Monday, July 30, 2012

Delighting in Green

Like many of your regions, Liberty Farm and our area has been beset by drought.

Last week we had a little bit of rain.

It was transformational!

The parched, crunchy, and brown landscape seemed to sing its return to green.

Vegetable and flower gardens that were barely staying alive with almost daily watering, sprang forth to declare their God designed glory.

Fruit, earlier devastated by cold and now crippled by heat and thirst, bursts forth and its heady fragrance embraces us when we walk in the door.

Cloudless skies released their stronghold and sunsets set fire to the night once again.

Rain falls and begins to heal the earth and sooth our souls as we recognize yet another of God's provisions for us in this season of life - He is helping to preserve our harvest and our livestock.

A phone call brings some financial relief.

Friends offer tools for Weekend Farmer Husband's use.

Clarity for Weekend Farmer Husband and the good faith of sons as he seeks to launch his own business.

Cool nights and dewy mornings.

Learning together - watching DVD's about farming, food, entrepreneurship with the four oldest of our bunch and fortifying our efforts with greater understanding.

Sticky counters, messy sink, colorful glass jars lined up on the counter filled to the brim with jams, salsas, relishes, and fruits.

Beautiful zinnias - be still my heart!

Kids continue to cuddle with kittens.  So glad this has yet to grow old...

Swimming lessons - a delight to the little girls.

Delightful summer read aloud time - morning chores done, coolness still upon us, gathered together.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I Keep Learning the Secret of the Keeper

He knew what I didn't, and in spite of his best efforts, the secret spilled.

Fifteen years ago, belly round with child, heart pregnant with fear and hope,( for I have known one of the worst kind of loss, and in its shadow had been given new life), my tears trickle onto the pillow.

As I wrestle with my deep desire for a daughter - knowing I can't replace the daughter I've had and released - I want to be grateful for the gift the Giver has given.  I don't want to receive the gift on my terms. Troubling terms which want only a "X".  I want to be willing to embrace "Y" knowing in full what that good gift is, having received it two times over, but stopped up by grief  feel incapable.

It's no longer a trickle.  The mattress tremors as it transfers my heaves.  And he stirs.

"Laura, the LORD has heard the desire of your heart.  It's a girl."  Roll. Whiffling.  He slumbers on.

And I tremble deep.

Relief calms. I don't have to fight with myself anymore.

False guilt makes a brief appearance, but I remember the Father delights to give his children good gifts, and why not me?  It's the Giver's prerogative.

And fear, although it comes each day and must be swallowed down hard, cannot keep her from her birth.

At first, each moment roared it's message - He is good!  And slowly, but certainly, the years and layers of years quieted the message, until I either selfishly assumed the goodness or feared its lack.

Pillow again wet, far more than a decade has passed and I am in the grip of wanting only what I'd like to receive, not what the Giver offers.  Can the mattress withstand what the years of fear have compressed into its coils?

Oh, glory, yes.  That seed of a girl planted in me so many years ago, now a lovely young flower, walks with me in the garden the next day, and we harvest what has been so hard fought this season.

In heat, drought, infestation - the Grower and Giver of Life has given undeservedly and provided what is succulent, nourishing, and pleasant.  And unlike the secret spiller, He has never slept.  Instead He keeps me and all that He loves.

Beholding Glory

Life In Bloom

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Will I Remember Nights like This?

Slipping quiet through the silver only a tiny shimmer gives any notice that he's just below the surface.  I stand at the edge watching my boy wash the day away.  Full dark is upon us and we are sharing a secret time.

I ask if he thinks he'll still be a country boy when he grows up.

"Yeah, mom, I can do so many more things here.  I have more freedom in the country.  Like, we can have a swimming pool!"

Cicadas singing their chorus, moon quietly illuminating the sky, humid air pressing down, I see what he sees and I wonder at his ability to grasp big things like freedom.

It feels like stolen moments for the two of us.  The day has had illness, heat, stress, and since it's Wednesday we've had another family over for fellowship/hospitality like we do every Wednesday. We should be going to bed, but I am pressed to linger.

Big gulps of air fill his lungs as he tries to set new personal records for how long and how far he can go under water.  The cows watch from just the other side of the fence.

I hesitate, then say what must be said.  Time to go in.  Cheerfully he climbs over the side and heads into the house.

I look up to the sky wondering if I'll have words to capture the precious moments I've just been given.  Honestly, I don't think I do.  But I come here first to tap tap tap, and if only for a moment capture enough cues to remember how the summer night yielded up it's reward of refreshment, union of mother and son, and the country ripe with its promise of freedom for one with eyes to see.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Here and Now

Do you have a few minutes?  Please stay, if you can, and savor some of the images of summer so far.

When I was a professional outside the home gal, I taught a number of courses for a local university.  One of the more fun classes I taught was a sort of introductory class for adults returning to complete their degree following an extended absence from the classroom.  One of the chapters in the required reading for the course focused on memory skills - how to build them, how to keep them.  And, it provided a list of 20 tips.  Each time I taught the course we'd do a lot of interactive experiential exercises to create multiple pathways for learning and then take a quiz to try and recall all 20.  I might score 60% now several several semesters removed from the classroom...?

One of the tips has had a lasting impression on me.

"Pay attention to your attention."

What am I thinking about right now?  What's going on here, right where I am?  What am I giving my attention to?  Am I focused on what I should be or am I wandering and allowing myself to become distracted?  How will I pay enough attention to this moment that I'll remember it?  Am I here right now?

Hence the post's title - Here and Now.  And for my former students who might stumble upon this little space of mine, I do also remember that one of the tips is "Be Here Now".  The ideas are quite similar.

This summer I'm trying to linger long in the moments we have.  So much is unanticipated and brand new.  And even though I feel like the world would tell me to worry because we have no steady source of income, the Lord has gently shepherded our hearts and is making real to us a feet on the ground understanding of, "Do not be anxious for anything".

There's been little time for words on the screen or page.  But the camera is always near and ready to capture and chronicle image where symbols are scant.

There'll be another season where life gives way to words and expression can be cultivated in sentence form.

For now however, sit a spell, soak it all in with me.  Savor life to the full giving thanks to the Giver of all good gifts who never leaves us nor forsakes us.  He is here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What Heat?

Undaunted by sustained and soaring temps, undeterred by air quality alerts, and unashamed to be sweaty, shirtless (for the guys of course), and covered with grime we press on with projects.

The day - the week, promises to be a scorcher and we will enjoy it to the full with power tools, swimming, berries, our county youth fair, and cool breeze from fan blades playing over our skin while we sink into slumber.

Tasks fill the time and strangely push away worry even though there are no imminent prospects for new employment for Weekend Farmer Husband.  We've been blessed by the "extra" time afforded by the loss of his day job, and trust that our efforts to redeem the land and this farm bless the Lord as we seek to be faithful to steward time, energy, and talent well.

Mulch and a deep weekly watering have preserved our front landscape transplants, the posts and porch floor have received their much needed coat(s) of paint, and today we will build new steps and a rail.

Looking forward to a great big photo "Why don't y'all set a spell" blog post.

Frankly, I've lost track of my list of gifts in recent weeks- it has shaped my heart and thoughts for so long now that I strangely do and don't miss it.  I miss it because it's been a rich habit to cultivate.  I don't because the Holy Spirit has so changed the way I see that I no longer "need" a list to experience the wealth of an abundantly present completely good Lord.  I won't abandon the list...still finding my bearings in the newness of Weekend Farmer Husband always home and him driving the schedule and activities all day rather than our customary shared roles in determining what is to be done and when. And, you know it - as do I - just when we think we have a handle on a habit, unforeseen forces almost always threaten to undo it.  I hope I know better than to invite that kind of trouble...