all for one

We’ve got a guest coming in less than twenty minutes and there isn’t much time to write much today.  There was a hymn in our church service this morning that set a thousand thoughts running and I’m afraid now those thoughts will be long forgotten soon.

The hymn was “Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You”.

Cast afar this world’s vain pleasure
And boldly strive for heavn’ly treasure
Be steadfast in the Savior’s might.
Trust the Lord, who stands beside you,
For Jesus from all harm will hide you
By faith you conquer in the fight
Take courage, weary soul!
Look onward to the goal!
Joy awaits you.
The race well run, Your long war won
Your crown shines splendid as the sun

In the Scripture reading today it said the athlete disciplines himself in all things.  He does this to obtain the prize–a perishable wreath.  Paul tells us to run the race as to obtain the prize, except the prize we obtain is a heavenly crown, a treasure that will never fade.

I want us all to win this race.  When I think of humanity I want to shout to the multitudes, “Come on, guys, let’s go!  This prize, this crown, is for all of us to share!”  An Olympic gold medal only one of us can win, and most will never know the glory.

How exciting is this?!  It’s a race we’re guaranteed to win, and maybe that’s why it’s so gish dang spanking stinking hard. This race through time we cannot lose, for God has sent His Son below.  The Victor’s crown is ours above, and we will know His glory there.




prayer warriors

Prayer is the cure for incessant worry.

Cure might not be exactly the right word.  Cure would imply your worry disappears, is completely gone, and your mind is healed from the tumor of burdens.  We are told to cast our burdens, our cares and anxieties, upon the Lord because He cares for us.

I’ve come across at least three mothers in the the last week who’ve been worried about their children.  Not including the younger mothers I know, these were mothers twenty to thirty years older than me.  The children they were worried about are adults my age.

Their worry was not being left alone to plague their minds, but was driving these women to prayer and intercession on their children’s behalf.  I feel a special camaraderie with these women, a tenderness of heart towards them when I encounter their stories.
I wonder, if you could somehow graph all the world’s prayers happening at any given moment, what percentage of them would be made up of mothers praying for their children.  I don’t mean to imply that the fathers aren’t praying.  I think some are.

Women seem to worry more.  I believe our neurological sensitivities make us prone to it.  There have been times I have thrown up my own prayers to God like, “God, I am chained to my fears! How am I to live with these mind burdens the rest of my life?”

“You’re not”, He says.  We aren’t given burdens to carry them around.  We take them to Jesus and lay them down at His feet.  We pray, in all things, with thanksgiving.  It may never be that our worries cease completely, but the world doesn’t feel so heavy anymore.

to-learn list

“We stay up late, reading, unveiling mysteries, well into the night.”  
~Jane Kirkpatrick, Homestead~

There’s a quote in the book Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins that has stayed with me and comes to mind often. “Josef Pieper tells us that leisure is the basis of culture.  Most moms would laugh at the idea of leisure, but that is essentially the gift homeschooling gave us–the leisure to learn.  Homeschooling moms are what remains of the leisured classes in these hurried, frantic days.  We are the Irish monks of our time, carefully preserving old library books (and even reading them).  In that way it is silly for us to measure our success by the immediate results–our son’s SAT scores or whether our daughter got into Harvard.  While we were busy thinking of our small families, we just might have been preserving something much larger (p. 163).”

Leisure:  1) freedom provided by the cessation of activities

1) Bread-baking
I want to experiment more with baking from sourdough starter.  I have made one loaf so far, as well as a batch of muffins, and a plate of pancakes.  I remembered to bring the starter along on our travels so I could keep it watched and fed, however, it tipped over in the car, spilling into the cover cloth and making quite the mess.  It has sat untouched since we returned from our trip and I imagine I will need to start over with the starter. In the meantime, I have been searching online, looking for a place to buy hard red wheat.  I am leaning toward purchasing the 35 lb bucket to start with.

2) Medicinal Herbs
An herbalist podcast suggested the best way to begin learning about herbs is to take one year and study and get-to-know one herb per month.  This month I have chosen Rosemary.  Rosemary originated on Mediterranean shores, and has an evergreen, pine-like smell and appearance.  Known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, Rosemary is said to be a mental stimulant and terrific for brain health and memory.  I’ve been experimenting with various fresh herbs from the store such as cilantro, parsley, oregano, thyme, mint, and rosemary, making a tea or infusion by adding it to hot water warmed on the stove. I think Rosemary tea is best consumed in the morning.  The two times I drank Rosemary tea before bed, I had vivid dreams throughout the night and found myself awake in the middle of the night unable to sleep.  It has a bitter taste, and I experienced a vague nausea after drinking more than one cup.  One time I forgot about the water on the stove and came back to find the water boiling, and also that the rosemary had released a lavendar-colored foam from its stems.  In addition to using it in the sourdough bread, which was delicious, I have mostly used it to season cubed potatoes that I cook on the stove and have regularly served for lunch during the winter.

3) Plant-based cooking
Meals feel overwhelming when every night you feel you must live up to this restaurant standard of a huge meal complete with several sides and dessert. I’ve always seen it as a confirmation that my husband and I were meant to be together by the fact that although he enjoys a large meat and potatoes type of meal, he doesn’t require it from me.  He eats the things I make and experiment with and is supportive through my “phases”.  I do still, however, see food as a vital part of my “job” as a woman and homemaker. More and more, I enjoy preparing meals, setting tables, and getting pleasure in seeing meals enjoyed and hungers satisfied.  I’ve been using meats as more of accents in the meals, instead of main courses, for example, mixing Aldi chicken sausage in with the potatoes to satisfy the heartier appetites in my house, getting bigger by the day. On nights like tonight when I have a beef roast in the crockpot, I think my family looks forward to the coming meal as the smells of meat and basil fill the house.  It feels to me like I’m spoiling them with something special, and to them, like a treat that doesn’t happen everyday.




the foreign winter

Tonight I am thankful for food and warm housing.  It is no small amazement to pass the winter by in comfort.  When I read about the winters that the pioneers endured, or of the western migration of the Donner party, who faced months of cold, death, and starvation while trapped in the snow-blown Sierra Nevada treachery, I am stunned by how much the human can suffer.

People never want their suffering to be in vain.  There is so much human suffering in the world, and so little, it seems, any one person can actually do about it.  I feel strongly that one thing we can be, however, is thankful in life for the gifts that we have.  It doesn’t change the terrible things to be endured in this world, but it helps to know that even the long winters do have an end.

on healing inside

Saturday mornings are for deep cleaning the kitchen and for getting the kids’ bedrooms somewhat back in order.  When I went downstairs to say goodnight to them last night, I was pleasantly surprised to see they’d taken some time to tidy up that afternoon.

Earlier this week, I went down to wake them up, something I don’t do every morning. While I was in the boys’ room, I heard the birds singing in their familiar morning fashion.  It was the first time I’d heard them since their song ceased last fall.  It reminded me of last year, in February, when I heard the return of the morning bird song.

Right now, as I type, I’m listening to a version “If I Never Knew You” by John Smith and Pocahontas.  I’ve never heard this before, and it seems to be that this segment was cut from the original Pocahontas movie. Reading through the comments, I laughed out loud at this one: “John Smith.  Making every human man look plain and mediocre since 1995.”

While we were in Dallas, I put on Pocahontas for the kids to watch in the late afternoon, the time leading up to supper preparations.  They’d been hearing me talk about Lewis and Clark, and we’d watched small parts of a documentary on The West, so I thought they’d be interested to watch the white men and the Indians.  I watched it with them.

I didn’t like the movie Pocahontas when I was younger.  The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King were the Disney movies I grew up with.  By the time Pocahontas came along, the movies seemed to have lost their glow.  I found it hard to relate to an Indian princess.  No more Disney movies could ever top the ones I knew.

The love story between John Smith and Pocahontas was different from the others.  At the end of Pocahontas (***spoiler alert***) John Smith and Pocahontas do not end up together.  The injured John Smith returns to England, and hopefully survives the long trip across the Atlantic required to get home for medical treatment.  We never know.

John Smith leaves and Pocahontas remains with the Indian people.  From the top of a cliff, she waves toward the ocean one last time, and as far as the audience is concerned, the two never see each other again.  (The comments I read also mentioned a Pocahontas sequel, which I have no interest in watching).  The rest, as they say, is history (or not,ha).

The kids are waking up now, helping themselves to breakfast.  The morning songs have been replaced by the sounds of piano notes and human voices.  The twenty-four years ago of 1995 is a very long time to have every human man looking plain and mediocre, but I guess what I’m trying to say here, girls, is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Dry your eyes and look again.