Saturday, May 22, 2010

Learning through Gardening

Grandma was a gardener.  My earliest memories of she and my Grandpa are of us in the dirt together thinning carrots, me making sure those tiny roots did not lay in waste. . . .and of my sister and I demolishing a years crop of Strawberries together. 

She spent hours in the garden, not through hard toil, but through the walking of it, in the morning and throughout the day.  I have found my most pleasant times have been walking the property with a pair of clippers and a little hoe, clipping here and there, uprooting this or that, mending and fixing.

Here on the coast we have been re-introduced to the over exuberance of plants to grow – especially in areas that you would prefer order – and of blackberries, ivy and holly that would like to take over an entire yard.  My neighbor came over to show me how to clip the blackberries, below the ground level, pulling back the top layer of skin of the root shoot, spraying it once or twice with a root killer, telling me that I might need to do it again in September.

Weeds and their direct thought to life and self control and discipline and training have always been a pondering thought as I walk the isles of the garden. Knowing that sometimes a well known offender, easy to spot, like the blackberry, must be dealt with immediately.  Other new crops of flowers need to cultivate just a bit to see if they are a “flower growing where you want, or where you don’t want” to know if they are a flower or a weed.  Pulling them before they go to seed.

I turned on Facebook again yesterday. I have prayed with my Lord and shared with my friends, the seeds of flesh that have produced soft little cute shoots – of pride, fleshly emotions, laziness, discontent, covetousness, competitive spirit, apathy, tolerance of sin in others – and the list goes on.  The little crop was not in the state of a vacant field completely amassed with over grown briars in need a  a bulldozer, but of little blackberry shoots, long underground, peeking out among the Lavender, Roses and Forget-Me-Nots.

After a couple of months of learning to use FB to best be a tool for me, and not a vehicle for the flesh – and taking a 3 week break of deleting my account – I feel that it is time to jump back in.

One thing I have found is that the society as a whole, for those who live next to  a computer, has shifted in the mode of communication.  People really seem to have no way to communicate save the Facebook Status Update.  Phone calls, time to write, individual emails – seem to be an forced intrusion more than intentional conversation.  After weeks of reading in the word and on line and in books confirmation that my FaceBook hiatus has been what the Lord’s will for me at this time – This morning I read a passage in Romans – specifically in Chapter 12 -

6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

And I am reminded that in my gifting of writing, teaching, encouraging – that it needs to be my focus – no matter what the persecution is – to stay focused on the growth – the encouragement – and the teaching – the hospitality – and not on the spewing of those not living a life in sacrifice for my Lord.

Pray for me?  Especially if you are a friend – still reading this long drawn out post – interrupted by dogs, and children, and husbands going to work – if you can make sense of anything that I have poured out in the typed keyboard – if you can sense my heart -

Pray that I will continue to cut down the roots of the sin of my fleshly responses – that my garden of fruit and flowers will grow abundantly, that there will not be room in the soil of my heart for sprouts that need not grow there. That the Holy Spirit will speak to me, gently and kindly, helping me to know what He wants me to share of our lives, and what might be iddle chatter or prideful delights. 

I have enjoyed this journey of transformation in my own heart, this spring pruning time. Thank you for hanging in there with me and my prattling ponderings. :)

Pics from my garden as a reward for reading this much junk?

IMG_5338 IMG_5321 IMG_5322 IMG_5323 IMG_5325 IMG_5328 IMG_5329  IMG_5331 IMG_5333 IMG_5335

Monday, May 10, 2010

What do you concern yourself with?

What occupies your quiet moments.  Do you have time to gaze out of a window . . . Swirl the soap bubbles rising from cereal dishes . . . depositing cold wet clothes to a dryer . . . driving to the bank  . . sitting at the computer . . . sipping coffee. . . . .

What occupies your mind? 

I looked up this word Occupy in the the Hebrew – and it is:

  halak (haw-lak’), 1980 in the strongs – To exercise, walk, be conversant, tale bearer, traveler, wander . . .

I have been working on living in the real  - the right now – and planning for real future events.  And yet, as I read things on the internet – I can have a tendency to drift to the virtual – which stirs up my emotions – It is interesting that definition of Occupy comes with Tale Bearing Conversant Wanderings. 

I looked up another word today – Behaved 7737 -

shavah (shaw-vaw)- To level – to Equalize – Adjust – Reckon – Compose – Yield.

In the bible translators have  chosen words like Behaved, Stilled, Composed, Cultivated, Calmed, Learned to feel Safely – to try to bring shavah into our English understanding.

Adjusting our conversations.  Yielding to wandering. Reckoning the tale bearer.  Wonder where I am going with this?

I was sitting to Pastor Darrel this Sunday – and he referenced the very short Psalm 131:

O lord, my heart is not lifted up,
  My eyes are not raised too high,
I do not occupy myself with things
Too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
  Like a weaned child with his mother,
    like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Oh Isreal, Hope in the Lord from this time forward and forever more.

And for some reason – I felt that this was one more step of confirmation that I need to keep my current plans on track with my Facebook account. It spoke to me  - I will keep those ponderings to myself – yet, I wanted to share this verse with you here while I ponder -

Urging myself to keep the focus on what is real  - sorting out what is virtual – walking in what He lays before me HERE – and enjoying what I read for encouragement on line.

I see that it is a very real thing – that King David did – how many people must have come to him, to share the lives of his countrymen? To share their goals? To share the stories of their children?  There must be a leveling – and adjusting – a balance – in being involved in the history of others – and letting those stories occupy your mind – careful – when I sort them into the categories in my mind – of Pride, Judgment – Comparing – or even Apathy – the stirs the soul into an anxious heap.

I will continue to exercise – to train – to practice quieting my soul – keeping a safe spot around my time and thoughts -

I have sat here to try to type out these thoughts – and they get jumbled -

I know I am not alone in my feelings for virtual friends – So I will keep posting – if you are further along at sorting it out – let me know! Share your ponderings for the rest of the class. :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pondering the Thoughts of My Favorite Author -

- Jane Kirkpatrick.  I just finished reading An Absence so Great, a part two continuance of A Flickering Light.

I was drawn into A Flickering Light because of the independence voiced by Jesse – to Question, to Create, to Grow, to Learn. She seemed powerful for her young years – and then drawn deeper into her personal story and struggle.

Jesse wanted to be a professional photographer, in  an age when women were not trusted by banks or businessmen and were withheld from the vote.

History aside  - her passion for taking natural photographs out side of the studio stirred my heart. Now, as time has passed, I read An Absence so Great – and Jesse is traveling, away from the known and loved – into the unknown, and the necessary. Into a world that is outside of her control.  Through it all – her passion in photography does not fade, nor her stability in the Word, or her love of God or Family.

As I have travelled to a world that is unlike anything we have experienced, feeling the tide between being in control and out – and yet walking day by day with what He brings, I feel a kindred spirit with Jesse. 

She says, “Didn’t you ever want to be a photographer yourself?” Jessie whispered. “Doesn’t the idea of making pictures and seeing how they develop make you want to see each morning come? Wake up looking forward to what the lens will show you?” Pgs 58

One of my daily great joys is in capturing the beautiful surroundings.  Honing my craft. Seeing the angles. Adjusting to light. Playing with the macro, shutter speeds, and  apertures.  I am becoming quite obsessed with photographing the birds here in Lincoln County.  Just this week I deleted 4.6 GIGS of ocean scenes from the laptop.

My family thinks I’m a bit loony with the camera.  My new nick name is Paparazzi. My youngest son shares my obsession to shoot the birds – and since I won’t let him leer at them through a scope, he has been happy to gaze at them through the view finder. He gets good compositions, with his tiny quiet stealthy body in the woods.

We are opening up and claiming the joy of Nature Studies.  Not as a “Friday Fun Day” Activity, but something of value, as a learning tool – and as vehicle of learning. Throughout the homeschool experience, our trust has been that God will bring us what we need to learn – He promises to equip the parents to train the children – and we are willing -

Which is where I stumbled on my other favorite passage on page 92

It was funny how when one paid attention to a topic, pebbles along the path appeared out of nowhere, leading one closer to it.

Now you might think I like this quote as it is a reference to the time I practically mugged her at a book signing at the High Desert Museum – and she used my name in the recollection – but no -

It is an accurate account of our relaxed unschooling faith filled experience. I pray about what the Lord wants the boys to learn, and then I stand willing to walk through it. 

I have been wanting to talk about the Ocean Currents, and yet, have not found a point when life experience and timing have collided.  Until this week, when Nate asked more detailed questions about the floats and debris along the shore line – and on one 6 a.m. walk he found two floats with the raised print still perfect, and half written in English.  After finding over 50 floats – these were the first two, on the day he asked.

We came home to research the company – Possibly Sunyuan Fishing Co – and a detailed pictorial account of fisherman using these orange floats for gillnet fishing for flat fish out of the Tokushima Prefecture. Nate looked up what a Prefecture was – and where Tokushima was – which led to the currents question being raised gain – which led to answering why his family in Alaska has found so many more glass floats than the small amounts found here. Which led to writing out the maps, talking to dad, and seeing just how big the Pacific Ocean is, even though we have studied world geography.

Day two came yesterday, when I saw on my Google Notice that it was, had we stayed in Central Oregon, the day we were to give a report on Central America.  So we spent the afternoon looking at books in the house on Central America, tied in their Roblox experience of yesterday, when they celebrated Cinco De Mayo on line – and talked of our fondness for Mexico. Nate and Jon were interested in the Panama Canal – and learned of when it was created in the early 1900’s and how long it is  ( almost as far as from here to Salem) and what it opened up for the shipping industry. It was an easy chat, filling out maps, reading the books, looking up more detail – Easy.  Pebbles along the path.

How many times though, do we come along pebbles along the path, and instead of picking them up to admire them, do we step over, or kick them.  Or worse yet, pick them up – admire for a moment – and then toss them aside as worthless due to their abundances?

Pondering the book, An Absence so Great – I am sure that Jane Kirkpatrick can understand the whole in my heart left by leaving the high desert – no matter what the comforts of spring and amazing storms on the beaches bring.  - Although her thought was in areas of a man/woman relationship  - I read into the holes in my heart of those relationships in Central Oregon.  Of the ones that are let go – and the ones that burn the hole larger with absence. I know, from a life of moving, that those holes will become lifelines, life long connections, and a joy of reunion – After 8 months, we are moving more to healing – and less of pain and grief – and I can understand why Jesse had to stay  away for so much time – in her journeys.

I am pondering the writing of another topic – and she mentions it in the interview in the back – although it was a line of topic strung throughout the two books – the grief of a loss of a loved one.  Especially in a quick circumstance, when those left closest are left with guilt and grief for their part in the death. She mentions quickly on page 375

“That made for interesting conversations within my immediate family . . . . The idea of how grief affects a marriage (my husband’s son died the first year of our marriage),  . . .”

Our family has had a 5 year long battle with cleaning up the emotions of a suicide.  Each year one thinks “things are better” but you come to a memory, or a forgetfulness that they are actually gone, or a remembrance of those left behind – and the emotions come running as fresh as the first day. I have pondered writing about the suicide here on my blog – as these are my ponderings and they are pondered by me often, and yet, it is my husband’s family who is directly effected, and I am a watcher. I think there should be support groups of spouses to learn how to help their families through grief.  Surely there are so many who have gone before us – and yet we each feel alone – fresh – like we are the only ones walking the trail. I liked that she said it opened the communication in the immediate family – I am praying that our communication within the families involved can be free – and open – and healing.

My coffee cup is empty, and my ponderings are starting to turn, so I will continue on in another quiet morning.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Baw-Rak Blessings

It wasn’t the intent of the message – but usually what I receive isn’t . . . . Don’t get me wrong, I could blog for an hour about this morning’s topic -

but the main thing I was reminded of today was the meaning of Blessings – Baw-Rak – To Kneel, By implication to bless God, as an act of adoration – and then vice versa – He blesses man.

And we sang the Song, Beautiful, by Vineyard Music – and at first I was like – right. I need you like the rain – and really – I don’t want any rain right now – but we were in Jeremiah 17, about the tree planted near the water and all – so um, ya in context I need the water – Sorry – Rambling -

Back on track -

We sang the song Beautiful- and thought about the meaning of Blessing. Here’s a little known secret – although I am glad for how our life is, our home, my family – I have a shakey self esteem. Battles with Thyroid and weight, Battles with stringy hair, Battles with worth to others  - and the worst attack of the past couple of years mentally has been my blessing and ministering to others, without having an input valve of who is ministering to me. I give and share, bake and clean, house and invite – usually one sided. Satan can attack really hard, selfishness and self worth can set it when I cry out – Who will come To Bless Me?

And then he talked about how to make that happen today – Bless Him. He will bless me. Is He Enough? is He enough for you?

Cause the funny thing is – the main topic of the study today was about trusting in man, instead of God.  Take a sec to read Jeremiah 17 today – verses 5-10. Are you trusting in man for your hope? Silly Dead Dry Tree.  Maybe go find some rain . . . . .

Listen, Soak it in, Bless the Father, and Allow Him to Bless you! Accept the blessing! I listened to this – and it absorbed into me today. I accepted it. I felt it. He will be enough. He will be All.

Learning to Communication with Intent

Am a week along in my journey to quit Facebook.  I have other worse habits that have not been this hard to let go.  I keep asking myself, asking God – What is it that unsettles me when I read the status updates – and what is it about Facebook that feels wrong in my day?

The first answer I have been given, is that it is Wrong for Me.  I hope you are hearing this. I have had time when FB was a life line, and I am in no way saying it is a bad thing, but I, have turned it in to bad for my life.

The next answer I have been given is that I have made it bad. It isn’t friend a or Group b or People from There or Here.  It is I. This is about me. So if you are one of my friends reading my journey – the only finger pointing lies in myself, no matter what has sparked it.

One thing that has happened in these weeks to reduce my time on FB – has been the freeing of the mind. I read the blogs in my reader, with my coffee, on my time.  If I get to them at 10am or 10 pm, they will still be there, in order, list growing longer for each day I put it off. But I know they will be there, and I will enjoy, on my time.  I do not feel the pressure to look up each blog owner and see if an blog post did not make it to my reader, or check in on each friend to see if their is a comment that I did not see. I am finding myself out doors more, cleaning more in the house, sewing, mending, and reading more.

My plan has been this week – to work towards Communicating with Intent. I looked up Communicate, Intent and Lazy in the 1828 Webster’s online Dictionary. I won’t bore you with the results, you can look them up if you are a fellow wordsmith – looking up definitions helps me to digest information.

I am working at emailing the specific person I’d like to contact, instead of throwing a tid bit of info out into the wind, hoping the person sees it.  If that person doesn’t get on FB that day – they may never see the Status Update.

Usually, when I post a Status Update, I am thinking of 2-3 people specifically that I’m speaking to – why not shoot them an email?

I have been back in the craft room.  Stamping simple cards, one dimensional, simple coloring – I enjoy the praying for the person as I choose the colors for the flowers and such.  A friend gave me a notebook that we covered together on a weekend retreat a couple of weeks back – I am turning it into my communication journal of sorts.

I made a list from my address book of people I’d love to sit and have tea with – and I will work through the list with a  simple note of hello. I made it through quite a few entries today – readied my Mother’s Day cards for Darren and I – and have a nice list of people to think about as I make their cards in the coming week.

And for the FB itself –I have come up with a simple answer.  Let the deletion take its course over the next 2 weeks – helping me with a change in my online habits – then,

I will create a page for myself – akin to the White Pages.  Name. Phone Number. Email. Website. A couple of Pictures. I will set up my profile to be visible to Everyone, then, if someone is looking for me, they will have my contact information. I will not use FB as a place of communication – but as the means to be communicated with. Does that make sense?  Its not like I’m hiding or anything, I post some detailed information on here and my school blogs. :)

I’ll keep pondering,  - I’d love to hear how you regulate your FB time, emotions, and energy.