Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Lent takes my focus from the bare trees, cold weather, and sniffles of the winter season, toward the sacrifice of my Saviour! What a wonderful opportunity Lent provides... one that helps me to simplify my time and thoughts and bring a sharp focus onto preparing my heart for Easter.

Simple Gifts

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,


'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

written by Shaker, Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ministry of Rebuke

It's funny how you don't notice certain aspects of instances in life until you've experienced them yourself. I've been close (not involved, just in touch with some involved parties) to a big-sin situation. (I have to mention here that my theology on the ranking of sins is still forming... I'm not sure if sin ranking is God-imposed or man-imposed.) These were, and still are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I stated my love for my friends, and my concern for consequences that will result from the willfull sin.

And then I watched the fallout come their way. The consequences are certainly huge and so complicated. I can't help but feel sad and grieved by the hurt that sin causes God's children, including those who were just innocent standers by.

With that being said, I am almost equally grieved by a spirit of pride that wells up within the community of believers when they realize that someone they know has committed one of the "bigger" sins. I completely understand that there is a place in the church for rebuke. It is definitely Biblical. But I am highly suspicious of self-righteousness as being a potential catalyst for people's anxiousness to grab a stone as quickly as they can.

What possible motivations could be behind massive amounts of people who have so many things to work on in their own lives to cause them to feel a strong need to put pen to paper or type out email sermons? Validation of their own guilt over "not-so-big" sins? Spiritual pride? The need to try to fix other people's problems (a common female characteristic)? Now, there are people in our lives who have the right to blast away at us when necessary... our close family members, our very best friends, the brothers and sisters we have covenanted with for times such as these. But when every Christian and their dog all of a sudden see fit to be someone's conscience, it makes me suspicious of wrong motives.

But I'm thinking now... if this is an effective and acceptible Christian practice, I may just start a new ministry for myself. I would be really good at this! I could easily spend hours a day finding sin in people's lives and writing letters telling them what to do differently. In fact, from what I've seen of this type of communication, you don't even need to bother offering any listening ear, make an attempt at grace, love, or understanding, or offer future mentoring. All you have to do is point out the wrongdoing! Starting the letter with "This is because I care about you" seems to be an optional addition to the note. This sounds like a piece of cake. Call it God's work, and then I'll feel so good about what I've done!

Or maybe not... when's the last time prideful harping worked at changing my children's hearts? At best it changes the behavior, and just hardens the heart. Hmm... Maybe I'll be very careful to check my motives... I mean REALLY check them, before I go starting a "ministry" of rebuke.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Garden time

At this time last year, my spring garden was tilled, seeds were planted, and I was watching out for frost. That was my first garden ever... and it was all thanks to my green-thumbed (the rest of his fingers are green too!) father in law.

This year is quite a different story. It's all up to me. Well, my wonderful husband is there for me, too. But he has delegated himself to the role of "tiller extraordinaire". Outside of that, he is quick to remind me that it's my garden, and points to the house full of helpers I have at my access! The kids just love when Dad does that...

So, in true procrastinator's fashion, I am noticing what time of year it is, pulling out my Johnny's Selected Seeds catalog, and checking for delivery times. OK, web orders ship the next day. We can do this! Now, where did I put those notes I made about last year's garden reminding me what to do differently this year?

Since most of my friends were astonished at the early start of my garden last year, I don't feel too bad yet about not having anything planted yet. But let's just wait and see how long the seeds sit on my countertop once they get here.

I'm going to visit my dear father in law this coming weekend, so I'm hoping to come home feeling energized. Is it possible for a pregnant woman to feel energized? I sure hope so. Because I so enjoy reaping the benefits of a backyard garden!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Seasons of a Mother's Heart

I read Sally Clarkson's book about the different seasons for a mother more than 10 years ago. Little did I know then what seasons lay ahead for me. Since that time, I have gone from being a young mother of two preschoolers to being a homeschool mom of 5 with another one on the way. Along the journey I have experienced the roller coaster ride of life. My years as a mother have been filled with times of high energy and excitement, calm and contentment, and just being plain worn out. Some days have left me feeling like I'm kind of getting good at this mom thing. Some days have tried my patience and won.

Because the kids and I get to spend so much time together, even the hardest days are still sprinkled with precious, precious moments... the unexpected "I love you, Mommy", the silly faces only a three year old can make, the inside joke I laugh about with my teenage son, the ideas that come flowing out of my creative daughter, the way the baby lays her head down on my shoulder and pats my arm when I get her out of her crib.

This most recent season, one of another first trimester of pregnancy, has been draining. I was nauseous and very tired. I had pregnancy brain to the point where I wondered if I would ever be able to think clearly again. Obviously, I didn't blog much. Getting through the day was about all I could do for a couple of months. But I really did know that it was just for a season. My fog is beginning to lift, and I don't even need a nap every day anymore. I am finding a new, revised schedule and have adjusted my goals for schooling this year some. I'm getting myself back!

My new season of energy will only be temporary. I keep reminding myself of this. Make the most of this time, Dawn! Before long, I will be tired again, and after that will be the season of a newborn's first few months. So, I will enjoy my season of productivity once again. And then comes the sweet season of a very different kind of productivity altogether... the seven people in our home getting to bond with our newest little love! Each season is so necessary and makes life so full...

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
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