Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
As I continue reading "The Mission of Motherhood", I am struck by how much this book resonates with my soul. It screams, "Yes, this is what I want Eden to know!!" This feeling is followed by an overwhelming feeling of "How do I instill this in my child, when I don't even have it all figured out yet?" Thankfully, I can rely on God to continue to refine me and my parenting, so we move forward with our parenting journey, we learn along the way.
For me, however, this chapter called the "Ministering Mother" is my absolute favorite. Growing up, I always wondered what my spiritual gift was. Seems like so many women around me had the hospitality spirit. Not me. It just does NOT come naturally (though I continue to work on it!). Administration? L would laugh - not organized enough. Serving? Yes!!!!!! I feel so moved when I serve, thus my career in social work and my involvement in our church downstate organizing service opportunities.
But here we are. I'm now at home with a kiddo. In a new church. Without a "job", where serving was my work. Wanting to spread my "service wings", but not knowing how or where. I was so convicted as I reading this paragraph:
"Service to others in need is an essential part of training and instructing our children in order to cultivate in them a loving and obedient heart. Serving others is a way to live out what the Bible would have us believe in our hearts. It puts feet to the gospel.
Clay and I have found, however, that service is best taught through a combination of modeling and instruction."
She then quotes the verses in Matthew that have always stirred by heart. "Then the King will say to those on His right, "Come, you who are blessed of My father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to Me... Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me."
I also remember the verses in Isaiah that I held onto as social work became my chosen field of study. The verses stated, "Encourage those with tired hands, strengthen those with weak knees."
But again, how do I implement this in a practical way? I've been praying that God would present me with opportunities to minister, as a way for E to know that this is a way of life for us. We live in service, as this is what God has called us to do.
God has been so good to answer my prayer, and just today I am heading over over to a family's house to model this. I am continuing to pray that my head and mind would be willing, and that my eyes would be open to see the opportunities. I am also praying that E will see this as a way for her to one day serve selflessly.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is a great photo, yes? This was taken on Thanksgiving - E hadn't seen Great Grandpa in months (side note: she seemed to like his accent - every time he spoke, she looked right at him). I will proudly say that I took this picture, but will admit that L doctored it up. :) After being this pleased with how this photo turned out, there's a stack more I want L to play with. Now if only he had the time before Christmas to get it done...
I am currently re-reading "Mission of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson. It's really been such a challenging, yet inspiring book to read. It's really forced me to think about my role as a mother, and what my priorities are as far as parenting goes. What should my main focus be? How do I incorporate that in my every day living?
Well, my main desire for E is that she will come to love Jesus. I want her to enjoy serving, being God's creation, loving others, being in God's presence, love creativity, be inquisitive. Let's face it, though... This means I need to model all of this for her. Not such an easy task.
The current chapter I am reading is about the "Creative Mother". Here is a rather long excerpt for the book that has inspires me every time I read it:
"Helping my children to enjoy and appreciate God's handiwork in its many varieties requires a choice. It means that I must take time to expose my children to the beauty and grandeur of nature, to stop to enjoy and admire it with them, and to choose to allow the intangible reality of God's design to fill their souls - time when the televisions and computers are turned off, no phone calls are made and activities are balanced so that quiet pondering and thoughtful enjoyment are a regular part of our days.
In our culture we have too often secluded ourselves and our children from the beauty and mysteries of God's natural creation. In the interest of convenience and progress, we have substituted man-made materials for the real thing. And while I believe that human creations can indeed be indirect expressions of God's creativity, I also believe that the farther we move from nature the more out of touch we can get with God' s power and reality.
We may substitute silk flowers for fresh flowers cut from a garden or wildflowers plucked from a hillside. But while the silk flowers never wilt, they lack the incredible fragrance of roses or honeysuckle or lavender or the freshness of buttercups or Queen Anne's lace. And while the real flowers may wither, they also teach us lessons about the fragility and temporary state of this life that perfect artificial ones never could.
Even the food we eat tends to be prepackaged and institutional. The natural tastes of spices and herbs in homemade soups, the chewiness of whole-grain bread, pasta, or brownies with pecans; the natural sweetness of real fruit and the juicy crunch of fresh vegetables are replaced with vitamin tables and commercial substitutes.
So many of us in our plastic, industrial world spend the bulk of our lives apart from any true natural beauty. We travel inside protected cars and feel the wind, rain, and snow on our faces, only as we move from one enclosure to another. So many children in our industrial society grow up surrounded by glass and plastic, steel and asphalt. They spend most of their time with machines - televisions and stereos, game consoles and computers, and cars. They are rarely exposed to the natural elements that were meant to daily confront our soul with the greatness of God.
No wonder current generations seem to give in so easily to doubt and skepticism! They have had little opportunity to wonder at the greatness of God in the vast ocean or in the middle of a snowy blizzard or felt tiny when standing under the canopy of stars."
Wow. Besides making my heart scream "take care of the earth!", it also causes me to remember all of the times I have felt closest to God. Going for walks during the autumn and seeing the deep, vibrant colors. Being at the beach and seeing the waves, or finding unique shells and stones. Feeling enveloped with all of the snow on trees - having that mystical feeling.
My heart longs so much for E to experience God in this way - feel with her soul that He's there amongst His creation. There is so much beauty for her to know. But as Clarkson states, it's a conscious effort for me, as her mom, to make sure she has the opportunity to experience God with her senses.
It requires me making the time to spend the 20 minutes getting her bundled up, and taking her outside to explore, experience, feel and know on her own. It takes the time to make our food from scratch, when we could buy it already made, and allowing E to be involved (this is tricky now as she is still so young).
This is when I feel the rawness of God - the essence of who He is. Oh, for E to know this as well...
I hear E stirring from her nap.... and it's snowing outside.... time to find beauty in the winter...
Monday, December 3, 2007
They're beautiful (and so good for you too)! I just couldn't resist them when I went to the market recently. It's a newly acquired taste that has just developed, but now I've been scouring all things pomegranate. I'm thinking about making some fresh juice for e, and then doing some marinades for chicken.
But I found this recipes spice pomegranate apple cider that sounds delish!
6 cups of apple cider
1 stick of cinnamon
1 - 1/5 cups of fresh pomegranate juice
Heat apple cider, cloves and cinnamon until juice reaches a simmer; remove from heat. Let steep, covered for one hour. Stir in pomegranate juice. For each serving, heat 3/4 cup mixture (do not boil).
Yesterday we took our little tyke outside, for the first "big" snowstorm in December. In fact, it was heavy enough to close most of the northern Michigan schools. Anyway, we went outside - we bundled her up in her snow pants, shoes, hat, coat and sat her in the snow. This was the result. :)
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Well today is a big day for me. Through the 26 Decembers that I've been on the earth, this is the first time I will ever experience Christmas with a real tree. Yay!! I've already heard the "What? Really?" from a million people, but it's true. My parents had five children, so paying for a tree each year and dealing with pine needles wasn't high on the priority list. And really, I'd probably be the same way.
We probably would have had a real tree before this point in our married lives, had we not lived downstate. Seriously, who wants to pay $75 for a tree?!! I just couldn't do it - especially since we're never home for the holidays.
So this year was different. We're in a cheaper area (pine tree speaking), we have a baby, and I'm home to take care of pesty pine needles. L was all for it, so we decided that this would be the year.
We found a beautiful tree, and L even agreed on buying a tree skirt and fun ribbon to put on the tree. It turned out to be better than I could have imagined it... and better yet, e hasn't shown a bit of interest in it since she pricked her fingers (and face) a few times.
Soooo.... though it's not fancy, I love it, and thought I'd share the beauty with you. :)