Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It must be in the water

What is it about a home?  
(I mentioned earlier that we are casually house-shopping).  

Stepping inside the walls of a stranger, each time I am struck by a sense; 
not from the decorating, or number of bathrooms, or view . . .

The house speaks . . .
The air feels weary in one.  
One seems silent, and alone.  
Another still echos with shouts; the walls feel sharp and something cold hangs over us.  I am eager to leave.  

What is it, then, about the one that draws me back . . . the one too old, needing too much work, the one we can't afford . . . but with walls that laugh?  Something is peaceful inside, and clean.  Cleaner than just the house, though it sparkles.  The air feels clean too.  We leave and each say to the other how clean is the spirit of the house and . . . why?  

A second showing and I notice a verse written, propped over the sink, 
"Create in me a clean heart o God, and renew a right spirit within me . . . "

This weekend we listened to Rob Bell (Everything I have said to You), and the power of words, the power of our thoughts, that it all matters, so incredibly, it all affects me and you; everything affects everything . . . Rob Bell talked about Dr. Masaru Emoto, who discovered that there is a significant effect of words on water crystals . . . it sounds too powerful, too wonderful to be true but it is . . . words written and taped to a glass; spoken or shouted; words prayed . . . the water changes it's expression.  

That sense that we have, the sense when something's not right or somebody's angry or whatever it is that understands love . . . (our bodies are three-quarters water after all!)  Words affect us, they change us, even our environments.  

I find this fascinating, and profoundly Biblical.

God spoke, and it was . .  . our words create worlds, too.

What is it about that house that so attracts me?  It must be the world created by the words that were spoken and prayed and lived there, years and years of speaking and reading and living out pure words, God's Word.

I don't know if we will buy that particular house, or any house . . . but I am more aware of the kind of world I am creating in my home each day.  What kind of world lives in my house?  What does the Spirit of my home say?  Am I speaking life-giving words?  Are my words true?  Is God's Word spoken, and prayed, and lived in my home?  What about the effect of my thoughts on my body?

They seem so little, so inconsequential.  
Words as tiny as water crystals; as big as a house.  

Words matter.  
Every word.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Something about May

Something about May stirs memories and causes me to look back in this hasty month of moving on.  It is the season of bursting out of things; sprouts and shoes, soil and place; recklessly, carelessly shedding layers in pursuit of blossoming, like it or not.  

Change happens.  My little girls, all about growing up and I can't help it, can't stop it, don't wish to.  I'm little and big, she says.   Yes, you are and somewhere so am I, that clinging seed cozied in the earth reluctant and resolute. 

May turns tassels and makes plans and waves hello and goodbye.  I prefer change that comes quietly.  In May, change bursts.  The earth falls out from under you.  I spend a lot of the summer recovering.

Related (I love these!):
Durum Wheat Memory at it's finest lacks corroboration . . . by Lisa Martin-DeMoor 

Moorings The thing is, nothing goes away . . . at Okay, Fine, Dammit

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, Blog

I can't believe I missed the first birthday of this blog!  My first post was May 13 of last year, and I didn't have a clue what I would write about . . . at the time we thought we were moving away, and my blog would be a way to tell my mom about what the kids were up to.  We didn't move away.  But I'm still blogging  . . . I know, I know, not a lot of blogging happening lately!  But I'll be back on a more regular basis again soon I'm sure.  I was thinking today of why blogging has been one of the best things I did this year.  

When I began blogging we were in transition, and this blog was a space for me to sort things out.

I was able to discover that I love to write, and it has led to other writing opportunities.

I am so thankful for the beautiful people I have "met" through blogging, the insight that they have given me in their comments, the friends I have made.

I have been able to connect with other moms through blogging and learn from them, it truly helped me to not feel so isolated as a stay-at-home-mom through the long winter months.

I have learned so much through other people's blogs!  Thanks to my Google Reader I have an endless supply of preschool activities, parenting tips, household solutions, inspiring thoughts and ideas, beautiful people seeking God . . . .

I didn't realize that the time I was spending reading and interacting with blogs was also preparing me with tools and ideas for when we launched tuscMom this spring.

It seems appropriate that I give credit to two of the people who I have most enjoyed getting to know through blogging: 

Heather is a fun mom with such a great perspective on parenting and it's joys and tribulations.  Her blog is sweet, without being sappy, and honest with a good balance of wise and hilarious.  And, she was recently named as "one of the leading voices in the mom blogosphere."  She deserves it!  This is one of my favorite posts she's written recently:  the hours are turtles, the summer a hare.

I have so much respect for Charette in every way:  she's a (real) artist, a wise mother, and a lovely writer and storyteller.  The stories she tells inspire me to live gracefully, artfully, and open to life's great beauty.  I love this poem she posted recently, Standing Still and Motion Sick.

So thanks to the lovely people I have met and those I haven't yet but hope to, who still keep coming back . . . you all make blogging so much fun!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

If I were a legalist, and the post in which I offend every single person I know (sorry!)

I have spent a lot of my life working through legalism.  Sorting out my own motives, whether I am trying to please God or man; attempting to identify Christ's law (love) from man's laws (legalism).  This is a great battle.  

(I think that most of us sincerely want to please God, and churches have tremendous power in teaching people what that means.  The problem is, though we want to please God, our bodies are weighted with cravings for men's approval.  We reach for God but naturally sink back to religion.  The difference is difficult to discern.  We rejoice in grace, but are also terrified of it.  Inevitably we set-up parameters and guidelines and fences by which to measure our own, and everybody else's, spirituality.  I think that every church, and every believer, naturally drifts towards legalism in some form, and we must constantly root it out.  This is what I have observed, anyway.)  

The thing that kills me about legalism is that churches continually pick the most seeming arbitrary things to be legalistic about, and things that are of no use to anyone.  So this is my solution:  if we're going to be legalistic, why not at least be legalistic in a way that does something good, instead of freaking out about something that affects no one but our own sense of self-righteousness.

So, since I am the Legalist, and this is my own legalistic blog where I get to make the arbitrary legalistic rules, this is what I think would be good things to be legalistic about:

Legalism #1:  No one should own a pet if they do not also sponsor a child.  
How much does a monthly supply of pet food cost?  Not to mention veterinary visits, grooming, little pet toys . . . and then there's the annoyance factor.  That ought to be worth something.  We spend unbelievable amounts of money on pet food, but balk at sending $32 a month to feed a child.  (Now you may be thinking, why pick on people with pets?  What about your coffee addiction?  Because it's my legalistic blog and I don't like pets.  That's why.)

Legalism #2  No one can protest abortion if they do not also foster a child, adopt a child, or financially support an unwed mother.  
Abortion protesters drive me nuts.  I think abortion is wrong, but I wonder if offending people is really the best method for changing their minds.  I also know that there are children unloved, neglected, being abused in our own country, and I don't see many Christians doing anything about it (though there are some).  Don't act like you care about the unborn when you don't care about the more complicated issue of the born.  It reminds me of the verse, "And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2.16).   We condemn mothers for having abortions, but we don't spend a minute learning about their situation, or an hour to try to help them, and are infuriated at the thought of our taxes being raised to assist them.   Then there are the 11 million children who die every year from malnutrition and preventable diseases, who ARE loved and have mothers who WEEP.  Why not focus our outrage and protesting and creative resources on these children?

Legalism #3:  Christians should not work-out or go to the gym when there is work to be done.  
Once again, I could pick on people who spend time going to movies or . . . blogging.  But these are my arbitrary rules and I'd like a good reason not to work-out . . . and, there is work to be done.  Elderly people with lawns that need mowed, streets that need cleaned, low-income housing that needs renovated.  We all want to get exercise and be in shape, so rather than spending an hour at the gym, spend an hour doing something physical for somebody in need.  Like, imagine a Christian "gym" where you could sign-up for a mowing class, or a help-your-neighbor-move class, or a walk in the park and play with kids class?  Ok, so maybe those of you who actually like to sweat won't appreciate this idea, but it burns calories and does good- Christian multitasking! (And now I have a good excuse, another benefit of being legalistic).

So now that I have highly offended all of my readers I will just try to abide by my own rules.  I am a hypocrite.  We don't sponsor a child, or foster, and I do nothing physically to help my neighbors.  I want to change.  

Obviously, that's the problem with legalism.  It sets a measurable standard but has no measurement for the heart.  I am looking at myself, how selfish I am, little I live out the grace and love I have been given.  I want to put on love, in practical ways to be about fulfilling the law of Christ.