Friday, May 24, 2013

Off the Road

 
 
The coffee stand.
Our favorite local roaster. Personal service where the owner/barista with the coolest name remembers that I like decaf ground for a French press.
 

 
 
The farm.
It's where I always feel I've stepped into a Beatrix Potter book.   Cats lounge among the irises.  Chickens take awkward flight through an old barn.  A blacksmith's shop sits among the tomato vines.  This is a family affair that operates purely on the honor system.  Pick up your produce.  Drop your money in the box.  Small town in the ever expanding city.  And if we hit them at the right time, they invite the kids back to hold a new acquisition or two, a baby goat or gosling. 
 
 
 
 
The greenhouse. 
Every year we make the short drive minutes from our suburban home to purchase locally grown flowers for the front porch.
 
 
 
 
The roost.
Our local source for fresh, free range eggs. 

 
 

 
 
Grisley's really the reason we come.
 
 
The berry patch.
Though a bit of a drive at twenty minutes, Cottle's is worth it, and we pick more than enough to share with the neighbors during our cul de sac evenings.
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Slowing

 
Early Sunday morning hours.  Combining two of my favorite things, coffee and good conversation over the Word, with my least favorite thing makes lighter work. 


 
My Side of the Mountain.  Sigh.  And bees.  Double sigh.  My great-granddaddy was a beekeeper.  Let me tell you his story someday soon.
 
 
Handicrafts by my twelve year old: paracord bracelets and key fobs.  (Psstt. He sells these.  Interested?  Email me.) 
 
 
Quiet time and the outdoor hours seem to blend into one.  We're taking our cues from our little friends and slowing down, feeling the wind against our cheeks, and breathing in the freedom of sweet days. 
 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chase: A Review

I started Lent, a season I did not grow up observing, this year feeling parched, a profound thirst.  Though I didn't plan on eliminating anything from my life this year, at the last minute and after watching my belly not only not shrink post-baby but grow, giving up sugar seemed like a stellar idea.    I soon realized that the source of my need went much deeper than what I was putting in my mouth.  What I was- or was not- putting into my soul was starving me.   I was substituting the Word with other books.  I was becoming severely malnourished.

About this time Chase, an interactive, DVD-based Bible Study, by Jennie Allen came across my desk for review.  This is designed specifically for small groups and is geared toward women.   The DVD features Jennie against the exquisite backdrop of Marfa, Texas.


 
I set out excited by the subtitle, "Chasing After the Heart of God," hoping for a guided tour into God's character.  Through each session, Allen masterfully takes us to the Word,  weaving in and out of the events of David's life in I and II Samuel.   Her goal?  To set before us a God infinitely more worthy of our pursuit than the things we are chasing; he is so worthy that we will want to leave it all behind to seek him alone.
 
Each of the eight lessons,
 
identity
courage
obedience
belief
repentance
surrender,
 
walks us through the unearthing of our heart's pursuits, what we are chasing.   The study sessions, peppered with hymns and history, always lead us to lay our hearts out alongside the Word and respond along with David in the Psalms.  Finally, she assigns four projects throughout the week, activities that have the appearance of simplicity but plumb deeply into how we see God and, more importantly, who he really is. 
  
She ends on a profoundly personal note that drives home this single overarching point:  We aren't chasing God.  He has been chasing us.  We aren't allowed to fixate on ourselves.   Introspection isn't the goal.  Adoration is.  She pushes and pulls and nudges us along into the presence of God, the very same God with whom David was so deeply in love.
 
"Let's live like God is real and heaven is coming."
 
The bottom line is that this is an excellent study for any group of women who long to chase after the heart of God. 
 
Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this study for review.  The opinions expressed are my own and, as always, are my honest evaluation of the material.  I have not been nor will be compensated in any way for this review.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why, Hello April



Ah, Babar.  We do love you enough to forgive that one little accusation that hunters are "wicked."


Imagine Childhood arrived in the mail and inspired me to dust off the sewing machine to create a little homemade fun. I love this book.  Love. It.


It's Spring Break for most of the neighborhood, and we've spent hours and hours in the cul de sac with kids weaving in and out on Ripsticks and bikes.  Laughter.  Play.  Mamas and Dads talking and sipping on coffee.  This is the sweet stuff of life, folks, and we are knee deep in it, drinking every last drop because we know these days are short.    And so we will bottle them up and, one day, unearth them from the deep recesses of time, savor their aroma, and slowly sip the memory of Glory days.   I've lived long enough now to get this way of life.  And to see it as beautiful.

City Walks

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Winds


 
March winds are blowing hard in my town, and we are taking to the outdoors in large chunks.  The downtown local farmer's market has been a favorite Saturday morning activity the last two weekends.  Perfect outdoor time.
 

We love this North American Wildlife Memory Game that we've had for years. 
 
Chalk Bark:  We ran out of chalk last week.  So what do you do when you don't want to run to the store and have a huge tub of Plaster of Paris rotting on the shelf?  Naturally you make your own chalk bark.  The key to perfect color is to mix the powdered paint with the Plaster of Paris before adding water.  Mix together in a shallow pan or container, and spread it thinly so that it will be less than an inch thick.  When it hardens, break it into large pieces.  This works so much better than molds, and the kids love experimenting with the larger, abnormal shapes. 
 
 
I started a DVD Bible study, Chase.  Review to come soon.
 
The little kids and I have enjoyed reading How Groundhog's Garden Grew.  It's great inspiration to get them outside soon for planting.  The illustrations are exquisite.
 
My twelve year old and I absolutely fell in love with Two Little Confederates (the Kindle version is free).   It's a lovely glimpse into the adventures of two young southern brothers during a time of great turmoil when the Civil War touches their lives in a real way and challenges them to exhibit character over taking sides.  I was sad to turn the last page.  Truly a must read.
 
 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Being That Parent

After three weeks of coughing, fevers, antibiotics, ear infections, and general all around malaise, we were eager to head for the door.  One caveat for time in the out of doors with the Faithful Five should be illness.

 
When I was a girl, I freely roamed our little piece of the Appalachian Mountains.  I climbed and hiked and explored and breathed in the earth, air, and water of my ancestors like it was my very life.  It flows deep in my veins though with six in tow I rarely get there these days.  I had long talks with the beautiful Creator as leaves crunched beneath my feet and the breeze lifted my hair.  I firmly believe if this world, as Edwards says, is just a foretaste of heaven that I will not be able to stand in the presence of the original Glory.  Glory Himself.  It brings tears to my eyes just at the thought of such a great Creator, who would give me a such gracious glimpse of himself.  I groan along with all creation, "Come, Lord Jesus.  Come."
 
I cherish the fact that my parents gave me that freedom to know creation so intimately in solitude.  And I've had to ask myself, can I be that kind of a parent? 
 
Yes.  Yes, I can.
 
This boy of mine has taken to his bike and had exceeded anything I expected and has awed me with his spunk.  He rode to the dam, twelve miles from our house. 
 
Did I stalk him just a little?  You bet I did.