Friday Favorites

I love our sunrises. Maybe it’s because we have property here and don’t live in a neighborhood but it satisfies something in my soul when I see the early morning sun breaking through the trees.

Yesterday, Claire and I made a trip into Houston for a 4-H field trip. Yep, that’s right. I drove into the city, a major city, I might add. The interstate is an fascinating mess but people actually know how to drive it which means everything keeps moving even though there is a ton of traffic. And the skyline is so amazing.

We went to the museum of natural science for the Ramses exhibit. After all our years at Trinitas studying ancient Egypt is was really interesting to see all of the artifacts and mummies.

The museum is huge and after we finished up the planned portion of the visit a group of us did the butterfly center which was super fun. I love butterflies and the museum has created a really beautiful habitat to enjoy them in. I did hesitate going in because their sign said something about free roaming reptiles and I was not sure I was okay with that. Turns out they have an iguana that has free reign of the place so it was all good.

It had been a long day but we still wanted to take a turn through the dinosaur exhibit. Those creatures really were huge.

We thought we were done at this point but then a few of the kids came running up and said we just HAD to go see the hall of gems and minerals as well as the Everyday Faberge exhibit. They were so right and I was so happy we didn’t miss them. All the sparkle 🥰

I am always amazed more and more by God’s creation activity looking at what are basically rocks that He made. The myriad of colors and textures…it is mind boggling!

I do wish they had a before picture to accompany each one. I know they don’t come out of the ground looking like this and I bet it is fascinating to see the process.

Look at this chunk of opal! Isn’t it gorgeous?

And then you can see all the incredible ways man uses these stones to make beautiful and elaborate jewelry.

These are all rings. Aren’t they pretty?

Tiaras and necklaces too, oh my!

There were also some more delicate “everyday” pieces like some very lovely cigarette cases or calling card cases.

I loved this little broach watch made with rubies. The exhibit has a tiny mirror set up under it to reflect the watch on the back.

All in all it was a good trip but our timing was off a little bit. One, I think it is smarter to spend more than one day there and two, do not go at the end of the school year. There were gobs of schools there and it was crowded.

I definitely want to go back and visit the museum district as a whole and Houston in general. There just seems like there is so much to do!

Have a good weekend y’all!

Learning New Things

Did y’all know my brand new son-in-law is a photographer? He is and a really good one. He’s a young whippersnapper though and has given me grief over the fact that I don’t use Lightroom (the industry standard) for my editing. All in jest of course, and much love, because he wanted to marry my daughter 😉

He is actually going to second shoot a wedding with me in July though and in the interest of making life easier for both us in that endeavour I made sure my computer was up to snuff and could handle the Adobe program and I am now officially doing things like a grownup photographer.

I’m shooting in RAW and editing in Lightroom.

Turns out that young whippersnapper knew what he was talking about when he kept telling me I just needed to do it. I still have a bit of a learning curve and as of yet I haven’t worked on anything involving people but I love love love what I have been able to do so far just with some flower pictures I took in my yard.

Between the extension tubes and Lightroom I am feeling all fancy and the clover in my yard has never looked prettier.

I don’t do a whole bunch of editing but I do think I like what I have the freedom to do since the file is larger and gives me more information to work with if I do want to play with it.

I know, I know. I’m just geeking out over a few pictures and new techniques and skill sets and it’s probably not terribly interesting to you. But seriously, look at the scope of detail that God put into a simple little clover.

The swirl and flare of each petal. The movement of color from stalk to stem. Even the beautiful tea stained shade of the dying flower.

How much more does He care about the details, the smalls ones and the big ones, about your life?

I’m still hung up on the wonder leading to wisdom I guess. Because how can we not be in awe of the God who created this and not trust Him enough to live the life He calls us to? A life of genuine love and real forgiveness? One flush with steadfastness and truth, beauty, and goodness.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

We have been created with even more attention and care than the flowers and He has work for us to do, good works. So get busy. You’re supposed to glorify Him today. Go make someone marvel at what He has done.

Friday Favorites ~ My Week

It started on Sunday, really. I felt a bit spoiled. A dear friend at church blessed me with my second Willow Tree figurine.

Isn’t she lovely? I now have two pieces so I can officially say I have a collection.

Right after that lovely gift another sweet woman in our church gifted me with one of her beautiful hand made necklaces. She gets her glass mostly from Italy I believe and uses a blowtorch to shape and create her beads. I now have my very own bluebird of happiness. If you want to see more of Ms Helen’s delicate work you can visit her etsy shop. Such beautiful craftsmanship!

And then one of the sweet kids gave me a lovely coloring page. I told you I felt spoiled with all that love being shown to me!

This week I finally got my fat quarters unwrapped and washed. (Remember them? I shared them in a post at the end of February.) I’m not going to lie, looking at that pile of fabric makes me a little nervous but I figure since this is a just because quilt I can take my time and do it little steps at a time. The plan at the moment is to get them ironed and then cut into smaller squares. I will keep you posted on my progress with this particular favorite thing.

One favorite thing I did this week was spend some time with my camera and these really really cool flowers I got at the grocery store. I don’t know what kind they are but how cool are they?

Emily and Hays got back from their honeymoon on Monday. I already got a text asking for a recipe and that made this mama’s heart glad. It also makes me glad that they will come visit us next weekend. And my heart gets downright joyous thinking about Easter when they will come again and so will Sarah and Devon. All my people will be home!

Hays shared some of the pictures he took on their honeymoon and I am going to wrap us this week’s Friday favorites post with a couple that I really loved. Glacier National Park sure is a beautiful place, isn’t it?

How cute is Em in this picture?

Have a great weekend, y’all!

Come On Over

Sometimes I visit this space with a plethora of words and ideas that tumble over themselves as they escape my brain. Sometimes I sit down here to work through a knotty problem out loud. I talk to myself in real life too but there is something about being able to see my words and rearrange them, moving them to their proper place and finding the right order for my thoughts that satisfies.

Sometimes people read what I’ve written and agree or enjoy them and a conversation blooms. Other times a post I am particularly happy with does not get much traction. But the same thing happens with pictures so I don’t sweat it much. I realize I am not writing anything new or taking pictures of things that no one else has ever seen or taken a picture of before. There is a lack of pressure in that knowledge which allows me to slip in here as if we’re grabbing a cup of coffee and just visiting. Or maybe a better description in sitting down with a cup of coffee to read a letter from a friend.

The weather here this morning is pretty blah with a significant storm system moving through later. We took down my hanging plants and moved all my recently potted flowers onto the porch last night in preparation.

Did I tell you about my first experience with planting flowers here in my new lovely home state of Louisiana? About a month ago Rob and I took advantage of a local hardware store’s no tax weekend and bought lots of plants for me to put in the ground. Since my success with flowers and such last year I have been chomping at the bit for spring to arrive. Well, let me tell you…the ground here is nothing like the ground in Florida!

I dug and dug for about twenty minutes and barely scratched out three inches of earth. The ground is so hard here, especially it seems in the area of Carlyss where we live. I decided it would be messy to use the hose but I have rain boots so I could soften the ground with water and dig my holes.

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The ground is a dark hard clay that doesn’t absorb water the way the sandy soil in my old yard did. I ended up with a nice ol’ mud puddle for my trouble. Hence I now have about sixteen potted plants and Rob is going to have to get cracking on building me some raised beds.

The people we bought our home from are finally moving to Nashville and slowly but surely getting their stuff out of our pasture. Which means I am spending a lot of time day dreaming about the garden space Rob is letting me design and we are trying to figure out where to put the vegetable garden and a chicken house.

So many projects and plans! My beloved has to keep me reigned in because I can go shooting off in a dozen different directions at a time. My mind hops from flowers to looking at chicken coop plans to knocking down walls to reconfigure the apartment space for Sam now that Emily lives in Monroe. (That was a weird minute for me. Realizing that when she got back from her honeymoon she would not be coming here again. She doesn’t live with us anymore. I mean I was at the wedding. I knew this already. But it just sort of hit me.)

It’s been great having a space for friends to use when they’ve come to visit. I enjoy getting it ready and stocking the little mini fridge and having a tray of snacks ready.

We haven’t started renovating the space yet though so you can come for a visit if you like. We can sit down and have a cup of coffee and conversation in real life.

Of course my Louisiana people are welcome to stop by for a visit anytime. The door is open and the coffee is ready! Y’all can teach me how to grow things around here 😊

I Did It

After almost two years I am back on Facebook.  It went away when I took a blogging hiatus. I picked up the blogging again a few months ago but didn’t think about going back to FB until after about a gazillion “Hey, did you see…Oh, never mind, you aren’t on facebook” conversations with my mother and sisters this weekend. I figured I better get back in the game so I can keep up with them. Apparently, I have been missing stuff.

The blog did play a part in the decision making too though. My little sister, along with a few other people, have mentioned how cumbersome it has been trying to see the blog through the Instagram posts. I guess it hasn’t been a good platform for that kind of thing and honestly it is a pain to post a link there so we’ll see if this makes it any easier for all of us.

It’s been kinda funny how many texts I received asking if the friend request was really from me. It’s a combination of my lack of online presence and some hacking activity I guess.

I’m happy to be keeping up with people but I am going to keep a tight circle I think. I don’t seem to struggle too much with wasting time on things like FB, Insta, and Pinterest. Okay, maybe occasionally some time is wasted on Pinterest but I figure if I actually make a recipe it’s okay to look at four or five, right? Or some early birthday and Christmas reconnaissance is okay. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

We had a great long weekend. Rob and I actually went on a sushi date Friday night. It was kinda funny and really sweet because Abby and Claire were super excited to help me get ready. Abby did my hair and makeup and Claire chose my shoes and bracelets. We had a lovely time and it was really nice to get out alone together. It had been a hot minute.

It was a total bummer that one of my sisters didn’t get to come in for the weekend while the youngest sister, and the one who lives furtherest away, was here. Talk about a hot minute since we were all together! I’m looking forward to the day when my girls are plotting and planning how to get together when they’re grown and have their own families. It is such a precious time with my sisters any time we can make it happen.

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We still had a nice time at the beach and it was beautiful. It’s odd how something so destructive in one place can enhance the beauty of another place at the same time. I’m sure there is a spiritual lesson to ponder in there somewhere that needs teasing out.

5399090789_0af11a00d7_oSunday was as much of a feast and celebration as we anticipated.  And Monday was full of friends and grilled food. Oh, and a pretty delicious dessert. I will be sharing two versions of the recipe on She Feeds Her Family tomorrow. Opinions were pretty evenly split as to whether the chocolate cherry was better than the snickerdoodle caramel apple.

The girls are back in school full time now and we’ve already had to phone a friend about homework because a math book was left in someone’s locker. Starting off with a bang, aren’t we? (This morning’s update: Y’all, I went to bed at 8:30 last night and slept until my normal wake up time! I reckon the first day of school wore me out 😉)

I think we have a cross country race on Saturday and I feel sure that I am forgetting stuff that I really ought to be remembering for the rest of the week. I am sure it will come to me…

Hopefully before I am supposed to be somewhere!

Did you have a good long weekend?

 

That’s A Wrap

What. A. Week.

Seriously, y’all, Tuesday just about did me in.

We had breakfast for dinner on Monday night so I took my wedding rings off to make some buttermilk biscuits. I am happy to report that this batch turned out even better than my previous attempt last week. But the reason I mention Monday night in relation to my cray cray Tuesday is that I forgot to put my rings back on and when I realized it on Tuesday morning after I had left the house I felt like I had forgotten to get fully dressed.

I was heading to a photo shoot for the teachers and staff of our kids’ school and the weather was iffy and rainy off and on and I was praying that it wasn’t raining downtown where I was headed. A few minutes delay due to road construction and I was reminding myself to breathe and not get impatient. I wouldn’t be as early as I had wanted but I wasn’t going to be late.

And then the sky fell. Buckets and buckets of water were falling from the sky and even though I knew it was possible that it still wasn’t raining downtown I was getting skeptical of our chances. I passed not one, but two car accidents on my way.

I decided to make a call to one of the admin and see how things were looking weather wise.

No phone.

I had not only left my wedding rings at home I had also forgotten my phone as well. No choice but to keep going with fingers crossed that my people would be gathering under a nice overcast sky for pictures. We managed to get our pictures darting in and out of sprinkles right up to the very last five portraits. Thankfully we got them finished before the buckets upended again.

After the rain let up some I headed home passing yet a third accident.

Five minutes later I am sitting at a red light when the car behind me tried to stop and it’s brakes lock up. With more traffic to her right the other driver had no way to avoid hitting me so for the first time in my life I was in an accident.

Minus my phone. In this moment I learned a very important lesson. Write down and carry a list of people and their phone numbers because I basically know Rob’s by heart and when I couldn’t reach him at first it only added to the stress of the minute for me.

Thankfully it wasn’t very bad and I just woke up the next day stiff and sore…nothing that a few trips to the chiropractor isn’t taking care of. But man, Tuesday was just a dozy of a day.  It ended fine with Claire playing in her first volleyball game that afternoon and killing it with nine scoring serves in a row. Not bad for her first year.

Wednesday was fairly quiet and Thursday was okay as well if a little more hectic. This last week before school starts can keep a girl busy! Plus we tried our hand at homemade egg rolls to go with our fried rice for dinner. Also, some wontons that looked so very pitiful but actually tasted rather good.

Today will be full of this and that and running around. Another volleyball game this afternoon with a tailgate party and soccer game to finish off the evening. Super excited about our ladies brunch and book discussion on Saturday morning. I mentioned the Book You Who by Rachel Jankovic in yesterday’s post. I loved it and I am looking forward to some robust discussion about finding our identity in Christ and what that means.

Okay, one last thing to wrap up this week’s postings.

Curcuma.

This is the second year in a row that I have had them in our yard and man, I just love them. The colors vary and I think last year I had a creamy almost tan and brown one. This year I found this glorious fuchsia, almost purple one.

It’s a lovely tropical plant with gorgeous and dramatic blooms. I love them because they almost have a small iris growing out of their blooms. And interestingly enough, they are cousins to the ginger and turmeric plants although they are not safe to ingest.

I think I might try my hand at keeping the plant through winter because from what I read they will rebloom if they do not get too cold. Their season is about to come to an end so last week I spent some time photographing them. The little portrait session went so well that there is a post up on Just A Glimpse and I hope you take a moment and just bask in the beauty of one of God’s most interesting flowers.

And then go and have a wonderful weekend full of much joy and rest. See y’all next week!

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Christian Contentment

I have a friend that for ten years, had been the embodiment of all that a godly friend should be. She was not just the hands and feet of Christ to me, but the heart and mind of Christ. She was, and continues to be, Truth to me and for me.

A few years ago her husband’s job moved her away. When she told me they were moving to another state I immediately cried. For three days my heart just ached. I was sort of praying and sort of bemoaning her move when I realized I sounded like I was mourning her death. Like she was gone forever and never again would I be able to see her.

God granted some insight into that moment for me and showed me how foolish, indeed how ungrateful I was behaving. Was it a sad thing that my friend would not be here close by? Yes. But my goodness, I have face timed with another friend that was living in Japan! Susan would only be five hours away…we have phones, and we can text, email and even slap a stamp on an envelop and as old fashioned as it may be, mail letters to each other.

Is it sad that I do not see her everyday as we drop off and pick up our children from school or have the occasional breakfast together? Yes. But not only have I been given the gift of her friendship but I live in a time of great technology that will allow us to continue our friendship almost undisturbed.

The whole situation with my friend showed me how spoiled I am to some very simple and convenient aspects of my life.

It’s like complaining about what a pain doing laundry is when I am doing it in the comfort of my cooled or heated home and basically tossing clothes from one machine into another. I’m not outside washing them by hand and hanging them on the line to dry. And I have so much laundry because God has been abundant in His provision for my family. Of course I have a lot of laundry…He has granted me five children!

Later today I will do my grocery shopping. Normally I can begrudge the process of picking food up off the shelf, placing it into the buggy, going to a register, unloading all the groceries, picking up bags of groceries and putting them back into the buggy so I can go out to my car and unload them from the buggy just so that I can get home and unload them from the car and carry them into my house and take everything out of the bags and put it all away.

But to complain would seem to despise the gift of having not only plenty of food to eat but the ability to go to a store and get a buggy full of groceries so my family can eat in the first place.

It would show a heart that is ungrateful. It is the same with my laundry and my friend moving away and any number of ways I could so easily find to complain. It’s easy to find things to complain about.  I love this quote from Nancy Wilson’s book Learning Contentment,  “Discontent requires no learning, no teaching, and no practice because we are born wanting things, and we are born knowing how to grumble, murmur, and complain.”

It takes work and effort to fight against complaining and being ungrateful. But the more we practice being grateful the easier it becomes. And the really great thing about it? It’s hard for others to stay grumpy and whiny when faced with a person who genuinely practices contentment and being grateful. We are drawn to happy people and we enjoy being around them.

Going into a new week with these thoughts fresh in my mind I am reminded of the old hymn This Is My Father’s World.

This is my father’s world.

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is king, let the heavens ring.

God reigns, let the earth be glad.

The writer of that hymn, Presbyterian minister Maltbie Davenport Babcock, also wrote this gem of wisdom:

We are not here to play, to dream, to drift,

We have hard work to do, and loads to lift, 

Shun not the struggle; face it;

Tis God’s gift.

So whatever hard work you have to face this day or the next be encouraged to look for the good of God’s providence in it. Even in the muck and mire He is King.

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Getting Ready For What Comes Next

I cannot believe that our summer is almost over but we’ve flipped the calendar to August and it’s hard to ignore. It’s time to start looking at school supply lists (I have friends that I know just read that sentence and they’re like, “Start? What do you mean start? We’ve got our stuff labeled and ready to go!” What can I say? I procrastinate sometimes.)

I enjoy our summers with the kids all home and the break from the school routine and I have never been one of those mamas singing hallelujahs and counting down days until they go back. But I do love this time of year. It rings with promise and newness to me just as surely as January 1st or springtime does. I guess I have a thing about beginnings and possibilities.

At the same time it can be easy to look at what all is coming up with cross country meets and volleyball games and what have you and feel a bit panicked. The possibilities are a-plenty to feel overwhelmed and worn out so here are some things I want to keep in mind as we get ready for school to begin at the end of the month and all the challenges that it brings.

1.) Change is good.

This is a doozy for me! Rob has said more than once that we often view change as death. And most of us resist that death, that change, because we like living the way we live. But we are a people called to death because we are a people of the Resurrection and we know that true life comes from the dying. This time of year will afford many opportunities for me to die to myself for the good of those around me…even if it is just keeping a good and pleasant attitude.

2.) Hard does not mean bad.

Having to work hard for some thing makes our appreciation that much greater. Hard means can often bring us to a good end if we will just stay the course. Hard circumstances have a place in God’s working in our lives…suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope. And even more, that hope does not put us to shame.

This one is big in my thoughts as Abby heads into her junior year (traditionally herald as the hardest year at Trinitas) and enters into cross country season. Running doesn’t come easily to her and we were surprised when she asked to join. Surprised but proud that she wants to attempt something that will require hard effort from her. We don’t care if she ever places in a race or not. Giving her best and striving to improve are fantastic goals for all of us.

3.) Busy shouldn’t always be a complaint.

Obviously, too much busy can be bad. And busy for the wrong reasons can be bad. Sometimes, we like the busy because it’s where we get our identity from…how we define ourselves. Or it’s a shield we hide behind so we don’t have to deal with something or think about something. Sometimes we keep busy just so we have something to complain about.

I have a friend who is an accomplished pianists and one morning I was sitting beside her while she played this beautiful piece of music. I mentioned how busy the page looked with all the musical notes and sweeping lines and other notations. She said she never chooses a piece that isn’t busy because it makes for a more interesting listen.

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Wrongly ordered busyness in our lives makes for a cacophony of sound with out of place rests and clanging cymbals of aggravation. But rightly ordered busyness creates a symphony of praise as it is worked out in the day to day doing.

For sure, if we are living the wrong kind of busy and if we allow the wrong kind of hard into our lives (the kind that is a result of our own selfish desires and demands) and the wrong kind of change into our lives (the kind that stems from never being content or just old and set in our ways) then our song follows the tune of the world.

But if we are being and doing faithfully all that He has given us to be and do then our song can be that of Psalm 98,

“Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things!”

Sharing at Candidly Christian

 

When Confidence Is A Bad Thing

I was standing right there when it happened. I knew she was not necessarily being foolish or acting careless. But we both made a collective gasp when my camera fell out of her hands and hit the floor. Thankfully the camera itself was fine but the lens, my best and most used one, was in two pieces.

Like I said, I was right there so I know she wasn’t swinging it around by the strap or juggling it or anything. But I also know this particular child and while I wasn’t angry with her and I know she wasn’t being careless, I know she wasn’t being particularly careful either.

Sometimes we can get too confident. It’s easier to spot this when it comes squirting out in arrogance. We can see that kind of pride in a hot minute. It looks like someone swinging a camera around by the strap.

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But the shade of too confident that I am talking about blends really nicely into life. It doesn’t stand out in a flashy look at me kind of way. It’s the too confident that leads to too comfortable. I had been allowing, actually encouraging, my daughter to use my camera regularly. One of our main goals for the summer was to give ample opportunity to our kids to create and not just consume so they were given almost total access to my camera gear.

She was forgetting that she was actually holding about $1500 worth of camera equipment. She forgot that it wasn’t enough to just not be careless but that she needed to be careful.

It’s a pretty big distinction.

It’s the difference between being self-aware and self-centered.

This particular child is pretty self aware…she was born knowing and understanding herself. We used to laugh that she thought she was born last of the five because the others came first to prepare for her arrival. She has just always known her place within our family and by default our social circles and she has always been confident of being loved and accepted.

She can teeter over into self-centeredness  but even when she’s not she can barrel through life without being really aware of the people she is just zipping past.

We can get that way, can’t we? We can get so comfortable with ourselves and our ‘world’ that we don’t really notice it or the people that live in it with us, not in a significant real way. Like driving a route so familiar that you arrive and do not have much recollection of actually haven driven there.

I had a text conversation with a friend the other day that made me think of this situation with Claire and the camera. She (my friend) is in a new job and had a big meeting that she was feeling a little unprepared for due to not having been in the position long enough to understand and present all they were likely going to want to know.

We talked about praying specifically for her to have good recall of information and the ability to articulate quickly and clearly. She mentioned not feeling prepared well enough for this new challenge in her life.

I hopefully encouraged her to not view that as a bad thing necessarily. That feeling of not completely knowing everything will likely keep her on her toes and paying attention to what all is going on around her and make her more aware of what can and needs to be done.

It’s hard to maintain that kind of focus the more familiar things become to us. It takes work and discipline to look and really see but we must do it if we are to be living the life we have been called to in Christ.

In Romans 12 Paul encourages us to not think too highly of ourselves and he directly connects that thought with being a member of one body.

It is good for us to be confident in ourselves, not in our own self but rather who we are in Christ, but that confidence has to be tempered with the awareness of being part of something more than just ourselves.

We are part of something, Someone, and that changes everything for us. Read chapter 12 of Romans and ponder over it, mull it over, and consider how it affects how you are living.

You might be surprised at who and what God wants you to see.

Poured Out

Sometimes I have a hard time knowing how to start a post. I have a core thought but I’m not sure how to introduce it. Like that awkward moment in a conversation when you want to throw something out there but an opening just hasn’t presented itself.

Or, and this is more like real life, I have this on going conversation in my head and putting it out there can seem a bit like blurting out randomness. I do it all the time to Rob. I have half the conversation in my head before I say something out loud and he gets this play of emotions across his face…confusion, a look that clearly shows him mentally groping for a thread to grab hold of, and a kind of eye shrug that declares “I got nothing” before he says, “Huh?” or sometimes “Woman, what are you talking about?”

So, I apologize up front if you have a woman-what-are-you-talking-about moment while reading this post. Just know that I have been thinking about being content, prayer, doing whatever you do to the glory of God and not being idle and just go with it.

Specifically this morning  I was contemplating the idea of giving ourselves as a living sacrifice and what that means. Unless you are new to this blog, and me really, then you know this is not a new topic. Romans twelve is and has been a big part of my thoughts. I’ve blogged often about how that can look, the dying to self, in our lives as wives and mothers.

But this morning, because of the above mentioned topics, I zeroed in on the quantitative meaning. And it seems to me that I can be pretty good at sacrificing bits and pieces here and there but giving my whole self over, holding nothing back is something more than what I am used to.

I’m not sure I know what it means to continually empty myself out on behalf of the people around me. Instead of pouring myself out as a drink offering as Christ did I might be tossing a thimbleful out in places. Or maybe a whole cupful or even a bucketful if I feel a sense of urgency or weightiness to a need.

But to continually pour myself out completely? To utterly empty myself out into the world? I’m not sure I know what that even means much less how to do it

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I think it can be easy to end up here. Lots of little demands and the busy-ness of being busy can do that. It wears you down and exhausts you and makes you feel like you are constantly being poured out, but how often have you really given completely over until there is nothing left?

This year is our youngest daughter’s first time on the school volleyball team. On the way to her first practice we were talking about playing hard and giving it all she has. I want her to see that she can play hard but still be holding back. And what her team needs (not just from her but from every player) is to leave it all on the court. To be completely focused and pulling from deep inside and putting everything she has into it.

We aren’t called to sacrifice a toe this day and maybe an arm some other day. Rather we are told to present our body as a living sacrifice. To give it all, everything, every day.

I wonder if we don’t live this way because we live such chopped up lives with so much going on? Or because we have believe we can’t be everything to everyone, we can’t do it all, and the biggie of big lies, you have to love and take care of yourself in order to love and take care of others? (Yes, I know there are times in Scripture where Jesus went off by himself to pray and be alone. But I really don’t think we can equate what He did with our version of mani-pedis and treat yo-self attitude. There is nothing wrong with finding alone time. Read a book, go get that mani-pedi or massage. But we should be careful not to over spiritualize it by thinking it is the same as quieting all of the day to day ruckus so that our heart and mind can find rest in God.)

We can’t be everything to everyone and we can’t do it all but the good news is that we aren’t called to be everything to everyone and to do it all. We look at our life and qualify it as everyone and everything and it simply is not so. We have the life and work that God has put us in and given to us and we are called to give ourselves completely and wholly to that. Do we over extend ourselves sometimes? Sure, but there are seasons and times of that and it will pass but we like to hold on to the feeling of it because in some way we get a sense of importance and self worth from it. If I feel like I am doing it all, or at least feel like I am expected to be doing it all, then I must be somebody; I must have meaning. But who is that making much of, me or God?

Maybe the reason we don’t really live emptied out like that is because we don’t understand what it really means. We have made it about actions and we can look around and declare with a certain amount of assurance, I just cannot physically do more.

It’s not just the physical work though, is it? I mean the action is part of it but it’s the whole faith without works thing…we can’t be poured out without, well, being poured out. It is the right combination of the physical with the right heart motivation and right focus that pulls it in line and turns what we are doing day to day into a life being spent in the name of Christ and for the glory of God.

As I finished my first draft of this post my husband sent out the Old Testament reading for our worship service this week. How kind is God to just tell us what it looks like to live poured out as an offering?

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?”

We over complicate the thing by over thinking it, maybe? Or we want to control it so that we can maintain a certain level of comfort that we have become accustomed to and we reduce it down to something we feel like we can manage?

But He lays it out so simply. Fear me and walk in my ways, love me, serve me with everything you’ve got, and be obedient. And get this, it’s all for our good. The following two verses from that passage in Deuteronomy should give us great courage to live life this way.

He goes on to say that the heavens of heaven itself and the entire earth belong to Him and He has set His heart in love upon our fathers and their offspring. We’re the offspring! Everything belongs to Him and He loves us.

Now we are to go and live like it.

Sharing with Fresh Market Friday.