Tuesday, December 13, 2011

lessons from broccoli.

One of the many things that I love about Jesus is how He related to the people of His day using stories {we call them parables}.  He used the things of everyday life, such as farming, to help people relate to Biblical truth.  All throughout the Gospels {Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John}, we see Jesus speaking in story form.  I think we all could stand to learn from His easy, conversational way of relating to others... regardless of beliefs about spiritual matters.  Instead of attempting to work so many "churchy" words and phrases into our sentences, we would have greater influence if we were just... real.  Being salt and being light {what Jesus said we should be like in this world} is less about words and more about relationships.  The most effective way to share the love of Christ is organic... it's natural, it's based on building relationships with people.

I find that God speaks to me through stories.  He uses the simplest, most ordinary things to reinforce the truths that I've read in His Word.  In the stillness, in the chaos that is my life, in the midst of laundry and dishes and potty breaks, {even as I type this, I had to pause when I heard, "Mommy... I need to go potty!"}He speaks.  Today, I want to share with you how God used broccoli.

Several weeks ago, we decided to try growing broccoli.  Let me explain how our first attempt at container gardening was a complete flop didn't go exactly as we'd hoped.  We bought tons of containers, planted all kinds of things, watered and fed the plants as we were supposed to, and harvested a crop {i.e., 3} potatoes the size of marbles.  I'm pretty sure that one pest or another {I'm learning to LOATHE snails} gobbled up any hopes of other vegetables we'd hoped to eat from our garden.  So, I suppose you could say I/we were less than optimistic about the outcome of our little broccoli-planting venture.  

Within a week or ten days, our broccoli plant began to grow... bigger, and bigger, and bigger.  On our front porch is this huge, beautiful, healthy-looking broccoli plant.  There was only one small problem... despite its huge green leaves, it lacked one single head of broccoli.  Oh, it was beautiful, and it gave me hope that we would actually get to eat the fruits... er, vegetables, of our labor.  Walt has been faithfully watering the plant and watching after it, and while it appeared to be "working", without a head of broccoli, all of his work was in vain.  What's the use in putting hours into a vegetable plant that has only leaves and no vegetables?

About 19 months ago, we started asking God to grant a specific request for our family.  While I know that God has heard my request, He has not yet answered in the way I've expected.  I am thankful that the power of a prayer is in the One who hears it, not the one who says it.  Not a day has gone by that I haven't pleaded with God for this one thing.  During an especially meaningful time with God a couple of months ago, I felt Him whisper to my heart, "I want you to want Me most."  So, perhaps, He has not answered this prayer the way I'd hoped because He just wants my heart to be completely His, completely surrendered to whatever He wants for my life.  As I poured my heart out to a friend, she imparted a bit of wisdom that wasn't lost on me.  She said, "Perhaps this is the way you learn trust. Not saying it's easy. Nothing worth it ever is."

Yesterday morning, we woke up and were going about our normal routine when Walt {who I thought had already gone to work!} came into Caleb's room.  He handed me his phone, which had a picture on it, and said, "We have broccoli!" 

Lo and behold, our broccoli plant is starting to sprout heads of broccoli!  

Oh, no, they're not huge, and we definitely have a while before they're edible.  

But we. have. broccoli.  

That's the main point.

All of Walt's hard work, all of our waiting, is paying off.  

I was thinking about our impending broccoli success while unloading the dishwasher this afternoon, when God said to me, "You know this other thing that you've been asking Me about?"  

I dried off another cup... "mmhmm?"

"Give it time.  Give Me time.  Let Me work.  What I'm doing, it's far bigger, it's so much more than you can imagine, and it's going to take time.  Trust Me."

And, so I will.  Because He. is. good.

Believe it: I have all I need for today.  The needs of our day are great, but God is greater and we call Him providence because we believe: He always provides.  {And when God provides, He should be praised, and if God always provides, shouldn't praise always be on our lips?}

Monday, December 12, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Blessed Family Religious Christmas Card
Visit Shutterfly.com for classic photo Christmas cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the sandpipers

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending some time at the beach with my family.  Literally.  Condo within spittin' distance of the Atlantic.  It was glorious.  

We collected shells {I smell some crafting fun in my near future}, watched surfers {who had some great waves, thanks to a passing hurricane}, played in the waves {when the rip current wasn't too ridiculously strong...}, ate at a couple of local restaurants {DaKine Diego's Insane Burritos. ridiculously good.}, and just enjoyed our time being together as a family.  

We are beach people, through and through.  There's just something calming about watching and listening to the waves.  It's almost hypnotizing.  My mom and I discussed the incredible amount of energy the ocean contains.  My heart kept singing, O Lord, my God... when I, in awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy hands have made... Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee... How great Thou art...  Even Caleb has listened to the ocean on a sound machine all night, every night, since he was just weeks old.  We. Love. The. Beach.

And, in all honesty, who has been to the beach and NOT noticed the sandpipers, playing along the water's edge?  
(image courtesy National Geographic)

As the waves go out, they scurry as quickly as their little birdie legs will carry them, and they start searching in the sand for these little, itty bitty creatures that live in shells, as well as whatever other insects they can find and quickly eat.  The shell dwellers know the birds are coming, too, because as soon as they're exposed, they start trying to bury themselves in the sand and hide.  Burrowing deeply, I imagine them holding their breath until another wave comes to sweep them away from the danger of the sandpipers.

One morning, I awoke before everyone else {and let me clarify- that was literally one. morning.  My little alarm clock made sure everyone was up no later than 7am each day. Bless him.  How else would we have seen every sunrise?}.  I quickly made my way out to the back porch, overlooking the ocean.  I had just a few moments before the sun started to peek over the edge of the horizon, and there was this deep longing in my soul to spend those moments talking to my Creator.  The One who spoke everything {this magnificent ocean... this worn-out, weary mom... everything} into existence.  And, as our conversation ensued, I once again began to observe a sandpiper, running back and forth at water's edge.  Just like this one...

Surf Bird/Sandpiper dancing from Richard Smith Jr on Vimeo.

I noticed something about the sandpiper.  He never watched the water.  There was no challenge in moving at just the right time, it was all instinct.  He wasn't nervously watching the waves, trying to get it all right, worried that one would pull him under just as he was trying to grab a bite.  He never looked.  He just did what he was created to do, and trusted that he would be safe.  

I wondered, almost out loud, "How?  How does he know when the water is going to start rushing toward land?" And without missing a beat, the One I was conversing with spoke softly to my heart. "The sandpiper spends his life out here in the ocean... he immerses himself in the environment... everything he does revolves around this ocean.  That is why he doesn't even have to look."  I sucked in a breath, contemplating the depth of this realization.  As I exhaled, I heard Him say, "Daughter, immerse yourself in me, and you won't even have to look around you.  I am all you need."

... and He is.

Friday, July 29, 2011

a yummy right of passage...

Today, Caleb had his first donut!  Needless to say, he is a fan...  I mean, really, who can resist?

It went kind of like this...

Mmmmm... this is good! (of course, he immediately wanted to hold the donut and be in control...)

Hey- that was really good!  ummm... more?
(to which Mommy & Daddy said, "no way!")

Wait a minute... what is this STUFF all over my hands?

Obviously, donuts are not a frequent item in our house... but a much-enjoyed, rare treat- now, for all of us!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Willette's Joy of Love - Days 1 through 5

I have undertaken a month-long challenge by Willette Designs entitled, The Joy of Love.  In typical fashion, I am a few days behind...  Here are days one through five:

 Day 1: What They Do- our assignment was to capture our subject doing, simply, what they do.  We bought Caleb an amazing train table for Christmas, and he so enjoys driving his train around the tracks.  He's quite serious about it, in case you can't tell.

 Day 2: How They Look- our assignment was to capture the TRUE essence/expression/attitude/posture that SCREAMS your loved one!  This cheesy grin is just... Caleb.

 Day 3: Then & Now- our assignment was to capture the difference between how our loved one looked when we met him and how he looks now... to truly get the essence of the changes that have taken place.  One suggestion was to have the subject hold a picture of himself "then"... after several attempts and zero cooperation, I happened to snap this shot as he threw the "then" picture on the ground.  Little did I know how much I would LOVE it!

Day 4: What They Wear- the assignment for day 4 was to capture my subject's clothing, on or off of him.  These are Caleb's everyday K-Swiss sneakers.

Day 5: What You Love to Hate- the assignment? Capture something about your loved one that drives you NUTS... if not a physical characteristic, something that embodies the idea.  One thing that drives me bananas is Caleb's ability to completely tune. me. out. as if I'm not in the room.  This facial expression pretty much says it all. :)

(Big shout-out to my girl, Ree, The Pioneer Woman... my photos just wouldn't be the same without her PS Actions!)