Thursday, September 18, 2008

Find me in these fields

Out in the Fields with God

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The little cares that fretted me
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields, above the sea,
Among the winds at play,
Among the lowing of the herds,
The rustling of the trees,
Among the singing of the birds,
The humming of the bees.

The foolish fears of what might happen,
I cast them all away,
Among the clover-scented grass,
Among the new-mown hay,
Among the husking of the corn,
Where drowsy poppies nod,
Where ill thoughts die and good are born--
Out in the fields with God.

This is one of my favorite poems.
I had to memorize it in ninth grade, punctuation and all (Thank you, Mr. Pastori).
Imagine my delight when I learned that Josiah will learn it this year in first grade!!
It talks about cares and fears, and how they are lost or thrown away when we spend time with God, when we meet him in the fields, His "turff", and see his bounty, smell the sweetness of his provision, hear the buzzing of bees and the calling of the birds, of whom none fall without His seeing, His knowing.
Even in the tinniest details of His creation, God is so much bigger than we are -- so full of gifts for us, abounding in love and plentiful in his mercies.
Cares and fears, begone!
My God is big and full and generous.
There are things I have faced lately that have obscured this view of God, that have made him small in my eyes, that have made me forget.
I was driving on a quiet road yesterday, and I passed this field (pictured above).
I pulled over to the side, rolled all my windows down and sat there, listening to the crickets playing their last symphonies, watching the sun hit the waving grasses, smelling the sweet smell of the earth and the hay from a few farms over.
I wanted to get out and stand in the middle of that field, to lift my head and raise my arms.
To lose my cares and fears and to remember . . .
Remember who God is, what He has done and how He provides for us . . . for me.
I sat for a long time.
Daniel was dozing in his car-seat.
I prayed.
Thank you, God, for finding me in these fields, these places where I live, everyday. For providing. For loving. For carrying cares and fears. For bringing peace and joy. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Home, sweet home

As per your requests, here are some photos of the new abode.
There are some things that are unfinished and some things that will change, but this is pretty much the living space, for now.
I did not take pics of the bathrooms or bedrooms yet, and the two unfinished rooms are not captured on film as yet, either.
I will share those at a later date.

The back entry way:

The kitchen:

The dinning room:

The living room:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A blast from the past

Are you sitting down?
If not, you probably should be.
I say this because I do not want you to have too far to fall when you collapse on the ground in laughter at what is coming next.
Ready for this?
Are you sure?
Recognize anyone in this photo?

What are those pants?
What was I thinking?
Actually, I'm sporting the height of 80's fashion there.
Yep. A real fashion plate.
This is a picture of me and my best friend, Kia Gaines McCarthy, around . . . oh, I'd say eighth, ninth grade. It was taken at a park in Kearny, NJ during gym class.
Yeah, we look like we're sweating it up and learning lots about physical education, don't we?
Also, notice how the park is entirely concrete.
When I saw this the other night, posted on my high school alumnus facebook page, it certainly brought me back.
I thought I would share it here, for posterity.
I didn't even know this picture existed.
I sure know it now.
And so do you.
Bet you wish you didn't! : )

When the moon hits your eye . . .

Did anyone see the moon last night?!
It was gorgeous! A full moon, it was big, beautiful, hanging low, just above our tree line, shimmering on our dewy field.
I was on my way out to have coffee with a friend. We were meeting at Starbucks at 8 p.m.
Quite a treat for me.
I was running a bit late, and needed to stop for gas, so, after kissing the boys goodnight, I was rushing out the door.
I opened the gate and looked up and BANG! There it was.
It was so stunning that I stopped short, keys in hand, and stood for a long minute (as opposed to a short minute) -- staring.
The air was cool, the last smears of sun still fading in the west, the moon rising in the eastern sky.
But it looked so big, so heavy, so close.
I wanted to touch it.
I felt like if I stood on tip-toes I just might be able to.
I really did say aloud to my self, "when the moon hits your eye, like a big pizza pie . . . " and chuckled.
It all made perfect sense to me in that moment, and I was sure that who ever penned that silly love song must have been looking at a moon like mine.
I headed on the road to meet with my friend, but I called Joe and told him to take the boys outside to have a look at the amazing moon.
I could hear Daniel as soon as it was in his sights . . ."Moon! Moon! Moon! Moon!"
"He definitely sees it," Joe said.
After I hung up with him, I called my mom, who is suffering from a sever cold.
"Have you seen the moon?" I asked.
"No," she croaked out.
"Go to the porch and look at it. You can't miss this."
"Wow! I see it!"
A few minutes of marveling.
"Thanks for sharing that!" mom said.
How could I not?
My history class is studying the beginning of history, the creation, and as I looked at the moon last night, all I could think was what a delight it must have been to make the moon.
God's sense of sublimity is humbling and awe inspiring.
How big is God, to have made a moon so big?
Pretty big.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's coming on my favorite time of year . . . .

. . . fall!
We are in our rainy season right now, intensified by the tropical storm activity to our south.
This makes me smile.
Still warm, but with a hint of the cooler temps on the way, the rain pit-pats on the window panes, and I am inside, cup of tea in hand, cookies baking in the oven, the kids drawing at the dinning room table, Daniel puttering around, discovering new things about his old toys.
I watch the sky yield with the lazy hum of dishwasher, washing machine, jazz on the radio, life in the background.
I love the late summer rains.
They bring behind them lavish displays of colorful fall leaves.
In a dry year, everything just sort of dries up and blows away.
But this year we have had our share of rain, and then some, so I am looking forward to the burst of fall foliage waiting in the weeks ahead.
Right now, though, it is still too warm for the leaves to change. It is so humid in fact, that we have had quite a crop of toadstools growing up in our back field.
I see them in yards all over town.
Steeped in myth, you can see why people of old crafted stories about them being shelters for wee folk and fairies and enchanted amphibians.
My own wee folk loved picking them and discovering all their hidden parts and magical mazes.

Along with multi-colored leaves, fall also brings with it football! And soccer!
Yes, dear friends, I am a soccer mom.
And a football mom.
And I love it.
Josiah has had two games rained out so far (there was a make-up on Tuesday. They lost, but Jo played hard!)
Isaac has played two games in the pouring rain and has had myriad practices.
This is Isaac's first time playing tackle football, though he has played soccer and baseball before, and it is Josiah's first experience with playing team sports.
Daniel is a great spectator now, but one day, he'll be out there too.
I am having fun watching them learn about themselves and team and others through this process. They have done so well making friends and learning what they can about their games and how to follow their coaches lead and think about the other kids on their teams.
There really are some good life lessons to be had in sports.
It has been busy here, what with all the practices and games and school and settling into the house.
The house is coming along.
It takes a while to settle into a place, to make it your own.
I am still sorting through boxes, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.
We still have two rooms under construction here (the family room and a guest room), so there is less space than we were living in and our garage is full of furniture and other "stuff".
What I appreciate about moving is that it offers us an opportunity to assess how we live, what we live with and what we can in fact live without.
Living in this house definitely challenges my "get it all done right now" sensibilities.
There is so much potential here for this to be a great house.
But, it will take time.
I can just see God, smiling up there in heaven, nodding his head, saying "yep."
He knows a little something about the process of renovation.
Here are some pics of what we've done so far . . .
and what still needs to be done. . .
School is going well. Latin II is a challenge for me. Sometimes I think to myself, "I'm teaching LATIN?!!" What is that about?"
But, we are getting through it together, the students and I, and a wise teacher I once met from an established classical school in Iowa told me, any Latin our students get are more than they would have gotten, and God will give the grace to the teachers who are to teach it. I think about that every time I crack open my Latin II book!
I love my seventh grade history and literature classes. We are learning about the beginning of history, and reading Paradise Lost in lit.
The boys like their teachers and their classes.
Josiah's room has an "under the sea" theme, and he is having so much fun!!! His teacher is doing a poem a week and weekly catechism with them . . . all the things I would do if I had that at home.
We went out to the ranch last week. Grandpa came with us!! It was so much fun to show him what we know, and to ride for him.
Rachel saddled up a horse we had not met before, Avalon.
I did not think it was possible for a horse to be bigger than Bounder, but I was wrong.
Wider in girth and a bit taller, Avalon is an eight year old, in the prime of his life, and boy does he know it. Let's just say he is not as . . . docile as Bounder.
So who got to ride him?
I had Rachel lead me around, though. I was pretty nervous at first.
Then we both relaxed, though, and riding him was like heaven.
That's the scoop here. It has been busy.
Notice I am not saying I promise to write more, though that is my intention.
Right now, though, I will finish my tea by the window. I will breathe in the crisp air, clean. I with breathe out silent prayers of thanks for this moment.
And I will leave you with these three faces . . .