Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: The Fullness Thereof

I know that this is a several week old picture and many of you have seen it on my instagram feed already, but these words continue to re-sound in my head.  Possibly because it is currently the passage we're memorizing during Circle Time, but likely because I need to hear them.  The earth is the Lord's, and I can face all things because I am united to Christ. The fullness of the earth is his, I need not fear. Anything.

As part of my own learning (schole'), I decided to try calligraphy again. It is an art I enjoyed when I was young, although I wasn't very good at it.  Maybe I can improve now.  Perhaps I should focus on my spelling, too ... 

Please excuse my lateness in posting and commenting and all other items related to this blog.  Shingles is no joke, y'all. I hope you will continue joining me on Wednesdays, it is my favorite blogging day of the week and I know many of you enjoy following each other's words.

I promise I will get around to your posts as soon as I can.  Your prayers would not be unappreciated.

Wordless Wednesday: Softball Starts

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: May 13, 2015

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Dawn and Heather Read Together: Own Your Life (Chapter 5)

If you've read this blog for any length of time (or know me in person), you probably know that I love sports. I love Ohio State football (and really any college football) and basketball. I enjoy watching the Cincinnati Reds when I can (we dropped cable this winter, so that's less often).   Our kids play a number of sports and we do enjoy that.

Well, anyway, I love to watch sports and cheer for them.  Participate? Not really.

The scriptures have a number of sports analogies and allusions, don't they? Run the race. Striving for the prize. Bodily training. An athelete crowned. Run with endurance. 

In this fifth chapter of Own Your Life, Clarkson encourages us to strive beyond what we would see as our abilities.  She endeavors to show how the Lord uses the challenging circumstances of our lives to discipline and train us for His kingdom.  As a coach or trainer, the Father is not harsh, yet is demanding. He redeemsrevives, sustains us for His purposes.  He comes along side us to encourage and push (sometimes pull) us toward the finish line.

I tend to want to quit. I don't like to participate in sports and I don't liked to be pushed anywhere near my limits.  But, if I give up, Clarkson argues, I am weakening my own character.  

I'm just not sure I agree.  Some of us are called to serve in quiet ways, in the background, without fanfare.  In Chapter 4, that seemed to be the kind of service Sally was talking about.  Caring for children who were suffering a difficult time in their lives. Making meals for those who were for some reason needing them. Quietly helping a family with babysitting. Praying for one another.  This kind of service and fellowship, this kind of love, is very important.  We are called to serve one another in these and myriad other ways where service is called for.  We aren't all called to great, glorious, front and center things.  Andi Ashworth's Real Love for Real Life is a wonderful book to describe the ministry of quiet caring that many are called to.  Highly Recommended.

In Chapter 2 (I think it was), my husband was appalled by that list of "oughts" that so many of us Christian women feel buried under.  He reminded me, again, that Jesus' burden is easy and light.  But that burden includes loving one another in real and practical ways.  A meal, nursery duty, babysitting, gardening, raking leaves for the elderly, calling a friend just because, etc. But, these are examples of ideas, not a list of expectations. Do something, not all the things! These can be hard to do when you're homeschooling and at soccer every day, but are valuable forms of service that, though in the background are essential to the Body of Christ.

I do think I need to strive harder toward my goals of service, though, which is why I chose the quote above.  We are called to some form of service, whether flashy or quiet, and we ought to persist to the finish line.

I have to admit this isn't my favorite chapter so far. I get so annoyed at "Christian Living" books that feel the need to write a chapter about the gospel - not that I don't love the gospel - because I don't think many non-Christians will read the book in the first place. Then to relegate God to the meager position of life coach - which I don't think is how Sally sees him! - is frustrating to me.  The gospel, the story of creation, fall, and redemption is glorious and a mere chapter doesn't seem to suffice.  I'm surprised it was buried in Chapter 5 in Own Your Life, I'm interested to see how it fits into her structured argument about owning our lives.

Don't forget to check out Heather's post.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: Heart without Words

I apologize that I haven't commented from last week, soccer season coupled with baseball season is killing me. I will make every attempt to comment on both weeks' worth of posts as soon as I can.

Monday, May 04, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook for May 4, 2015

For Today... May 4, 2015 ... May the force be with you ...

Outside my [OPEN] window... is a sunny, pleasant, birdsong filled morning.

I am thinking... about the coming week and all its fun!

I am thankful... for our congregation, pastors, and the delight we have in celebrating God's work in our lives. We enjoyed a wonderful celebration of our graduates last night!

I am wearing... shorts! Short sleeved shirt! Yay!

I am creating... graphics for the blog.  I'm trying to improve my skills, such as they are.

I am going... to host my friend Jenny today who hopes to look through my homeschool cabinet.

I am wondering... how much we'll get done today.

I am reading... Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson with my dear friend, Heather.  We're going chapter by chapter and are only on Chapter 5 this week.  Won't you join us?

I am hoping... to catch up on commenting from last week's Wednesdays With Words linkup.  I try to comment on every post.  Good stuff there! A new linkup in two days!

I am learning... about wisdom.

In my kitchen... breakfast for dinner.  A favorite for all of us who will be eating it.  We enjoyed chicken fajitas on Saturday, too. Although almost all of that was done on the grill ... veggies too!

In my garden... I now have two lonely tulips; one pink, one white.  But the peonies are growing, too.

In the homeschool... a new month brings a new hymn: All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night. I don't know this one, nor if it is in our hymnal.  

A favorite quote for today... from the book on Old Testament Wisdom Literature linked above:

A peek into one of my days...

One of my favorite things... I do love bright spring mornings. 

From the board room... Last week I shared my most popular board, MBTI, this week is my second most popular another popular one, Bullet Journal.  The irony is that I don't keep a Bullet Journal at all.

Post Script... I know the link is to be to a separate place, but I'm going to link to the recent guest post in my series about my 2015 Word of the year "Revel." You don't want to miss Mystie's post on how to Revel in Repetition.  

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Dawn and Heather Read Together: Own Your Life (Chapter 4)

I keep being a little afraid of what Sally is going to say in the next chapter, expecting that it will be the whammy chapter of "you're not doing enough for Christ you slacker." Even though I know she isn't like that and is all that is encouraging.  I suspect it is because I've known parts of her story (missionary to Eastern Block countries, homeschooled 4 children, written numerous books on mothering and educating, mentoring local-to-her moms, etc.) and, wow, I haven't done that.

But I haven't been called to all of that!

This chapter is about helping women to gain a vision of what they can accomplish when reliant upon Jesus' tender direction.  Reliant. Oh, that is a word I don't like. I'm a modern, independent American individual through and through. I've always had a little bit of "go your own way" (while looking for approval, of course) to me.  I will listen, not argue, then still do what I think.

I think that's my INFJ coming out.  I don't want to ask and follow, I want to intuit.

Clarkson tries to change my thinking. Rather than deciding on my own, I should pray for direction, for a vision.  I'm terrible at that. My vision isn't all that big to start with.  I have some big goals and ideas, but I remember when I was in college writing lesson plans hating to write Goals and Objectives for each lesson. It seemed so crazy to me.

Sally makes it easier.  She tells us to live our regular lives:
God desires to work supernaturally through normal people who are willing to follow Him wholeheartedly and reflect His glory.  Christianity is not just about giving on Sunday, yawning through church, or providing a special offering once in a while to the poor.  God's exceptional call on our lives may seem extreme to most people. yet the folly of believers has always been to trifle life away and ignore His calling. (pg 50)
God wants to work through our normal lives, in normal means.  The story she tells in this chapter of a woman who took the time to mentor 2 children whose parents were divorcing is poignant. It isn't about doing something huge, but doing little things well and consistently. Our pastor is beginning a series on Philippians and will be focusing on building community within the church, within Zion. Already, in the first sermon, I felt challenged to be better about reaching out to those in the congregation. Not just when I'm reminded of them after they've posted on Facebook, but to take initiative to call or write or email to check in on them because I love them.

That is a stretch to my comfort zone.  I've made excuses for years: I'm so busy. I don't want to interrupt them if they're in the middle of something. I hate to talk on the phone and am terrible at it.  I never know what to say.

Clarkson says, "List three practical things you can do to begin serving those around you who need encouragement, help, or guidance." Those don't really seem like big, scary things. I can do that.  Do you have ideas about three things your can do? They won't take all that long.

I'm 42 years old. Time to learn.

Clarkson's first epigraph in this chapter is from the author of The Little Prince. At first, I didn't read carefully. Look at rocks, cathedral. Argh. She's going to ask us to build cathedrals, I'm just not cut out for that.  But, no! The quote says we are cathedrals. We are the church, we are the place where the Lord resides, where He dwells. Because of that we are to see the world differently.

I chose the picture, an old one, on purpose.  I - not my children - am the one contemplating the rock pile.  But I am also contemplating the children, much greater than that pile of rocks at the base of the dam.  Do I see them differently because I bear within me the image of a cathedral? How? Do I see them differently because they bear within themselves that image? How can I serve my children rather than myself (or worse yet make them serve me)?

More questions than answers here. I hope Sally answers them in coming chapters.

Don't forget to check out Heather's post sometime soon! She always sinks right into the heart of the matter so Biblically.  She's an encouragement to me!