Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Ready

I laid in bed and thought. I followed the thoughts in circles, got carsick, and tried to apply brakes to the endless motion. There was a lot to do.
My niece was getting married on Saturday. It was Monday, and the first wave of family would crash into our shore that night at around 8pm. In all, there would be about 20 people sleeping at my house and my mom's house. No wonder I was carsick. There was a lot to do.

However, through the years I've learned something.
I can clean my house until it shines, until it dazzles, but if my soul is a mess, it really doesn't matter.
If I scour the floor but am harboring unforgiveness or unrepentance, my hospitality blesses no one.
So this time, I cleaned my house, but I also prayed and asked others to pray. I prayed alone. With Dave. With the kids. I prayed for grace to give and love and serve. I prayed that we might help and bless and bring joy. I took time, even in the midst of the chaos to spend time with God.
I straightened the furniture and I aligned my heart to God's Spirit.
It made all the difference.
So when someone made a comment about the naughty little girl I used to be, I was able to smile and say, "Isn't God good? Look at His grace that saved me!"
And when my sister told me that we had to make 200 cupcakes on the 98 degree day, I was able to say, "That's what sister's are for!"
And when I had to go to the craft store to figure out how to frost the aforesaid cupcakes and how to display them on the cake table, and I broke out in a cold sweat because craft stores scare me, I was able to pray for guidance and see God give it.

So although the time was filled with work, it was also filled with love and laughter and family.
And the little girl who had made me an aunt, made me proud.

And the family that was last together for a funeral came together for a wedding.
Tonight, the last family left. I threaded my way through the living room maze of lincoln logs and vitamin water and sprinkles. I missed the noise of many feet and voices. But I remembered that not everyone left, I've got four babes and a husband who will wake in the morning.
And they will want to find a mama/wife with a well cleaned soul.....
I gotta go!
My mom and brother

Rowan and his cousin drew themselves holding hands.

Rowan dancing with his cousin at the wedding

Dancing with the bride!

Rosy and Cait

The little guy who's responsible for my sister becoming a grandma

Rowan and cousin Summer
Avonlea playing with the little girls

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Church in the Woods, Year 2

Last summer God asked us to do something unconventional.
He impressed upon our hearts the need to worship together as a family. In the woods.
It felt strange to dress in shorts and tennis shoes for church. It felt odd to pack a picnic for service. But we did it. And we learned something. When you obey God, you have no idea where that obedience will take you.

"Contained within each faithful response to God's guidance is the seed of the next possibility."

All this last year, we've seen this proven true. Family worship led to many decisions that changed the course of our lives.

This year we felt again the call to come and worship as a family in God's cathedral.

Last year, our theme was "The Path" and this year we continued that theme.

So every week, we pick a different trail and a different lesson to go with it.

For example....

One week, we went on a horse trail that was full of poop and slugs and mud and thistles. Our verse for that week was, "Thy word is a lamp onto my feet and a light onto my path." We discussed how utterly miserable it would have been to try and maneuver that horse trail in the dark. I told them that my life path has looked exactly like that horse trail at times and the only way I made it through unscathed was because I devoured God's Word and allowed it to guide my decisions.

Several Sundays ago I told the kids a story about the metallic blue diamonds attached to trees on the Pacific Crest Trail. The Pacific Crest Trail travels the distance between Mexico and Canada. When Dave asked me to begin dating him, I was unsure. I liked him, I respected him, but I wasn't passionately head-over-heals in love with him. So I went on a camping trip with my friend Jenny and I prayed and asked God to show me what to do. The trail we hiked on to our camping spot was part of the Pacific Crest Trail. God showed me, on that camping trip, that He was leading and my trail was marked. If I followed His Word and His voice in my life, like I followed the blue diamonds on the trail, I would be going in the right direction. Well....the trail that God had marked out for me led me somewhere way better than Canada (no offense Chrissy). It led me to now.
Dave went on to tell the kids what God's blue diamonds of leading look like. Gentleness. Patience. Love. Hospitality. Humility. Joy. The markers of His trail.

But last Sunday was the best hike yet. It was a hike through a river to a waterfall. We had to cross an enormous barrier of fallen logs to get to it. The logs were high over the water and semi-narrow and slippery. Grant was able to maneuver himself. But the other three kids had to ask Daddy to carry them. Even Avonlea. I closed my eyes as Dave walked over the high log with a 12 year old on his back. After Dave had gotten them all across he told me to come.
I had to remember that following the blue diamonds is often synonymous with obeying my husband.
I crossed with my heart in my throat and my eyes on my family.
But on the other side!

This hike was absolutely beautiful.
Well worth the scary scramble over logs.
Someday these kids may face an obstacle that seems impassible.
And just maybe....they'll remember the beauty that was on the other side.
And maybe....that will motivate them to ask their Father to carry them across.

These are a glimpse of the lessons God is teaching us this summer.
As a family.
In the woods.

 Quote is by Ruth Barton.
The hike is in the Columbia Gorge. It is called Oneonta. Water gets to chest level.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I think I see Him!

My mom's always told me that Jesus could come back at any time.
I believe her, but I wish she'd stop watching for just a minute and let me take her picture.


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