Holiday Reflections

ChristmasPresents

For the first time in three years, I’m actually getting commercials. In our new home, our Spectrum internet service comes with a TV app that has 25 channels. Now that the days are shorter, I can’t be outside until 8:30-9 o’clock, so I’ve been settling in for some Property Brothers on HGTV on Wednesday nights.

I’ve been surprised at the number of commercials versus actual show. I know the statistics, but to actually watch it… WOW.

What I find more troublesome though is the message behind all the advertisements. Your wife will only know you love her if you find the perfect piece of jewelry. Your kids won’t feel loved if you don’t by them the latest toy, cell phone, etc. Your husband won’t feel loved if he doesn’t get a new grill, toolbox, car kit, etc.

Continue reading

Winding Down 2018

annual-reviewOn Sunday, many Christians start a new liturgical year. I begin a new journal and a new planner. The reflection and preparation for the new year that most people start the last week of December or the first week of the new year I started last week and and will be winding down this week.

2018 has been up and down for me. There have been significant loses and struggles, but there have also been some positive changes that have set me up beautifully for 2019.

My word for 2018 was Shalom. I didn’t know everything that word meant when I started the year, but I came to understand that it was much more than peace. Shalom is the peace Christ has and spread. Shalom is a peace that passes understanding, a peace that springs from wholeness.

As I look back on the year, that is exactly what I found: wholeness.

Continue reading

Black Friday

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media this week, arguing for or against Black Friday shopping. Some argue we should stay home and be thankful for what we have. Others are grateful for the chance to save for holiday gifts.

IMHO, it’s a personal choice, but I wonder how many people are really choosing the craziness of holiday shopping.

For me, we’re moving into the liturgical season of Advent, which is a time of reflection and emotional/spiritual preparation. I want quiet. I want peace.

The last thing I want is to be in a store with 100 other people spending money I don’t have to impress people I don’t even like.

Continue reading

Struggling with my Inner Martha

Georg_Friedrich_Stettner_(attr)_Christus_im_Hause_der_MarthaLast week, one of the Gospel readings included Mary and Martha–a story that has always troubled me a little.  I want to be Mary at Jesus’s feet, but inside I’m Martha, as I think most Americans are.

Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When this Gospel reading comes up in the liturgical year, you can see people squirming in the pews a little. After all, we’re all about getting things done and to many of us, we want to complain just as Martha did that those around us aren’t pulling their weight.

Continue reading

A New Direction

DivergingPaths

The last three years have been a bumpy journey of massive transformation in my life. In a way, I’ve come full circle, but I am not the same person who started this journey.

I started this journey with dreams of having a sustainable farm with rescue horses, donkeys, and dogs. I pictured building a spacious home, a guest house, and my ultimate dream barn complete with indoor arena.

In the process of pursuing that dream, my dear husband and I nearly lost ourselves and our marriage. We emptied our bank accounts and put everything in our lives on hold. Everything became stressful. There was no joy left in our lives or in our home.

I don’t regret the journey, but I’m glad that it’s coming to an end and that I have a clearer view of who I am and what I want. Continue reading

Changes Afoot

Skyskape

These days we have a lot of changes going on!

First, we changed our hosting provider due to some rather crappy support at HostGator.  I used to have a dedicated account that let me host multiple sites, but as I moved away from web development into farming and writing for a living, I no longer needed that much space. I didn’t realize that downgrading my service would mean downgrading my support!

So… We’ve moved our website to WordPress.com, which provides everything we need at a lower price with options to upgrade as we grow. Unfortunately, that meant migrating, which allows causes some kind of loss no matter how careful you are. We lost our featured photos and our theme. We look a little different, but we’re working on choosing a premium theme to get us back to our previous standards. I’m also working through posts to make sure all the photos get back in.

Second, we’ve lost our dream property. Someone swooped in with a cash offer before our current place sold. We’re sad, but we’re also sure that God has something wonderful planned, so we can fulfill our calling of helping others learn to care for God’s creation.

We appreciate you’re hanging in there with us as we live out of boxes and are far more silent than we’d like to be! I promise to get things back on track and moving forward as soon as possible. In the meantime, we’re going to take this time to revamp our pages to make our services and mission more clear.

Have a suggestion or a comment?  Please let us know! We’d love to hear from you!

Some Questions to Ponder

I’ve been spending some time contemplating three books, all of which really struck a chord:

  1. How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living, Rob Bell
  2. Breathing Under Water: The Spirituality of the Twelve Steps, Richard Rohr
  3. To Know as We Are Known: A Spirituality of Education, Parker J. Parker

I’ve been undergoing a major transformation the last few years that will culminate in a shift in my career, my lifestyle, and my ministry. In some ways, I have rediscovered childhood loves and forgotten joys. In some ways, I’ve discovered new layers to my personality and spiritual life.

I’m discovering that great spiritual formation and great art live in the same liminal space, opening the conversation rather then declaring what God thinks or what the world needs. Both require us to dig deeper and neither suggest an answer. To be the writer and the spiritual being I aspire to requires more posing of questions, more exposing of paradox and mystery, and more exploration.

So… Here are a few questions for your journal, your contemplation, your musings.

  • What gives you joy?
  • What are the moments when you stop and say, “I can’t believe I get to do this?”
  • How often do you stop and really see what’s around you?
  • When was the last time you stopped just to breath in the scent of honeysuckle (or anything else)?
  • When was the last time you stop to enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face?
  • When do you feel the most connected to the world around you?
  • When do you feel the most alive?
  • What causes you the most stress?
  • What is standing between you and God?
  • What can you let go of?

God bless my brothers and sisters!