Sunday, September 21, 2014

His Ways are Always Love

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts."

It was almost like I was the only one in the church and God was speaking directly and only to me this morning.  

Mary.  You don't know what I am doing.  You don't know where this is going.  You don't know how it will all work out.  
You don't need to.  Just stop already.  Stop.  Stop doing My job and rest in the fact that it's all part of My big beautiful glorious plan.  A plan that is far beyond anything you can reason, understand, analyze, or wrap that little head around.  It's all love.

I like to know things.  I have a craving to understand a situation and what God may be doing through all of it.  I am the analyzer of analyzers and I find peace and faith in reason and sorting a topic out and mulling it around over and over in my head.  Sometimes, though, when there are no clear answers, when the topic involves the messiness of human relationships or the muck of sin or answers that are higher than the heavens, I get stuck.  There is a temptation to feel like God is holding out on me.  

Lord, if You would just EXPLAIN Yourself, that'd be great and I could go along with it much more easily, You know.

It comes from a good place.  I love Him.  I love His creation.  I am in continuous awe of the way He has designed us and all of creation.  I am fascinated that He knows every atom of every molecule of every cell and that this crazy wonderful universe is so perfectly ordered for life.  I want to know more of the how of His work and even more so the why.  I want to know how this whole humanity thing is going to play out and why that has to be in such a messy messy way.  I love trying to see how He may be working in the intricacies of my life.  He designed us to wonder and reflect and study and know.

It's good to ponder His work. But at a certain point we will get to a point where we just can't understand it.  It's far beyond anything we can grasp at this point.  It takes humility, a humility He is constantly pulling me toward, that recognizes not that there are no answers but there are plenty of answers that are too big for me right now.

Lord, WHY are you doing this?
Lord, this makes no sense.
Lord, how can anything good come from this pain?
Lord, I'm pretty sure it would work much better if You did it THIS way.

One of the things I look forward to in heaven is having all the questions answered and even more so looking back on this crazy journey of earth and seeing the beautiful tapestry that was created with all the threads we understood woven in with all the ones we didn't.  I've been laughed at before for that.  Oh, you won't care about all that when you're in heaven.  I disagree.  I think we will better be able to glorify Him when we see how He worked and how at every single intricate moment and in every single intricate detail it was Love at work all the time.  I think we will care about looking back on our story and seeing just how amazing His plan was through all of it, though at the time His ways were so far beyond our understanding.  We are a people with roots, with a story beginning in time but extending into eternity.  I don't think this is all some big charade until the "real" stuff begins.  I think this is the real stuff, all part of the story, as high and unfathomable as it might be in the moment.  In the fullness of time I think we will rejoice and be in awe of just how real it all was and how involved our God was in every messy and confusing circumstance so that we could finally reach Him, our Beloved, waiting at the altar.

But until that day when all days are fulfilled, I find peace in surrendering what I do not know.  I will keep on seeking and knowing and reveling in the ways that I see Him work.  But when my mind is too small or my hurt too great, I will choose to have faith in a God whose plans are always for my good and never for my ill, despite how muddled or stinging they may be.  I will choose to trust in the One who has proven His trustworthiness countless times over and I will surrender the unknowing to Him.

He is here.  He is working in that situation that seems irredeemable.  He is bigger than the pain that is bleeding your heart right now.  He knows the confusion and the knots and the drama and the wounds.   When all things are made clear we will know again that His ways our not our ways but His ways are always always Love.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Seven Quick Takes With Sundae in Hand

While I'm sitting here at home indulging in a bit of caramel sundae, my husband is out running a 5K with some friends.  So there's that.  Gotta balance it all out somehow.  I should probably do some diastasis recti exercises or something just so I don't feel too losery.  Instead it's a perfect time for the randomness of Quick Takes, am I right?

A couple of the boys are down with colds.  One is, shall we say, less than valiant in the face of a common cold and has been on the couch all day.  Another two just had a quick less than 24 hour stuffy/runny nose but have been playing the whole time.   And one has remained unaffected.  Here's hoping the raw honey, pulsatilla, vitamin C, and colloidal silver are doing their thing.  It was a good reminder to order my stash of elderberries for the cold and flu season so I did just that this morning.  We had such a great run health-wise last year and I think much of that was due to our little regimen.

I am going to risk losing the pop culture respect of dozens of people but I'm just going to come out and admit I have a few, how shall we say, issues with the whole All About the Bass and America's love affair with the song.  I know, I song, can't get it out of my head, good beat, yadda, yadda, yadda.  But let's not pretend that the song lyrics are not completely self-contradictory, right?

This article talks more about it and she goes a little farther than I would but makes some great points about the message as well as the video itself.
 "Again, the message isn’t really, “I have value, even though I don’t fit the mold I’ve been told I should fit,” but, “I have value, in fact I have more value than some other women who don’t share my body type, because I’m the one a heterosexual man should be attracted to.”"
I know.  Don't hate me.  Just a treble trying to find the love.
(P.S. Language warning if you do click over and read.  And kudos to Mary for sharing it!)

Do you have a Trader Joe's near you?  If you do, next time you're there, get these:

So good.  I mean, yeah, they're not as healthy as like fresh snap peas or anything but a great snack that feels like you're indulging but aren't all that horrible for you and are good for packing in the lunch bag?  I'm good with that.  And they have a bunch of fiber and protein and iron and magnesium and all sorts of other vitamins but you don't even realize it because like I said, so good.

So.  Did you hear the one about the thirty-somethingish girl who was trying to be all "fun" and "play volleyball" with some friends and was like "yeah, I can dive for that ball" and in doing so twisted her already ACL-less knee to the sound of a chilling pop and has been hobbling around for two weeks?  No?

It's a good one.
The good news is that I can almost bend it all the way again and don't anymore resemble the hunchback of Notre Dame whilst going up and down the stairs.  Oh, and because of our STELLAR insurance that now rots due to all the new regulations of our lovely president and all his "let's make health care more less accessible" I chose not to get it checked out and pay whatever crazy bills we'd end up getting.  Here's hoping it all heals just fine without those silly doctor people.  Who needs them anyway?

Tortilla Face Break:

Is it really lame to tell you that we're getting a new garage door?  Probably but I don't even care because things like that get me all excited.
New garage door!  Squeeee!   (Which is more the sound the old garage door makes than the sound I'm really making right now.)

Oh, wait.  I thought of something better to talk about!  Edel!  So, not gonna lie, wasn't thrilled with the Charleston choice because that's still all far and such but THEN I saw that Southwest flies to Charleston from Buffalo and maybe, just maybe, if the flights are cheap enough, I could get there with some of the miles we've stored up through them?  Maybe?  It doesn't look like it's one of their direct cheapie flights but there is hope.  Maybe they'll have one of their sales or something.  We shall see...if God wants it, I'm sure He'll remind the decision makers at Southwest that they've got to make it happen.

  Alrighty.  Back to my regularly scheduled sundae.

Linking it on up with the Quick Taker herself, Madame Jen.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Knitting, Reading, and a Prayer Request

Last year I happened upon a copy of Four Stories by Sigrid Undset at a used book sale at the library.  I grabbed it right away having recently finished and having loved Kristin Lavransdatter and I tucked it away to be read later.  I just now finished the third story and man.  I was really hoping for them to click with me more.  They remind me of Flannery or Dorothy Parker.  A bit too depressing and not enough resolution for this non-intellectual who usually needs a bit of help seeing the full glass.  They're the kind of stories where they end and you're like, "Wait.  That's it?  Everyone is just sad??"  And then you feel sad, too, and like there was probably some deeper meaning and plot line that you totally missed and need your eleventh grade English teacher to flesh out for you.  So that was disappointing.  But I, ever the one who must finish a project, will read the last one and maybe, just maybe, I'll like that one more.  I do plan on getting Undset's biography of St. Catherine of Siena soon and working my way through that.  At least I know how that one ends.

I just finished two newborn hats using all organic cotton scrap yarn from my stash and tried my hand a bit more at striping.  These are for some doula babies I hope to be meeting in a few weeks!  Now I have to get working on something extra special for a brand new nephew who was born a few days ago!!  Welcome sweet baby Keaton!  We are thrilled that you're here and can't wait until we get to meet you! 

And hey, if y'all could pray for a young man named Paul whose cancer has returned and who is a brand new dad to the sweetest little baby girl, I'd really be grateful.  Lord Jesus, please please heal Paul.  Thank you, friends!

Linking with Ginny for Yarn Along!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

This Month in Boys :: September 2014

(Preemptory bad photo warning.  I do not know what is going on with my camera but apparently it and focusing are on bad terms right now.)

John Paul

-in response to my question of what he would like to do this fall immediately replied,
"Go to Cuba."
(He meant the Caribbean.  Not that that clarifies anything but I'm relieved to know there aren't any commie-sympathizers in this house.)
-felt pretty cool riding his first jet ski.  He has plans to own one in the future.
-is taking biology and painting at a local learning center once a week.
-asked the other day at what age he would be allowed to own a machete.
-has been really interested in looking up all sorts of local nature (especially birds) in his field guide and teaching us all what they are.
-has already decided that he would like to be St. Anthony for All Saints' Day.
-says his favorite thing about fall is jumping in the leaves and collecting chestnuts.  (They can be made into conkers, you know.)


- requested, "Can I have some more food, Mama?  I need to get fatter so I can wear a watch."  (It's true.)
-has been extra snuggly and physically affectionate lately.  Soaking it in.
-has decided he would like to be a priest when he grows up.
-is taking biology, history, and singing classes at a local learning center.
-loves helping me cook dinner and breakfast.
-has been slowly learning a little bit of piano from John Paul...but would still rather take guitar.
-has opted for St. Francis for All Saints'...gonna love making two matching habits!
-thinks playing in the leaves and making leaf forts is the best part of fall.


-went to work with Papa a few weeks ago and was thrilled.
-learned to ride a two-wheeler!
-never ever remembers to take off his bike helmet and I'll see him in the house several hours after riding still wearing it.
-has been wearing a yellow bow tie to Mass.  It's the cutest.
-is part of a once a week pre-k and science class at a local learning center.
-has decided that purple has now triumphed over green as the favorite color.
-begs to do his lessons every day.  He's working (slowly) on first grade math, learning to read, and handwriting.
-is very excited this fall "to catch the leaves when they come falling down.  And what Michael said."


-says "I can't know" when he means "I don't know."  So adorable.
-is my first toddler who will look you in the face, disobey with a grin, and run away.
-is intentionally asked questions that he will say yes to because he has the cutest inflection when he says "mmmhmmm!"
-wakes up at 6 a.m. every day and hangs with Papa upstairs while I get to have some quiet time downstairs.
-two words:  Nap. Strike.
-besides being the impiest imp there ever was he is also fantastically cute and makes us laugh even when he's being naughty.
-needs his mother to catch him on video singing Gone, Gone, Gone by Phillip Phillips.  It's hysterical.
-likes to "catch ropes" in the fall.
Mama:  "Do you mean catch leaves?"
L:  "No, catch ropes."
Alrighty then.

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