top three book finds from 2014

Happy New Year!  We have been in Minnesota for the last two weeks relaxing with my in-laws.  I’ve been spoiled in every sense of the word.  Sleeping in, not cooking, reading books and playing games. Don’t get too jealous though because my jeans are feeling a little snug tight. It isn’t my fault however.

My mother in law has stocked her pantry full of different kinds of cookies and treats.  That is not an exaggeration.  I present photo exhibit A (each plastic cool whip type container contains a different type of cookie or fudge).  I count over 10.  And never fear, in the garage there are larger plastic containers to refill these smaller containers as needed! She is amazing and I have the sugar pulsing in my veins to prove it.

All this extra downtime has been great for reading.  I finished two books and Hunter and Ashlyn have almost cleared out the stash I brought along for them as well. As I have been lounging and turning pages through some thought-provoking books, I’ve been secretly wishing I was in a book club so I could verbally process all that I have been taking in. My next best is to share the books with you so ready or not, I am going to start including some posts related to literary loveliness. To start, allow me to share with you my three favorite book finds from 2014: Continue reading “top three book finds from 2014”

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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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”