Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bookends: A Child in Winter

Thinking about Advent. Preparing. Praying. Reading. Sharing.

 The one thing she (Mary) did and does is the one thing that we all have to do, namely, to bear Christ into the world. 

~ Caryll Houselander

We will be pondering, A Child in Winter, as we prepare for Advent. I'm still getting to know this author, and I find it interesting that she is identified as a mystic. Certainly, she's had interesting experiences, but then if we are seeking the Lord, we should expect a life filled with the Holy Spirit.

While, I know the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, I still have a lot of work to do! (Galatians 5).

Also enjoying:

Stained Glass Coloring Book by Dover

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Home for the Holidays

"Our" 700' sq foot cabin in the woods last winter.

"O come let us adore Him...." The girl child sings and plays keys slow. Slowed down, the notes hang long and low. The rain hums alongside the notes. I'm reading Cabin by Lou Ureneck and thinking of home. What is a home? "...Christ, Christ, the Lord," is home.

Boy cuts out snowflakes, arctic crystals.  They will grace windows that glisten with rain. Why does what is good seem to melt away some days? I long to slow the notes of the season. To capture precious notes hanging in the air, before they melt like snow.

Make a home in the moments. Make a home in Christ.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Grateful Days

We have been so, so busy around here. No busier than anyone else, but none-the-less busy, busy. The last month has been a blur of chemistry and science classes, fall events and activities, school and homework, choir practices and family moments and memories. 

I've been saving all my words for a children's project I'm working on. Hoping to have something to show for my efforts by Christmas, but we'll see. Writing projects have a mind of their own regarding schedules. I've found that words grow best with nature, grace, and time.

Recent memories

Learning to take the reins of life.

Pondering this today:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thoughts from Middle Earth

Inside, I feel the ramping holiday season. I find myself at a loss for words, yet hungering for good ones. 

About this time each year, I try to overcome my Martha spirit and assume the Mary pose. You know the one. 
image from Wikipedia

This year, I'm rather on the brink of abandoning Mary and Martha and just going for a Mrs. Claus impersonation. That gal, she's got it made.

Yet, as I peer in the door at Mary and Martha's I notice all of Luke 10. I hear in Luke 10, "Go. Stop. See the need. Do something. Sit. Soak in Me. Repeat." Not quite the language of the North Pole, but the North Star.

It seems a season to soak in good words and then get up and go

Love, love, love that DL Mayfield is from this neck of the woods. You go girl

Saturday, November 17, 2012

After Dinner Write Night

On November 6th, there was an important election in our community. Not the presidential election, but something much more important to one of the special interest groups in our neighborhood. The local Turkey Caucus elected Harold T. Gobbler as chief lobbyist for our family's Thanksgiving Menu Congress. 

Harold has been walking the picket line in our kitchen with his "Eat Pork" placard. As part of his "get out of the vote" campaign, he unplugged the freezer to start thawing a ham. 

Like many special interest groups, his lobbying efforts may depend on loopholes and creative reading of the rules. But as the turkey in the kitchen, the price of failure is a free trip for Harold to the oven. 

by Dad

... and yes, Harold really is in the kitchen with his "Eat Pork" placard. He happens to be clay, but he's speaking up regardless. It's now or never.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thoughts Worth Pondering: Eastern and Western Education

 OSU Discovery Days
 Hands on learning.

 Seeing through a different lens.
 I pray, learning for life.

Oh, the word perseverance, it is easy to say, but hard to do. This article gave me needed encouragement to continue to tackle what is hard. We must look for opportunities for our children that require difficulty and determination. I, as a parent, will optimally model perseverance in the face of difficulty.

It begs me to ask of myself, what am I doing that is hard? What am I doing that requires me to be stretched? Am I modeling this for my children? Am I stretching my wings, while I ask them to stretch theirs? 

Perseverance: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. Steadfastness.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

From the Mouth of Babes...

Driving in nearby wine country on the way to chemistry class, 
I heard brother read a sign, "Hip chicks do wine." 
What does that mean I inquired? 
His response, "Chicks with hips don't whine."

Brother's chicks are getting bigger. They don't whine.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Raising Boys to Become Men Who Thrive

 Petroglyph Lake (and wall), Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

I recently finished reading Swagger, 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys... by Lisa Bloom. I'm not sure it provoked anything but grimness in my soul. I won't review it further, but if need your cup half emptied, go ahead and read it. 

I found much more hope in The Heart Grows Smarter by David Brooks of the New York Times.

An excerpt:

It’s not that the men who flourished had perfect childhoods. Rather, as Vaillant puts it, “What goes right is more important than what goes wrong.” The positive effect of one loving relative, mentor or friend can overwhelm the negative effects of the bad things that happen. 

In case after case, the magic formula is capacity for intimacy combined with persistence, discipline, order and dependability. The men who could be affectionate about people and organized about things had very enjoyable lives. 

Raising sons (and daughters) is not for the faint of heart. More often than not, I'm overwhelmed by days that go by to fast and are filled with a complexity that my simple mind can't grasp. Lord, help us raise them well. Help them thrive, not just survive. Surely, raising children (and growing up ourselves) is a day by day lesson in grasping grace. Some days we do it better than others.

Sheldon Hot Springs, Nevada

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekend Wanderings: Oregon State University Wave Lab

Hope your weekend was fantastic. We wandered the valley and for once we didn't battle the wet, at least not in the form of rain. We headed to Oregon State University (Way to go Beavers! :-) to see the Hinsdale Wave Laboratory.

 They ran a variety of waves through the flume.
 We were impressed.
 We were also reminded that there is a 1 in 10 chance of a major tsunami off the Oregon coast within the next 50 years.

Fascinating people and information. I'm hoping we will be able to go back with a school tour in the future and learn even more.

This afternoon we headed to a local arts studio to make clay Thanksgiving turkeys. We will go back this week and glaze them. I highly recommend making a clay gobbler, before you eat one!

We'll be making this turkey next week in Sunday School. We made these at home last year and we had so much fun, it's worth repeating. Our Sunday School turkey will come with a twist: we will have a baby food eating contest first in order to receive the jar for their turkey body. This should be interesting.

We ended our weekend with an angel audition for a forthcoming Christmas play. The advent season is fast approaching; may we embrace Him as we learn to sing. 

Bookends: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

...and while we are discussing books, I wanted to plug The Hobbit. Are you excited about the release of The Hobbit on December 14th? We're ready to begin reading The Hobbit together at our house. I'm not sure the kiddos, brother in particular, will see the movie, but maybe!

We've learned to take him to a movie theatre near a library. That way if he and I need to leave, we can get our money back and go have fun reading books, while the others finish the film.

Recommending, The Annotated Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bookends: It's Easier to Reach Heaven, Than the End of the Street by Emma Williams

We all have them. Barriers. No go zones. Barriers never brought me any peace.

Between us and God, is the chasm. The abyss of never ending aloneness. I cross the barrier, the chasm, through the Cross of Christ.

If we believe the Word of God to be infallible and inerrant, what does it say to us today about, “The Situation"? Can I, as a Christian, stand with Israel and still stand with Palestine? I believe, I must. Can I as a believer recognize the covenant role God extended to Israel and still live the words of Jesus in the Gospels, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

In It's Easier to Reach Heaven, Than the End of the Street, A Jerusalem Memoir by Emma Williams shook me awake to the realities of a conflict I have been largely unaware of and neglectfully ignorant to. A conflict I have little capability to fathom, but a spiritual responsibility to understand. I am woefully ignorant on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but I also know it is my conflict. A conflict that lies within the heart of every human.

Jesus said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” I remember a moment many years ago in which the reality of the color scheme of heaven sank in. I got it. I understood. Heaven would not be what I imagined and I would not hold the place in it, I previously imagined I would. Things were going to be radically different. The true reality I see only dimly will one day become reality. What does that mean for how I live today?

Can any one of you think of a nation – or even an individual for that matter – that has ever become more moderate as a result of being starved? Could anyone really imagine that a people who have suffered so much, as we all agree those in Gaza have, will become less angry, or less extreme, after being deliberately made hungry by the same people they attribute their suffering to? (page 363) Jesus said, Love your neighbor as yourself.”  How does this apply to you and I?

Of course everyone wants peace. But before peace can come we need justice. There can be no peace without justice....The Israeli government is not yet willing to recognize that the Palestinians are here to stay. It's carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing, and is unwilling to look within, to realize there's a problem inside Israeli society. As long as the US supports this, it is ironically, giving support for the destruction of Israel – and the Israeli lobby is certainly not to the benefit of Israelis. (page 367) These are really difficult worlds to swallow, but what if Williams is right? What if the very existence of beloved Israel is threatened by US policy that ignores the basic human rights and needs of the Palestinians, also children of God?

It was not until I had children, that I came to appreciate the earth shaking that happens at the playground. Playgrounds are places for powerful healing. Future leaders sift sand, swing, and slide together. Hope can be mined on playgrounds. It is palatable and present. We must not label one child a child of the covenant and another the child of a terrorist. God forgive us. Set us free.

We are to be people of peace. We must fight for peace, not with human hands, but through the Holy Spirit. We are to stand with those who cannot stand for themselves and through Christ we are called to be living bridges bringing people together. Promoting peace. Speaking peace. Voting peace. Praying peace. Giving to peace.

Emma Williams book, first printed in the US in 2010, is a must read for those seeking to understand the “Situation”. She genuinely represents both sides with a perspective towards understanding that seeks to promote peace. I desire to judge neither my Israeli brother, nor my Palestinian brother. I am only now beginning to learn what I need to learn. We are all part of humanity. All are God's children. I am responsible for what I believe.

Looking forward to watching this film when it comes off limited-release. 

The Other Son by Cohen Films