Liebster Award – Passing it On

liebster-logoWell, before my week gets a little bit crazy and probably a lot weird thanks to a new culinary adventure I will be embarking on (more than that later),  I thought I’d take a few moments and indulge in a little fun… especially since my youngest turned 13 today and fun is certainly one way to keep me from an overdose of nostalgia about when they were all babies.

The multi-talented Mitch Teemley nominated me for a Liebster Award recently, and I am excited to pass on my own nominations to you!  If you haven’t heard of this award, just know that it is a great way to get the word out about other bloggers you know and a nomination is a pretty sweet vote of confidence from a fellow blogger.

Mitch, please accept my gratitude for your nomination <insert curtsey here>.

I definitely recommend checking out his wonderful blog, The Power of Story, (and also his upcoming film, Over the Rhine)!

Of course, there are some rules, but they are just as fun. ;

RULES:

  • Thank the nominator (Thanks again!)
  • Answer the questions
  • Nominate others (though none of you are under any obligation to participate!)

So. First for my nominations. These are all blogs either of personal friends or blogs I have read some great content on and deserve more traffic (in my opinion):

Detective Gluck

You Can Trust Him

Theological Jon

The First Gleam of Dawn

Unto Christ’s Fullness

God’s Grace – God’s Glory!

Scott’s Blog – Jesus Be With You

Laura Bennett

Lilka Raphael – Author and Photographer

Lastly, the questions:

1. If you could be any animal on earth, what would it be and why?  A swallow. I adore watching them swoop and dive like little feathered masters of the air. What it must feel like to fly that way!

2. If you had to write the soundtrack of your life, what would be the first three songs?  Eh… I’m too tired to decide. Probably something like

3. If your death was imminent, what would you choose as your last meal?   The Bread of Life and Living Water – kind of like an appetizer before the great feast.

4. What movie that has not yet been made would you pay good money to see?   Yeah… not so sure. I like movies but I am cheap and would still prefer a good book or a nice, long hike.

5. What was your favorite age to be and why?  Maybe 30 ?? All three kids were babies and every day had built-in entertainment.

6. What is the one book that has most inspired your writing and/or life?  The Bible is definitely tops. The first time I read it all the way through, I came out a different person on the other side. Outside of the Bible, maybe G. K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters… 

7. If you could live anywhere you please, without that pesky restraint called money, where would it be and why?  Somewhere with a gorgeous view of either the mountains (Smokies, Rockies… not too picky) and/or a gorgeous view of a natural beach with no condos/other houses in sight… but maybe a few live oaks. Why? because I love, love, love to see the beauty of creation and the wonder of the creatures my Father has populated it with. But I do not love crowds, concrete, and exhaust fumes.

 

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Going to the Dogs… or Maybe Not

In our years of pet ownership, my husband and I have developed our own dog ranking system, partially in jest and partly because…  well, partly because. In order, the hierarchy is:

  1. Good Dog
  2. Has Potential
  3. Bad Dog

Allow me to embellish.

This is Mayumi:Yumi001

Mayumi is a Good Dog.

Most of the time, she is very obedient… with occasional exceptions, usually because I haven’t given her adequate exercise. When small children are over, she is gentle and submissive. As for tricks, she can jump through hoops, sit, stay, high-five with alternating paws, close the door (well, sometimes), and play dead.

As a puppy, she would only quiet at night if she could see me. Overall, she is my loyal companion who follows me from room to room and generally wants to be near me. She is calm and can be trusted with people of all ages and animals of all sizes. I love this dog!

This is Chestnut:

Chestnut Has Potential.

For the most part, he is obedient (occasionally even surpassing Mayumi in coming when called), but he does lack self-control. He adores people, often rather exuberantly in wild, oafish boundings and clumsy gyrations that  threaten the vertical stability of moderately sized humans. Chestnut also has trouble holding his licker and frequently leaves slobber trails on… well, everything.

Due to his… enthusiasm… we crate him when small children or elderly people are visiting. Not all furry things that enter our yard survive except the three skunks that got him first (really, three times !!!).

My husband and I joke that his tombstone will read RIP Chestnut: He Had Potential. 

I have no pictures of Sable, but she was aptly named. Sable was a Bad Dog.

In the few weeks she lived here, she managed to frighten the children (who were still very young), lose all off-leash privileges in the house, and made me rue the day I first saw her. One rare occasion when she was allowed off the leash in our yard, she attacked me. Fortunately, I had some training in judo and her challenge went rather badly for her while I was angry but unhurt. Sable became a junkyard dog.

…And this is our Miscreant thinning the herd of origami reindeer given us by the talented Mr. Leonard Gluck.:
But he’s in a different class entirely.

Before I came to know and love the Most High, I was as dark-hearted as Sable, a miscreant in an altogether separate category – an aimless and nameless wastrel.

Can I even express how grateful this repentant reprobate is to the King who expunged her record of lawlessness by sentencing Himself to death in my stead? Can I find words for my awe that He did not stop there, but took up His life again? No, words fail.

Where I deserved a pitiless death, I received mercy… and yet He did not stop there. With grace beyond my wildest reckoning,  He called this waif, “Daughter, ” lavished upon me a spiritual inheritance of inestimable value, and has brought light and life to all that was deadened and darkened within me.

My Lord and my God! May the wonder of it never cease to astonish me!

If my God is truly powerful; if His grace is truly sufficient; if I believe that fullness of joy is found in His presence – in short, if He is truly all He says He is – my life ought to reflect nothing short of complete devotion and steadfast loyalty to Him.

Where He is, I want to be. When He commands, I want to obey, and though I may slip up from time to time, overall I want to be fully His, wholly trusting Him and trusted by Him around people of all ages.

May I never be a casual partaker of Grace, giving the Almighty a perfunctory nod as I tuck His gift carelessly in a pocket while asking Him to bless my self-determined course.

In short, I do not want to a disciple who merely Has Potential…

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
(Colossians 1:9-10)

On the way out the door~~

Loved this post from Inspiration with an Attitude! Maybe I just needed a reminder that the presence of a promise doesn’t preclude the need of a battle or two (or three, etc.)…

INSPIRATION with an ATTITUDE

IMG_20150103_172451138Remember sending your kiddo off to kindergarten that first day?  Or camp?  Or that first solo in the car? (GAG!) Or college?  I remember the anxiety of allowing our teenage girls to go on month-long mission trips out of the country. The first one was to Hong Kong when it was still under British rule, and I found out (after the fact) that my 14-year-old smuggled Bibles into China.  She assured me it was safe. 

Because 14-year-olds know these things.

On one such excursion, one of our daughters reported that when she arrived at the staging complex, there signs posted everywhere that read “CALL YOUR MOTHER!”  Somebody there must have compassionately understood.

Now, by the grace of God, all three of our children have

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Renovation

This is my living room right now:

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You’ll note the assorted pieces of a sleigh bed stashed behind the couch or atop the dog crate, the random rolled-up rug, my messy desk devoid of my photo processing desktop computer, the filing cabinet adorned with two lamps, and so on. If you could look to the right, you’d see a couple of dressers, assorted computer parts, a couple of nightstands, and a whole lot of homeless junk.

Not far beyond that lies a room which used to sport yellow and red handprints on a cheerful blue background, custom cabinets filled with curriculum and home school supplies, three desks, and a whiteboard.

Now the walls are muted to a neutral gray, the paint-stained carpet has been replaced with vinyl planking, and the room currently houses the planking and materials for a new flooring project.

I assure you, this is not the normal state of affairs at our home; we are in a state of flux. My husband has a little breather in his crazy work schedule and we are beginning  a long-desired (and possibly long overdue) removal of the carpet in as many places as we can afford.

Why am I telling you this?

I suppose it is metaphorical. My entire life is in the midst of remodeling project.

One week from today, all three of my children will attend the first day at Zion Christian Academy.  In other words, one week from today, I will officially be out of a job.

Naturally, I will still be parenting. I am assured that job has no end; only changing requirements. But for the first time in 16 years, the full-time parenting, shepherding, and educating of my children that is homeschooling will be at an end. We are in a state of total transition.

So what now? I wish I knew.

Just as this shuffling of furniture brings about much reorganizing and re-evaluating of possessions, so also I am finding myself sorting through many familiar habits and routines and trying to discern which ones will need to stay and which need to be tossed. Some I know must stay – my time with God, my study of His Word; these are non-negotiable. Others, well… we shall see.

Also, as the gutting of rooms brings many discoveries – some of great value like a letter to me from one of the kids when they were young; some less wonderful, like the cigarette butt left beneath the carpet by the builders – so I am finding many discoveries beneath the surface of my life.

Some are bittersweet – an increased intentionality in my time with the kids as the quantity of time together naturally diminishes. Still, each precious moment with my brood is so much sweeter even as they become more rare, so there is great joy.

Other findings are less lovely, like the lack of a college degree coming back to haunt me – the carelessly discarded stub of a reckless and wasted youth buried for years beneath the duties of a homeschool mom.

So today at the age of 43, I am sifting through the topsy-turvy assortment of abilities and desires that have shaped my life, evaluating them for usefulness during this next season, exposing them to my God for examination, and seeking His help in deciding what to keep and what to discard.

At this crossroads, I do not know which direction to take. Until I do, I will simply stand, prayerfully exploring my options and ready to obey once the order is given. It is a season of transition; a humbling time of reckoning for past decisions and a painful exercise in trusting God to reveal His purposes for me. During it all, I doggedly cling to the promise that His grace is sufficient for me even as I survey the wreckage necessary for renovation.

And I praise Him that no matter how crazy or hopeless things look to me now, the work He is doing will be well worth it in the end. Just like our new floors.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…

…And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:25-26, 28

Meet and Greet

Welcome!
I thought I would try something new today and host a Meet and Greet to meet other bloggers and to provide an opportunity to promote your blog.

That being said, I would like to do things a little bit differently: I want everyone who comments to promote two blogs, starting with someone else’s blog and then telling a little about your own. If possible, try to mention a blogger that you know of who is either new to blogging or needs a little leg-up for building traffic to their blog.

To demonstrate, I’ll start us off:

I would love for you to check out a newcomer to WordPress: Mr. Leonard Gluck.  You can find his wonderful blog at https://detectivegluck.wordpress.com/ where you will find downloadable Power Point presentations covering a wide variety of topics in creation and some of his own origami creations.

Mr. Gluck has a knack for highlighting fascinating facts about the creatures he runs across and the spiritual lessons that he learns while studying them. His downloadable presentations are an excellent and interesting addition to any home school or for any nature lover whatever the school choice!

An avid origami artist, he has also enjoys weaving either science or Bible lessons into his paper creations. Before he started his blog, I had the privilege of videoing him teaching the steps to one of his own origami creations. I encourage you to check out Detective Gluck!

As for me… well, this is my space and you can poke around. I enjoy writing about my spiritual journey. The many Biblical references about walking with God or comparing the spiritual journey to a race resonate with me as a person who loves to walk, run, hike, or just be out in creation worshiping the Creator,  hence the name of the blog. This is about my race, including trials and triumphs as well as what God teaches me through them.

Please comment below! I look forward to hearing from you, even if it takes me some time to make it over to your blog due to a busy season of life. I will get there sooner or later – that’s a promise!