Well Watered

It is five am… I am awake. The sun is awake. I know what I am supposed to do. Turn on the hose. Water the garden. Nourish my plants and seedlings. The soil is very rocky here. We have added lots of compost but the soil remains dry, heavy and rocky. Water is drains from the soil quickly and this was a dry spring.  I know all these things but at 5 am I peek at my garden and think- it is not so bad. It can wait. 

And so I throw aside everything I know about gardening and decide to not water. I decide out of laziness but I reason that there is also no need. Three pm comes and my seedlings are drooping, my transplants are well wilted and I am wondering if it is better to water now or in the morning?

The strange thing is that I did it again-for weeks actually. One morning as I was deciding not water I asked God- why am I doing this? Why don’t I just water the plants? 

The answer was simple: I did not see the need.

If I define need as dried up wilting plants then I will wait until my plants are wilting to water. 

   
What do you need?

In my own life I have defined need poorly. I have defined needs as near death and been proud of  having so few needs.

It is dangerous for me to define need as near death. It is dangerous for me to define needs that way because that means that the things that I care about will have to be in crisis in order to recieved care. 


I want my life to flourish. That means resting because it is time, not because I feel like it. It means watering because it is time, not be cause I see the need. 

I do not want exhaustion and depletion to be prerequisites for rest. I do not want behavior issues or problems to be what creates connection with with my children.

   
A well watered garden flourishes. 

It flourishes because of the time and attention the gardener puts into creating a safe place for growth. 

So we spend time watering. we do little things like we went to the beach or I took a nap. We read a story or we took a wal. We gave an extra hug at bed time or maybe  I used hand language to communicate I love you across the room. This how I watered the family garden.

Remember to water today.

Irreplaceable Value

Thoughts on a Wildflower

I struggle with perfectionism. I fight imaginary critics that point out all the areas I fall short. Whether it be housekeeping or child rearing or friend being or…whatever there seems to always be this clamor that says “you could have done better”.

It is exhausting at times.

I am grateful for a loving God who pulls all the scattered pieces of my heart. Even when my thoughts are prone to wander. God. Jesus. I am grateful for His faithful and passionate pursuit of my heart.

Wildflower

I love fields of flowers and the feel of warm grass beneath my feet. This is the season for foragers. You know, the weird people that wander through field and wood pausing to pick the scraggly and forgotten bits of edibles.
I want to be a forager.

The dandelion is a wonderful plant. It is rich in nutrients, flavorful and touts sunny colored blossoms. The whole plant can be eaten. The root makes a delightful tea – earthy and rich in flavor. The leave are sharp tasting, but mildest right now – early spring before the blossoms come. The blossoms are sweet and tart, they can be tossed into a salad or soup.

I would say, however, that most people find no value in the dandelion- only foragers and weed removal companies.

God is the great forager of my heart, pointing out purspose and beauty where this thing called perfectionism would inhililate all signs of growth.

To the forager who looks forward to collecting the first tiny tender leaves and root. To the forager the whole plant is priceless.

You can not manufacture irreplaceable value.

You  are born with it.

 

 

 

Naked Thouhts (part 2)

Why is every thought important?

Some thoughts are neither good or bad, right? Thinking about every thought is exhausting.

Is it?

Let us take a look.

I wake up in the morning. My back is stiff, legs are sore and I begin to stretch. I am getting old, my body- What? Wait. What am I thinking? It is true, years are passing  and I am waking up stiffer than in my teens but what thoughts are shaping my belief  about aging and my own personal health. Did Jesus greet me, “Good Morning, aging woman, you are getting stiffer and slower my dear.” No. He did not. So right as I am waking I can get ready  to crush some self-depreciating accusations. It is quite simple – I say, “I see you, accusation, and I am not agreeing with you. Jesus, thank you for this body, thank you for years in this life. What are you thinking about?” 

Sometimes God is thinking about something completely different and really doesn’t want to start the day discussing bodily health. Sometimes he does. The most important thing is that I take my eyes off off the issue and fix my eyes on Jesus. What are you thinking?

Another scene:

Child loses a library book between the library and the car (true story). They can’t find it in the library and you can’t find it in the car. You express your incredulity at the situation in a tone of voice that could be described as…anger.

Anger is lie. Anger is a fruit of believing I am powerless.

The thoughts are pouring in, I can’t believe this is happening. I have six children to get out of the car. It is nap time. This is the only time we have been to the library in months and this happens. This is awful. How can a six year old be so distracted as to put a book down somewhere in the less than 100 steps it takes to get to the car? I tried to do something special and now I am exhausted!

It is situations like this that can be compared to walking into a room with a 100 puppies messing everywhere. The issue is not how do I clean up after 100 puppies? The solution is in realizing this is not my house. My house does not hold 100 naked puppies. This problem is a lie.

Anger is lie. Anger is the fruit from believing I am powerless.

 I am a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 

Fearful powerlessness is not my portion. I have beautiful fruit straight from Holy Spirit. His fruit is joy, peace, patience and my current favorite:

Self Control.

So here comes anger – only this time I close the door: Anger, hopelessness, defeat, rejection… I see you and I am not partnering with you anymore – you are not my problem. I can do ALL things through Jesus. I forgive my six year old for being six. I forgive myself for speaking and acting out of anger. Cleanse me and the kids from the fruit of those words and actions. Papa, what are you doing? What do you think about this library book? 

I am training my mind to think  in the presence of God. I don’t need to leave His presence to think.

Whatever is true

Whatever is noble 

Whatever is of good report

Think on such things. (Phil. 4:20)

This is not a sweet cross-stitch phrase. It is the key to living a life where my mind is transformed – a life where peace and joy are permanent pillars of our days – a life that is lived fully in His presence.

Naked ThoughtS (part 1)

If we do not think about about our thoughts then we will thoughtlessly end up in sin.

A naked two-year old running around the house leaves a mess. No matter how cute, how innocent, the very fact that the child is without some essential covering, means the danger of a mess is imminent.

What we think about shapes our behaviors, beliefs and feelings. If we do not consciously choose to take every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5)  then we are choosing to allow naked thoughts to run around dangerously in our mind.

One of the most powerful things we can do is to bring every thought before Jesus and have him judge- clothe, diaper – every thought.

What is screaming for your time, attention, or emotional entanglement? Politics? Finances? School assignment? Family relationships? House work? Health?

A negative stream of thought is dangerous to our health. One of the most life changing thing you can do today is consciously disconnect from the toxic thoughts that are polluting your perspective. This is not denial. This is not playing dumb or ignoring problems. It is simply turning your mind from the the problem to the solution.

Let’s go back to our example. No matter how long you chase that naked little two year old, if you do not have a diaper- or two and some clothes you will find that even if you catch the little bugger,  you are still hold a naked two year old. This time the mess is on you.

Focusing on the problem is not the answer.

Jesus is not worried about your life.

Jesus is not worried about the world.

Does that mean that nothing should change? No- it does mean we can grab a hold of the solution and have fun.

Let the naked two year old run outside where it is safe.

You have diapers, wipes and an extra set of pants.

And the world…the world just may notice that you have a great solution for naked thoughts.

 

Faithful

Mistakes. I do not like them. I do not like to be wrong. So I have worked really hard to avoid making mistake. Which really doesn’t work out very well but it feels safe to have tried. Have you have been around a kid who would rather do nothing than do something and make a mistake? It is pretty sad. The fear is so paralyzingly. It limits their growth and their ability to learn. I’ve lived there a lot of the time. I have been too afraid of failing to take any action so I take no action and wonder why I feel dead inside.

We were meant to live, to flow, to create, and to learn.

Raising children who are so vivaciously in this learning process highlights (painfully at times) what I believe about success, failure and the faithfulness of God. In the end no matter what my stated intention is,  it is what I believe about failure comes through- my actions speak. As parents we teach our children everyday how to react to all of life, including mistakes.

      Meet the Robinsons is a wacky movie about a young boy inventor. At the dinner table one evening an invention goes haywire and creates a huge mess. The boy bows his head in shame as the crowd sits in stunned silence. Then an unexpected thing happens. They celebrate his failure. They clap, they yell, “Great failure!”, and encourage him to keep trying. The boy is shocked and greatly impacte. He goes on to be a great inventor.

My husband and I watched that cartoon before we had kids and it shaped a desire in us to celebrate learning and encourage growth. The more common reaction to failure is disgust, annoyance, disappointment, and shame. None of these reactions empower change. Most of us know when we mess up. Just like in the story, we don’t need everyone at the dinner table to tell us the invention didn’t work. We can see that. Often what we can’t see is the way out.

God is faithful.  God is faithful means that when I fail He has made a way forward for me. This doesn’t excuse the failure. The  mess at the dinner table didn’t go away because the family cheered. What it means is that God will be faithful and offer a way through the mess.

I remember  a year or so ago when one of my kids chose to play with his toys rather than clean them up. I had given the “Pick up, lunch in 15 minutes” warning and no action other than playing was taken. Lunch time came and there was still a mess. Now he was upset and afraid he’d miss lunch. I was upset that he had ignored me and that he was now crying instead of cleaning up the mess. He were so afraid of missing out and so overwhelmed by the mess that he could not move. I remember being angry until I saw that fear. It was a lightbulb moment. He didn’t need to be told how he had failed he needed someone who had hope.

I stopped midway through my, unhelpful “Stop crying and pick up this mess”, lecture and took a breath. I forgave my four year old (forgiveness is important even if it seems silly or “not their fault”- just forgive. It makes a difference) and then I asked some questions.

“What is the problem?”

“Why is this too hard?”

And

“How can I help?”

I asked them one at a time, letting him answer each one. I found out he thought the problem was huge. I found he thought he was responsible for the organizing of the whole room. He was overwhelmed by the problem. Once he had a little help and a clearer perspective we got the mess picked up. WONDERFUL.

That’s what God does. He is so faithful. He is not overwhelmed by our mess. He is not angry. He is the answer. Look at Him. Whether it is a mess at the dinner table or toys on the floor or angry words  we have spoken or whatever, there is a way through the mess. There is hope. We can trust Him to be faithful. He makes seeds grow. He can cause beauty to bloom in our hearts. Our job is to turn our hearts to trust and believe. It is from there that change can happen and we are able to clean up and go on to create something beautiful from the mess.

Good Morning, It’s Been a While.

Do you hear the birds?

Do you smell the morning breeze?

The trees are not yet unfurling their arch of green but bushes bravely poke their bursts of color  throughout the brown wood.

The garden is brown  with freshly turned clods waiting for planting… and it is green with oats waiting for the tiller.

The grass is too long  in the yard and the mower sits broken in the garage.

It is spring.

I hope you breathe deeply today.

I breathe deeply today.

I hope you sink your toes into the naked earth today.

I go barefoot all the time.

I hope you kiss the ones you love and whisper silly, lovely words that make them all giggle.

I do all the time.

It is spring.

Soon the trees will unfurl their mossy arches and we will sit in their shade  on freshly mown grass.

The tiller will sit in the shed and the garden with bloom green with seedlings.

And we will welcome summer.

 

One of a Kind

  

(Edited 6/14/2015. My apologies – important paragraphs were accidentally deleted in the initial editing process)

You are spectacular. You have been amazingly, wonderfully made. You are God dreamed. You are the sparkle in His eye that He decided would exist forever. You are skillfully made. You are loved. You are worth studying.

Once upon a time, a little child brought a piece of artwork to his mother as she washed dishes. He excitedly explained the picture as the mother smiled and nodded. She loved her little boy so much. She glanced at the picture as the boy excitedly told her about the details and while the smile never left the mother’s face she inwardly wondered if the recycle box would fit all the pictures that would be made that day. And somewhere in her wondering the little boy stopped his chattering and ran away to make another picture. 
The story above is not a true story. A month or so ago God was beginning to talk to me about my personal value. I struggled with concept of studying how he made me and who he made me to be. It sounded so… Self centered. That is when I saw the picture above. I suddenly began to see one of the reasons why God would want me to know me in our journey together. 

When a child of mine comes with one of their pictures, they come with a valuable piece of their heart. They want me to share in their excitement over their creation. No matter how many pictures they make, each one is special and reveals a little of the thought process and personality of the child. And each picture needs the artist to explain what it is. So that is why I ask God  questions like, “Why did you make me?” He has brought me on a very simple journey of beginning to understand how I think, how I process life, how I love and how I want to be loved. And He has begun to affirm that the deep dreams and desires of my heart are God dreamed and inspired. He delights in seeing me express him in the unique way he made me. He loves that I love mud and white…not really together but it does happen. He loves that I love being a mama. He is so delighted that we are crazy and silly and full of hope and faith that having such a large passel full will be the most exciting and delightful adventure we could ever have. There is more that I am learning. At the center of it all, I am learning He made me to be me and not something else.

Have you ever looked at a child’s picture and said- “Oh! A cow.” The child hesitates and consents but somewhere in the conversation it comes out he really made it to be a house.  That doesn’t happen with God. No matter what anyone else thinks, God doesn’t change his mind. He doesn’t make us and then realize He made a mistake and now we have to be something different. No, our transformation with God is a process of growth. Like a tiny baby eventually will grow and change and age, we are transformed as we live life with Him. We have the opportunity to grow into more and more of who we were made to be.

You are precious. You are precious becuase you are God made. Getting to know the “You” He made is essential in your journey to knowing the heart of God. If we act like- ” I don’t matter, it is all about you God”, we miss the mark. We miss the opportunity to know the heart of God as it is expressed when he created us. 

Psalm 139 says that we are known by God- we are one of His Marvelous works! 
Take a moment today to be grateful for how He made you. Unique, special, you may be one in a million but you are his special one. Even more than a child eager to show his precious artwork God is eager for you to be so thrilled with every detail of how He made you!

Give Thanks.

  

  

Gratitude is so powerful. Gratitude is literally the vechical by which we move from the brink of despair into a place of hope. A grateful heart brings us out of the narrow place into green pastures where we can rest. 

I love the imagery of a garden. I have been imagining gratitude as a beautiful wooden gateway into a lush garden full of fruit, singing birds, and flowers. (Romantic, I know.) In the garden grows, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness…all of the wonderful attributes I possess as fruit of His Spirit inside of me. That picture has reminded me to be grateful no matter how I feel. 

I am grateful because I live in abundance. I am blessed with delightful children, strength, a wonderful forever friend, I get to also call, “husband”. I am grateful for seeing new birds and smelling new flowers. I am grateful for green grass and quiet mornings. 

I am grateful I can enter the place where Jesus is with gratitude and praise. I am thankful that His joy is my strength. I am comforted that just like a tree planted by the water I will bear good fruit, just because I am with Him.

(Psalm 100:4, Neh 8:10, Psalm 1, )

Good Morning,

Lisa D

  

Pardon Our Dust…

(A Photo Update)

Life is in transition. Our internet has been sketchy and time has been crunched. Here is a little peek into our very wonderfully full life.

Major painting and flooring project underway

  

Fresh coat of paint  

Forman at work  

Sleeping in the mess  

A little peek at our NEW school tool🙂  

“Take a picture if I do something cool.”  

The New Big Boy

  

My Girl 

Without Want

It was a few weeks ago that I was talking to God about some different areas in our life. As I paused in thought I remembered the phrase, “I shall not want”. 

It is in the first line of the 23rd Psalm. A pretty common verse, yet, in that moment it became a promise I could believe.

It was really an amazing moment.

  

So often though I look at the snapshots of my life and feel uncertain.

I feel uncertain of what is right,  of what I can expect, and of the future.

 

      I forget the ridiculous blessings, gifts, miracles. I forget who God is.

       I forget to bring the groceries bills, the sickness, the tiredness, the bad attitudes, the relationships, the uncertainty and ALL the stuff that life is made of before the One who I know as faithful, as loving, and as pursuing friend. 

                  When I forget, I choose the only thing that looks certain, fear.

I shall not want. 

It is a promise based on who Jesus is- 

My shepherd.

I can be certain.

I shall not want for time. I shall not want for energy. I shall not want for strength. I shall not want for material goods. I shall not want for joy.

“The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.”

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Feed on His faithfulness”  (ISV)

“I would have lost heart unless I believed to see His goodness in the Land of the living.”

 I feel like a child who has picked up a very common stone. These are common truths. Yet, these words have become treasured promises I mean to keep.

   

May this be a day beyond what you can imagine.

Good morning, Lisa D.

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