Friday, July 31, 2009

Praise God for King Soopers

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it , IN HOPE that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. ~Rom. 8:19-22~

Just recently Aaron and I were having a conversation about what it means for creation to groan. God was gracious enough to give me a glimpse into the answer.

A couple of nights ago, we had a HORRIBLE hail/rain/wind storm. In view of the damage, you would think that a tornado actually passed through our little yard. (That I know of, it didn't.) However ..... my gardens took quite the beating.

This is what I saw the next morning....

Today I finally finished cleaning up. There were many flowers that were separated from their vine, many vines snapped in half, and even more leaves completely shredded. I went out with my garden shears and this is what came of that ....

And my once full flourishing garden, now looks half naked ....

My pumpkins took the worst hit of all. So sad.

After I moped around about feeling so sad over all our hard work, only to be destroyed by the mad storm, I picked up a book that I read daily by John Piper. Here is what that days reading was....

....You labor all during the spring to plant your crops but when the grain is just ready to sprout, a flood or a drought takes it all away. The creation was subjected to futility ..... Now let's read on in Rom. 8:20 to see where this subjection to futility came from: "The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope." This means that God subjected the creation to futility. Satan and Adam could not be the ones who did this because Paul said it was done "in hope." Neither Satan nor Adam in the garden of Eden was planning for the hope of the human race. They simply sinned. But God showed his wrath against sin and subjected creation to futility , not as the last word. But IN HOPE. There would come a day when the seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). But the misery and futility of the world we live in is owing to God's subjecting creation to futility and is a testimony to his wrath against sin. ~Taste and See by John Piper~

So, as sad as I was to lose so much of my garden, like I said, I was grateful to have a glimpse of what these verses mean finally connect in my brain. I'm hopeful that much will return because it is so early in the season still. We shall see.

One last (huge) truth that came into my heart as I was mourning my losses was that even if nothing returns, or if it was all completely demolished (which it wasn't), it doesn't matter so much. I am blessed to live 5 minutes from 3 different stores where I can go and buy the food my family needs. And we have the money to do so. Our well being, our income, our livelihood does not depend on my little garden. As I sent up a prayer for those whose lives can be severely effected by such storm, I praised God for King Soopers.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Guess what I'm gonna blog about????

Surprise, surprise ... I'm going to blog about community now. You knew it would be that or contentment, right??

I continue to be fascinated by the concept of community, and my lack of understanding of it, or perhaps my altered understanding of it. I'm not sure. From what I can tell, most people are also smitten on this idea. We status update our friends via Facebook and twitter in hopes that someone out there cares that I just changed my 400th poopy diaper for the year. Many of us blog conversations taking place in our head that we'd rather probably be voicing to a person in real life while holding a glass of cheap wine. (Which I will admit is what I'm doing right now. But then, it's only noon ... too early to drink I suppose.) We go to church hoping to connect with like-minded friends who are walking, or have walked the road we are on. We have block parties to meet the neighbors. We put our kids in leagues and teams and scouts of some kind so they will form their little baby communities. And we use most any social outlet (as previously listed) to "spy", for lack of a better term, on what the rest of our community is up to. We are curious. We want to be a part of something more. We take their blogging, twittering, grouping lives to be an invitation into thier world. We want to share our lives with the world....or some of them at least.

This past week I had the privaledge of sitting down with a few old friends. Friends I haven't spoken with in real life (meaning other than Facebook) in YEARS...many, many years. There was a day when these friends and I walked through some big life moments together. We shared trials, joys, past failurs and hurts, and future dreams and current realities. It was beautiful at the time. (Or at least I see it's beauty now. I perhaps didn't so much at the time. More on that in a bit.) We felt loved and accepted ... as if we belonged. Then we grew up. Some of us got married, some of us had kids, some of us got divorced, some of us remained single and served the Lord in unique and fascinating ways. We all went different directions and were forced to find a new place to belong.

We began to talk about how hard it is to build community. How hard it is to start over. How hard it is to share your messy life with people who will most likely reject you once they hear the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us all God. (Or so we think.) As I sat their hearing them tell how they have no friends, but are trying to reach out despite how uncomfortably hard it is ... a few things began to click in my disconnected brain.

For starters, there is nothing new under the sun. As much as we say now that it was so great way back when when we all had each other, I vividely remember us all complaining to each other about how we had no friends, and no one liked us, and everyone thought we were crazy. I realized that we feel the same now as we did then, just surrounded by new people and in new life circumstances.

Upon such a realization, I decided to point out that there is nothing original about how any of us feel. Sure, we all live in different circumstances, thus life and community plays itself out differently. But there truly is nothing original about the emotion itself of not belonging. They sat there telling me that it's easy for me to say ... I'm a pastors wife. Everyone wants to be my friend. After I finished throwing up a little bit in my mouth, I pointed out that I had that same dillusion in my life once upon a time until I realized that it wasn't true. A small reality of my individual situation is that everyone thinks I'm the pastor's wife, so I must have a lot of friends. Everyone is probably always fighting for our time and inviting us over ... so why would I make time for them. What really has happened as a result of such thinking, is that we've spent many a weekend nights and holidays alone. For another friend, it could be a divorce with a child. Where does she fit in? For another who is the 30 year old single and watching all her friends get married and start a family ... where does she fit in? For another it is a move combined with lots of small children and not even knowing how to get out the door, let alone build community. Where does she fit in? What about the woman who married a non christian and has been seperated from her church family as a result? Where does she fit in? Don't tell me the answer is Facebook or I'll smack you. ;)

So what then? What is the solution? I asked Aaron if I have an unrealistic idea of what community is. He said I do. I don't know if I agree with him. While I recognize that I tend to inflate my ideas, I'm not sure they are unrealistic at the core. The scriptures reveal to us time and time again what community is to look like. We are to walk with each other in love, meeting each others needs, calling out sin when we see it, repenting of our sin to each other, forgiving one another, being hospitable, and above all (from what I understand) - serving one another for the sake of the Gospel. It's really a better life that we all desire that God has breathed into scripture for us. So then, why is it so hard to live out? Why do we close up our homes, our garages, our hearts, our families, our time, our belongings, our talents??? Why do so many of us walk through life feeling so alone?

Aaron and I kept trying to point out to our friends that in our un-original emotions of feeling alone - it really is a big disasterous ploy of the Enemy himself to break apart the body of Christ. He knows that our most fullfilling, life-chaning, effective, God-glorifying selves will come to life through a thriving community. Of course he will try his hardest to tear that down!

Me personally then ... what can I do to war against such lies? (Those lies being: no one likes me, I'm too crazy or too messy, I'm all alone, blah blah blah... insert your communial lie here...) Well, I repent of my sins to those around me. I pause upon a realization that I'm judging others for not living the community and life I think they should be, and instead continue to chip away at that darn log in my own eye. I lovingly speak the truth to those around me. (Which unfortunately has resulted in the loss of a couple of friendships lately .... but that is beside the point, as I remind myself that the response of others to spiritual admonishment is not up to me.) I open my home, my heart, my talents (few as they may be), my family, my resources, my time. And I do this again and again and again no matter how fearful I become of rejection, or lonliness, or judgement, or the realization that I'm probably too much or not enough depending on the person in front of me. I blog, I Facebook ... wait ... argh. And of course, I invite you over for a glass of cheap wine. (Only don't wait for the invitation, just stop by !)

And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all,as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. ~Acts 2: 42-47~

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just in case you were wondering ....

what my garden is doing 7 weeks later....

It's growing! That's what! So far, we've actually gotten to eat spinach and lettuce from the garden. Seriously, I had no idea that lettuce would taste as different as it did being so fresh. Yum!! Can't wait to give everything else a taste straight from the ground.

If you look really close, you can see a wire backdrop on the garden for some of the veggies to vine on. This box holds the beans. Providence was so amazed that they just figure out how to climb. We only had to point them in the right direction, and the next morning ... there they were ... climbing toward the sun! (Now if only training children were as simple ....)

There is also corn, flowers, squash, soybeans and cucumber (which are starting to flower!!), and basil.

This box has the peas, which aren't doing as well as the beans. They don't want to climb, they just keep getting twisted up with each other. There's also flowers, pumpkin, 2 new boxes of sprouting lettuce, corn, strawberry, and squash.

This is the last box. It has the yummy lettuce, spinach (which is going to seed now with the heat ... does anyone know if that means it is no good to eat anymore? I can't figure that out), flowers, squash, pumpkin, carrots, and onions. When I went to space out the carrots, the kids were amazed that little tiny baby carrots were actually already forming. They were so cute, and the kids thought I was pretty cruel to kill such cute things.

This is one of the pumpkin plants. The buds are starting to form where the flowers will come in. I was jogging the other day and spotted these huge yellow flowers in someones garden that were just beautiful. I asked my friend what they were and she told me it was pumpkin. Everywhere there was a flower, is where a pumpkin would grow. WOW!!! 1) I can't wait to have those flowers beautifying my yard. And 2) I think I will charge money and open a pumpkin patch this fall. There are a lot of buds forming! Providence even said, "Mom, now we don't have to get ripped off at the pumpkin patch. We'll be able to pick them in our own back yard!". (That's my girl.)

(Aaron said I should have entitled this post .... "Just for Aaron and Jody's parents" ... because that may be the only people that were wondering. I think there are a couple more. But for the rest of you, I will now return to normal programming.)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Baby Britton Blurb (x2)

1) We had some new friends over for dinner last night and they were asking our kids about their life. One question that was asked to Providence was, "Do you guys play any sports?" Providence replied with a, "Not really, no, not at all actually." Sam piped in in disagreement however, stating rather matter-of-factly, "Yes we do. We play Mario Kart!"
Um .... anyone know of an affordable sport league we can get our kids into????

2) I made the mistake of meeting up with a friend at the Humane Society. She is looking at dogs ... NOT ME. The kids didn't get that though. They didn't understand why we couldn't get one also. They spent the next several hours begging and pleading. Eden finally had it all figured out .... or so she thought. "Mom ..... I promise to get you anything you want forever, and even for mothers day, if you just let us get a dog."
I sorta want to get her a dog just so she has to get me anything I want forever and even mothers day. That would be one way to secure our retirement. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baby Britton Blurb

After the hair cutting extravaganza, Providence took note of all the hair that came off of Malachi.
Combine that with all our gardening efforts around here (and Aaron asking me if I could figure out how to get Pop Tarts to grow in our garden), Providence turns to us and asks, "If we plant Malachi's hair, will we grow a Malachi?"

Perhaps it's time to have the dreaded birds 'n the bees conversation, ya think??? (We are pretty certain she was joking .... )

Monday, July 6, 2009

Britton Barber Shop

When Malachi first came home, he had a shaved head due to how unhealthy his hair was from the malnutrition. We shaved it a few more times those first few months home. Then all of a sudden, it seemed healthy enough to let it fro .... I mean, let it grow. It grew into quite the cute head of hair.

However, with the summer heat, it seemed a little cruel to make him hold all that hotness in. So, we shaved it again tonight. By the time it's a little baby fro again, fall should be upon us and he'll appreciate it as much as I do. (It was so stinking cute!!!)

For now ... bye bye fro!

No, this is not a dead animal. It was the hair that came off Malachi's head.

Slick Baby Man is back! (Although, I'll admit that I sorta wanna cry and mourn the loss of his sweet hair.)

Now for Sam. Sam, Sam, Sam. Sportin' the bull cut like no child ever has. Okay, maybe they have ... just not in his growing generation. Although, I think it's really coming back.
Anyway, as you can see, HE was having a hard time seeing. So Sam the Man was next in the barber seat.

Sam's piled up hair.....
I think I got up to 2 inches off in some spots. (Like over the eyes.)

The finished product ......
And I didn't even use a bowl....
I'm just super talented.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Provi's Bike School

This afternoon I was out front picking some flowers ... weeds ... whatever. The kids were riding their bikes. All of a sudden Providence says to me, "Mom!!!! Eden just learned how to ride her bike with no training wheels. And I taught her !!!!"

Uh, huh, sure she did.

SHE DID !!!!

I went to look, and I say to Provi, "No, the training wheels are still on."

She says, "No, Mom. Dad just flipped them up. She's really riding".

Huh. Right she was! Eden was really riding! And on the first try at that. My little girl ... riding a bike. And I didn't have to teach her! SCORE !!!! :)

Provi then asked me if she could start a business teaching the kids in the neighborhood how to ride a bike. Little does she know that many-a-parents would pay perhaps hundreds or thousands of dollars for such a service.

I wonder how much she would charge for potty training.....

Tell me I'm Beautiful

This morning I overheard a sweet little conversation between a mother and her three year old daughter. Here is how it went.

Daughter - "Mommy, tell me I'm beautiful."
Mom - " You are beautiful"
Daughter - "Thank you !!! "

I don't know what that does to your heart, but it did a lot to mine.

The thank you that this little one replied with was said with as much excitement and belief in what she was just told as I think I've ever heard. She asked... her mother responded... she fully believed. So precious.

What is it that happens in women ... in me ... that makes us stop believing the answer given? Here is what I fear will be a conversation one day between this little girl and her husband.

Girl - "Dear, tell me I'm beautiful."
Man - "You are beautiful" (and he means it just as much as her mother did so many years ago)
Girl - "Whatever, you are just saying that because you have to." (girl no longer believes it)