19 March 2015

The Reason for This

I'm trying to write more.

(Have I said this before? Have I written a post just like this before? I feel like I have, but, since I write here mostly for my own therapeutic purposes, I'm not going to take the time to go check my previous posts to find out.

So to get back to this post...)

Actually, I write almost every day. I just don't write here. Do any of you keep a journal, with actual paper and pen or pencil? Maybe you throw in some stickers and combine it into an art journal? I have one of those too (no stickers, but lots of ink and pencil and oil pastels), but my "journal" journal is just words.

Yes, I call it my journal journal, but usually only in my head.

It is the best form of therapy.

On Friday, my husband and father-in-law cleared all the many, MANY boxes out of our study, which we are likely converting to a bedroom. My mother-in-law then did some much needed organizing of the school cabinet and craft supplies, and that left me with a gazillion boxes of books to sort. Let's just say, I still have half a gazillion left to sort. Have we really read all.those.books?

I think not.

The point in telling you about the major clean-up is to say that, in the midst of all those boxes, I found three of my old journals, the most recent three, other than the one in which I am currently writing and one other that I finished filling last spring. I'm trying to gather all these journals into my Lane cedar chest. We're talking years of journals. As I find them, they're going there.

But for what purpose?

I was reading some of my words (and there are A LOT of words in these journals), and I started to think about the purpose in writing them. I began this journaling adventure at age 12 when my Great Aunt Ruby gave me my first little diary as a Christmas gift. It was a small book, but I was new at this, so it took me ages to fill it. By mid-high school, I was filling journals a little quicker, though I have taken several, random hiatuses over the years, especially in college and in the early baby years. Now, however, I have consistently written for years and years.


Initially, the words were just adolescent meanderings on the page. When I find those early volumes, I will likely cringe at my girlish ridiculousness and laugh at myself and my antics. I have a friend that told me her journals are filled with boy craziness. I was never boy crazy. I was more like, obsessively and secretly devoted to one boy for years. And years. I switched to a new boy a couple times, but, still, I was fully devoted to the boy. That could be fun to read.

Or not.

So I have these volumes of journals. The other night, I couldn't resist reading through the fall of 2012 into the winter months. I'm sure this is because I am sadistic or enjoy torturing myself. Wow, how those months hurt. They still hurt. That said, do you know how much JOY is in there? In the midst of all that sorrow? Verse after verse of joy, hope, encouragement, entire passages of scripture that got me through it, moments of sunshine in the midst of the greatest sadness I have ever experienced.

And that's why I write. I will always have a reference for my journey, raw descriptions that are so private and personal that only my eyes will see them while I am on this earth.

But there's the other purpose that I've only recently discovered. When I was sorting my parents belongings two years ago, every item that was personally written by Mom or Dad was a treasure. Love letters written by Dad during their dating season, lists of Mom's favorite things, and even little grocery lists spoke of who they were. My favorites were the brief notes written into their Bibles. I didn't even know Mom did that until after she passed.

I write for the future. Some day, maybe someone will want to read my words, though, as I said, there are so many that I doubt they ever read them all. What I want them to see on those overflowing pages is love. Love for Christ, love for family, love for people. Beyond that, my journey is real, and there have been some heartwrenching moments and some beautiful moments, and sometimes those two collide and become the most intense, precious moments of life. That's what I want them to see. Hope always exists. 

Hope always exists.

They will also see my lack of trust, my lack of faith, my lack of joy. But that's authentic, isn't it?

Some day, someone will read my words. I will be gone, but this piece of me will be left. I don't pretend to believe that my journals will be around for generations, but I do hope they help my own children through something, and maybe my grandchildren. Maybe that's hoping too much, but I know how much it has helped me to read my own parents' words in an even less formal form.

I think I'll wrap this up and go spend some time with Jesus and maybe fill another page or two. Blessings to you, reader! Go write something that someone might treasure!

16 March 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook 3/16/15 with NEW Prompts!

For Today... March 16, 2015
Outside my window... Sunshine and warm temperatures have created mud season in Ohio!

I am thinking...about boosting my immune system naturally and creating better health.

I am thankful...for the kind of husband who offers to help before I ask even when it means taking on a very "mom" kind of job, like taking our daughter for her ballet photos.

I am wearing... an old pink and white peasant blouse with gray yoga pants.

I am creating...cleaner, organized, more colorful spaces that speak of "us."

I am going...to help my husband make plans for a beautiful Good Friday service and resurrection celebration weekend!

I am wondering...how to encourage change while honoring the past, how to hold onto tradition while engaging today's culture, all while remembering that it is the difference in our church culture that draws people to Jesus. Authenticity doesn't always look like the culture, but authenticity is attractive.

I am reading...continuing The Bronze Bow with my son, starting On the Shores of Silver Lake with my daughter, reading and studying the book of Acts on my own.

I am hoping...to get the house thoroughly organized, painted, and decorated in the next month.

I am learning...to better understand the evidence for and against macroevolution and how to better defend my point-of-view. Teaching my son's biology course has been very good for me!

In my garden...I'm planning to visit my local greenhouse soon to decide what will go into our front flower bed. Having a garden that only gets morning sun is new for me. Planning herbs for the back patio, and possibly putting tomato plants and sunflowers along the side of the house. It's too early to plant in Ohio, but plans are being made!

In my kitchen...
Italian sausage, sauteed yellow squash, and parsnips cooked in unrefined coconut oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg.

In the homeschool room...I'm evaluating where we stand on our end of the year goals. I've planned when the end of the school year will be, and today I realized that my daughter is 15 lessons away from completing a year's worth of Intermediate Language Lessons, which means she'll be at least 1/4 of the way through next year's material by the end of May! She's doing so very well with this program!

A favorite quote for today..."The word of God spread like ripples on a pond where, from a single center, each wave touches the next, spreading wider and farther." footnote on Acts 6:7 in my Life Application Bible.

A peek into one of my days...I'm not an artist by any stretch, but I love the creative process. I spent quite a bit of time playing around with this.

One of my favorite things...children hysterically laughing, shouting, chasing, falling in mud, drinking lemonade, and thoroughly exhausting themselves in the outdoors!

From the board room...I'm thinking about making something like this cute wreathe for my front door:

You can also buy one at  
 She has a bunch of beautiful wreathes to choose from

Post Script...I enjoy these Simple Woman posts so much because they require me to think in depth about my week's goals, happenings, progress, and events, which brings me to the point of better planning for our home. If you wish to participate in this simple but powerful weekly blog hop, check out The Simple Woman's Blog. I know you'll be blessed!

05 March 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook 3/5/15

Outside my window...a murder of crows seems to be considering my bird feeder.

Praising God...for abundant, unexpected, overwhelming passion.

In prayer for...our current blessed chapter of our family adventure.

I am thinking...about children who are hurting, who need safe homes and loving families.

I am thankful...to have grown-up in a safe, loving family in which I was rather spoiled and given a multitude of opportunities.

In the kitchen...smothered chicken, chili, roasted turkey breast this week.

I am wearing... gray, cozy yoga pants (again)and an old purple top.

I am creating...an art journal that may not be filled with skillful drawings, but it is overflowing with therapeutic scribbles!

I am going...to have a little time to myself this evening, probably at a local McDonalds with a cup of coffee while Eric is in a meeting, and the kids are at youth group/kids club.

I am wondering...how to create the ideal vision and linear purpose in our ministry.
I am reading...Continuing to read On the Banks of Plum Creek with my daughter (almost finished!), and I started The Bronze Bow with my son this week.
I am hoping...that necessary details come together very quickly.

I am looking forward to...completion.
I am learning...that I have been given a greater measure of passion for children than even I realized.
Around the house...still preparing to paint. We actually looked at paint chips and settled on a dining room color, but we haven't nailed down the perfect living room color.
   I am pondering...the universal church's lack of passion and desire to aid the helpless, lonely, and hurting. When did the church decide that it was okay to let the government take care of people? Is the church partially at fault for the government's socialist programs? I mean, doesn't someone have to help these people?

One of my favorite things...homeschooling my kids allows me the opportunity to know my kids so much better because I get to spend so much more time with them, and the time I spend with them is one of my favorite things, but my children themselves are pretty cool people, and they are two of my three favorite people (how is that for a run-on sentence?). Guess who the third is?
A few plans...archery class for the kids, 4H meeting, getting the dining room ready to paint.
A word from the Lord: "He sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:6

A favorite quote...
“I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. If you believe there is a heaven and hell and that people could be going to hell … and you don’t think it's worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward – then how much do you have to hate someone to not proselytize them? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” ...Penn Jillette, known atheist

A photo to share:

This boy makes my days so much better just by being who he is.

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11 February 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook February 9 Edition

Outside my window...cold, quiet surrounds the house.

Praising God...for the many ways He provides us with connection.

In prayer for...a friend who is trying to sort out health issues.

I am thinking...about my 16th birthday roses that my daddy sent to school for me. Twice.

I am thankful...for a father who always made sure I knew I was special to him.

In the kitchen... sauteed boneless, skinless chicken thighs, mixed green and wax beans with carrots, and spinach and strawberry salad.

I am wearing... gray, cozy yoga pants and an old green top that is so large it's bordering on annoying instead of comfortable.

I am creating...a craving for fitness.

I am going...on many upcoming adventures.

I am wondering...why so many parents miss the joy in this season of parenting.

I am reading...On the Banks of Plum Creek with my dear daughter, magazines for myself. Everyday with Rachael Ray came with a copy of Family Circle and Good Housekeeping this month. I need a new, grand book to read.

I am hoping...for expediency on certain things.

I am looking forward to...more people.

I am learning...from my children. Every.single.day.

Around the house...we are preparing to paint (as soon as I have time to go to the store and nail down the exact colors). 
I am pondering...the lack of understanding most of us have on topics such as domestic violence, drug abuse, and child endangerment.
One of my favorite things...being thought of by others. Dear husband brought me my favorite coffee this evening.

A few plans...celebrating my birthday with dinner out, revamping the household systems, a Valentine party/book club, taking the kids to join a new 4H club, taking myself to a couple seminars, and, somewhere in there, decorating a birthday cake.

A word from the Lord:"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

A favorite quote...
“God works through different men/women in different ways, but it is the same God who achieves his purposes through them all” (1 Cor.12:6). God uses all types to type his message. Logical thinkers. Emotional worshippers. Dynamic leaders. Docile followers. The visionaries who lead, the studious who ponder, the generous who pay the bills. Action-packed verbs. Rock-solid nouns. Enigmatic question marks. Alone, we are meaningless symbols on a page. But collectively, we inspire. “All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a separate and necessary part of it” (1Cor 12:27).-Max Lucado

A photo to share: 

We attended a field trip on Monday to our local county courthouse. The former jail use fire-proof, so they use it to store documents. We got to go inside!

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09 February 2015

Ministry Moments

I am the parson's wife. That always makes me smile. Half the time, I call my dear husband, Parson. I love it. It's making me smile right now!

We are part of a small, developing church. The people with whom God gave us the privilege to share fellowship are incredible. I love them. Yesterday, my daughter noticed that one of the older gentlemen wasn't at church. When she asked us about it, and we told her that he had moved (she new this, but she hadn't put 2 + 2 together yet)
and was probably going to be attending closer to his new home (seriously, 89 year old men don't drive 30 minutes to go to church), she nearly cried. In our short seven months here at Fargo Wesleyan, our whole family has come to love this congregation of believers. I think be trying to have this fellow over for dinner soon because our girl is very, very sad (as are we!).

Because of the current size of our church, I teach a very small Sunday School class with two little boys, one of whom was at home yesterday due to sickness. Sunday School with only a 2 year old is a very different experience. We sang some fun songs and did cool motions (when your only critic is 2 years old, any motions are cool), and we played with matchbox cars on the slide and talked about Jesus. I was thinking about my teaching philosophy, that pre-schoolers learn best through play, and I decided to not try to make this little guy fit into the Sunday School mold. We had a blast together. It's been too long since I got to make the engine of a matchbox car roar!

I'm doing a Bible study right now that is currently focused on finding communion within the local church. I value this highly, and I am glad to have been a part of several incredible congregations. Community looks a little different in each one, but it's there if you look for it.

05 February 2015

Count Your Blessings

Count your blessings, 
Name them one by one!
Count your blessings,
See what God has done!

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens.
Bright copper kettles, warm woolen mittens.

This is not a new concept. In fact, Count Your Blessings was written in 1897! Counting blessings, or, rather, purposing to notice them, is good for the soul.

I have reverted many times to including tidbits from my joy journal on my blog because it is what keeps me sane. Well, lots of things keep me sane. Coffee, for instance. My kids. My husband.

I actually count my blessings. Right now I have written down 3061 blessings. Gifts. Joys. Whatever you call it, I have written them down for about two years. I have missed some days (because of busyness, not because there wasn't joy!), and I have other days when my pen just couldn't stop. I have found joy in the hard places and joy in the easy, joy in simplicity and joy in the complex. So here is a little snippet of this week's Joy Journal...

3040. "Can I Have This Dance" with Daddy's little toe tap and smile of fun romance
3045. Family worship time
3048. Cottage cheese and peaches.
3051. Listening as dear husband teaches our family Bible study
3052. Diligent kids
3053. The beautiful, thought-provoking end of a television series I love
3055. Tufted titmouse on the bird feeder!
3058. Tchaikovsky piano music

What's bringing you joy today? There is something. Dig for it.

04 February 2015

A Long Blog Post About Not Writing Enough Blog Posts

I have virtually ignored this blog for two months. Not even virtually. More like, completely. And, really, even prior to that, I wasn't really writing. I was mostly biding my time here. Making feeble attempts at keeping my blog going. Mostly, this is because I don't do things that are just because I enjoy them, or (to make half of you cringe), I don't do things just for me.

If I read that exact sentence above on any blog, I would probably have rolled my eyes a little, stopped right there, and moved to the next blog. "Another post about how moms need to take time for themselves? No way. Not for me."

Actually, I don't even take the time to read blogs anymore, and I love reading blogs. I love reading books. And magazines. I love reading internet articles. Dictionaries. I love reading dictionaries. Okay, so I don't love reading dictionaries, but since I was inserting this somewhat pointless paragraph about my love of reading, why not throw in a meager attempt at humor?

Maybe I'm so lost in this business of life that I can't even focus long enough to create a cohesive blog post? 

Maybe I should take a deep breath (I really did. You should too!), and refocus.

Don't get me wrong here. I am so not the mommy blogger who gets all hyped up about "me time." I despise that phrase. I think it is way over used (much like the word "way" is also way overused, but I can't seem to eliminate it without sounding all wordy or antiquated). I also think moms use it as an excuse to justify selfishness.


"Did she just say that?"

Yeah. I did, but, let me once again throw out the often used phrase, don't get me wrong. Balance. We all need balance. There are two sides to this swinging pendulum, and it's equally wrong to let it swing in either direction and stick there. Plus getting hit with a gigantor pendulum hurts.

Just as ignoring all of your wants, needs, talents, hobbies, and desires is not good for you or your family, neither is making "me time" an idol. Find balance, my friends. In fact, that's kind of the theme of my life right now.

Find balance.

This blog post is about rescuing myself from drowning. Yes. I get it. I know what you feel like. I understand that great, deep desire to do something that is only for you, or maybe it is for someone else but it's something that you completely and totally love doing. Same fulfillment.

I have empathy. I empathize with the mom of the screaming baby who will.not.stop. You feed him, change his diaper, give him gas drops, put on some extra clothes because maybe he's cold, strip him down to his diaper because maybe he's hot, lay him in his cradle because maybe he doesn't want to be touched, pick him up because maybe he needs to establish trust, drive him around the neighborhood at 2 in the morning, sit his car seat on the dryer, and STILL, he continues to do nothing but SCREAM...

Oh I have been there, mamas.

I have experienced the toddler who screamed hysterically over something that I can't even remember. My neighbors were alerted and came to see that all was well.

How about the 4 year old who made my heart skip a beat when he got out of bed before me, took my keys off the counter, and went to the car to get the toy he left there the day before? You have not seen pride on your child's face until you have seen this boy's excitement over his great accomplishment. Did you hear what he did? He took my keys, went to the parking lot of of our apartment complex, got into the car, and then got back into the apartment using our electronic key. Imagine if even one part of that had gone wrong. I can still see his beaming smile and feel the panic in my gut as I contemplate, once again, what might have happened to my little guy.

Wow. How did I miss that this boy child was so hard on me in the early years?

No matter. You get it. I know how overwhelmed we are. All of us. With infants and toddlers and pre-teens and teens and adult children. Parenting is hard stuff. 

And in the midst of it, I am still me. You are still you.

So I am changing things up. I'm rediscovering things that make me tick. Purposefully. When time allows. When I make time allow.

I'm going to write. I'm going to read. I'm going to scrapbook with actual craft supplies because that's the way I roll. I'm going to crochet and watch old movies with stars like Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart and Shirley Temple. I'm going to craft and think and breathe things that I love. Weekly. Daily? Maybe.


Remember when you were single and doing things you love just because you loved them was okay?

Guess what?

It still is.

Yes, it will make me a better person. Yes, it will make my children better people because they will see me enjoying life more. Blah, blah, blah. You've read all those blogs just like I have. You've seen the countless Facebook posts.

No, it will not replace the time I spend teaching, home making, serving at church, hanging out with my family, etc... Mostly, it'll eliminate all the time I waste doing stupid things (like the 30 minutes that pass every single day between when I say, "I'm going to work out," and when I actually hit play on the BluRay player). 

Last week I started the afghan you see posted at the top of this post. My daughter is such a bundle of spunk, and she chose the yarn so perfectly for herself. This afghan screams of who she is. I started writing this blog. I would even take some real pictures if I had a working camera. 

If most of us are honest with ourselves, we have time for the things that are most important to us. That's another blog post entirely, isn't it?

Next, to organize the scrapbooking space so I can actually enjoy some time doing actual scrapbooking.

I'll keep you posted.