Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's almost November, so that means it's almost time for Christmas shopping. To help you get a head start, the One Stop Christmas Hop is an amazing giveaway blog hop. Currently there are 44 people signed up. If you'd like to join, go here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

How Much Do they Know?

At my daughters school, journal writing is a routine exercise. Daily, students write reflectively in journals by whatever prompt is provided. On one such occasion, the writing prompt was Proverbs 5 from the Holy Bible.

As is customary, I received an automated email to inform me that my daughter never completed this assignment. This troubled me, because of all classes, she had never gotten a report like this from Bible class.

I looked at the email a couple of times before deciding to read the assigned scripture, Proverbs 5, for clues as to why she rejected the journaling assignment. Two things my child loves: to hear herself talk, to admire what she has written. She is gifted at both. Grabbing two of my bibles, I got cozy on my sofa, prayed for understanding and began to read.

First I read the King James Version. The first 6 versus set an alarm off in my heart. The scripture was instruction for a man, cautioning him to be sensible and warning him about the perils of another mans wife. The scripture goes on to tell what will become of a man who does not heed the warning. This was touchy for my daughter, who still harbors discontent with her father surrounding our divorce.

Versus 15-20 helped me understand why she had skipped this journal writing all together. These verses caution a husband to love the wife he has, to be faithful to her, and not to give his love away in the streets. The scripture ends by telling that such a man will be caught up in his own wicked ways and sin, and will perish because he is foolish and cannot control himself.

I read it a second time in the New Century Version of the Bible. I consider this to be my comfortable Word. It clarifies and highlights my understanding. This made my Spirit ache. I was pretty sure why my child didn't complete her journal entry. This Proverb was talking about her life and the adults in it. How could she comfortably write about that for someone else to possibly see and read?

I had to talk to God about this again, then I contemplated calling my ex husband. Deciding against it. I thought about how far God has brought us safely, and knew I would need to start by talking to my child.

We sat down together, and talked at length about the scripture, what it  meant, and how it made her feel. She read it again at my suggestion (insistence) and then she journaled. We both felt better, because we know God's Word is divinely inspired.

Just when we think we are passed this albatross of adultery and divorce, something like this rear up. However, we have the hope of salvation, and the power of God on our side. He works all things together for the good of us who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tending The Garden

Gardens are being gleaned for their final fruits, and jarring and canning is in process. We are doing the fall work to prepare for Winter. There is a lot of fruit to be tended to at this time of year.

If you garden at all (which I mostly do by using my supervision skills); you know that there is a method you have to follow if you intend to continuously reap from the land. In the fall, when the garden has given all of her fruit, it is time to prepare for the winter ahead.

My mom is a good gardener. Competitive, some might even say. She begins to take the steps necessary to make sure this earth can bear good fruit again next Summer. The very final step she takes is in covering the prepared earth with the beautiful fall leaves. When the snow comes, it falls atop the leaves, which have been naturally composted by the rain and weather of the fall.

The weather is fighting to change into full blown fall/winter here, with trees shedding beautifully hued orange, red and brown leaves into piles on days when the sun beats down 70 degree rays. Home of a Big Ten college campus, radios, televisions, retailers and fans all turn their attention to football - high school, college and national. Sweaters are changing into heavier jackets, tailgating is on tap, and area farms are touting pumpkins and apples,hayrides and hot cider.

This is a family time of year, so naturally, I think of my family as it is now and as it was. When you have been divorced, separated, or otherwise ended a life altering relationship, you should look at the seasons of that puppy, and check on what kind of fruit it produced, and why. Though hindsight is always perfect, it also allows for reflection to fine tune for the future.

The beginning of the relationship is like Spring - everything is pretty, new and fascinating. The earth, showing off the most beautiful and vivid colors God has created. Showing each other our richest jewels - what we have to offer at our first love.

Summer time is when seeds planted start to give up their first fruit. Some of them bloom and produce beautiful fruit; some wild, racing vines and flowers, and still others never bloom, or become entangled by weeds. We begin to know each other in our intimate or inner selves; finding out there are some wonderful gifts, some hidden dreams and talents, something wild and yet untamed, and yes, some bondage and trouble spots. We start to know how we compliment each other and encourage the greatness in each other, and others start to recognize what the combination of our gifts produces.

Fall brings a calming change in the weather. Brightly colored fruits of Spring begin to fade and fall away, leaving bareness, nakedness. Roots are revealed as the origin of the different good or bad items in the garden. A good gardener starts to rake away some of the roughage. If we plan just right, we can turn this roughage into a compost that will invigorate growth. This is a time that encourages slumber, when work is necessary. One of the most important seasons. If we slumber through this season, Winter will not be kind to our garden, or to our relationships.

I don't deign to tell you how to tend to your relationship; just that as an acquaintance of mine suggested recently, if you want to know what the good stuff of it i is look at the Spring and the Summer. If you want to affect what will yield in those times, take that knowledge and prepare during Fall for the Winter, A good gardener progressively cultivates the garden, and employs key ground preparation at the pivotal times.

Take some time to look at what the fruit was or is from your intimate relationships, both good and bad. If there is something that you can do better, more often, or stop doing to cause it to change in a way that bears more good fruit, better quality fruit, or relationship sustaining fruit- shouldn't you do that? Even your relationship with God can surely use some pruning. I am looking at my garden now.


Here are some thoughts to ponder and a place to start:

What season do you think your relationship with _______ is in currently?

What steps do need to take to cultivate the relationship in this season?

Write it out, make it plain, and get busy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Valley growth

Tonight was a prime example of how God allows growth in the valley. My 7 year old son sang in a children's choir by himself for the first time, and my 13  year old daughter assisted with the choir. My kids sing in this choir every year, and it is an amazing event.

Normally, my son and about 4 of his cousins sing in the choir, and my daughter sings as well. This is her first year helping with the choir because she has graduated - she's 13 now. His cousins were either out of town or not participating. He was alone with about 45 friends and acquaintances. Yes, I know, but it is not the same. He was nervous.

Okay, I was nervous.

I am always early as the choir members need to arrive half an hour before the event is scheduled to start. 

I sat in the front as usual but not in the very first row. Yes, I am a hyper parent who sits in the very front row. This time, I sat about three rows back toward the center aisle, so I could see him and he could spot me at his leisure. My son is different from my girl child. He wants to know you are present, but not that you are up front singing all the songs and doing all the hand movements.

Okay, maybe I shouldn't do that. Ever. I can't help it.

My family was not able to make it tonight. I was a little nervous about this too. Nervous about not having anybody sitting next to me to support my babies. I know that I am enough for them, but I am overly sensitive about family support. So I sat alone - almost. In the row ahead of me was a friend whose son was in the choir with Elijah. Across the aisle from me was a couple whose daughter was in the choir and whom I see almost daily because our kids go to school together.

Two rows ahead of me were two women I had become familiar with from the church we were in tonight just from being around for different events over the years. On either side of the auditorium were scattered people that I knew from choirs, groups and churches my children had interacted with over the last few years.

See how God works? While we were going through the dark night of divorce, I was involving my children in local activities and specifically christian choirs and events, so that they would continue to develop and grow. I was trudging through the valley, and He was busy supplying me with Christian friends and acquaintances that surround me so I don't feel alone.

I was overwhelmed with God and overjoyed at the discovery that I was in His house, with His people, not alone, and encircled by family - my Christian family. God sits high, looks low, and inclines His ear to my heart. What kind of God is this? I love Him.

Ex-husband and his mom sat near the back of the sanctuary through out the concert, and when Elijah's part of the concert was done, he sat with them. I moved over to sit with my daughter. Even here we sat with people we knew from our summer program and two community choirs the kids sing in (that preposition hurt). We sang right along with the choir, laughed at the customary bible skit with Uncle Frank and the gang, and had a great time. Ms. Cynthia Gowen is the absolutely most talented anointed woman with children and music I have ever met.

We hung a round a little after the concert, my ex husband and his mom, our kids and my friends. We greeted others and the kids talked to their friends and ate cookies.

I left with my kids, and we came home. We talked about the choir, the songs, and the day. This is our family, these are our friends, and our life rocks. I am grateful.