Wednesday, December 31, 2014

there are no little things

As the year closes and a new year dawns, a person can't help but to reflect.  In many ways, it was a very productive year.  In many ways, it was not an easy year.  In many ways,  it was a time of growth and realization.

I stepped out of molds I had placed myself in.  I stepped into new adventures.  I recognized some weaknesses I possessed, and while acknowledging them, I moved on.

This was the year my youngest became a teenager.  This was the year I became a chicken momma.  This was the year we lost Silas.  This was the year I traveled back to my hometown with my eldest.  This was the year I reconnected with my yoga self.  This was the year I read a lot.  This was the year I found a strength within.  This was the year I fell in love with growing things. This was the year I recognized beauty in life and death.

On the precipice of a new year I reach for the things I gained in the old year, eager to carry them with me.  And at the same time I lay down those things that are better left behind.  I am thankful for my experiences and, with all the hope of a child, I look forward to new adventures in a new year.

A few of my goals:

1.  explore more writing
2.  count my blessings
3.  see the good
4.  say I love you
5.  take risks
My less poetic goals:
1.  finally decorate my bedroom
2.  keep a nature journal
3.  organize the garage shelves
4.  expand my garden
5.  read, read, read
Sometimes, when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think…there are no little things.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, December 25, 2014

it is Christmas

It is Christmas.  My family has been gracious to me over the last few days as I've spent most of my time laid up on the couch, sick with the flu.  I've not been this sick in a very long time but today I feel more like myself.  My husband is good to me and willingly picks up the slack but it feels good to be able to wash up a sink of dishes and take care of the chickens. 

My Christmas preparations took a backseat to just getting healthy again.  The cinnamon rolls came from a pop open can.  The veggie tray and Chex mix didn't happen.  As it turns out, these things really only matter to me.  Simplicity is the name of the game and everyone is content.

Let's repeat the mantra "Christmas is not about the presents" while I tell you how my guys spoiled me so.  I received a generous gift card to a clothing store from my youngest son.  He rode his bike downtown to purchase the gift card by himself.  Selfless.  I also received fuzzy socks and my favorite dark chocolate truffles. 

My coffee will be sipped in style with my new mug that says "there is not enough coffee in the world to make me a morning person".  Can I get an amen?

  I Believe There is not enough Coffee in the World to make ME A MORNING PERSON!!

My husband got me one of those new casserole crockpots and I'm super excited to get to using it.  Actually, I'm going to use it today for scalloped potatoes for our Christmas dinner, along with ham and brussel sprouts.  And it will come in very handy with the potlucks we do every Sunday at church.
Also gifted to me: my favorite novel.  I look forward to reading it again and again. Holding the weight of the book in my hands, the words like familiar friends speaking to my heart.

"Christmas is not about the presents"
We have a friend that is a photographer.  While at his home recently, he shared with me a beautiful photo he had taken.  He was able to capture the beauty of an aged white rose among rust colored fall leaves, the light playing off them.  I saw something more in the photo, prevailing beauty through pain, a theme that has resonated with me over the last year.  Our friend gave me a large print of the photo, ready to frame and display.  I feel honored that he would give me something as personal as his artwork.
Along the same lines of generosity I feel like I should mention my employer.  I feel very blessed to work for this Christian woman.  She cares for each individual employee as a human being, not just a means to a fiscal end.  We were all spoiled at our recent Christmas party where my husband and I feasted on prime rib.  I was given a generous bonus inside a Christmas card with a personal handwritten note.  I'm thankful because I know that she is an exception rather than the "norm" as far as bosses go.
So, bottom line is: I'm grateful.  The people around me are generous, thoughtful individuals.  They allow me to see beautiful kindness that acts as a balm in a weary world.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
And, Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday before

It is the Saturday before Christmas.  I'm sitting here in front of a fire with a dog and a bowl of popcorn at my side.  It is mid afternoon and Blake is watching the end of a college bowl game on tv.  It's cozy, a day that calms the soul.
I made some treats earlier to share at church tomorrow.  My kitchen is one of my favorite places to be.  It is my space, my things, my organization (good and bad).
Lemon cookies (light and soft and perfect).
Pretzels with dark chocolate kisses melted in between,
 then dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles.

Blake and Charlie were checking out the neighborhood together.
Last Saturday we were in Arlington (Washington) at a JROTC competition.  Seven schools were represented.  Austin shot with the rifle team and took 6th place.  His team earned 1st and 2nd place overall.  Here he is with 3 of his teammates (he is 2nd from the right).
This next picture is from the award ceremony.  Our JROTC is represented by the group in the upper right corner, that isn't all of them, just the representatives.  The rest of the 90-some kids from our school are sitting in the bleachers just below me. The group on the lower right is Marysville Pilchuck.  You may have seen them in the news as they suffered a school shooting just six weeks ago.  They were top notch at this competition and took home many awards.  My Austin is in the center of this shot, standing there in the middle of the group of three, receiving his award for marksmanship.


Happy Saturday before Christmas to you!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

early December

"I almost froze my buns off!"

This from my next door neighbor the day I went over with her mail and some fresh eggs.  She was referring to the cold snap we had last week.  As a petite woman with a child-like voice, to hear her say "buns" was amusing.  She appreciated the eggs and was sure to tell me she likes to look out her window and check on my chickens.

The weather has warmed up enough to bring on rain.  The chickens are, at this moment sitting on the back step just under the overhang of the roof, preening themselves.  Earlier I caught Braveheart up on the woodpile, looking down on the other hens with a sort of satisfaction mixed with trepidation.

As with most folks, we have decorated for Christmas.  We picked out a beautiful tree at the local tree farm.  The teenagers helped hang the old familiar decorations despite the fact that they can barely be together for 5 minutes without arguing.  Oh, this may be the thing that unravels my ever-lovin' mind!

These "China dolls" were given to me by my 4th grade teacher, Ms. Maxfield.  She had been a missionary to the Philippines.  These are one of my favorite possessions and while my children think they are creepy, they grace our Christmas tree each and every year. 

The coop could not go undecorated.  I made the girls a simple wreath with plastic ornaments.  Here they are studying the new addition:

I read a great book this week, Brain On Fire.  This is an account of this young woman's battle with a strange brain disease, how it took her into the throes of madness and back into health again.  Now I'm certain, with each forgetful spell and each crazy moment that I am indeed going mad and I have some sort of neuron-killing virus breaking down my brain bit by bit.  Or I have teenagers, which is more likely.

The eldest teen is in Olympia today at a rifle competition. The venue for this particular competition is little more than a barn with cement floors and no heat.  I think he likes the challenge but I bought him those little air activated hand warmers anyway and told him to stick them in his pockets or his socks or wherever needed the warming!

The youngest teen and I made sugar cookies.  We used my mom's old cookie cutters.  I love the vintage look of them.  And the memories.  My boys have been playing with these cutters since they were babies.  Whenever I was in the kitchen and they needed something to occupy them I'd get these out, along with some old measuring cups and spoons.  They'd be content while I did whatever I needed to do.

The finished product.  With some visitors at the back window.

When I was little my dad would sometimes make me lunch.  He was great at Top Ramen.  I liked it with a squirt of ketchup.  It's a sort of taste of my own childhood.  Not healthy, barely food, loaded with preservatives, stays in your gut for ages, high sodium.  I know, I get it.  But today, I fixed myself a package.  The brain has a section to remember smells and tastes and it associates these with other, more palpable, memories (I learned this in the book I mentioned earlier).  Today, I got to remember my dad.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

as gold

True story:

Once upon a time there were some churches in Macedonia.  Macedonia is in Europe, just north of Greece, for those who like this sort of detail in their stories.

These churches faced a time of great trial.  The trial itself is not of importance in this retelling.  Just know, they were at a low time.  Because of this trial they were afflicted.  They were impoverished.

Maybe we would imagine that they shut themselves up in their churches, drew the curtains, and wept.  Or they budgeted what was left of the church finances, tightened their belts, and settled in for a long, hard year.

Could it have been that some folks just gave up altogether, went home, and went about their own business?  Maybe they whispered among themselves about the leadership.  Maybe they questioned God.

But, in actuality, these people didn't do any of that.

With everything that they had in themselves, with all their power and then beyond any power that they possessed, they gave themselves to the Lord.  They offered their lives for His service.  Fully surrendered to His will, they gave themselves to serving others.

They didn't have much, materially speaking, but what they did have they gave it all.  They gave of themselves so generously that one would have thought they were rich.

These people, in what could have been a terrible time of depression, instead possessed a great JOY that defied all logical explanation.  This joy was not an outward show, no fake smiles and plastered on happiness.  No, they embraced what was happening and chose to serve God through the pain.  And God rewarded them with HIS joy.

The firing pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.  Proverbs 17:3

These folks were tried and found faithful.  Maybe we can all trust the process a little more in our own lives.  Despite circumstances, throwing ourselves into the service of the King.

This little bit of story is found in II Corinthians 8:1-7.

And for myself I would pray Job 23:10 -

But He knoweth the way that I take,
when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


We went to a soiree.

Nobody there was quite sure what a soiree actually is.  But we were there.  Soiree-ing.

It was really rather posh as far as things go.  Especially when you're used to coffee dates at Home Depot.

Posh.  Like goat cheese and cucumber sandwiches.  Like lavender tea and fresh fruits.

And we talked.  To people.  Which is big in and of itself.

When we were finished soiree-ing we came home and I beat the expert level on Just Words and my night was made.  It doesn't take much.

And somehow, in these days that roll into each other, my fifteen year old son has decided to start sending me text messages that make him sound mature.  And I compare him to the in between state of Jekyll and Hyde.  One moment Jekyll.  One moment Hyde.  Mostly Jekyll.

But this is where we are.  Parenting a couple of really great teenage boys.  Hob-nobbing with folks at a soiree.

And in my day job I'm still a waitress, lest you think I'm getting too highfalutin.

Some mornings before I head off to work, I cook lentils for my chickens.  They love lentils.  And sometimes I mix in quinoa or rolled oats.  And they, in kind, lay some really great eggs.

This is a scene from our Friday night in, a little later we got down with a crazy game of Scrabble.  I know, you can barely keep up.  But that's how it goes with us.  ; )


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

flames of debate

I stumbled onto a train wreck on social media, the kind where someone poses a question concerning a hot bed issue hoping to incite some worthwhile discussion.  The flames of a heated debate ignite and it becomes an ugly, opinion and emotion driven battle.  The fire dies down eventually, leaving all parties just glowing embers of something that was, raw from the destruction.

Then I opened my Bible and read Titus chapter 3 and my heart leapt when I realized what God was showing me.

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men.  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain."

It's easy to take on the attributes of a Pharisee: so wrapped up in doing and being and appearing "just so" that we forget Jesus.  We get critical of ourselves and twist and morph into an image we've devised in our minds.  We get critical of others, playing the judge, rather than loving. 

Hot bed issues, such as the one I had stumbled upon, will not be resolved by debate.  Hypothetical questions cannot be answered.  After everything has been said that can be said, no one is the wiser.

Charles Spurgeon recommended some strivings that should be avoided, things that could become social media train wrecks if not marked and avoided:

~ points where Scripture is silent (basically, if you can't back it up by Bible, move on)
~ mysteries that belong to God alone
~ prophecies of doubtful interpretation
~ modes of observing human ceremony (those man made traditions that become religion)

I'm reminded here of the verses in Matthew 15:8-9 :

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."

We are to be gentle, showing all meekness unto all men (Titus 3:2).  We are to go about the Lord's business: loving, doing good, being fruitful, showing kindness, turning from evil, serving joyfully.

And if you feel you must ask questions, do it of yourself.  Turn the enquiries on your own heart and soul.

~ Do I believe Jesus?
~ Am I growing in His grace?
~ Am I walking with the Holy Spirit?
~ Does my conversation speak well of the Lord?
~ What more can I do for Him?

Honestly attending to these questions will leave you changed, unable to partake in the needless strivings on social media.  You'll see the vanity in the drivel.

Become consumed by serving the Lord and loving human beings.  There won't be time for anything else.
Depart from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
Depart from evil and do good;
and dwell forevermore.
Psalm 34:14 and Psalm 37:27

Friday, November 14, 2014


My family walked into Ciao, a delightful Italian restaurant.  The owner greeted us with "Welcome home!".  A friendly hostess led us up the stairs to the loft area where we were seated right next to the railing.  Our server was a warm, pleasant woman (possibly the owner's wife?). 
 The menu consisted of things like spaghetti and meatballs, hand tossed and wood fired pizza, antipasto.  The boys each ordered a pepperoni pizza (thin crust with pecorino cheese).  My husband ordered shrimp scampi (the sauce was made to order and was so light and fresh tasting).  I had lasagna.  The special of the day was Hubbard squash lasagna which I would love to go back and try but I couldn't resist the lasagna made with local, grass fed beef. 
As we ate our dinner we reminisced of the little Italian place, Tino's, that we used to get calzones at, back when there were just two of us.  This place, Ciao, is like that.  The kind of place where the owner knows you by name and welcomes you in with a warm greeting, where you could stay all evening and enjoy the ambiance, and when you do leave the cooks call out from the open kitchen and wish you a good night.
The middle "picture" is actually a window.  Isn't that a great building across the street?

My lasagna.  I thought the presentation was perfect!

Thank you, Ciao, for surpassing our every expectation!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

in progress

It is a drizzly, gray, November morning.  The chickens probably won't get out today, they despise the rain.  It would be nice to call off the day because of the rain, to declare the day one of staying inside with the comforts of home, warmth, quiet.
I'm reading a book, Escaping Into The Open: The Art of Writing True.  Reading about writing has been a source of great pleasure recently as I have found that these writers wrap words around the aching need I have in my soul, the insistent call to transfer what's inside, out.
My favorite book, The Book Thief, inspires me in this way.  It is such a beautiful, haunting story.  I just watched the movie that this book inspired and it brought back, in waves, the emotions the book had evoked.  I find that I am at a loss to try to describe what this book is to me and maybe that is why it is so powerful.  It speaks my words, the words hidden in my heart, and as I read I am all at once bolstered and made vulnerable.
I mentioned recently that we had some work done around our place, namely, a new roof, gutters, and the removal of a tree.  Our little place is not extravagant by any means.  It is simple, much like us, but it is ours.  In my heart of hearts I entertain the idea of having a little farm complete with a barn.  But here, on our little plot in town, I will make it what I can.  I'll grow food and keep chickens.  I will collect rainwater for the garden.  I will cultivate flowers for the sole purpose of enjoying their colors.
Here are the before and after pictures of the recent work:
Our home, the day we got the keys:  August, 2013
And 14 months later, after the new roof and gutters (yes, the lamp is crooked):

And the empty space on the right where the big tree used to be:

Happy rainy Tuesday!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

a hurdle overcome

Two Scrabble games in today and Blake and I are one to one.  It's one of the joys of homeschooling that you can have your child home to play board games with on a weekday.  As we played, the chickens took up residence on the back step, peering in the sliding glass door, spectators of Scrabble maybe?

I'm going to miss my boy when he heads off to the high school next year.  We've already reached the end of the first quarter!  Austin is also just finishing his first quarter at the school.  And that leads me to a story I wanted to relate.

Last spring we began the steps to transfer Austin into the high school.  The 9th grade counselor assisted us in choosing his classes for 10th grade and a course of action toward graduation.  Unfortunately, she told us, the school would not be able to accept the 9th grade credits he had earned through our homeschool.  We did not work under a charter school and we were not a state accredited entity therefore our credits would not be recognized.  I almost cried in her office as I explained to her how hard we had both worked his 9th grade year to just have it all be for nothing.

His options to make up these credits would be a) staying after school every day and redoing the classes, b) summer school (at $75 per credit), c) an online school that allows you to work through courses at your own pace ($150 - $200 per class).

Over the summer I rolled those options over in my head.  But I didn't give up hope that we could change the tide.  School started up again, Austin now enrolled in the high school full time.  There was a time of adjustment, some acclimating that happened.  But still, there was that dread knowing that he somehow was going to need to make up those classes to graduate.  Or we had the option for him to not graduate and instead earn his GED.  Or I could combine his homeschool transcript with the high school's transcript and issue him a homeschool diploma.  Believe me, I entertained every idea.

Austin took the California Achievement test online, here at home.    Before he took it, I explained to him that we needed to get some idea of what level he was on, something concrete to show the school, if we even wanted a fighting chance.  Those scores ended up being arrows in our quiver.

I created a very professional looking transcript of Austin's 9th grade year.  Armed with the transcript and the scores from the CAT, my husband and I met with the 10th grade counselor.  She was doubtful.  She gave us our other options (summer school, online school, etc...) and told us she'd give the transcript and CAT scores to the principal who would, ultimately, be making the decision.

During this whole time I was very transparent with Austin.  I expressed my concerns and made him aware of all of our options.  He gave his input and I listened.  I've learned that with a teenager, you have to listen not only to what they say, but also to what they don't say.  I encouraged him to have faith that this would work out in our favor.

I gave the counselor a week and a half before I contacted her by email.  My email was very heartfelt and professional, just checking in on the status of the credits, etc...

A few days later she responded.  "I'm very happy to tell you that the principal has decided to accept the English credit!"  She explained that his test scores had a large part in this decision.  She went on to explain that they still needed a little more information on the rest of the classes before making a decision and could I please supply them with such and such.

I was elated!  To know that, in the face of this hurdle, we had achieved this little victory.  It was encouraging to know that the public school system, with all it's flaws and naysayers, had done us this justice and was willing to continue working with us.

Now, with the ball in my court again, I had to sit down and organize the information they needed.  The CAT test had supplied them with Austin's scores in a portion of the subjects but they needed to see results from History, Science, and Art.  I kept great records last year so I had everything they needed available.  Like I had with the transcript, I formulated a concise and detailed record.  I included a break down of each class, quarter grades, test scores, and semester grades.  All beautiful and complete, I emailed it off.

That very afternoon the counselor emailed me again.  The principal had approved the credits!  He is in line with all of his requirements and set to graduate as planned.  Hallelujah!!

The one credit that they were not able to transfer over was for the Bible Survey class Austin had completed in 9th grade.  Because the school itself does not offer a class like that they weren't able to use the credit.  Really, I'm ok with it.  I'm thankful for the amount that they were willing to work with us after being told it just wasn't going to be possible, or at least highly unlikely.

Now we set our faces forward once again.  As the parent of a public schooled student I shift my responsibilities slightly.  I check his grades weekly on our school's family access site.  I can view missed assignments, test scores, assignment scores, etc...  Every day I ask him about his classes, ask about homework, ask what they are talking about in class, ask about who he sits by, ask about the teacher, ask about what's happening at school, ask how lunch was, ask if he met anyone new, ask if he's sleeping well.  And it annoys him sometimes but I feel like it's so important.  There are days where I tread gently and don't push very hard and there are other days that he's willing to open and up and bare what's inside.  It's a fine line.  And I never want to sever that cord of trust that binds us.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, this being a parent stuff is not for the fainthearted!

But YAY for little victories and hurdles overcome!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

life living

There was a lot of life living around here this past week.  It was busy and full and that's just how it goes sometimes.  I prefer the quiet, lazy life but, I also understand that there is this great wonderful adventure that needs living and sometimes I just have to force myself to go out and live it.
Early in the week we took a second trip to the pumpkin patch.  The whole family sat at the table together and carved the pumpkins that now decorate our front step.  We don't normally carve pumpkins.  We have in the past.  And we have not.  And sometimes we have painted them.  This year was our best carvings ever.  We were really feeling it I guess.
We also had a new roof and gutters put on our house this week.  It was a loud, messy process.  The poor roofers had to work in the rain most days, but the finished product looks so nice!  I'll try to remember to get some before and after pictures up here.  I'm just so pleased with the transformation in the outside of our place.  As most homeowners can attest, it is a work in progress that is never really complete.
My husband's birthday was this week as well.  I made him this gorgeous carrot cake.  It's ok that I call my own cake gorgeous, right?  Well, I was mighty pleased with it.  AND, it was delicious.  It was fully devoured by the next day.

I took myself to our high school's choir concert on Thursday, it was a cheap solo date.  I sat in awe of the talented kids and their wonderful director.  Since I was alone there was no one to notice the tears that snuck down my face during their beautiful final song.  I brushed them away quickly but my heart was deeply moved.
My Austin shoots with his school's rifle team.  This is his second year on the team and it's something that he really digs.  Over the weekend we went to a competition in West Seattle.  It was neat to see the range and be a part of the atmosphere.  It's not the most exciting sport to watch because the targets are so far away that unless you have a scope or binoculars, you can't really see how well a shooter is shooting.  But to watch them prepare a shot, to be still in mind and body, is a pretty impressive sight to see.
This picture shows the range and a group of shooters preparing for their next position. 

Here is Austin, the second from the left, in prone position.  His call sign is "Ranger", it's the name his coach has dubbed him. 

The shooting range we were in is below the West Seattle Stadium.  This really meant nothing to me until we got there.  History and character reverberated from the stands.  I snuck away for a bit and captured a few pictures.

The wooden stands were built in 1936 and seat 800.

Beyond the track, the city of Seattle is visible.  The tall black building to the left is the Columbia Tower, it is the tallest building in the state of Washington standing at 943 feet with 76 stories above ground and 7 stories below ground.

Blake had a football game on Saturday in the middle of the strongest downpour we've had all year.  I missed the first half on account of being in Seattle but was able to join my husband in the stands a few minutes into the 3rd quarter.  The boys were clearly having a great time.  The rain fell, the field was slippery, the cheerleaders were soaked, most of the crowd gave up on their umbrellas because the wind was so strong.  During a moment between plays and while Blake was on the sidelines, he looked up in the stands.  His face lit up when he saw me there, as we both didn't think I'd be able to come.  It was a great moment for my mom heart.  All in one day I had been able to support both of my boys in the things that they love.  Good stuff.
Today in church we had a Bluegrass gospel duo, The Cooper Brothers.  These guys are great musicians. I was honored to get some one on one fiddling coaching by Jeffrey.   Jonathan even fixed our squeaky piano pedal and gave it a great tuning.  The whole thing just fires me up to get on with my violin, to seek out some techniques and challenge myself out of my comfort zone.  So, thanks to Jeffrey and Jonathan, for your inspiration.
Follow this link to hear the guys playing and singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot.  This was not recorded at our church but it gives a good feel for their bluegrass capabilities.
And have a great new week!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

my refuge

A birthday cake is in the oven.  It smells so good! 

It is my husband's birthday and as we inch closer and closer to 40 we discuss, in awe, how we could possibly be this old!  For the record, he is 37 today. 

How I love him and every year that he is alive.  I love how I get to see him grow in wisdom.  I cheer on his gray hairs so I don't feel so alone in my plethora.  I'm thankful he was born and that God created us for each other and orchestrated our lives to meet exactly 18 years ago.  And as we age, intertwined, each day becomes sweeter, each birthday more precious.

Happy birthday, Love!

As I read my Bible this morning I came across some verses that spoke loudly to me.  Verses about trusting in God as my refuge. 
Life flies by and I'm buzzing around, taking charge of the things that need to be done, and moving from task to task, and being so darn busy that I don't see the Lord right there to the side, in the shadows somewhat, open arms waiting for me to crawl in to His embrace. 
He is the safety in a world that can feel so bleak.  He is the shelter when I'm overwhelmed.  And He's there all the time and I ignore Him, or forget Him, or I get so wrapped up in just getting through the day that I don't allow Him to be that safe place for me to turn.
My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation:
he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times;
ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62: 5-8

Now is the time to get yourself a nice cup of coffee or some hot tea and sit with me awhile.  I did some word study to dig deeper into these verses using my Bible and the Strong's concordance. 

Bold type is the original.  The definitions come from the concordance.  Italics is my own plugging of the definitions into the original just for some deeper understanding, not to make the original better because that can't be done.

My soul, wait thou only upon God.

Wait = stop and be still

only = surely, certainly, truly

My soul, stop and be still, surely upon God.

For my expectation is from Him.

Expectation = the thing that I long for

For the thing that I long for is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence.
only = surely, certainly, truly

Rock = strength, refuge

salvation = deliverance, aid

defence = a place of refuge

He truly is my strength and my deliverance: he is my place of refuge.

I shall not be moved.

Moved = slip, be off course, to fall in decay

I shall not be off course.

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

salvation = liberty, safety

glory = honor, splendor

refuge = shelter

In God is my safety and my honor: the rock of my strength, and my shelter, is in God.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
I also noticed in these verses that the Bible gives us some facts about God and then what we are to do now, knowing those facts.  Don't you love how layered the Bible is?
I'll break this down into three parts.
1)  from Him
2)  in Him
3)  He is
~~~From Him....  verse 5 says my expectation is from him, expectation being that thing I long for, my hope.  This reminds me of faith: the evidence of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).  Verse 5 says that this expectation from him should cause me to wait thou only upon God, to be silent and still in anticipation.
~~~He is....   verses 6 and 7 state four things that God is.
  • my rock.  He is that ultimate strength in any storm.
  • my salvation.  He is deliverance from the power of sin.
  • my defense.  He is that place of safety, the fortress.
  • my refuge.  He is shelter and warmth.  He is home.
God is my rock, my salvation, my defense, my refuge and I shall not be moved.  With all of that protection offered, if I am willing to accept it, I won't be shaken by the storm.
~~~In Him....  Because of the things that God is, and because I am His child by way of salvation, verse 7 explains four things that I have IN God.
  • my salvation is IN God.  Salvation here referring to my safety and liberty.
  • my glory is IN God.  Wait a minute!  Shouldn't this be HIS glory?  A-ha, when we are the Lord's He gives us His glory.  Isn't that a beautiful idea?  Because I am His I have an honor and splendor that is not of myself, but of God.
  • the rock of my strength is IN God.  Can I maybe say that God is the foundation of my boldness?  He is the source of my power.
  • my refuge is IN God.  My shelter.  My safe place.  My home.
Now, because I have these things in God, verse 8 explains that I can trust in Him at all times.  If I understand fully that God holds my safety, bestows upon me some measure of His own glory, is the source of my very strength, and affords to me a refuge, then trusting Him with my every moment should be a natural outgrowth.
Maybe broken down into an outline with points and bullets makes this whole thing seem cold and clinical.  Thankfully the Lord is warmer than my formatting of points.
In the trenches of real life, He is that one immoveable, unshakeable reality that we can hold to.  In the day to day battles, He is the warm lights of home.  But better.
My trenches are at work, with co-workers that don't know my loving God and customers that try my graces.  My trenches are with raising teenagers in a world overcome with sin.  My battles are with my shortcomings and vulnerabilities.  And daily I'm affronted by noise and worry and fear.
But God.
He is my refuge.
My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation:
he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times;
ye people, pour out your heart before him:
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

Sunday, October 19, 2014


We went to the zoo awhile back.  I took three pictures.  Three.
Then I forgot to post said pictures.  Even better.
So now, no matter how many days it's been since we went to the zoo (9), I am posting my three pictures now.
First up...the leaves were falling like confetti on New Year's Eve.  I stared up at them in awe and caught them in my hands because I love simple things.

Second picture... The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.  Because, how can you not?

Last picture... a 15 year old in a turtle shell flashing signs and making the goofy face that has been passed down through generations (particularly from his Uncle Mike).
What I shouldn't mention is that I took this picture from my own turtle shell.  Because that's what I do.
Sometimes, around here, we have visitors at the back door.  If the door is open, they'll step inside cautiously.  If the door is closed they'll just stand there, looking in.  These girls love human interaction.
The last regular season football game was played yesterday.  Blake was fierce on the field.  For someone who knows very little about football, and for "just his mom", I am amazed with how much growth I've seen in him over this season.  We move on to play-offs now.  Then wrestling season.
Blake and I took a quick trip to the pumpkin patch, just us two.  They had a whole mess of angry turkeys there.  And peacocks!
We found a couple pumpkins to carve and some little white ones for decorations.  I've already decided to save seeds for my garden.  Who needs to buy pumpkins when you can grow them yourself?!  That's forward thinking right there.
Before we left, I built a pumpkin tower.  Not really.

Here are our masterpieces!!

I fed the gooey pumpkin guts to the chickens.  Saved a few seeds and roasted the rest.  A tip!  Boil the pumpkin seeds for about 10 minutes.  Drain and dry well before roasting as normal.  This gets the seeds very clean and helps get a good crunchy texture rather than chewy.
I was engrossed in this book this week:
by Markus Zusak
I came across a quote that pretty much sums up what I write about here on my blog.  There are a few that read and let me know how much they enjoy it, or how it was touching.  I am thankful for those kindnesses.  If it weren't for an outlet for these words I'd probably not be able to breathe.
The quote:
Ask her what she craved and she'd get a little frantic about things like books, the woods, music.  Plants and the seasons.  And freedom.
-Charles Frazier