Friday, October 28, 2011


Bowed heads yield to the burden of time. Earth, her bowels depleted, heaves in surrender to death.

The naked landscape probes the recesses of my soul. I lie on the ground, furled in the solitude of a barren womb and am stilled by the mystery.

The mystery, the amazement, the miracle. 
The miracle.
And isn't that always the miracle? That sterility swells with vitality? That I can lie in wonder on a cold ground, looking up at crumpled ashen flowers and know that they promise life?

Each one of these Sunflower seeds will grow into  a vibrant yellow flower next Summer. Every head is bulging with seeds, crammed with life.

And that is the greatest mystery. If God can take a seed from a plant and work this miracle, how much more can He do with an eternal soul? How can we behold such grandeur and not know that we are destined for greatness?

How can we go about our days, taking for granted that day after day, month after month, year after year, the earth will replenish, renew, bear fruit, put forth seed... sustain our very being...yet  forget that God is doing the same for us? Our lives are the seeds in a destitute existence...and God is  anticipating the harvest.

 And the people who will plant seeds, knowing and expecting the harvest to come, refuse to believe that God can work the same miracle in our souls. All creation proclaims who God is and what He does. All creation is the supreme manifesto.

Why thus longing, forever sighing for the far off, unattained and dim, while the beautiful, all around thee lying, offers up its low perpetual hymn?
Wouldst thou listen to its gentle teaching, all thy restless yearnings it would still; Leaf and flower and laden bee are preaching thine own sphere, though humble first to fill.

~Harriet Winslow Sewall

Monday, September 26, 2011


A few days ago I found this Swallowtail caterpillar on a walk. I placed it in a jar with some parsley and dill, a Swallowtail larva's favorite food.The next day I looked in on my caterpillar and was disappointed to see it curled dead at the bottom of the jar.

"Oh well," I thought. "It must have been too late in the year for this little guy to make it." For some reason, though, I left the caterpillar, lifeless, at the center of the table. Imagine my surprise a few days later to see a perfectly formed chrysalis at the bottom of the jar!

I was so excited, I began shouting to the children, to anyone who could hear, that "The caterpillar isn't dead after all! It formed a chrysalis!!! " Oliver said, "Well, Mom, you must have been expecting something to happen; otherwise, why would you have left a dead caterpillar as the centerpiece of our dining room table?"

Why? Was I hoping? Do I dare to think that I had hope, that I hadn't given up on life?
Why would I leave death to look upon? How could something dry and dead inspire? But that is the mystery for the Christian: death enfolds life. Just when life seems the most bleak, just when you're ready to curl up like that caterpillar at the bottom of the jar...there is victory in the wings.

You may be ready to call it quits. You may be wondering what it's all for. You may not know the reason for even your own existence. But God's plans for you and for your life are as alive as the caterpillar, lying limp and motionless, awaiting the miracle. Sometimes life breathes fullest in a grave of quiet, lungs heaving in solitude. All seems lost, but with each deep and painful breath God  works an amazing transformation that restores life.

Will you let Him do that? Will you have faith? Can you let what seems dead in your life remain the centerpiece, knowing that He is going to work a miracle far surpassing your expectations?

"However, as it is written: No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him'--" (1Corinthians 2:9)

"I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for. " (Jeremiah 29:11)

Friday, September 23, 2011


Roots dig deep and plummet depths of a dry earth. Searching..always searching. Growing and groping their way to that life-sustaining current running through the ground: water. Life. Twisting into the earth, they suck the water like giant straws, carrying the water to the very tops of the tree's branches, reaching to the farthest leaves. No leaf is left dry.

Roots dig deep and clutch earth, their tendrils curling and grasping soil. Spreading, entwining, they brace and bolster a towering tree. That tree will withstand gale force winds, setting her face against the storms, but she will not fall. The roots uphold and strengthen her being. She will still flower, she will still bear fruit. She will thrive, because she is rooted. Yes, "the root of the righteous will bear fruit." (Pr 12:12)

And what of roots and towering trees?  I ponder as I course familiar paths, stumbling over those very roots that nurture the canopy shielding me from the sun's afternoon heat.


Many times when a tree dies it is because there has been damage to the roots. Because the tree is no longer sustained by its life-giving roots, it rots and dies or is the victim of a wind storm. The weak roots are ripped from the earth, and the tree colapses. Dead.

And me. Am I rooted? Are my roots growing in fertile soil, drawing the "living water?"(Jn7:38) Or am I allowing the roots of my being to go unfed, unwatered? Where do I need to dig in my roots?

"Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. " (Col. 2:6-7)

How can I expect to flourish if my roots, my being is not entrenched in the life-giver, the one who sustains? 

I must be "rooted and grounded in love," so that I "may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that (I) may be filled with the fullness of God." (Eph. 3:17-19)

I must be rooted in Christ so that I can withstand the tempests, the trials, and the temptations of life. They will come. But if my roots are secure in Him, I, like the tree, will not fall. I will flourish.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oliver's Marble Shooter

Check Out Oliver's Marble Shooter in Snapshots!

Coming To Terms

I was a vegetarian for a short period of time during my college years. Instead of thinking I had gone off the deep end, my sweet mother experimented with tofu and veggies and we still make some of the dishes discovered in those days.

Then I met Travis, and well...let's just say it never would have worked for him to have married a vegetarian. I willingly began to eat meat again, but I had come to terms with the fact that an animal has to die for me to gain that nourishment.

That was an important step for me. The Lord knew I would be bearing many sons who,like their father, would embrace the outdoor world in all its capacities: hunting, fishing, trapping, crabbing...Imagine if I had never come to terms with what has to happen when I choose to eat a hamburger!

It's interesting how the same people who will sit and eat a steak will think it's wrong to hunt. An animal still has to die to provide that steak...and I have accepted that.

Coming to terms with raising my own animals for food has taken that acceptance to a whole new level. Chestnut, Penny's calf, was born a year and a half ago. I knew when he was born that we would be raising him for food. But I still found myself thinking that I would not be able to eat the meat that his life afforded.

Even a week ago, as I drove to pick up hundreds of pounds of beef to fill our freezer, I didn't think I would be able to eat that meat. Then Oliver said something to me that changed my whole perception. "Mom," he said, "The people who say we shouldn't eat meat aren't thinkning right, because God provided animals for us to feed us and give us protein. It says that right in the Bible."

Gulp. yes....God did do that. Suddenly I realized that I needed to be filled with thanksgiving, not hesitation, for what God has generously provided for us! I am not making a statement against vegetarianism; rather I am reaffirming the rightness and goodness of allowing God to provide for my family.

There is a profound thanks and appreciation that comes from nurturing and sustaining that which God provides. Whether it is the tomato swelling ripe in the garden, or the calf nursing in the pasture,it is evident that God has given us a share in his Dominion (ref Genesis 1:26), a part in his creative process.

Not all of us can raise our own animals (or would want to), and many of us can't even have our own gardens. However, we can still acknowledge God as the provider of all and thank Him for allowing us to take part in nourishing the very food that sustains our existence.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Because Most of Our Days Are Made Of Simple Moments...

Here is what I hope to become a record of our days...


And this may not interest you, but I wanted to invite you...Of course!

A Little About The Garden

Ben and Will took over the gardening this year while their dad was away......
It looks like Dad might be out of a job next Summer!

Here is Will with his abundant peppers....I think he had ten different varieties. He enjoyed 'pepper sandwiches' for lunch all Summer. (Notice John Paul poking his head in the doorway.)

The freezer is filled with tomatoes, peppers, and green beans. The pantry is loaded with jars of salsa...our favorite. Some of the tomatoes were grown from heirloom seeds that have been in this community for years. The Ox heart tomato, a hearty flavorful tomato shaped like an Ox heart, has been passed on from friend to friend. The friend that gave me our plants asked me to harvest the seeds so that we can have more plants next year. I saved the seeds on a small square of paper towel and put them in an envelope for her. I think that this 'seed sharing' is the essence of what I love about living in Deerfield. It truly is a community.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Finding The Quiet Places

"Deserts, silence, solitudes are not necessarily places but states of mind and heart. These deserts can be found in the midst of the city, and in the every day of our lives. We need only to look for them and realize our tremendous need for them. They will be small solitudes, little deserts, tiny pools of silence, but the experience they will bring, if we are disposed to enter them, may be as exultant and as holy as all the deserts of the world, even the one God himself entered. For it is God who makes solitude, deserts, and silences holy."
~Catherine de Hueck Doherty

The quietude of every day unfolds in moments too numerous to count; the infinitesimal grandeur explodes in gentle silences, quenching our thirsty souls.

My prayer:
 "Make me still, Lord. I want to know You. You are God!"
 (ref Psalm 46:10)

Will you join me and find some quiet places in your day?

"Stand still,and allow the strange deadly restlessness of our tragic age to fall away like the worn-out dusty cloak that it is- a cloak that was once considered beautiful. The restlessness was considered the magic cloak of tomorrow, but now in reality, we see it for what it is: a running away from oneself, a turning from that journey inward that all men must undertake to meet God dwelling within the depths of their souls."

~Catherine de Hueck Doherty

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Mama Decided

Naked toes curl in the ooze of mud, fists clench berries all dripping with ripeness and swell a little boy's head with notions of a steaming pie....

Another boy is a hunter; he is serious. He will feed the family with the new skill he is acquiring, and young girls are intent on cramming baskets with Summer's bounty....

A mama walks behind, slow...and thoughtfully taking it all in, drinking mirth and delight of childhood..heart filled with the meanderings of her own mind...

And this time...This time she's thinking about labels...
How labels are good for cans, and appropriate for tags on clothes, and perfect for identifying animals and plants and such...
Yes, labels identify; they tell us exactly what we're getting. I know that when I open a can labeled "dog food," I will not find tomatoes inside (hopefully!)
I know that when I order a size "small" dress in the mail, I will not get a size "extra large."
So labels can be a good thing....for things.
Labels are not helpful for people.

He's lazy. She's dumb. They are ignorant. I'm fat. He's a troublemaker. On and on it goes...until we stuff people in cans, like a bunch of sardines, and slap a sticker on them. We all do it. It's part of human nature to want to define and categorize others by appearances or even actions:

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.' " (Samuel 16:7)

Isn't it good to know that God doesn't label us? And if He doesn't label us, why do we insist on labeling others? When we label others, we cannot see the richness and depth of who they truly are; we do not see them with dignity, as beloved creatures made in the image and likeness of God. When we label others, we are actually refusing to see others as God does...with eyes of love.

I've had it with labels...
It's time to stop using them for people and keep them on cans and dress tags....where they belong!!!

That's what the mama decided on that walk...
and that thought made her heart happy.