (and the fact that it isn’t selling). I’ve been praying and processing this “wait time” and I’ve come to realize that I need to get over myself.  See here is the thing: God is in charge.  God gets to make the calls.  God gets to decide time timeline of my life.  I get to follow.  I get to obey.  I get to trust.  Let’s consider a few sample case studies:One: God promises Abraham descendants in his old age and then waits over 25 years to fulfill His promise.  (Genesis 12:2-3)

About 10 years after “the promise” Abraham and Sarah grow tired of waiting, they start to question and doubt.  They take their eyes off of God and reason that they can do things on their own and as a result, they invite sin into their marriage, they create chaos. (Genesis 16)  Yet God is faithful and fulfills His promise. . . just much later than Abraham must have anticipated.

Two: God led the Israelites out of captivity, directly into the desert (Exodus 15:22). Meaning they were slaves and then God set them free. . . into the barren wilderness.

That seems strange doesn’t it?  Why release someone from slavery only to set them free in a place of nothingness?  I believe that part of the reason is that the Israelites had become accustomed to the life of slavery and God knew they were venerable and prone to apostasy.  He was teaching them a lesson in trust and dependence. Continue reading “i get to trust”

the water

. . . the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke up to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.  And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”  Matthew 14:24-33

Peter and I have a thing going.  I read his story and I feel my eyebrows rise as he calls out to Jesus and steps out of the boat. My heart quickens as his feet first touch the water and the edges of my lips upturn as he takes his first faith-filled steps. When the wind begins to ripple his resolve and fear begins to swallow him, I relate to his situation and I take comfort in the way his story ends: with Jesus stretching out his hand and taking hold of him.

I am Peter.  I recognize Jesus in the storm.  I ask Him to call me to do things that are kind of crazy and when He does, I get out of the boat.  It’s an exhilarating feeling to stand strong when faith is the only foundation supporting you.  Yet that wind is a pesky problem, it stirs up trouble and I’m quickly distracted, vulnerable and scared.

Listing our home for sale was our recent step of faith: out of the safety of the boat into the unknown.  The wind started out as a whispering and over time has become more fierce.  “Why is this taking so long?  Maybe I shouldn’t have stepped out of the boat.  If this house doesn’t sell, it is going to make someone look silly–me or God, I hope He’s okay with that possibility.” It’s easy to become disoriented when your faith is tested.  All you have to do is take your eyes off of Jesus and you are lost. Continue reading “the water”

waiting

Not to be captain obvious but it is hard to wait.

As I formulate the words in my mind that I am about to type I shake my head with self disdain: Our house has been on the market for 48 days now and nothing is happening.  No offers. No showings. Nothing.  Do you hear me people? 48 whole days we have been waiting! Belch, I just threw up in my mouth a little at my own ignorant impatience.

It not my fault really, I just saw this playing out differently in my mind:

We tell God we will do anything.  We wait, we pray, we listen.  We try to hear His voice in the wind.  Nothing.  We start to hear rustling and things start selling–big things and little things but still no clear direction.  We cross-examine every opportunity that comes across our path.  Nothing.  Then, something and more somethings and pretty soon we have built up a pretty solid case for our next move on God’s adventure team.  We list the house for sale on a Thursday evening.  By Friday we have a few showings lined up and by Sunday we are praising God in church for the multiple offers we have received on our home.  We pack up, we move and enter phase two of the grand adventure.

Continue reading “waiting”