Monday, March 20, 2017

Rabbit Trails and Bits of Life

The blank page I'm staring into as I begin a new post is daunting just now. An empty page holds so much possibility, but right now it is only causing my mind to go blank. You'd think that after a couple weeks of quiet here I'd have things to say. Well, I did have things to say. Tons of things. Mostly they are only appropriate for a private post, though, and I don't write private posts for fear that I'd inadvertently send it out to the public.

OK, now that the page isn't so blank, I'm beginning to relax about it. "Relax" is a strange idea. I'm not a high energy person - despite the fact that I really, really wish with all my heart I had more energy - but that certainly does not mean I'm a relaxed person. People say I'm relaxed. They say I'm patient. But I'm not. I'm antsy, always pushing hard for something, always wanting to do more, squeeze more out of life, and maybe prove something for myself... and I lack the energy I need to do it all with gusto. But I'm pretty sure I will die trying.

I trust God knew what he was doing when he chose to make me physically low-energy while giving me high-energy desires.

I feel life with intensity, too, and there has been way too much emotion this year for me. Like high-energy punches in the gut of this low-energy person. I've felt like throwing up emotion. Really, I've had mental pictures of throwing up. Wouldn't it be nice if that knot and churning of the stomach, the lump in the throat, the aching heart, the teary eyes... could be relieved by running around the corning and puking out emotion?

I trust God knew what he was doing when he chose to make me an intense-feeling, heart-thinking, longing-for-depth-and-air-all-at-the-same-time kind of person.

Maybe it is to teach me to find my strength and my satisfaction in him alone?

(I have a feeling this is going to be a rabbit trail sort of post. That's a warning, not necessarily an apology.)


The brains of this world tell us that rigorous academics and structure are important for the proper education of children. Well, we've had springtime weather here and I've seriously had it with academics and structure. When Michael asked if we could go hiking, I found a day we could scrap those academics and structure and go and live a little. I'm no brain, but my heart and soul say that we can best educate children in the things of life if they are allowed to be free from the constant imposition of things to know and do, and let our senses breathe in life and beauty in a natural, organic way. I've been dreaming up things to do together, adventures to take, places to explore. This week we went looking (and seeking) in the wild. I may have it all wrong when it come to the wholesomeness of nature for the raising of children, but I'm willing to risk it. 

The first find of the day by Michael was a horned lizard

Olivia and I came looking for the wild spring flowers. Wild anything is my fav.
Except snakes. Wild or captured, I despise snakes.

Of course, Michael was looking for snakes. They show up in my nightmares, but fortunately he's not in my nightmares. Olivia is a different kind of girl than me, at least when it comes to snakes. The boys respect me enough not to lunge at me with their snakes to get a reaction, and I trust them enough to get close and take pictures for them.

He was doing a Steve Irwin impersonation-- a very good one, too.

It was hotter than expected, so we were happy to find a little bubbling stream. The boys were quick to peel off their socks and shoes...

Not my favorite picture of myself, but I was there living and breathing and enjoying life too. That's worth remembering. Don't go through motherhood undocumented. Someone down the line will surely be happy to see you some day.

Once again, the boys came back home with all sorts of things. They have way too many terrariums and containers of plants happening in our house (with living things inside), and I'm quietly irritated by the indoor gardening that often takes place, but deep down I know that there is somehow great benefit to letting them pursue various interests and projects. Actually, there is even greater benefit when I lend my support and encouragement. Maybe it will lead to something really useful, or lucrative, or fascinating some day. Or maybe it will just be something we laugh about. I just don't think it's going to be entirely useless in the end.

A big brain once said: "Play is the highest form of research." -A. Einstein
I'm going with it...

Like me, they are observers. They delve into their surroundings and watch with fascination.

I especially like people watching; I notice interactions, expressions, body language. I notice hands: their shape, color, size, weathering, and their way of moving. Maybe that's odd, but I like to think hands tell stories. People are just so fascinating. There are all kinds on this earth, which alone is interesting to contemplate. I notice how people are so different from me, and wonder if there are others like myself. If so, would I recognize them? I have a feeling we often think of ourselves as being quite different from what we really are...

I have always been enthralled with those who exude warmth, compassion, and acceptance. That's the kind of person I'd like to be, but those are areas I've got to work at. And I have always been intrigued by those who are reserved, wondering at their story. For as long as I can remember I have been a quiet observer.

Watching people for years can lead to a certain disenchantment, though. Maybe this comes from learning of my own heart as it becomes exposed through various circumstances in life. If anything, maybe my understanding of human nature is increasing. I've noticed that the most beautiful traits in man are so very difficult to live out, regardless of how we interact with the world around. I’ve learned that life and people and circumstances are extremely complex, and I cannot ever expect to understand a person by mere observation. It makes me see how misguided and foolish it is to judge others. Truly, each of us, if we are honest, don’t really understand the depths of our own hearts.

But God does. And he is compassionate towards me. What's more is that he has set his Spirit within me to help me. No sarcasm here, I just need help in a big, big way every single day. Sometime I don’t even know how to pray, what to ask, and how to live by his strength. But I keep coming to him, knowing that he knows the depth of my heart and the real need I have for righteous living, and he intercedes on my behalf with words I do not know. How wonderful and comforting is this knowledge!

One type of person that has particularly intrigued me are those who have lived through particular and prolonged hardship, trials, and suffering. Depending on how these people deal with their suffering, there are all sorts of results. No on is immune to suffering. I am learning to ask myself two basic questions: Will I let sadness or suffering possess me, or will I flee to Christ to find help, freedom, guidance, forgiveness, comfort... and everything else that I need?

My kids, no doubt, are watching me just the same way I watch others. They are looking to see what fills me... May it not be fear, or worry, or sadness, or shame, but the very Spirit of God who is transforming me into the likeness of Christ.

I'm not sure if this quote on prayer is exactly quite fitting with these random thoughts tonight, but I still like it. Prayer is such an amazing gift, and yet if I really believed it I'd have thick callous on my knees. I want to believe more...

“Prayer is the life-breath of man’s soul. Without it, we may have a name to live, and be counted Christians; but we are dead in the sight of God. The feeling that we must cry to God for mercy and peace is a mark of grace; and the habit of spreading before Him our soul’s wants is an evidence that we have the spirit of adoption. And prayer is the appointed way to obtain the relief of our spiritual necessities. It opens the treasury, and sets the fountain flowing. If we have not, it is because we ask not.”  ~ J.C. Ryle


It's Monday night now, and the house will be quiet for the moment. Here are a few happenings from this day:
  • Olivia left early this morning with her entrepreneur club from school. They presented their business idea at a Shark Tank type competition, and returned with investor dollars to get their idea started in time for the next competition. She is the only girl on the team, responsible for marketing/logo/creative side, and the feedback is that she did a killer job in the presentation.
  • Michael had a presentation as well today. His was on Winston Churchill for his online class. From his own assessment, he did a killer job, too! He tends to have no anxiety over presentations and speeches, though I wish he gave a little more attention to instructions. It was no surprise when he found out moments before class that the slides he had submitted were in the wrong format. We spent some frustrating moments on three computers trying to get the issue sorted out while a classmate presented first. Typical Michael... doing great by the skin on his teeth and in the nick of time!
  • Andrew and Jacob are each taking a "Weird Science" class at school. Today was the annual egg drop. The kids each come up with a design or contraption to keep an egg from breaking. Their designs are tested by being dropped from the roof of the school, one at a time. This is the second year my boys have been involved. Jacob decided to go with a last minute, riskier idea since he already had the satisfaction of a successful drop last year. His was a happy fail, and he liked the mess it created in MY package of batting. Andrew repeated his contraption from last year and found success again. In fact, his geometric criss-cross of plastic straws with a small triangular open space for the egg was kept by his teacher as a class model. Too bad, because I was going to take a picture of it.
  • It just so happened that Jon came home, and it was lunch time, and there were no kids home (which is unusual).... so we decided to go on a quick lunch date. Except we weren't hungry, so we got tea and coffee for our lunch date. It was a happy, unexpected event on a Monday.
  • Andrew has a bird nest in his tree. He has two eggs, and can't decide if he should try to pet the mother dove or not. I'm letting him decide.
  • Jack wants to buy me a skateboard for mother's day. I spent some time yesterday afternoon skateboarding with him. I only fell once, but it was not a terrible fall. Neither was it graceful. I tried to be cool. Tried. No matter, the fact that I skateboarded with him was a big deal, and I learned that I kinda like it. I'm not sure if my older kids would be embarrassed, but you just might see me skating down by the beach come mother's day.
  • Dairy Queen was giving out free cones today. I'm hardly ever a sucker for freebies, but I took my kids out for a free cone after dinner. It made them happy. So it made me happy, too.
  • Jon is now home from elder's meeting, and just asked, "Do you have much left?" That's my cue to wrap things up. Besides, I'd rather be with him.


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