Sabbath


  



It’s been a busy season, although the introvert in me reminds that this is often the case, with not quite enough down time for pausing and reflection. I suspect that this is a frequent occurance with mothers of small children. My husband has been researching the idea of the sabbath, and I have to say that I really like the concept, but am still struggling with how to apply it.

The Bible speaks of not doing work on the sabbath, but what about changing dirty diapers? That most certainly qualifies as work in my book, but there is no way I am going to leave my precious baby’s bum in a dirty diaper. The New Testament seems less rigid in it’s outline of how to observe the sabbath, but I have to admit that this almost makes it more difficult, because the lines become even more blurred. A documentary we watched mentioned avoiding selfish work, but as a mother, in all honesty, I don’t feel like much of my work is selfish. Making family meals, washing dishes so we have a way to eat said meals, picking up the house so my husband doesn’t come home to a wreck…it’s not exactly like I’m working so I can buy myself a new car.

That said, I also have been convicted regarding what value God puts on observing the sabbath…by the punishments required for breaking it, it seems that it’s very important to Him. I heard a sermon once that talked about what message breaking the sabbath sends, the pastor said that we are declaring God’s work not enough, but deciding that we must add to it. His grace and forgiveness have finished the job, but then we come along and try to add our part – it’s dishonoring to His sacrifice and the completeness thereof.

Yesterday we packed up and headed to my in-laws, and for my part, I have been doing very little. This morning I laid beside my baby girl while she slept, unable to leave the room for fear she would roll off the bed, and so I just rested. There is a different type of rest that comes when you actually can’t do anything else. Afterwards we played on the floor and again, I rested. I didn’t fold laundry, or clean the kitchen table, I just sat there and enjoyed her. Still not sure what a weekly sabbath looks like for me, but I’m grateful for a glimpse of rest.

Fix your minds



Amazingly we still have a stream running through our property – all that rain we got was both wonderful and terrible (depending on whether your house was in a floodplain or not). My brother works with a disaster relief organization and has been working tirelessly to help flood victims. It’s sad that there are often organizations that come in promising assistance but leave as  soon as the camera crews are gone. But at least a faithful few are still there.

Although our garden appreciated the rain, our fences did not, and our dogs have taken the opportunity to escape through several newly created holes. Our male dog, Jake, is an incredible escape artist. After we put the dogs in a smaller kennel to ensure they wouldn’t get out of the yard again, I watched in awe as he painstakingly checked each part of the fence for weaknesses, until he had located just the right spot that had a little give. We ended up getting both the dogs fixed, in hopes that they will choose to stay on our property willingly, otherwise it’s “hit the road Jack!” – farm dogs don’t do much good if they won’t stay on the farm.

Doing lots of praying lately, and worrying, there are so many people/situations that are in need of prayer right now, from flooding to heart surgeries to our government! I was reminded the other day that we need to steer our thoughts away from those constant worries though, because by getting stuck there we make ourselves a great target for the enemy, and give away our joy. The following verse is one you’ll probably know, but the version gives it a little extra punch I think… Phil. 4:6-8 (Amplified Version) “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

Conversations we wish we’d never had

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Do you ever replay conversations in your head? How they could have gone differently? What you could have said in rebuttal against a cruel comment, a way you could have built your case in a different/more effective way? My mom keeps reminding me to say, “let it go” to myself when it comes to mind, but even so I woke up early this morning thinking about it. Praying for more love in my heart than I have right now, and wondering where righteous anger fits in this context, as I am certain that it does, at least in part. Guarding innocence and fighting ignorance is a justifiable reason to get upset, especially on behalf of children.

The positive to conversations like this is the perspective one gains. Like black velvet behind a beautiful diamond, those dark situations or people can provide a much deeper appreciation for the kind and the honorable in your midst. My husband is ever a source of strength and wisdom, and I am so glad to not be in this fight by myself.

But what to do with the replays? The rewrites? I am trying to keep in mind that my “score” in the conversation has nothing to do with the response I received, but everything to do with my intentions for peace, and my adherence to maintaining my values throughout (such as not blaming or name calling, trying to affirm when possible, looking for common ground, keeping the big picture in mind, etc). And the hurt and disappointment over the way the conversation played out…that must be turned over, as many times as necessary, to the One who cares and has the power to do something about it.

Little fingers

Puppies and babies. Doesn’t get much better, does it? My daughter kept grabbing the things I was trying to photograph, but I just love those little fingers.

So I’ve started listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast and oh my is it wonderful! I have always enjoyed reading aloud to my son, and now to my daughter as well, but this podcast is exceptionally inspirational and has encouraged me to clean off a couple shelves in my living room just for “read aloud” books. I love the idea of education through reading, whether you’re learning history, geography, grammar, even math…why not find a good fiction or biography and give your brain a good soak?

As a kid I remember listening to Little Women – my mom says I tried to copy the sentence structure and vocabulary after listening to it, and was quite “refined” for a week or so afterwards. What’s your favorite book to read aloud or listen to on audiobook?

The one about chickens

Can I take a second to gush about my daughter? She is just the sweetest baby girl, giggly and growly and definitely a mama’s girl. I love watching her with Jacob and her brother, she delights in them so much! She just turned 8 months old, so of course I had to take some glamor shots, complete with some ridiculously cute jewelry from one of her aunties. In my attempts to not show pictures of my kids faces online though, I keep uploading pictures reminiscent of “Wilson”, the neighbor on Home Improvement whose face was always awkwardly obscured by some item. Anyway, she’s adorable, and I’m smitten.

Now onto chickens! Our baby chicks decided to come a few days early, and Jacob and I were caught totally off guard when the first one hatched. He was getting ready for work early in the morning, and kept hearing a cheeping sound. After looking out the front door and around the house trying to determine where the noise was coming from, he remembered the incubator, and there inside was a little chick trying to get out of the egg shell while still in the turner! (If you’ve never hatched eggs before, they have to be turned throughout the day, so we have an electric turner that keeps them moving for us). Apparently they come early when the heat has been a little too high throughout incubation, but we still got 22 chicks, so not too bad.

A friend asked me the other day which animal I like the most on our farm, and it’s definitely our chickens. Although they can sometimes resemble small messy velociraptors, they produce a lot of eggs and meat for our family, and they are fun to watch when they’re hunting for bugs. Really though, any animal tends to look amazing in comparison to goats – these guys are so pesky…jumping on our cars, eating decorative items hanging outside my house, and man oh man they are loud!

One of my favorite stories about our chickens is when they decided to stow away. Jacob was taking an enclosed trailer to another farm to pick up some of those pesky goats, and when he got there and opened the door, out jumped three hens and a rooster. I could just imagine the rooster talking to the girls in an English accent, “come on ladies, now’s our chance!” It was like Chicken Run come to life. Thankfully Jacob was able to get them all back in the trailer and bring them home safely, and one of them even laid an egg while they were on the road! Again, you can imagine her in the back, bumping down the road, “I can’t hold it in any longer! This egg is coming one way or another!”

Days of (quasi) rest

I think I’m finally getting the hang of making my own bread. It’s taken some time, and some very ugly loaves, but this last batch turned out looking very pretty, and tasting good too. This time I even doubled the recipe (which can be dangerous sometimes, certain recipes don’t like to be doubled), and made pizza dough and cinnamon rolls with the extra batch. The pizza tasted better than the cinnamon rolls in my opinion, which may be why I don’t have a picture of it! Although I would love to say the recipe is 100% whole wheat, it’s at least 50%, so I’m counting that a win. I did a comparison baking test of a couple other bread recipes, and this one was by far the most tasty. The others didn’t have as good a flavor, and didn’t rise as well (which may be more the fault of the baker not the bread, but we won’t go into that).

Turns out that I have lavender in my yard! The former residents were not the kindest individuals, but they did love to garden, and for that I am very grateful. The fruit trees they planted are looking even better this year than last, and we’re hopeful to get some plums in addition to peaches. We finally got our tomato plants in, using this method of turning the plants on their sides before planting – supposedly the additional stem that’s planted becomes a larger root system, allowing the tomato plant to produce more fruit…we shall see!

Last weekend was so busy, so while my oldest is away for a few days and Jacob is working, I am taking some time to slow down and rest (why do I love being home so much?). M (8 months old) is not napping well these days, and I’m trying to feel our way to a schedule that works for us…but this requires lots of dead time, trying to rock her to sleep or back to sleep. It’s so much easier just to plop her in the carrier and go about our day! But this is part of the parenting journey too, and perhaps why I find myself looking for a little extra peace where I can find it.