There Is Mercy

Death, no matter when it occurs, is a difficult thing for us. It is especially hard when it is unexpected and the one who has left us seems to have been taken too soon.

When we are caught off guard by death the questions come fast and furious. What happened? When did it happen? How did it happen? We want answers. We need to make sense of it and somehow if we ask the right questions and get all of the answers we can make sense out of the unthinkable, the unbelievable, the unbearable.

As our community deals with a recent loss it reminded me of another time and another place where grief struck close to home. I remember praying for that family and asking God to be merciful. And as soon as the words left my mouth I stopped. In my mind being merciful meant that this father and mother would still have their son. That a boy would still have his big brother. This time it would seem merciful to me, to us, for a husband to still have his wife, little girls to grow up with their mother and parents who would not ever need to know the sorrow of having to bury their child even if she was grown. It is a very harsh reminder that His ways are not our ways.

It is a stark remembrance of the sin that taints our world and the one who seeks to destroy. It is a reminder that death is always ugly and painful but it is also a defeated foe. Somehow, out of this hideous sorrow God is working out His good and perfect will. On this side, for those of us left to grieve and search for understanding, we feel the heaviness of a precious life gone. But for the one who has gone…she stands before her King, holy and without regret that her life seemingly ended too soon. She knows, in a way that we cannot yet know, that from her first breath to her last, her first step to her final one, each was ordered by God.

And God’s mercy? It is here, fully present, as family and friends come together to weep with those who weep. His mercy shades our grief with the hope and truth that this separation is only temporary and that one day we will all stand before our King, knowing fully, finally,  just as we are fully known. Just as she now knows.

As a community mourns in the coming days and weeks tears will fall and because it is a way of seeking comfort, more than a little laughter will probably be heard as stories are told and memories are revisited. We will realize our questions don’t matter and we’ll realize the answers we have sought aren’t really the answer. Mercy will be found as we come together, truly one body, in His name sharing in a burden far too heavy for one or two or even three to hold. We will do the hard work of trusting and believing for each other, of reminding and holding up those who feel the weight of grief heaviest. And we will do it knowing that the peace of God that goes beyond our own understanding will wrap around them and enable them to grieve with hope in the resurrection, knowing that Christ is king and death has no ultimate hold on any of us.

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Think On These Things ~ Psalm 18:16-30

He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.

He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.

They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the LORD was my support.

He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.

For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.

For all his rules were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.

I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.

So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;

with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.

For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.

For it is you who light my lamp;
the LORD my God lightens my darkness.

For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

Good Morning, Monday

You came very early 🙂

Claire was riding with friends to camp this week which meant we were up early. After she came back inside from loading her suitcase in the car she said, “I heard an actual rooster.” She was excited about her week ahead though so she didn’t really mind.

We have friends coming to stay a few days but a dear friend gave me some beautiful roses from her garden yesterday and it was such a lovely start to my week and I wanted to share the love.

Aren’t they just simply gorgeous? I wish you could smell them.

I was talking with some other friends yesterday and we all agreed that snail mail is such a wonderful gift and an artform we are in danger of losing. It inspired these pictures:

The roses themselves in their lovely vase are so classic and romantic that I had to add pearls in to a few shots. This was my favorite.

But of course it wouldn’t be much of a Monday post without a few macro images.

Isn’t the yellow so soft and dreamy?

I love floral pictures so much and can’t seem to keep myself from taking their picture. With the start of our flower farm I have a feeling (I hope) that I will have many many subjects in the future to capture so I hope y’all don’t get tired of them.

Have a beautiful Monday, friends! The Lord be with you.

A Reason to Hope and Other Random Thoughts

We were sitting at our kitchen table with some sweet friends we haven’t seen in literally years; just talking about the world and life and how crazy things seem. And Rob said something so profound I wish I had been able to record it so that I wouldn’t muck up repeating it. Basically the setup for his remark was this…the crazier the world seems, the more ridiculous and outlandish their agenda, the more illogical the realities they push are, the more reason we believers have to rejoice. We don’t need to feel overwhelmed by their anxiety inducing judgements, press conferences or theatrics. Do you know why?

Psalm 1

Particularly the very end ~ the way of the wicked will perish.

Not that the wicked will perish, although we know eventually they will be cast out into utter darkness, but that their way will perish. All of the shenanigans will be fruitless and they cannot be sustained. Ultimately it will collapse. If that alone is not enough reason to hope I don’t know what is. As someone I know is fond of saying, “Lord have mercy. Church have courage.”

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On Monday I handed my love his morning cup of coffee and apologized for practically coming completely undone the night before when some chopped tomatoes I was trying to clean up missed the bag and fell all over the floor. I was just so tired and it felt as if I had been in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning it, for days. Obviously the next morning after a good night’s sleep I could see how silly my reaction was but in the moment I felt utterly defeated by a fruit that disguises itself as veggie.

Later that morning I was reading something a friend had written about the times she is asked to thrive in what she considers not enough environments and it just resonated. Sometimes we may feel like we just can’t catch a break or the busy season seems to have sat down and made itself at home and things will never slow down. There aren’t enough hours in the day…we need some time alone…we need peace and quiet…we whatever it is we think we need to feel refreshed or restored.

The truth she shared is a truth we must all grapple with. Sometimes there is no relief in the dessert or immediate way out of a desolate place. But God still calls us to thrive, to turn to Him, to trust and keep on keeping on with whatever He has given our hand to do. She ended her post by saying, “…I can taste and see that the Good Life to which we are called, and that we are given, is not the same as “living our best life now.” The Good Life in and with Jesus always takes a cruciform shape. You before me, down before up, them before us. But it always leads to real and lasting life.”

I was so encouraged by that.

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We may still be noodling on a name for the farm but we are busy working already! Seeds have been ordered and delivered and we have started building the two flower beds we will begin with. One is completely finished as of today and the lumber is ready for the second.

Rob is doing the majority of the heavy lifting as far as planning out and cutting the landscape timbers for the beds but we are all working to do our share in assembling them. Sam and Claire are part of the work crew and doing a fine job.

These pictures can give you an idea of the scale of our beds. They look huge but I can’t wait to fill them up with flowers! One will have three varieties of sunflowers and the other will have an assortment of cut flower favorites like zinnias, cosmos, and strawflowers, etc. We are planting a little later than is the norm but our growing zone has a fairly long growing season and according to my research and frostdate.com we are still within an acceptable planting time frame.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little nervous about our endeavor. I have a nightmare where for some reason nothing I plant actually grows and all of the work and money and effort is for naught. But Rob reminds of the wisdom of our friend Ron who says the seed goes into the ground, you give it some water and light and it is going to grow. It’s how God designed it to work so trust that it will.

I also came across a few quotes this week that speak well to our situation:
In creating, the only hard thing is to begin; a grass-blade is no easier than an oak. –James Russell Lowell

“The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain common work as it comes certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things of life.” Robert Louis Stevenson

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I took a drone shot the other day after we started laying out for the first bed. The picture is cool but kinda unreal looking in a sort of funky way.

I plan to chronicle our efforts as we go along and invite you to follow along and join us as we exercise some dominion over our little green square here in Louisiana! I’m thinking as we add in animals it’s going to be a mashup of Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies in reverse 😉

Think On These Things ~ I John 2

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 

but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 

At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 

Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 

But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

I am writing to you, little children,

because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,

because you have overcome the evil one.

I write to you, children,

because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,

because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,

because you are strong,

and the word of God abides in you,

and you have overcome the evil one.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

Friday Favorites ~ Color Bombs and Pig Roasts

The last two weeks have been full, y’all! Monday a week ago a sweet family from Friday came into to town for a visit, which was delightful, and they left on Thursday. On Friday Sarah and Devon came into town for the long weekend; we haven’t seen them since the engagement and it was so good to have them here! Her ring looked pretty in the facetime call we shared after he proposed but it is so beautiful in person.

Hays is going to do their official engagement pictures next month but they let me do some silly fun ones while they were here.

Some of you might remember the color bomb session Sarah did with two of her nursing school buddies when they graduated. We used powdered tempera paint for that and the colors were fabulous! The only thing we could find (totally our fault since it was a spur of the moment shoot) was an actual color bomb set from Hobby Lobby. The color was not as vibrant but Sarah and Devon still had fun!

And messy. They got a little messy.

The way he stalked her across the field was funny. You can tell from the tilt of her head she was trying to talk him out of it.

You can also tell she knew she wasn’t going to be very successful.

In the end it was hard to say who won the colorfest but it is safe to say these two are quite happy together. And we couldn’t be happier for them.

Because we were just messing around I asked Rob to use the drone and we caught a few cute pictures with a bird’s eye view. I still have a steep learning curve with it but I am enjoying it!

This week we had another overnight visit with some friends from Florida. It was so good to see them! It is amazing how much children can grow and change in six months. This afternoon Emily and Hays are coming to stay the weekend with us. I love the times when we are all together but that is harder to make happen with grown children with jobs and responsibilities so I will be grateful for weekends and little getaways whenever they can make it happen.

Have a happy weekend, y’all! We will be celebrating Pentecost with a Cochon de lait at church. (Ko shawn de lay is cajun for pig roast.) We plan to feast and fellowship bigly. Come on and join us!